DONT REFUSE THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT

gift_of_the_holy_spiritThis is for people who believe in the operations of the gifts of the Spirit today.

The Holy Spirit wants to move in church meetings. Instead of Paul stopping everything in Corinth he instructed them on how to operate in the gifts of the Spirit.

There is no reason for us with proper instruction and biblical parameters to not see the Holy Spirit in the gifts in the midst of the church meeting.

Just because there are abuses doesn’t mean that the gifts are not in operation anymore. Just because there is divorce doesn’t mean that marriage is a bad institution. what is mind-boggling is that we really would not know a lot of the specifics about the gifts of the spirit if the Corinthian people were not making mistakes with them! God is not intimidated by our problems and that is why he’s given us good teachers to keep people in check with the Scripture. we wouldn’t know what a word of wisdom is from a word of knowledge-if Paul would not have said, “Concerning spiritual gifts brethren I would not have you ignorant.” (1 Cor 12: 1).  In fact, in summarizing the spiritual gifts he points out the fact that all true spiritual gifts point to one thing – Jesus is Lord. Then his body, the church is edified by the proper and biblical operation of the gifts of the spirit.

But I can hardly see the Holy Spirit and the gifts moving in the church meeting when the worship team and the Pastors jump from song to song and they never stop to take time to worship and to wait on God.  It betrays a feeling of anxiety and fear – I would say that it is clearly unbelief to not allow the Holy Spirit to move-to quench the Spirit and grieve the Spirit in such a manner.

It is true there are many false prophets and prophecy – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t real genuine people speaking in confirmation of the Scriptures.. Don’t despise genuine prophecy that forth tells the Scripture in an elevated discourse.

Why? The Holy Spirit can do more in a few minutes, I say in a few seconds then anything we can do.

Do not quench the Spirit Paul says. Don’t put the Spirit’s fire out! Where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. What freedom? – a face-to-face encounter with Christ through his word, the ordinances and real fellowship. How can we offer in benediction the words the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit – what we don’t believe or allow for communion of the Holy Spirit. where is that communion is not limited to just the church service – but what a great place, in church as we worship together to learn about the communion of the Holy Spirit.

Do we want people to encounter God or not? Or do we want them to learn some better behavior modification and be completely unaware of God’s presence and reality. That is what were going to end up with-that is what we have right now.

Many people tell me what we have the prayer meeting. Then people can operate in the gifts. Who do you think you are? It is sad to think that you may be resisting God and you are limiting the holy One.  do you think that the God who is taken back by people’s rejection of his grace would not feel the same way about rejecting his gifts? Can you really take that chance?

Are you telling the Lord that he can do this here but not there?

Oh well, we do not want to scare visitors away. It would seem that you have lost your fire. Could it be that you are not preaching the whole counsel of God as you claim to? The Holy Spirit loves to move where the Bible is preached. It could be the problem is not people operating in the gifts of the Spirit but your refusal to preach all that God says in his Word!

Have you lost your way? Are you not afraid of  dishonoring God? Did not Jesus say that my house shall be called a house of prayer? Does this not even tell you that our main goal in the church is to address God and not man.

Does this not also indicate that God will speak to people through his Word and the operations of the gifts of the Spirit? This also may indicate that we are under a biblical mandate to allow the gifts of the Spirit to move in our church because that’s the way a church is supposed to be. Wow what a novel idea:  modeling our churches after what Scripture teaches.

© 2014 Soul Health Care Ministries. Give credit where credit is due.

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GRAB HOLD OF THE HORNS OF THE ALTAR!

 ALTAR“Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he rushed to the sacred tent and grabbed on to the horns of the altar.” (1 Kings 1:50NLT). 

In the Old Testament there is a piece of furniture referred to as the bronze altar. On it were four bronze “horns.” (Ezek. 43:15). It seems that all worshipers had access to the altar and fugitives seeking asylum might cling to the horns of the altar (Exodus  21:13-14).

The verse above come from a time where rightful King of Israel was Solomon. But one of his brothers Adonijah got it in his mind that he was to be King. Once David found out he proclaims Solomon as King and Adonijah was afraid that Solomon might kill him. His immediate reaction was to run the place of worship and grab the horns of the altar and ask for mercy. He received it that day.

The altar has two meanings: the first meaning was that the altar symbolized the cross of Christ (Heb 13:10) and the second is that the altar symbolized fiery prayer (Lev. 6:13). One man said that, “Altars were places where the divine and human worlds interacted. Altars were places of exchange, communication, and influence. God responded actively to altar activity.”

