People often confuse having a relationship with God with “experiencing” God…so the experience is what they seek. This is why many of the religious movements of the past and present have found “success” by centering around a person’s opportunity to “experience” God in a way like they never have before!
These “promise makers” of the past and the present exchange the reality of the first-century miraculous gifts from God for twenty-first-century emotionalism, and the result is that many individuals are drawn away from following God’s word in exchange for following their own heart (Proverbs 3:5-6); the result is that many individuals look for God to “talk to them” instead of listening to what He has already said (Hebrews 1:1-2); and the result is that many individuals confuse God’s desire for holiness with their own desire for happiness (Hebrews 12:14-17).
These situations, and many more, happen due to the mistake of thinking that a healthy relationship with God is based upon what some consider to be “experiencing” God through a rush of emotions.
But instead of seeking a “religious experience” one should seek the word of God’s grace that builds one up spiritually (Acts 20:32) because seeking a “religious experience” is not the same as seeking God, and whichever one we seek will determine which one we will find. EA
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
There were three yearly national feasts that Israel was commanded to celebrate. There was the Passover. It was celebrated during the first month on their calendar to remember the hasty deliverance that they were given from their bondage to Egypt (Exodus 12:11-20 & Deuteronomy 16:1-8). There was also the feast of Tabernacles. This was a feast that was meant to remind the people of the booths/huts that Israel lived in after being delivered from Egypt and the increase of goods that God had given them (Leviticus 23:38-43 & Deuteronomy 16:13-15). And finally, there was also the feast of Weeks (Pentecost). The name Pentecost comes from the Greek word Pentekoste that literally means “the 50th day.” Fifty days comes from doing the math by counting the seven weeks then adding the day after them which equals 50 individual days. The numbering of the days began after the first day of the Passover week and it was to be done in memory of their slavery in Egypt (Leviticus 23:15,16 & Deuteronomy 16:10-12). Now that the technical speak is over with let’s deal with the question above.
The word Pentecost is not used in the Bible until you get to the book of Acts. In Acts 2:1 the Bible says that Pentecost had fully come and from that point on in the chapter the Apostles are baptized in the Holy Spirit, they preach in a miraculous manner to the people (including Peter’s sermon about Jesus and His resurrection), some 3,000 people respond in a positive manner to the gospel message, become Christians and are added to the church by the Lord. This is the wonderful scene that many in modern-day religious circles abuse.
The miraculous events of Pentecost did not pertain to everyone present so the problem does not come from people who look back to remember the events of Pentecost in Acts 2 – the problem comes from people who are trying to re-live or “experience” the events that happened on the Pentecost of Acts 2 today.
In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit came for a reason. He used the Apostles to fulfill the scriptures. Jesus told the Apostles, “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). (more…)
It really amazes me how many people still put so much stock in the modern-day “faith-healers” and “miracle performers” of God. I don’t really see or hear about them very much around my area but they exist, and an untold number of them thrive on TV.
Probably one of the most amazing things about these “healers” is that the same routines manage to work almost as well today as they have in the past (Ecclesiastes 1:9). If people would only pay attention to the difference between the miracles done in the first century and the ones supposedly done today, it would become clear that they are not looking as closely as they should.
First off, why are the people who are “healed” never well-known to the community? Jesus and the apostles healed people who everyone knew about (John 9:1-11, 20-27;Acts 3:1-10, 4:1-12). There was no denying it. News spread fast and facts were verified. With the way the news media can travel and verify things today, not to mention cell-phones, how can a true miracle be hidden from the public? It must be a cover-up, right? The only cover-up that happens is when a hand covers the camera lens of the news crews that are sent to check the “miracles” out.
Secondly, why do the “faith-healers” and “miracle workers” stay away from hospitals and other areas where the sick can be found in large numbers? I am not saying this with sarcasm either. When someone with an undeniable sickness or physical impediment comes to be healed they are told that the reason they cannot be helped is because they lack faith! While it is true that Jesus did not perform many miracles in Nazareth due to their lack of faith (Mark 6:4-5), I still cannot help but wonder if today’s miracle workers would have turned someone away like Malchus (Luke 22:49-51; John 18:10). (more…)