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Forum: Bible Issues
 Topic: Unregenerate Israel and the Believer
Unregenerate Israel and the Believer [message #8467] Fri, 28 October 2011 08:01
lesjude  is currently offline lesjude
Messages: 48
Registered: October 2011
Location: Camden, NY
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God does not punish any nation for not supporting Israel. His heart is salvation, not judgment.
The devil does not do God's job and God does not do the the devil's job. This is where judgment begins, when it begins: 1 Peter 4:17-18 (New King James Version)
17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now
“ If the righteous one is scarcely saved Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” BY "RIGHTEOUS" PETER IS REFERRING TO I COR 3:15 CHRISTIANS OF WHICH LOT IS A TYPE (SEE GEN 19). THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURE IS THE HEART OF JESUS UNTIL JUDGMENT DOES COME: Luke 9:54-56 (New King James Version)
54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”[a]
55 But He turned and rebuked them,[b] and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”[c] And they went to another village. JEWS ARE GOD'S CHOSEN PEOPLE. HOWEVER THEY ARE UNREGENERATE SINNERS UNLESS THEY RECEIVE JESUS. MANY WHO CLAIM TO BE JEWS ARE NOT OF THE 12 TRIBES BUT 'CONVERTS'. I FIND NO NATION IN THE BIBLE THAT EVER WAS PLEASING TO GOD WHO SUPPORTED ISRAEL WHILE THEY WERE IN REBELLION AGAINST HIM. THE US GOVERNMENT IS GIVING ISRAEL THE MEANS AND ENCOURAGEMENT TO DESTROY MEN'S LIVES! ISRAEL HAS MORE SPIES IN THE US THAN ANY OTHER NATION AND SEVERAL HAVE BEEN CAUGHT. THEIR STATED GOAL IN FOREIGN POLICY IS TO WAGE WAR BY MEANS OF DECEPTION. ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD THERE IS STRIFE, ASSASSINATION, GENOCIDE LOOK FOR THE HAND OF MOUSSAD. THE IDF ATTACKED A US SHIP, THE LIBERTY, KILLING 34 AND WOUNDING 173 IN 1967 WITH JETS AND TORPEDO BOATS KNOWINGLY, FOR THEIR OWN PURPOSES. HERE IS SCRIPTURE THAT SPEAKS OF THOSE WHO FOUNDED AND CONTROL ISRAEL: Revelation 3:9 (New King James Version)
9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. THIS IS WHY THE BIBLE SAYS CHRISTIANS ARE TO DO THE FOLLOWING: BRING THEM THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM AND PROVOKE THEM TO JEALOUSLY BY LIVING AND DEMONSTRATING THE KINGDOM OF GOD (SEE MATT 5, 6 AND 7 MARK 16:17-18, AND MATT 10:7-8) AND PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM WHICH IS CHRIST'S 2ND COMING. Religious Jews CANNOT live the heart of Christianity (Matt 5, 6 and 7) or do any part of Matt 10:7-8. The church provokes Jews to laughter with xmas, easter and religion. The devil is pleased to distract Christians from what God says to do, with partisan politics on behalf of unregenerate Israel along with the things the devil does to make it look like God is judging the US for not supporting Israel's world agenda. There are whole ministries wasting time doing this. Israel despises the US and thinks of the people as fools to be used. WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN ANYWHERE IT IS SIMPLY THE CONSEQUENCES OF A FREE WILL CHOICE TO LIVE IN THE DEVILS KINGDOM INSTEAD OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD. THE DEVIL IS A CRUEL KING. THESE CONSEQUENCES SHOULD NEVER BE SEEN AS GOD'S JUDGMENT. HIS JUDGMENT WILL COME SOON ENOUGH, BUT HIS HEART NOW IS SALVATION. IT IS TRUE THAT MANY WILL SEE THAT THE CONSEQUENCES OF 'FREE WILL' LIVING IS NOT A GOOD CHOICE AND SEEK JESUS. IN THE MEAN TIME WE NEED TO SEEK HEAVEN TO DO WHAT IT SAYS IN MATT. 10:7-8, MARK 16:17-18 AND LIVE MATT 5, 6, AND 7.
I will add that the creation of Israel, just as Christ death, was God's perfect will. The Jews (who are not ethnic Jews but converts) meant the founding of Israel for their own evil purposes. So far they are doing VERY well!

[Updated on: Fri, 28 October 2011 08:05]

 Topic: How "user friendly" is Jesus?
How "user friendly" is Jesus? [message #8458] Thu, 27 October 2011 18:06
lesjude  is currently offline lesjude
Messages: 48
Registered: October 2011
Location: Camden, NY
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Jesus is compassionate. He demonstrates the the love of His Father throughout the gospels by healing ALL that came to Him, setting people free from demons, raising the dead, and feeding the hungry with His word. The all inclusive purpose of His ministry was to teach, preach and demonstrate the Kingdom Of God by the power of the Holy Spirit; and raise up disciples to do the same. This has NOT changed, but it seems the current meaning of discipleship has.

Jesus ALWAYS rebuked unbelief in His disciples at every occasion. Let us look at them.

1. His disciples were EXPECTED to have faith in what Jesus said, not whine.

Mark 4:35 (New King James Version)

Wind and Wave Obey Jesus

35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.”

37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.

38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?

40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”[a]

2. Peter demonstrated faith when he was the only one that got out of the boat to walk on the stormy sea.One would think Jesus would cut Peter some slack. It was not the case. It should be noted that Jesus did NOT let Peter drown and it is obvious as to why. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”[a] "saved" (sozo) means a LOT more than having ones sins forgiven. This is what Jesus was demonstrating!

Matthew 14:30-31 (New King James Version)



30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous,[a] he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”



3. Jesus expected His disciples to heal and cast out demons. NOTHING has changed! Note His rebuke for their unbelief. Perverse means corrupted, turned aside. In this case turned aside or corrupted from the meaning and use of FAITH to set people free from powerful demons. HAVING COMPASSION!

Matthew 17:16-17 (New King James Version)



16 So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.”

17 Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” THE DISCIPLES CHOSE NOT TO BE OFFENDED AND AS A RESULT RECEIVED INSTRUCTION FROM JESUS. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR A TEACHABLE HEART. IT WILL SAVE ONES LIFE. (see King David)



4. Jesus spoke the Words His Father gave Him. His disciples were EXPECTED to believe them, not try to put their own "spin" on things or be offended.

60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”

64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.

65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” WHAT HE JUST TOLD THEM IS THEY ARE LEAVING BECAUSE THEY COULD NOT BELIEVE ANYWAY. IT DOES NOT MENTION A CHOIR OF ANGELS SINGING "JUST AS I AM" OR "ALMOST PERSUADED" REPEATEDLY. OR USING MIND CONTROL METHODS TO GET PEOPLE TO COME TO THE ALTER. THE RESULT IS DOUBTFUL CONVERTS OR AN ALTER CALL EVERY SUNDAY THAT CHANGES NOTHING IN PEOPLES LIVES.

66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

NEXT JESUS CHALLENGES THE 12 THAT ARE LEFT. NOTICE NONE OF THEM SAID, THAT WAS NOT 'LOVE' JESUS!

67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

BY FAITH THEY HAD HIS WORD SETTLED, EVEN IF THEY DID NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND, WHICH THEY DID NOT. IT SEEMS JESUS JUST LOST MOST OF HIS 'CHURCH'. HE IS NOT INTERESTED IN NUMBERS, OR IS HE 'USER FRIENDLY' TO GET AND KEEP THEM.

68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”[a]



5. Let us look at corporate unbelief. Christian leaders and Christians who think they know Jesus are the cause of a culture of unbelief in the churches. It is difficult to overcome.

Matthew 13:55-58 (New King James Version)



55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses,[a] Simon, and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” 57 So they were offended at Him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” 58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.



6. The disciples experienced a devastating trauma when Jesus was crucified. However He still expected them to believe the report:

Isaiah 53:1 (New King James Version)

1 Who has believed our report?

And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? DISCIPLES ARE TO BELIEVE THE REPORT CONCERNING SALVATION, ALL OF IT, BY FAITH, IN SPITE OF ANY NEGATIVE CIRCUMSTANCES OR EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY.



10 She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.

12 After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either.

14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.

THE NEXT SCRIPTURES DEMONSTRATE THAT SEEING DOES NOT MEAN BELIEVING ANYTHING IN ONES HEART!

38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.[a] 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.[b] 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.

EVEN AFTER ALL THIS 'SEEING' THE DISCIPLES WERE CONSIDERING LEAVING THE MINISTRY AND GOING BACK TO FISHING. NO HEART FAITH!

2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”

They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately[a] got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.



WHAT EVENT HAPPENED TO CHANGE THEM FROM HEAD FAITH TO HEART FAITH, WHICH BROUGHT TO LIFE ALL THAT JESUS HAD TAUGHT THEM FOR THE PAST 3 YEARS THEY HAD BEEN WITH HIM?

John 14:17 (New King James Version)

17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

John 16:13-14 (New King James Version)

13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.

NOW THE EVENT AND WHO IT IS FOR:

Acts 2:4 (New King James Version)

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:38-39 (New King James Version)

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”





7. HERE IS THE MAJOR POINT JESUS ALWAYS TAUGHT AND REINFORCED IN EVERY SITUATION IN BOTH OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS, AND WHY HE DID IT:

Hebrews 11:6 (New King James Version)

6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
 Topic: If It Be Thy Will?
If It Be Thy Will? [message #8455] Thu, 27 October 2011 17:19
lesjude  is currently offline lesjude
Messages: 48
Registered: October 2011
Location: Camden, NY
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Can Christians receive a yes by faith to prayer if the request is contrary to the latest charismatic teaching from the Father's heart, opposed by all the elders; they are called names, told no, and told to go away? You make the call.
 Topic: Whose Father is it?
Whose Father is it? [message #7777] Sat, 23 April 2011 10:05
Mark L  is currently offline Mark L
Messages: 441
Registered: October 2006
Location: Canada
Senior Member
The question is . . .

Is the Father of Jesus the Allah of the Muslims. A related question would be "Is the Father of Jesus the one the Jews worship". Christianity Today had an editorial on the Muslim question some time ago. I looked for it but couldn't find it. Their conclusion was that he isn't. I would agree. God has a triune nature but the God we worship is Jesus. The visible representation of the triune God is Jesus.

To my mind even asking the question is indicative of the days we live in. Once you start compromising even a little on important issues like this where does it stop.

The writer here is part of the evangelical establishment. A born again christian. He teaches in the rarefied heights of Yale university. I would agree with the thrust of his book that we need to find common ways of living with our Muslim neighbors but you don't do it by compromising on Jesus. Peter said Acts 4/12 that Jesus is the only way.


http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/april/muslimschrist ianssamegod.html
 Topic: New manuscript findings...
New manuscript findings... [message #7740] Sun, 03 April 2011 21:24
william  is currently offline william
Messages: 1190
Registered: January 2006
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Anyone seen this yet?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1372741/Hidden-cave- First-portrait-Jesus-1-70-ancient-books.html

Last week there was another article mentioning this as well... fascinating!

Blessings,
William


I want to believe!
 Topic: Mark Chapter 1
Mark Chapter 1 [message #7690] Thu, 03 March 2011 20:10
JWBTI  is currently offline JWBTI
Messages: 289
Registered: March 2007
Location: Ohio
Senior Member
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mark 1:14-15 (KJV)

It has been over 2000 years sense Jesus spoke those words.
How do we define this passage ?

The time is fulfilled ?Does this mean…?
The completion of prophecy…Or
The completion of a time span ?
Or Both ?

The Kingdom of God is at handDoes this mean…?
The Eternal everlasting visible Kingdom is at Hand (close by-near in time) or
Does it mean that Jesus is near to us, personally as in walking close to us daily
Or Both ?

Repent ye and Believe the Gospel !

I am so Glad that Jesus made this simple to understand !

Repent: Change your mind…Let His mind be in us..
Believe: Trust !
The Gospel: The Words that He Spoke (Old and New)


Ron
 Topic: Faith or Desire
Faith or Desire [message #7363] Tue, 21 September 2010 14:03
grandom  is currently offline grandom
Messages: 404
Registered: October 2007
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Is it faith or is it desire?

We can desire any of the thousands of promises in the word. Does that entitle us to get them?

Jesus desire is that all these promises are ours. Does that mean we will get them?
Can we hinder and actually nullify the promises of God?

Consider Ex 3:17 And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. God promised it. Did it happen? Of all the hundreds of thousands of His children, only two entered in. Why? They saw the giants in the land and did not BELIEVE what God had said.God`s desire was for all His people to enter in. Only two did.

Mat 9:27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us. It doesn't tell us how long they cried but there cries did not heal them Mat 9:28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Their crying didn't heal them. It was their faith.

Mat 19:26 says that all things are possible with God. Mat 12:22 qualifies that "All things believing you shall receive."
God addresses unbelief in numerous places but in James 1:6-7 says ask without wavering for unbelieving person will receive nothing.

Mark 6:5-6. Jesus couldn't do any mighty works because of their unbelief.

Faith or desire. What are you using for your giants in the land?

Be blessed.
 Topic: ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS
ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS [message #7343] Thu, 16 September 2010 10:27
grandom  is currently offline grandom
Messages: 404
Registered: October 2007
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Onward Christian Soldiers

Another old hymn I was reflecting on the other day. You don't hear much of anything about warfare or fighting a good battle in sermons or music of today. I believe that most (professing) Christians of today haven't a clue about being at war with the devil. I hate to preface people by saying professing Christians each time but so many today claim to be Christians and their lives reflect every thing but living as Christ lived.

The devil doesn't spend to much time warring with professing Christians. They really aren't causing him any problems. Paul exhorts Timothy in 1 Tim 1:18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare. 1 Tim 6:12 he is urged to fight the good fight.

May I submit that if you are doing the will of the Father Brothers and Sisters you are in a warfare. I`m sure I don't have to remind you of that fact. We are all in a war with eternal consequences.
I would that all read again eph 6. God has given us the weapons we need to fight and remember he is a defeated foe.
I encourage and exhort, be strong in the Lord. Eph 6:14 stand therefore. Watch and pray.

Be Blessed
 Topic: The New Testament Pattern
The New Testament Pattern [message #7078] Fri, 07 May 2010 23:37
william  is currently offline william
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Actually the "Biblical Pattern".

As the Lord established Himself in the new nation of Israel with the
giving of the Law, it becomes obvious that His plan for mankind is being
unveiled. Interestingly enough He chooses an unlikely and relatively
small group of people to make Himself known. Without their obedience His
message would not proceed very far. Apart from the tables of stone
written with His own finger there wouldn't be a whole lot of evidence of
God's plan if the recipients hadn't taken some responsibility to both
document and preserve His words for future generations.

That revelation could be further compromised by the lack of morality, by
those to whom the Word had come. Fortunately the written record survived
despite the moral failings of His chosen people. Even the lack of
faithfulness on the part of trustees was documented and preserved so that
future generations could see aspects of God's grace and forbearance that
might otherwise be hidden.

Fast forward to the New Testament. The Jews have neglected their
responsibility to bring the light of the good news to the gentile nations
and have become introverted. In the span of a few years they reject God's
renewed attempt to restore their prominence as bearers of His revelation
which turns out to be a blessing for the gentiles. They officially reject
God's offer of salvation obtained through the suffering and death of His
own son.

God had once again offered to them the responsibility of bearing His
standard to the world and in the pages of the Book of Acts you seen them
time and again rejecting His offer.

They wanted to continue to be focused upon those things that seemed to
make them unique-adherence to an outward conformity to a myriad of
minutia. They saw the details but failed to see the grand mosaic that was
spread before them. Paul finally has had enough of their rejection and
says: (Act 28:28) Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of
God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

They did indeed hear the message of the Gospel and proceeded to spread it
far and wide.

Fast forward to the present day. As gentiles we were given the same
responsibility to spread the good news by offering God's salvation to all.
This has been done to some degree throughout Church history with various
levels of success. The main problems that continue to hinder the
successful propagation of that message is the same problems that the Jews
encountered-pride and sin. (Obviously pride IS SIN!)

We spend our days thanking God that we are not like that sinner, and just
like the Pharisee we wrap ourselves in the knowledge that we are "the
elect". Oh the simplicity of the Gospel! Love God with our whole heart
and love our perishing neighbors as we love ourselves!

None of us know how much time we have left to spread His message;
shouldn't we spend the rest of our days doing just that? How much time
have we wasted as professional critics; critiquing this group or that
group, instead of preaching the good news of our common salvation, and the
blessings derived from following His Word?

As far as I can tell the first attempt to mold the Church into the failed
methodology of the past came from the Judaizers who wanted to burden the
growing-by-leaps-and-bounds Church by preaching: You must be circumcised
to be saved! We have our own variations but the message is the same-- Do
This, or Don't do that, or you can't be saved. Shouldn't we have the same
sort of answer to those false messages as did the early church? Is the
Lord's arm so short as to be unable to save without us trying to help Him
produce good works in the people He chooses?

The message then is the same message today--preach the Good News of the
Gospel and the Holy Spirit will come as a refining fire to purge the dross
from the midst of His people. He has His work and we have ours, let us
not become as the Jews became-so introverted as to be unable to perceive
God's plan for the world. They failed miserably and we will fail too...
unless we learn the lessons that have been clearly set before us.

Blessings,
William

_______________________________________________

 Topic: Worship is a Verb
Worship is a Verb [message #2015] Tue, 03 June 2008 22:22
jisamazed  is currently offline jisamazed
Messages: 170
Registered: January 2008
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Senior Member
"...Yet a time is coming, and now has come, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. For God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." John 4:23-24

I've read and heard many different comments from former "faith message" people over the past year. Regardless of their perspectives on their experiences, I have noticed that there is one consistent positive comment that people have made: they really miss the way we would worship the Lord in church. It was heartfelt, spontaneous and fervent. On one hand, we were not bound to strict litergy and hymns only out of hymnbooks. On the other hand, it was not showy and artificial and self-absorbed. The beautiful melodies we used to sing were often written to scripture, and we have memorized passages based on those songs (remember Psalm 100 or Isaiah 41:10?). It was not about how slick or smooth the instrumentation was, nor did we showcase fancy guitar riffs. The Holy Spirit might lead guitar player to play skillfully like the Psalm says, but that was not our focus. We could sing loud (hopefully in tune), we could sing soft, we could clap, dance for joy, raise our hands, kneel (once people got freed up), pray, wait for the gifts of the Spirit to flow, etc...

I miss that. I think a lot of us miss that. The church that I am currently a part of has similar freedom, and in some ways even more, but I cut my teeth on the "faith" group. That way of worshipping the Lord in church became a part of my spiritual DNA.

Robert Weber wrote a book in the late eighties called, "Worship is a Verb." I never read the book, but the title speaks volumes. It caught my eye at a bookstore one day, and I was taken aback by it. As I thought about it later, I realized that he is right. Worship is always a verb in the Bible, never a noun. There is no such thing as "the worship". It is what you do. It is not this thing that we evaluate and judge and decide that this church has it and that one doesn't. We just do it. We are to focus on our risen Lord and not pay attention to whether or not others are doing things "just right". If you are worshipping the Lord with other Christians and they sing hymns out of a hymnal, join them and do it with all your heart, even if you feel like you can't raise your hands because of the hymnbook. Maybe you can it aside and raise them anyway. If there is a set liturgy, make the most out of it and worship the Lord wholeheartedly like Wigglesworth did when he visited the Anglican church. God's children are at many different places in their journey to heaven, and he meets them where they are, even if they are stuck in liturgy land. Yes, he loves us too much to leave us there, but our job is not to judge the way others worship, but rather to give Him our best wherever we are. Maybe people will follow our example. Maybe we will learn something.

It is always important that a church be open for the Holy Spirit to move and do something unexpected. He likes to interrupt the program. We sometimes had our own liturgy in the faith camp: a couple fast songs, then some slow, quiet songs, a time for some utterance gifts, a testimony or two, an "I confess such and such...", maybe another song or two, and usually a song about the blood of Jesus before the teacher came to the pulpit. If we were so set in that order that we could not follow the Holy Spirit to do something different, we were no different than Anglicans or Baptists or Reformed or whatever else that had their own set way of of doing things.

Even if you are in a fellowship that does not function in the gifts of the Spirit (not just the utterance gifts) during church, worship him fervently, anyway. Whatever you do, do with all your heart to the Lord. That is what He desires from us when we worship Him. It is what you do. Do it simply because He is worthy of it, regardless of what the people around you are doing or are not doing.

"Worthy, so worthy are you, Lord; worthy to be thanked and praised and worshipped and adored..."


