Month: December, 2009
Why Should We Repent?
| December 13, 2009 | 3:57 pm | Frequently Asked Questions | Comments closed

Why Should We Repent

The three words of this title come from Luke 13:5, which reads, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish”. Plainly, then, the tragic alternative to repentance is eternal perdition.

In view of this fact, it is extremely important that everyone knows what repentance is and how it is accomplished.

Repentance Is More Than Reformation

To reform is to “improve one’s character or conduct; to become better; to behave better; to give up misconduct; to make better by removing faults or defects.” One who genuinely reforms will, from that moment on, live a better life. And certainly this is to be desired.

However, reformation falls short in at least one vital particular – it does nothing about the past. It leaves upon the pages of God’s record all the sins that a person has committed. Consequently, it leaves the sinner still under the sentence of death.

Suppose that a criminal who has been guilty of many and various offenses against the law decides to reform. From that moment on, he determines to be a law-abiding citizen. This would be commendable, but it would not absolve him from the guilt of his past crimes. If he is apprehended, or if he surrenders himself, he will still be called upon to pay for his past crimes, unless he is given a pardon.

The same is true of the sinner in relation to this past sins.

What Is Repentance?

Repentance is, first of all, a turning away from all sin. And, so far as this first aspect is concerned, it closely resembles reformation.

But repentance further involves turning to God, in believing prayer, for forgiveness and cleasning from all sin. Such prayer is not necessarily vocal, but it usually is. The repentant person confesses to God that he is a sinner and asks for forgiveness. If he obeys the gospel, he can rest assured that God will forgive, for His Word promises, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9).

The Basis of Repentance

How is genuine repentance brought about? Paul explained, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Before a person can repent, he must feel sorrow for his sins. And this must be godly sorrow. For someone to be sorry merely because they have brought trouble upon him, is not enough. He must be sorry because he has broken the commandments of God, spurned His gospel, and thereby grieved Him days without number.

Such godly sorrow is the only motivating force for real repentance.

Repentance and the Holy Ghost Baptism

A person cannot receive the Holy Ghost before repentance. Jesus said that the “world” could not receive this experience (John 14:17). He meant that those who were unwilling to give up the carnal things of the world, through repentance, could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Peter made this plain in Acts 2:38 – “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”. It was no accident that he mentioned repentance first. In God’s divine order, repentance must precede water baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost.

The requirements for receiving the Holy Spirit are repentance and faith. In many cases, those who tarry for this spiritual experience without receiving it simply have not repented. If and when this is true, it is useless for such a one to praise God with the expectation of receiving the Holy Ghost. He should first repent and claim God’s promise of forgiveness. As his burdens lift because of confession of sin and as he feels God’s love and mercy, he will naturally begin to worship God. And God will pour out His Spirit upon this repentant, believing, worshiping soul!

Time for Repentance is Limited

The time to repent is strictly limited by the extent of earthly life. There can be no repentance after death. Since in the normal course of events no one knows how long he will live, it is perilous indeed to procrastinate. The Bible declares, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

The time of repentance is further limited by the duration of a person’s capability of being impressed by conviction. A continued refusal to repent when called by God’s Spirit brings hardness of heart. Paul spoke of people who were “past feeling” (Ephesians 4:19). Such people no longer feel God’s Spirit leading them to serve them. They have lost all desire for repentance.

The apostle also asked this question: “Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4). Think of the goodness of God to you, and surely your heart will be inclined toward repentance.

The Lord is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Copyright 2002. United Pentecostal Church International

Lesson 1 A Saviour?
| December 11, 2009 | 9:29 pm | Looking for Answers | Comments closed

Lesson 1 – Why Do I Need A Saviour?

The Bible gives the answer to the question of why we need to be saved. Not only does it answer why, but it tells us how we can take advantage of God’s plan of love for us today.

What is sin?

How do the following verses define sin?

