The Motivations to Lay Up Treasures In Heaven

Jesus teaches this extensively and we all know we should do it, but it’s very counterculture, counter intuitive and everything in our lives. Why? Because of the way we are fallen beings from God, and also we face a very “me” generation and culture, self-actualization, expressive individualism, to be the authentic you, you must live out what’s inside of you.

The whole thing ties back to what we really believe where our happiness lies. Jesus is saying your heart will be where your treasure is. Here are some motivations:

  1. It’s a command of God with promises of eternity

Matthew 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

No Christian should live in a material world with a materialistic worldview and lifestyle. Because that will make us look like not authentic Christian. It’s what defines a Christian, generosity to help the needy. I must admit, there have not been many teachings from the Pentecostal world that teach me that, but in the reformed world. Don’t pour your hearts into the things of the world, but seek after the Kingdom of God, where it will all last forever.

2. Worldly treasures will evaporate but heavenly treasures last forever

Jesus is asking us to put our hearts in heaven. Not on earthly treasure. Why? Because earthly treasures can be destroyed, stolen, vanish, but heavenly treasures will never disappear and will last forever. How?

Why would you labor for something that don’t last? Its very short sighted, temporary, quick instant gratification. We need to sit down and meditate over God’s word until it births something on fire by the Holy Spirit. It wont show up, until we are convicted by the Spirit from the word of God. As a matter of fact, I made an offering to charity as I prepared this exposition for this blog. I felt convicted and I acted. I broke something.

3. God will take care of our needs by the providence of God

Luke 12:28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

Jesus exhorted us not to seek after the things material things like food drink, clothes and not to be worried, wow, how we all like the last word. Jesus said “Don’t worry about life!” But what’s his basis for saying that? What’s his assurance and rational to convince us? His basis for saying that is that looking at the grass, God clothed them and even better than Solomon’s riches, what else to say about men and women created by God, being the highest creatures created in God’s image?? That’s the point he’s driving at. So once you are convinced that God will really take care of you, you won’t have to worry about your next meal, your clothing’s etc., not to worry about your medical conditions, etc., then He is asking you , therefore, to NOT to seek after these things, as your Father knows you need them. God will provide. Then He went after the ultimate he wants us to get.

4. It’s God’s pleasure to give his Kingdom to people who treat earthly possessions lightly and are willing to give to the needy

32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

He said, Fear not. You know its fear that locks us down. Because of what’s been explained before, Jesus goes even a step further in his assurance, reassurance. He calls us “Little flock”. I don’t think this means small number. But it means He treats us like little children before God. He says that it is Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. Matthew 19:14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Wow, that’s big. Give us the kingdom? What does that means?

Luke 28 “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, 29 and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, 30 that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Here Jesus says I assign you the kingdom. What does that mean? He said as the Father assigned him the Kingdom, He assigns it to us! How generous is Jesus! He had to die to get that, and we just believe and get it?

Matthew 25: 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,

Do you see how Jesus connected those who inherit the kingdom of God with those who feed the hungry, welcome strangers? See how important it is to feed the poor and help the homeless and widows? Christians must make it a priority to donate money to help them, and not sit in our comfortable homes only and give out tithes and offerings to church. That’s building the treasure of heaven!

Jesus, the King says to those on the right, come and inherit the kingdom prepare for you from the foundation of the world. That’s pretty amazing! The kingdom prepared for us who believe in him from the foundation of the world. That means when God created the world, he already planned a kingdom for us to inherit! Wow! This is the awesome sovereign God who predestined us the elect to enjoy the kingdom for eternity.

Religion in American Politics

Carl Truman wrote:  After all, an evangelicalism that finds voting for Trump (or Biden) to be a moral imperative for all, and a Catholic hierarchy that allows Biden to oppose with impunity so many of its cherished teachings, would not seem to be particularly pungent in their Christian distinctiveness. Is such “Christianity” merely secularism in a religious key? [1]

No, Christianity is not merely secularism in a religious key in America. Though there were moments of confusion, and excesses, like all countries have, but American religious input in politics is probably one of the last bastions in God’s sizable footprint in its social economic life and expressed valiantly in politics. Different from European politics, where religion is so far away from politics, understandably how folks with an European background may feel in this. But America must continue to keep her religious fervor for some very good reasons, example, for the protection of the unborn and religious liberty, and when I say religious, I mean the spiritual life of millions of evangelical Christians, including the Catholics. No matter how superficial they may look in the two presidential candidates in their spiritual life, the God ordained spiritual religious values must be preserved in the whole land where folks say “In God we trust”, and “God bless America”, a voice of such is fast fading out in many parts of the world. Admittedly, our presidential candidates are far from ideal, guess when was the last time we had one? In the US or any country in the world? But don’t throw out or surrender the little that we have.

Even as we speak now, Justice Amy Barrett has just been confirmed tonight as the newest Supreme Court justice, a woman of solid conservative constitutions originalist, faithful as a charismatic Catholic, you can’t ask for more. Apparently, she is the most impressive SCOTUS candidate the senate has seen, voiced by many of the Republican senators. How did that happen? That happened because we have a president that pushed for godly conservative originalist justice, and he’s kept his words. It does make a huge difference! Actions speak louder than words!

The protection of the unborn will go to the Supreme court very soon, and the time has come for God to ordain his acts to save any more killing of the unborn. Religious liberty is facing a constant assault from the left wing politicians, academia, liberal, and progressive, and Biden even advocated for a 7 years old the choice to have his or her sex changed. Transgenderize to a level that makes even a liberal shake. That’s what we have to deal with today.

