HOW TO RECOGNIZE A PENTECOSTAL CHURCH
1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
Pentecost is the church’s only power. God never anoints flesh that is not under the anointing of the Holy Ghost. It’s either Holy Ghost power or flesh power. The Bible is very plain about the early church. They stated plainly that ‘we are those that have no confidence in the flesh.” (Philippians 3:3) Our flesh is our greatest burden and only the death of our flesh can precede the mighty power of the Holy Ghost. That death is a lifestyle for the great saints that allow the Holy Ghost to manifest His glory. The way you talk, the way you eat, the way you dress is all together what you are.
The church is at the crossroad. All kinds of gimmicks have flooded the church while the Holy Ghost is removed. Most Pentecostals deny that the language of tongues is needed or is evidence of His baptism. The Bible is still plain and they Holy Ghost will never manifest if His language is rejected. If He is not allowed to speak, He will leave you to yourself. Please study the Book of Acts. The Holy Ghost will be in charge of Christ’s church. Jesus Christ will own no church house or congregation that does not welcome His Spirit to control.
The person of the Holy Spirit is the third dynamic and divine member of our Eternal Godhead. To rightly recognize His offices in the Trinity is to trust God with a fresh vibrancy. Most Christians have heard numerous sermons on the Father and the Son but few on the Holy Spirit. Yet, everything the Father and the Son present in life or redemption is manifest in the church and to the saints by the Spirit. God the Father is on His throne and God the Son is seated at His right hand. The Spirit dwells in the church and in the temple of believers and fills the Universe.
Jesus Christ was most enthusiastic about returning to Heaven and promised that the Teacher and Comforter would be sent in His place. The Holy Spirit never exalts Himself but exalts the Father and the Son as Jesus promised. He must be honored by the Saints and given the mastery of our lives. Our total dependency on the Holy Ghost has one purpose and that is to allow Him to fulfill His offices assigned by the Father and the Son. We are warned not to quench Him, despise Him, grieve Him, or blaspheme Him. The ultimate sin is to blaspheme the Spirit and to do so is to be lost forever.
How can the saints be careful not to quench or grieve Him unless they understand His many wonderful expressions in our midst? A visitation of the Holy Ghost in today’s church gets scant attention from most in attendance. I remember when everyone honored a very whisper of His presence. The Antichrist has succeeded in providing a false anointing so cheap and giddy that it is laughable. This has resulted in a loss of the sense of the sacred. We need a shattering visitation that breaks the strongholds of religion without the fear of God. The Holy Spirit and His every inspiration must be held in the highest regard.
The shattering phrase, “seven lamps of fire burning before the throne,” is the Holy Bible’s most breathtaking description of the Holy Ghost. The complete sentence reads with a clear picture of the many offices of God’s Spirit. “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God” (Revelation 4:5).
The Holy Spirit is eternal, unlimited in power, and Holy in exactly the same degree as the Father and the Son. The most wonderful office of the Spirit is His omnipresence. He adds omnipresence to the Godhead just as Jesus adds grace and forgiveness. The Father is the eternal mind, the Son of God is the eternal word, and the Holy Spirit is the eternal manifestation. Nothing can ever escape God’s thoughts, nothing can escape the Son of God’s redemption, and nothing can escape the Spirit’s presence.
There are six other offices manifested by the Father and the Son’s Spirit. The first is His office of omnipresence and the following six are now listed in what I perceive as their order. The Spirit of Restraint is that great limitation on evil, which keeps Satan, and all darkness on a leash. He is both the Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Revelation. He is the Spirit of Conviction of all sin, righteousness, and judgment to come. He is the Spirit of Grace that converts and frees man of sin and evil control. He is the Spirit of Preservation that seals the soul that He has converted to righteousness and sustains them until the glorious hour of perfection. To search those offices of the Holy Spirit and to recognize the divine intent of each is to walk in the meadows of majesty.
The early church was deeply rooted in the meat of the Word. Because of such depth, they turned their world upside down. The awakening that followed on the heels of Pentecost has never been matched. The Holy Ghost created a church world that touched millions without one modern means of communication. They were possessed of the Spirit and needed nothing else. The office of Christ’s Spirit, which came to be called the Holy Ghost, was the vicar of Jesus Christ in His every expression. When Jesus Christ is glorified as the Spirit glorified Him in the early church, nothing can stop the saints, not even the gates of hell.
1 Corinthians 12
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
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.
