Tarry Until

Title: Tarry Until

Bible Book: Luke 24 : 45-49

Author: J. Gerald Harris

Subject: Waiting on God; Anointing; Holy Spirit



I read recently of a certain church that was assembled for worship at the appointed hour on Sunday morning. The congregation was seated; the choir was in place; the prelude of the organist had just concluded; they were ready for the call to worship to begin. But the pastor was conspicuously absent. One usher asked another in the back of the church, "Where's the pastor?" The same question rippled through the congregation. At last one of the deacons decided to slip back to the pastor's study to see if the pastor had become ill. As he quietly approached the pastor's study, he found the door ajar. He heard the pastor in prayer, pleading with God, "O, God, I will not preach today without your anointing. I'm going to tarry here until you endue me with power from on high." As the deacon heard the pastor pray, he decided to return to the worship service and address the congregation. As he stood before the assembly of people, he said, "The pastor is in his study. He is praying and waiting upon God and seeking the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon his message. Let us wait and let us pray, for I believe that when he comes we will see a manifestation of God in this place today." After fifteen minutes or so the pastor entered the worship center with a heavenly glow on his face. When he preached that morning the glory of God came down upon that service as it had never before happened in the life of that church. Why do you think it happened that way? Because the pastor and the people "tarried ... until."

The resurrected Christ said to His disciples, "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." This evening I want to talk to you about this word "tarry" - " tarry ... until ye be endued with power...." The word "tarry" comes from the Greek word "meno." This Greek word is used quite frequently in the New Testament. In some cases it is translated "abide." In some cases it is translated "continue." It means "to dwell; to remain; to stay."

Now, I believe that God is going to do something marvelous  - indescribable - miraculous in our church during the next three months as we emphasize the importance of prayer. But I believe the key to God doing what He wants to do in us and through us may very well be embodied in this Greek word "meno." Let me just tell you some things that I believe that tarrying will do for us.

I. Tarrying Defeats Discouragement

Chuck Swindoll says that even people with eagle type personalities have days of discouragement -- down days, blue days, dark and dismal days. Joe Bayly has written what he calls "Psalm in a Hotel Room." This psalm is a picture of discouragement. It goes like this: "I am alone, Lord, a thousand miles from home. There's no one here who knows my name except the clerk, and he spelled it wrong; no one to eat dinner with, laugh at my jokes, listen to my gripes, be happy with me about what happened today and say, 'That's great.' No one cares. There's just this lousy bed, and slush in the street outside between the buildings. I feel sorry for myself and I have plenty of reason to. Maybe I ought to say I'm on top of it, praise the Lord, things are great. But they're not. Tonight is all gray   slush." Can you remember a recent "gray slush" day? Of course you can. So can I. On such days the laws of fairness and justice are displaced by Murphy's laws. Your dreams dissolve into nightmares. High hopes take a hike. You are not soaring; you are slumping. That kind of discouragement is just plain awful. In talking to a lot of church members, and even preachers on many occasions, I have found a silent discouragement that has crept into their lives. Christians who were once on fire for God and who once had a tremendous vision for their work sometimes find things going downhill, and things are really not as rosy as they would like everyone to think. The power of Christ has been hindered. But no matter where we find ourselves, we have a word from God, but perhaps a forgotten word. But I believe what we need to do is rediscover that word "tarry."

We have learned how to do everything in God's work except tarry. And unless we learn to tarry, everything else we do will fail. Now, let me give you a biblical example of a man who was despondent and discouraged. Do you remember Gideon? God wanted Gideon to lead the children of Israel in battle against the Midianites. He called him for that specific task. Do you know what Gideon's response was? In Judges 6:13 I want you to hear what Gideon said (read Judges 6:13-14). Then notice what Gideon said in verse 15 (read). Gideon is the picture of defeat and discouragement. But do you know what Gideon decided to do in the midst of his discouragement? He decided that he would step aside from his task. He was threshing wheat. He decided that he would get alone with God and that he would tarry for a while in the presence of the Lord. In fact, in verse 24 of the same chapter, it says, "Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord." It was there that he had a meeting with God; he worshipped there; he prayed there. Then do you know what he called it? He called that altar "Jehovah- Shalom," which means, "The Lord is peace." Now, what I am saying is this -- tarrying defeats discouragement. It will put peace and encouragement in the place of discouragement.

