I know you have a million questions. I also know you have a million objections. If you didn't you would not be a normal person. Where do you begin? Catch up with me and lets look at what might help in your understanding your upcoming meeting with destiny in the experience of salvation!
-Prepared by M.W. Bassett, Pastor of Life Tabernacle UPC.
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Penteocost literally means FIFTY, and originally refered to a
feast on the ancient Hebrew calendar on which Israel was commanded
to offer of the first part of their harvest. The feast was fifty
days after the passover feast.
Like so much of the 2000 year history of the "chosen people", the Pentecost feast was a forthtellingof a great blessing that was to come.
God used the wheat as a symbol of the peoples of the earrth. God is now, and always has been, working toward a harvest of souls.
When wheat is ready for harvest, it is taken from where it has grown, and combined together with other wheat which is fully mature. The next step will be the making of breads.
When time was right, God began the harvest of souls in this era, FIFTY DAYS after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. To be a part of the harvest, men and women needed to be born again. This is not complicated, but needful. A great promise of the sending down of the Spirit of God had been heard, and long awaited. People understood that the "rain of the Holy Ghost" would be the greatest gift and blessing that man had ever known. They also knew it was needful for people to reach their true potential, and to have a face to face relationship with the Living God. But none had experienced it yet, because it was not yet given.
When the true and ultimate passover lamb was offered on the cross, by hands of hateful but blineed men, the course was prepared for the final harvest too begin. In JESUS NAME a person's record of sin's could now be washed away. With just one more element, people could now be gathered into the harvest, and brought into the presence of Eternal God. This element? The Spirit of God Himself, filling the seeker of God.
God fulfilled His promise on the very calendar day which had symbolized it for a thousand years. We cannot be easily confused about the meaning of it. The apostle's understood, and told us through the scriptures.
Pentecost is the experience of that filling of the Holy Ghost, which began nearly 2000 years ago, and is continuing today whereever people will believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, receiving Him as God and Savior, and obeying Him, receiving His promise of the Spirit.
Since God desires to embrace and save every single person ever born, no matter what their background, state of being, race or religion,
and God is calling you today to look into this more carefully.
Click for more info
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Some religions, and even Christian movements
or denominations derive thier names from the founders or practices of those who
laid down their heritage. For example
You see? All have something to do with their "founders".
So, you say, a Christian simply ought to be named Christ. Well,
OK. That's a good thought. It is important in another way which
you will read of in these WWW pages. But, while Jesus Christ is
indeed the architect and builder of His church, it's foundations
are in ... you guessed it: the Apostles.
This first generation were in every respect what God intended when He began to build His church. Being transformed and receiving a supernatural relationship with God cannot be accomplished by men and women. God had to do it, and He did!
The power to become the children of God was given to certain individuals who were Jesus' disciples. Whatever God intended for us to have, he first gave them, AND he gave them special status so that their WORDS and AUTHORITY has prevailed over 2000 years. In this way, He could assure that there would be valid (corresponding to scripture), and repeated opportunity for everyone, in successive generations to receive the truth. He gave them something to anchor their teaching to, and a standard to meet. Of course, religious teachers can still teach their own ideas (false doctrines), and mislead those who follow blindly, but those who want validation, can check the word of the Apostles, and be safe.
When you hear about Jesus today, you hear because someone is repeating their words. They preach to us across 2000 years.Think about it.
God also gave them a special appointment to deliver the gospel to all the people of the world.
Everything needs some validation, otherwise, it's just another idea, of one of 6 billion people. IN the same was that the reputation of Luther gives some creedance to Lutherans, the authority of the Apostolic is derived from the Apostles. They taught that His church is built upon the foundations of the Apostles and prophets, and Jesus Christ himself is the cornerstone.
If you want to be confident in a spiritual experience today, and know that the Lord Jesus Christ is clearly in view when we pray, worship, and life before God, what better way that to come into agreement with Jesus' REAL teachers, the Apostles.
Thank God, He confirms this obedience by sending the showering
blessings of the Holy Ghost, and keeps us fresh and alive in love
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It sounds outrageous to our sophisticated ears. Why the outrage? We have learned from society there is no absolute truth. We have also learned that no one is really any better off that anyone else. The main correlary is, "to be completely fair, one may have many wonderful thoughts, but none are of any advantange to the individual". That allows us to say that a brain surgeon and a ditchdigger are equally valuable. The root principle here is Christian. The foolish misapplication is not. God loves all, and there are none that impress Him with their knowledge, but He has offered to everyone, a way to be saved. Do you believe a person with a map, and a desire to find his or her way out of the woods stands a better chance than the person who sees only endless trees and no clear path? There are two main statements being made here, and both are in opposition to the conventional wisdom.
The knowledge you receive and what you do with it does
make a difference!
