Saturday, May 28, 2016

Fast Food Faith?

When our family took a vacation to San Francisco several years ago, my brother insisted we eat at In and Out Burger. "Amazing food, and they serve it really fast!" Hence the name. You are literally "in and out" in a matter of a few minutes.

Before I became a believer I attended church only a few times each year. I dragged my feet when we went and I couldn't wait to leave when the service was over. You could have called me "In and Out Bob" I guess.

Something happens when we first come to believe. According to scripture we "receive" God's Holy Spirit. When that happens, when we receive God's promised Holy Spirit, we become changed. I found that going to church soon became a desirable destination rather than a detestable diversion.

I have no way of knowing of course, but I believe that most churches contain professing Christians who don't actually believe. False converts, deceived, they only think they believe. Why do I think that? Because the phenomenon happened in the early church so we KNOW it happens. And if it happened back when the church was young and vibrant, why not today?

"19 And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. 2 And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”  - Acts 19:1-2

Did you notice that? Paul found some "disciples," church members, but they weren't really bonafied, true blue, genuine, 100%, I-got-the-spirit-in-me believers. Are we like that? I was. Do we go to church just to go to church, punching the Jesus time clock so we can hurry back home for the football game?

I must confess however that I have been guilty of this very thing I am writing about . . . since being filled with the Holy Spirit . . . since becoming a believer. I go to church early for some fellowship but more often than not I leave right after worship so I can get home to be with my wife. I really should stay and get to know my brothers and sisters more.

Also, over time, our  "relationship status" can change from "on fire" to "lukewarm." We must guard against that.

So, how do we KNOW for sure we have God's Holy Spirit in us? Well, first, there should have been a dramatic change in us. We should have become obviously different than we used to be. That's the Holy Spirit. Back to that passage from Acts for the evidence.

"4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying." - Acts 19:1-6

Secondly, there is a hunger for knowledge about God. We desire Him and to know more about Him. Psalm 119 is filled with the Psalmist's desire to know God more.

"10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! 11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 12 Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes!" - Psalm 119:10-12

Third, we enjoy going to worship. We tend to come early and stay late. Hour and a half service? Not a problem. Two services? Absolutely! We become obsessed. And, quite honestly, I think that's how we're supposed to be.

"And you shall love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALLyour soul and with ALL your mind and with ALL your strength." - Mark 12:30

If you have never been changed, if you have never surrendered yourself and allowed Jesus to become Lord of your life, please, examine yourself today. If you find your self lacking, repent of your sins, turn away from your former self and embrace your new life in Christ.

Time is getting short. The signs are all around us that the return of Christ is imminent. And it seems as if only those who have God's Holy Spirit living within them can see these things.

Come, Lord Jesus, come. :)

Holy Spirit - Francesca Battistelli

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