These Men Have Been With Jesus [transcript]
My message this morning, "These Men Have Been With Jesus."
Go to Acts, the 4th chapter.
Please again remember Pastor Carter and his wife as they're on vacation resting in Canada. Pray that The Lord refresh them and give them renewed health and strength.
Acts 4, verses 1-13, please. If you don't have your Bible, peak at somebody's next to you. Folks, don't be afraid to share your Bible. We may have visitors here who didn't remember to bring theirs so...
Verses 1 through 13.
"And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand. And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be 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. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."
These men have been with Jesus.
Heavenly Father, we thank thank you for the word that brings life and joy to our hearts. Heavenly Father, you have gathered a people, a particular people, a special people together, Lord, from all over the world here this morning. Those who have come for the first time. You have chosen this time and this place and You have chosen the word to bring. And you know exactly what everyone of us need. Those in the Overflow and Annex, those that are here in the main auditorium, the balcony, behind me, wherever my voice is heard, we pray Holy Spirit that you would quicken the word, make it Life. Make it Life. Speak Life into us. Oh God, quicken us by your Holy Ghost. This word has no power unless the Holy Ghost ignites it.
There has to be an igniting it by the Holy Ghost. He has to make it Life to us.
Holy Spirit, do so we pray. Sanctify me to deliver it. In Jesus name. Amen.
This is quite a story. Peter and John go up to the Temple and there's a man who has been there. He's been lame since birth. He has never walked a step in his life. And every day they bring him and lay him at the gate of the Temple and he begs for money. Peter and John come by, you remember the story, they said, "Look we don't have any money. We have no silver, no gold but what we have we'll give you. In the Jesus, get up and walk." He got up and walked alright and he started leaping all over the Temple. Up and down, "Jesus healed me! Jesus healed me!" And people marveled. They all knew him, they recognized him as decrepit, crippled man that had been at the Gate for years and years. Everybody knew him. The High Priest knew him, Caiaphas knew him, they all knew him. He was the talk of many, I'm sure many of the rulers of the synagogue would say, "Get him out. It looks terrible right at God's House to have somebody begging."
"The priests, the captain of the Temple, the Sadducees came upon the [disciples] being grieved." (verse 1)
Grieved at a miracle, grieved that thousands were getting saved. Can you imagine such backslidden preachers? They took into custody, Peter and John and threw them in jail. They spent the night in prison and the next day, they bring them to trial. Here is Annas, the High Priest, and Caiaphas and Alexander and John, these are also priests, and all the relatives and kindred and all rulers of the synagogue and Sadducees. There all gathered together in this court room and they are going to bring Peter and John, and they are in custody, and bring them before them and judge them.
By what power, they said, by what name have you done this? Boy, what a farce? What a foolish question? By whose name are you doing this? Look, they had 5000 people repenting and crying all over the city "Jesus name." They had their own priests getting saved and admitting to everybody that they helped crucify Christ. They had a lame man that was healed running all over Jerusalem saying, "Jesus healed me! Jesus healed me!" And they are saying, "By what name?" The ignorance, the blindness, the purposeful blindness of these high and mighty men sitting in judgement. By what power, by what name is this all happening? They are afraid of even mentioning his name at this point as if it might strike them dead to even mention it.
Peter cried out at the top of his voice, "His name is Jesus Christ of Nazareth." That's what's happening here. They were stunned, the Bible said, at the boldness of Peter and John. They marveled, the Scripture says, and they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus. And now, 'took knowledge' in the Greek means 'known by a distinguishing mark.' There was something that distinguished these men from all other men that ever appeared in that court room before. There was something so different, so marked, they were marked by some influence. That's what it means, 'they took knowledge.' There's some power that's gotten a hold of them. These men are different, something is distinguishing them. And then, they turned to one another and said, "These men have been with Jesus." These men have been with Jesus. And, folks, at that very moment these disciples were fulfilling the Great Commission, "Beginning at Jerusalem to be witnesses." They were witnessing through the presence of Christ in their lives. This is the witness to the World of the Last Days. It's not going to be preaching in the Last Days that brings the world to its knees. Yes, He said go out and preach the Gospel but folks there is a way to preach it. It must be preached verbally but the most powerful way, and the witness to the World in the Last Days, are people who have been shut in with Jesus and full of His presence and the World takes note.
These men, these women, have been with Jesus. There's a difference. There is something that distinguishes them from everyone else in the world, from all Christianity. They are distinguished. There is a mark on them. Glory be to God.
Marked by the presence of Jesus. Now what are these distinguishing marks on those who have been with Jesus? Now I speak only of those who spend quality time with The Lord every day. I said every day they have time. I get so discouraged when I hear Christians say I don't have time to pray, I don't have time to go in the secret closet and get alone with Jesus. I don't time to be with Jesus. And, yet, they can sit and watch that singing group called Sopranos? Folks, I have never seen the program. Sopranos, I hear it's exalting the mafia. No time for Jesus but all the time they need to watch TV. To go shopping. Oh, come on, don't tell me you don't spend two hours in the mall? You have the time, you have the time for anything else but to be alone with Jesus, many.
