PROTESTANT AND PENTECOSTAL 3

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.”

I am a Pentecostal, Protestant Christian. When Jesus left His disciples to return to heaven, He told them to wait for the “Promise of the Father” [Acts 1:4]. This is a promise the Father made to Jesus in eternity. The Father and the Son entered an eternal covenant. If Christ would become a man and sacrifice his life for fallen man all those who believed upon Him would receive the Promise, the awesome baptism in the Holy Spirit. The baptism in the Spirit is the purchasd possession obtained by Christ on the cross.

Secondly I want to honor the heavenly ministry of Jesus. John prophesied that Jesus would baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire (Mark 1:8,9). When Jesus ascended into heaven His heavenly ministry as our heavenly High Priest began. This heavenly ministry is the ministry of immersion into the person of the Holy Spirit. We see the first occurrence of this on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Today His heavenly ministry continues. The modern church, many times, does not recognize or honor Jesus and His heavenly ministry. Many times we want to rewrite the emphasis of the church and the Christian life. To honor the heavenly ministry of Jesus we must be baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Thirdly, we need supernatural power. Our world is becoming more dangerous everyday. It is becoming harder and harder for Christians to live a godly life in this dark, wicked world. We need the power of God, the tangible power that comes upon us when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit. To live holy in this perverse world we need His power.

We also need this power for effective ministry. Jesus told us this in Acts 1:8. He said we would receive power (dunamis-supernatural power) when the Holy Spirit comes upon us. We are dealing with addictions, illnesses, and all kinds of bondages when ministering to this generation. Christian empowerment slogans are not good enough, we must have power.

Finally, I am a Pentecostal because of the blessing given to me by the supernatural language of prayer. Speaking in tongues is the doorway to the world of the supernatural.

Paul said we are edified, built up spiritually (1 Corinthians 14:2,4) when we pray in tongues. He said the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses when we pray in the Spirit (Romans 8:26). He taught about our intercessory anointing that sometimes comes when we pray in tongues (Romans 8:27). He also taught about the prophetic nature of praying in the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:15).

The prayer language is not an after thought, or an unimportant extra. The prayer language is foundational to the supernatural Christian life.

We live in perilous times (II Timothy 3:1). We need to return to the faith of our fathers. We have drifted toward a seeker sensitive, Christian light faith for far to long. We must return to our Protestant and our Pentecostal roots. The future of our families our cities and our nation are on the line. Join with me on my spiritual safari, we are sojourning to the city, the city that has a foundation whose builder and maker is God.

TOTAL AND PERPETUAL JOY

Ps. 16:11 – You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

David spoke of the resurrection of Christ and its ensuing joy 1000 years before it happened. Death, man’s greatest and final enemy, would be swallowed up in the joy Christ enjoyed at His Father’s right hand. The great mystery that is unfolded here is this; Jesus stepped into this heavenly joy as a man on our behalf. Think about it, He had always enjoyed this heavenly life and privilege as the Son of God. Now it was His by purchase as the Son of Man. He entered into this life of joy for us; now that place at the Father’s right hand is ours. Here is how Charles Spurgeon describes it.

“Christ being raised from the dead ascended into glory, to dwell in constant nearness to God, where joy is at its full for ever: the foresight of this urged him onward in his glorious but grievous toil. To bring his chosen to eternal happiness was the high ambition which inspired him, and made him wade through a sea of blood. O God, when a worldling’s mirth has all expired, for ever with Jesus may we dwell “at thy right hand,” where “there are pleasures for evermore;” and meanwhile, may we have an earnest by tasting thy love below. Trappe’s note on the heavenly verse which closes the Psalm is a sweet morsel, which may serve for a contemplation, and yield a foretaste of our inheritance. He writes, “Here is as much said as can be, but words are too weak to utter it. For quality there is in heaven joy and pleasures; for quantity, a fulness, a torrent whereat they drink without let or loathing; for constancy, it is at God’s right hand, who is stronger than all, neither can any take us out of his hand; it is a constant happiness without intermission: and for perpetuity it is for evermore. Heaven’s joys are without measure, mixture, or end.”

I love Trappe’s comments, “heaven’s joys are without measure, mixture, or end”. That is absolutely unthinkably. David saw this by prophesy, Peter and the followers of Jesus tasted the edge of it on the Day of Pentecost. Peter was saying in his sermon that the outpouring of the Spirit is the beginning of this supernatural joy. We can now experience this joy for ourselves.

