Ephesians Pt 26 Praying in the Spirit

Ephesians 6:18(ESV)18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

Prayer is Communication with the Father, our Creator. Before Salvation we have no communication with the Father. Just the fact that People like us can speak to the Creator of the universe is itself an amazing thing. Even more astounding is the fact that He hears us and acts on our behalf! The first thing we need to understand about effective prayer is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had to suffer and die on the cross to even make it possible for us to approach the throne of grace to worship and pray.

Praying in the Spirit is mentioned three times in Scripture.
1 Corinthians 14:15 (ESV)15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.
Ephesians 6:18(ESV)18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Jude 20 (ESV)20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,
So, what exactly does it mean to pray in the Spirit? First of all you have to be saved. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the action by which God takes up permanent residence in the body of a believer in Jesus Christ. Jesus revealed to His disciples the new role the Spirit of Truth would play in their lives: John 14:16-17 (ESV)16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John Bunyan – There is no man nor church in the world that can come to God in prayer, but by the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, man is so weak that he cannot think one right saving thought of God, of Christ, or of his blessed things; and therefore the Word of God declares about the man without the Spirit, Psalm 10:4(ESV)In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”; unless it is that they imagine God to be basically like one of them (Psalm 50:21). For “every inclination of the thoughts of [unsaved man’s] heart is only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5; 8:21). Thus, since unbelievers are not able to correctly conceive who God is, the very God to whom they pray, the Christ through whom they pray, nor of the things for which they pray, as was shown before, then how will they be able to address themselves to God, without the help of the Holy Spirit?

The acceptable prayer to God must, in the outward expression, and as well in the inward intention, come from what the soul understands by the illumination of the Holy Spirit; otherwise the prayer is condemned as a vain abomination, because the heart and tongue do not agree, neither can they, unless the Spirit help us in our weakness.

Without Jesus the only prayer God hears is that of repentance. If you are not saved God is not obligated to listen to any of your prayers. 

Isaiah 59:1-2(HCSB) Indeed, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, and His ear is not too deaf to hear. 2 But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face from you so that He does not listen.

Psalms 66:17-19 (HCSB)I cried out to Him with my mouth, and praise was on my tongue.18 If I had been aware of malice in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. 19  However, God has listened; He has paid attention to the sound of my prayer.

Fortunately, 1 John 1:9 (HCSB)if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness

The Greek word translated “pray in” can have several different meanings. It can mean “by means of,” “with the help of,” “in the sphere of,” and “in connection to.” Praying in the Spirit does not refer to the words we are saying. Rather, it refers to how we are praying. Praying in the Spirit is praying according to the Spirit’s leading. It is praying for things the Spirit leads us to pray for. Romans 8:26 (ESV)26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Jesus taught his disciples how not to pray before teaching them how to pray.

Matthew 6:5-8(ESV)5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Some, based on 1 Corinthians 14:15, equate praying in the Spirit with praying in tongues. Discussing the gift of tongues, Paul mentions “pray with my spirit.” 1 Corinthians 14:14 states that when a person prays in tongues, he does not know what he is saying, since it is spoken in a language he does not know. Further, no one else can understand what is being said, unless there is an interpreter (1 Corinthians 14:27-28). In Ephesians 6:18, Paul instructs us to “pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,” How are we to pray with all kinds of prayers and requests and pray for the saints, if no one, including the person praying, understands what is being said? Therefore, praying in the Spirit should be understood as praying in the power of the Spirit, by the leading of the Spirit, and according to His will, not as praying in tongues.

1 Corinthians 14:14(ESV)14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. In both cases they have misrepresented the intention of those verses. The first verse they assume, speaking in an unknown tongue, builds someone up, when in fact; Paul was saying it in a negative sense. It puffs your ego, or it, at best, if you do it in private, would benefit you, which would be selfish and contrary to any proper use of spiritual gifts and the second one, “If I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, and my understanding is unfruitful,” is a way to say, “Don’t do that, because what’s the point in having an unfruitful understanding?”

The gift of tongues is viewed as a holy, mystical ability that somehow operates in a person’s spirit and comes out the mouth and bypasses the mind. Many Charismatics are even told they have to purposefully switch off their mind to enable the gift to function, that’s pretty much the pattern. I’ve sat in on a number of sessions where people were endeavoring to teach someone how to speak in tongues, and they always follow that same format. Usually they say something like this, “Don’t think of anything, try to empty your mind of any conscious thought, then start to just babble like a baby”

Charles and Francis Hunter, who travel all across the world in healing explosion meetings, have as a part of their curriculum the seminars in which they teach people how to speak in tongues. They have as many as 50,000 people in some of their meetings. Charles Hunter tells people, and I quote, “When you pray with your spirit you do not think of the sounds of the language. Just trust God, but make the sounds when I tell you too. In just a moment, when I tell you, begin loving and praising God by speaking forth a lot of different syllable sounds. At first make the sounds rapidly so you won’t try to think as you do in speaking your natural language. Make the sounds loudly at first so you can easily hear what you are saying.”

That’s an interesting contradiction. Hunter doesn’t explain what point there is in hearing what you are saying since your mind isn’t engaged anyway, but he continually reminds his audience they’re not supposed to be thinking. He says, “The reason some of you don’t speak fluently, is that you try to think of the sounds so when we pray this prayer and you start speaking in your heavenly language don’t try to think,” end quote. Later he adds, quote, “You don’t even have to think in order to pray in the Spirit,” end quote.

If it’s the spirit then why you have to be taught?

Now remember, all of this is a occurring with absolutely no understanding of what you’re saying. You have no comprehension of what it is you’re saying, and yet it is supposed to bring you into the deep understanding and intimate communion with God.
You might ask the question, “What then is wrong with such an experience?” Well, on the one hand, there really isn’t anything particularly evil or immoral about it if you just disassociate it from the Bible and disassociate it from Christianity, and if you get some pleasure out of standing in a corner all by yourself or sitting in your room alone and talking gibberish to yourself and that does something for you, then I suppose in and of itself, from a psychological standpoint, that it’s not a moral issue, it may be harmless. If something makes you feel good or makes you feel somehow better in control of your life, or like you’ve had some warm experience, so be it, but don’t call it intimacy with God. Don’t say it makes you spiritually stronger. Don’t say it makes you delirious with spiritual joy.

Then ask yourself the question, could I, through this means be deceived? Could this be dangerous? The answer to that question has to be yes.
The problem I have with the tongues is that people have used that as a spiritual pinnacle and if you don’t speak in tongues then you don’t have the Holy Spirit.I even heard this” when you speak in tongues the devil can’t understand you” Really?! If tongues is a “language of the angels” what was Satan? A cherub He was higher than the angels, he was the most beautiful of all the angels, you don’t think he knows the language? Some counter that with well after he fell he lost his ability? Really?! Satan gets summoned to Heaven to speak with God. Job 1:6-7(ESV)6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”
If we say those things we are stating incorrect unbiblical statements, and we are saying God doesn’t understand English or that God will hear my prayers because its in a heavenly language, that statement is so prideful!!

I personally heard and know of people who have severe PORN addictions but can speak and pray in Tongues!!!!! I was told multiple times “Brother if you don’t learn how to speak in tongues your will never have a powerful prayer life” My answer was always “What Verse?” But I have a couple for them….

James 5:15-16(ESV)15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

1 Peter 3:7(ESV)7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

1 Peter 3:10-12(ESV)10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 

1 Peter 4:7(ESV) 7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

Statement made by John Wesley. He understood something about prayer that we must understand: “It seems that without God, man cannot – and without man, God will not.”

What did he mean by that?

– It seems that on earth, man can do nothing without God – but there is another reality: God will not do anything on earth without man.

The principle is: There has to be a partnership between man and God in order for things to be happening on earth.

– So what happens on earth depends on you!

– To understand prayer, here is a simple definition of prayer:

Prayer is the earthly license for Heavenly interference.