* 1 John 3:4
* James 4:17
* 1 John 5:17
* Romans 14:23
* Proverbs 24:9

Who has sinned? Romans 3:23

What are the wages of sin? Romans 6:23

How does Isaiah 64:6 describe man’s efforts to be good?

Can a man save himself by following the commandments and living a good life? Galatians 2:16

Jesus the Savior!

What did the angels call Jesus in Luke 2:11?

What would Jesus do as the Savior? Matthew 1:21

For what reason did Jesus become a Savior? Acts 3:21

Who did the Samaritans say Jesus was the Savior of? John 4:42

Who does God save? 1 Timothy 4:10

Why was Jesus sent to this world? 1 John 4:14

Why was God concerned about us? John 3:16

What was the name of our Savior? Titus 3:6

Is there any other saving name? Acts 4:12

Why did Jesus save us? Titus 2:14

What are the three parts of the gospel message that saves us?

* 1 Corinthians 15: 2-3
* 1 Corinthians 15:4
* 1 Corinthians 14:4


Copyright Rev Robert Kaske / Rochester Pentecostal Church

Lesson 2 Repentance?
| December 11, 2009 | 8:32 pm | Looking for Answers | Comments closed

Lesson 2 – Repentance

Repentance is a command of God to every generation. Repentance means turning from dead works, feeling remorse or regret from wrong doings and reforming to God’s plan. Repentance is a change of our attitude about God’s law and word.

According to Proverbs 28:18, what will happen as the result of our sins?

Why were the people to repent when Jesus began His earthly ministry? Matthew 4:17

Who is called to repentance? Luke 5:32

In Luke 13:1-5, several tragedies are referred to. What stern warning did Jesus give to the people in verses 3 & 5?

What did Jesus commission His disciples in Luke 24:47 to preach?

What had Simon done to receive the rebuke of Peter in Acts 8:18-23?

What major sin was the crowd to repent of on the day of Pentecost? Acts 2:23

Why did Paul command the philosophers to repent in Acts 17:29–30?

What does Hebrews 6:1 tell us to repent from?

To whom are we to turn after we repent from sin? Acts 20:21

What promise do we have from God if we do confess our sins to Him? 1 John 1:9

John the Baptist told people to “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
(Matthew 3:8 NIV). How were the following people to show a repentant attitude?

* The Jews – Matthew 3:8
* The People – Luke 3:11
* The Publicans – Luke 3:12-13
* The soldiers – Luke 3:14

Copyright Rev Robert Kaske / Rochester Pentecostal Church

Lesson 3 Baptism?
| December 11, 2009 | 7:35 pm | Looking for Answers | Comments closed

Lesson 3 – Baptism, by Immersion, in Jesus Name

Baptism in water has been instituted by God as a definite part of the new birth experience. Baptism identifies us with Jesus Christ in a unique and fulfilling way. The following study points out the scriptural background and commandment about baptism.

What two elements did Jesus say were necessary to be born again in John 3:5?

What was John the Baptist’s baptism for? Mark 1:4

What did Jesus commission the disciples to do in the following scriptures?

* Matthew 28:19
* Mark 16:16
* Luke 24:47

What did Peter say water baptism was for in Acts 2:38?

What did Peter command the household of Cornelius to do? Acts 10:48?

Why did Paul re-baptize the Ephesian believers in Acts 19:3-5?

Who did Paul baptize in the following scriptures?

* Acts 16:14-15
* Acts 19:1-5

What does baptism identify us with according to the following?

* Romans 6:4
* Colossians 2:11-12

What does Acts 4:12 tell us about the name of Jesus?

In whose name did Jesus come? John 5:43

What is the name of the Son? Matthew 1:21

In whose name is the Holy Spirit sent? John 14:26

According to the following scriptures, Matthew 28:19, John 5:43, Matthew 1:21, John 14:26 what is the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?

