Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: November 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Self Deception of the Fallen Nature and Lying to the Holy Spirit

1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. 5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. 6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. 7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. 8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. 9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. 10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. 11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things” (Acts 5:1-11).

How easily we slip into the façade of pretense for purposes of self-promotion. How quickly we enable ourselves to justify deception for self-aggrandizing. How often we use pseudo-spirituality to exalt ourselves in the eyes of others for the purposes of stealing glory. This mentality promotes a secret sin life and an idolatrous promotion of self worship and glory seeking. However, the lies we manufacture in the hidden darkness of the corruption of our own fallen natures to deceive others cannot deceive God. There are no sinful actions, thoughts, emotions, or motives to which He is not aware. The wise Christian will also maintain his awareness of God’s awareness and be constantly guarding his motives and his thought life before God.

Perhaps there is no greater manifestation of pretense Christianity and its accompanying manifestation of unbelief than to somehow, in any way, think we can pull a fast one and deceive God. Pretense Christianity always is accompanied with a secret sin-life. Why would anyone live in this kind of pretense before others while having a secret sin-life that walks in pursuit of the fulfillment of the lusts of their flesh? This is carnality at its highest level of existence! Paul deals with this in his second epistle to the Corinthian church after they had dealt with the externals of their carnality. In his second epistle, Paul deals with the internal issues of carnality. The carnal man wants to think of himself more “highly than he ought” (Rom. 12:3) and he wants others to hold the same, false high opinion. In that motivation, the carnal man is willing to manufacture his own spirituality, but manufactured spirituality will always be empty of any real spiritual fruit.

1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: 2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. 7 Do ye look on things after the outward appearance” (II Corinthians 10:1-7)?

The concluding question of II Corinthians 10:7 is critical to our evaluation of the reality of our own filling of the Spirit and our own spirituality. “Do ye look on things after the outward appearance?That is how carnal people measure their own spirituality. Of course, the externals can all look great and a person can be doing all the religious stuff that mere religion without relationship asks of us and that person can still be as carnal as carnal can be. The only way anyone would ever know that such a person has merely manufactured spirituality is when their secret sin life is exposed in some way. The expose of the secret sin life in merely a manifestation of this deep seated carnality and the façade of religiosity. However, merely dealing with the symptoms of an externalistic, manufactured religiosity, without dealing with the façade of pretense that lies at the heart of the lie, will just create a continuum of externalism and reinforce the pretense with more pretense.

Paul’s admonition to the carnal believers at Corinth is a basic rebuke. It is GET REAL! Why did they need the rebuke? They needed the rebuke because they were measuring spirituality by “the outward appearance.” Christ challenges the façade of the religious externalism in the religious leaders of the Jews by telling them to stop looking at how beautiful the tree is and start looking at the fruit the tree produces.

15 Beware of false prophets {pseudoprophetes; a pretending prophet or religious imposter}, which come to you in sheep’s clothing {outward appearance of genuineness}, but inwardly they are ravening wolves {pursuing the selfish satisfaction of their own appetites}. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns {do you gather grapes from a thorn bush}, or figs of thistles {do you gather figs from a thistle bush}? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:15-20).

Notice the unity of the Spirit that existed in the local church at Jerusalem into which Satan introduces this defiling selfishness of glory seeking in the hearts of Ananias and Sapphira his wife. If this defiling corruption would have been left unexposed, it would have defiled the whole church and the miraculous work of the ministry of the Holy Spirit through their lives and the spiritual revival, along with the fruit produced through this revival, would have immediately ceased.

32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. 36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, 37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:32-37).

Notice in Acts 5:3-4 where this self-deception of Ananias and Sapphira originated. It was a purely selfish acts of self-aggrandizing motivation that originated by the suggestion of the king of selfishness; Satan himself. 3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.” Although Satan sowed the seed of selfishness in their hearts, conception and birth of sin did not happen until they consented and allowed the seed of selfishness to join with their own carnal lust. We cannot correct serious heart issues by merely changing eternal circumstances. We MUST deal with the corrupting issues of the heart!

13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down {is coming down} from the Father of lights {illumination}, with whom is no variableness {God is constant}, neither shadow of turning (not even a shade of variation in His character and attributes}. 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:13-18).

