Tag Archive | Nathaniel A. Urshan

Asking for the Holy Spirit

Asking for the Holy Spirit
By Nathaniel A. Urshan

“If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:11-13).

This eleventh chapter of St. Luke is an interesting and informative chapter. It becomes especially important when we recognize the great truth Jesus was impressing upon his hearers. The instruction He gave referred to the laws of prayer. It would be good for every listener to carefully note the scriptural truth of the first thirteen verses of this chapter. It is of utmost necessity that today the power of prayer should be used like the warrior uses the sword to thrust through the enemy in self-defense. Our hour is fraught with peril so severe that puny-minded man cannot cope with the raging demon powers threatening the universe, unless he fights clothed in the armor of the Spirit. Prayer becomes the channel by which we touch the great God.

Laws of Prayer

By request of His disciples, Jesus taught the manner in which to pray. The Lord’s Prayer is a masterpiece of intercession, for it beautifully illustrates approach, petition, praise and intercession; these are elements of successful prayer. Strange as it may seem, the Lord’s Prayer was just the beginning of Jesus’ instruction on prayer. We lose sight of the truth that follows, because, at our first observation, we are overwhelmed by the tremendous glory of the first rules given in the Lord’s Prayer.

Did you ever notice the truth taught on the theme of importunity? Jesus described this truth by illustrating a home visited in a late hour of the night by a man, tired, hungry, and needy. Said Jesus, “And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Luke 11:7-9).

Importunity

Here is demonstrated persistence continual, unrelenting, earnest, urgent striving with God. Many do not know that perseverance in prayer is a great factor in realization of an answer. It is almost ridiculous to notice the attempts of our nation to pray, as when some national leader suddenly realizes the necessity of prayer and calls for a moment of silence at high noon for the safety and preservation of a nation. How can we expect God to forgive us a hundred years of sinning for one moment of irreverent, un-confessing, careless prayer? My friend, this is a far cry from a statesman of yesteryear.

When Israel was in trouble, Daniel, a prophet of God, a politician for the people, and a statesman selected by kings, prayed and fasted twenty-one days until Jehovah God forgave the nation of their sins. What a far cry this is from our little prayers! Consider well how trifling and insignificant this is, alongside of what Jesus taught in regard to importunity or persevering prayer.

Requesting God

There is yet another law of prayer concerning which many professing Christians show an appalling ignorance. In the eleventh chapter of St. Luke and the thirteenth verse, Jesus suggests that a man must seek and ask for the Holy Spirit of his heavenly Father. “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”

By declaration Jesus authored this statement. This completely and decidedly destroys a popular fallacy that men and women receive the Holy Spirit when they believe. It suggests rather that the basis for reception of the Holy Spirit is first determined by the individual’s desire to express his need of it. This verse also illuminates greatly the command Jesus gave His disciples which was recorded in St. Luke 24:49. “And, behold, I send the promise of my father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”

Here is a command which declares, “tarry ye . . . until.” In other words, pray until the Holy Spirit descends. It definitely signifies the baptism of the Holy Spirit as an experience separate and apart from any other experience the disciples had in their earthly contact with Jesus. According to the written record, the one hundred twenty included such seekers as “Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas, the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:13-14).

Continue In Prayer

This supplication continued until the result was the remarkable phenomenal outpouring of the Pentecostal Feast day. Jesus stressed the importance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit when he commanded His bosom comrades to “tarry until” they were “endued with power from on high.”

This further lends strong support to the suggestion of Jesus about asking the heavenly Father for the Holy Spirit. It puts importance upon the fact of the Holy Spirit as an experience definitely necessary for all men. How can any man honestly face the facts of Holy Writ, and with a purely personal measurement say: “It is not necessary to ask for the Holy Spirit?” Christ implied it; He also commanded it. The disciples obeyed the command and forthwith went to Jerusalem. There they found to their own satisfaction that the heavenly Father would and could fill with the Holy Spirit those who would call on His name and those who would ask for Him.

