| Was it an illusion?|
I came to a realization.
A time ago--I won't say how long--we had a service where we would have kids baptized in the Holy Spirit. We went through it, the pastor preached on how you want this Holy Spirit baptism, that they'd get this new prayer language, they'd become bolder witnesses, their sports and academics would improve, that they would get this new prayer language, and we did the thing where we lay hands on the kids and encourage them to just start speaking out in the new language. It was thrilling and energetic, but when I think about it, I'm not sure anything happened.
--Before the baptism, we were trying to figure out how to get the kids to be more participative, because it feels so dead. We have a select few who really get into worship, and they're graduating. It's a few months later, and it still feels dead.
--Before this experience, there was barely any preaching on sin and repentance. It's a few months laters, and there's still little--if any at all--preaching on repentance.
--The altar calls for accepting Christ have been without preaching or sign of conviction, few respondents, and last a very short time. After this baptism, the altar calls are still without preaching or sign of conviction, few respondents, and still lasts a very short time. It's still, "You need a relationship with Jesus," and that's it.
This is what struck me: I was reading Meat for Men by Leonard Ravenhill, and here's what he said on p. 24-25:
[i]"[Speaking on the Holy Spirit baptism] The common offer of evangelists these days is this: 'You need power; come to the altar to get it.' This has no more moral appeal, than taking a car for gas and saying to the attendant, 'Fill her up.' This shibboleth brings no moral change or spiritual enduement that would make a sin-sick world and a flabby faltering Church know that the Almighty has visited His people. Obviously He has not."[/i]
When I came to a point wher I wanted to know more about the Holy Spirit, I found John 16:8, which says the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment, and it's one of the very first things that Jesus told us about the Spirit. Reading up on revival, I notice that the first thing the Holy Spirit does when He comes in is that He cleans house. Taverns close down, drunks become sober, addicts become clean, dirty secrets are brought to the surface and repented. Even in our main sanctuary, there's little preaching on sin, getting a light brushover at best sometimes, and I can't help but think if we are bypassing all the necessary preaching on repentance and sin is going unconfronted and unconfessed, we should be seeing a fiery tumult of brokenness over sins if the Holy Spirit did actually come. And it's because I don't see a change, I have to question.
I'd say Mr. Washer said it best: If a person can't possibly be struck by a logging truck without being changed, how could we possibly encounter our even greater God and not be changed?
| 2009/7/7 23:35||Profile|
| Re: Was it an illusion?|
Oh Anastasis. I am thanking God for you and His drawing you closer, giving you a taste of, a taste FOR reality not illusion.
As staggering as it might seem, somehow many that really do seem to know/love/seek God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit miss the death union in the cross in their rush for the Holy Spirit. Its that "NO good thing" that is so hard to come to, so painful. Deep repentance lies there. It is so much easier to just touch the cross with a few specific sins and miss the fullness of the cross in a rush to the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
You are touching on something few seem to speak of. It is somehow easier to see where truth seems to lack the spirit of God, than it is to see where spirit seems to lack the truth of God. Unless it comes to great extremes.
This division in the Body of Truth and Spirit, this reliance on one more than another (or to the exclusion of the other) has grown as a burden on my heart. My time in the Word and prayer often leads there these days. I am no longer satisfied with the realization that Truth without Spirit = you dry up; Spirit without Truth = you blow up; and Truth and Spirit = you grow up. (I heard someone say this long ago and it has often been useful to me and others. Still can be)
The last is Truth but I am thinking that the first two omit something. The Truth and Spirit of God cannot be divided. How could they? Jesus said I am Truth. The Word says the Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. Tonight I am considering: Without the Holy Spirit, the truth is not the Truth of God and without Truth, the spirit is not the Spirit of God.
Another example of the indivisibility of Christ is that when I received Christ He was full of Grace and Truth. If all I give is Truth to another, without Grace, I do not give what I have received, I do not give Christ. (I am not fixed on the way I am conveying things here. I am just following best as I can where He has led in His Word)
John 16:8 is Truth. Do you remember how the cry in revival (Isle of Lewis, etc.) among those that went to church was "Is there mercy for me?" How I agree with the way Ravenhill characterized a deceived attitude in your quote. I would say, if the "flabby faulting church" really came into the presence of the Living God, after the week that they had had, we would be on our faces in a heart beat crying "Woe is me." That was exactly Isaiah's experience.
Maybe these things (the lie about the division of Truth and Spirit) are overlooked because at the time of when Jesus was in flesh, before the Spirit was poured out (Pentecost), there were plenty of Paraphrases (Truth without the Spirit) and Sadducees (tipping their hat to scripture) but the glory had left.
I am comforted in knowing that God works perfectly with each of us, uniquely, both immediately and in a slow saturating way. And I am encouraged tonight that John 18:37 remains true. To this end He came into this world ... and we being still in the world testify to that.