Another sad aspect of the story of Ananias and Sapphira is that they enabled each other to conspire to deceive. Instead of one of them say to the other, “this is not right,” they consented together to raise the opinions about themselves in the minds of others through deception in order to get themselves spiritual status. God addresses this kind of thinking in Proverbs 4:14-27 and refers to it as entering “into the path of the wicked.” What is the subtle form of self-deception? It is the desire to get something of value, such as a good testimony or a good reputation, without really doing what is necessary to deserve what will be given to you. They saw the praise, admiration, and gratefulness given to many others for their sacrificial giving as recorded in Acts 4:32-37 and decided they would get some of that for themselves and conceived a plan of deception whereby they could get it all at a discount price. There is no such thing in the eyes of God as discount spirituality. It will always cost more than we can afford.

The issues of the heart refers to what issues, or flows, from the heart. The heart refers to the seat of the human will or the spirit of man. The human will is corrupt, deceitful, defiled, and wicked. That is what will come from our lives if we do not guard the heart against its own corruption and the outcomes of that corruption.

14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. 16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. 17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. 18 But the path {the direction and purpose of life existence as a testimony to the Truth} of the just {the justified or saved} is as the shining light, that shineth more and more {as the sunrise fills the morning with increasing light} unto the perfect day. 19 The way {the direction and purpose of life existence} of the wicked is as darkness {as the sunset that begins to fill the night with increasing darkness due to the absence of light}: they know not at what they stumble. 20 My son, attend {prick up your ears; listen up} to my words; incline {lean towards} thine ear unto my sayings. 21 Let them {God’s Words} not depart from thine eyes; keep them {God’s Words} in the midst of thine heart. 22 For they {God’s Words} are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. 23 Keep {guard or protect} thy heart {against outward temptations and against attack by inward corruption} with all diligence; for out of it {the heart or inward man} are the issues of life. 24 Put away from thee a froward mouth {distortion of God’s Word}, and perverse lips {language of departure from God’s Word} put far from thee. 25 Let thine eyes {of inward desires that lead you in outward pursuits} look right on {straight ahead with the same unchanging consistency manifested of God in God’s Word} , and let thine eyelids {every time you open your eyes to see anything} look straight before thee. 26 Ponder {prepare or roll out flat} the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways {chosen pathways of life} be established {fixed or anchored; i.e., to the Words of God}. 27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil” (Proverbs 4:14-27).

As we can see from Acts chapter 5 in God’s response to Ananias’ and Sapphira’s attempt to deceive the Holy Spirit by trying to deceive the local church about their spirituality, God will not tolerate this kind of sin in the church. Perhaps the reason why God acts so promptly and severely upon this secret, covert attempt at spiritual deception is the consequences of such deception upon His blessing upon the whole of work of the ministry in the filling and overflow of the Spirit. The sin had to be dealt with, just like the sin of Achan in Joshua chapter 7, before God’s overflowing presence could go before them in the many, many spiritual battles that lay before them. God cannot, and will not, bless pretense. Christ spoke to the hypocrisy of externalism over and over again as recorded in the Gospels (especially in Matthew chapter 23).

What was the sin of Ananias and Sapphira? Yes, the sin conceived in their hearts came forth, or was born, as a lie to the Holy Spirit and to the local church, but the sin itself was the sin of hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is manufactured spirituality. True spirituality is a supernatural act of ongoing creation that progressively transfigures the outward life of a believer by the inward “renewing” of the mind (Rom. 12:2). It is like the little child that dresses up in daddy’s or mommy’s cloth and shoes and pretends to be daddy or mommy. That is pretending. However living in the pretense of hypocrisy is the deception of trying to actually present yourself as the person you are pretending to be for personal gain. That was the sin of Ananias and Sapphira.

The sin of pretentious hypocrisy is a sin each of us needs to confront in our lives. Although God may not kill us on the spot for such wickedness today, we need to understand that the outcome, or fruit, of such hypocrisy is always death. Living fruit cannot be born from the womb of dead hypocrisy.

11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain {selfishness}, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward {selfishness}, and perished in the gainsaying of Core {selfishness}. 12 These are {defiling} spots in your feasts of charity {the Lord’s Supper}, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 1:11-13).

The vanity of hypocrisy is always trying to make God into our own image in order to transfer worship that belongs only to God to ourselves. That is a wickedness that encompasses the very essence of the sin of selfishness itself in that it seeks to establish a false image of God with our name on it. Oh, what covert wickedness! Perhaps the greater trespass is justifying such an abominable act. Herein we see the moral depravation of the fallen nature of humankind in trying to get a discount good testimony before men through deception while not considering that the only testimony that really matters is our testimony before an omniscient God, manifesting that we really do not believe in Him.

