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Have ye received the Holy Ghost
since ye BELIEVED?

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   Paul asked the disciples of John the Baptist this in Acts 19:2

   He was told that they had not heard anything about the Holy Ghost. So Paul explained some things and then baptized them for a second time (only this time, in the name of Jesus). Afterward, when he laid his hands on them, they received the Holy Ghost!

Many professing Christians have never heard this because most ministers do not believe this Bible experience is for people today. However, regardless of the theology or doctrines that most ministers have been instructed to teach, the question above should be asked of every professing Christian today. Those who are truly independent thinking Bible students will search it out for themselves in the scriptures, and will find out what the Bible has to say about this matter.

Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:5, "... Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Romans 8:9 tells us, "...Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

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 How does one know when they receive the Holy Ghost?

  Some ministers teach that the Holy Spirit is received "automatically" ... with no apparent outward manifestation ... when a person "believes" and accepts Christ as their personal Savior. However, in Acts 8:12-17, we read about people who believed, yet they had NOT received the Holy Spirit.

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Acts Chapter 8

12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.

14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:

15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

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And again, some teach that the Holy Spirit is received "automatically" ... with no apparent outward manifestation ... at the same time a person is baptized in water. However, in Acts 8:12-17 (as shown above), & Acts 19:1-6 we read about those who received the Holy Spirit AFTER being baptized... but in Acts 10:44-48 we read about others who received the Holy Spirit BEFORE being baptized.

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Acts Chapter 19

1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.

4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

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Acts Chapter 10

44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

45 And they of the circumcision 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.

46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

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 The Holy Spirit is not "automatically" imparted at believing ... or baptism.

 A person shouldn't claim receiving the Holy Spirit entirely on the grounds of someone telling them they have received it ... without them knowing for sure. Nor should they believe things "implied" from very carefully selected portions of scripture by some ministers, as opposed to that which is plainly stated in scripture. There is a way to know for sure when one receives the Holy Spirit ... and the Bible states it plainly.

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 Who says the supernatural manifestations of God have ceased?

 Miracles have always been closely associated with God, His work, and His people. However, there are professing Christians today who adamantly reject and denounce certain miracles and manifestations of the Holy Spirit which we read about in the Bible. They claim these supernatural manifestations were temporary and were only for the purpose of confirming that the message of the Apostles was truly of Divine origin, and that God no longer uses them today. Some even claim that these supernatural manifestations were only for the 12 Apostles ... and/or that any and all supernatural manifestations in our day and age are of demonic origin.

To be more specific, the supernatural manifestations held in such contempt by those who have been indoctrinated to believe such includes miracles, healings and speaking in tongues. Furthermore, many claim that speaking in tongues was just a temporary manifestation so that the early Church could take the message to the then known world ... but that supernatural prophecies, tongues and knowledge all came to a grinding halt as soon as the writing of the New Testament scriptures was completed. They base this upon what the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:8 about prophecies failing, tongues ceasing and knowledge vanishing away ... "when that which is perfect is come."

However, many of those who embrace the idea that the supernatural manifestations we read about in the Bible are not for us today, also embrace a doctrine that was NEVER even mentioned in the Bible ... the trinity. The theory about a triune God ... a plurality of three separate and distinct co-equal, co-eternal and co-existent "persons" ... evolved from what was started at the first general council of churches ... the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. Most people are unaware that the word trinity is NOT even a Bible term or that the word "persons" (plural) isn't found anywhere in the entire Bible where it is used to describe God or the Godhead.

