This is THAT Church

This excerpt from TOZER: MYSTERY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT reveals A.W. Tozer’s vision for the local church. He preached this sermon to his own congregation about his expectations of what the local Spirit-filled church should represent and declare. At first reading, MY vision was expanded for local congregations. As you read these excerpts from this sermon, I pray it enlarges your vision for your local body of believers. It is my hope that each reader is as inspired as I am. Keep in mind that Tozer lived 1897-1963. It is now 2018 (at this writing), and I have found such a congregation to whom I have united 2. They look and act like the 1st Century Church. In fact, Holy Spirit spoke a confirming Word of Exhortation this very morning, and as soon as I heard the Word, “This is THAT church”, my mind went back to this sermon which I first read in 2011.   Be encouraged; I am. ~ag

TOZER ON THE LOCAL CHURCH

[excerpts from Chapter 10, pgs.129-142]

‘DON’T BEG GOD FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT’

 “…wherever Jesus is glorified,
the Holy Spirit comes…”.

Tozer-OnHolySpirit[pg.132] …when we give God His place in the church, when we recognize Christ as Lord, high & lifted up, when we give Holy Spirit His place, there will be joy that is not worked up. It will be a joy that springs like a fountain. So, that will be one characteristic of a Spirit-filled church. There will be a joyful people & it will be easy to distinguish them from the children of the world…

A church that is Spirit-filled will be useful to the race of man. …to the whole community. Because we are here, everybody ought to be better. …the neighborhood should be better because we are here. …A Spirit-filled church is useful to the neighborhood, useful to the sons of men, even the ones who are not converted; and it will be influential among the churches. I would like to see this church become so godly, so Spirit-filled that it would have a spiritual influence on all the churches in the whole city. …Paul told some of his people, “your Godliness and faith is talked about through all Asia Minor.”  It is entirely right that I could hope this in you, that I hope that we become so Spirit-filled. Walk with God, learn to worship and live so clean and so separated that everybody will know it and other churches in the city will be blessed because of it. ….
There is no reason why we should not be a people here so filled with the Spirit, so joyfully, singing His praises and living so clean in our business & home & school that the people would know it… Whenever you have a Spirit-fill people, you have a people that can live well and die well. …

Old Balaam wanted to die the death of the righteous, but he would not live the life of the righteous. …And a Christian ought to be able to live the life of the righteous. And a Christian ought to be able to die well; they should be able do that if nothing else.

There are some who won’t feel at home in a church like that; and if your hope is to have everybody and his brother on his mother’s side to just sit around and glow… it just will not happen that way. …There are some people who just do not want that kind of church, and I will name them now. [They are the] people who put on religion as a Sunday garment… [and the ones who] …have a wonderful way of disengaging. …on Sundays, they go and polish off their religion. Then evening… they put it on the shelf, and then on Monday they live the way they want… Now, nobody like that wants to hear me preach. Nobody. …I won’t surrender to that kind of thing, and I won’t surrender to that kind of people. …

The cross of Christ is revolutionary. And if we are not ready to let it be revolutionary in us, we are not going to like a church that takes the things of God seriously and let it cost us anything, control us in any way.  …A Spirit-filled church that practices the belief of the New Testament: and goes constantly to the grassroots and roots out everything that isn’t of God, keeps growing & …walks with God & obeys the truth & loves each other…

Now who are they?

Those who have a leading ambition to get rid of their sins. If you have not…, you will not like to hear me preach very often or long. …. There are some people that are overwhelmed with the desire to get rid of their sins. Those people will be happy among us. …Their only ambition is to walk with God and to follow (Jesus)…

Those who have learned to recognize the voice of the Shepherd… will be at home in a Spirit-filled church.The people who have learned to hear (His) voice can recognize it (and) are always at home where everything centers on Him. Jesus is all in all.

Then there are those who are sensitive to the invisible presence. …He’s a sheep who loves his Shepherd. He stays awfully close to the Shepherd.   ….

