Turning Within

Guess what: the most trustworthy theology we will ever subscribe to is turning within ourselves to find Real God, which becomes crystal clear as we follow our intuition, i.e. self-education. Those who go within are not merely informed but completely transformed.

Yours truly may sound utterly heretical, at least according to the devotees of exclusive religion; but the truth is that every worldview finds its inception with a degree of heresy. Every game-changing movement is only possible when people think outside of the box.

Keep in mind that the most notable ascended spiritual masters of history were critical thinkers who advocated for soul ascension and the spiritual evolution of human beings. Inclusive spirituality offers such encouragement as this, as opposed to its rigid counterpart.

Believe it or not, but the truth is that the Great Spirit indwells us, ever surrounds us, and manifests itself as each one of us. We are vessels for transcendence, while bonded by our equally common immanence. Our Life Source is not just external but is also internal.

Being An Evangelist

There is a common misconception about the 5 fold ministry that I too used to be deceived about and didn’t have the full understanding of either. If you know what your calling in the 5 fold ministry is from the Lord God Jesus Christ and it is not as an evangelist, that doesn’t mean you are never going to be called out into the streets or wherever to reach the lost and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. 🙂 We are all called to be disciples of Jesus Christ, preach the gospel, and to help Him make more disciples (Matthew 28:19 -> Acts 2:38-39)(Mark 16:15-18, Luke 24:46-58). An evangelist is simply someone gifted more than most with boldness in preaching the gospel publicly and the Lord Jesus Christ usually has them be “street preachers” and He usually has them travel a lot too. That doesn’t mean others are not called out into the streets or wherever else to witness to the lost and demonstrate the power of the Holy Ghost in both deed (casting out demons and healing in the name of Jesus Christ) and in word (preach the Word of God). We just need to be sensitive to the Lord’s voice and obey it so He can lead us by His Spirit. It can be as simple as talking to someone at a grocery store or at Walmart while you’re already there shopping to tell them how Jesus changed your life, He is real and loves them, they need to surrender their lives to Him, etc. Or maybe He will have you go a step further in faith and lay hands on someone and command them to be healed in the name of Jesus Christ. Every disciple of Jesus Christ is called to do this. When you have both the Word of God being preached and the demonstration of the power of the Holy Ghost (deliverance from demons and miraculous healing) hand-in-hand, that is what really pricks people’s hearts to where they will believe and for God to grant them repentance. Having the balance of both is imperative and is so powerful just like we see in the book of Acts. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, which means the Holy Ghost is still the same today. Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and then tarry in the upper room (prayer closet of your heart) by fasting and praying until you are endued with the same power from on high – the Holy Ghost and cloven tongues of fire. (Luke 24:49, Acts 1, Acts 2)

Government must be ruled by God

The hearts of men are full of hatred, cowardice, sloth, and covetousness. Likewise, it leads them into the civil traps that God has always called slavery, leading to their own destruction, damnation, and economic collapse. Try and educate those hearts about the alternative Kingdom of Heaven that liberates man from the dominion of man and, being unregenerate, they will play dead as is custom in the Valley of Dry Bones. But some may see their error, come alive and begin loving their neighbor as themselves, walking in repentance, and seek the literal, jurisdictional, alternative Kingdom that is built upon the rock and bound together in love, forgiveness, and life and lasts from generation to generation.Bankrupt bureaucracies are installed by Christless men as a by-product of the socialism in their hearts, but they are also used by God to bring judgement onto those same depraved men through the heavy legal and financial burdens of governments in debt.“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.” (Romans 13:4-6)Electing men into authoritative office is a wicked work. Scripture says so everywhere. One defining characteristic of authoritative office is that it invariably institutes taxation to even function. In this way, authoritative office is a terror to wicked works. This is why you pay taxes, to teach you to cry out to God in repentance. Your judgment for creating institutions is that they compel your forced contributions and then use it to exercise authority over you. This system providentially functions as an effective ouroboros, being its own destruction, enslaving the very people who create it and live by its sword. This is both the birth and death of socialist societies. The beginning and the end of the pragmatism of institutionalism

The Importance of Creeds and Confessions

We’ve all heard it: No creed but the Bible. A “creed” (from the Latin word credo) simply means “I believe”. A creed is a statement of faith. And, of course, when someone says No creed but the Bible the person who says it, however well-meaning he or she is, has already given a statement of faith – a statement that is not given in the Bible. When we’re asked what we believe, I don’t think that we start at Genesis 1:1 and then quote the rest of the Bible through Revelation 22:21. We tell people what we believe the Bible teaches about things like creation, the fall of humanity into sin, who Christ is, and how we are delivered from sin and death by Him. We use what the Bible itself calls a form of sound doctrine or a pattern of sound teaching. This tells us that the Bible itself speaks of statements or summaries of what God tells us in His word. It also tells us that there are forms of doctrine or teaching that are NOT sound. (And the word here is very important. It means doctrine that cleanses. Doctrine that makes us truly well.) There are forms of sound teaching that are spiritually health-giving – OR – spiritually health-destroying. Statements of faith either help us or harm us in things regarding our relationship with God and our eternal destiny. For many reasons we live in an age that is, to say the least, not fond of church creeds and confessions of faith:

We live in a time (especially since the 1960s) in which people distrust tradition and distrust authority. Yet (and this is a curious thing), the same people will believe trendy ideas (things which are often proved completely wrong over time), or they’ll trust the declarations of movie stars, sports figures, and popular singers who usually know little or nothing about the things about which they make confident affirmations – affirmations which are really statements of their faith. For many reasons (and this would be the subject of more than one Visit to the Pastor’s Study) people have become distrustful of words. In society-at-large there is a tragic cynicism about almost everything that is said. And in groups such as the “Emerging” (or “Emergent”) Church” we are told that the issue in Christianity is “not doctrine, but life.” “Not propositions, but relationships.” Word-formed statements of faith are downplayed, if not eliminated altogether. Added to this, we live in a utilitarian age: How is this really relevant to my life? How is it practical to me? How does it help me make a living? For those who think like this, there’s little use in taking time to probe the depths of the meaning of things like the Trinity, the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the meaning of His death on the cross, and the way God’s grace operates in the human will. And we also live in an age of the quick and easy. I fall prey to that myself. It’s easier to make a quick check of what Wikipedia says than to take the time to do some digging for myself. Why bother with lengthy statements of faith. Give it to me in a sound-byte or two, then I’ll get on to something else.

Yet notice that all of these cultural currents have their own statements of faith – their own creeds and confessions: I believe we shouldn’t trust statements made long ago. I believe we shouldn’t be dominated by the dogmatic assertions of others. I believe we should only occupy ourselves with the things that make us happy. I believe that if you can’t put it in a sentence of two we shouldn’t be bothered with it. The God who speaks has made us people of words. And because we are not God who inherently knows all things perfectly, we are all people who must live out of faith commitments. And, putting these things together, we all have credos – word-formed statements of what we believe. Creeds and Confessions, if you will. The big difference in historic Christianity is that historic Christianity is right up front about what it believes. And the Christian Church has, over the centuries, put what it believes into statements called Creeds and Confessions. The Apostles’ Creed. The Nicene Creed. The Athanasian Creed. And, since the Protestant Reformation, there are Confessions held by Lutheran churches, Reformed churches, Presbyterian churches, Baptist churches, and others that corporately and publicly committed themselves to the form of sound doctrine they believed best represented what their final authority for faith and life – the Bible – stated in its 66 books. It was regarded as very important that God’s people and the world in which they lived knew what they believed. It was important because sound doctrine – the form of teaching that faithfully represented what the Word of God said, was – literally – a matter of spiritual health or spiritual sickness; and, in many cases, a matter of life and death.

Importance of Doctrine as Apostolic Pentecostals

Doctrine simply means the teaching of God’s Word. In our day most people do not want sound doctrine, but they want preachers who will make them feel good (II Timothy 4:3). Nevertheless, we must love, cherish, and obey the Word of God. Merely knowing and accepting the truth is not enough; in order to escape deception and condemnation we must have a love for the truth (II Thessalonians 2:10-12). Therefore, Paul admonished ministers: “Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine…. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (I Timothy 4:13, 16). “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (II Timothy 4:2).By becoming established in truth, we fulfill the scriptural admonitions (1) to be studious (diligent) workers approved of God, who are not ashamed but who rightly divide (correctly handle) the Word of truth (II Timothy 2:15); (2) to use Scripture profitably for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16); (3) to be strong in our beliefs rather than tossed about by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14); and (4) to give answers to everyone who asks about our faith (I Peter 3:15).Some erroneously suppose that study deadens spirituality, but a sincere, prayerful study of biblical doctrine will enhance spirituality. In fact, true spirituality can only develop from a solid understanding of God’s Word. The truth sets us free spiritually (John 8:32). The more we comprehend divine principles, the more God’s power will operate in our lives and in our churches.

Another erroneous assumption is that there is little connection between belief and conduct. To the contrary, inadequate or false views will definitely affect our choices and actions. The more we assimilate divine principles, the more Christlike we will become in daily life.The way to attain maturity in the faith is to have a balance of doctrine and spirituality. We must be zealous to hear, read, and study God’s Word, and we must be equally zealous to pray, worship God, and have fellowship with one another.