**IF** the completion of the Bible is the "that which is perfect is come" that Paul spoke of, as some claim it is, then it should follow as a result of the end of supernatural manifestations of prophecies, tongues and knowledge, that there would be no room left for any new beliefs to be "added" on later which were not specifically stated in the completed Word of God ... such as the theory of the trinity which evolved many, many years later. Nevertheless due to very effective indoctrination, these same people, who deny the supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit, hold to their theory as dogmatically as they do the Holy scriptures themselves, even though it isn't stated, defined, described or referred to in the Bible in the way they state it, define it, describe it and refer to it. This doctrine is completely void of "specific" Bible authority, so it had to have been "added on" AFTER the Bible was written. There is absolutely no mention of "One God in three persons" anywhere in the entire Bible! Therefore, this theory is totally dependent upon the use of very carefully selected scriptures which have been given "implied" meanings, and requires the use of logic, human reasoning and slide ruler explanations and commentaries of those who did NOT learn at the Master's feet as the "footprint followers" did. This doctrine also ignores and/or avoids other scriptures which deal with the "oneness" of the Godhead and absolute Deity of Jesus Christ which contradict the theory of "one God in three "persons." Well, that is another subject which I address head on at one of my other web sites: $10,000 Reward

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But the point I wanted to make is that the "one God in three persons," theory which was "added on" a couple centuries AFTER Christ, is embraced by many of the same people who say supernatural knowlege ended when the written Word of God was completed ... even though their own theory about the three "persons" of God was unknown and didn't come to light and evolve until many years AFTER the New Testament had been written (and when there shouldn't have been any more Divine knowledge coming to light, according to their own belief). Now is that hypocrisy and a double standard, or what?

Independent Bible students should want to take a closer look at this very interesting interpretation of the scriptures put forth by many who assert the supernatural manifestations of prophecies, tongues and knowledge ended when the written Word of God was completed ... which must stand in harmony with other scriptures on the same subject to be a valid interpretation. If it does then their interpretation is correct ... if it doesn't, then of course, their interpretation is NOT correct.

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Let's take a look at the scriptural setting where Paul speaks of this:

1 Corinthians Chapter 13

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in PART, and we prophesy in PART.

10 But when THAT WHICH IS PERFECT IS COME, then that which is in PART shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in PART; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

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Notice the wording: prophecies shall fail; tongues shall cease; knowledge shall vanish away (Think back over the advancements in technology in the 20th Century and ask yourself if knowledge has vanished away). Listen to this ... Daniel 12:4, "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Does that sound like knowledge was done away in about 100 A.D.? I don't think so. That which is perfect has not made it here yet, folks ... but it is getting very close!

At any rate, "FAIL" is the Greek word KATARGEO (Strong's # 2673), meaning to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative. "CEASE" is the Greek word PAUO (Strong's # 3973) meaning to make to cease or desist, to restrain a thing or person from something. "VANISH" is also the Greek word KATARGEO (Strong's # 2673), meaning to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative.

I will not argue that the day will come when these attributes for edification purposes in the Church will no longer be needed because those who have obeyed the Apostles' One God Monotheistic Doctrine concerning God's plan of salvation will be caught up to be with the Lord for ever and ever. What I would like to point out is this: Something can cease, pause, temporarily suspend and then resume again later. When a car stops for a traffic light, the trip is NOT over. When someone stops eating, that doesn't mean they'll never eat again. I contend that these things that Paul says are going to cease, subside or pause were not permanently ended ... and will not end permanently until "that which is perfect has come."

Generally speaking, the spiritually of the nation of Israel and their relationship with God, as well as the fervent revivals of the Church Age has ebbed and flowed. It has been anything but a steady consistency of growth and spiritual awareness. Instead, it has been with cessations, pauses and temporary or sporatic moves. Otherwise, there would be no need for a "REVIVAL" ... a rekindling of that which has been deminished or has even completely ceased.

Also, notice Paul's use of the word "PART" in the passage above. The word "PART" here is the Greek word MEROS (Strong's # 3313), meaning to get as a section or allotment; a division or share, piece, portion. MEROS is translated "PART" only 24 times in the Bible and 4 of those times are right here in these few verses.

