The only credentials that exist in the kingdom of God are the credentials of the anointing of God. Earthly academic degrees and religious titles are utterly worthless for edifying the saints. In Matthew 16:17-18, Jesus told his disciples that only what is revealed by God would edify the household of faith. In other words, only what comes from the Father is safe for the children.
God loves His children with all His heart. That is the reason that we see, throughout the Bible, the death penalty imposed on men who taught God's children false doctrine. The four chapters in this book are ordained by God for you to read. They are the result of four revelations from Jesus to me as a young man. I did not devise these things or glean them from other men's teachings, and the truths presented in this book will stand the test of the Scriptures and of the Spirit.
I begin each chapter with a brief description of the moment Jesus spoke to me concerning the truth taught in that particular chapter. Those four experiences from God are my authority, and my only authority to write these things to His precious people. But that is enough.
In the summer of 1975, after I had completed my first year of Seminary, I happened to meet my father in a little hallway that ran between his living and dining rooms. He was 73 years old, a holiness preacher from the old school who, early in the 20th century, had been anointed with power to heal the sick. I don't remember how the subject of praying in Jesus' name came up, but he made a comment that left me puzzled. He said, "You'll see these modern Pentecostal preachers lay hands on people to be healed and say at the end of their prayer, 'In Jesus' name we pray', but nothing happens." Then he added,"Jesus said if we asked anything in his name, he would do it. That means somebody's got it wrong. Either Jesus told something wrong when he said he'd do whatever we ask in his name, or saying 'in Jesus' name' to the end of a prayer is not what Jesus was talking about."
As Paul once said, "My mind was unfruitful." I stood there with nothing to say.
My father didn't give me the answer. He calmly walked away as if the conversation was over and left me staring at the wall, wondering what it really means to pray "in Jesus' name".
My mind was so occupied with the issue my father brought up, I didn't even consider how very odd it was for him to bring up such an important issue and then walk away without helping me to resolve it. Only years later, replaying that sacred scene in my mind, did I realize how strange it might have appeared to a third party looking on. But by then, I understood what had really happened. The Spirit had my father to put that issue before me and then walk away because Jesus had determined, on that day, to take over my education in the things of God. I feel certain that my father himself did not realize what the Spirit was using him for; but then, whenever someone is "walking in the Spirit", he is constantly doing good things far beyond his own comprehension.
After my father left me standing there in the hallway without an answer, I determined to read every verse in the Bible that had the word "name" in it. Maybe by doing that, I could learn what asking "in Jesus' name" meant. Having gathered the necessary materials, a notebook, a Strong's Concordance, and my Bible, I entered into my task, beginning in Genesis.
Whenever I came to a verse with "name" in it, I would copy it, by hand and in full, into the notebook (computers were not yet available), sometimes including the verses before and after, so that I wouldn't lose the overall sense. Many hours passed, as I carefully went through the fifty chapters of Genesis. I did not know that Jesus was waiting for me to arrive at the twentieth chapter of Exodus.
So I continued working my way through the long list of verses that had the word "name" in them, until my concordance led me to the instance of "name" found in Exodus 20:7. Suspecting nothing of what I was about to experience, but hopeful at every verse, I turned the pages of my Bible and read,
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.
When I read that Scripture, suddenly, and for the first time in my life, the word of God came to me, and it brought a flood of inner light that I cannot describe. It was the Lord Jesus, and he gently spoke to me and said, "John, what in that verse has anything to do with speech?"
In response, I started to raise my hand to point to the word in Exodus 20:7 that had to do with speech, but, astounded, I realized for the first time ever that there wasn't one. Throughout my life, I had understood that commandment of God in Exodus 20:7 to be a prohibition against using foul language. Now, because Jesus had spoken, that vain tradition no longer made void the word of God. God's true meaning, understood now for the first time in my life, filled me with wonder. It was very much as if I had lived in the dark my whole life and someone had suddenly turned on all the lights in my house. I felt as if I needed to read the entire Bible again, this time from the right perspective, for what I saw was truly breathtaking... For More, download the FREE book by pastor John: "Spiritual Light". Click download link below:
When I began my walk with Christ Jesus, I had a deep hunger to know the Bible, even the most complicated and confusing parts. As part of my quest for biblical knowledge, I set out to study the details of the tabernacle which Moses and Israel built while they were camped at Mount Sinai. These details are given in the last sixteen chapters of Exodus, and I happily familiarized myself with the measurements of each piece of furniture, the materials used in the construction of the tabernacle, and it's coverings and curtains, it's boards and bars, the courtyard, the two altars, and everything else associated with the holy place where atonement would be made for Israel's sins.
I took detailed notes of everything I read, but I did something much more important than that. Every day while I was doing my research, I watched the clock on my shelf by my desk, and at the top of every hour I would put down everything and fall to my knees and pray to God, that He would help me understand what I was reading.
I remember pleading with Him to show me why He gave these instructions to Moses. I remember confessing to Him my faith that he had a wise purpose for everything, that these tabernacle details were not random, that my professors were wrong in telling me Moses' tabernacle was an assimilation of elements from various heathen temples. I confessed to God my faith that the Bible was true, that He really had revealed these things to Moses while he was with God forty days on the top of Mount Sinai, and that I believed with all my heart that the design and purpose for that tabernacle was relevant to the lives of believers today, if we only had the eyes to see it!
