On the calendar of the Christian Year, today is Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost Sunday is just as significant as Christmas and Easter but Pentecost is not given the prominence in the church as the other two are given. One person said it this way. “On a Scale of 1 to 10: The importance of Pentecost depends on the person. My uncle, a Presbyterian minister, put it like this: “To me personally, as religious observances go, Easter rates a 10, Pentecost a 7 and Christmas a 6. But the average member of my church would probably say Easter was a 10, Christmas an 8 and Pentecost a 3.” Actually the church is to be Christmas, Easter and Pentecost everyday not just special days on the calendar.
                Pentecost is when power was given to the church, which is probably why there is not as much emphasis on Pentecost as the church today is missing the available power. When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place and this power was given to the church. We saw a taste of that power when Jesus empowered His disciples to go before Him. Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Luke 10:1 “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.”
                The authority and power the disciples were given was a prelude to the authority and power the church would be given at Pentecost. Acts 2:2 “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” 14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. (we are not waiting for that to happen as it already did) 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Peter then went on to say “38 Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call. 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” The church could now go to the ends of the earth and do just as Jesus did. That power came just as Jesus said it would. Luke 24:48 “You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
                We saw the power Jesus had and we saw the same power given to His disciples and then that same power was given to more disciples. This amazing power was to continue as the church was called to do as Jesus did and destroy the works of the devil and to bring healing and salvation to the whole world. What Jesus started we were to continue as we see from these verses. Matthew 4:3 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Acts 5:12 “The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” Acts 8:5 “Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.” We cannot do as Jesus did without being clothed with power from on High. Sure most in the church say they have the Spirit within them yet there is no power and the church today looks nothing like the church that was started at Pentecost.
                Jesus told the disciples that their preaching would be confirmed by signs that would accompany those who believed. Mark 16:14 “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. 15 Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” First of all notice verse 14. There was already unbelief among them. Matthew 28:16 “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The church was to continue in this power and would have if the church had adhered to the words of God. Paul made it clear to us that 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” He also said that many in the church were already turning away from the gospel he preached. Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!”
                This rebellion by the church is not how it was supposed to be. Like the lack of emphasis on Pentecost, the church has neglected most verses that have to do with available power. For those who have not neglected those power verses, many have been deceived by a false power. This negation of scripture can be seen when comparing Matthew 28 and Mark 16. They are both commissions to go and preach, although most have ignored Mark 16. As we saw with Peter, the disciples were completely changed at Pentecost. At one point Jesus looked at Peter and told satan to get behind Him and Peter denied Jesus three times but later Peter stood fearlessly and preached. He even said to the lame man Acts 3:6 “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.” We saw this change described with Saul. 1 Samuel 10:6 “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. 7 Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.” This is how it was to be for the whole church. Pentecost was not about going to church but going into the world in the power of the Holy Spirit and the authority of Jesus name. Moses said Numbers 11:29 “I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” As prophesied, this did come to pass.
                We also notice in Mark 16:17 “And these signs will accompany those who believe.” Hebrews 2:3 “This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” Those gifts are seen in 1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” Paul goes on to say 1 Corinthians 12:28 “And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.” Paul also describes the body in Romans 12:4 “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Paul also said, Ephesians 4:11 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
                This is how the church was to work but for many in the church today 1 Corinthians 12:28 reads like this. And God has placed in the church teachers, helping, guidance. The verse actually still reads like this. “And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.” The verse has not changed but the church has. Since the church is not being built up but deceived, most are being tossed and blown by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. The church in rebellion has turned away from God’s word and have added to and subtracted from to our demise. We were warned not to do that but the church did not listen. Deuteronomy 4:1 “Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. 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.” Proverbs 30:5 “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. 6 Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” 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.” This is about as clear as it can get yet the church added and subtracted and is now in desolation because of this grievous rebellion. All churches have done this editing of God’s word to make it their own and to line up with their own belief systems. As I have said before there is no such think as a Baptist, Methodist, Reformed, Pentecostal, Catholic, Brethren…… Christian because all of them have changed God’s word to suit their own beliefs instead of adhering to the truth. As Jesus said Mark 7:8 “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions. 9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!”
