USED BY GOD

inthehandsofthepotter-300x225If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2 Tim 2:20-21).

God wants to use people.  In the past few years preachers have laid waste to this term “used by God” because of it’s lack of appeal (like they have done with many truths).  The idea of being “used” by anyone, is not an attractive premise at all because people fear being manipulated, exploited and  exhausted: used.  That is not the case! This is not what is meant by the word, “use.”  The word “use” is not only pronounced differently in the text but is (euchrestos) which loosely means easier to use. 

To be used by God is to be of use to God.

It gives us the understanding that as a practice God utilizes and employs people for his purpose. God wants to use you my dear Christian friend!

Isaiah said, “LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.” (Isaiah 26:12).

Notice that he has wrought all OUR works in us.

He is saying, “Lord, you deserve the credit for everything we have done-it was you doing it.”

When God uses a person he actually works through that person. So being used by God means He is working with you (Josh 1:9), in you (Phil 2:13), for you (Rom 8:31), and through you (John 7:38-39).  This should be our daily prayer.

The biblical pattern is that God saved us by the blood of Christ and placed his Spirit in us to make us a living witness to the grace and power of God.  Paul said it this way, “…for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” (1 Tim 1:16).

We have been saved as examples of God’s power to save such wayward, rebellious sinners such as we were.  We who belong to God by his Sovereign Grace have the privilege of God doing his work through us.  It is no longer, “I” but “Christ” for that “Christ liveth in me” (Gal 2:20).

God’s will is that we “be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2 Tim 2:21). A vessel had special meaning in scripture. A vessel, could be anything from a cup, dish, plate and utensil. God fashions shapes and moulds those that he uses. Isaiah said, “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.”  (Isa. 64: 8).

God uses this analogy of people.  Paul was a chosen vessel or literally “a vessel of election” (Acts 9:15). He uses the phrase, “a vessel of honor” to describe how God uses people in this passage. He is the one who has the power to make us a vessel of honor or dishonor (Rom 9:21).  When God saves a person they become a vessel of honor in salvation. God calls some the “vessels of wrath” other the “vessels of mercy” (Rom 9:22-23).

This means that God can use anything or anyone for his purposes. Saved or unsaved, godly or ungodly-God can strategically move people into position to accomplish his plans. That is what we call God’s Providence.

But it is my firm conviction that God uses US in a way that the UNBELIEVER could never dream about.

The reason for this is that the one whom God uses is committed to “purge himself from these…”  The Christian can be used because the Christian is clean. The word purge is where we get catharsis. It means to clean out thoroughly. In the context of this passage, Paul is reprimanding Timothy to break away from attachment with false teachers that destroy the faith of others. If he completely cleanses himself from them, then God will honor him, set him apart, and equip him for service. We will address this another time.

Believers are loyal to Jesus Christ as their Master so they desire to remove everything from the old life that would disease the new being intolerant of contaminating influences. God desires to use vessels that are clean before him and that take holy living seriously.

Paul compares the church and those in it to being a great house and there are various kinds of furniture, containers and utensils in it.  They all serve a purpose. Some have an everyday common use. But there are others that have an extraordinary, special use. Some are silverware and some are gold ware. God calls us to become vessels of honor or sanctification according to our text. He gives us the choice.

“Meet for the Masters use…” That leads into the concept of Christ being our Master. The word master (despotes) means “one who possesses undisputed ownership and absolute, unrestricted authority.”  We are Christ’s peculiar people or his particular possession (Titus 2:14). Our Lord Jesus has undisputed ownership and uninhibited power over us and he has a design to use us for his glory!

We are “prepared for every good work.” This describes the vessel God uses as fit, ready and prepared for activity. They are outfitted and equipped. They are primed for action because they are trained and rehearsed to do what God has designed for them. A vessel of honor is not only made but trained. After God sets us aside we set ourselves aside so that he might use us in a greater way.  It is an exciting thought to anyone who loves God for Him to employ them in his service to help others.

