Intro: You have no doubt heard the old saying about the month of March: In like a lion, out like a lamb; or the reverse, In like a lamb out like a lion.
The interpretation of that old saying is this: supposedly, if March comes in with strong winds and cold temperatures, even Snow- then it will end with gentle breezes, warm temperatures and sunshine. But if it comes in with the warm gentle breezes, then it will finish out with the strong cold winds. Well, our March came in today like a lamb, with warm temperatures and only a gentle breeze. Of course, it remains to be seen how the month will end; it might end up going out like a lion after all.
Anyway, I thought about this old saying as I studied and I thought about it in regard to the Church of Jesus Christ.
I. In Like a Lion
This familiar passage recounts what is often called the Birthday of the Church- the Day of Pentecost- The day when the Church as we know it began to take actual, visible shape and form; the time when the Holy Ghost was poured out for the Church Age also known as the Dispensation or Time of Grace.
The Church came in like a lion!
What an account; what an exciting event; the day of Pentecost; the day when the HG was poured out upon believers in the upper room for the first time in His Fulness and Power.
The Holy Ghost did not come just to Visit them; but to Dwell in them. He did not come just to give them Temporary Power but Abiding Power in their lives.
Jesus had instructed his followers to Tarry in Jerusalem and Pray until they were endued with power from on high. Acts 1 tells us that 120 believers gathered to pray for the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. There were men and women; there were preachers and non preachers; there were some who were older and some who were younger; probably some were more wealthy and some were more poor.
It was ON this diverse group that God poured out His Spirit and the church came in like a lion.
The Church came in with a sound from heaven as a rushing mighty wind; with tongues of fire; with the power of the HG; with the believers speaking out in tongues; speaking in languages they did not know on their own; at least 15 different languages were recognized by people there in Jerusalem for the feast days.
The Church came in like a lion.
It came in with Praying, Rejoicing, Preaching, Souls being convicted and converted.
It came in with more than just emotion; it came in with more than just high human feelings; it came in with the fulness and power of the Holy Ghost.
They were Immersed in the Holy Ghost; baptized.
They were Infilled with the Holy Ghost; filled.
Their lives were changed; they were set on fire from heaven; they were separated from the world and unto God; they reached out to the lost and even endured persecution with courage and zeal.
The Church came in like a lion.
II. Out Like a Lion
The old saying about March is not to be true for the Church. The true church of Jesus Christ came in like a lion and it will go Out like a Lion too! I know that there have been ups and downs for the true Church through the years. I know that there were days that became known as the Dark Ages because the true Church had become dominated by the Roman Catholic church; STILL even in those Dark Ages there was a Remnant of the True Church that still believed in genuine Salvation through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ. There was even a remnant that believed in living a holy life separated from the world and in the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
NOW I believe we are living in the times that Paul called, Perilous Times; where sin would rage in the world and even many churches would “have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof.”
I know that we are living in the days where “some will not endure sound doctrine but heap to themselves teachers having itching ears and are turned unto fables;”
I know that in our day “some depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.”
But I want to remind you that the true Church of Jesus Christ is NOT Deceived; it is not Defeated; it is not Dying; it is not Doomed for failure.
Jude told of some very dark days and difficult times for the true Church (I won’t take time to detail that, you can read it on your own) however, after the Bad news had been given- Jude said, BUT YE Beloved, build up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost; Keep yourselves in the love of God and look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
Paul said in Eph 5:25-27 that Jesus “Loved the Church and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that he might Present it to Himself, a Glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
When the Church as the Bride is Raptured and Presented to Jesus the Bridegroom, it will be: Sanctified, Cleansed, Glorious (esteemed, honorable, Splendid), Unspotted, Unwrinkled, Holy and without Blemish (perfection). Wow- that doesn’t sound like a Church going out like a lamb- going out weak and powerless; going out quietly and meekly;
The Church is NOT going out dirty and defeated, but holy and victorious.
The Church is NOT going out powerless and weak, but in the strength and power of the Holy Ghost; Not with heads hanging down in shame and loss, but Rejoicing in the glory of the Lord; headed for heaven!
In like a lion; out like a lion!
Bro. Dwain Galiher
Pastor of JHPC