Brokeness: The Way to the Holy Place
By Evan Wiggs
(Psa 51:17 NASB) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
The broken spirit is not well known in much of the church today. There is much of self and much of flesh in our "working" for God. Pride, self Ė righteousness, an ecclesiastical spirit, back stabbing, fleshly arguments over minor differences that promote disunity are all so very evident in the Body of Christ today. Even most of our worship today is full of flesh and show. Forty minutes of singing and then comes the cut off to the preaching, we must not keep the sheep late because the game comes on at 1:00.
God does not want just the left over stuff from our lives. We cannot just give to him what is convenient to us. He is not just a troubleshooter to help in occasional times when we need Him. He wants all of us. We must come to him as Lord and Master to let him have his way in us in the final and ultimate sense.
We often times think two ways about what God thinks of us and both of them reek of the flesh.
Most Christians donít understand brokeness. The person in example one we assume needs no brokeness because they are already broken, or at least they are hurting. Our first inclination is to try and lift their attitudes up to make them think good thoughts about themselves. But that is not what they need. They need God to come in and do spiritual surgery on the flesh in their lives and set their minds on the things above.
The person in example two we can easily see needs brokeness but we also misunderstand what that mean in such a life. Our first inclination is to beat this one verbally down and tell him that pride is awful in his life and he should just get on his knees and get his attitude corrected. There is truth in this but this one needs the fundamental same surgery that the first needs. He needs to come to the Holy One and have his esteem fulfilled in Christ.
The fact is we are all deeply flawed with sin and the flesh. We are so deeply flawed that we cannot even see it in all our labor. We cannot look to the dividing of the soul and spirit. All of our efforts at taming the flesh cannot and will not work, for the flesh cannot tame the flesh. How many Christians are wrecks on the shoals of life because they started out fine, but were flesh dependent and could not run the race with endurance.
Perhaps it would be helpful to look at the life of Peter in the scripture to see how the Lord worked in him to see how brokeness is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring us into line with what God wants.
(Mat 4:18 NASB) And walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
(Mat 4:19 NASB) And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."
(Mat 4:20 NASB) And they immediately left the nets, and followed Him.
Here we have Peter, exuberant and impetuous, willing to jump up and try a new thing. Leaving his livelihood in an instant and jump into this fishing for men. No cost counting here, He ran ahead to seize the day. A good start you would say. But Peter is totally flesh dependent. His exuberance gets him into trouble occasionally but is a good quality given it is controlled by the Spirit.
(Mat 14:28 NASB) And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."
(Mat 14:29 NASB) And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
(Mat 14:30 NASB) But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"
(Mat 14:31 NASB) And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
I really like this story. Peter sees Jesus walking on the water. Instantly he wants to do that too. That is not bad. Peter wanted the right things but he didnít know what it took to get them. He got out of the boat and actually started walking on the water. I remind you that the other disciples stayed in the boat. I like it that Peter alone got out of the boat. It is a tribute to his desire to do what Jesus did and that is the ultimate desire that turned him into the dynamo he eventually became.
The flesh then took over and he said, "I canít be doing this! I am a fisherman and I know people donít walk on the water, especially water that is rough like this. As a matter of fact I could actually drown here!" He began to sink. He cried out to Jesus and of course Jesus brought him up to the boat. He again did the right thing, he cried out to the Lord who alone can solve our flesh dependence.
Look at what the Lord said to him. "Why did you doubt, oh you of little faith" We tend to smirk and laugh at Peter here, but I ask you, have you walked on water recently? Peterís desire to be like Jesus was sublime and his desire was so strong for a moment he actually got out of the boat and walked on the water.
I pray daily for such a strong desire to be like my Jesus. May the whole Church pray for such a desire. If Peter was of little faith, what I pray are we!? Who in the Church desires to do great exploits? Who desires to be strong in the Kingdom?
Who will stand up and say Iike Isaiah "Here am I, send me!".
A strong desire is commendable but Peter still was mostly flesh dependent. He had only a little faith.
(Mat 16:16 NASB) And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
(Mat 16:17 NASB) And Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
(Mat 16:18 NASB) "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.
(Mat 16:19 NASB) "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
(Mat 16:20 NASB) Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.
