Call-In Classic Christianity Radio – Bob George P468 (8-29-19)
Larry called to ask about how the Holy Spirit is received? Is it received by the laying on of hands? No, not today. In Acts, you read about that, but that was during that time period, of the apostles, whom were needed to confirm that people were born again. But also in Acts, people received the Holy Spirit without the laying on of hands. You cannot form doctrine from the book of Acts, for that is simply a record of what happened.
Bob also mentioned how Apollos became born again in Acts. He only knew about John’s baptism, a baptism of repentance. Many people who heard John the Baptist preach did not even know there is a Holy Spirit. If you do not have the Holy Spirit in you, then you do not belong to Christ. They were men knowledgeable of scripture, but had not heard. Once they heard the message concerning Christ and received the gift of life, the Spirit came to dwell in them.
That is not unlike people today who only hear half a gospel message, that Jesus died for their sins, or no gospel at all, that all you have to do is come to Christ to get your sins forgiven, but they do not know about receiving the life of Christ. There are many people who think they are saved but are not, for they did not come to Christ for life. You do not come forward to get forgiven. You are already forgiven. You come forward to get life. If the full message of the gospel was presented, then they would be like Apollos, and readily accept the message, believe and be saved.
Francisco called on behalf of a friend of his, who he says is a believer, who although has escaped drug addiction and other serious issues, but cannot quit smoking. He has believed a lie that he cannot pray or read the bible because of his smoking and that he cannot quit smoking. He has put himself back under law and has not understood the grace of God, God’s unconditional love for him. Bob commented that he is not understanding the unconditional love of God. Since we only know what love is because God first loved us, and you put a condition on God’s love based on whether you smoke or not, then how can you love Him back? Now, his understanding of God’s unconditional love is the starting point to choose to love God and quit smoking. You should quit smoking out of love for a testimony of Christ. Smoking should not be a habit a Christian holds onto because your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. He can quit. Even non-believers can quit smoking. Does he really want to quit? Ask God to give you the disciplined mind to quit and for your heart of love for God, a witness for Him, to be greater than your habit.
Another called about this five-fold ministries teaching that say apostles and prophets are still functioning today. That is non-sense. The apostles and prophets were only used during the time the scriptures could be written down. In general, the prophets were used in the writing of the Old Testament scriptures and to speak a message from God to the Jews under an Old Covenant. The apostles were eyewitnesses of Jesus and had been appointed by God so that the New Testament scriptures could be written down. Those offices do not exist today. But they had to be then, to give credibility to the message of God through signs and wonders. Signs and wonders are not needed today because Jesus resurrection is all the proof that is needed. The proof of the Holy Spirit is the changed life of a person.
The body of Christ today, those indwelt with the Holy Spirit, have many different gifts, but those listed in 1 Corinthians 12:27 are not all in use today. They were then at the time of the apostles when those letters were circulated among the churches in existence then. We do have pastors and teachers and evangelists today but those gifts are to be used to help the body of Christ walk in faith. But we are to eagerly desire the greater gifts and the greatest gift is love. Any gift exercised without love is useless.
Paul called on behalf of a friend who is in a divorce situation. He asked for guidance on how to share the word of God with him. Ask questions to discern where he is at, to help him realize his condition of death, that he might desire to receive life. You are not sharing religion but about a personal relationship with the living God. Help him to see how practical the gospel is, of how God loves you deeply and can meet your every need, and the deepest need of your heart. Help him see that the issues of life, divorce and all kinds of human issues, are because there is something missing inside you. Jesus came to carry our burdens. He came to those heavy laden and those who are hurting with aching hearts to give you rest and peace for your soul. He came to give you an abundant life. Only Jesus can provide the comfort and peace you need. Ask him if he knows what the gospel is and how he understands how to be saved. Ask him if he has experienced a personal relationship with God or is in the process of learning what that means? If you know the Lord and know what it means to be saved, then you know what to share. If you are a child of God, then you have a testimony of how that came to be. Share that with him.
Yes, it is important in being an example of Christ in your actions. But the more I think about the example of Jesus, with his perfect example, and people still rejecting Him, the word of God, the message of truth was told. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. The gospel is the power unto salvation. There is no other way to be saved. Do not worry about whether people will accept or reject the message. They have free will. That is not your concern. You are a messenger, and you share with love and gentleness, and it is just a part of life. Some will accept and others will reject. Do not be concerned about the opinions of man. That does not matter. You are doing what God sent you to do and share what he wants you to share.
A New Prescription For Life
Is your Christian experience far from the ‘abundant life’ that drew you to Christ in the beginning? Perhaps what you need is a real understanding of God’s ‘new prescription’ for living In Christ, God has provided us with everything we need to live a vibrant, exciting, abundant life. In this classic easy-to-understand series, Bob George sheds new light on what we have been given in the New Covenant. Instead of the endless treadmill of self-effort Christianity, let the grace of God teach you how to live from a heart full of mercy and love. Let go of the old, and grab hold of all that you have new in Christ.