Perhaps one good thing about illusions is that they require a real thing to impose themselves on which means they can be pierced, can be lifted and the Truth revealed.
May God guide you to your perfect place in His Body and empower you to function in His work. (Eph. 2: 10)
| 2009/7/8 4:47||Profile|
| Re: Was it an illusion?|
Thank you for your post. You have described the way our church offers salvation, also. It is far too unthreatening for my liking, and what you said at the end really does clinch exacly how I feel. It compares poorly with the testimony of - for instance - Carter Conlon at Times Square Church, where the higher the bar is raised, the more the kids like it. They are not afraid of commitment to Christ, or what it moight cost them.
Quote:This reminds me of the hilarity a friend of mine enjoyed, at the expense of a large denomination in the UK, two of whose members had been accused of evangelising in an Arabic counrty. The investigatory report dismissed the allegation, saying 'There is no evidence against them'.
And it's because I don't see a change, I have to question.
My friend quippeed, how could one look Paul and Peter in the eye, who had [u]suffered[/u] so [i]much[/i] for the gospel? In fact, would one [i][b]be[/b][/i] admitted to heaven, with 'no evidence' to support one's claim?
| 2009/7/8 5:34|
| Re: Was it an illusion?|
Yes. The devil uses anything to create an illusion, make one feel like this is the genuine thing. It can be [i]anything[/i] that has the appearance of holiness, righteousness.
Washer is right: If a person can't possibly be struck by a logging truck without being changed, how could we possibly encounter our even greater God and not be changed?
Now, I would hope you will not allow this insight be a source of discouragement for you...
| 2009/7/8 6:49||Profile|
| Re: Was it an illusion?|
RE: original post: Anastasis; Thank you for an honest and eloquent post; one that those of us involved in the "Spirit Filled Church" over decades may want to ask, yet be unable to find the courage to ask . I think we fell for an off color idea of what faith really is, and perpetuated our own success willingly as a validation of ourselves; as men and women of God! The alternative, that we were barren, and boringly normal, was far too much to bear; so we created our own reality. We became our own spiritual giants, and legends in our own mind.
Watchman Nee wrote a book ; as he observed the Pentecostal movement in China; THE LATENT POWER OF THE SOUL ; wherein he defined how a collective consciousness could produce real EXPERIENCE. The labeling of this experience is ambivalent, but the key is, it is not from God. Spiritual forces are sometimes able to manipulate folks; for Faith, what you believe, and what you submit to, is a source of great power.
The Holy Spirit will always agree with the Word, and Holy Doctrine; that is why the Word must be taught, preached, understood and obeyed. It is like fruit growing on the Apple tree. It's a slow process, it seems. The Charismatic and Pentecostal movements had..[ has ] an unseen agenda , that when they gather, the blessing and power of the Lord MUST be seen and felt; EXPERIENCED! "We are blessed." "God sure showed up today!" Much of "GOD", was contrived, worked up, and there was a communal consciousness to validate this thought, otherwise you were rejected,;you did not belong, and a person of little faith. It was, in the end, mostly soul power, as it is today.
We have bought into the idea that the church is an event; complete with a master of ceremonies [Pastor], Entertainment [ songs ], and training and education..[preaching }. This then completes our religious duty, and then we return to our lives until we meet again.
The church is not an event,The church our people, saved people. Yes we come together, but primarily we love, and serve one another; and then the meeting follows the church, not the other way around. We need to know one another, and that is why smaller, house meetings are important. You cannot truly know strangers.
We do not have a Priest class, as much as the professionals may espouse their worthiness to preach and teach, and it is these who come up with the scenarios you described, simply to validate their own spirituality, and lord it over you. We are equals, all the way down to the least of the brothers, or the least of the sisters. when that happens, all of this deadness, and deception will flake off. Let us be brave, and go for it.
| 2009/7/8 9:02|
| Re: |
I keep thinking, "You will know them by their fruit." I don't know who said this but I think it fits in this discussion. I have never heard that saying about Truth + Spirit = Growth but I believe it 100%.
I kind of consider myself a freak, I heard the Gospel for the first time at 20 years old (I live in America) when the Gospel was shared with me it was presented along with the filling of the Holy Spirit, I immediately believed and was filled with the Spirit within 30 minutes of accepting an alter call to be saved. So I was saved and filled with the Spirit but had a LONG way to go to decide to actually make Jesus LORD of my life.
I spent many years sinning (about 20), not following God, in fact running from God, but the gift of praying in the spirit was never taken from me. And life was a continual march toward sanctification...I wonder if this would have happened if I had not been filled with the Spirit and just been saved. Being filled with the Spirit was a physically manifestation I could not explain away as a figment of my imagination. And I never doubted the existence of God after that, or Christ as my Savior.
I am in a church and have been discipled for about 6 years now, the church is not Spirit Filled, and I see a lack of repentance of sin, and a lack of growth. There is complete truth at my church but not much Spirit.
| 2009/7/16 20:40||Profile|