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The Fellowship Of Renewal

 

 

Nevin Bass

 

By Nevin Bass

 

They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God’s law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandment of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes (Neh.. 10:29).

ONE OF THE UNIVERSAL features of true revival is a renewed interest and commitment to the old paths. Revival begins with God’s people, not with new converts. New converts are a result of real, biblical revival. When God’s people are inspired and stirred to the point of revival, it is a stirring to return to the old paths and to the foundation of the faith. This was true in Nehemiah’s day, and it is also true today.

With renewed interest must come renewed commitment. Commitment is the fuel that feeds the flame of revival. Commitment that causes one to renew covenant with God is the essence of any true revival. And there is a fellowship of renewal that is shared by those who seek a real move of God in their lives. Renewal of our covenant with God includes a renewal of our commitment to the things of God.

Not all are willing and able to be a part of the fellowship of renewal, this circle of revival. There is one particular characteristic that will universally prevent one from participating and being a part of this fellowship. And thus, this characteristic is what stifles revival on a personal basis and can indeed prevent revival in a group. Are you wondering what this characteristic is? Then keep reading.

Spiritual Renewal

And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding (Neh. 10:28).

Chapter nine of Nehemiah highlighted the role of leadership in the renewal of the ancient covenant with God. A memorial of this recommitment was created—a document pledging obedience to the law of Moses. It was written, rolled up, and sealed by the princes, Levites, and priests (Neh. 9:38). Chapter ten begins with a listing of the names of leaders who pledged their faithfulness to the Lord in this way.

Now those that sealed were, Nehemiah… (Neh. 10:1).

And the list goes on for twenty-seven verses. These are the leaders who felt in their hearts that the nation needed a change in priorities, in lifestyle, and in commitment. We are not told that all of Israel’s leaders felt this way, but a significant number obviously did.

It is both unrealistic and unscriptural to assume that the entire congregation was willing to recommit themselves to the ancient covenant. Just as there were leaders who were not willing, I am sure there were lay people as well, as in any congregation there will always be those who refuse to change in any appreciable way other than in word. I ‘he move of God cannot be held hostage by such as refuse to apply the Word to their own lives and their own situations.

We mentioned the second phase of this great book of rebuilding and renewal. Rebuilding the walls was merely the first phase of a two-told process would put the nation back on track spiritually. The second phase was the renewal of the ancient covenant and restoration of proper priorities. Personal restoration requires these two phases also. The second phase of restoration must be inspired by an understanding and personal application of God’s Word. The ministry can help with the understanding department, hut the application must be done by the individual. When people are honest with themselves, are willing to apply God’s Truth to their own lives, and are willing to change, rededication and recommitment can take place.

There will always be a separation between those who are, shall we say, along for the ride, and those who want true spiritual renewal in their lives. Spiritual renewal does not happen without change. Those who insist on remaining inflexible and unchanged will not experience spiritual renewal. Did I mention to you that there is one characteristic that will always prevent revival? That characteristic is inflexibility unwillingness to change!

The unchangeable may:

• Live within the walls
• Visit the temple
• Even count themselves among God’s people

Yet in an environment of renewal, those with a heart for God will draw close to Him while the unchangeable remain the same.

Not all the people were willing to have their lives rearranged and recommitted themselves to following God completely. Others were. After giving a list of the nobles who sealed the covenant, Nehemiah turned to the people. There was a certain group of people who agreed with this act of renewal taken by their nobles and wanted to add their names to the list also. They made a curse and entered an oath to reestablish the ancient covenant in their own lives:

And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God… (Neh. 10:28).

Who were these people? Verse twenty-eight gives their characteristics. They were the ones who “separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God.” This means that they separated themselves from worldly practices and attitudes that went contrary to the Word of God. Frankly, this will never be the entire congregation, as there will always be those who refuse to take this step. This step is radical; it is outrageous to many; it is considered “going too far” by some.

. . . every one having knowledge, and having understanding. . . (Neh. 10:28).

Every one of those who stepped out in favor of renewal had knowledge and understanding of what was expected by God. There was no great mystery about what was expected. Much time and effort had been spent teaching, explaining, and helping people apply these truths to their lives. Those unwilling to change will simply refuse to apply the Word.

They clave to their brethren, their nobles… (vs29).

These are the ones who clave to their brethren, the nobles who had sealed the covenant. There is a fellowship of renewal that is very strong among the committed. Those willing to take the plunge and live all out for God appreciate leadership that stands for this kind of commitment.

No doubt there were others who were critical of the nobles for this very same reason. There always have been and always will be critical folks in the congregation. But the ones eager to experience spiritual renewal are the ones who embrace leadership that desires to return to the ancient ways.

To What Did They Pledge?

The things the text specifically mentions are things that drastically affected the lives of those making the commitment. It is easy to commit to something that doesn’t affect you or only affects you in a limited way. Where the strength of your desire for more of God is evident is when the commitment means drastic changes in your life.

And that we would not give our daughters unto) the people of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons (Neh. 10:30).

