Thursday, September 3, 2009
Greetings from Rev.Dr.Sam Kamaleson
THEY LIVED AT FLOODTIDE! By Dr.Sam Kamaleson
“…..full of the Spirit and of wisdom….a man full of faith….Stephen, full of grace and power….” ACTS 6:3, 5, 8.
Pastor Stanley Vasu invited me to celebrate the PLATINUM JUBILEE OF THE MADRAS PENTECOSTAL ASSEMBLY. A walk down ‘memory lane’ is extremely rewarding – I Tim 1: 3-14.
This great privilege is celebrated with the Assembly that continues to gather at Thandavarayan Street in Chennai. Because of the limitations of geography my participation in the joyous celebration is limited to the submission of the following lines.
THE FIVE FULLNESSES:
Dr. Paul Rees pleads with us to please pay attention to the interesting and illuminating expressions that appear with reference to the man Stephen in Acts 6: 3, 5, 8.
There are FIVE FULLNESSES mentioned: in verse 3 two are found: “full of the Spirit and full of wisdom”; in verse 5 the third is mentioned: “full of faith”; and, in verse 8 the fourth and the fifth are mentioned: “full of grace and full of power” (this translation quoted here follows one of the oldest and most respected of our ancient manuscripts).
Let me remind you that Stephen is not an apostle. He was a man of the ranks. Stephen was what we should call today, in most church circles, a layman.
The New Testament and, in particular, the Book of Acts shows us that what is being OFFERED TO THE CHURCH is the WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, through whom the life of victory and adequacy is as FREELY offered to LAY PEOPLE as it is to apostles and ministers. It is God’s DESIGN and God’s DESIRE that ALL OF US should live at FLOODTIDE.
THE FULLNESS IN CONTEXT:
It was in mid 1930s. My grandmother rented a house on Thandavarayan Street. I was a little boy who had lost his father. I lived for a short time with my grandmother. That was my first exposure to Pastor John Vasu.
Many years after – in the late 40s – Shankernarayan, my class mate at Madras Veterinary College, who led me to Jesus Christ, referred to Pastor Vasu often.
Within the fellowship of the Pentecostal pastors, which was greatly united and less fractured with uneasy tensions born out of pettiness, Pastor John Vasu was a celebrated leader.
Whatever ‘the men who lived in the floodtide of the Sprit’ did , they did it with exuberance. It was most evident in their preaching. They preached out of the Overflow of the Spirit.
When Pastor Vasu preached he did not give the impression that he had only a little that he was capable of saying on that Biblical subject. Because of ‘living in the floodtide’ of the Spirit Pastor Vasu and others like him rejected the idea about the Christian’s life in Christ as mean, narrow, cramped and miserly.
They were ‘more than conquerors’ (Rom 8: 37), and believed and lived a life that is “all sufficient in all things” (II Corinthians 9: 8) they ‘abounded in every good work!’ In their ministry they ‘abounded’ in everything that they did, and, the devastating blow that sometimes ‘crushed’ them was accepted as part of the ‘permissive will of God’ and hence they lived to conquer.
FULLNESS: SIMPLE & PROFOUND:
The Congregation that ‘lives in the floodtide’ of the Holy Spirit, is “….always, having all sufficiency in all things may abound unto every good work” II Corinthians 9: 8). Living in the Floodtide of the Holy Spirit the congregation is always in ‘Mission’.
There are three dominant qualities that characterize the ‘mission model’ of the congregation that lives in the ‘floodtide of the Holy Spirit’.
First, they minimize the distinction between the clergy and laity and their specific responsibilities in ‘the Mission of the Church’.
Second, they invite and trust into leadership every ‘believer’ according to the ‘gifts’ the Holy Spirit gives them.
Third, they ‘go to the people in need’ and thus accept the Great Commission as their life-style and, hence, their priority in life.
More important than any explanation we might give is the fact itself. “The new Pentecost is ‘actual’ and is happening now. It always was so, but in the last century it has taken on new proportions of a scale never known before.
At the beginning of the twentieth century the Pentecostal phenomenon emerged, and later, through mid-century, through various charismatic movements it began to appear within traditional churches.
Many seriously believe that this is the greatest spiritual upsurge in all the history of the Church: in a mere eighty years, from zero to about four hundred million people.(”Come, Creator Spirit, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Preacher to the Papal Household since 1980, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 2003)
As the Madras Pentecostal Assembly and Church move forward under the anointed leadership of Pastor Stanley Vasu may they be “full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom”, “full of faith”, and, “full of grace and of power”! May their irresistible witness transform the entire Church of Our Lord in all of India!