Simply put, when we use the term “grab hold of the horns of the altar” that means we go to God with all of our hearts and cry out for mercy based on the result of what Jesus did when he died on the cross. We plead our need before God until we receive it! How we in this day need to learn how to grab hold of that horns of the altar of prayer!  This is the place where God interacts with people on the basis of what Jesus has done not their misguided efforts. God the Father receives, shows favor and grants access to that praying person as he would his own Son Jesus into the throne room (Heb 4:16).  A person grabs the horns of the altar he consciously mentally and spiritually grabs hold of the sacrifice of Christ! He or she says “Heavenly Father because of Jesus and what he did on the cross I need you to answer my prayer.” That is why we always in Jesus’ name.

I realize that among many of my denominational brethren loathe the altar call and think that those who practice it have replaced it with true salvation. Not so.  If anyone wants the reality of salvation seen among them it is the people who love truth. Jesus Christ is the altar. He is the mercy seat. He is the high priest. He is the slain Lamb. He is the tabernacle of God. Jesus is everything.  The altar call is not to come to a certain part of the church that is holy. It is not a forward motion or kneeling up front that is holy. But what is holy is the act of faith in prayer. The altar call is a time of prayer. It is a time when we call for people to respond to the gospel. Where people can come and be prayed for as they lay hold of God for healing, deliverance and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  No one prays to be seen by man but public or private, the right kind of  prayer is where people do business with God! Grabbing the horns of the altar is where a transaction that takes place between heaven and earth! God and his sons and daughters commune together in sweet fellowship.

The Christian want to pray so somehow they are sedated or they just feel better or perform some religious exercise that is like therapy rather than communicating with God! But rather they want to grab the horns of the altar! They offer the kind of prayer that gets an answer from God. They seek to pray in the Spirit! To have prayers ignited by the Spirit. The Bible says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much! (James 5:16).  James says that the person who gets an answer to prayer has a sense of urgency. Their prayer has the intensity of a cry for help. That is why a person who grabs hold on the horns of the altar does it energetically. The prayer they speak is from the heart and it is red hot, it burns like the unyielding fire on the bronze altar. It is heated by the fire of the Holy Spirit upon the altar of the heart not manufactured by emotion. James says that this produces powerful results. It accomplishes MUCH.  Whether in private or in public when we come to the altar of prayer we lay hold upon the God of Jacob and will not let go until we get a blessing.  We go to the altar for our lost loved ones. We fear that they will die and go to hell and we beseech the God of heaven as we grab the horns of the altar until they are saved. We see the sick the diseased healed as we grab a hold of the horns of the altar.  The kind of prayer is grabbing hold of the horns of the altar!

© 2014 Soul Health Care Ministries. Give credit where credit is due.

SIN IN THE CAMP

sin-in-the-camp“But there was sin among the Israelis. God’s command to destroy everything except that which was reserved for the Lord’s treasury was disobeyed. For Achan… took some loot for himself, and the Lord was very angry with the entire nation of Israel because of this.”  (Joshua 7:1).

This has become one of the most archaic and avoided terms in the present day church: “sin in the camp.” The actual term is developed from Joshua chapter 6-7. It was early in Israel’s military campaign against the land of Canaan. Israel just experienced a tremendous victory against Jericho. God instructed his people that after the battle there were certain things were to be left in Jericho they were not to be brought into the camp of Israel.  Those things were to be devoted to destruction, they were cursed by God and taking them would bring destruction upon Israel (Joshua 6:18).

The Bible goes on to say, “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel.”  

Notice what it says Israel committed a trespass. Israel betrayed the Lord. It did not say the double-dealing Achan sinned but it said Israel as a nation sinned because one person sinned. Israel did not even know about this.  In many ways this was not the nation of Israel’s fault.

Yet, we should point out that Israel went to battle against Ai without seeking the Lord. If they would have prayed God would have spoken to them about this issue. But they saw Ai as a small easily defeated city but God wanted to make it clear to them that all their victories came from him not by their swords. So because of their arrogance and their ignorance their battle against Ai was a miserable defeat and thirty six men died. Then of course, they prayed and that is when God revealed to Joshua that Israel sinned (Joshua 7:7-13). So Joshua examines all the families of Israel one by one and Achan confessed to the crime. He stole a Babylonian robe, 5 pounds of silver, and 20 ounces of gold and buried them.

Without reading much into this it would seem that only one of these items-the Babylonian garment was under the ban of God. The other things were silver and gold they were of value but the point was is that he took them for himself instead of setting it aside for the Lord’s treasury (Joshua 6:19). So Israel had to exterminate him and his family and everything he owned and God’s anger was extinguished against Israel. It was an awful price he paid for his sin.