Let me tell you, you can't spend quality time with Jesus without it marking you, without it distinguishing you. There are marks. I know when people have been alone with The Lord. I know when people have been with Jesus and you know it. There are marks that are left by that experience.
Let me talk about some of these marks that mark those that have been with Jesus. First and predominantly, a hunger and thirst for a greater measure of Christ. Those who spend quality time in The Lord can never get enough of Jesus. You see, they are not ever satisfied with their initial measure of Christ. When you get saved, the Bible says, you are given a measure of faith. Paul said that very clearly, given a measure of faith - everyone of us is given a measure of grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Then he added, God has dealt to every man a measure of faith. He's given you enough to bring you to Himself, to get you saved, in other words. And some people, that's all they want, they want to be saved. "I'm not going to Hell now. I'm saved." And they want enough of Jesus just to keep a good reputation. Just enough Jesus, you know, to endure one hour of service on Sunday morning because most Christians go to churches where they are bored to death. Like one preacher said, "You start 11 o'clock sharp and end 12 o'clock dull."
You see there are some people that just are satisfied with that initial faith that brought them salvation and they don't want any greater measure of Christ. But you see the man or woman that has been shut in with the Lord, they are marked by an insatiable appetite to get to know Jesus better. They don't want to be next month where they are this month. They don't want to be tomorrow what they are today. They want more of Jesus and the more they get the more they want. There is an insatiable hungering and thirsting after The Lord Himself.
Not after theology, not after new doctrines.
You see, a lot of people are in what I call maintenance mode. They are just trying to maintain what they have, they are really interested in going to... because they know that if they get really close to Jesus, He is going to make some demands on them. He's going call for separation from the World. He may even ask them to go to a mission field. God forbid! They have to leave their Cadillac here and they have to give up so much. Poor Christian. If I get too close to Jesus, He is going to make me too much like Himself. Then I am going to have to love my enemies. My mother-in-law. My boss, don't want to make those changes to much risk getting too close to Jesus.
Ephesians, the fourth chapter, please; the fourth chapter of Ephesians verses 13 through 15. Let's start at verse 11.
"And he gave some apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."
Verse 13, "Until we all come to the unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect" or mature, "man." That word perfect is mature man. "Unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. That we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro, carried about with every wind of doctrine by slight of men and cunning craftiness whereby they lay in wait to deceive. But speaking the truth in love, we may grow up into Him in all things even the head, even Christ." *****
Now look at me, please. Let me tell you something. Let me tell you why people run around looking for some new fad Gospel. Let tell you why people are always looking somewhere else rather than the secret closet. It's because they are strangers to the secret closet. They are not men and women who have been shut in with Jesus because those who are shut in with Jesus are so satisfied in that relationship. And it's growing more and more satisfying. There is more and more joy than they have ever experienced before. And you can't get them, you can't get them to run off to some far off revival some place because they know where the revival is. They know it's in the secret closet shut in with Jesus. And their relationship, their intimacy with Christ is growing and they are satisfied because the Lord is showing them things in the Word they have never seen before and they go to church and the pastor is preaching what Jesus already showed them and the pastor is only confirming it.
I have to quiet down a little bit. You know I was walking into the entrance on Broadway over here and I heard somebody preaching and screaming and I went up and I said, "Whose that screaming?" And he said, "It is you!" And I listened and it was me. I said, "Turn him down."
He said all these pastors and evangelists and this teaching is to get us all that we are not tossed by winds and waves of doctrine by the slight of men and cunning craftiness of this new doctrines. And being lead astray by men who are making merchandise of you. That you come into the unity of the faith and you grow up into a perfect, mature person and to the measure of the stature. Grow up in Jesus. That you become mature in Christ. He said that's what this is all about.
I want to tell you something. Not every believer is looking for a Holy Ghost fired church. Not at all. Not everybody wants to sit convicting messages that makes them uneasy in their sins and compromise. Some people are satisfied with a very small initial measure of Christ are not going to come a church like this for very long. Because, you see, if you are going to hold on to a sin, here in this church you are not going to get just milk. You are going to get some meat.
You see the milk according to the Scripture is for babies. Not just according to the Scripture, according to mama. Who knows? And you see, Paul the apostle said, these initial doctrines of salvation and eternal life and the resurrection-- those are basic Gospel truths, they are marvelous truths but he said that's milk! You go to some churches, all you hear are... There are multitudes right now Sunday morning all over the United States and around the world and all they get every Sunday morning is salvation, salvation, salvation.
That is very comforting to those who have been saved for 20, 30 years. They have been saved but you see if the preacher is preaching about salvation, he is not talking about that secret in their life. He's not talking about the compromise, he's not dealing with sin in them. He's talking about the sinner. "But you see, I'm saved now, he's not talking about me. Preach it brother!"
