STRANGE FIRE

Lev_StrangeIncenseHe shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” (Matt 3:11). 

The scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit was given to believers after Calvary in the new birth experience (John 3:3-8) and then the subsequent experience of believers is empowerment for witness in the baptism of the Holy Ghost (John 7:39; Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit always testifies of Christ in, “the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” (1 John 5:8).  The preaching of the Cross, yes Christ himself, is always central to the heart of the biblical message and is the “power and wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:23-24).

In Leviticus, there was fire on the brazen altar that was given from God (Lev. 9:24) that was to be maintained (Lev. 6:13) and never counterfeited (Lev. 10:1-3). The brazen altar was a type of Calvary. This is a symbol and type of the fire that fell on Christ at Calvary for the sins of his people. That fire of judgement has now become a fire of gracious purity in the heart and spirits of those that know the Lord.

The Holy Spirit’s fire is always connected to the blood of Calvary (Rom 5:5-8). No Calvary, no new birth. No Cross, no Pentecost. One man said, “Only bloody coals are allowed by God to send up fragrance to the throne of grace…any kind of work the Holy Spirit does He does only for those who have been to Calvary, those who have been washed in the blood. Any other fire is false fire; any other so-called gifts of the Spirit are false gifts of the Spirit.”(Hyles)

Incense is a type of prayer (Rev 5:8).  “Strange fire” (Lev. 10:1-3) or strange incense is a reference to was when the priests, Aaron’s sons and Moses’ nephews Nadab and Abihu offered fire to God that did not come from the brazen altar. This was a grievous error for which they were immediately sentenced to death and burned to death by God’s fire.  God did not allow Aaron even to mourn for his sons. The Lord said,  “I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified.”  (Lev. 10:3) God’s holiness is seen in all its glory and not to be trifled with.

First, strange fire is praying amiss or with a disregard to the holiness of God (James 4:1-4) and sinful living (Isa. 1:15).  One man comments about Aaron’s sons, “They were priests who had become aliens to God because of pride and unforsaken sin.  It is what you are and what you have become that makes your prayer what it is: holy or strange! Unforsaken sin becomes a stronghold for Satan; and it corrupts everything you bring to God. What strange incense is pouring out of the lips of many compromising servants of the Lord today.” (Wilkerson)

Second, strange fire is any message that exalts humanism, the evil ways of this world system and age and anything manufactured by the sinful nature above the message of the Christ and the cross. Strange fire is anything that is a satanic counterfeit-of another Jesus, another spirit and another gospel (2 Cor 11:3-4). The biblical Christian rejects the music, media, salesmanship, philosophies and cultural fluidity of this world and sees it having no place in the house of God or among the people of God.

Third, strange fire is the worship of false gods, prayers to the saints and veneration of Mary, the occult, seances, tarot cards, astrology, witchcraft and yoga for all those things are an abomination to God (Deut. 18:10-12). Christians reject the media ideas of vampirism, animism, zombies and mediums and the like because they go against the central heart of the gospel, the sacrifice of Christ and the physical resurrection from the dead.

Fourth. strange fire are the beliefs of false religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and cults such as Scientology, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Freemasons, or Mormonism. Anything that rejects the biblical doctrine of the Trinity, the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, or salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is strange fire.

Let me conclude in saying that on the day of Pentecost one hundred and twenty disciples were filled with the Holy Ghost and fire. They received those tongues “like as of fire!”  It was as if a body of fiery power descended upon them and then distributed itself to those first believers in Christ (Acts 2:1-4). The fire of the Holy Spirit is manifested as a purity of heart, a joyful zeal and an ardent love that burns in the heart of the child of God.  A person who loves the Lord is “on fire” for God and loves the truth of God’s Word and holiness.

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YOU ARE BETTER COLD OR HOT!

Laodicea“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (Rev 3:15-16). 

Laodicea is the last stage of the church age before the Rapture.

We live in that day.

If it is not that day that I am distressed because could this form of Christianity get worse?  God help us if it does.  It is at an all time spiritual low like I have never seen.

No wonder he tells this church to, “be zealous…and repent.” (Rev 3:19). 

Jesus teaches that there are three spiritual states:  the cold, the lukewarm and the hot.  It is important to determine what condition they each indicate, in order to not interpret this passage incorrectly.  One thing is clear: these three conditions of spiritual life  relate to the church not the world. 