First, they pledged not to practice mixed marriages. This probably touched more lives than we can imagine. What is the point of separating ourselves from those who do not serve God or observe His commandments if we are willing to pick a spouse from among them? Over and again in Israel’s history, mixing with unbelievers in marriage put God’s people on the road to disaster. A willingness to enter marriage with an unbeliever is yet today a sign of a divided heart and compromised loyalty.

And if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the sabbath, or on the holy day: and that we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt (Neh. 10:31).

Next, they pledged to honor the Sabbath. This included all the Old Testament laws regarding Sabbath observance. A few particulars that really affected a lot of people are mentioned.

Also we made ordinances for us, to charge ourselves yearly with the third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God; For the shewbread, and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering, of the sabbaths, of the new moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God (Neh. 10:32-33).

They also pledged to support the house of God with the temple tax. Isn’t it amazing that the closer people get to God, the more understanding they gain as to what is required to continue the services of worship?

Much about the heart is revealed in one’s attitudes toward finances. The uncommitted are perfectly willing to allow others to carry the financial responsibility of maintaining the house of worship and its ministries. But commitment to God must include commitment to those things through which God speaks and ministers to us. A renewed interest in the things of God is an essential aspect of any revival.

And we cast the lots among the priests, the Levites , and the people, for the wood offering, to bring it into the house of our God, after the houses of our fathers, at times appointed year by year, to burn upon the altar of the LORD our God, as it is written in the law: And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the LORD: Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God: And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests , to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage (Neh. 10:34-37).

They also pledged to obey God’s financial plan of tithing to support the ministry. This tithe (one-tenth of their increase) was presented to the minister “in the house of our God.” This pledge was to support the work of God in good times and also in bad times. As King David was about to pass the scepter to his son, Solomon, he reminded the young man that faithfulness to support the work of God financially must continue even through hard times.

Now, behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the LORD an hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight; for it is abundance: timber also and stone have I prepared; and thou mayest (1(1(1 thereto (1 Chron. 22:14).

This kind of understanding is not by any means universal in a society where many people do not seem to understand that it is important to keep a steady job or to pay their bills!

You can believe that after twenty-plus years of pastoral ministry, I certainly could write another book about all the reasons people use to escape their financial obligation to the work of God. The same people who personally over-obligate themselves to the point that they feel compelled to rob God of His tithe and offerings are also the ones who expect the work of God to operate on a shoestring. I have actually had people ask me to pray for God to provide them with a financial miracle, even though they had knowingly neglected their responsibility to God’s work for years! Sometimes being able to receive a blessing requires being willing to share a blessing. Am I bold to suggest that one should renew one’s commitment to support God’s work before asking God to remove the curse of past failure?

Again, part of the process of renewing our covenant with God involves recognizing and acknowledging that there are responsibilities associated with the family of God. Renewing our covenant with God means also renewing our commitment to God.

And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house. For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God (Neh. 10:38-39).

And, finally, they pledged to honor those who minister and to obey (God’s plan in this area. They recognized that to forsake the support of the ministry and the house of God was to forsake their covenant with the Lord.

The same is yet true today. We must remain faithful to the things and methods of God. It may sound clever to state that you are not much into “organized religion,” but the alternative is disorganized religion. The house of God and those who minister in it require your support. This support includes your loyalty, your attendance, your encouragement, as well as your finances. To fail to support the things of God is to fail in your commitment to the Lord Himself.

What This Means to Us

Please notice that to be renewed spiritually includes a renewed commitment to the “things of God.” The things of God are all those things associated with His worship and service. Your commitment to God is no stronger than your commitment to the things of God. Your commitment to God cannot be strengthened without the result of this renewal being reflected in your commitment to the things through which we relate to God and He relates to us.

How is it that men continually try to influence character without changing practices? Are we so blind that we cannot see that practice influences and many times serves to shape character?

Many mouth the words that say they desire spiritual renewal, but their attitudes say they are unwilling to change their practices. They expect to stand rigid, with arms crossed, while God magically transforms their character. They are unwilling to separate themselves from worldly influences that corrupt. They are unwilling to gain knowledge and understanding of what God expects. They are reluctant to embrace leadership that covenants with God for renewal. And yet they claim they desire renewal.

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men (Isa. 29:13).

In chapter ten of Nehemiah there is a fellowship of renewal. There is a fellowship of like-minded believers within the family of God. And those who are sincere in their hearts about a move of God within the city of God are identified by their actions and not by their words.

There are those in the family of God who pay lip service to the subject of renewal. And then there are those willing to take whatever steps necessary to see the old covenant restored and the glory of God in His people renewed.

The only way the two can be separated is by the fruit they produce. One is inflexible and unwilling to conform to God’s Word. The other is anxious to see God’s Word implemented in ways and areas it hasn’t been in years.

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Matt. 7:20).

Chapter Ten Summary

There is a fellowship of renewal—a fraternal order of sold-out worshipers. These folks are committed! They are committed to becoming all that they can be for God. Membership in this elite fellowship will cost you dearly. It will require a total surrender to the revealed will of God. The mind of God is made known to us in His Word, and thus this group is characterized by a sincere desire to comprehend more of the Word.

