Why RP Exists
And we’re back – quickly into action! God is running things through my mind and until I write them down, I feel my job is incomplete. Thank you to all who read and support this ministry. Before writing to you about the topic at hand, I wanted to refresh everyone’s memory on why this whole thing started. Bear with me below.
Please note, this was the first thing I ever wrote on this page:
I hope you join me as I traverse through the religion of Christianity. I know God is real. I know He has a purpose for me and for those in His Kingdom. I'm just wondering if we've been doing this whole thing wrong for far too long. Feel free to comment on any post, let's talk.
The tag of this page (as you see on top) is, “Christians, we need to talk.” The whole reason I chose to blog wasn’t to put out doctrine, theology or apologetics. The reason I started this blog was two fold. Firstly, to encourage healthy discussions about controversial issues. Secondly, to sharpen myself when it came to Biblical literacy given our current context. Some articles are easy going and do not hold a lot of weight. Some are more alluring, and I try to end with my end tag, “Think on it. RP” Because that is all I am asking for you to do. Think on it. Meditate on God’s Word. Pray to God. Consider the passage below.
Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” Proverbs 1:20-22
Please allow every article I write to not be law. For I am not an Apostle (note the capitalization). I only want to challenge my personal beliefs and personal convictions in the light of the Word of God. I choose to not simply believe something because I spent my whole life believing something. Most Christians argue in evangelism, “If I held absolute truth, would you not desire to know it?” That is the call I hear from God’s Word. God is begging me, "I have absolute truth - do you dare pursue it?" The Word is, after all, infallible in every way. CH Spurgeon may only have been 95% right. John Macarthur may only be 94% right. Your local pastor surely doesn’t get 100% right. I do not get nearly enough right. But the Word of God does.
So, I am taking everything I know, see, hear, experience, and anything in between and holding it up against the Word of God and asking myself, “is this truth?” My only hope and prayer is that you would do the same. With saying all of that, I return to the actual topic at hand.
The Initial Question: But why?
I have spent extensive time over the past two weeks researching the gift of tongues. Today’s post will not be touching on tongues to a heavy extent – but rather, the baptism of the Holy Spirit (HS). You may initially pause and think, wait a minute, baptism of the HS and tongues go hand and hand. My friend, I thought so too for a long time – until I studied the Word of God.
Much of this started with my cognitive dissonance within charismatic circles. You will often hear, “Yes, they speak in tongues, but they have DEMONIC tongues.” How could that be so? Are they a believer? Then they can't be demonic. Perhaps fakers, or of themselves? Maybe. I actually would even struggle with someone’s heavenly language sounding like, “oopa oopa oopa loo, oopa oopa loo loo loo.” I’ve heard so many tongues since I was raised charismatic and there are some fakers and also tongues that just make you downright uncomfortable. But why?
Allen Parr admitted while attending a Pentecostal church that he faked tongues for years in order to fit in. He admitted that in order to receive any form of attention, you had to speak in tongues. It was not until recently that Foursquare changed their requirements to be a Pastor. They used to demand tongues from any appointed pastor, now they only request you seek the gift. But why?
I also had a deep struggle with those that were “baptized in the Spirit” (spoke in tongues) and then walked away from God. How could someone “endued with power from on high” just walk away? Also, consider how many Christians today speak (or fake) tongues and literally have no fruit of being a Christian. Tongues represent the power of the HS, yet so many Christians with tongues have no power. But why?
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
If you spend any time in your Word, you are bound to come across the idea of a HS baptism. But what is it? What does it mean? Well- that depends on who you ask. But, we want to ask the Word of God. Likely, the most quoted verse on the subject can be found in 1 Corinthians.
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 [ESV]
So, based on this – every one who is of Christ is baptized by the Spirit. So, if you are saved, you are then baptized by Christ in to the HS. In fact, every single place you look for language of baptized/sealed to the HS, it is upon salvation. Please, do a study on it. Every. Single. Time.
Well, the scoffer may retort. Have you heard of John shouting, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. [Matthew 3:11]” Spirit and FIRE – tongues of fire!