The Pentecostal manifestation of speaking with other tongues is a pattern. This pattern was followed by several duplicated instances mentioned in the Book of Acts. There is an incident which shows how clearly the Holy Spirit baptism was evidenced by speaking with tongues. This case is the experience which fell on the household of Cornelius. Cornelius was a Gentile a devout man, whose devotion gave him the favor of God. His searching for truth brought him to a place where the Apostle Peter and several Jewish brethren came to introduce the message of New Testament salvation to this devout man and his household.

I want, you to notice the result of Peter’s speaking to this group “. . . the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision (the Jewish believers) which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God . . .” (Acts 10:44-46).

Here the pattern fits and manifests the great truth. We are contending for this great truth, so that men and women whom we contact may be filled with the fullness of God. Remember, too, that asking for the Holy Spirit fulfills the law of prayer spoken by Jesus Christ. When you pray, ask the Lord to give you the Holy Spirit.

This article “Asking for the Holy Spirit” by Nathaniel A. Urshan was excerpted from the book: These Men Are Drunk! Pg. 15-18. April 2011. It may be used for study & research purposes only.

 

Posted in AD - Apostolic Doctrine, ADGH - Holy Ghost, AIS File Library0 Comments

Can a Professing Christian be Lost?

Can a Professing Christian be Lost?
By Nathaniel A. Urshan- General Superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church International

The security of believers, according to theologians holding extreme Calvanistic views, is unconditional and eternal. Such teaching has no foundation in God’s Word and its effect has been very harmful in its tendency to create looseness and carelessness in the lives of many believers. While I agree heartily with the fundamental precept that we are saved by grace through faith without works, I also believe the companion precept which states, “What cloth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?” (James 2:14). “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” James 2:26).

In other words, faith and works are the body and spirit of a true Christian life. The two working together constitute living, vital Christianity. Regardless of what the individual may confess, if Christ-like works are nonexistent in his life, saving faith is also nonexistent, according to the inspired apostle. This teaching does not in any way contradict Paul’s statement that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Paul is speaking of how we enter the door by grace into the spiritual kingdom of Jesus, but James tells us how we may test the genuineness of the faith that many profess but do not actually possess. Which test will decide the acceptance or rejection in the day of judgment of all professing Christians? We must also bear in mind that whenever a person possesses a true, living faith in Jesus our Lord, he will also bring forth acceptable works for God and man as the outward, visible evidence of such living, saving faith. Thus when a person possesses Christianity and does not show it by a life of godliness and holiness, it is positive proof that the vital faith which is necessary to ensure his eternal security is nonexistent in his heart. Therefore the Scripture can say with perfect truth, “To him that worketh not but believeth, God imputeth righteousness without works,” and with the same veracity state, “You see then how that by works a man is justified and not by faith only.” Paul himself stoutly supports this latter teaching, saying, “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16).

The proponents of the doctrine of unconditional eternal security contend that a person once saved cannot be lost, that salvation is entirely of irresistible grace, that it is the gift of God to only a chosen few, and that it is by faith only. As I have already stated, man is not saved by a faith that does not include obedience to God’s Word, which is the evidence of real, living faith in Christ. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

Advocates of the once-saved-always-saved theory frequently quote the following verses: “Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:28). “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). While we should not minimize the value of these precious promises in any way, we cannot overlook other passages of Scripture upon which these promises are based. I am fully convinced that all of the devils in hell cannot separate me from God and His eternal salvation as long as I obey the Word of God with my heart, soul, mind, and strength. But any person may be drawn from God by his own will, his own lust, his own desire, and be lost. We are sometimes asked, “If we have been born again, can we become unborn?” The answer is that we can become spiritually dead by persistently practicing sin and failing to abide in the vine, in Christ. Do we not die physically if we take poison into our bodies? It is possible to die spiritually by poisoning our spiritual life with sin. Eternal life is in Jesus. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). So long as we are in Jesus we have salvation. When we cease to abide or remain in Jesus, we die spiritually and can no longer claim salvation.

Eternal life, therefore, is conditional and based upon some ifs:

If we want to see Him
(See Hebrews 9:28.)

If we abide in Christ
(See John 15:4, 6.)

If we continue in the faith
(See Colossians 1:23; I Timothy 2:15.)