I would like to turn your attention to another Greek word which also means "PART":

2 Corinthians 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the EARNEST of the Spirit in our hearts.

2 Corinthians 5:5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the EARNEST of the Spirit.

Ephesians Chapter 1

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

14 Which is the EARNEST of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

In the above verses Paul used the word "EARNEST" which is the Greek word ARRHABON (Strong's # 728), which means a pledge, PART of the purchase-money or property given in advance as security for the rest -a down payment, to describe the Holy Spirit in the heart of a believer. It is quite common for someone to put "earnest" money down on property or a possession in an act of good faith to secure it until they complete the transaction. It could be said that the joyous experience of the infilling of the Holy Spirit is just a small portion of what Heaven is going to be like because it is given to us as an EARNEST (PART) of our inheritance. The final transaction will take place when the Church is taken home to be with our Lord. "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath PURCHASED with his own blood." Acts 20:28

Has God quit imparting the GIFT of the Holy Spirit to believers? I say emphatically, NO! Therefore, it is my position that Paul was referring to something besides the completion of the Bible as being when "that which is perfect is come." Because, as we have seen above, he said in I Corinthians 13:12 "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then ("when that which is perfect is come") face to face: now I know in PART; but then shall I know even as also I am known". Also Paul said in verse 10 "BUT WHEN THAT WHICH IS PERFECT IS COME, THEN THAT WHICH IS IN PART SHALL BE DONE AWAY WITH."

My friend, when "that which is perfect is come" there will be no need for God to impart the GIFT of the Holy Spirit (the EARNEST of our inheritance) to believers because we'll forever be in His presence!

Paul wrote much of the New Testament and this subject is addressed in other places in such a way which refutes the idea that this phenomena was going to be removed and taken out of the Church along with prophecies and knowledge with the completion of the Bible.

In addition, if the completion of the Bible was "that which is perfect is come" and that "which was in part" was done away with, then God would not bestow upon believers the GIFT of the Holy Spirit as the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, and we would have a MAJOR problem with the following promise:

Acts Chapter 2:

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, BOTH Lord and Christ.

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the GIFT of the Holy Ghost.

39 FOR 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.

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  Has God quit calling? I say emphatically, NO!

  It is my most sincere prayer that this will be received with the same love in which it is being presented.

A wise man named Gamaliel in Acts chapter 5 might not have agreed with or understood the Apostles' doctrine, but he reasoned that if it was of men that it would come to nought, but if it was of God they could not over throw it lest haply they be found even to fight against God. Jesus warned against those who blasphemed against the Holy Ghost as being in danger of eternal damnation ... without the chance of forgiveness. This is a very serious matter! Today, I feel, some may be speaking evil of the operations and manifestations of the Holy Spirit through ignorance, as a result of them being indoctrinated to believe things that are contrary to the Apostles' One God Monotheistic Doctrine.

Because there is the genuine manifestation and power of God and the counterfeit works of darkness, we are commanded to "try" the spirits to see if they be of God. Not to try as in "try it you may like it" but to TEST its validity.

1 John Chapter 4:

1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but TRY the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

Revelation 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast TRIED them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

The word "try" in 1 John 4:1 is the Greek word DOKIMAZO (Strong's # 1381) meaning to test, examine, prove, scrutinize. And the word "tried" in Revelation 2:2 is the Greek word PEIRAZO (Strong's # 3985) which also means to test, examine and prove. Sometimes something is so obviously false that anyone can see it, but there are those instances in which only a "trained eye" can detect the falsehood as with a bank teller detecting a counterfeit bill.

Because it is foolish to stick your head in the sand when you run across something which you don't understand, I determined a number of years ago to investigate different doctrines. As a result, God revealed to me a seven step process to "TRY" doctrines by using only the Bible, and which works 100% of the time ... without fail.

I refer to them as the Seven Undeniable Beliefs of the New Testament Church. You can take a look at them at one of my other web sites: Bible Studies

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Many companies recruit and intensively train their sales people to go out and sell only their products or services. Many of these sales people are aggressive, and have no problem with sweeping any negative aspects under the rug while tearing apart the competitor who gets in the way of their personal gain. They live it, breathe it, eat it, sleep it, use high pressure scare tactics, are very zealous and almost always have no ethics whatsoever. They usually stay stressed out and frustrated most of the time, and live a very unhappy, unfulfilling life of chasing that elusive carrot at the end of a pole ... never finding true joy, contentment and inner peace. Well, believe it or not, I've just described a lot of "professing" Christians, including ministers, who have been indoctrinated to believe Rome's version of the gospel of three "persons". Many have no earthly idea what their calling or mission in life really is, and don't have the wisdom, knowledge and understanding necessary to defend the Apostles' One God Monotheistic Doctrine while reaching out to lost souls in an effort to win them over to the truth of the Word of God and steer them away from the doctrines and traditions of man.