Paul refered to the gospel as "my gospel". Did he create it? Of course not! But the truth is very precious. When you have something valuable, you are pleased to let others know. It's glory and beauty and importance supercedes much else concerning our lives. The young man who gets his first hot car knows something about how a prize can eclipse much that was formerly held important.
Yes, we say we have the truth. It implies that someone else may not. But, unlike that slick car which cost many thousands of dollars, this precious truth is offered to you if you will only value it.
Before us, many noble people died under persecution so that we could have the truth. Will we live so that we can have it?
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Good question. It's because the Bible is unlike a normal book.
If God wanted to communicate with you, how would he do it? Do
you wait for a phone call? A special dream? I've had both, and
perhaps the dream was from God. Honestly, I'm not competely sure.
But I am sure that God wants required a definite method to communicate with people. The Bible is that means. It is, as I said earlier, much more than a normal book. There are many things which could be said about the Bible. (yes, there are many poor excuses for scripture which today are called Bibles and are somewhat defective - that's another story we'll get to sometime) We could say that It has incomparable quality of prose, and magnificent depth. It is unchallenged in prophetic terms containing hundreds of predictions, and clear references to future events, which have been, or are presently being fulfilled before our eyes. It is honest, and direct concerning human nature In spite of the petty claims of critics, it is self-consistent, and consistently harmonious. Archeologically, it has been proven historically accurate. Scientific elements are amazingly orderly and consistent with much modern science.
But for more than any of these reasons, I recommend that you look at the Bible, and begin to study it in depth. The reason? It meets the need.
You see, it is the word of God, and His mind is conveyed to us in that. The word of God is not like the work of fickle and transitory men. He never lies. All truth which is is born directly of Him. His word, as such, occupies a higher realm than the laws of physics. It is not a resident of time, but stretches beyond the curtains which shild us from an incomprehensible eternity.
The Word of God is authoriuty for doctrine, or teaching. It provides guidance. It heals. It is personal, and universal. It is particular, while providential in scope. The word believed substantiates the belief if God's promise and things happen! The weak and made strong. Human beings who could never tell the truth, or be dependable are transformed and instilled with character through the word. Perhaps most importantly, it brings light into condusion and darkness. Peace results when the authority of the word reigns.
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You may be a teenager, housewife, college student, theologian,
engineer, or "in between identities", so to speak. But
God is calling to you today. You may read these notes and ignore
them, thinking that you can pick and choose your experiences.
It is true, you have a right to pick and choose, but you don't
always get what you expected. For example, you have not yet believed
in such a manner as to receieve the Holy Ghost, but you and I
are not the giver of that gift. God is, and who are we to question
This is one of the issues that really causes people to wonder. "Why now? Why not yesterday?" Perhaps you know a friend who got filled with the Holy Ghost, and seemed to change a lot. "Why did this person get into this, and I didnt? I'm not sure about this type of thing!"
The problem is because we are talking about experience. People may claim to believe things, and moderate their communication. The may reveal or hide their thoughts. And, thoughts change. But an Apostolic encounter with God, and the new birth, is an experience. As you know, experiences happen when they happen ... Experiences change our lives. Tragedies bring sorrow and heartache. This is the opposite. Ever hear the saying "It's not a problem, its an opportunity!"? When the gospel comes to you, that is your opportunity for a change in life.
Perhaps you have a best friend or companion. You enjoy time together, as circumstances allow, but you would not expect to die at the same moment. So God calls who and when he chooses. While he will eventually call everyone, perhaps some more than once, maybe numerous times during their lives, there are channels which he works through. Often a wife will receive a touch from God, and begin to seek Him before her husband. The husband thinks the whole thing is silly, but through the patience and faith of that loving woman, both come into the truth. Though you may read on, and think you are browsing, these ideas will return to you again.
We can pray with you, and arrange for people near to you to meet
with you so that you can receive the Holy Ghost
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When you have the opportunity to come into a meetings where Apostolics are gathered, all kinds of things might happen, some things definitly will happen. You might come to a fellowship rally, a worship service, an outreach event, a "singspiration" or musical worship event, or perhaps you will be invited to a home meeting.
When Apostolics get together there will be
You should not be embarrased, or think that someone expects you to do what they do. The life's of Apostolic people are not traditional, or "crazy", but are free expressions of people who are in love with a marvelous and gracious God who has revealed himself to them. Apostolic's experience freedom of emotions, and freedom from inhibition. When you get around people who want to worship, don't feel embarased or odd. Just "go with the flow"! We are having a good time, and we love you, and want you to feel the goodness of God. We have learned that "God inhabits the praises of His people", and arent ashamed to invite His closeness.
