The Williamson Chronicles. . .
"EXPRESS LANE, IT THAT WHAT THEY CALL IT?" TOM MURMURED AS HE GOT IN LINE. He wondered if his milk would become sour cream by the time he got to the cashier. Standing tiptoed to look over the several heads in front of him, he thought, Sure enough, another person getting a price check. How come every time I stand in line someone has to. . . .
"Excuse me," said the head directly in front of him. "Since you only have one item, you can get ahead of me."
"Thank you," Tom said. "That's very nice of. . . Hey! . . I know you, you're Pastor Williamson."
"That's right, have we met before?"
"I attended your church service once."
"Only once?" jokingly replied the Pastor. The two men chuckled as the line moved forward.
"Actually, I ended up joining another church," Tom said.
"Oh, may I ask which one?"
"Power from on high Bible church. It's a very spirit filled Church."
After paying for their items, the two continued their conversation. Tom, it turned out, was on foot so the Pastor offered him a ride. Minutes later in the car, Tom said, "You know, that time I visited your church, I noticed something strange."
"You preached on the power of God, without mentioning the gifts of the Spirit."
"You find that strange?" the Pastor said, pulling in front of Tom's apartment building.
"Yeah, you could have mentioned the gift of tongues as a sign of God's outpouring spirit."
"But I don't believe the tongues going around today is of God."
"Why do you say that?" Tom sat up straight.
"Well," the Pastor reached for his Bible. "If you have a few minutes I'd like to show you why, starting with the day of Pentecost. The Bible says: 'And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. (ACTS 2:4-11) Do you notice anything interesting about the tongues they spoke?"
"I'm not sure what you mean," Tom said.
"They were understood. The tongues the disciples spoke were a known foreign language. They served as a sign for witnessing and resulted in many foreigners getting saved, 3000 to be exact. The tongues going around today can't be understood, they don't serve the same purpose."
"But they can still help someone grow spiritually" Tom said.
"But did God intend for them to be used on a personal basis? Here, look at what the Bible says. . . ."
"Pastor, that's not necessary. Besides, I gotta go."
"Okay Tom, but if you ever doubt that. . ."
"No thanks, I don't have any doubts." Tom got out, waved goodbye, and headed toward his apartment. The Pastor waited until he disappeared into the building before driving away. As he did he let out a silent prayer . . . .
As Tom entered the apartment, the phone rang. . .
"Oh hi Sue, what's up?"
"Just wondering if you had a chance to consider my idea."
"You mean about shacking up together?"
"TOM!, you make it sound sinful."
"Well it is. . . . kinda."
"It would be if we were planning on having sex, but we're not. I just want to save money for the wedding."
"Sue, I'm really not too sure about this. . . . ."
"Well at least pray about it. God knows our hearts, He knows we're doing it for practical reasons."
"All right, I'll think about it."
"Thanks, gotta go, love ya!" (CLICK!)
Eventually Tom gave in to Susie's idea, and then one day. . . .
"TOM PLEASE!" Susie couldn't stop crying. "Calm down, I said I'm sorry. . . . ."
An argument had raged most of the morning with Tom insisting on blaming her for what happened the night before. Finally in total frustration he said, "I'm going out, I need some fresh air, I'll be back- maybe!"
An hour later he was still walking it off. I was a fool to go along with her stupid idea, he thought, why did I listen to her? I wouldn't be surprised if I never spoke in tongues again! The thought of possibly losing his salvation over one night's pleasure made him clutch his fist in self-condemnation. . . .
. . it also terrified him.
Making his way to the park, he found a secluded spot among the trees. Kneeling down, he desperately tried to use his gift. At first he couldn't get started-panic ensued. OH NO!, he thought, I've lost it. God took it away! Feverishly he kept concentrating while priming the tongue . . .Minutes went by and still nothing. . . . He relentlessly kept trying. . .and trying. . .and trying. . and then finally. The familiar sensation began to take hold; the sense of peace, the heightened awareness of the spiritual realm.
His tongue was no longer his as unfamiliar sounds began to pour out with greater intensity. I STILL HAVE IT! he thought. His spiritual edge was still there-his soul was still saved. Joy pushed away fear as he let go and allowed his tongue to run its course. . . .
Arriving back home, he found Susy at the kitchen table, face down, her head buried within her arms.
"Sue I'm back."
Only an occasional sniffle could be heard from within the folded arms.
"Susy, I'm sorry, okay?" Tom sat next to her trying to peak inside. "Sue?. . You all right?. . . .I said I'm sorry."
She raised her head while squinting her tear drenched eyes. "Where did you go Tom?"
"To the park. I prayed. At first I was afraid God had abandoned me. But everything's all right now Sue. God showed me."
"How? What do you mean?"
"Through my gift! He didn't take it away. I can still speak in tongues."