Therefore: Nothing on earth can happen without the cooperation between God and humans.

– That is how powerful you are.

– God Himself cannot interfere in this planet without your license and permission that

He gave you.

-This sounds un-believable – but if you don’t believe this – it is why your prayers

aren’t answered, you don’t see results, you are still sick, don’t have what you need,

you are just performing a religious exercise in your prayer life.

“We get the mind of God about His will, we pray it. When we pray it, we give him legal right to perform it” (BENNY HINN).

“Yes. Let me define prayer for you in this show. Prayer is man giving God permission, or license, to interfere in earth’s affairs. In other words, prayer is earthly license for heavenly interference….God can do nothing on earth, nothing has God ever done on earth without a human giving him access….Always looking for a human to give him power of permission. In other words, God has the power, but you got the permission. God got the authority and the power, but you got the license. So even though God can do anything, he can only do what you permit him to do” (MYLES MUNROE).

We can create barriers to effective prayer with the Father

1. Praying with selfish desires and wrong motives. James 4:3(ESV) When you ask you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures”.

2. Rejecting God’s call or ignoring His advice Proverbs 1:24-28 (HCSB)24 Since I called out and you refused, extended my hand and no one paid attention, 25 since you neglected all my counsel and did not accept my correction, 26 I, in turn, will 27  when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when trouble and stress overcome you.28  Then they will call me, but I won’t answer; they will search for me, but won’t find me. 

3. Worshipping idols (Jeremiah 11:11-14(ESV)11 Therefore, thus says the Lord, Behold, I am bringing disaster upon them that they cannot escape. Though they cry to me, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they make offerings, but they cannot save them in the time of their trouble. 13 For your gods have become as many as your cities, O Judah, and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to shame, altars to make offerings to Baal.14 “Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.

4. Turning a deaf ear to the cry of the poor Proverbs 21:13(HCSB) The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will himself also call out and not be answered.

Effective Prayer

Although the Bible offers a great deal of guidance on how we can deepen our communication with the Creator, effective prayer has more to do with the one doing the praying than it does with “how” we are to pray. Indeed, Scripture says in James 5:16 (HCSB) 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect., and in

1 Peter 3:12(HCSB)because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their request. But the face of the Lord is against those who do what is evil. 

Psalm 34:15 (HCSB)The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry for help. and, again in Proverbs 15:8(HCSB) The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight. Prayer saved the righteous Daniel from the lion’s den (Daniel 6:11), and in the wilderness, God’s chosen people benefitted from Moses’ right standing with God (Exodus 16–17). The barren Hannah’s steadfast and humble prayers resulted in the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 1:20), and the apostle Paul’s prayers even caused the earth to shake (Acts 16:25-26). Clearly, the passionate prayers of God’s righteous children can accomplish much (Numbers 11:2).

We also need to make sure that our prayers are in line with God’s will.

1 John 5:13-15(HCSB) 13 I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for. Praying in accordance with God’s will is essentially praying in accord with what He would want, and we can see God’s revealed will throughout Scripture.

Additionally, prayer is something believers should do “constantly”
1 Thessalonians 5:17(HCSB)Pray constantly. When we present our requests to God, we are to pray with faith, with thanksgiving, with a spirit of forgiveness toward others in Christ’s name, with a heart that is right with God. It’s the strength of our faith, not the length of our prayers that pleases Him to whom we pray, so we don’t need to impress God with our eloquence or intelligence. After all, God knows what our needs are even before we ask. Also, we should make sure we have no unconfessed sin in our hearts when we pray, as this would certainly be an impediment to effective prayer.

Jesus is pretty serious when it comes to his Father’s house and prayer. Jesus’ first cleansing of the temple is described in John 2:13–17(HCSB) 13 The Jewish Passover was near, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple complex He found people selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and He also found the money changers sitting there. 15 After making a whip out of cords, He drove everyone out of the temple complex with their sheep and oxen. He also poured out the money changers’ coins and overturned the tables. 16 He told those who were selling doves, “Get these things out of here! Stop turning My Father’s house into a marketplace!” 17 And His disciples remembered that it is written: Zeal for Your house will consume Me. This cleansing occurred just after Jesus’ first miracle, turning of water into wine at the wedding in Cana. This is the first of the two times Jesus cleansed the temple. The second cleansing of the temple occurred just after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem during the last week of His life.
Matthew 21:12-13(HCSB)12 Jesus went into the temple complex and drove out all those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the money changers’ tables and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, My house will be called a house of prayer. But you are making it a den of thieves!” Think of this: Jesus doesn’t call the temple a home for God, a beautiful establishment, a country club, a social gathering, nor a hospital, He calls it a “House of Prayer”. Jesus got so fired up about His Father’s house not being a house of prayer, he fashioned a whip and went after it. He cleansed the temple not once but twice!

Far too often, prayer is viewed as a “magic formula.” Some believe that if we do not say exactly the right things, or pray in the right position, God will not hear and answer our prayer. This is completely unbiblical. God does not answer our prayers based on when we pray, where we are, what position our body is in, or in what order we word our prayers. We are told in 1 John 5:14-15 (HCSB)14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for. We are to have confidence when we come to God in prayer, knowing that He hears us and will grant whatever we ask as long as it is in His will. Similarly,
John 14:13-14 (HCSB)13 Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. According to these and many other Scriptures, God answers prayer requests based on whether they are asked according to His will and in the name of Jesus (to bring glory to Jesus).

The revelation about prayer, is that prayer is a 100% spiritual ministry. We all want our prayers to be “effective,” so much so that when we focus on the “results” of our prayers, we lose sight of the incredible privilege we have in prayer.

The closest the Bible comes to giving a “pattern” for prayer is the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:5-13 (ESV)5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  9 Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,hallowed be your name.10 Your kingdom come,your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven.11 Give us this day our daily bread,12 and forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors.13 And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from evil.
Please understand that the Lord’s Prayer is not a prayer we are to memorize and recite to God. The Lord’s Prayer should be understood as an example, a pattern, of how to pray. It gives us the “ingredients” that should go into prayer.
Here is how it breaks down:
“Our Father in heaven” is teaching us whom to address our prayers to—the Father. “Hallowed be your name” is telling us to worship God, and to praise Him for who He is.
The phrase “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is a reminder to us that we are to pray for God’s plan in our lives and the world, not our own plan. We are to pray for God’s will to be done, not for our desires. We are encouraged to ask God for the things we need in “give us today our daily bread.” “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” reminds us to confess our sins to God and to turn from them, and also to forgive others as God has forgiven us.
The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” is a plea for help in achieving victory over sin and a request for protection from the attacks of the devil.

This is an example of the things that should go into a prayer—worship, trust in God, requests, confession, and submission. We are to pray for the things the Lord’s Prayer talks about, using our own words and “customizing” it to our own journey with God. The proper way to pray is to express our hearts to God. Sitting, standing, or kneeling; hands open or closed; eyes opened or closed; in a church, at home, or outside; in the morning or at night—these are all side issues, subject to personal preference, conviction, and appropriateness. God’s desire is for prayer to be a real and personal connection between Himself and us.

Philippians 4:6-7(ESV) 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. This tells us to pray without being anxious, to pray about everything, and to pray with thankful hearts. God will answer all such prayers with the gift of His peace in our hearts. The proper way to pray is to pour out our hearts to God, being honest and open with God, as He already knows us better than we know ourselves. We are to present our requests to God, keeping in mind that God knows what is best and will not grant a request that is not His will for us. We are to express our love, gratitude, and worship to God in prayer without worrying about having just the right words to say. God is more interested in the content of our hearts than the eloquence of our words

Prayer must submit to the will of God. – Paul Bunyan

As Christ has taught us, prayer must say, Matthew 6:10(ESV)Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.; therefore the people of the Lord in humility are to lay themselves and their prayers, and all that they have, at the feet of their God, to be disposed of by him as he in his heavenly wisdom sees best. And never doubting that God will answer the desire of his people in a way that will be most advantageous for them and for his glory. Therefore when the saints pray with submission to the will of God, they are not to doubt or question God’s love and kindness to them. But because they are not always wise, and sometimes Satan may take advantage of them, so as to tempt them to pray for that which, if they had it, would neither be to God’s glory nor for his people’s good.