Copyright Rev Robert Kaske / Rochester Pentecostal Church

Lesson 4 Holy Spirit Baptism?
| December 11, 2009 | 6:38 pm | Looking for Answers | Comments closed

Lesson 4 – Holy Spirit Baptism

Within the covers of the Bible lies the answer to humankind’s search for power, love, and peace. The Holy Spirit baptism is not an experience separate from Jesus, but it is the Spirit of Jesus living inside of you.

Prophecies concerning the Holy Spirit

According to Isaiah 28:11, what will people do who receive the Holy Spirit?

What promise is given to the weary in the above mentioned verse?

On whom will the Holy Spirit be poured? Joel 2:28

John said, “I indeed baptize you with water.” What did he say that Jesus would do? Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8

What Jesus said about the Holy Spirit

To whom will the Holy Spirit be given? John 7:38

What did Jesus call the Holy Spirit in John 14:26?

How long will the Comforter stay with us? John 14:16

What did Jesus say the Holy Spirit would do? John 14:26

What three things did Jesus say the Holy Spirit would do in John 16:8?

In Acts 1:4 what did Jesus say the Holy Spirit was?

What will you do when the Holy Spirit comes upon you? Acts 1:8

Dispensation of the Holy Spirit

What appeared to the disciples on the day of Pentecost? Acts 2:3

What happened to the 120 individuals when they were filled with the Holy Spirit? Acts 2:4

What three steps did Peter say a person should take to be saved in Acts 2:38?

To whom is the promise of the Holy Spirit given? Acts 2:39

How does Acts 3:19 compare to Acts 2:38?

How did the Jewish believers who came with Peter know that Cornelius and the other gentiles had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Acts 10:44-47

How did Peter compare Cornelius’ experience to those how had received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost? Acts 11:47

What did Paul ask the Ephesian disciples in Acts 19:2?

What was the evidence that the Ephesian believers had received the Holy Spirit? Acts 19:6

Was there a visible sign when the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit? Acts 8:17-18

How do we know that Paul received the Holy Spirit as the disciples on the day of Pentecost?
Acts 9:17, 1 Corinthians 14:18

Copyright Rev Robert Kaske / Rochester Pentecostal Church

Lesson 5 The Bible?
| December 11, 2009 | 5:41 pm | Looking for Answers | Comments closed

Lesson 5 – The Bible

The Bible gives the answer to the question of why we need to be saved. Not only does it answer why, but it tells us how we can take advantage of God’s plan of love for us today.

What is sin?

How do the following verses define sin?

* 1 John 3:4
* James 4:17
* 1 John 5:17
* Romans 14:23
* Proverbs 24:9

Who has sinned? Romans 3:23

What are the wages of sin? Romans 6:23

How does Isaiah 64:6 describe man’s efforts to be good?

Can a man save himself by following the commandments and living a good life? Galatians 2:16

Jesus the Savior!

What did the angels call Jesus in Luke 2:11?

What would Jesus do as the Savior? Matthew 1:21

For what reason did Jesus become a Savior? Acts 3:21

Who did the Samaritans say Jesus was the Savior of? John 4:42

Who does God save? 1 Timothy 4:10

Why was Jesus sent to this world? 1 John 4:14

Why was God concerned about us? John 3:16

What was the name of our Savior? Titus 3:6

Is there any other saving name? Acts 4:12

Why did Jesus save us? Titus 2:14

What are the three parts of the gospel message that saves us?

* 1 Corinthians 15: 2-3
* 1 Corinthians 15:4
* 1 Corinthians 14:4

Copyright Rev Robert Kaske / Rochester Pentecostal Church

Why Did God Choose Tongues?
| December 11, 2009 | 5:20 pm | Frequently Asked Questions | Comments closed

Why Did God Choose Tongues?

He was a deacon in a fashionable church, but he did not believe in the Pentecostal doctrine relative to the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Yet he had been exposed to that belief through members of his immediate family. One night, at the close of an Evangelistic service in an Apostolic church, he went forward to pray and was overwhelmingly filled with the Spirit of God. He spoke in other tongues fluently and was so inundated in the Spirit that even hours later he could not speak English. Definitely, this was a biblical experience accompanied not only by speaking in another tongue, but also by the joy and peace of the Holy Ghost.