This is what I believe in: Jesus Christ; clean living; joyful, radiant, happy worship; good sweet fellowship and kindliness; patience & endurance & honesty; the missionary outlook & good decency; and a separation from all things that are wrong. Above all things, worship The Lord in the beauty of holiness, and learn to know the wondrous sound of the Shepherd’s voice.

That is what we stand for, that is what we believe in. That is what we are preaching.

~*~

In closing, I reiterate: The success and realization of a vision for any local body of believers depends upon everyone’s degree of dedication & sacrifice to walk in God’s grace AND to pray for each other so that none become tempted &/or deceived. It takes us united as a body as well as the ‘keeping’ of our personal relationships with God. With that said, I want to share 2 more quotes by Tozer:

“If you major on knowing God
and cultivate a sense of His presence in your daily life,
and do what Brother Lawrence advises, ‘Practice the presence of God’ daily
and seek to know the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures,
you will go a long way in serving your generation for God.
No man has any right to die until he has served his generation.”

 

“…the cross of Jesus Christ always changes that path (of the norm),
always gets in there
and makes a man (and woman) change his life.”

 

 

CITINGS-REFERENCES-SOURCES

1– TOZER: MYSTERY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, A.W. Tozer, 2007, Bridge-Logos Publ., Paperback, 180 pgs. 0882703420 (ISBN13: 9780882703428)
[Original Title Tozer: Mystery of the Holy Spirit]
Picture- Goodreads

 2– Wings Of Love Family Center, Industrial Rd. El Dorado, AR—Pastor Rex McDaniel.

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BAPTIZING “THE CHURCH”

A NOTE CONCERNING BAPTISM IN MATTHEW’S GOSPEL

baptism-Ro6

As “THE CHURCH”, we need to re-think our requirements about baptizing converts. When it comes to ‘baptizing’, shouldn’t JB (John, The Baptist) be our model?! JB required evidence of repentance as a prerequisite to being a candidate for baptism. His call to “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.” [Mt.3:3,NIV ] was preparation for salvation through repentance. He preached (Mt.3:2), “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (NASB)…Turn from your sins and turn to God, because the Kingdom of Heaven is near (NLT)…Change your life (MSG).” Only when the people showed evidence of living Godly ways, and only then, did he allow the people into the baptismal waters. He baptized them with water as a sign they had “cleansed” their lives through repentance (see v.7-11 below).

In verse 11, JB says, “the one coming after me is more powerful than I am… (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire”. The reference to “baptize with Holy Spirit” is a reference to the actual NEW BIRTH at the point of Salvation. The old spirit man dies and a NEW SPIRIT comes into existence IN YOU! Note that ‘fire’ is a term to mean a total purification would take place, not just a ‘washing’. The salvation Jesus brings* does not just wash sins away, it rebirths every “whosoever” who believes and confesses~ brings forth evidence! 

I found a good explanation of Biblical baptism (#907) at NETBible.org:

“The clearest example that shows the meaning of ‘baptizo’ (#907) is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words (‘bapto’ and ‘baptizo’). Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped’ (bapto-#911) into boiling water and then ‘baptized’ (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. “Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptizing the vegetable, produces a permanent change. “When used in the New Testament, this word (#907) more often refers to our union and identification with Christ than to our water baptism. e.g. Mr 16:16. ‘He that believes and is baptized shall be saved’. Christ is saying that mere intellectual assent is not enough. There must be a union with him, a real change, like the vegetable to the pickle!”
(Bible Study Magazine, James Montgomery Boice, May 1989).

My point?

Jesus said, “GO! Make disciples….” I know of few denominations and even fewer local church facilities that follow JB’s example of established, evidenced repentance as a prerequisite.  However, I am convicted that DISCIPLESHIP classes should be offered as an integral part of The Church’s baptising services. Otherwise, it is a disservice to ‘the world’~ SELAH!

~*~

Mt.3:7-11, VOICE, including commentary-in bold.
But John is not exactly warm to all those who come to him seeking cleansing.

