Foursquare Foundations – Part #2
10. Baptism of the Holy Spirit. We believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit empowers believers to exalt Jesus, to live lives of holiness, and to be witnesses of God’s saving grace. (Acts 1:5, 8; 2:4)
“But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me.” (Acts 1:8).
One of the last instructions that Jesus gave His disciples was to go to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit. He told them that He would baptize them with God’s Spirit. If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit is already in you. But now God wants His Spirit to come upon you to give you power and boldness to minister to others.
One of the phrases the Bible uses to describe this experience is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. That word baptism means to be immersed, or filled to overflowing, with the Holy Spirit. When we talk about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, no longer is the Holy Spirit simply in us, He is now flowing out of us. Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit.” (John 7:37-39a). We need to cry out for a fresh infilling of God’s Spirit, to be filled to overflowing in our lives. This is the second of the four cardinal Foursquare doctrines we believe about who Jesus is: He is our Baptiser in the Holy Spirit.
To learn more about how you can receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, see Appendix #2.
11. The Spirit Filled Life. We believe that it is the will of God that believers walk in the Spirit daily and He gives us the grace to do so. (Eph. 4:30-32)
Christianity isn’t just about what happens in a building on a Sunday morning. Being a Christian is about having a living and vital relationship with Jesus today, where we walk in the Spirit. What does that look like? The Bible says, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:30-32). To walk in the Spirit means we put aside sin, and walk in righteousness. Although we will never be able to do this perfectly, with God’s grace, we can do it in an ever-increasing manner every day, as we choose to submit to the Spirit’s leading.
12. The Gifts and Fruit of the Holy Spirit. We believe that the Holy Spirit gives gifts to believer, and these will build up the Body of Christ (His Church). As evidence of a spirit-filled life, believers show spiritual “fruit” as a result: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (1 Cor. 12:1-11; Gal. 5:22)
Not only does God want us to be led by the Spirit, but He also wants us to demonstrate the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The fruit of the Holy Spirit enable us to walk in the character of Christ, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit enable us to do the works of Christ. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are outlined in 1 Corinthians 12:7-10: “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.”
13. Moderation. We believe that the experience and daily walk of the believer should not lead them into extremes or fanaticism. Their lives will model that of Christ in uprightness, balance, humility and self-sacrifice. (Colossians 3:12, 13; Philippians 4:5)
Although I think it is good to avoid extremes or fanaticism, we must be careful that we don’t interpret this statement of faith to mean that we do not need to have passion or zeal in our Christian lives. I believe that God’s children should be fully enthusiastic and radical in their worship, celebrating the goodness of God through singing, shouting, and undignified dancing, and sharing that excitement with others. Lost people don’t need a bored, half-hearted, lukewarm disciple – they need to see someone who is genuine and passionate about their relationship with Jesus! When we get set on fire for a passion for Jesus, the world will stand up and take a notice.
14. Divine Healing. We believe that divine healing is the power of Jesus Christ to heal the sick in answer to the prayer of faith; He, who does not change, is still willing and able to heal the body, as well as the soul and spirit in answer to faith (Mark 16:17,18; James 5:14-16).
In the Great Commission, where Jesus told His disciples to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, He said: “And these signs will follow those who believe… they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:17-18). Contrary to religious man-made traditions, Jesus is still healing the sick today! The foundational Scripture for the Foursquare Gospel Church – found on the wall in most of our church sanctuaries around the world – is Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” If Jesus was the Lord our Healer 2,000 years ago, then He’s still the Lord our Healer today. This is the third of the four cardinal Foursquare doctrines we believe about who Jesus is: He is our Healer. As Christians, we have been commissioned by Jesus to lay hands on sick people and see them recover. So let’s be obedient to the call, and pray for the sick to be healed today!
15. The Second Coming of Christ. We believe that the second coming of Christ is personal and imminent; the certainty of His coming and the fact that no man knows the hour of His coming prompt our evangelistic efforts; that the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven, the dead in Christ shall rise, and the redeemed will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air (Matthew 24:36,42,44; 1 Thess. 4:16-17).
Two thousand years ago, Jesus came to the Earth as the Lamb of God who died on the Cross to pay the price for our sins. One day in the very near future, Jesus will return to the Earth, but this time He’s returning as the Great King and Judge of all the earth, to render to every one according to their deeds. Because the return of King Jesus is imminent, how then should we live? Jesus Himself said, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matt. 24:24). This is the final of the four cardinal Foursquare doctrines we believe about who Jesus is: He is our Soon Coming King. If Jesus was to return to the earth today – would you be ready?
16. Church Relationship. We believe that it is our sacred duty to identify ourselves with a congregation of believers with whom we can worship God, observe the ordinances of Christ, exhort and support one another, labor for the salvation of others, and work together to advance the Lord’s Kingdom (Acts 16:5; Hebrews 10:24).
There has been an unfortunate movement that has taken place today where people say, “I believe in Jesus, but I don’t feel I have to go to church.” However, you cannot reconcile those two statements together! If you are a Christian, then that means you have been adopted into the family of God, and as a part of God’s family, we have a responsibility to gather together with other believers. There is no biblical precedent for someone becoming a believer and not getting involved in a local church. In fact, the Scripture clearly admonishes us to be faithful in attendance to a local church: “Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Christianity is about two things: Loving God and loving people, but how can we love people if we refuse to meet together with them? God’s desire is for us to get connected in deep and meaningful relationships with other Christians where we love each other, care for each other, pray for each other, and challenge each other to go deeper in our relationship with the Lord. If you haven’t made a solid commitment in your heart to prioritize church attendance, I want to challenge you to do so today.
17. Civil Government. We believe that civil government is by divine appointment and that civil laws should be upheld at all times except in things opposed to the will of God (Acts 4:18-20; Romans 13:1-5).
It grieves my heart when I hear Christians complaining about the government or disrespecting any kind of authority – whether it is civil (government leaders), domestic (parents), social (employers, teachers or coaches) or church leaders. The Bible clearly tells us: “Obey the government, for God is the one who put it there. All governments have been placed in power by God. So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow.” (Romans 13:1-2). There is only ever one time where we have the right to disobey authorities, and that is when they ask us to do something that violates a clear command of Scripture. For example, if they passed a law in Canada that said we couldn’t read the Bible or pray anymore, we would submit to the higher laws of God’s Kingdom which encourage us to do such things.
Christians have been given the God-given right and responsibility to pray for our leaders, and as we are faithful to do that, God has promised to bless us. “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God’s mercy upon them, and give thanks. Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity.” (1 Tim. 2:1-2). The next time you feel like complaining about a leader, choose instead to pray for them, and watch God do a mighty work in their lives!
18. Judgment: We believe that all shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ: the redeemed to be delivered unto everlasting life, and the unrepentant unto everlasting punishment (Rev. 20:11-12; 2 Cor. 5:10).
The Bible says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10). This is perhaps one of the most sobering Scriptures in the entire Bible. It warns us that when this life on earth is over, there is coming a day when every one of us will have to give an account of the lives that we have lived, before the judgment seat of Christ. What we do with Jesus today, and whether or not we embrace Him as our Lord and Savior, will determine where we will spend our eternity.
How does this truth impact our lives today? I think we should be motivated to live every hour of every day in light of eternity, and do whatever we can to help bring as many people to Heaven with us!
19. Heaven: We believe that heaven is the glorious habitation of the living God and the eternal home of born-again believers (John 14:2; Rev. 7:15-17).
There are a lot of misunderstandings about what Heaven will be like. Contrary to the ideas popularized byHollywoodmovies and TV shows, we won’t be lying around on clouds, wearing dresses, playing harps, and eating cream cheese. See how the Bible describes the bliss of Heaven: “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev. 7:15-17). Have you made your peace with God, and are you ready for Heaven?
20. Hell: We believe that hell is a place of darkness, deepest sorrow, and unquenchable fire, which was not prepared for man but for the devil and his angels; yet it will become the place of eternal separation from God for all who reject Christ as Savior (Matt. 13: 41-42; Rev. 20:10, 15).
I’ll be honest with you: I don’t like the doctrine of hell. But whether I like it or not is beside the point. The Bible teaches that just as surely as there is a Heaven that awaits those who have trusted Jesus to be their Lord and Savior, there is a hell that awaits those who reject His free offer of salvation. Although God is good, He is also holy and just, and as a just judge, He must punish sin. The Bible says, “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 13:41-42). How can you escape the punishment that awaits in hell? By trusting in Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, confessing your sins to Him, and receiving His free gift of salvation!
21. Evangelism: We believe that soul winning is the “one big business” of the Church on earth, and that every hindrance to worldwide evangelism should be removed (James 5:20; Mark 16:15).
In light of the fact that there is coming a day of judgment, and the fact that every soul who lives will spend eternity in one of only two places (heaven or hell), how then should we live? If we have found peace with God through a personal relationship with Jesus, then we should be motivated to share the Gospel (Good News) with others, so they too can be saved from their sins. Jesus has commanded all of His followers: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15). Let us pray that the Lord would give us boldness and wisdom to be able to share His love with others, so that they too can experience the joy and peace of salvation.
22. Tithing and Offerings: We believe that tithing and offerings are ordained of God to sustain His ministry, spread the Gospel, and release personal blessing (Malachi 3:10; 1 Cor. 16: 1-2).
In the Old Testament, the Lord gives a challenging rebuke to His people: “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation.” (Malachi 3:8-9). He rebuked His people for neglecting to honour Him with their tithes – the first 10% of their income. “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10). When we tithe to our local church, not only are we providing for there to be ‘food’ in God’s house – sustaining His ministry and spreading the Gospel – but God has also promised to bless us when we honour Him with our finances. “Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.” (Prov. 3:9-10). If you haven’t made a commitment to tithe faithfully, and give offerings over and above that first 10% of your income, then why don’t you do so today? God said, “Test me in this – see if I won’t bless you!” Our God is faithful.
As we come to the conclusion of our Statement of Faith, I hope that you have been encouraged as you have meditated on these great truths from God’s Word. “And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don’t obey, you are only fooling yourself. For if you just listen and don’t obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you keep looking steadily into God’s perfect law — the law that sets you free — and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” (James 1:22-25).
APPENDIX #2: THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:
Dear reader, have you received the baptism of the Holy Spirit like the disciples did on the Day of Pentecost? Jesus has a wonderful gift that He wants to give to you today. The first and greatest gift that God offers to us is the gift of salvation. When we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, we are saved, forgiven, and adopted into God’s family. But the Lord has another gift that He wants to give to His children. Jesus said, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me.” (Acts 1:8). How do we receive this gift of the Holy Spirit? Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you… how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:9,13b). If you ask, you will receive. This is an essential gift for us to have if we want to do the stuff.
Allow me to share with you the personal testimony of my baptism of the Holy Spirit. I was saved in August of 1989 in a farmhouse outside of Lacombe, Alberta, when my friend Jerrold Lewis shared the Gospel with me. During the first year after that experience, I never told anyone that I was a Christian. I was so afraid of what people would think of me if they found out. What if they made fun of me? I had the smallest pocket size Bible that you can imagine and I would hide it deep down in my pockets. There was no way that I would tell anyone that I was a follower of Jesus. One year later, in September of 1990, Jerrold asked me if I had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I said, “The what?” He said, “The Holy Spirit.” He then went on to explain to me that I needed power to live the Christian life, and that God was offering me a wonderful gift that would empower me to be a witness for Jesus. That night I prayed a simple prayer and said, “Lord Jesus, would you please fill me with the Holy Spirit?” In that one moment of time, everything changed for me. When I got back home to my friends and family in Rouleau, Saskatchewan, I was no longer afraid to tell people that I was a Christian. I started witnessing to my family and friends. I walked into the high school that I had just graduated from and started passing out Christian tracts that explained the way of salvation. There was a new boldness on the inside of me to tell people about Jesus. I would preach to a dog if it would stand still long enough! Before I had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I never led anyone to the Lord, I never prayed for a sick person to be healed, and I never shared a prophetic word with anyone. But after the Holy Spirit came upon me, I started telling people the Good News about Jesus, I started praying for sick people to be healed, and I began an exciting adventure of following Jesus and doing the stuff. God is no respecter of persons – what He did for me, He will do for you.
If you have never received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, then I want to invite you to pray this prayer right now:
Heavenly Father, I thank you that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and I am one of your children. I am asking that you would fill me with the Holy Spirit, and give me power and boldness to be a witness for you. In Jesus’ mighty name, amen.
If you prayed that prayer from a believing heart, Jesus has promised to fill you with His Spirit.
Perhaps you have already received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit at one point in your life, but the fire isn’t burning brightly any more. You need to be anointed with fresh oil. Just because you have already received the baptism of the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean that you don’t need any more of God in your life. Ephesians 5:18 tells us to be continually filled with the Spirit. Peter for example was filled with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:4, but Luke tells us that Peter was filled with the Spirit again in Acts 4:8, and again in Acts 4:31. Although the Baptism of the Holy Spirit itself is a one-time experience, we need to be continually refilled with God’s Holy Spirit. Pray this with me:
Father, I’m not content with where things are at in my life. I want more of You. I want to be filled with Your Spirit to overflowing, to make a difference in the lives of those around me. Lord I pray also for a release of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in my life – prophecy, gifts of healing, and working of miracles. Freely I’ve received, now help me to freely give. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Pastor Chris Jordan
This is a sample chapter from The Beausejour Pulpit.
Contact the author of this blog for your free copy of this e-book.