If we continue in grace
(See Remans 11:22; Hebrews 12:15-17; Galatians 5:4.)

If we live in the Spirit
(See Galatians 5:25.)

If we keep our bodies under subjection
(See I Corinthians 9:27.)

If we are followers of God
(See Matthew 16:24.)

If we do the will of the Father
(See John 7:17.)

If we remain steadfast until the end
(See Hebrews 3:14.)

If we do not neglect our salvation
(See Hebrews 2:1-3.)

If we love the brethren
(See John 4:12, 20.)

These are found in the New Testament Scriptures and are plainly stated. Does this mean, then, that we are saved by works? No, we are saved by grace. No amount of works that we can do will ever be sufficient to bring about our salvation. A person cannot just be good and moral and be saved. He cannot just support missions and be saved. He cannot care for the hungry or help orphans, and by these deeds be saved. These are very worthy causes, and some people today may have the feeling that by doing all these, God will surely let them through the pearly gates. But doing these worthy deeds will not save us. Only obedient faith in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross will save a sinner from his sins.

At our very best we come short, but by the grace of God we have an advocate with the Father, and through His blood we have forgiveness and cleansing from our sins. The apostle John wrote, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (I John 2: 1). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:10). Moreover, God demands that we be earnest and sincere, endeavoring by His help to obey His Word and live a Christian lifestyle in this world. The person who deliberately walks away from the Lord to live in sin, is following the path to perdition and damnation in eternity. The Bible teaches us that the state of a backslider is worse than before he was saved. However, if a backslider repents and returns to God, God will restore him to spiritual life, salvation, and fellowship with Himself and the church. A backslidden brother is saved from spiritual death when he turns to the Lord in repentance.

If a backslider, however, continues to reject the wooing of the Spirit and the call of God to return, he may become guilty of sinning “the sin unto death.” (See I John 5:16-17.) The Bible further indicates that the names of unrepentant backsliders may be blotted out of the book of life. (See Revelation 3:3-5.) If the name had not once been written in the book, it could not be blotted out. To the church at Sardis the Lord sent this message: “He that overcometh I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life.” The inference is that if we fail to overcome He will blot out our names.

The Ephesian church was warned that unless they repented and did the first works, He would remove their candlestick, which was their right to be called a church. (See Revelation 2:5.) He warned the lukewarm backsliders in the Laodicean church that He would spew them out of His mouth if they did not repent of their lukewarm attitude and service. (See Revelation 3:15-19.) A backslider may be lost also by going so far as to openly deny Jesus Christ as the Son of the Living God: “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:26-27).

Hebrews 6:4-6 warns that “it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”

Some men say such persons were never converted or thoroughly saved. Of course, they were! A better description of thoroughly saved people on earth is not found in the Bible as it appears in this portion of Scripture.

1. They had full understanding of the things of God.

2. They had tasted of the heavenly gift.

3. The Holy Spirit was abiding in their hearts.

4. They had been feeding upon God’s Word.

5. The miracle-working power of God was operating in their lives.

If they shall fall away, this passage says it is impossible to renew them again to repentance. How could they fall away from something they had never attained and how could they be renewed if they had not come to repentance before? Most certainly, this is a description of souls who were once thoroughly converted but who deliberately turned their backs on the Son of God and His salvation.

The doctrine of unconditional eternal security is an abominable heresy. Turning the grace of God into lasciviousness is not according to the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Yes, we can be eternally saved, eternally secure, but only as we abide in the Lord Jesus Christ and obey the Scriptures.

The plan of salvation that is found in acts 2:38 is not our works but our obedient faith to the gospel. I realize that repentance and baptism are things we do, but everything that we do in the natural in not work. A faith response to the gospel is not a work of the law. It is obedience, and it is pleasurable. When a person repents and is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of his sins, and he is filled with the Holy Ghost, he will experience the greatest pleasure he will ever have in a lifetime.

An old song has a tremendous meaning:

Jesus is softly and tenderly calling,

Calling for you and for me;

See on the portals He’s waiting and watching,

Watching for you and for me.