He (JB) told some Pharisees and Sadducees who came for the ritual baptism,… “You children of serpents! You brood of vipers! Did someone suggest you flee from the wrath that is upon us? 8-9 If you think that simply hopping in the Jordan will cleanse you, then you are sorely mistaken. Your life must bear the fruits of turning toward righteousness. Nor are you correct if you think that being descended from Abraham is enough to make you holy and right with God.Yes, the children of Abraham are God’s chosen children,but God can adopt as daughters and sons anyone He likesHe can turn these stones into sons if He likes.”

To be made right with God, one must truly repent.
It means to turn completely away from sin and completely toward God.

“…I ritually cleanse you through baptism as a mark of turning your life around. But someone is coming after me, someone whose sandals I am not fit to carry, someone who is more powerful than I. He will wash you not in water but in fire and with the Holy Spirit. He carries a winnowing fork in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor; He will gather up the good wheat in His barn, and He will burn the chaff with a fire that cannot be put out.”

~*~

Romans 5:20-6:6, VOICE

5:20 “When the law came into the picture, sin grew and grew; but wherever sin grew and spread, God’s grace was there in fuller, greater measure. No matter how much sin crept in, there was always more grace. 21 In the same way that sin reigned in the sphere of death, now grace reigns through God’s restorative justice, eclipsing death and leading to eternal life through the Anointed One, Jesus our Lord, the Liberating King.
6:1-6″How should we respond to all of this? Is it good to persist in a life of sin so that grace may multiply even more? Absolutely not! How can we die to a life where sin ruled over us and then invite sin back into our lives? Did someone forget to tell you that when we were initiated into Jesus the Anointed through baptism’s ceremonial washing, we entered into His death? Therefore, we were buried with Him through this baptism into death so that just as God the Father, in all His glory, resurrected the Anointed One, we, too, might walk confidently out of the grave into a new life. To put it another way: if we have been united with Him to share in a death like His, don’t you understand that we will also share in His resurrection? We know this: whatever we used to be with our old sinful ways has been nailed to His cross. So our entire record of sin has been canceled, and we no longer have to bow down to sin’s power.” 

~*~

*For further understanding of the New Birth/Salvation brought by Jesus’ Blood, see the  New Testament letters to the Romans and Ephesians.
Bible Versions: NIV~New International Version; NASB~New American Standard Bible; NLT~New Living Testament; MSG~The Message Bible; VOICE~The Voice Bible.
Picture source: QuotesGram (It is my understanding it is a public domain image.)

MOVING UP IN THE SPIRIT (Part 2)

Dear Followers (Seekers), This is an exhortative wake-up call to The Church from MOVING UP IN THE SPIRIT (Part 2) by Bert Farias. I personally know full-gospel churches that are beginning to “stinketh” so do not think it could happen to yours! Read and be encouraged to keep being filled.
~NeeterWoman

“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:17-19).

“…Wise believers know that the will of the Lord is to be full of the Spirit as a drunk man would be full of wine. …When one is full of the Spirit his heart moves in prayer; he is moved for lost souls; he is holy and consecrated. …He’s full of love; he’s full of praise and thanksgiving; and he’s full of power. 

These Ephesian believers were already initially filled or baptized with the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was part of the essentials of first century Christian life. Unlike today it was not an option but a vital necessity in every single church. Since then the devil has diluted this essential and clouded it with so much controversy. The Church as a whole will never fully do the works of Jesus until they are filled with the Spirit and maintain that infilling.
“The Holy Spirit is the life of the Church. Being filled with the Spirit and staying filled with the Spirit produces a fresh anointing. The psalmist of old said, “I shall be anointed with fresh oil” (Ps. 92:10). Without the free flowing move of the Holy Spirit the Church dries up and becomes full of dead formalism. …

“Here’s an interesting verse:

“Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour.”
(Ec. 10:1).

“Here is the Farias translation:

“Dead formalism kills the anointing
and stinks up the place.”

“…churches can lose their fresh oil if they don’t stay full of the Spirit. To be anointed with fresh oil means the oil can become old and stale which requires a replenishing. It means the psalmist was once anointed with oil but it’s not fresh any more. …”

“Here is a twin scripture to Eph. 5:18-19:

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16).

via MOVING UP IN THE SPIRIT (Part 2).