Where is God in all these? God is watching over us and making his next move. Don’t ever forget the doctrine of Providence, i.e. God provides and watch over us. He protects us. It may not seem to be understandable why God let this Roe V Wade passed many years ago resulted in thousands and thousands unborn baby death, we will have to put our trust in our sovereign big God. In fact, He has watched over us and protected in so many things in our lives, in our nation. Look around, and give praise to our God. When David was down, he questioned God, but he turned around exulting in God’s faithfulness and his steadfast love. We must put our faith in God.

Finally, the whole question is whether we should have Christian politicians that profess the name of our God into election? Of course, we want that, however dented it may be. For Biden, it’s not only dented, it’s all crooked. For Trump, his personal characters fall short substantially of his narcissistic and self-egoist character, plus his infidelity and past 3 marriages past. But you know, he put in the most conservative supreme court judges and changed the nation. He defended religious liberty from the onslaught of the sexuality transgenderism onslaught, etc. Bottom ,line, his actions are far better than his bombastic character and the flaws and sinful life of the past. I think we can eat that, and continue to praise God.

I also recommend Al Mohler’s article where many of my thoughts are in agreement with. https://albertmohler.com/2020/10/26/christians-conscience-and-the-looming-2020-election

Al Mohler puts it beautifully and convincingly: “Let me be as clear as I know possible: President Trump’s behavior on Twitter and his divisive comments and sub-presidential behavior are an embarrassment to me. Constantly. His arrogance and ego and constant need for adulation drive me to distraction. But character is some strange combination of the personal, the principled, and the practical. Let me put it another way—I cannot accept the argument that a calm man who affirms the dismembering of babies in the womb has a superior character to a man who rants like Genghis Khan but acts to preserve that life. In my ideal world, I would vote for a candidate in whom the personal, the principled, and the practical earn my admiration. I do not live in that world. I live in this world, and I must act accordingly.” [2]


Go and Vote Wisely America. God bless America.


[1] Carl Truman, https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2020/10/trump-biden-and-religion-in-american-politics

[2] Al Mohler, https://albertmohler.com/2020/10/26/christians-conscience-and-the-looming-2020-election

Moral Depravity is all about losing sight of the Holiness of God

Moral Depravity is all about the losing sight of the Holiness of God

The pope of Catholic Church , Pope Francis endorsed civil union of same sex couples today on Oct 21, 2020. This is shocking and extremely disturbing for the head of one of the largest Christian bodies in the world to endorse something that the Bible prohibits. He’s big on helping the poor , immigrants whether legal or illegal, social justice even before the gospel, he’s more like the liberal politician in many ways. 


What happens to the high view of scripture of the Catholic faith? Or do they have that? I can’t help penning down my quick thought in this.


End time or the last days  has been prophesied to be very godless and far from the Godly values our God teaches. We have been warned, but this goes beyond that warning as far as I am concerned, this has gone beyond the league altogether. For the Pope of a faith like Catholic that protects the unborn, that fights for holiness, marginalized, homeless, widows, orphans etc. to have come to that level of Pope Francis is frankly speechless and very disappointing, disturbing and may I add hurting to the millions of Catholics and Protestants alike around the world. What kind is message do we send to the world? And what the Lord thinks of him as he chants his daily rosery? As he makes prayer to Mary? As he makes prayer to Saint Peter? I cannot fathom the kind of faith and/or bible that he reads as the highest official of Catholic in the world.


Already as it is, we have seen Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglicans and blah blah blah split because of gay marriage and union . Can you think of another issue that has split the body of Christ more? 


This issue cannot be more explicitly expounded by Paul in Rome 1 and many others and it’s labeled as abomination, Gods word, not mine.

God gave them up to dishonorable passions

Romans 1:26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Read carefully-this is God gave them over to dishonorable passions! Women exchanged natural relations to unnatural. Men gave up relations with women, and be consumed with passion for men, and committing shameless acts with men, and received the due penalty. Shameless! Now notice, did they turn to homosexuality on their own? Not from these verses. It’s God gave them over. Why? The reason is this:

Romans 1:22–24 (NIV)

22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

Because they exchanged God’s glory to the glory of mortal human beings. In other words, instead of worshipping God, they started worshipping themselves, pleasures, power, sex, or anything in life apart from God. But how do they worship? When they become so overpowering in their lives, that’s worship, that’s an idol. Then God gave them over. I can’t explain the real connection here, but I can tell you there is a direct action involvement from God. Any Christian gone into same sex lifestyle, will have to go through some process with God. My thesis is they lost sight of God, how? Example, when girlfriend becomes more important than God. When boyfriend becomes more important than God. Etc.

What else do we need as Christians? On this! We should choose side , either be a Christ believer and follower and follow his scripture or be of the world and disavow the scriptures and do whatever you want, just don’t drag the name of the church with them. Sad! 


But this is the devil’s deception and spiritual warfare in the last days especially as godlessness is on the rise. Godlessness means minus God and take him out of the equation and conversation of our daily life.

2 Timothy But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good

2 Peter 2: if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);

The sensual conduct of the wicked. We know what happened there in Sodom.

Genesis 19: Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

This is homosexuality. The men from every part of Sodom surrounded the house of Lot that night, and asked Lot for the 2 angels, calling for them to come out so they can have sex with them. Shocking! And God rained down Sulphur and burned down every depraved men in that city that night.