                I want to take a quick look at two groups who have similar end-times beliefs yet completely different doctrines. One group has believed the power available as described in scripture yet did not test the spirits and were deceived. The second group rejected the power part of scripture and also have been deceived. Each group has many different offshoots and many beliefs from fundamentalism to liberalism. Both groups have been deceived by dispensationalism. The first are the Pentecostals. There is a wide range of beliefs in this one but the most prevalent is the belief in tongues and healing and the church being raptured in the end-times. The one I looked at was the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Here is what their website states. “PAOC Core Brand Statement - The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada are God’s people empowered by and dependent on the Holy Spirit to tell the life-transforming story of Jesus Christ.” In their statement of Essential Truths, they say 5.8.2 THE RAPTURE - The rapture, the blessed hope of the church, is the imminent coming of the Lord in the air to receive to Himself His own, both the living who shall be transformed, and the dead in Christ who shall be resurrected. 62 This event takes place before the wrath of God is poured out during the tribulation. Believers then will appear before the judgment seat of Christ to be judged according to faithfulness in Christian service. 63 5.8.3 THE TRIBULATION - The tribulation will be a time of judgment on the whole earth. 64 During this period the Antichrist will emerge to offer false hope to the nations. 65 5.8.4 THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST - The return of Christ to earth in power and great glory will conclude the great tribulation with the victory at Armageddon, 66 the defeat of Antichrist and the binding of Satan.67 Christ will introduce the millennial age, 68 restore Israel to her own land, lift the curse which now rests upon the whole creation, and bring the whole world to the knowledge of God.” Because this group and many like them have bought into the deception of the rapture and tribulation and false signs, they have been greatly deceived. Not only have they been deceived about the end-times, they have been greatly deceived when it comes to healing and speaking in tongues. They also say “The initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.” What they end up receiving is not the tongues of scripture but the tongues of satan. This babbling actually serves no purpose, yet they think they are filled with the Holy Spirit. All you have to do is look at the lack of the Holy Spirit among those who say they are filled, as the churches look nothing like scripture describes. As this deception in the charismatic movement got further and further from the truth, you end up with false signs like angles feathers, gold dust, people barking like dogs, falling down like drunks and many more supposed signs of the presence of the Holy Spirit. These signs are not the presence of the Holy Spirit but the presence of satan masquerading among them. 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.” Jesus warned us not to be deceived yet millions have been because they did not test the Spirits. 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Paul said I Corinthians 14:1 “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” It is not wrong to crave the presence of the Holy Spirit and His gifts but you must discern whose presence has actually filled you.
                Another group completely different from the Pentecostals but in many cases have similar end-time teaching are Baptists. Just a note; that not all Baptists believe the same when it comes to the Holy Spirit and even the end-times. There are many types of Baptists but most believe that water baptism is all you need and do not emphasize the power gifts or the supernatural. That can be said for most churches these days. Some will go as far as saying this power has ceased and was only available for the disciples of the bible. Like the Pentecostals many also believe in the rapture and in the imminent return of Jesus to set up His kingdom on earth. Whenever you see the word imminent, they usually mean Jesus is coming back to earth to set up His kingdom, reigning on the throne of David for a thousand years. There is much debate on how that actually happens. Unlike the Pentecostals who believe water baptism and then the filling of the Holy Spirit, the Baptists place all the emphasis on water baptism, a onetime event. Talk of miracles, tongues and healing are not encouraged. Yes if God so desires to heal that’s okay but a person doing the healing is not. For example a Baptist church in my town states, “We believe that the Holy Spirit sovereignly chooses to give every believer at least one gift for service in the ministry of the local church to accomplish God’s purposes. While there are a variety of spiritual gifts described in the Bible, we recognize that the practice of the gifts of tongues, interpretation, healing and prophecy has resulted in some confusion and division. We believe that God is not limited, and can and does use these gifts as He sovereignly chooses. These gifts need to be exercised in accordance with scriptural direction. We do not see the practice of these gifts as a requirement to evidence faith in Christ, the filling of the Holy Spirit, or spiritual maturity.” They want you to know they are not Pentecostal but they also want you to know they don’t actually believe what scripture states. They are more concerned with what the charismatics believe. Others will take it further and say some gifts have ceased. Yet that is not what the bible says. It is important to have discernment and know what is truth. Most Baptist churches place a great deal of emphasis on water baptism by emersion. In the process they have also been led astray because they have ignored scripture. We see several times that there was far more to the Christian life than water baptism. Acts 19:1 “While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.” Acts 8:14 “When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” Most churches today are missing the power of the Holy Spirit yet all say they have the Holy Spirit. The missing presence of the Holy Spirit is also seen in the confusion over the end-times. John 16:12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” Too many men and women are telling you what they think is yet to come instead.