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End Times and the Rapture

Second coming and Armageddon?

Revelation 16:16(HCSB)16 So they assembled them at the place called in Hebrew, Armagedon. Traditionally the hill of Megiddo, a great city that guarded the pass between the coast and the valley of Jezreel or Esdraelon; The word “Armageddon” comes from a Hebrew word Har-Magedone, which means “Mount Megiddo” and has become synonymous with the future battle in which God will intervene and destroy the armies of the Antichrist as predicted in biblical prophecy (Revelation 16:16; 20:1-3, 7-10). There will be a multitude of people engaged in the battle of Armageddon, as all the nations gather together to fight against Christ.

The exact location of the valley of Armageddon is unclear because there is no mountain called Meggido. However, since “Har” can also mean hill, the most likely location is the hill country surrounding the plain of Meggido, some sixty miles north of Jerusalem. More than two hundred battles have been fought in that region. The plain of Megiddo and the nearby plain of Esdraelon will be the focal point for the battle of Armageddon, which will rage the entire length of Israel as far south as the Edomite city of Bozrah (Isaiah 63:1). The valley of Armageddon was famous for two great victories in Israel’s history: 1) Barak’s victory over the Canaanites (Judges 4:15) and 2) Gideon’s victory over the Midianites (Judges 7). Armageddon was also the site for two great tragedies: 1) the death of Saul and his sons (1 Samuel 31:8) and 2) the death of King Josiah (2 Kings 23:29-30; 2 Chronicles 35:22).

The rapture is the teaching that at or before the return of Christ (Matthew 24:30, Acts 1:11) the Christians who are alive on the earth will be transformed into the resurrected bodies and literally be caught up into the clouds to meet Jesus.

There is debate as to the timing of the rapture. The pre-tribulation rapture doctrine says that the rapture will occur at the beginning of the seven-year tribulation period, which immediately precedes the return of Jesus. The mid-tribulation rapture doctrine says that the rapture will occur 3 1/2 years before Christ returns or halfway through the great tribulation period of seven years. The post-tribulation doctrine says that the rapture will occur at the same time as the return of Christ or at the end of the seven-year tribulation. All of these positions fall within the realm of Christian orthodoxy.

The verses used to support the doctrine of the rapture are as follows:

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18(HCSB), 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

• 1 Corinthians 15:20-23(HCSB) 20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ.

• 1 Corinthians 15:51-52(HCSB)51 Listen! I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed,52in a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible,and we will be changed.

Please note that the verses found in Matthew 24 and Luke 17 that deal with two men in the field and one is taken while the other is left are not dealing with the rapture. This is a common misunderstanding about those verses. Upon close examination of the texts in Matthew 24 and Luke 17, you will find that the ones who were taken are the wicked. In fact, Jesus’ disciples ask where they are taken, and He gives them an answer: Luke 17:37(HCSB) “Where the body is, there also will the vultures be gathered”.

The Secret Rapture

In early 1830, a 15 year old Scottish Girl called Margaret McDonald claimed to have visions that included a secret rapture of believers before the appearance of a one man antichrist who she also named. Edward Irving (1792-1834) who was her Scottish Presbyterian pastor and forerunner of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements, attended prophecy conferences that began in Dublin Ireland also in 1830 at Powerscourt Castle where he promoted this rapture doctrine as per her vision.

John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) who was a minister of the Church of Ireland later became a member of the Plymouth Brethren and also promoted the secret rapture after attending the same Powerscourt Bible Prophecy meeting in 1830 where he learned of Margaret McDonald’s supposed vision. Darby modified her views and then taught them under his own name. He developed and organized “futurism” into a system of prophetic teaching called “dispensationalism” with this rapture doctrine at its centre. He visited Margaret McDonald at her home in Port Glasgow, Scotland and then later visited America several times where this false rapture theology starting gaining a large acceptance in the 1850s and 1860s.

John Nelson Darby who was largely responsible for introducing this new teaching on a large scale also greatly influenced Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843-1921) who also incorporated this false doctrine into the notes of his Scofield Reference Bible, first published by Oxford University Press in 1909. One million copies were printed by 1930, firmly establishing this Futurist theory into different denominations and Bible schools of the United States in the 20th Century.

According to those teaching this theory, the coming of Jesus will be in two separate stages. The first will be a secret rapture of the Church at the beginning of a supposed seven year tribulation period followed by a glorious, triumphant return of Christ to the Earth accompanied by the Church at the end of the seven year period. They believe that during this seven year period the antichrist is going to come into power and God will select and seal 144,000 literal Jews who will take the Gospel to the whole world converting immeasurable souls to Christ. They also believe the great battle of Armageddon is a literal national war against literal Israel, which occurs near the end of the seven years and is brought to a halt by Christ’s return with His Church. Then literal Israel accepts the Lord as the Messiah and enters with Him as His covenant people into the 1,000 year (millennial) reign on earth known as the Kingdom Age. Christ will rule directly over the earth from the throne of David in Jerusalem, where the typical temple services function again. Those who ultimately reject Christ’s rule are eventually judged and destroyed at the end of the Millennium. The new believers will then receive immortality and eternity will begin.

However, the Bible nowhere speaks of these two separate comings and the word “rapture” is also an invention of theologians and occurs nowhere in the Bible. The deception does not stop there, Christians also debate whether we will be taken before the tribulation or in the middle of the seven years or at the completion of the seven year tribulation. These are called pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation and post tribulation. Now for the most amazing part of these views in regards to the seven year tribulation period; are you ready for this? It was manufactured by a Jesuit Priest who was commissioned to come up with this false interpretation of Bible Prophecy. This raises many questions, such as why was this done and how could so many be drawn into this lie. I hope you will read on as we cover all aspects of this topic and reveal the Bible truth

NO Rapture

I do not believe in the rapture. I believe what Jesus taught. There is 1 second coming, not a second coming for the church then another second coming after the tribulation. The purpose of Christians on this earth is the great commission, to proclaim the gospel to the lost, to reach people for the kingdom. If Jesus “raptures” the church(the ekklesia, the bride, the Christians) then there is no more need for any people to be left on earth since the very essence of what we the church is here for is now removed. I call it escapism mentality, the mentality that we will escape the evils of this world. If that was true and that was God’s design for humanity then the minute we would accept Christ he would “rapture” us up. 

Matthew 13:24-30(HCSB)24 He presented another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while people were sleeping, his enemy came, sowed weeds[a] among the wheat, and left. 26 When the plants sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared. 27 The landowner’s slaves came to him and said, ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’28 “‘An enemy did this!’ he told them.“‘So, do you want us to go and gather them up?’ the slaves asked him.29 “‘No,’ he said. ‘When you gather up the weeds, you might also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I’ll tell the reapers: Gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to burn them, but store the wheat in my barn.’”

It is so clear that we need not second guess what is going to happen. So what are we told in the pre-tribulation rapture theory? We are told that Christ will “gather” His people BEFORE the tribulation and separate the “wheat and the tares” BEFORE the harvest. And yet what does it clearly state in the Bible verse above? That the separation only takes place AT the harvest.

 

According to those who hold to the pre-trib rapture theory, the harvest takes place BEFORE the tribulation and BEFORE the end of the world. This is clearly what they believe because according to this teaching, the world continues for another 7 years and then another 1000 years AFTER the rapture. Well, what does Jesus say about this?

Matthew 13:38-40(HCSB)38 the field is the world; and the good seed—these are the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 Therefore, just as the weeds are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.

 

The church(SAVED) and the wicked(UNSAVED) continue to live together on earth until the END OF THE AGE. And it is only at the end of the world that the separation takes place.