(Mat 16:21 NASB) From that time Jesus Christ began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.
(Mat 16:22 NASB) And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You."
(Mat 16:23 NASB) But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."
Here we have Peter at his best and his worst in the time before the death of Jesus. Jesus asked the disciples who they thought He was and Peter delivered a message straight from the Fatherís heart. Jesus even said that what Peter said was not from the flesh but was straight from the Father Himself. That is awesome. Why did not any of the other disciples say such a thing? Peter in his love for Jesus was the one with the open channel where the Father could send his message. Peter did love Jesus, it was not always pure but he still loved him and that was the very best he could do. Do you love Jesus like that? Do you love him with a passion where you will step out and share him at cost to yourself?
A few verses later we see where Peter tries to rebuke the Lord for saying He was to die. Peterís fleshly love did not understand and did not want its object to even come close what Jesus was talking about. Because Peterís love was mingled with flesh and spirit he could spout out both deep spiritual and ugly Satanic words. Have you ever done that? Is our love for Jesus a mingled love?
(Mat 17:1 NASB) And six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and brought them up to a high mountain by themselves.
(Mat 17:2 NASB) And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.
(Mat 17:3 NASB) And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
(Mat 17:4 NASB) And Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
Poor Peter. Jesus takes him along with James and John and they have a mountain top experience. Peter sees something he cannot explain nor even understand very well, so he falls back on his verbal skills of the flesh and starts babbling in the Holy Place. I certainly understand this propensity. I understand why God says "Be still and know that I am God". The flesh has no clue about the deeply spiritual. The meeting of the flesh and the spirit is like the meeting of the east and the west, it cannot be done. The flesh will jump up and try to attract attention to itself by spouting, what it thinks is perfect sense, but in the real spiritual world is perfect nonsense. Much of what is passed of in our churches is just such nonsense. The world is waiting for the day when the Church will rise up and deliver on the promise it gives of true Spiritual worship and messages. Messages straight from the Fatherís heart and not from some fleshly, prideful heart. The world can get the latter on its own.
(Mat 17:24 NASB) And when they had come to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter, and said, "Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?"
(Mat 17:25 NASB) He said, "Yes." And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?"
(Mat 17:26 NASB) And upon his saying, "From strangers," Jesus said to him, "Consequently the sons are exempt.
(Mat 17:27 NASB) "But, lest we give them offense, go to the sea, and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a stater. Take that and give it to them for you and Me."
Peter is tired of the incessant challenge from the scribes, Pharisees and other "religious" people who constantly tried to trip up the Lord. When one came to him and (probably) sarcastically asked it they paid a particular temple tax. Peter thought he would just nip this in the bud and offer up a little white lie. Just a little one too, why he was sure Jesus would approve anyway. But Jesus doesnít like falsehoods and when Peter came in Jesus already knew what was in his heart. Oh, we cannot put anything over on the Holy One, no matter how hard we try or how deep we bury it. Isnít it good that Jesus treated Peter so gently. He is truly the lover of our souls to work with us to teach us in the midst or our sin and rebellion. Jesus so gently corrects Peter and even offers a way a fisherman can understand, for his lie to be truth. How good and kind is our Saviour, so gentle and compassionate.
(Mat 18:21 NASB) Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"
(Mat 18:22 NASB) Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Peter thought he was on the right track with this. This was Talmudic thought and rather a lofty one for a fisherman. He was sure he could follow this policy and forgive seven times, surely this was what was required to gain what he so desperately wanted. But Jesus pointed out that what the flesh could do was not enough and could never be enough. The flesh is totally inadequate to get to the spiritual plane; it simply does not know the way.
Incidentally the phrase "seventy times seven" could be mathematically translated to 70 squared seven times or 34,300 times not the 490 times so often stated. That does move it out to the improbable doesnít it?
(Mat 19:27 NASB) Then Peter answered and said to Him, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?"
(Mat 19:28 NASB) And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
(Mat 19:29 NASB) "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, shall receive many times as much, and shall inherit eternal life.
Now this was a legitimate question. Peter was beginning to understand the cost of his choices and wanted to know if it was worth it. Jesus treated his question legitimately and gave an answer that showed what worth the life of the spirit is over the life of the flesh. We stumble around in the world dazzled by its baubles and toys, not realizing the spiritual world right in our laps and all its richness and glory. That spiritual world is supposed to be our abode when we walk this earth. Peterís eyes were beginning to open, but he still needed something.