Well, thats just a brief rundown. There is so much more. I guess that you ought to be on the lookout for love, joy, peace, and cleaness. If you aren't looking for thse, and are like most people, it's because you stopped. Also, look for a good time! You might be challenged, but will not be disappointed!
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Actually ... neither.
The strict definition of Protestantism arrives from a medieval separation from the Roman Catholic ecclesiastical admionistration because of 'protest' (hence PROTESTant). Commonly, the separation of greatest focus is that of German Christiandom in the 16th Century, the era which protestants refer to as "the reformation", and which the Roman Catholic counsel of Trent was convened to deal with. Other Protestants existed from time to time, such as the French Hugonauts who suffered great persecution, and of course the famous schism under Henry VIII forming what is today, the Anglican communion. Before that, Waldensians date from the 12th century. Certainly many other offshoots of the trintarian religion of Rome have been forgetten by history.
While much of the world today profits from a society where the morality and intellectual acuity of the reformers, an objective analysis of their beliefs finds that administrations differ, but much of the religion of protestantism is common to Rome. Indeed, some Protestant scholars discriminate between Catholicism and Protestantism on the basis that Protestantism "accepts" the authority of the first five ecumenical councils, and not seven.
Catholicism on the other hand has many resemblances to the Apostolic faith. Both believe, for example, in the essentiality of water baptism, and in the receiving of the Holy Ghost in a particular event. Both Catholics and Apostolics practice laying on of hands, and beleive strongly in the authority of the ministry (i.e. that God works through men by special dispensation). Both express most adamantly, the importance of being joined to the church, the one church of the Lord Jesus Christ, by means which are resident in that church alone to teach, to reproduce and to preach to the world. Both believe that the scriptures cannot be fully comprehended by the individual who does not have residing within him or her, the Spirit of God. But, what makes a Catholic, a true Catholic? It is the subjection to a particular authority. Catholics by nature accept the authority of the catholic eccesiastical rule, over that of the Apostles, and their scripture. Consequently, the Papal authority retains the sole right to interpret scripture and to charge the church, and the world with requirements as if by God Himself. Thus, at the foundation of the different in authorities, we have two distinct forms of baptism.
Associated with these separate forms are two radically different theological constructs concerning the identity of God:
The theological debate is beyond the scope of this page. To investigate
the nature of God according to the scriptures, see The Oneness.
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To give a very brief, and insufficient answer, it is allow those
who make the charge to define what they are not. To point to a
people who preach, believe and baptize in the manner which the
Apostles did, according to scripture, and say, "because of
these reasons, this is a cult", is simply to say, "we
have another way". Firstly, the charge of "cultism"
is typically unfair, as those who hear it are not treated to an
explaination of what the person making the charge means by "cult".
Second, one good dictionary connotation of cult is:
a people grouped together by common bond to a person or idea.
...though this definition is rarely applied.
Sadly, advocates of orthodoxy instead use variou, ecclectic definitions of "cult" which simply places all who don't hold to certain doctrinal critera, or who are condemned as holding certain opinions, under the heading of "cult". Evangelicals argue over this list of criteria and we frequently see new lists, and revisions offered by peersonalities within the religious world. We are, however, most concerned that our profession is measured by the divine measure, which is not the opinions of men, or an ecumenical agreement, but the revelation of scripture.
It is true that we do not hold the same theological definition
of the godhead as some other Christian groups. However, we do
believe that Jesus Christ is divine and supreme in every respect,
and that He is due all worship, and alone demonstrates God to
the human race. This is the scriptural standard for agreement
with the church. We do not violate that standard, but rather express
it will all emphasis!
In practice we are also in very close agreement with most evangelical groups, except as regards water baptism. Even in the realm of the experience of the Holy Ghost, which classical Pentecostals alone abundantly and outrightly experienced in the first half of this century, we would not be rejected by evangelical standards, any more than their own "charismatic" elements. So, where is the beef?
David K. Bernard has written an excellent article which states
our position on these charges. Click here to read it: Is the UPC a cult?
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Sure! However, my eyes are open, and looking around, I have not seen any reason to expect people to accomplish a complete change in human nature. From the Bible: From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members (i.e. from inbred characteristics)? - James 4:1
When a person truly desires peace, and righteousness to reign, he looks first, not at the wide world, but at his own personal dominion. Can you truly control your own actions, and passions? Can you resist responding with your pride is hurt? Can you submit yourself to the rule of a sovreign God, and do His will, not your own? That's what real peace will take today. Thank God, He has sent His Spirit to enable us to be changed, and to actually do the seemingly impossible thing. Take the first step in surrendering to Jesus Christ, and he will accomplish the rest of the difference. And peace WILL reign in one more heart. And YOU will bring peace whereever you go! Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. - Mt 5:9
Political unity, power and strength will win a political kingdom
and endear a person to the head of that power. Spiritual power
and strength will deliver another, higher kingsom and with it,
the kingdoms of this world will fall into order under the truth,
and not an oppresive power of false athority, See, authority keeps
rebellion at bay. But you need to remember, Almighty God came
not as King, but as a Lamb! He is not reigning as King
yet. But He will, and there is NOTHING WHATSOEVER anyone can do
to help or hinder Him.