How do you grow in the fulness of Christ if you're not willing to sit under the reproof and under the correction that produces it? You can't grow. You're among people who sit under meat and they choke on it. There are some of you choking already on what you have heard. I've only given you one little scrap of meat because you have been living on milk.
Hebrews 5, you love the Word? Then follow me in it, please.
"For the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again which be the first principles which be the oracles of God. And have become such as have need of milk and not of strong meat. For everyone that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness. For he is a babe."
You see, if you don't hear Gospel preaching that produces conviction leading to righteousness, you are living on milk. But look at the next verse,
"But strong meat belongth to them that are full age. Even to those by reason of use have their sense exercised by what to discern both good and evil."
You can not have discernment without having the preaching that brings it forth. That brings forth repentance among believers. Repentance isn't something you do once, it's something you do all your lifetime. That bring discernment between what is good and what is evil.
And what did the apostle say? "Look," look this way for just a minute. He said, "You have been in the church so long, you have heard from apostles, evangelists, teachers, prophets, by now you ought to be a teacher." Well....this is some morning, I'll tell ya. And he says, you ought to be teaching by now. You're babies, you just want nothing but milk. That's all you want, you want the bottle. And that's all you want, you don't want the meat. You don't want to grow up.
You see those who are shut in with Jesus are growing. Every time you go alone with Jesus in the secret closet and give Him your faith, your confidence, your worship, your praise, you're reaching out to Him and saying more of Jesus. I love you. I worship you. You're just shut in with Him. You automatically grow.
You won't see it. You won't feel it but you're growing. Hallelujah!
I've told you before one of the greatest complaints we get in our vast mailing list is this, quote, "We can't find a church with life. The preaching is bland and dry. We're not growing. We thrive on your written messages and we're so hungry." I feel sometimes that that is very flattering but that should not be that way that people would get that way from a written message that we preach here, that they get their spiritual life out of that rather than church. Folks, we boast here. This is only one of many, many places God is working and bringing forth the Word. We are just one. God help us if there is any pride in that. God help us, He will lift His hand immediately. God forbid! Time Square Church is only one very small factor in the Work of God in these Last Days. Very small. We thank God for it but we never boast in that.
And people say, "I can't find a church that brings life and everything is so dead and dry anymore. And so many foolish things creeping into the Body." And then others write and say that they tell us they decided that because they can't find what they are looking for that they will go alone with the Lord. We get letters from people shut in with the Lord for 2, 3, 4, and 5 years and, folks, their letters, you can tell the difference. There's a mark on them. There's a distinctive mark. They talk about Jesus with such depth. I get messages that say I have been in prayer and the Lord asked me to share this with you and would you test it. And they are not trying to be revelatory. They're not trying to be very special. It's just that God, because of their familiarity with the Lord now and because of their intimacy with Christ, they are seeing and hearing marvelous truths that are being quickened by the Holy Spirit. And, folks, every one that is shut in with God is prepared for any crises that comes. Every crises that comes.
You're prepared. You can't wait until crises comes and then try to run to the secret and suddenly get a touch from God. You have to, long before you get in it.
Folks, I just came back from three weeks overseas and preaching to multitudes. And in Moscow and in Helsinki and St. Petersburg, Russia. And, folks, I tell you, it was months on my knees. Months shut in with Jesus asking God to put love in my heart. And asking the Lord to prepare me that I would go in the fulness of His blessing. The fullness of the Gospel, the fullness of Christ, the fullness of the blessing of God Himself and the Holy Ghost! And He answered that prayer.
But, folks, I couldn't just run over there and get on my knees the night before and pray, "Oh God! Prepare me for this task ahead of me." No way. You can't be shut in with Jesus and then come out and talk about anything else but Him. What's in you is going to come out of you. You bump a cup of coffee and see what comes out. What? No, not hot chocolate. No. Whatever is inside is coming out. And when the Devil bumps you, what's coming out? Jesus.
I know when somebody is shut in with Jesus, when they come from Christ, when they have been shut in with the Lord, when these men, these women have been with Jesus because that's what they talk about. They talk about something new God has said to them out of the Word of God. "I was reading the Word last night, I was in prayer and the Lord showed me this. He showed me that." They are not trying to preach at you, they are just so excited about it. And it's bringing joy and its bringing comfort and it is preparing them for the crises that is coming ahead in their life.
Some day at telephone call and suddenly panic. No! Suddenly the Holy Ghost comes with quickening power and comfort because they have been shut in with Him.
Boy, right now all over the United States, between services, Saturday night they go out to eat or Sunday after church they go out to eat. And those who are not shut in with the Lord are talking about the Oscars, they are talking about some guy named Tony. They are talking about football. They are talking sports. Women are talking about shoes. Fashion. Hair styles. Where did you get those fingernails?