(Mat 26:31 NASB) Then Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, 'I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP OF THE FLOCK SHALL BE SCATTERED.'
(Mat 26:32 NASB) "But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee."
(Mat 26:33 NASB) But Peter answered and said to Him, "Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away."
(Mat 26:34 NASB) Jesus said to him, "Truly I say to you that this very night, before a cock crows, you shall deny Me three times."
(Mat 26:35 NASB) Peter said to Him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You." All the disciples said the same thing too.
Now the story starts to quicken. Jesus reveals to the disciples that they will fall away. It is even necessary for them to do so. Each has an appointment with his own failed flesh to kill it and shatter it. But Peter is seems must have to be broken more for he really believed what he said. He really believed he alone would be with Jesus at the last and would even die with him. He did love his friend Jesus much but he didnít have any idea of the true cost of discipleship. Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him so the impact of what would happen would have the desired effect. Jesus even at this late time knew just what Peter needed and started the process to lead to the result Jesus wanted.
Is the hand of the Lord heavy on you? Rejoice in that, because Jesus loves you enough to see you through to the glorious end.
(Mat 26:36 NASB) Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray."
(Mat 26:37 NASB) And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed.
(Mat 26:38 NASB) Then He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me."
(Mat 26:39 NASB) And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt."
(Mat 26:40 NASB) And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?
(Mat 26:41 NASB) "Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
(Mat 26:42 NASB) He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be done."
(Mat 26:43 NASB) And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.
(Mat 26:44 NASB) And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more.
(Mat 26:45 NASB) Then He came to the disciples, and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.
(Mat 26:46 NASB) "Arise, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!"
The story picks up even more now. Jesus alone with three sleeping disciples prays in agony in the garden. Bending his will to the Fatherís will, looking beyond the horrors of the cross in love to the countless souls He would bring into Him. What a mingling of love and glory with hideous darkness. The disciples who were going to die with Jesus could not even keep awake with Him and pray. There was no strength in the flesh to do anything. Now the time was coming when sleep would flee those once sleep heavy eyes. The time of their own personal agony of flesh rending was soon to arrive. So we continue to follow Peter.
(Mat 26:58 NASB) But Peter also was following Him at a distance as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and entered in, and sat down with the officers to see the outcome.
Fear had taken over. Bravado was gone. Peter skulked along in the distance full of fear and uncertainty. This is the final flesh response, when the chips are down and it is time for the man of God to rise, the flesh fails and fails miserably. Truly the flesh is weak. We so often donít realize how flesh dependent we are until we come into the crucible. The crucible is where the heat is turned up and the dross and impurities are burned away with the Holy Fire of our refiner God. The crucible is where the flesh is ended for it cannot stand the heat and must die. We are going to see Peterís crucible and see how it affects him.
(Mat 26:69 NASB) Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a certain servant-girl came to him and said, "You too were with Jesus the Galilean."
(Mat 26:70 NASB) But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are talking about."
(Mat 26:71 NASB) And when he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This man was with Jesus of Nazareth."
(Mat 26:72 NASB) And again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man."
(Mat 26:73 NASB) And a little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, "Surely you too are one of them; for the way you talk gives you away."
(Mat 26:74 NASB) Then he began to curse and swear, "I do not know the man!" And immediately a cock crowed.
(Mat 26:75 NASB) And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, "Before a cock crows, you will deny Me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly.
Jesus is in a mockery of a trial in front of men mad with revenge and full of hatred. It is a time of deep darkness as all time starts to recurve back on itself and all the horrible sins of the world past, present and future, flock to Jerusalem that day like a vast cloud of filthy birds, reeking of vile and horrid things. The sacrifice is being made ready; the lamb is selected Ė pure and holy. Demons twitter and twitch in anticipation of heaping every impure and unholy thing on this innocent one.