It is easy to see what the term hot means.  It is a state of spiritual intensity, passion and enthusiasm. It is a heart on fire for God and is filled and floats with the joy of God’s love and presence.

Christ hates lukewarmness. It is obnoxious and an abomination to him. When a person is Lukewarm the state of their heart has no zeal. They have no forward motion.

They are stagnant.

They may go to church but they would not know self-denial if it bit them in their blessed assurance. They do not fast, they do not pray or read their Bible. They do not strain, stretch or exert any spiritual muscles. There is no self-denial that costs them anything. There is no cross bearing for them, they never get a splinter. They feel no need to be a witness to others about Christ. They are vapid, bland and innocuous.

The old preachers used to say the devil does not even bother them because they are no threat to him at all.

But what is it to be to be cold? Does it indicate a state of corruption, wickedness or being an unbeliever. That is ridiculous. It is repulsive to think that our Lord Jesus would wish that anyone would be like this! “No state can be more offensive to Christ then that of the sinner in open rebellion and his heart filled with every evil.” (Smith)  It says of Christ, “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity.” (Heb. 1:9).

Heat and cold are preferable to lukewarmness. They will be rejected if they are not hot or cold.

But what kind of spiritual state is indicated by the term cold? Cold would seem to be a spiritual condition where a person realizes that they are spiritually destitute.  They realize that they are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” (Rev. 3:17) and they long to recover what they have lost!

The lukewarm are content where they are.

But the “cold” are alarmed that they are spiritually unfit, and seek to be restored. The Lukewarm person feels they don’t need any restoration and are just fine.

So it is easy to see why Christ prefers to see his church in a state would not be comforted, because they are not where they should be. You can’t stay cold long.

Cold people will seek out heat.

The lukewarm person is in great danger until Christ finally has to reject them as nauseatingly loathsome.

CASTING OUT DEVILS

191 - Jesus Drives Out Demons“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.” (Mk. 16:17).

A Christian man or woman baptized in the Holy Ghost has the authority from God to set people free who are under the influence of demon spirits.

Christians engage in personal daily battle with the enemy (James 4:7; Eph. 6:10-19). The enemy does attack.  Yet, no genuine Christian can be possessed or demonized (Col 1:13-14) because they are God’s property (1Cor. 6:19-20).  If a person has demons, they are NOT saved. The Bible says, “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” (1 John 5:18). 

The casting out of demons is part of gospel ministry. When we go and preach the message of salvation by Christ alone, especially about the blood and cross of Christ-the demons know and react. As we utter the name of Jesus (Luke 10:19; Acts 16:16-18)  and the wield the sword of the Spirit -holy scripture (Luke 10:19) we will encounter people who are under the influence of the demonic and need to be delivered.

The word for casting out is ekballo and carries with it the sense of eviction of demons but not just “throwing something out” but to banish evils spirits with such rapid, violent, overwhelming force that they have no more power over a person. The believer In Jesus Christ has been given the authority to cast out devils or demon spirits as they minister in the power of the gospel and the Holy Spirit (Rom. 1:16). As we preach the Lord works with us in signs and wonders  to confirm what we preach as the truth (Mk. 16:20).  Pentecostals believe what the Bible teaches that the every royal child of the King of kings has been given power (John 1:12) to evict and enforce the obedience of these rebellious spirits  (Mk 6:7, 12-13) to the Word of God.

Authority and power should be distinguished. Our authority comes from mighty name of Jesus (Acts 4:12) and the Holy Spirit empowers us against the devil (Mt 12:28).  Authority is the right to act. Jesus gave us authority over all the most fearsome, poisonous, venomous demons (seen as scorpions and serpents) and “all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:20).  We also have been given authority and power against unclean spirits (Mt 10:1).