Then we must continue – does fire represent a man-made power, or – alternatively, does it represent God’s presence, passion and purity? Purifying fire. Presence of fire. Passion of fire. They are all of God, and not of ourselves. When we are baptized in HS and fire, we are sealed to the Holy Spirit and it brings about His presence in our lives, a passion for Him and a desire for purity in Him. Is that not power? Is not power found in God’s presence? Is not power found in passion for the Divine? Is not power found in consecration/sanctification and holiness? If you don’t have all three, then you likely were not baptized by the Spirit – which in turn means you never took upon Jesus as your Savior and Lord (sola fide) I would also argue, you should NEVER let your fire “burn out.” (note: Lev. 6:13 & Matt. 10)
We look to probably one of my favorite passages about the baptism of the Spirit in Acts 19.
And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John's baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. Acts 19:2-6 [ESV]
So this, this right here surely means that being baptized in to the HS means you will speak in tongues. That is what the baptism of the HS is, right? Wrong. Dead wrong. So wrong. It hurts me to my core wrong. I am deeply disturbed and saddened wrong. I wish I was not so mistaken wrong. Tongues is a gift, sure. I will cover tongues much more extensively soon. But this baptism of the HS is so much MORE than tongues. It is so much more than prophesying.
I need you, my reader, to understand something. Many of you may already know this – but several do not. The baptism of the HS is not speaking in tongues. The baptism of the HS is when Christ pours His spiritual baptism upon you in the manifestation of the Holy Spirit entering your life. This happens upon salvation, if you don’t receive the Holy Spirit, then you are as these men in Acts 19 – unsaved. They replied, into John baptism. There is no salvation in John’s baptism. Assuredly, I tell you the same – if you have not the Spirit then you have not salvation. It is the first thing Christ does with those who place their faith in Him. (Note: Romans 8)
Understand something plainly. Tongues is not power. The Spirit is power. Tongues is a gift, lest no man should boast. The Spirit though, He is everything I need. He is my comforter, my Helper and power. So what then is power? What then grants someone spiritual authority? Upon salvation, Christ baptizes you in His HS. When the HS comes into you, He may immediately fill you up. He may fill you so full that you cannot help but leap, dance, shout for joy at this divine revelation. Baptism of the HS is the ability to operate in power because now you can operate in Him, you’ve been sealed in Him. (note: Eph. 1:13-14, 4:30 & 2 Cor. 1:21-22)
When we believe and are justified, we are, as it were, deluged and engulfed by the Holy Spirit; we are, as it were, immersed in and saturated by the Spirit. The result of this is that we are made members of the body of Christ, incorporated into the spiritual organism called the church, and permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Sam Storms [1 Cor. 12]
Being Filled with the Holy Spirit
As a Christian, we have our highs. We have our lows. I ask myself over and over. Where does true Holy Ghost POWER come from? The type of power we see in Acts. The type of power we only hear about (it seems). I’m not talking just about wonders. I’m not talking about tongues. I’m talking about a true, genuine nature of Christians that are truly living life to the fullest. They cant help but praise Him, cast off the cares of the world, shove to the side Netflix and Hulu and run to every person they meet and proclaim the Gospel message! Power to preach, power to teach, power to exhort, power to prophesy, power to love, power to forgive, power to love wives, submit to husbands, power to manage your house well.
Thus, I must ask you again – why do we see Christians who speak in tongues lack all genuine power from the HS. After all, are we not told once you can speak in tongues, you have power? Picture it like this. Upon (genuine) salvation, you are given a bucket. Perhaps it is full. Perhaps it is half-full. But it would surely not be empty! The man who hands it to you says, “you can refill the bucket over there yonder.”
The illustration should tell you this: The baptism of the Holy Spirit is as the bucket, it merely allows you to be filled. Perhaps you started with power, but that does not mean it will last. Power comes from continually filling your bucket, and living in a state of being “full of the Spirit.”
“to be filled with the Spirit is to come under increasingly more intense and intimate influence of the Spirit. Spirit-filling can be forfeited and subsequently experienced yet again, on multiple occasions, throughout the course of the Christian life.” Sam Storms
Or also said by J-Mac.