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 My dear friend, to arbitrarily classify anything and everything supernatural as being demonic is an extremely grave mistake whether one understands and/or believes in it or not. If there is one thing I have learned in my years of independent Bible study, it is this:

God does not need me, you or anyone. We are absolutely nothing apart from His love and mercy. As a matter of fact, He has people in their graves who paid the price, stood the test and are just waiting for that trumpet to sound! It is true that there is still work to be done, but God will call people out of the places where some of us have been if necessary. Just as He by-passed the synagogues of His day that were full of Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes to call some men who weren't educated beyond their intelligence to be leaders in the Church of the New Covenant.

I realize the supernatural manifestations of the Spirit of God is a deep subject, and one that may be far removed from the minds and concerns of a lot of people, but 2 Timothy Chapter 3 warns us about conditions in the last days:

2 Timothy Chapter 3

1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

5 HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS, BUT DENYING THE POWER THEREOF: FROM SUCH TURN AWAY.

Notice that verse 5 reads, "Having a form of godliness (outwardly appear to be religious), but denying the POWER thereof: FROM SUCH TURN AWAY. The word "POWER" used here is the Greek word DUNAMIS (Strong's # 1411), meaning: force, special miraculous power (usually by implication a miracle itself) ability, abundance, meaning, mighty deed, (worker of) miracle (s), power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work. This Greek word DUNAMIS is also used in Matthew 22:29; Luke 4:36; 5:17; 9:1; 24:49; Acts 1:8; 3:12; 4:7; 4:33; 6:8; 10:38; Romans 15:13; 15:19; I Corinthians 2:4-5; 4:20; 5:4; 2 Corinthians 4:7; 12:9; Ephesians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; 2:9; 2 Timothy 1:7; Revelation 13:2; 15:8; 17:13.

It is super important to remember that in the last days there will be some who have a form of godliness but will deny the POWER ... DUNAMIS ... thereof. Granted, in the last days there will also be lying signs and wonders ... which is all the more reason a person needs to be able to distinguish between that which is genuine and that which is counterfeit. Also, the Greek word DUNAMIS is translated "MIRACLE" and "MIRACLES" in the following verses. Who denies supernatural miracles today? Or claims that all supernatural manifestations are of demonic origin? I'll let you answer that question, but here's some scriptures where the word DUNAMIS is translated miracle and/or miracles .... which some having a form of godliness (outwardly appear religious) adamantly deny:

Mark 9:38-39 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a MIRACLE in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by MIRACLES and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

Acts 8:12-13 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the MIRACLES and signs which were done.

Acts 19:11-12 And God wrought special MIRACLES by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of MIRACLES; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

1 Corinthians 12:27-28 27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that MIRACLES, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

Galatians 3:5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh MIRACLES among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Hebrews 2:3-4 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers MIRACLES, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

As we've seen above in 1 Corinthians 12:10 DUNAMIS ... MIRACLES ... is one of nine gifts of the Holy Spirit that is listed there, AND in 1 Corinthians 12:28 God placed DUNAMIS ... MIRACLES ... in the "original" New Testament Church.

So there we have it. According 2 Timothy 3:1-4, some will have a form of godliness (outwardly appear religious) but will deny the "power" ... DUNAMIS ... MIRACLES ... thereof.

Is Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever as His Word declares, or has He changed His mind in dealing with His Church? Should we rip James 5:14-15 out of our Bibles and refuse to pray for the sick?