II. Tarrying Eliminates Service in the Flesh

I don't know about you, but so often I find myself planning things in the flesh; doing things in the flesh. I do not want to wait on God. I want to build an instant church, like instant biscuits or instant grits or instant potatoes. One of the best biblical examples that I know of pertaining to operating in the flesh is Moses. By God's miraculous intervention Moses had been saved as a little baby out of the bulrushes. He was introduced by God's divine providence into pharaoh's household, adopted by his daughter, and nourished as her own son. He had all of the privileges of royalty. He received a magnificent education. He was trained as a statesman, a soldier, and an administrator. And by the age of forty he was a polished scholarly man who could have taken his place in any society. In the words of Acts 7:20 and 22: "he was exceeding fair - And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds." But then we turn back to the Old Testament, and in Exodus 2:11 we read, "And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren." Then in verse 12 it says, "And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand." Now, we know that God wanted Moses to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt. But in this particular case we see Moses taking matters into his own hands, depending upon the flesh and trying to do in the flesh what God wanted him to do in the Spirit. By the way, I want to make an observation here. What Moses did was commit himself to the task instead of to God. The Bible says, "He looked this way and that way." The one way he did not look was up. The Bible says, "...and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian." In his sensitivity to the presence of man, Moses became strangely insensitive to the presence of God.

Today, so often we hear the call from the church, "do more, give more, work more, help more, serve more." But God says, "Be still and know that I am God." In other words, quit the panic. Just let God be God. Moses had not learned that lesson, and when he saw the Egyptian smiting one of his brethren, he rolled up his sleeves and he said in so many words, "If ever there was a time when I was on call it's now." And he blundered in like a bull in a china shop. He smote the Egyptian and tried unsuccessfully to bury him. With the best intentions in the world he became a murderer instead of a missionary. Then in Exodus 2:13-14 notice what it says (read). Well, what Moses had done was known. When he tried to operate in the flesh, he could not even bury one Egyptian successfully. I don't know, maybe he left his toe sticking up out of the sand. But I want to tell you what happened, Moses fled to the backside of the desert and he was there for forty years. I am sure that during that time he did a lot of tarrying. He spent a lot of time with God. We know for a fact that he had that burning bush experience. The next time he came into Egypt, he came with the power of God resting upon him. He allowed God to be God in his life. When that happened, God buried the whole lot of Egyptians in the Red Sea. You see the difference that tarrying makes? When Moses tried to do it on his own, he was not successful in burying one Egyptian. When Moses turned it over to God, God buried a whole army of Egyptians in the Red Sea.

Have you ever come to the place where you realize that all you can produce at your best is smoke -- no real fire? Did you ever come to the place where you presented yourself for what you are – nothing - to be filled with what He is - everything - and to step out into every new day conscious that the eternal "I am" is all you need for all His will? Tarrying eliminates service in the flesh, but I want us to continue.

III. Tarrying Restores First Love

I remember when I was saved, I was so happy, I was so thrilled. I was only a ten-year-old boy, but my heart was flooded with joy. I could not wait to make my public profession of faith in church. I could not wait to be baptized. I could not wait to tell other people about Jesus Christ. The first thing that I remember doing was going to my first cousin who was also my best friend and telling him that I had accepted Jesus as my Savior, and telling him that he needed to trust Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. I remember those early days of my Christian experience and how much I loved Jesus. All I wanted to do was go to church and read my Bible and pray and talk about the Lord. You know, that's the experience most people have when they genuinely get saved. But somebody said the problem we have today is that we have too many mosquito Christians. A mosquito is an insect that is as big at birth as it ever gets, and there are a lot of Christians like that. They get saved, they have a great experience with the Lord, but they don't ever grow. They are as big at birth as they ever get. Some even seem to get smaller. What we need is a return to first love.

Jesus said that was the need of the church at Ephesus. He wrote to that church in Revelation 2, and He said, "I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil ... Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." Are any of you asking the question: "Where is the blessedness I knew when first I saw the Lord? Where is the soul-refreshing view of Jesus and His Word?"

I was talking to a young couple some time ago. They've had financial success. God has blessed them in many ways. They profess to be Christians, but they said they did not have any fulfillment in their Christian experience. They wanted to know if maybe there was something else they could do in the church; another job, or another responsibility. I knew what they were doing, and I really didn't see how they could take on another responsibility. And I said, "Well, why don't you just try fasting and praying for a while. Just spend some time with the Lord." Later they came up to me, and they said, "It's working."