© 2014 Soul Health Care Ministries. Give credit where credit is due.

STRANGE FIRE

Lev_StrangeIncenseHe shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” (Matt 3:11). 

The scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit was given to believers after Calvary in the new birth experience (John 3:3-8) and then the subsequent experience of believers is empowerment for witness in the baptism of the Holy Ghost (John 7:39; Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit always testifies of Christ in, “the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” (1 John 5:8).  The preaching of the Cross, yes Christ himself, is always central to the heart of the biblical message and is the “power and wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:23-24).

In Leviticus, there was fire on the brazen altar that was given from God (Lev. 9:24) that was to be maintained (Lev. 6:13) and never counterfeited (Lev. 10:1-3). The brazen altar was a type of Calvary. This is a symbol and type of the fire that fell on Christ at Calvary for the sins of his people. That fire of judgement has now become a fire of gracious purity in the heart and spirits of those that know the Lord.

The Holy Spirit’s fire is always connected to the blood of Calvary (Rom 5:5-8). No Calvary, no new birth. No Cross, no Pentecost. One man said, “Only bloody coals are allowed by God to send up fragrance to the throne of grace…any kind of work the Holy Spirit does He does only for those who have been to Calvary, those who have been washed in the blood. Any other fire is false fire; any other so-called gifts of the Spirit are false gifts of the Spirit.”(Hyles)

Incense is a type of prayer (Rev 5:8).  “Strange fire” (Lev. 10:1-3) or strange incense is a reference to was when the priests, Aaron’s sons and Moses’ nephews Nadab and Abihu offered fire to God that did not come from the brazen altar. This was a grievous error for which they were immediately sentenced to death and burned to death by God’s fire.  God did not allow Aaron even to mourn for his sons. The Lord said,  “I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified.”  (Lev. 10:3) God’s holiness is seen in all its glory and not to be trifled with.

First, strange fire is praying amiss or with a disregard to the holiness of God (James 4:1-4) and sinful living (Isa. 1:15).  One man comments about Aaron’s sons, “They were priests who had become aliens to God because of pride and unforsaken sin.  It is what you are and what you have become that makes your prayer what it is: holy or strange! Unforsaken sin becomes a stronghold for Satan; and it corrupts everything you bring to God. What strange incense is pouring out of the lips of many compromising servants of the Lord today.” (Wilkerson)

Second, strange fire is any message that exalts humanism, the evil ways of this world system and age and anything manufactured by the sinful nature above the message of the Christ and the cross. Strange fire is anything that is a satanic counterfeit-of another Jesus, another spirit and another gospel (2 Cor 11:3-4). The biblical Christian rejects the music, media, salesmanship, philosophies and cultural fluidity of this world and sees it having no place in the house of God or among the people of God.

Third, strange fire is the worship of false gods, prayers to the saints and veneration of Mary, the occult, seances, tarot cards, astrology, witchcraft and yoga for all those things are an abomination to God (Deut. 18:10-12). Christians reject the media ideas of vampirism, animism, zombies and mediums and the like because they go against the central heart of the gospel, the sacrifice of Christ and the physical resurrection from the dead.

Fourth. strange fire are the beliefs of false religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and cults such as Scientology, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Freemasons, or Mormonism. Anything that rejects the biblical doctrine of the Trinity, the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, or salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is strange fire.

Let me conclude in saying that on the day of Pentecost one hundred and twenty disciples were filled with the Holy Ghost and fire. They received those tongues “like as of fire!”  It was as if a body of fiery power descended upon them and then distributed itself to those first believers in Christ (Acts 2:1-4). The fire of the Holy Spirit is manifested as a purity of heart, a joyful zeal and an ardent love that burns in the heart of the child of God.  A person who loves the Lord is “on fire” for God and loves the truth of God’s Word and holiness.

DEFINE FOR ME, “PENTECOSTAL”

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THERE WAS NEVER A GREATER NEED FOR A GENUINE PERPETUATION OF PENTECOST IN THIS LAST HOUR! To see and be part of those who have turned the world upside down with the Gospel (Acts 17:6).

