A Holy Spirit Filled Church
Are you looking for a “Holy Ghost filled church?” Here is information that will surely direct you to the ONLY “Holy Ghost filled church” on earth. It is not a church where folks shout, scream, utter unintelligible sounds and play with deadly snakes. It is the only church patterned after plain and basic New Teaching. It is the church of Christ.
The church of Christ is the only religious body that can truly be called “a Holy Ghost Filled Church.” So the first thing to look for, if you are looking for the real Holy Ghost filled church, is to find the church of Christ in your neighborhood. Paul wrote of the church of Christ in Ephesus, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:19-22).
Furthermore, the church in Corinth was told, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are” (1 Cor. 3:16-17). You will notice that the church is referred to as the temple of God, a holy temple, and Paul emphasized it by saying, “which temple you are.” The church is the temple of God and is a habitation of God “in the Spirit.” The church is filled with the Holy Spirit.
The stress the New Testament lays on identifying the church of Christ, a Holy Ghost filled church, is that it is built on the correct foundation. “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:9-11).
Some religious groups claim to have a foundation based on a particular form of church government. Others are based on a claim to historical succession back to the days of the apostles. Yet others base their claims on highly charged emotionalism, falsely claiming all sorts of fantastic miraculous powers and events are still being performed today. Some religions base their entire existence on the pure human testimony of a man or woman who claims to have heard the voice of God.
None of these claims are valid. There is only one Holy Ghost filled church -- it is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. That foundation is Christ. The apostles and prophets all preached the gospel of Christ, that Jesus is the Christ, the one and only begotten Son of God. Upon that, and that alone can the church of Christ be built. The Holy Ghost has never indicated that he will dwell in any other religious body than the body of Jesus Christ, His church. If you do not want to be duped or deceived it is important that you know what not to look for when you seek a Holy Ghost filled church.
First on the list of things not to look for is the weird and erratic behavior of those who claim they are being directly influenced by the Holy Ghost. When you see people writhing, jumping, rolling, and cavorting in strange ways, don’t be misled to think the Holy Ghost has anything at all to do with that. He doesn’t. The Holy Ghost did not make the apostles or early Christians go into all sorts of physical contortions. He doesn’t do that now. Those who begin to jump and shout have something beside the Holy Spirit in them.
Don’t be misled into thinking people have the Holy Ghost because you hear them begin to jabber in some unintelligible gibberish which they will tell you is “speaking in tongues.” The disciples of Christ, members of His church in the first century, did not engage in shouting or uttering groans and grunts. When they spoke in tongues they spoke in a language those who heard them could understand.
The expression “unknown tongues” simply means the speaker did not know the language he was speaking. It does not mean the hearers did not know it -- but to the contrary, they understood clearly what tongues speakers were saying in the first century. But today, no one has such a gift. Don’t let anyone tell you different. The Holy Spirit does not lead anyone today into making weird and uncontrollable outbursts of babble or jabber.
In order to know for sure that a church is filled with the Holy Ghost we need also to understand what the Holy Spirit’s work is -- and what it is not.
The work of the Holy Spirit focused primarily on revealing the truth of the word of God. Jesus said to the apostles, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (John 16:13). To whom was Jesus speaking? To the apostles only and to none other did Jesus address the previous statement. You realize that they are the chosen who were given the responsibility of revealing the truth.
Men today are not guided that way. We have the truth fully revealed by the Holy Spirit in the Bible. To the Bible alone can anyone look now to know the mind of the Spirit of God. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can listen to those who claim they have had inner stirring in their souls and that God is still revealing things through them. They are false prophets and teachers.
A Holy Ghost filled church is one that has members who are filled with the Spirit. The early church was about to go through severe testing of their faith so they gathered for a prayer meeting. Read it with me. “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).
Here is a genuine, no question about it, event where the people in the church were full of the Holy Ghost. The place where they were praying literally shook. But it was not an earthquake. It was God Almighty responding to their prayer. I know that there are religious groups that contend the Holy Spirit is in their place of prayer when they meet together. I have been present on several occasions when some Pentecostal type preacher would say, “I feel the presence of the Holy Ghost tonight!” But that is such an empty claim.
Please think with me dear friend. Have you ever felt a place literally shake, as if there had been a tremor or earthquake, when none was reported anywhere else? I am not asking those who preach this pentecostal type of error. I am asking you normal folk, you ordinary people who are sincere and honest -- have you ever felt such a tremor or shaking because the Holy Spirit filled the place where people were praying? I am convinced that if such a thing happened in some of the pentecostal type churches, sensible people would seek shelter and safety fast.
God does not use quakes and physical signs to indicate His presence now. He has given us His word and we ought to be faithful enough to Him to be satisfied with it and nothing else. You don’t need experiences, chill bumps, or the cold sweats, or any other physical manifestation of sensation to know God’s is present. If you believe the Bible you know God is present with those who abide within the sacred confines of truth. “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9).
Those who are in the doctrine have the Father and the Son. Those who rely on their over exercised emotional experience come no where near the Father or the Son. Just obey the doctrine of Christ, confine all your faith and practice to what is in that doctrine, and ignore all the highly emotionalized surmising about the Bible. Take the Bible alone.
The Holy Ghost filled church will have ministers who are not afraid to speak boldly, even when there is opposition. In fact, the early preachers were quite anxious to defend their statements publicly and privately. The record of Acts tells us, “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke” (Acts 6Z:8-10). If you back up to verse 5 you will read that Stephen was a man “full of the Holy Ghost.”
One of the main reasons why I am thoroughly convinced that men today do not have what Stephen had is that they will not even think of defending publicly or privately what they preach to their congregations. If you don’t believe me, try the following experiment. The next time you hear a preacher claim he has the presence of the Spirit in him, or that He has been filled with the Holy Spirit, ask politely if he would be willing to publicly debate with a preacher who denies that such is even taught in the Bible.
Ask the preacher if he would be willing to enter an orderly public discussion, with suitable propositions for debate, and to discuss in a gentlemanly manner whether or not he has the same gift given to the apostles on the day of Pentecost, or if he has the same Spirit Stephen had. If he shies from it, read the above passage again -- but read it only to yourself. It will do little good to read it to one who is unwilling to defend what he preaches. They could not resist Stephen because Stephen was a man filled with the Holy Spirit.
Men today do not have the the Holy Ghost in the way that Stephen and the apostles of Christ had. I don’t have it. No other man today has it. But I have something that is just as powerful. I have the unadulterated truth as revealed in the Bible. Paul said it is the “power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16).
With the Psalmist I say today, “You, through your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me” (Psalm 119:98). A man has nothing to fear from those who base their religious views and convictions on purely human testimony and tradition. But someone who has nothing more than a loud voice, who can pepper his speech with a few “holy Huh’s” and possibly a smattering of Bible knowledge cannot stand in the presence of one who has nothing but the divinely inspired Holy Spirit filled wisdom that comes from above, from the Father of Lights, from Bible -- Book, Chapter, and Verse.
This is why I know that the church of Christ is the one and the only Holy Ghost filled church in existence today. It is the only religious group today that will take the Bible alone as a guide for every item of faith and practice. It alone stands on the correct foundation which Paul said is Christ. It alone accepts nothing newer than the New Testament and nothing older than the Old Testament.
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