Something’s Missing

    A couple of days ago I wrote about the fear of the Holy Spirit that some have. They are afraid that what happened in these videos will happen to them if they welcome the Holy Spirit. Some even take it to the extreme by incorporating this fear into their doctrines. They actually avoid the subject. Yes the videos in the last blog should scare you but you should not be afraid of the Holy Spirit coming in power. The powerless church is not where you want to be. When the true power flows it will look nothing like demonic. There is confusion in the word masquerade. He is masquerading the power. If you look at what Jesus did, it looks nothing like what satan is doing. People falling on their backs like a dog in submission verses people falling on their faces before the almighty in submission. Yes they are falling but it is not the same. People’s heads spinning side to side not bowing in prayer, laughing like an idiot not in the joy of the Lord, drunkenness that resembles - Galatians 5:21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” We must keep in step with the spirit. We also do not want to quench the spirit by terrible teaching.  1 Thessalonians 5:19-22(ESV) Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.”  
                One form of quenching the spirit is by teaching around the subject. On Sunday I preached about Powerless Ism’s. In many cases, these ism’s are hidden by churches in well crafted “What do we believe” statements but if you look into it closely you will see some form of ism there. As I said the belief in these isms affects your belief in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and your response and expectations to him and of him. If you can’t see it in the What Do We Believe section you will see it come out in the teaching. When looking for a church to attend, reading the beliefs and listening to the Holy Spirit is a good start. I do this for everything. Whether it is a mission organization or a church, I want to know what they believe. So recently I have been looking into what certain churches believe and what isms they have indoctrinated. I wanted to know what are their ism’s, such as Calvinism, Aminianism and Dispensationalism to name a few. This usually happens because pastors are trained in a certain way depending on where they were educated. It always comes out in their teaching. Yes on certain subjects many churches sound the same but when you talk about the Holy Spirit, end times, sin, salvation, it comes out. I am amazed at how man’s teachings can be predominant over scripture. God’s word is subtly added to and subtracted from so that it lines up with the ism of choice.
                For example I was looking into one of the isms and came across a church doing a series on the book of Acts. Lots of churches are doing that so obviously since The Rock made a decision last year to be the book of Acts and wait on God to clothe us with power, my interest was heightened. So I read some of the sermons and thought, okay where will they go with this but right away you start to see subtle omissions to scripture. Yes they love the stories of the book of acts, they teach from it so they believe it or do they. Sadly the isms kick in and they change scripture to suit their beliefs. As I started reading I saw wait for the Holy Spirit. I thought this is good as that is what Jesus said to do. But then they said, “Our prayer is not that we long to be the first century church.” Hmmm. Jesus showed us what to do even though we live in a different century so we should do what they did. They talked about the excitement of the book of Acts. I thought that’s good, as we should be excited. They said Jesus said to wait. This is good but like so many this is the part that most churches miss. Yes they were told to go on mission but not before they were clothed with power. That is what it meant at Pentecost, the true presence of the Holy Spirit means power. At the same time they said, heaven comes to earth to transform with the power of heaven to enable us to carry on the mission that we have been given, never in our own strength. Yes, so true. The disciples filled with the Holy Spirit did amazing things like miracles, sermons with boldness, all unschooled ordinary men. Yes keep going! The ultimate question do we believe that today? Yes keep going. People need to repent. Yes keep going. It all started with the unleashing of the spirit of God on his followers with power, a power that awes and we can’t help but respond. This awesome power is demonstrated by serving, loving, caring yes all true but what about the miracles in this list. Oh sorry the next week is about a huge miracle. Yes one of my favourites. Peter and John heal the lame man. The lame man’s life is described as desperate. Yes that would be accurate as 40 years of this is a long time. They had the power and faith through the Holy Spirit given to them at Pentecost to speak healing into this man in the name of Jesus. Yes! Yes! Yes! Instantly he was healed and restored to whole. This man has been saved and given a new lease on life. And then the finale. Here it is, wait for it, this amazing power of the Holy Spirit……… (Drumroll, trumpets whatever.)  They then say and then it is like this lame man’s healing is held up as a giant metaphor for the community to see. The miracle of the healing of this man serves to illustrate the salvation that Jesus has to offer all of us. That is what Peter is getting at here. The lame man typifies humanities helplessness.


          Do I believe in salvation yes but I also believe in the true power of the Holy Spirit to carry the mission clothed in power as described in scripture in that very passage. That's why we wait for power and then go. Mark 16, Luke 10 etc. all state there is power that will follow. When you ism-ize the miracles of scripture down to an analogy about salvation you are doing just what Paul said to Timothy. 2 Timothy 3:5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. This is what happens when there is an ism  (a distinctive doctrine, theory, system, or practice) lurking. How sad that the power of the Holy Spirit has been reduced to just salvation without the miracles. There is so much more available to all who believe, to all who will wait to be clothed with power from on high. The mission cannot be completed without this power. Should we not be praying for that same power and results once again? Instead something all together different is taught because it does not line up with the ism. Sadly many will keep going to churches that teach this way. Can you imagine what would happen if our leaders and our waiters were filled with this power. Acts 5:9 Peter said to Sapphira, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events. 12 The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. Acts 19:11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. And now the waiters turn. Acts 6:3 choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” 5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; 8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. 10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.”  Would it not be amazing if we actually believed what we read in Acts and stop saying that was then this is now?
             Picture the body of Christ, the church operating the way it is supposed to. Mark 16:15 He said to them, “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. Yes read Matthew 28 also as it implies the same. Luke 10:8 “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.’ 17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Don’t settle for anything less than the whole gospel of Jesus Christ. Man’s ismized gospel will leave you powerless.