Genesis 19: 23 By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land.—God rained won burning Sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah, and destroyed all those living in the cities. That’s what God did to them in Sodom.

This godlessness today is so strong and subtle and culturally wrapped that it’s almost suffocating for many to even voice their opinion in church. I mean in church! I don’t mean NY Times! For God’s sake, we should wake up and not be drowned by the society and the worldly cultural forces that come against the church in such ferocious ways. Arise church! Make a stand! Make a choice and let Jesus separate the wheat and tare in these last day. (Matt 13:24-30)


Let me emphasize, it’s all about God. It’s not even about one’s sexuality. It’s not the SSA per se, but above anything, are we returning to God with our heart cry and humility? Or do we want to intellectually argue our ways based on human and cultural perception and emotions, rather than God’s will and teaching? Do we get to bend and turn the scripture as we see fit to fit our agenda and fleshly desire in this word. God says be holy because I am holy. Bottom line the God of this word is a holy God! 

Leviticus 11: 44 I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground. 45 I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.

Unless we can say that Yahweh, Jesus Christ is our God, it will be impossible to beef up your own will power to stay holy in this very sensual world we live in. That’s why God says, “I am the Lord your God.” That’s the must happen, the fundamental. Its God Vs darkness. Choose God.


Praying and lamenting. 

The God Man Jesus with his epic battle with Satan

Matt 4 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’ ”11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

I was reading my devotional this morning on Matt 4, and as I read this passage, my spirit was enraged, feeling angry on the audacity of Satan in offering the kingdom of the world to Jesus if he would fall down and worship him!!! Look at that! That shamefully is the most audacious and disgraceful statement from a mere creation, though holding great power, to the Almighty God, the creator. And you know what brought the Son of God himself to such dire undignified stage? YOU, and I. Yes, it’s for the love of mankind that Jesus emptied himself of the heavenly glory and throne, and came to this earth, to be tempted and humiliated and engaged in these titanic epic warfare’s that few talks about.

Philippians 2:Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Why? It took a lot of humility in the mind of God-Man, to swallow that despicable words, “if you will fall down and worship me”. Those words are too much to take. Imagine, you were the Son of a millionaire landlord who owns a thousand acres of vineyard, and your dad hired thousands of employees in the farmland. One day, you visited your dad’s farmland, and was greeted by the thousands of employees, and the manager of these employees came to you and said, “Come and fall down to me and I will give you the entire farmland.” You go, “Excuse me! Who are you? You are only an employee! I am the owner’s son!”. This is exactly what happened in that transaction between Jesus and Satan in those exchange of words, which I found most offensive in the last exchange. How do you like to be in Jesus’s situation? It just makes you to be strong if you ever faced any persecutions or mocking’s in the world because of Christ. Look at him! He will give you strength.

How did Jesus take that? He made or offered himself to be vulnerable to Satan’s temptation, when he didn’t have to. He could have terminated Satan on the spot, but he didn’t. He is God! But at that point, he was tempted as a man. He is not just God at that point, he is God-Man. God cannot be tempted, but man can. Jesus was tempted in the capacity of a man! That’s where all the actions happened. Jesus represented the tribe of Adam to recoup the glory and power that Adam lost. You must have a man to defeat Satan because Satan defeated a man before, Adam. It’s like David and Goliath’s battle. If David lost, all of Israel perished and went under Philistines. If David won, and Goliath lost, all of Philistines would come under Israel. David is the representative head of Israel. Jesus was the representative head of mankind. He was the 2nd Adam. To recoup the lost glory of mankind. All of the kingdoms of the world been lost to Satan in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve yielded to Satan’s temptation and handed over the dominion of the earth that God originally gave to Adam. But Adam lost that dominion to Satan. Good news is, 2000 years ago, the Son of God himself came in the form of a man, became the second Adam, and wrought the Kingdom of the world back to God and brought in the whole race of Adam into God’s family again, through his death on the cross, when he became the substitute death for mankind. He redeemed mankind by his shed blood, and he was resurrected on the 3rd day, glory to God.

Is that glorious? It took his blood to accomplish this task. The biggest and most glorious task was accomplished on the cross, far larger than the crossing of the Red Sea in Exodus. Jesus brought the whole tribe of mankind out of the kingdom of darkness of Satan, into his own Kingdom of light with his Father.

That epic battle with Satan is all in the mind and spirit. It wasn’t through some weapons. It’s the battle of the mind and will. Jesus won! That’s the 2nd most epic battle, with the final most epic one is on the cross when he shed his blood and after being beaten severely, he yielded his spirit to God the Father. And he said “It’s finished!”.

Luke 23: 44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.

Amen and Amen. Praise and glory to Jesus!

We want the Biblical Texts and the Spiritual Gifts Experiences

Keener writes, “While careful study of scriptures helps counter the unbridled subjectivism of popular charismatic excesses, study that does not lead to living out biblical experience in the era of the Spirit misses the point of biblical texts.” [1]

The Unbridled Subjectivism of popular charismatics excesses

This is the biggest problem among charismatics. There is much openings for inadvertent or temptations in going into excesses, because you are dealing with the supernatural which is by faith, a little blur, a little unclear. Unless you have clear doctrinal teachings that ground you, the feelings of the flesh will emerge once in a while, and somewhat overtakes the spirit within us. Because it’s blur, unclear, there seems to be room to ‘help’ the Holy Spirit, so to speak, making it completely unacceptable, deviant from the Scriptures. This causes great damage to the reputation of charismatics and Pentecostals. So much so many charismatics simply retrieve from it, effectively being by name charismatics. But functioning essentially as a non-charismatics. The sense I am taking to draw the line, is really in exercising the gift of the Holy Spirit that defines a so called Pentecostals or charismatics.

