Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Do You Have The Faith To Move Mountains?

     One of the characteristic traits that irk or turns off nonbelievers about a portion of the American church today is demonstrated best by those who jump up and down and claim they have the faith to move mountains. But, when push comes to shove, these holy rollers react to world problems just like everyone else. This includes their belief they are “holier” than others which has been proven supposedly by their ability to speak in tongues and other outward manifestations (ostensibly) generated by the Holy Spirit.
     It is their (church members) contention that once an individual confesses their sins and chooses to repent, their new membership in the church is validated when they experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They interpret (and supposedly understand) that this baptism happens at the exact moment they began speaking in tongues, and that act is proof they are now saved! They use the verse from the Bible in the 2nd chapter of Acts, verse 4 (And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance) as proof.
     However, further on in verse 38, the Apostle Peter presents a more defined explanation as to the chronology of when they actually receive the Holy Spirit, as Peter said unto them, “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.” Obviously, the gift of the Holy Spirit is given by God to those who first believe in Christ, repent (change your mind and heart about your former belief system, and choose to follow Christ), then be baptized (immersed publicly in water as a testimony of their new commitment) and then “ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Believe it or not, a long-burning debate still rages on today as to whose interpretation is correct between those who favor the doctrine of water baptism and those who favor Holy Spirit baptism. Guess what? This is not the concern we broach today!
     Our concern is in regard to the eternal ramifications inculcated once a person receives the Holy Spirit, which has less to do with speaking in tongues, prophesying, visions, etc., and more with the sealing of a promise that we (believers) inherited a positional status in the soon-to-come Kingdom of God! The gift of the Holy Spirit that new believers acquire represents best the pledge, the down payment (earnest) until the redemption of the purchased possession fulfilled at The Resurrection. In other words, those who have received the Holy Ghost are assured that these old fleshly bodies of ours will be resurrected (and changed) into new flesh and bone bodies just like the one Christ received when He was raised from the dead. The Holy Spirit is proof of this.
     However, it must be made clear that this Holy Spirit power gift is not an incremental blessing by God, and that we are going to receive another (and more superior) spiritual blessing before Christ returns, as many in the “latter rain” movement speak of constantly. The earnest of the spirit, the pledge of Holy Spirit power, did not come upon us in various portions or degrees, where an extra measure was to come later due to more prayer and or at some revival meeting. Paul clearly explained to us what happens when we receive the Holy Spirit in his letter to the Ephesians when he said, and you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory, (Ephesians 1:13-14)

     Most certainly on the Day of Pentecost (after Christ had ascended to Heaven) a miraculous and supernatural occurrence was experienced (and witnessed) by the believers of Christ that changed their lives forever! That particular event on that particular day was the fulfillment of God’s promise to His followers (as was prophesied in the Book of Joel) and re-affirmed by Jesus (John 14:15, 26 ~ 15:26 and 16:7) prior to His ascension to Heaven.
     We are told that any who comes to Christ, who has believed what God has told us about Jesus Christ, will eventually receive the power of the Holy Spirit. True! However, unlike the many claims being touted throughout the electronic church and numerous ministries throughout the world (more predominately in the US), they believe that what happened on the Day of Pentecost, was a partial doling out of power spirit gifts, and that the Holy Spirit was poured out in measure, would later to be followed by an extra outpouring down the road. We are told that additional power can be gained by going to special ‘revival” meetings, which can include receiving the gift of “prophecy” (supposedly the ability to foretell or predict future events, and or receiving unique and esoteric messages from God through dreams and visions). If we are to accept this fallacious doctrine, then we are asked to believe that the Holy Spirit gifts of power God poured out on the Day of Pentecost were insufficient. God has never limited His power! Believers fail to appropriate His power due to their lack of faith!
     There are (unfortunately) many novice students of the Bible (and many preachers and teachers, as well) who negate the fullness of God’s power by making such absurd statements. Unfortunately, these deluded individuals surmise that God has plans to pour out an extra measure of His Holy Spirit, especially as we see the end of days getting closer, thereby denying the already existing power Almighty God poured out on the Day of Pentecost.
     These individuals believe two things were to follow the initial outpouring of Holy Spirit power gifts on the Day of Pentecost. One is that a greater supernatural manifestation of His power (speaking in tongues, extolling dreams and visions, etc.) is only attainable by a select group of individuals (most often declared by these individuals themselves, and don’t you dare challenge their claims), and, two, that this greater measure of Holy Spirit power will be unleashed immediately before Christ returns (which is to be viewed as some “latter rain” right before Armageddon) to equip the saints with super natural power to fight Anti-Christian forces, either before the return of Christ, or to those who supposedly were “left behind” after the so-called Pre-Tribulation Rapture (snatching Christians up to Heaven)– based solely on their misinterpretation of scripture.
     What they fail to understand (and often write and preach that Christians need to be on the lookout for this supernatural power), is that God unleashed the totality of His Holy Spirit power over two thousand years ago. Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost to enhance a community of believers with God’s power to preach the word of God as never before in history.
     God used all of His power to accomplish this task. He did not pour out 65% and then promised to pour out another 35% immediately before Christ returns. Obviously to those who are weak in faith 65% of God’s power is not sufficient to accomplish His task and, knowing that the end of days will be more perilous, God will have to pour out the remainder of His power to shore up His troops. How foolish this notion!
     Many religious leaders actually preach and teach this garbage to justify that the manifestation of God’s power can only be realized through them, personally. They purport that when they pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to come down and “baptize” new converts and others at their so-called Holy Crusades and revival conventions, slapping people on the head, spewing out holy sounding words such as “heal” ~ and as they fall down, the audience can praise the preacher as they witness God’s power in action. Rubbish! Sheer, egocentric, attention-grabbing, diabolically-seducing theatrics designed to enhance the evangelists’ pocketbooks!
     No! There will be no “latter rain” nor any additional pouring out of God’s Holy Spirit power! Nor is God providing Christians (or any ersatz prophets) with any new powers of prophesy, such as reading between the lines of news items, supposedly predicted in the Old Testament, nor with the ability to foretell future events. Any pseudo religionists that make such claims (and the pews of many American churches and on the Internet are filled with them) come straight from the church of Satan!
     Listen folks! God has already done what He promised His followers through prophecies in the Book of Joel and through Jesus Himself (in the book of John 14:15, 26; 15:26 and 16:7). His Holy Spirit power is here for the asking, all of it, now! Our problem (the church) is that we do not have enough faith to move the mountains He said we could over two thousand years ago, or we would have done so by now.
     Instead we cry “woe is me” concerning our finances, our personal and societal relationships; we point fingers at everyone but ourselves. We complain about the decadence we see all around us. We write and call our state representatives; we paint signs and march to the corridors of impotent legislative bodies; we rant and rave all of our displeasure about a rotting society; yet all the while denying God’s power and His ability to impact our concerns. In essence, our concerns are more focused on our daily sustenance, where our next meal is coming from; we do this basically because we lack the faith to move mountains. As Jesus told us in Matthew 6:25-34, don't worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself!
     Do you have the faith that can move mountains? Is your religion all show but no substance? Have you really put into practise all of God’s formula regarding finances, addictions, healing, personal and neighbor relationships, patience, forgiveness, long suffering, hope, blessings and charity? Yes or no?
     And people wonder why the church is being eaten up by every problem in the world, why it has lost its effectiveness, and why it is becoming totally irrelevant to a dying world! God, have mercy on us for not having the faith to move these mountains, with the power you provided us many, many years ago!
For More information about this blog and the two recently published books by this author, The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation, please click here Joe Ortiz.

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