But the filling of the Spirit is that thing that happens daily, moment by moment as you yield, and He fills you. If there’s sin in your life, He can’t fill it, right, because the law of expulsion says two things can’t occupy the same space at the same time. The filling of the Spirit is simply yielding, yielding, yielding. That happens again and again. Paul says, “Be being kept filled. Keep on yielding.” And when you do that, there will be immediate results, because that’s an experiential thing. You’ll speak to yourselves in songs, hymns, spiritual songs. You’ll sing, make melody in your heart. You’ll love your wife. Wives, you’ll obey your husbands in the Lord. Children, you’ll obey your parents. Fathers, you won’t provoke your kids. John Macarthur
The Bible continually has language as such. “full of the HS” or “filled with the HS” – please refer to Luke 4:1, Acts 6:3, 7:5, 11:24, 13:52. (full) Luke 1:15-17, Acts 9:17, 4:8-31, 7:55, 13:9, Luke 1:41-67. To put this as plainly as I possibly can. Upon salvation, there is one baptism of Christ into the HS, but there are multiple, continual fillings – that should become a lifestyle.
No where in the Word of God will you find Christians are commanded to be baptized in the HS. There is no appeal to accomplish something in at attempt to be baptized; there is no imperative. It comes when you call upon the name of the Lord as your Savior. He (Jesus) then baptizes you in His HS. However, consider in Ephesians 5:18, “and do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” We are commanded to be filled with the HS. Thus, it is possible to have the indwelling of the HS (baptized) and yet not be filled. Our buckets could be dried up and full of cobweb. Or perhaps worse, you’ve taken the bucket and poisoned it with your own carnality.
“And filled simply means total control, total yieldedness to the resident power of the Spirit. That means no sin unconfessed, no self will. It’s yielding to the Holy Spirit.” John Macarthur
You wish to walk in anointing, power, purity, proclamation and praise? That is only reflected by a mature Christian who is continually filling themselves with the HS. Proclamation always comes before power. And you wont proclaim what you aren't excited about.
Power of the Holy Spirit
I wanted to end you with the genuine power in which the HS brings. These thoughts below are a summation of deep study on a few theologians, primarily R.C. Sproul.
Christ says it is to our advantage that He goes away (John 16:7) because He will send an advocate, a helper, a comforter. Christ ensures the Father will bring the paraclete or, as KJV translates: the comforter. But what is interesting about this word, is it is better translated as the One who will come with strength (note: strength/power). The Holy Spirit’s forte is comfort in strength.
“And so what Jesus was saying is, I’m not sending the HS to dry your tears, to console you, to make you feel better after you’ve been beaten up by your adversaries, although He does that. Rather the promise of the coming Spirit was for power and for strength.” R.C. Sproul
Do you understand my friend? The power and strength is the comfort? My wife wrote me so in awe of our wonderful God. “He gives us strength and power to do the things we need to do to glorify Him and accomplish His work – Filling of the Spirit.”
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
As a closing thought for my charismatic friends, look around you - how many people have the gift of tongues yet are living in sin or walking with literally no power. It is because they have not been consecrated and sanctified - those things come from yielding your life to the HS. Power is not found in a gift, it is found in a life devoted to being continually filled with the HS. Being filled is not a one time event that is determined on whether or not you received a gift. It is so much more than that. Is your bucket full? Is it pure? Is it yielded to God? Are you full of the Spirit?
In conclusion, I will gratefully accept any difference in opinion as an attempt to continue glorifying God’s kingdom. But through prayer, petition, careful study of the Word and looking to several great church theologians, preachers and pastors – they all echo the same message. May God be glorified in this – my hope and prayer is that we use this information to continue to yield ourselves to the work of the HS. May we meditate on Scripture. May we boast all the more gladly in our weaknesses. May we find genuine strength, genuine power – not in one single gift – heaven’s no! but far greater, in being sealed to the HS (Eph. 1).
Also, I do not believe this to be a primary issue. But, a sad misunderstanding for many. Please, spend time in God's Word and study this - be filled. We are each in an ongoing need to be filled.
Think on it,
P.S. this is part 1 because I could write another 15,000 words on the power that this brings. More will come. Pray. Read. See you soon.