10 He that is faithful in that which is least {Mammon} is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches {spiritual responsibilities regarding unlimited spiritual resources}? 12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. 15 And he {Jesus} said unto them {the self-righteous Pharisees}, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men {for the hypocrisy of self-righteousness} is abomination {as idolatry is detested by God} in the sight of God” (Luke 16:10-15).

We can be quite sure that Ananias and Sapphira enabled one another in this deception by justifying themselves to one another. We can almost hear their conversation; “After all, who is it going to hurt? No one will ever know. It is not a big deal. We are giving a lot, no one needs to know how much we got for the property. What others think is their problem, not ours.” Oh, the subtlety of self-deception.

Those who pursue a genuine testimony understand that it will be expensive and in ways they will not be able to anticipate. King David understood this, especially after he had destroyed his testimony before God, his family, and the nation of Israel. We find king David individual in Psalm 19 communicating truths that reveal to us why it was said of him that he was a man after God’s own heart. It was not in pursuit of god’s love for him. He already had that. David wanted his heart to be genuinely like God’s heart, because David genuinely loved the Lord and genuinely regretted his own human failures and frailties. David was primarily concerned about his testimony in God’s eyes.

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. 12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. 13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:7-14).

Seldom is there a household where degrees of worldliness are tolerated where the husband and wife are not also complicit in the sin of tempting God similar to that of Ananias and Sapphira. They just never consider that God would care about something they deem to be a small thing or a little lie. Christian households all around the world are guilty of the same sin that Ananias and Sapphira committed. They have one life they live before the church and another secret life, that they somehow have convinced themselves, that no one will ever know about. What does this self-deception reveal about these people and what are they cultivating in the lives of their children who live with them in their secret sin? The answer is they are cultivating UNBELIEF and husbands and wives are being complicit in this wickedness!

Granted, God’s response to the sin of Ananias and Sapphira is one of those instances of something that was transitional in nature in the early beginnings of the Church Age. If it were not a temporal response to the duplicity that is so apparent in the lives of so many who profess Christ as Savior and Lord, we would not see the foolishness of the pragmatism of the carnival nature of the Emerging Church movement advance in its deception of people in these last days.

What we would see if God’s immediate judgment fell upon hypocrisy, as it did upon Ananias and Sapphira, is that most people who profess Christ as Lord would start getting real serious about the reality of their spiritual relationship with the Lord. In God’s immediate judgment upon the hypocrisy of Ananias and Sapphira, we simply see God’s attitude towards this kind of thinking and self-deception.

This kind of thinking and self-deception is impregnated with the curse of death upon any potential for glory to God and a hopelessness towards the production of any real spiritual fruit. However, if you are living this kind of life and are still breathing air, do not fool yourself into think that God does not care and that you got by with it. You did not get by with it. This is the reason your life is fruitless. Remember, the Judgment Seat still lies before you in your near future.

1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation {exhibition or living expression} of the truth commending {standing beside as a living testimony} ourselves to every man’s conscience {moral consciousness of what is morally right and morally wrong} in the sight of {lit.; before the face of} God” (II Corinthians 4:1-2).

This was where Ananias and Sapphira failed and where many Christians continue to fail daily. We live our little secrets as if God is imaginary. Real faith always lives in the light of understanding that our lives are lived before the face of God. He knows! He sees! You will not get by with sin. God hates double mindedness. When people put the word little before any sin, they have just said there is some degree of corruption that God will tolerate. In doing so, they have just created a false god!

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Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Indwelling Spirit and the Foolishness of Preaching

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: 15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon 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 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. 22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. 29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls(Acts 2:14-41).

Ten days after the ascension of Jesus Christ to the right hand of the Father in glory, the Person of the Holy Spirit of God was released into the world. However, He was not merely released into the atmosphere. In God’s omnipresence, the Spirit of God already filled the atmosphere of the world. On the Day of Pentecost, the Person of the Spirit of God was released into those believers who had trusted in the death, burial, and resurrection/glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation and redemption.

