John 4:24 KJVS
 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
I grew up in a Roman Catholic family and can remember at a very young age sitting in St. Anthony church, professing to God how much I loved Him and how I would try very hard to be good son. When the time came, I was excited about the approaching sacrament of Confirmation, largely due to the fact that the 2nd chapter of Acts was read to us in catechism. Tongues of flames appearing and the disciples speaking in tongues was a electrifying account for a young imaginative mind and the prospect of that happening to me, had me in a state of excited anticipation. The dry liturgy in Latin that followed was long, boring and fell far short of my expectations. I was somewhat bewildered and confused at that young age because my Confirmation/receiving the Holy Ghost lacked any meaningful divine experience on my part. I can honestly say the seed of agnosticism was planted in me that day and I just went through the motions of observing a life as a Roman Catholic, largely to please my mother. I had felt very close to God as a Father, prior to the Confirmation ceremony, but was uncertain afterwards. I knew there was a God but the truth of the Roman Catholic Church’s sacrament of Confirmation in light of the New Testament account was questionable in my mind. Around 20 years later I received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. It was a powerful experience, that awakened in me a thirst for the truth of the scriptures. It has been 30 plus years since that experience, with much reading and searching the scriptures, in order for me to arrive at the truth of the Gospel. When you approach the scriptures you have to have the love of the truth. I believe, as the scriptures state, that God instills this love of the truth when you receive the Spirit of truth, Jn 16:13, Jn 18:37. Perhaps even earlier as my limited exposure to scriptures as a Catholic, gave me grounds to question the empty ritual of Confirmation. But in hindsight and to be fair, Jesus breathed on the disciples and said receive the Holy Ghost, before he ascended , Jn 20:22. The odd thing is, as I grew up and was instructed in the Roman Catholic religion, hell and the fear of eternal hell never really seemed a concrete reality for me. The notion of God consigning people to eternal torment did not seem to fit the God I felt so close to in my youth. I have been a loose cannon for most of my early adult life. I had two serious concussions in my early teens that perhaps were responsible for me being impulsive and reckless. I liked drinking and driving fast, took chances, and was more than ready to answer a dare if challenged. A few more concussions along the way and it seemed as if I was like a chip of wood being carried along in the raging river of life. I caused so much worry and grief for my poor mother, who was a staunch Roman Catholic. And when I received the Holy Ghost and related to her that I spoke in tongues in a different church, she really had no frame of reference for my sudden interest in God and the bible. But it bothered her I was not a Roman Catholic and I am certain she feared I would spend eternity in hell, due to not being a Catholic. I mean, let’s face it, the majority of Christian denominations do not have a clear understanding of scripture. If they run across a verse that does not agree with their denominational mindset, they ignore it. Perhaps one can say they were not given the love of the truth, not given eyes to see. It is written that many are called but few are chosen. Now, I can cite scripture verses for those last couple statements I made, but it occurs to me that anyone who reads this is likely familiar enough with bible verses to know this to be true. The truth is everything to a member of the body of Christ. So when God states something, through His son or other prophets and Apostles that He ordained and inspired, 2 Pe 3:2, He 1:1&2, it is the truth. So when the baptism of the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues is mentioned in scripture it is a truth of the gospel. When Paul writes to Timothy the following verse, it is the truth of the gospel.
1 Timothy 4:9-11 KJVS
 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.  For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.  These things command and teach.
