My Experience is Not a Religious Fad
By E. L. Thornton
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:
Fad is a style or custom that interest people for a short time, a passing fashion.
In our day we have seen and lived through many religious fads. We have seen the fad of the Faith/Prosperity movement that says Christians should be rich. It seems that we have forgotten that Jesus sent word to John that the gospel shall be preached to the poor.
We have the Think-Big-And-Grow-Bigger fad that are producing a house full of non-Christians. And while church growth is, indeed desirable, bigness must never be equated with God’s favor. Three Hundred dedicated, yes dedicated men, Gideon discovered, were far more effective than a 30,000 seat auditorium filed with a-men shouting charismatics, who come out on Sunday but can’t be counted on in a time of crises.
Then there is the speaking-in-tongues fad. Which anybody, and especially the devil, has always been able to come up with a counterfeit for the real. And I’d like to tell you that real tongues are not taught nor learned but come from God to edify.
We are seeing, in our day, the charismatic-fad where anything goes. You can speak in tongues anytime you want and live any old way you want. You can dance and shout and look like the world, and act like the world, and smell like the world. You can say you are a child of God but not make any separation from the world. But the modern day “Christian” that doesn’t separate from the world will eventually find that they have no foundation, no substance, but empty vessels that are far from God.
But I would like tosay, to you, my experience is not a religious fad, it’s not a passing thing, it’s nor a passinf fashion. I’m not sure that what you and I have has ever been fashionable. I’m sure of this one thing, what you and I have comes from God and if a soul ever finds it they will find it comes from God.
Every once in a while we hear of the kingdom now group. If this is the kingdom now, well, I’m disappointed because the kingdom I’m looking for has joy and peace, not sadness and adversity. The kingdom I’m looking for has contentment and comfort, not problems and discomfort. In fact, the kingdom I’m interested in, (Rev. 21:2-7)John saw coming down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
(Rev 21:10-14) And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
(Rev 21:21-27) And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 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. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
They can have this kingdom it’s not the one I’m looking for. My experience is not a religious fad.
I. MY EXPERIENCE IS A BIBLE TRUTH:
(Acts 2:38-40) 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. 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. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
(Acts 19:1-6) And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
What this town needs is a HOLY GHOST CHURCH. There is a difference in a church and a Holy Ghost church. The question is not are you a church member, but rather have you received the Holy Ghost. This generation desperately needs Holy Ghost filled, Holy Ghost directed, and Holy Ghost motivated churches.
The real impact of a church is not based upon its political prowess, no matter how morally upright. Nor is it based upon its prestigious membership, no matter how socially acceptable, but the real impact of a church is based on how much Holy Ghost it has.
In this wildly wicked time, we need some Holy Ghost empowered prophets who will speak the word of God with unflinching boldness, because we’re in danger of turning out a church full of smiling, social diplomats who are very skilled in the art of almost saying nothing. Charisma will never take the place of being Holy Ghost filled.
Preacher, pray through; let the fire of God touch your heart once again. Deacon, pray through; let God give you a fresh zeal of service. Sunday School teacher, pray through; let God give you a fresh burden for those you teach that you may see them saved. Child of God, pray through; pray through to a new experience of Holy Ghost power that the devil can’t fight.
This Pentecostal movement started with plowboys in overalls and country women in calico or feed sack dresses who, when they were baptized in the Holy Ghost with the initial, physical evidence of talking in tongues, turned their backs on sin and persued a mission. They were seized with a passion from the heart of God for souls. those Pentecostal pioneers fearlessly invaded their generation. Their first question had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with monetary costs or personal financial security. They disregarded sacrifice. Only one thing matter “Have you received the Holy Ghost.” I long for the modern day church to forget everything else but being “filled with the Holy Ghost.”
Yes! My experience is a Bible truth.
II. MY EXPERIENCE IS HEART FELT:
The 20th-century crowd, so eloquently described in Romans 1, doesn’t need counseling or psychoanalysis, they desperately need deliverance. Today we have 17 million homosexuals, 20 million alcoholics, 40 million problem drinkers, an indescribable narcotics epidemic, and 10 billion dollars spent on pornography. Is there any wonder that people needs to feel something in religion.
While the world tries to figure out what happened to Junior’s childhood to make him so mindlessly addicted to the self destructive forces today, if the church will get it in the heart we can just cast the devil out of Junior.
Playing little games of religious charades will never, not in a thousand years, produce the power we need to combat today’s evils. This generation needs something from God they can feel in the heart. This generation is bound and needs deliverance.
It takes more than the recitation of a superficial formula to get the power of God. We have many look-alikes today. There are plenty of synthetic excitement today. When the shields of gold have been captured by the enemy, we are quick to substitute the shields of brass. While a lost generation speeds toward an eternal hell, we’re trying to substitute the lost gold of the power of almighty God with the gleaming brass of motivational techniques or phony spirituality.
The Holy Ghost is more, so much more, than habits of phraseology.
It is more than spiritual cliche’s.
It is more than uniformed, carefully rehearsed, and choreographed dance troops.
It is much, much more than the muscle-shirted boys for Jesus showing off their muscular bodies for Jesus. Our praises spring from the heart, a heart that has been baptized with the Holy Ghost, that are vitally in love with the Crown Prince of Glory.
He lives, we know he lives. We love him. And without intimidation or inhibitions, we praise him because our experience is heart felt.
III. MY EXPERIENCE MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN PURITY:
The baptism of the Holy Ghost produces holiness. Revival fires began to burn at Ephesus. (Acts 19) People were being delivered, saved, and baptized with the Holy Ghost.
There was another fire started. It was on the outside of the church. People began to burn their horoscopes and zodiac charts. And other things that hindered their walk with God became fuel to the fire. People that get the Holy Ghost may have some questionable habits and practices in their lives, but soon will began to clean house, because the Holy Ghost will not dewell in an unclean temple.
The church cannot hobnob with Sodom and be chummy with Gomorrah and retain the sweetness of the Holy Ghost or the dynamic of the power of God. God’s people cannot hang out with the world’s celebrity crowd and keep in touch with God. Some people know more about the soaps than they do church and Bible. The church cannot live in immorality and maintain a consistent walk with God. Mister get holiness or get out. Cause if you ain’t got holiness you ain’t got God.
This experience of mine is real. Coke, many years ago, came up with the slogan “It’s the real thing.” There has been many companies that tried to copy it but non have matched it. Before there can be a counterfeit there must be the real.
We are living in a time of counterfeit religion, but remember there must be the real first. I can trace my roots all the way back to “When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Those were my forefathers, those were my kindred. I will pattern my life after theirs. I will believe God like them