By Robert Stroup
I’m glad to be a New Testament Christian! I’m glad because in this era our potential for fellowship with God has risen to a new level-a level not available to people in the Old Testament times. When receiving instructions for the Tabernacle, Moses was told, “thou shalt make a vail…and thou shalt hang up the fail…and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy” (Exodus 26:31=33). The writer of Hebrews said, “the priests went always into the first tabernacle (the holy place), accomplished the service of God. But into the second (the most holy or holiest of holies) went the high priest alone once every year…” (Hebrews 9:6-7). Access to the presence of God, as we know it was limited in that time.
But, thank the Lord; when Jesus died on Calvary’s tree, something wonderful happened in regard to man’s access to God. “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom…” (Matthew 27:50-51). We can now have “boldness to enter into the holiest of holies by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh” (Hebrews 10:19-20). In Romans 5:1-2, Paul put it this way: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand…”
Access is what allows us to come into something; it is the opening that permits entry. Jesus is that opening for us-He is the door! And He has now given us the access to God to an extent never before possible. We would be foolish not to take advantage of that access. “And having an high priest over the house of God’; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance…” (Hebrews 10:21-22). Jesus has given us access to God-now we must give Him access to us. “Therefore also now, saith the LORD, Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning; And rend your heart, and not your garments…” Just as the veil in the temple was rent-thus giving us access to God-so must we rend or tear open the veil in our own hearts that keeps the Lord from access to us. For if we will humble ourselves in brokenness before God, He says, “It shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh…” (Joel 2:28).
Jesus opened access to us at Calvary-we open access to Him through prayer, fasting, worship, and obedience. Jesus said, “After this manner therefore pray ye; Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, they will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10). Prayer brings us into partnership with God in the accomplishing of His will and purpose.
“Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). Prayer nourishes our spirit even as bread nourishes our bodies. It was in a prayer meeting that people were first filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2). It is in prayer that we still receive our personal infillings.
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:12-13). Consistent prayer keeps my life filled with the presence of the One who was temped in all ways as we are, yet without sin. If I give Him daily access to my life-He then becomes that promised way of escape in the time of temptation of which Paul spoke (I Corinthians 10:13). I don’t have to face my difficulties alone-I don’t have to face life’s temptations by myself. Matthew 26 tells a story of Peter’s temptation and of his denial of the Lord. All of this could have been avoided if only he had listened to the Lord-“What could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:40-40). Consistent prayer gives Jesus the access He needs to be our helper. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (Matthew 6:13). Through prayer we give God the opportunity to bring revelation and the miraculous into our lives. It was in prayer that God was able to access Cornelius’ heart and lead him and his household to the truth. It was while John “was in the spirit on the Lord’s day”-THAT God was given the opportunity to give him that awesome book of Revelation. It was while on their daily trip to the temple for the hour of prayer that the door of opportunity was opened for the Lord to minister healing to a lame man through Peter and John (Acts 3).
In Acts 2, the former rain of the down-pouring of the Holy Ghost began. The first day of January of this year, 2001, marked 100 years since the beginning of the great latter ran outpouring-which started when a young lady in Topeka, Kansas asked Brother Charles Parham to lay hands on her so that she might receive the Holy Ghost as they did in the Bible. Wonderful things can happen when people give God opportunity or access to their hearts as this young lady did.
And now as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Topeka outpouring, God wants to do it again. Who among us will give him the opportunity in 2001? He purchased access many years ago-now let us take up our cross daily and follow Him. Consistent daily prayer will allow Jesus access to your heart. It will keep you in the time of temptation; it will bring your revelation and understanding of the Scriptures; it will bring you miraculous; it will bring you the peace of God.