is your church green yet?

“By the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail. They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.” Ez. 47:12

A homeschool co-op class my child is taking is meeting at a Church building. As we were heading to the meeting room, I passed the “sanctuary” of the Church building. People were busy unpacking boxes, putting up greens, wreaths, decorations of all kinds.

The “sanctuary” room looked almost identical to the last Church business I attended. Old (dead) wood, 1950’s architecture, pews, carpet, “stage”, pulpit, drums, American flag, Christian flag, stained glass windows, hymnals, order of service, tax-deductible donation envelopes………….even that same musty old smell. It was almost like stepping back in time. It was a weird déjà vu.

The pastor’s wife was hanging decorations on the wall. She cheerfully said to me, “Yes things are really coming together here today! We are greening up the Church today! So is your Church green yet?”

JOY filled me! I raised my arms up, and with a smile I told proclaimed,

“I am always green!
I have the Spirit of Jesus living in me!”

it’s not all these things

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Rom14:17

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking

((sabbaths, customs, rituals, shadows, traditions, new
moons, seasons, holy days, conferences, parties, festivals, holidays, this food or that))

but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Rom14:17

 

 

shamed

So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. Acts5:41

In The Church I was shamed by the pastor for rightly discerning false teaching the camp and boldly calling it out. (Warning & exposing the darkness.)

In The Church I was shamed by the pastor for caring for and helping suffering Christians. (Loving one another; loving Christians.)

In the assembly (ekklesia) , I know that I am allowed to use my spiritual gifts that He has given me, as He leads me by His Spirit, to be a witness to the world, boldly preach truth,  to minister to & help the suffering, and to edify the saints.

And there, I am not shamed for doing so.

Witnessing and the Holy Spirit

Over the last few weeks I was within the hearing of some anointed Gospel street preaching (as well as Bible preaching in church) by men filled with the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, there is no true witnessing or Gospel proclamation. I’m exhibit A of the train wreck that occurs when attempting to witness without the power of the Holy Spirit.

There is so much to this extremely important topic; it is vital to learn it and live it if we are to be useful to God as His vessels. He fills His clay pots with the Holy Spirit. Only then are they used. This gives God all the glory! We know all true believers are indwelt and sealed with the Holy Spirit. I am speaking here of the filling or empowering of the Holy Spirit for fruitful service, which comes by faith, prayer, repentance and obedience. Here are a few quotes from “The Church’s Greatest Need”, by E. Reisinger.

The Holy Spirit is the source of all spiritual witnessing and all spiritual worship; He is also the “Divine Agent of Evangelism”.

The power of the church for her external work will be proportionate with the power which dwells within herself.

Gauge the power of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers and you may fairly judge their influence upon unbelievers.

We ourselves, must first drink of the living water before the rivers of living water will flow out to the unconverted.

Without the Spirit there will be no conviction. Without the Spirit there will be no conversions. Without the Spirit there will be no Spiritual growth. Without the Spirit all preaching and witnessing is in vain.

The Holy Spirit at Pentecost produced powerful evangelistic preaching.

The answer is Spirit-breathed, Christ-centered, Bible preaching in the power and unction (anointing) of the Holy Spirit. Only the Spirit can bring conviction.

..if He does not so work we should search ourselves to see what it is that hinders, and whether there may not be somewhat in ourselves which vexes Him, so that He restrains His sacred energy and does not work among us as He did before. (He is referring to repentance.)

No acceptable action of the Christian life can be performed without the Holy Spirit.

The Bible makes two things very, very clear in connection with the fulness and power of the Spirit. First, prayer (Luke 11:13). Secondly, obedience (Acts 5:32).

The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods but through men. He does not anoint plans but men.

Knowledge comes by studying. Power comes by prayer and fasting.

Everything that grieves the Spirit must be put away. (He is again referring to repentance of sins.)

We will not have the power of the Holy Spirit without importunate earnest prayer (Acts 1:14 preceded Acts 2; Luke 11:9-13).

You might also like to see the post, The Power of the Holy Spirit, and listen to The Holy Spirit is the Witness, by Joseph LoSardo.

Our Prophetic Calling

There are some that think that only certain special (elite?) Christians are “anointed”. They call themselves “prophets”. These claim to have subjective, personal, authoritative “prophecies” and “words from God”. Unfortunately, many of these “prophecies” are fake and unbiblical. Does this negate true prophecy in our time?

Bob DeWaay’s Critical Issues Commentary is a newsletter of theological essays addressing unbiblical teachings and movements in the church. One issue I appreciate is The Prophetic Calling of Every Believer from July/August 2006.