The key word here is “subjectivism”, which is the opposite of “objectivism”. Being subjective can become the opinion of the person doing it, instead of operating under the doctrinal watch of scriptures. Take for example, the entire ‘prosperity doctrine’ is popularized by some faith preachers that uses the power of the proclamation of the word of God because of the power in your confession. There is power in your spoken words, but it’s taken too far. So faith preachers recently in America just proclaimed that virus Covid 19 to disappear in the Name of Jesus in TV and when I saw that, it really looks like an excess of the faith preachers. This is being laughed upon by some reformed preachers in twitters, and it is causing damage to charismatics reputation. Confessing of the word is used in :

Romans 10 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

The power of confession is used here for the Lordship of Jesus Christ, not for you to calm a storm, or heal a disease. There is espousing too much power which beings to God only and not for human confessional prayers. I like the Westminster confession that uses confessions for prayers of confessing sins etc. Luther is known for confessing sins by word of mouth in his struggle against the condemnation of sins in his own life.

Mark 11: 20 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Jesus passed by a fig tree and he reached for some fruit but found none. In his disappointment and frustration, he cursed it. It withered. In that context, disciples told Jesus that the fig tree Jesus cursed had withered. There is an immediate effect of the spoken words of Jesus. He is also the one who spoke into being the world.

Genesis 1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.

You see here “God said”. It’s the Trinity God, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit who spoke. Jesus was one of them.

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

You see the words “Let us..” its three persons, the Trinity of God.

The point here is Jesus as God spoke, the fig tree dried up. We, as Christians, who are humans, are in no way matching Jesus in our proclamation of our words.

Then Jesus says: 22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

The point here is “Have faith in God”. Not “Go ahead and speak to anything by your mouth, and it shall be done”. You can say all you want, but without faith in God, nothing will happen. Its God who can do it, not you or me. The main object or subject here in this verse is faith in God. What drives this whole conversation teaching of Jesus is about Faith in God. Now faith is not something you pump up, but rather something you grow by experiencing. This is a very beautiful verse on faith:

Hebrews 12: 1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

We get and grow our faith by looking to Jesus. Literally visionary spiritually, meditatively upon the scriptures.

Study that does not lead to living out biblical experience in the era of the Spirit misses the point of biblical texts

What Dr Craig Keener, a Pentecostal theologian, is saying is that studying the word of God is the first absolute requirement for us all Christians. However, if our study does not lead us to biblical experiences in the era of the Holy Spirit, we miss the point of biblical texts. Miss the point of studying scriptures. It’s like you study traffic laws, regulations, and the manual of using brakes, accelerator, steering wheel etc. from the books, but never got a chance to actually drive a car! It’s like learning all the skills of swimming by books on strokes, watching videos etc., but never got into water to experience water! You would never learn to swim.

The point of biblical texts point to the experience of the biblical texts. That’s the whole point. By right, as he said, all Christians are charismatics, because Jesus gave us all gifts (charismata) in Greek, and we all have at least one gift.

1 Corinthians 12:4–11 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

Paul is saying here that all kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are gifts of manifestation of the Spirit, wisdom, utterance, healing, miracles, prophecy, distinguish spirits, tongues, —all empowered by the one and same Spirit.

How many gifts operate in your church now? Honestly? Gifts are operating in preaching in manifestation of wisdom, knowledge generally, but the rest??

Conclusion

These are called the experiences of the bible, or biblical experiences in the era of the Spirit. We are in the era of the Spirit now. This is it. Go and run for them.

1 Corinthians 14: 1 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.

First pursue love. Then earnestly desire the spiritual gifts especially prophecy. Not just desire, but earnestly desire.


[1] Craig Keener, Spirit Hermeneutics, p 5 W B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan , 2016

Holy Spirit Working in Our Lives?

Acts 10:12-28

Holy Spirit Leads us in Our Lives & Ministry

Acts 10 The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. 10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance 11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth.

Acts 1012 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.

This is a unique situation, whereby Jesus voice came to Peter to kill all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds ad eat. Of course, it’s unclean for the Jews to eat. But God had an idea to break the narrow mindset of Peter so to open his mind to reach out to the Gentiles, because so far, the church consisted completely only of the Jews. Of course, God loves all mankind, and not just the Jews. This is a really important mission with a specific goal from the Lord Jesus to his apostolic team, to open their eyes to look beyond the Jews. So Peter went to meet these gentiles as urged by the Spirit. A radical move of Peter required a radical revelation of Jesus to Peter. Not all of our lives carry that radical mission, of course, and hence not that radical out of the heaven kind of revelation at all times. However, I can share that while I was really despondent and crying to God for us to move to a good school area back in Irvine, California in 2002, as I prayed for God to open the right door, I saw a vision of me sweeping the floor of leaves and as I swept I came to a fence where I couldn’t proceed any further. It’s like blocked. I prayed and prayed and cried out to the Lord, and at that time, amazingly, a chain fence lock was broken and opened on its own, and I swept the leaves outside successfully. Soon after that, I successfully bought a house in Irvine, Orange County CA one of the best school districts in the nation to raise my kids and they all have done very well. Seeing how the Lord has blessed me and spoke to me via vision. This doesn’t happen very often at all, but I sensed that the Lord heard my cries when I am desperate especially, and visions do happen. That was supernatural.

