by Frederick Hoehn, copyright 2012. |
I became a Christian at the early age of about 4 years old. It was good that my mother had found a church that taught right doctrine.
When I was about 16, approximately half a century ago, I remember sitting in church and thinking, "These people are nice people, but it seems like there ought to be more to Christianity than I have found thus far."
I was right about that. There was more. Lots more.
In Mark 16:17,18, Jesus said, "These signs shall follow those who believe, in my name, they'll cast out devils, they'll speak with new tongues...they'll lay hands on the sick and they'll recover."
That church I grew up in, though they had pretty good doctrine, pretty good theology, they did not cast demons out of people. There was some speaking in unknown tongues. There were not many miraculous healings.
The speaking in unknown tongues comes from getting the Baptism with the Holy Ghost (or, Holy Spirit, or, Comforter). When Jesus baptizes a Christian with the Holy Ghost, that Christian acquires a new prayer language.
The new language is a language unknown to the person doing the speaking, thus the phrase "unknown tongues." It is possible, however, that someone else who hears the person speaking in unknown tongues might understand what is being said, but the person speaking doesn't.
How is it possible for someone to speak in a language that they never learned? When Jesus baptizes a Christian with the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost gives words to that person in a strange language to speak out. The person gives voice to and speaks out those words that he doesn't understand.
God doesn’t take control of your lips, tongue, and vocal cords, and make you talk. No, the Holy Ghost (or, Holy Spirit) gives you words, and then you speak out those strange words.
But God understands all languages.
The Apostle Paul says, "If I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful." (1 Cor 14:14)
But why is his understanding unfruitful? Because he doesn't understand the words he is speaking in the unknown tongue (language). So, why pray in a language you don't understand? To obey God and to please God, since that is what God wants you to do, if you're a Christian. And if you're not a Christian, God wants you to become one so you can go to heaven and avoid going to hell, where most people go because they didn’t have Jesus.
“Broad is the way that leads to destruction, and those who go there are many, but the gate is restricted, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt 7:13,14)
In fact, when you leave this life, you go out into eternity, and to one of two destinations: heaven, or hell. If you were a Christian, you go to heaven. Otherwise, you go to hell.
My Dad used to think that when you die, that’s the end of it. Dad was wrong. When you die, it’s only your body that dies. Then you, the person who lived in that house that was your body, go either to heaven or hell. How do we know that? Because Jesus said so. And Jesus never lies.
But we pray in unknown tongues not just to obey and please God, but also because it builds us up on our most holy faith. Jude verse 20,21 says, “But you beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God…”
And why do we want strong faith? Because, “Without faith it’s impossible to please him, for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he’s a rewarder of those who seek him. (Heb 11:6)
We want strong faith so that we will get the things we ask God for in our prayers.
“When you pray, believe you receive the things you ask for , and you’ll have them,” says Jesus in Mark 11:24. This believing when we pray is making use of our faith. Faith that we want to be strong so that we get our prayers answered.
Faith is rather like a muscle. If you exercise the muscle, it gets stronger. George Mueller, who started orphanages in England said at the beginning, it took all the faith he had just to pray in enough food for the children.
But after some decades, he said he could easily pray for and receive a million pounds, which would be like two million dollars. Why, because his faith got stronger as he used it.
Another scripture says, “The just shall live by his faith.” (Hab 2:4)
“For we walk by faith, not by sight…” (2 Cor 5:7)
You see, God wants his people to live by their faith. You don’t just become a Christian, adding that to who you used to be, and then continue to live by your wits like the rest of the world does. That’s not the Real Christianity.
No, use your wits to find ways to apply faith. Use your wits to find ways to apply scriptures from the Bible. Use your wits to compose faith-filled words to use in speaking things into existence for you and your family. Use your wits to compose good prayers to pray to God.
“Likewise the Spirit also helps our weaknesses, for we don't know what we should pray for as we ought to, but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings that can't be uttered in articulate speech.
And he that searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Rom 8:26,27)
So then, we can pray more effectively by praying in unknown tongues than by praying only in our known languages.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus said, “You’ll receive power after the Holy Ghost has come on you.”
You’ll be a stronger Christian after you’ve been baptized with the Holy Ghost and pray every day with unknown tongues.
In fact, 1 Thess 5:17 says, “Pray without stopping.” Just never stop praying. I realize you might have to interrupt your praying to answer the phone, or to speak to your child, but then resume the praying.
But we should also spend time worshiping the Lord, and Christians should also spend time speaking out loud God’s promises over ourselves and our families because claiming God’s promises helps us to believe for, and get the benefits of those promises.
Now beside the unknown tongues in Mark 16:17,18, there are also the healings and the casting out of demons.
Strong faith will help us get the healings. Jesus said, “Ask and it shall be given to you.” Matt 7:7
But a thing that’s lacking in so many churches is the casting out of demons. There is not enough teaching on this subject.
It should be pretty much a normal, every day thing that Christians cast out demons.
After becoming a Christian at a very young age, it wasn’t until about my late thirties that I ran across Pastor Win Worley, who came to Houston where I was residing, and held a three day seminar.
Worley said, “At our church in Highland, IN, we cast out a lot of demons. And most of the people we cast demons out of are Christians.”
I said to myself, “What? I never heard that before. I never heard that a Christian could have a demon.”
I didn’t necessarily buy it right away, but Worley was right. Christians can have demons.
I use the example of someone who might have broken his arm and is wearing a cast on his arm. Then the person becomes a Christian still wearing the cast on his arm.
When he becomes a Christian, does God immediately restore the arm to perfect health and remove the man’s cast? Well, God could do that, but usually not.
More likely, God will let the natural healing process continue, and when it’s about time for the cast to be removed, someone will cut the cast off of the arm.
Similarly, if a person who has some demons becomes a Christian, those demons don’t automatically go out just because the host became a Christian.
No, in fact, the demons don’t go out until some Christian casts them out (or, they’ll go out when the host dies). The person casting out the demons could be the one who has the demons, or some other Christian could cast them out. But demons don’t want to go, and they don’t have to go until a Christian casts them out.
Jesus gave the Christians authority to cast out demons in Luke 10:19. It says, “over all the power of the enemy,” and our main enemy is Satan and his demons, according to Ephesians chapter 6.
Unbelievers don’t have authority over demons, as can be seen in the book of Acts, chapter 19, regarding the seven sons of Sceva, who got beaten up because they tried to cast out demons being Jews, but not Christians.
Charles Capps teaches about Christians speaking things into existence in his terrific little book, “God’s Creative Power will Work for You,” available at Christian book stores, or at www.CharlesCapps.com
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