Peter is desperate; he cannot stay away yet he wants to run as fast and as far away as he can. He is in the crucible and the heat is turned on. A servant girl looks at him and exclaims "This one, he was with Him." Fear leaps in his heart and he denies even knowing Jesus. This Jesus who he was so confident he loved and would die for, now he doesnít know. The crucible is heating up. Peter moves out of the light of the warming fire and slinks into the darkness of the gate. Another servant girl cries out "Yes, this one was with Jesus of Nazareth!" A stab in the heart of panic, Peter adds an oath to his denial. The crucible is approaching red heat. Peter moves away his heart pounding and just then another bystander accuses him "your speech gives you away, you are a Galilean and you were with Him." Sheer terror fills Peterís heart as he curses and swears and denies ever knowing THE man. From, I will die with you Jesus to I donít even know THE man. The crucible is white hot the gold is boiling and the refiner is moving the dross aside looking for purity.
Immediately a cock crows and the arrow of the Almighty with a stinging, lightening burst pierces Peterís heart. The flesh falls back mortally wounded sagging and dying in the heat. Peterís heart breaks with remorse and he goes out and weeps bitterly. Have you ever been so broken before God you felt as if you would never recover? I have and I can tell you it hurts mightily when God makes you take your flesh and nail it to the cross. I have never felt anything like it in mental pain and agony. But what God tears he also blesses. And the depth of death in you will bring the same depth of glory.
The perfect gold smith looks at the crucible and the boiling gold and removes ladle after ladle of dross rising to the top. The pain is tremendous but the goldsmith keeps the heat on for he is looking for something. As the gold purifies, and the dross no longer comes to disturb the surface, the face of the gold becomes reflective and the master gold smith can see his reflection in the gold. Does his face reflect in your life? When others look at you do they see the reflection of Jesus? Letís look more at the Lordís dealing with Peter.
(Mark 16:6 NASB) And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him.
(Mark 16:7 NASB) "But go, tell His disciples and Peter, 'He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He said to you.'"
Jesus had a special message for just Peter. The angel mentioned Peter specifically. How like our Lord to leave a small love note to His beloved Peter. Poor wounded, despairing Peter. Weeping will be for a night but JOY comes in the morning!!!
(Luke 24:12 NASB) But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at that which had happened.
Now the despair and pain are starting to dissipate. Something new is replacing the dead and decaying flesh that was there. A new and shining countenance is starting to appear in the black cracks of dead self. Hope - bright shining hope starts to well up in his heart. Something wonderful is happening. Could it really be that Jesus is alive? What would Jesus say to Him who had denied him? Would Jesus still love him? A thousand thoughts crashed at once through Peterís mind. A wonderful sense of possibilities swept over him. A new Peter was arising that even Peter did not fully know at this time. Praise the Lord for His mighty works in His people.
(John 21:2 NASB) There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples.
(John 21:3 NASB) Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will also come with you." They went out, and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.
Around three and a half years before this was the same scene played out. The fishermen went out all night and caught nothing. Peter and the other disciples are not fishing in despair; they are fishing to pass the time, for something to do. Wonderful things have been happening. The reports are that the Lord is alive and some have even touched Him. They donít know what this all portends but they are full of nervous energy, there is a lightness to the air and a sweet perfume.
(John 21:4 NASB) But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
(John 21:5 NASB) Jesus therefore said to them, "Children, you do not have any fish, do you?" They answered Him, "No."
(John 21:6 NASB) And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you will find a catch." They cast therefore, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.
(John 21:7 NASB) That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord." And so when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea.
Remember when the Master called to the tired fishermen those years ago and asked them to cast the net on the other side. What a familiar setting. Then John recognized Jesus and he turned to Peter with the beloved name on his lips. Peter, still impetuous, jumps into the water, no time to row. He had to see Jesus, to talk with Him to see what He thought of the one who denied him.
(John 21:8 NASB) But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish.
(John 21:9 NASB) And so when they got out upon the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid, and fish placed on it, and bread.
(John 21:10 NASB) Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have now caught."
(John 21:11 NASB) Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.
(John 21:12 NASB) Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples ventured to question Him, "Who are You?" knowing that it was the Lord.