Upon Christ’s resurrection/glorification, He created a New Genesis and a New Existence where once again God would dwell within His creation, although only within those “born again” of the Spirit into this New Genesis. The intent of this new spiritual dynamic was for the ongoing work of God in the New Creation, that began in Christ “before the world began” (II Tim. 1:9 & Titus 1:2), would now continue through a supernatural partnership (“fellowship”) with “born again” believers indwelled by, and filled with, the Person of the Holy Spirit of God.

The indwelling of the Spirit of God is conditioned upon being saved. It is the outcome of a person’s faith decision to repent of sin, believe the Gospel, confess Christ to be JEHOVAH (LORD), call on the Name of Jesus to save us from eternal separation from God (“death”), and receive the Person of Christ in the Person of the indwelling Spirit of God. The indwelling is a one-time (once-for-all) occurrence that never needs to be repeated in that God’s promise is that He “5b will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5b-6).

The filling of the Spirit of God is the releasing of the creative power of God through the ministry of the life of the Spirit indwelled believer. The intent of this release of the creative power of God through the “work of the ministry” in the life of a believer is for spiritual “fruit” to be produced to God’s glory. Spiritual “fruit” refers specifically to souls being saved by the Spirit filled believer’s proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a sinner brought to conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and that same sinner making a faith decision to repent, believe, confess, call upon the Name of Jesus, and receive the indwelling Holy Spirit. This whole spiritual dynamic of the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit through the life of a Spirit filled believer is that which defines “by grace through faith” in Ephesians 2:8-9. The word “grace” defines the supernatural operations of God in every dispensation. In the Age of Grace, the supernatural operations of God are done through the lives of Spirit filled believers.

The filling of the Spirit of God is conditioned upon total surrender of a believer’s will, emotions, actions and ambitions to the indwelling Christ. In the filling of the surrendered believer by the Holy Spirit, that believer is literally physically, emotionally, and spiritually transfigured to be Christ-like.

When a believer is filled with the Spirit of God, that believer will be preoccupied with the same things the Spirit of God is preoccupied with. In other words, there are spiritual outcomes that manifest a believer’s being filled with the Spirit. If the outcomes do not exist, neither does the filling exist. When a believer is truly filled with the Spirit of God the Christ-life will be produced. The presence of the Christ-life will be manifested through seven outcome realities in that believer’s life. The Spirit filled believer will be:

1. Preoccupied with being separated from worldliness

2. Preoccupied with being holy in that separation from worldliness and holiness are two essentials for our ministry to be acceptable unto God and, therefore, blessed of God (for “fruit” to be produced)

3. Preoccupied with the in-depth study of God’s Word to be equipped to do the “work of the ministry” in persuading sinners of Truth

4. Preoccupied with maintaining unbroken fellowship with the Godhead through total surrender of our wills and absolute obedience to God’s will

5. Preoccupied with seeking the lost and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ

6. Preoccupied with leading the people who get saved to become part of a local church where they can be discipled and be sent “into all the world” (authority to minister always comes through a local church)

7. Preoccupation with discipleship involves teaching people the doctrine of grace and the spiritual essentials necessary to create a continuum of “fruit” producers.

Throughout the history of Christianity, these seven outcome realities have preoccupied the lives of those we have come to know as truly great Christians. The light of their lives shined so brightly in the darkness of the evil corruption of the world that they could not be ignored. Their lives drew the attention of the world upon them and that attention was almost always accompanied by great persecution; “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:12). As their lives moved through the history of this spiritual tension, thousands upon thousands came to trust in Christ for salvation, were added to the membership of local churches, and were discipled to create a continuum of what really defines true Christianity or remnant Christianity. In every case they brought forth much fruit.

Clearly, this is the spiritual dynamic we see in Acts chapter 2 and is the historical record of the beginning of the New Covenant in the Acts of Jesus Christ through the Indwelling and Filling of Believers by the Holy Spirit (the real subject matter of what is commonly referred to as the Acts of the Apostles). Truth that is known, but never lived, is more dangerous to the believer than complete ignorance in that the believer, at the point of that knowledge, immediately becomes responsible to live what he knows. The difference between the Truth we know and the Truth we live is the measurement of the degree of our own hypocrisy.

Prior to the ministry of John the Baptist and the beginning of the ministry of Jesus Christ, there were 400 years of silence. For 400 years God’s voice through a prophet was silent to the people of Israel. There were many false prophets and false Messiahs that came on the scene of history over those 400 years, but God did not speak through them. The coming of Jesus Christ and the proclamation of the message of redemption broke through this darkness of silence like a bright morning sunrise after a long, dark night.

