Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Why Tongues? More benefits

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, Jude 20 NKJV





We are continuing our study answering the question of why tongues? We are answering the questions why speak with tongues? Why pray in a language your natural mind cannot understand? 

 The truth we must set in remembrance is that we don't discern or comprehend the things of God with mere intellectualism. How God becoming a man, dying on a tree, and raised to life again and our subsequent acceptance and trust in this truth, makes us redeemed, whole, and Righteous in the Creator's eyes doesn't make much sense naturally speaking. Yet it's the absolute truth nonetheless. 

 We are examining this wonderful blessing of prayer in the Spirit. That is prayer in other tongues. Contrary to religious tradition and the intellect of man, tongues are not mere babble. Tongues are not gibberish. Speaking with tongues isn't nonsensical speech. It isn't excited babble from an out of control,  over-emotional state of mind. 

 Speaking with tongues, prayer in the Spirit is a powerful gift God has bestowed upon the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many great benefits derived from this powerful gift. We gain better insight into the working and purpose of God for our lives. It enables us to see His will and plans more clearly for our lives and the lives of others as we intercede for them. 

 Tongues are a blessing. Let's continue looking at these great benefits. Last week we shared the first three.

4. When we pray in the Spirit we are praying the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God is revealed to us when we pray in the Spirit. We receive wisdom, revelation, and guidance from the Holy Spirit. 
 Paul reveals this wonderful benefit in 1 Corinthians 2. Speaking words the Spirit gives is praying in the Spirit. When we spend time praying in the Spirit we are tapping into God's wisdom. We can receive insight, direction, and guidance from the Spirit when we pray in the Spirit. 

 Need wisdom on a particular matter? Spend some quality time praying in the Spirit and God's wisdom will be revealed much clearer. Need insight on a challenge you're facing? Pray in the Spirit and God will bring clarity where there seems to be none. 
 
5. When we pray in the Spirit we are praying God's best and perfect will. We don't always know what to pray or how to pray in a given situation but He does.
 Romans 8 reminds us we don't always know what to pray in some situations. Thank the Lord we can rely on His Spirit praying through us. We can trust when we pray in the Spirit we are following His guidance in prayer. 

 Sometimes when we are praying for a need we can be caught up in the pressure and stress of the situation. In these times we have the potential to pray selfishly or only focus upon ourselves and our own needs. Praying in the Spirit ensures we are praying the complete will of God into any situation. Prayer in other tongues is such an invaluable gift.

6. When we pray in the Spirit we are receiving spiritual refreshing.
 Isaiah prophesied of the refreshing that praying in the Spirit brings. Feeling "burned out"? Pray in the Spirit. The world system offers refreshing. Chemicals, pills, illicit affairs, all they offer bring with it much consequence and pain, and will never satisfy. Christ and His gifts bring true refreshing. 

7. When we pray in the Spirit we enter into the rest.
 Again Isaiah prophesied of the rest and refreshing brought forth by praying in the Spirit. Feeling weary? Pray in the Spirit and enter into God's rest. 

 Weariness and stress seem to burden us all down at different points in our life. Dealing with unruly children, supervisors, and bosses that don't always seem to have our best interest at heart, and life in a fallen world can bring much weariness. God offers us real and lasting rest with His Grace gift of praying in the Spirit. 

 In summation, once again we see the great benefit of praying in the Spirit. Don't allow the traditions of men to rob you of such a wonderful experience. There are still more benefits to this great gift of praying in the Spirit. 

Image by michel kwan from Pixabay 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Why Tongues?


But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, Jude 20 NKJV

 Previously, we began a study asking who's afraid of the Holy Ghost? We looked closely at the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. With that understanding, it seems good to go further and deeper into the study of the power of the Spirit. This power from on high that is made available to all who call on the name of Jesus and receive His Grace.

 With any study of the Baptism in the Spirit, the subject of Tongues is inevitable. When a believer receives the infilling of the Spirit they receive the personal prayer language God gives them. Again, praying in the Spirit, the Baptism in the Spirit, are not marks of maturity. They aren't a sign that those who've received are somehow superior to other Christians or better than another believer. 

 With that understanding, and the foundation of the Baptism in the Spirit already laid, let's examine this question why Tongues? Why speak in tongues? Why would one desire to pray in a language you don't know? Why speak words that are unknown to your natural mind? What purpose does it serve? In what way is it beneficial?

 I want to take the time to answer these questions and reveal the amazing benefits of praying in the Spirit, speaking with tongues. So relinquish traditions of men. Let go of any fear or concerns. God is a Good Father and He only gives good gifts to His Church.


Graceful benefits of praying in the Spirit

 1. Tongues serve as evidence of one having received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. 
Acts 2:4Acts 10:44-46Acts 19:1-6  all clearly reveal tongues as the evidence one has received this Baptism in the Spirit. Peter used this experience of the Baptism in the Spirit evidenced by speaking in other tongues as proof that God was granting salvation to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. 