TEST THE SPIRITS

1John 4:1 – Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Most people judge a church service by the way things appear on the outside. They like a certain type of music, a certain length of service, and of course the right emphasis (according to them) in the preaching. Some people will judge a service based on people crying out, clapping, dancing, or jumping in a service. Our church has been criticized because many people fall under the power or make noises in the services. The problem with all these observations is just that; they are just observations. Outward manifestations are no indication of what is actually happening in someone’s heart. Jonathan Edwards dealt with these issues during the Great Awakening. He actually wrote a book that would help in understanding some of the outward things going on. One of his points was that we should judge not by what we see on the outside but if the individual in question is actually changing and coming out from worldly influence. Here is how Edwards said it.

“And therefore if we see persons made sensible of the dreadful nature of sin, and of the displeasure of God against it, and of their own miserable condition as they are in themselves, by reason of sin, and earnestly concerned for their eternal salvation, and sensible of their need of God’s pity and help, and engaged to seek it in the use of the means that God has appointed, we may certainly conclude that it is from the Spirit of God, whatever effects this concern has on their bodies; though it causes them to cry out aloud, or to shriek, or to faint, or though it throws them into convulsions, or whatever other way the blood and spirits are moved.

The influence of the Spirit of God is yet more abundantly manifest, if persons have their hearts drawn off from the world, and weaned from the objects of their worldly lusts, and taken off from worldly pursuits, by the sense they have of the excellency of divine things, and the affection they have to those spiritual enjoyments of another world, that are promised in the Gospel.”

At the end of the day its not noises or lack of noises that determine whether a service is spiritual. What we should look at are the results. Are the individuals involved becoming more Christlike? Are they reading their Bibles and are they excited about spiritual things? Be careful what you judge, you may be judging the very work of God.

F BOMB ALTAR CALL

Mk.1:23 -27 – Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are — the Holy One of God!” And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” Throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice and came out of him. They were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”

This was not what was expected at the Sabbath Service in the Synagogue in Capernaum. Service had always been predictable as far back as anyone could remember. Peter and his band of fishermen had attended services here all of their lives, this one was not going to be like any service they had ever seen. Jesus was the guest speaker that day. That sounds funny – come to service today- Jesus of Nazareth is our special guest speaker. Somewhere in the middle of service an angry voice began to cry out “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are — the Holy One of God.”

I think Mark probably used the sterile version of what the demonized man actually said. I have never seen a demon yet with a clean mouth.

That brings us to a service almost forty years ago at our church on Kawanee in Metairie, Louisiana. During the altar call at the 11 am service a well dressed young woman who was answering the altar call began to shout obscenities. This was the first time I had heard so many F bombs in church. I have never seen a church empty so quick. The good news is the young woman got free and gave her life to Jesus. Several years ago she went home to heaven. That miracle atmosphere shaped the future of Victory Fellowship. You may not be attending a church that has obscenities during the altar service. I would rather have obscenities than the dead services that are far too common.

Back in that service in Capernaum jaws dropped as the shouting and convulsing intensified. The profanities and commotion ended just as quickly as they started. The man was suddenly just as normal as everyone else. I’m sure no one ever forgot the day Jesus was guest speaker in Capernaum, they probably never forgot the profanity laced altar call either.

SUPERNATURAL HELP

And I will ask the Father, land he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
Jn.14:16,17

The night before Jesus was killed, He spent the evening with His disciples, telling them about the season of the Holy Spirit that was about to begin. “I will not leave you as orphans”, He said, “I will send the Helper to be with you”. The phrase Jesus used was actually allos paracletos, which means another helper exactly like Him. The disciples had no idea of the magnitude of His promise, but they were certainly about to find out. After about fifty days, the Holy Spirit came upon the followers of Jesus, nothing could ever be the same after that.
What kind of help did the Holy Spirit offer? His help is limitless and effects every area of our lives. Here are some of the ways He helps us today. In Acts 11:18, He gives us the ability to repent, to change our lives. In Romans 8:26, 27, He enables us to pray supernatural prayers. He helps us to worship, in John 4:23,24, we see the Spirit and His involvement in true worship. The Spirit also equips us to testify, in Acts 1:8 He is said to empower us to be witnesses of His work. He is also involved with our spiritual understanding, in John 16:13 we see Him leading us into all truth. Concerning addictions, habits, and fleshly weaknesses, the Holy Spirit joins together with us to overcome all of our struggles in this carnal arena. Paul describes this help quite graphically in Romans 8:26. As far as ministry is concerned, He is the supernatural power of God distributing His gifts for the purpose of ministry and outreach. Just as in the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit will help us reach our world by equipping us with the power of signs, wonders, and miracles.
What kind of help do you need today? The Helper has come, His power is unlimited, and His love is immeasurable. If you are sick, He is the Healer, if you are lost, He is the Savior, if you feel weak and powerless, He is the mighty power of God available to you today. How can you receive His help? That part is simple, call upon the name of Jesus. He promised, that when you call He will answer and all that call upon His Name will be saved.

