is a spirit of
is a spirit of
the Baptist made a most interesting statement characterizing the
Jewish Messiah Whom he announced. He said, “… I indeed baptize
you with water; but one mightier than I cometh,the latchet of whose
shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy
Ghost and with fire:” Luke 3:16, Matt. 3:11.
Most all agree that the baptism of the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, occurred on the day called Pentecost as recorded in Acts Chapter Two. But what about the baptism of fire that John prophesied Jesus would administer? There are two common misunderstandings of this prophecy and its fulfillment. One is that the conjunction “Kai” in the Koine Greek text should be translated “Even.” The other is that this was accomplished by the cloven tongues of fire that sat upon the disciples on that historic and monumental occasion. Let it be said that if the conjunction should have been translated “even” instead of “and” surely one of the many translations of the Bible would employ it that way. None do! Additionally, the cloven tongues that sat upon the disciples on Pentecost do not represent a baptism which is in Greek “baptizo” to plunge or immerse. So both the ideas are rejected as simple misunderstandings of what John the Baptist was actually saying.
Closer examination of what John said, and in correlation with other scriptures indicate a baptism of judgment. Dr. A. T. Robertson in his work WORD PICTURES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT sees and expresses this view as well. The completed work of Christ Jesus, including both His cross work and His Holy Word establishes the criteria by which men shall meet Him in judgment. For this reason the church of His establishment is empowered with both knowledge and dynamic ability to grow up in Him, and to exercise His holy will in each generation. Such as are submissive to Him are undergoing, here and now, that baptism spoken of as fire, a consistent type of judgment. Consequently, the apostle Peter plainly expresses this truth in I Peter 4:17, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”
The judgment through which modern day, submissive disciples pass is that of being shaped by His Word (transformed rather than conformed to the world). Sometimes this is indeed quite fiery, but it allows the person so exercised to correct views, lifestyle, and beliefs to be in accord with God’s Word. His judgment then producing in that person highly rewardable works at His coming. Thus does the extended water baptism of John through a New Testament Church afford one the extended baptism of fire that refines him for God’s service both now, and in the millennial reign to come.
Parson to Person
There are some things that are easy to believe, but difficult to prove. In fact, most things in the spirit world are that way to the carnal mind. It is the intent of this short article to draw attention to the folly of New Testament church existence by evolution. Please think with me for a moment.
Most Baptists readily agree that a New Testament church cannot be divorced from its membership. Therefore, the qualifications of each church member become all important to the spiritual status of the local body to which he belongs. As the members go, so goes the church for better or worse.
It is equally agreed among non-Protestant Baptist churches that the new birth experience and deep water baptism by the authority of the church is essential, constituting the prerequisites to church membership. By these things, and the fulfillment of the other parts of the Great Commission churches are kept separate from the world, from false religion, and in an acceptable state to enjoy the blessings of the Almighty in word, and in deed.
With all this being said, it is recognized that there are a lot of “Speckled Bird” churches in Baptist ranks today. Some are “planted” by men who care little for the fundamentals of the faith once delivered to the saints. Some are socio-religious gatherings that “evolve” into a “church.” This method was used by the Wesley brothers, but their production was not a New Testament church.
Then there are those who pick no bones about their disdain for the Baptist heritage. They refuse to use the Baptist name, and think to create a church by some sort of deception, deception I say because they still want to claim scriptural Baptist status. Humm. does that not sound much like so many who call themselves “non-denominational” or “Usta-Wazer Baptists? That former title is an oxymoron simply because non-denomination is a denomination with reference to type or kind.
So, the questions remains. Might a group of people, two or three or more, achieve a non-profit charter to claim tax exemption engage in religious activity, and thereby grow into a bona fide New Testament church regardless of their prerequisites? More precisely stated, may a group of religious minded people evolve into a New Testament church?
When the Word is followed, only those who are endowed with the new birth, and scriptural, deep water baptism administered by a bona fide church of the Lord, may constitute a church that is recognized and blessed of heaven. Such is the perpetuation of the baptism of John (heaven-sent baptism). There may be many ceremonial washings and dips, but there is only one baptism of John. So, a church by evolution? That is biblically unknown, and in the end worthless.
MARCH 15 – An Attitude of Worship
Ecclesiastes 5:1 Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.
2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God. We have a righteous and Holy God that wants to be worshiped. The question that comes to mind is, do we worship Him in the manner we want or in the manner that God wants? What type of worship does God want? We have the Old Testament as an example unless we would want to disregard it. In that case, just buy a New Testament and ignore the Old Testament. Keep thy foot, is an interesting statement as it relates to the house of God. Moses at the burning bush was called upon to take off his shoes because he was walking on Holy Ground. Joshua was commanded to “Loose thy shoe from off they foot.” The reason was given that the ground he walked on was Holy Ground.