You may laugh but that is what is happening. Now, I am not saying that that is wrong. But that is all they talk about. You can sit there for half an hour and not hear one word about Jesus, not one word of revelation, nothing that comes from the heart of God, nothing that warms your heart, nothing that touches your soul because they are worldly minded. They are not shut in with the Lord. They are living on this initial experience. "I got saved 15 years ago. I can tell you the time and the place." So what!
What has God said to you yesterday? What did you hear this morning?
Another mark of those who have been with Jesus, a holy boldness and spiritual authority. The more a person is with Jesus, the more like Him he becomes, the purer he becomes, the cleaner he becomes, the more he is secure in the righteousness of faith. He knows it, he's assured of it. He has come to the Lord and the Holy Ghost has dealt with his sins. The Holy Spirit has helped him mortify his sins. And, folks, the more righteous you become, the more bold you become. The Bible says, listen, to what it says.
Proverbs 28:1, "The wicked flee when no man is chasing him,
but the righteous are bold as a lion."
Bold as a lion. Folks, I am not talking about in your face brass, condemnatory preaching or witnessing. I am not talking about that at all. The word bold here means secure, confident.
The Bible says the righteous are confident and secure as a lion. A lion stands up there and says, I know who I am. Folks, a Christian says I know who I am in Christ. He's not afraid of the Devil. He's not afraid of man because he has been shut in with Jesus and he has been clothed in a holy boldness. This holy boldness is really something to behold and it was beheld here by these men.
Folks, the Bible does not give us all the details of this trial but there was a protocol. And it was something to behold. Just read some of the stories of how they came into court. First of all, the lower priests would come and sit on the sides. Then all the relatives on another side and all the dignitaries - they are all in robes. And here they come in and Peter and John have two seats, they are already there in the judgement hall. And all of this ceremony and all of this pomp is designed to intimidate them. And here comes everybody takes their seats. And everybody [in] total silence. And then suddenly, everybody rises and in comes Annas and Caiaphas in their finery and in their miters that stick way up here. And they are holding their canes and they walk in dignity. And everybody bows. As if to say, "John, Peter, look at those powerful men that stand before you. Better be careful how you speak, you tone of voice. You are before powerful dignified leaders." Caiaphas and Annas wanted them to be totally intimidated.
And I picture Peter turning to [John] and says, "Wait until they see King Jesus sitting on His throne." Peter and John were not intimidated whatsoever. And suddenly the court clerk says to Peter and John, "Will you rise, face the judge." They rise and face Caiaphas and Annas. In his dignified intoned voice, "By what power, by what authority have you done this?"
In other words, we did not give you the power. We didn't give you the permission. We are the law here. [By] what authority did you do this? What authority did you heal this man?
Can you imagine how stupid that question is? By what human authority? And I can picture Peter, you know how impetuous he is.
These men are not intimidated at all. I honestly was thinking about this yesterday. I was just going over it in my mind. You know they had to bring the charges up, this wasn't just [a] sudden instant kind of thing. They went through all the protocol and then Peter and John are called up and I know what Peter is thinking, "Let's get this meeting started. Turn me loose. I have got a word from Heaven for these men."
And when I read in the Scripture, "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost," I have to stop right there. And I am saying to myself this is not going to be a quiet meeting. This man has just come from the Upper Room. This man has just been filled with the Holy Ghost. You talk about meeting with Jesus, he has just met with the resurrected Christ. They have all been with Jesus in His resurrected form. Jesus came back in the Holy Ghost and He communed with them. He filled them with His spirit. And the Bible says, "Then Peter, full of the Holy Ghost," say let me at them. Let me loose. And you say to yourself, this is going to be some meeting. This is not going to be a lecture. This is going to be fire from Heaven.
This Jesus possessed, Holy Ghost filled man stands before them. And I don't believe he just stood there quietly, I believe Peter was walking up and down and though the sermon is only four verses recorded, I think that that is just the summary. It could have been an hour long. And in essence, he said you examine us, you put us on trial as to how this happened. And the Bible says, "You priests, you rulers," there had to be a finger to that. I can't say 'you' without pointing a finger. "You priests, you rulers and all of Israel, listen to me. It was the name of Jesus that accomplished this. It was Jesus of Nazareth who you crucified and God raised Him from the dead and He is alive." He is alive.
Now folks, it's not Peter judging these men. Paul said to the Thessalonians, "We were bold in our God to speak unto you the Gospel." But in the next verses it says, "But we were gentle among you even as nurse cherishes her children because you were dear to us." And you see, this man, Peter, was so assured in Christ, he had come from Christ and he is not trying to belittle these men and he is not... Folks, there are preachers that stand in the pulpit that sound like they have power, sound like they have authority but they are just dictators. They have not been shut in with the Lord and make up with loudness what they lack in anointing. It is not loudness. It is not somebody walking all over the stage and screaming at you. That's not what this is all about because there is something in his heart. He wanted them know that Jesus was alive. He wanted them to repent. And that is why he gave an alter call. That is exactly what he did. He said that there is no other name, you have got to repent. There is no other salvation other than in His name. He wanted these men to repent because many of their priests had already repented and the whole city is talking about Jesus now.
