Tag Archives: acts

on fire?

A question from a friend prompted me to revisit a few questions about different beliefs involving the charismatic movement, pentecostal movement, etc., and in the course of looking into that I came across a scripture that hadn’t quite sunk in before.

The church I grew up in believes in the Holy Spirit, but doesn’t encourage the practice of most of the gifts of the Spirit, and often seems to almost believe the gifts are no longer applicable. They would never say that, but at the same time they would probably freak out if someone actually gave a message in tongues during a service. To make up for the lack of power in the churches as a result, they have started ‘stretching’ the gifts, so to speak, so that they are considering simple talents, like the ability to teach, etc, “gifts of the Spirit”.

That non-denominational denomination also tends to hold the belief that one always receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit at their point of salvation, which also always happens to coincide with water baptism.

I have spent a great deal of time in the past few years around pentecostals, and in various pentecostal churches since then, though. I was almost convinced that the baptism of the Spirit was sometimes separate, but I was still holding on to the idea that, perhaps, in the cases where one did not receive the baptism of the Spirit at the same time as their water baptism, perhaps they weren’t saved, or had been and somehow didn’t know it.

I came across Acts 8:12-17 yesterday, though, which settles the issue very clearly for me. It’s very clearly laid out here, that these people believed, were saved, and were baptized, but did not receive the filling of the Holy Spirit until later.

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Little Red Box

Anyone who spent much time in Sunday School, upon reading through my list of Praise Songs might just come back thinking I’ve forgotten a certain popular kid’s song in the list.
One of the most popular songs in jr church when I was growing up was one that went something like this:

  • If I had a little red box (trace a box in the air with your hand)
    to put the devil in (make like you’re putting something in a box)
    I’d take him out and SMASH HIS FACE (pound fist into hand)
    and put him back again!

  • But if I had a little white box (trace a box in the air with your hand)
    To put my Jesus in (make like you’re putting something in a box)
    I’d take him out and *SMOOCH*SMOOCH*SMOOCH* (while pretending to kiss something in your hand)
    and share him with a friend (offer your hand to a friend).

Now, we all know that songs that incorporate actions are very good at keeping the attention of children, and a simple song like that will be remembered for years to come. I’m also certain that the original intent was probably very good. However, there’s a reason that song never made it to my songs list…

Jude 1:9-10 (NRSV) reads:

But when the archangel Michael contended with the devil and disputed about the body of Moses, he did not dare to bring a condemnation of slander against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

But these people slander whatever they do not understand, and they are destroyed by those things that, like irrational animals, they know by instinct.

We are told to “resist the devil and he will flee”, this is right and good. However, much like the song I quoted above, and other songs (“Demon Killa” comes to mind), it is popular in some circles to go around provoking the devil…

When I see this, my mind immediately flashes to a standard scene in every horror and creature movie where some horrible monster or villain, who has been harassing some character through most of the movie, has finally been outsmarted and trapped by the character. The overconfident character then stands there taunting the monster and bragging about their wit. Anyone who’s seen one of these movies knows that this is the point at which the monster or villain shows it’s true power, and the overconfident character almost always ends up eaten, killed, or severely injured.

Christ has conquered death and won the victory, but until His return, the earth is still Satan’s domain. Satan is not some pathetic, broken and chained monster that we should taunt and provoke for kicks. He’s an angel, albeit a fallen one, and because he has been defeated he is even more determined to bring as many of us down with him as possible. Take care not to underestimate him, lest you wind up like the sons of Sceva.

When face to face with the devil, never allow yourself to stoop to foolishness or arrogance. — do not slander or insult, rather, say a prayer, and allow the Lord to do the rebuking. Romans 16:20 says that the God of peace will soon crush satan underneath your feet, but that does not mean we should act like he’s there already.

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