This tells us there is a prescribed way of worship. Today we have an attitude that if we gather and do our “thing” that God has to accept what we want to call worship. The tabernacle and temple worship was very strictly regulated in the way and method of approaching God. The New Testament gives us hints of what not to do in worship. The New Testament calls for us to “Let all things be done unto edifying.” Notice that this is Holy Ground when we come into the presence of God. There are many things that are done today that is called worship that is not what God calls for.
Be ready to hear. This has always been a problem in our day and age. Notice, “the sacrifice of fools.” We would say that a particular denomination is giving the sacrifice of fools because they believe in “good works” for salvation. We examine our method, our purpose and our heart in worship. Are we there to offer what we want to offer or are we there to offer unto God what He wants offered? Are we there to ease our own mind about being holy before God and leave saying to ourselves, there, I have done what was required and then live like the world until the next time we decide to worship?
For they consider not that they do evil. This is devastating to some methods of worship. This calls an attempt to worship God that is contrary to what He wants is called evil. This puts some well-meaning people in a position that they would not imagine being in.
The reverence that God wants is often confused with emotionalism. There should be a reverence as demonstrated by Israel when they would not even approach the foot of the mountain because of a Holy God. There should be that thought of sanctifying ourselves before we come into the presence of God. May we worship God in spirit and in truth.
How is your worship? Should we not consider what God wants?
William Andrew Dillard
TERMS MUST DISCRIMINATE
Surely the title of this article is elementary. If terms did not precisely identify mental ideas and/or discriminately identify people, places, things, then language would be meaningless, and civilization could not advance from what would surely be a pool of constant confusion. Even in an advanced society, the inadequacy of language, and/or the pollution of terminology continually hinders many efforts, giving rise to lawsuits in attempts to pinpoint precise ideas that weakened language sets forth.
It is of little surprise then that religious heresy, and many misunderstandings arise from failures to use terms of language more discriminately. Illustrating this point one need only to ask any number of people to define major doctrinal terms of the Bible such as salvation, baptism, church, etc. The degree of misunderstanding is staggering. Another such common usage error is the term “soul.” It is used indiscriminately in pulpit and pew, most often to convey the idea of the spirit of man. However, the trinity of man is soul (psyche, mind life), body, and spirit. I Thess. 5:23. Precise terms for each of these are used in the scriptures. Nowhere does the Bible indicate that the soul is the spirit of man. The soul is conscious life. Conscious life exists as a combination of the trinity of man, but it also exists without the body.
But wherein lies any danger in failure to use these terms discriminately? Well, to use “soul” to mean “spirit” fosters powerful, erroneous ideas. For instance, both the Bible and God’s people promote evangelism with the goal being the initial bringing of men to Christ, or the new birth. But the clear teaching of the scripture is that being born from above is an event affecting the spirit of man for both time and eternity. Upon that foundation one may embark on a lifetime of winning his own soul by which life is disciplined into conformity to Bible doctrine. But when soul is substituted for spirit, the idea is inferred that the soul is complete in its salvation at the point of the new birth. Is it any wonder then that non-bible reading Christians easily sleep in fundamental error fostered by indiscriminate terminology? Moreover, that will cost them dearly, and forever at the judgment seat of Christ.
It must be understood that salvation for mankind is threefold. The spirit of man is saved and sealed in repentance of sin, and placement of trust in Christ Jesus as one’s personal Savior. The mind-life (consciousness) is being saved progressively as one disciplines him/herself in conformity to God’s Word. Physical salvation will not come until the resurrection or rapture. Until then, it behooves all men to be discriminatory in the use of terminology lest destructive ideas find root and blossom into a successful undermining of one’s faith, or worse, into full blown heresy, affecting great numbers of people.
Some of David’s actions were of the flesh and not at all godly. However, God’s Spirit witnessed to his spirit that he was a child of God and heir to special privileges. When David was convicted of his sin he poured out his heart to his Creator, “For I acknowledge my transgressions: . . . Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight” (Psalm 51:3, 4).
One of my favorite teachers, Brother Ray Brooks, often quoted an old chimney corner proverb. “It’s not how a man falls that qualifies him as a man. It is how he gets up that defines his character.” David was constantly at war with Israel’s enemies, and he consulted with God so much that his warriors considered David’s prayer and clout with God as part of the army’s battle strategy.
David did not measure God’s love for him by answered prayers or by God’s giving an abundance of good things. “Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:7, 8).
Leave it in God’s hands; sleep in peace and wake up thanking Him for another day to live for Him, not knowing what is in store, whether good or bad. David would be the first to admit that living by faith is hard on the flesh. But, it is the only life that brings gladness to the soul. In God’s eyes everything is right on track. Hold on tight!
