January 26th, 1991                                            "Communion With God"                                The Rev. Cyril Stevens

Luke 24:45-59

The Lord Jesus talked to His disciples before His ascension. Verse 48. He had commanded to witness and to speak the name of Jesus to everyone, everywhere and at every opportunity they had. The disciples were converted before the "Pentecost." Jesus prayed for His disciples in John 17 that His Father should not take them out of the world, but that He should keep them from the evils of this world. I believe, this may be called the Lord’s prayer: the Lord Jesus praying for His disciples. The one in Matthew 6:9-13 is the "Disciples’ prayer." After Jesus prayed for them, He gave them authority over demons and diseases. These were not given to unconverted men. Now having said that, how shall I encourage you to be praying people? Without prayer we cannot achieve anything. Between one who is with prayer but without intelligence and a man who has intelligence but without prayer, I would choose the former. The difference between a Christian and a non-Christian and between a live Christian and a dead Christian is prayer. Unfortunately there are dull, dead Christians not conscious of the essentials. But people who have the certainty of the presence of the living God will pray. There is something real and struggling in their souls. We need immediate contact with the other world where Jesus sits at the right hand of His Father. We pray in the power of the Holy Ghost. We are praying people speaking with none else than the Lord Jesus Himself. There needs to be that brilliant spark and wonder that we speak with none else than the Lord Himself. Because Jesus by His Holy Spirit actually opens our understanding and we receive the joy of the Holy Spirit. I am not speaking of the joy of Adam. I am speaking of the joy of the Lord Jesus Christ. This joy should be bubbling in our souls. In the Acts of the Apostles we see it was a time of very little instruction. But it was much action. St. Paul was good at prayer. When he was caught and put in prison, he sang hymns with Silas and both prayed together. They were noisy that way and the Lord also acted with noise. The earth quaked. The Acts of the apostles is not instructional. It was quite unlike the four gospels. The disciples were working out the Lord’s instructions with joy bubbling out of them. It was not Adam’s joy. It was the resurrection joy and victory over the grave. I received a letter from my wife yesterday. She wrote, "I have bad news about a young doctor." He was an English man. When American doctors do not visit the homes of their patients, he came to help me when I was very ill. This doctor came running about twelve miles to attend on me. My wife wrote to me and said last week he died. He was only fifty-two. When I was unconscious, I could hear him speaking to my wife, "He is dying." My wife said, "No, he will not die. The grave cannot have him yet." I was told later that the biggest smile came on my face. When I was well, he saw me smiling and I said, "I am free." I asked him whether he knew the Lord Jesus Christ. He did not. I wonder whether someone led him to the Lord Jesus meanwhile. I did not meet him for two years. I did not lead him to Christ. If he died without receiving Christ the grave would have got him.

We are filled with joy and wonder. The words of the disciples ought to have the power to penetrate the hearts and minds of people. In Acts second chapter it is written the people were pricked in their heart. People listened to the preaching of Peter, and they were pricked in their hearts. "Pricked" in Greek is a very powerful word, more powerful than pierced. They were shattered in their hearts. What made the difference? Young men will preach; young ladies, you will tell the gospel. Young men, you will live the gospel, young ladies you will live the gospel. What is the difference between us and the disciples before the Pentecost? The difference is when we live our lives, we live it in the power of the Holy Spirit. When we preach we speak in the power of the Holy Spirit. That is the difference. It will pierce the people like a spear. It will cause the people to fall upon their knees, beat their breasts as they did when they listened to Peter. They martyred Stephen when he preached. The heavens opened and received him. The grave did not get him. We see in the four gospels, the disciples had many, many, many questions. "Teach us prayer. Why could we not cast out the demons? Help us to understand. Show us the way." And so on and so on. The Acts of the Apostles has the answers to all the questions in the gospels. When you pray, you expect a difference. You expect answers. You expect God to reveal Himself and to do mighty works. In the gospels, only Jesus expected these of His Father. "I am not praying this because of myself, but because my disciples will understand." Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, a famous preacher in England has written many books. He used to say, "Preachers should have dogged teeth and dogged knees and be holy people." When I wanted to study for a degree, a strict Baptist preacher said, "Do not get a degree or you might get too large in your head. Go to college, learn everything but do not accept the degree." I did so. All you need is the Word. All you need is the "Book". All you need is the presence of the Holy Spirit and prayerful deep humility. And in one sense he was fully right. We must give ourselves completely to Him. The relationship between parents and children, between young people and old people – all our relationships should be a blessing.

