Saturday, December 26, 2015

You Are Not Irrelevant, Part 1

the test of being ignored

One of Satan’s most effective weapons against those who are walking in the light is to inspire people to ignore them, to try to make them feel inconsequential, unimportant, and irrelevant.  But no one walking in the light of God is irrelevant; they are accomplishing wonderful things even if they don’t know it.  Israel lost its way in the Old Testament when the nations made them feel irrelevant.  They began to think of themselves the way the world thought of them, and began changing how they lived so that the Gentiles would consider them to be worthwhile.  When the Spirit of God fell on Balaam, he said that Israel would “not be reckoned among the nations,” and they never were.  That is why the nation of Israel is only rarely mentioned in ancient heathen documents.
If a person is ignored, he can begin to wonder if he is worth anything, or if he really has a worthwhile purpose in life.  And if being ignored continues a long time for him, the pressure on him to conform and to please those who are ignoring him can become very heavy.  Such a person can forget who he is if he tried to change himself to be what others want him to be, but if he does forget, and if he ceases to be who he really is, he will never be happy, even if others stop ignoring him.
The principal message that God’s people need to hear is the truth about who they are, for they have forgotten.  They have forgotten that they are God’s people because He baptized them with the holy Ghost and they began to speak in tongues, not because they performed a ceremony and joined a church.  God’s people do not know that, and in pursuing church religion instead of life in the Spirit, they are trying to be relevant in a world filled with man’s religions.
The truth about the baptism of the holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues being the new birth is needed.  We have done more to get that truth out than anybody on the earth that I know of.  The book I wrote, Speaking in Tongues at Spirit Baptism, is an important book.  It shows many Old Testament prophecies of that new birth experience, along with New Testament references to it.  We have sent out, in this country and beyond, close to fifty thousand copies by now, including copies to every Pentecostal or Charismatic person or pastor that we were able to find.  And our biggest response has been that we are ignored.  It’s Satan’s old tactic against God’s people, hoping to make us change from following after the Spirit and pursue church religion instead.  But it is not working, and it will not work as long as Jesus continues to keep us encouraged.

Baptism of the Spirit

In Acts 1, Jesus told his disciples, “John indeed baptized with water, but you will be baptized with holy Spirit not many days from now.”  Then, in Acts 2, we find this: “When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all in one accord, in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven like a violent, rushing wind.”  In other words, when the holy Ghost came, it sounded like a roar.  If the author of Acts had known about trains, he might have said it sounded like a train coming.  That’s how people often describe the noise that tornados make, as trains, powerful and rushing, and that is the sound they heard on Pentecost morning.  That sound “filled the whole house where they were sitting.  And there appeared to them divided tongues like fire, and it sat upon each one of them, and they were all filled with holy Spirit, and they began to speak in other tongues as the spirit moved them to speak.”  In Acts 1, Jesus called that experience the “baptism of the holy Ghost” when he told his disciples that they would receive it.
Of this baptism, Paul later would say, “For by one Spirit were we all baptized into one body” and “Do you not know that you are baptized into Christ?” and “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”  So, if what they received on the day of Pentecost was the baptism of the Spirit – and Jesus said it was – and if Paul said the baptism of the Spirit puts us into Christ, then we know what the new birth is: the baptism of the holy Ghost!  Why have God’s people invented doctrines to make people think they are in Christ before they receive it?  I can tell you: they have invented doctrines to make people believe they are right with God before receiving the holy Ghost baptism in order to be accepted as relevant so that they will stop being ignored.
We are “baptized into Christ”!  And we are “baptized into the body of Christ”!  When we receive that baptism, we are born again; when we receive that baptism, we are converted; when we receive that baptism, our sins are washed away; when we receive that baptism, our hearts are circumcised by the Spirit and we become children of God.  To bring God’s people back to this fundamental truth, this long-forgotten resting-place of the soul, is a difficult task, but it is the work that Jesus has given me and my congregation to do.  If we somehow manage to communicate that single truth to God’s people, then the door out of the confusion of Christianity will at last be opened to them.  And if they obey the Father’s call to come out of confusion, they may well suffer the test of being ignored, but they will be too happy and free to care much about it.