Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Lies Religious Tradition Taught Us: There is no such experience as the Baptism In the Holy Ghost

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Timothy 3:5 KJV 

13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:13 NKJV

 We've been an ongoing study looking at the lies the religious tradition of men have taught the Church. Ideas, concepts, and views that seem to be so right that it almost seems blasphemous to question them. Teachings that have been heard for so long they have formed and fashioned strongholds in the minds of many.

 We want to take the Scriptures and pull down these strongholds. So far we've exposed the insidious lies that God makes people sick or disease-ridden. That He is the creator of storms and disasters. That He is ordaining all things for our good, that He desires our poverty and to live in insufficiency and lack. 

 Today, I want to expose an age-old lie from traditional religious mindsets. This idea that there exists no such experience as the Baptism in the Spirit. If you've been with this blog for some time you may recall we've studied the Baptism in the Spirit in light of Grace. Today, we are going to go further and expose this lie that there is no "subsequent experience" after initial salvation. 

 In the Gospels, we see the first mention of the Baptism in the Spirit. Then in the book of Acts Jesus, Himself speaks of this Baptism in the Spirit. So this begs the question, what is the Baptism in the Spirit? Is it another name for the salvation experience? 

 No, it is not just another name expressing salvation. For how do we explain this passage?
21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. John 20:21-22 NKJV

 If the Holy Spirit was not given until Pentecost what happened here? Was Jesus merely saying, "hey when the Spirit comes be welcoming and hospitable to Him"? No, Jesus breathed on them. What does that remind you of? Genesis! When God made Adam He breathed upon him and life came. These disciples were born again at this moment. Jesus had died and rose again and therefore New Covenant salvation was made available to all who would receive. 

 So, with this understanding, what did Jesus tell the Apostles in Acts 1? Did He say wait in Jerusalem to be born again? Wait in Jerusalem until you be converted? Wait in Jerusalem until you get saved? No, He said to wait for the promised Holy Ghost, wait for the promise He had spoken of. 

 If the disciples and Apostles needed to wait for conversion, then we have another problem. How will any future generation know for certain they too were saved when they believed? There was no rushing mighty wind, no cloven tongues of fire. Nothing spectacular. No, this event was the first time the Spirit came and filled God's people to the overflow. 

There is no such subsequent experience as the Baptism in the Spirit? Then how do we explain these passages?
And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Acts 8:6,12 NKJV
 So we see here, the Gospel preached, Jesus and His great Grace is shared, the result? The masses are born again and baptized in water. So according to tradition, we get all there is at initial salvation, no subsequent experience, no filling with the Spirit. No Baptism in the Spirit, no need to receive the Spirit. Let's keep reading.
14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:14-17 NKJV 
 Wait, why did they need the Apostles to come to lay hands on them to receive the Spirit? I thought we got it all at initial salvation? I have seen explanations used to excuse away what was clear and obvious that these believers were saved already and had the Spirit within but the Apostles came to pray they receive the Spirit upon.

 Some religious leaders say because the Samarians had an unfriendly relationship historically with the Jews they needed the Apostles to come and lay hands to receive the Spirit. Wait, wasn't Philip a Jew? He already won the hearts of the people. He was one of the seven chosen in Acts 6. So this explanation falls short. Again, this opens up doubt that some today may not genuinely be born again, no Apostle laid hands on them, 

 Let's look at Paul. Surely he who wrote 2/3rds of the New Testament would know what salvation entails. 
And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”                Acts 19:1-2 NKJV
 Paul, come on brother, don't you know you get it all at initial conversion? Why did Paul even ask this then? Didn't he know the truth of it all comes at once? 

 The obvious conclusion we must reach with these two passages is that there is, in fact, a subsequent experience called the Baptism in the Spirit. Still unconvinced? Let's look at Paul's conversion experience. Paul acknowledges the Lordship of Christ, lost people don't do that. Let's continue reading.
17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 9:17
 Why does Ananias need to lay hands on Paul for him to be filled with the Spirit? Again I thought we got it all at initial salvation?
When we lay aside bias, preconceived notions, traditions of men, and personal experience and just read the Scriptures we are opened to a whole realm of relationship with God that is so freeing and fulfilling. 

 If one was never exposed to traditional religion and just read the New Covenant, they'd come away believing God is good all the time. That healing is for all, and God isn't the author of evil. That the infilling of the Spirit is a valid experience for all, and the Gifts of the Spirit are for today. 

 I am certain some reading may be objecting on the basis of the New Covenant and the fact that we are complete in Christ when we are saved. I have addressed this concern in an entire study here

 What is this Baptism in the Spirit? The Baptism in the Spirit is when Jesus immerses the believer into the Spirit for the purpose of empowerment for works of service. These works are for the advancement of the kingdom. To further the Gospel message with power and demonstration. 

 Look at Peter, when Jesus was led away to be crucified, he denied Christ three times. He couldn't even name the name of Jesus to a little maid warming herself by the fire. The fear of Roman persecution and death was greater than his faith in Jesus. Yet, after Peter's conversion and being filled with the Spirit, he proclaimed Jesus in front of thousands and saw many believe. Bold, demonstrative Faith was his testimony.