Get A New Prescription For Life Today!
Larry from Santa Fe Springs, CA
Larry called to ask about the meaning of Acts 19:1-7. Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? How is it possible that they did believe and did not receive the Holy Spiriut? Or was it, that they did not have the full gospel? Or, maybe they actually did not believe? Then the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit?
Go up into the 18th chapter of Acts in verse 24.
24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
So Apollos, a man full of knowledge of the scriptures, but he had to have the way of God explained to him more accurately.
Now, in chapter 19, we read about Paul asking more questions as to what the followers of John the Baptist understood concerning the Holy Spirit and what they believed.
1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.
4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.
John’s baptism preceded the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus. They had not yet heard that Jesus was raised from the dead in order to impart life to them. As soon as they understood, they readily accepted. They were people who were not born again yet because they had not heard of his resurrection and how the Spirit of God comes to indwell us at the time of spiritual birth and places us into the body of Christ and makes us alive in Christ.
I brought this question up because some people are using this scripture for believers to receive the Holy Spirit.
That is nonsense. If you are talking about a person who has never accepted the life of Christ, and all they have accepted is Christ’s death for them, then it is not that they are not a believer in Christ, but it is the case they are not taught accurately and are not born again. You cannot say, “I want all you born again people to receive the Spirit”. That is nonsense. For if the Spirit is not in you, then you do not belong to Him.
9 And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
When you use the word Christian, it has no meaning to it anymore. If you through out the word Christian, you would have people like me before the age of 36, when I would have identified myself as a Christian, but certainly not born again. At that time, I had no understanding of Jesus any more than an apple tree. But calling all of you born again people to come receive the Holy Spirit is false teaching.
John the Baptist ministered to people a long time before Jesus death, burial and resurrection. He was the foreshadowing of Christ Jesus. He was here to announce the fact the Messiah has come to Israel, to repent and change your mind and come to the Messiah for your your forgiveness of sins. That was what the baptism was for, a cleansing. That is all they knew. That was a big step for the Jew, to say I do believe the Messiah has come and He is Jesus and he died for my sin. How many people today that that is all they know, that Jesus died for their sins.
Bob ministered to people in Russia. The wife of the Russian pastor was saying, “All you have to do to come to Jesus is to come to believe Jesus died for your sins”. That message is spread all over Christendom today. That message ignores the clear meaning in scripture.
10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
You do not come forward to get forgiven. You are already forgiven. You come forward to get life. How many people are sitting there thinking they are saved and have never come to Christ for life? That is like the people in Acts who said they did not even know there even is a Holy Spirit.
Let us say that there are many people out there like that, that all they ever accepted is Jesus death for you, and you were preaching the gospel. That is not any different than accepting John’s baptism. Have you yet received the Holy Spirit? Have you come to Him for life?
Bob led numerous people to Christ, by just asking them, “What is your understanding of the gospel? The gospel is what saves you”. Nine times out of ten, they say Jesus died for my sins. Then I go and explain the fullness of the gospel and then ask them to receive Christ. If that is what you are teaching people in such churches, then at least they are coming to Christ for life.
Now, about the laying of hands. Can you receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands?
Absolutely not. In the book of Acts, all kinds of things are going on. In one place, there was laying on of hands. In another place, there was no laying on of hands. In both cases, they received the Holy Spirit, when they believed. You cannot form doctrine from the book of Acts. It is a recording of what happened. Paul placing his hands on people back, then the Holy Spirit came on them, and they prophesied. Paul or Peter had to be there to confirm that they were truly saved. One of the ways back then is, the tongue was for the unbelieving Jew, and the way to confirm was to observe them speaking in tongues. That was back then but that is not now.
17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Francisco called on behalf of a friend of his. A good friend of his was brought up in drugs, fornication and homosexuality. He gave up all that drinking and partying and cursing. He loves the Lord and goes to church and God blessed him with a beautiful family. But one thing he asked me, “God delivered me from all this, but I can never get rid of the cigarettes”. He says he cannot pray or read the bible because he thinks that his habit is hindering his relationship with God.
He is not functioning under grace. He is functioning under law. I can say without question, that a person who is functioning under the law, he might say he loves God, but I do not believe it. It is not that we love God but that God loved us first. If we do not understand the unconditional love of God, then how can we love Him back? Now if you say that you cannot pray because God has turned His back on him, then that is not unconditional love, is it? That is conditional love. How can you know unconditional love, that God loves you, if you put conditions on it? Therefore, how are you going to love Him back? So what you have is a stupid habit. To say you cannot quit is utter nonsense.
