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I came to Christ in a time when having faith in God and receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit were very common. Many people talked about believing God, having their prayers answered, experiencing the power of God, and seeing God do mighty things in the world. Furthermore, we were busy talking to others about these things. If they even gave us five minutes we would talk to them about faith in God, receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, or having the power of God in their life.  

Personally, I was astounded at the idea that God would hear my prayer.

I had no idea that God cared about my needs or that He would was willing to listen to my prayers. So I was pretty excited to learn that you could pray in faith to God based upon His promises, and He would answer my prayers. I had never heard anything like it. I devoured the Word of God, went to meetings where these truths were taught, and excitedly shared my new found understanding of the Scriptures with almost everyone that I met. 

People were swept along in the excitement of discovering what the Bible had to say and seeing the Holy Spirit do mighty things in their lives. The Bible became alive when we embraced the literal truth of it. We would read about things in the Bible that God did, and then see the Holy Spirit do them in our midst too. Loved ones were saved, multitudes of people were healed or received deliverance, and many received the baptism with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues. People in almost every denomination were united together by their new understanding of the Bible and their experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit. 

We were talked about, made fun of, criticized, and rejected by others who went to church.

Some accused us of being in a cult, and others said we were following false prophets. But it didn’t matter to us. We were too busy discovering Biblical truths we had never seen before and having Biblical experiences that they said we couldn’t have! 

Looking back, I now realize what a great time that was.  

Fast Forwarding To Today 

Since then the Spirit-filled part of the Church has grown rapidly and exponentially. Today it is purported to be the fastest growing segment of Christianity. In many cases, the Spirit-filled church has risen above the rejection of their critics to gain a place of respectability among the rest of Christianity. It now has its own seminaries, commentaries, theology, scholars, churches, and mission programs.  

But the church has problems as well.

All is not well today in the Spirit-filled Church. Almost one generation later, the critics are many. That would be okay if they were only from the outside. Historically, persecution from others has never stifled the progress of the Church. The greater danger has come from the divisions that have occurred within the Spirit-filled Church, and the divisive voices within that point fingers at each other. This has caused people to choose what camp they are in. 

Today, many Spirit-filled Christians are divided into different camps, or schools of thought. Some are in the camp of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Others are in the camp of extreme grace. Still others are in the camp of legalism and dogma. Some are caught in the camp of hyper-faith. We find some adhering to the school of thought that prophecy, spiritual experiences, and bazaar occurrences take precedent over the Scriptures. Sadly, many Spirit-filled Christians have not embraced any one particular camp–rather they pick and choose what they want to believe, having as person referred to as a “sound-byte” theology rather than a “systematic” theology. 

Most of these things that I mentioned are scriptural when connected or applied with other truths within Scripture. Truth should be balanced with truth. When people leave the whole counsel of Scripture by emphasizing one truth at the expense or the exclusion of all other truth, they leave the mainstream of their Christian faith, and get into an extreme type of Christianity. Taking one truth of the Bible and making it a stand-alone subject is a short trip to error. Remember that the apostle Paul tells us to “rightly divide the Word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) 

Have We Forgotten The Roots of Our Faith? 

Perhaps it would be good to re-visit the roots of our faith. Being scripturally grounded in the Word of God is vital to our Christian life. The reason some have lost the joy of their salvation and their Christian life has become a ho-hum existence is because they have strayed from their Biblical roots. What am I referring to when I talk about the “roots of our faith”? I heard one person say that “it is the person who executes the basics well that will have success in their life.” I have listed some of the basics, or roots, of our Christian faith with which we should make sure we are well connected. 

1. Embracing the whole counsel of the Word of God.

    F. Bosworth said, “Most Christians feed their body three hot meals a day and their spirit one cold snack a week. And they wonder why they’re so weak in faith.”1 We become weak Christians when we do not have a daily intake of God’s Word. A return to daily feeding on and believing the whole counsel of Scripture, and taking it literally for what it says (unless it uses a figure of speech) is absolutely vital and necessary.  

    Instead of being thrillingly entertained until we have no desire to work, we should study the Word of God so that that we may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17). A return to believing the literal Word of God will in turn lead to an increase in God confirming His Word with signs following (Mark 16:20).  

    2. Having Faith in God and His Word.

      Hebrews 11:2 tells us that by faith the elders (patriarchs and prophets in the Old Testament) obtained a good report or commendation from God. As these people demonstrated the nature of faith described in Hebrews 11:1, they gained God’s approval. The writer of Hebrews also admonished Christians in his day to also maintain faith in God (Hebrews 11:6).  