So this is what sin in the camp is: one individual’s unrepentant sin brings open defeat to God’s people.  Sin in the camp is referring to someone who is practicing a sin that is unknown to the church body. It is a sinful practice or false doctrine that is affecting the community of the church spiritually and hindering its ability to fulfill their call in operating in the gifts of the Spirit, worship and reaching the lost. I believe this is why so many Christians and churches are frustrated and lacking today and it makes me weep.

We are not talking about a person who struggles with sin or some thing in his or her life that he or she is attempting to get help for. This is not talking about a person who is grieved over their sin and desires freedom.  Galatians 6 tells us what to do with such a person. We are to help them, encourage them bear their burdens until they are able to walk maturely in the Spirit on their own. But in the church of today there are many people who have no understanding of how their actions affect the testimony of the people of God (1 Cor 12:25).  WE ARE TO HAVE A GOOD WITNESS IN THE SIGHT OF THE WORLD.  God is serious about the corporate purity and unity of his people and the Bible says, “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (1 Cor. 3:17).   People should realize that what they do as individuals they do as a church.

In Bible days, people claiming to be Christians were visiting the temple prostitutes in Corinth. Paul reprimands them, “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh.  But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own.  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor 6:15-20).  The church has failed to insist continually and dogmatically that we do not belong to ourselves. We belong to Christ and his body, the church.  The church is made up of individuals that are not islands to themselves (1 Cor 12).

It is important especially during the time of the Lord’s Supper that the church prepares and examines the mettle of their hearts corporately. God offers forgiveness and healing through the celebration of the Lord’s supper.  THE LORD’S SUPPER IS ONLY FOR PRACTICING CHRISTIANS. It is an opportune time to have people embrace in love their brethren and check their hearts. But like any principle, this can be abused by overcritical legalistic, fault finders and we want to avoid that. But it is my firm belief in the scriptural teaching of the apostle Paul that people should be banned from the Lord’s Supper or asked to leave the fellowship of Christians (after a proper careful application of Matthew 18) until they are willing to repent for their sin. Then they are restored without question.  This is not referring to the uncommitted unsaved person. Paul says there is no other choice! Anyone who calls themselves a Christian and refuses to repent of open sin even after the hard work of others lovingly and patiently confronting them should be expelled from the community of believers. So there will no longer be sin in the camp and we can do our job as a Church.

 © 2014 Stephen S. Gibney

USED BY GOD

inthehandsofthepotter-300x225If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2 Tim 2:20-21).

God wants to use people.  In the past few years preachers have laid waste to this term “used by God” because of it’s lack of appeal (like they have done with many truths).  The idea of being “used” by anyone, is not an attractive premise at all because people fear being manipulated, exploited and  exhausted: used.  That is not the case! This is not what is meant by the word, “use.”  The word “use” is not only pronounced differently in the text but is (euchrestos) which loosely means easier to use. 

To be used by God is to be of use to God.

It gives us the understanding that as a practice God utilizes and employs people for his purpose. God wants to use you my dear Christian friend!

Isaiah said, “LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.” (Isaiah 26:12).

Notice that he has wrought all OUR works in us.

He is saying, “Lord, you deserve the credit for everything we have done-it was you doing it.”

When God uses a person he actually works through that person. So being used by God means He is working with you (Josh 1:9), in you (Phil 2:13), for you (Rom 8:31), and through you (John 7:38-39).  This should be our daily prayer.

The biblical pattern is that God saved us by the blood of Christ and placed his Spirit in us to make us a living witness to the grace and power of God.  Paul said it this way, “…for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” (1 Tim 1:16).

We have been saved as examples of God’s power to save such wayward, rebellious sinners such as we were.  We who belong to God by his Sovereign Grace have the privilege of God doing his work through us.  It is no longer, “I” but “Christ” for that “Christ liveth in me” (Gal 2:20).

God’s will is that we “be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2 Tim 2:21). A vessel had special meaning in scripture. A vessel, could be anything from a cup, dish, plate and utensil. God fashions shapes and moulds those that he uses. Isaiah said, “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.”  (Isa. 64: 8).

God uses this analogy of people.  Paul was a chosen vessel or literally “a vessel of election” (Acts 9:15). He uses the phrase, “a vessel of honor” to describe how God uses people in this passage. He is the one who has the power to make us a vessel of honor or dishonor (Rom 9:21).  When God saves a person they become a vessel of honor in salvation. God calls some the “vessels of wrath” other the “vessels of mercy” (Rom 9:22-23).