Holy Spirit Breaks New Grounds Spiritually Supernaturally Touching Lives

Acts 10: 44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God.

This is how powerful it is, compared to modern days baptism of the Spirit, if ever believed by the churches except the charismatics and Pentecostals. Peter was not even thinking of baptizing them and getting to be filled with the Spirit and speaking in tongues. He had no idea, let alone intention for that. It is entirely the work of the Holy Spirit. It is God’s idea. Not Peter’s. You see no one can stop the Spirit of God. Even if you don’t intend to speak in tongues, they happened anyway, if it happens, it’s the work of the Holy Spirit. The truth is, half of the churches don’t believe in tongues, the other half sort of believe, but it’s pretty much put in the back pocket now, because it is somehow unfashionable in a big modern day metropolis city like New York.

‘Charismatic‘ churches pretty much just sing Hill Songs, Bethel songs, etc., and that’s it, no tongues, no prophecy, no healing. I don’t know about you, but I believe God is wanting to restore these glory of the Spirit era. And I intend to facilitate that. But first and foremost, it’s Peter teaching the word of God, the apostle who wrote the epistle of 1 & 2 Peter, the apostle who pretty much was the leader among the twelve apostles of Jesus. He was teaching solid word of God centered on repentance and you see this is what Peter preached:

Holy Spirit flows together with the Word of God

Acts 10:3 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Peter focused on Jesus the Son of God, crucified, and raised on’t he third day, and how appeared to the selected ones including himself to be witnesses for Jesus and how Jesus been appointed to be by God to be the judge of the living and the dead. He then opened up the way for them to believe in Jesus and receive the forgiveness of their sins.

This is a strong message, no shallow stuff, that Peter brought out his best. So you can see this is a combination of the best theology, with the best speaking in tongues. They do go hand in hand. In fact, Peter took that , speaking in tongues, as a sign of having received the Holy Spirit, and hence commanded them to be baptized in water.

46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47 “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

The Holy Spirit fell upon the early church while Peter was preaching. He didn’t lay hands on them, and asked them to be baptized in the Spirit. They were speaking in tongues and extolling God. They responded automatically. They didn’t hesitate and wondered what’s going on? While they were listening to Peter’s teaching, they found themselves suddenly all of its own, started speaking in a strange tongue. This is so authentic and amazing! For modern days, usually, we lay hands and pray for minutes and sometimes it comes, sometimes it doesn’t happen. But for these folks, the Holy Spirit’s presence was so strong, they were filled automatically as they listened to God’s word. There is something beautiful connecting God’s words and speaking in tongues.

This again confirms the beautiful flowing together of the Spirit and the Word of God. Evangelicals must love the Word and the gifts of the Spirit. They go hand in hand.

Holy Spirit Opens Our Eyes to See His Glory

Speaking in Tongues is the Sign of Having received the Spirit of God

46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47 “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

We need this experience in the supernatural.

We pray it to come more in all our towns and cities. Come Holy Spirit, we need you.

Root of all Spiritual Problems is Our Shift from God Centered to Self-Centered Gospel

The doctrine of universal redemption is unscriptural and destructive of the gospel-JI Packer [1]

This is an earth shattering statement that I hope to cover later, and I will.

Reading JI Packer’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, I was blown away how crisp incisive he is and convicting in how we all have espoused some half-truths of the gospel in our church upbringings, and pastoring. As someone who has pastored a few churches over ten years, coming from largely Arminian charismatic movement, listening to JI Packer is a real eye opener, and that should be as # 1 on our reading list. Not only that I really am blessed to see how JI Packer nailed down the gospels truncation and the world manipulating with the gospel, distorting it, that the root of all these Christianity problem is that we have received a different gospel.

Problem of lack of deep repentance and holiness

Packer writes, “The problem of holiness, our evangelism, pastors dealing with the flock, are all part of this complex problem in our days. A substitute product that doesn’t reproduce the old authentic gospel. It doesn’t produce a sense of deep repentance, holiness, a spirit of worship and a concern for the church. The reason is the character of the gospel.” [2]

The question that we need to ask ourselves is if we find ourselves having a sense of deep repentance, holiness, a spirit of worship and concern for the church? I believe we don’t have problem for the last two generally, however, we are problematic on deep repentance, holiness. Why? Because of what Packer calls it that we shifted the gospel from ‘God centered’ to ‘self-centered’. This is subtle, and not as obvious and blatant as prosperity doctrine; however, it causes all kinds of problems, spiritually, and therefore emotionally, communally ethically and culturally. Because men have been trying to put man as the center, with the gospel as supporting it.

What’s man-centered Gospel?

Packer writes, “It seeks to be helpful to men, to bring peace, comfort, satisfaction, but too little concern to glorify God. The old gospel’s first concern is to always give glory to God, proclamation of God’s mercy, sovereignty, bowed down to him for his goodness.”[3] Its center is always God. In the new gospel, the center is man. Calling the old gospel as religious, the new is not.

