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We’ve Always Done It This Way

The distance between railroad tracks is exactly 4 feet, 8½ inches. Odd size...Why not 4 feet or 5 feet?

When American engineers designed the tracks, they made them just as they did in England. The reason England built the tracks 4 feet, 8½ inches is because the wagons were built 4 feet, 8½ inches.

The reason the wagons were built 4 feet, 8½ inches was because the ruts in the roads were exactly that measurement, and they didn't want to break their wheels by not fitting into the ruts.

I fear that's many Christians. We do things in church and life because we always have done it this way. We are a right or left rut. A man may say, "I'm a right rut. I'm right, and I'm in a rut. I don't know about those left ruts, but my rut's right."

The Holy Spirit came to the first church to indwell, baptize and fill the first church. Let's zero in on why we all need the filling of the Holy Spirit.

The filling of the Spirit has to do with power for witness and service (Acts 1:8). We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), for we need His power constantly if we are to serve God effectively. At Pentecost, the Christians were filled with the Spirit and experienced the baptism of the Spirit; but afterward, they experienced many fillings (Acts 4:8, Acts 4:31; Acts 9:17; Acts 13:9).

I believe we pastors have neglected to preach, teach and learn to live with the filling of the Spirit. I pray today we understand what this vital, abundant life is all about.

I. The Reality of the Filling (Acts 2:4)
Remember there were 120 believers united in an upper room prayer meeting, waiting on God to do what was next for them. They had no power in themselves—no website, blog, Twitter or Facebook account.

Something had to be done, or we wouldn't be here today. They couldn't do things the way they'd always done them because this church was a church plant. Literally. To the first church, the filling of the Holy Spirit was life-giving power for the spread of the gospel! I ask you: Does the church in America need this life-giving power today?

Are we, by and large, in churches stuck in a powerless rut?

Back to our ruts...Why were the ruts 4 feet, 8½ inches? Because the Roman Empire built the roads and their war wagons to that measurement.

Here's the deal: The emphasis of the reality of the filling is not on the gift we get, but on the Giver of the gift.

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