                Many in these two groups have no idea their teachers have deceived them. The teachers don’t even know they have been deceived and both groups think they have the truth. Most have grown up believing everything they have been told and most do not question unless something has happened at the church and they leave to go elsewhere. Most actually do not want to know what scripture says. They only want their ears tickled. 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” Most people today who attend a particular church do not want to be told they have been deceived. In the one group I described there is no power and in the other the power they think they have is false. It is really easy to tell because neither group looks like scripture. This is what scripture looks like. Matthew 11:4 “Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” When you read the gospels and the accounts of the early church you see what the authority of Jesus Christ and the power for the Holy Spirit looks like. After Pentecost the church went out in that power and authority but at the same time savage wolves infiltrated the church just as we were warned. Acts 20:29 “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” It is not that the power ceased and is not available, it is because the church rebelled and went their own way, therefore loosing the power and authority they were given when God turned His face away. This allowed the enemy to infiltrate the church. We only get the power and authority back when we turn back to God’s word by believing and obeying.
                Yes the bible has many parts that can be difficult to understand, which again is why we need the Spirit of Truth among us again. Interestingly enough, the part that causes so much division is not actually that hard to understand. The power available to God’s people is very clear in scripture and is not confusing. What is confusing is man’s distortion of the words of God. From the beginning God’s power has been clearly seen. We also saw what happened when God’s people rebelled against Him; that power was removed and their enemies conquered them. The same has happened to the church. The church rebelled, truth was thrown down and the church has been conquered and we no longer have the power needed to defeat our enemies. In the Old Testament there was war but even in war there was supernatural power. When Joshua attacked Jericho Joshua 6:20 “When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.” When Samaria was surrounded by the enemy and there was severe famine God saved them. 2 Kings 7:5 “At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there, 6 for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” 7 So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.” A vast army came against Jehoshaphat. 2 Chronicles 20:14 “Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel 15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” 22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.” These are just a few examples from the Old Testament that display the supernatural power of God.
                The New Testament continues with that power but now it is not war against flesh. Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” This was the war Jesus was now fighting. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Without the power of the Holy Spirit we cannot win that war. So you have to ask what exactly has the church been doing.
                We see this power all through scripture yet we do not see it in the church. The only reason we are not seeing this supernatural power is because the church has rebelled and have gone their own way. The Baptists, the Pentecostals and everyone else decided to go their own way. Jeremiah 5:30 “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” The Baptists like many denominations do not place any emphasis on the supernatural. This means they are not seeking the gifts. The charismatics on the other hand sought them but did not discern and were deceived by the very thing they wanted. They accepted everything as if it was from God. All this time both groups think that are filled with the Holy Spirit but they are not; if they were, the church would look like the bible. Today we have debates about which side is right, which doctrine to believe but the bible is the only way, not man’s ideas about the bible’s way. You will see most debating against another belief system but not remaining true to God’s word.