Do not disappoint Him any longer. Today is the day of salvation. If you are without God, you need to surrender to Him right now. If you have sin in your life and yet claim salvation, do not continue in this delusion. Sin will never enter the city of God. When you are saved, if you walk with God and honor God and let your spiritual life lead you in the paths of righteousness, then you will continue in Him and enjoy His eternal salvation.

THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE PENTECOSTAL HERALD, MARCH 1999, PAGES 14-16. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.

Posted in AD - Apostolic Doctrine, ADGE - General Apostolic Theology, AIS File Library0 Comments

The Last Words of Jesus To his Disciple

The Last Words of Jesus To his Disciple
By Nathaniel A. Urshan

[A radio sermon presented on station WEXL in Royal Oak, Michigan on July 8. 1945.]

Text: Luke 24:45-53

“Then opened He their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His Name among all nations beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you, but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high. And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. And it came to pass while He blessed them He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.”

When Jesus arose from the dead, His true followers would assemble in one upper chamber. At the time of His ascension they numbered one hundred and twenty. Of all the ages of history, it was the age of universal corruption. Outside of Judea idolatry reigned supreme. Gods and goddesses representing every phase of vice were openly worshiped in magnificent temples and at costly shrines. All power was in the hands of magnificent and heartless imperialism. The masses were sunk in hopeless degradation; without means, without learning, without protection, and sixty millions of them in the Roman Empire alone were slaves. Aged parents were suffered to die of starvation, children were exposed and murdered. Men fought with each other as gladiators in the amphitheaters and died by the thousands for the amusement of the cruel population. Every precept of the moral law was violated almost without conscience and without hindrance.

The early disciples had no wealth, no social position, no prestige, no government aid, and no help from established institutions. They were in themselves a despised and feeble folk, without influence, without skill, and without education. Pomp, power, custom and public sentiment were all against them. They were reproached, reviled, persecuted and subjected to exile and death.

But those early Christians had the help of an indwelling, sanctifying Savior and the anointing of the Holy Ghost, and with that equipment they faced a hostile world and all the malignant powers of darkness and conquered. Within seventy years, according to the smallest estimates, there were half a million followers of Jesus, and some authorities claim there were a quarter of a million in the province of Babylon alone. In other words, with the Holy Spirit upon them, they increased more than four thousand fold in seventy years.

In consideration of these salient facts, let us just for a moment consider the source of these miraculous accomplishments. The last words of Jesus just prior to His ascension from Bethany, “And behold I send the Promise of My Father upon you. But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with Power from on high. ”

What so many Christian professors have missed for many years has been the actual experience of what Jesus describes as “the Promise of My Father” and the “Power from on high.” It is as useless to try to live a Christian life without this enduement as is it possible to live a sanctified, separated life with the Holy Ghost Baptism. Devout Christians ought to have learned better than to deprive themselves of God’s most precious gift of grace on such grounds. The Baptism of the Holy Ghost and Fire is a blessed experience, whether anyone can compass the philosophy of it or not. There may be philosophical difficulties about it, but this great blessing is received by faith. It is enough for the humble Christian to know that God has promised the blessed gift to those who seek. Men do not sail to this Beulah summit on the two expansive wings of philosophy and metaphysics. They reach it on the bended knee of humble faith. This probably explains why lowly souls often find this blessing which the learned miss. “I thank Thee, 0 Father of heaven and earth, that Thou didst hide these things from the wise and prudent, and didst reveal them unto babes.”

When Jesus parted from His devout followers and ascended into heaven at Bethany, we know He left a group of people who hated to see Him leave and to feel that wonderful Presence depart. But their whole faith was wrapped up in the words which He spoke to them last. “Go tarry ye at Jerusalem until ye be endued with Power from on high.” They needed comfort at the departure of their Friend and Brother, and they were promised the “Comforter.” It was in the divine program of heaven that they should receive a sufficient experience to cope with the evil of their day. The experience those disciples were about to receive at Jerusalem was not subservient to sin, but was the over comer and the subjector of sin.

Every true, sincere heart yearns for power to defeat sin in their lives, especially when they have some sort of experience with God, for the light of God reveals the darkness of the human heart and the weakness of human flesh. Many honest people have struggled night and day with the tempter and have fallen prey to the ravages of lustful feelings, all because they have not been enlightened to the Power of God present through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Those disciples who were so marvelously anointed had amongst themselves characters which needed this Baptism of heavenly fire.