Millions have experienced this same baptism in the Spirit. Wherever this message is proclaimed, the question is asked, “Why did God choose speaking in tongues as the initial, physical evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost?” There may be many answers to this question, and perhaps we do not know them all. Several key points are apparent, however.

The Sovereignty of God

First, we must recognize that God is not accountable to us for what He chooses to do. Isaiah asked, “Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?” (Isaiah 40:13-14). We have no license to question God’s ways or to dispute His actions. His purposes are supreme, His promises sure, His performances sane and sensible. The following passages of Scripture, when studied prayerfully with a hungry heart and an open mind, show that there is a definite connection between speaking in tongues and the baptism of the Holy Ghost: Isaiah 28:11-12; Mark 16:17; Acts 2:4; 10:44-46; 19:6; Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 4:6.

Why did God choose blood as the basis for atonement? Why did God choose water as the element in baptism? Why did God choose gold as the overlaying metal for the ark of the covenant? Why did God choose stone as the material upon which to record the Ten Commandments? Why did God choose Jerusalem as the site for the Temple? Why did God choose dust out of which to form mankind? There is divine purpose behind these choices, although we may not understand all the reasons. We certainly cannot deny or disavow God’s sovereign right to do as He pleases and to choose what He wishes.

An Immediate, External Evidence

One vital reason why God chose other tongues as the initial sign of receiving the Holy Ghost is that speaking in tongues is an immediate, external evidence. There are many other evidences of the operation of the Spirit of God in a person’s life, but it is a matter of time before they are manifest. For example, the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 follows in the wake of the spiritual infilling.

Peter and the six Jewish Christians who went with him to Caesarea knew that the Gentiles had received the Holy Ghost, not because of longsuffering, gentleness, meekness, or temperance, but because they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God (Acts 10:46). Peter specifically pointed to speaking in tongues as the irrefutable evidence (Acts 10:46-47).

Speaking in tongues is an outward, external evidence, instantly observable and heard. By contrast, peace, joy, righteousness, and spiritual fruit are inward, internal results of the infilling that become evident with the passing of time.

A Uniform Evidence

Another reason why God chose other tongues as the initial sign of receiving the Spirit is that speaking in tongues is a uniform evidence. It applies to everyone, regardless of race, culture, or language.

Some people quote I Corinthians 12:30 in an attempt to prove that not all speak in tongues when they are filled with the Spirit: “Do all speak with tongues?” However, this verse refers to the gift of tongues, that is, speaking a public message in tongues to be interpreted for the congregation, which is a spiritual gift that a person may exercise subsequent to the infilling of the Spirit. Though both tongues as the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost and tongues as a later spiritual gift are the same in essence, they are different in administration and operation. For example, the regulations regarding the gift of tongues in I Corinthians 14:27-28 did not apply to the conversion accounts in Acts, where many people spoke in tongues simultaneously, without interpretation, as the sign of being filled with the Spirit.

Some people may question this distinction between the initial use of tongues at the baptism of the Holy Ghost and the later use of tongues as a spiritual gift in a Christian’s life. But the same distinction is apparent with regard to faith. To be saved, everyone must have faith (John 3:16; Romans 10:9; Ephesians 2:8). Yet I Corinthians 12:9 reveals that there is a special, supernatural gift of faith that can operate in a Spirit-filled person’s life over and beyond the faith necessary for salvation. Saving faith and the spiritual gift of faith are the same in essence but different in administration and operation.

In speaking about the birth of the Spirit, Jesus emphasized the uniformity of the experience: “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). Moreover, Jesus placed emphasis upon the accompanying sound, not on sight or feeling. The sound of the wind blowing is evidence of its presence.