IN OTHER WORDs
God is on His throne and all is right with the world.
A timely snowstorm, a changed life
On the first Sunday in 1850 at the age of fifteen Charles Spurgeon converted to Christ. On January 6, 1850 a snow storm made him seek shelter in a Primitive Methodist chapel in Colchester. The scheduled speaker could not keep his appointment, and one of the men attempted to preach. His text was Isaiah 45:22, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” After exhausting his thoughts on the passage, he looked straight at the young Spurgeon and said: “Young man, you look very miserable! You always will be miserable-miserable in life and miserable in death, if you don’t obey my text: but if you obey now, this moment you will be saved. Young man, look to Jesus! Look! Look! Look! You have nothing to do but to look and live”
Young Spurgeon heard, not the voice of the inept preacher, but the voice of the Spirit of God and was gloriously saved. Realizing his need to be baptized “He walked from Hew Market to Isleham, seven miles, on May 3rd, 1850, where Rev. Mr. Cantlow buried him with Christ in Baptism.”
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 180-181
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Comfort in affliction
1827 – Little Maria Judson, the infant daughter of Adoniram and Ann Judson, missionaries to Burma, died on this date, just a few months following the tragic death of her dear mother. In a letter to Ann’s mother Rebecca Hasseltine, dated April 26, 1827, Adoniram tried to comfort her, the best he knew how with the following words: “My sweet little Maria lies by the side of her fond mother…an affection of the bowels,) proved incurable. She had the best medical advice; and the kind care of Mrs. Wade could not have been, in any respect, exceeded by that of her own mother. But all our efforts, and prayers, and tears, could not propitiate the cruel disease. The work of death went forward; and after the usual process, excruciating to a parent’s feelings, she ceased to breathe… at three o’clock P.M. aged two years and three months.
We then closed her faded eyes, and bound up her discolored lips, where the dark touch of death first appeared, and folded her little hands-the exact pattern of her mothers on her cold breast. The next morning, we made her last bed, In the small closure which surrounds her mother’s grave. Together they rest in hope, under the hope tree, (Hopia) which stands at the head of the graves; and together, I trust, their spirits are rejoicing, after a short separation of precisely six months. Thus I am left alone in this wide world. My father’s family and all my relatives, have been, for many years, separated from me, by seas that I shall never pass. They are the same to me as if buried. My own dear family I have actually buried: one in Rangoon, and two in Amherst.”…What remains is for me to follow where my Savior reigns.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, p. 166.
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“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints,” Ephesians 6:18.
One of the most important jobs in aviation happens in the control tower. Although all parties, from the ground crew to the pilot work together to have a successful flight, no one is more important than the person watching out for the aircraft.
Have we ever considered Christian warriors as similar to aircraft controllers? We have to be on guard twenty-four hours a day against Satan and his advocates. We must be hypersensitive to the activities of Satan and his sly wolves in sheep clothing tactics. In fact, we must always seek God’s guidance by the Holy Spirit through prayer. Certainly, we can never pray too much or too often for His guidance.
Likewise, everything we attempt to do should be saturated in prayer before hand, whether it pertains to personal, family, church, school or governmental matters. And shamefully, we often neglect this great and easily accessed benefit of being God’s children.
Additionally, we must pray for others in an effort to intercede in prayer on their behalf—praying for healing, spiritual strength and God’s guidance in their lives. It is our duty and our pleasure to pray for others.
We must always watch and pray!
Restraining prayer, we cease to fight. Prayer makes the Christian armor bright. And Satan trembles when he sees, the meanest saint upon his knees—Author unknown.
2 Corinthians 5:1-8
“Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit,” 2 Corinthians 5:5.
When a person wants to purchase a home, many times the owner will require earnest money from the potential buyer. Earnest money is a nonrefundable deposit that reserves the home for the potential buyer, preventing anyone else from purchasing the home until the buyer is ready. Should the buyer change his mind, the home owner keeps the earnest money because the home was off the market and could have been sold to another buyer.
The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit works in a similar way to guarantee that we are, and will forever be, God’s. At the moment of faith in Jesus Christ, God makes our dead souls come alive by sealing us with His indwelling Holy Spirit. Not only does the Holy Spirit empower us to live for God, but He is also the guarantee that God has every intention of ultimately redeeming, not just our souls, but our bodies as well. God will not change His mind about the purchase of us by the blood of His Son. As an earnest payment, He has sealed us with His Spirit which assures us that, though our flesh may weaken and die, He will fulfill His promise of raising us all from the dead, giving us glorified bodies that have no flaws or defects. So, we can be of good courage (verse 6), knowing that our salvation is sure.
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you live courageously by the power of the Spirit today?