1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3).

The last act of Christ before His ascension unto the Father was to delegate the responsibility of the proclamation of the Gospel and of making disciples to Church Age believers. 8 But ye shall receive power {dunamis; i.e., mighty force implying, miraculous, creative, explosive power}, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and {the outcome of this power is that} ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:8-9). The filling of the Spirit of God is almost always accompanied by the manifestation of the powerful proclamation of the Gospel producing/creating “fruit.”

Preaching: the Preoccupation with the Ministry of Proclamation

Never in the book of Acts is the filling of the Spirit separated from the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a primary outcome of that filling.

1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. 3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. 4 Therefore {due to Saul’s persecution of the believers before he was saved} they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word(Acts 8:1-4).

“19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. 20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord” (Acts 11:19-21).

Perhaps one of Satan’s greatest deceptions and perversions of moral responsibility is the deception that preaching is only the responsibility of a select, special group of people that would come to be known as clergymen. The etymology of the meaning of the word clergy is that of higher learning or in the noun form, a very learned person. This evolved into referring to someone with high theological training as a Clergyman.

The second greatest deception and perversion of the Great Commission given to all believers was that preaching was to be done by Clergymen in a building called the Church. This made the Church (whatever that term came to mean at that point in history) become a place where people came to hear the Clergyman preach (in most cases that meant whatever perversion of the Gospel that Clergyman believed).

Although the proclamation of the “whole counsel” of God is the business of the Pastor of a local church, the preaching of the gospel is the responsibility of every Christian in every venue, place, and opportunity of their everyday lives. Certainly, this proclamation of the Gospel and Christ’s expectations of the Redeemed is not to be segregated from our everyday lives and it is not to be relegated to within the Church House walls.

17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (I Corinthians 1:17-21).

The Scriptural pattern of preaching found in the book of Acts is not that of a handful of specially trained men, but that of every “born again” believer telling others about what happened to them personally and what Christ will do for others if they will believe. This Scriptural pattern of preaching found in the book of Acts defines what normal, Spirit filled Christianity should look like and be occupied with.

This radical transitional change of responsibility between the thousands of years of recorded history of the Old Covenant and the first 60 years of the beginning of the New Covenant on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 is exemplified by the fact that “preaching is referred to 20 times in the Old testament and 250 times in the New testament.”[1] This preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and creating disciples of Jesus Christ is what defines the “work of the ministry” that all believers are to be brought to spiritual maturity to be equipped to do.

Discipleship should be the occupation of every local church as it assembles and evangelism (preaching the Gospel) should be the occupation of a local church as it leaves the assembly and goes into the world. Local church membership, personal and corporate Bible study, personal and corporate prayer, and the preaching/teaching ministry in the assembly CANNOT be separated from this ultimate responsibility to preach the Gospel and make disciples. In Ephesians 4:1-16, the Apostle Paul details the moral responsibility to the grace of God in the local church and sets before us an outline of necessities to the outcome of true local church growth (“for the edifying of the body of Christ,” vs. 12b).

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 {the worthy walk now defined} With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 {unity now defined} There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7 But unto every one {every individual, signifying individual responsibility} of us is given grace {the inner supernatural enabling} according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts {the gifted men of verse 11} unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill {referring to the filling of the Spirit} all things.) 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers {those that preach and teach in the assembly of local churches}; 12 For the perfecting {to completely furnish all that is necessary to complete a task or purpose} of the saints, for the work of the ministry {to take what they have been taught by the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers and proclaim it in the world}, for the edifying {referring to the construction of the living Temple organism through evangelism/discipleship) of the body of Christ {local churches}” (Ephesians 4:1-12).

Ephesians 4:12 clearly lays the responsibility upon the gifted men that Christ gives to local churches for preparing ALL believers within a local assembly to preach/teach/speak about the Lord Jesus Christ, His provision of salvation “by grace through faith,” and His definitive expectations of those who profess to be “born again” of the Spirit of God. However, if the gifted men that Christ gives to local churches have done what they are commissioned to do, the responsibility for reaching the world with the gospel and making disciples of every nation (ethnicity or language group) becomes the responsibility of the members of the “body of Christ.” This understanding radically impacts how each individual establishes his/her own missional vision regarding personal responsibility to the ministry of a local church and how that local church extends its ministries in “all the world.”