Some people conclude that Jesus referred only to “the sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind” on the Day of Pentecost. But this sound of wind is never mentioned again in the later accounts of receiving the Holy Ghost, while speaking in tongues is. Speaking in tongues by itself caused the Jewish Christians to recognize that the experience of the Gentiles at Caesarea was identical to theirs on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 10:44-47; 11:15-17). Hence, the important, conclusive evidence of the Spirit’s manifestation at Pentecost was speaking in other tongues. The sound of wind was impersonal, but the speaking was personal. Speaking in tongues was the first evidence of each individual infilling.

At Caesarea all who heard the Word were filled, and all who heard the Word spoke in tongues. If some of them had not spoken in tongues, would the Jewish Christians have accepted their experiences? Clearly not. All twelve men mentioned in Acts 19:6 had a uniform experience. If ten of the twelve had spoken in tongues and the other two had not, would Paul have believed that the two had received the Holy Ghost just as the ten? Certainly not. Paul would not have accepted their experience if they have failed to exhibit the uniform evidence.

A Symbol of Complete Control

Speaking in tongues symbolizes God’s complete control of the believer. Perhaps this is one of the strongest reasons why God chose speaking in tongues as the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. This symbolism becomes apparent when we study James 3, which provides more information on the tongue than any other chapter in the New Testament.

First, the tongue is capable of defiling the whole body. If so, is it incredible to claim that the tongue is also capable of symbolizing the sanctification of the whole body?

Second, though the tongue is a smaller member, it has never been tamed by humanity. It is the most unruly member of the body. If so, is it not necessary for the tongue to be tamed before the whole body can be consecrated to God? James illustrates the importance of the tongue by comparing it to the bit in a horse’s mouth, which gives the rider complete control over the horse, and to the helm of a large ship, which gives the pilot full command of the vessel. In other words, whoever controls the tongue of a person controls him. And a person cannot tame his tongue by himself; only God can tame it for him.

According to Matthew 12:29, before someone can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, he must first bind the strong man. The strong man of our house is the tongue. We can tame every member of the body but this one. When God tames a person’s tongue, that person comes under God’s full control. He is in the hands of the Almighty. He has been conquered by Christ, endued with a spiritual force from on high, and empowered for God’s service.

Humanity’s Greatest Expression

The tongue provides the greatest expressions of the human spirit. We humans are spiritual and emotional beings, and as such we must give expression to our emotions. The ability and power to coordinate thought and tongue into intelligent speech is one of our highest prerogatives, elevating us above the beasts of the field. This ability makes us superior to the rest of God’s creation on earth, and it is the most distinguishing feature of our being.

The tongue becomes the vehicle of expression for the spirit. All of the emotions–such as love, hate, anger, sorrow, joy, happiness, relief, serenity–are communicated through the tongue. The tongue is the gate way to the heart, feelings, attitudes, and spirit.

Conclusion

In light of these truths, it is not difficult to see why God has chosen speaking in tongues to express the greatest, most wonderful experience that we mortal humans can receive. In the baptism of the Holy Ghost, His Spirit and our spirit become one. He uses our tongue and voice to express this union. It is a wonder of wonders, chosen not by humans, but by God, the sovereign ruler of the universe.

Why fight against Him? Believe His Word, accept what He says, and you too can be baptized with the Holy Ghost, for God will give the Holy Spirit to all who repent and ask in faith (Luke 11:13; Acts 2:38-39).

Copyright 2002. United Pentecostal Church International

What is Sin
| December 11, 2009 | 5:16 pm | Frequently Asked Questions | Comments closed

What Is Sin?

This question is of vital importance because of the fearful judgment against those who commit sin. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die,” thunders the Old Testament (Ezekiel 18:20). In like tones, the New Testament declares: “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The one who lives in sin throughout his earthly life and faces God without having obtained divine forgiveness will be sentenced to eternal perdition.

Sin sprang full-grown among men. Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God. The first boy born on this earth grew to manhood and murdered the second-his own brother!  And sin has existed in every generation since.

In our time, however, there is one difference: many no longer know what sin actually is. Things evil are sometimes designated as good; things good, as evil. Isaiah condemned such a practice, declaring, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).

