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Posts by: Denver House of Prayer

What is cleansing?

submissionWe believe Jesus Christ shed His blood, not alone for our justification and the forgiveness of actual transgressions, but also for the complete cleansing of the justified believer from all indwelling sin and from its pollution, and this transaction takes place subsequent to (or after) regeneration (the new birth.)

Scriptural references can be found in the following locations:

  • Acts 26:18
  • Ephesians 5:25-27
  • Titus 2:14
  • Hebrews 9:13, 14; 10:10, 14-22; 13:11-12
  • 1 John 1:7-9

 

The importance of crucifying the flesh

Regardless of the ‘cleansing’ whilst we remain in a physical body, the flesh will be ever present. The influence of the flesh does not go away until the spirit man departs the body at physical death. We must therefore crucify the flesh and its appetites, by choosing to die to carnality each and every day. Sin has and always will be a choice. The potential for a Christian to sin never goes away (whilst he lives in a physical body on earth), but that does not mean he should not resist its potential vehemently and is adequately equipped to do so, by using the weapons of the blood, the name, the word and prayer.

This is the negative side of sanctification – the cleansing or taking away of the sin principle – the circumcision of the heart to make it possible for us to love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul (Deuteronomy 30:6). It is the crucifixion of the “old man” (Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22-24; Galatians 2:20), the destruction of the “carnal mind” (Romans 8:5-10), the purging of the fruit bearing branch so “it may bring forth more fruit” (John 15:2). It is the “cleansing from all sin” – “from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7, 9).

Sufficiency of Christ’s blood

We believe in the efficacy and sufficiency of the shed blood of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins committed in the past: for the regeneration, or new birth from above, of penitent sinners, and for salvation or deliverance from sin and sinning.

Scripture references can be found on this topic as follows:

  • Matthew 26:28
  • Luke 22:20
  • Acts 20:28
  • Romans 5:9; 6:22; 7:24-25; 8:1-4
  • Ephesians 1:7; 2:13
  • Colossians 1:14, 20
  • 1 Peter 1:18, 19
  • 1 John 1:7, 2:1; 3:5-10; 5:18
  • Revelation 1:5; 5:9

Is it a sin to have fun?

Of course not! I bet you’re reading this website thinking, “why on earth would a pastor post this on his website?!” Well, the reason I’m doing it is because some people have perverse thinking when it comes to having fun and enjoying themselves in the context of religion or Christianity. People sometimes feel guilty or think God is mad at them when they enjoy themselves. This is a lie of the enemy.

 

What do you do for fun, Pastor Carl?

I read, cycle, play golf, tennis, exercise, watch a movie, or go for a walk. It is important to have balance in life and the soul, spirit and body need to be exercised, replenished and rested.

The word ‘fun’ is not in the Bible. Don’t try; I already looked it up, but the word that closest resembles it is “joy.” The word joy in the Miriam Webster’s dictionary is defined as, “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires…..a state of happiness.” I can tell you right now that once you possess Jesus in your heart, you can experience true happiness. The wonderful thing about joy is, that it’s not based on circumstances or conditions around us. One can be joyful in Christ regardless of our environment because we have constant access to the rivers of living water within us (John 7:38). The Apostle Paul spoke of joy in the book of Philippians and this ‘epistle of Joy’ was supposedly written whilst Paul was imprisoned in an open sewer where human excrement wafted by, as he penned the words, “Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,” (Phil 1:4). Paul learned to be joyful despite his circumstances and we need to take a page out of his book.
 

Emotions and Joy

Did you know that your emotions can affect your physical condition, and if anger, bitterness and resentment are not released then ailments can occur in the body? I highly recommend a book on this topic that will help you; it’s called, “Deadly Emotions” by Dr. Don Colbert. In this book he explains how cancer patients have been cured with laughter and how anger can cause bone marrow to deteriorate because it alters the pH levels of the blood to become more acidic. In the book of Proverbs, there is mention that “envy rots the bones” (Prov 14:30) and “a broken spirit dries up the bones” (Prov 17:22). The word ‘envy’ in the Amplified version can be referred to as, “wrath or jealousy.” So quite literally the drying up of the bone marrow was spoken of by King David, thousands of years ago, which just goes to show, the Bible has much truth to say about emotions and their impact even if science is just now catching up!
On a positive note, there is much to say about the power of words on the soul condition:
 

Proverbs 16:24 – “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”

Proverbs 14:30 –“A sound heart is the life of the flesh

 

Now I’m not saying we can have fun at the expense of sin. The bible does say that, “there is pleasure in sin for a season, “ (Heb 11:25) but the harvest will eventually come and with it, sorrow and hopefully repentance. God gave man to have dominion and subdue the earth and part of that was to enjoy His creation and all that was within its sphere (Gen 1:26-28).

 

The connection between joy and peace

Joy and peace are synonymous because we can’t really have joy until we are walking in peace. Joy and peace are like inseparable twins. In the first place, the feeling of peace on the inside of us comes with right standing with God and a human cannot attain true peace in its proper context until he or she makes their heart right with the living God.

The Bible says to, “Let peace be our umpire” and that we are to let the peace of God, “rule in our hearts” (Col 3:15). Coming from the UK, I am used to the term ‘umpire’ as we have several in the game of cricket. I won’t get into the rules of cricket as its volume might match Leviticus in content and interest, suffice to say, an umpire acts as a judge of what is right and wrong in accordance with the ruling and governing body. When making a decision, let your peace level be the judge, when you step out in a certain direction. If you get a check in your spirit and feel uncomfortable on the inside, then stop. The judge (Holy Spirit) is telling you there is danger ahead. In contrast if your peace remains then proceed in that direction, as the saying goes, “if the Lord doesn’t say no, then go!”