Please understand that VITAL point. The rapture theory teaches a separation BEFORE the end. But the Bible clearly teaches that there is NO separation before the end.

This also proves the mid-tribulation rapture teaching to be false

Those who hold to the mid-tribulation rapture theory, believe (just like the pre-trib teachers), that the separation takes place BEFORE the end of the world. But as we have shown from the Bible above, the separation takes place ONLY at the end of the world. Need more proof? Take a look at these Bible verses and you will notice that the focus is NOT about the church being taken away before the end, but rather AT the end of the age and the LAST DAY.

John 6:40(HCSB)40 For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

John 11:24(HCSB)24 Martha said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

John 12:48(HCSB)48 The one who rejects Me and doesn’t accept My sayings has this as his judge: The word I have spoken will judge him on the last day.

 

Eternal life is given on the LAST DAY. The resurrection happens on the LAST DAY. Judgment is given on the LAST DAY. If the rapture were real then that means God would have to do SOME KIND OF judgement BEFORE the end!

Notice also what Jesus says in Matthew 28:20(HCSB)20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Now why would Jesus reassure us that He would be with us until the END OF THE AGE, if we were to be raptured away BEFORE the end?

 

Matthew 24:37-42(HCSB)37 37 As the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. 38 For in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah boarded the ark. 39 They didn’t know until the flood came and swept them all away. So this is the way the coming of the Son of Man will be: 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore be alert, since you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.

This is such a misunderstood passage of scripture today. Take a look at the context of the above Bible verses. Do you see that Jesus is telling us that His second coming will be like what happened in Noah’s day? And what happened in the days of Noah? The above verse tells us. The flood DESTROYED the earth, taking away the wicked and leaving behind God’s people (Noah’s family). Who was “taken away” and who was “left behind” in Noah’s day? Take a look at the above verses again. It was the wicked who were TAKEN and Noah was LEFT BEHIND! And this is what Christ is pointing us to. He is saying that the day is coming when the earth will be destroyed again and the wicked will be TAKEN and the saints will be LEFT BEHIND.

Jesus is pointing to the “END OF THE AGE”. Just like it was the “end of the age” in Noah’s day when the flood came.

And what did we already confirm would happen during the harvest at the end? Let’s read it again … Matthew 13:30(HCSB)’Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I’ll tell the reapers: Gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to burn them, but store the wheat in my barn.’” … The wicked are “taken” first and the saints are left behind to then be “gathered into My barn” (taken to heaven).

Matthew 24 is  a very good chapter to read on the coming of Jesus.

The whole context of Matthew 24 is a warning for us to “watch and be ready” so that the “sudden destruction” that is to come upon the world will not TAKE US by surprise.
1 Thessalonians 5:3(HCSB)3 When they say, “Peace and security,” then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains come on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. Just like what happened in Noah’s day. Who were taken? The wicked. Who were left behind? Noah and his family!

Mark 13:14-27(HCSB)14 “When you see the abomination that causes desolation standing where it should not” (let the reader understand), “then those in Judea must flee to the mountains! 15 A man on the housetop must not come down or go in to get anything out of his house. 16 And a man in the field must not go back to get his clothes. 17 Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days! 18 Pray it won’t happen in winter. 19 For those will be days of tribulation, the kind that hasn’t been from the beginning of the world, which God created, until now and never will be again! 20 Unless the Lord limited those days, no one would survive.[i] But He limited those days because of the elect, whom He chose.

21 “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah! Look—there!’ do not believe it! 22 For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and will perform signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23 And you must watch! I have told you everything in advance.

24 “But in those days, after that tribulation:

The sun will be darkened,

and the moon will not shed its light;25 

the stars will be falling from the sky,

and the celestial powers will be shaken.

26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 He will send out the angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.

Mark 13 directly correlates with Revelation 6:12-17(HCSB)12 Then I saw Him open the sixth seal. A violent earthquake occurred; the sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair; the entire moon became like blood; 13 the stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fig tree drops its unripe figs when shaken by a high wind; 14 the sky separated like a scroll being rolled up; and every mountain and island was moved from its place.

15 Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the military commanders, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 because the great day of Their wrath has come! And who is able to stand?”

The danger of any minute rapture,is people will fall for the false messiah, the antiChrist thinking he is Jesus coming back. The Jews do not think Jesus was the messiah and they will fall for the antichrist.

Matthew 24:24-28(HCSB)24 False messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 Take note: I have told you in advance. 26 So if they tell you, ‘Look, He’s in the wilderness!’ don’t go out; ‘Look, He’s in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the carcass is, there the vultures will gather.

Many people in churches today take for granted that this is what the Bible teaches. They may be surprised to discover that no biblical text specifically and unambiguously mentions believers being removed before the final tribulation. That limitation may be why we have no clear record of any interpreter noticing the view in the Bible before 1830. The view was held by none of the church fathers, none of the Reformers such as Luther or Calvin, none of the leaders in various evangelical revival movements such as John Wesley or Jonathan Edwards.

Passages in the Bible do teach that Jesus will return, that he will gather his followers, and that he will bring justice by punishing those who chose evil rather than truth. Passages also promise a subsequent future of justice and peace. By showing that God values justice and peace, such passages also invite his followers to work for such values now. Some New Testament passages further share the ancient Jewish expectation of a period of end-time tribulation, although scholars debate what this means.

But no unambiguous passage supports Christians being “raptured” before the tribulation. The Book of Revelation describes sufferings, many of which characterize much of the world we live in. But while Revelation depicts God protecting at least some of his people from his own judgment, it nowhere mentions Christians being removed. Revelation’s first full description of Jesus’s coming, as well as its first mention of what many construe as Christians’ resurrection (“the first resurrection”) appear toward the end of the book Revelation 19:11-16(HCSB)11 Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse. Its rider is called Faithful and True, and He judges and makes war in righteousness. 12 His eyes were like a fiery flame, and many crowns were on His head. He had a name written that no one knows except Himself. 13 He wore a robe stained with blood, and His name is the Word of God. 14 The armies that were in heaven followed Him on white horses, wearing pure white linen. 15 A sharp sword came from His mouth, so that He might strike the nations with it. He will shepherd them with an iron scepter. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God, the Almighty. 16 And He has a name written on His robe and on His thigh:

KING OF KINGS

AND LORD OF LORDS.

Revelation 20:4-5(HCSB)4 Then I saw thrones, and people seated on them who were given authority to judge. I also saw the people who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of God’s word, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and who had not accepted the mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with the Messiah for 1,000 years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the 1,000 years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Throughout Revelation’s middle section, God’s servants suffer on earth and, after death, worship in heaven.

To argue that a rapture precedes Revelation’s tribulation, some appeal to Revelation 4:1, where a voice invites John, “Come up here!” But this voice invites John’s vision, not the church’s rapture. More persuasively, some appeal to Jesus’s promise to some Christians in the Church at Philadelphia in

Revelation 3:10(HCSB)10 Because you have kept My command to endure, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is going to come over the whole world to test those who live on the earth.: “I will keep you from the hour of testing.” The wording, however, can mean “protect from while there” (as in John 17:15(HCSB)I am not praying that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one.—an understanding that better fits the rest of Revelation.

Many counter with 2 Thessalonians 2:3-7(HCSB)3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in God’s sanctuary, publicizing that he himself is God.

5 Don’t you remember that when I was still with you I told you about this? 6 And you know what currently restrains him, so that he will be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but the one now restraining will do so until he is out of the way, where a restrainer is removed before the coming of the ultimate wicked ruler (what many call the “antichrist”). Readers propose a vast range of interpretations here, but one view that context prohibits is that the passage describes Christians’ “rapture.” The wicked ruler comes before Jesus’s coming to gather his people
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3(HCSB)Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him: We ask you, brothers, 2 not to be easily upset in mind or troubled, either by a spirit or by a message or by a letter as if from us, alleging that the Day of the Lord has come. when Jesus will destroy that wicked ruler (2 Thessalonians 2:8-10(HCSB)8 and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, Further in the context, Jesus’s followers do not receive final exemption from sufferings until his public return to judge the world.
2 Thessalonians 1:5-10(HCSB)5 It is a clear evidence of God’s righteous judgment that you will be counted worthy of God’s kingdom, for which you also are suffering, 6 since it is righteous for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you 7 and to reward with rest you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels, 8 taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction from the Lord’s presence and from His glorious strength 10 in that day when He comes to be glorified by His saints and to be admired by all those who have believed, because our testimony among you was believed.