The Spirit of Omnipresence
We must understand the incredible office of the Holy Spirit that we call the “Spirit of Omnipresence.” The trinity of God cannot be divided; neither can they be greater than one. These three distinct persons each add incredible dimension to the whole. The one office they hold in common is the perfect Holiness of their character. The Holiness of God must never be considered as acquired but intrinsic. Our God is also eternal, but that is not an office but a fact. The Godhead is also unlimited in power; that is also not an office but is their shared nature.
The Holy Spirit is the all-encompassing part of the Godhead and brings all that God is into the whole of the entire universe. There is not a place where God is not present, and the Spirit makes that so. It matters not how a devoted Christian feels on a given day, God is just as near on the bad days as on the best of days. Life in the plants that line the path we walk would fade in a flash if God were not. All life from the lowest to the highest is upheld by the life principles that fill all space by God’s Divine Spirit.
God’s Old Testament songwriter explained this the best of all. “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee” (Psalm 139:7-12).
Our natural world must deal in shadows, but such possibilities do not exist with God. Even our thoughts are known of Him and He tries our reins in all of our ways. The loss of this understanding of His Spirit creates carelessness that robs man of the fear of God.
Even Hell and the Lake of Fire are eternal because the eternal Spirit of Omnipresence is present. Unless the Spirit inhabits this dark place of judgment, it would burn itself up and cease to be. The universe must never be without the witness of the cost of sin and rebellion. The eternal Lake of Fire will give inspiration to the things of the cross and to the redemption offered to every soul. The Omnipresence of the Divine Spirit can know no boundaries in the total expanse of the Father’s Universe.
While the “Seven Lamps of Fire” are seen before the throne in Revelation four and seven, He is also seen in Chapter 5 verse six. The last action representing the Spirit is in Chapter 14. After that, the Holy Spirit is seen as going forth from God’s throne and New Jerusalem manifesting the Life and Light to the New Heaven and New Earth. He will be the Omnipresence of the Eternal Father and His Eternal Son. We see His reflection in the following words, “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Revelation 21:23). “And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 22:5). The Glory of the Father and the Son will forever be made manifest by the reflection of the Spirit.
The Spirit of Restraints
The Spirit of Restraints is an incredible office held and manifest by the Holy Spirit. This Divine person is indeed the proper person to restrain evil. Being Omnipresent, there is no possibility of the devil or one of his fallen angels acting in secret. We see this marvelous truth as the Father spoke by the Word in Genesis. “…The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:2-3). The Divine Spirit had moved upon the chaotic emptiness to manifest light. He has always been the restrainer of darkness and evil. Isaiah spoke of Him, “So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19).
This is an awesome truth. God’s entire universe would descend into an irreversible catastrophe if not for this Divine restrainer. Satan has turned many nations and lives into a wilderness. Often, when hope was quickly vanishing, the Spirit of God has moved. Every revival I have studied occurred on the edge of total despair.
Even today the world appears to be heading for collapse. It will not happen because the Spirit of Restraints will act supernaturally on schedule. I am truly expecting a sovereign revival among the remnant of faithful believers. Chaos can never pass the limits that our Creator has designed. The Holy Spirit will act and evil will be put to flight. Jesus stated, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
The Spirit of Truth
God’s Eternal truths cannot fail because the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Truth. Every truth of the Bible is both intellectual and spiritual. So-called scholars that think themselves capable of reinventing the Bible are playing with fire. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16-17). The Word of God is so powerful that no power can stop one word from being fulfilled.
Apostle Peter gave the Word of God one of its most potent defenses. He stated by the Spirit Himself, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Peter 1:20-21).
Understanding that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth adds a powerful dimension to both truth and to the Spirit Himself. Truth declares that this Bible is the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). There is no other tool in the ministry of the Spirit but truth. He does not use other ideas, imaginations, or schemes. The Word of God is His single instrument and that is all He needs. The Spirit watches over the Word to perform it. The Son of God declares, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18).
It’s one thing to know that the Bible is an infallible book, but it is even greater to know that the Spirit of Christ keeps watch over every word that it cannot fail. If our faith can grasp this fact, we will become Saints in the spiritual realm.
The Spirit of Revelation
The depth of Scripture is impossible for our minds to comprehend. Hidden in this Holy Word are treasures of wisdom. The Spirit that gives truth must be also the Spirit of Revelation of the truth of those hidden treasures. We shall never discover them without His inspiration. Jesus Christ alluded to this as He taught His disciples and all of us about His Kingdom. He said, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field” (Matthew 13:44).