 These passages reveal the first benefit. Tongues serve as a sign, as evidence that you have received the fullness of the Spirit. That you have indeed been filled with the Spirit. This helps you when the enemy comes with his lies, his temptations, his accusations, and wants you to believe you're powerless and helpless. This prayer language reminds you that you've received the mighty infilling of God's Spirit. That you're more than a conqueror, and that you have power over all the lies of the enemy. 

2. Tongues serve as a reminder of the indwelling presence of God. It helps us be more God inside minded. 
 Jesus declared the Spirit will be upon us and shall be in us. Becoming God inside minded makes us more aware of His presence within. We won't be overcome by feelings of loss, abandonment, or loneliness when we realize that He is always with us.

 In this life, we may feel alone or as if we are going through it all by ourselves. When we are God inside minded, we know He is with us, always. It serves as a reminder that we are not doing life on our own. His power and presence are with us. 

 When we pray in the language only He can give, it reminds us He is right there in our midst. It tells us He is with us and directing our prayer. He is listening and ready to answer in His power and love.

3. When we pray in tongues we are praying divine secrets or praying mysteries.
 Paul revealed this wonderful benefit in his Epistle to the Corinthians. This word translated mysteries in the original Greek reveals some powerful truths. In Greek, it means a hidden thing or secret thing not obvious to the understanding. It's hidden counsel or purpose. It's hidden counsels concealed to the ungodly and World but made plain to the righteous. We tap into these hidden counsels by praying in the Spirit.  

 There is so much to be said about the benefits of praying mysteries. 
 You see, a person speaking in an unknown language is not addressing the church because he is really addressing God—those who overhear don’t understand because he is speaking in the Spirit the depths of the mysteries of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 14:2 Voice

 When someone speaks in tongues, no one understands a word he says, because he’s not speaking to people, but to God—he is speaking intimate mysteries in the Spirit. 
1 Corinthians 14:2 TPT

For he who speaks in a 'tongue' addresses God not men; no one understands him; he is talking of divine secrets in the Spirit.  
1 Corinthians 14:2 Moffatt 
 
 When we pray in the Spirit, we are praying intimate secrets. We are praying out the will of God in secret. When we pray in the Spirit we are going deeper in prayer and intimacy with the Father. This strengthens our walk and relationship with God. It gives us better insight into the heart of our Good Father. 
 
 We've seen just three of the great benefits of praying in the Spirit. One may be thinking what must I do to receive? How can I get this in my life? The good news is this amazing prayer language is free. It is readily available to any of God's people who simply desire it and simply ask for it. You can't earn what's free!

 In summation, we aks why Tongues? Because of the amazing benefits. There are so many benefits to praying in the Spirit. Religious tradition is afraid of the Holy Ghost so they create obstacles and objections to this beautiful prayer language. Don't let the enemy or religion rob you of all God has provided for. Simply receive by Faith what Grace has freely provided. 


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

What about the end times?

‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 
Acts 2:17 NKJV

 In our last study, we began looking at the Holy Spirit and His empowerment. It seemed good to let that word soak in your thinking and understanding another week. So today, I'd like to address some areas concerning Bible prophecy. Needless to say, any end-times study is wrought with much controversy. 

 What is the point of Bible prophecy? The answer is simple and clear. Hope. We who received Jesus have hope. We can have hope in this life no matter how the world and the ways of the world turns. 

 Bible prophecy is not given to create strife and division. I've witnessed how ministers will preach a message on prophecy and whether it was intended or not, give the impression that all they're saying is all these other teachers are wrong and I am right and here is why. That can lead to strife and division in the midst of people.

 Another area I've witnessed how ministers help create atmospheres of division and isolation is when they bring accusations into their teaching. What I mean is this, when you hear a minister proclaim if you don't accept my end-time view then you are promoting fear. You don't believe in a victorious end-time like I do. This isn't ministering life or hope or joy to anyone. All this type of ministry does is force people to choose sides and divide one believer from another. It's yet another subtle form of condemnation.

 We know condemnation is the ministry of death. We know condemnation does nothing but promote a sense of separation. It promotes a mindset that others don't measure up. Thank God for the Finished Work, which shows us who have believed are accepted, approved, and forever forgiven. This Righteousness in Him isn't rooted by what end-time view we take. 

 So which is the right view? That is a question that no one can answer because no matter how much I study, how much of the Word I rightly divide, no matter the context, someone will still disagree. Let's ask another question, would it matter what view I hold, if you still receive the truth of His all the time Goodness, Love, Grace, and Faith, and power from on High, through this ministry?