I can summarize only three more arguments of “left behind” proponents. Some protest that since Jesus will come unexpectedly, he must return before the final tribulation. Unfortunately for this argument, most texts that speak of Jesus’s unexpected coming are in contexts that refer unambiguously to his coming to judge the world, with no specific reference to an event several years before (Matthew 24:29-31, 43-44; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 16:15-21). Indeed, other passages summon Christians to look for Jesus’s public “appearing” (Titus 2:13) and the final judgment (2 Peter 3:12).

In context, Jesus’s saying that mentions some being “left behind” may refer to the righteous left behind when the wicked are “taken” to judgment (Matthew 24:38-41), to where vultures feed on corpses (Luke 17:34-37)!

Finally, some contend that Christians will escape God’s “wrath”

1 Thessalonians 1:10(HCSB)10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

1 Thessalonians 5:9-11(HCSB)9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.. But elsewhere in Paul’s letters deliverance from God’s wrath means that Jesus’s followers are forgiven because of him

Romans 5:9(HCSB)9 Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. It does not refer to escaping tribulation. Even when Revelation uses the Greek term that Paul uses here, it refers to final judgment, not a preceding tribulation. (Revelation may use a different Greek term for God’s anger during tribulation, but even that Greek term refers more often to the final judgment.)

Many books argue for or against left-behind theology. When I am asked what book I recommend against left-behind theology, I usually recommend that people read a book supporting that theology — and then look up in context all the verses it quotes. After I became a Christian, I was initially schooled in “left behind” theology myself. Once I began reading the Bible carefully, however, I discovered that every text supporting this view was out of context.

I would challenge the view’s advocates to reread the Bible as honestly as possible with this question in mind: If you had never been taught either way, would you recognize a clear gathering of believers before a future tribulation, or would you identify that gathering with what happens at Jesus’s return after tribulation (Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:24-27)?

But if Christians will not leave the rest of the world behind, we’re all in this together for now. If so, that probably means that God wants us to keep loving and serving our neighbors in the meantime

Armor of God Pt3

The Armor of God

 We are finishing the third installment of the Armor of God


1. Belt of Truth

  1. Breastplate of Righteousness
  2. Shoes of Peace

    4.Shield of Faith

  3. Helmet of Salvation
  4. Sword of the Spirit
    Verse 17 interprets itself as to the meaning of the sword of the Spirit—it is the Word of God. While all the other pieces of spiritual armor are defensive in nature, the sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon in the armor of God. It speaks of the holiness and power of the Word of God. A greater spiritual weapon is not conceivable. In Jesus’ temptations in the desert, the Word of God was always His overpowering response to Satan. What a blessing that the same Word is available to us!

The sword was the most common weapon in battle. Indeed, the word “sword” appears 449 times in Scripture. The other armaments in God’s arsenal are defensive in nature, but the sword is primarily an offensive weapon. When Jesus said, I came not to bring peace, but a sword He was not saying that He, the Prince of peace, had come to start wars (Matthew 10:34-39(NLT)34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.36Your enemies will be right in your own household!’ 37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine.38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

Rather, He was pointing out that the sword of God’s Word has a dividing effect. This sword is depicted as having two edges: (Hebrews 4:12(NLT)For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.) Since every Christian is in the spiritual battle with the satanic and evil forces of this world, we need to know how to handle the Word properly. Only then will it be an effective defense against evil, but it will be an offensive weapon we use to “destroy strongholds” of error and falsehood
(2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NLT)For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,).

The sword is both an offensive and defensive weapon used by soldiers or warriors. In this case it is a weapon belonging to the Holy Spirit. Swords were used to protect oneself from harm or to attack the enemy to overcome or kill him. In both cases it was necessary for a solider to get rigid training on the proper use of the sword to get maximum protection and offensive strikes. All Christian soldiers need the same rigid training to know how to properly handle the Sword of the Spirit “which is the word of God.”

Ancient soldiers also used their swords for cooking, splitting kindling, and for cutting the ropes that bound their captives to set them free. Likewise, the Word of God is a practical tool for every area of life, as well as in fighting the devil. In Bible times, there was no stainless steel. A sword unused became rusty, dull, and pitted. Swords were kept clean by frequent use or by honing them against a stone (the Rock of Ages) or another soldier’s sword. (Proverbs 27:17(NLT) As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.)

Likewise, when we study the Bible with others, our skill in the Word is sharpened. A soldier traveling in enemy territory never left his sword out of reach. We should never leave our sword(the Word of God) out of our reach. The purpose of the Word of the Spirit—the Bible—is to make us strong and able to withstand the evil onslaughts of Satan our enemy. The Holy Spirit uses the power of the Word to save souls and then to give them spiritual strength to be mature soldiers for the Lord in fighting this corrupt and evil world we live in. The more we know and understand the word of God, the more useful we will be in doing the Will of God and the more effective we will be in standing against the enemy of our souls.

 

7.Pray in the Spirit
In verse 18, we are told to pray in the Spirit (that is, with the mind of Christ, with His heart and His priorities) in addition to wearing the full armor of God. We cannot neglect prayer, as it is the means by which we draw spiritual strength from God. Without prayer, without reliance upon God, our efforts at spiritual warfare are empty and futile. The full armor of God—truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer—are the tools God has given us, through which we can be spiritually victorious, overcoming Satan’s attacks and temptations.

Praying in the Spirit is mentioned three times in Scripture.

1 Corinthians 14:15 (HCSB)What then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with my understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with my understanding. 16 Otherwise, if you praise with the spirit, how will the uninformed person say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may very well be giving thanks, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in other languages more than all of you; 19 yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, in order to teach others also, than 10,000 words in another language.

Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

Jude 20 (HCSB) “But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.”
So, what exactly does it mean to pray in the Spirit?

The Greek word translated “pray in” (proseuchomai) can have several different meanings. It can mean “by means of,” “with the help of,” “in the sphere of,” and “in connection to.” Praying in the Spirit does not refer to the words we are saying. Rather, it refers to how we are praying. Praying in the Spirit is praying according to the Spirit’s leading. It is praying for things the Spirit leads us to pray for. Romans 8:26 tells us, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

To pray in the flesh (the old nature) is to fail. To pray in the Spirit is to succeed. The early church accomplished what it did because it advanced on its knees, mighty in power because they were mighty in prayer. Sometimes we don’t want to pray because our flesh doesn’t like it.
Romans 8:5 (HCSB)For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.

 

Do you wonder sometimes why you don’t want to pray?  Look in verse 7 and see how this works out in your own life:

We might as well admit it: when we don’t pray, it’s because we don’t want to pray. Why is it we don’t want to pray?  Because the flesh doesn’t like it. When we don’t want to pray, what does that tell us?  That we’re carnally minded rather than spiritually minded. The carnal mind has no more desire to pray than your dog has to watch opera.

There’s something in us, in our flesh (our old nature), that not only doesn’t want to pray, it has a deep-seated feeling of dislike toward prayer.  We need to stop trying to cover it up and admit that the reason we don’t pray when we don’t pray is we don’t want to pray.  And the reason we don’t want to pray is we’re in the flesh rather than the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will activate your will in prayer. The Holy Spirit will help you to pray.

For the Spirit-filled person it becomes so natural to say, “Abba Father,” to worship and praise Him. When the Holy Spirit is in you and you’re yielded to the Spirit, not walking in the flesh, it is as normal as breathing to pray. This is the answer to the problem of a lack of appetite for prayer. The Holy Spirit activates our will in prayer.

