Pursuing Holiness

The Incarnation of Christ did not only affect our salvation through his death on the Cross but it brought every child of God directly to a relatable and accessible God who manifested himself in flesh. Jesus promised: “No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.” John 14:18 NLT

He will come to us as our heavenly Father as he fills us with the Spirit of adoption. What an amazing revelation and experience that we are not walking in religiosity but in a relationship of faith with our invisible Father! However, for the Christian this understanding is merely the launching pad for us into our journey of sanctification. This is what the great Apostle Paul was admonishing;

2 Corinthians 7:1  “Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.;” NLT

After we have been converted and are born again, we don’t remain in a state of spiritual inertia where there is no change or growth but quite the contrary, when we are saved, we then go on onto perfection, toward complete holiness

That means change and maturity has to be implemented and incorporated into our lives, to where we put away sinful habits, actions, words and lifestyle that is displeasing to the Lord. It is a process of removal and addition; we remove the behaviours and attitudes of iniquity, like lying, cursing, lusting, etc and we take on the godly habits of prayer, worship, serving and generosity.

This of course does not happen in one fell swoop of a singular event but it is the ongoing process of a day to day experience that is borne firstly; out of a relationship with God. We pursue holiness because we love Jesus and want to do what he commands us.  It is an outflow of his Spirit and his Word working in us that leads us to a pure life. Walking with other Believers is also of immense importance because we see in others who have been walking a little longer, the possibility of living right.

I don’t want to discourage anyone with this message because you may feel such a huge disparity between where your life is at today and the idea of holiness. On the contrary, I simply want to remind you that you have journey and destiny to pursue which is Christ. And the closer you get to him, the more we must become like him; righteous, pure and holy. In fact, let me conclude these thoughts by saying that if we are not on the road to holiness and becoming more like him, we are likely on the road that leads further away from God. 

Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 

Words & Actions

Luke, as the writer of the book of Acts and the Gospel, begins his record of the life of Christ and the history of the Church by stating his intention to document both Jesus’ words and actions.

“….was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:” Luke 24:19

“The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,” Acts 1:1

The Evangelist was emphasising the importance of Jesus’ words and teaching. Jesus himself declared that his words are spirit and life, and that knowledge of the truth brings freedom. Ultimately it is Jesus’ words that brings the knowledge of salvation. 

The ministry and life of Christ however, was not just words or rhetoric but he backed up his words with his actions. Anybody can make all kinds of claims about themselves but to give evidence of those claims is a whole other matter. Jesus healed the sick, opened blind eyes and deaf ears, delivered the demon possessed and perhaps the most important deed of all was that he came back to life by God’s power after three days of having been dead. This is of utmost significance because he prophesied that he would do just that, proving that everything he claimed is true.

There is no claim that he ever made, that has been refuted or disproven but his resurrection stands as evidence that he is who he says he is. With that kind of compelling evidence, we would do well to not only pay attention to what he said but to DO what he commanded. 

In like manner let us preach and declare God’s truth to all. Let us speak words of truth and life, since words are profound and powerful. Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Pro 18:21). Let us speak with boldness, motivated by God’s love, but let us also act and step out in faith that our words and deeds match. This is a basic definition of integrity and I believe, this is how we can fulfil God’s great commission. Speak the truth and live it out!

Finding Grace in the Midst of Disgrace

One of my favourite persons in the Bible is Peter. I think it is because he is so relatable. He wasn't this mighty prophet or brilliant theologian but he was a hard-working fisherman that Jesus called. He was a lot like you and I, nothing special but called. For this reason I believe we can glean a lot from his triumphs and failures.

Peter was Jesus' star pupil. He was part of the inner circle of the Lord's disciples and experienced many things that the others did not. One day Jesus said to His disciples that they would deny Him. Boisterous Peter spoke up and declared that he would die before he would deny his Master. Jesus listened and then responded that not only would Peter deny Him but that he would do it three times before the rooster crowed!

When Jesus was ambushed in the Garden, Peter valiantly tried to fend off the attackers. He drew his sword and struck one of the servants of the High Priest, cutting off his right ear but Jesus stopped him. Then the Messiah did something strange, He healed the servant's ear reminding Peter that He must fulfill what the prophets had said. He must drink the cup that His Father had given Him.

All four Gospel writers say that Peter continued to follow Jesus and the arrest party, afar off. He came into the Palace of the High Priest, where Jesusʼ trial was taking place, and warmed himself by the fire. While huddled around the flames, a woman recognized him as one of the disciples but Peter adamantly declared that he didnʼt know Jesus. A short time later another person accused him of being a disciple of Christ but again he denied. Finally, an hour had passed and a group confronted Peter saying, “You must be a disciple, because you are Galilaean and your speech betrays you.” Then Peter began to curse and swear. He tried to convince them that he didnʼt know Jesus but before he finished speaking the cock crew.

Luke says, in his Gospel, that the Lord turned when He heard the rooster crow and their eyes met.

Immediately Peter remembered Jesus' words and he went out and wept bitterly. He had failed Jesus. His actions had betrayed everything he stood for. No doubt the last three years flashed before his eyes as he sat slumped in the corner sobbing. He would have remember the words he spoke with such conviction, "Thou art the Christ/ Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life/ I will die before I deny you."

Peter was ashamed of what he had done and we too experience shame when we fail God. Do you know what another word for shame is? Disgrace which literally means to put yourself out of grace or favour. When we cannot get over our shame we are quite simply refusing to accept God's grace. This is one of the biggest hurdles for the born-again Christian because we seem to think that since we are saved we should be immune to sin.

But here is what Paul writes in Romans 3:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God

Now read the following verse:

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

The redemption (the paying back, saving) that is in Christ Jesus. Our Saviour was crucified for more than just our sins. His side was pierced for our transgressions or sins. The stripes on His back were for our healing and He was hung naked for our shame. Jesus knew that He would have to deal with shame, so this virgin, who is the definition of purity, was displayed for all the world to see. O, what shame He must have felt.

But Jesus had declared His devotion from the beginning of His ministry - I came not to call the righteous, but sinnersto repentance. He came for you and He came for me. He knew we wouldn't be perfect. He knew we would make mistakes but He came anyway.

We just need to get over our pride. "Wait, pride? What do you mean, pride? I thought we were talking about shame," you might be wondering.

Well yes I am talking about shame but I am also talking about pride because the two go hand-in-hand. Let me explain. The wise King Solomon writes in Proverbs:

When pride cometh then cometh shame. (Proverbs 11:2, KJV)

Another version of the Bible says it this way:

Pride leads to disgrace.(NLT)

You see it now? Pride is what causes us to feel shame. We need to pray every day that God helps us with our pride. If we deal with the 'root' of pride, the 'weed' of shame will never grow. A man that is not prideful will readily come before God in repentance when he has sinned. A prideful man will not. We need to get over our pride.

Thank God that Peter didn't allow his pride and shame to destroy his walk with the Lord. After Jesus rose from the grave Peter was able to come to a place of repentance. Later, he would preach the wonderful salvation message on the Day of Pentecost and become one of the greatest Apostles this world has ever known.

All because he got over his pride.

This is a blog post from Greg Hackathorn, the Administrator of the POS

Ablaze

As we continue through the book of Acts, I am reminded of just how amazing the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ was in it’s inception. How his followers carried out his commandments being empowered by the Holy Ghost and preaching the Gospel with all boldness. It was truly a Church ABLAZE!

Just as Jesus had promised, the Comforter would endue them with power from on high and on the day of Pentecost, being filled with the Holy Spirit, they began to speak in tongues and magnify God. Peter preached the Gospel message of salvation and before the day was through, three thousand souls were saved.

Time and again throughout the book of Acts, the supernatural power of God is recorded as operating through the Church with the lame man at the gate Beautiful miraculously healed, earth shaking prayer meetings, a whole community of sick folk healed with some just by having the shadow of Peter the Apostle pass by them, miracles, signs and wonders. Perhaps one of the most remarkable manifestations of God’s power is the fact that the followers of Christ sold all their possessions, both poor and those with land, and brought the money to the disciples feet, where there was distribution made particularly to the poor. And they were united! (Acts 4:32-37).

The Church was on fire, set ablaze by the Spirit of God. In one instance the Church was described as; “These that have turned the world upside down” Acts 17:6.

God is calling the Church back to the same level of zeal and passion. Let us be mindful to not become so sophisticated and drilled in our church structure/services that we merely rely on rote and ceremony. We need the Holy Ghost to operate in us and through us. The Church is not a once a week event at a particular location, but it is the active ‘Body’ of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the church’s calling to turn our world upside down by bringing men and women to a saving knowledge of Christ. Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but that is just one component of the function of the Church. Our assignment is to invade the lost world for the sake of souls.

It starts by praying and seeking earnestly, with all our hearts, for God’s divine intervention in our lives and in our Church. We must enter the prayer closet and begin to stoke the flames of prayer and fasting until our lives, and our Church, is once again ablaze with Holy Ghost zeal.

Celebrating 200,000 views on YouTube

Just this week we surpassed 200,000 views on our YouTube channel! For some that may not seem like much but for us that represents thousands of people who have been exposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We even have testimonies of people who have come to God through these videos. So to celebrate, we are going to list off our 10 most watched videos on YouTube!