Dear Readers/Seekers, This is only an excerpt of the article. If you have read thus far, you truly are a “seeker”.  I exhort you to click on the link to The Flaming Herald page; read Part 1, “How To Move Up In The Spirit” and Part 2 (this post) in their entireties. Read and be encouraged! Farias says, “Stay tuned for more…” ~NeeterWoman

TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION

TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION.
“…The initial physical evidence of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. These tongues are attached to the baptism of the Holy Spirit and are for our devotional use. They belong to every born again Christian, but the tongues is not the gift. The Holy Spirit is the gift (Acts 2:38-39). ….”

via The Flaming Herald, TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION.
Click to read more from The Flaming Herald by Bert Farias. 

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Shortcomings and Recovery

“To be aware of one shortcoming* in oneself
is better than to be aware of one thousand in someone else.”
~ANONYMOUS

Recently, a Facebook friend whom I have known since high school posted the above quote*. She copied it from an AA recovery website of which she is a member. Keep in mind that ‘shortcoming‘ simply means “an imperfection or lack that detracts from the whole”. My friend and countless others have recovered from their their common ‘shortcoming’ to regain the essence of their lives.

The quote reminds me of  Matthew’s (7:1-5) and Luke’s (6:27-49) summaries of Jesus’ teachings about dealing with people mercifully, about not judging our neighbors when ‘we’ have not yet taken care of our own flaws.  Flaws such as addictions, bitterness, and other sins stemming from selfishness are the very imperfections we usually see in others, but somehow the same seem less obvious when looking in the mirror.  However, The Bible encourages us to examine ourselves and to seek God’s instruction in order to overcome the areas we “come short”. The Good Book calls this process ‘sanctification’.

Sanctification is gradual; it comes from faith-to-faith and glory-to-glory. It is a process which begins in each of us at our rebirths (new birth)  and continues until we reach our total glorifications when we meet Jesus face-to-face. However, we don’t all grow at the same pace. Therefore when dealing with others’ shortcomings and they with us, we find ourselves in need of a little love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. As well and more often than not, this life requires a whole lot of long-suffering before the growing process is finished. These essential attributes are referred to as “Fruit of The Spirit”. The are developed in us as we allow Holy Spirit to lead us through this life, teaching us God’s ways of dealing with each other and as we worship God in “spirit and truth”, getting to know Him better.  The “fruit” simply describe God’s character, His nature, His essence of life. In other words, we become more like Him, more like Jesus!

GRAPE CLUSTERS-Carmenere_grapes_close
“What happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard–” GAL.5:22
Jesus tells us that as long as we stay connected to Him (The Vine), we (the branches) will grow this fruit, abundant crops of it, enough to share with our neighbors. It is beneficial that we all grow in sanctification; it brings peace into the world in which we live and glory to The Kingdom of which we belong!

~ ♥ ~

“What happens when we live God’s way?
He brings gifts into our lives,
much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard–things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity.
We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.
We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments,
…able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Gal.5:22,23, MSG

~ ♥ ~

Ro.1:17
NKJV

…the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith;
…”The just shall live by faith.”

NLT
This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight.
This is accomplished from start to finish by faith…

MSG
God’s way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith,
confirming what Scripture has said all along:
“The person in right standing before God by trusting him really lives.

AMP
For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith…

 ~ ♥ ~

SOURCES
*DISCLAIMER– The quote at the top of this post was originally quoted using the word ‘shortfall’ instead of ‘shortcoming’. Perhaps the person used “shortfall” on purpose in reference to occurrences of “falling off the wagon” so-to-speak, but I changed it to make it grammatically correct for this blog posting. I have no way of verifying my thoughts on the original intent of the wording. I quoted it “anonymous” due to AA policy, and my source is not named in order to protect her privacy.

“Shortcoming.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shortcoming&gt;.

PHOTO— By Agne27 at en.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

BIBLE VERSIONS– MSG– The Message Bible; NKJV– New King James Version;  NLT– New Living Translation; AMP– The Amplified Bible;