I have three children. I have not spent even one evening worrying about them. They are not drug addicts. They have lived for the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank the Lord for them everyday. My children called me their friend and I call them my friends. When the time came for them to choose their partners they paused to consider: Will these partners love their daddy or just tolerate their daddy? Each one of the spouses of my children loves me and comes to me as a counselor. So three plus three, I have six children walking in the counsels of God. It is only by the grace of God, by His eternal mercies and by His blessings He has blessed me and blessed my children. Now grandchildren are coming. We are praying for them. They say over the phone, "Grandpa, we are loving Jesus." I say, "Hallelujah." The little one at the phone says, "Grandpa, I think you are dancing." There must be a difference between our children and others. Your children should respect mummy and daddy. They must be obedient. Our children must stand for Christ. There must be a clear difference seen in our homes, there must be a difference seen in our places where we live and where we work. There must be a sharp separation from the world.

Great love for prayer In the gospels remember how the disciples prayed! They slept. Do you ever go to sleep when you are praying? I am supposed to be a preacher and I am supposed to be different. Something is lacking in us when we fall asleep when we ought to pray. In the Acts of the Apostles they could not sleep. They were always in prayer, lifting up their hearts to God. The difference was the Holy Spirit had come upon them. Suddenly they were deeply aware of God. The words of their mouth and the meditations of their hearts showed forth his praises.

Last of all, they loved the Scriptures. Do you read the Scriptures? A man taught me- He said, "Read the word of God when you can, read the word of God when you cannot, read the word of God in the morning and read the word of God in the evening." The Psalmist says, "Thy word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against Thee." One day I was searching for my commentaries, Collins and Scofield. This man came in and asked what do you think you are doing. "I am studying this piece of Scripture," I said. "What have you discovered?" I shared with him whatever it was I had discovered. He seemed dissatisfied. "Was it wrong to discover these thoughts?" I asked. He fell upon his knees and prayed, "Lord, show him what is wrong with him. These are good thoughts, these are nice thoughts. When he read the word of God let the Holy Spirit give your thoughts to him." Having prayed this he went away. You cannot read the Scriptures with the spirit of Adam. One little sin in our lives and all reality becomes blurred. What made St. Paul such a powerful person? He knew the word of God. Peter knew the word of God. The Wesley brothers knew the word of God. They did not need someone else to tell them. It was not a hearsay.

I was in the army, I liked walking in the mountains. And one day I met a Welsh man Bob Grips. He was not educated. He could not speak much English. Welsh is completely different from English as Tamil is to English. He was walking alongside of me. "You were in the capel", he said. Capel in Welsh means chapel in English. "I do not remember seeing you," I replied. He said, "I saw you." As we met in the next weeks and months he would bring pieces of Scriptures and explain them to me. He did not study after six years of age. He was a shepherd. There they had no electricity; they had candles. They were very poor. Their house was built of mountain stones. When I needed to be blessed, I would go to Bob and sit and talk about the Scriptures. I had to teach English and he had to teach me a little Welsh so that we could communicate. One day, my minister saw me going to Bob’s house. He asked me where I was going. When I told him, he too accompanied to Bob’s house. Bob was nervous because the minister was there. "Do not be nervous, tell me the Word," I said. So he started to tell us the Word. The minister was so taken up with the word of God that he forgot himself. The minister said, "I had no idea that here was a man of God." I said, "I come here often to this man of God, to learn." "He is a rich man," said the minister. "He is a humble man, full of the Holy Spirit," I said.

Once more we will look at the precious verse at Luke 24:49, "And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."