I did this at the top of every hour, every day as I studied the details of Moses' tabernacle. When my study was completed, I reviewed the 3x5 cards on which I had taken notes and then, I put it all away. I had learned much, and was content with that, but I did not know that God had accepted my prayer to reveal to me what Moses' tabernacle really represented.
Shortly afterwards, I was preaching one Saturday night to a small congregation far out in the country, and I found myself talking about the sacrifice of Christ. I was explaining things about that sacred event which I, myself, did not understand. I did not realize what was happening, since this had never happened to me before. The holy Spirit was revealing something to me as well as to the congregation, using my own mouth to speak hidden mysteries, right in the middle of my own sermon! It was wonderful!
All of a sudden, this glorious experience was interrupted by an angry man. He jumped up and started quarreling before us all about a doctrine he had been taught. Apparently, he felt threatened by this new thing that I was preaching, and was so offended that he became enraged. I was stunned. In just a few minutes, he stormed out of the meeting, with several other people following him. I didn't finish my sermon; the flow of the Spirit had been interrupted and my attention diverted. Those of us who remained, knelt and prayed, and then went home.
The following Wednesday night, I had an appointment to return to the same little congregation and preach again. As I drove south on Highway 39, about halfway between my hometown of Henderson and Louisburg, the Lord, quite unexpectedly, interrupted my thoughts by asking me a question. It is difficult to describe exactly how it happened, but the answer to the Lord's question was enfolded within the question itself.
The question was,"Where was Christ when he was sacrificed?" The Lord gave me enough time to ponder the question so that I knew I did not know the answer; however, somehow, at the same moment the question came, God created in my heart the knowledge of the answer. It is impossible to describe the event adequately. All I can say is that, suddenly, I understood that the sacrifice of Christ took place in heaven, in the presence of the Father, not on Earth, hanging on a cross before men. Furthermore, because I had prepared myself to receive that revelation by studying the Bible and humbly seeking God's help, I was now equipped to use the Scriptures to explain to others what Jesus had shown me.
All those long hours of studying the tabernacle of Moses paid off, with enormous dividends. All the prayers, at the top of every hour, now seemed well worth the time. I felt rich, for at last I understood the Scriptures which spoke with such power of the sacrifice of Christ, especially those in Hebrews, chapters 8-10. The reasons for building the Old Testament tabernacle made perfect sense. God did have a holy purpose for it, and that Old Testament sanctuary was relevant to our life in Christ Jesus!
All the pieces of that puzzle began to fit together, and I marveled at the astonishing picture that I now saw. A hundred questions of my own had been answered in that one, precious, holy moment... For More, download the FREE book by pastor John: "Spiritual Light". Click download link below:
For consecutive evenings in early 1978, after coming home from work, I was driven by the Spirit to study the Scriptures and to write. I do not remember what the subject was on the first night, but on the second night, I felt led to write on "The Smoke and the Glory". It was an examination of the effect God's glory had on men when it filled Moses' tabernacle and again, later, when it filled Solomon's temple. Then, on the third night, I felt impressed to research and write on the relationship of conversion with baptism. After being engaged for a couple of hours or so with my study, the Lord opened up my understanding, not merely about baptism and conversion but about Paul's passionate view of the subject. What the Spirit showed me was that the perverse doctrine that Paul spent his entire life opposing is the very doctrine held most dear by many of God's children now.
Paul earnestly warned the saints not to think that one must be in covenant with God before receiving the baptism of the holy Ghost, that one does not even belong to Christ until he is in possession of the holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9b). In spite of Paul's mighty effort, however, the doctrine he hated is promoted as gospel now among the people of God.
Will we ever be free of it? Hopefully, what you read now will help you as you make your own life's journey toward the "liberty of the sons of God."... For More, download the FREE book by pastor John: "Spiritual Light". Click download link below:
One evening at home, while I was still a seminary student, my wife and I decided to read the Bible. We chose to read Paul's letter to the Galatians, and when I read aloud the first words of greeting from Paul, I felt, as if a weight, the soberness of the holy Spirit settle upon me. I cannot say that I read the book of Galatians to Barbara; I preached it - all six chapters! But I did not preach it to her alone; I preached it to myself!
When I had completed my sermon, I could remember certain phrases I had used - I could even have written out some of the very words that came out of my mouth - but I could not have given an explanation of what those words meant if it had been demanded of me at gunpoint. I wondered at some of the things I had said, and I knew that God had visited me, but what did it all mean?
Some weeks after that precious experience, I recorded a sermon for our weekly radio program, and based my message on some of the things I remembered God had spoken through me that night at home with my wife. On the night that the program aired, I was visiting in the home of Brother Earl Pittman, who was listening intently to the message, leaning forward in his chair. At one point during the sermon, with great feeling, Brother Earl said, "Man, that is good!"
But I was sitting there, still wondering what I was talking about! I still did not understand my own message. So, I replied to Brother Earl, also with great feeling, "Well, explain it to me!"
But all Earl could do was look at me. He had been rejoicing in the message, but until that moment, when I implored him to explain it to me, I think he did not realize that he didn't understand it either! We both could feel the liberating joy of the message; there was no doubt that God was saying something very important to us, but what was the truth God was trying to show us that gave our hearts such inexplicable joy and peace?
In about six months or so, the Lord graciously allowed me to understand the message I had preached, and it is, indeed, a message that will bring great liberty and joy to God's people everywhere. In this chapter, I have explained in full this precious, hidden truth that is so great that it made Brother Earl, as well as my wife and I, rejoice in it before we comprehended it... For More, download the FREE book by pastor John: "Spiritual Light". Click download link below: