What do you have in your Soul?

by Rev. Dennis Hartman

Published Feb., 26, 2012

Our hapless American leaders both religious and political have become nothing but a profession of excuse makes. There is no issue that they are willing to stand on except to get along with those who do not care for this country or the Christian faith. What does a Christian do?

Perhaps this question has been asked by our Brothers and Sister throughout the ages since our Lord's resurrection. The answer is simple. While on earth, our Lord promised the gift of the Holy Spirit. This gift, it is said in Gods word, would give us power. John the Baptizer says that "he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire..." In Acts 1:8 our precious Lord says "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." And in the very next chapter verse four it says "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

It is not my point to argue concerning the nonsense that every Christian must speak in tongues or be obedient in Believers Baptism, immersion, as proof of being a Christian. This is one point in which modern American Christians went wrong. It is not by tongues nor water that the Spirit in the heart and soul of a convert man is manifest. It is by his Christian walk, and not his talk or a dip.

In our modern church a person is accepted as saved with a quick prayer, a shake of the hand, and a quick dip in the tank. Some assurance given from the scripture that they are now saved, and some go as far as to say that now since they are saved, they can't lose it. This is all sealed by a quick dip in the water. All to many people leave the church and later say to themselves, what happened? What does it all mean? I don't feel like a child of God. O I see, this new Christian needs to grow before he....

Let's say that he starts coming to church. He tries to read the Bible. But a struggle is working in him. He keeps living in his old ways. He seems not to have the most basic power needed to come near to over coming these problems or the sins that seem so easy to commit. Finally, he stops attending church when seemingly his "Christian faith failed him."

From the Christians there is a sad discussion that takes place about him. The question is asked was he really saved to begin with? He said that he believed in eternal security, may have spoken in tongues, and was obedient to Christ in Believers Baptism. Yet there he is, doing what the did before he was supposedly saved. Still others say that he was never saved to begin with. They too point to how he is now living for their proof. Frankly, it was probably the later. But if you ask that poor sinner if he is saved, he will respond by pointing to the verses that teach eternal security, and the fact he was obedient in baptism. Thus he became a two fold child of hell. This is far worse then trusting in baby baptism. This is a growing problem with in the American Church.

But what the Christian community here in American has forgotten is this. That a person is not saved unless baptized by the Holy Spirit! It is the work of the Spirit in salvation that gives one the power to be a Christian. As the contrite sinner prays, the Holy Spirit guides that prayer. He nudges them to plead for mercy. He tells them what kind of wicked sinner he/she is. He guides them in repentance. And once a sinners heart is cleansed of all past sins, he is given the inward witness of the Spirit that he is now a child of the King. He does not need water, or tongues, or eternal security to prove anything! He knows only that God saved him. He has tasted the power and gift of the Holy Spirit. He has been made a partaker of the saving grace of God. He now knows that he is a new creature in Christ. All of this, because of the baptism of the Holy Spirit at conversion.

Now this is what the Bible calls a Child of God. The person who knows God. It is not a person who depends on water or the uncertain gift of tongues. He feels this power flowing throughout his body. He now has strength to give up those sins that so easily beset him. It is this power alone that makes him a Christian.

In American, we have forgotten the Holy Spirit. The Fundamentalists speak well of him, but somehow miss the point. Like the Pharisees of old they lay down to many laws for a guide as to what is a true Christian. The Evangelicals love their great preachers. O how they speak with such great swelling words. But they confuse what the job of the scriptures are. They teach that only through scriptures will you have assurance of faith. But is this not a major part of the Spirits job to witness to our spirit that we are his? You get all the assurance you need if you stay at the alter until he comes into your hear! While good preachers struggle to prove doctrine from the Bible, they lose because most who hear him do not have the Holy Spirit within to confirm it. And the poor charismatic community want proof of the Spirit with tongues. In all three groups their final proof of salvation lies in the water tank of obedience built high high high up on the platform as if it were a god for all to see.

The American Christian suffers from the lack of the Holy Spirit. We lack the power that he gives to do the job of bringing others to him. We lack boldness and spiritual discipline. Look a the disciples before they received the Holy Spirit. My goodness, they never got it right. Yet after the Holy Spirit came upon them and rested in them, look at the mighty work that that group of humble men did. They had no fear. They cast out demons, healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, and took the Gospel throughout the known world and beyond in their time. They did not fear sword nor death. For them to live was Christ! They all discerned who were and were not the real Christians. And they were tireless in their efforts to confront those who were faking it. They were indomitable, audacious, and resolute. This is real Christianity.

The last time that America experienced real Christianity was in the 1800's. It was those old bold and at times uneducated horse riding Methodist Circuit Riders. It is said that the average age of that dauntless army for Christ was 34 years old. Most young men who entered the task knew this, but for them it was worth it all if another soul was brought to Christ. They all experienced perilous times. Rain, sleet, snow, hail, wind, thunder storms, hunger, and sickness did not stop them from making their appointments. This can not be said of the most conservative to liberal Methodist/Wesleyan preachers today. What drove those men was the love of souls that only the Holy Spirit could place in a mans heart. Their mark on American history has largely been ignored by the secular historians, and happily disregarded by most Fundamentalist, Evangelical, and Charismatic historians. The reason is two fold. First none of these groups ever cared for the Arminian aspect of evangelism. But more importantly, when compared to their Christianity today, it is glaring testimony against their misunderstanding of the work of the Holy Spirit! Not only in preserving the scriptures, but in the work of salvation. The Holy Spirit is what make a person a Christian! It is does not come from believing in Calvinism, Believers Baptism, or Tongues.

This is what the Church and leaders of America needs today. The real work of the Holy Spirit. It is what motivated Paul, Peter and the disciples in the primitive Church. It is what propelled that most noble and largest army ever assembled for Christ, those American Methodist Circuit Riders.

So tell me my American Christian, what is in your soul today? If all your depending on is a certain doctrine to give you assurance, or in a dip in the water to say you are obedient, or speaking in an unknown tongue, you have missed the point of what makes you a Christian? Being filled with the Holy Spirit is the need of our nation today. We need Preachers and lay leaders powered by the Holy Spirit. And only when this happens will we have what the disciples and those Circuit Rider had. That is an indomitable, audacious, and resolute Spirit of victory over our sins, and a love for lost souls who are enslaved to Satan. Only then, can we call our beloved country back to God.

O dear Lord Jesus, I beg you to give the church a new out pouring of thy Holy Spirit. To change our hearts, and make us useful tools for thy glory. Amen!

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Pastor Hartman has been in the ministry for thirty seven years. He graduated from the Institute of Christian Service of Bob Jones University. He also holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from Columbus State University and did post grad work at the same school. He has taught in the public school system for fifteen years, and is currently working with a small private academy. He has traveled once to Russia, three times to the Ukraine, twice to England in a humble effort to help the missionaries spread the Gospel of Christ. After resigning form his pastorate in 2005, he does supply work for other pastors in the community. While he is Independent Methodist, he is currently attending and working with a neat conservative United Methodist Church. If you wish to contact Pastor Hartman, about this article, please feel free to do so.