At this present time in one form or another there are around three hundred million people who claim to have experienced Pentecostal blessing and being baptized in the spirit. But sadly for some and an increasing number it is only in name are they alive but in reality they are dead (Rev 3:1-2). Yes we see the wildfire folks in some groups but sound and noise does not mean motion and forward movement. It is only madness.  Others churches have little or no sense of the presence of Christ in them, very little biblical, Christ centered preaching. They are dead or about to die! How sad!  It is those that used to be vibrant are now those with the dead preachers and dead congregations.

When I refer to “Pentecost” I am NOT referring to ONE DENOMINATION OR GROUP.  I am speaking about the movement that began on the day of Pentecost known as the true expression of Christianity.

This movement reached the world in exponential time with the gospel of God’s grace: that is, salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. This movement in which the Lord Jesus Christ himself worked with men and women confirming what they preached by signs and wonders.

Those signs and wonders were exactly what they were: signs that pointed to Christ and things that were done by God himself that would lead people in wonder and awe of Jesus and Jesus alone.  Pentecost is not about signs and wonders. Pentecost is all about Christ who has been exalted in majesty at the right hand of God who, “hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” (Acts 2:33).

When the people saw them declare the wonderful works of God he explained, “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel, ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:16-17). 

When I refer to “Pentecost” I am not referring to the charismatic movement which has distinguished itself from the Pentecostal movement. I’m referring to those who believe that after the new birth experience all believers in Jesus are promised to be filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4).

We must embrace the baptism of the Holy Spirit, while yes, it brings a greater degree of holiness, it is really more of and empowerment to be a witness for Christ and his gospel (Acts 1:8) for those who are already saved by the blood of Jesus.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit brings what is written in the scriptures into personal experience as the reality of the presence of Christ in the preached word and of the ministry of prayer for those who have need. The real Pentecostal resists the post modern programs and inventions for marketing the gospel and sees any lack in the church attendance, backsliddeness, sickness, deliverance as a greater need for seeking God for a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit in every dimension of their lives.

© 2013 Soul Health Care Ministries. Hey give credit where credit is due!

More Loving Than God?

I have shared with some of you, that I believe there are some people who think they love others more than God does. They see themselves as generous, hospitable and kind. They bristle at people whom they see as harsh and straightforward with scripture. To them that is so unloving.
 
Now of course they would never say that but I would like to test their approach. Scripture says this:
 
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth.  Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures. Love never ends.” (1 Cor 13:4-8NCV).
 
These wonderful virtues are in list form and if you see yourself as placing a check to any or all of these-there is one word that buries all of us and should bring us to our knees in a realization of failure:
 
Always.
 

THE SECRET STASH OF OIL

lamplight2“And the foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’  But the wise answered, saying, “No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, “Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Matt. 25:7-13NKJV).

This parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. The Kingdom of God is like these ten virgins. The virgins would seem to be symbolic of people who say they are Christians. They all appear to be believers. But they are not. In the Age to come, only the righteous and holy people will live together. Jesus said that in his day and ours it is like coexistence between weeds and wheat, good and bad, and of course, the wise and foolish (Matt. 13; Mark 4).

The Lord’s verdict is that five were sensible enough to have that secret stash of oil and five were foolish for not bringing it. The parable goes on to show the bridegroom delayed in his coming. The hour became late and there was no specific time given for the bridegrooms coming so they nodded off and went to sleep. There is some spiritual blackout approaching before Christ’s coming and if there are no batteries for your spiritual flash light you will be in the dark forever.

Oil is an accepted symbol of the Holy Spirit and the oil mentioned here in this passage has to do with the work of the Spirit of grace in our hearts. The Holy Spirit wants to teach us about Christ, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall bear witness of me.” (John 15:26RV).  He gives us illumination and understanding about Jesus.