No, you see, the holy boldness of those that are shut in with God is tempered with a passion for Jesus, yes, but also love for the lost, a love for the people to whom they preach. Folks, it is going to be more and more important in these last days to be alone with Jesus and come forth in His righteousness and boldness because there is a political correctness now. There is a political correctness in the land and the very name of Jesus has become anathema, cursed. And many are going to crack under the persecution that is coming.
When I was in Poland a few weeks ago, a minister friend of mine told me an experience he had under the Communists. When the Communists had taken over Poland, he was working in a factory that was owned and operated by the Communists and he was called by the foreman of the factory to visit the office. "Look we have got the Communist bosses coming here this week for a big meeting, for a conference and they got some English speaking foreigners coming also to do business and we need an interpreter. Would you interpret for us?" Because, my friend, brother Chesler (?) speaks, he is very fluent in English. And he said, "I'll do it on one condition. I'm a Christian, I walk with Jesus and I won't drink." You, because vodka is as cheap as other beverages there. Vodka just flows all through the Balkans, and through Russia especially and Finland. And Russia especially. vodka is very cheap. If they raised the price of vodka, they would have a revolution on their hands. That's the truth, they will tell you that. And so, he agreed, he said, "You come. You don't have to drink but you interpret."
So he comes and he sits near the boss and the foreman and the vodka starts flowing and the alcohol. And everyone is drinking and Brother Chesler says no. And the foreman is getting angrier and angrier because the big boss, the Communist boss, is asking, "Why isn't he drinking? Is he better than us?" And everybody at the table is urging him to drink. And he tells the whole group, all the Communist leader that could have killed him, he could have been jailed, he said, "I agreed that I come here, I will interpret but I will not drink with you. I am a Christian. I am a follower of Jesus and I can't do it. I'm going to take a stand." Folks, you talk about holy boldness, this man is a praying man. He has been shut in with Jesus. He is coming from the very presence of the Lord. He prayed before he walked into the meeting. He had been praying for a few days after [he had been told.] "Lord, help me to take the stand."
There was no question, he was not afraid. I don't care if I go to jail. I'm not going to drink with these men. He took the stand and the foreman was raging. But the next day he was called in to the foreman's office, and he said to Pastor John, "You're a lucky man, you're very fortunate. The big boss called me this morning. He said, 'Hey look, if we ever have a secret mission, if we need somebody we can trust, I want that man.'" I want that man.
Folks, there is a holy boldness that comes from being shut in with God, shut in with Jesus - no fear of man. No fear of demons. No fear of false prophets. No fear of man and can take a stand at any cost. Hallelujah.
And now, the final mark I want to talk about is a physical, visible evidence that God is with you. There is a physical, visible evidence that happens all the time. And in this incidence, the Scripture says, "Beholding the man which is healed standing with them," you see Peter and John are there and they are finished preaching and they call this man to their side. They are standing right there waiting for the judgment call and these priests looking down at this man, beholding the man which is healed standing with them, they could say nothing against them. And they said, "What shall we do with these men? For indeed a notable miracle has been done by them is manifest to all that dwell in Jerusalem." And we can't deny it. See there was visible evidence that they had been with Jesus. Visible evidence that they had been in the presence of The Lord.
What did Peter and John do as soon as they were released? The Scripture says, "And being let go, they went to their own company and reported all that had happened." They went right back to the presence of Jesus. They had come from the presence of Jesus, they immediately go back to the prayer meeting. They share it with all the elders of the church and all the congregation. And what does the congregation do? The Scripture says, "They prayed, Lord," and laid hands on them. "Lord, behold their threatenings and grant unto these thy servants, [Peter and John,] with all boldness they will speak thy word by stretching forth your hand to heal and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of the holy child Jesus." He says, "Oh God," they prayed, "Thank you for the boldness you have given us but that's just the beginning. Keep us bold. Grant that we will speak with a holy boldness and that you give visible evidence that you are with us. That by the hand of this holy child Jesus and in his name you do signs and wonders and miracles that everybody can see and know that God is with us. That Jesus is with us."
You know, when these men turned to one another and said, "These men have been with Jesus," Peter and John have had to overhear that. And could you imagine them winking at each other. Because you see, the priests are saying that these men have been with Jesus, the historical Jesus. They are talking about the Jesus who walked in the streets of Jerusalem and is now in Glory, . This is at least 50 days later, it could be much longer than that and here they are saying, "These men have been with Jesus." Jesus walked this earth and whatever was in His spirit has rubbed off on them. They have been affected by His authority and His power. They couldn't speak like this because they are unlearned men.
Can you imagine Peter and John thinking, "If they only knew? If they only knew? They are saying we have been with Jesus back then. We were with Him last night. And we were with Him this morning and as soon as this stuff is all over, we are going right back to Him.