"But don't you think God is displeased with what we did?"
"I don't think so, if He was why is it still possible for me to speak in tongues?"
"But Tom, I can't believe God would simply ignore. . ."
"Are you saying God is not forgiving enough?"
"No, that's not what I'm saying. . . it's just that. . . well. . . .something's not right. . ."
"Then stop feeling guilty and trust my spiritual judgment-everything's all right. In fact, this whole thing may even be part of God's will."
"WHAT!" Susy was shocked by his reasoning, "now you sound like you're trying to justify our sin."
Tom abruptly got up; the conversation was over. How do you like that, he thought, I apologize and she starts another argument.
The clock's light shouted 2:30 AM as Tom laid awake hearing the seconds go by. The tiny seed of doubt planted by Susy had taken root. His mind was now racing too fast for sleep to catch up.
Frustrated, he found the best place to think the tiny apartment could offer- the kitchen table. Rubbing his eyes, he opened his Bible to I Corinthians, the first letter Paul wrote to the church at Corinth. To him they were the model of a spirit-filled church. Browsing thru the chapters, his eyes fell upon the now familiar term-fornication.
"Tom? What are you doing?" Susy, half awake, entered the kitchen. "It's 3:00 AM, go to sleep."
"Sue sit down, I wanna show you something."
"At this time?" she said, letting out a furious yawn. "Can't it wait?"
"No!" sliding the Book toward her, he said "read it!, right here; I Corinthians 5:1."
With sleepy eyes trying to focus, she read the verse. "It is reported commonly that THERE IS FORNICATION AMONG YOU, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife." She looked back at Tom, "So?"
"Don't you get it?" he said, annoyed by her lack of understanding. "There was fornication among them, and yet they still spoke in tongues."
"So what does that prove?"
"It proves that if they could fornicate and still remain right with God, why can't we? Maybe their sin was somehow part of God's will too."
By now her brain was wide awake. Still doubting his absurd reasoning, she continued to read further while he, having assumed victory, reached for a glass of milk.
"Not so fast," she said. "Let me read you the next verse..And YE ARE PUFFED UP, and HAVE NOT RATHER MOURNED, that he that hath done this deed might be TAKEN AWAY FROM AMONG YOU. (1 COR. 5:2). It sure doesn't sound like their sin was part of God's will. Paul seems to be telling them to get rid of the guy."
"But in spite of that God still allowed them to speak in tongues," he said. "That's my whole point!"
"Where does it show them speaking in tongues?" she said.
Susy wasted no time finding Chapter 14. Tom, having found a glass, finally began pouring his milk when suddenly he heard her chuckle. "Now what!?" he said, abandoning his half filled glass.
"Read this!" she said. Brethren, BE NOT CHILDREN IN UNDERSTANDING: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. (1 COR. 14:20) "He called your spiritual giants; children."
His fist shook the table. "Now. . . .look! You're reading it wrong. After all you're no Bible scholar!"
"Okay fair enough," she calmly replied. "Let's ask a Bible scholar." Turning toward the front of the Epistle, she said, "Here, read your Bible's commentary outline on 1 Corinthians and see what IT says."
Reading the outline revealed an Epistle whose main purpose was to rebuke a very carnal Church.
Chapter One mentioned divisions caused by their arguments over baptism. Chapter Six had them suing each other. In Chapter Eleven, Paul rebuked them for having a drunken feast during the Lord's Supper.
And to Tom's amazement; some were even questioning Christ's resurrection in Chapter Fifteen. Even Chapter Fourteen, when read in context with all the other Chapters, revealed that many at Corinth seemed to be "showing off" in an effort to out do each other spiritually and justify their sinful and carnal behavior. And yet how could these people still speak in tongues? Was God behind it at all?
Tom had to reconsider his claim that speaking in tongues automatically meant you were right with God.
Eventually daybreak forced its way thru their kitchen window. It was a long night and Susy had to get ready for work. Tom, confused and doubtful, needed answers. He just sat there, never noticing her morning ritual of putting on her face. And were it not for her goodbye kiss, her departure would have gone un-noticed as well. Alone, he turned to the half poured glass of lukewarm milk thinking, I might as well drink it before it turns into sour cream. . .SOUR CREAM?! The thought brought to mind Pastor Williamson, the only person he ever met who dared to question the gift of tongues. Maybe Williamson could answer these seeming contradictions. By the end of the day, curiosity outweighed Tom's pride, he half reluctantly arranged a meeting. . .
Two days later they met, and Tom trying to down play an awkward situation, started non-Shelagh: "Nice day for the park isn't it Pastor?"
"Why yes, they said it was going to be. . . ."
"Speaking of the weather, remember when we were talking about the latter rain, you know, the outpouring of God's spirit?"