The Holy Spirit also wants to help us in our devotion and dedication to Christ, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Phil 2:13). In another version it says, “It is God who produces in you the desires and actions that please him.” (GW). The grace of God is the secret stash of the oil grace that will burn with knowing and loving Christ that gives us the illumination and dedication to Christ we need.

There are two instances in the gospel that shed light on this passage. On the mount of transfiguration when Jesus brings his disciples up to pray, the disciples slept: “But Peter and they that were with Him were heavy with sleep and when they were awake they saw his glory…” (Luke 9:32). When Christ unveiled his glory instead of praying they experienced blackout. Like oil in the lamp that fuels its flame so that it lights up the room, Christ wants to illuminate our hearts by his Holy Spirit teaching us about him. The light of Christ enlightened our hearts when we first became Christians (Heb 10:32). This is called illumination or the time “God’s light shone on us” (GNB).

But in the time of illumination or the time Christ would have given them understanding they experienced blackout!

Again, in the garden of Gethsemane, while Christ was agonizing in prayer, they could have demonstrated their dedication to him. Instead he found his disciples, “…sleeping for sorrow, and said unto them, “Why sleep ye? Rise and pray lest ye enter into temptation.’” (Lu. 22:45-46). What is interesting is that the name Gethsemane means “oil press” and can relate to the beaten green oil used for the golden candlestick of the Old Testament tabernacle. Jesus prayed and profusely sweat great drops of blood (Luke 22:44) and he wrestled with drinking the cup of God’s wrath against sinners on our behalf. He would say, “Not my will but thine be done” (Luke 22:42). The oil of devotion was pressed out of the Son of God who learned, “obedience by the things which he suffered (Heb 5:8). It was the same for the disciples, when the oil of devotion should have been pressed out or created in their hearts they slept. In the time of devotion and obedience they blacked out.

The disciples were blacked out in sin. They had to be saved by grace (Eph 2:8-9). Sleep on take your rest Jesus told them (Mk 14:41). Jesus would have to sleep for them three days in the tomb (1 Cor. 15:1-3). Jesus turned them back to himself (Luke 22: 31-32). That is the oil of God’s grace. Sleeping means they were out of the picture. They could not manufacture oil or save themselves. Like Adam (Gen 2:21-22) and Abraham (Gen 15:12). God was doing a work of grace they had no part in (Eph 2:8-9). Only Christ could give them the oil they needed. We know that Christ’s everlasting love has softened our hearts in his Sovereign grace, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light’ (see Eph. 5:14).

They all were startled awake as they heard the cry, “Behold the bridegroom approaches go out to meet him!”  Now, the only time that remained at this point was to ignite their lamps. There are people very proud of their lamps. They have the “sinner’s or salvation prayer” lamp or the water baptism lamp, church attendance lamp, the ministry lamp but no oil of grace in their spiritual inventory. I want to tell you that they loved their lamps of self-righteousness more than the oil of knowing and loving Jesus Christ! That is clear from this parable. There is no difference between the ten virgins until that fateful moment when we see five ladies holding radiant torches and the others staring at their smoldering lamps.

These types of weddings commonly took hours and this presented the possibility for their lamps to burn out so the sensible girls brought extra oil. The thing that is most surprising is that since most of the weddings of that culture took place at night, it would seem just plain common sense to bring oil with them, thus their folly and stupidity is seen. Something so important, a fact of such common knowledge is overlooked.  Jesus taught, “You also must be ready all the time for the Son of Man will come when least expected.” (Mt. 24:44).  

The five simple ladies were excited at first, but their enthusiasm sprung a leak.  As far as they were concerned, the party is over before it has begun.

They look at the other ladies igniting their torches, chattering with excitement, their hearts glowing with an amber flame like their faces. The silly ladies cry, “Give us some of your oil, we have run out!”  The response of the wise virgins was, “We only have enough for our lamps. You are going to have to buy oil of them that sell!”