Have we been with Jesus? Oh, yes, we have been with Jesus, with the resurrected Christ, we have been with Him." These are the men who said we will give ourselves to prayer, that is the presence of Jesus and to the study of the word. We will give ourselves to it. Hallelujah.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
I told you that those who are with Jesus with quality time, they are prepared for every crises. We got a letter from a couple this week, I was reading, sent in our mailing list. This couple are prayer warriors. You talk about two people shut in with Jesus. You can't read their letters without knowing that they have been with Jesus.
A knock came on the door, their daughter had gone out with a girlfriend. Hadn't [been] gone too long and a madman, insane, kidnapped them. Their daughter was 24. Took them out in some lonely place, released the daughter's girlfriend and then he took a knife, slit their daughter's throat, stabbed her in the head five or six times then carved a symbol on her back. Killed her. Murdered her.
Police knocked on the door and the sudden shock, hearing the gruesome story but within an hour, they told us the Holy Spirit had come in. The Holy Spirit had absolute settled peace. There were tears. The next day, there were questions why but those why questions soon vanished. When it hit the news and everything else, people were saying, "How can any parent take that?" Neighbors [were] thinking that they are going to collapse. But the people in the church and pastor and everybody else knew that these people would not break because they had been with Jesus. These were prayer warriors, they knew where to go. They had prepared for this moment. God had prepared them by  just being shut in with Him. They had grown in the knowledge [of God]. They knew that God would not allow anything in their life unless there was a purpose to it. They knew, they understood the Word of God and they didn't fall apart. They didn't question their faith. They didn't look for sin in their life because they knew that they had been made right with God in the secret closet of prayer.
And then they and the other children began to pray for the killer. That the Lord would save him. And that the town couldn't accept, they couldn't believe. In fact they were on media and they go from church to church ever since telling how the Lord had put a desire in their hearts to pray for this man that they had forgiven. And now they are a testimony to the whole wide section of that countryside. A testimony and people are saying, "That's the real Jesus. That's real Christianity." These people that don't break when something horrible, gruesome thing happens in their home, they still stand strong in Christ. How can that be unless you come from Him? how can that be?
I stood before 1,200 pastors less than two weeks ago in Moscow. [They] came from everywhere. Russia has, somebody said, 89 states. That doesn't mean the provinces that broke off but just Russia itself. They came all the way from Siberia and in one of the closing services, I had preached my heart out and the Holy Spirit came on me and I said, "You have been here, sitting here, listening to me for two days." I said, "There has been weeping and there has been rejoicing. God has been doing a work. You have a new burden for your families." But I said, "The Holy Spirit just spoke to my heart and said that there are many of you here making this your last conference because you have already made up your mind to leave the ministry. You're going quit because you are discouraged." And I said that "I know you are here and if it is only 10 or 12, I want to pray for you."
And there was no place up at the front, only a stage, much bigger than this, a huge stage. I said, "All I know is if you want me to pray for you, if you have it in your mind this is going to be your last meeting, you are going to go home and resign the ministry, you are not going to preach any more. You are giving up on the ministry, I want you to come up [to the] stage here and I want to pray for you." It was a stampede, over 250 pastors. In fact, our body guards, they insisted on body guards because so many people being kidnapped if they have a reputation or anything and the guards thought, they hadn't heard the whole invitation, they thought the people were rushing me, they were trying to hold them back. I [said], "Let them go. Let them go." I had to push off the guards. And they filled the stage and I am standing there talking to the Holy Spirit and an interpreter here. And I said, "God, I have never seen anything like this in my life. This is supernatural. There is no human power [that can meet this.] I can't do anything [for] these men, all I did was give an invitation. God, what's going on here?"
And the Holy Spirit said, "Remember all those months you were shut up in that room? And you prayed day after day that God would give you a love for these men? You remembering praying and asking me to move on the spirits and sent everyone home encouraged? That everyone's discouragement would be healed?" He said, "Do you remember that?" I said, "I do." He said, "I'm answering your prayer."
You see folks, I could have never come in and spent a day before asking God to do this. No way. I spent time and I wept over these men, and I knew it. And the Lord said, "Now I am going to honor that." And I turned around and said, "What do I do now with these men and women, husbands and wives and they are weeping and some of them on their knees." Pastors couldn't even get up pound on the alter and crying out to God. And I said, "What do I do?" He said, "Just turn and pray in the Name of Jesus that everyone would be restored and healed and a new vision to go back and take up the Cross." And I just turned, they couldn't even understand me because the interpreter wasn't even interpreting even half of it. I was saying, "In the Name of Jesus, all discouragement, every thing of this world, every distraction, Go! Be restored!"
Folks, God came down and restored. We have heard some good news recently that they were testimonies everywhere, "I'm going home to preach. I'm going home to lift up Jesus." Renewal, healed by the power of Jesus name. Visible evidence. That God was with us.
The Lord said, "You haven't seen anything yet, if you stay shut in with Me, if you come to every pastors' meeting from the presence of God, if you spend time alone with me."