Authority is  freedom to act and  power is ability, One man says,  “It’s like electricity. The power company generates the power and delivers it to your house. It’s not your power, but it’s under your control. You don’t call the power company and ask them to turn the lights on. No! They won’t do that. They generate the power, but it’s under your command. You simply flip the switch on the wall and command the power to work. Does this mean you are the power source? Certainly not! You can put a light bulb in your mouth, and it will never come on. You aren’t the power source, but you are the one in control of what that power does. You can plead with the power company all you want, but they won’t flip the switch for you. You have to assume your authority and acknowledge the power is under your command.” (Andrew Wommack)

As we obey God in the Great Commission to reach the planet with the gospel we go not only teaching and preaching but healing and liberating those in need.  Our society is drunk on the occult and witchcraft.  Vampirism, casting spells, animism, zombie obsession is going to leave many people in the clutches of Satan and demonic slavery. Churches feel too refined to talk about demons and Satan.  We can gloss over sin for a while. The debut of evil is always as an angel of light.  Sin can seem like it is so empowering and pleasurable but eventually its true ugliness begins to form.   All the sophisticated theology in the world will be meaningless in these last days.  Only those simple folks who believe the scriptures teaching about the power of the blood and name of Jesus will be able to help people to be liberated from demons.

©2013 Soul Health Care Ministries. Feel free to post or publish this but, hey, give credit where credit is due!

PLEADING THE BLOOD OF JESUS

966275223f“Being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Romans 5:9).

Blood has its massive theme in the scriptures. The scripture spends much time on the symbolism of the blood shed under the Old Covenant pointing to Jesus and his bloodstained old rugged cross on Golgotha’s hill. That is why the Blood of Jesus is always in the vocabulary of the Christian. The Cross and what happened on Calvary is central to their faith and the basis of their salvation.

Why do Christians talk so much about the blood of Jesus? Because the gracious act of his death on the cross is etched with laser heat in our minds and we are moved beyond expression as we read about the violence of the bloodshed of  Jesus on Calvary.

People ask, “Should we not phrase it another way? People will not understand.” God’s language is alien to ours but we should learn to speak it.  People should not come into the foreign country of Christianity just to be saved. But they need to learn its language and Bible words and concepts. They should become biblically literate not in, “the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth” (1 Cor. 2:13). We should teach them and explain it to them and not apologize to them for its truth.

Once a person starts reading the Bible as soon as they come into John chapter 6 they see how people misunderstood the blood and they still do not understand it now. yet, the scripture is insistent upon its wording concerning the blood of Jesus (Mt. 26:28; John 6:53; Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 11:24-30; Col. 1:14, 20: Eph. 1:7; 2:13; Heb. 9:14; 10:19, 29; 13:20; 1 Pet. 1:2; 19; 1 John 1:7; 5:8; Rev. 1:5; 5:9; 7:14: Rev. 12:11: 22:14).  Blood is the scarlet thread (Joshua 2: 18-19) woven through its  pages. It is so important to God that blood is mentioned in the King James Version of the Bible, 447 times in 375 verses.

I first learned the centrality of the Cross and the phrase, “I plead the blood of Jesus!”

I heard people say it when they were praying for people to get the Holy Ghost. I saw them “plead the blood of Jesus” when they laid hands on the sick and saw them recover. I saw them “plead the blood of Jesus” when they were casting out devils. This taught me the importance of the blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins for all time and that His blood washed not just covered my sins.  I ate the Lord’s supper in awe of the blood covenant.  I learned that it was the blood of Jesus that was the ransom paid to buy us back from Satan’s power and paid our sin debt and brought us in favor and closeness to God. The blood is the plea or legal grounds of our justification (Romans 5:9). We are justified by his blood. We are no longer helpless victims of the guilt, penalty and power of sin because of the blood of  Jesus Cross!

People take issue with the phrase, “I plead the blood of Jesus” or “Satan, the blood of Jesus is against you!” In their efforts to be theological sophisticates they rant that we should not treat the blood of Jesus as if it were “magical” or this phrase as if it were a magical formula.  Let me assure you, this is no magic or anything magical. Why because the mystery of Christ’s blood short circuits our understanding so we should stop using it? The Bible teaches that there is a mystery in and with and under the blood of Jesus that I do not think anyone will ever come to understand. But I do know that the blood of Christ must be treated with tearful gratefulness and fearful reverence. The blood of the new and everlasting covenant is God’s own blood and the blood of the Lamb of God (Acts 20:28).

The devil hates the blood of Christ and will stop at nothing to prevent people from preaching and applying it!  At Calvary, Satan was defeated by the blood of Jesus (Rev 12:11).  He is defeated in its application over and over and over again. We have rights as God’s adopted children (John 1:12) and should not let Satan take advantage of us. Christ gave us authority over all the works of the enemy (Luke 10:19).  Satan is the greatest thief around and constantly engages in identity theft making people who are truly saved feel like they are losers, filling them with guilt and shame. But when the child of God looks to Calvary and sees what their Lord and Savior has done they begin to walk in the Spirit and say, “Satan, the blood of Jesus is against you!”