Amazed smitten astonished stunned floored blown away astounded shocked flabbergasted surprised wonderfully devastated awed shattered overwhelmed incredulous speechless sense of wonder at the love of God.
 Topic: THE UNIQUENESS OF JESUS
THE UNIQUENESS OF JESUS [message #1140] Sat, 26 January 2008 12:17
DBH
Messages: 35
Registered: December 2007
Location: Auburn, Alabama
Member

THE UNIQUENESS OF JESUS

A new and unusual age of religious pluralism seems to be bursting upon the American scene. The cultural exchange facilitated by means of mass communication and transportation has brought with it a steady influx of strange religious ideas and practices, particularly from the East. Given impetus by the Hippie Movement (a revolt of American youth against traditional religious and social norms stemming from a disillusionment with the materialism of the age), this Eastern influence has made its presence felt in the rapid growth of interest in yoga, transcendental meditation, psychic experiences, and occultism of all forms. The West's increasing fascination with Eastern thought and practice is reminiscent of Isaiah's description of decadent, eighth century B.C. Judah: "Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished [Heb. 'They are full from the East'] from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers" (Isaiah 2:6). This explosion of eastern religious ideas upon American soil has won the acceptance of many within the scientific community, sparked a "human potential movement” bent on realizing personal godhood (remember the serpent's age-old lie: '...ye shall be as gods' [Gen. 3:5 “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”]?), foisted a pantheistic world view upon minds that were largely, though imperfectly, conditioned by a Judeo-Christian one, and-most alarmingly-reshaped the thinking of some in Christendom to embrace a less-than-Biblical view of Jesus Christ.

The existence of religious pluralism has presented a new challenge to believers in America and has rendered necessary a bold reaffirmation of the UNIQUENESS OF JESUS. Is our Lord to be regarded merely as a highly proficient guru in a long line of Eastern adepts or is He, as the Scriptures declare Him to be, God in the flesh? Is faith in Jesus Christ the only way of salvation, or is Christianity merely one way among many religious paths that share a common essence and which ultimately lead to the same destination? In what sense is the Biblical teaching concerning the resurrection of Christ and the believer unique and superior to the oriental concept of reincarnation and eventual absorption into the "Universal Soul"? These questions, and others, must be satisfactorily answered if we, as conscientious believers, are to "keep the FAITH" (2 Timothy. 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”) and effectively repel the influence of the pagan religions of the Orient.

Almighty God-Not Just Another Guru

From Islam to Hinduism and from Buddhism to Baha'ism, the religions of the East are united in their contention that Jesus Christ is not uniquely Divine. Dr. Hobart E. Freeman, distinguished author and Bible scholar, has written concerning Baha'ism's attitude toward Jesus: "He was not unique, according to Baha'ism. He was a prophet, but only one of many whom God has sent into the world at certain times to witness to their generation. Christ was the prophet of the Christians, as Moses was the prophet of the Jews. Others were such religious leaders as Mohammed, Zoroaster, Buddha, and Confucius." (Hobart E. Freeman, Every Wind of Doctrine, (Warsaw, IN: Faith Ministries and Publications, 1974), p. 74.) Such a deluded evaluation of Jesus is characteristic of devotees of the drug culture, Hinduism, Christian Science, Unity School of Christianity (falsely so called), Mind Science, yogis, etc., and is increasingly conditioning the mindset of Western civilization. No longer a bastion of conservative Christianity, the West is increasingly looking Eastward for spiritual direction and is, in the process, losing its appreciation for the unique and absolute Deity of Jesus Christ.

Despite, however, this alarming trend, the Bible is unflinching in its declaration that Jesus Christ is, in fact, God (e.g., John. 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”). To deny this Biblical testimony to the absolute Divinity of Jesus Christ is to strike at the very foundation of Christianity, which is squarely built upon the understanding that God has assumed humanity for the purpose of suffering and dying as the sacrificial Lamb of God (1 Timothy 3:16 “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”; Hebrews 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” 14 “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;”; John. 1:29 “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away {beareth} the sin of the world.”; 1 Corinthians 5:7 “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed {is slain} for us:”). In fact, it is the Divinity of Jesus that gives His sacrificial death its saving power; for the blood of a mere man, being sinful can not save from sin! (Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”), By virtue of the virgin birth, God side-stepped the universal stain of original sin and assumed a real, though sinless, humanity. (Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”; Matthew 1: 22&23 “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”) It was in virtue of His unique person (simultaneously both Divine and human), that He could offer Himself as a sinless sacrifice dying on the Cross in our stead (1 Peter 2:24 “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”). This is why the apostle Paul could refer to Christ's shed blood as the very blood of God: "...feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”). A denial of the Deity of the Lord Jesus is therefore a repudiation of the saving power of His sacrifice, without which men everywhere are doomed to the torments of eternal punishment (Mark. 16:16b “but he that believeth not shall be damned.”; John 3:36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”). If one refuses to believe that Jesus is the great "I Am" (Exodus 3:14 “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”) of the Old Testament then he will certainly die in his sins (John 8:24 “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”). It is therefore no small matter when men begin to think of Jesus as somehow less than Divine, as do the Cults, Liberals, and all Eastern religions. In attempting to rob Jesus of His unique Divinity men tamper with the truth of God's Word, and expose their souls to grave peril.

THE WITNESS OF THE WORD OF GOD

If we are to rescue the Biblical concept of Christ's unique Divinity from the pluralistic religious influences that are presently molding the mind set of contemporary society, we must recover what the Scriptures plainly teach concerning this important subject. The following should serve to illustrate the wealth of undeniable Biblical evidence pointing to the absolute deity of Jesus Christ:

JESUS: UNIQUELY AND ABSOLUTELY DIVINE

EXPRESSLY DECLARED TO BE GOD:

John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John 20:28 “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.”
Romans 9:5 “Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.”
Philippians 2:6 “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Titus 2:13 “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”
1 John 5:20 “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
1 Timothy 3:16 “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
Hebrews 1:8 “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”


CREATOR AND SUSTAINER OF THE UNIVERSE:

John 1:3 “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
10 “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”
Colossians 1:16-17 “16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. ”
Hebrews 1:2-3, 10 “2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:”


THE OBJECT OR WORSHIP:

Hebrews 1:6 “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten {unique} into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.”
Matthew 14:33 “Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.”
28:9 “And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.”
John 20:28 “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.”


EXERCISING THE DIVINE PREROGATIVE OF FORGIVENESS:

Mark 2:5-7 “5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
6 But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?”
Colossians 3:13 “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel {complaint} against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”



JESUS: THE ONLY WAY, OR ONE WAY AMONG MANY?

"...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."(John 14:6).

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” (1 Timothy 2:5).


Due to the current drive to develop dialogue between major world religions in the interest of world peace, the message of the above-mentioned passages, which have been historically interpreted as asserting explicit faith in Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation, is being increasingly questioned. Here again, the pressure to formulate a "pluralistic theology," so as not to offend or alienate worshipers of other religions, has been keenly felt by both Catholic and Protestant alike.

It seems as though modern man, with his obsessive aversion to religious intolerance and his frequent dislike of those who claim to know the truth (contra John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”; 1 Timothy 2:4 “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”; 1 John 4:6 “We are of God:[ he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”), is intent on re-interpreting Christianity in an effort to embrace adherents of native religion the world over. In so doing, he downplays the importance of Jesus' uniqueness and seeks for some common denominator around which world religions can rally. Despite this search for a "common essence" among world religions, Biblical Christianity remains essentially and unchangeably at odds with every religious alternative in that it unequivocally states that its message is God's final saving Word to mankind (John 1:17 “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”; Hebrews 1:1 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,”). Apart from a knowledge of and faith in Jesus Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”), all men are doomed to an eternity of conscious torment (Mark. 16:15-16 “15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”) here we see that salvation is conditioned upon faith in the gospel and not upon dutiful observance of native religion; (cf. also John 3:36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”; John 8:24 “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”; John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”; Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”; 2 John 9 “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”).

In addition, it is well to remember that Christianity did not begin within the social context of a religious vacuum. The apostles of our Lord Jesus encountered a largely unsympathetic world teeming with varying religious sentiments, as is attested by the Ephesian mob's hysterical cry "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" and by the various objects of worship that dotted the landscape of religious Athens (Acts 19:28 ”And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.”; 17:22-23,29 “ 22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions {gods that ye worship}, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.”). Theirs was -as ours is- an age of religious diversity. And yet in the very midst of this pluralistic environment these servants of God were bold to declare that God wanted Gentiles to "turn from these vanities unto the living God" (Acts 14:15 “And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:”)

Can one honestly imagine the Apostle Paul, who traversed sea and land to proclaim the glad tidings of salvation in Christ, seeking some common bond between the gospel and the gross idolatrous religion that was the order of his day? Even to ask such a question is to expose the absurdity and sheer nonsense of seeking to develop dialogue with the pagan religions of the world! To those searching for sure salvation our response must ever be, as was Paul's: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..." (Acts 16:31)

There is, moreover, another consideration that points to an irreconcilable conflict between Christianity and other "faiths." In citing the very commissioning words of the resurrected Jesus, Paul reveals the motivating purpose of his apostolic mission to the Gentiles as being: "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me " (Acts 26: 18). Plainly, the apostle, as did his Master, considered the Gentile world to be groping in a satanically induced darkness and in dire need of the forgiveness, spiritual inheritance, and sanctification that is only to be found in Jesus! Why else would Paul brave the perils of a heathen world to bring them a message that was so often offensive to their religious sensibilities? (2 Corinthians 11:26 “In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;”; 1 Corinthians 1:23 “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;”) If steadfast devotion to their native religions was sufficient for salvation, why even bother to evangelize?

Obviously, an intelligent faith in Jesus as God and Savior is essential to salvation. Moreover, such faith is produced by hearing the gospel faithfully proclaimed by men sent from God. The inspired words of Paul, himself a champion of the UNIQUENESS OF JESUS, should forever settle the question of whether non Christian religions can be a way of salvation and serve to underscore the urgent need of telling a lost and dying world about Jesus: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord [Jesus] shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how: shall they believe in him of whom they have not: heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent? (Rom. 10:13-15a). No man comes to the Father except through Jesus (John. 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”). Buddha, Mohammed, Hinduism, or any other religious alternative will simply not suffice--ye must be saved by calling on the name of the uniquely divine Son of God.

Resurrection, Not Reincarnation

Reincarnation is (transmigration-rebirth as an animal, plant or insect is a broader term. See Hobart Freeman, Every Wind of Doctrine (Warsaw, IN: Faith Ministries and Publications, 1974). p.229.), the erroneous belief that all men are involved in a series of rebirths into successive lives in which they fulfill the Law of Karma until they are (either through spiritual enlightenment or religious self effort) absorbed into a nebulous "World Soul," is a characteristic feature of Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism, and of certain cults (e.g., Theosophy, New Thought, and Unity School of Religion)

Such a concept, however, is fraught with unscriptural presuppositions. For one, the law of karma, upon which the alleged cycle of rebirth is based, is none other than an oriental version of "works-salvation " (see in refutation: Romans 3:20 “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin”; Galatians 2:16 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”; Ephesians 2:8-10 “8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained {prepared} that we should walk in them.” Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”). Secondly, successive rebirth implies many earthly opportunities to attain salvation and is therefore in direct opposition to such passages as Luke 16:19-31 “19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”; 2 Corinthians 6:2 “(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)”; and, most obviously, Hebrews 9:27, which reads: "...it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" [emphasis mine]. Also, the dignity of human individuality is denied, since man is viewed as but an extension of an all embracing, impersonal force (a pantheistic concept of God) and could just as easily be reborn as an acorn, earthworm, or caterpillar!

In stark contrast, the Bible asserts the bodily resurrection of Christ (Matthew 28:6 “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 “15 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory {hold fast} what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”) and the eventual resurrection (or change for those who are still alive when Jesus returns) of every born-again believer (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 52 “20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. :52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”; Philippians 3:21 “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”). The bankruptcy of Eastern thought is nowhere more apparent than at this crucial point. In place of the conscious and eternal existence of the soul in a glorified body like unto Christ's, it has substituted a dreary, unconscious absorption into an intangible something. Sadly, its adherents remain without substantial hope and without God in the world; the tombs of its venerated founders are unable to ever remotely suggest the expectation embodied in the angel's morning message, "He is not here: for He is risen, as He said" (Matthew 27:6).

Sandhill Bible Church
4505 Sandhill Rd.
Auburn, Al 36830
334-749-1062
Email: sandhillbiblechurch@bellsouth.net
Website: http://www.sandhillbiblechurch.org
 Topic: WHY EVERY BELIEVER Should speak with TONGUES
WHY EVERY BELIEVER Should speak with TONGUES [message #1131] Thu, 17 January 2008 09:43
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Messages: 35
Registered: December 2007
Location: Auburn, Alabama
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WHY EVERY BELIEVER Should speak with TONGUES

"What is the value of speaking in tongues; to what extent, if any, will it enhance my spiritual life, empower my testimony and improve my ministry to the Lord's assembly?" These questions and others are not infrequently pondered by observers of what may be properly labelled "the spiritual phenomenon of the Twentieth Century"-- the great Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This spiritual movement, which began in earnest in the late 19TH Century and literally exploded in the early 20TH Century, has made phrases such as "baptism with or in the Holy Spirit" and "speaking with tongues" almost common parlance in the realm of theological discussion and has done much to awaken the sleeping masses to the reality, if not the validity, of that form of inspired utterance commonly called "tongues." (Acts 2:4 “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”)

Frowned upon by churchmen as emotional gibberish and decried as the spontaneous outburst of individuals emotionally disturbed, it should come as no surprise that the practice of speaking in tongues has enlisted its fair share of enemies. Despite this opposition, however, conservative evangelicals have found it increasingly difficult to deny the reality of a practice that is thoroughly documented in Scripture, and have therefore chosen to reluctantly acknowledge the validity of speaking in tongues while carefully downplaying its value. Especially have they denounced the idea that speaking in tongues is for every Christian. I, for one, take exception to such a sour response and believe that when the pertinent Scriptures are examined with an unbiased heart, this cold toleration will change to a warm hearted approval of tongues as a form of spiritual utterance of immense value for every saint. So this humble tract is sent your way in the interest of the Truth, and with the sincere desire that, upon further examination, you yourself will join the happy throng who have come to realize in a personal way the reasons WHY EVERY BELIEVER SHOULD SPEAK WITH TONGUES.

A Telltale Token

"But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy..." (Acts 2:14-18).

It was Pentecost, 30 A.D., and Jerusalem buzzed with teeming throngs of the pious who ascended to the "city of the Great King" to observe the pilgrimage Feast of Weeks. But this Pentecost was to be extraordinary; it was destined to be the day when a huddled band of one hundred and twenty Galileans, believers in the crucified but resurrected Jesus of Nazareth, were to become a "habitation of God by the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:22 “In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”). The stage had been set by long days of prayer and supplication (Acts 1:14 “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”), days of expectation and hope, as the tiny band, unnoticed by the world, eagerly awaited the "promise of the Father" (Luke 24:49 “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.”). And then it happened. The sound of a forceful gust of wind filled the house where they were sitting, and they saw mysterious tongues as of fire distributed to each of them. In the awe of that moment, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues.

As the rumor of what had happened spread, a curious but startled crowd gathered and, perplexed by the remarkable scene, enquired as to its significance? In response to their enquiry, the Apostle Peter announced with holy fervor and evident fire: "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God. I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh..." (Acts 2:16. 17a). The Spirit had descended. The promise of the Father had arrived, heralding the dawn of a new epoch in the Divine economy. The church, predicted by Jesus (Matthew 16:18 “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”), was birthed in the glory of a moment cloaked in power. And significantly, God had chosen to announce the arrival of His Spirit with the telltale token of tongues.

It was, in fact, this supernatural utterance in languages unlearned by the speakers that prompted Peter as the apostolic spokesman to announce the arrival of the Holy Spirit in partial fulfillment of Joel's prediction (Joel 2:28,29 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.”).
"... This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel," replied Peter to the unenlightened charge that these men were "full of new wine." By so doing, this leading apostle underscored the evidential value of tongues as betokening the indisputable arrival of the Holy Spirit in the lives of these New Testament believers. Similarly, at a later period, he, along with some fellow Jewish believers accepted an eruption of tongues at Cornelius' household as conclusive proof that the Holy Spirit had fallen upon that band of Gentile believers:

"While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?" (Acts 10:44-47)

The key phrase in the above quotation is "For they heard them speak with tongues." The phenomenon of tongues, which characterized the initial outpouring of the Spirit in the Jerusalem upper room, was what convinced those of the circumcision (Jewish believers who were zealous for the law and therefore leery of Gentile inclusion) that these Gentiles had genuinely received the Holy Spirit. In a later rehearsal of the Cornelius episode to brethren in Jerusalem, Peter seems to establish an experiential link between the tongues of the Jerusalem outpouring and the Holy Spirit's work in Caesarea by recounting: "And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.” (Acts 11:15) (The Greek particle in this context means “just as,'' "even as''; it augments the force of the simple, thus emphasizing a commonality of experience between the initial Jerusalem outpouring and the work of the Spirit here in Caesarea.) Clearly, speaking in tongues is beginning to emerge, just as Jesus predicted (Mark 16:17 “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;”), as a sign following believers; and, as Peter plainly implies, as a supernatural display evidencing the reception of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 2:4 “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance”; Acts 11:15,16 “And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.”; 19:1-6 “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.”). This is reason number one why every believer should speak with tongues: it is the initial evidence of one's reception of the Holy Spirit. Nor should we expect to walk in the pathway of apostolic Christianity apart from this apostolic experience!

It is precisely at this point, however, that Satan beguiles the unlearned who are unaccustomed to making those subtle distinctions so essential to proper Biblical interpretation. For how many of these believers have rejected the insistence that all Christians should speak with tongues as the initial evidence of the Holy Spirit's arrival with an appeal to Paul's question in 1 Corinthians 12:30: "...do all speak with tongues?", thereby concluding that universal tongue-speaking for Christians is utterly out of the question? But does such an appeal actually prove their point? On the surface it might seem so, but a careful reading of 1 Corinthians 12-14, and indeed of all New Testament references to speaking in tongues, will point us to a consideration that they have over-looked-- and one that is absolutely vital to the discussion. It is simply this: The New Testament uses the phrase "speaking in or with tongues" in a fluid manner, sometimes denoting the inspired utterance in a language unknown to the speaker which signals the reception of the Holy Spirit, and at other times the charismatic gift of tongues whereby God seeks, in conjunction with the companion gift of interpretation, to communicate a message to His people. It is the all important context which determines which particular form is under review. In 1 Corinthians 12:28-30 “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities {kinds} of tongues.
Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?”, for example, the context clearly reveals that it is the gift of tongues that is under consideration, not the sign of tongues which every believer can, and indeed should, express as a means of prayer and communion. Failure to make this distinction inevitably results in a confounding of things that differ, the obvious error of those who attempt to make a sweeping application of the form-specific reference in 1 Corinthians 12:30. Such an attempt thus reflects an over simplistic view of the phrase "speaking with tongues," which, as a fluid expression, may refer to more than one form of tongues-speech.

To illustrate this point, let us examine for a moment the experience of the church in Jerusalem. This assembly initially consisted of 120 men and women who received a powerful baptism with the Holy Spirit, and who each spoke with tongues as the sign or evidence that they had received the Spirit's in filling (Acts 2:4 “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”). And yet, there is no Biblical evidence that this entire company possessed the charismatic gift of tongues which is generally used to communicate a message from God to His people and is to be accompanied by an interpretation in the native language of the Christian assembly. Paul could have addressed these believers in Jerusalem as he did the church at Corinth, "Do all speak with tongues [as the charismatic gift to communicate a message]?" and fully expected his rhetorical question to be answered with an inward "no" by the congregation, although each member prayed in tongues in his or her private devotional life.

To further illustrate this distinction, permit me to appeal to my personal experience as a pastor. The congregation (the adult element) I currently pastor consists of a company of tongue-talking believers (those who are baptized members), and yet perhaps no more than one of them presently has the charismatic gift to deliver divine messages to the congregation in tongues! Do they all speak with tongues? Certainly not in the sense of the gift of tongues; no, no more than the Corinthians did. But if you mean "do they all pray in tongues as a sign of the Spirit's presence in their lives?" The happy answer is a resounding yes! And my dear friend, so should you! So the appeal to 1 Corinthians 12:30 in objection to universal tongues-speaking for believers does not prove what the detractors would hope; it is simply a classic instance of confounding things that differ-all in an attempt to discredit a Pentecostal emphasis.

A Source of Spiritual Edification

A second reason why every believer should speak with tongues involves the immense spiritual up building that is the direct result of "praying in the Spirit." Jude is no doubt referring to the edificational value of tongues when he writes: " But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith praying in the Holy Ghost" (Jude 20).

Of course, there may be those who respond negatively to an identification of "praying in the Holy Ghost" with prayer in tongues, but those who are privileged to pray in this manner recognize that when they lift their voices in a language supernaturally inspired by the Holy Spirit they are, in the purest sense, "praying in the Holy Ghost. " This is readily apparent when one reflects on the fact that the individual who is praying in tongues is giving expression to words that originate independently of his own finite understanding (1 Corinthians 14:14 “For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.”), words which articulate, as humanly formulated ones seldom do, the very mind of the Spirit (Romans 8:26,27 “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”). Such an individual has been admitted into a special prayer channel, through which "mysteries in the Spirit" (1 Corinthians 14:2 William's Translation: "by the Spirit he is speaking secret truths") leave lips of clay and are borne heavenward. Is not such prayer, which expresses the "mind of the Spirit" and conveys "mysteries in the Spirit," the most undeniable and unadulterated form of "praying in the Holy Spirit"?

Jude 20 indicates that such prayer is a spiritual boon to the believer. I can attest from personal experience (over twenty years of praying in tongues) that "praying in the Spirit" is an invaluable means of fortifying one's faith, replenishing spiritual energies, and refreshing the weary soul. It is Divinely directed prayer in a spiritual dimension that makes a decided difference in one's over-all development in discipleship.

A Means of Rest and Spiritual Refreshment

Speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives utterance is also the source of spiritual refreshment to which the prophet Isaiah refers when he writes: "For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest ["this is the rest, quietness"] wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear" (Isaiah 28:11,12). It is to this prophecy that the apostle Paul refers in 1 Corinthians 14:21 as he writes, "In the law it is written, with men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. " It is as if the Lord were saying, "As an irrefutable sign, I will speak supernaturally in an unfamiliar language to a disobedient and gainsaying people, in an attempt to rouse them from their unbelief and usher them into My glorious rest." Has not God been doing just that through what is popularly and derisively known as the "Tongues Movement"? Is not the very Lord who invited the heavy laden to find rest beneath His easy yoke (Matt. 11:28-30 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”), beckoning to this end-time generation, beset with information overload, dazed by the daily buzz of business, and ruffled with the hustle and bustle of religious activism, to come apart for a while and find invigorating and refreshing rest in the place of Spirit-inspired prayer? Could it be that some, despite the obvious length to which the Lord has gone, will not hear Him--opting instead to run the Christian course without the promised rest and finding themselves, in the end, "wearied and faint in their minds" (Hebrews 12:3 “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”)? How shall we escape the besetting burdens of age-end difficulties (2 Timothy 3:1 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”), the strain of increasing satanic opposition (1 Peter 5:8,9 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”), and the widespread spiritual lethargy (Matthew 24:12 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”) of the last days if we brush aside this "rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest"?

Without it, a believer's experience will lack the apostolic luster, the deep seated tranquility and the calm repose of the one who said, "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:" (1 Corinthians 14:18).

Fail-Proof Intercession

"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (Rom. 8:26, 27).

Ah, and now we come to a vital and very practical reason why every believer should treasure the ability to pray supernaturally in the Spirit. According to Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts (Galatians 4:6,7 “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”) to assist us in the monumental task of prayer. The Greek word used to depict the Spirit's help in this regard which, according to Thayer's Lexicon means "to take hold with another," thus implying that unaided human weakness is woefully inadequate when it comes to the vital issues of for what and how we ought to pray.

Who is the man or woman who cannot relate to the limitations of the finite human intellect when seeking to formulate prayers in accordance with God's will (1 John. 5:4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”) and in a manner that is acceptable in His sight? Just consider for a moment the numerous questions associated with the question of effective intercession. For whom shall I pray--especially in a sin-cursed world wherein myriads are in dire need of Divine intervention? For what should I pray, since the basic need{s) of needy men is (are) often shrouded in circumstances that are but symptomatic (Mark 2:5 “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.”)? In what manner and to what extent should I pray-should I pray at length against stubborn demonic strongholds (Daniel 9:3 “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:”) or briefly in ejaculatory {brief utterance} faith (Mark 11:24 “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”)? Should I fast while I pray? The crucial answers to these questions are provided when we learn to rely upon the Spirit's assistance in the matter of prayer.

With the Spirit's indwelling presence, we will be prompted to pray, given utterance (Acts 2:4 “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”) that adequately expresses the mind of God concerning the matter about which we are praying (Romans 8:27 “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”), and moved to sigh and groan with heart-felt emotion appropriate to the eternal issues that engage us in intercession. Who is sufficient for these things (2 Corinthians 2:16 “To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?”)? None but the competent Holy Ghost, Who maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God, thus insuring that all things work together for our good and His ultimate glory (Romans 8:27,28 “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”).

Conclusion

In the foregoing paragraphs we have sought to examine the sign significance, edificational value, tranquilizing and helpful nature of speaking with tongues. Now it is time for you to make a decision. As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, are you convinced that this outflow of tongues, occasioned by the reception of a personal Pentecost (Acts 2:4 “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”), is of sufficient value to be a dynamic part of your Christian experience? Do you believe that your faith would be fortified, your spirituality furthered, and your testimony enhanced by praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20 “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,”)? If you answer these questions in the affirmative, there would seem to be but one recourse for you--Receive ye the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of praying in tongues! Then you will be able to pray as Peter, James, John, Paul and a host of other New Testament worthies prayed. And if we will purify ourselves as they purified themselves (2 Corinthians 7:1 “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”; 1 Jn. 3:3 “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”), and labor for the souls of men as they did labor (1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”), we will not be far from the heartbeat of apostolic practice (Acts 2:42 “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”).

If your interest is sufficient to join me in prayer, please do so now: "Dear Heavenly Father, as a believer on your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, I am convinced of the value of praying supernaturally in other tongues. But Father, I recognize that such a blessed capability is the result of receiving, as did the early disciples on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit. In Jesus Name I ask for the Holy Spirit now. I believe that He is in me now and begins to give me utterance in new tongues. In an act of childlike faith, with perfect confidence in your promise [Luke 11:13 “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”], I begin to lift up the sound of my voice, not in any language you know, but in the new language [Mk. 16:17 “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;”] which you have given me." At this point you should lift up your voice, expecting the Holy Spirit to form the words and syllables as you supply the sound of your voice. The Holy Spirit, unlike unclean spirits, will not forcibly usurp control of your vocal apparatus, moving your tongue, lips and jaw against your will. As you begin to speak by faith, determined not to utter a word in any language you know (since one cannot speak two languages simultaneously), the Holy Spirit will graciously begin to mould and shape the sound of your voice into the syllables and words of His choosing. As you act your faith, the assurance and manifold blessings of prayer in the Spirit will assuredly follow. (Mark 11:24 “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”; John14:14 “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”; 1 John 5:14,15 “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”).

For More information Contact:
Sandhill Bible Church,
4505 Sandhill Road.
Auburn. AL 36830
334-749-1062
Email: sandhillbchurch@bellsouth.net
Website: http://www.sandhillbiblechurch.org

[Updated on: Mon, 21 January 2008 11:45]

 Topic: SALVATION, HEALING, DELIVERANCE & MORE
SALVATION, HEALING, DELIVERANCE & MORE [message #1101] Sat, 29 December 2007 14:59
DBH
Messages: 35
Registered: December 2007
Location: Auburn, Alabama
Member
THE LOVEGREEN STORY


A C Valdez Sr., in his book Fire On Azusa Street, wrote


In those days—like today—skeptics loudly insisted that “the age of miracles is past.”

I could only answer, “It is past all right—past, present, and future—just as Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” So many miracles of all varieties happened—cures of “incurables,” reversal of sin-filled lives, and strange, supernatural events that couldn’t have occurred by coincidence.

I shall never forget the astounding series of major and minor miracles that occurred to a Mr. Lovegreen, a hotel owner in San Bernardino and Riverside counties of California.

Thirty years before, he had been a New York-based salesman who, with his wife, had traveled many times from city to city across country.

One day he told her, “I’m going west again.”

She sighed, “Dear, I’m tired of traveling. We’ve done it so much. I just can’t take it any longer.”

That was not the response Lovegreen had expected, and he be­came upset and then stubborn.

“All right, if that’s the way you feel, stay,” he replied. “But I’m going anyway?’

Just like that, he walked out of her life and headed for Califor­nia. Now, during that thirty years, he became an alcoholic, deathly ill and seemingly hopeless. One night he fell up against our San Bernardino mission door, which flung open. And there, lying on the floor, reeking of whiskey, was this large, once fine-looking man, hemorrhaging from his stomach.

When I reached him, he glanced up, hopelessness in his blood­shot, blue eyes. As more blood oozed from his mouth, he gasped.

What pity I felt for him!

“O, parson. Do something for me!”

Now the hemorrhaging stopped; he coughed, soon caught his breath and explained himself.

“Before my mother died, she prayed for me. While she was dying, she took me by the hand, looked into my eyes and said, “Son, I had hoped that, by this time, you would have given your heart to Jesus. Your mother would then have had the joy of seeing you a born again Christian. It seems I won’t have that pleasure. But, son, before I go, do me a favor. Put forth the effort to be a Christian and meet me in heaven. I’ll be watching for you through the eastern gate?”

“I said, ‘Yes, mother.’ Parson, what else could I say? But I con­fess to you, I haven’t tried”

The creases in the forehead of his ruddy face deepened in grave concern.

“A few hours ago, I came away from the doctor’s office. The lining of my stomach is gone—eaten out with alcohol. The doc­tor advised me; ‘Lovegreen, there’s nothing I can do for you now. Take my advice. Go right on drinking, because you won’t live long anyway. And if you’re drunk, you won’t know the difference.’ ”

Lovegreen’s watery eyes begged me as much as his voice.

“Parson, can’t you do something for me?”

“Yes, if you’ll promise to do something for me.”

“What’s that?”

Again he gasped for air, and blood oozed from his mouth.

“Come into the mission. Promise that you won’t leave until we pray through to God. Then you’ll have complete deliverance from alcohol, and I also promise that Jesus will heal your body and make you whole.”

As the path eased for an instant, he looked up at me with a flicker of hope.

“That’s the least I can do.”

I have dealt with many alcoholics, and their promises are often worthless. So I was still skeptical. Lovegreen slowly, painfully rose to his feet and followed me to the altar. In this mission, we had home-made, awkward-looking, heavy benches eighteen feet long. They served me well that night, because my wife, mother and I piled many of these benches against the back door.

Then we fell upon our knees and prayed. The spiritual battle was on. I don’t know how many times Lovegreen collapsed on the floor, but the devil spoke to me in no uncertain terms.

“Valdez, if you keep this man locked up in here, and he dies. you will be held for manslaughter?”

That sent fear racing through me. Unfortunately, what he had said was true. And I felt a terrible temptation to yield. But it wasn’t the voice of God. God doesn’t speak that way. The Lord says, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” So I turned and said— “Satan, get behind me in the Name of Jesus,” and the Spirit of the Lord rebuked the devil.

That was just the beginning of the story It was a night of strug­gle, and Lovegreen started screaming in an unearthly way. “Get those snakes off me!” he begged. He was having terrifying nightmares of delirium tremens. He thrashed and worked his hands to untangle snakes winding around his neck. “O, my God,” he cried, “Those witches and demons!”

We continued to pray with faith, through the night and into the early morning. At six o’clock, we were hoarse and exhausted but still holding on to God in his behalf.

By this time, he was beginning to flail his arms and crying out:

“Let me go! Open the door! Let me go!”

But I spoke sharply to him.

“You promised to stay until deliverance comes?”

A few minutes later, when my mother, wife and I were praying, the glory of God came down like a skyfull of light, filling the room. All of us looked up at the same time. A bright shaft of light fo­cused on Lovegreen’s face, and he shouted, “I’m saved, I’m saved, I’m saved.”

Not only was he gloriously born of the Spirit of God, he was also healed in body. His stomach was so well he was able to eat a large beef steak. He no longer wanted alcohol.

An urge to be with his wife had gnawed at him off and on for thirty years and was part of the reason for his alcoholism. They had been divorced and, in a generation, had not communicated with one another. Like him, she had never remarried.

On one morning, she felt a powerful desire to travel to Los An­geles. She didn’t know why. Although a Christian, she did not realize that God was leading her. Her train stopped at San Bernardino, and a strange urge made her take a layover in that city

The railroad station was then at least three quarters of a mile from the heart of town, so she drifted down on the left hand side of the street, looking for a hotel.

At that very instant, Lovegreen felt a strong desire to go for a walk, and he started down the same side of the street.

The woman coming toward him looked familiar. He blinked his clear blue eyes. The woman saw him and squinted to make sure. The man coming toward her looked so familiar.

Suddenly they were face to face for the first lime in thirty years.

Lovegreen felt a surge of warmth. She was beautiful—snow white hair, still a young face. How could she be even more lovely than before?

Similar feelings stirred her.

They gazed into each other’s eyes momentarily, and the years between melted away. Then they literally flew into each other’s arms.

When I learned from them what had happened, I knew that this wonderful reunion was a story written and directed by the Holy Spirit.

A few days later, they asked me to marry them. It was a I privilege and an honor for me.

This was just one of the many flames of Azusa Street.


Website: http://www.sandhillbiblechurch.org

[Updated on: Thu, 17 January 2008 08:06]

 Topic: WHY I WOULD RATHER TRUST JESUS
WHY I WOULD RATHER TRUST JESUS [message #1088] Mon, 24 December 2007 14:27
DBH
Messages: 35
Registered: December 2007
Location: Auburn, Alabama
Member
WHY I WOULD RATHER TRUST JESUS

“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." Mark 9:23

As Jesus walked the shores of Galilee and made His way through its many villages, His power to cure sicknesses and diseases was a conspicuous and remarkable part of His ministry. Wherever He went, crowds of expectant sufferers were sure to throng Him, looking for the least opportunity to reach out and touch the One Who went about doing good, healing all that were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38 “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”). And those who exercised a humble faith were never disappointed. Time and again we read of healing successes summarized in sublime expressions like these:

Matthew 4:23 "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people"

Matthew 4:24 "And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them"

Matthew 8:16 "When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That It might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses"

Matthew 12:15 "But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all"

Luke 6:19 "And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him and healed them all."


Such passages are, however, much more than simply glowing episodes from a bygone era. Jesus Christ, as risen Lord, is just as willing and able to show Himself strong in the bodily healing of His children today, as He was in the days of His flesh.

During the mid-1970's William Harvey was a student at North East Junior College in Rainsville, Alabama. Muscular dystrophy had taken its toll leaving him with a stride that was less than full and making his ascent up a flight of stairs at the school complex a major task. One of his legs was also shorter than the other---that is, until he encountered the risen, healing Christ. It happened one day at a local Methodist parsonage. He was asked by a full gospel minister if he believed Jesus would grow his leg out to be equal with the other one. After responding in the affirmative, prayer was offered in the Name of Jesus, and the power of God grew his shorter leg to the proper length. His stride became normal and a flight of stairs was no longer the task it once was, simply because of Jesus' healing touch.

Exceeding Great and Precious Promises

The very fact that God promises supernatural, bodily healing in both Old and New Testaments should provide the believer with sufficient incentive to trust Jesus alone for the healing and health of his body. The direct, supernatural intervention envisioned in these Divine pledges is overwhelming evidence of God's will for the believer to cling trustingly to God's Word of promise for the gracious removal of all of his bodily ailments. Promises such as these literally beckon us to believe:

Exodus 15:26-- “And said. If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which Is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes. I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee." The Hebrew of this final phrase, "For I am the Lord that healeth thee” could be translated. "For I am the Lord your physician." thereby highlighting the exclusive right of Yahweh to relate to His people in the role of physician. God’s role as Healer is such an integral aspect of His relationship to His people that it actually becomes His very Name!

Exodus 23:25.26- "And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water: and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil." Here, in no uncertain terms. God promises to remove sickness, miscarriage, and barrenness from His people in response to their faithful service.

Deut. 7:15 “And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee: but will lay them upon all them that hate thee." Obviously, it is not the will of our Father In heaven that His children be burdened with the hideous maladies which so often plague the unregenerate world (Egypt).

Psalms 103:2.3- “Bless the LORD. O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities: who healeth all thy diseases." Here, in bold terms, we have God's undeniable promise to heal all our diseases just as surely as He promises to forgive all our iniquities. We can believe Him to do one with the very same confidence with which we believe Him to do the other. With such unmistakable pledges before us, and mind you, these are but samples drawn from a plethora of promises, the unwillingness on the part of those who claim to be God's children, to simply trust Jesus for all of their health needs Is little short of astounding.

God's Ample Provision For Our Healing

In addition, the fact that the Scriptures clearly teach the sufferings and death of our Lord to be a bearing of our bodily infirmities (Hebrew = our weaknesses) and sicknesses, Matthew 8:17 “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.”), should likewise encourage the believer to place the totality of his trust in the Lord as his Healer. God has not only pledged Himself with a plurality of plain promises, He has also made ample provision for the fulfillment of those promises by grounding our healing squarely in the atoning sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus. This is the significance of such passages as Isaiah 53:4, 5, an Old Testament classic atonement reference, and its New Testament counterpart and commentary, Matt. 8: 17. Respectively, these passages read: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he {was] wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace {was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed"; and “That it might be fu{filled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare sicknesses."

These passages, coupled with 1 Peter 2:24 “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” stand out as beacons, beckoning the believer to view his healing as an accomplished fact. God has acted historically (2 Corinthians 5:19 “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”) in the person of Jesus Christ to reconcile as many as believe to a right relation with Him by bearing the imputed guilt of their transgressions and the bodily infirmities which overtook them because of sin, whether racial sin in Adam (Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”), or individual transgressions. Since the root cause for sickness, viz. sin, has been dealt with at Calvary, the effect---sickness---has likewise been dealt the death-blow.

The fact that healing is "in the atonement" removes the question of whether it is always God's will to heal his believing and obedient children from the realm of uncertainty into the land of blessed certitude. Once the believer reckons his healing a finished work (John 19:30 “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”), confessing that by Jesus' stripes he was healed, and carefully complying with the other Biblical conditions, it is but a matter of time until his bodily condition will conform to these inspired statements of God's Word. Furthermore, since God has already healed him, the believer need not beg and engage in vain repetition, as though there were need of overcoming some unspoken reluctance in God's mind concerning His will to do what He has already done in Christ. Viewing our healing as an accomplished fact thus becomes a basis for the bedrock conviction that what God has done for us in Christ at the Cross cannot be altered by the assaults of Satan against our body.

The Prescribed Means of Healing

Healing thus promised in the Bible and provided at Calvary is not mediated to the believer by medical but by supernatural means. It is by the laying on of hands (Mark 16:18 “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”; Luke 13:13 “And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.”), the prayer of faith (James 5:14-15 “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”; John 14:14 “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”), the touch of faith (Mark 5:27-28 “When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.”), the Word of God (Proverbs 4:20-22 “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health {Heb. medicine} to all their flesh.”; Psalms 107:20 “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions”), and the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:28 “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities {kinds} of tongues.”) that God's people are relieved of the satanic oppression of sickness and disease (Acts 10:38 “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”).

In their bouts with physical infirmity, Job (Job 2:7 “So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.”: 42:10 “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. {Heb. added all that had been to Job unto the double}”), David (Psalms 30:2 “O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.”), Paul (Galatians 4:13 “Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.”), Epaphras (Philippians 2:27 “For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.”) and Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:2 “Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD,”) saw no need to resort to medical means. In fact, the only believer who is said to have sought medical relief was King Asa, who was promptly chastened for his unbelief (2 Chronicles 16:12-13 “And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians. And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.”). Obviously, God was displeased with his distrust and his premature death is set forth In Scripture as a warning to those who would "trust in the arm of the flesh" (Jeremiah 17:5 “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.”).

As we think of Israel, an entire nation without a health department or Divinely authorized medical Institution (although the less spiritual would resort to physicians, as did their pagan neighbors), to whom God was committed by covenant as Healer-Physician (Exodus 15:26 “And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.”), the alien nature of the medical alternative becomes increasingly apparent.

Did You Know?

In addition to the fact that the Medical Institution does not fall within the Biblical framework of God's prescribed means of healing, there are several considerations which make it a questionable route for a Christian:

The very rationale underlying all modern medicine represents a form of that "wisdom of man" (1 Corinthians 2:5 “That your faith should not stand {Gr. not be} in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”) that is "foolishness with God" (1 Corinthians 3:19 “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.”), and is therefore diametrically opposed to the Biblical teaching concerning the source and cure of sickness. His educational background and training predisposes even the most well-meaning doctor to trace every sickness to a natural cause---some bacterial microbe, virus or dangerous cell. The Scriptures, However, assert a spiritual (Satan---Acts 10:38 “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”; Luke 13: 11-16 “And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?”) and moral cause for every physical malady known to man. Romans 5:12 is quite clear in this regard, and attributes spiritual and physical death to the human race's disobedience in the person of its natural head and representative. Adam: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Simply stated, this means that the experience of death, and by implication, its precursor, deadly disease---are penal inflictions traceable to original sin. Psalms 107:17-20 also reinforces this concept by adding that personal transgression (again. a moral cause) can be the root cause of illness: "Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble. [and] he saveth them out of their distresses. He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered [them} from their destructions." Thus, the rationale of modern medicine is radically at odds with the Bible and must therefore be discounted by the sincere believer as an unscriptural explanation of the cause and cure of sickness.

Furthermore, the medical profession routinely employs methods of research and treatment which the Bible squarely condemns. The desecration of the dead by the use of cadavers---corpses utilized in classes on surgery rather than being properly buried and provided the dignity of a decent funeral. Since the Scriptures view the corpse as representing the person, any indignity done to the body is viewed as an injustice to the person (1 Samuel 31:11-13 “And when the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul; All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there. And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.”; 2 Samuel 21:8-10 “But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite: And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest. And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.” of course, I realize that some misguided souls actually donate their bodies for such desecration!).

Then there is the exposure of human nakedness (e.g., in the exams of gynecologists and in childbirth, physicals, etc.)---a practice which the Scriptures condemn with one voice (Genesis 9:20-25 “And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.”: Leviticus 18:6-18 “6 None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD.
7 The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
8 The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father's nakedness.
9 The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.
10 The nakedness of thy son's daughter, or of thy daughter's daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness.
11 The nakedness of thy father's wife's daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
12 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's sister: she is thy father's near kinswoman.
13 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister: for she is thy mother's near kinswoman.
14 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt.
15 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son's wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
16 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's nakedness.
17 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son's daughter, or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness.
18 Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.” 20:17-18 “And if a man shall take his sister, his father's daughter, or his mother's daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity. And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered {Heb. made naked} her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.”) as bringing God's certain curse (Genesis 9:25 “And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren”). The concealment of nakedness is a concept firmly rooted in Biblical modesty (1 Timothy 2:9-10 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided {plaited} hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”), although it is commonly ignored by today's culture and routinely trampled in the ongoing practice of medicine. Is it any wonder that depraved and unsupervised children sometimes refer to their indecent exposure as "playing doctor"?

And what of the administration of drugs? Are you aware that the Greek word for sorcery {<pharmakeia>} (the use or the administering of drugs ("pharmacist"): poisoning: sorcery, witchcraft, magical arts) also refers to the concoctions of the druggist---sorcerer used as remedies? We are told that sorcery (drug use) will be a predominate sin of the Endtime, and one which men will refuse to part with even in the face of unprecedented Divine judgments (Revelation 9:21 “Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”: and following also Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft {Greek <pharmakeia>--pharmacy}, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”: Revelation 21:8 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”).

A survey of these considerations and a trusting look at the many promises of bodily healing in the Word of God have convinced me that simple trust in Jesus is preferable to reliance upon the vaunted medical discoveries of modern man. And when I ponder the very practical consideration that JESUS has been faithful to heal me and maintain my health for many years, I am satisfied with this simple, but Scriptural conclusion concerning physical healing---
I would rather trust Jesus!

Sandhill Bible Church,
4505 Sandhill Road.
Auburn. AL 36830 (334} 749-6475
sandhillbchurch@bellsouth.net
Website: http://www.sandhillbiblechurch.org


My personal testimony is that Jesus the Great Physcian has been my personal physican, and HIM only, since 1982. He has always been faithful and always will be. I was born in 1938. Thank you JESUS!

[Updated on: Mon, 24 December 2007 14:45]

 Topic: HAVE WE REALLY FORSAKEN ALL INCLUDING SELF?
HAVE WE REALLY FORSAKEN ALL INCLUDING SELF? [message #1054] Fri, 14 December 2007 05:23
DBH
Messages: 35
Registered: December 2007
Location: Auburn, Alabama
Member
Praise the Lord Jesus!

My wife, Arlene, and I usually have a time before the Lord as we read and meditate over the word every morning. Today’s readings ended with the verses below.

Isaiah 66:1-2

1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

As I was reading it to Arlene the Lord God Himself came in a stronger way. He impressed me to speak out as I read the underlined words. As I spoke out I was impressed that He was asking some questions and then had some things to say!

Where is the house that you have built? Why have you told others that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit but you have not totally yielded to Me yet? How is it My house when you don’t always make Me welcome? There are times that you take the house back and you push Me out. It is to be My house. O, when will you stop struggling with Me and let Me do My will in and through you? It is I Who will receive the glory and not you! You also have told others that you have the peace that passeth all understanding but I can’t see it as you lose your peace with others and thus with Me. O My son, get out of My way and then and only then will I find My place of rest to be in you. For it is I and I alone Who has started and will complete the building of My house in you. Then I will find my place of rest and you will abide in My rest and that peace that passeth all understanding will abide upon you all to My glory and not yours!

Your servant in Christ


Website: http://www.sandhillbiblechurch.org

[Updated on: Sat, 29 December 2007 15:31]

 Topic: SANDHILL BIBLE CHURCH
SANDHILL BIBLE CHURCH [message #1053] Fri, 14 December 2007 05:21
DBH
Messages: 35
Registered: December 2007
Location: Auburn, Alabama
Member
SANDHILL BIBLE CHURCH - TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION


For the Lord your God does say that in this hour I am speaking to the hearts of men and women and showing them the way wherein they should go. And I say unto thee that if thou shalt listen, yea, if thou shalt heed, yea, if thou shalt ponder the path of thy feet, then I will guide thee, I will lead thee, I will show thee, saith the Lord, what ye need to know to make straight paths for your feet. But I say unto thee that there are lame areas even amongst members of this assembly; they will cause you to walk haltingly in the days ahead; they will cause you, saith the Lord, to be turned out of the way and turned aside after satan except ye be healed. So My people, let Me heal thee of thy back turnings, of thy backslidings, yea, of thy resistance, yea, of thy pride. Let Me humble thee, saith the Lord. For I would humble thee that thou wouldest not be humiliated in the days ahead, lest your folly be made manifest unto all. O My people, repent ye this day and draw near to Me, and I will draw near to thee, and I say unto thee that, that which is lame shall be healed, and thou shalt make straight paths for thy feet, and I shall guide thee in the way everlasting. Yea, and thou shalt see out of obscurity, and the things that have seemed obscure in the days gone by, because of the darkness of thine understanding, shall be seen clearly. Yea, saith the Lord, for I am able to anoint thine eyes with eyesalve. I am able to illuminate, yea, I am able, saith the Lord, to renew thee in the Spirit of thy mind, so that ye may behold the King and His beauty, that ye may behold the beauty of holiness as I understand holiness to be. Yea, saith the Spirit of God, that you might behold the way wherein ye should go, hearing a Word behind thee, saying, this is the way, walk ye in it. O My people, this is the hour when I will begin to move My people. Move them beyond the infantile stage, yea, that they might be brought to the perfect man, to the measure [of] the stature [of] the fullness of Christ. And shalt not this involve a change, yea, saith the Lord, from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord. For it is by My Spirit that this change shalt be wrought, saith God. And I will cause My people to begin to think with the mind of Christ, and to move in realms beyond their present level of understanding. And I say unto thee that there shall be a restoration of the mind of Christ and the body of Christ. And I say unto thee that they shall begin to walk upon their high places, and no man shall cast them down, and no man shall cause them to stumble. For they shall be granted a glimpse, saith the Lord, of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, and they shall begin to mount up [with wings] as eagles. Yea, saith the Lord, they shall begin to mount up, and they shall begin to ascend into realms, saith the Lord, that they have only pondered in days gone by, but now they begin to experience. I say unto thee, that this is what I have for thee: to go higher and to go deeper; yea, saith the Lord, to be led by My Spirit into deeper places of change, if you will permit Me to teach thee in the way wherein you should go. So humble ye, yea, saith the Lord, humble ye your own hearts beneath My mighty hand, and I shall begin to shape and mold and make a vessel unto honor, yea, meet for the Master’s Use in this last day of ministry and message. I say unto thee, that I will give thee My message as I have purged thee, saith the Lord. As I have removed the precious from the vile in thy life, I shall make thee as My own mouth, yea, saith the Lord, I shall put My Words in thy mouth, and when thou speaketh, thou shalt speak as the oracles of God, for a divine sentence will be fitted to thy lips. Yea, saith the Spirit, I seek a people who are walking in stride with Me, and a people who have been humbled beneath My hand, and a people who may speak with My Words to the people to whomsoever I send them. O My people, will ye be this people? Yea, saith the Lord, will ye be the people of God in the midst of a last day apostate generation? Will ye be the people, saith the Lord, who rise above the low level of superficial religion? Yea, if ye shall be this people, saith God, then I shall be thy God, and I shall equip thee, and I shall anoint thee, and I shall direct thy every step, and show thee the way wherein ye should go. Yea, I say unto thee, that darkness lies ahead, yea, a great darkness, saith God. But in the midst of the darkness great light will shine, for I shall be a light unto thee, saith the Lord, and I shall direct thee as you look unto Me, the author and finisher of thy faith; thy faith shall be lightened, and ye shall know what you ought to know, when you ought to know it, and thou shalt be led, not by thy own mind, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord.

Website: http://www.sandhillbiblechurch.org


SANDHILL BIBLE CHURCH - TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION

The Lord your God does say that I am with thee to the extent that you abide in My Spirit, saith the Lord. Yea, be not one bound by the brain, be not one who is simply limited to the unaided deductions of thy mind. Yea, saith the Lord, be one who is lead of the Spirit of God. For have I not said in My Word that they which are lead of the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. And I say unto thee that if thou shalt pray in the Spirit, yea, thou shalt learn what it is to be lead of the Spirit. For as ye yield your tongue, yea, as you yield your vocal apparatus to Me and allow Me to give thee utterance, not of thine own mind nor, saith the Lord, from thine own reasoning, yea, as you allow Me to give you utterance in another language, in the tongues, yea, in the Spirit, ye are yielding yourselves to Me. And if ye shall yield yourself to Me in regions beyond the tongues, saith the Lord, then thou shalt be lead of the Spirit. Yea, but all of this shall begin with learning to yield yourself to Me as you pray in the Spirit, saith God. So yield your members unto Me. Yea, saith God, yield them as instruments of righteousness as though who are alive from the dead and I shall work through thee, saith the Lord. Yea, I say unto thee, that I will use thee as a vessel set apart unto Me if you shall make communion with the Most High God thy top priority. Yea, if thou shalt make it the thing which your soul so yearns after, yea, if thou shalt make the hidden place of prayer a place of delight, if thou shalt make, saith the Lord, thy seeking of God a time set aside and unhindered and undistracted by man and by the interruptions of man, yea, if thou shalt come apart, yea, for a season and seek Me in prayer, I say unto thee that I shall restore thy joy. I say unto thee that I shall restore thy zeal. I say unto thee that I shall restore thy perception. I say unto thee that I shall quicken thine ear to hear what the Spirit of God is saying in this hour. And thou shall be lead of the Spirit even unknowingly, saith God, even unwittingly thou shalt find that I, the Lord your God, shall ordain thy steps and lead thee in the way wherein thou shouldest go. Thy steps shall be ordained, ordered by the Lord. So My people, seek Me even in this day in tongues, yea, seek Me, saith the Lord, to pray. Yea, seek Me, saith the Lord, to know what it is to be lead by the Spirit by first of all yielding your tongue, yea, your vocal apparatus to Me in the Spirit. And I say unto thee that if thou shalt learn to pray in the Spirit, yea, and to pray more earnestly and with a fervent heart, I say unto thee that I shall teach thee what it is to be lead of My Spirit and thou shalt know the mind of Christ and I shall give thee My judgments and I will show you when to pursue and I will show you when to cease from pursuit. I shall show you to what chariot to join thyself and I shall show you when to turn away. And I say unto thee that I alone am sufficient for these things. So seek Me, the Lord your God, wherein thy sufficiency lies and thou shalt be confident not competent in yourself but competent in the Lord Christ, yea, not sufficient of yourself but with a sufficiency that flows from God above.

Website: http://www.sandhillbiblechurch.org

[Updated on: Sat, 29 December 2007 15:33]

 Topic: JESUS CHRIST OUR HEALER
JESUS CHRIST OUR HEALER [message #1052] Fri, 14 December 2007 05:17
DBH
Messages: 35
Registered: December 2007
Location: Auburn, Alabama
Member


The Lord Jesus is so longsuffering and good to us. Recently on a Weds evening, at Sand Hill Bible Church, there was a Word of knowledge about someone with a hip problem. That very morning while I was praying at the Church, I was limping around with a very painful hip. I received the Word of Knowledge with joy and also believed for a painful knee to be manifested healed. I had previously claimed my healing by calling on Jesus, my healer, our great physician! Both healings were manifested and I want to declare that I love You Jesus and I thank You that You are so faithful and that You watch over Your word to perform it. Praise You Lord Jesus and Thank You Heavenly Father!


Website: http://www.sandhillbiblechurch.org


Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

[Updated on: Sat, 29 December 2007 15:34]

 Topic: "he being dead yet speaketh." (Heb. 11.4) Thoughts From HEF - Part 5
"he being dead yet speaketh." (Heb. 11.4) Thoughts From HEF - Part 5 [message #435] Thu, 01 February 2007 11:38
unclebob_5  is currently offline unclebob_5
Messages: 15
Registered: January 2007
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Junior Member
"God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh." (Heb. 11.4) Thoughts From HEF (Part 5)

I have recently been (re-)reading HEF's book, "Deeper Life In The Spirit"; this was a book that has always blessed me, so I thought I would just excerpt from it a bit for the benefit of those who have never (or recently) read it - starting at the beginning...Here is part 5 (from pp. 22-33 of the book; emphasis in bold is mine; my thoughts follow the excerpt). Read his teaching, meditate, and be blessed!

How to Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
with the Scriptural Sign Following


Two basic steps are necessary to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit: the first concerns preparation of the heart to receive the Holy Spirit; the second is the act of faith whereby one receives the baptism with the accompanying evidence.

Preparation of the Heart


In order to reap a harvest the farmer must first prepare the ground to receive the seed. In like manner one's heart must first be conditioned and prepared to receive the blessed Comforter. Some who have desired the baptism in the Holy Spirit have not received it because they have not prepared themselves beforehand. Receiving the Holy Spirit is not something to be taken lightly and rushed into without serious consideration. The basic purpose of God in giving us this anointing from heaven is not merely so we can speak in new tongues, as great a blessing as this experience is; but the baptism in the Holy Spirit is the doorway into the deeper life in the Spirit and the fullness of God. What then is necessary to prepare .the heart for this experience?

1. Believe that the Scriptures teach that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a personal experience subsequent to salvation which is promised to every believer.

    One cannot go beyond this point until the matter of the validity of the baptism in the Holy Spirit as a personal experience for the believer today is settled. God will not surprise a doubting heart with the Holy Spirit. One must have resolved any doctrinal questions as to the possibility of being filled with the Holy Spirit in the same manner as the disciples at Pentecost, or such doubt will act as a hindrance and one's faith cannot be released sufficiently for this experience. All of God's promises are appropriated by faith, and the promise of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is no exception. We must ground our faith in the Word of God, for faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17) and believing the Word. To remove doubts and correct wrong teaching, we recommend a sincere study of the Scriptures on this subject. This is how the writer received this experience, and I have been privileged to instruct and lead hundreds of others into this blessing. There is, we believe, sufficient scriptural evidence set forth in this chapter to inspire the necessary faith to receive the Holy Spirit.

    The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a clear Scriptural promise to every believer.

a. Old Testament prophecy.

    Joel predicted that in the latter days God would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh:

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.
– Joel 2:28

This was first experienced on the Day of Pentecost, when the 120 disciples were all filed with the Holy Spirit and spoke with new languages or tongues (Acts 2:1-4). The fact that the promise was not limited to this initial outpouring is seen from Peter's words of explanation of their experience in Acts 2:38-39, where the same gift of the Holy Spirit is promised to all those who receive Christ: "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." The promise of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is without question for all believers who will exercise the faith to appropriate it.

b. New Testament promise.

    The classic passage where Jesus promises us the gift of the Holy Spirit is Luke 11:9-13. Verse 13 reads: "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" The willingness of our heavenly Father to give us the baptism of the Holy Spirit is clearly indicated here, since, as a child of God, we already have received the work of the Spirit in regeneration (Romans 8:9, 15-16). The writer has seen many, many Christians come into this blessing merely by quoting to them this verse of Scripture, which was then appropriated by them in faith. Christ also promises the baptism in Acts 1:4-5, 8.

2. Recognize your need of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

    Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." As long as one is satisfied with his present spiritual level of life and testimony; as long as he is content with his present degree of holiness, faith, and power; as long as he is satisfied with his present mediocrity and fruitlessness, or his inability to fulfill his responsibilities to the commission as Jesus intended (Mark 16: 15-20), then the baptism in the Holy Spirit will not hold sufficient interest for him to receive it.

    A most tragic situation is when the Christian finds himself satisfied with his present level of spiritual growth and attainment. Occasionally there are those who will ask, "What you say concerning the fulfilling of Joel's prophecy today may be true, but what do I need with the baptism in the Holy Spirit?" This is tantamount to asking, "What do I need with more of the power and presence of God in my life?" To ask such a question reveals an abysmal lack of spiritual perception into the teaching of Jesus concerning the need and purpose of the baptism, and is itself an indication of such need of the Holy Spirit by this individual.

    When Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit," He was saying, "Blessed is that individual who recognizes his spiritual poverty; who is aware of his own insufficiency to fulfill My will in his life, and to give an effective witness, or to minister to the needs of the whole man." When one sees himself, as it were, a spiritual pauper and in dire need of power from on high, then in humility he will cry out for divine enablement, desiring above all else the baptism from heaven. This will never occur until one comes to the end of himself and sees himself helpless before a dying world which is in dire need, which he in his pathetic feeble efforts is unable to meet effectively because he lacks the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
    The primary reason multitudes in the organized church of our day do not see their need of the baptism of power from on high is that the church has substituted religious organizations and institutions, church activities, and dynamic programs for the power of the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit were taken out of the world tomorrow, most of the program and work of the churches would go right on and they would not know the difference! Therefore, until one is aware of his spiritual poverty and need of the Holy Spirit, attempting to persuade him with scriptural argument is useless.

3. Receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit must be the greatest expectation of the heart.

    One must have a deep hunger and thirst for the Holy Spirit. This thirst must be the most important thing in his life, the greatest expectation of his heart, and the deepest longing of the soul. For now it must be more important than work, friends, eating, or sleeping. One might say, "I don't feel such an urgency or longing, although I would like to have this experience." Then my advice is: do not ask for the Holy Spirit until you feel the need and desire due to your spiritual poverty—until you make it as important as the experience is.

    The Christian will not receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit until he recognizes his need for this empowering (point 2, above), but one may be all too aware of his need and still not have a deep desire to receive this experience. A man may be quite conscious of his need of deliverance from alcohol or drug addiction, for example, but at the same time be totally lacking in any desire to give up these things. One may be weak, sickly, and suffering from malnutrition due to an inadequate diet, and still have no real desire to seek a change. Many Christians recognize their spiritual weakness, fruitlessness, ineffectiveness, and need of the baptism, but experience no deep hunger and thirst for the Holy Spirit. God cannot fill one who is not hungry, nor quench the thirst of one who is not thirsty. Jesus said, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6). Spiritual blessings, by their very nature, cannot be forced upon one, and for this reason Jesus invites only the thirsty to come unto Him and receive the Holy Spirit, saying,

If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him would receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.
– John 7:37-38

In my ministry I have seen hundreds receive the Holy Spirit, entering into a new spiritual dimension which has gloriously changed their lives. In only a few instances, those who have come for the laying on of hands have not received the baptism in the Holy Spirit; but in each case it was not difficult to determine the reason. Generally, it was due to a lack of faith on their part or a lack of deep-felt hunger for this experience. I have been privileged to pray for Christians who came sometimes from long distances with such yearning in their hearts for more of God's life and power in their lives that they could not rest until they had received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    In one instance, two Catholic women had sought this experience for four years without success. When they heard of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Notre Dame in March 1967, in which I had the privilege of participating, their hunger for the Holy Spirit was such that they left their employment in Canada and flew to South Bend, Indiana, for the purpose of receiving the baptism! It was also my privilege to pray for one of these. She received the Holy Spirit immediately, speaking in new tongues. The other woman, to the best of my knowledge, had already received when she arrived at the meeting.

    On another occasion a woman who lived in another state had such a hunger that she arose early one morning and drove to my residence, knocking on my door at 9:30 a.m. asking for prayer for the baptism in the Holy Spirit, Needless to say her thirst was quenched by the Lord. One brother, a missionary from Africa, although aware that receiving this experience could mean his dismissal from fellowship with his denomination (which actually occurred later), nevertheless felt such a need for the baptism of power in his ministry that he deemed the cost was little enough to pay.

    Many instances of the satisfaction of this deep-felt hunger for the Holy Spirit could be given; but where such a hunger was lacking, these individuals have not received the baptism. A case comes to mind of a pastor, who, as most Christians, believed that he had received the baptism in the Holy Spirit at the time he was saved. However, upon being shown from the Scriptures that he did not have the baptism because he did not have the scriptural evidence of speaking in tongues, he asked for prayer to receive the baptism, stating that he wanted all God had for him. But he then added, "However, God has blessed my ministry so much that I must admit that I do not have a real hunger for this experience as probably most of those for whom you have prayed." Needless to say, he received nothing. In fact, I make it a point never to pray for those who do not express a real need and desire to receive the Holy Spirit. These individuals never receive, and it only increases their skepticism and indifference toward the whole experience. Without a genuine thirst for the experience, one cannot exercise sufficient faith to receive the promise. Moreover, God cannot be expected to take one seriously who asks for His best gifts, but who, in turn, manifests no real love and hunger for them.

4. Finally, there must be a willingness to receive the Holy Spirit on God's terms.

    This means, first of all, a willingness to receive the baptism with its evidence—that is, speaking in new tongues. Had the disciples on the day of Pentecost been as prejudiced and uncooperative as some Christians today who attempt to set the "conditions" for receiving the baptism, Pentecost would never have occurred. Receiving the sign of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, contrary to the misconception held by some, is not optional. Occasionally some recognize their need of the Holy Spirit and seek the baptism; but due to a lack of understanding of the need and purpose of speaking in tongues, they ask, "What do I need with the tongues? I just want the empowering of the Spirit." Others, wishing to avoid what they feel is the stigma associated with speaking in tongues, seek the baptism on their terms, without the vocal evidence. But this would be like inviting Jesus into your home because you recognize the need of His presence and power, but forbidding Him ever to speak! It is as if one should ask, "Can I receive Christ as my Savior without having to witness to this fact to others? They would doubtless laugh and ridicule, or perhaps persecute me for my testimony." Obviously, one cannot receive Christ who does not care to pay the cost, and in the same manner one does not receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit who would seek to conceal the evidence and testimony of his experience: supernatural utterance given by the Spirit of God. To reject the sign of the baptism, because one fears the so-called stigma of tongues, betrays a lack of awareness of the basic teachings of Jesus concerning discipleship, for He repeatedly emphasized that His disciples are called to suffer tribulation and persecution for His sake (John 15:18-21; 16:33; Acts 14:23; 2Tim 3:12; 1Pet 2:19). One need not think that receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit is any exception to this. On the day of Pentecost, did they not accuse the disciples of being drunken with wine?

    For those who question the need of speaking in tongues as evidence of one's baptism, it is well to ask, "How could one know whether or not he had received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, unless he received it in the same manner as the disciples at Pentecost?" Sometimes Christians, who feel that they have received the Holy Spirit without speaking in tongues, have stated that they do not believe that speaking in tongues is the only evidence of the baptism. Often these are sincere Christians who have had some supernatural experience in their lives, in which God has spoken audibly to them, or they have had a heavenly vision, or some other deeply moving spiritual experience with the Lord, which they identify with the baptism in the Holy Spirit. In one such instance, a young man, while in conversation with the writer, insisted that he had received the baptism because of just such an experience, in which the room where he was praying was suddenly illuminated with heavenly light and Jesus spoke to him audibly. This he was sure was his "baptism in the Holy Spirit." However, we may point out that the Apostle Paul had almost an identical experience to this on the road to Damascus, in which he too saw a great light which "shined round about him from heaven...and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul..." (Acts 9:3-4). But we read that it was not until three days later that he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit (9:9-17). And there is no question as to whether or not Paul spoke in tongues, as 1 Corinthians 14:18 clearly indicates. Evidence that speaking in tongues is definitely the "sign" of having received the baptism in the Holy Spirit has already been sufficiently set forth earlier in this chapter. It is worth noting that this same young man who thought he had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit without speaking in tongues at the time of his supernatural encounter with the Lord, later when shown his error received the baptism with its evidence, as others have done.

    Frequently, Christians wish to be filled with the Holy Spirit because they are all too aware of their spiritual ineffectiveness, weaknesses, fruitlessness, and failure. Out of real spiritual concern, such individuals wish to be more successful and effective as a pastor, evangelist, missionary, or teacher, or desire to live a more victorious Christian life. They sincerely desire the power of the Spirit in their lives, but on their own terms. These individuals will find, however, if they will carefully examine their motives, that their primary concern is not so much God's glory as their own failures! Too often, if we are really honest with ourselves, we are really asking God to change our lives if we do not have to change our beliefs in the process. We have a subtle way of sanctifying our desires many times by telling ourselves that what we wish from God is for His glory, as well as for our good, when in reality, if we would examine our motives, God's will and purpose may play a very minor role in the matter.

    For example, a minister once asked me to pray for him to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, after he had heard me speak to a group of Christians, telling them of the tremendous change this experience had made in my life and ministry. He confessed that his ministry had been largely unsuccessful, without fruit, and that he needed and desired the baptism. However, he added that he wanted to receive this experience "without the tongues," because the denomination to which he belonged accepted the baptism as valid, but taught that speaking in tongues was not for our day. One who desires the baptism in the Spirit should not ask God, "How can I receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit without tongues?" but "How can I receive the identical experience that the disciples at Pentecost received in the identical way in which they did, so that I might be what they were and do what they did?

    So, to receive the baptism on God's terms, we must first be willing to receive with the evidence. But we must also be willing, in the second place, to fulfill God's purpose in giving us the Holy Spirit. This purpose is to bring us into the deeper life in the Spirit and to fill us with all the fullness of Himself (Ephesians 3:19). Our motive must be that we desire this experience in order that we might become holy temples for habitation by the Spirit. To desire the baptism merely to be empowered, whether to speak supernaturally in new tongues, to witness more effectively, or to be endowed with the gifts of the Spirit, fails to take into account the fact that, while these blessings are to be desired, they are not ends in themselves. The Holy Spirit comes to make us what He is: HOLY. The Holy Spirit does not care to indwell one whose basic desire is not the same as His. While receiving the Holy Spirit is by a simple act of faith, and is not dependent upon our reaching a certain degree of perfection first, nevertheless, there must be a willingness to walk in the Spirit and manifest the fruit and character of the Holy Spirit.

    In Acts 1:8 we read that when the Holy Spirit comes He empowers the disciple to witness. Significantly, this is why the Holy Spirit is reluctant to fill one whose primary desire is not holiness of character and life, for one can only witness to what he is. Thus, the Holy Spirit does not want to empower anyone to witness to the wrong things. If one desires to be empowered, but wants to live at about the same spiritual level as before, and does not wish to pay the cost of disciplining himself for the deeper walk in the Spirit, submitting his life completely to the Spirit for His control, then the Holy Spirit would be empowering him to be a witness against Himself! We have power enough already to witness to our spiritual weaknesses and failures. If the Holy Spirit gave us power to witness without changing us, we would only publish our weaknesses and shortcomings before the world.

    The heart must be prepared to receive the blessed Holy Spirit. The Christian must be willing to ask himself if he is really willing to be filled with One who will take over the control of his life and be his Lord; One who will not accept rationalizations and excuses for sin in his life; One who will no longer tolerate the self-life he has been living, but will require him to submit himself to His pruning and refining work in order to be crucified with Christ. Unless one can sincerely answer in the affirmative that this is his desire, then he does not want the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but merely the empowering of the spirit to serve his own religious ends.

Receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit


1. Believe God's Word which promises you the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39).
The terms "baptism," "filled," and "gift" of the Holy Spirit are used synonymously. Cf. Acts 1:5; 2:4; 10:45; 11:15-17.

2. Ask for the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:9-13).

3. Confess that you have received the Holy Spirit by faith (Mark 11:24).

    For example, say: "Heavenly Father, on the authority of your promise, I now ask for, and by faith receive, the gift of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus' Name."

4. Act on your faith (James 2:17).

    The scriptural evidence of having received the baptism in the Holy Spirit is the sign of speaking in a new tongue (Acts 2:4; 10:44-46; 19:1-6; Mark 16:17). In Acts 2:4 we read, "They...began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." God fills you, but you must begin to speak. Determine not to speak a word of English at this time (for you cannot speak two languages at once). Lift up the sound of your voice and the Holy Spirit will give you utterance in a new language supernaturally.

    Do not be concerned about "what to say," as the language is spoken supernaturally and does not come through the mind or intellect, but through your spirit quickened by the Holy Spirit. In faith, put your speech faculties into operation (vocal chords, tongue, lips) as in speaking any language, and the Holy Spirit, now indwelling you, will give the utterance.

    Remember, receiving the Holy Spirit is an act of faith, and this promise is to be appropriated in the same way as all God's promises are, such as salvation, healing, etc. Some who have not understood this fact have failed to receive because they were looking for some "feeling," "emotional experience," or "special anointing" before they would believe they had received the Holy Spirit. We are to receive the Holy Spirit by faith, and as we act on our faith, the evidence and assurance will follow.

My thoughts (see text in bold)--
--One thing I find interesting about this section of DLS is that Dr. Freeman spends more time on preparation of the heart - about 11 pages in the print edition - than he does on receiving - just a little over 2 pages. "Receiving the Holy Spirit is not something to be taken lightly and rushed into without serious consideration," is what Dr. Freeman teaches us here. A slogan comes to my mind (think it might be something they say in government or the military): "Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance." I think the HEF would have agreed with that! Those of us today who would want to minister the truth of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit to others effectively, should learn from Dr. Freeman that "Some who have desired the baptism in the Holy Spirit have not received it because they have not prepared themselves beforehand." My understanding is that HEF was used mightily to minister the baptism to many, many people. I myself received it through reading his teachings in this very book. He was skilled in this area, and he understood the absolute importance of proper preparation - getting the doctrinal doubts out, eliminating objections, challenging the heart.

"He being dead...YET SPEAKETH!"
Your thoughts?


Bob...
<<<FAITH>>> MOVES MOUNTAINS
 Topic: Divine Healing (Part 2): "Go and Do the Same"
Divine Healing (Part 2): "Go and Do the Same" [message #434] Thu, 01 February 2007 11:22
unclebob_5  is currently offline unclebob_5
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Parable of the Good Samaritan


Quote:

30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.

37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
Luke 10:30-37 (NLT)




I guess that if there is any passage from the gospels that is familiar to most people, it is this one. Perhaps, like me, you have heard this story from your early childhood. And we are very familiar with it --
--The Jewish man traveling, attacked (Greek: surrounded), stripped, very badly beaten and left beside the road
--The priest, who crosses by on the other side of the road
--The Temple assistant (Levite) who comes over to take a look, but also passes by
--The Samaritan who, feeling compassion, chooses to help the man
--Jesus' question: who was this man's neighbor? And the reply of the questioner: the one who was merciful
--Jesus' final comment: "Yes, now go and do the same."

If you were trying to summarize this account for children (and my wife and I do this all the time, as we teach kids at our church), what would you say? Perhaps something like this: "There once was a man…Then there was a third man, a Samaritan. Only he had compassion on this injured man, and helped him. And Jesus our Savior said we should do the same."

One of the things I find very striking - astonishing, really - is the fact that the Samaritan gave the injured man medical treatment! From our perspective it might seem more like "first aid", but at that time, it really amounted to significant medical care. Let's list out what he did --

--The Samaritan "smoothed" (epicheō - to pour on) wine and oil into the man's wounds. Why? Because they had medicinal value.
*Oil was used to moisturize wounds, to keep them from hardening and cracking (which would have permitted germs to enter, causing infections). We see a reference to this in Isaiah: "From the sole of the foot even to the head/There is nothing sound in it,/Only bruises, welts and raw wounds,/Not pressed out or bandaged,/nor softened with oil." (Isa. 1.6 NASB)
*Wine has often been used as an antibiotic/antiseptic treatment, possessing alcohol. In other words, it kills germs.

--Then the Samaritan bandaged those wounds, to keep out dirt and to help the wound heal (and to prevent additional blood loss). These types of remedies were well known in the ancient world. For example, Hippocrates (the father of medicine) prescribes for ulcers, “Bind with soft wool, and sprinkle with wine and oil.” (See Vincent's Word Studies on this)

--Then the Samaritan gives the injured man an "ambulance ride" to a kind of "hospital": he mounts him on his own animal, and while walking along with him, takes him to an inn, where he continues to care for him - perhaps changing his bandages and applying more wine and oil.

--The next day the Samaritan provides for his continued care and healing treatment, leaving a deposit of money with the innkeeper, with a promise that he will meet any additional expense incurred in the treatment of this man.

By the way, Warren Wiersbe, in his famous "BE" commentaries, says this--
Quote:

"Jesus did not say that this story was a parable, so it could well be the report of an actual occurrence. For Jesus to tell a story that made the Jews look bad and the Samaritans look good would either be dangerous or self-defeating. “You just made that up!” they could say. “We all know that nothing like that would ever happen!” So it is possible that some of His listeners, including the lawyer, knew that such a thing had really happened. Either way, the account is realistic."


Would you say it is fair and reasonable to understand that the Samaritan used medicines and medical treatment in helping this man who was injured? I think so.

But here is what I find striking -- in this account Jesus does not display any antagonism towards medicine. He does not condemn the actions of the Samaritan in providing medical care. No one is upbraided for having a "lack of faith". In fact, Jesus commends his actions - He agrees with His questioner that the Samaritan "showed mercy" - that he displayed compassion.

And Jesus commands us, as well as His questioner, to "Go and do the same."

How? In what way are we to "do the same?" To show compassion on our "neighbors"? -- which Jesus is teaching us includes everyone with a need. What actions would be the "same" actions we are told by Christ to do? How can we show that compassion? Can we not show compassion (at least in part) by providing compassionate care - including compassionate medical care - for the sick and injured - just as this Samaritan man did?

"Go and do the same." -- Jesus said so!


Bob...
<<<FAITH>>> MOVES MOUNTAINS
 Topic: "he being dead yet speaketh." (Heb. 11.4) Thoughts From HEF - Part 4
"he being dead yet speaketh." (Heb. 11.4) Thoughts From HEF - Part 4 [message #432] Mon, 29 January 2007 16:59
unclebob_5  is currently offline unclebob_5
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"God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh." (Heb. 11.4) Thoughts From HEF (Part 4)

I have recently been (re-)reading HEF's book, "Deeper Life In The Spirit"; this was a book that has always blessed me, so I thought I would just excerpt from it a bit for the benefit of those who have never (or recently) read it - starting at the beginning...Here is part 4 (from pp. 13-21 of the book; emphasis in bold is mine; my thoughts follow the excerpt). Read his teaching, meditate, and be blessed!

The Doorway into the Deeper Life


As we stand on the threshold of the consummation of the age, when the world's foundations are already beginning to crumble around us; as we stand in the midst of an increasing flood of satanic wickedness, when even the church seems almost overwhelmed by the powers of darkness; as we find ourselves living in an age in which the term "discipleship" has lost all real meaning, and Christians seem, all too frequently, little more than pale shadows of their earlier brethren, with neither the power nor the fruits of the Holy Spirit in their lives, the most vital question confronting the believer today is that asked by the Apostle Paul when he inquired of the disciples at Ephesus:

"Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?"

It is imperative that one, first of all, deal sincerely with this question which confronts every believer, or it will be impossible to enter into the deeper life in the Spirit. The Scriptures address themselves at this point only to those men and women who, because of their deep hunger and thirst for more of Christ (Matthew 5:6), and because of the awareness of their own spiritual poverty (Matthew 5:3), are convinced that nothing less than an outpouring of the Spirit from on high can deliver them from their present lifeless Christianity and the spiritual wilderness in which they seem to be wandering aimlessly.

    The only question is: "How can the Christian, who has gotten over his doctrinal questions about the possibility of being filled with the Holy Spirit today, receive this experience?" For most Christians, the matter has already been settled by their denominational creed, whereby they are generally taught that the baptism of the Spirit is received at the time of regeneration and is identical with that received by the disciples at Pentecost, only without the tongues, which, according to them, was merely a temporary sign or experience of the apostolic church. Thus, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is, they believe, some dubious experience which they received more or less automatically, inevitably, and unconsciously when they were saved, or, as some contend, at the time of water baptism, or at confirmation. They are taught that after conversion they must strive to be "filled" more and more with the Spirit, and that to the extent they yield themselves to Him, they will experience His power, bear the fruit of the Spirit, and be effective in their witness.

    It must be admitted, however, that in the actual experience of most Christians, the baptism of the Holy Spirit remains only a "doctrine" in the creed, and the hope of some day being "filled" with the Spirit always seems beyond their grasp. It is evident that something is amiss with an interpretation of the Scriptures which asserts that one has already received an experience about which he seems to know so little personally.

    Therefore, we must point out at the beginning that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a definite, personal experience subsequent to salvation, confirmed to the believer with the evidence of speaking in a new language supernaturally as the Holy Spirit gives utterance. In Acts 2:38-39, we are assured that the promise of this experience is not limited to the disciples and Jews at Pentecost, but is made "to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." There is more confusion over the subject of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and its evidence of speaking in tongues than perhaps any other. Christians have been misled, mistaught, confused, and warned against so-called "pentecostalism," until they do not know what to believe. This tragic state of affairs is no accident! An Enemy has crept in and sown his tares while the church slept. Satan knows that a Christian has no real power over him without the empowering of the Holy Spirit, which comes as a result of the baptism experience, and that a church in which the members are not filled with the Spirit of Truth is open to his deceptions, and that it has no anointing to fulfill its commission as Christ intended. Thus, the powers of darkness have done everything they can to convince Christians, and with no little success, that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a personal experience subsequent to salvation, and that speaking in tongues today is inspired by the Devil! Perhaps Satan's greatest victory has been to create a fear of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of Christians. The Spirit's blessed work and ministry in the life of the believer is so misunderstood by our generation that the very mention of the baptism in the Holy Spirit in many churches is sufficient to frighten people into open resistance. We insist upon the need of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as a definite experience for the Christian subsequent to salvation, because it is not just an arbitrary requirement, but is essential to the Spirit-led life. It is the doorway into the deeper life in the Spirit.

Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit


The Apostle Paul asks a question in Acts 19:2 about which no Christian should have any doubt as to the answer. Yet most do not have any real assurance, from an experiential standpoint, whereby they could reply in the affirmative beyond any question of doubt. He asks, "Having believed, did ye receive the Holy Spirit?" (This is a literal rendering of the Greek.) Most denominational Christians, if they are honest with themselves, will give the same reply as the disciples at Ephesus: "We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost" to be received as a personal experience. In some instances, there have been those who have had an unusual spiritual encounter with God, experiencing such things as deep emotion or unspeakable joy, visions and revelations, or a great anointing by the Holy Spirit, and have concluded that such glorious experiences must have been a "baptism" in the Holy Spirit. Usually, however, they state categorically that they have not "spoken in tongues." Therefore, the majority of believers either accept the question of their baptism in the Holy Spirit as a matter of doctrine based upon the teachings of their creeds, or in a few instances believe that they have entered into this experience because of some deep, personal, spiritual experience. Is there any definite scriptural evidence and sign of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, whereby one may know conclusively whether or not he has received this experience? We believe that there is.

1. If one has the baptism in the Holy Spirit he will know it.

    This is not "begging the question" (i.e., assuming the point raised in the question). It should be obvious that unless one knows positively that he has experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and has the evidence, then he has not. Just as the Christian can know by experience, from a personal encounter with Jesus Christ at a definite point in his life, that he is saved, or know, from experience, that he is married, or know that he has been baptized in water; in the same manner he will know if he has experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit. In Acts 19:2, it is evident that the disciples at Ephesus knew that they had not yet received the baptism in the Holy Spirit; but unlike most today, they did not have to examine their creeds to determine this fact. They knew how to answer the Apostle's question, for the simple reason that they lacked the experience. But after the Apostle had laid hands upon them, they then knew that they had received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, inasmuch as they had just experienced it with its evidence, for we read, "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues and prophesied" (Acts 19:6). It is the same today: when one receives the Holy Spirit he will know it because he has experienced it. If there is any doubt, then it is evident that he has not.

2. If one has the baptism in the Holy Spirit he will know when he received the experience.

No one was ever filled with the Holy Spirit gradually. This is to confuse the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the "fullness" of God, which is a growth (Ephesians 3:19; 4:13-16). The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a definite, personal experience into which one enters at a specific time. Because the contemporary church has lost this personal encounter with the Spirit, it now teaches a gradual "filling" based on Ephesians 5:18. In this view, as one empties himself and yields to the Holy Spirit, which he received at the time of conversion, he will find that his life is gradually "filled" more and more with the Spirit and under His control.

    However, in the New Testament the terms "baptized" with the Holy Spirit and "filled" with the Spirit are synonymous (compare, for example, Acts 1:4-5 with Acts 2:4). Therefore, when one is "baptized" in the Holy Spirit, he is "filled" with the Spirit. No Christian is baptized or filled gradually over a period of time. The baptism is an instantaneous, complete filling with the Spirit at a definite, specific time in the life of any believer who in faith asks for this experience.

3. If one has received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, it is because he asked for the experience.

Almost without exception, those who have entered into this experience have done so as a direct result of their having asked the Lord in faith for His Holy Spirit. In Luke 11:13, Jesus invites the believer to ask for the Comforter, saying: "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"

    Often I have heard Christians say, "If the baptism in the Holy Spirit were for today, I believe I would have received it, because I have told God that I want all He has for me." Such a prayer will never be answered by God, for the simple reason that it is not a prayer of faith. We must never condition our prayers with "if" when asking for that which God has specifically promised us in His Word, as He has clearly done concerning the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:9-13; Acts 2:38-39). These same Christians who say they have prayed, "If this experience is for me I want it," concerning the promise of the Holy Spirit, certainly did not pray this way concerning the promise of salvation in John 3:16, saying to God, "If salvation is for me, I want it." On the contrary, salvation, as they well know, came as a result of their making a specific claim in faith on the promise of God. All the promises of God are, without exception, received in the same manner—by a definite act of faith. Paul likewise tells us that the Holy Spirit is to be received by faith when he asks the Galatians: "Received ye the Spirit by works of the law, or by...faith?" and then concluding, "We...receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Galatians 3:2, 14).

    The baptism of the Holy Spirit is clearly promised the believer in the Word of God, but one cannot receive this blessing until he has gotten over any doubts or doctrinal questions about the possibility of being filled with the Spirit today. All of God's promises are to be appropriated by faith. To remove doubts we recommend a study of God's Word on this question, for where there is no faith, there is no expectation for anything to happen, and where there is no expectation, nothing can happen. If one has received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, it is because he has asked for this blessed experience in faith, believing that it is promised to him in the Word of God.

