Apologetics, United Pentecostal and their beliefs

We started a New Sermon series on Wednesday nights called “Apologetics” starting with Oneness Pentecostals.


Within the Pentecostal movement, the United Pentecostal Church is quite unusual. It holds some extra-biblical beliefs that separates it from being called Christian. It is important to understand that the body of Christ can afford to differ on nonessential issues, but not when it comes to the essentials of the Christian doctrine.
Oneness Pentecostals have an anti-trinitarian view of God, an unbiblical doctrine of Jesus Christ, and unbiblical requirements for salvation (speaking in tongues, water baptism in “Jesus’ name,” and a legalistic moral code). Thus, those churches adhering to its basic doctrines cannot be regarded as authentically Christian. Any group or church that claims to be Christian yet deviates at any point from historical Christian faith is, by definition, a cult. Oneness Pentecostal churches are, therefore, cultic in nature and outside the theological parameters of historic Christianity.

Like most cults, the United Pentecostal Church believes they are restoring biblical doctrine and biblical teaching that had been lost due to the corruption of the church throughout the centuries. Rather than recognizing that God in His sovereignty has preserved the true “apostolic doctrine” throughout the history of the church, they believe they are restoring biblical truths. The fact is all they are doing is reviving the ancient heresy of modalism that has been rejected by Christians every time another “new” group of false teachers begins to proclaim it.

While many false teachings have arisen out of the Pentecostal movement, Oneness Pentecostalism is certainly one of the most deceptive and heretical. Rather than embrace the triune nature of God as revealed in Scripture, Oneness Pentecostals, such as the United Pentecostal Church, create for themselves a God they can “understand” and in doing so end up with another gospel and a heretical concept of God. They hold to a form of modalism that, while correctly asserting the biblical truth that there is only one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4(HCSB) “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One), fails to recognize the plurality of the Godhead (Genesis 1:26(HCSB)26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”; Matthew 28:19–20(HCSB)19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

 Mark 1:9–11(HCSB)9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. 10 As soon as He came up out of the water, He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending to Him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven:You are My beloved Son;I take delight in You!

John 1:1 n the beginning was the Word,and the Word was with God,and the Word was God.

 John 8:17–18 17 Even in your law it is written that the witness of two men is valid. 18 I am the One who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me.”

 John 14:16 16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.

 John 15:26 26 “When the Counselor comes, the One I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father—He will testify about Me.

 John 16:13–1513 When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 Everything the Father has is Mine. This is why I told you that He takes from what is Mine and will declare it to you.

 2 Corinthians 13:1313 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

 1 Peter 1:2 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father and set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ. 

Doctrinal Beliefs:

Oneness Pentecostal Sources of Authority

Oneness Pentecostals of all branches affirm the authority of the Bible for doctrine. Many, however, utilize only the King James Version to proof text their unique doctrines. In addition, many Oneness advocates rely on the unbiblical revelations received by various Oneness leaders whom they regard as divinely inspired or anointed interpreters of the Bible. For example, many in UPCI consider the writings of Frank Ewart and John G. Scheppe as authoritative.

Biblical Response: The Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God
2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All Scripture is inspired by God[a] and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.; 

2 Peter 1:20-21 20 First of all, you should know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation, 21 because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. It is the final authority for the Christian on all matters of faith and doctrine. No single translation or human interpretation can be regarded as infallible. All modern writings or “revelations” must be analyzed in light of sound principles of biblical interpretation.

Only One God:

Oneness Pentecostals declare that the Godhead consists of only one Person and deny the traditional doctrine of the Trinity. They maintain that the only real “person” in the Godhead is Jesus. Thus, they are often referred to as the “Jesus Only” Movement. They maintain that God exists in two modes, as the Father in heaven, and as Jesus the Son on earth. Nevertheless, they are the same person, not two separate persons. The Holy Spirit is not regarded as a person at all, merely a manifestation of Jesus’ power or a synonym for Him. Several verses are quoted to establish this view, such as Colossians 2:9 9 For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ,Oneness theologians would argue that if the Father and the Son were separate, then the Godhead could not fully dwell in Christ. Matthew 28:19 also affirms their views that Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize in the “name” (singular) of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is said to have two natures: human and divine. Thus, when He died, only His human nature died. Also, when Jesus prayed, it was His human nature praying to His divine nature-not to a separate Father in heaven. • They reject the traditional concept of the Godhead and do not believe that the Godhead is composed of three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They believe that God is a unity, a Spirit, who has manifested himself in three roles to humanity. An analogy would be a single man who plays three different roles of father, son, and husband — either sequentially or at the same time. In doing so, they interpret the Bible incorrectly. It is true that the Godhead is one (1 John 5:7), but God exists in three separate and distinct personalities at the same time. Evidence of this is found when Jesus was baptized, the Holy Ghost came upon Him and the Father declared from heaven that this was his Son in whom he was well pleased. (Matthew 3:16-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22)

Biblical Response: The Oneness Pentecostal view of God is similar to the ancient heresy of Modalism. Modalism is the belief that one God existed in time in three distinct modes of being: first as the Father in heaven; second, bodily as the Son on earth; and finally as the Holy Spirit.Modalism is basically the teaching that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are simply different ways God manifests or reveals Himself to humanity. It fails to recognize the distinctions that clearly exist between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, as well as their eternal relationship that Scripture reveals to us. Contrary to John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word,and the Word was with God,and the Word was God., Oneness doctrine denies the pre-existence of Jesus Christ despite the fact that this verse clearly teaches that Jesus is God and that He was with God, and was God from the beginning. They acknowledge that Christ is God but ignore the part of this verse that clearly establishes the pre-existence of Christ and makes a clear distinction between Christ and the Father as do many other verses of Scripture.

The Bible indeed teaches the existence of only one God (Deut. 6:4). Nonetheless, historic Christianity maintains that the doctrine of the Trinity (or tri-unity of God) is taught in Scripture. The Bible teaches that the one God exists eternally in three separate and distinct Persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Their false view of God’s nature then leads them to misunderstand what it means to be “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38“Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The result is that they make water baptism “in the name of Jesus” a requirement of salvation and thus teach baptismal regeneration. They also add to that troublesome teaching that one must be baptized a specific way using a specific formula or wording in order to be saved. By adding to the gospel these requirements, as well the false teaching that speaking in tongues is the evidence that one is saved, they end up with a convoluted gospel full of error and based on a misunderstanding of what Scripture really teaches.

Colossians 2:9 does not teach that the totality of the Godhead was in the body of Jesus, but rather that Jesus embodied the totality of the divine nature and God is totally revealed in Him. If the Father and the Son are the same person, then the Oneness teachers have a difficult job explaining how the Father and the Son can love each other (See Matt. 3:17; 17:5; John 3:35; 5:20; 2 Pet. 1:17), talk to each other (see John 11:41-42; 12:28; 17:1-26), and know each other (see Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22; John 7:29).

Matthew 28:19 clearly reflects the trinitarian concept that the “name” (authority and characteristics) of the one God is incorporated in the three Persons of the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (see 1 Cor. 8:6; 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:2). (See the following verses affirming the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit: Luke 12:12; John 15:26; Acts 5:3-10; 13:2-4; 1 Cor. 12:11; Eph. 4:30; Heb. 3:7.)

Salvation: 

Four-fold Legal Requirement

The Oneness Pentecostal movements generally teach that to receive and maintain salvation, a person must adhere to four essential requirements.

1. Faith in Jesus Only

Oneness teachers would agree that salvation requires putting one’s full faith in the Jesus of Oneness doctrine, that is the Jesus who is the totality of the Godhead, who died on the cross as an atonement for sin, and who rose again from the dead.

2. Repentance and Baptism in the “Name of Jesus”

Acts 2:38 is used as evidence that the early church baptized only in the name of Jesus. They maintain that baptism in the trinitarian formula is invalid since it implies belief in three gods. They claim Matthew 28:19 is not to be taken as a command to baptize in that formula. Jesus Christ specifically said to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19); any deviation from this commandment is unacceptable. But the UPC will point to Acts 2:38 and many other passages to give validity to their argument. They believe that water baptism is essential to salvation. But Jesus did not say so in His conversation with Nicodemus. (John 3:3-8 3 Jesus replied, “I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”4 “But how can anyone be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked Him. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?”5 Jesus answered, “I assure you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again. 8 The wind[d] blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”)

3. Speaking in Tongues

Like most traditional Pentecostals and charismatics, Oneness Pentecostals teach that speaking in tongues is a gift to be exercised today. However, unlike most traditionalists, the Oneness movements maintain that speaking in tongues is not just a post-conversion indicator of the filling or baptism of the Holy Spirit, but an essential ingredient in the salvation experience itself.
• They believe that the ability to speak in tongues is a necessary indication of a valid religious conversion.
They deny the legitimacy of the conversion of “born again” Christians from other denominations where tongues are rarely, if ever, spoken. “No tongues means no salvation.” So, for example, they would essentially regard all Southern Baptists as unsaved, even though they have repented of their sins and trusted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The Bible never says that speaking in tongues is a sign of salvation; in the New Testament, it is recorded that some people began speaking in tongues, but others did not. Did the disciples/apostles speak in tongues when they were saved? They spoke in tongues on the day of Pentecost, but they were already saved through faith long before that event.

Acts 2:When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. 3 And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech.5 There were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 When this sound occurred, a crowd came together and was confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 And they were astounded and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 How is it that each of us can hear in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites; those who live in Mesopotamia, in Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking the magnificent acts of God in our own languages.” 12 They were all astounded and perplexed, saying to one another, “What could this be?” 13 But some sneered and said, “They’re full of new wine!”

4. Adherence to Holiness Standards

Most Oneness Pentecostals teach that once salvation is gained initially by the preceding ingredients, it must be maintained by daily adherence to legalistic codes of personal behavior. Alcohol and tobacco are prohibited. Women are not allowed to cut their hair, wear short dresses or slacks, use make-up, or wear jewelry. Men are expected to dress conservatively (white shirts and dark slacks), be clean shaven, and have short haircuts. Violations of these codes may result in a loss of salvation and exclusion from church fellowship.

