Revival – Gifts of the Spirit?

I think I’ve written about this before. I most certainly believe what the Scripture says about the spiritual gifts! They were real then, and they are real now! There really isn’t anything written about God withdrawing His gifts, as in the doctrine of dispensationalism.

It’s a scared cow. Both sides are lined up against each other, and the devil gets more than a good laugh from this infighting. How sad.

I was at a meeting recently when someone used one of those spiritual buzzwords: revival. I’ve never liked the word. It’s also NOT in the Bible. But neither are other words we use like vacation, or birthday – but we still use them.

The issue I’ve always had with the “R” word is that it strictly implies re-animation, or even resurrection. Specifically, something was “dead” and now is brought back to life!

Can we agree that the Lord God is ever present? Jesus does say that the Spirit comes and goes, and no man can control it (John 3:8). However, we are PROMISED the Comforter (John 15:26). And are we not temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19)? Does that Spirit simply come and go? I can see that the “intensity” raises and falls, but we are NEVER “empty” especially because Jesus says that He will be with us ALWAYS (Matthew 28:20)!

Who or what is then dead? 2 Corinthians 5:14 answers this without a doubt! When our mind is renewed (Ephesians 4:23), is it saying that the new creation will periodically die and need to be revived? Or, does the Apostle guarantee that the Spirit will increase in us when we are obedient and exercise faith?

Why is the word “revival” such a powerful word among many Christians? I think the answer is twofold. First, the “R” word is VERY emotionally charged! It cuts right to where most Christians are vulnerable – their very status as Spirit filled believers! Second, it seems very clear that the word is used as a tool to guide/motivate/manipulate people into accepting the whole church process of the “gatekeepers” authority/control to experience God! Think about that for a moment.

God is ever present. Our spiritual results, our fruits are based upon: being born-again( baptism of water AND Spirit), repentance, obedience, trust, love, faith, walking within God’s holy Scripture, doing His will, and probably a few other things! These things are certainly not separate, but quite beautifully interrelated – praise God!

Did we receive the Holy Spirit, only to be in need of a “refill”? Does He leave us hanging, only to return in times of crisis? Does He “show up” because we have lots of people expecting it?

Whatever spiritual gifts are manifested in us, we have the same Spirit!
That Spirit bears fruit according to several conditions. Most times, the spiritual gifts are limited by us. We tend to use those gifts most familiar to us and those which seem most evident. That’s very practical, very understandable, but quite the opposite of actual faith! Don’t assume that you are my target. Hey, I’m speaking to me too😃!

Whenever, whatever we were gifted with, we can be confident that those gifts are ever present with the Holy Spirit! How do we know? See 2 Timothy 1:6 for the answer! ! ! Our job is to do the will of God with those gifts for His Glory!

Peace & Maranatha!

 

The Right Church?

The Right Church?

Many books have been written about which is the “right” or true Church. I am STILL working on my own, and this article may eventually be part of that discussion.
The whole idea of exactly what constitutes THE Church is very interesting. Various influential leaders have, throughout Christian history, attempted to redefine, recreate, or purify their vision for Christianity.

Several effects have resulted from such thinking; most notably 1)violence, 2)confusion, and 3)separation – all for ostensibly noble reasons! ( The road to hell is paved with good intentions.)

If we have the courage to examine the fruit of such contentions which often come in the form of a perceived necessity of some sort, we will come to the painful realization that the evil one is most often the author! OK, easy to say – right?
A most common vilification is that of the Roman Catholic Church. Much of that criticism is rightly deserved. Read your Bible! What REALLY interests me is how those who deem themselves in a position to “correct” such errors, most often labeled as traditions of men, have themselves created a whole train load of traditions of their own! How people miss this is simple – pride.