If you lose your peace on the inside of you, decision making becomes more difficult. Brother Kenneth E. Hagin would talk of the ‘velvety feeling on the inside’, or the ‘inner witness.’ When we lose our peace, it can be difficult to sense the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit. This can be a dangerous situation if we don’t remedy it swiftly, as to lose one’s peace is to be without a GPS in navigating life. Fight for your peace and let it rule and reign in your heart.

 

Getting right with the Lord

It is important that when we lose peace, we must get right with the Lord immediately, cast out fear and restore unity with the Holy Spirit. My old mentor would say, “if you’ve lost your peace, you’ve messed up somewhere along the line.” It is true as Jesus himself said, “Do not let your heart be troubled, do not let it be afraid” (John 14:1). Notice the responsibility is on us as to whether we allow our heart to be troubled. Do not give satan the pleasure of gaining this foothold.

 

Thank Jesus today for his peace and allow him to minister to you in this area with His word and be equipped to enjoy life to full measure.

 

 

What are the ordinances of God?

Although there are many meaningful religious services and ceremonies, there are only two practices that clearly rise to the level of ordinances. The true test of the scriptural validity of a Christian ordinance rests in the affirmative answer to three questions:
 

  1. Was it commanded by our Lord Jesus as recorded in the four Gospels?
  2. Was it practiced in the early church as described in the Acts of the Apostles?
  3. Is its spiritual significance clearly expounded in the Epistles?

 
Only Water Baptism and Holy Communion clearly meet this threefold requirement.

By submitting to the ordinance of Water Baptism and by regular observance of the Lord’s Supper, the Christian proclaims to the world that he has renounced his former life of living for sin and self and now belongs, body, soul, and spirit, to Christ as the Lord of his life.

 

Water Baptism

Water Baptism is intended only for those who have professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a God-given illustration of each Christian’s identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. Obedience to this ordinance demonstrates the believer’s public confession of this fact to others.
 

  1. All who unite with any local church on profession of faith in Christ should further confess Christ by receiving water baptism, preferably by immersion, as early as possible.
  2. Baptism shall be administered according to the divine command of our blessed Lord, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Spirit).

 

Holy Communion

Holy Communion commemorates our redemption by Christ’s death. It points to Calvary and to the return of Jesus, whose blood cleanses us from all sin and prepares us for His blessed return (Matthew 26:17-30; 1 Corinthians 11:23-30).
 

  1. The bread and the wine should be administered to all Christians (only unfermented wine should be used).
  2. The Lord’s Table should be open to all who love Him, and all of the Lord’s children should be invited to His Table to commemorate together the death of their common Lord.
  3. This shall be administered at least once each quarter.

 
At DHOP we baptize people once per month and take Holy Communion once per month.
 
 

How will I be judged when I die?

ponderingContrary to what many people think, God has not made this topic ambiguous in his word.

 

The believer will be judged at the “Judgment Seat of Christ” (Rom 14:10, 2 Cor 5:10) and the unbeliever will be judged at the “Great White Throne Judgment” (Rev 20:11). The believer will be judged sometime between the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and Christ’s Second coming on the Mount of Olives (with the saints). Believers will be judged in Heaven during the 7 year time period of the tribulation, whilst simultaneously, the world is enduring tribulation on earth. We do not believe that the Bride of Christ will have to endure the tribulation and we are thereby considered, ‘Pre-Tribulation’ in our eschalatogical viewpoint. This pattern has been established in scripture (see later discourse on this topic).

 

The verdict for both categories is based on whether or not you received the Son of God as your personal Lord and Savior during your time on earth. It is not sufficient to believe in ‘God’ alone, as there are many gods, with many names on this earth. The crux of the matter is belief in the Son (Jesus Christ) and the one true God, Yahweh (1 John 5:11-12, Rom 10:8-10, John 3:3).

 

How will the believer be judged when they die?

If you received Christ by Faith, then you will be judged not on your salvation (as that is already established) but your works on earth that you performed in the name of Jesus. As a believer’s salvation is secure (by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-9)), their works will be tested with fire to see if their motives were pure. That which is ‘wood’, ‘hay’ and ‘stubble’ will burn up (impure motives for self-gain) and that which survives the fire (Gold, silver, jewels etc.) represents works that will endure. These works stem from a pure heart, that seeks to glorify Christ (1 Cor 3:10-14).

In addition, there are also several crowns available for reward and these require certain qualifications to attain them. They are:

 

  1. The Incorruptible Crown (1 Cor 9:24-25)
  2. The Crown of Rejoicing (1 Thess 2:19-20 ,Dan 12:3)
  3. The Crown of Life (James 1:12)
  4. The Crown of Righteousness (2 Tim 4:8)
  5. The Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:1-4)

 

We believe we have eternal life through faith in Christ (John 3:14-16, 36); and that Christ has prepared a place for His own in Heaven (John 14:1-3). This is a portion of the reward of the righteous. Jesus said he has gone to prepare a place for us and there are many mansions or rooms in the Fathers House (John 14:2). He promised he would return again to receive us into this preparation (John 14:3).

 

How will the unbeliever be judged when they die?

We believe in a literal hell, as it was never allegorical. Man made it allegorical for his convenience; God’s opinion has never changed. Hell or “Hades” is a holding place for the unrighteous dead until the end of the Millennial Reign. They will then be brought out of Hell and judged, only to be cast into the eternal lake of fire with the devil and demon forces (Rev 20:15, Rev 19:20). Only dreadful as this truth may seem, we believe, and must so believe because of the consistent teaching of God’s Word, that “everlasting banishment from the presence of the Lord and unending torture (or punishment) in hell is the wages of the persistently wicked” (Psalm 9:17; Matthew 5:22, 29,30; 18:9; 23:33; 25:41, 46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:23-25). Think of hell as the jail and the eternal lake of fire, the penitentiary.