The disciples are like a bunch of Junior High boys at a dance. They are afraid to ask the Lord anything. Shyness overcomes them. This is the one they lived with for three and a half years but they saw Him die and he is now alive. He is the same yet He is different. What do you say to a resurrected Lord? Oh, the wonder, the beauty, the exquisite glory of Jesus. He is the Lord of the Universe yet he is cooking fish on an open fire with His friends. He is the Lord of Glory and He is standing on the shore of the lake inviting His friends to breakfast. No wonder they were speechless. No babbling in the Holy Place here. The flesh was dead and the lips were shut in awe.
(John 21:15 NASB) So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love (agape) Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love (phileo) You." He said to him, "Tend My lambs."
(John 21:16 NASB) He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love (agape) Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love (phileo) You." He said to him, "Shepherd My sheep."
(John 21:17 NASB) He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love (phileo) Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love (phileo) Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love (phileo) You." Jesus said to him, "Tend My sheep.
(John 21:18 NASB) "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself, and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go."
Jesus has His time with Peter. Three times he asks Peter do you love me? Three times for the three denials. It is very interesting the forms of love that are used. I put the Greek words in parenthesis after each word love. Notice that Jesus asks Peter is he agapes Him the first two times. Agape is the unconditional love. Peter replies that he phileos Jesus. Phileo is a brotherly love. A good love but not considered the equal of agape. Finally Jesus changes his form of love to phileo. Peter was still not quite ready to jump into the fullness of what God had for him. The spirit was moving and Jesus had forgiven him but the new dimension had not fully become operable. Jesus knew Peter would require time and this was a healing time for Peter. He had been wounded deeply and much had changed. Peter was still reeling from all that had happened in the last three days. How gently Jesus leads Peter in the three loves. He loved this impetuous man, this proud fleshly man who loved Him and wanted to be like Him. He loves all His people with an everlasting love. Truly underneath are the everlasting arms. The arms of a fleshly lover grow tired and wither but the everlasting arms are strong eternally. Remember, when the unsaved sin they sin against God's holiness, but when the saved sin they sin against God's love. Let our hearts be tender and not sin against the wonderful love of Jesus.
Acts 1 NKJV
13 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they
were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew
and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the
son of James.
14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and
with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
The job was almost complete. The master refiner saw what He was looking for and was ready to pull the molten gold out of the crucible and mint it into coinage. The gold reflected back His countenance. The coining process would start with the addition of the new element of the spirit. Once the flesh had died and the spirit of man became the prime control there had to be an infusion of the dynamic of the Spirit of God. This is the new thing in Christianity and I cannot emphasize it enough. We have the very GodHead in our breasts! All we ever wanted or needed is IN us! This is not New Age gobbledygook; we are not gods, the God of the Universe is in us. We are temples of the Holy Spirit. God is wholly other than us and we are not He.
Peter is soon to see just what was promised and how it could affect this new creature that was rapidly forming. The shining person was becoming more evident as the blackened and charred flesh fell away.
They knew something was coming so they stayed in the upper room and continued "in one accord in prayer and supplication". Those prayers pressing through the enemy's camp were a sweet perfume to God. Anytime we pray and push through the thick gloom of the enemy's presence we bring honor to our God. It will be in the song of the redeemed that we alone will sing how we had to persevere and push the prayers through and how they were a savor to our Lord. The angels, seraphim and cherubim will not understand this, only those blood bought and redeemed will know and be able to sing it.
Acts 2 NKJV
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
The power from on high has fallen in cloven tongues of fire and a new tongue. The promised Holy Spirit has come and the power of God has filled the upper room with the Shekinah glory. God has come down and filled frail flesh with His Spirit. A new thing has come about. A new order exists. A new man comes to the world scene. A man controlled by the Living God, operating in the Spirit.
Now the final product is ready for the world to see. Peter stands up with the boldness of a lion to preach the world's first Christian sermon and 3000 are saved! What a glorious move of the Spirit! Peter who denied Jesus three times and who went through the crucible of God's refining power was now unleashed with supernatural power upon the world. This is what the Church today needs, a host of Peters operating in the power of the Spirit to be unleashed upon the world. But those Peters must be broken by the mighty hand of God and wholly submitted to the Holy Spirit for the Lord to pour His Spirit into the Church again; for flesh cannot stand in such glorious power.
Acts 3 NJKV
1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. 2And a certain man lame from his motherís womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; 3Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. 4And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. 5And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. 6Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 7And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. 9And all the people saw him walking and praising God: 10And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. 11And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomonís, greatly wondering.