Let’s take a quick look. Since most who read/follow this Blog have a rather clear understanding of their relationship/experience with the Lord Jesus Christ and His holy Scriptures, I hope no one will be offended, but rather encouraged to pursue the Truth that sets us free. I’m talking about “sacred cows” – that which is generally NEVER questioned in the Church. For example, the words we often use can speak volumes. Have you heard someone utter the word “revival”? Interestingly, it’s not in the Christian vocabulary of the Apostles. It means to bring something “back to life”! Why is it used then? Is the Lord giving birth to sinners ( a new creation – being born again) – yes! Hallelujah! Is the Lord resurrecting dead Christians? At His second coming He is! Hallelujah! Is He giving us life more abundant? Yes, and Amen! Is He renewing our minds through feeding on the Scriptures? Glory to God – yes!

So, what’s being “revived”? Resuscitated, perhaps. But that just doesn’t sound very good in English. I suppose the word ” revival” has more of an emotional impact. Too bad it confuses Biblical truth!

Next:

We all want to help the unsaved so how can a sinner’s prayer be wrong? Well first, it’s not in the Scriptures as such. Sure, people mean well, but creating a “formula” AND a requirement sounds like what? Oh yeah, Catholicism! Should those accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior pray, of course! Creating the formula/requirement opens a door – the wrong door!
Hey, what about an “altar call”? Obviously, we want to invite those to Christ and pray with/for them. However, once this “procedure” became formalized, it began to take on a life/tradition of its own!

Now, I recently read the description of a large ministry. Much of it was filled with controversy, defending and attacking various doctrines. One of those doctrines is called “cessationism” where they believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased after the Apostolic period! This has caused another huge divide! In Greek, one of the names for the evil one is “diabolos”, meaning the divider! Do we have the strength to follow 1 John 4:1 and test the spirits? To do otherwise is to throw the baby out with the bath water! The problem is that if we follow that Scriptural admonition, it requires us to be responsible! And we should know by now that most “denominations” have tried to get us to relinquish some or all of our responsibility!

How about this one: slain in the Spirit. I’ve heard this one for most of my life. It’s also not in the Scriptures. The experience is often part of a church “service” of some type. People almost universally fall backwards, and manifest a wide range of characteristics – some according to godly purposes, many others not!
Again, once something like this becomes “institutionalized”, it often becomes a man made tradition with its unique prerequisites and expectations. God help us! The evil one has had much fun counterfeiting the genuine gifts of the Spirit!

1 Corinthians 14:28 reads that if there is no one to interpret someone speaking in a language (tongue), then that person should keep silent! That is a very polite way of saying “shut up”! I remember being at a spiritual assembly one time where, at one point, people were encouraged to go into their “prayer language” and it was like watching popped corn! I mean they were really going off! Problem? No interpreters. I mean NOBODY!

Here’s a side note about me. I speak three languages – not all of them fluently. I can easily recognize at least 14 others! Really! At that meeting, I didn’t hear a single word of any language I knew. I did hear lots of weird noises, sounds, and especially repetition! If you were so inclined, you could eventually recognize various preferred sounds that certain individuals uttered. Even those didn’t strike me as particularly grammatical. All of these observations from someone (me) who acknowledges and has experienced genuine spiritual gifts! What is one to make of all this? One thing I know is that all this causes SERIOUS divisions!

Is the Church a bunch of divisions that make up one body? Or are there Christians in various denominations that make up one body? Can all denominations, or most denominations be right? Especially when they renounce salvation through any other?

Romans 12:5 … We are one body in Christ
1 Corinthians 12:27

We have a promise from our Lord that the evil one will sow his weeds in the wheat field! Matthew 13:24!

All these denominations are a witness of exactly what? Confusion?
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is NOT the author of confusion but of peace,
as in ALL the churches of the saints!

Conclusion: Hmmmmm.
1 Corinthians 15:2 Hold fast to the word…
Hebrews 4:14 Hold fast our confession…
Revelations 3:3 Hold fast and repent…
Revelations 3:11 Behold I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.

Peace and Maranatha!