Who is Jesus Christ?

JesusJesus Christ is the one and only begotten son of God. Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus’ name means ‘Savior’ and Christ means, “the Anointed One.” There is no way to heaven except by Him (John 14:6). Jesus will return soon.

What do we believe?

The scripture makes it plain that, “this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
(1 John 5:11-12).

  1. We believe that Jesus laid aside his divine nature and operated as a man on this earth, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. He was often referred to as the Son of man (Luke 22:48, Luke 22:69, Luke 24:7). He performed no documented miracles in scripture, prior to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:21-22). Any reference to miracles prior to 30 years old are referenced in Gnostic Gospels and/or writings that are outside the Canon of Scripture which are neither inerrant nor inspired by God. We believe the resurgence of these texts to be an attack on the Holy Scriptures and the character of Christ.
  2. We believe in the incarnation of Christ through the virgin birth, which we hold without question, as written in the Word of God (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:26-35). We believe He was a perfect, sinless human being in whom dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9), that He was very God and perfect man. We believe He lived a sinless life and died upon the cross as an all-sufficient atonement for our sins, for our personal transgressions and also for original sin.
  3. We believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ, in His triumphant ascension into heaven, and that He (in His glorified body, as a complete human being, with all things appertaining to the perfections of man’s nature) now sits at the right hand of heaven’s Majesty until He shall return to judge the world at the last day. Perfect, sinless humanity is at the heart of the moral universe, participating in the government of creation and interceding for His saints, until He shall come to judge the living and the dead in the end of the age (Luke 24:1-7; Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:12-19).

 

And remember, Jesus is bigger than any problem you have!

 

What is tithing?

ponderingBefore I begin this topic, I want to say right out of the gate that if you’re not tithing, you’re missing out on God’s best for your life.

Tithing is a biblical principle that is based on the blessing that God has provided for us. Our spirit longs to give, but our flesh does not. We work hard every day to provide a livelihood for our families and there is seemingly a resistance or indeed a fear against giving just 10% back to God as we think we are losing this money and will never see it again. The purpose of tithing is to finance God’s kingdom on this earth and bless the giver. As the giver is blessed financially, he can then pour more into the kingdom again (Luke 6:38).

The demonstration of fear in us, is an indication that we have not been perfected in the Father’s love. If we fully trust the Lord we know that He is taking care of all our matters, the least of which is our finances. By giving to an unseen God, we are demonstrating our faith in His sovereignty over our lives.

 

Serving God or money?

Friends, before we begin this topic, we must make a decision and that decision is that we are going to serve God, not money during our time on earth. Money is a great servant but a poor master. Jesus said in Matthew 6:24-34 that you cannot serve two masters, either you will hate one and love the other. This contention for service will always be present whilst you are on earth. Who are you going to serve? Choose this day.

There is no better way of keeping that spirit of covetousness constrained than choosing to give to God of your income. Now 10% is a great start but scholars have indicated that the total tithing requirement under the law was as high as 23%, so 10% today certainly isn’t that high compared to historical giving. Jesus mentions in Luke Ch 21:1-4, that a woman gave two mites, and he commended her for her generosity because she gave from her lack, whereas the others in the temple were giving out of their abundance. It is not the amount we give friends but the proportion we give. To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48). We are accountable for our blessings, certainly to sow back.

 

Is tithing required today?

Many people today think that tithing is merely an outdated Old Testament practice that was only required under the law. However we must recall that tithing occurred BEFORE the law and if tithing occurred before the law, it was performed by faith. Faith has never passed away and never will.

The first mention of a tithe is in Genesis chapter 14. A group of four kings from the east came into Canaan to attack a group of five that had rebelled and quit paying tribute. Sodom was one of the cities plundered, and Abraham’s nephew, Lot, was carried away with the captives. Abraham, 318 of his trained servants, and three other men of the area who were in covenant with him pursued the invaders and slaughtered them.

When Abraham returned with the people and the goods, the new king of Sodom came out to meet him. Melchizedek, king of Salem, also came out with bread and wine and pronounced a blessing upon Abraham. Genesis 14:20 says that Abraham “gave him tithes of all.” Hebrews 7:4 confirms that it was a tenth of the spoils of the battle (or gain).

Friends, by faith, Abraham tithed to this mysterious figure, King Melchezidik, who had no lineage, he seemingly came from nowhere and some contend to be the Lord Jesus Christ himself or a typology of Him.

It is a fact that tithing in its pure form was never money originally but the harvest of fruit, grain, cattle or spoil. As the Levitical priests had no means of income for themselves a portion of 10% of labors was set aside for the priest’s livelihood and also for the times of Jubilee and other seasonal festivals. (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). Some understand the Old Testament tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites in the sacrificial system. As time progressed from a bartering system into monetary affairs, the Hebrews gave of their finances.

Tithing quite simply means a tenth or 10%. Whether or not you tithe Gross or Net is entirely your choice. If you tithe net then obviously if you get a tax return, you would need to tithe on your return to be consistent. To tithe on the gross amount is the preferred method, but it is up to you how you do it.

 

Well, what did Jesus say about tithing?

What did Jesus have to say on the topic of tithing? Well Jesus never spoke against tithing and therefore approved of it, as He came not to abolish the law but to fulfill the law. Talking to the Pharisees, he said,

Ye pay tithe…these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Matthew 23:23).

