A NEW PENTECOST AND A NEW REFORMATION: 2019 AND BEYOND
by Nathan Shaw
Two thousand years ago God poured out His Spirit on 120 believers in Jerusalem. We know it as the day of Pentecost. It was the start of an atomic explosion of glory that went to the ends of the earth. Five hundred years ago the foundations of the Western church were hugely shaken through the Reformation. The foundational truth of the Reformation: “The just shall live by faith.” It was a rediscovery of a first century message that had become increasingly maligned in the centuries that followed. One simple truth undid over a thousand years of institutional Christianity. That which we are stepping into will be seen as both a new Pentecost and a new Reformation.
Pentecost was one of the three major feasts celebrated in ancient Israel. The feast was a prophecy of the future outpouring of the Spirit. That’s over one thousand years of prophecy! The outpouring of the Spirit at the feast of Pentecost was a direct link between the Old and New Covenants. Through the work of the cross and the outpouring at Pentecost the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile was dismantled (Ephesians 2:15). The Reformation dismantled a different but similar dividing wall—the wall between priest and laity. We are all God’s priests and everyone has direct access to God through the blood of Jesus.
Pentecost and the Reformation—no one will deny that the world is different. But what’s on God’s agenda for today? 2020 will be a watershed year. God’s people will step into an unprecedented level of vision. 2020 will truly be a year of 20/20 vision—of seeing things from His perspective. Priorities and mindsets will change. Every year leading up to 2020 is hugely significant. God is strategically setting things up. As we move forward there is a vital piece of wisdom for us to understand: Pentecost was an event that was part of a process. Let me explain.
Times and Seasons
God is in charge of times and seasons (Daniel 2:21). The day of Pentecost happened at an appointed time. Because God is in charge of times and seasons it’s easy to think that we are powerless to effect change or live in ultimate destiny until such an appointed time. But let me give you the big picture. Jesus commanded His disciples to teach the newly formed church everything that He had taught them (Matthew 28:20). The disciples received three years of solid teaching from the most anointed teacher in the universe! Pentecost was preceded by a process, and initiated a process. It was an event, that was part of a process. Because of the process the whole city of Jerusalem was shaken (Acts 5:28). It’s easy to idolize or idealize the day of Pentecost. The most powerful event wasn’t the outpouring on the day of Pentecost. It was a city shaken by a church caught up in a culture of Spirit empowered change.
The outpouring at Pentecost involved Jews gathered from all over the world (Acts 2:9-11). Jewish mindset understood the importance of pathways. “The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day” (Proverbs 4:18 NASB). The wisdom of pathways is built into the book of Proverbs. The Jews lived it and breathed it. It was their wisdom for life. A pathway has a destination that is arrived at one step at a time. No matter what time frame an ancient Israelite lived in there was always a pathway before them. No matter what time frame a Christian lives in there is always a pathway before them. Each person decides whether they walk on the pathway or not. The pathway is not dependent on times and seasons. The pathway always exists. It is spiritually discerned. Some see it. Some don’t. Wisdom always implores us to walk on the pathway (Proverbs 1:20, 8:1-4, Matthew 7:13-14). Some hear Wisdom’s voice. Some don’t (Matthew 7:24-27).
The Reformation was also an event that was part of a process. The retelling of history has dramatised the event of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the church doors. The actual event was less dramatic and played out over time. Regardless, it only took a few short years for centuries of religious structures to start unraveling. The Reformation was revolutionary, but it was also reactionary. After centuries of bondage it was understandable that people became reactionary. The good impacts of the revolution and the negative impacts of the reaction are still with us today. Here’s the good news: the new Reformation we are entering will strategically dismantle wrong foundations, but it will be guided by a wisdom that will keep it from becoming reactionary.
Those who are waiting for an event and not seeing the pathway will miss what God is doing. Events change history, yes, but pathways take you somewhere. There’s always the excitement of taking the next step. Those who spend all their time waiting for an event can so easily end up in cold frustration when the next “Pentecost” or “Reformation” is slow to arrive. Pentecost was an outpouring of the Spirit—an event that was part of a process. It shook cities and nations. Some are waiting for another Pentecost and missing the pathway. The Reformation was a restoration of some foundational Biblical truths that began to transform and change society. Many are still fighting over the truths rather than walking in them.
Walking in destiny isn’t dependent on an event. It’s dependent on seeing and walking a pathway. Before the day of Pentecost the disciples walked in destiny. After the day of Pentecost the disciples walked in destiny. Events change history, but they are preceded and followed by processes. Rather than idolize or idealize events, discern the pathway that is yours and yours alone. That’s where you will find the increasing glory. David declared that his satisfaction was in the path of life. “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). This is the mindset that God is establishing in His people right now. It is preparing us for one of the greatest events in history.
Nathan Shaw helps bring individuals and churches into dynamic encounters with God's indescribable love. Nathan's passion is to equip churches so that they can move in the Spirit, access heavenly realms, encounter God's heart and release His Kingdom on the earth. Over the last twenty years he has been instrumental in ushering in significant moves of the Spirit in over ten different nations. Many have experienced life changing prophetic encounters and dramatic visitations from God. Nathan is the author of two books: Passion and Fire and Unto the Least of These and he is the senior pastor at Fire and Destiny Centre www.fireanddestiny.org, Dunedin and Celebration Church, Mosgiel www.celebrationchurch.xyz.
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