10. We Praise Your Name

This is the POS Choir singing at Turning Point 2009. As you can tell the quality of our videos have changed over the years. 

9. Ride On King Jesus

This is the POS Choir singing at our Easter event in 2011. After this video there is only one other music based video in our top 10.

8. "Maranatha" - Loammi Diaz

We have been blessed over the years by the ministry of Rev Loammi Diaz. This is him preaching at Encounter 2012.

7. "I Am A Loser, But I Am Not Lost" - Loammi Diaz

Another video from Encounter 2012 with Rev Loammi Diaz. 

6. The Wind Is Blowing Again - Pastor Stan Harvey

The only video from Pastor to make the top 10 list. This is a powerful message about the Pentecostal experience.

5. "Keep Digging" - Sam Emory

Rev Sam Emory preaching a life changing message at Turning Point 2014. He has ministered at our Turning Point Conference the last few years (here are clips from 2015, 2016 & 2017)

4. "The Spirit of Fear" - Mark Morgan

This is a short clip from the incredible ministry of Rev Mark Morgan at Turning Point 2013. We have had him minister at our Turning Point Conference many times and were always blessed by his unique insights into scripture (more videos of Rev Mark Morgan here, here and here).

3. Created to Worship

This is a song performed by the POS Youth Choir with soloists Jyrome Wetere and Mariah Khoury. You can find more videos featuring Jyrome Wetere here and here.

2. A Divine Visitation - Anthony Mangun

Many years ago we were able to host the famous Because of the Times conference in Sydney and this is the message that Pastor Anthony Mangun preached at that event.

1. What Is Man - Jeff Arnold

Our most viewed video is from Rev Jeff Arnold ministering at our Turning Point Conference many years ago!

Bonus Video

Pentecost and Beyond

What does it mean to be a Pentecostal Believer? It means that we share in the same experience as the early Church, as evidenced in the inauguration of the Church on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). The experience of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was not merely a cerebral, or subdued, one but what characterised Pentecost was that there was a real and physical evidence perceived upon the Believers when the Spirit filled them. They spoke with other tongues, prophesied and were emboldened and empowered in a dynamic launch of the Christian Church.

We believe that this experience was not just a one time event but as seen throughout the Book of Acts, it is ongoing and relevant today for all who are hungry for God. “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Acts 2:39

Similarly, we are Pentecostal in that we believe and adhere to the same message of salvation that Peter preached 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.” Without a doubt this is one of the greatest revelations and this experience is for all mankind today. So to be Pentecostal is not to be a part of a denomination but to have an experience that is absolutely necessary in being part of God’s Church and being saved.

However, Pentecost does not end with Acts 2 but as much as we follow this initial experience of salvation, we are to go on emulating the same spirit and evangelistic fervour of the early church and first disciples. Since Pentecost, the Church wrought miracles, multitudes saved, launched ministries, released missionaries, had revival, performed great sacrifices and turned their city upside down. As Pentecostals, we ought to aim for nothing less than what the early church witnessed. This is a call to Pentecost and Beyond!

Hear the final verse of the historical book of the Church: “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.” Acts 28:30-31

Suffering Saviour

When we consider the many attributes of God, we often think of his awesomeness and grandeur. And so we should. However, perhaps the most powerful characteristic of our God is that of a suffering saviour.

This is significant because even though we live in a world filled with suffering, pain and injustice, the God of all creation did not stand outside of the human condition to judge a lost humanity. Instead the scriptures tell us that God became a man and as a man He endured the worst that the world could impose on a person, including the torturous death of the cross.

As a man our Lord Jesus experienced that gamut of human misery; in that He was homeless (Matt 8:20), rejected by society (Isa 53:3), suffered hunger and thirst (Matt 21:18, Jn 19:28), He was falsely accused, abandoned, tempted, stressed, He was beaten and tortured (Jn 19). His suffering ultimately culminating on the malevolent, Roman instrument of killing, the Cross.

While God has not removed suffering and pain from our existence, He stands with us in our suffering with nail scarred hands and feet, and a pierced side. He lets us know that He has suffered with us and that suffering and death has brought redemption to us, that regardless of what our lot is in this life, we can live with Him in eternal joy.

He proved this by being resurrected after being dead for three days. He demonstrated that He is indeed who He said He is, the Lord of Glory, the Word made flesh. When you live your life in Christ, you too shall live again because He died for all humanity. This is God’s great love.

1 John 4:14-16 - And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

An Exciting Time

What an exciting time here at the Pentecostals of Sydney as we launch our new service format with multiple services every Sunday morning, as well as our Wednesday night midweek Bible study at Church. This is a means by which we can make more room for more people to come and be part of God’s Kingdom and help deepen their walk with God.

Underpinning all this and all that we do in this Church is the burden and great passion of God; the making of Christian disciples. This is of vital importance because if heaven is real and if hell is real, as the Bible claims, then our loving God’s primary concern is that none spend eternity in torment but in heaven. This is why He gave us the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20) - to ensure that all people of all nations are brought into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

This great concern borne out of God’s amazing love is expressed in the method that Jesus taught through the discipleship of the whole world. This is our task and our method, we must do everything in our power, resources and time to live out this purpose.

God's amazing grace has afforded us this opportunity through the incarnation of God Himself into this world through the man Christ Jesus. As fully man He gave up His life in the horrific torture, and ultimately death, by crucifixion.

His death however paid the price for all of man's sin and His resurrection ensured the resurrection of all of His disciples. We are a month away from Easter, or Passover, in which we commemorate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Let this month be for us a journey of drawing closer to our heavenly Father as we walk in His grace and resurrection power.

Matthew 20:28 - Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Go Make...

What an exciting time at the Pentecostals of Sydney as we launched our 2018 theme; ‘Go Make’ and reaffirmed our vision and values. The importance of this task can not be understated since it is very easy to become distracted and deviate from the purpose and objective for the very existence of the church. It is alarming to see the level of activity in nominal Christianity and yet often still missing the most crucial part of Church.

Churches abound in good works, with giving to the needy, providing material relief and a myriad of services. While these deeds are important and occupy a part in the ministry, the unfortunate reality is that it’s often done at the expense of what Jesus called the Church to primarily do and prioritise. That is; the preaching of the good news of salvation and the discipleship of all nations to the observance of the Word.

At the other end of the spectrum, many churches have such a strong desire to reach the masses, which is to be commended, but in their great burden for this cause, they have forsaken doctrinal integrity. The demands that the Gospel places on the disciples of Jesus are left out and instead a kind of Christianity Lite is presented. This hyper grace teaching all but diminishes the need for repentance (which is an act of personal commitment and change - 2 Peter 3:9), confession (Rom 10:10), baptism in Jesus name for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Mark 16:16), receiving the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues (Acts 2:38, Rom 8:9) and remaining faithful in the face of trial and temptation (Mark 10:22). All of these are essential for salvation in response to the grace of God. It is His grace that makes it possible at all that we have the opportunity to make these personal decisions. I am convinced that this can only be accomplished through the method that Jesus taught and exemplified; Discipleship.

It is incumbent upon the Church to focus on our purpose and primary objective and that is; to reach as many people as we can, with the teaching of Christ. This is in fact, the great commission that Jesus committed to the Church - Matthew 28:19-20

Make Disciples of all nations, Baptise them, Teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you.

This is what ‘Discipleship’ means.

So this year, let’s look at our habits, practices, church operations and ministry, and see whether what we are doing on a regular basis is fulfilling this model that Jesus gave to bring salvation to the world through the means of discipleship. 

Go……Make……Disciples

A New Year

It is hard to believe that another new year is upon us but it is exciting to be alive and living for God in AD 2018.

We had another amazing General Conference the first week of this month in Canberra with our guest speaker Rev. Woodward ministering the Word and moving in the Holy Ghost. Many lives were touched and saved, and we were refreshed by the fellowship of our brethren. Don’t forget to make plans for next year’s Conference in the same city.

As much as some of us are exhausted and beat from the struggles of last year, the new year always signals a fresh start and new hope. We have an opportunity to clear our heads and our hearts and begin the work of realigning our commitments and priorities.

For me anyway, the new year is an opportunity to put first things first, by prioritising my time, talent and treasure as I plan for the new year. So here’s the order:

God first, then Family, then Church, then reaching the world.

God is a God of order and priority and much of our effectiveness as God’s children is not necessarily working harder but working in order. Most business management tools encourage the manager to prioritise tasks and objectives in order to accomplish the important things. It often takes a lot of work and effort in planning but as the old saying goes; ‘If you fail to plan, plan to fail’.

One thing that is often neglected and left to last in our order of importance is our spiritual lives. Understand that our spirituality must take precedence over every other aspect of life. So plan your priorities in terms of your spiritual life first. This is done with prayer, devotion, fellowship, serving and witnessing. May this year be the best year ever because it’s our best year ever spiritually

The Word that I received for me and for our church from Conference this is is ‘Double Portion!' I am praying, and believing God, for a double portion year of souls being saved and the blessings of God being given and received.

Matthew 6:33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.