We need to understand that Jesus became a curse for us on the cross. So we are indeed redeemed from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13) and we don’t come back under a curse for not tithing. We are not cursed today if we don’t tithe, I will say it again, we are not cursed today if we don’t tithe BUT we are missing out on God’s best for sure. Some pastors use scriptures on tithing to get people in some sort of guilt trip, but this is simply not true. This is a classic example:

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me… in tithes and offerings, Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me.” (Malachi 3:8).

Notice however despite what I’ve said regarding the curse, God does consider that you are robbing Him by not paying the tithe. Notice that Jesus said you ‘pay tithe’ because we are supposed to pay tithes because we are indebted to God. If you pay something, it is required of you…you pay utility bills, taxes etc. these are requirements and tithing is no different…you pay tithe.

If the law of sowing and reaping is in effect, then if you sow nothing you will reap nothing. By choosing not to sow into the Gospel then you will not reap, this is a law my friends and it works every single time. You can read about this law for yourself in (Galatians 6:9). This law has been in effect since the days of Noah and will remain until Christ’s return.

 

God’s promise regarding tithing

Check this out, God wants you to test him on this aspect of paying tithes, He is waiting for you to prove Him in this!

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse… and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it ” (Malachi 3:10). (See also Luke 6:38).

If we go by strict interpretation of the Epistles nowhere explicitly does it command that Christians should tithe. However, Paul states that believers should set aside a portion of their income in order to support the church.

1 Corinthians 16:1-2 – “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye, Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

The bottom line is this my friends, in this dispensation of Grace; if God required 10% under the law then do you think he requires less in this time? In this age of grace we are more accountable to God for our actions because of the abundance that has been shown to us. The truth is that we own nothing in the new covenant; we are merely stewards on this earth. In fact Jesus is the owner of everything we have, we are stewards of our time, resources, even our very lives.

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Be a cheerful giver friends knowing that Jesus has an abundance for you.

 

Statistics and tithing

Looking at some statistics I came across whilst researching this segment, only as few as 6% of Christians actually tithe their income. Think about that for a minute. So few actually give to God. Friends I am amazed, shocked and saddened by this statistic! Just think what could be done for the Gospel throughout the earth if only Christians had the courage to give to the Lord a small portion, even if it’s only 10%.
 

Choose today to obey

Friends, choose to give to God today, don’t be one of the 94% of Christians who will hang their head in shame when they meet the Lord Jesus and have to explain why they didn’t honor Him in giving on this earth. Don’t be one of those servants who hid his talent because he was afraid of the master and fearful of losing what he had (Matthew 25:25).

Have the courage to give at least what was required under the law (which was 10%) but especially to give what the Holy Spirit asks you to give. Pray to the Lord and ask Him what to give as He has prospered you. You can give 10% by faith as Abraham did or better still, you can give in abundance by faith as you can NEVER out give God!
 
 

What is the Baptism of the Holy Ghost?

flamesoffireWe believe the Pentecostal baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire is obtainable by a definite act of appropriating faith on the part of the fully cleansed believer (Luke 11:13; 24:49; Acts 1:5, 8; 2:38-39). It is not required to get to Heaven as salvation is already established by faith (Eph 2:8-9).

 

An enduement of power

We believe this great blessing, which provides the enduement of power to witness for Christ, is available to all believers whose hearts are cleansed from sin by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Since the Bible teaches that our bodies are temples of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and that the temple of God is holy, which temple you (believers) are (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) – we do not believe God will fill an unclean vessel with His Holy Spirit. In other words, we believe, because the Bible teaches and requires it, that to receive the baptism with the Holy Ghost, a person must have a clean heart and life as a prerequisite for this great blessing. Remember, the blood of cleansing must first be applied, then the oil, which is a type of the Holy Spirit (Leviticus 14:14, 17). Moreover, we believe that to live in the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s power and possession, one must continue to live a clean and consecrated life, free from sin, strife, worldliness, and pride, and must avoid attitudes and actions that tend to “grieve” or “quench” the Holy Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:29-32; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

 

Evidence of personally receiving the baptism

We believe the “initial” (or first) evidence of the reception of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance (John 15:26, 27; Acts 2:1-4; 8:17-18; 10:44-46; 19:6; 1 Corinthians 12:7). We do not believe this is the only evidence of the Spirit’s baptism, but it is the initial evidence, just as it occurred in the repeated accounts of the Spirit’s outpouring in the Acts of the Apostles. Often times ‘prophecy’ is mentioned accompanying the manifestation of tongues also.

But other evidences will be spelled out in our lives – the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), power to witness for Christ, power to endure the testings of faith and the oppositions of the world. We believe the initial evidence of speaking with tongues is for everyone who receives the Pentecostal baptism with the Holy Spirit, and we distinguish between this initial manifestation and the ‘gift of tongues’ or ‘divers tongues’, which is not given to every Spirit-filled believer (1 Cor 12:10; 12:28).

 

The baptism of the Holy Ghost in Scripture

The Denver House of Prayer believes in the gifts of the Spirit as set forth by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12, 13 and 14. We believe these gifts are “set in the Church” by the Holy Spirit; He retains custody and control of said gifts or “enablement’s,” distributing or operating them “severally as He will.” And we desire that our people may so live under the control of the Holy Spirit that these gifts may be manifested or used through consecrated individuals in the worship services where, when, and as they are needed, but all to the glory of God and the edifying of the body of Christ, and in accordance with the directions and decorum set forth in the chapters referred to above.

DHOP also believes that statements along the lines of, “tongues are of the devil” or “spiritual gifts have passed away” are rooted in deep ignorance of the Holy Scriptures and a presumption that God has ceased working in the earth today. This is not attested to in Scripture (Hebrews 13:8). Attributing something as virtuous as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to satanic influence is tantamount to blasphemy and is a very serious accusation.
 
 

What do I do now that I’m saved?