Most local congregations contain within their ranks a group of totally sold-out believers. The percentage of the total congregation included in this inner fellowship is a reflection of the spiritual health of any local church. The greater the percentage included in the “sold-out” rank, the stronger the body. A small percentage of sold-out believers is evidence of a need for spiritual renewal or revival in the church.

Spiritual renewal may begin with the ministry of an intercessor, but it will never progress to the point of personal consecration without individual recognition of God’s will. The people must commit their hearts and lives to obedience.

As always, some areas of God’s will have a greater impact as others. This will vary from person to person. One thing is certain, we may not pick and choose which aspects of God’s will we act upon. Being sold out means being sold out! Some areas of high impact in Nehemiah’s day remain pivotal today. In Nehemiah’s day:

• They pledged not to enjoin mixed marriages. A mixed marriage is a sign of a divided heart. Being willing to mix that which is holy and set aside unto the Lord with that which is not holy, is evidence of a divided heart and improper priorities. What could be more telling in this way than a lifetime commitment to share everything with one who does not serve God? Marriage to an unbeliever signifies a heart that is not sold out.
• They pledged to honor the Lord’s Sabbath (rest). God’s rest today is enjoyed through fellowship with the Lord Jesus Himself. Such fellowship is essential to the spiritual life.
• They pledged to support the work of God carried on in the temple arrangement. Your commitment to a local body of believers and the ministries of this group is a necessary part of your spiritual well-being.
• They pledged faithfulness in giving; the ministries of your local church require your faithfulness. Continued well-doing and spiritual well-being cannot be separated.
• They pledged to honor the anointed ministry. How is your relationship with the man of God in your life? Is leadership within the body of Christ a target of your prayers or your protests?

Being a part of the fellowship of renewal, or being sold out, yet today requires commitment to God. Commitment is made on God’s terms, not man’s.

The above article, “The Fellowship of Renewal” is written by Nevin Bass. The article was excerpted from the tenth chapter of Bass’ book Building God’s Wall.

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

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Failure To See Prayerlessness As Sin

BY CLIFTON JONES

It is quite clear that our failure to see prayerlessness as sin has resulted in continued absence from the prayer closet. The only way we will regain the things we have lost, or let them be taken from us, is to repent from our prayerless state and pursue prayer with all of our heart, soul and spirit.

The question might be asked,

“How can you label lack of prayer as sin?”

In the light of the importance the scripture places on prayer, we cannot help but see it as sin. I would go so far as to call it the number one sin among the children of God, because it is the one sin which opens the door for all the others. When one is not praying, they are not sensitive enough to detect sin until it strikes. When you are praying, your tender heart will detect sin in its embryonic stage, and abort it before it can manifest it’s self.

I fully agree with the song that says, “Oh what needless pain we bare, all because we don’t carry everything to the Lord in prayer.” Many of the things we suffer are the direct result of prayerlessness. Prayerlessness is sin, because prayer is the endowment of a spiritual operation; therefore to omit prayer is to omit the power. A prayerless person or church is no more a threat to the kingdom of darkness than a water gun is to a fish. Without prayer we will be cooperating with darkness and not realize it. Nothing dulls your spiritual perception like prayerlessness. When your life is prayerless, the door of your heart is open prey for every foul spirit that comes knocking.

Most of us don’t pray enough to catch God’s vision, or to detect Satan’s division. Without prayer we a-re robbed of God’s revelation, and are left with a devilation. Prayer opens your spirit, better than Afrin nasal spray will your nose. Prayer is the one and only thing Jesus said we should always do.

Luke 18:1 “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”

In the above text, we are given two things to choose from, pray or faint. In today’s church, more seem to choose fainting above praying. Prayerless people are fainting or falling out with everybody. The Lord
included preachers, deacons, choir leaders, Sunday school teachers, ushers, you name them and they are falling out or fainting.

Jesus warned his disciples that failure in prayer would result in falling into temptation.

Matthew 26.41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

No man can continually withstand temptation without continually praying. This is the clear cut reason we are seeing so much yielding to temptation and sinning today. Jesus told us that the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Our human spirits operates in nurture, waiting for a strong enough influence to give command so it can follow. When a weak spirit is found in a weak body, the results are very weak. Seven days without prayer makes one weak. Let us understand that praying will not stop trouble from rising, but it sure will keep you from falling. We can sum up all Christian’s failures in a few words, “the lack of prayer.”

Nothing has contributed to the world’s over-all Godless condition like prayerlessness. We have attempted to invent better methods, plans and techniques: The results? Sin has multiplied and the church waxed cold.

Matthew 24:12 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

The increase of evil which was brought about by the decrease of prayer has resulted into some very cold conditions in the world and in the church. Oh how we need to pray that the Lord will turn the heat up in
us, because the temperature outside is very cold. You know when its cold outside, you must increase the heat inside, less the outside climate take over on the inside. If we don’t repent, and return to prayer, we are going to be as cold in the church as the climate is in the world.

Already the absence of prayer has taken the shame of sinning out of the church folk like it did Israel of old.

Jeremiah 6:15 “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.”

No man can spend time in the presence of the Lord and come away without conviction. Likewise no man can absence himself from the presence of the Lord and acquire conviction. The kind of conviction, I am speaking about is moral and spiritual. In other words seeing the magnitude of holiness and righteousness, and wrongs of sin. We can no longer take for granted that everybody knows these things, because what we are seeing in our midst today say just the contrary.

To further complicate the issue, we so often convene in a one or two weeks meeting and call it revival. It will take more than two weeks of singing, preaching or teaching to bring about a revival in our cold
conditions. That is like sending a chiropractor into a morgue expecting results. Our needs are deeper, and just preaching alone won’t satisfy.

We need anointed preaching that will convict us of our prayerless ways and send us back to the prayer closet. We need anointed teaching to keep us there until revival really breaks out.

Actually, the root cause of revival is prayer. There is absolutely no other formula that guarantees it. As important as preaching is, you cannot preach down revival aside from prayer. You cannot teach it down, nor advertise it down. Whenever revival come down it will be in response to seeking prayer.

Most congregations desperately need to close down all of their many activities, and spend those hours and days in search of God’s anointing through prayer. Real-life changing revival will only come to us when
we restore our altars of prayer. Most of us have never seen real revival. We have seen a few nights of outreach efforts, but not real revival. Revival is not limited to how many souls get saved or baptized. It goes beyond the size of the attendance, offering, or any other physical manifestation. Revival is spiritual in nature, that is why only prayer can cut the way for revival. Revival brings back what has been lost or stolen, and returns one to his/her former order or past state. Revival cheers up, wakes up, opens up and causes one to confess up and get ready to go up.

Most of what we call revival leaves us operating business as usual.

“WITH REAL REVIVAL COMES REAL REPENTANCE, REAL CONFESSIONS. REAL FELLOWSHIP, AND REAL CHANGE IN THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD.”

It is sent only to the children of God who have fallen away from their close relationship with the Lord. When we are revived, we will seek out the lost at any cost and share Jesus with them. When you consider
how many of God’s children who have never spent time seeking the lost, you know we need revival. As you read these lines will you please pray for revival. It is the only thing that is going to save our churches, our nation, and our world.

When you compare ancient Israel with Judah, their life styles were very similar, yet Judah stood longer than Israel. The reason why Judah out lasted Israel – there were no kings in Israel to lead them in revival,
while Judah had several who lead them in revival. If someone don’t lead us into revival our conditions can only get worst. We should join the Psalmist and ask in Psalms 85.6, “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?”

It is our freedom in worshipping the Lord that get man’s attention. Worship is at its highest level when the people of God are revived, and is at its lowest when there is need for revival.

Sad Hearts Cannot Sing Happy Songs,

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.” “We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.”

“For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song, and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”

“How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land?”

I know this is a scene from the Babylon exile, yet it speaks today to the need of freedom to sing Zion’s songs. When we are dry, we do a great injustice to worshipping God.

Psalms 142:7b “Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name:”

When one is hindered from worshipping God, it is like being in a prison. Only revival in answer to prayer can bring us out.

To further stress the importance of prayer, we will look at some of Jesus’ examples:

He placed its importance above sleep and rest.

Mark 1:35 “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”

He placed its importance above fellowship.

Mark 6:45,46 “And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. And when he had sent them away, he departed into
a mountain to pray.”

(Jesus, after ministering to the people, sent them away so that he could be alone to pray. When we end our services, we look for a place to dine and fellowship.)

He placed its importance above teaching and healing. Luke 5:15,16

“But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.”

All of the preceeding things mentioned are important, but none of them kept Jesus from prayer. To put it in the words of an old song, “If Jesus had to pray, what about me?” No doubt someone will say Jesus was
just setting an example. If that is the case, let us began to follow his example, for doing so will cause joy to flood into your souls. Do yourself, your family, your church, your community, your city, state, nation and the entire world a favor, develop your prayer life Jesus’ style.

THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS TAKEN FROM PRAYER CLINIC II, 1990, PAGES 65-71. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.

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What We Mean When We Say

By Robert L. Wehlen

Here are a few terms and expressions that are often heard in our services. We try to use these terms and expressions as the Bible uses them. Our hope is that this information will be helpful as you worship God with us.

Amen

A Hebrew exclamation meaning “so be it,” “truly,” or “indeed!” It is often used to conclude prayers or to express approval or agreement with what someone has said or done. (See Deuteronomy 27:15; Revelation 22:20; I Corinthians 14:16-17.)

Baptism

Literally, the act of dipping or washing something completely in liquid. Scriptural baptism is a vital part of New Testament salvation. (See Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:27; I Peter 3:21.) It includes:
1. Water (Acts 8:36)
2. Much water (John 3:23)
3. Going down into the water (Acts 8:38)
4. Burial in water (Colossians 2:12)
5. Coming up out of the water (Acts 8:39)
6. A name pronounced (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38)

Taking all of this information together, scriptural baptism is total immersion in water in the name of Jesus Christ. Matthew 28:19 commands us to baptize in a name but does not give the name. It refers to “the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” The terms Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are titles of positions held by God, but they are not proper names. Jesus is the only name that is connected with salvation (Matthew 1:21; Acts 4:12). Acts 2:38 records the apostles’ fulfillment of the command of Matthew 28:19 and gives the scriptural formula for baptism in the New Testament church: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”

Baptism of the Holy Ghost

Literally, being dipped, plunged, or immersed in the Spirit of God. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is the birth of the Spirit and thus is a vital part of entrance into the kingdom of God, the church. (See John 3:5.) The initial evidence of the baptism of the Spirit is speaking in other tongues (languages) as the Spirit of God gives utterance. (See Acts 2:4.)

Joel and Isaiah both prophesied this experience (Isaiah 28:11-12; Joel 2:28-29). It was foretold by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:11), purchased by the blood of Jesus, and promised by Him to His followers (John 14:26; 15:26). The Holy Ghost was first poured out on the Day of Pentecost on the Jews (Acts 2:1-41). Later the Samaritans received this experience (Acts 8:17), and then the Gentiles (Acts 10:44-46; 19:6).

Born Again

To start over, to begin life with a fresh start. Jesus used this expression to describe what takes place through faith in Him when a person is baptized in water in His name and receives the Holy Ghost (birth of water and Spirit). (See John 3:1-8; Acts 2:38.) According to Jesus, without this fresh start no one can enter the kingdom of God.

Christ

A Greek word meaning “the Anointed One,” equivalent to the Hebrew word Messiah. New Testament believers use it exclusively to refer to Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah and became our Savior.

Christian

A description of believers in Jesus Christ that means “like Christ” or “belonging to Christ.” It describes the object of our faith and loyalty, the One with whom we want to be identified. It is not intended to be an exclusive or sectarian term. (See Acts 11:26; I Peter 4:12-16.)

Deliverance

Being set free from something that has one bound. Jesus promised deliverance as a part of His Messianic work (Luke 4:18).

Disciple

A follower or a student; in our case, we have voluntarily chosen to become a follower of Jesus and adhere to His teaching. A disciple learns from his teacher, obeys his teacher, seeks to become like his teacher, and endeavors to spread the teacher’s message to others. (See Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 14:27; John 15:1-8.)

Divine Healing

The divine intervention of God to cure sickness of body and mind. Divine healing was purchased for us by the blood of Jesus that flowed from His stripes (Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 8:16-17; I Peter 2:24). Jesus went everywhere healing those who were sick (Matthew 4:23-24), and He commanded His disciples to do the same (Matthew 10:8). He said concerning those who believe the gospel, “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18). Mighty healings and miracles followed the disciples wherever the gospel was preached. Healing is available to us today (James 5:14-16).

Fellowship

Based on a biblical term meaning to share or have in common; similar to our concept of close friendship. Fellowship is linked in Scripture with love, compassion, a willingness to bear one another’s burdens and to do whatever is possible to help and encourage. (See Acts 2:42-47; Philippians 2:1-11.)

Godhead

The divine essence; deity; the fullness of God’s character and attributes. The Bible teaches that there is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4). He is Spirit (John 4:24), and He has manifested Himself in flesh as Jesus Christ (I Timothy 3:16). He now baptizes us with His Spirit so that we can be the children of God.

Hallelujah

A Hebrew word meaning “praise the Lord” or “praise Jehovah” (Psalm 150:1, 6).

Holiness

Separation from sin and dedication to God. When we come to the Lord we are to forsake sin (John 8:11). We are to “live righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:12). Without holiness no one shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). We must present ourselves as holy unto God (Romans 12:1), cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit (II Corinthians 7:1), and separate ourselves from all worldliness (James 4:4). The Scripture is clear that no one can live a holy life by his own power, but only through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; Romans 8:4).

Jehovah

The personal name of Almighty God in the Old Testament. The exact meaning is debated, but is related to the Hebrew phrase “I AM.” As such, it reveals God’s self-existence and lack of dependence on anything or anyone else. (See Exodus 3:13-15; Deuteronomy 6:4-5; John 8:54-59.)

Jesus

It is a name that literally means “Jehovah Savior,” “Jehovah saves,” or “Jehovah has become our salvation.” In the New Testament it is the supreme name by which God revealed Himself when He came in flesh. It is “the only name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Paul commanded, “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17).

Lord’s Supper

The practice of eating bread and drinking the fruit of the vine together as an act of worship and remembrance. Jesus began the practice at His last supper with His disciples. It is a time to remember what Jesus has done for us, to examine our own lives and faith, and to recommit ourselves to Jesus in greater faithfulness. It is also called communion (from a term meaning to share together). It is to be observed as often as each individual church deems appropriate, but it must not be ignored. (See Matthew 26:17-30; I Corinthians 11:17-34.)

Offering

The voluntary collection of monetary gifts to support the work of the church and various ministries�locally, nationally, and internationally. Properly viewed, the offering is an expression of love and gratitude for the blessings of God. (See I Corinthians 16:1-2; II Corinthians 9:6-9.)

Pastor

Literally, one who tends or shepherds a flock. The pastor is the shepherd of the local part of God’s flock (Ephesians 4:11).

Pentecostal

An adjective used to describe those who have received the same experience that the followers of Jesus did on the Day of Pentecost. (See Acts 2:1-4.)

Praise

To speak or sing or make other expressions extolling, admiring, or commending the greatness and goodness of God. We typically lift our voices in praise to God, and sometimes we lift our hands in a gesture of surrender to Him. (See Psalm 100:4; 147:1; Ephesians 5:19-20; Hebrews 13:15; Colossians 3:15-17.)

Prayer

Speaking to or communicating with God. We response to God’s invitations to bring Him our praise and gratitude as well as our concerns and needs. According to Jesus, prayer is like a child coming to a loving father. For prayer to be effective we must pray in faith and sincerity and not merely with memorized words. (See Matthew 6:5-15; James 5:13-18).

Rapture

Literally, a “catching away.” In our context, it refers to the time when the Lord will come back for His church. The church will be caught up to meet Him in the air (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Repentance

A change of mind that brings about a change of behavior. It is the first step in the three-point plan that Peter gave when sinners asked at the close of his message on the Day of Pentecost, “What shall we do?” Repentance is a turn away from sin, a death to sin. By repentance we identify with the death of the Lord. (See Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 17:30; Romans 6:1-2; II Peter 3:9.)

Salvation

Deliverance from sin and unrighteousness through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord, which we receive by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:1-4). When we truly believe the gospel, we will obey the gospel and apply it to our lives. (See Romans 16:26; II Thessalonians 1:8.) We die with Him in repentance. We are buried with Him in baptism. We are resurrected with Him to walk in newness of life by receiving the Spirit. Full salvation consists of repentance, baptism in Jesus’ name, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-7).

Tithe

A biblical word meaning a tenth. We support God’s ordained ministry and work by giving a tenth of our income. (See Malachai 3:10; I Corinthians 16:2.)

Tongues

Speaking in tongues means speaking miraculously in a language unknown to the speaker. It occurs as the Spirit gives utterance (Acts 2:4), not by human learning or imitation. There are two major functions of speaking in tongues in the New Testament church:

1. Speaking in tongues is the manifestation God has given as the definite, indisputable, supernatural witness or sign of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. (See Acts 2:1-4; 10:44-46; 19:6.) Isaiah prophesied that it would accompany the rest and refreshing (Isaiah 28:11-12), and Jesus foretold it as a sign that would follow believers of the gospel (Mark 16:1 7). Jews and Gentiles alike both received this experience.

2. Speaking in tongues is also a gift to believers after the initial baptism of the Holy Ghost
(I Corinthians 12:1-10). Paul gave regulations for the use of tongues in public worship (I Corinthians 14:1-40). He explained that tongues is given both for self-edification (I Corinthians 14:4) and for the edification of the church (I Corinthians 14:27-28).

In church meetings the gift of tongues is used to give a public message, which is meant to be interpreted (the gift of interpretation is another gift of the Spirit). Since the possibility for misuse exists, this gift needs proper regulation (I Corinthians 14:23-28). Not all believers have the gift of tongues for public use, which is different in function from the tongues that are the initial evidence of the Holy Ghost baptism. (See I Corinthians 14:18, 39.)

From, “Word Aflame Press” Tract# 1567222080, 8855 Dunn Road, Hazelwood, MO 63042/ By Robert L. Wehlen

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Why We Believe the Lord’s Supper is Inclusive

by David A. Huston

This paper is presented to correct some common misunderstandings about the practice of the Lord’s Supper and foot-washing.

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17

A SACRAMENT IS a supposedly Christian ritual which is believed to confer grace upon a person. According to Roman Catholic doctrine there are seven sacraments.

According to Protestants and the Eastern Orthodox there are only two. All three groups consider the Lord’s Supper (known by Catholics as the Eucharist and by others as Communion) to be a sacrament. We, however, reject the very concept of sacraments. That is, we do not believe there are any rituals or ceremonies a person can involve himself in that will automatically confer some aspect of God’s grace upon him. We consider all such practices to be witchcraft.

We have introduced the subject of the Lord’s Supper this way in order to dispense with all Roman Catholic ideas about this practice from the very beginning. Sadly, although most Protestants and Apostolics have rejected the
doctrine of transubstantiation1, many are still influenced by Catholic ideas about the Lord’s Supper. For example, many believe that if a person eats a tiny piece of unleavened bread and drinks a small quantity of grape juice (or wine) in an “unworthy manner,” he will bring eternal damnation upon himself. This has the effect of making the Lord’s Supper a sacrament, since if participating in an unworthy manner brings damnation, then drinking in a worthy manner must bring salvation, or at least contribute some degree of saving grace to a person’s life. Again, we reject this entire notion as unbiblical and devilish.

1. Transubstantiation is the Roman Catholic belief that during the Eucharist, the bread actually and literally transforms into the flesh of Christ and the wine into the blood of Christ. They believe that simply consuming these elements confers forgiveness of sins.

Let us proceed then under the proposition that rather than being a sacrament, the Lord’s Supper is an act of fellowship. It is first of all a remembrance of what Jesus did for mankind on the cross. As He instructed at the original Last Supper, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). It is also a time for celebrating our current life in Christ and looking ahead with anticipation to the Lord’s coming. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

The Lord’s Supper is part of a meal.

