The Cure For Spiritual Fanaticism

“Some time after Pentecost a group of believers met to pray for strength and power to meet the emergency then facing them, and to enlist the help of God on their behalf. ‘And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness’ (Acts 4:31). Some of these were of the original number filled at Pentecost. It is hardly conceivable that God acted contrary to His own will in filling them again after Pentecost. Still other outpourings are recorded in Acts 8, Acts 10 and Acts 19. All these occurred some years after the original act.

“In brief, the teaching of the New Testament is that the outpouring at Pentecost was the historic beginning of an era which was to be characterized by a continuous outpouring of the Holy Spirit. …

“This anti-emotionalism, though it is sponsored by some good people and travels in pretty orthodox company, is nevertheless an unwarranted inference, not a scriptural doctrine, and is in violent opposition to psychology and common sense. Where in the Bible are feeling and faith said to be at odds? The fact is that faith engenders feeling as certainly as life engenders motion. We can have feeling without faith, it is true, we can never have faith without feeling. Faith as a cold, unemotional light is wholly unknown in the Scriptures. …

“The Holy Spirit is the cure for fanaticism. Not the cause of it.”

—A.W. Tozer, in Paths To Power

8 Quotes From “Light & Truth—Acts and the Larger Epistles”

Light & Truth [Acts]Horatius Bonar had great insight into the application of Scriptures. Check out my review of this commentary from Dr. Bonar by clicking here. Below are a few quotes that caught my attention. The reference in brackets after the quote is the biblical passage on which Bonar is commenting.

“Our Bible is of God; yet it is also of man. It is both divine and human. It comes to us from God’s Spirit; it comes also from man’s spirit. It is written in the language of the earth, yet its words are the words of him ‘Who speaketh it from heaven.’ Natural, yet supernatural; simple, yet profound; undogmatical, yet authoritative; very like a common book, yet very unlike also; dealing often with seeming incredibilities and contradictions, yet never assuming any need for apology, or explanation, or retraction; a book for humanity at large, yet minutely special in its fitnesses for every case of every soul; throughout its pages, from first to last, one unchanging estimate of sin as an infinite evil, get always bringing out God’s gracious mind toward the sinner, even in his condemnation of the guilt; such is the great Book with which man has to do, which man has to study, out of which man has to gather wisdom for eternity.” [Acts 1:1

“One of the great characteristics of the whole interval between Christ’s first and second coming is the world’s rage, secret and open, against the Father and the Son. … It is very useless anger. It accomplishes nothing. It is like an angry child striking a huge rock with its fist. It is the mere display of impotent hatred, or the temporary gratification of their dislike of God, and their rejection of His purpose regarding His Son. … It calls light darkness, and darkness light; good evil, and evil good; but the light and the darkness, the good and evil, still remain as they were. All the enlightenment of the age, all the appliances of modern progress, are impotent against God and His Christ, against His truth, and His church, and His Word.” [Acts 4:25]

“This is one of the many repetitions of the Pentecostal scene which occurred in early days. Most unscriptural is the statement of some that the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost was a thing done once for all, not to be repeated, and that we are not to pray for or expect such things again. The whole of the ‘Acts of the Apostles’ is a direct refutation of this piece of human fancy. Wherever the apostles went there was a repetition of Pentecost, whether at Jerusalem, or Samaria, or Antioch, or Corinth. Every conversion is the repetition of Pentecost; it is doing the same thing for an individual soul as was done for three thousand then, by a similar process, and by the same power—the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Ghost is the heritage of the church. The Old Testament saints possessed Him; and still more the New. This is our heritage, the heritage of every believing man.” [Acts 11:15

“Beware of seeking anything less than the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Our whole life is to be a reception of the Spirit. He is to be continually coming down on us, and filling us. Let us open our mouth wide that He may fill it. Let us beware of anything that would present itself as a substitute for the living Spirit. Many such things may we expect in these last days from satan as an angel of light.” [Acts 11:15]

“We are tempted in our day to be ashamed of the gospel. It is thought to be bare, unintellectual, almost childish by many. Hence, they would overlay it with argument and eloquence, to make it more respectable and more attractive. Every such attempt to add to it is being ashamed of it.” [Romans 1:16

“We must have a righteousness, else we cannot stand before God; we cannot have merely a religion.” [Romans 4:6-8]