HELP

John 14:26
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you

Have you ever needed help? I have, all kinds of help. We needed help when we were born, we couldn’t do anything. We needed help in school, and as teenagers, we needed all kinds of help, we just didn’t realize it. We needed help getting started as adults, we needed help in our marriages and raising our children. We really needed help after Katrina, we were in need of lots of help for a very long time. Let’s face it, we are very needy people.
All of us have needed the Lord’s help all of our lives, like immature adolescents, we avoided God at all costs. “We have everything handled”, we silently muttered, at least we thought we had it handled. Then, inevitably, the bottom fell out of our lives. The day had finally come when we saw we needed help. We became painfully aware of our greatest need, we are sinners in need of a Savior. In that moment, He came to our rescue. As soon as we turned toward Him, He was already there, ready to move on our behalf. After all Jesus called this unseen person the Helper. He is always there, always ready to show Himself as the Helper in our lives.
What kind of help do you need? He is the Counselor, to those who need guidance. He is the Great Physician to those who need healing. He is the source of all things for those suffering financial lack. He is the greatest of all friends to those who are lonely. He is the faithful High Priest when we need forgiveness. He is Unspeakable Joy to those imprisoned with depression. He is the Opener of prison doors to those captive to alcohol or substance abuse. For those caught in the world of lust and immorality, He has mercy and freedom in His touch.
He is the Helper and there is no problem too big, no sin too dark, no chain to strong that He is not able to overcome in your life. The term Jesus used in greek for Helper is Paracletos, one called alongside to help. When does He come?; when He hears someone calling. Today, I think He heard your cry. He will come Himself to bring His supernatural help into your life.

LOVE – VAST AS AN OCEAN

Eph.3:19 – and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

It was as if fire was falling simultaneously all over Wales in the early 1900’s. Starting with the youth, thousands of people began to be swept into the love of God. It was as if God had come down again like the Day of Pentecost, all of Wales seemed to be being powerfully effected by the Holy Spirit. One of the main characteristics of the Welch Revival was singing. Time seemed to stand still or become insignificant as the multitudes began to worship the Lord spontaneously. Somehow the meetings seemed to be gloriously ordered by God even though no one seemed to be leading. Supernatural worship is like nothing else. It’s as if the music and the voices are somehow alive. The sound carries the life of God and everyone present is powerfully influenced by the atmosphere. Actually, true worship originates from above. We can sing songs and play instruments but it is the very life of God that turns a song into worship. Here are the words to “HERE IS LOVE VAST AS THE OCEAN” which became known as the love song of the revival and comments from the Truth in History publication.

Here is love, vast as the ocean, loving kindness as the flood,

When the Prince of Life my ransom shed for me His precious blood,

Who His love will not remember, who can cease to sing His praise?

He shall never be forgotten through Heaven’s everlasting days.

On the mount of crucifixion fountains opened deep and wide

Through the floodgates of God’s mercy flowed the vast and gracious tide,

Grace and love like mighty rivers poured incessant from above

Heaven’s peace and perfect justice kissed a guilty world in love.

INTRODUCTION

Just after eleven o’clock on a Wednesday evening a hundred years ago, a solo voice rang out with the beautiful Welsh hymn “Here Is Love Vast As The Ocean”. Maybe a thousand people were in the Chapel at the time, leaning over the galleries, packing every pew and squeezing into every spare corner. They’d been here for more than four hours, in a service of intense emotion.

All of our hearts long for this supernatural worship experience. Press in to the Lord. You too may be caught up in vastness of His love.

THE MYSTERY OF THE WIND

Jn.3:8 – The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.

This picture of the Holy Spirit painted by the Lord Himself portrays the mysterious nature of the Holy Spirit. Jesus reminded us that every part of creation points to the Master Artist, all of His works point to Him. The wind reminds us of the mystique that the Holy Spirit embodies. Notice something Jesus said in this verse “so is everyone who is born of the Spirit”. Is He saying what I think He is saying? It sounds like some of the mystery of the Wind actually gets on us. We too begin to carry the supernatural mystery of the other world on us; that’s why we don’t quite fit in and are called peculiar. We love different things and we have different priorities and goals than the people of the world, the wind seems to take us into a different way of life. Here is how Maclaren describes it.

