In his sermon, “A Dangerous Pentecost,” Halford Luccock tells of Lorenzo deMedici, the great Florentine patron of the arts who was very proud of the spectacles he staged for the citizenry. Among his productions were several amazingly realistic religious pageants performed in church. But one Pentecost, Lorenzo went too far: he used actual fire to depict the descent of the tongues of flames on the apostles. The fragile stage set caught fire and, before horrified onlookers, the entire church burned to the ground (Marching Off the Map, Harper, 1952). The moral is clear: pray for Pentecostal power, but dont try to manufacture it.
Power for the Church
Power can be used in at least two ways: it can be unleashed, or it can be harnessed. The energy in ten gallons of gasoline instance, can be released explosively by dropping a lighted match into the can. Or it can be channeled through the engine of a Datsun in a controlled burn and used to transport a person 350 miles. Explosions are spectacular, but controlled burns have lasting effect, staying power.
The Holy Spirit works both ways. At Pentecost, he exploded on the scene; His presence was like “tongues of fire” (Acts 2:3). Thousands were affected by one burst of Gods power.
But He also works through the churchthe institution God began to tap the Holy Spirits power for the long haul. Through worship, fellowship, and service, Christians are provided with staying power.