“The prodigal did not work for the ‘best robe,’ but got it all ready-made from his father’s hands; Joseph did not work for his coat of many colors, but received it as the gift of his father’s love; Adam did not work for the skins with which the Lord God clothed him: so it is with the sinner in his approach to God, and in God’s approaches to him. ‘Righteousness without works’ is given him; nay, put upon him as a raiment, a divine raiment, to fit him for drawing near to God.” [Romans 4:6-8

“When the night is darkest, and the stars are hidden, and the clouds are black, then we think most of the clear fair day, and long for its dawn. When the storm is roughest, with the waves and wind roaring around the laboring vessel, then we are troubled, and look eagerly out for the glad and sunny calm. When winter binds the earth in its chain of frost, and wraps it in snow and ice, then we begin to ask for spring, with its flowers, and songs, and verdure. So with the saint, as represented by the apostle here. This is night, and storm, and winter to him; he is ever thinking of the day, and the calm, and the spring.” [Romans 8:19-23]

More quotes are here.

No, Virginia, Pentecostals Do Not Swing From Chandeliers

Pastor Bill LeachWow! We had an absolutely amazing service yesterday morning at Calvary Assembly of God! All throughout the service we could feel that the Holy Spirit was moving, and we were all blessed by His presence.

Pastor Bill Leach was our guest speaker, and he used Acts 2 as his text to talk about some of the misconceptions people have about the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and the correct biblical perspective of this empowerment for a Christian’s life. I tried to take notes as fast as I could, so below are the thoughts which especially caught my attention. Pastor Leach’s message was entitled “No, Virginia, Pentecostals Do Not Swing From Chandeliers.”

Our Pentecostal experience must be firmly established in the Word of God. Peter made this clear in his Day of Pentecost sermon (Acts 2:16, 25, 30, 34). This experience is not a fad, but we are involved in the eternal plan of God. So it is an important movement for us to be a part of (Acts 2:39).

When Jesus said “stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4), He said it in the form of a command. Our Savior commands us to receive this Holy Spirit empowerment.

Luke describes the followers of Jesus as being “all together in one place” (Acts 2:1). In other words they were together together. This is a characteristic of followers of Jesus.

God’s temple is not a house, but people. Just as the fire was to be kept burning in King Solomon’s temple, God’s eternal fire fell on His followers on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:3), symbolizing His abiding presence in Christians.

The whole Godhead continually points to and glorifies the other aspects of the Godhead—“This is My Son in Whom I am well pleased”; “The Holy Spirit will testify about Me; and “I have come to glorify the Father.” When man was created God said, “Let Us make man in Our image—worshiping along side Us and enjoying Us!” The baptism in the Holy Spirit empowers us to do this!

Impossible obstacles must give way to the Spirit-anointed trod of the Spirit-baptized Church.

Pentecostals do not swing from chandeliers, but they have yielded their lives to the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, to be Christ’s witnesses and to display God’s glory throughout His creation.

This coming Sunday (May 24) is Pentecost Sunday, and I will be launching a new series about the Holy Spirit called simply The Counselor. Check back on my blog later this week for more details.

Links & Quotes

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Max Lucado told this story―A man was bitten by a dog. When he learned the dog had rabies, he began a list. The doctor said, “There’s no need to make a will—you’ll be fine.” “Oh, I’m not making a will,” he said, “I’m making a list of all the people I want to bite!”

“There is a problem in the church of North America today. The problem is, for the most part, she isn’t hungry for God.” Read more in A Burning Church Is The Only Hope For America.

Evolutionists cannot agree on the mutation rate that holds their theory together.

“You can do two things with pumpkin seeds. Eat them, an excellent source of protein, or plant them, and watch a successful seed bring back 100 more. The farmer who plants the seeds aggressively, without regard for, ‘hey, be careful, I could have eaten that seed,’ often ends up with many more pumpkins and many more seeds. On the other hand, the person who guards all the seeds and then eats them ends up with not much. And of course, money works the same way. Time, too.” —Seth Godin

“According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” ―C.S. Lewis

Good read: Nothing In Constitution Requires States To Redefine Marriage.

John Stonestreet said, “One reason to stand for religious freedom in America is so that we can speak for our persecuted brethren elsewhere. But turning religion in the U.S. into a purely private matter makes coming to the aid of our persecuted brethren less, not more, likely.” Read the rest of his commentary here.

8 Quotes About The Holy Spirit From “God’s Pursuit Of Man”

God's Pursuit Of ManA.W. Tozer shows how important the Holy Spirit is in bringing us into a deeper relationship with the fullness of the Godhead in his book God’s Pursuit Of Man. Check out some quotes on this subject.

