Yesterday we talked about denominationalism and even non-denominational churches as the great lie. Yes I know you may have been offended and asked, what do you mean I have been lied to; I have been a …… all my life. Many people have grown up with a certain teaching and really do not realize there are major differences in the beliefs of each denomination that will be detrimental to their eternal life. Now a days there is even a blur in the denominations as beliefs such as false teachings like dispensationalism and its teachings have crept in to many denominations. There are major differences in what each believe. Without getting in to it now, you have the big ones such as Calvinism, Armenianism, Catholicism, Dispensationalism. Out of each of these come all kinds of conflicted teachings. Most people do not even check. For example a person may attend a Baptist church then go to a Pentecostal church or vice-versa. If you knew what they each believed you would scratch your head when you see this. Obviously most do not check.
                As we take this journey, our focus is on the Holy Spirit.  One person said, “It is a strange thing that the denominations claim to believe the Bible to be God's word, but at the same time they take their man-made denominational creeds over what the Bible says.” This is especially true when talking about the Holy Spirit. For the most part denominations all believe in the Holy Spirit but that is extremely vague. Some say you receive the Holy Spirit when saved and that is it while others say you receive the Holy Spirit later. Remember we are talking about the power of the Holy Spirit. The problem is at our present time there is no power in either case like the New Testament, so something is wrong in both cases. In most examples there is only a form of godliness but they deny the power. They talk about the power but do not believe it is available for today. Remember the same Spirit should be at work with the same results. Most have explained this lack of power away with their false teachings. You also must be careful of those who are claiming to have power but the power they claim does not look like scripture such as the Brownsville Revival and the Toronto Blessing or anything like them. Be very careful of anything or anyone connected to either of these. That is a whole other topic. Just remember, 2 Corinthians 11:13 “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”
                So there are really three groups of teaching. The first group teaches that the power is not available for today. A very large group of people in the church have been affected by this teaching and even those who should know better. Many do not even realize this is what they believe as they have just received this as if it where the word of God. Let’s just say they have become very content with a dim light as they continue to reject the truth. The second teaching is that the power of the Holy Spirit is available but has been deceived in such areas as the speaking of tongues, which in most cases is gibberish. They are so open to it they have failed to check things like babbling, barking, laughing, falling on the ground backwards and see if what is happening lines up with the word of God. The book of Acts was very clear as to what tongues were and what the appropriate response was to the power of God. The third group teaches God will move once again just like at Pentecost and must humble themselves and wait to be clothed with power. You cannot believe in the Holy Spirit and not expect similar results as in the New Testament.
                To be a believer you must believe, hence the name. Just take a look at John and Acts in the NIV as the word believe or a variation of it shows up 146 times. So what we have in the church today are those who say they believe but really don’t base their teaching on the word of God. They literally explain away the lack of power. They actually have to delete and modify so many verses so that their beliefs can fit. So ask yourself; do I believe what the bible teaches or do I believe what the church I am attending believes. Have you taken the time to find out? Sadly in most cases there are huge differences especially when it comes to the power of the Holy Spirit as we have talked about. The true church is to look like the church Jesus started. He showed us the way, the truth and the life and He expects us to follow. John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. 15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” You then need to ask if those in the church actually believe because they do not seem to know Him. Judges 2:10 “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” Gideon later asked, Judges 6:13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
                This denominationalism has been going on a very long time. Is it any wonder that God has turned His face from the church when it comes to power to defeat enemies? Be very careful about these ism’s. We are not looking for one denomination to be right. As far as I am concerned they are all wrong. To get back on the right track there must be a great return to God’s word and a willingness to chuck the other books that contain the distinctives. Remember the bible is the inspired word of God not just a book written by man about God. 2 Peter 1:20 “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” I said to a professor at seminary one time. So this would mean that if the Holy Spirit inspired the bible to be written then it must be inspired to be read. He did not agree with me of course and responded with “if you were stupid before you became a Christian then you are stupid after.” Well this totally denies the power of the Holy Spirit. Acts must be a lie then because “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” What did they do without a distinctives handbook? We also know Hebrews 8:8 “the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.11 No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord, ‘because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” This is a foreign concept in the church. I was told one time by a mormon that the bible was open for interpretation so it was like having one nail through the bible and it could spin. The book of mormon was the second nail to hold it down. This is obviously a lie but what is the difference between that idea and all the denominational distinctives written down in books that separate Christians from each other. They are doing the same thing as the mormons. Each group wants to explain the scriptures according to their own beliefs. This is wrong. Colossians 2:20 “Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”
                We must worship in Spirit and in Truth. John 4:23 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” In order to do this we must adhere, stick, hold, stay and remain in the word of God. Joshua 23:6 “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. 7 Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. 8 But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.” Too many have not held fast to the word of God and have gone their own way each according to their own traditions, reasoning and experiences. We are told in Deuteronomy 4:2 “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.” Revelation 22:18 “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.”
                One day the Lord will make a distinction once again. Malachi 3 says of the faithful remnant, “16 Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name. 17 “On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” Don’t wait till judgment day, Joshua 24:23 “Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”