Editor's Note: This message by Rev. Samuel Rodriguez was delivered at the recent Empowered21 Jerusalem 2015 conference in Israel.
Acts 2:14 says, "Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd:"
This passage represents a lot more than the normative description regarding the occurrences of that blessed day. This Scripture actually speaks to the catalytic macro-metric of a Spirit-filled encounter.
It provides the prescription for the church in our troubled times.
In other words, the fact that it was Peter who stood up and raised his voice should compel us. The same Peter that, before the cross and the upper room, fell in the water and was now standing up. It was the same Peter that hid from the crowd in denial of Jesus.
When you are filled with God's Spirit, everything changes. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you are able to do what you were not able to do before.
The Spirit came down and Peter did what? He stood up and raised his voice.
The Spirit filled those in the upper room and Peter did what? He stood up and raised his voice.
This change of physical position embodies much more than a passive act of physical posturing. It actually reveals what we as believers must do in response to the adversity of our times.
In essence, we can extrapolate from this Scripture the following truth: Religion makes us complacent while revival makes us courageous.
Saints, listen carefully. Today's complacency is tomorrow's captivity. There is no such thing as comfortable Christianity.
Let me be clear today.
The Spirit did not come so we could stay seated. The Spirit did not come so we can be complacent.
The Spirit did not come down so we can sing "Kumbaya." The Holy Spirit came down so we can get up.
He came down so we can go from ...
Natural existence to supernatural living; from "I am OK" to "I am more than a conqueror"; from surviving to thriving; from making excuses to making history ...
From saying "bless me" to "make me a blessing." From "answer my prayer" to "make me the answer to someone else's prayer." From seated with anticipation to standing with revelation!
The Holy Spirit came down and Peter stood up and raised his voice!
Simply stated, Spirit-filled people do what others cannot do. That's why The Bible does not say, "Be touched, caressed, motivated or excited about my Spirit." It says in Ephesians 5:8, "Be filled with the Holy Spirit."
People full of the Spirit thrive with the prophetic in the midst of the pathetic. Our faith stands measured not by what we do when heaven falls upon us but rather by what we do when hell stands next to us.
You are what you tolerate!
We are filled with the prophetic so we can stand up in front of the pathetic.
Full of the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:14, in the face of false accusation, "They are drunk," Peter stood up and spoke truth.
Full of the Holy Spirit, Acts 7:55, Stephen, facing persecution, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God's right hand.
Full of the Holy Spirit, in Acts 13:9 Saul, also known as Paul, looked at the sorcerer, rebuked him and spoke a word that blinded him. Spiritual warfare!
Full of the Spirit, in Acts 27:21-22, that same Paul stood up in the midst of the storm and declared to those on the ship, "You will not die, you will live."
Saints, Just like in the book of Acts, just like with Peter, the accuser has risen labeling us as intolerant, bigoted and irrelevant.
Just like with Stephen, the enemy threatens, persecutes and slaughters our brothers and sisters—the people of the Cross.
Just like with Paul, we find ourselves under immense spiritual warfare where all hell has risen to impede us from occupying what God has promised.
And just like with the Apostle in Acts 27, the storms of relativism, decadence and apathy threaten to do nothing less than drown those in our ships.
So what are we going to do? Are we going to shrivel up in fetal position? Are we going to stay seated?
We are here filled not with emotion, constructs or religious paradigms, but with the Holy Spirit of God. Guess what the church guess will do next? Stand up!
Why? It's because we are not just any people. We are not Google, we are not Apple, we are not Ford, we are not even Starbucks.
We are the church of Jesus Christ. We are the bride. We are a Spirit-empowered ekklesia.
And the gates of hell shall not, cannot, will not and may not prevail against us!
So, with fear and trembling not out of the womb of emotional exuberance but by the very impetus of God's Spirit and an unbridled commitment to biblical orthodoxy I've come here to tell you what God told me to tell you:
Saints, go back home, filled with the Spirit and stand up! Stand up, for those who falsely accuse you will be silenced! (1 Pet. 2:15)
Stand up, for those who persecute you will discover that you overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony (Rev. 12:11).
Stand up, for you will occupy the very area hell has fought to keep you out of (Ex. 33:1).
And stand up in the face of life storms and declare, "I will not die until see all of God's promises fulfilled in my life" (Ps. 118:17),
Look at your neighbor and tell them: "We've been seated for too long. We've been analyzing for too long. We've been hoping for too long. We've been planning for too long. This is our season and to be filled and do one thing—Stand up!
And Raised His Voice
Not only did Peter stand up, but he raised his voice. Understand this; the sound came from heaven so our voices could be raised in this world!
He came with a sound so we can stand up with a voice!
There is no such thing as silent Christianity. There is no such thing as Christianity on mute. There is no such thing as a silent Pentecostal.
A silent Pentecostal is an oxymoron on steroids.
What you have been through was meant to silence you, but from this moment on you will do one thing: Raise the volume!
Testimony: As reported by the St.Louis Dispatch, Daily Mail and others, on Jan. 19, 2015, John Smith was playing in the Saint Louis Lake when he fell in and drowned.
He died for a total of 45 minutes; 15 minutes under, 27 minutes of attempts to resuscitate and three additional. Mom walked into room, raised her voice, "Holy God, send your Holy Spirit to save my son!"
At that moment, the boy came back to life.
Writing in the journal, Dr. Ken, the doctor treating him stated the following regarding cause of resuscitation; "The Holy Spirit did it in response to his mother's prayer."
Church, just like that boy, the world declares the next generation to be dead. God told me to tell you that as you stand up for righteousness, in holiness, and raise your voice, your children and your children's children will be saved.
In conclusion, stand up and cast out demons! Stand up and heal the sick! Stand up and speak in other tongues. Stand up and fulfill the great commission. Stand up and make disciples. Stand up and preach the Word in and out of season. Stand up and be fruitful. Stand up and be faithful. Stand up and be holy. Stand up and be light!
Be filled! Stand up! Raise your voice! And change the world!
Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez is the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.