MORRISON’S PENTECOSTALISM A BLESSING FOR AUSTRALIA

AMAZING this article appeared in the AUSTRALIAN (secular press) this morning. Thank you LORD. The article is by Greg Sheridan Foreign Editor.

Illustration: Eric Lobbecke.

Scott Morrison is probably the first leader of a significant Western nation to be a faithful member of a Pentecostal Christian church. It has been widely reported that he worships at the Horizon Pentecostal church in Sydney’s Sutherland (I live just 8Km/5m from this church). There have been national leaders in Africa and very prominent politicians in other parts of the world who have been Pentecostals, but not before in a big Western nation.

On that basis, we should celebrate the Prime Minister’s advancement as a further sign of pluralism and diversity in Australia. Indeed, as usual Australia leads the world in some elements of diversity. Our top three positions in government are now held by a Pentecostal PM, a Catholic deputy PM and a Jewish deputy Liberal leader. The fact this is all incidental to their politics and not in itself a big deal is a sign of what a sensible, good ­society we are at heart.

Nonetheless, it is also the case that the ambient culture is becoming ever more hostile to the belief and practice of Christianity. Morrison was right in parliament to foreshadow that he will be proactive in establishing much needed greater protection for religious freedom. This is good in substance and a popular position in the Coalition parties.

Morrison’s Menzies lecture was given almost in the style of an evangelical preacher and I thought it genuine and effective. Politicians govern on the basis of policy and competence but are also judged on character and personality. Communicating personality in a way that people relate to is beneficial, provided it’s genuine.

ScoMo is genuinely, among other things, a suburban churchgoer. Pentecostals are not well known or understood outside their own tradition. In my recent book, God is Good for You, I write at length about Australian Pentecostals. Let me therefore confess a bias: I like and admire the Pentecostals. In Australia, and around the world, the Pentecostals are one of the most dynamic movements in Christianity.

They are completely mainstream and their doctrine is orthodox in Christian terms and Bible-based. Things that people like about them very much are a tradition of great music, a positive, cheerful outlook and an energy about their worship and their corporate personality. Like all Christian movements, like all human movements, they’ve had their scandals, but that just proves they’re human like everyone else.

Pentecostal theology centres on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the central passage in the New Testament that inspires Pen­tecostals comes in Acts of the Apostles: “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all togeth­er in one place. And sudden­ly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tong­ues, as of fire, appear­ed among them, and a tongue raised on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other lang­uages, as the Spirit gave them ability.”

Pentecostals are a Christian denomination, rapidly growing with more than a half-billion followers worldwide, and a movement within many denominations.

Modern Pentecostalism grew out of a little, impoverished, mixed-race church in Azusa Street, Los Angeles, in 1906. It was led by an African-American pastor, William Seymour, a son of freed slaves. This certainly has the right Christian feel about it as the starting point of a big revival.

One of the features that most propels Pentecostal success, I think, is its emphasis on experience rather than intellectualising. This can make its church services emotional and uplifting.

The most controversial aspects of Pentecostalism are traditionally speaking in tongues and faith healing. But almost all Christians of all denominations pray for the sick and accept that occasionally their prayers are answered. Speaking in tongues happens a lot in the New Testament. Pentecostals believe speaking in tongues is the Holy Spirit enabling them to pray. A sceptic may view it as a kind of free-range voc­alisation of the sentiment of pray­er. There is certainly nothing in it of superstition or of the sinister.

Pentecostals are generally different from evangelicals. The latter typically define themselves by the act of being born again, their adherence to the inerrancy of scripture and the need to actively proclaim the faith. Pentecostals would share much of that and add the need to be baptised again in the Spirit. They have had a lot of success recruiting young people.

Happily, the old hostilities and ­rivalries between different Christian denominations have substantially disappeared. The differ­ences now tend to be between those who accept the traditional, orthodox teachings of Christianity — such as the physical resurrection of Christ — and those who interpret all such teachings symbolically or allegorically.

My taste in church music tends towards Gregorian chant. But if I’d paid good money to attend any of the Pentecostal services I’ve been to just for the quality of the rock music, I would have no complaints. Because Pentecostals have been using modern communications techniques to deliver a very traditional message for a long time, they’re good at it.

Traditional message, modern communications. A fertile mix.

WHY THIS WEBSITE IS CALLED LIVING ETERNAL NOW

This website is called Living Eternal Now for a reason. Eternity on a new earth needs to be your focus. Look at these Scriptures which are written for Christians. They clearly show Christians will appear before the judgement seat of Christ. “If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved”

Are you living for heavenly reward?

“So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Corinthian 5:9-10

“According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:10

“Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward2 John 1:8

Listen to John Bevere on Driven by Eternity. He will challenge you on how you live your life from this day forward.

PREPARE FOR PERSECUTION AS YOU STAND ON THE AUTHORITY OF GOD’S WORD

Paul provides the model of how to behave in the dark days ahead and how to finish strongly. Jesus told us that in the “last days” the love of many will grow cold. There will be a great falling away in the church (Apostasy), even the elect deceived.

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Note many friends will leave you as they did Paul, “Demas in love with this present world has deserted me.” If you are doing God’s will, many will harm you as they did Paul “Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm”. In fact, Paul says, “no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me.” BUT Paul also says, “the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the (GOSPEL) message might be fully proclaimed and all the gentiles might hear it. 

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defence no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:6-18

NETANYAHU: TELL THE WORLD THE TRUTH

Netanyahu, tell the world the truth, “He took it from them and gave it to us.”