Ephesians 4:13-16 continues to define and develop the missional vision of a local church and individual members of that local church in their accountability to the Lord Jesus Christ and to one another in some very specific detail. As we read the text, notice that there is an ultimate and definitive goal in the spiritual maturity that is prepared to engage the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I believe in these few verses we can find why individual Christians and most local churches are really ineffective in confronting the world with the doctrine of condemnation and becoming part of the rescue mission of Christ; SPIRITUAL IMMATURITY. This spiritual immaturity can be credited to one of two causes (or both). People either refuse to learn and obey or God’s gifted men are not teaching the whole counsel of God.” In the first case, there is little a pastor can do but to shake off the dust of the ground from his feet and move on to another locality where his ministry might be received. In the second case, where the pastor is failing to teach the whole counsel of God, the people need to cry out for the teaching they need or find a local church where the pastor is fulfilling his obligations to try to bring the people to spiritual maturity. Look at Ephesians 4:13-16 and see the perimeters of Christ expectations regarding this.

13 Till we all come {attain to or arrive at} in the unity {oneness} of the {one} faith, and of the knowledge {intimate, relational knowledge, not mere intellectual knowledge} of the Son of God, unto a perfect {teleios; completed in spiritual maturity in living the Christ-life} man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ {i.e., maturity compared to Christ and His teachings} : 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:13-16).

Clearly, according to Ephesians 4:13-16, we are given a measurable standard by which we can compare where we are and where we ought to be both individually and corporately as a local assembly. Every individual member within a local assembly is an integral part of the mechanism of church growth. Each of us are uniformly accountable for one another’s spiritual growth towards spiritual maturity. To divorce ourselves from that responsibility is a serious manifestation of either ignorance or willful disobedience. In either case, it is still SIN! Surely we can understand that even God cannot bless something we do not do. Surely we can understand that our failure to work towards spiritual maturity is a gross abuse of the grace of God.

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer; Systematic Theology; Vol. VII, Thirteenth Printing, June , 1976, page 254

Anonymous comments will not be allowed.
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at:

Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Some Temporary Aspects of the Coming of the Spirit

1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come {being completely fulfilled in its type}, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly {in such a manner as to be startling} there came a sound from heaven as {like the sound} of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3so that they could know this more than just a rushing wind}, 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” (Acts 2:1-4). And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire {

In coming to an understanding of the transitional nature of the historical record of Acts 2:1-4, there are some aspects of this event that were unique to the transition and should not be expected to be seen afterwards. First, this records a one-time (on one day in history) event and believers afterward should not expect a similar experience.

Although we find two other occurrences of some visible (“sign”) evidences of this new ministry of the Holy Spirit, even these two occurrences were transitional in nature and not the same as on the Day of Pentecost. The second record is found in Acts 8:5-25 and it records the miracles of Philip at Samaria in 34 A.D. (this is not a Samaritan Pentecost; there were no cloven tongues of fire or sound of mighty rushing of wind). The coming of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of the new covenant was made evident to the Samaritans (a group of half breed Jews; II Kings 17:24) who had not believed on Jesus before Philip came. This was to visibly reveal God’s union of believers from these two groups (which had hitherto despised one another) after the day of Pentecost in the body of Christ. The reason for waiting for the Apostles and the laying on of their hands was to show that the authority of truth was centered in what the Apostles taught (and no one else), because God did not, and does not, want a sectarian Christianity.

When the Apostles passed out of history (historical transition), their authority was established in the written and inspired Word of God (inscripturalized) and the laying on of hands, that signified the giving of the Holy Spirit, ended with them (according to Scripture, this practice did not even continued throughout their lifetimes).

The third record found is in Acts 10:1-48 (verses 44-48; 41 A. D.) and records the visible evidence (“sign”) to the Jews (Acts 10:45) that the Gentile believers were united with the Jews and Samaritans into the “body” of Christ (this was not a Gentile Pentecost; there were no cloven tongues of fire or sound of mighty rushing of wind).

Cornelius was a Gentile believer in the Old Testament sense (Acts 10:1-2). Therefore, he was a Gentile proselyte to Judaism. However, the central reason for what took place at Caesarea was to show the Jews that Gentiles were joined with them in the body of Christ in the Church Age dispensation (Acts 10:45).

Since this coming of the Spirit of God on the day of Pentecost was a spiritual phenomenon, and those present would not normally be able to be aware (through their physical senses; I Cor. 2:9) of what was taking place, this required some physical (sensatory) aspects of this supernatural occurrence for the Jews to know that this was a fulfillment of prophecy (although an already, not yet fulfillment; i.e. it was not a complete fulfillment).