4. If one has received the baptism in the Holy Spirit he will have the scriptural sign and evidence.

    Is there a scriptural sign that one has been baptized in the Holy Spirit? We believe there is. Occasionally there are those who believe that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a valid experience for the believer today, but who claim to have received the baptism without speaking in new tongues. They tell of "an inward experience," of "being overwhelmed with a great sense of love," of "feeling deep emotion," of "experiencing an awareness of God's Presence," of "an unusual anointing," of "being beside themselves with joy," of "seeing a vision," and so on. All of these experiences, as precious as they are to the recipient, are, nevertheless, based upon feeling, emotion, or other subjective factors of which the Bible says nothing in regard to the baptism. This of course is not to discredit such sacred, personal experiences with God; but we must not confuse such subjective encounters with God with the baptism in the Holy Spirit, accepting them as evidence of the baptism. We must evaluate our experience in the light of Scripture. When we do this, we find that speaking in a new language or tongue supernaturally is the scriptural sign of having received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

a. Speaking in tongues was predicted in the Old Testament.

    (1) Joel 2:28-29. Peter quotes this to authenticate the divine source of the ability to speak the new languages at Pentecost. Joel had predicted the outpouring or baptism. Peter said the new tongues were the evidence or sign. Note carefully it was the phenomenon of speaking in new tongues that excited the Jews, causing them to inquire: "What meaneth this?"

    (2) Isaiah 28:11-12. Paul cited this prophecy to indicate that speaking in tongues in the church had been predicted by Isaiah. See I Corinthians 14:21-22.

b. This sign was incontestable proof to the Jewish church that the Holy Spirit had been given to the Gentile Christians.

    Acts 10:44-46. It was when they heard them speak with tongues that Peter declared that they "have received the Holy Ghost as well as we." In Acts 11:16 he calls it the "baptism with the Holy Ghost."

c. This sign was doubtless missing from the Samaritans' experience; thus it was evident that they had not received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

    Acts 8:4-8, 12-19. Moreover, verse 18 says that Simon "saw" something which caused him to offer money for the power to give the Holy Spirit to others. Neither Philip's healings, exorcisms, nor miracles caused Simon to offer money for these. Evidently he had heard them speak with new tongues when they received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

d. The 120 disciples all spoke with new tongues and they accepted this alone as evidence that Christ had now fulfilled his promise to baptize them in the Holy Spirit.

    Compare Acts 1:4-5, 8 with Acts 2:4, 33. This is their own interpretation of their experience; namely, that the baptism in the Holy Spirit results in speaking in new tongues.

e. Twenty years after Pentecost speaking in tongues was still the sign and evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit.

    Acts 19:1-6.

f. Speaking in tongues was a commonly accepted phenomenon in the churches and considered a manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

    I Corinthians 12-14; Romans 8:26-27; Ephesians 6:18; and Jude 1:20.

We conclude, therefore, that speaking in tongues, and this alone, can be considered as scriptural evidence confirming the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The writer has ministered to some of those who thought they had received the baptism in the Holy Spirit without tongues. When shown their untenable position from Scripture, they received the baptism with speaking in tongues. Without exception, those who want to speak with tongues always do when they yield their tongues and will to the Holy Spirit. Obviously, some have experienced "anointing? of the Holy Spirit. But they mistakenly equate the "anointing" with the baptism in the Holy Spirit, in order to avoid the stigma that has come to be associated with speaking in a new tongue.

    God would not base the assurance of having given us His Holy Spirit on mere "feelings" or "emotional experiences," no matter how precious or sacred these may be. Feelings and emotional experiences are too subjective and variable from individual to individual. He chose the sign of speaking a new language supernaturally as the evidence of the baptism because it is (1) outward evidence, (2) uniform evidence, (3) universal evidence, and (4) supernatural evidence. Emotional, physical, or spiritual manifestations may also occur and sometimes do accompany the sign of tongues, but the Bible does not tell us to look for these as they are too unreliable and variable. Look for the sign God has given.

These signs shall follow them that believe;...they shall speak with new tongues.
– Mark 16:17



My thoughts (see text in bold)--

--I guess the main thing that speaks to me in this section was Dr. Freeman's insistance that proper Scriptural teaching on this subject is necessary. I find today that in many churches there is a lot of appeal to having an "experience," and that not much time is spent on Scriptural teaching on this subject. Just a lot of anecdotes, slogans, and a few Scripture quotes thrown in for good measure. Later on, many who have had an "experience" but not enough teaching begin to question it all.


"He being dead...YET SPEAKETH!"
Your thoughts?


Bob...
<<<FAITH>>> MOVES MOUNTAINS
 Topic: "he being dead yet speaketh." (Heb. 11.4) Thoughts From HEF - Part 2
"he being dead yet speaketh." (Heb. 11.4) Thoughts From HEF - Part 2 [message #418] Mon, 22 January 2007 12:57
unclebob_5  is currently offline unclebob_5
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"God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh." (Heb. 11.4) Thoughts From HEF (Part 2)


I have recently been (re-)reading HEF's book, "Deeper Life In The Spirit"; this was a book that has always blessed me, so I thought I would just excerpt from it a bit for the benefit of those who have never (or recently) read it - starting at the beginning...Here is part 2 (emphasis in bold is mine; my thoughts follow the excerpt). Read his teaching, meditate, and be blessed!

The Need for the Deeper Life


The present age is characterized by two evils affecting both the secular and religious spheres of life. One concerns moral discernment; the other involves moral authority. The spiritual and moral character of the present age shows how far conditions have deteriorated. At this point, the only solution, as well as the greatest need of Christianity, is the restoration of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in the church. This is not to be construed as some sort of mystical empowering of the present religious institution, whereby its current programs, organization, and methods are made more effective. The need is for a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit by individual Christians in an experience identical to that received by the disciples at Pentecost.

    To compensate for its lack of power and effectiveness against the present-day flood of wickedness and unbelief, the church has turned to such substitutes as increased religious activity, new methods, dynamic programs, and the merger of denominations in order to multiply its membership and increase its outreach. However sincere the effort may be on the part of some, all such attempts are destined to fail, just as they have in the past. Man cannot restore life to the body by means of artificial respiration when the spirit has departed, for "the body without the spirit is dead" (James 2:26). Only an effusion of power from on high within the lives of Christians themselves can deliver the contemporary Laodicean church from the moral and spiritual chaos affecting the whole of mankind in this hour.

1. Moral And spiritual characteristics of our age.

    The imperative need of the restoration of the sovereign operation and ministry of the Holy Spirit once more in the church will be seen, we believe, from the following discussion of the two moral and spiritual characteristics of the age in which we live.

a. It is an age without moral and spiritual discernment.

    Although the present age has been described by some observers as an age of scientific progress, human achievement, and tremendous advancements into new frontiers of technology, it may, from a moral standpoint at least, be more accurately described as an age of moral and spiritual crisis. This is reflected in such things as the phenomenal increase in crime, war, and drug addiction, the almost universal preoccupation with sex, the general disregard for authority, the great social upheavals and racial strife, and the almost abysmal lack of moral understanding and concern on every hand. We find ourselves living in an age analogous to the dark ages of the Judges when "every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). The great apostasy of our day and the perilous times in which we live were foretold by the Apostle Paul as characterizing the last days:

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.
– II Timothy 3:1-5

Truly it is an age when men and women, in many respects, seem to have lost the capacity for moral discernment, calling darkness light and evil good, as was true of Israel in Isaiah's time when he declared, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter" (Isaiah 5:20).

    As in the period of the Judges, young and old alike consider themselves adequate authorities in spiritual and moral matters, judging what is right and wrong, scorning all attempts at instruction or restraint as outmoded "authoritarianism." The carefree moral philosophy of today is conformity and compromise. It is a time when, even among professing Christians, being "accepted" by the group seems to be more important than being accepted by God. The distinction between the sacred and the secular is rapidly becoming more difficult to discern; there is a loss of a sense of reverence toward God and sacred things; the concept of holiness in the life and character of the Christian is for the most part a thing of the past; and a lack of respect for parents and authority by the younger generation is reflected in a lack of respect for and fear of God. Within Christendom itself the church and family as the center of interest has been largely replaced with secular interests, and the once quiet Christian home is now monopolized by TV and rock music. Two global conflicts in this century, together with the constant turmoil, world-wide unrest, confusion, and uncertainty about the future have taken their toll, resulting in moral decay, increased drunkenness, divorce, juvenile delinquency, crime, and a loss of spiritual concern. Modern scientific and technological achievements, in spite of their beneficial results, have only added to the problem. They have placed at our disposal hundreds of improvements to save time and make life easier, but have provided thereby more time for development of the secular life, leisure, pleasure, and sin.

b. It is an age without moral and spiritual authority.

    The prevailing moral philosophy of this age can be characterized by three words: everything is relative. Morals are relative to time, place, and circumstance. Conduct is largely determined by the principle "when in Rome do as the Romans do," and "right" is now defined as whatever is popular and acceptable by the majority, The erroneous notion that "the end justifies the means" frequently prevails both inside and outside the confines of Christendom. "Truth" and "right" are whatever work and produce results; failure is wrong and cannot be tolerated. Conscience is explained as merely the childhood memory of the "do" and "don't" of one's parents; so-called sins are written off as "mistakes" or "errors in judgment" in our evolution to a higher morality; and pleasure and happiness are seen as good ends in themselves, to be pursued for their own sakes.

    What is responsible for such moral and spiritual confusion? For the majority at least, there is no longer an objective moral authority to guide their lives and conduct, to teach them truth, to indicate the difference between right and wrong, or to establish a standard. In this age of materialism and skepticism, men have lost faith in the integrity of the Holy Scriptures, and there remains, therefore, no reliable, unchanging standard of right by which to measure conduct and character. Moral conduct is largely determined by the principle of expediency. Without an infallible, objective moral standard (the Word of God), the principle of expediency reigns. If it works, if it relieves pain or displeasure, and if it promotes one's welfare and happiness, then it is right, Too often the contemporary church, denying the inerrancy of Scripture and influenced by the principle of expediency, asks but one question in conducting its affairs, in securing its funds, or in promoting its programs and institutions: "Will it work?" As a result, the church, more and more, has come to resemble the secular community in which it exists, reflecting its customs, attitudes, and moral values, rather than being seen as the moral and spiritual influence upon the community. Moreover, it has become increasingly indifferent to the moral declension, decay, and spiritual shallowness within its own confines, and as a consequence, can no longer speak with moral and spiritual authority to the community at large.

    What is the solution, in an age without spiritual discernment and authority, for those who possess a measure of spiritual awareness and concern, and who desire to walk in the ways of truth and faithfulness? God Himself has provided the answer to the dilemma, thereby enabling the sincere Christian to rediscover the distinctiveness of his calling to be the "salt of the earth" and "light of the world." The move of the Spirit of God throughout the world today, as God pours out His Spirit in fulfillment of Joel's prophecy, is Heaven's answer to man's spiritual need now at the end of the age.

2. Significance of the present-day outpouring.

    The significance of the present-day charismatic revival and outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon believers in all denominations throughout the world may be summarized as follows:

a. It is God's answer to Jesus' prayer in John 17, "that they all may be one." This is not an organizational oneness promoted by ecclesiastical leaders, but a oneness of love and purpose in the Spirit. Through the experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, God is gathering the divided, scattered members of His body, separated by doctrine, traditions, misunderstanding, fear, and distrust, and uniting them once more in a bond of love. What the religious leaders are attempting to do by organizational mergers, God is doing by His Holy Spirit.

    When the church lost the reality of the experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, it lost its one true unifying force, and the body of Christ, as an inevitable consequence, became divided. But those who receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit can testify that an immediate effect in their lives is the restoration of a spirit of love and true oneness with all saints everywhere.

b. The present outpouring of the Holy Spirit is also God's answer for the Laodicean state of the contemporary church, a church which has the form of godliness, but denies the power thereof. Where the Holy Spirit has been invited to return, a charismatic revival is taking place: the gifts of the Spirit are being restored (1 Corinthians 12), the signs are following the preaching of the Word once again (Mark 16:17-18), and the supernatural character of the gospel is once more being demonstrated.

c. The great moving of the Spirit of God over the world in this hour is also God's reply to the great demonic flood sweeping throughout the world in preparation for the reign of Antichrist. We are witnessing a fantastic increase in Satanic wickedness and influence in the form of crime, sexual perversions, suicide, wars, fear, anxiety, divorce, physical and mental illnesses, drug and alcohol addiction, racial strife, hate, deceit, skepticism, and moral decay, as well as the spread of spiritualism and a phenomenal increase in occultism of all forms.

As the Apostle Paul has shown, the believer's warfare is not against flesh and blood, nor is he contending merely with contemporary secular and materialistic philosophies, but against the spirit of this world (Ephesians 6:10-12). This is the precise reason men and their methods of reform have failed and will fail to promote world peace, check the increase in crime and moral decay, or stem the tide of social unrest. The need of the hour is for Christians to experience once more a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit, and to rediscover His blessed ministry in their lives. Only He can bring the believer into a place of total consecration and the deeper life, so that he will be able to overcome the spirit of this age, to withstand in the evil day, and having done a& to stand. Never before in history has the church needed a baptism of power from on high more than at present, in an age without moral discernment or spiritual authority.

My thoughts (see text in bold)--

--As I was reading and thinking about this section of Dr. Freeman's book, I was reflecting on the popular trends we are seeing in Evangelicalism, like the "Purpose-Driven Church" and "Marketing the Church" movement -- find out what the people want, what they say they need, what they are comfortable with, and restructure the Church to give them those things.

--What would have been HEF's response to these these developments, if he were still with us? I think there are some clues in today's excerpt, for those of us with ears to hear!

--Notice how Br. Freeman zeroed in on the increasing tendency of the Church to buy in to the "Will it Work?" mentality, with the result that the distinction between the Church and the world is quickly evaporating. Right away, I thought of all those Barna surveys that we read about, that document this same profound shift in values - there is now almost NO DIFFERENCE between the lifestyles of those who profess to be Christian Evangelicals and the non-Christian population around us! God help us!

--We could become overwhelmed, depressed and disillusioned with all this mess, but Dr. Freeman caught the vision and saw the way out!...He spoke of those who had the "...desire to walk in the ways of truth and faithfulness." That's really the starting point, isn't it? Do I really...really...REALLY desire to walk in the Lord's ways? To do it His way...or mine?

--In the beginning of today's slection, HEF writes: "The need is for a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit by individual Christians..." That's me, friend...how about you? We need PENTECOST again! Let's open our Bibles to Acts 2, and together may we let the Lord have his way with us, just as He did at our first Spirit-Filling...

"He being dead...YET SPEAKETH!"
Your thoughts?


Bob...
<<<FAITH>>> MOVES MOUNTAINS
 Topic: God's Promises
God's Promises [message #348] Sat, 23 September 2006 11:47
DeWayne  is currently offline DeWayne
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I often think about God's promises to Christians. There are SOOOOO many promises of blessing to His people. When I read what 'Christians' say about God's clear promises it saddens me. How can we believe John 3:16 and not believe Mark 11:24 and the many other similar promises? Abraham believd God for the impossible, and it was counted to him for righteousness. We have so many more promises than Abraham. I have seen the 'impossible' many times. I am convinced that "Luke 12:48 (KJV)For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required." God's people in the Bible saw God work because they fasted. There is something special to God about His people fasting. God's people limit His work in their lives because they don't pay the price. All the excuses in the world cannot change this. Much is required of us to see the hand of God.

James 2:23 (KJV)
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.


 Topic: Thought for Today
Thought for Today [message #239] Tue, 11 April 2006 14:43
william  is currently offline william
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I ran across an article that has some merit. The full article can be seen here: http://www.oldtruth.com/blog.cfm/.id.2.pid.152

The article categorizes three types of Christians:

1. restless experientialists
2. entrenched intellectualists
3. disaffected deviationists

The first the "restless experientialists" are those who constantly seek out the next great experience. (We call them the charismania crowd.)

Tozer speaks of this group in this quote:

Quote:

The temptation to forget the few spiritual essentials and to go wandering off after unimportant things is very strong, especially to Christians of a certain curious type of mind. Such persons find the great majors of the faith of our fathers altogether too tame for them. Their souls loathe that light bread; their appetites crave the gamy tang of fresh-killed meat. They take great pride in their reputation as being mighty hunters before the Lord, and any time we look out we may see them returning from the chase with some new mystery hanging limply over their shoulder.Usually the game they bring down is something on which there is a biblical closed season. Some vague hint in the Scriptures, some obscure verse about which the translators disagree, some marginal note for which there is not much scholarly authority: these are their favorite meat. They are especially skillful at propounding notions which have never been a part of the Christian heritage of truth. Their enthusiasm mounts with the uncertainty of their position, and their dogmatism grows firmer in proportion to the mystery which surrounds their subject. A.W. Tozer


Of course some in this crowd don't even need an obscure text to "hang their experience" on but just because the experience happens in a Christian context the experience is validated. No discernment whatsoever. The article describes this group as those who are always

Quote:

"grasping after novelties, entertainments, and 'highs', and of valuing strong feelings above deep thoughts."


Further the article states:

Quote:

" They conceive the Christian life as one of exciting extraordinary experiences rather than of resolute rational righteousness. They well continually on the themes of joy, peace, happiness, satisfaction and rest of souls with no balancing reference to the divine discontent of Romans 7, the fight of faith of Psalm 73, or the 'lows' of Psalms 42, 88, and 102."



The second group, the entrenched intellectualists comes frightenly close to describing our experience at Faith Assembly. Not that I'm in any way shape or form intellectually inclined (more intellectually challenged than I like to admit!)

This group is described in this way:

Quote:

(the entrenched intellectualists)... not so common as the previous type. Some of them seem to be victims of an insecure temperament and inferiority feelings, others to be reacting out of pride or pain against the zaniness of experientialism as they have perceived it, but whatever the source of their syndrome the behavior-pattern in which they express it is distinctive and characteristic. Constantly they present themselves as rigid, argumentative, critical Christians, champions of God's truth for whom orthodoxy is all. Upholding and defending their own view of that truth... ... and they invest themselves unstintingly in this task.


I'm not implying that this was the experience of all or even most but some of the above certainly applies to my experience.

The last group (don't you just love to label people?<grin>) the "disaffected deviationist" is described like this in the article:
Quote:

I turn finally to those whom I call disaffected deviationists, the casualties and dropouts of the modern evangelical movement, many of whom have now turned against it to denounce it as a neurotic perversion of Christianity. Here, too, is a breed that we know all too well. It is distressing to think of these folk, both because their experience to date discredits our evangelicalism so deeply and also because there are so many of them. Who are they? They are people who once saw themselves as evangelicals, either from being evangelically nurtured or from coming to profess conversion with the evangelical sphere of influence, but who have become disillusioned about the evangelical point of view and have turned their back on it, feeling that it let them down.


The article specifically is referring to the class of people known as "evangelicals" but it seems to loosely apply to those with whom we have to do.


Thoughts anyone?

William

[Updated on: Tue, 11 April 2006 14:45]


I want to believe!
 Topic: Pottery--Marred or Ruined
Pottery--Marred or Ruined [message #203] Wed, 22 March 2006 13:33
william  is currently offline william
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When I first became a Christian the Lord allowed me to see something that was very profound to my 18 year old mind. It really isn't too profound but it was to me because it was the very first time that I was conscious of the Lord opening my mind.

I was reading Jeremiah 18 (you can read the whole chapter but I'll give the highlight here:

Quote:

Jer 18:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,


Jer 18:2 Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.


Jer 18:3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.


Jer 18:4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make [it].


Jer 18:5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

Jer 18:6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay [is] in the potter's hand, so [are] ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
...
...



I kept reading and got to the next chapter of Jeremiah:

Quote:

Jer 19:1 Thus saith the LORD, Go and get a potter's earthen bottle, and [take] of the ancients of the people, and of the ancients of the priests;


Jer 19:2 And go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom, which [is] by the entry of the east gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee,


Jer 19:3 And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle.


Jer 19:4 Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents;


Jer 19:5 They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire [for] burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake [it], neither came [it] into my mind:


Jer 19:6 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter.


Jer 19:7 And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives: and their carcases will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.


Jer 19:8 And I will make this city desolate, and an hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof.


Jer 19:9 And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them.


Jer 19:10 Then shalt thou break the bottle in the sight of the men that go with thee,


Jer 19:11 And shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Even so will I break this people and this city, as [one] breaketh a potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again: and they shall bury [them] in Tophet, till [there be] no place to bury.

...
...
...

Jer 19:15 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words.


The thing that struck me was that the first vessel (Jer 18) being formed became marred in the hand of the potter and the potter kept working with it and made it into something else.

The second vessel (Jer 19) was already in a finished state and there was nothing to do but break it.

Israel was God's chosen people just as we are. Israel had the Word of God just as we do. Yet there is a point when the potter puts the vessel to the heat and it becomes set... it cannot be changed at that point. If it is flawed the only thing you can do with it is break it. On the other hand, the vessel that becomes marred while still in an unfinished state can be re-molded and useful.