"I don't remember the term; latter rain," the Pastor said.
"Didn't you say something about the gift of tongues?"
"I do remember saying they were an actual foreign language. . ."
"And you said something about using them to witness, right?" Tom said.
The Pastor felt Tom had something on his mind he couldn't get out. "Why did you want to meet today?"
"Oh! No special reason. I just thought since it was a nice day we. . . . ."
"All right Tom, we did the weather thing already. What's on your mind?"
Slouching forward, Tom relaxed his pretense and told him everything. Williamson quietly sat there accessing that Tom was confused from trying to resolve his tongues with the Scriptures. After fifteen minutes, it was the Pastor's turn: "Tom, are you saved?"
Sitting straight up and frowning, Tom said: "OF COURSE I'M SAVED! What does that have to do with anything? I thought you wanted to help, instead you haven't heard a word I said."
"Oh, I heard what you said," the Pastor replied. "I'm just asking you if you're saved?"
"But how could I not be, I speak in tongues, don't I?"
"That's your problem right there, you're using the tongues as a personal sign."
"So what's wrong with that?" Tom said.
Pulling a Bible from his suit coat, the Pastor turned to 1 Corinthians Chapter 14. "Paul rebuked the church at Corinth; a very carnal church. They were using the tongues for all the wrong reasons. In fact, many today doubt they had the real tongues, Paul said: Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people [the Jews]; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. (1 COR. 14:20-22) The real tongues were for non-believing Jews; as in the day of Pentecost, when 3,000 visiting Jews got saved. As in the case of Peter; who wouldn't believe salvation was for the Gentiles until Cornelius spoke in tongues (Acts 10). And finally, as in Paul's case; when he encountered the 12 disciples of John the Baptist. They needed proof that baptism does not save (Acts 19). In all three cases; Jews and the salvation of lost souls were involved.
But, in your case, you're using the tongues as a sign to gauge your own spiritual status, like some at Corinth. This is unscriptural."
"But if I don't speak in tongues, how do I know where I stand with God?" Tom asked.
"Read the end of the verse again: PROPHESYING SERVETH not for them that believe not, but for THEM WHICH BELIEVE (1 Cor. 14:22). Prophesying means: preaching from God's Word. That's what a truly saved person uses to gauge his walk with God."
"But I always try to do what the Bible says."
"Really? When push comes to shove do you put more stock in your tongues or the Bible?"
"I told you!" Tom was nervous. "THE BIBLE!"
"Then why didn't you repent of your fornication like the Bible says instead of justifying it with the tongues?"
"BUT I DID REPENT! I DIDN'T JUSTIFY IT!"
Williamson surgically looked him in the eyes, "Then why did you go back to living with her? If you had truly repented, you would have moved out."
Tom was exposed and humiliated into a corner. "Look, I don't care what you say, you haven't experienced it, you don't know what you're talking about!"
"You're wrong Tom, I know exactly what. . . ."
"But how?, you've never even attended one of our services! In fact, we have a famous Evangelist coming on Friday and you haven't even considered checking him out. Instead, you just sit there with your Bible and preach to me. I'm sorry I called you, this was a big mistake. GOODBYE!"
Tom got up to leave. Two steps later he heard Williamson say, "What time is your service? I'll be there."
Friday night arrived and the Pastor insisted on an isolated part of the balcony. Throughout the sermon he took notes. "What have you been writing?" Tom said.
"The number of times the Holy Spirit's been mentioned."
"Why is that important?"
"Jesus said: Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: FOR HE SHALL NOT SPEAK OF HIMSELF;..HE SHALL GLORIFY ME: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. (John 16:13) So far, I've heard Holy Spirit 14 times, Jesus only twice!"
"You're being nit-picky," Tom said.
"No, I'm being scriptural."
When the sermon was over, space was cleared on the podium for the laying of hands. Soon many were falling backward with a mere hand to the forehead. Williamson occasionally turned his face as a skirt would fly upward. He couldn't imagine anyone thinking the Holy Spirit would condone such indiscretion.
"I suppose you find something wrong with this part of the service," Tom ironically commented.
"A number of things," the Pastor said. "Among them the fact that they're falling back. Everyone in the Bible who encountered God fell forward on their face."
"How about the soldiers who arrested Jesus," Tom said. "They fell on their backs."
Williamson locked eyes with him, "Those soldiers were NOT SAVED."
The implication made Tom nervous. Quietly, he sat and watched as many were now speaking in tongues. Williamson opened his Bible to 1 Corinthians 14 and started poking his finger in midair.
"Now what are you counting?"
"Twenty five," the Pastor said. "Twenty five women are speaking in tongues. The Bible says: Let your WOMEN KEEP SILENCE IN THE CHURCHES: FOR IT IS NOT PERMITTED UNTO THEM TO SPEAK; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law (1 Cor. 14:34). They're all speaking at once.
Yet Paul says: If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, LET THE FIRST HOLD HIS PEACE. For ye may all prophesy ONE BY ONE, that all may learn (1 Cor. 14:30-31) If everyone speaks at once, like they're doing now, it can get confusing. And Paul said: For GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF CONFUSION, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Cor. 14:33)"
"I told you already, you can't relate to it unless you've done it!" Tom said.
"But if I, as a visitor, can't relate to it, then this church service is useless to me! Paul made the same point: So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, HOW SHALL IT BE KNOWN WHAT IS SPOKEN? for ye shall speak into the air. . Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing HE UNDERSTANDETH NOT WHAT THOU SAYETH? (1 Cor. 14:9-16)"
By this time a woman, nervously observing the service, stood up. The Pastor, watching her leave, pointed and said, "Look Tom, she seems to be driven away by what's going on. Paul warned about this very thing happening. He said, If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and ALL SPEAK WITH TONGUES, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, WILL THEY NOT SAY THAT YE ARE MAD? (1 Cor. 14:23) Now think, do you seriously believe the Holy Spirit is going to approve of anything that drives someone away from hearing the gospel?"
"Look, if she doesn't want to accept the power of the Holy Spirit, then it's her loss!" Tom said.
The Pastor pressed his lips tightly at Tom's callous remark. He said, "Read 1 Cor. 13:1!"
Tom turned to and read the verse: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity [love], I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
"Tom, if you can sit there and arrogantly look down on lost souls, then your tongues mean nothing-you're just a selfish noise maker and the love of Christ is not in you. I ask you again; are you saved?"
Tom re-read the verse several times, and every time conviction gripped his heart tighter. Something was wrong, terribly wrong. Slowly shaking his head, he said "I don't know. . . . I'm not sure anymore."
The Pastor led Tom out to the car. Opening his Bible, he showed him the need to repent of putting his trust in the tongues as proof of his salvation. "Tom you must place all your trust in Christ alone.
God's Word says, For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Rom. 10:13). Don't expect a sign, just take God at His Word. He can't lie! (Titus 1:2)"
"But. . . . how will I know He saved me unless He gives me one?"
"Seeking a sign has been your problem all along. Your tongues are a trap that keeps you from truly repenting. Repentance is a change of mind that results in you turning away from sin and following God's will according to His word. Your tongues has displaced the Bible as the final authority in your life.
Therefore you've been reasoning that, no matter how much Bible you violate, as long as you can speak in tongues you're still all right with God. That kind of thinking will take anyone to Hell. Jesus said Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH THE WILL of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matt. 7:21-23)."
"But why would God give a gift that could end up being a trap?" Tom said.
"As I said before, the tongues we see today is not of God. The Bible says: Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. (1 Cor. 13:8) The real gift of tongues stopped when the Bible was completed. Even prior to that you no longer see them mentioned in the later Epistles."
"Then where are they coming from?" Tom said.
"Some of it is psychologically self- indued," Williamson replied, "But most of it . . . well, read it for yourself." for SATAN HIMSELF IS TRANSFORMED INTO AN ANGEL OF LIGHT. (2 Cor. 11:13-14)
GOD'S PLAN FOR SALVATION
(The Bible Way to Heaven)
If you died today, are you 100% sure you would go to Heaven? . . . The Bible says you can be!
"These things have I written...that ye may know that ye have eternal life," I JOHN 5:13
Consider life's greatest question:
"What must I do to get to Heaven?"
A. You must understand where you stand with God.1. Your sins separate you from God.
"your iniquities have separated between you and your God," ISAIAH 59:2
2. That includes everyone.
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" ROMANS 3:23
* Jesus died on the cross 2000 years ago to pay for your sins.
B. You must understand Heaven cannot be earned.1. Not by doing enough good things.
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us..." TITUS 3:5.
2. Not by being baptized, joining a church, or obeying the Ten Commandments.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." EPHESIANS 2:8-9
C. You must be willing to change your direction from sin.1. Sin will take you to Hell.
"the wages of sin is death;" ROMANS 6:23
2. Faith in yourself, your baptism, or your church will cause you to miss Heaven.
ROMANS 3:24-25; JOHN 1:12-13; JOHN 3:3
3. You must be willing to repent of your sins.
"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out..." ACTS 3:19
"The Lord is...not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." II PETER 3:9
* Repentance means to change your mind or attitude about sin.
D. You must believe in Jesus Christ with all your heart.1. You must receive Jesus Christ by faith as your personal Saviour.
"being justified by faith," ROMANS 5:1
* Eternal life was paid for by the shed blood of Christ. Accept it as a free gift.
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." ROMANS 10:13
SEND THE LIGHT
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