January 4, 2009

My Testimony: My Day Of Pentecost

Remember my previous post of a secret cloud hanging over my head from age 13. Now I am going to tell you something about myself that occurred despite this unknown cloud. Sanctification is a life long process initiated at regeneration and continuing toward glorification. Glorification takes place at a glorious time of the Christian life, his or her death! Death, where is your sting?

Many of you will struggle with this testimony because you have dispensational issues. So don't just throw the baby out with the bath water. Read and rejoice or shelf it for contemplation.

Growing up Pentecostal I struggled with what was erroneously called the "baptism of the Holy Spirit." This baptism is regeneration. I Cor 12: 13 This baptism is a necessity for the new birth and a walk with Christ. It was the baptism of Jesus and the promise of the Father and the experience of Pentecost we sought. In my eight years of tarrying in my hometown church for this experience, I never realized a Biblical fulfilment of this promise. (only those of you familiar with classical Pentecostalism understand this) I never achieved the confidence that I was truly baptized with the Holy Spirit. This was probably because I was never taught the Biblical pattern for baptisms. I was unquestionably baptized by the Holy Spirit and had been baptized in water (trinitarian baptism) by a faithful minister but it was the baptism of Jesus and the promise of the Father I sought. I did not understand this nor did I know that I did not have to seek it! It was a promise and a gift.

In 1966 I was drafted into the Army and was stationed at Dachau, Germany. Our post was part of the concentration camp and our barracks were formerly for Hitler's SS troops. Across from our barracks was a small military chapel and we started a Pentecostal fellowship. Glen Wise was the fellowship leader and G. A. Swanson was the servicemen's representative for the Church of God European Servicemen's Department.

One night prior to our departure for the Kaiserslautern Serviceman's Camp meeting I was again tarrying along with others in the service. As usual it was getting late (time is never a factor in a Pentecostal service!) and in exhaustion I slipped from the altar and went back to my pew.

I sat down ready to go and get some rest for the long ride to Kaiserslautern, the next morning.
The first Biblical hint about this Pentecostal experience is I was "sitting" and more than likely when the seasonally southerly Egyptian wind blasted into the upper room in Jerusalem their "one accord" minds were not necessarily of a spiritual concern. They had been there for ten days! Maybe some were praying, some were testifying or singing. But there had to be some young Davids sneaking a peek at a young Mary at the back of the room. And there were some tired saints wishing they could retire to a sleeping mat somewhere. There were probably people huddled reminiscing of favorite times with Christ.

The only command was to tarry in Jerusalem not Dachau! When Jesus from heaven poured out the promise of the Father on the obedient 120 disciples it began a flow that has not stopped over the face of the earth. They tarried for Jesus' baptism. That is all the tarrying to be done!
We are not waiting on Jesus, He is waiting on us! The irony is that you are waiting on Jesus! No! You are the holdup! If you want this bad enough you will receive it. Ironically your tarrying is the very hindrance because it is a gift and a promise.

I was entering my ninth year of tarrying! I was not giving up but this altar experience was not working and it would not work. I was "sitting" and suddenly I was filled with the promise of the Father! I leaped into the air feeling like I would reach the ceiling. Before my feet touched the floor I was speaking in tongues and praising God. I was endued with power from on high.
Everyone looked back to see what the commotion was. The tarrying stopped and all joined me in praising God. We rejoiced back to the Wise's quarters and that night I knelt by the couch, my bed, and prayed away most of the night in tongues. At Kaiserslautern I met up with fellowship brethren from Munich and we rejoiced in the German streets running, speaking in tongues and praising God. Were the Germans understanding us? I don't know. Was there a gift of interpretation of tongues? I don't think so. We had a personal prayer language. I know that.

So here is the application. I believe it was Tozer who said "no one was filled with the Holy Spirit in a way that he doubted he was filled!" If you doubt you were filled then you probably were never filled. There are two conditions. This sounds contradictory doesn't it? First, sit down, stop resisting, stop hindering and start believing in Christ to baptize you. Let him 'gift' you this promise. He will not 'gift' you a stone or a snake. His eagerness to 'gift' you is greater than your expectation to receive it. Can't you see the self hindrances you put up? I can already hear you saying, "now that speaking in tongues is crazy!" "I will never do that!" "You'll never catch me jumping up and acting a fool!" Well, let me say, you won't receive it! You will never experience the baptism of Christ though you know the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Second and connected to the first is you have to "hit the street" with this baptism. You have to "go into the world" speaking the marvelous mysteries of God. You have to proclaim it in the market place, every place that commerce is transacted you have to be heard and not just seen.
Now this will not be a decision on your part to be heard and not just seen. It is a product of the filling. You will be swept outside. If you are not being heard in the streets then you have not been filled. Absolutely! Not seen in the world but heard in the world. Shame and this baptism don't mix. Bashfulness is swept away by this baptism. If you are ashamed and bashful before the world, if you are intimidated by what men think or say, YOU HAVE NOT BEEN BAPTIZED BY CHRIST IN BIBLICAL FASHION.

Well, I said many of you will not be able to receive this and now you know why! Go, sit, contemplate your commitment and then receive this promise. Maybe, though I truly doubt it, you may receive this endowment with out acting like a fool and "speaking in tongues" but when you are filled you will know it. You will speak the mysteries of God and that in itself is a "foreign language" to most evangelicals today. When you are filled and you know it "speaking in tongues" will be a piece of cake and the world will think you are a fool!

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