You tarry with the Lord in His Word and I believe some things will happen. It is when we spend time alone with God that the promises glow with a heavenly light; that the warnings flash their frightening shadows; that the comforts of Scripture are distilled like dew upon the parched sand. It is there that sin is revealed in its ugliness in the light of God's countenance. It is there that Christ is revealed in ravishing beauty. Heaven and earth are brought into sharp focus. Earth and time are put into their proper place. The application of the blood is felt in fresh renewing power. It is there that we experience the quickening grace of God. It is there that first love is restored.

IV. Tarrying Produces Christlikeness and Power

I want God to have all of me. But I have one life and there are no reruns, no chances to go back and start over again. Men, women, young people, we cannot afford to go through this life with less than God's fullness and blessing. We must have all that He has for us.

You remember the stoning of Stephen as told in the Acts of the Apostles. Stephen lay down and died. But just before Stephen died, he said, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." When old Stephen died, somebody by the name of Saul of Tarsus stood watching. He had been out killing Christians. He had been out saying, "There is nothing to this Gospel. This Jesus Christ is nonsense." As Saul of Tarsus was standing there, he saw the bruised, bloody body of Stephen and heard those words come from those mangled lips as he said, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." But that afternoon Saul of Tarsus saw more than a bloody, mangled body. He saw the glory and the majesty and the victory of a man who knew what it was to live and walk and die in the Spirit. I believe the reason Saul of Tarsus became the great apostle Paul was that he saw the reality of Jesus Christ in Stephen. When Saul of Tarsus went home that night and tried to close his eyes in sleep, I doubt he could see anything except a vision of a man whose face was glowing, who counted it the supreme privilege to die for the One he loved at the hands of His enemies.

This world doesn't know how to handle that kind of Christian. The world stands in fear and in awe of a Spirit-filled Christian who is willing to stand with the Spirit of God upon him.

When Moody went to England to preach, they had heard about this man called D. L. Moody. So the reporters came and said, "We'll interview him and tear him apart. We understand he is an ignorant man; that he slays the King's English; that he doesn't have much education. When we put the interview in the paper we'll belittle him; we'll tear him apart." But after they heard him preach, all the newspapers said about D.L. Moody was, "We have nothing to say about the fiery evangelist from America."

At Spurgeon's tabernacle a young man came four nights in a row to hear Mr. Spurgeon preach, but every seat was taken and he was turned away this fourth night. He came back the fifth night, and this time an usher recognized him. "You've been here four nights and been turned away. I'm not supposed to do it, but I am going to give you my usher's seat. I have one request. I want you to tell me what you think of my preacher, Mr. Spurgeon." He sat through the preaching. He heard the message. The service was dismissed. The young man was walking out and walked right past the usher. The usher tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Sir, wait a minute. Sir, tell me what did you think of my preacher." He said, "I never saw him. I only saw Jesus."

When Adoniram Judson came back from the mission field, they said, "Judson, they're writing you up as another apostle Paul. How does that make you feel?" He said, "Sad. I wish I had reminded them of Jesus."

Folks, you can't remind folks of Jesus unless you have learned to tarry. Jesus himself tarried for thirty years. I think sometimes we would be better off maybe some Sunday morning if we got up and announced to our people, "Folks, things are not right. We are all going to get down on our knees and tarry; no preaching, no singing, no choir, no invitation. Let's just get down on our knees and "tarry until we have been endued with power from on high." And we come back on Sunday night and tarry, and Monday night, and Tuesday night, and Wednesday night if need be. I wonder what would happen.


I long to see real revival, don't you? I'm so hungry to see something we can't explain. I've been able to explain just about everything that's happened at Eastside Baptist Church. But I'd like to see something I just can't explain. I would like to see revival come to our church so that folks get saved in the parking lot before they ever get into the auditorium. I'd like to see the people so given over to waiting upon God and paying the price and tarrying that some couldn't wait until the preaching was over, but would just get up in the middle of the message and come on down and say, "I want to get saved." I'd like to see folks lined up for two miles on Lower Roswell Road to get in our parking lot. I mean, something we can't explain. You say, "Well, it's wonderful that we have baptized over a hundred people so far this year." I tell you, it would be more wonderful to baptize a hundred people a month. I have an idea that we could do that if we ever learned to tarry.

Now, folks, I just want you to know that there is no easy way to success. There is probably no quick way to success. But I want you to help me revive this forgotten word, and I want you to ask God to give you a willingness to pay the price to tarry. Would you be willing to say tonight: "Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me. Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, and use me. Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me."

Posted in


Scroll to Top