Therefore, the sensatory aspects of this event such as the “sound from heaven,” the “cloven tongues of fire” resting upon each of the disciples (to visibly show who it was that was receiving these new supernatural operations of the Spirit), and the speaking “with other tongues” were temporary “signs” to the Jews to reveal this new ministry of the Spirit.

In the Old Covenant, God’s revelation of Himself and His operations (workings) in the midst of Israel was manifested to them through “signs and wonders” (Ex. 4:1-9, 17, Num. 14:11, Deut. 4:34, 6:22, 7:19, 29:3, Joshua 24:17, Dan. 4:2-3, 6:27; Mark 16:17-20). This was an historical constant in the history of God’s manifestations of His workings to the children of Israel beginning with their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. These miraculous manifestations were the continuing expectations from the Jews.

18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21 But he spake of the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said” (John 2:18-21).

“Then said Jesus unto him {the nobleman from Capernaum}, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” (John 4:48).

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: 15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon 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 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. 22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know” (Acts 2:14-22).

21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign {a miraculous event before they would believe that God was involved}, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified {see John 2:18-21 above}, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (I Corinthians 1:21-24).

The Gentiles, on the other hand, had a different perspective that came from their religious practices in the demonically influenced paganism when it came to the issue of miraculous things such as tongues. Understanding what Paul was dealing with at Corinth must be understood from its historical context. The majority of those in the church at Corinth were Gentiles who were saved out of the pagan Mystery Religions (I Corinthians 12:2). These people were incorporating some of the religious practices of the pagan Mystery Religions with their Christianity.

Whatever God does, Satan is quick to counterfeit. Then Satan subverts people by bringing their focus upon the counterfeit and manufacturing a religion based upon the pursuit of what he has counterfeited. This is what Satan did within what came to be known as the Mystery Religions of paganism. These Mystery Religions became preoccupied with the spiritual miraculous and seeking the miracles rather than seeking the Person of God. Because of this satanic misdirection, people were easily led astray to follow false religious leaders.

“Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led” (I Corinthians 12:2).

Most of these Mystery Religions evolved out of Babylon from the occult practices of Nimrod that resulted in the building of the Tower of Babel and God’s confounding of the languages ending in the dispersal of the people into different nations (language groups). The origin and evolution of these Mystery Religions was demonic. Therefore, the supernatural happenings of the Mystery Religions were also of demonic sources.

Common to the Mystery Religions was the practice of Ecstasism and Enthusiasm. S. Angus, in his book The Mystery Religions (New York: Dover Publications, 1975) details these two practices.

“...Ecstasy (ekstasis) and Enthusiasm (enthusiasmos), both of which might be induced by vigil and fasting, tense religious expectancy, whirling dances, physical stimuli, the contemplation of sacred objects, the effect of stirring music, inhalation of fumes, revivalistic contagion (such as happened in the church at Corinth), hallucination, suggestion, and other means belonging to the apparatus of the Mysteries.”

Both Ecstasy and Enthusiasm were used to promote a heightened sense of euphoria and human experience. In this euphoric state, the participant experiences a feeling of having communed with deity. His involvement has been with the supernatural realm, but not the divine. Ecstasism and Enthusiasm were Satanic in origin.

From our historical understanding of all of this, we can understand that Paul is dealing with two types of tongues in I Corinthians 14. Since Paul would not be present to discern every tongues experience and the gift of tongues was still a viable reality at this juncture in the historical transition between dispensations, he seeks to regulate them by the process of elimination.

The first (false) type of tongues is ecstatic tongues which is denoted by the italicized word “unknown.” The King James translators understood the HISTORICAL CONTEXT of what Paul was addressing and added the word unknown to distinguish this kind of tongues, from the kind of tongues recorded in the book of Acts. This is the tongues experience Paul seeks to eliminate. Genuine “tongues” (which were always known languages) were used to communicate truth to someone who would not be able to otherwise understand.

If God is communicating, He will always do so with the intent of edification and understanding (I Corinthians 14:1-22). In the only three examples of tongues in the book of Acts (Acts 2:4-11, Acts 8:5-25, and Acts 10:44-46), the communication came with understanding by the hearers. The miracle (grace-gift) of tongues was not in the speaking, but in the hearing.

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? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God” (Acts 2:4-11).

Clearly from I Corinthians 14:27, we can see the scope of the miracle of “tongues” is in the hearing and not in the speaking. Even though the one speaking needed to be “filled” with the Spirit before the miracle could take place, this was a supernatural work that flowed through the Spirit filled believer to the lost.

It is also important for us to understand from I Corinthians 14:27 that God tells us that He is only going to perform this miracle of “tongues” one-at-a-time (“by course,” one after the other). Therefore, the miracle of “tongues” must be understood from the perspective that as one of the disciples was speaking, either in Hebrew or maybe Greek, each person in the crowd heard what that one person was saying, but each person heard the speaker in his own native tongue (language). The speaker might not even have been aware that the miracle was taking place.

What is described in Acts 2:4-11 may have been the common experience of the Apostle Paul (see I Corinthians 14:18) as he preached throughout his missionary journeys. I doubt very much if Paul was able to speak all the languages of all the countries he started churches in.

Why is understanding all of this important to us today? It is important to understand all of this so that the believer is not looking for, or pursuing after, something the Spirit of God is not going to do? There are three important truths from I Corinthians chapter twelve that we must understand.

1. There “are diversities of gifts” (charisma). Not everyone had the same spiritual gifts. It should not be expected that everyone possess each gift. In fact, that expectation would be unscriptural.

29b are all workers of miracles? {No!} 30 Have all the gifts of healing? {No!} do all speak with tongues? {No!} do all interpret” {No!} (I Corinthians 12:29b-30; I have added the word No! after each question to show the intent of the questions.)?

2. According to I Corinthians 12:5, there “are differences of administrations.” Not everyone had the same ministry in the local church. The idea is that not everyone has the same job (although there are some things everyone is commanded to do). Everyone is not an Apostle. Everyone is not a preacher (“prophet”). Everyone is not a Pastor/Teacher.

Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers” (I Corinthians 12:29a)?

3. According to I Corinthians 12:6, there “are diversities of operations.” Although God never changes (character, nature, and attributes), His operations do change. These changes are called “dispensations.” This is what the focus is on in I Corinthians chapter thirteen. It is known as the doctrine of historical transition.

Sign gifts were for this time of historical transition between the dispensation of Law and the dispensation of Grace. Each of these dispensations is one of God’s “diversities of operations.” There were a number of changes in operations between these two dispensations. Sign gifts were to make this time of transition evident and to prove that what was being done was of God.

There are at least 6 major dispensational transitional changes in God’s operations in the transition from the Mosaic Covenant and the Dispensation of Law to the New Covenant and the Dispensation of Grace (the Church Age).

1. Old Testament believers looking forward to the coming of Messiah needed to know of Jesus and trust in His once for all sacrifice in order to become a formal member of the a local church.

2. There was a transition from the local synagogue to the local church.

3. There was the transition from government of the Old Testament priesthood to congregational polity administrated by local Pastors called by God.

4. There was a transition from the Temple sacrifices that looked forward to the coming Messiah, now abrogated in that the sacrifice of Jesus fulfilled them “once for all.”

5. There was the abrogation of Temple worship in that the believer’s body becomes the Temple of The Holy Spirit (a living Temple) and the believer is given direct access to the Throne of Grace because of the mediatorial work of Christ.

6. There was the transition from the Passover celebration that looked forward in anticipation to the coming of the incarnate Lamb of God to the Lord’s Supper that looks backward in remembrance of the completed sacrifice of the Lamb of God.

This New Dispensation and the beginning of the New Covenant (beginning actually in time, not merely promised) is expressed by the words “under grace” in the Bible. The Dispensation of the Law is expressed by the words “under Law.” The believer is now under the New Covenant and the Dispensation of Grace (God’s supernatural enabling of the yielded believer through the indwelling Spirit).

The focus of I Corinthians chapter thirteen is on what will continue in the operations of God through the Holy Spirit beyond this historical transition and what will not. “Charity” (love: that from which all “fruit of the Spirit” comes) is the one operation of the Spirit of God that encompasses all of His workings and characterizes all genuinely spiritually “born again” children of God. Therefore, the continuing sign or evidence of the New Covenant relationship with God will be this characteristic of love (self sacrifice; I Corinthians 13:1-7), not “prophecies,” “tongues,” and/or special revelatory “knowledge.”

Anonymous comments will not be allowed.
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at:

Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.