Now folks, the next day they asked to have a meeting with me. These were the three Pentecostal denominations in Russia - Pentecostal Union, that's the old timers, most of them had been in jail in Communism, the leader had been in jail 18 years, his wife for 5 years and these are veterans, and then you have the unregistered Pentecostals and then you have the Charismatic Pentecostal movement. So there is three Pentecostal groups in Russia. They had never before in history ever worked together on a meeting, ever. This was the first time and the Holy Spirit was healing. And here they are all in one room, in one table with their wives and my team. By way folks, after I left they had another meeting, a unity meeting and one of the greatest things that God did was to heal the Pentecostal movement in Russia. To heal the Pentecostal various movements, brought them together in unity. And we trust that that will stick and it will grow. And at the table this pastor who had been in prison for 18 years, he said, "I want to tell you a story."
Now folks, this man is godly. You can see it in his face. I've heard stories sometimes that this stretches your belief system. They are so far out but this man is flesh and blood and he stands in front of me. He's the leader of 1,200 churches in Russia and he just emits the presence of Christ. He says, "Brother David, I was in one of the rough Communist prisons for 18 years. My congregation took care of my wife while I was in prison." His wife had been in prison prior to that for five years. And he said, "There were hardships but Jesus was so real in that prison. Jesus so real to me. More real than I have ever known Him at any [other] time [in my life]." Because he had this quality time to just talk to Jesus. The revelation he received. And the Lord gave him the respect of the prison guards and everyone else but many of the prison guards were hardened Communists and many of the prisoners were very, very difficult to reach but they respected this man, high respect for this man. He said,"Brother Dave, after 18 years the Holy Spirit came to me and said, 'In three days you are going to be released.'" Three days. He got word to his wife and congregation somehow and he testified. God told him to testify and he told all the prisoners, "Three days from now God's going to release me."
They laughed at him and said, "No one has ever been released from this place. You will die here." "No," he said, "three days from now I am going to released."
The third day came, nobody came, and all the prisoners are watching, the guards are laughing at him. He said, "No. God told me. I am going to be released from this prison." He said it got dark, "But," he said, "God told me." And outside the prison, down the block, waits his wife and congregation with flowers. They do everything with flowers in Russia. They gave me flowers, they gave Gwen flowers. I'm standing up there with a bunch of roses on my thing and I said, "That's a nice thing to introduce to Time Square Church. Roses." And you know, 11 o'clock and nothing. Just a moment after 11 o'clock, over the loudspeaker his name was called. "Reverend so-and-so," I forgot his name, a long Russian name, "you have been released, come to the office immediately." And the prisoners were stunned, the guards, and he walks out and all the prisoners run to the top floor of the prison where there was a cafeteria and there was glass where you could see out to the streets. And they stood there. And the pastor said, "One of the most exciting experience I have ever had. I had told them in the name of Jesus I would be released and it would be on this day." And he said, "On that day, 11 o'clock, a little after 11 o'clock, they called my name, no explanation, I still don't know why, I don't know how, they called my name, lead me out the door, I walked down the street." And he said, "I got to the corner and I looked up and all the prisoners were in the cafeteria. They saw me embrace my wife. They saw all the flowers. They started screaming at the top of their voice, 'There is God! There is a god! There is a god!'"
Visible evidence. Visible evidence. Folks what could be a greater visible evidence than those among us who have bee saved from drugs and alcohol and messed up mind and a messed up life, that's visible evidence that God is with you. God is with you. And folks, what greater visible evidence that when God is in a church that when invitations are given to people come streaming to the alter hungry for God, wanting a change in life. Folks, we have seen hundreds and hundreds come streaming down these aisles. We are baptizing this afternoon, we had so many we had to... We baptized Tuesday night for 40 minutes. We will baptize the rest today. We couldn't handle them in one service. That's wonderful visible evidence that God is with this church. That people in this house have been with Jesus.
These men have been with Jesus. Oh, blessed be the name of the Lord.
Oh my its.... Did I preach that long?
Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. You hungry for more of Jesus? How much time did you spend with Him this last week? Alone? Nobody around, just you and Jesus? How many were with Him yesterday? You see this can't be just a theory, it can't be just a theology or doctrine; it has to be a lifestyle. It has to be something we finally deal with. "Look, I've heard this preached. I've said I would do it. Now it's time for me to become a seeker after Christ. I'm not going to be satisfied with a measure of Christ that I have. I want a full measure of Jesus. I want to come into the full stature and maturity in Jesus Christ the Lord."
Heavenly Father, I pray for those that are in this house. Lord, there are so many that are here for the first time. And I don't know what they think of the preaching or the service. Lord, I believe that everyone who has an honest heart has to acknowledge that the Spirit of Christ is here. That Jesus is here and that the Holy Spirit is wooing and He is calling to a deeper life. A closer walk. Lord Jesus, some have been getting so lazy and drifting so far from what they know they ought to be in Christ. Lord forgive us. Oh, God forgive us. Holy Spirit do a miracle in some hearts this morning. Do a miracle. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.