“One of the most telling blows which the enemy ever struck at the life of the Church was to create in her a fear of the Holy Spirit.” 

“The true Christian ideal is not to be happy but to be holy. The holy heart alone can be the habitation of the Holy Ghost.”

“For the Holy Spirit is not a luxury, not something added now and again to produce a deluxe type of Christian once in a generation. No, He is for every child of God a vital necessity, and that He fill and indwell His people is more than a languid hope. It is rather an inescapable imperative.” 

“God will not surprise a doubting heart with an effusion of the Holy Spirit, nor will He fill anyone who has doctrinal questions about the possibility of being filled.”

“If the Spirit takes charge of your life He will expect unquestioning obedience in everything. He will not tolerate in you the self-sins even though they are permitted and excused by most Christians. By the self-sins I mean self-love, self-pity, self-seeking, self-confidence, self-righteousness, self-aggrandizement, self-defense.”

“However wonderful the crisis experience of being filled with the Spirit, we should remember that it is only a means toward something greater: that greater thing is the lifelong walk in the Spirit, indwelt, directed, taught and empowered by His mighty Person.”

“We must make our thoughts a clean sanctuary for His holy habitation. He dwells in our thoughts, and soiled thoughts are as repugnant to Him as soiled linen to a king.” 

“The Spirit indwelt life is not a special deluxe edition of Christianity to be enjoyed by a certain rare and privileged few who happen to be made of finer and more sensitive stuff than the rest. Rather, it is the normal state for every redeemed man and woman the world over.”

You can read some other quotes from this book by clicking here.

You can read my review of God’s Pursuit Of Man by clicking here.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading & viewing from today…

As the fellowship I grew up in celebrates its 100th anniversary, I love reading quotes like this: “Worldwide, 95% of Assemblies of God adherents lived outside the United States in 2013. In the U.S., over 41% of Assemblies of God adherents were non-white. In the U.S., the white constituency has decreased by 34,922 over the past ten years, while the number of non-white constituency has increased by 433,217.

An excellent post for unmarried people, and the friends who care about them: 4 Lies Single People Need To Stop Believing.

[VIDEO] Millions of dollars in “humanitarian aid” for the Palestinian people has been hijacked by Hamas to build tunnels into Israel for their terrorist schemes.

“God’s sovereignty means that His design for us cannot be frustrated. Nothing, absolutely nothing, befalls those who love God and are called according to His purpose, except what is for our deepest and highest good (Romans 8:28; Psalm 84:11).” —John Piper

“Since God does in fact address man in His Word, He obviously regards him as addressable in spite of the fact that man as a sinner closes his ears and heart to Him.” —Karl Barth

Your gift makes you a servant, not a master.” Read more in: Use Your Knowledge To Serve Others.

“In a time when everything in the world seems to be vanity, God is depending on us to proclaim that He is the great Reality, and that only He can give meaning to all other realities.” —A.W. Tozer

Revival

I heart my churchAs I consider the Pentecostal heritage in which I was raised (and our fellowship’s 100th anniversary), I’ve been thinking about revival. Here are a few quotes I have been pondering…

“As a historian, three things increasingly impress me about awakenings in church history: first, that they really do occur, and—from medieval, monastic revivals through classic evangelical awakenings to modern Pentecostal renewal—they really have brought great benefit to the church. Second, revivals tend to exaggerate, so that along with the real benefit often come increased problems like exalted opinions of one’s self in God’s general design. Third, most of the circumstances that have made a permanent difference in spreading the Gospel and deepening the church’s understanding of the Gospel have taken place in ordinary church settings rather than revivals.” —Mark Noll, historian

“Love for people doesn’t merely say, ‘Here’s the seed, take it or leave it.’ Love pleads, love persuades, and love prays. Love prays until its dying breath for that wonderful, ordinary work of the Spirit to save one here and one there, month after faithful month. And love prays for that extraordinary outpouring of the Spirit that we call revival. … Let us pray without ceasing and labor without sparing for the greatest blessing on this day’s sowing, that it would be blessed with reaping, and that it would be a part of God’s plan to bring extraordinary seasons of harvest and holiness to the church and to the nations.” —John Piper

“You often find people in the world are more desirable, easier to get on with, than people in the Kingdom. There is frequently a stubbornness, a self-opinionativeness, in Christians not exhibited by people in the world. If there is to be another Revival it will be through the readjustment of those of us on the inside who call ourselves Christians.” —Oswald Chambers

What do you think?

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