What’s next?

Okay, so I prayed the prayer of salvation, and I invited Jesus into my heart. Now what? Well, first things first. Hallelujah, my friend, I am excited for you as you can now claim Jesus as your Lord.

So you ask yourself, what do I do now that I’m saved? Our recommendation is to go online, book a flight to Denver and come to the Denver House of Prayer as fast as possible. Ha ha. I’m only missing with you; you don’t need to come here to make it official. (We’d love to have you here if you live in the vicinity, but if not, get plugged into a local church!)

OK, so here is the short answer, there are FIVE things you need to do right now after getting saved:

  1. Be water baptized in water. It is a command of Christ.
  2. Get plugged into a local church and commit to attending.
  3. Receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
  4. Read your Bible each and every day. Even if it’s just one chapter, be sure to get the word in you.
  5. Commit to a regular prayer life, pray in the Spirit, and pray the word of God out loud.

 

Number 1 : Be water baptized.

Why? Because it is an outward expression of an inward decision. It is a fundamental doctrine of the Bible. It’s an outward representation of the blood of Jesus washing your soul. It is also an act of cleansing and being united with the church.  You are demonstrating publicly, your decision to receive Christ. It is really a public declaration or better still it’s a ceremonial service for the death of your old nature, your sinful nature.

 “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”(Rom 6:4) By being baptized, you are publicly declaring that your old life has ended and from now on, you will walk in newness of life.

Christ himself commanded his disciples to baptize in water in Matt 28:19: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” Jesus commanded that as they preach the gospel, they should also baptize the believers. Paul and Silas baptized in water in Acts 16:29 and Phillip the Evangelist baptized the Ethiopian Eunuch in water in Acts chapter 8. So clearly, the apostles followed Christ’s mandate and we are to continue this mandate today. Remember that Jesus was also baptized by John the Baptist, so if he thought it important, we should follow his example. Jesus is our Paragon for all endeavors. Interestingly he was also baptized by the Holy Spirit right after he was baptized in water (John 1:32-33). More on this later.

So you say, I was sprinkled with water as a child, do I need to be water baptized? Yes you do because that is not true water baptism. The sprinkling of water as a child is a dedication service unto God, it is not full submersion in water which is an adult decision and a demonstration of newness of life.

Is being water baptized necessary for salvation? The answer is no, it isn’t but that doesn’t mean it’s not important…Remember the thief on the cross in Luke 23?….he received Christ but did Jesus say, “oh no, come down from the cross and get baptized and then you’ll join me in Paradise”…no of course not….that’s foolishness. We are justified by faith alone and not faith and ceremony, this is clear.

Number 2 : Get plugged into a local church. 

It is so important to get plugged into a local vibrant church that believes in the power of God today, that honors the Holy Spirit in services, that believes in giving to the Gospel, missions and extensive worship unto the Lord. Get plugged in, not only as an attendee but as a volunteer. There are no spectators in the Kingdom of God; we are all participators in the spread of the Gospel. There are no ‘sideline saints’. At DHOP we are about our Fathers business.

The bible says, Hebrews 10:25Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”. What is the approaching day he is talking about? He’s talking about the imminent return of Jesus. Friends Jesus is coming back soon, so that scripture is particularly applicable today. The internet is powerful but I can’t step out of this monitor and come and minister to you right now, you need to attend a local church so people can minister to you personally. Technology does by no means, make the local church redundant.

Number 3 : Receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Now this my friends is a comprehensive and somewhat controversial topic, which I cannot cover fully here but I will in another segment, suffice to say there is another baptism as described throughout the Book of Acts. It is a fundamental doctrine of the Bible. Do you need the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to get to heaven? No, no, no you certainly do not. I would ask you to read my article on this, “How do I get to heaven?” No friends, you can get to heaven without being water baptized or baptized in the Holy Spirit but this specific baptism is for service in ministry, it is an empowerment to do the works of Christ on this earth.

If you want it, you will get it, if you don’t; you won’t. Gods not going to force anything on you.  In this baptism, you are equipped with a greater measure of the Holy Spirit and empowered to do great works in his name. One of the evidences of this is speaking in tongues, and another evidence of this is prophecy, mentioned throughout the book of Acts.

Notice that I said ‘greater measure’ of the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit inhabits every believer when they are saved. That is definitive and very clear in scripture, so in the Spirit baptism, you are not getting the Holy Spirit for the first time but you are getting a greater measure of what you already have. This second outpouring of the Holy Spirit is referred in scripture as the ‘Gift of the Holy Ghost’ (Acts 2:38, Acts 10:45) or the ‘Baptism of the Holy Ghost’ (Mark 1:8, Acts 11:16).

It is not being baptized into Christ which occurs at the time of salvation. It is also not being baptized in water. I myself was baptized in this Holy Spirit in 1999 and since then I have laid hands on the sick, and seen them healed, cast out demons and prayed in tongues (Mark 16:17-18). I still go to work everyday, pay taxes, exercise, and do all the normal things of life; some would call me normal, although my wife may say differently. What is the qualification for baptism in the Spirit? You must be saved first….The Apostle Peter makes it clear in Acts 2:38, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Number 4 : Read your bible each and every day.

I can’t say enough about this, the word of God is food to your spirit. Jesus said, ‘I am the bread of life’. We should eat of Jesus every day. Jesus also said in Matthew 4:4 that “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”(KJV) If you don’t have food, you will wither and eventually die. Meditating on the word of God is imperative.