“The world does not know where that Christian life comes from. If you are a Christian, you ought to bear in your character a certain indefinable something that will suggest to the people round you that the secret power of your life is other than the power which moulds theirs. You may be naturalized, and you may speak fairly well the language of the country in which you are a sojourner, but there ought to be something in your accent which tells where you come from, and betrays the foreigner. We ought to move amongst men, having about us that which cannot be explained by what is enough to explain their lives. A Christian life should be the manifestation to the world of the supernatural. They ‘know not whence it cometh nor whither it goeth.’”

It was the anointing of the Spirit that separated the early church from the world. It’s hard to put a label on it (they still try really hard) but the supernatural nature of the Spirit in our lives just makes us stand out. To some it is attractive, to others it is repulsive and offensive. Once we have come under the influence of the Wind of God it becomes nearly impossible to go back to the other world.

THE PLACE OF BLESSING

Ps.133:1,3 – Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing— Life forevermore.

Have you ever wondered what heaven is going to be like? What are the characteristics of heaven that make it so inviting? This scripture may actually hold the key to the answer to that question. This verse describes the dynamic that happens in the unity of brothers and sisters in Christ. The unity that we enjoy in Christian community is more than just a common belief and a common goal. Our unity flows from life itself. We were once “not a people” Hosea said, “but we have become “the people of God”. What is the basis of being called the people of God? We share a common life. We have the very life of God in our souls since we were born again. It is this life that we enjoy together that makes Christian community, or church, supernatural. This life of the church is a foretaste of what makes heaven heaven. It is the life of God in our souls. Here is how Charles Spurgeon describes the blessing in today’s verse.

“dwelling together in love we have begun the enjoyments of eternity, and these shall not be taken from us….This makes Christian brotherhood so good and pleasant; it has Jehovah’s blessing resting upon it, and it cannot be otherwise than sacred like “the precious ointment”, and heavenly like “the dew of Hermon.” O for more of this rare virtue! Not the love which comes and goes, but that which dwells; not that spirit which separates and secludes, but that which dwells together; not that mind which is all for debate and difference, but that which dwells together in unity. Never shall we know the full power of the anointing till we are of one heart and of one spirit; never will the sacred dew of the Spirit descend in all its fulness till we are perfectly joined together in the same mind; never will the covenanted and commanded blessing come forth from the Lord our God till once again we shall have “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

This supernatural life is found in only one place, it is found in Christ. When we accept Him into our lives we begin to taste this life that He purchased for us. From that day on we are part of a new community, Jesus called it His church. Open your heart to His love, embrace this life found in the body of Christ, you too can experience the commanded blessing.

ENCOUNTER

MERRY MONDAY PARRIS BAILEY

“YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN” John 3:7

Last week I had a encounter with a devil. Yes, sometimes it just happens. You find yourself counseling someone and out of nowhere your like—oh no I need some backup. Another leader came into the room and the next few minutes were amazing. Afterwards the person kept testifying of their freedom and compared it to huge glasses falling off their face and having the ability to breathe. WOW PRAISE HIM! Did I tell you I love my job! (haha) When Jesus walks into the room, everything else has to leave.

Nicodemus the Pharisee felt the power of God coming from Jesus and had a million questions. The darkness that surrounded Nicodemus gave way to light in the presence of Christ. One can’t pick and choose what teachings or what attributes we want from Jesus. When we take the whole teachings of the whole Christ, and confess Him to be the Redeemer of our souls, we enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, “We don’t know where the wind blows”, and compares the Spirit to the wind. We are living in the eternal world. Are we allowing the new life to work within us? Have I allowed my wells to get clogged up?

Maclaren commented on this, “New life in its feeblest infancy, by its very existence, is beyond this ‘bank and shoal of time,’ a region to which it is native, and in which it may grow to maturity. You will find in your greenhouses exotics that stand there, after all your pains and coals, stunted, and seeming to sigh for the tropical heat which is their home. The earnest of our inheritance, the first-fruits of the Spirit, the Christian life which originated in, and is sustained by, the flowing of the divine life into us, demands that, somehow or other, the stunted plant should be lifted and removed into that ‘higher house where these are planted’-and what shall be the spread of its branches, and the luster of its leaves, and what the gorgeousness of its blossoms, and what the perennial sweetness of its fruits then and there, ‘it doth not yet appear.’ The world does not know where that Christian life comes from. If you are a Christian, you ought to bear in your character a certain indefinable something that will suggest to the people round you that the secret power of your life is other than the power which molds theirs. You may be naturalized, and you may speak fairly well the language of the country in which you are a sojourner, but there ought to be something in your accent which tells where you come from, and betrays the foreigner. We ought to move amongst men, having about us that which cannot be explained by what is enough to explain their lives. A Christian life should be the manifestation to the world of the supernatural.”