“Every Jew, and in fact, every Christian and Muslim, knows that the Land of Israel was promised to the Children of Israel, the Jewish People, by G-d, forever. The same G-d they claim to worship. The British pro-Zionists who worked to convince her majesty’s government to issue the Balfour Declaration in 1917, believed in the Divine Promise to the Jews. So, why continue to perpetuate this lie called the “Peace Process”? The Palestinians might gain some temporary control over the land – like in Gaza – for G-d’s own reasons, but in the end, it will be taken from them anyway and returned to its rightful tenants, the Jewish People – I didn’t say owners, because G-d is the only true owner of everything.”

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It is true that a democratically elected government in Israel might choose, for political expediency, to transfer control over parts of the Jewish People’s homeland to others, like what happened in Gush Katif – Jewish Gaza; and that, in political terms, it might be seen as legitimate; but, in the Court of Final Justice, above, there never will be any spiritual legitimacy to the act. Anyone going against the will of G-d will ultimately have to account for their actions. Reward and punishment is a basic concept in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Heaven help those who try to take away the Divinely Promised Land from the Jewish People. Look what happened to Rabin, Sharon, Olmert, and countless others?

So, why lie to the Palestinians? Why make them believe they are right, that Israel “stole” their land? Why participate in a peace process? Why fool them into believing that Israel will give them land and a state?

Netanyahu is telling the world the truth. When Jesus returns, He will rule and reign in Jerusalem. For the first time, Israel will possess the whole land promised by God.

HOW DO YOU INTEND TO LIVE THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?

Obviously the decision is yours to make, but as we are living in the “last days”, ETERNITY and where you spend it hangs in the balance. This article by Fulton Sheen, which I received at the end of 2014, should challenge you, as it did me then and NOW.

The Decision is Yours (12/24/2014) Fulton Sheen

Like the rain washes away the dust and the dirt and replenishes and purifies the rivers, the streams and waters in the earth for all living things to continue to live and flourish, so My Spirit waits for those to enter, that I may do the same to the hearts and spirits which have freely yielded to Me. It is a decision and act and every decision and act has consequences. What will you do today, how will you live the moments which have been given to you? Will you yield; will you live the day I have set aside for you? Will you follow the path I have laid for you to walk or will you find your own way? This choice, this decision is yours to make every day and every morning, for every day is a new beginning. The consequences of that choice and decision will determine whether you go deeper into My plans and purposes, you stop short or you regress.

For those that regress and choose another path, they will drink of the consequences of that decision. They will step out of the walled city which they had previously chosen to inhabit and are now on their own. They have made themselves subject to the world and have rejected My will and replaced it with their own and they rejected My plans, My purposes and My protection. They have chosen their own path. In these days and the days to come, retracing ones steps and taking back ground will become more difficult and the consequences greater.

For those who stop short, you will continue to walk in the revelation and grace you had been given up to that point, but the former revelation and grace will not be sufficient. It will be harder and harder to stand your ground without fresh revelation and grace. You will be like a stagnant pond, no longer connected to the river which once replenished, purified and allowed it to expand. In time you will become polluted with things which can only grow in water deprived of cleansing and eventually dries up and disappears.

But for those who daily choose the path I have laid out for them, for those who have chosen My will, My plans and purposes over their own, they will not be disappointed. They will receive fresh revelation, fresh grace for the day and they will move forward and the enemy will not have his way with them. I will renew their strength, I will give them wisdom, insight and direction they need for the day and for the days to come. The consequences of this choice will be peace, joy and rest in the midst of the battle. They will have eyes to see, their ears will hear and their mind will understand what My Spirit is saying. Like the sons of Issachar they will understand the times and they will know what to do.

THE DECISION IS YOURS?

 

WHAT WE CAN DO FOR OUR HEAVENLY FATHER

True Religion
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
James 1:27
Last summer, former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow spent time ministering to children in an orphanage in the Philippines. It was a personal mission for Tim because he was born in the Philippines to missionary parents, and the orphanage had been started by his father, Bob Tebow.
tim_tebow_denver_sports_authority_field_2012-01-01Critics may blast Tim Tebow for his vocal faith, but it’s hard for them to criticise him when his Christianity goes to work caring for orphans in the Philippines.
Following Christ isn’t a popular path in today’s culture, and the world is quick to criticise us for being vocal or for our slightest faults or failures. But the world falls silent as we care for orphans, visit widows, feed the poor, rebuild communities after disasters, promote literacy, and provide clean drinking water for impoverished villages.

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us”   1 Peter 2:12, NIV.
Our authenticity as a follower of Christ is often judged more by our actions than our words.

The greatest thing a man can do for his Heavenly Father is to be kind to… His other children.
Henry Drummond

WHAT SIN IS AT THE ROOT OF ALL SINS?

The Master Sin is no individual action, or anything that comes from mood or passion: It is the non-recognition by man of the highest of all relations, that relation which is at the root and the first essential condition of every other true relation of or in the human soul. It is the absence in man of harmony with His Creator, who thought him into existence, whose word is the man’s power of thought.

It is true that, as we are His offspring, God cannot be far from any one of us; were we not in closest contact with our Creator, we could not exist: as we have in us no power to be, so we have none to continue being; but there is a closer contact still, which is absolutely necessary to our well-being and highest existence. As the highest creation of God in man is His will, until the highest in man meets the highest in God, their true relation is not yet a spiritual fact. The relation exists, but while one of the parties neither knows, loves, nor acts upon it, the relation is, as it where, yet unborn. Mans intellect, his imagination and his reason are all inferior to his will, and indeed, in a grand way, depend upon it; his will must meet God’s – a will distinct from God’s, else no harmony is possible between them. By the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, God provides in man the power to will, His will. When he is brought to that point, and declares for the truth, that is for the will of God, he becomes one with God, and the end of God in man’s creation, the end for which Jesus was born and died, is achieved. The man is saved from his sins, and the universe flowers yet again in His redemption.

new heaven and earth