Friends, we live off the word of God, as food is used to nourish your body, the word of God nourishes and strengthens your inner man. Notice also that in the time of temptation, elsewhere in Matthew ch 4, Jesus quoted the word of God extensively to defend himself, he did not get into a conversation with the devil. This is very important and will be discussed in another segment. Friends if we are to defend ourselves in the faith, then we need to know the truth, we need to know the word, it needs to abide in us (John 15:7). We can’t know it if we don’t read or hear it. If our brain is the hardware, the Holy Spirit is the software, who will bring it to our remembrance, but it must be stored up in us first. If we are not diligent to store it up, there will be nothing for the Holy Spirit to draw upon.

Number 5 : Commit to a regular prayer life.

This my friend is crucial and I cannot stress it enough. In 1st Corinthians chapter 14, the Apostle Paul said that he prayed in a ‘known tongue and an unknown tongue’. In private assembly, ‘praying in tongues’ or ‘praying in the spirit’ is for personal edification.  Praying in tongues is also praying directly to God (1 Cor 14:2). We are also to pray in a known language, that is English for me, so that our understanding is fruitful. The bottom line is that we are supposed to do both, pray in English and pray in an unknown tongue.

We need to speak the word over our lives and Christ himself admonished us to pray so many times in scripture. We are to ask, seek, knock, pray…its everywhere in scripture my friends. I will have an entire segment devoted to prayer but this is an area quite simply where Christians get sloppy and they drop the ball.

Prayer is listening as well as praying, listening to the unction of the Holy Spirit and doing what he says. Personally it’s hard for me to pray more than 10 minutes or so in English as I simply don’t have all the words. After that, I switch to praying in the Spirit and finish off there. By praying in the Spirit we are able to pray without ceasing, which is outlined in 1st Thessalonians 5:17, which is very hard to do in English alone.

Do these five things and continue to do these five things and you will be successful in your Christian walk!

Is hell real?

Unfortunately friends, hell is real. I don’t want it to be real, and I don’t even want to talk about this very difficult topic but it is as real as I am. As a pastor, I can’t exclude parts of the bible that are uncomfortable; I am tasked by God to minister the entire word of God, not simply the part that makes everyone happy. All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable (2 Tim 4:16) for our understanding. Some pastors don’t even talk about hell thinking it will make them popular but I love you too much to sugar coat reality. So let’s delve into this topic right now.

 

Why is hell real?

Because the same bible that tells me that heaven is real and God is Love, also describes the realities of hell. The bible is the total summation of God’s word (the Logos) and contains the truth. We don’t make doctrines out of individual scriptures but we look at the totality of the word of God, with several references to validate doctrine. From this perspective, one can find many scriptures to validate the existence of hell. In fact, hell has been a ‘given’ throughout the ages as a place of judgment for those that abused others in this life. The relatively recent historical changes in popular thinking as a result of Darwinism in the latter part of the 19th century provided an alternative world view, contrary to the common consensus of the belief in ‘Hades.’

There are many ideas floating around of what happens to us when we die. Some people believe that when you die you go into a deep sleep or ‘soul sleep.’ Others say you die like a dog, and there is nothing after this life. Friends, we are eternal beings who will live forever, either in paradise with Christ or in hell with the devil and demon forces. There is an interesting truth mentioned in the movie Gladiator, when Maximus the Roman General states, “What we do in this life, echoes in eternity.” This is a profound and truthful statement. Our decisions in this lifetime will have severe consequences, but it is the decision to believe on the Son of God (Christ) that is the most important choice we will ever make and our eternal abode hinges on that choice.

 

What are my choices?

The bible makes it very clear that we are eternal beings and there will be an afterlife (Rev 20:10). There are simply two choices: heaven or hell. To be absent from the body is to be present either with the Lord or satan (II Cor 5:8). There is no ‘in between,’ there is no ‘purgatory’, and there is no ‘middle ground’ ever mentioned in the canon of scripture. In fact, ‘Purgatory’ was conspired by the ‘Holy Mother Church’ in the Middle Ages to generate wealth and has no bearing in scripture. Payment would have to be made to the priest in order for the deceased relative to be ‘released’ into Heaven from this middle ground. Interestingly, the larger the payment made, the faster the deceased relative found his or her way to heaven! What a coincidence! Every believer has the right to approach his Father directly, with Christ as Mediator and High Priest. Jesus himself is the one and only legitimate high priest, who ‘ever makes intercession for us’ at the right hand of the Father (Heb 7:25, Heb 9:24). Martin Luther greatly opposed the false doctrine of purgatory and it was through his revelation that we are ‘saved by grace’ (Eph 2:8-9) and that the German people were thrust into revival and a deeper appreciation of the Scriptures.

 

Descriptions of hell in Scripture

  1. Revelation 14:11 – “11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night,” Think about that; no rest day or night! I’ve gone two days without sleeping and that was very difficult, I was exhausted and could barely function. The torments of Hell are incredible and indescribable; in fact we are not able to conceive the immeasurable torment and unfathomable agony, as our senses are magnified outside of our physical body.
  2. Matthew 23:33-34 – Jesus asks the Pharisees how they can escape the damnation of Hell?
  3. Matthew 22:13 & Matthew 25:30 – Hell is described as being ‘outer darkness’ where there shall be ‘weeping’ and ‘gnashing of teeth’. Weeping is an expression of sorrow and grief, tied to memory.
  4. Matthew 13:41-42 – Describes the fiery furnace where those who reject Jesus will be cast. The wicked and worthless servants are also cast into the furnace (Matthew 24:44-51 & Matthew 25:14-30).

 

Think about it for a minute the pain and torment must be so intense, their teeth were gnashing! Gnashing of teeth as a result of the torment of flame and immense and unquenchable thirst that is referenced in Luke 16:24.

I’m reminded of the people who may or may not be believers having out of body experiences when they die; why? Because death is universal. Statistics show that 1 out of 1 people die and many try to avoid thinking about it, but I want to ask you a question today. Have you considered how short life is? What is coming out of the body when their conscious is separated from their physical being? These individuals often see their own body lying on the bed or gurney below. My mother in fact had just such an experience when she had a fever one time. The answer is the spirit man is what is separated from the physical body. Friends, we are spirit beings; we have a soul and we live in a body. The spirit man inside us is eternal. The soul and spirit will survive. The body will deteriorate and Luke chapter 16 makes that plain.

This body is our ‘earth suit.’ When we die our soul and spirit are separated from our body and we enter the dimension of the afterlife, because hell by biblical definition is never annihilation but eternal separation from the living God. In the afterlife, there is everlasting life or everlasting damnation. Hell is the place of everlasting damnation and torment because it represents complete separation from God. We will discuss this shortly. In Luke chapter 16, the rich man remembered his former life on earth, and he remembered his brothers. One of the greatest torments of hell, friends, is the regret of not having chosen to receive Christ in this lifetime. The pain and torment is felt both physically and emotionally, yet the emotional pain of regret is probably the most dire torment of all.

 

A decision must be made

The choice my friend is up to you, but please understand, that you can only choose in this lifetime, once you step off the threshold of eternity, you will never have another chance to choose Jesus. This is why I am very serious in this segment describing the realities of hell. Hell is a literal place at the center of this earth. In the Old Testament, everyone who died went down to the grave or pit (also known as ‘Sheol’). Heaven is up and Hell is always down.

 

  1. Psalm 9:17 – “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God”.
  2. Job 17:16 – “They shall go down to the bars of Sheol”.
  3. Matthew 5:28-29 – “for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (Notice that your spit man or spirit body is cast into Hell).
  4. Matthew 16:18 – “That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

 

If there’s a gate, there’s an entrance. Hell is a real place my friends. I beg you today, my friend, do not go there. All you need to do is receive Jesus today; receive the Son and you will have eternal life. We will discuss how to do that shortly.

The Hebrew word for hell is ‘Sheol’, which basically means the ‘pit’ or ‘grave’. There are several Greek words for hell (including Tartarus, Hades and Gehenna) but the two main Greek words are hades, which “means holding place or pit” and Gehenna which means “place of everlasting torment.” In fact, Gehenna is not actually a precise Greek word but a transliteration of a Hebrew word that literally means “Hinnom Valley.” This area was where the apostate Israelites cast their children into the fire as sacrifices in order to worship the idol god, molech (II Chronicles 33:6). This vicinity later became the garbage disposal area for Jerusalem with fires burning perpetually and when Jesus referred to hell in some instances he was likely pointing to that vicinity. These fires never went out just as it is stated in Isaiah 66:22-24, “And they shall go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched. “

Hell is a holding place for the unrighteous dead, until all are cast into the lake of fire after the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11). If hell is jail, then Gehenna is the penitentiary. But what are they waiting for? Hell is the holding cell for one awaiting the final verdict but the lake of fire is where the unrighteous are sent for eternal punishment. The trial is based on whether or not you received the Lord Jesus Christ in this lifetime. If you receive Christ, your name is written in the ‘book of life.’ If not, you will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:15); the verdict my friends is up to you.

 

Literal existence of hell

If we read in Luke chapter 16, there is an extensive description of this literal place called Hell. Why is it literal? Because Jesus if he were discussing a parable or anecdote, he would say it up front, “I speak unto you a parable”, but he did not say that in this passage. Jesus said at the beginning of the passage, “there was a certain rich man”; therefore, it is a real event. I would sincerely desire that you read Luke chapter 16 in its entirety for yourself, right after this message, so that you can see the accurate descriptions of Hades. It will only take a few minutes.

In Luke 12:5, Jesus describes God having the power to cast your soul into Hell.” But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” It is to Him we must give an account, not Satan. God has the ultimate authority and has final say in the destination of each and every soul, through the annals of time. This is not a tormenting fear but a reverential fear of love and respect for our Heavenly Father, who is all powerful and all knowing.

Finally in the book of Revelation, ‘But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Revelation 2:18

The second death is the death of the spirit man. This death is eternal separation from God, not annihilation. The first death is the death of the physical body. You are born once through the physical birth canal and born a second time when you receive Christ (John 3:3 & I Peter 1:23). You need to be born twice (physically and spiritually) but die once (physically) rather than born once (physically) and die twice (physically and spiritually).

Friend, if I I am wrong about hell unknowingly, and choose to believe there is a hell then I have wasted my time on earth maybe, choosing to live my life by a set of moral codes. However, if I choose to not believe in God or in heaven or hell after death,  then I live my life hoping there is no hell, rolling the dice and living for now. In the first instance, the worst I have done is wasted time and missed out on some “fun” but in the second, I have wasted my very soul for eternity.

 

Now is the time to receive Jesus. Pray this out loud right now:

 

“Jesus Christ, I acknowledge that I am a sinner and that you gave your life for me on the cross at Calvary 2000 years ago. I repent of my sins this day, and acknowledge that you are the only way to heaven. I acknowledge that you died and went to Hell and were raised from the dead. I receive you into my heart right now and I submit my life to you right now Jesus and acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide me from this day forth. In Jesus name I pray, amen.”

 

 

How do I get to Heaven?

The answer is to this question is simple; believing in Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the only way to heaven. You don’t need money; you don’t need a rosary. You don’t need prayer beads or an offering. You don’t need a visit from an angel, and you don’t need to flog yourself, fill out a complex survey, enter a cleansing or detoxification process, or any of the above. Friends, God made it simple to get to heaven, but religion has made it complicated.

But Pastor Carl, how can you say that Jesus is the only way to heaven? How can you be so rigid? I didn’t say that friends, the Lord Jesus Christ said it himself. Let’s read it together:

 

John 14:6 –6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (the him is Thomas by the way, Thomas had asked how he could know the way to Heaven)

 

Let’s look at some more verses on the topic. The Apostles Peter and John were talking to the priests and Sadducees in the city of Jerusalem, 2000 years ago about this very topic of salvation when Peter said, in Acts 4:12: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

There is no other name, and there is simply no other way by which we may be saved, other than by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Here’s another verse: Psalm 74:12 -“You, O God, are my king from ages past, bringing salvation to the earth.”

God brought salvation to the earth through his Son, Jesus Christ. Here’s another classically known verse regarding salvation: John 3:16: 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

 

Friends, God the Father brought salvation to this earth through his Son and salvation is available right now.

 

There are other passages in the bible concerning this topic. Consider John chapter 3. Jesus has a discussion with Nicodemus, a Pharisee and religious leader (and possibly a member of the Sanhedrin, which was the Jewish governing body of the time.) He said to Nicodemus, in verse 3, that a man “must be born again to see the Kingdom of God.“  There are not many places in the scriptures that say, “you must” but this is one of those places. Let’s not get hung up on the term, “born again,” as it is only mentioned twice in the New Testament (the other reference is in 1 Peter chapter 1) as Jesus in this passage was referring to becoming ‘born spiritually,’ from death into life. We are all born into this world spiritually dead through the sin of Adam (Rom 3:23) and we need to be ‘born again’ to truly live. You are born spiritually dead because you are disconnected from God; we embrace Christ to receive spiritual life. The definition of death in the bible is never annihilation, but separation from God. Friends, it’s time to get ‘reconnected’ with your heavenly Father!

Jesus made it plain that we are born again from spiritual death to life when we receive Jesus. We are born naturally through the birth canal, but we must also be born spiritually by the name of Jesus. We need to be born twice — not once — to get to heaven, once physically and once spiritually.

 

Don’t all paths lead us to God?

Now many will say, “Wait a minute, I believe in God, and I believe there is a God. Surely there are many paths to the summit of “salvation mountain.” We may all take different paths, but the destination is still the same, Pastor. We are all trying to reach the same God at the top of the mountain.” Although that may sound like wisdom, friends, it is not. This may be the prevailing thought of popular culture (that there are many roads to God), but this is in fact a lie and NOT taught in scripture. You must believe in God the Father certainly, but the delineation is whether or not you believe in the Son.

1 John 5:12 makes it very explicit what we must do to be saved. “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.It doesn’t get any clearer than that. Believing in God is not enough; you must believe in the Son (the Lord Jesus Christ) and only then will you have life.

What this means is that nobody but nobody on this earth as a human being, born into sin, whether they be Muslim, Buddhist, Mormon, Jehovah’s witness, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Cabbalist, African, European, Asian, American, black, white, yellow or brown; none of those people groups can get to heaven unless they receive the Lord Jesus Christ into their heart as their personal Lord and Savior.

You might be surprised because I said Christian in that list. Sadly, there are groups of people that claim Christianity, yet have not received the Lord Jesus Christ. Even though they are faithful church attendees, they have not made the decision to follow Christ personally. Why? My old pastor, John Osteen, used to say a great analogy I will share here. “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than hanging around in a garage makes you a car.”

So the question now becomes, how then can I be saved? How do I get to heaven? Again, the bible makes it plain.

Romans 10:9-10 King James Version (KJV)
9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Believing and confessing

It’s as simple as believing in our heart and confessing with our mouths. We do not, I repeat, we DO NOT get to heaven by good works, we get there by believing on the Son of God. As a result of your salvation, you will have a desire to serve the Lord and fulfill your calling. Others will see a change in you and your behavior and know that something is different.

Don’t make the mistake that some make. Don’t feel that you have to clean up your life and “get right” before you come to the cross. When you feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit in your heart, simply confess your sin, acknowledge that Jesus was raised from the dead, and he will come into your heart. It’s as simple as that. You don’t go into some rehabilitation program before coming to Jesus. HE IS the rehabilitator, and HE is the ultimate restorer. In fact, let’s go one step further. The bible says you will be a new creature when you receive Jesus!

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 –Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

 

Understand that the word for saved or salvation in the book of Romans is all encompassing. The word salvation in Greek is ‘sozo’; it has numerous definitions that include peace, nothing missing, nothing broken, and wholeness. By praying this simple prayer with me shortly, you are inviting the living God into your heart and become born again, a new creature,  and make the change from death to life. The bible says that godly sorrow leads to repentance and that we need to repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand (Mark 1:15). Well friends, the Kingdom is right here; right now and God is inviting you now to receive his Son but you need to repent and acknowledge that you can’t make it to heaven without Christ. There is a sin issue, it must be dealt with.

 

Salvation prayer

Friends, if you would like to pray this prayer, you too can be born again from death to life and allow Jesus to restore you and lead you in a direction of wholeness and peace. I pray that you be sincere and mean it from the bottom of your heart, with the full understanding that you are giving your life to Christ and you are making a heartfelt and purposeful decision to serve Him today.

 

Pray this with me:

Jesus Christ, I acknowledge that I am a sinner, and that you gave your life for me on the cross at Calvary 2000 years ago. I repent of my sins this day, and acknowledge that you are the only way to heaven. I acknowledge that you died and went to Hell and were raised from the dead. I receive you into my heart right now. I submit my life to you right now, Jesus and acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide me from this day forth. In Jesus name I pray, amen.”

 

If you just prayed that prayer with me, then it’s time to celebrate. Friend, welcome to the kingdom of God. See you in heaven if we don’t get to meet down here.