Since this confusion exists, and since a person will not seek forgiveness for sin until he knows what sin is, a clear-cut definition, both negative and positive, is urgently needed.

Sin Is Not Necessarily Crime

Some equate sin with crime, feeling that to commit sin one must be a murderer, robber, rapist, or the like. Once, an evangelist passing out revival circulars was told that he should go to the local jail and try to convert a woman who had recently murdered her father. Certainly this woman needed forgiveness, but no more so than other sinners who had not committed a crime.

A crime is a sin, but not every sin is a crime. Crimes are committed against people; sin is committed against God.  As an example, David wronged Bathsheba, and committed the crime of murder against Uriah her husband, but he affirmed, “Against thee [God], thee only, have I sinned” (Psalm 51:4).

Sin Is Not Unbelief Alone

Near the end of His ministry, Jesus told His disciples that the Holy host would “reprove the world of sin . . . because they believe not on me” (John 16:8?9).  Misinterpreting His meaning, some have concluded that sin is nothing more than unbelief.  But Jesus meant that unbelief would form the basis of sin.  People sin because they do not believe on Jesus Christ.  Unbelief is sin, but it leads to further sin.

“Sin Is the Transgression of the Law”

This definition is given in I John 3:4.  By law, the apostle meant the Word of God, which originally was the Old Testament but which now includes the New Testament as well.  Sin, then, is the transgression (breaking) of a commandment found in the Bible.

Sins of Comission. Someone is guilty of such a sin when he does something that the Word of God forbids.

Sins of Ommission. He who fails to do what he knows God has commanded is guilty of a sin of omission. “To him that guilty to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).

“All Unrighteousness Is Sin”

I John 5:17 declares this truth. A person is unrighteous when he does what is wrong. According to this verse, then, when someone does wrong, he commits sin.

We should note that all unrighteousness is sin. Men are prone to classify sin as little or great, black or gray, mortal or venial. But to God, all sin is offensive and objectionable. As an example of the difference between man’s and God’s judgment of sin, man classifies the sin of lying as one of the lesser evils, but God places “all liars” in the same category as the abominable, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, and idolaters (Revelation 21:8). Moreover, He pronounces the same judgment upon all of these sinners-eternal perdition in the lake of fire and brimstone.

What then is sin? Simply put, sin is doing what God forbids or failing to do what He commands.

Copyright 2002. United Pentecostal Church International

What Is Pentecost?
| December 11, 2009 | 5:09 pm | Frequently Asked Questions | Comments closed

What Is Pentecost?

The day of Pentecost was observed in Jerusalem fifty days after the celebration of the Passover, which commemorated Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt. It is significant that this day was chosen by the Lord to begin the fulfillment of Joel 2:28: “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh….”
The Spirit came upon the waiting, praying disciples in an overwhelming manner. Their complete commitment to Christ and His commission evoked a mighty baptism of God’s power. This was evidenced initially by their speaking in tongues (Acts 2:4). The Spirit was resident in their lives from that moment. The Spirit-filled early church witnessed many outstanding miraculous happenings (Acts 3:1-7; 4:31). They were able to lead victorious lives as a result of their Pentecostal experience.

Two baptisms were disclosed on the day of Pentecost. There was a baptism in the Holy Spirit, and in the Apostle Peter’s message that followed, water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ was commanded (Acts 2:38). This outward, physical baptism mysteriously merges with that of the Spirit, and is the “one baptism” of Ephesians 4:5. This is what Jesus referred to as being “born again” in John 3:3-7. And how wonderful to be born into the family of God-changed, transformed, and made a “new creature in Christ Jesus”.

No, Pentecost is not a denomination. It is a new birth experience. It is primitive Christianity made relevant to today’s world. The people referred to as Pentecostal simply believe, teach, and receive all that transpired on that birthday of the church…Pentecost, 33 A.D. There is a church near you that embraces these basic Christian truths and experiences. You owe it to yourself to attend-and see what Pentecost can really mean to you!