The Root Cause of Man Centered Gospel

This boils down to the problem of Arminian theology. Basically Arminian theology says Jesus came and died for everyone in the world, and it’s up to us to make a move to come to Christ and believe in him. In that sense, Packer writes, “we depict that God the father and the Son are not sovereignly actively drawing sinners towards themselves, but merely waiting in quiet impotence “at the door of our hearts” for us to let them in.[4] Can you imagine how weak God is with that theology? God waits in quiet impotence at our hearts, waiting for us to open the door to let them in. Wait! God has impotence, lack of power, vigor?? Our God is omnipotent, the almighty God.

Nahum 1:5 The mountains quake before him
    and the hills melt away.
The earth trembles at his presence,
    the world and all who live in it.

The helplessness of God sounds ridiculous, but that’s exactly how Arminian Christians believe in salvation. Because we major in the free will of men, ultimately for us to accept Christ into our lives, it will have to be us pulling the trigger. Not God. It’s like I am in charge, not God. That’s the beginning of the  shift from God centered gospel to man centered gospel. Gospel of God is merely to “help us”, not to glorify God and put him right in the center of our theology and lives. Many evangelical Christians following Arminianism has no clue about this very intricate and nuanced centrality of God in the entire theology of soteriology (salvation), and it is such a blessing to have such gifted theologian like Packer to unpack that for us.  

Consequence of rejecting the absolute sovereignty of God

I believe Arminianism Christians are genuine believers in Christ, and they are for sure our brothers and sisters in Christ, just like majority of Catholics. I don’t believe they intentionally ‘knock’ God out of his central throne per se, or centrality of salvation, but it’s the side effect of it by teaching that men have the free will to finally decide to receive or reject Christ. This sounds noble and making a lot of sense of individual choice society we live in today, but when we deal with the all-powerful sovereign God, there is no such thing, anything to take the sovereignty of God away in any sense or way, has just diminished who God is. And that’s very dangerous, treading upon heresy. You touched God, you touched the holiness of God, and it capsized the whole boat. What we see in our world today, the evangelical world, there is lack of deep sense of deep repentance and holiness, is directly caused by our lack of understanding of the absolute sovereignty of our Almighty God. Therefore, in effect, we truncated the mightiness of God, reduced his divinity, a huge repercussion on our state of spirituality, is we reap the consequences of it all. We can’t seem to get to the deep repentance because we don’t see that it’s all in the hands of God, as we see we are also responsible for our final process of salvation. Therefore, we can’t deeply repent to God, as we say to ourselves, we should be sorry to ourselves for letting us down. But in actuality, we don’t even sense that deep repentance need anymore. Talking about holiness, once you reduced the sovereignty of God, his holiness just been truncated, in our perception and understanding. We no longer can approach him with such holiness life anymore, because we don’t see God holding that absolute power and glory anymore, as some success will have to be attributed to man, to ourselves. Holiness has just been truncated by our self-driven will power and choice. That’s the result of going for complete free will of men, and rejecting the absolute sovereignty of God.  


[1] JI Packer’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

The Power and Joy of Prophecy from God

It can come in the form of verses that is like dropped into your mind, or even seeing visions. Some hear non audible voices in the midst of waiting upon the Lord.

Acts 2:17–18 (ESV)
17 “ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

We are now in the end time. Theologically, end time or eschatology started from the resurrection of Christ till the return of Christ. We are 2000 years after that, right in the midst of that. It says in the last days, v17 I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, that’s the key verse. God pouring his Spirit upon all flesh, not only some selected individuals. V18 and they shall prophesy. Prophesying is debated among scholars just exactly what they mean. A prophetic sermon is a sermon that communicates the heartbeat of God at the time as it was preached. Prophecy is relevant and applicable at that time, at that place, to the people concerned. It’s always specific, and not general. To miss the prophetic voice of God, and calling prophecy has ceased is very unfortunate.

1 Corinthians 13:8–12 (ESV)
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

Reformed scholars teach that tongues and prophecy have ceased, because perfect has come. Tongues and prophecy in Acts were given after the finished work of Christ! Only after Christ has returned to heaven, he gave gifts to some to be teachers, prophets etc.

Ephesians 4:8–13 (ESV)
8 Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

Christ ascended on high, and he gave gifts to men. What gifts? He gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers. Charismatics commonly called it as the 5-fold ministry. These gifts were given as Christ ascended back to heaven. Many refer these to just the apostolic ministry of Peter, Paul, and others, and they call us as in the post apostolic age. It is hard to see and read that Jesus gave gifts of these ministries for one generation. There is no context for that, and there is certainly no argument for that. For sure we have not achieved the full maturity in Christ, and there is no way, God suddenly pulled the plug after Peter, James, Paul. Yes, we see a different wave of move of the Spirit now, but that’s no ground to eliminate the offices, therefore.

I will share a testimony of the power of prophetic voice from God. First, when we were about to start our first church in Kuching, a camp speaker who is a pastor from New Zealand, prophesized over me in our church camp in Kuching Malaysia, years ago. Ps Steve Blackmore, who had never met me prior to that, was called by my senior pastor to lay hands on me and prophesize over me as I was torn at that time of seeking to leave the mother church and join a church planting movement round the world. The tension was pulpable, at least for me, with about 200 pairs of eyes watching me holding my first born in my hands at that time. Someone went to call my wife to come. Lo and behold, that pastor laid hands on me, in the presence of God, and with the entire church watching , he prophesied that the Lord has called me to go to a new land, outside of this church, so as to join the work God has called me. It’s just dropped like a bomb upon me barely on the first sentence. As a matter of fact, my senior pastor at that time disagreed with my intension to leave and join the other church planting movement, and here the prophet he invited from New Zealand, a mega church pastor himself, prophesized contrary to what he was hoping, and exactly what I needed. Tears came rolling down my cheeks as I was stunned at the turn of events, I felt a big burden lifted off my chest. I felt God just came down on me by his Spirit. Thereafter my pastor released me to move forward, and my assistant hugged me and blessed me. That’s how we started our journey of church planting in Malaysia.

