By Harlan S. Morgan
“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls…” (Jeremiah 6:16)
Recently, while driving along Highway 12, my wife and I passed a sign that said, “Historical Marker – 1 mile.” On countless occasions, we had passed this sign, but not once had we stopped and viewed the marker. It seemed so insignificant, a simple plaque on the side of the road with weeds and brush nearly hiding it from view. Being anxious to get home, I sped past it for the thousand and first time, not bothering to see what historical significance the marker held.
We Americans thrive on historical things. I’m sure, during the General Conference in San Antonio, Texas, hundreds of people from the conference visited the Alamo, a very famous place in our American History. Many travel hundreds of miles to view the sight where Abraham Lincoln made his famous Gettysburg Address. New England is a popular tourist attraction. The Liberty Bell, the Washington Monument, the Statue of Liberty; all these are important places of interest that people throng to by the thousands to explore the history of the great United States of America.
But seldom do you see folks pulled over on some lonely country highway reading the message on a historical marker that lost its importance long ago. So it is in Pentecost today.
There attractions that we throng to, certain things that we enjoy – while somewhere on some forgotten back road, some important historical markers are being hidden by the underbrush springing up around them. We race to camp meetings, General Conferences, and other
events across our nation by the thousands, and we enjoy the sights that we behold, the victorious sounds of singing and preaching as well as the wonderful fellowship with our brothers and sisters. What important experiences these are! Our faith is inspired, and we are strengthened by the arm of fellowship.
We often tour through our doctrine – one God and the plan of salvation. This is also very necessary, for the Scripture says, “many false prophets shall arise and shall deceive many.” (Matt. 24:11). We need to know where we stand relative to our fundamental doctrine!
We enjoy being in an environment of worship and praise. It not only pleases God, but being lost in a spirit of worship also brings self-gratification. We must involve ourselves in worship regularly, for the Word of God commands, “Let everything that hath breath, praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:6).
But as we catch our flight to General Conference, as we frequent the most expensive steak house in town, as we gloat in the fact that we know the truth, as we dance and shout to the beat of the drum in what we call worship the weeds are growing taller and the thorns are getting thicker. And some very important historical markers have been almost obliterated from view.
We hear some fanatical preacher screaming out, “Historical marker, one mile!” and we are in such a rush to make it to the next meeting that we have no time to stop and see what significance the long forgotten marker holds.
Prayer: One historical marker that has been forsaken is true heart-felt prayer. The new emphasis being placed on prayer on the international level of the United Pentecostal Church is certainly appreciated, but as we travel to various churches, we find that this vitally important aspect of Christianity is shamefully lacking in individual lives.
We have our public prayers during church services, but there is a definite need for a revival of prayer in the private lives of men and women. We need a place to get alone with God – a place of commitment and consecration where our strength is renewed and once again we are washed by the precious blood of Jesus.
Prayerlessness results in powerless pulpits and troublesome pews. Prayerlessness results in dead, dry, formal services, bad attitudes, and bitterness. Prayerlessness results in emotionalism rather than the demonstration of the power of God that is so desperately needed today!
Jesus did not say if you pray; He said, “when you pray. ” (Matthew 6:7). I Thessalonians 5:17 instructs us to “pray without ceasing,” and Ephesians 6:18 talks about “praying always,” while Jude 20 tells us to “build up our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” I am convinced that the revival we desire will only come through old fashioned, heart-felt prayer!
Holiness and separation from the World: Another marker that is quickly being forgotten is holiness and separation from the world. According to the June 1997 issue of Charisma Magazine, “there are some younger leaders in this movement [the UPC] who are quietly hoping to lead their movement into the mainstream church.” The article continues, saying, a “larger number of progressive pastors… have decided to work quietly from within… [to] steer the UPC out of the murky backwater where it has been mired for decades.” Some “expect a gradual changing of the guard as older, more hard line leaders relinquish control.”
“True Pentecostals” have never been destined to be in the mainstream. God instructs His people to “come out from among them and be ye separate.” (II Corinthians 6:17). He speaks of a “narrow way, ” and, “few there be that find it!” (Matthew 7:14). We do not need to be in the mainstream for the “wide gate” and the “broad way …leadeth to destruction!” (Matthew 7:13).
God is still a God of holiness. Is holiness in the heart? Absolutely! But what is in the heart will show up on the outside. A person who has holiness in his heart will not go against the Word of
We need to stop and take a long, hard look at ourselves.
A woman with holiness in her heart will not paint her face, because the Bible compares a woman who paints her face to an adulteress woman (II Kings 9:30; Ezekiel 23:40; Jeremiah 4:30). Neither will she wear gold (even on her finger) because I Timothy 2:9-10 teaches against it. She will not cut or trim her hair for I Corinthians 11 says it “dishonors her husband. ” She will not wear that which pertaineth to a man for it is an “abomination” unto the Lord. (Deuteronomy 22:5).
On the other side, a holy hearted man will keep a short haircut, wear modest attire, and exhibit a Christ-like spirit.
While the younger generation of UPC leaders allegedly wait for the old “hardliners” to die off, they are planting and cultivating brush and thorns around the historical marker of holiness and separation from the world. But there are a few younger, “hardliners” coming on the scene with hoe in hand, fighting the brush that would cover the old landmarks.
Apostolic Preaching: Becoming an increasingly unpopular attraction is apostolic preaching. Recently I was given a tape of a message preached by Bro. Verbal Bean. I listened in awe as he revealed sin and worldliness for what it was and preached it out of the church. Today, many pulpits are filled with entertainers and men-pleasers.
We need men who, when sin enters into a church, will preach until the church is cleansed. Instead we have those who spotlight and glamorize worldliness on our platforms at camp meetings and conferences, setting a precedence for the younger generation. We need men who will “preach the word” (II Timothy 4:2), not tickle our ears and allow us to pay our tithes all the way to hell!
We need to stop and take a long, hard look at ourselves. How do we compare to what the apostles preached… to what the Word of God commands? If we are honest with ourselves, we would realize that some historical markers have been forgotten on some back-country road, and a generation is coming up that knows nothing about them.
Preacher, get your machete out! It is time to “ask for the old paths… and walk therein!” Maybe these historical markers hold some significance after all.
Editor’s Note: Bro. Morgan is an evangelist old of Singer, Louisiana.
The Above Material Was Published By Apostolic Writers’ Digest, November, 1998, Pages 5,6. This Material Is Copyrighted And May Be Used For Study & Research Purposes Only.