Sunday, November 17, 2013

What's The Answer To Cessationism?

So what is the meaning of Cessationism? Here's what Wikipedia says:

In Christian theology, “Cessationism” is the outworking of a three-fold belief-system:

1) The Holy Spirit’s purpose in imparting the “sign gifts,” has expired;

2) The sign gifts (or “Apostolic gifts”) were given exclusively to the original Twelve Apostles, so that the sign gifts and Apostleship are inextricably linked;

3) The gift of Apostleship no longer exists.

With this foundation, certain beliefs naturally follow, most notably, that

1) The sign gifts have ceased, and

2) The sign gifts are not expected to reappear. These sign gifts/Apostolic gifts are:
    a) speaking in unlearned, real, human, languages, A.K.A. “tongues” (Acts 2:5-12);
    b) interpretation of aforementioned unlearned language;
    c) prophesying (foretelling the future, not merely forth-telling already-revealed truth); and
    d) healing-on-demand.

What is the meaning of Continuationism? Wikipedia says:

Continuationism is a Christian theological belief that the gifts of the Holy Spirit have continued to this present age, specifically those sometimes called "sign gifts" such as tongues and prophecy. Continuationism is the opposite of Cessationism.

Continuationists believe that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit are still distributed today, are still in use, and are still needed in the church. The same Holy Spirit that inhabited the Apostle Paul and gifted him with supernatural abilities was present during Old Testament times and also endowed such abilities upon those God specifically chose to accomplish His works in New Testament times.

Here is what the scriptures say:

Acts 2:14-21 

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is onlythe third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

‘And it shall come to pass in the last days (plural), says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all fleshYour sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above (aurora borealis, meteor showers, comets) And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke (volcanoes erupting). The sun shall be turned into darkness (solar eclipse), And the moon into blood (lunar eclipse), Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’

The above scriptures should be enough to end all debate, but we also have the real life testimony of millions of believers who have been baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire over the centuries, most notably the 'Azusa Street Revival', where the saints spoke in other languages, prophesied, saw visions, had dreams, and witnessed mighty miracles of healing being performed on a daily basis and many souls were converted to Christ during a three year span.

Acts 2:36-39

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

And to show that the gift of the Holy Spirit was not just for the apostles or the rest of the disciples who were in the upper room, we have examples of Gentile converts to Christ upon whom the Spirit of God fell.

Acts 10:34-48

"Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all— that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days."

Peter even had contention with converted Jews of the circumcision about Gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit and he had to explain what happened to the other apostles and brethren in Jerusalem!

Acts 11:1-18

"Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”

But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying: “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me. When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I said, ‘Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.’ But the voice answered me again from heaven, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’ Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven. At that very moment, three men stood before the house where I was, having been sent to me from Caesarea. Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, ‘Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.’ And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”

When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”

I could go on with more scriptures etc... but I won't, the bottom line is, if you don't believe what the scriptures teach on any subject, then you won't receive what they say! If you believe it, then YOU WILL receive it! It's that simple.

God allowed a whole generation of His people that He called and delivered out of Egypt from the hands of Pharaoh to DIE in the wilderness, why? Because of unbelief!!!!!

Hebrews 3:16-19

"For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief."

Even Jesus could not do many works in His home town because of their unbelief and hardness of heart! If you really want to hinder a move and work of God in your life, just don't believe His word. 

Mark 6:1-6

"Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Manget these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching."

Romans 8:9 tells us this:

"But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His."

Pretty clear right? And the only way to receive the Spirit of God into your heart is to be baptized with the Spirit by the Lord Jesus, and the initial sign that will tell you and others that God has come down to dwell in you is speaking in other languages, believe it or not, the choice is yours.

In Jesus,

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