James 5:14-15 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

What about the drug addicts, prostitutes, alcoholics and those out there in the pig pens and dens of iniquity? Without a miraculous deliverance and transformation their fate is sealed. And my friend, I know first-hand that true deliverance and transformation does not come by merely accepting Christ as your personal Saviour and shaking a preacher's hand. Some may say what I am talking about is just an emotion. Well, it is an emotion. But it is also much, much more than an emotion! What is love? Can you put a handle on it? Is it tangible? Isn't it an emotion which produces tangible and intangible results? To say the operation of the Holy Spirit is no longer manifested as in the Bible days, or to describe such as demonic or merely an emotion is a very grave mistake.

God knows the beginning from the end and the end from the beginning and He knew long before that there would be a "dark ages" followed by a reformation period. And although I am under a command to turn away from those who deny the POWER THEREOF and to mark them who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the Apostles' Doctrine I felt compelled to communicate this to those who are serious about independent Bible study and Truth in its entirety.

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   It is a real tragedy when those who claim to be spiritually discerning can not discern or distinguish between the genuine manifestation of the Holy Spirit operating in the five-fold ministry Church that Jesus Christ ordained almost 2,000 years ago and that of the counterfeit works of darkness performed as by the magicians of Egypt. However, Truth will withstand the onslaughts from Hell as well as from ignorant zealots. God is not the author of confusion, but neither is the prophecy of the scriptures of any private interpretation. Therefore, we must give diligence to their proper interpretation in establishing our convictions.

This communication is not designed to be a scathing rebuke, but rather it is presented with godly fear, in sincerity and love. We must speak where the Bible speaks, but let's be sure we do that.

The Bible speaks of the "former" rain and "latter" rain. It is my understanding that the "latter" rain fell on Jan. 1, 1901 at a little" Bible College in Topeka, Kansas following a time of fasting, prayer and tarrying by a group of students and their teacher which has spread around the world just like in the days of the Apostles. People from all denominations, backgrounds and walks of life have experienced this "new birth" that Jesus told Nicodemus about in John Chapter 3. It is interesting to note that, according to Jesus in John 3:8, there would be a "sound" associated with EVERYONE who is born of the Spirit (the Bible way).

On the day of Pentecost in Acts Chapter 2, which records the inauguration of the "original" New Testament Church, there was a sound associated when they were ALL filled with the Holy Spirit.

The book of Acts is the history book of the "original" New Testament Church. And it is still being written today, so to speak, because it has no ending. If there is anything in the Book of Acts which a believer stays away from or denounces, that in itself should be a "red flag" to the serious Bible student.

The initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit (former rain) witnessed by speaking in tongues in Acts 2:1-4, the continuation of the witness of speaking with tongues upon receiving the Holy Spirit in Acts 10:44-48 and Acts 19:1-6, the ceasing of tongues in the "religious church world," the "dark ages" followed by the "latter rain" outpouring at the turn of the 20th Century which sparked a great worldwide revival, and the ultimate end of the New Testament Church Age is my understanding of Paul's meaning in 1 Corinthians 13:8, "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away," ... and NOT that Jesus Christ has changed and is no longer the same yesterday, today and forever.

It is Jesus, faith in His Name and the Word of God which saves, heals and delivers people today ... not man. The gifts of the Spirit described in I Corinthians 12:1-14 were ordained of God to operate harmoniously in the Church. And any attempt to remove one or more of them, in my opinion, is a serious mistake. Has God taken back any of the gifts He placed in the Church? I say emphatically, NO!

Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

As we've seen, God placed miracles and tongues in the "original" New Testament Church. And even though some deny them today, I have never met anyone who can scripturally prove when and where God took them out of the Church. Rather than trying to understand them and distinguish between the genuine and the counterfeit, some people just throw the baby out with the bath water.

I grew up in a mainline denominational church, which I won't name because it would serve no real purpose. However, I will just say that there is a much deeper depth in one's relationship with God than what most people are exposed to. Jesus did not many mighty works in Matthew 13:58 because of people's unbelief. TRUE faith produces works, and according to James 2:26 , "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." The Bible is full of stories about TRUE faith and works, and is pretty well summed up in Hebrews Chapter 11.

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Bobby Richardson.

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