We went ahead and planted our first indigenous Bahasa Malaysian church consisting 100% of college and high school students within a few months thereafter. It took off within months to reach 60 people, and we saw students would take bus, and walked to our mansion house, in Bampfylde road, Kuching, one of the most expensive zip code with nice trees around. Also at that time, just before I launched the church, my aunt heard that I was seeking a building to start my church, she gladly suggested I rent her mansion house of 6 bedrooms in a half an acre land in a posh land to start the church at less than half the normal rental. I was blown away, and I knew in my heart, this is the Lord. Students came in buses, and would stay overnight on Saturday nights when I would teach them leadership word of God, and the next day our Sunday service. Our worship is through the roof, the energy of these students were unheard of. To the extent there were times, my neighbors would yell at us because we were loud on Saturday night worship that lasts over an hour! My life was totally transformed. I connected with the Holy Spirit, the anointing of God was upon us, and it was a mini revival that’s not seen among students especially the native speaking Bidayuh, and I being a Chinese Malaysian. It was incredible, as God trained me to learn Bahasa in my one year stint in Bintulu in my job posting, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to preach in Bahasa, as I went to study in England and never took Bahasa seriously , in fact failed in my Form 5 Bahasa test.

That’s how marvelous what God did, and it is glorifying God for sure. The spirit of revival was among the students, and I would host camps for them twice a year. All our food and expenses were kept to a minimum with the natives students, and in fact, my wife and I paid for all the food bill of some 50 students that came over night on Saturdays and they ate simple food but with such glad ness and joy!

Today these students continued to grow and many cities have them as their pastors, definitely in the Bahasa church.

One Church, Holy Catholic & Apostolic Church

Many don’t understand what’s One Church, Apostolic & Catholic church. Most charismatics Christians don’t know what that is, and it will affect our understanding of the universal church, and our heritage and historical church. Not that it will hurt any walk in your spiritual life, but this will help you to know our heritage and therefore be more cognizant of our views towards other denominations, churches. Essentially we are one church under the Lord Jesus, theologically, and historically. What does one church mean?

One Church

Ephesians 4:3–6 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Paul writes here that we should maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, that means cross denominations, cross churches, charismatic or cessationists, Catholics or Protestants, all are in one church. We should unite.

Holy Church

Because it is consecrated to God corporately, as each Christian is individually. [1]

Ephesians 2:21–22 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

We can’t be doing anything else, if we are not growing into a holy temple. Our lives need to grow in holiness, not worldliness. Holiness is not an option, but a requirement to see the Lord. Without holiness, you won’t see the Lord. But holiness should be generated from within by the Holy Spirit by the transforming of our lives through the renewing of our mind.

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Catholic Church

Catholic” (because it is worldwide in extent and seeks to hold the fullness of the faith)[2]

It does not mean the Catholic church led by the Pope. It means the universal church that holds the fulness of the faith. Not partial.

 “Apostolic” Church

(because it is founded on apostolic teaching, Eph. 2:20). All four qualities may be illustrated from Ephesians 2:19-22.[3]

Ephesians 2:19–22 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Our churches overall are built upon the foundation of the apostles, with Christ as the corner stone (v20). That’s why we are to be called an apostolic church. Not from some fairy tales, but from the apostles themselves like Paul, Peter, James etc. They were the eyewitnesses of the Lord Jesus himself, they walked with him, ate with him, saw him cast out demons, opened blind eyes, cleansed lepers, taught sermon on the mount and many others on the Kingdom of God, and the transfiguration of Jesus with Moses and Elijah. These are our witnesses and apostles upon whom we can trust theologically and historically. That gives more credential with our message of the gospel.


[1] JI Packer, Concise Theology, The Church https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/sdg/The%20Church%20by%20J.I.%20Packer.html

[2] Ibid

[3] JI Packer, Concise Theology, The Church https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/sdg/The%20Church%20by%20J.I.%20Packer.html

AMY CONEY BARRETT AND CHARISMATIC CHRISTIANITY

Our Charismatic Moment in America

I don’t know if this is prophetic, but I sensed a sense of rejuvenation for charismatics in America when I read the article AMY CONEY BARRETT AND CHARISMATIC CHRISTIANITY published in First Things by Dale M Coulter. I was really encouraged reading that, all I can say is thank you Lord for Catholics. She is actually part of the People of Praise, which I checked out, they are a multi denominational ecumenical covenant group that wants to practice the gifts of Spirit, long for the presence of God, etc. It’s actually in America, I thought that’s in Asia or Latin America or Africa. I am pumped. I am sensing something is coming to America! Revival! Renewal! Pray folks!