12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? 13The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. 14But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. 16And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
Wow, this is really cool! Here comes Peter, James and John back to the temple where the center of the deadly opposition was. The very opposition they had run from only 50 or so days ago. With eyes of faith that saw the way God sees Peter looks at the lame man. The flesh would have seen just a lame man who needed money but the eyes of faith saw a lame man who needed to WALK! What the eyes of faith saw the heart of faith did. The healing compassion of Jesus filled Peter's heart and that compassion and healing virtue flowed from Peter's hand as he reached out to the hand of the lame man. Peter drew the man up and he walked, leaped and praised God. This caused an eruption and many willing hearts listened to the second sermon by Peter and may more were added to the Church.
Acts 4 NKJV
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 9If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; 10Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. 13Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. 14And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
Here are the same people who crucified Jesus a few days ago. Peter's knees would have been knocking together a few days ago to be here too. What a difference a few days makes. Peter imbued with power from on high delivers a sermon to the leaders themselves. Talk about marching into the enemy's camp! Praise the Lord! The leaders recognized that they were lowly fishermen but marveled at their boldness and power. Then they saw the crucial difference, these men had been with Jesus. But there was more they didn't know, Jesus was in these men's hearts!!! That was where the power to make the lame man walk came from. They thought they and got rid of Jesus but He came back in thousands of hearts multiplied over and over. Praise the Lord! Is the mighty working of the Spirit of God throbbing in your heart today? Can you say to the lame man "Stand up and walk!"? Do you have the boldness to march right into the enemy's camp and proclaim freedom to the captives? Oh beloved, the Church has to rise in Pentecostal power once again. We talk about it but we need to do it!
Acts 4 NKJV
19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. 20For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. 21So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. 22For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was showed.
23 And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. 24And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: 25Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 26The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 27For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. 29And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, 30By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. 31And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
The council was helpless against this Holy Spirit boldness and power so they resorted to threats. Little did they know their time was rapidly ending. It is so interesting to note that the religious leaders followed all the statutes of the law to a fault in the temple. They observed all the festivals and sacrifices the law called for they had the mighty Herodian temple which was a marvel of construction for its time. But they had a dark secret lurking within their temple. Behind the massive veil into the Holy of Holies there was nothing. No Ark of the Covenant, no Mercy Seat, no Bread of the Presence, no living Shekinah presence, nothing but a dusty room. The fleshly worship had driven the presence of God from the room years ago and the artifacts had been lost. The heart and soul of the Jewish faith had gone with that Spirit but still the religious leaders carried on. They had no mercy seat on which to pour out the blood on Passover. Little did they know the Living God was just outside their temple teaching and healing and forgiving sins. They missed it!! They missed the Holy One in their midst. He came in a way that they didnít expect.
We need to pay attention to their plight lest it become our own. We must not be keepers of the tradition of men and loose the Holy move of God in our midst.
The disciples were not impressed by the threats of the council but came back to their upper room and prayed all the harder for Holy boldness to proclaim the incomparable message of Jesus. The room was shaken with power when they prayed and God answered their prayers for more boldness. The church stayed in this revival mode for over 400 years from this time. It has been said by some that revival is only a temporary thing that last a few years, but that is wrong! Revival will stay as long as people are broken before Him and wholly submitted to His will.
Do you pray to be broken? It is a very dangerous prayer for God will answer such a prayer and you may not always like the process. I pray to be broken almost every day. The crucible can get very hot. But I tell you with all the unction in my heart that you cannot afford to NOT pray that prayer, for God is looking for Peters today to take His word to the lost and the brokenhearted. He wants chain breakers who are bold as lions and can walk in the power of His Spirit. Right now the Church has chains and shackles on God and we will not allow Him in: but there is a rising urgency and militancy in ones in the Church today and there is a time coming when God will walk among His people again. God will only truly use those who are broken before Him with all their lives open to his mighty hand. Are you ready for that? He will consume the flesh! Are you ready for that? He will break every heart! Are you ready for that? He will ruin every service in our Churches! Are you ready for that?
If you are not ready for what is coming - PRAY TO BE BROKEN!