                On this Pentecost Sunday check very carefully as to what you believe. Do you believe what the bible says concerning the available power of God? Mark 9:14 “When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. 16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. 17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” 19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” 20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. 28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
                It is foolish to think there are no longer impure / evil spirits in our day. This is where those who do not seek supernatural power from God have been deceived. If the power has stopped, then the demonic must stop also but we know that evil spirits are everywhere therefore we need to be clothed with power from on high to defeat them. For generations the church has been filled with unbelief. Doctrines and theology explain away this lack of power. Doctrines of demons are throughout the church and they deceive many. Jesus said everything is possible for one who believes. You may not believe in cessationism but do you believe there is power available for today? Are you seeking it and waiting for God to then move in power? Are you asking for discernment so you can tell if satan is masquerading among you?
                Power is part of the true church. When you say you are a Christian there is power available to all who believe. Just because you are not seeing it does not mean it is not available to you. This is why Jesus said repent and the kingdom would come near. When the kingdom comes near, power flows. Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” After Pentecost the church was to do the same. Acts 4:12 “The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” Deception has led to a refusal to repent. Because of the church’s rebellion, satan has been allowed for a time to rule the church. Daniel 9:27 “And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” Remember that we are the temple; it is not a building. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”
                The church today is filled with deception and delusion and millions are dying without knowing the truth. The good news is that there is a remnant that will rise up, as God will keep His promise to David. 2 Chronicles 30:6 “People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. 8 Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. 9 If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.” This promise still applies as God does not change but we have to turn from our wicked ways. The other gospel /gods the church has been following have to be demolished. Jeremiah was told Jeremiah 1:9 “I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” When they were about to cross into the Promised Land, Moses said, Numbers 33:51 “When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, 52 drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places.” 2 Corinthians 10:3 “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
                We are at war and surrounded just like King Hezekiah and Judah. We will not win unless we submit to God and follow His plan by believing and obeying His words. King Hezekiah called out to God and said Isaiah 37:15 “And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: 16 “Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 17 Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. 18 “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. 19 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. 20 Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God.” God heard His cry as Isaiah said  “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria, 22 this is the word the Lord has spoken against him: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria, 22 this is the word the Lord has spoken against him: “Virgin Daughter Zion despises and mocks you. Daughter Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee. 23 Who is it you have ridiculed and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel! 24 By your messengers you have ridiculed the Lord. And you have said, ‘With my many chariots I have ascended the heights of the mountains, the utmost heights of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars, the choicest of its junipers. I have reached its remotest heights, the finest of its forests. 25 I have dug wells in foreign lands and drunk the water there. With the soles of my feet I have dried up all the streams of Egypt.’ 26 “Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass, that you have turned fortified cities into piles of stone. 27 Their people, drained of power, are dismayed and put to shame. They are like plants in the field, like tender green shoots, like grass sprouting on the roof, scorched before it grows up. 28 “But I know where you are and when you come and go and how you rage against me. 29 Because you rage against me and because your insolence has reached my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will make you return by the way you came. 30 “This will be the sign for you, Hezekiah: “This year you will eat what grows by itself, and the second year what springs from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 31 Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. 32 For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. 33 “Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria: “He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here. He will not come before it with shield or build a siege ramp against it. 34 By the way that he came he will return; he will not enter this city,” declares the Lord. 35 “I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant!” 36 Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! 37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. 38 One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king.”
                Since this war is not against flesh and blood, we need to be clothed with power from on High because the church has been decimated just like Assyria decimated the lands. The only way we can win this war and be the church God has called us to be is to turn from our wicked ways, and believe God’s word once again. Mark 16 gives us a pretty clear message about the available power. We read it earlier but now we will break it down. First of all this message is prefaced when Jesus said in Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Jesus at the end of Mark says Mark 16:15 “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” When you preach the true gospel, people believe and repent. So how do you know if what you are hearing is the true gospel? Jesus did not say to go and preach and that was it. Just like He gave power to His disciples the first time, the church would go out with power and authority. Luke 9:1 “He gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Jesus goes on to say Mark 16:16 “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” That is what John 3:16 tells us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” Yes your bible might say [The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20.] but it is there so don’t ignore it as the church has done. That is something you can actually cross off in your bible. As I said earlier Mark 16 is the same commission as Matthew 28.