 

Some, based on 1 Corinthians 14:15, equate praying in the Spirit with praying in tongues. Discussing the gift of tongues, Paul mentions “pray with my spirit.”

1 Corinthians 14:14(HCSB) For if I pray in another language, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. states that when a person prays in tongues, he does not know what he is saying, since it is spoken in a language he does not know. Further, no one else can understand what is being said, unless there is an interpreter

(1 Corinthians 14:27 (HCSB)If any person speaks in another language, there should be only two, or at the most three, each in turn, and someone must interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, that person should keep silent in the church and speak to himself and to God.).

In Ephesians 6:18, Paul instructs us to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” How are we to pray with all kinds of prayers and requests and pray for the saints, if no one, including the person praying, understands what is being said? Therefore, praying in the Spirit should be understood as praying in the power of the Spirit, by the leading of the Spirit, and according to His will, not as praying in tongues.

  • Prayer is not making God a heavenly bellhop to wait on you and give you your fleshly desires. Prayer is God’s plan to make you like Jesus.
  • The devil doesn’t want you to pray. The devil will do all that he can do to keep you from praying. All of the artillery of Hell is leveled against you when you pray. Why? Because if you pray, you can beat him every time.
  • If you pray in the flesh, you’re no match for Satan. But when you pray in the Spirit, “if God be for you, who can be against you?”
  • You have a Father to pray to. You have a Savior to pray through. You have a Spirit to pray in. Let’s be about our Father’s business, praying in the Spirit.

The Armor of God Pt2

The Armor of God

 Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6:12 clearly indicates that the conflict with Satan is spiritual, and therefore no tangible weapons can be effectively employed against him and his minions. We are not given a list of specific tactics Satan will use. However, the passage is quite clear that when we follow all the instructions faithfully, we will be able to stand, and we will have victory regardless of Satan’s strategy.

1. Belt of Truth
2.Breastplate of Righteousness
3.Shoes of Peace

4.Shield of Faith

  1. The shield of faith spoken of in verse 16 makes Satan’s sowing of doubt about the faithfulness of God and His Word ineffective. The Roman shield of the time was called a scutum. This type of shield was as large as a door and would cover the warrior entirely. Such a shield was not just defensive but could also be used to push opponents. When fighting as a group, a phalanx of soldiers could position their shields so as to form an enclosure around themselves, called a testudo (“tortoise”). This was especially helpful to protect against arrows launched from the walls of cities they were attacking. Shields, often made of wood and then covered in hide, when wet, could extinguish flaming arrows. The shield was not held loosely in the soldier’s hand, but was firmly strapped to his forearm so he could resist the mighty blows of an enemy’s sword without fear of dropping it. Likewise, Christians cannot afford to have a flimsy faith while in the heat of spiritual battle.

Clearly, a shield is vitally important to a soldier. It provides a blanket of protection. It is meant to be taken up in all circumstances. It is the first barrier against the enemy’s attack. Often, shields were painted with identifying marks; a Christian who takes up the shield of faith identifies himself as a foot soldier who serves the Commander of the Lord’s army.

Our faith—of which Christ is “the founder and perfecter” (Hebrews 12:2 (HCSB)keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.)— is like a golden shield, precious, solid, and substantial.

Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

Verse 6 stresses the importance of faith: Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

Satan’s attacks can sometimes cause us to doubt God. Faith prompts us to believe God. We give in to temptation when we believe what it has to offer is better than what God has promised. Faith reminds us that, though fulfillment of God’s promise may not be readily visible to us, God is true to His Word. When Satan attempts to plague us with doubt or entice us with instant gratification, faith recognizes the deceptiveness of his tactics and quickly extinguishes the arrows. When Satan accuses us, faith chooses to believe that Jesus has redeemed us and that there is no more condemnation.

Faith is one of the greatest gifts (1 Corinthians 13:13), and it is the means by which we receive grace and come into right relationship with God (Ephesians 2:8–9). It is because we have been justified through faith (The word justified means “pronounced or treated as righteous.” For a Christian, justification is the act of God not only forgiving the believer’s sins but imputing to him the righteousness of Christ. Justification is a completed work of God, and it is instantaneous, as opposed to sanctification, which is an ongoing process of growth by which we become more Christlike (the act of “being saved”)

Spirit – Justification – Immediate
Soul – Sanctification – Lifetime of the believer
Body – Glorification – Upon Death
1 Corinthians 1:18 (HCSB) 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved.;
1 Thessalonians 5:23 (HCSB) 23 
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Understanding the doctrine of justification is important for a Christian. First, it is the very knowledge of justification and of grace that motivates good works and spiritual growth; thus, justification leads to sanctification. Also, the fact that justification is a finished work of God means that Christians have assurance of their salvation. In God’s eyes, believers have the righteousness necessary to gain eternal life.

Once a person is justified, there is nothing else he needs in order to gain entrance into heaven. Since justification comes by faith in Christ, based on His work on our behalf, our own works are disqualified as a means of salvation (Romans 3:23-28 (HCSB) For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. 26 God presented Him to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus.27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By one of works? No, on the contrary, by a law of faith. 28 For we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.). There exist vast religious systems with complex theologies that teach the false doctrine of justification by works. But they are teaching “a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all” (Galatians 1:6–7 (HCSB)6 I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the good news about the Messiah.)

We belong to God and have peace with Him (Romans 5:1). Faith is the doorway to hope in God (Romans 5:2). Because we have faith in God, our suffering need not faze us; in fact, we can persevere under it (Romans 5:3–5). The things Satan attempts to use to discourage us can actually become tools in the hands of God.

All believers have this promise: 1John 5:4 (NLT)For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. Faith is a protective barrier between us and the schemes of Satan. When we believe God and take Him at His word, we remain grounded in truth, the lies of the enemy lose their power, and we become overcomers. In that way, faith is our shield.

  1. Helmet of Salvation
    The helmet of salvation in verse 17 is protection for the head, keeping viable a critical part of the body. We could say that our way of thinking needs preservation. The head is the seat of the mind, which, when it has laid hold of the sure gospel hope of eternal life, will not receive false doctrine or give way to Satan’s temptations. The unsaved person has no hope of warding off the blows of false doctrine because he is without the helmet of salvation and his mind is incapable of discerning between spiritual truth and spiritual deception.
    The assurance of salvation is our impenetrable defense against anything the enemy throws at us. Salvation is not limited to a one-time act of the past or even a future hope. God’s salvation is an ongoing, eternal state that His children enjoy in the present. It is daily protection and deliverance from our sin nature and Satan’s schemes.

Because of the power of the cross, our enemy no longer has any hold on us (Romans 8:2(ESV)For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

1 Corinthians 1:18(NLT) The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.

He knows that, but he also knows that most of God’s children do not know that—or, at least, they do not live as if they know. We must learn to keep our helmets buckled so that his fiery missiles do not lodge in our thoughts and set us on fire. Through this helmet of salvation, we can (2 Corinthians 10:5 (NLT) We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.)

 There are several actions a believer can take to keep this helmet fastened and functioning:

1.Renew our minds. Metanoia meaning “changing one’s mind or Repentance” Our minds are battlefields. The outcomes of those battles determine the course of our lives. Romans 12:2 (HCSB) 2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

This instructs us to renew our minds by allowing the truth of God’s Word to wipe out anything contrary to it. Old ideas, opinions, and worldviews must be replaced. We must allow God’s truth to continually wash away the world’s filth, lies, and confusion from our minds and adopt God’s perspective.

2.Reject doubts that arise from circumstances. Human beings are sensory creatures. What we cannot fathom with our five senses, we tend to disregard. If we allow them to, circumstances may convince us that God does not really love us or that His Word is not true. It is impossible to have faith and doubt at the same time. God rewards our faith. With the helmet of salvation firmly in place, we can choose to believe what appears impossible (1 Peter 1:8–9 (HCSB)8 You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.).