I'd like to think that we are still in that state where the Lord can still mold us and make us into something useful. I fear that there are those who fit the other category and can only be broken.

I'm sure there are a lot of other aspects of the prophesy that can be mined but this aspect has always stuck with me.

It certainly applies to some of our experiences.

William

P.S. I know brother Freeman did a series on Jeremiah!


I want to believe!
 Topic: Ravenhill's Last Message -- WoW
Ravenhill's Last Message -- WoW [message #33] Tue, 07 February 2006 11:53
william  is currently offline william
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What is your vision?
From Leonard Ravenhill’s last meeting, a prayer meeting for ministers at Calvary Commission. Sept. 14, 1994.

We are going to look at what Paul had to say about ministry, in 2 Corinthians 6:3-8
Giving no offense in anything, that the ministry may not be blamed. But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings, by pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true...

This word may not seem very relevant to us, but I don't let one day go by that I don't pray for my oppressed brother in Bosnia. I saw on the news this morning of a new wave of persecution there. How many young men have died there in the last two or three years - died a martyrs death?

How easy it is to sit and clap our hands and tap our feet and sing, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness..." But, what about when you come to the third stanza?
When all around my soul gives way
When your whole life... your wife is raped in front of your eyes... you have no life... no church... everything goes ... you are dragged through the town. That is what is happening over there this very hour as we are here. I don't think we value our privileges as we ought. Paul talks about redeeming the time, buying back the opportunity. Of the things we waste, we certainly waste time. The word that has been very much on my mind these past two or three weeks is in Ephesians.

Ephesians 2:7 "But in the ages to come ... "
How often do we preach on that? I think there is a danger of something I call "The Peril of the Immediate." We are living in the framework of the immediate. We live there as much as other men. We are not supposed to. We are to live as men branded for eternity.
"In the ages to come... "
Look at Elijah. Elijah was told to hide in the cave. He goes in there for three whole years! Most of us can't stand three hours without turning on a radio or TV. Try three days, try three weeks, cutting yourself off from everything external, everything worldly that has been labeled and poisoned by the world systems. We need to think and get things straight.

Hebrews 11 tells me Moses endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
Paul tells us the things that are seen are temporal and the things that are unseen are eternal. We need to be careful of living in the visible all the time. Visible values, the durability of things that are only for time.
Think of Moses when he was on the backside of the desert, not for four days, not forty days, but forty years - one third of his life! There was a price on his head after having been kicked out of the greatest royal family in the world. He no longer had seven course meals. He lived on the back side of the desert. Do you think he ever thought that one day he would stand on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus and Elijah? He endured as seeing Him who is invisible – Christ. And what did he do? He considered the reproach of Christ – not the Kingdom of Christ – the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.
Did he see Him coming in the clouds?
Did he ever see by faith that he would stand on the Mt. of Transfiguration?
Did he go further, to the end of the age when a multitude which no man can
number out of every kindred, tribe and tongue would sing the song of
Moses and of the Lamb?

We live too much in this world. We're earthbound. How many of us know someone who is eternity conscious? What America needs is somebody who will go through every church in the country and preach for a week on eternity:
Preach one day on the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Preach one day on the Judgment of believers.
Preach one day on the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Again, I've told you before,
I don't just want to go to heaven,
I want to go to the marriage supper of the Lamb,
I don't just want to go to the marriage supper,
I want to be part of the Bride.

The last word of Jesus was not "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel" - that was for the eleven disciples.
The last word of Jesus is in Revelations: Repent, repent, repent.
What is Jesus coming for? A bride.
The Word of God says He is coming for a bride without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.
Do you think the church is that today?
What does Jesus say about the church?
That she is poor, wretched, naked, blind and pitiful.

A while ago I went to a wedding of a millionaire's daughter. As the bride came down the aisle it was just as though a voice said to me, "look." I looked at her. She was beautifully dressed, very educated, quite brilliant. As I looked at her coming down the aisle, I thought, "Is Jesus Christ coming for a bride who is poor and wretched? If I was an artist I would paint the bride on a crutch, one leg almost withered, wearing rags, the other garments looking scruffy like a woman off the streets. Poor, wretched, naked, blind and pitiful – so something has to happen to the church before the Lord Jesus returns!"
One fact should be already decided in our hearts and that is to live with cruelty towards our lives, and abasement of our lives in this present evil world.
What about Elijah? He goes into a cave for three years - three years is a pretty good long time isn't it? He did it.
It says in I Kings 17, "go hide thyself."
It says in I Kings 18, "go show thyself."
One minute he's found before a king,
later he dares to stand before the Israelites...


A man who is intimate with God, is never intimidated by man.
The fear of man goes out entirely.

I certainly believe with all my heart we are not eternity conscious, we live for the everyday. We ought to live with eternity’s values in view. Those people were excited - and us?
We have labored for Christ,
we have labored with Christ,
one day we are going to see Him.
As the hymn writer said,
"Face to face with Christ my Savior,
face to face what will it be ,
when with rapture I behold Him..."

Who would be delighted right now to go and stand before the King? You will have to answer for all your preaching…Very often we take a text and drown it in words…

I woke up this morning about three o'clock thinking about that.
I've been preaching for over 70 years.
Take 120 words times 60 minutes, times 60 times a year,
times 70 years... and I have to give an account to God for all those words.
The more I read the Word of God the more it pierces my heart. It makes me stop and think and meditate. I meditate now more on eternity than I ever have in all my life. Our people are not eternity conscious. Do you think a person who is ready for eternity would miss a prayer meeting? I don't know of anywhere on Earth where there is more freedom than in a prayer meeting where God anoints those who pray and you almost, as it were, rub shoulders with God.

Again I say, when Ahab was breathing down the neck of Elijah, and Jezebel was digging a pit for his feet, do you ever think he thought for a moment he'd stand on the Mountain of Transfiguration with Moses and Jesus?
Apparently Moses could see through the space in time... he could see and he endured. "He chose to suffer."

Suppose you were a twenty year old or a thirty year old in Bosnia or one of these other countries today. You wouldn't have a home to go home to.

Some of these young men today come into my office and say,
"These are wonderful days to be alive".
Sure they are - you go from an air conditioned home,
to an air conditioned car, to an air conditioned church,
where you collect a copious offering and go home to rejoice in the Lord.
What about those who get nothing?
Paul gets to a place where he says, "I have nothing, yet I possess all things." Paul goes through all sorts of cleansing. He did not end up in Romans 7 "it is sin that dwelleth in me." He ended up in Galatians 2:20, "Not I, but Christ liveth in me." That is the ultimate in the Christian life. I don't care how many tongues we have or how many miracles we were able to perform. The word of God says again, "Christ liveth in me." The life I now live in this mortal body is Christ controlled.

People say that in the Old Testament Christ was with them but not in them. But Peter doesn't say that! Christ was in them. Do you think a man could go and pray and say on behalf of the rotten nation he lived in, "Lord kill me," again, he also says, "Take my life. I don't care. I'm not bothered by living."

I want to be so God possessed.
Of course, some say that's fanaticism.

People get weary of hearing about all the trouble in Bosnia
but they can't wait to hear what is going on with the baseball strike.
And I'm talking about men in ministry, I mean preachers.
They rush out from church Sunday morning for home and go watch
baseball or football.
So they are trying to serve two masters.
No man can do that; you can only serve one master.
The more I read this word I find Christ didn't come to just take me to the cross - as Paul says in Romans 6, you can be crucified with Him. But I think the most amazing thing Jesus said is, "The prince of this world cometh and findeth nothing in Me." He wastes his time tempting Jesus!
He had come through forty days of relentless temptation and trials, after that He was put out of the synagogue, and after that He is being put out all the time.
He was born outside - we sing, "Jesus was born in a manger".
He was buried outside - because He would defile the city it if they buried Him
within.
He is still outside - the church.
Isn't it amazing? In the book of Revelation Jesus is still outside the church standing and knocking, trying to get in. How many churches would He have to say that of today?

We must allow God to be in complete control of us with no ambitions of our own, with no concern but to glorify the Father. There's not much time left. As I said last night, "Believer, we are not in the last days - we are in the last of the last days! In Hebrews 1 it says, "God, Who in sundry times and in divers manners spake, hath in these last days spoken by His Son…" that was 2,000 years ago. As for reading the Book of Revelations, it speaks of things that will shortly come to pass. Dr. Tozer used to say to me very often that we were in the last chapter of Revelations.

More and more and more we should be the light in this dark world. You may not know what a wonderful privilege you have of being an example to young men.
Show them
you’re not tied up with money,
you’re not tied up with position,
you’re not tied up trying to be the best preacher in your
denomination.
Live close to God day by day.
"The Spirit beareth witness."
John Wesley preached on that more than anyone else. I've never heard anyone preach on Romans 8:16, "the Spirit beareth witness with our spirit." In the Acts of the apostles it says the same thing: We're witnesses, so is the Holy Ghost.
We don't need outward acknowledgments. We don't need outward labels.
When I think of what it means in Jude, "Praying in the Holy Ghost," it means more than just tongues, it means the Holy Ghost running in me. If I'm filled with the Holy Ghost then what grieves the Holy Ghost will grieve me. It's not all joy and excitement.

Did the disciples ask the Lord "teach us to preach"? No. They heard the sermon on the mount, the greatest sermon ever preached birthed but
They never said, "Lord teach us to preach."
Jesus sang a hymn and went into Gethsemene, I think He sang often, but
They never said, "Lord teach us to sing."
They never said, "Lord teach us to laugh." No. They said,

"LORD TEACH US TO PRAY."

If I could go back in time, I think I would spend more time in the Word of God and getting into the depths of the lives of men like Praying Hyde. I was told of a man whose friend prayed with Praying Hyde. He said, "I was in India for a convention and I asked for the privilege of praying with Praying Hyde. John Hyde said, ‘I will be praying tomorrow morning.’ As I went in to pray it was nine in the morning. Then someone knocked on the door and I thought, ‘You just get praying and someone interrupts.’ Then there was another knock at the door. I didn't move, Praying Hyde didn't move. Then someone opened the door and said, ‘It’s a quarter to three and you preach at three.’ I had been on my knees from nine in the morning to three in the afternoon and didn't even know where the time had gone! It was an awesome experience listening to this man pour his heart out in prayer."
I'm not saying everyone gets to that level - but I believe the greatest thing we can do is pray. Every time I pray, I don't want God to make me popular, I don't want to have the biggest church in town. - Jesus never had the fastest growing church, in fact His church went down and down until one day there were only eleven and He said, "Will you go away also?" - I don't think we should pray for God to take people out, I'm saying this, you ought to get near to the heart of God.

I trust that God will give you that privilege of travail
that very few people have had.
Paul had it. I don't think a day goes by that I don't think of Paul travailing in birth. Look at his theological background. Look at the epistle to the Romans, look at his epistle to the Ephesians and yet with all that he is still craving that he may get near to the heart of God. "I could wish myself accursed... my own death." I don't think you have to die a martyr's death to be a martyr.
You can be a living sacrifice,
you can die to advantages,
you can die to temptations,
you can die to privileges,
you can die to all those things that don't add to spiritual life, that don't add to spiritual vision, that don't add to spiritual understanding.
When God works in me, He is so altogether different from the theological concept I once had...

Don't live in the immediate. Remember, Moses saw Jesus in the distance.

I see Jesus coming to rule on the Earth. Not to die, not to be pushed around, but He's coming to rule the Earth. The Word of God says at least some will reign with Him. Who? Who reigns with Him?
The overcomers,
overcoming temptation,
overcoming the world,
overcoming our own desires,
being completely God controlled.

I thank God for what He has done in my life. He hasn't stopped and He won't stop. The Word of God say, "We shall all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ." And, "Will not the Judge of all the Earth do right? " That is going to be awful, but if I didn't believe that I think I would go insane.
Who is going to account for all the bloody massacre in Rwanda today?
All the wars of the Earth,
all the Generals, the Kings of England the Presidents of the United
States, are going to stand before God.
When He takes all the masks off and uncovers everything.
Everybody - every preacher will stand before the God.
This is the final reckoning day, I want to live with eternity’s values in view.
If we judge ourselves in the light of God's Word we need not fear the
judgment.
If we walk in the light as He is in the light... that's all He asks of us, to walk
in the light.
And this is what I desire:
That you would get more vision than I've ever had.
More power than I've ever had.
More understanding than I've ever had.

God help us. This is the most difficult period in human history. Never have there been so many nations upside down. The World is like a ship caught in a storm:
it has no anchor,
it has no compass,
it has no chart.
I believe, brethren, you will live to see many from Washington begging the Church of Jesus Christ to bring deliverance. They have ignored it, laughed at it, they have scorned it, but they will come to a place they are so politically helpless, so financially helpless, so morally helpless they will have to call on God. He is the only sure answer.

One thought that amazes as I study the life of Noah is that there is no mention of his prayer life. But when I come to Ezekiel 14, the three most righteous men that ever lived, Noah is one of them, Job another and Daniel. What awesome prayers they offered, but there will come a time when God won't listen to you anymore.

One fellow said, "I just finished three years in Seminary." I asked him,
"Did anyone ever preach a sermon on eternity?"... "No."
"Did you ever hear a sermon on the judgment seat of Christ?"... "No."
"Did anyone preach a sermon on "The Bride of Christ?"... "No."
The man burst into tears. I said,
"In God's name, why do you go to seminary? To learn how to bury the dead?"
There is an eternity in front of us! There is a world that now is in more rebellion than ever! "As in the days of Noah" they rebelled against God. For 100 years Noah never preached a new message, he preached repentance, he preached righteousness. Alexander White used to say, "You can preach divine healing, you can preach prophecy, you can preach anything, but you can't preach righteousness; people won't have it."

I still hope God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh. Let Him pour out His Spirit, not our man-made thing. We laugh and watch TV all night. When the burden of the Holy Ghost takes hold of you, you taste what happens in revival. I think revival preaching is open heart surgery. The other preaching isn't a semblance of the message.

I'm trying to say that as bad as it is, and we are living in the most critical hour in human history, God hasn't given up. He's still not willing that any should perish. He still loves men and women. I want to be in that place where I can bear the birth pains.

For years I finished every night of prayer meeting the same way. I would say, "O Lord, don't say to me on that great day, ‘Ravenhill, I had many things to say to you but you could not bear them.’" You don't tell your family secrets to your little children. You want to talk to someone who understands.

I BELIEVE GOD WANTS TO GIVE US EARS TO HEAR.
I BELIEVE HE WANTS TO GIVE US NEW UNDERSTANDING.
I BELIEVE HE WANTS TO GIVE US NEW REVELATION.


-----------
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I want to believe!
 Topic: Multiple "heads" or one Pastor
Multiple "heads" or one Pastor [message #14] Wed, 01 February 2006 00:01
william  is currently offline william
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We found ourselves, during our wanderings, in a church that believed that the concept of one "head" pastor was not biblical. They believed in a multiple elder type of leadership and i was prompted to do a study--so here it is:

I. God's design in the beginning

A. Adam, Eve and the divine order

In the beginning God... with these words we see that it doesn't matter who has been delegated with authority, God is the one ultimately in charge, whether we are talking about Israel and her kings, or the Church and its shepherds.

Adam, in Gen. 2-3, was given the responsibility to lead and teach those who had been placed under his charge, and he was given a helper that would assist him in this mission. I believe that this is the established order that God intended throughout history. God-Man(one leader)-Woman(helper)-Children(our charge... the flock!)

As the family structure grew this basic pattern never changed, the head of the household remained the leader.

B. Noah leads the way

Noah was obviously the leader of his household and was able to lead and protect those under his charge. Gen 6-7

Like Adam, Noah wasn't perfect in his responsibilities (Gen 9)yet God doesn't stray from His original design of headship.
C. Abraham, Father of a multitude

The life of Abraham continues to reflect God's original design of headship. He becomes the "father" of the nation of Israel. We also enter into the blessings of Abraham through faith. Gal.3:7

Like those before, Abraham wasn't perfect in his leadership, yet God never invalidates the pattern that He established from the beginning.

D. Jacob and Esau

With Jacob and Esau, God introduces a slight variation on the concept of headship. Headship will now be enlarged to include more than the immediate family. This was hinted at in Gen 9:25-27 with reference to Noah's sons.

Jacob receives the blessing from Isaac that said..."Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord [ruler] over thy brethren..." Gen 27:29.

God continues to show through the pages of Scripture His design with regards to headship.

E. Israel becomes a nation

Jacob/Israel begat twelve children that were destined to become the twelve tribes of Israel

Gen 49:8 shows that Judah ultimately would have the leadership mantle.

The headship pattern was up until this point mostly limited to the family structure, but as the nation grew it became apparent that there would be a need to expand (not change) the leadership structure.

II. God's design for the nation of Israel

A. Moses, chosen by God to lead the nation of Israel

Moses became the central leader of the young nation of Israel. Moses exemplifies a leader that welded much power (some estimates say he ruled over 3 million!) yet he was known as the meekest man on earth at that time! (Num.12:3) How's that for a godly example to follow! Each family had its leaders, each tribe had its leaders but Moses was the central leader. With such a large nation to lead it was obvious that he couldn't lead effectively without help so he appointed "helpers" to judge the nation. Ex 18:17-26

B. Joshua, leader by example Josh.24:15

When it was time for Moses to move on, God instructed Moses to pass the mantle of authority to Joshua, who had been preparing for leadership by being a servant of Moses. Num. 27:18 Joshua became the recognized leader of the nation even though the nation still maintained the same pattern that God had established and expanded through the leadership of Moses. Josh. 24:1f

C. No central leader equals chaos

When Joshua passes from the scene the elders that were alive during his leadership continue leading the people until they also pass from the scene. A leadership vacuum results and Israel forsakes the Lord and falls under the Lord's judgment.

D. Judges

At this time, God begins to raise up judges to rule His nation, and a clear pattern emerges; Israel flourishes during the leadership of the judge but when the judge dies, they backslide once again. Jud. 2:16-19

III. God's design during the time of the kings

It has been stated that God never intended for the nation of Israel to have a king, I agree with this, but it is obvious that He did intend for the people to have a leader that would lead them in the ways of righteousness. Why else did He raise up Moses, Joshua, and the judges? I contend that He has shown clearly from the beginning the pattern of leadership.

Certainly He chose David's leadership to be a type of His own leadership over the nation of Israel. One leader, with many helpers, was the pattern throughout the time of the kings.

A. Saul

Saul was chosen as the King over the nation and while his reign left much to be desired, God didn't change the structure that He had ordained from the beginning. Even after it became obvious that Saul had abdicated his responsibility in leading the nation in a godly manner, he remained the recognized central leader. David would not usurp the office of the king even though Saul's leadership was detrimental to the nation.

B. David, kingdom patterned after the heavenly

Throughout the Scriptures, David and his leadership has been likened to that of Christ's reign over the earth. He certainly wasn't a perfect leader, but his heart was toward the Lord and the resulting prosperity that sprang from this godly reign should teach us the potential of true God-ordained leadership.

C. Solomon, leadership gone awry

Solomon reaped the benefits of his father's reign, but because of a misuse of the power of leadership he was doomed to have part of the kingdom torn from his leadership and given to another. From this point until the Babylonian captivity, the nations of Israel and Judah were on a fast track to destruction. Here we begin to see the fruits of "bad" leadership. However, even during this period when it seemed that a new pattern of leadership was in order, God did not change the design that He had instituted at the beginning.

IV. God's design during the time of Babylonian captivity

After many years of backsliding and repeated warnings of judgment, both Israel and Judah were put under the rule of the Babylonians. Their temple was destroyed and they were led away from the land that the Lord had given to them. They became a nation without direction and were it not for the few godly prophets that prophesied during this time, they would have been completely without direction.

It seems that it was during this time period that the Synagogues came into existence. The Synagogue was their only link to their glorious heritage. It offered them a chance to maintain their religion while under the rule of the Babylonians and teach the next generation the tenets of their faith. Interestingly enough, they chose to maintain the same structure of leadership that had prevailed throughout their history... a single leader for each Synagogue. Acts 18:8,17

V. God's design during the time of Ezra-Nehemiah

After the Babylonian captivity, God once again raises up an individual to lead his people back into the land of their inheritance, first Ezra, and then Nehemiah. Apparently God intended that the leadership structure of one central leader would continue to prevail, albeit without the baggage of a king!

VI. God's design during the Roman period

During this period of Roman rule the Synagogues remained the central pillar of Jewish life, even though the temple had been rebuilt and the order of worship had been restored. Leadership was never by committee although a godly leader will always listen to council from other godly sources. It was at this time that Jesus came on the scene and established His Church

VII. God's design for the church age

We know that there were radical changes that took place when Jesus established his Church, however, the model that had served from the beginning was nowhere rejected. It would seem that if Jesus had wanted to change the headship pattern that had prevailed from the beginning there would have been a statement to announce this major departure from the norm. Instead we see that even among the twelve there clearly was a delineation between some of the apostles. Peter, James and John emerge as the apostles who were chosen to have additional leadership responsibilities. Mk 9 & 14. Among this inner circle Jesus singled out Peter with the charge to feed His flock in Jn 21:15f. Peter was also given the "keys" to open the door to the Jews on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) as well as the Gentiles in Acts 10. We see Peter leading in the selection of a replacement for Judas in Acts 1:15.