Jack Hayford says, “Through the blood of Jesus Christ (we) enter a plea and to lay claim to the evidence (His slain body, His shed blood at the Cross) which is proven to neutralize the power of sin, the power of affliction, the power of death, and the power of hell…” (addition mine)

The children of Israel in Exodus 12 slaughtered a spotless lamb, drained its blood into a basin and took a hyssop branch and applied it to the top and sides of the door of their homes.  God promised, “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt…the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.”  (Exodus 12:13, 23). When I read this scripture what comes out to me is the protection the blood of Jesus gives. the blood keeps us safe, the blood shelters us and the blood defends us.  HIS BLOOD GIVES US THE VICTORY! Glory to God!

We “plead the blood of Jesus” by declaring with our words the power of the blood of Christ (Mk. 11:23).  We see it in the Lord’s supper and water baptism speaking to us of the forgiveness of sins! Many people wonder how they could apply the blood of Jesus to their body, home and family. Through the preached word-yes! Through worship both in and out church service? Yes! The Bible says when we speak it is like an offering or, “the calves of our lips.” (Hosea 14:12). Paul taught, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (Heb 13:15).  In the New Covenant the words of our mouths in prayer in worship should agree with God’s Word. Declaring the truth of the gospel not only takes the place of all the liturgy and ceremony of the Old Covenant but declares the blood of the Lamb of God poured out on the cross for protection, healing, deliverance and salvation.

© 2013 Soul Health Care Ministries. I wrote this, not you-but feel free to share it and give credit where credit is due.

THE ANOINTING

Anointing_of_fresh_oil1I found it necessary show the Biblical language about the Holy Spirit and the anointing and how it lines up with the Bible. There are always misuses and extremes but that NEVER eliminates or hinders the real and genuine anointing. Today, we speak of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. 

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.” (Isaiah 10:27NKJV).

This verse has been translated many different ways.

  • The Hebrew word for anointing here shemen can be translated oil or fatness. To anoint something or someone described the act of rubbing, smearing, sprinkling or pouring oil.
  • Then the anointing of which it refers is said to destroy the yoke. The word “destroy” means to take away strength, putrefy, rot or spoil.
  • The yoke is a bar of wood that joins two animals together as they work. It is symbolic of a burden, slavery or oppression.

Isaiah describes a, “fatness that breaks the yoke” or on translate this as “the yoke will rot at the presence of the oil”, or the one I really like is, “the yoke will be destroyed with one look from the Anointed.” All these wordings show the powerful agency of the “anointing.”

The sacred oil is a type of the Holy Spirit (1 Sam 16:13). The most familiar term for anointed comes from another Hebrew word masah where we get the word Messiah and the Greek word christos, where we get the title for Jesus the Christ (John 6:69). 

Thus, the anointing is the presence and power of God as seen in the Lord Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit in the individual Christian’s life as they are in the world but not of it. The anointing is also present when Christians meet together under the pure biblical teaching and gospel preaching in church, worship or in prayer. The presence of Jesus though the anointing brings freedom, strength, healing and wholeness, edification and refreshing.

(c) 2013 Soul Health Care Ministries. I wrote this, not you-but feel free to share it and give credit where credit is due.

DEFINE FOR ME, “PENTECOSTAL”

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THERE WAS NEVER A GREATER NEED FOR A GENUINE PERPETUATION OF PENTECOST IN THIS LAST HOUR! To see and be part of those who have turned the world upside down with the Gospel (Acts 17:6).

At this present time in one form or another there are around three hundred million people who claim to have experienced Pentecostal blessing and being baptized in the spirit. But sadly for some and an increasing number it is only in name are they alive but in reality they are dead (Rev 3:1-2). Yes we see the wildfire folks in some groups but sound and noise does not mean motion and forward movement. It is only madness.  Others churches have little or no sense of the presence of Christ in them, very little biblical, Christ centered preaching. They are dead or about to die! How sad!  It is those that used to be vibrant are now those with the dead preachers and dead congregations.

When I refer to “Pentecost” I am NOT referring to ONE DENOMINATION OR GROUP.  I am speaking about the movement that began on the day of Pentecost known as the true expression of Christianity.