The Apostolic Message
What important doctrines did the apostles proclaim? What should we believe, obey, and love? For an initial answer, let us look briefly at the apostle Peter’s message on the Day of Pentecost. It is important for several reasons: it was the first sermon of the New Testament church (i.e., after the outpouring of the Spirit), Jesus had ordained Peter to open the doors of the kingdom of heaven with this message, it had the simultaneous support of all twelve apostles, and it succinctly proclaims how to enter the New Testament church.

The doctrine of God:
There is one true God, as proclaimed in the Old Testament, and in the last days He wants to pour out His Spirit upon everyone. (See Acts 2:17; Deuteronomy 6:4.) Jesus died, was buried, and rose again for our salvation. He is both Lord and Messiah—both the one true God and the sinless, perfect, anointed Man through whom God reveals Himself to us. In other words, Jesus is the Lord Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament, manifested in flesh to be our Savior. (See Acts 2:21-36; Colossians 2:9-10.)

The doctrine of salvation:
We enter into the New Testament church through faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, repentance from sin, water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the initial sign of tongues.(See Acts 2:1-4, 36-39; 11:13-17.)

The doctrine of holiness and Christian living:
The Lord is coming back for His people.The righteous will inherit eternal life; the unrighteous will inherit eternal death.(See Acts 2:19-21; Revelation 22:12-21.)In our day, the Apostolic Pentecostal movement is distinctive for its teaching of the Oneness of God, the New Testament plan of salvation, and aspects of practical holiness.

The Oneness of God
God is absolutely and indivisibly one (Deuteronomy 6:4; Galatians 3:20). In Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). He is the self-revelation of the one God, the incarnation of the full, undivided Godhead (John 20:28; I Timothy 3:16). 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). (See Deuteronomy 32:6 and Isaiah 63:16; Luke 1:35 and Galatians 4:4; Genesis 1:2 and Acts 1:8.) 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. Jesus is true God and true man as one divine-human person. We can distinguish these two aspects of Christ’s identity, but we cannot separate them. The Incarnation joined the fullness of deity to complete humanity. Jesus possessed all elements of authentic humanity as originally created by God, without sin. Thus we can speak of Jesus as human in body, soul, spirit, mind, and will. (See Matthew 26:38; Luke 2:40; 22:42; 23:46; Philippians 2:5.) According to the flesh, Jesus was the biological descendant of Adam and Eve, Abraham, David, and Mary. (See Genesis 3:15; Romans 1:3; Galatians 3:16; Hebrews 2:14-17; 5:7-8.) We should not speak of two spirits in Jesus, however, but of one Spirit in which deity and humanity are joined. Christ’s humanity means that everything we humans can say of ourselves, we can say of Jesus in His earthly life, except for sin. In every way that we relate to God, Jesus related to God, except that He did not need to repent or be born again. Thus, when Jesus prayed, submitted His will to the Father, and spoke about God, He simply acted in accordance with His genuine humanity. As Jehovah manifested in the flesh, Jesus is the only Savior (Isaiah 45:21- 23; Matthew 1:21-23). Thus, Jesus is the only name given for our salvation (Acts 4:12). The Father was revealed to the world in the name of Jesus, the Son was given the name of Jesus at birth, and the Holy Spirit comes to believers in the name of Jesus. (See Matthew 1:21; John 5:43; 14:26; 17:6.) Thus, the apostles correctly fulfilled Christ’s command in Matthew 28:19 to baptize “in the name [singular] of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” by baptizing all converts with the invocation of the name of Jesus.