Copyright 2002. United Pentecostal Church International

What Is The Gift Of The Holy Ghost?
| December 11, 2009 | 4:58 pm | Frequently Asked Questions | Comments closed

What Is The Gift Of The Holy Ghost?

The gift of the Holy Spirit has become the topic of much discussion in our day. Men and women of all persuasions and from all walks of life have become interested enough to search for greater understanding of this phenomenal spiritual experience. Capturing headlines, dominating the content of many religious periodicals, and generally creating excitement, this canon of apostolic faith deserves a sincere appraisal.

The Facts

The Holy Spirit is God. “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24). “There is . . . one Spirit” (Ephesians 4:4). To become a subject in the kingdom of God, Jesus said a person must be “born again,” or “born of water and of the Spirit” (John 3:3-5). The birth of the Spirit and the baptism of the Spirit are synonymous terms. The Apostle Peter understood this truth as he spoke. to the multitude in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). This experience was received by the Jews on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), the Samaritans (Acts 8:15-17), and the Gentiles (Acts 10:44-48), plainly indicating that it was meant for all people, regardless of race, creed, color, or station in life. The new birth, consisting of water and Spirit, was never set forth as being optional or unessential. “Ye must be born again” are the words of Jesus in John 3:7. Until a person is born of the Spirit, he cannot be called a “son” of God.

The Privilege

But why concentrate only on the absoluteness of the command? It is a blessed privilege to experience a release of spirit, finding freedom of soul and expression in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There is no other experience similar to it. “Incomparable” is the only adequate description of this filling. The transition is to an entirely new realm and way of life. A complete transformation takes place. The soul has an empty place “in the shape of God” that nothing else will fit or satisfy. The baptism of the Spirit completely satisfies every longing of the soul. In this experience is fulfillment.

The Evidence

There are two major evidences of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The initial, outward evidence is speaking with tongues, which means speaking miraculously in languages the speaker does not know.

Speaking with other tongues has been connected with Spirit baptism since the beginning of the church age. On the birthday of the New Testament church, the Day of Pentecost after Christ’s ascension, approximately 120 disciples of Christ were inundated by the Spirit of God and “began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). The household of an Italian centurion received the same spiritual experience, which the Jewish Christian onlookers readily identified, “for they heard them speak with tongues” (Acts 10:44-48). In Acts 19:1-6, a group of John the Baptist’s disciples heard about the Holy Ghost from the Apostle Paul; they too were filled with the Spirit, “and they spake with tongues.”

We cannot adequately express with our own words the ecstasy experienced in the baptism of the Spirit. Only through unaccustomed words of heavenly coherence can we utter what our souls would express.

There are perhaps several other reasons why God chose speaking in tongues as the initial evidence of this spiritual baptism. It is an objective, external evidence that recipients and onlookers can both identify with certainty (Acts 10:46). It is a uniform evidence-all the disciples on Pentecost, all the household of Cornelius, and all the believers in Ephesus spoke in tongues. “So is everyone that is born of the Spirit” are the words of Jesus in His description of this spiritual new birth (John 3:8). Speaking in tongues also indicates the complete control of the Spirit over our human wills. The tongue is the most unruly member of the body (James 3:8), and its being tamed by God is evidence of His complete control.

Further evidence of the Spirit’s abiding presence in our lives is the fruit of the Spirit, which Paul mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

The Promise

Was the baptism of the Holy Spirit for the apostles or early disciples only? Is it today available to only a select few who are “superspiritual”? The obvious answer to these questions is no.

The Apostle Peter made it very plain in his message on the Day of Pentecost that the gift of the Holy Ghost is for everyone: “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39). (See Luke 11:13.) Our faith, obedience, and submission to the Lord Jesus and His gospel qualify us for this most joyous of all experiences. (See Acts 5:32; 11:15-17.) As Isaiah 12:3 states, “With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

Seek Him today, for “he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters” (Isaiah 55:1). This means you!

Copyright 2002. United Pentecostal Church International