THEME FOR 2016
United in the Power of the Holy Spirit
Acts 1:7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
In preparing for the conferences for the 2015 Symposium – “The Word”, I observed something that caught my attention, and that is the Apostolics appearing on the theological scene in the late nineteenth century, those who received the revelation together with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, decided to depart from the rest of the evangelical-protestant flock, for they remained firm and fast to the new illumination.
In spite of:
(1) Theological scarcity, not having access to the wealth of information at the time,
(2) Economic scarcity forcing them to work from sunrise to sunset, and
(3) The struggle for the new language and social status, which made the work of preaching and propagating the Gospel more difficult …
… They did not stop, they were not intimidated, nor did they think less of themselves, rather were encouraged to move forward, by the power of the Holy Spirit. That inner strength, propelled them to grow, to form Churches, to write the Constitution, to organize into districts, and this maintained them together. As the Church of Acts, they also relied on the Holy Spirit to fulfill the Great Commission.
The Lord Jesus Christ told the first century disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they were endowed with power from on high, and then they would spread the gospel to all parts of the world. But they would not do it alone, it would have been impossible to remember everything they had heard, so the Lord assured them that He would be with them until the end of the world, Matthew 28:20. They did not understand the message, because the crucifixion blurred vision of the future Church, until after the resurrection and the upper room, then all doubts were clarified. The Holy Spirit was to be “inside” them and help them to fulfill the mission.
• John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
• John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
• Juan 16: 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
As we saw, it would have been impossible to remember and write such profound truths after the years since they heard them from the Master. The Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Paul in Damascus and gave him private revelations, Galatians 1:11, 12, 15, 16. At the same time, He gave him the right to reproduce and write the information received, 1 Corinthians 2:13, 16; 2 Corinthians 2:17. The only way this would be carried out, was that the same Spirit who inspired the Holy Scriptures, also reminded them to them.
All of this information assists us to maybe understand the success of the Church of Acts and the success of the pioneers of the Apostolic Assembly. The challenges in both generations were monumental, the answer was simple yet powerful: the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the second floor of a modest house in Jerusalem (I century), and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in a modest renovated barn in Los Angeles, California (XIX Century). Only total dependence of The Sacred Text and the power of the Holy Spirit propelled the brand new Apostolics forward amid an extremely violent and turbulent theological sea. Dear brothers, I can definitely find no other explanation.
Because of this, next year, 2016, we will celebrate the One Hundred and Tenth (110th) Anniversary of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and as spiritual children of these men and women, we have a moral obligation to continue and “maybe” finish what they started. I think my generation, your generation, our generation is the generation of the uplifting of the Church (rapture). We will not be waiting much longer, the prophecies are being fulfilled before our eyes, and …
• 2 Thessalonians 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Onward Church, the best is yet to come … we must raise up high the Apostolic flag to show the cloud of witnesses of our first-century brothers, and our beloved pioneers that all their tears, suffering, shortages were not in vain. The theme of next year will be:
“United in the Power of the Holy Spirit”
I propose the following activities for 2016:
1. That the National Theme be used in all the Districts, Local Churches, National Camps, District Camps and international activities.
2. That the three national fasts be based on the National Theme.
3. That every Local Church have a crusade o friendship day of divine healing in 2016.
4. That more would pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Churches.
5. Speak throughout the year on:
• The Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
• The Fruit of the Holy Spirit.
• The Power of the Holy Spirit.
6. God willing, we will conclude all these activities in the International Convention in November 2016 with powerful sermons, prayer for the sick and prayer for the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
It is my request to God that a wave of the power of the Holy Spirit surprise us next year, everywhere there is an Apostolic Church, and awaken the missionary spirit.
For a Church with power,
Bishop J. Fortino