We ought not to think of ourselves more high than we really are. Today, you and I can both do right. Let's do it, even in the midst of the struggle.
The Holy Ghost is available to us so that we can be witnesses of Him and His power to a hungry world, where EVERY soul is deserately in need of peace! But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. - Mt 6:33
You ask "Will I become a zombie?"
Why would you? Receiving understanding and strength gives you choices, it doesn't take them away!
Hindrances which you have known can be overcome in the strength
and love of the Holy Ghost, but mostly these things don't happen
automatically. If you are shy, and are born again, you'll still
be shy ... but if you experience severe anxiety, you probably
won't any more.
If you are inclined to be compulsive, you still will be, but you will find you have more self-control, if you want to use it.
When a person receives the Holy Ghost and is baptized in Jesus' name, the experience a release from guilt as sins are removed. Many times chronic problems, such as chronic tension headaches, or stomach problems associated with anxiety disappear for good, though not always. Healings often occur at water baptism through the power of Jesus' name, though not always. The most commonly reported transformation is the experience of contentment.
Do all your problems go away? Not unless you die immediately, but seriously & what a difference it makes walking with Jesus, and genuinely feeling the effects of His presence.
We live in an era when more and more spiritual powers come to bear on average people. Having a righteous stand before God whose covenant ensures your care, and having the right to use His name is great benefit. Through prayer, the lies of decieving spirits are defeated.
Am I saying that YOU can have these blessings? Yes.
Suppose you were lost in a canyon surrounded by insurmountable cliffs. You had tried everything but all the paths which wound upwards from the dry valley floor came to an end. Your food and water was gone, and searching was no longer an option.
Then before you on the ground you find something for which you had lost hope: It is a paper describing the only way out of the canyon with explicit instructions. You breath a sign of relief! The confusion passes, and hope fills your spirit like fresh air! This is GOOD NEWS!
The word "gospel" comes from the greek word "euaggelizo" which in turn is a combination of words meaning "good" and "messenger", or born message. Whoever left that life saving message, knew that it was the only hope for someone trapped in that canyon.
Paul, like other Apostolic people, was a bearer of the message of salvation. Paul was so possessed of his mission that he boldly proclaimed its central place in his life:
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Romans 1:16). The word POWER here is the same word used to when the LORD is described as upholding all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). The gospel is the power which God uses to bring salvation. Man has need to be delivered from the canyon of his mortal condition. The means of escape is to believe the details on that message miraculously delivered at the needed time! Obviously, as powerful as the message is, it is useless, unless the details are believed and followed.
The Gospel Message:
The details are important. Paul explicitly documents the gospel which he calls "my gospel" as:
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which
I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein
By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
Paul leaves no doubt. If we are saved, it is by the gospel, and the same power continues to save&
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures 1; And that he was buried 2, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures 3: - (1 Cor 15:1-4)
A message with three components:
1. DEATH, 2. BURIAL, and 3. RESSURECTION
In one sense, news& news that made an escape from sin possible, and news that the world pretty much knew about as the day of Pentecost came around as every year, in Jerusalem 50 days after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the passover Lamb of God.
Most everyone knew about this information, but on the Day of Pentecost, Peter would open the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven by preaching the gospel in a way that enabled people to follow the same gospel as direction and instructions:
The lost, realizing their great need for an escape cried out: "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37)
And Peter happily answered with the gospel as the POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION was made available to the multitude whose hunger and thirst had driven them to seek God!
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent 1,
and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for
the remission of sins 2, and ye shall receive the gift
of the Holy Ghost 3." (Acts 2:38)
The directions on paper say JESUS' Death, Burial and Resurrection,
but when read as a means of escape, one must apply this message
to one's own life. Starting where we are, we can follow the Lord
Jesus Christ who went before.
|Death by crucifixion contrary to self-will||Repentance from unbelief and sin|
|Burial in death as final legal conclusion||Baptism in the name of Jesus|
|Resurrection from death and the grave||Receiving the Holy Spirit|
Paul goes on to say in verses 5-8 of 1 Corinthians 15, that Jesus was then seen by many. As followers of Jesus Christ on the glorious path of salvation, we must show forth His praises through the POWER of the HOLY GHOST received as the promise of the father. We must live in holiness unto the Lord and be witnesses unto Him (see Acts 1:8).
Finally, to really believe and receive the gospel, and then obey it (or follow instructions, will result in being born again!
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