This means that God can use anything or anyone for his purposes. Saved or unsaved, godly or ungodly-God can strategically move people into position to accomplish his plans. That is what we call God’s Providence.

But it is my firm conviction that God uses US in a way that the UNBELIEVER could never dream about.

The reason for this is that the one whom God uses is committed to “purge himself from these…”  The Christian can be used because the Christian is clean. The word purge is where we get catharsis. It means to clean out thoroughly. In the context of this passage, Paul is reprimanding Timothy to break away from attachment with false teachers that destroy the faith of others. If he completely cleanses himself from them, then God will honor him, set him apart, and equip him for service. We will address this another time.

Believers are loyal to Jesus Christ as their Master so they desire to remove everything from the old life that would disease the new being intolerant of contaminating influences. God desires to use vessels that are clean before him and that take holy living seriously.

Paul compares the church and those in it to being a great house and there are various kinds of furniture, containers and utensils in it.  They all serve a purpose. Some have an everyday common use. But there are others that have an extraordinary, special use. Some are silverware and some are gold ware. God calls us to become vessels of honor or sanctification according to our text. He gives us the choice.

“Meet for the Masters use…” That leads into the concept of Christ being our Master. The word master (despotes) means “one who possesses undisputed ownership and absolute, unrestricted authority.”  We are Christ’s peculiar people or his particular possession (Titus 2:14). Our Lord Jesus has undisputed ownership and uninhibited power over us and he has a design to use us for his glory!

We are “prepared for every good work.” This describes the vessel God uses as fit, ready and prepared for activity. They are outfitted and equipped. They are primed for action because they are trained and rehearsed to do what God has designed for them. A vessel of honor is not only made but trained. After God sets us aside we set ourselves aside so that he might use us in a greater way.  It is an exciting thought to anyone who loves God for Him to employ them in his service to help others.

© 2014 Soul Health Care Ministries. Give credit where credit is due.

LAYING OUT A FLEECE

gideon-and-woolGod allows Christians at times to “set out a fleece” or seek for supernatural signs to confirm his will so that they will be assured of their success in obeying Him.

The story of laying out a fleece comes from the story of Gideon in Judges 6:36 – 40.

Gideon knew God’s will but he needed assurance of victory. So he asked God for two signs using the fleece of a sheep. The first sign was to put a fleece on the ground and he asked that the ground be dry the fleece wet. God saturated that fleece. Gideon still was not convinced so he asked God for the ground to be wet and the fleece to be dry. God arranged that. It was enough (Judge 6: 36-40).

People unreasonably bash Gideon for doing this, yet Gideon is listed as one of the heroes of the faith (Heb. 11:32).  The bottom line is they have no room in their theology or lives for divine supernatural activity. They think it is evil of him to ask God for a sign and it is tempting God and will make him angry (Deut. 6:16; 1 Cor 10:9). Some even think it is only occultists who do this.

But the Bible does not condemn any person who just wants to double check on whether they are doing the will of God. God does confirm his word by signs and wonders and going an extra step to help our faith (Isaiah 44:26; Mk 16:20; Rom 15:8; Gal 3:17; Heb 2:2-4; 6:17-18). So, there you go.

They think it was so easy because God appeared to him and told him to take on an army against overwhelming odds. Yet, God had no problem in surrounding Gideon with signs to confirm his leadership (Judges 6:17-21; 7:9-15). God did not refuse his requests nor blast him with a rebuke for his concerns.

Seeking God for confirmation of his direction and promises is all throughout the Bible.  Abraham believed the Lord promises, but asked for a confirmation that he was to inherit the promised land (Gen 15).

Joshua had great faith and yet needed a sign of victory so  he told the sun and moon to stand still for a day and God honored it. That makes setting out a fleece nothing (see Joshua 10:12-14).

God told King Ahaz to ask for any kind of sign and the Lord would grant it. In his religiosity the King said “I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord.” The Lord was worn out with his lack of faith and yet gave him the greatest sign of all-Christ (Isaiah  7:11-14)

God even told his people to prove him by giving a tithe and he would overwhelmingly bless them (Malachi 3:10).

When God calls us to do something we can have many doubts. This was not twisting God’s arm and telling him what to do. Laying out a fleece is sometimes a reaction to something God has spoken to do in our hearts and we are not sure. We as people just need confirmation of God’s will in the fabric of our lives and doubts, anxieties and fears can be dyed in the wool of our lives. There are sometimes we just want “to know that we know, that we know.”