From their website: “Jesus desires unity for all people. We live out this unity the best we can, in spite of the divisions within Christianity. We are Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Methodists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians and other denominational and nondenominational Christians. Despite our differences, we are bound together by our Christian baptism. Despite our differences, we worship together. While remaining faithful members of our own churches, we have found a way to live our daily lives together.” [1]–Amazingly they are a charismatic group consisting of folks form different churches including Presbyterian church, imagine that? There are charismatic Presbyterians!

Coulter wrote: “The modern charismatic movement began in the 1960s, when the spirituality of Pentecostalism influenced mainline Protestantism and the Catholic Church. Central to this spirituality is a focus on “baptism in the Spirit.” While interpretations of this work of God vary within the global charismatic movement, the common elements of the experience are a strong sense of the personal presence of Christ and empowerment through the Holy Spirit, a deep love for others, the exercise of gifts that the Spirit brings, and spoken utterances that approximate human languages (speaking in tongues).”[2]

I thought this is a real refreshing way of summarizing it in one paragraph, especially in a land of America, where literally Pentecostalism is a scarcity, especially in New York.

  1. A strong sense of the personal presence of Christ

This is a hallelujah! A primal moment in every charismatic renewal Sunday service or any other day. The presence of God is the real deal. Everyone hungers for the presence of God. Psalm 63:1–4 (ESV)
1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.

This is like David longing for God’s presence. For the charismatics, it’s all about the presence of God, the glory of God, the power of God, beholding them all, exactly as in verse 2. It’s absolutely biblical. The presence of God is so edifying, personal, electrifying, surreal, and quintessential of the divine. It’s a moment you will look back, recall, soaking in it. I remember after I preached one of my first serious teachings in a church camp years ago, I felt so good through the session, and after the sessions, I walked out to the open air, for some fresh air by the beach, I felt goose bumps over me, just thinking about the time I had in the preaching. I felt the presence of God in a powerful way, that’s the presence of God. More often it would be the time of worship, you feel the presence of God, and your heart is moved, and sometimes with tears rolling down your cheeks, as I have experienced numerous times. That’s the beautiful presence of God.

  1. Empowerment through the Holy Spirit
    Acts 1:5–9 (ESV)
    5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
    That’s the promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit by Jesus right here.
    6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

Just before the ascension of Jesus,, Jesus promised in v8 “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” That’s the last promise of God before his ascension back top heaven. It’s his last words to the disciples. Imagine how important is that! That’s usually the most important words. And that’s the power of the Holy Spirit will come upon us. For the longest time growing up in charismatic churches, that’s the power that comes upon you when you are baptized in the Holy Spirit. I am not fully convinced that’s the case, but nevertheless, it helps. But what’s that power for? It’s for us to be witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria, or all over the world. Then he was lifted up to heaven and cloud took him out of sight.
This the empowerment of the Holy Spirit!

Acts 2:17–18 (ESV)
17 “ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

That’s what we stand on. The last days, which had already begun, we are awaiting and doing prophecy, seeing visions for the Spirit who moves in us.

  1. A deep love for others

Acts 2:42–47 (ESV)
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

This is the result of the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon the folks in Acts when they met together regularly with many signs and wonders and they had all things in common, meeting together eating food with glad and generous hearts, praising God. They loved one another.  This is the beginning of the Pentecostalism worldwide, it started in Acts 2, how early church is that?

  1. The exercise of gifts that the Spirit brings
    1 Corinthians 12:4–11
    4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

It’s all in the Bible: v6 God empowers them. V7 manifestation of the Spirit ; v8 Word of Wisdom; Word of Knowledge; v9 Faith; gift of healing; v10 Working of Miracles; Prophecy; Discerning of the spirits, divers kinds of tongues; interpretation of tongues. All these can’t just be applied to the apostles only. Why would God just give speaking in tongues to the apostles only?? Don’t make sense. If it’s the revelation of the inspired word of God, the canon has closed, I agree. But the gift of healing goes on! It doesn’t stop with the apostles! Miracles etc.

  1. Spoken utterances that approximate human languages (speaking in tongues)

Acts 2:1–8 (ESV)
2 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

That’s the beginning of speaking in tongues as the Spirit filled them.

Acts 10:44–48 (ESV)
44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47 “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

There is no laying on of hands, merely Peter teaching the word of God. Right in the midst of it, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word, and they started speaking in tongues and extolling God. This is spontaneous. Not organized, not under compulsion, or confusion, or acting up, not coercion. Spontaneous, and organic. This is so spontaneous, leaving no doubt in your mind this is the work of the Holy Spirit, I loved it. Recalling ,I myself being baptized in the Holy Spirit speaking in tongues while I was in Leicester University England in a charismatic church, after being laid hands and prayed for the second time, before I received tongues. There are other specifics of instances of the out-pouring of the Spirit of God elsewhere in the Bible, especially in Acts.

Conclusion

Charismatic Christianity is beautiful, powerful, energetic, filled with the presence of God, longing for more of God and a close knitted community. What has been the negative is the excesses we heard round the world of some bad church leadership, but don’t throw out the whole basket of apples just because of some bad ones. This can all be fixed with proper theology. Also, the other aspect is the theological understanding of the bible has been shallower compared to reformed theology. This can be corrected, and I intend to bridge that. Amen, glory to God.

[1] People of Praise, https://peopleofpraise.org/
[2] Dale Coulter, First Things, https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2020/10/amy-coney-barrett-and-charismatic-christianity?fbclid=IwAR2AFqhcIW8YlyvOndWt4Rw6viMm7RmVU-MLUpeTFwDkgedLwwIvaQcnQIM