If the Apostle Paul walked into most of today’s churches, he wouldn’t wait for the service to start, he would rush to the pastors, elders, and deacons and ask, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
The leaders might hem and haw, explaining their beliefs and theological insights on the Holy Spirit.
Paul would shake his head at their words. “Do you prophesy? Do you speak in tongues?” he would ask, with his dark eyes blazing.
Maybe you disagree.
Okay, did you know Paul spent one to five months planting each church in such cities as Pisidian Antioch, Iconic, Lystra, Derbe, Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea? Then he left them alone without pastors or leaders for a long time, as much as two years.
Fifty percent of Paul’s converts were slaves.
There were no Bibles and few had even one Old Testament scroll.
90% of the converts were illiterate.
95% could not write.
Average life expectancy for a male was 45 years of age and for a female 38. (The Untold Story of the New Testament Church by Frank Viola.
Yet, the gospel that Paul and Barnabas preached to these new converts that were once heathen and miserable Gentiles, was enough for them to love each other and evangelize their neighbors without any outside help.
How did Paul accomplish this feat?
Pursue love, and desire earnestly the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. (1 Corinthians 14:1)
The Apostle Paul made sure the spiritual gifts were working in the believers for each church. It was through the Holy Spirit and the spiritual gifts, especially prophecy, that Christ came to life in their midst.
So, do we really want to turn our cities upside down for Jesus?
If so, maybe we should rethink prophecy and the spiritual gifts. It worked for the Apostle Paul in Pisidian Antioch, Iconic, Lystra, Derbe, Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea.
And I believe it will work today in our cities, too.