In this article, DeWaay explains that under the New Covenant, every believer has the Holy Spirit and may prophesy. He teaches that prophesy is speaking the actual written Word of God, declaring Truth from scripture and proclaiming the terms of the gospel, as well as valid implications and applications of authoritative scripture. He says that every believer who accurately (biblically) proclaims the terms of the gospel, or any Biblical truth, is prophesying with the full authority of God:

“The Reformation view was that prophecy was the teaching of the Word and proclamation of the terms of the gospel. Since every believer has the Holy Spirit, every believer….can authoritatively declare the terms of entrance into the kingdom. All are anointed and all have the authoritative teachings of Christ and His apostles. Therefore they may prophesy.”


He goes on to teach that all prophesy can and must be judged by other believers regarding whether it is biblical or not, and why this judging is so important.

One function of prophesy, he teaches, is for believers to be edified, as we see in 1 Cor.14:31: For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted.

Another theme in the article is that the proclamation of the gospel to the lost is prophesy in its most important form, since it testifies about the person and work of Jesus Christ. DeWaay writes:

“Let me illustrate. If I say to someone, “According to the Law of God, everyone is a sinner and stands condemned as a law-breaker. The penalty for all law-breakers is eternity in hell. Since you, like everyone else, have broken God’s law, you stand condemned. God is perfectly just and cannot lie. God said that the soul that sins must die. But God is also loving and merciful. So God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, came into human history through the virgin birth, lived a sinless life, and shed His blood on the cross to avert God’s wrath against sin, and was bodily raised from the dead and appeared to many witnesses. If you repent of living for self, trusting self, and spurning God’s Word and put your faith in Jesus Christ, you will be saved. But if you neglect God’s offer of salvation through the finished work of Christ, you will face God’s wrath in eternity and there will be no escape.” –- I have truly prophesied in a most powerful and true way. Those words are not inspired Scripture, but they are valid implications from Scripture. They have the authority of God not because I uttered them, but because they correctly describe the certainty of the consequences of either faith or unbelief. When they are applied to a given sinner, they constitute a valid and authoritative application.”

“True prophesy comforts and strengthens faithful believers, warns straying believers, and convicts the lost of their sinful condition.”

If you are in Christ, you have the Holy Spirit. You are anointed. You may boldly declare the truth of scripture and proclaim the gospel. As His disciple, you have the authority, power and calling to prophesy.

When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me. John15:26

you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses…Acts1:8

For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Rev19:10

A Man on Fire

My youngest had a tournament baseball game Friday afternoon, and after I parked my car near the field to go watch, a man came out of the house I parked in front of, letting me know that all the stuff in his driveway is for sale: old cabinets and bookshelves; but that’s not all! He also has a garage full of old bikes he’s restored and they are for sale. I told him I did want a bicycle and he said he had a pretty restored beach cruiser with my name on it. He also does odd jobs & handyman work. I asked if he had a business card and he said he was out right now but needs to print up more. So we started talking, and I don’t remember who first brought up spiritual things, but before long it became obvious that not only was this man a saint, he was totally “on fire”, as we say.

He was so excited to find out I was a believer and he practically burst out in praise to God, declaring the gospel with scripture and exalting Jesus Christ. We encouraged each other with telling each other scripture we had memorized that declares truth- doctrines of man, Christ, the gospel and more. He also told me some of his testimony. It was church on the street with praise to God, declaration of His Word and fellowship-encouragement happening right there on the street. The man was on fire with the Holy Spirit, bursting with joy and the desire to preach to me! Not only does this brother need regular fellowship so he is not alone in his walk, but I was thinking, “This man is on fire to preach the gospel and glorify Christ, let’s get him together with others for outreach.”

Being with others when sharing the gospel is a blessing because not only do the spiritually needy hear the gospel, but we are even more encouraged to preach or share the gospel when we hear others also doing so. It is encouraging to witness believers on fire. I know that is the case for me. I’m putting this man on my “saints in the neighborhood to encourage and keep in touch with” list. And yeah, I’m still thinking about that pretty beach cruiser.

Keys to Biblical Evangelism

Here is an interesting article by Mike Ratliff:

Don’t answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes. (Proverbs 26:4-5 WEB)

Evangelism that is biblical is not numbers or results based as if it is a process we can control through methodology. The seeker-sensitive form of evangelism, on the other hand, is totally numbers or results based, and, therefore, uses methodologies to boost perceived effectiveness by increased numbers of “decisions for Christ.” The seeker-sensitive form of evangelism assumes that God is helpless to save anyone outside of their efforts. It ignores passages such as John 3:5-8 and Ephesians 2:1-10.

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can’t enter into the Kingdom of God!That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don’t marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don’t know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8 WEB)

In this passage, Jesus tells us that people are Born Again by the Spirit and His work in this is like the wind which no one can control or perceive.

Read the rest of the article here.