We must remember that the oil was something that the sensible virgins could not give to the foolish virgins.  We cannot give the oil to others; they must buy it for themselves. This means a denomination or organization cannot dispense oil.  You cannot rely on a refueling with oil from your pastor or church.  Children who have Christian parents cannot siphon their parents oil tanks for a ride into heaven, nor can a wife borrow oil from her husband or a husband from his wife. They were asking the wrong people at the wrong time for oil. It is Christ and only Christ that can pour the extra oil of his spirit into our hearts. No one can give you what he can.

What a lesson for us- we should be found greeting Him at the door upon His arrival, not shopping for oil in the middle of the night.  Love and devotion cannot be bought. Anyone who waits this long does not love and know Jesus they only like his parties. The sensible virgins watched the foolish go out to buy oil at midnight and of course, there are no shops open. They slept through business hours. Our Father’s business of salvation will close its doors one day. There is coming an hour where no matter how genuine the repentance God will not honor anyone’s requests due to their procrastination. “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near” (Isa. 55:6). You and I are on God’s schedule, not He on ours.

The bridegroom comes while they were away and the door of “opportunity” is permanently shut with a sickening clap. It was customary for the owner of the house where a wedding was taking place, after all the invited guests were checked in, to close the door, not allowing a soul to enter no matter how persistent they were in their pleas. This prevented the curious and unwelcome guests from access to the reception. The door we speak of is the entrance to God’s kingdom (Lu. 13:28). It will be like the constant ringing of a phone, and no answer. It will be like a running to a gate at the airport, to find you have missed your flight and all flights to that place have been cancelled indefinitely. It will be knocking on a door that refuses to open. The Bridegroom will eventually separate those who know him from those who do not. Christianity cannot be casually browsed through, you cannot come late! What a warning for those who have lamps but no oil. Like Augustine said, “God promises forgiveness for repentance but what promise does God give for our procrastination?” There is coming a time when God cannot be reached and therefore be ready at all times.

The foolish virgins can hear the laughter and music of the wedding reception and their hearts see a closed door. They are missing the wedding. They panic and bang and bang on the locked door until a response is given.

If we add the commentary of Luke chapter thirteen, they begin to panic and cry, “Lord, Lord, open to us!”

There is a muffled voice behind the door, “Sorry, you’re not on my guest list…I do not know you!” 

They say, “But we’ve known you all our lives!’

He interrupts, “Your kind of knowing can hardly be called knowing. You don’t know the first thing about me.” (see Luke 13:25-27Message).

No excuses, apologies, or explanations are accepted. Why? This is the heart of the matter: they are strangers to him. He does not have a close relationship to them. They do not burn with the secret stash of oil that shows they know and love Christ.  Jesus affirmed this declaring, “I know mine own and mine know me” (John 10:14). Salvation is God knowing us. God is omniscient he knows everything but this is a different knowledge. It is saving knowledge. Paul said, “But now after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God…” (Galatians 4:9). It is a privilege for a person to have God reveal Himself to them. It is an honor for us to love him who loved us so much. We would do well to put salvation in those terms.

As for the foolish virgins of today, they have been duped by the worst kind of lie, self-deception, and they do not know the bridegroom. They only look like virgins and have a lamp, but they have no oil. There are many who profess to belong to Christ and even claim to know and love Him, but they only have a façade of religiosity, just an empty lamp with no light, with no evidence of “the power of God unto salvation…” (Romans 1:16). This is a terrifying prospect for silly neglectful church goers. They do not care until it is too late. Their “break glass in case of emergency” relationship with God will not help them. The Lord’s delay serves as an opportunity for these hypocrites to sin. They do not see it as the Lord’s longsuffering (2 Pet. 3:8-10) and giving them opportunity to repent (Rev. 2:21) but they think the Lord is neglectful and careless about his promises. Jesus warned, that day would be, “like a trap. That day will surprise everyone on earth.” (Luke 21:35CEV).  They will be caught and trapped by their own hardness of heart.