Then, He spoke of the scribes that copied the Word, “Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old” (Matthew 13:52). There is no possibility of one man exploring all of the treasures in the Holy Bible, but each saint can certainly claim their share. The Holy Ghost’s transcribed revelations are like dynamite held in your hands. It is ready to explode in your life if you will delight in its abundance.
The Book of St. John has been labeled as the book that reveals Christ’s divinity and it is indeed. But, it is much more. It is the most Pentecostal gospel of the four gospels. John writes much about the importance of the Spirit’s coming after Jesus is glorified. These quotes are from Christ Himself. The highlights of His words concerning the Holy Spirit are beautiful. He said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you” (St. John 16:12-15).
The Spirit of Conviction
The spirit in man is the only door by which God can enter into the human life. This spirit of man is kin to God, was imparted by God, and is ordained as a place of Divine activity by the Spirit of Conviction. The Holy Spirit will seize the first opening that the spirit of man allows. The Holy Ghost is never slack to convict of sin. This is His office work. No man can come to God; neither can God go to man except at this level. A multitude will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire because they closed their spirit’s door to the Holy Spirit.
This is one of the key teachings of Christ in St. John’s gospel. Jesus made it plain that it was expedient that He return to His Father and send back the convictor of sin. It’s beautiful to see how aware of the Spirit of Conviction Jesus was. He knew this was the Spirit’s role. He is grace manifested, but the Spirit takes that grace into the human spirit and marks the desperate need on man’s conscience. The emphasis that our Lord placed on this subject gives great credit to this office that He and His Father have given to the Holy Ghost.
His words to the disciples are powerful. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (St. John 16:7-11). There is no “born again” life without conviction of sin in that life.
The Spirit of Conversion
The Spirit that convicts man of His lost condition is fully ready to transform and convert the same life to Christ. Jesus told Nicodemus, “ye must be born again.” When Nicodemus did not understand, Jesus explained it to Him. “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (St. John 3:5). Without question, the Lord Himself identified this office of conversion as the work of the Holy Spirit. The Lord adds, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (St. John 3:16).
The greatest need in Christ’s church is a new emphasis on the miracle of “being born again.” Our church world is full of unconverted men and women that are convinced that a little religious persuasion is sufficient. The whole spirit, soul, and body becomes a new creature when the power of the Holy Ghost can be turned loose to do His work of regeneration. Anything less is not Bible Christianity.
Apostle Paul described what happens in the powerful work of God’s Holy Spirit and the redemptive experience. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:1-6). The Holy Spirit does a supernatural work in the New Birth.
4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
The Spirit of Preservation
The final expression of the “Seven Lamps of Fire” or the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s offices is this marvelous preservation of the Saints. I’m so close to being a “once saved, always saved” believer that it scares my friends. Someone of the Calvinistic persuasion asked me recently, “Can a man lose his salvation?” My answer was, “absolutely not.” Of course, after a pause I said, “But he can leave it.” Even to “leave it” is not easy. This whole argument is the most fruitless argument of the church world.
When a soul is truly “born again,” they are sealed by the Holy Ghost and identified for the world and the devil to see as God’s property. It is impossible for them to backslide unless that seal is broken. The only power that can break that seal is a willful return to sin and a willful rejection of the pleading, persevering power of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul gave us a picture of this pathway to backsliding. Here is his powerful expression, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6).
The preserving ministry of the Spirit is one of the Bible’s most breathtaking pictures. Peter said “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). Later in II Peter, this apostle said some powerful words concerning that soul that willfully turns back to sin. “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire “ (II Peter 2:20-22).
It takes a stubborn soul to reject this marvelous salvation once they have experienced the heart of an utterly transformed life. The Holy Spirit is our best friend and He abides in our very temple to preserve us for righteousness. We must not “quench Him,” “grieve Him,” or “resist Him.” Romans say, ”Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9b).
The Seven Lamps of the Fire before the throne of God shows us clearly the great breath of the Person of the Holy Ghost. Jesus Christ alone is the Lord of the church and of every saint of God; but, His Spirit is present to be our Pope or Vicar for Christ. Every saint and every local church must develop a Biblical sensitivity to this Divine Person abiding in our midst. Our spirits can be so tuned to Him that we hear His whisper and yield immediately to His presence.