In discussing leadership with the Apostles in MK 10, Jesus made it clear that those who would exercise leadership in His Church, would be those who had the capacity for servanthood. It would not be those who had the most strength and power, or those who battled their way to the top!

Peter was recognized as leader of the twelve even though he became subordinate to the leadership in the Jerusalem assembly (which was led by another single individual).

The Jerusalem assembly was led not by an apostle but by James the brother of Jesus. By reading Acts 15 you will get a good picture of how a godly leader goes about his duties. Paul recognizes James' leadership and he is mentioned separately from the rest of the elders in Jerusalem in Acts 21:18. Early Church history confirms the fact that James was the leading elder in the Jerusalem assembly.

Even a cursory glance at early Church history show that all of the major assemblies had a plurality of elders but that there was only one leading elder (called a pastor or bishop) who was responsible for the direction and oversight of the assembly.

The Gentile assemblies also followed the same pattern of leadership that had been established from the beginning. Paul had establish many churches during his missionary journeys and continued to appoint leaders in every church. Timothy (who wasn't an apostle) is an example of one who was given authority in the Ephesian Church. He was given instructions on dealing with problems in the Church and was expected to lead the Church despite the fact that he was apparently very young. Paul also gives detailed instructions on leading the Church to Titus, leader at Crete. Here again, an example of one central leader given the responsibility over a young Church.

Even in the last book of the Scriptures, the book of Revelation, we see the divine order that was established in Genesis still prevails. Rev. 2 & 3 contains seven letters written to seven churches from the Lord Jesus. Each letter is written to a single individual who has the responsibility for leading the church under his care. The recipient of each letter is referred to as the "angel" of the church which is a descriptive metaphor for a single individual within the Church and not, as some have mistakenly said, literal "angels." This can be easily ascertained by looking at the language used by the Lord when He speaks to these "angels."

Revelation 2:1 1. To the angel of the church of Ephesus write;...vs 4 Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from which thou hast fallen, and repent, and do the first works;...

Revelation 2:12 12. And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write;... vs 16 Repent; or else I will come to thee quickly,...

Revelation 3:1 1. And to the angel of the church in Sardis write;... I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

Revelation 3:14 14. And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write;...I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit thee out of my mouth.

Literal angels don't need to be reminded to return to their first love, or to repent. They don't need to be told that they have a name that they live but are really dead. Literal angels aren't lukewarm!

The angel metaphor is used because these singular persons are in reality messengers from God. They are to be leading the church by finding out God's direction, His purposes, and then relaying the message to the assembly that God has given them charge over.

There are other places in Scripture that the same Greek word "angel" is translated as "messenger." Here is an example:

Luke 9:52 52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.

VIII. Summary

It seems clear that God has from the beginning ordained that there be those who have the gift and responsibility of leadership, both within the confines of the family, as well as the broader context of the Church.

Having said all of this, I realize that not all "senior pastors" are operating the way God has ordained. Some are obviously in leadership when they are not even called. We often have to search for churches (even including Home Churches) where divine order prevails, yet this lack does not negate the divine pattern that God has established.

God's gifts to the church are the 5-fold ministry: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. (Eph.4:11) Not all have these leadership gifts in the church, although all have been given gifts and are expected to function in their place in the Body of Christ. Ephesians 4:12-14 tell us the purpose of 5-fold ministry in the church:
1. To equip the saints for the work of ministry
2. To edify the Body of Christ
3. To bring everyone into the unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God
4. To help perfect the Body of Christ, to reach the fullness of Christ
5. To protect and to feed the flock, so that they are "no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting." (Eph. 4:14) So that the flock will mature and "grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ".

And finally, vs. 16 of Ephesians 4 points out that it's the "WHOLE body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which EVERY part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."

We have been members of churches which practiced body ministry, along with the God-ordained "senior pastor" and elders. In these churches, members were taught the Word of God by teachers who were gifted in this area, and they were encouraged to use their gifts to fulfill their place in the Body. (Peter 5:2-4) We don't believe that those called by God to be pastors and teachers must necessarily attend Bible schools or seminaries, but we do believe that they should have a solid foundation in the Word of God so that they don't lead their flock into error. Obviously, all Christians should obtain this solid foundation in the Word of God, but those who are in leadership will receive the stricter judgment, and it's extremely important that they not lead their flock astray by teaching error. (James 3:1 "My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.")

There will always be those who, like Korah, don't like the idea that God chooses certain of His servants to lead His flock, but the overwhelming evidence shows that He indeed does just that.

To conclude, since the NT states that there will be people who have a problem with the "one" leader concept like the OT figure of Korah (Jude 11) I would like to quote the passage where Korah and his followers rebel against the divine order that God has established through Moses. Please note that these folk (like their modern day counterparts) were also concerned with the "senior pastor" who seemed to be "taking too much" upon himself:

Numbers 16:1 1. Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took [men]: 2 And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: 3 And they assembled themselves against Moses and against Aaron, and said to them, [Ye take] too much upon you, seeing all the congregation [are] holy, every one of them, and the LORD [is] among them: why then do ye raise yourselves above the congregation of the LORD? {Ye take...: Heb. It is much for you} 4 And when Moses heard [it], he fell upon his face: 5 And he spoke to Korah and to all his company, saying, Even to morrow the LORD will show who [are] his, and [who is] holy; and will cause [him] to come near to him: even [him] whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near to him. 6 This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company; 7 And put fire in them, and put incense in them before the LORD to morrow: and it shall be [that] the man whom the LORD doth choose, he [shall be] holy: [ye take] too much upon you, ye sons of Levi. 8 And Moses said to Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi: 9 [Seemeth it but] a small thing to you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them? 10 And he hath brought thee near [to him], and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also? 11 For which cause [both] thou and all thy company [are] assembled against the LORD: and what [is] Aaron, that ye murmur against him?

...Then comes the judgment:

Numbers 16:28 28 And Moses said, by this ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for [I have] not [done them] of my own mind. 29 If these men shall die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; [then] the LORD hath not sent me. {the common...: Heb. as every man dieth} 30 But if the LORD shall make a new thing, and the earth shall open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that [appertain] to them, and they go down alive into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. {make...: Heb. create a creature} 31 And it came to pass, as he had finished speaking all these words, that the ground opened up that [was] under them: 32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that [appertained] to Korah, and all [their] goods. 33 They, and all that [appertained] to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.

moulder

[Updated on: Wed, 01 February 2006 00:19]


I want to believe!
 Topic: What is missing from Ch__ch? UR
What is missing from Ch__ch? UR [message #13] Tue, 31 January 2006 23:48
william  is currently offline william
Messages: 1190
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What's missing from Ch--ch? YOU ARE!

Since "Church" means different things to different people, let me first establish what I mean when I use the term. I believe that we are the Church, the living, breathing, functioning, members of the Body of Christ. Many people use the term to designate the building where the Christians meet instead of using it as a term to describe the Christians themselves. The shift in usage came about (imo) when more attention began to be paid to the place where the congregation gathered rather than on the congregation itself. Most scholars agree that this occurred when the Roman emperor Constantine converted to Christianity. Christians were persecuted and maligned, sometimes severely, until Constantine "legitimatized" and "institutionalized" the Church. It is said that at this point there was a large influx of people who "converted" to Christianity without the benefit of the "born again" experience.

The supernatural power that was commonplace in the lives of the Christians begin to wane and in many cases the congregation ceased to be a dynamic force and there began to be a clear distinction between the leadership and the membership. The concept of the whole church being involved in ministry gave way to a full-time "clergy" who ministered for (and to) the "laity" (which is an unscriptural concept, imo).

Church history is clear that the supernatural was common in the first few centuries and Christians everywhere experienced the supernatural gifts of healing, prophecy, tongues, miracles, etc.. When the church became institutionalized, (by Constantine's actions,) the gifts begin to be less and less in evidence (but never completely absent) and the building became the focal point instead of an active power-laden membership. To describe this phenomenon, we sometimes use the phrase "the church became an organization instead of a living organism."

Personally, I believe that until Christians everywhere begin to exercise the gifts there won't be any significant world-changing (in the book of Acts sense) revival.

It's much too great a task for a "clergy" to be able to accomplish by itself.

In my opinion it will take a radical change in both the leadership and membership for there to be significant changes in the status quo. The leaders continue to blame the congregation for the apparent deadness in the church program and the congregation blames the leaders for not doing their part (which in most churches is *everything*--obviously an impossible task!)

To assure job security, the pastor must be constantly brainstorming new exciting programs, visiting the sick, shaking hands, preaching dynamic sermons (that he has no time to prepare), evangelizing the city, etc. etc. etc.. (It also helps if the pastor's wife plays the piano or organ which makes it seem as if the church is getting more for its money!) The congregation usually views church participation as passive involvement with the exception of those few times that they are drafted by the pastor to head up his latest pet project.

Isn't it the job of the Church to meet all of the needs of the people? How can this happen unless you are actively involved in exercising the gifts that God gave you?

In the early Church if one of the members needed finances, they responded, if someone needed healing, they responded, when spiritual help was needed, the church responded, if a person was in prison because of their faith, the church responded. They responded to every need, (I'm not talking about responding by just adding them to a prayer list) they responded with tangible and often times supernatural help. The "clergy" won't be able to accomplish that by itself!

The Church had the answers for *every* need. Imagine what would happen if the gifts were as prominent today as they were in the early Church? What if, on a given Sunday, there were a couple of blind eyes opened, a cripple person healed, and a person healed from AIDS. Do you think that there would be a need for a "program" the following Sunday? Would there be a need for a door to door witnessing campaign? If this happened, there wouldn't be room in the building for the meeting.

What's missing from Ch -- ch? UR! You are missing if you aren't taking seriously the call to function as a part of the Body of Christ, utilizing the gifts that God gave you.

Let's pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit and then be willing to use them

moulder


I want to believe!
 Topic: Speaking in Tongues...
Speaking in Tongues... [message #11] Tue, 31 January 2006 23:23
william  is currently offline william
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While I'm certainly no expert on the subject of tongues, I do have the benefit of having possessed this gift for 29 years.

Jesus said that those who believe would be the possessors of the gift.

Mr 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

This verse should not be used to prove that anyone who does not have the gift of tongues is not a believer anymore than one would say that casting out demons is necessary for every Christian believer. But it is a sign that Jesus said would follow His people.

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to those who believe and one of the outward signs that the Holy Spirit had indeed been given to a person was the gift of tongues.

Ac 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

This aspect of the account isn't widespread in most who receive the gift although there are accounts of similar occurrences-- it isn't typical.

Ac 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

When they were filled with the Holy Spirit, it was the Spirit that gave the utterance, but as with all of God's gifts, they had to do the speaking. God never overrides our volition. We may find ourselves in an atmosphere where it is highly conducive for phenomena to occur, but it is never accurate to say that one was merely a passive participant that had no control over his own volition. This isn't to say that it might not seem as if one could do nothing else but act, or in this case, speak, but one thing is clear from my understanding of Scripture-God doesn't force His children to do anything. We are not robots; His Spirit gives the utterance, but we must, by an act of volition, speak. This is not so for one who has given himself over to the demonic powers of darkness. In cases of demonic possession it appears that the person has little or no control over his actions, but that is another discussion.

Ac 2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

This verse shows that "tongues" are real languages and not merely babbling. This isn't to say that those who do not recognize or understand other languages might not conclude that those who speak in these languages are babbling (or drunk as some supposed.)

Ac 2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

These tongues didn't need interpretation although there were people present who understood the various languages that were being spoken.

Later, God used Peter to spread the gospel to the gentiles and when he was preaching the Word (these signs shall follow...) the Holy Spirit fell on the gentile believers and they begin to speak in tongues as well.

Ac 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

The same sort of experience had befallen the gentiles as had previously happened on the day of Pentecost with the Jewish believers.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit was imparted by the laying on of hands, again the evidence that the Holy Spirit had come was the outward expression of tongues (these signs shall follow...).

Ac 19:6 And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

To this point in the Biblical account there hasn't been an emphasis on the particular function of tongues in the experience of the believer other than to give evidence to the infilling of the Holy Spirit --and when understood, they magnified God and His works. The emphasis is only on the initial experience and no mention is made concerning the continuation of this gift in the believer's life, but as Paul later develops regulations concerning tongues in the Church, we see that this gift was not just an initial outward evidence of the Holy Spirit's infilling, but a continual experience that actually had purpose in the lives of the believers.

Next comes some specific teaching concerning the operation of the gift of tongues in the Church. Speaking of the gifts given to the Church, he mentions that there are at least 3 utterance gifts-tongues, interpretation of tongues, and prophecy.

1Co 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

Keep in mind that Paul here is dealing not with the phenomena of tongues that occur upon receiving the Holy Spirit, but he is giving instructions on the operation of these gifts within the context of the Church. Apparently these gifts were in operation in the lives of believers long before Paul gives these instructions. It seems as if the Corinthian believers were blessed with an abundance of gifts and the free exercise of these gifts was causing problems in the context of the assembly of believers. This is a foreign concept in most of our modern Churches, thus when he says:

1Co 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. If any man speak in an tongue, [let it be] by two, or at the most [by] three, and [that] by course; and let one interpret…

and then:

1Co 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.

You can see there were many of the utterance gifts in operation and each utterance takes time. One can understand why he needed to regulate the gifts-- if nothing else so the pastor could have a little time for his sermon!

If your Church has this problem (multiple tongues and interpretations, multiple prophecies), then by all means limit them to Paul's suggestions, but I don't see a problem if your Church just sings a few songs, takes up a collection, prays and then has the sermon. It would seem that encouraging more of the gifts (not less) would be the better strategy for most modern day Churches. You can always put in some of the regulations later if it gets out of hand!

1Co 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. {diversities: or, kinds}

There are a lot of ministries in operation here and most of us can only wish for a Church like the one at Corinth, but nevertheless Paul, because of this abundance of gifts and ministries, had to remind them to let everything be done orderly and for the edification of all.

He goes on to say:

1Co 12:30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

This verse is oftentimes used out of context in an attempt to prove that all believers are not given the gift of tongues, but the context is the context of the Church Assembly. No, not all have the gifts of healing-but all can pray for healing and be healed. No, all should not speak in tongues-or, as he points out, the Church will not be edified (unless there is an interpreter). And no, all do not interpret-but he says that if you do speak in tongues in a Church where there is no interpreter, then you can pray for the interpretation (even if you don't have the gift for the interpretation of tongues!) Most would agree that we all teach, we all exhort, we all encourage-to a degree, but we wouldn't necessarily say that we have the gift to teach in the Church, or the gift to exhort the Church-could we do it? Yes, but it is far better to let those who excel in certain gifts be the ones who use the gifts in the Church. We can't all be the preacher, but we can all preach! We can't all be the eye but we can all see! We all can't be the ear in the Assembly, but we can all hear!

Ok, to continue:

1Co 14:4 He that speaketh in a tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

Paul in no way diminishes the value of speaking in tongues for our own edification, but as far as the Church goes there is a need for public edification, thus he continues to focus on what is best for the public assembly.

Apparently Paul thought it was a good idea for all to speak in tongues for personal edification (I'm sure this is where the phrase "personal prayer language" comes from) but his emphasis is the edification of the whole Church in this context.

1Co 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater [is] he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

It is interesting to note that speaking in tongues--with interpretation-- edifies the Church as much as prophecy.

1Co 14:6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

1Co 14:9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. {easy: Gr. significant}

1Co 14:13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in a tongue pray that he may interpret.

Once again, interpretation is necessary if the Church is to benefit.

1Co 14:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

Praying in this personal prayer language edifies the believer because it is the spirit that is praying. This can be done at home, but when the assembly of believers meet together it is much better to speak with the understanding so that all can be edified.

Paul not only spoke in tongues at home but it seems he spoke everywhere but the Church!

1Co 14:18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

1Co 14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that [by my voice] I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an tongue.

Ok, next he goes back to the initial reason for tongues-the outward sign of the infilling of the Holy Spirit:

1Co 14:22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying [serveth] not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in [those that are] unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

1Co 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

1Co 14:27 If any man speak in an tongue, [let it be] by two, or at the most [by] three, and [that] by course; and let one interpret

1Co 14:39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

I've been in Churches that stress the no speaking in tongues without an interpreter passage to a fault, but I believe that you can not take that passage out of context and place it into the context of our modern Church without first having the same problems that prevailed at Corinth.

We really do need more of the gifts in operation in our Churches and if an atmosphere is created where these gifts are stifled we all suffer.

Think about it, you will never know if you have an interpreter unless someone speaks in tongues, and I can envision that there might be a time when someone might speak out in tongues and the person who had the gift of interpretation didn't bring it forth. It might take a few times for some people to become bold enough to stand in the assembly, so be a little patient. Sure, if there is a problem (like at Corinth) where speaking in tongues predominates the meeting, there needs to be some regulation, but lets face it, most of our Churches don't have a problem where the gifts have to be regulated.

moulder

[Updated on: Tue, 31 January 2006 23:26]


I want to believe!
 Topic: Church Government
Church Government [message #8] Tue, 31 January 2006 22:58
william  is currently offline william
Messages: 1190
Registered: January 2006
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This was something I wrote in response to a question about different ministries within the Church. I believe all believers have gifts (1Cor 12) but in this discussion I'm limiting myself to those gifts that are closely related to Church Government.

First some terms:

Disciples: We are all called to be disciples, which means a "learner". (Acts 11:26). All Christians should be disciples!

Minister: One who serves! All of us are called to minister/serve.

Apostle: My understanding is that an "apostle" is literally "one who is sent" and specifically has come to designate one who is chosen and sent by God to accomplish a particular task. It is one of the "offices" of Church listed in Eph. 4:11f which to me indicates that as long as the Church is in existence the office is valid. Do I know any apostles personally? No. *grin*

Elder: There are two types, those who are the spiritually mature "pillars" of the church and those who are among the leadership of the church. The classic OT example is the 70 elders that Moses chose to help lead the children of Israel. These would be the elders with the anointing to rule, but there were many more elders in the nation of Israel, in fact these 70 were chosen from a much larger group of elders.

In the church there are usually many who are considered elders because of their spiritual maturity but only a few of these would be placed in overseer type positions. This latter group would be considered the (grk)"episcopate" or overseeing elders, in the NT.

Deacon: Again, there are two types of (grk)"diaconate" mentioned in the NT. The word means "those who serve." In our time the word is used mostly as a designation for those who serve the physical needs of the church (table-servers--taken from the example given in Acts 6:2.) But in the NT the word is also used as a designation for those who serve the spiritual food to the church, i.e. Word ministers. (see Acts 6:4 where the same term is used to describe the Word-servers!)

Shepherd: Could describe those with the pastoral gift (one who feeds the flock) as well as those who have been given the oversight (episcopate.) The term is loaded with imagery and meaning from both the OT and new.

Overseer: Sometimes referred to as a "bishop," and falls into the category of the "episcopate." 1 Pet2:25 Refers to God as the "Shepherd" and "Overseer" of our souls. One translation uses the term "guardian" which accurately describe the "episcopate."

In summery, there are basically two groups in the NT Church that God uses to protect and mature His saints. The diaconate (specifically the "Word" servers) and the episcopate.

The diaconate can be summed up quite nicely by the list given in Eph 4:11f, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Each of these gifts are given by *God* to the individual and no one else has a say as to who gets what gift. These gifts are independent of men and are between the individual and God alone.

The episcopate gifts on the other hand are given only in the context of a group or groups of people and only have relevance with respect to that group or groups. The episcopate combines the ideas of overseer,(episkopos Heb.12:15--looking diligently) rulership,(heigeomai Acts15:22 Heb.13:7,17,24) and those who "stand before"(proisteimi Rm 12:8, 1Thess.5:12 1Tim.3:4; 5:12.)

Obviously, those with the diaconate gifts (Eph4:11f Pastors, Teachers, Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists) need a group of people to be able to discharge their gifts effectively, but their gift is *independent* of these groups. They are given their gifts apart from the hand of man and must answer to God for the use or misuse of their gifts. For example a person with pastoral gifts might travel to another assembly and if given an opportunity to speak his message will be pastoral in nature (not that he would become their pastor, but the gift would be in evidence by the "feeding the flock" nature of his message.) In other words, his gift travels with him! The same thing could be said for the prophet, teacher, etc..

The episcopate (ruling) gifts on the other hand only arise when there is a need for them and only exist as long as the need exists. A person might be called into the position of elder and begin to function in that capacity, but if he travels to another city his "episcopate" gift doesn't travel with him. He would exercise no authority in any other assembly. His gift would not have meaning apart from his "sphere of authority."

Sometimes the two different giftings overlap and this makes it hard to distinguish between the diaconate and the episcopate. Usually a person with the pastoral (one who feeds the sheep) calling will also be given episcopate gifts to oversee and rule in the local assembly. Paul was both apostle (diaconate) and elder/overseer (episcopate) to the gentile assemblies.

I hope I haven't bored you with all of this, it has always been a favorite subject of mine!

I would welcome your thoughts on this subject.

moulder


I want to believe!


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