Let me tell you what I see the Holy Spirit saying to my heart. I'm going to give an invitation. I'm going to ask you to step out of your seat boldly. Forget what people think. In all honesty, have you been neglecting Jesus? What you have been giving Him has been what we call devotional time, you give a little devotional time and some hurried reading of the Scriptures. Just hurriedly reading, just grabbing a Bible and opening it and reading a couple verses and going. You don't have that quiet set time with the Lord. And when you don't then your life becomes marked by the things that you are giving your time to TV, if you are giving your time to internet, that marks you. You talk about it, it's in your mind. You come to church with that in your mind. We need to come into God's house with nothing but Jesus on our mind. I am convinced more and more you don't have to know all the deep doctrines. Even Peter said that some of the things that Paul said were very hard to understand but I know one thing that you can live an overcoming life and fully satisfied if you will simply spent time alone with Jesus. And by faith and trust believe His word, He is going to mark you. Your wife, your husband is going to know it. Everybody is going to know it. You will be a changed person. That changes you. The very essence of Jesus will just pour out of you. People will see it. It doesn't mean that you have an aura around you like Moses had but there will be something that comes out [in] your voice, out of your demeanor, and out of your walk that marks you and distinguishes you as somebody wholly given to Jesus. If you are not there yet and you say, "Brother David, I think I am drifting. I am not where I should be with Jesus." I want you to get out of your seat and come here. Let me pray for your and let's believe God. In the Annex, I want you to go forward, not in front of the screen but between the screens. And I will pray for you there. I'll pray for you while you are there. And let's believe the Lord now.
I have faith in my heart [that] what He did among the pastors, He'll do here this morning. We are going to ask in the Name of Jesus that you would be revived in your spirit and that the Holy Ghost would begin to woo you. And if you are not right with the Lord, if you have been backslidden, you don't know Jesus, come with these that are coming. Up on the balcony, come down the stairs, come down any aisle, and in the Annex, just step forward between the screens and I will pray for you there. We will pray for you in just a moment while we wait for these that are coming. Move in close please, move in tight. Make way for these that are coming.
How many of you believe that in the Name of Jesus God can do something visible and clear in your heart? Something that people can see? Something that people see? Now, I'm going to give you an example for you gentlemen that are here right now. I was walking down the street and I was shocked by the men that followed every woman walking by. Their eyes just following every woman that walked by. And you may be one those men that have roving eyes. If you are married this is quiet a visible miracle that God can heal that and when go to a restaurant with your wife, you are walking down the street, she is not seeing you going this way and that looking at everybody around but you have your eyes only on your wife. That's a visible. That's evidence of a work that is being done in the heart that you are obeying Jesus, that you are drawing closer to Him. Those are evidences. I don't know, it could be your temper. Suddenly your wife finds you friendly. She finds you not popping off at every little thing. That's visible evidence that Jesus is with you that you have been spending time with the Lord. The first people who are going to know are going to be your family. Your family and those closest to you are going to know that you have been with Jesus. Hallelujah.
How many have to acknowledge right now that you have not given Him the time that He wants and that you need? Raise your hand, please. Keep it up right now. I want everybody to pray this prayer.
Jesus, you see my hand. You see my heart. And I ask you in the name of Jesus to forgive me and draw me near to you. Put it in my heart in a way I'll never forget. That I have a time and I have a place where I will meet with You. And I will talk to You. I will spend time with You. Draw me to that. Oh God! Print this on my heart. Stamp it on my mind. I want to be with Jesus. I need to be with Jesus. Touch me now. Help me to commit to this. Forgive my sins Lord. Blot out my transgressions. Help me Lord not to neglect You any more. I can't do it unless Your Holy Spirit comes and gives me power and strength but I believe that in the Name of Jesus, I am free.
Now I want to pray for those in the Annex, those standing between the screens, those who can hear my voice at least, you don't see my face and here in the main auditorium, all these that have come forward.
Father, I'm asking now to release everybody that's here in the Name of Jesus. Release us from bondage to materialism. Release us from, God, all the activities that have stood between us and You. Tear down the walls, I pray, in the Name of Jesus. And I pray Lord that you send into everyone listening, everyone standing before Your presence, that You would supernaturally put this drawing into their hearts. This wooing of the Holy Spirit. Come alone. Come away with Me my bride. Come away with me my servant. Come away with my son, my daughter. Come away and be with me. Lord, draw them into Your presence. And when You see them respond, Holy Spirit, in Jesus name, I am asking that you just fall upon them with a joy, a peace, a rest, revelation. Oh God, make us seekers after Christ our Lord. Seek You, and you said that the day you seek You with all our heart you will find Me. Lord, we are set out to find You, Lord. Cleanse us, sanctify us and set us free. We glorify you now in the name of Jesus.
All of those in the Annex that have come forward and all those that are here right now, I want you to just thank Jesus. Lift up your hands and give Him thanks. I give you thanks Lord. I give you praise.