In our reading of the Bible we still may be influenced unconsciously by traditional theology. We need to drop the old traditional theology and come back to the Bible in a new, fresh way. If we read Acts 3 in this way, we shall see that the Lord is the Servant of God, the Holy One, the Righteous One, and the Author of life. We shall also pay attention to the seasons of refreshing spoken of in verse 19. As we have pointed out, in our experience Christ Himself is the season of refreshing, for He is our enjoyment, rest, and peace.
Have you ever heard that you can enjoy the Lord? Have you ever heard a speaker use the word “enjoy” with respect to your relationship with the Lord? Many believers have never heard that they can enjoy the Lord. In today’s religion there is little enjoyment of the Lord, if any. However, by the Lord’s mercy I can testify that for years I have been encouraging the Lord’s people to enjoy Him.
In 1965 we had a conference in Los Angeles on eating Jesus. During that conference, we covered the matter of eating throughout the Bible: the tree of life, the Passover lamb with the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs, the manna, and the produce of the good land. We considered the Lord’s word in John 6 concerning eating Him and the charge, given by Him when He established His table, to eat His body. Furthermore, we considered the Lord’s promise in Revelation 2:7 that the overcomers will eat of the tree of life. We also saw the promise in Revelation 22:14, the promise that those who wash their robes may have the right to the tree of life.
A certain preacher attended that conference. Afterward, he remarked that he had never heard about enjoying the Lord by eating Him. He wondered where I had learned all these things concerning eating the Lord and enjoying Him. I use this as an illustration of the need to realize that the Lord Jesus is enjoyable.
Some believers may not realize that Christ can be their enjoyment, because they are under the influence of traditional theological teaching in their reading of the Bible. Whenever they come to the Bible, they wear the “colored glasses” of tradition. We need to take off any such “glasses” and read the Bible according to its own color. If we do this, we shall pay attention to the Author of life and the seasons of refreshing in Acts 3.
If we enjoy Christ, we shall have a season of refreshing. We can enjoy a season of refreshing simply by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus. Call “O Lord Jesus!” and you will be in a season of refreshing.
We need to enjoy seasons of refreshing in our married life. For example, a sister may become angry with her husband. As a result, she is bound like the bent-doubled and Satan-bound woman in Luke 13:10-17. Often a wife may be “bent-double” because she is bound by the anger she feels for her husband. How can a sister be released from such bondage? She can be released simply by calling, “O Lord Jesus!”
Whenever we are bound, we need to call on the Lord. Then we shall be able to say, “Amen, Lord Jesus! I am now in a season of refreshing.” I encourage you to enjoy a season of refreshing by calling on the Lord’s name.
Some who have a great deal of theological knowledge may be unwilling to call on the name of the Lord. They may be afraid of “losing face.” But we may need to lose our face in order to gain the Lord Jesus. What an enjoyment it is to call on His name! Sometimes I am beside myself with joy in the Lord when I call on Him and enjoy seasons of refreshing. Day by day, and throughout the day, we can enjoy seasons of refreshing simply by calling on the Lord.
Some criticize the practice of calling on the name of the Lord Jesus and claim that it is something we have invented. Calling on the Lord is a biblical practice; it certainly is not something invented by us. Calling on the name of the Lord is not a new practice in the New Testament. It began with Enosh, the third generation of mankind (Gen. 4:26) and was continued by many others (see note on 2:21 in the Recovery Version of Acts).
When some hear that calling on the Lord began with Enosh, they may claim that Enosh did not call the way we do today. To this I would reply, “How then, did Enosh call on the name of the Lord? Did he say, ‘O Lord, have mercy on me. Lord, I am in a pitiful situation and have many problems. Lord, what can I do?’”
We cannot understand the way to call on the name of the Lord by reading only one verse. Rather, we need to consider this matter throughout the Scriptures. If we read the Old Testament from Genesis 4 to Isaiah 12, we shall find out the way to call on the Lord. Isaiah, in particular, indicates that we need to call on the Lord joyfully: “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon His name, declare His doings among the people, make mention that His name is exalted” (Isa. 12:3-4). We draw water out of the wells of salvation by joyfully calling on the name of the Lord.
Suppose a certain brother has a number of problems. His wife is in the hospital, his older son has lost his job, and his younger son is not doing well in school. This brother should not say, “Lord, I need You to have mercy on me because I am in great need. Lord, my wife is in the hospital, my elder son lost his job, and my younger son is failing in school. Lord, please help me.” Instead of praying in this way, the brother should call on the Lord and say, “Lord Jesus, You are the Lord! You are sovereign. Lord Jesus, I thank You that You know about my situation. You know, Lord, that my wife is in the hospital, that my older son lost his job, and that my younger son is failing in school. O Lord Jesus!” This is to call on the Lord strongly and joyfully. Surely this is the way the saints in both the Old Testament and in the New Testament called on the name of the Lord.
The Greek word for “call” in 2:21 is epikaleo, composed of epi, upon and kaleo, call by name, that is, to call out audibly, even loudly, as Stephen did (7:59-60). From this we see that to call on the name of the Lord is to call on Him audibly. This is not a teaching or practice invented by us; it is a scriptural fact. If you study the lengthy note on calling in the Recovery Version, you will see how scriptural this practice is. Calling on the Lord is fully grounded on the revelation in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. Furthermore, from experience we know that when we call on the name of the Lord Jesus, we enjoy a season of refreshing. Whenever we call on Him, we are in a season of refreshing. This is a fact in the Word and in our experience, and I encourage you to try it.
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