Gideon, “was a fearful man, fearful of God’s enemies, fearful of his own family and the people in his own town – and now God is calling him to do something that has seemingly impossible odds…be human when you’re thinking about him, put yourself in his own shoes and ask yourself: if you were going to do battle with 135,000 and you only had 32,000 on your side, what would you feel like, no matter what God had told you?” (David Legge).

© 2014 Soul Health Care Ministries. Give credit where credit is due.

THE HEDGE OF PROTECTION

s-ANCIENT-WALL-large“Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.” (Job 1:10).

Christians believe in praying for and having a hedge or wall of protection from the attacks of Satan and his minions, sickness and physical harm. In Bible days, hedges were elaborate, dense thorn barriers that provided protection from animals or intruders that could destroy a vineyard or crops.  God’s people are compared to a vineyard (Isa. 5:5; Mk. 12:1) and the removing of the hedge (Ps. 80:12) would leave them vulnerable to attack. The scripture teaches, “For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.” (Zech 2:5). Notice what Zachariah says, the fire of God’s power is the the exterior, and the glory of his presence is the interior! Now that is his will for the church and the Christian.

Job was completely unaware of the elaborate divine security set around him against Satan’s hateful attacks. God shielded Job and his family and property from demonic intruders with this invisible hedge. That invincible wall was so strong against demonic attack that Satan hated that wall. He would walk around that wall and seethe with anger. He wanted that wall down. He believed that Job served God because of that wall. Once that wall was down Satan unleashed his venomous attacks against him. Thank God for his protection for his children.

It cannot be ignored that we have a “better covenant established upon better promises” than that of our Old Testament counterpart Job (Heb. 8:6). Some are confused by Job’s experience and seem to be unable to learn anything about the sovereignty of God as taught by his experience. God built the wall without Job’s request and he tore it down without Job’s permission. BUT this was in fact the ONLY TIME that we see God bringing down the wall-with no definitive explanation except that God had some sort of wager with the devil over one of his servants reputations (Job 1:8).  The only other reason for Job’s experience it that it is called his captivity or calamity (Job 42:10). It is unwarranted  to fear this wall of  protection coming down for any old reason,  because, “we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Pet. 1:5). There is no need to be anxious for the child of God is under God’s protection and we are right to point out that, “the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:10b) and no doubt that wall went up again and never came down!

This is a wall that God builds up in his sovereignty and grace, “call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.” (Isa. 60:18). There is no doubt that Lord protects his people with an impenetrable hedge. He loves his people and protects them. It is not we that build it, but he builds it and it is perfect security (Ps. 127:1). In and of ourselves we are no match for the invading attacks of the world, guerrilla warfare of the sinful nature and terrorist attacks of the Devil. So God has made a wall about us and that wall is Christ (Col 3:3) and he is a perfect gap filler and intercessor (Heb. 7:25).

At the same time, it would seem that this is a wall that must be maintained and guarded by righteous living and prayer (Ezek 13:5).  We edify ourselves by praying in the spirit and prophesying God’s word to others (1 Cor.14). The wall does not topple is not because of inconsistencies and our daily sins or flaws that we bring to God in humility and confess to him (1 John 1:9).  The wall only comes down because of continuing in unconfessed and a prolonged neglect of God. We are to be sober and vigilant (1 Pet 5:8).  We cannot be lazy or indolent! There is no guarantee of protection outside of God’s will (Ps. 91:1-3). God is gracious but he is no one’s fool-you harvest what you plant (Gal 6:6-8).  Jude says, “Keep yourselves in the love of God.” (Jude 21).

When “the hedge” was removed, except in the case of Job, it was a sign of God’s justice against Israel’s unrepentant sin (Ps. 89:40). That is why we repent and ask God to build walls around us (Ps. 51:18) so we will not form sinful habits again. I see whole seminars teaching on the book of Nehemiah on how to rebuild the walls and it would seem that it’s by some program or activity or agenda . That is not how they are rebuilt. They are rebuilt by genuine repentance and sincere prayer. Once rebuilt they must be guarded and we should not leave gaps. That serpent Satan looks to bite us if we break down that wall because of unconfessed sin (Eccl 10:8). We cannot be half-hearted as we put on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18) in order to experience the level of protection as promised in the Scripture. We should not build some flimsy wall and whitewash it. It will not stand the smallest enemy attack or storm! (Ezek. 13:8-16).  We should build on the foundation of Christ and his Word for he is our great Defender and Protector.

© 2014 Soul Health Care Ministries. We wrote this, give the God the glory and us the credit. 

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.

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.