New Testament Salvation
Salvation is by grace through faith and not by human works (Ephesians 2:8-9). The doctrine of grace means that salvation is a free gift from God, which humans cannot merit or earn; in other words, salvation is God’s work in us. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ have made this gift available. The doctrine of faith means that we receive God’s saving work by trusting in Jesus Christ. Faith is more than mental assent, intellectual acceptance, or verbal profession; it includes trust, reliance, appropriation, and application. Faith is alive only through response and action; we cannot separate faith from obedience. (See Matthew 7:21-27; Romans 1:5; 6:17; 10:16; 16:26; II Thessalonians 1:7-10.) Saving faith, then, is (1) acceptance of the gospel of Jesus Christ as the means of salvation and (2) obedience to that gospel (application or appropriation of that gospel).The gospel of Jesus Christ is His death, burial, and resurrection for our salvation (I Corinthians 15:1-4). On the Day of Pentecost, the birthday of the New Testament church, the apostle Peter preached the first gospel sermon to the crowds who had gathered to observe the Spirit-filled believers as they spoke in tongues and worshiped God. He proclaimed the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Convicted of their sins by his simple yet powerful message, the audience cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Peter, with the support of the other apostles, gave a precise, complete, and unequivocal answer: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). As this verse shows, we respond to the gospel, obey the gospel, or apply the gospel to our lives by repentance from sin (death to sin), water baptism by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ (burial with Christ), and receiving the Holy Spirit (new life in Christ). (See Romans 6:1-7; 7:6; 8:2, 10.)This response is the biblical expression of saving faith in Jesus Christ. (See Mark 1:15; 16:16; John 7:37-39; Acts 11:15-17.) This threefold experience, viewed as an integrated whole, brings regeneration, justification, and initial sanctification. (See I Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5.) 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.Thus, Acts 2:38 is the comprehensive answer to an inquiry about New Testament conversion, expressing in a nutshell the proper response to the gospel. Not only did Jews from many nations on the Day of Pentecost receive the Acts 2:38 experience, but so did all other converts in the New Testament, including the Samaritans, the apostle Paul, the Gentiles at Caesarea, and the disciples of John at Ephesus.In each case, believers were baptized with the invocation of the name of Jesus, even some who had previously been baptized another way. (See Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:3-5; 22:16.) The Epistles also allude repeatedly to the Jesus Name formula. (See Romans 6:3-4; I Corinthians 1:13; 6:11; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12.) Moreover, the examples in Acts show that the baptism of the Spirit is for everyone and is accompanied by the initial sign of tongues. (See Acts 2:4; 10:44- 47; 19:6.) The experience signified by tongues is the promised outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 2:6-17, 33).

The Life of Holiness
The pursuit of holiness is essential to the Christian life. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). God commands us to be holy in all our conduct because He is holy (I Peter 1:15- 16). Being holy is a process of growth as we conform to the character and will of God. Although we are imperfect, we are growing into maturity. Throughout this process, we are holy in the sense of (1) separation from sin and (2) dedication to God. (See Romans 12:1-2; II Corinthians 6:17-7:1.) Holiness is both inward and outward. (See I Corinthians 6:19-20; II Corinthians 7:1; I Thessalonians 5:23.) Thus, it encompasses thoughts and attitudes as well as conduct, speech, amusements, and dress. The practices of holiness separate us from the world’s value system, namely, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:15-17). Holiness is not a means of earning salvation but a result of salvation. We do not manufacture our own holiness, but we are partakers of God’s holiness(Hebrews 12:10). We are not saved by adherence to certain rules but by our faith relationship with Jesus Christ, which issues forth in obedience and produces spiritual fruit.The Christian life is one of liberty, not legalism. Instead of following the external law, we are motivated internally by faith, love, and the Holy Spirit, which produce greater dedication and power than the law could impart. Christians have freedom to make personal choices in non moral matters, but liberty does not negate moral law or scriptural teaching. (See Romans 6:15; 14; Galatians 5:13.) All true holiness teachings are based on Scripture—whether specific statements or valid applications of principles to contemporary situations. We learn holiness from the inspired Word of God, anointed pastors and teachers who proclaim and apply the Word, and internal promptings and convictions of the Holy Spirit. Holiness begins in the heart, as we develop the fruit of the Spirit, put away ungodly attitudes, and embrace wholesome thoughts. (See Galatians 5:19-23;Ephesians 4:23-32; II Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:8.)Holiness includes proper stewardship of the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are not to become gluttonous or use substances that defile, intoxicate, or addict. (See I Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:12, 19-20.) We are to use our tongue for wholesome speech. (See James 1:26; 3:1-2; 4:11; 5:12.) We are to guard our eyes from evil. (See Psalm 101:2-3; 119:37; Matthew 6:22-23.) Because of the widespread display of evil in modern media, we must be particularly mindful of the dangers associated with television ownership, movies, and the Internet.Holiness extends to outward appearance and dress. (See Deuteronomy 22:5;I Corinthians 11:13-16; I Timothy 2:8-10.) Biblical principles here include (1)modesty, (2) avoidance of personal ornamentation (ornamental jewelry and makeup), (3) moderation in cost, and (4) distinction between male and female in dress and hair. Women are to let their hair grow long instead of cutting it, while men are to cut their hair noticeably short. Other important aspects of holiness include justice and mercy in personal and social relationships; the sanctity of marriage and sexual relationships only within the marriage of one man and one woman; the sanctity of human life; honesty and integrity; wholesome fellowship, unity, accountability, and mutual submission to godly authority in the body of Christ; and regulation of amusements.Holiness is an integral part of our salvation from the power and effects of sin. It is part of abundant life, a joyful privilege, a blessing from God’s grace, a glorious life of freedom and power. The life of holiness fulfills God’s original intention and design for humanity. For the Spirit-filled believer, holiness is the normal—indeed the only—way to live.