This movement reached the world in exponential time with the gospel of God’s grace: that is, salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. This movement in which the Lord Jesus Christ himself worked with men and women confirming what they preached by signs and wonders.

Those signs and wonders were exactly what they were: signs that pointed to Christ and things that were done by God himself that would lead people in wonder and awe of Jesus and Jesus alone.  Pentecost is not about signs and wonders. Pentecost is all about Christ who has been exalted in majesty at the right hand of God who, “hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” (Acts 2:33).

When the people saw them declare the wonderful works of God he explained, “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel, ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:16-17). 

When I refer to “Pentecost” I am not referring to the charismatic movement which has distinguished itself from the Pentecostal movement. I’m referring to those who believe that after the new birth experience all believers in Jesus are promised to be filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4).

We must embrace the baptism of the Holy Spirit, while yes, it brings a greater degree of holiness, it is really more of and empowerment to be a witness for Christ and his gospel (Acts 1:8) for those who are already saved by the blood of Jesus.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit brings what is written in the scriptures into personal experience as the reality of the presence of Christ in the preached word and of the ministry of prayer for those who have need. The real Pentecostal resists the post modern programs and inventions for marketing the gospel and sees any lack in the church attendance, backsliddeness, sickness, deliverance as a greater need for seeking God for a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit in every dimension of their lives.

© 2013 Soul Health Care Ministries. Hey give credit where credit is due!

DUST!

dust man“For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Gen 3:19).

After the first couple, Adam and Eve sinned verbal chaos seemed to ensue like a football team fighting over a fumble. There was fighting and blame-shifting.  You can see guilt and shame at work bringing confusion and conflict.

Adam blames, “the woman you gave me.” OK I admit that blaming your wife is a bad habit, even dangerous, but I do not know about you, it does not seem like a good idea to imply the Creator as the reason you blew it.

Then Eve blames the serpent. We still love to blame the devil-hey why not? No one likes him. But Satan did not make her or her husband do anything. It was all their decision.

Finally, God steps in and basically says, “Enough.” He pronounces his sentence of judgment on all of them. The snake will crawl, the woman will have pain and Adam gets told he is dust.

That phrase, “For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” carries with it a certain finality.  In our world all you can see is dust-everywhere. On the shelves, the tables, the mirror, the ceiling fan, the desk and the computer-everywhere. This world is dusty.  Ever wonder why?

After Adam sinned he is told, “you were made of dust and now you will turn into dust.”  This is a common theme in the Bible. Abraham saw himself as dust and ashes (Gen. 18:27).   Dust refers to death and the grave (Psalm 22: 15; Eccl 3:20; 12:7). It is the final fade to black moment-the end.

But dust is like a sense of personal sinfulness guilt as well. Job is an expert on dust. He talks about it a lot and it is a reference to hopelessness and despair (Job 17:11-16). I mean we all sin, everyday and we are very good at it- thank you very much.  But there are some sins that really bother our conscience-those sins you combat more than others. Those sins that have got you in more trouble than others.  When my conscience bothers me. that is not all bad. This sort of  “dust” clouds everything and yet gives a dark clarity to who I am in and of myself-it gives the sense of my own mortality and depravity.  After I sin, if I do something especially stupid, I sense my own personal dustiness.  I feel like Job who said, “When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day. My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome.” (Job 7:4-5). Yeah that says it. In those moments, I am not feeling much like the “righteousness of God in Christ.” I must deal with my sin by simple confession and see how Christ has dealt with my sin on the cross as a cure.

But guilt must not go unchecked  or it chokes my joy and it weighs me down with Adam dust.  Living in guilt, remorse and regret does not glorify God, nor satisfy God. It makes faith turn into ashes.  That is why we look to Christ as the one who removes the dust of our souls by the rushing mighty wind of his presence.

Sin happened in dusty Adam, but perfection happened in the Lord Jesus Christ. “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” (1 Cor 15:45).

We are no longer just earthly dust but we are heavenly and spiritual because of Christ. He has made us alive forever by his saving power. Adam was just a man, Jesus was the Lord God from heaven. Yes, we have had an earthly image, but now because of Christ we have a heavenly dust free image.

We must look to Christ who takes away our sins and guilt by his precious blood. This is why God’s forgiveness and grace cleanses away sin and remove the dust of guilt. This continual uninterrupted grace and cleansing is offered to us through the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7-9). If we come clean with God this is just evidence that he is cleansing us continually from all the dust of this world.