As for the elect wise virgins, they went with him into the marriage! This passage is an encouragement because God is our Savior. Heaven is where Jesus is. That is why the wise virgins want to go to heaven. It is not heaven unless Jesus is there. We are saved and supported by the secret supply of his grace in the most difficult of times. His mercy and kindness is extended to all who will prepare to meet with Him. They are promised that their “bottle of oil shall not fail” (1 Kings 17:14). They are vessels of His mercy and He who is the author and finisher of their faith oversees their salvation.

Thomas Brooks the great puritan writer wrote about this and said, “Oh, God forbid that my heart should be affected or taken with anything in comparison with Christ. The more I know Him, the more I love Him; the more I know Him, the more I desire Him; the more I know Him, the more my heart is knit unto Him. His beauty is captivating. His love is ravishing, His goodness is attracting, His manifestations are enticing, His person is enamoring, His lovely looks please me! His pleasant voice delights me, His precious Spirit comforts me, His holy word rules me! All these things make Christ to be a heaven unto me!

A Clean Church

From the Series: “The Ideal Pentecostal Church” by Seth Rees.

Purifying their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:9).  Holiness is a state; entire sanctification is an experience; the Holy Ghost is a person.  We come into the state of holiness through the experience of entire sanctification, wrought by the omnipotent energies of the Holy Ghost.  This is the “baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire” administered by Christ himself, as John the Baptist declares.  He did not mean that there were two baptisms, one with the Spirit and another with fire, but one “baptism with the Holy Ghost ” under the symbol of fire. 

There are some things which the application of water will not cleanse.  Water may cleanse the loose dirt on the outside, but fire alone can make inwardly, intrinsically clean.  Metal ore is not refined by mere washing — it must undergo the crushing and smelting processes.  Again and again the base ore is subjected to the fiery ordeal, until every iota of the useless grit and undesirables and is destroyed and the metal is left free from alloy.  So the water of regeneration will free the soul from external sin-commission, but the sanctifying process of the Spirit is requisite if the heart is to be holy and sinless.

Poisonous air may be driven from old wells and mine-shafts with fire.  The deadly gases must yield before the flame.  And the fire of the Spirit will rout all miasma and malaria from both pulpit and pew. 

Nothing is more refreshing on a hot, sultry July afternoon than a thunderstorm.  A few vivid flashes, a half-dozen dashes of blinding flame, and lo, the atmosphere has become bracing and invigorating.  Of all urgent needs, none is more truly evident than that the church ought to be struckwith double-geared lightning from the upper skies.  The jagged bolts should be allowed to play on both preacher and people.  This celestial electricity would sweeten the spiritual atmosphere in our churches and in our own souls.  It would burn away all the fog of uncertainty and unbelief and doubt, and give us convictions born of assurance. 

Proud flesh requires the fire.  Nothing rivals it in the dispatch and effectiveness with which it does its work.  A Boston physician told me that, with all the modern discoveries of science, there had been nothing found that would do but fire.  In the moral world there is nothing obtainable that will cure proud flesh in our natures and in our churches except Pentecostal fire.  This alone will kill the “brag,” the pomp, the gusto, the ungodly strut so evident in so many professors of religion today.  Let us take down our lightning rods, all our preventatives, and fire, celestial fire, will leap over the battlements of heaven and fall upon us, slaying all our pride, destroying all our tin, dross, and reprobate silver, and giving us a joyous release from all chaff and from all that is lightweight.

Those who have received their Pentecost live pure, holy lives.  They never practice unclean habits, whether secret or known.  They do not have unclean thoughts, unchaste desires, or unholy passions.  They do not use wine, beer, tobacco, snuff or opium.  True, a man may have his name on a church-book and yet indulge in these things of which we speak; but he might just as well have it on a board fence, for it does not make him a member of the Pentecostal company.  He may “belong to the meeting-house,” but he is not one of this blessed fire-crowned throng. 