Bob said before he got saved, he smoked like a furnace, and I did not have the Holy Spirit in me. I just made up my mind I had enough and I quit. If you are a Christian and are still smoking that sutff, then you need to put it down. Smoking is not a testimony of Christ. So what you are saying is you love cigarettes more than a testimony for Christ. In a church setting, you hide those things. But you cannot hide it. You can smell it. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit of God. Would you go into a church building and smoke a cigarette? No, goodness no. Yet, you are not thinking of not lighting up in the real church, but would not dare to light up in a man-made building we make. Those kinds of things have no place in a Christian experience. If you are a Christian, put that stuff aside and ask God to give you enough discipline to do what is necessary to quit a habit that is offensive not only to lost people but saved people as well. That is, if you want to have a true opportunity and witness into the lives of others. Does that mean you cannot pray? Of course not. Does it mean you cannot go to church or study the bible. No. It just means you are stuck in a habit you are having difficulty getting out of. You can get out of it if you just follow a few simple steps and it may be difficult for the first two or three days, but after that you can get through it. The key is, do you want to?
I was attending a church that was teaching the five-fold ministries of prophets and apostles and teachers, and they quote from 1 Corinthians 12:27. Can you explain that to me?
1 Corinthians 12:27-29
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?
We are a body of Christ and each one of us are a part of the body, who are in Christ Jesus. In the church, God has placed apostles. That is a group that determined the bible we hold in our hands today. They were alive or eyewitnesses of Jesus or a commiserate of someone who did. They were the final word on truth as long as they lived. When they died, all was written down in written form. The prophets were those who received direct revelation from God. Anything they said of God is also in our hands today.
Then there were teachers, then miracles, and gifts of healing, helping, guidance, administration and language. Are all apostles? No. Are all teachers? No. Do all work miracles? No.
As you read further in Corinthians, Paul exhorts us to eagerly desire the greater gifts. And the greatest gift is love.
1 Corinthians 12:31
31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing
All of these gifts to the body, you can be experiencing those, but if you do not have love, then you might as well not do those things. All that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
6 The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Apostleship and prophets do not exist today. We have teachers, pastors and evangelists and that is for the purpose for equipping the saints.
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
There are different gifts, as God determined. There are sign gifts. Some gifts only existed then. Other gifts are still in existence today. Romans, written later, does not even mention all those gifts. Some had a use in the past and others are only for today. What we do know is that we have pastors, teachers and evangelists for the purpose to help people walk by faith in Christ.
He is not saying all these gifts are in operation in the church today?
Absolutely. If you need a sign, then you are an adulterous and wicked generation, always looking for a sign. Jesus said that if you cannot believe after the resurrection, then you will not believe at all.
39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.”
31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
We have the fullness of the gospel as revealed to us in the Word of God. If you need a sign, that is a repudiation of faith. When I accepted Christ as Savior I did not need a sign. The sign that salvation took place was a change of life.
Today He wants us to walk by faith. That seems like sometimes people do not want to walk by faith. They want signs and show business and not walk by faith.
Paul from Bellingham, WA
He called on an issue for wisdom he needed. I want to share the word with friends. He has a friend going through a divorce. I want to share the Word with my neighbor and my friend. I do not want to scare him away. I do not want to throw the bible at him and say this is the way to go. Do you have any encouragement for me to share. I know my actions speak louder than my words.
The actions of man can be somewhat important until I think about the behavior of Jesus and realize that they even rejected Him. You can be around a lot of nice people. There are nice appearing Muslims out there. There are nice Mormons out there. The Word of God is what people need to hear. People are hurting inside, with hearts aching, and you can tell them that that hurt can only be solved and comforted by Christ Jesus, the one who said, “come to me all those who labor and are heavy laden, come to me and I will give you peace”.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
If you are a child of God, and you know how you are saved, then you know how to communicate that. So communicate that to them the gospel as it stands. Ask the question, “Are you in Christ Jesus, or are you in the process?”. You are not judging. You realize it is a process people go through, in processing truth little by little. You do not have to worry about where they will be turned on or turned off by the message. Some people will be turned on and others will be turned off. That is a part of life. You cannot be running for sheriff and be a Christian. You cannot be interested in the opinions of men. You be loving and gentle but help people to see their condition. One of the reasons you are in the condition of divorce is because you are dead inside. If he is a Christian and in divorce, then it is because he is not listening to Christ. Another possibility is if either spouse is a non-believer and is involved in behavior that warrants a divorce, including reasons of safety or protection of yourself and your children, if children are involved.
Should I ask, “Do you believe in heaven? Do you believe in hell?” Should we approach him that way?
No, ask them if you ever discovered knowing Christ in a personal way. Tell them a little of your own testimony. We are not talking about religion but a relationship with Christ. Have you ever come to know Him in a personal relationship? Ask them about their testimony. Then you will find out if they are lying to you or just confused about what you are saying. You are questioning people to help them see their condition. That is the first thing you do. If you never had something inside you called hunger, you would never go and get something to eat. You have to help them recognize there is something missing inside them. Deal with those kinds of subjects. Find out where they are. Find out what their understanding of the gospel is. Then explain the fullness of the gospel to them. We are all born into this world dead and the reason is is because we do not have the Spirit of life living in us. Take it from there.
I will take it from there.
Let me know how it goes.
I will let you know when the good news comes.