3.Keep an eternal perspective. When life crashes in around us, we must remember to look up. Our salvation is the most precious gift we have received. Keeping our eyes on that can help us weather life’s storms. We can choose to live our lives by the motto “If it doesn’t have eternal significance, it’s not important” (Matthew 6:20 (HCSB) 20 But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

1 Corinthians 3:11–13 (HCSB) 11 For no one can lay any other foundation than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on that foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 each one’s work will become obvious, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work..

4.Remember that victory is already accomplished. When we consider ourselves “dead to sin but alive to God” (Romans 6:11 (HCSB) 11 So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.), we eliminate many of the opportunities Satan uses to entrap us. When choosing sin is no longer an option for us because we recognize ourselves to be “new creatures” (2 Corinthians 5:17(HCSB) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come), we effectively cut off many avenues of failure.

5.Find all our hope in Him. Psalm 73:25 “Who do I have in heaven but You? And I desire nothing on earth but You. Our helmet is most effective when we treasure what it represents. The salvation Jesus purchased for us cannot share the place of importance in our hearts with earthly things. When pleasing the Lord is our supreme delight, we eliminate many of Satan’s lures and render his evil suggestions powerless.

As we wear the helmet of salvation every day, our minds become more insulated against the suggestions, desires, and traps the enemy lays for us. We choose to guard our minds from excessive worldly influence and instead think on things that honor Christ (Philippians 4:8 (HCSB) 8 Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.)

In doing so, we wear our salvation as a protective helmet that will “guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 (HCSB) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.)

Jesus + Nothing = Salvation

Christianity is very simple, it is very pure, it is about having Christ, knowing Christ.  Paul says in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, to die is gain.”  He says in Philippians chapter 3 that when he saw the glory of Christ, everything else became (Skubala)manure.  Philippians 3:Furthermore I count all things to be but loss for the excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but as dung, that I may gain Christ: So basically Paul is saying Christ is so awesome that everything else is Dogs**t compared to HIM! And so he says, Philippians 3:13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. What is that?  What is the prize when we’re called up?  It is to be like Christ.  Paul says, “One day I will be like Christ.  Until then, my goal is to pursue that Christlikeness.”

We have only one message, and that is Christ.  We tell sinners they can have a relationship with Christ and in that relationship with Him, they will receive everything they need, all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies.  And yet in the name of Christianity, in the name of the gospel, in the name of the church, in the name of evangelism, people are told all kinds of things, promised all kinds of things, sold all kinds of things and in the middle somewhere is, if recognizable, a significantly diminished Christ.  Anything that diminishes Jesus Christ is a perverted presentation, it is another gospel, a false gospel.

Christ is Christianity and He is all there is to offer because He is all that we need.

 When you ask…what is a Christian?  It is one for whom to live is Christ.  Christ is our life.  We have no other life.  We have nothing but Christ and we have everything in Christ.

Apparently the Colossians had been told that there was a lot more needed than just Jesus Christ.  Something beyond Christ was necessary.  There was some insufficiency in Christ that prompts the Apostle Paul to write these words.  The insufficiencies in Christ can be made up by philosophy, human traditions, doctrines of man, external gifts, etc..  These, the Colossians were told, will make up what Christ lacks.  Christ is not enough.

Modern Day Judiazers – There have always been those who balk at the idea of God’s salvation being offered freely to those who believe. They reason that such a grand gift as forgiveness from such a holy God must require some kind of payment from us. We thank God for His grace, but we understand that He expects us to somehow earn that grace—in other words, there must be something that we can do to pay off the debt we owe to God.

In the early church, those who taught a combination of God’s grace and human effort were called “Judiazers.” The word Judaizer comes from a Greek verb meaning “to live according to Jewish customs.” The word appears in Galatians 2:14 But when I saw that they were deviating from the truth of the gospel, I told Cephas in front of everyone, “If you, who are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel Gentiles to live like Jews?” here Paul describes how he confronted Peter for forcing Gentile Christians to “Judaize.”

A Judiazer taught that, in order for a Christian to truly be right with God, he must conform to the Mosaic Law. Circumcision, especially, was promoted as necessary for salvation. Gentiles had to become Jewish proselytes first, and then they could come to Christ.

To add anything to the work that Christ did for salvation is to negate God’s grace. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, not by returning to the Law. Galatians 2:21“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing”

Galatians 5:11 Now brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 I wish those who are disturbing you might also get themselves castrated!

Paul is saying if cutting off a little makes you Holy then cut it all off and be super Holy!!

Though this is a long time ago, nothing has really changed.  There are people today who tell us that Christ is not enough, we need more than Christ, more than all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are found in Him.  We need Christ plus philosophy, human traditions, man made doctrines, external gifts, baptism,etc.

Here is what some common denominations teach as their doctrines of Salvation.

Pentecostal (UPC)– Baptism in Water in Jesus name Only to be saved God is absolutely and indivisibly one. In Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. He is the self-revelation of the one God, the incarnation of the full, undivided Godhead.

God has revealed Himself as Father (in parental relationship to humanity), in the Son (in human flesh), and as the Holy Spirit (in spiritual action).  The one God existed as Father, Word, and Spirit before His incarnation as Jesus Christ, the Son of God; and while Jesus walked on earth as God Himself incarnate, the Spirit of God continued to be omnipresent. However, the Bible does not teach that there are three distinct centers of consciousness in the Godhead or that Jesus is one of three divine persons. Oneness groups teach that one must be baptized in order to be saved. Baptism of water and Spirit is the birth of water and Spirit, the born-again experience of which Jesus spoke in John 3:3-5. The three steps are not human works that earn salvation but divine works of salvation in human lives. The Epistles also allude repeatedly to the Jesus Name formula. Moreover, the examples in Acts show that the baptism of the Spirit is for everyone and is accompanied by the initial sign of tongues. The experience signified by tongues is the promised outpouring of the Spirit On the basis of such passages as Acts 2:38 which speaks of being baptized “for the remission of your sins” and John 3:5 where Jesus says one must be born “of water and of Spirit” Oneness Pentecostals argue that baptism is absolutely essential for one to have their sins forgiven and be born again.

Assemblies of God Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God, according to the hope of eternal life. The inward evidence of salvation is the direct witness of the Spirit. The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded by the Scriptures. All who repent and believe on Christ as Saviour and Lord are to be baptized. All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian Church. The baptism of believers in the Holy Spirit is witnessed by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance.

Catholism – Salvation, in Roman Catholicism, is a process with many steps:  Actual Grace, Faith, Good Works, Baptism, Participation in the Sacraments, Penance, Indulgences, and Keeping the Commandments.  Basically, salvation is attained through baptism and good works.  It is maintained by good works and participation in the sacraments.  If lost, it is regained through the sacrament of Penance which only a Roman Catholic priest can administer.  Add to this purgatorial cleansing after a person dies, and you can see that salvation is an arduous process.

In Catholicism, a person can gain salvation and lose it many times depending on the number of sins committed, their severity, and how much of the sacraments that they participate in–in order to regain grace which enables them to do good works by which they are justified. Furthermore, justifying grace is infused into the Catholic upon baptism and via the sacraments.  This grace can be gradually lost through venial sins or forfeited all together with mortal sins.

Colossians 2:8 Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ. For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ, 10 and you have been filled by Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority. 11 You were also circumcised in Him with a circumcision not done with hands, by putting off the body of flesh, in the circumcision of the Messiah. 12 Having been buried with Him in baptism, you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive with Him and forgave us all our trespasses. 14 He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; He triumphed over them by Him.