Men who are in unholy connection with this Godless world in lodges, fraternities and Christless institutions, or who will stoop to the commercial trickeries of this age, or who will lend their influence to abet a questionable business, have not been through the furnace of the upper room.  Pentecostal Christians have “clean hands and pure hearts.” “Hands” in the Bible refers to the outward, manifest, visible life.  It refers to what man sees.  The word has regard to conduct. The life must be clean. A man can not be in close contact with the world without being contaminated. Lot well nigh became a Sodomite by dwelling in Sodom and among Sodom’s inhabitants; and intimate relationship with men of unrighteous lives always means demoralization for the Christian. “Clean hands” hold no bribes, they never deal unjustly, they do not give thirty-five inches for a yard nor fifteen ounces for a pound, they do not pay debts at forty cents on the dollar when they could do more. 

The behavior of the tongue is included in the life.  The conversation must be pure and chaste, never vulgar, never immodest.  The jest with its indelicate association is never heard on the mouth of the Pentecostal saint. 

The phrase “clean heart” relates to the inward, invisible, secret nature — that which God alone sees.  It describes a condition of things in which there is no pride, or anger, or jealousy, or envy, or strife, or selfishness, or worldly ambition, or any unholy temper.  Desire for place or position in church or state is purged away.  We who are of the Pentecostal Church see no one who has a place we would desire.  We are not wire pulling to get a position.  We are saved from political scheming in ecclesiastical circles, as well as elsewhere.  In honor we prefer one another. There can be no anxiety, for God makes all our appointments for us. 

When the heart is clean the Holy Ghost saves us from all peevishness, fretfulness, sensitiveness and touchiness.  We hardly know when we are insulted and, therefore, never take offense.  As Dr. Carradine says, we get so we “can live on cold shoulder and cold tongue.” We are not looking out for slights. If any one pays any attention to us, it is that much more than we deserve, that much clear gain. 

How plainly uncleanness of heart reveals itself in the actions, tempers and ambitions of the disciples previous to their Pentecost!  They were selfish: they wanted the best places.  Instance John and James bidding for chief seats.  Notice the anger and indignation consequent upon the rest of the twelve hearing of the request of the two brothers.  But, passing the upper room experience, we look in vain to find evidences of envy or self-seeking in these men.  That Pentecostal electrocution forever put an end to the self-life. 

How this fiery cleansing would relieve the church today!  Office-seeking preachers would not buttonhole the bishops.  This continual lobbying of which the presiding elder or superintendent is the unhappy subject would cease.  Men would be more anxious to show their devotion to Christ and self- denial for his cause, than to obtain the best appointments.  An unheard of thing might possibly be, viz., a vacancy on the official board, and no one sitting up nights concocting a scheme which would lift him to the place. 

Would-be generals are abundant nowadays.  There are plenty of men who would gladly boss God’s army.  They want to be bell-sheep.  They must tinkle the bell, and no one else. If they can’t be bell-sheep, they won’t be sheep at all, but turn goats.  Certainly we need the holy flame to extirpate unholy ambitions. 

Before Pentecost, the disciples were sectarian. One poor fellow was having a glorious time casting out devils. “Does he follow us?” “NO.” “Forbid him. Stop the revival; complain to the authorities! Schism!  Tendency to divide!  Come-out-ism!” There are thousands of people who have no sympathy with a work, however praiseworthy, without the movers in that work are in full unison with them on all points. 

A revengeful spirit crops out in the pre-Pentecostal disciples. “Opposition?” “Down with fire!” “Do not like to hear us preach?” “Rain brimstone!” This is the un-Christlike spirit of even some so called Holiness preachers.  “We can’t punish you, but God can.  We will get the Lord to revenge us.”  How different is the meekness, the heart-lowliness of the Son of God.  “Despised” and “rejected” yet he opened not his mouth. Vengeance and retaliation are burned out of us when we are sanctified, and unholy resentment thereafter finds in the soul no place.

Seth Rees was born at Westfield, Indiana. In March 1873, Seth was converted. Just after his 19th birthday, he attended the Quaker quarterly meeting in Westfield. Under the Spirit’s prompting, Seth mounted a pile of dirt and preached his first sermon. He became known as the “Earthquaker” for his strong preaching of holiness.