Some small Oneness groups also practice handling poisonous snakes or drinking poison to demonstrate their faith and holiness based on Mark 16:18 in the King James Version.

Biblical Response: Salvation is “by grace through faith” in Jesus Christ alone (see Romans 4:4-5 Now to the one who works, pay is not considered as a gift, but as something owed. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes on Him who declares the ungodly to be righteous, his faith is credited for righteousness.;

Ephesians 2:8-9 8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast.;

Titus 3:5 He saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done,but according to His mercy,through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

Baptism is not essential to one’s reception of salvation. It is a symbol of one’s identification with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The proper mode is immersion in the triune name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 must be read in context and in light of Jesus’ clear command in Matthew 28:19.

Speaking in tongues, like all other gifts, is distributed sovereignly by the Holy Spirit to those He wills for the equipping and edification of the whole body of Christ (see 1 Cor. 12-14). There is no indication that it, or any other spiritual gift, is required to receive God’s gift of salvation by grace or to be filled with His Holy Spirit (see Eph. 5:18).

Oneness movements’ emphases on personal holiness and healthy lifestyles are commendable. Nevertheless, the requirements for outward adherence to a strict moral code in order to maintain salvation inevitably leads to legalism and a lack of assurance of eternal life.

No amount of good works, moral living, or church membership guarantees salvation. Salvation is entirely based on grace through faith in Christ. Good works and holy living are the natural responses of salvation already received-not its cause (see Eph. 2:10). Salvation is eternally assured for those who have accepted Christ as personal Lord and Savior (see John 1:12; 5:24; 1 John 5:13).

Mark 16:18 is part of a disputed portion of Mark’s text. Regardless, handling snakes or drinking poison is a misuse of that Scripture and has resulted in the deaths of many practitioners.

Have stated the aforementioned points, it is also necessary  for them to believe there is no salvation outside of the United Pentecostal church. The Bible says there no salvation outside of Jesus Christ, not a church. (John 1:12; 3:1-8, Romans 10:8-13)

Conclusions:

Oneness Pentecostals have an anti-trinitarian view of God, an unbiblical doctrine of Jesus Christ, and unbiblical requirements for salvation (speaking in tongues, water baptism in “Jesus’ name,” and a legalistic moral code). Thus, those churches adhering to its basic doctrines cannot be regarded as authentically Christian. Any group or church that claims to be Christian yet deviates at any point from historical Christian faith is, by definition, a cult. Oneness Pentecostal churches are, therefore, cultic in nature and outside the theological parameters of historic Christianity.

Witnessing to Oneness Pentecostals:

1. Have a clear understanding of your faith and the Bible.

2. Acquire a basic knowledge of Oneness Pentecostals’ beliefs and practices.

3. Seek to build a personal and respectful relationship with the Oneness Pentecostal.

4. Focus the discussion on the essential elements of the Christian faith. Do not get sidetracked defending your denomination.

5. Be prepared to cite (in context) and explain specific biblical passages supporting Christian doctrines, particularly the biblical basis for the Trinity, the historic understanding of the nature and work of Christ, and salvation by grace through faith.

6. Share your personal testimony of God’s grace and your faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.

7. The Oneness Pentecostal may try to convince you that you need to speak in tongues, be baptized in Jesus’ name, and live according to their strict moral code. Be prepared to explain biblically why you do not believe these are necessary ingredients for salvation or eternal security.

8. Present the basic plan of salvation and encourage the Oneness Pentecostal to receive Jesus Christ as his or her personal Lord and Savior.

9. Pray and trust the Holy Spirit to lead you as you share.

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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.

Water, Spirit and Fire

I will touch on the three baptisms found in scripture.

Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

  • Baptism of water The significance of water baptism is that it symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and our identification with Him in them.
  • Baptism of Spirit You will be baptized in the spirit to go out and perform miracles,speak the gospel,say no to temptation,etc. When ministers get up on the altar there is a”Baptism of the Spirit” that happens. It is the supernatural power to accomplish a task set forth by God. It is not a one time deal and it is done throughout the book of Acts
    1. Acts 2:4 – And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages,as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

2. Acts 4:31- After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.

3. Acts 13:52 And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

4. 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.”

  • Just as the scripture says you will receive power. 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.
  • Baptism of Fire – also called Sanctification, we are always in the process of sanctification. We go through this until death.
    1Peter 1:7 So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ

    Justification is a pronouncement to clear the guilty. When one is justified, he is declared right before the Lord;This is salvation.
    Romans 8:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
    Sanctification
    is a continual process that conforms us into the image of the Son of God or the Baptism of Fire, how hot the fire has to be? As hot as it needs to get to remove the dross so he can see His reflection in us.
    1Thess 4:7 says, “God has called us not for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.”
    Glorification The completion of our Christian life on earth, at the end of the sanctification process and occurs when we get to Heaven

Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Justification is instant upon salvation, Sanctification is an ongoing process and Glorification is our future eternal state.