                Jesus said preach the gospel. People then believe the gospel and are saved but this passage keeps going. Jesus then says Mark 16:17 “And these signs will accompany those who believe.” Now we have a problem. People are preaching and those listening are believing what they are being told but there are no signs. There is only one answer to this problem and that is the gospel being preached is not the gospel Jesus preached so the church worships in vain. Picture all the Baptists and all the other denominations that don’t believe there are signs. Then picture all the charismatics who don’t know that the signs they have been given are false. This means millions of people have been deceived. Jesus gives us a clear picture all through the gospels of what the power looks like and the signs that followed. When you see people barking like dogs or falling on their backs or sitting in church for an hour and leaving unchanged, healed or freed from the demon that has hold of your life, you know it is not God because that looks nothing like Jesus. Just because you felt good during a song doesn’t mean the power of God was present. Most people who call themselves Christians have adapted to this powerless gospel that the church is selling so can you really call yourself a Christian if you are following other gospels?
                Jesus doesn’t just say signs will follow; He describes them. Mark 16:17 “In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” It is interesting that most in the church have a problem with the idea or don’t believe a person can lay their hands on another and heal them even though scripture says in the power of the Holy Spirit they can. 1 Corinthians 12:9 “to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.” James 5:14 “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.” Most in today’s church don’t even believe there are demons present in them, let alone drive them out. We also have snake-handling churches and they die when they get bit. That is not what this is talking about. Acts 28:3 “Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.” This passage doesn’t just stop with Paul living, 7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.” Jesus said Matthew 12:28 “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Jesus drove out demons so the kingdom has come. Mark 1:39 “So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.” Mark 3:14 “He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons. Jesus told his disciples Matthew 10:7 “As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” These are supernatural signs not powers of men.
                The true gospel always comes with power and authority. Yes there are some powerful preachers who run their empires with authority but the true signs do not follow. Today the gospel is not being preached and the signs are not following. In the cases where there are signs, they are signs of satan not God. Reading the bible always brings us to a crossroad. Do you believe what it says or do you believe what you are told it says? If you go to a charismatic church, you will be taught a certain way. If you go to a Baptist church you will learn their distinctives. You may even ask questions but you will be set straight or looking for the door. Don’t be afraid to find the door! The real door is narrow and only a few will find it. That narrow door will take you away from other gospels. Luke 13:23 “Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” You need to fear God more than the fear of leaving a church or disappointing someone. Now is the time to be searching because when Jesus returns to take those who truly believe to eternal life or you die, you do not get a second chance even though the rapture people say if you can get through the tribulation you will live. There is no seven-year tribulation like you see on the movies. That is just a fictional movie. There is no rapture where Christians are whisked away. Tribulation is happening now and many are dying without knowing the truth. You need to stand firm on God’s word if you are going to make it. Matthew 24:22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.” Revelation 7:9 “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” Are you going to make it? Have you truly been saved? If you have believed a false gospel you will fall from your so-called secure position. satan has deceived the church into believing there is nothing to worry about. False teachers and their doctrines of demons are everywhere, so pray for discernment.
                Jesus said to the man whose son had an evil spirit. Mark 9:23 “Everything is possible for one who believes. 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Taking the step to fully trust God’s word will give you great peace but there will be trouble around you. People will question your motives, as you will have to make hard decisions to follow wholeheartedly. Jesus said don't be afraid, just believe. God is looking for those who will follow Him with everything they have. 2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” Being committed to a denomination or independent group is not the same. Peter said Mark 10:28 “We have left everything to follow you!” 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.”
               In this time of tribulation due to the church’s rebellion, repent and turn away from man’s way and you will be saved. John 6:47 “Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.” John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” That is a promise. Waiting is hard for most as they want God to move in their own timing not His but to those who wait they Isaiah 40:31 “will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Let this Pentecost Sunday be a reminder of the power that is available to all who believe. Run from the lies that say there is no power or the false power that is present. Matthew 24:12 “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

    Ephesians 1:18 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”