 In summation, relinquish the lies of the traditions of men. Men make excuses for their lack of spiritual power and timidness in the eyes of this fallen world. They demote Faith and spiritual power and exalt unbelief and skepticism. If they can explain away the Baptism in the Spirit, and the Gifts of the Spirit, they can excuse away their powerless proclamation of Christ. Don't align with tradition, align with all God has for you and receive His present power in your life. 
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Monday, December 2, 2019

Lies Religious Tradition Taught us: Poverty is a blessing

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.                 2 Timothy 3:5 KJV 

13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:13 NKJV

 We've been in a new series studying the lies religious tradition has taught us. Ideas and concepts heard so often they've become strongholds in our thinking. Points taught in such a way that if anyone dares question it appears they are countering God Himself and therefore promoting heresy. 

 We've exposed the lies taught that God is the author of sickness and pain. That God sends disasters and storms. That all events, even death, and tragedy are somehow designed for our good. Today, it seemed good to dethrone another lie. The concept that poverty and lack are somehow pious, and a blessing for the Believer in Christ. 

 Before I continue, I must qualify where I am going in this study. For those who've followed this blog for a time they know I have in the past come against the "prosperity gospel". In all those posts I endeavored to explain the Biblical objection to what is taught in some circles. The issue isn't God desiring to bless His children. The issue was the performance and condemnation this teaching created. The idea if you lived basically perfectly you would be rich and never have a problem again. 

 With any Gospel truth, there can exist excess that can formulate into error if left uncorrected. Under Grace, some think that any act of service, or giving, or discipleship is somehow legalism and counters Grace. That is not the truth. Under Grace, we don't serve or give or grow in our walk, in order to gain God's favor or love or blessing. No, because of Christ we already have His love and favor and blessing, and because of this we freely give and serve and grow in Him.

 So it is with prosperity and blessing and the abundant life in Christ. God never promised all believers would be millionaires. Understanding this, we can still believe and receive His abundant blessing in all areas of our life. 

 With clarity given let's address this religious lie. Where the prosperity excess is that all will be millionaires and never have a problem, the religious lie is that God hates financial abundance and favors lack and poverty and wishes His family to abide in squalor. That somehow for some mysterious reason God desires His own to be poor and poverty-stricken.

 What is of interest to note that the religious leaders and those under their influence with a voice that rail against the "prosperity" message are very well off people who live in affluence. One such leader, who rails against Charismatic Christianity and Joel Osteen, has a net worth of $14 million! I guess he means to say prosperity for me and not for thee!

 Religious tradition exalts itself over others and tries to regulate what is "right and wrong" for believers today, (not speaking of what is clearly written in Scripture that counters our new identity; sin, unforgiveness, bitterness, walking out of love), that is what is acceptable or not. The power of God, the Gifts of the Spirit today, healing, prosperity, praying in tongues, all these are "bad" and "unacceptable" for today.  

 Religious leaders and their disciples with a platform like to pronounce how wrong and heretical any message of prosperity is. That the idea that God wants the best for His kids in all circumstances is somehow false teaching. Yet, they sit in affluence, well dressed, well off and their own children clothed, fed, and in comfort. In their distorted religious minds, they think it's good and right and just that God wants His own children to live in lack and squalor. In essence, they are really saying they are a more loving, more caring, more compassionate and giving parent than God Almighty. 

  Religious tradition distorts the Goodness of God. 
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 3 John 2

 This is God's will concerning blessings and healing. This is God's highest and best for all His family. This passage doesn't say there won't be any weapons formed against you, but we know no weapon formed will prosper against you. It isn't saying all will be millionaires. It just says God desires above all things after you're born again and Spirit-filled that you'd be prosperous and healed. 

 With so much controversy surrounding this passage, and the objections religious tradition fashions to explain it away there is an insight to help better understand this verse. The Word speaks so much of our inward man. What does Paul say in Colossians

 We are complete in Him. Paul also shares the prayer of Epaphras;
12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. Colossians 4:12 NKJV

  A better understanding of 3 John 2 is found in Colossians. God declares we are complete in Christ. The heart cry is that we stand perfect and complete in all God's will. 3 John 2 echos this sentiment. What John is saying and declaring over us is that God desires us to be complete outwardly just as we are already complete inwardly.

 To be complete outwardly is God's will and best for all of us. If poverty is God's best then why is Heaven, the abode of God Almighty lavishly laden with the splendor of gold and pearl and sapphires and emeralds? Why is God sitting on such a majestic throne? Why is Jesus given praise this way in Heaven?

12 saying with a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:12 NKJV

Poverty, lack, sickness, and disease are not outward completeness but outward brokenness. God wants us whole. God desires we be complete outwardly just as we are inward.

 In summation, God is a Good Father, we never see Jesus making people poor and poverty-stricken. He provided for Peter's tax bill supernaturally. All those who were defrauded by Zacchaeus the tax collector had their losses restored. Jesus fed the five thousand. Provision is God's best. Don't accept the lie that poverty is good and prosperity is bad. God meets the needs of His family. 
image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay