Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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"Call unto me, and I will answer you and show you
great and mighty things that you do not know."
God, in Jeremiah 33:3
From a Broadcaster newsletter by John David Clark, Sr., August, 1988
The apostle Peter spoke directly to the point when he addressed the Sanhedrine in Jerusalem, a council of Jewish elders that was trying him on charges of teaching heresy. He said, "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things, and so is the holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him" (Acts 5:30-32).
Yes, Peter was a witness, just as he said he was. But Peter is gone. James and John were also witnesses, but they are also gone. Matthew, Mark, Luke, Andrew, Thomas . . . all gone. But the other Witness, the holy Ghost, is still here and is being given to every person who obeys God and believes in His Son Jesus Christ. The holy Ghost baptism, with the evidence of speaking in tongues, is God's answer--the only unassailable answer--to "The Question". It is God's response to man's most earnest, heartfelt cries to know which way is right.
John the Baptist told everyone that when the Christ came, they would know him by a special sign. Do you remember what that sign of the Messiah was, according to John? The color of his skin? His seamless robe? A halo around his head? By the number of followers he would have? By what? What was the one mark that would prove who was anointed by God to be "King of kings and Lord of lords"? It wasn't Jesus' miracles, for Israel had already experienced miracle-workers in her midst, such as Elijah and Elisha. It wasn't his prophecies; Israel had prophets for over a thousand years before Christ. What was the special sign by which Jesus would prove that he was Israel's Messiah, the Savior of the world? John himself told us what it was:
"John answered, saying unto them all, `I indeed baptize you with water, but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose. He shall baptize you with the holy Ghost and fire.' "
Thankfully, the Father has not left us to our own opinions as to who was truly sent by Him to save those who will believe, repent, and obey. He sent His Spirit as proof, His personal testimony, that He "hath made that same Jesus . . . both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).
"It is the Spirit that beareth witness," John wrote, "because the Spirit is truth" (1Jn.5:6). If a man does not believe this Witness that God gave concerning His Son, wrote John, then such a man is, in effect, calling God a liar "because he does not believe the witness that God gave of His Son" (1Jn. 5:10).
Muslims may claim that God gave them a "Bible", but did He? Where is God's Witness of it? The holy Ghost is not given in the name of Mohammed. Hindu worshipers may claim to have Scriptures that are holy, but has the Almighty ever baptized anyone with His holy Spirit in the name of one of their gods? Of course not. The washing away of sins that comes with the holy Ghost baptism, comes only in the name of Jesus, God's Son Jesus.
The same day that Jesus was miraculously carried up into heaven by the power of God, he told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem "for the promise of the Father, which ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the holy Ghost not many days hence" (Acts 1:4-5). A week or so later, "they were all in one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting . And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the holy Ghost, and began to speak in tongues, as the spirit gave them utterance."
The baptism of the holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues is the credentials of Christ. It is the thing that sets the way of the Lord Jesus apart from every false way, including the religion of Christianity.
"Wherefore," the apostle Paul wrote, "tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe [because believers are the ones speaking in tongues], but to them that believe not" (1Cor. 14:22). Speaking in tongues shows the way of eternal life for those who are honestly searching for it. It is God's answer to their question.
God did not intend for the gospel of His Son to be like all the religions of the earth, religions which depend upon men believing men. The way of God is the holy Ghost way, and it requires men to believe God and obey Him. Those who dare to ask "The Question", wondering if the Bible is true, are not left with nothing but man's opinion of the Bible. God Himself has given us conclusive proof. As the author of Hebrews pointed out, "It is witnessed that he [Jesus] liveth" (7:8). It is witnessed by the holy Ghost baptism.
Wrote Paul, "When I came to you, I came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God . . . and my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (1Cor. 2:1,4).
Again, to the saints in Thessalonica, Paul wrote, "Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the holy Ghost, and in much assurance."
Islam is a "word only" religion, because God does not bear any witness to it. Buddhism is a "word only" religion. God has given no sign of approval. Christianity is also a "word only" religion because it denies the only answer to "The Question". God's answer to "The Question", the holy Ghost baptism, is the proof that the gospel of Jesus is the only one that will save.