 I desire above all your growth in Grace. Your growth in Faith. I desire that your Faith grows exceedingly. I desire that you grow deeper in the Love of God, and love for others. I desire you to grow strong in joy, and in the things of the Holy Spirit. Learning how to flow more and more effectively in the Gifts and power of God. Regardless of what end-times view I hold to these are points we all can agree with strongly. 

 That stated I want to clarify, there is no Radical Grace view on end times. We have futurists and those who believe its all fulfilled preaching and teaching the Radical Grace and Goodness of God. So let's throw away the stones brethren. 

 Let's not try to divide ourselves, brethren. I will readily admit I have some concerns and reservations about the idea that all or most Bible prophecy has been fulfilled. Others have concerns about futurists who give the perception that we "check out" and don't engage our culture. So where do we go from here?

For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,  1 Thessalonians 5:9 MEV

 No matter what the future holds, this is a promise all believers can cling to and remain steadfast in. We know we are appointed to salvation, preservation, and deliverance, no matter what is happening in this world. This is hope. This is victory in Christ.

 So if we are preaching Bible prophecy, what do we minister? We above all minister hope. We minister His hope in a fallen, fractured creation. We don't promote or advance a sense of fear about the future. We must never proclaim a doom and gloom future. We preach Christ and His victorious work at the Cross, and His soon triumphant return. 
 
Prophecy is given to comfort not bring anxiety, distress, or disturbance. So proclaim His hope above all. When the world is upside down, or all seems to be going well, know our full redemption draws near as Jesus is coming again. We aren't abandoned or alone in this world.

 In summation, never proclaim fear, or dread, or doom and gloom. Don't promote hopelessness. Proclaim His triumphant victory. Don't give in to the temptation to be a tool of division, strife, and isolation. We are one in Christ.

image by miaikransen @Pixabay

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Who's Afraid of the Holy Ghost? (the Baptism in the Holy Spirit)

 

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

 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NKJV


 Today, I'd like to begin a new study on the Holy Spirit by asking a question. Who's afraid of the Holy Spirit? Often the mere mention of the Holy Ghost conjures up much controversy. Why? 


 For one, there isn't much taught about the Spirit. Most ministries simply ignore much of the Spirit's power and supernatural working. Therefore because of ignorance or lack of knowledge on the Person of the Holy Spirit fear can arise. That is when one encounters the Spirit it can make some people uncomfortable. 


 Lastly, religious tradition tries to give a response to the lack of information and actually reinforces the fears many have about the Spirit and His work. Before I go further I would like to dispel myths and answer the objections concerning the Spirit's power, His gifts, and His fullness. You can find objections to the Baptism in the Spirit here, and the objections to tongues or prayer language here


 The enemy has a subtle scheme. Sowing seeds of distrust and discomfort his insidious scheme is to make the Comforter, seemingly uncomfortable to God's people. Some people hear people praying in another tongue and it can make them have reservations about the things of the Spirit.


 Why? Because they don't understand the work of the Spirit or they have fears that are sown by the enemy in their thinking or the traditions of men have become a stronghold in their mind. God has never given anything bad to His Church. God gave these gifts to empower us and strengthen and refresh us.


 Let's hear the words of God through Paul to begin.

 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Acts 19:2a NKJV


 Why did Paul ask this question to these believers in Ephesus if we get it all at salvation? Why did Paul ask this question? Didn't he know we get all there is at the point of conversion? 


 All one has to do is look through their Bible in the Epistles and see that Paul affirmed that when we are first saved we have the Spirit within. The Spirit baptizes us into the Body of Christ. He seals us for eternity, we are God's, no longer our own, eternally secure. When we first believed we got all there is to be complete in Christ. That is complete in our identity.

 

 What Paul is referencing is not the Spirit within. Paul wasn't suggesting that these men weren't complete in Christ. Paul was referencing the Spirit upon. Paul was referencing the empowerment of the Spirit we receive after being born again. Look closely at the entire event in Scripture here.


 Paul made sure these men were believers. He baptized them in water upon their belief, their profession of Faith in Christ. At this point, these men were born again, they were saved. This point is essential. Because next, we see Paul lay hands on them. 


 Paul's act of laying hands on them wasn't something needed for them to be saved. This wasn't Paul completing their salvation. We don't need an Apostle to lay hands upon us to be saved. That's not what is occurring here. Paul is laying hands upon them to receive the empowerment of the Spirit after they've been saved. 


 What happens immediately as they receive? They begin to speak with tongues and move in the Gifts of the Spirit. When we receive the Spirit there is always a manifestation of the Spirit. 


This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.” 2 Corinthians 13:1 NKJV


 We have three witnesses stating specifically that when people are filled with the Spirit they will speak in tongues. They will experience a manifestation of the Spirit. You can see Acts 2 here, Acts 10 here, and of course, Acts 19 which we just mentioned. 


