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May 20, 2015

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  Wind and Fire  - The Cleansing Power Of Pentecost

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”  Acts 1:4, 5

    You can listen to the radio version of this message here.



Dear Friends

It's been a couple of months since I wrote, and since this is Pentecost Sunday, I though I would write on the cleansing work of the Holy Spirit in Pentecost. 

Over the last 100 years a great emphasis has been placed on the Baptism with The Holy Spirit in much of the church.  This has brought remarkable growth in the third world church, but today here in the west, there is a feeling something is missing. Great emphasis is placed on "you shall receive power" and the resulting miracles and healings. We  experience the wonderful presence of the Holy Spirit yet it seems everyone is hungry for more in the Holy Spirit. Something is longed for, some change deep in the heart that puts to death the resistance of the "old man".  What is it? 

For example, I mainly speak overseas, but occasionally I preach at home.   I've been amazed howmany of the same people come up for prayer about the same needs they had ten years ago when I was their pastor!  They love to experience the Holy Spirit and His power, and are  always hungry for more, but their heart issues have never changed.  What is this?  Something else has to happen - a change of heart by the Holy Spirit . 

  What happened in the Azusa Street, Welsh, Korean and other revivals that opened up "Pentecostalism"?  What did they have even 100 years ago that we have missed?

The Cleansing Work of The Holy Spirit

Justification is not the same as cleansing.  Justification means I am pardoned -my sins no longer counted against me and I am counted righteous before the Lord, the way is opened.  But cleansing brings purity to the heart -  sometimes  called sanctified, purified or cleansed.  We usually consider this cleansing a life long struggle, yet both were purchased by Christ, and it's amazing how many references to cleansing as a "here and now by faith" you can find when you look for them.    Heres one I never noticed until recently.

Twice in the book of Acts the Apostle Peter reports the conversion of the gentiles. The second one stands out.

Acts 15:8,9 "And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us in the beginning; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith."

The Promise Of The Father

We often preach "you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you..." but just before this Jesus said "wait for the promise of the Father." The promise of the Father is a clear emphasis in the Old and New Testament.   It is the Holy Spirit and power, of course, but when we look at the promises themselves we see so much more!   It is about the transformation of the inner man - the heart!

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.   Ezekiel 36:25-27

Look What The Father Promised...

Cleansed -  not mere forgiveness, but purified, especially from idols.  There are  idols of the heart, and inward pictures that control Gods people Ezekiel 14:3,7  Christians often serve these images in the heart and we need cleansing.  "Covetousness is idolatry"

A New Spirit - this a new "life" within us where our spirit was dead in trespasses and sin.  We are born again.

A New Heart - the "leb" in Hebrew is the seat of our emotions, affections, mind and will.  We have new desires. He describes this in more detail...

Remove The Heart of Stone -  the selfish, hard, alive to the world but dead to God heart  is removed.

Give You A Heart of Flesh -  A living, tender, responsive heart able to be filled with Gods perfect love.

I Will Put In My Spirit -  The very presence of the Holy Spirit inside us!

Cause You To Walk in My Ways -  This is a complete heart transformation.

The Cleansing Fire

John the Baptist spoke about Jesus and the baptism with the Holy Spirit. He says it is a purifying fire!

…10"The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11"As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12"His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Matthew 3:11,12

What is this fire about?  It is not shouting "fire fire" at some meeting.  It is judgment of every ungodly thing in a man. It is  the destruction of the root of sin,  the old man, being burned up.  It is interesting to consider that Jesus not only fulfilled the sin offering, but also  the Red Heifer sacrifice. (see Hebrews 9:13 and Numbers 19) The Red Heifer was completely burned outside the camp, and the ashes used to purify from defilement caused by contacting a dead body.   The fire purifies.

When The Holy Spirit Comes we see several things happen:

I must admit, when I began to understand cleansing as a present work of God I wondered if I had really been baptised with the Holy Spirit.  I asked the Lord to search me and try me and show me my heart, and cleanse me.  It really happened!

Gods plan has always been holiness. Many today welcome the Holy Spirit, but continue to live with  chaff and wheat mixed!   The wind blows again and again but they do not go on to the fire!  Hebrews tells us that all the Old Testament  sacrifices could never purify the conscience of the worshipers.  Yes sins were forgiven, again, but  the heart was never clean. The fire is Gods plan for cleansing ,  we must go on to the fire. This is why wind and fire came to the Upper Room.

Revival Fire -  Azuza Street Preaching

What did the old time revival preachers preach?   Before the modern pentecostal outpouring, the "Baptism With The Holy Spirit" was about inner cleansing and holiness - power included.  But the emphasis shifted to gifts of the Spirit, and the Promise of the Father  is something we no longer hear. 

 What did William Seymour preach? This is from  Dr  Reve M. Pete  thesis research. 

 "At Azusa Street Mission, William J. Seymour taught four basic truths concerning the atonement through Jesus Christ. These truths are benefits available to all who will accept them. These benefits are 1) justification by faith 2) sanctification 3) healing 4) Holy Ghost baptism. Other topics included the “office work” of the Holy Ghost, Church unity and slavery.

Concerning justification by faith, Seymour taught persons who repent of their sins and turn in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, receive forgiveness of sins. He taught regeneration and justification are simultaneous. Through justification, pardoned sinners become children of God.

Concerning sanctification, Seymour taught that through it Christians are thoroughly purged and cleansed “from all original and Adamic sin”. He distinguished original or “Adamic” sin from actual sins committed by an individual. He stated, actual sins are “cleansed away through the blood of Jesus at the cross” [as a result of repenting and turning in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ]. However, original or “Adamic” sin, also cleansed at the cross, is “a real death to the old man”. Christ then becomes sanctified in the Christian. Seymour further taught, sanctification makes a Christian holy and “destroys the breed of sin, the love of sin and carnality”. The results of sanctification are 1) a pure heart 2) being made “every whit whole” 3) Christ is “crowned and enthroned” in one’s heart 4) obtaining “power over the world, the flesh and the devil" 5) sitting in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Seymour referred to sanctification as “the second work of grace” and stated it is accomplished by “the power of the blood and the Holy Ghost” working in a Christian’s heart.  It is performed on the total man – spirit, soul and body. Through sanctification, Christians “live a holy life free from sin”.  Scriptural bases for Seymour’s teaching on sanctification include Matthew 5:8; John 17:15-17; Romans 6:6,7; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 4:3; 5:23; 2 Timothy 2:21; Hebrews 2:11; 10:14,15; 12:14; 13:12. Also see Isaiah 26:3.12

Seymour admonished men and women to “remain before God until His all cleansing blood [made them] holy” – spirit, soul and body. He stated God calls men and women who will “live a holy life free from sin”. He also warned, “it is holiness or hell”.

The results of such preaching was thoroughly transformed believers, delivered from the inner battle with the old man.  They experienced the promise of the Father - inner cleansing,  as well as being endued with power!   There is much more at Dr. Petes interesting website.

Preaching The Promise of The Father

Today we often see power without holiness. As Jesus taght about the sower and the seed, here we have two seeds growing in the soil of the heart - one producing  weeds and choking out the other.   Just like the prophets of old, Balaam for example, it seems we can have spiritual power yet fall short of entering His rest. Yet the promise of the Father  to cleanse and give a new heart  is offered to who soever will.   The purifying wind and  fire of the Holy Spirit is still available.  It's time to preach it,  consecrate all, and in faith receive it.


I Thessalonian 3:13: so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness
before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

Hebrews 10:22: let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with
our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 10:16: This is the covenant that I will
make with them after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds.


Terry Somerville

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