Peter found out how impossible it was to be a true follower of Jesus when he wandered away from His presence, Even though he boastfully proclaimed the fact that he would never deny his God. Yet, within his nature, there was a rebellion against identification with Christ when he could not feel the absolute presence of the Lord. Peter bitterly learned that he had to have Jesus at his side if he were to be more than a conqueror.

And now we are confronted with the question, “How was Peter to obtain this presence when he saw his hope ascending into the heavens at Bethany?” Brother, his salvation depended upon experiencing the feelings of the last words of Jesus to His disciples before He departed from them.

Our next glimpse a Peter is on the Day Pentecost when without equivocation this man, having experienced sanctifying power through the Pentecostal experience, preached a sermon that blasted traditions and has re-echoed around the world to followers of this Christian faith for centuries, and will continue to reap fruit until Jesus comes for His true church. Peter’s character was changed from insufficiency to cope with evil to a power that could defeat the prevalent feelings of his fleshly nature. All because Jesus promised Power from on high that could captivate the heart and become the model, phenomenal experience for the church of Jesus Christ.

The reason why this Holy Spirit Baptism has not been experienced is because it has not been preached by the ministry. Ministry and laity alike have never had their eyes opened to its value and place in the Word of God. Many of the ministry admits that the blessing of the Holy Ghost Baptism is in the Bible, but at the same time teach that it is promised upon a condition with which it is irrational for us to hope to comply. What must result from such teaching as this? It represents God and His Gospel in a most ridiculous light. What remains but to regard the Gospel as a failure?

It is in vain to say that sanctification in this life is not promised, for it really and plainly is, and nothing is more expressly promised in the Word of God. Now, what an employment for the leaders and instructors of the people to be engaged in teaching them not to expect the fulfillment of these promises to them, that such an expectation or hope is a dangerous error, that it is irrational for them to hope to so fulfill the conditions of these promises as to secure the blessing promised. The devil himself could not do worse than this. Hell itself could not wish for more efficient opposition to God and Salvation. This is indeed a most sublime employment for the ministers of God. How many are crying, “there is no reason to hope for the fulfillment of God’s promises. You must expect to live in sin so long as you are in this world. It is dangerous to entertain any other expectation.”

The fact is an unbelieving ministry is the greatest of all stumbling blocks. Brother, this type of preaching throws the plan of God into reverse. It takes the meaning out of the last words of Jesus to His disciples. “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” and “Go tarry in Jerusalem till ye be endued from on high.” If these words have any meaning at all, they express the power that will enable a man to live above sin and defeat the plan of Satan in his life. It is only through such lives that we will see the wonders of miracles wrought, it is only through such lives that the world will be aware that the Christ doctrine is not merely a social gospel, but a revolutionary force that transforms characters overnight and fits a Christian for power to do the will of God.

I’m so glad that Peter, when preaching the sermon on the Day of Pentecost, did not restrict that Baptism only to his day, for he said, “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.” We report solemnly the words of Paul that he spoke to the disciples of John in Ephesus, “Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?”

Editor’s Note: At the time of this message, (July 8, 1945,) Bro. Urshan was twenty-four years old. (His twenty-fifth birthday was August 29.) He had been assisting Bro. C.C. Kirby at Christ Tabernacle in Royal Oak, Michigan (since February, 1943,) where the church sponsored a weekly radio broadcast from 3:30 until 4:00 on Sunday afternoons on the local radio station, WEXL. It was on this broadcast that a number of Bro. Urshan’s messages were featured. Each week, Christ Tabernacle came on the air with the choir singing “Pentecostal Fire is falling.” Sis. Urshan frequently sang solos with the choir. Bro. & Sis. Urshan returned to the evangelistic field in the fall of 1945. – MJK

From, Apostolic writer’s Digest page 6-7/March 2009 By Nathaniel A. Urshan

Posted in AD - Apostolic Doctrine, ADAM - Apostolic Ministry, AIS File Library0 Comments


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