 The Spirit within speaks of our identity in Christ. He shows us we are Christ's, and no longer our own. He shows us we are Righteous, born again, a brand new creation, totally forgiven once for all time, and complete in Christ. He is our seal, the earnest of our inheritance, the proof we are eternally redeemed, saved, and secure. 


 The Spirit upon reveals to us our empowerment in Christ. We are filled to the overflow with the power of the Spirit. We have the Spirit working through us ministering life to others. Whereas the Spirit within is to strengthen ourselves the Spirit upon not only builds us up and empowers us, it also allows us to be a greater blessing to the world around us. He bestows a heavenly language with which we can pray out the will of God and receive strength, wisdom, refreshing and rest as we do so. 

 The Baptism in the Spirit is not about maturity. It isn't about being better than someone else. It doesn't mean one is spiritually superior to another. It's about the empowering of the Spirit. It's the Spirit upon for works of service.

 In summation, don't be afraid of the Holy Ghost. God would never give us something offensive, or scary or bad. If you want to receive the Baptism in the Spirit, simply ask. If you've placed your trust in Christ all you need do is ask and receive. 

 You can simply pray a simple prayer "Father, I have put my trust in you. I know I am a child of God and forever forgiven and eternally loved. As your own, I ask for the empowering of the Spirit. Jesus, I ask you to baptize me into the Holy Ghost, and I believe I receive it right now. I praise you and thank you for this empowerment. I now praise you in my native tongue and I praise you in the Spirit, my personal prayer language, in Jesus' name."

 Just speak out those words the Spirit is speaking. Don't try to understand it intellectually. Just receive it and speak, let that Holy Ghost melody flow out of your belly as you lift up the name of Jesus. God is with you and for you, rejoice. 



Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Eternal Security: Truth or falsehood?

39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. 40 For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.” 
John 6:39-40 NLT

 One of the most controversial theological views is the question of eternal security. Just how secure is one's salvation? After you've placed your trust in Christ to save and redeem you can you in fact lose that salvation? Is eternal life really eternal? 

 Many hold to the view that salvation can in fact be lost. Or they believe the notion that one can return the free gift of salvation to the Father. They believe that one can, if they become too entangled in sinful deeds and habits, lose their salvation. Others say because of deception and a hardened heart that one can forsake God and leave their salvation, that is returning the free gift back to God.

 In essence, they don't believe salvation is eternal. They would deny holding to that view. They would say salvation is eternal but can be lost or forfeited. If that was actually possible, then it is abundantly clear that salvation would not be eternal upon reception but temporal based on the actions and heart of the one who received it. In other words, God declared it eternal but we can, by our doings and beliefs make it "uneternal" or temporal. 

 “I say emphatically that anyone who listens to my message and believes in God who sent me has eternal life, and will never be damned for his sins, but has already passed out of death into life. John 5:24 TLB

29 For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29 MEV
 
 Look at the words of Jesus and Paul. They seem to affirm our salvation is eternal in duration and something that is never withdrawn. Nothing in these passages seem to indicate loss of salvation is possible.

 Some would say those passages are only for the faithful brethren. They're only for those who abstain from sinful living. Those passages are only for the faithful, those who endure to the end. These passages are only for those who do the will of God.

 What is the will of God? What is the work of God? 
Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” John 6:29 MEV

 It seems God wants us to believe. It's that simple. There is nothing more we can do to be found loved and favored and to receive eternal life. Believe. The Gospel is simple. Believe that Jesus is who He said He is. Believe, trust in, cling to His perfect work of redemption.

 Our salvation is eternal. Salvation is not temporal. Our salvation isn't awaiting our doings and works to complete it. Our salvation isn't begun by God and finished by us. Salvation isn't given and then taken away because of our actions. Salvation is eternal and irrevocable. 

 Think, apart from traditional teachings, think about salvation. What actions or deeds or good works caused you to receive salvation? What did you do to achieve salvation? What amount of goodness on your part procured your eternal salvation? What level of personal holiness, abstinence from sin caused God to favor you above others and eternally redeem you? 

 Nothing we did ever amounted to the equivalence of the price required for eternal salvation. We were lost, sinful, we pursued our own pleasures, and were rebellious to God's ways. We were selfish and not at all deserving of anything from God. 

 So here is the good news. God looked beyond our actions, our sins, our wrong thinking, and chose us. He perfectly purchased our eternal redemption because of His Goodness, not ours. If it was His great Goodness alone that offered us salvation, then once received, what possible action or thinking or unbelief on our part could cause this salvation to be removed from us? If we didn't merit it in the first place, how could our actions, our sins, our disbelief cause our salvation to be nullified? In Christ, we are eternally secure!

 In summation, our salvation is eternal and completely secure. Don't accept the notion from men that we can lose it or forfeit it. God saved us because He loved us and chose us and paid the full price on our behalf. We did nothing to obtain it so there is nothing we can do to lose it. Grace, it is that amazing.