In his important discussion on the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11, Paul clearly places it within the context of a meal, saying, “When you come together to eat, wait for one another” (v.33). The gathering together of God’s people
around a dinner table was a more a prominent activity among the early Christians than it is for many today. Immediately after Pentecost we read, “And they continued steadfastly…in the breaking of bread” (Acts 2:42). A few verses later this idea is reiterated: “So continuing daily with one accord…and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people”
(vv.46-47). And in Acts 20:7 we read that “the disciples came together to break bread.”

Jude referred to this kind of gathering as a “love feast” (Jude 12). In the original language it is the plural form of the Greek word agape. This word is usually translated either “love” or “charity” and is always used when describing
God’s love for man. Commentator W. E. Vine says this about the agape meal:

These love-feasts arose from the common meals of the early churches. They may have had this origin in the private meals of Jewish households, with the addition of the Lord’s Supper. There were, however, similar common meals among the pagan religious brotherhoods. The evil dealt with at Corinth became enhanced by the presence of immoral persons, who degraded the feasts into wanton banquets, as mentioned in 2 Pet. and Jude. In later times the agape became detached from the Lord’s Supper.

The Lord’s Supper is the symbol of fellowship.

The elements of the Lord’s Supper, the unleavened bread (matzah) and the grape juice (fruit of the vine), are not the reality of an agape meal but are only symbols of the reality. Eating bread and drinking juice is not equal to
fellowship, since some can eat and drink while at the same time harboring hatred and bitterness in their hearts. The Lord’s Supper is intended to be a representation of fellowship, the body of Christ being the substance. This is
why Paul rebuked those who participated in the meal yet failed to “discern the Lord’s body ” (v.29). They were participating in the outward symbol of fellowship while rejecting the inward disposition toward fellowship, which is
“endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). Paul addressed them this way: “For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing?” (vv.21-22). He told them flatly, “Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper” (v.20). Even though they were eating and drinking with the others, it was not really the Lord’s Supper for them because they were doing it in the wrong spirit. Rather than preferring one another they were pushing one another out of the way.

Who may participate in the Lord’s Supper?

According to Roman Catholic doctrine, only a faithful Catholic may take the Holy Eucharist. Because of this, no Catholic priest will knowingly serve the communion elements to an unbeliever. This basic tenet has been accepted by many Apostolic people. They view the elements of the Lord’s Supper as something to be distributed by a pastor who determines who is qualified to receive them and who is not. To them, the Lord’s Supper is a practice which is reserved exclusively for those baptized in Jesus’ name, filled with the Holy Spirit, and worthy of participation. But there are no Scriptures that describe either this policy or this procedure. It is in fact a hand-me-down from the Roman Catholic Church – a pastor replacing the priest in the ritual.

We believe something altogether different. To us, the purpose of the Lord’s Supper is to draw people together, not to draw lines that push people apart. As Apostolic believers, we all allow and encourage unbelievers to worship with us
and pray with us. We invite them to have a meal with us as a way of winning them to the Lord. Are we to say, you may eat everything on the table accept the unleavened bread? Are we to say, you may have water, ice tea, or lemonade, but you may not have the grape juice? Are we to say, you may pray and worship with us before the meal and after the meal, but not while we are eating this bread and drinking this juice?

We believe that Jesus intended the Lord’s Supper to be inclusive. We recognize that the original Lord’s Supper included only His disciples and that Paul’s letter was not to the unbelievers in Corinth but to the believers. Yet when Paul speaks of the whole church coming together to have a meal and participate in the Lord’s Supper, are we to believe that no unbelievers were allowed to be in the room. Or that they had to sit on the sidelines? Just a few chapters after he discussed the proper conduct at an agape meal, he wrote, “Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?” (v.14:23). Clearly the Corinthians allowed unbelievers free access to their meetings. In fact, isn’t the work of the church to bring unbelievers into the body of believers? What better way to build a spiritual connection than having a meal together!

If the elements of the Lord’s Supper are mere symbols and not the reality, then what possible harm could it do to allow unbelievers to participate? The bread is only bread. The drink is only juice. There is nothing magical about them. They do not confer any special grace to those who consume them. They are not sacraments.

We have found that allowing unbelievers to participate can cause their hearts to be more open to the Lord and can kindle a desire for deeper participation in the reality of godly fellowship. For these reasons we believe the Lord’s Supper should be open to all who are old enough to understand the significance of the Lord’s death and certainty of His soon coming. The only specific exception we can find is spelled out by Paul, also in his first letter to the Corinthians. In Chapter 5 he writes, “But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner – not even to eat with such a person” (v.11). Those who should not be permitted to participate would be those whom Jude described as “spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves” (v.12). It is the so-called brother who should be excluded, the one who has tasted of the reality, the one who ought to know
better; not the unbeliever who is moving toward the reality but has not yet arrived.

Concerning the practice of foot-washing.

At the Last Supper Jesus said to His disciples, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John
13:14-15). With these words, did Jesus intend to establish a foot-washing ritual for His people to practice? Or was He teaching something with a deeper, more spiritual meaning? We believe the latter. Watchman Nee explained it far better than we ever could, so we refer you to Chapter 8 of his book Love Not The World, which can be found online at…

www.worldinvisible.com/library/nee/lovenottheworld/chapter%208.htm.

Note to the reader:
If you would like to comment on the contents of this paper, please contact us through our website at www.GloriousChurch.com. We welcome and appreciate all honest comments, questions, and criticisms.
Copyright � 2008 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and
retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or author; EXCEPT THAT PERMISSION IS GRANTED to reprint all or part of this document for personal study and research provided that reprints are not
offered for sale. All Scripture references are from the New King James Version of the Bible, copyright 1990 by Thomas Nelson Inc., Nashville, TN, unless otherwise indicated. Published by Rosh Pinnah Publications PO Box 337, Carlisle, PA 17013 717-249-2059

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A Drink At Joel’s Place

By E. L. Thornton

(Acts 2: 12-13)

What was it about the demeanor, or behavior, or conduct, of these one hundred and twenty people that came out of that upper room worshipping and praising God, that caused the others to think, or imagine, or hypothesize, that they had been drinking wine. Was it their actions, or maybe their speech, or was it the way they were dressed that caught the attention of the worldly crowd.

I think what captured the attention of Jerusalem that day was, not how they were dressed, and not how they were talking as much as how they were acting. I shall try to tell you why the church was likened to people that had too much to drink, or a bar, yes a bar. There had to be something or some reasons that these would say, “these men are full of new wine”.

And did you notice that Peter didn’t refute this claim. For he only said, “for these are not drunken as ye suppose”. Peter knew, because of experience, what the Holy Ghost could and would do. He knew what action and reaction the Holy Ghost does when it comes into peoples lives.

I believe that the Holy Ghost will change your life. I believe that it will cause one to get excited. I believe that it will cause you to act differently. So what does one find in a bar, are in a bottle, that the people on Pentecost accused them of being drunk with new wine.

I. ONE FINDS FELLOWSHIP IN A BAR:

Ordinarily drunks seem to get along good together. Good old-fashion fellowship. I’m told that they sit on the bar stools and talk casually about different subjects.

I believe that the church, of the living God, should enjoy good old-fashion fellowship. If there is anybody that can get along good together it should be the saints of God, not because of your good personality, but because of the likeness of spirit, that binding together spirit, that we have, or should have, between us.

2 Cor 6:14-18
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
(KJV)

These scriptures plainly tells us who not to have fellowship with, but they do indicate who we can fellowship with.

The Disciples knew where to go, after they had gotten out of prison—–

Acts 4:23
23 And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
(KJV)

Notice what the scripture says about the early church, our pattern.

Acts 2:44-47
44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
(KJV)

The apostle Paul had some things to say about our fellowshipping and who we keep company with.

1 Cor 5:11-13
11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (KJV)

I. IN A BAR, A SINNER FINDS, ENJOYMENT AND EXCITEMENT:

I will not argue the fact, there is enjoyment in sin……………………………

Heb 11:25-26
25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
(KJV)

Notice, sins pleasure, according to Paul and Moses, is only for a season. It last a while but then fades and the sinner need to go in search of something else to bring enjoyment and excitement.

But in the house of God, and in His presents there’s fullness of joy.

Ps 16:11
11 The wilt hew me the path of life: in they presence is fullness of joy; at they right hand there are pleasures for nevermore.
(KJV)

The reason there is joy and excitement is………

Is 12:3-6
3 Therefore with joy shall yea draw water out of the wells of salvation.
4 And in that day shall yea say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.
5 Sing unto the LORD; for he hat done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.
6 Cry out and shout, the inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of the.
(KJV)

Through all the troubles and problems of life, through all the sorrows and grief we endure, there is hope when you are in fellowship with Christ.

Ps 30:5
5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (KJV)

I like to have fun at church. Don’t give me no dull religion. But give me something I can feel.

1 Pet 1:8
8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
(KJV)

Eph 5:18-19
18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
(KJV)

III. IN A BAR, A SINNER CAN FIND WHAT IS ADVERTISED:

Pentecost is only a label, and to be honest with you, labels don’t mean very much these days. Too many churches say they are Pentecost and they don’t have the Pentecostal power. Brothers and Sisters, I propose and suggest to you, that we start being what we advertise, or take our sign down.

The public could charge the church with false advertisement and win the case
with ease.

I believe the world wants the church at its best. At its best in worship, at its best in prayer, at its best in singing, at its best in preaching, at its best in displaying a
Godly spirit, at its best in revival.

I believe God requires the church to be at its best. He gave His best and nothing
but our best will satisify Him.

Bubba Clark told me he had done more to bring spirit to this part of the country than any and all Pentecostal preachers. Mister I intend to change that.

Bubba Clark told me that to drink two drinks of liqueur it would make you feel like you was in heaven.

What we advertise can be had without cost, and a little of it will put you in
heaven.

John 7:37-38
37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (KJV)

Isa 55:1-3
1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. (KJV)

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