So what does verse 9 say? That what Paul is stating, is worthy for all, all acceptance. And he tells Timothy to command and teach that God is the savior of all men, period. If you don’t accept that fact, you don’t accept the truth of the gospel. I won’t cite the many scriptures that state that God is going to save all men at this time, because I have already written a article where I assembled many verses from the New Testament that state just that. http://www.justifiedfreely.com/?p=241 It is hard for me to understand why this obvious truth of scripture is not taught by the many Christian denominations that surround us. I read in a article online once, that religion down through the ages, assisted the ruling emperors, kings, and later on in history, elected governments, in maintaining a peaceful and orderly society by teaching a hell of eternal torment. In short, this doctrine was a societal control mechanism. The article said this doctrine preceded Christianity and traces itself as far back as early Egypt and Babylon empires. There is probably a good deal of truth to this, and the fear of eternal hell also has another benefit. It is responsible for a great deal of money placed in the collection plates over the centuries. This fear of torment was also instrumental in selling many a candle over the centuries by those people who were thinking they were shortening time spent in purgatory. Now, one might say that is a good thing. But conversely it has caused many a mother’s worry and fear for a wayward son, of which I was once number among. I wish I could take back the grief and worry I caused my poor departed mother in my youth. I can not honestly say how she viewed my receiving the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. A good deal of the Christian world receives this testimony regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues with caution, skepticism and often with downright hostility. Even going so far as suggesting demons are involved. So I imagine my mother feared for my soul spending a eternity in fiery torment. But see how far Christianity has veered from the truth. How can a person be washed with the regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost and be justified, Titus 3:5-7, without the Holy Ghost? Now, do all speak in tongues, is a question asked by Paul, 1 Co 12:30. I would point out that in context, Paul could be referring to speaking in tongues as a spiritual gift, which may indicate that tongues as a gift, is not received by all. Which could be further reinforced later in the epistle.
1 Corinthians 14:5 KJVS
 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.
There is a interesting account of a Jew named Apollos in the book of Acts that I would like you to read.
Acts 18:24-28 KJVS
 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.  This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.  And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them , and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.  And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:  For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.
I usually don’t like to paste a large series of scripture verses at one time as the average reader can get lost in them, so to speak. One of the things I fear, is that the large number of verses I cite and use in my articles dissuades many from reading and understanding what I have to teach. Apollos was “fervent in the spirit” and taught many people the “way of the Lord” and had only known or received the water baptism from John the Baptist. Aquila and Priscilla took Apollos aside and expounded the way of God more perfectly. This account fails to mention Apollos receiving the Holy Ghost or speaking in tongues, but it does state he was fervent in the spirit. Spirit with a small “s”. I received the Holy Ghost at a Pentecostal church and they maintained that speaking in tongues was evidence of having received the Holy Ghost and was a necessary sign of being saved. At least that was the doctrine of the church I attended for a short time, presented as the truth. I remember at the time, I feared for my brothers and sisters spending eternity in hell. Several times in the book of Acts, men and woman are described as receiving the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues. It is a simple matter of doing a word search on the word tongues in the book of Acts and reading the verses where the word appears, Acts 2:4&11, Acts 10:46 and Acts 19:6. But not every account of a person being called by the Lord in the book of Acts mentions speaking in tongues. Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus does not mention that he spoke in tongues but he makes this statement in a epistle he wrote.
1 Corinthians 14:18 KJVS
 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:
I can honestly say that according to the scriptures, a person cannot say with certainty, that a Spirit filled believer has to speak in tongues to verify that they have received the Holy Ghost. But, I would think receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost would be a powerful, memorable, life changing experience. I ask you read the 12th chapter of 1 Corinthians which outlines the spiritual gifts that are to operate in the body of Christ. And then read 1 Co 14:26-33 which gives guidelines on how the gifts of the Spirit should be used in a orderly manner. This is important in regards to the subject matter of this post. I have never been in a church which operated in this fashion. I have attended churches and other ministries that demonstrate some of the gifts of the Spirit. I have went to the San Marcos California healing rooms seeking healing my spinal cord injury several times and each time received a word of wisdom that guided my path. I have had the Spirit strongly impress scripture on me to the point where the verses were audible in my mind. I groan in the Spirit and pray in the Spirit quite often, Ro 8:26, Eph 6:18? I have not seen tongues and interpretation of tongues, prophesying, and the like taking place in a congregation but to be honest I have not gone to church much in the last 40 years. During the last two decades, chronic back pain when sitting makes most church chairs unsuitable for sitting in for extended periods of time. I have attended Assembly of God churches, Pentecostal churches and other charismatic churches and they operate similar to the Baptist and Evangelical churches. They have a pastor, a band, and a core group of leadership that, in retrospect limit over all group involvement. I attended and liked how the Plymouth Brethren churches operate, where anyone can speak and give a teaching or insight, but you have to be careful you don’t stray outside of doctrinal boundaries. And I wouldn’t think you should speak in tongues. After some thought, I have come to realize that the content and control of the message being presented, is being managed in most churches. You don’t want to talk about God saving all men, which is a third rail one does not touch in the majority of Christian churches today. We are told:
1 Thessalonians 5:19-20 KJVS
 Quench not the Spirit.  Despise not prophesyings.
The early churchs of Asia Minor were much less structured and encouraged the participation by all members in a orderly manner, in regards to the operation of spiritual gifts. And yet today most branches of Christianity believe in the cessation of spiritual gifts. They use part of the last verse in the 12th chapter of 1 Corinthians, and the entire 13 chapter itself, as proof that the spiritual gifts have ceased.
1 Corinthians 12:31 KJVS
 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
The Greek manuscripts of the New Testament had no chapter headings in the individual books. These were added by the translators later on in history. Love is the more excellent way, and the 13 chapter of 1 Corinthians demonstrates that admirably. But the first verse of the 14 chapter of 1 Corinthians states the following.
1 Corinthians 14:1 KJVS
 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts , but rather that ye may prophesy.
As you see the doctrine of the cessation of spiritual gifts is another example of the slight of hand and the cunning craftiness wherein man lies in wait to deceive, Eph 4:14. Spiritual gifts do have a role in the church today but they should operate in a orderly fashion as Paul outlines in the 14th chapter of 1 Corinthians. The denominations that do believe that spiritual gifts are in operation today, do not really follow a pattern of open participation as outlined by Paul in 1 Corinthians. So why is that? Is it because they want to bridle the Spirit of truth? Is it more about making money and being in control of people rather than the truth of the gospel? That may sound harsh but from my understanding of church history and scriptures themselves, this type division and apostasy started very early on in Apostle Peter and Paul’s days. I will just list a few verses that support this statement.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 KJVS
 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Jude 1:4 KJVS
 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 2:17-18 KJVS
 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;  Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
2 Peter 2:1-3 KJVS
 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
I particularly like the phrase “make merchandise of you” and the way it hits the nail on the head. What strikes me as being important is the words of Apostle John,that are often cited but not in the proper context.
1 John 4:2-4 KJVS
 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:  And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.  Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
Verse 4 has very powerful and significant historical importance, in my eyes, in light of the apostasy that was already starting in the early church. Is the denial of the baptism of the Holy Ghost what John means when he writes “every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God.”? The mystery of God is Christ in you the hope of glory, Col 1:27, which is Jesus Christ come in the flesh. Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world, points directly to the in dwelling Holy Ghost. If you examine the history of the Roman Catholic Church, the Reformation Churches and today’s Baptist and Evangelical Churches, they all are lacking the Baptism of the Holy Ghost as a powerful and meaningful experience in the life of a Christian. Form without substance, so to speak. I can remember asking the Roman Catholic nun after Confirmation, why I did not speak in tongues. I was given some obfuscated response that I can no longer remember, but essentially no answer to my question. Is today’s common doctrine of cessationism, a subtitle form of the antichrist spirit? Another hard question likely impossible to answer, is whether the gifts of the Spirit were operational throughout all of church history? If the spiritual gifts operated at all, it was likely a hidden underground movement. Or was the early and latter rain that James cited, a literal prophecy regarding the early church and the church that emerges in the last days, 2 Pe 3:8.
James 5:7 KJVS
 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
There are a lot of verses in the New Testament that many, if not all church denominations, ignore in some fashion or another. These words written by the Apostle Paul number among them.
1 Corinthians 14:37-40 KJVS
 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.  But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.  Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.  Let all things be done decently and in order.
Conveniently enough I just read these verses this morning from 1 Corinthians, that shines light on the importance of receiving the Holy Ghost.
1 Corinthians 2:7-16 KJVS
 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom , which God ordained before the world unto our glory:  Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it , they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.  But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them , because they are spiritually discerned.  But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.