      With tongue in cheek I would say, if the elders obtained a good report by exercising faith in God’s Word, then the younger ones will also have to exercise their faith in God’s Word to obtain a good report with God. Faith in God and his Word is never outdated; indeed it is a truth that has spanned the dispensations of God and the millenniums of human belief in God. 

      3. Keeping the redemptive work of Christ central in our belief system.

        Sometimes in the midst of the many things that are being said, it is easy to forget that Christ is to have the preeminence in all things, including our Christian beliefs and practices (Colossians 1:18). In their book entitled Interpreting the Scriptures, Conners and Malmin said, “In the wheel of divine revelation He is the hub, and all truths are as spokes relating to Him who is the Truth.”2  

        All that we have today as Christians is because of what Jesus did at Calvary. Christ’s redemptive work is the determination point of what we as believers are entitled to receive from God. Consequently, the further we stray from this point makes it harder for us to receive what we need from God.  

        4. Accepting the Baptism with the Holy Spirit as Scriptural and necessary.

          We must keep in mind that the New Testament was written by men who were filled with the Spirit! The early Church people were filled with the Spirit (Acts 2:1-4)! Today we still need to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18-20). Being filled with the Holy Spirit is to be filled with His presence and power! We could not be where we are today without Him!  

          Therefore the baptism with the Holy Spirit and speaking in other tongues is essential (not optional) to our Christian walk! We should not apologize or be ashamed of the Holy Spirit or speaking in tongues, but seek to be a blessing and continue to boldly share the knowledge of this with others as we have opportunity. 

          5. Walking in the new commandment of the love of God.

            Jesus Himself said that the way the world would know that we are God’s people is by the love of God we demonstrate (John 13:34-35). Paul said that nothing is greater than to walk in love (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Walking in love toward God and our fellow man is basic Christianity. A return to loving your neighbor can help evangelize the world faster than straining to be supernaturally endowed by some spectacular or even bazaar spiritual experience. I believe it takes a greater dedication to God to actually love those around us than it does for us to simply pray for God to do a miracle for them.  

            Speaking with a voice of compassion and love will promote unity among the believers, and keep us from killing our wounded. As we reach out with a response of love toward those who speak divisively, it will keep believers from polarizing themselves with others like themselves, and instead help them to reach out to others who may not have the same exact set of beliefs and stand together in the faith. 

            6. Laying aside sin and developing godly character.

            When we as Christians do wrong, we still need to turn from our sinful deeds and receive forgiveness from God. Turning from sin and endeavoring to develop Godly character on a daily basis is part of the foundation and roots we must have in order to stand strong and be successful.  

            Peter admonished us to “add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7). In essence Peter tells us that having godly character is not a one-time event, but rather a continual, daily effort of leaving sin behind and building godly traits within us.   

            7. Fulfilling the Great Commission in the authority and power of God. 

              The Olympic flame is carried in segments by people to the place where the games are held, and they are careful to not let the flame go out. We as Christians can learn a lesson from that, in that we must not let the flame of joy that we received when we accepted Christ to go out.   

              Remember the original thrill of joy you had when you accepted Christ as your Savior? That great joy within you provided strength and enthusiasm for your daily living. Many Christians long to again feel the thrill of joy they once had when they received Christ, and they can feel it again if they get involved in sharing their faith with others! Seeing someone else come to Christ, or gain victory in their life, or receive an answer to a prayer that you said together will help keep the thrill of joy alive within you, and help you keep a proper perspective on life! 

              Lord, Increase Our Faith!  

              As I thought about these things, I said as the disciples said, “Lord, increase my faith”! I am taking a fresh look at my Christian walk and making sure that I am doing these things well. Faith is still necessary to believe that I can receive what the Word of God promises to me. Faith is also needed for me to become persuaded that the benefits of Christ’s redemptive work at Calvary can be mine. It takes faith to receive the Baptism with the Holy Spirit and speak in other tongues. I also found that it takes faith to walk in love and unity, to believe I can walk away from sin, and become a godly man in my daily walk. And yes, it takes faith to believe that someone wants to receive the same Christ that I have as their Savior! Faith is still needed by everyone of us, for by it we obtain a good report with God!  

              Kevin J. Connor & Ken Malmin, Interpreting the Scriptures, Portland, Bible Temple Publishing, 1983, p. 115 

              2 F. F. Bosworth,, accessed Oct. 30, 2013 

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