In verses 13 and 14, not only a complete salvation but a complete forgiveness.  “And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgression, having canceled out the certificate of death consisting of decrees against us…that’s the record of all our sins which was, of course, hostile to us…and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

I want you to notice something.  Verse 9, “In Christ.”  Verse 10, “In Him.”  Verse 11, “In Him.”  Verse 12, “Buried with Him.  Raised with Him.”  Verse 13, “He made you together alive with Him.”  It is about being in Him, in Him, with Him, with Him.  And because we have Christ, we have complete salvation and complete forgiveness…so complete that He has literally blotted out our transgressions, canceled out, erased, wiped off our sins.

In verse 15, “On our behalf He disarmed the rulers and authorities, the host of hell, the demons, Satan.”  He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them.  Again, through Him.  When He disarmed the rulers and authorities, we triumphed over them through Him.  Because we have Christ, we have complete salvation.  Because we have Christ, we have complete forgiveness.  Because we have Christ, we have complete victory over all the hosts of hell.  Philosophy, Human Traditions and doctrines adds nothing whatsoever to that.  What we offer in offering the gospel is what this text presents.  We are offering a transformation through faith in Jesus Christ from death to life.  We are offering the forgiveness of all our sins for Jesus paid in full the penalty for those sins, the list of our sins literally was nailed to His cross.  We are offering in the gospel true, total, complete, triumph over Satan and demons.  Philosophy, Human Traditions and doctrines can do nothing to embellish that.

So what does it take?

Faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior is the only “step” to salvation. The message of the Bible is abundantly clear. We have all sinned against God (Romans 3:23). Because of our sin, we deserve to be eternally separated from God (Romans 6:23). Because of His love for us (John 3:16), God took on human form and died in our place, taking the punishment that we deserve (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21). God promises forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven to all who receive, by grace through faith, Jesus Christ as Savior (John 1:12; 3:16; 5:24; Acts 16:31).

Salvation is not about certain steps we must follow to earn salvation. Yes, Christians should be baptized. Yes, Christians should publicly confess Christ as Savior. Yes, Christians should turn from sin. Yes, Christians should commit their lives to obeying God. However, these are not steps to salvation. They are results of salvation. Because of our sin, we cannot in any sense earn salvation. We could follow 1000 steps, and it would not be enough. That is why Jesus had to die in our place. We are absolutely incapable of paying our sin debt to God or cleansing ourselves from sin. Only God could accomplish our salvation, and so He did. God Himself completed the “steps” and thereby offers salvation to anyone who will receive it from Him.

The Case for Tongues and the Holy Spirit

  • Two Essential Truths About the Holy SpiritThere are two truths about the Holy Spirit that we need to have clear from the beginning.
    • The first truth is that the Holy Spirit is a person not an impersonal force.
    • The second truth is that the Holy Spirit is God not a creation of God.
    1. The Holy Spirit Is a Person

    The most important passage to support the first truth is John 14–16. At least three things in these chapters confirm that Jesus thinks of the Holy Spirit as a person not a mere force.

    1) Jesus calls him “another Counselor/Helper” in 14:16, “I will pray the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth” (14:26; John15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

    ; John16:Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.). When Jesus calls him a Helper/Counselor or Comforter, he treats him as a person not a force. And when he calls him “another Counselor,” he means, “He will be a counselor like me.” The Holy Spirit is a counselor like Jesus is—he is a person.

     

    Charismatic and Pentecostal, Full Gospel churches are noted for their preaching emphasis on the “works” of the Holy Ghost. Yet it is obvious that most Spirit-filled Christians are not doing what they were taught or if they were ever taught: Living in the power (“dunamis” Acts 1:8) of the Holy Spirit and the “…greater works…” of Jesus, John 14:12. There is a dire need today for a balanced emphasis on the Person, along with the “works” of the Third Person in the GodHead:

    We have to learn a balanced emphasis on the Holy Spirit:

    a. I Corinthians 12:4-6 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

    1.  The Father operates the powers.
    2.  The Son administrates (ministers) the authority.
    3.  The Holy Spirit manifests the power.
    4. not everyone gets the gifts.

    The limited “emphasis” on the Holy Spirit indicates that Full Gospel churches implement the Baptism in the Holy Ghost and enter into the experience, but do not, as a rule, practice the lifestyle as set forth in the Book of Acts.

    1. If one does not go beyond the “experience” of being baptized in the Holy Ghost, into a relationship with the Holy Ghost, he will soon slide back into nominal Christianity. He will go:
    2. From exuberant joy, to an attitude of nonchalance.
    3. From elated worship experience, to just enduring church services.
    4. From enthusiastic witnessing, to just holding a creed.
    5. The church must move past the dramatic “experience” of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit into a regular, intimate and real relationship with the Person of the Holy Ghost, so we can live with power, New Testament Christianity.
    6. This is NOT the norm in Full Gospel churches today for several reasons:
    7. The Person of the Holy Ghost and how to have a relationship with Him is not properly emphasized.
    8. The reason the Person of the Holy Spirit is not taught, is because of a deficit in our theology and thus in our doctrine.
    9. It is implied by current teaching about the Holy Spirit that He is an “influence,” a “power” or even just an “attitude.” He is looked upon as a Christian “tool.” Little or no emphasis being made of His “Godness” much less His real Person
    10. The reason His Person is not regarded or understood, is because He is not really seen in the Triune GOD, who He IS!
    11. The church today is so limited in the knowledge and understanding of the Trinity, that:
      •  They are ill at ease or embarrassed to refer to the Holy Ghost as “God” in their conversation.
      •  Their praying remains confused. In trying to relate to the God(Head), they little know or understand the place of the Trinity in their prayer life. They feel guilty of Tritheism.
      •  To consider the worship the Holy Ghost as God causes guilt, for they feel they are taking reverence away from the Father and/or the Son.
  • Jesus says in Acts 1:5 and 8 that baptism in the Spirit means, “You shall receive power . . . and you shall be my witnesses.” This is an experience of boldness and confidence and victory over sin. A Christian without power is a Christian who needs a baptism in the Holy Spirit. I am aware that in 1 Corinthians 12:13 Paul says that baptism in the Spirit is an act of God by which we become a part of the body of Christ at conversion, so that in his terminology all genuine converts have been baptized in the Spirit.

  • I was told multiple times “Brother if you don’t learn how to speak in tongues your will never have a powerful prayer life” My answer was always “What Verse?” But I have a couple for them….
  • James 5:15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
  • 1 Peter 3:Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
  • 1Peter 3:10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
  • 1 Peter 4:The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers

Well what about tongues and being baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues?

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The Greek word  for power here is “Dunamis” it is the power for performing miracles, moral power and excellence of soul, power to overcome sin.
Ephesians 5:18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, The scripture here is present tense meaning to continually be filled. Baptism of the spirit is not a one time thing.
There are false teachings out there popular within the charismatic Pentecostal movement saying “the evidence of being baptized in the holy spirit is speaking in tongues.” Or gibberish as I would like to say.

Nowhere then, and this is very important, nowhere does the Bible teach that the gift of tongues is anything other than human languages. If you have a question about that, all you need to do is to go back to Acts 2:4, “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other languages, it’s the word language, they speak with other languages, as the Holy Spirit was giving them utterance.”

Notice that they didn’t have to learn how to do it? Somebody didn’t sit them down in a chair and say, “Empty your mind and start talking in unintelligible syllables.” No, the Spirit gave them utterance and they began to speak and what did they speak? It’s very clear, “The multitude came together,” Acts 2: At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!”

Acts 2:6, “They were bewildered, they were from everywhere, by the way, “They were each hearing them speak in his own language.” It wasn’t doubletalk, it wasn’t gibberish, it wasn’t angel talk, it wasn’t celestial speech, it was just different languages.

It is very clear it was language. The word in Acts 2 is glossa, it means language. They were hearing people speak in their own language. That’s all; it wasn’t some angel talk, some gibberish, some secret ecstatic language, some nonsense talk. Then it says also they were hearing in their own dialektos, dialects, that also we find used in Acts chapter 2. So there were unbelievers present at Pentecost hearing God’s message in their own languages and their own local dialects, not ecstatic gibberish.