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Focus on America

Skin-deep Pentecostals

I called a local governmental agency recently for clarification of its policy as it applied to my situation. The lady who answered my questions was polite but guarded in her responses. At the close of the conversation, I thanked her and stated that I was very pleased with the service her department had given me. Her attitude changed immediately and she expressed how good it was to talk to someone who wasn’t angry. She indicated that daily she takes a great deal of verbal abuse from the public. Later, as I reflected on this conversation, I wondered how many of these unkind and rude people say they are Christians? How many say they are Spirit-filled and speak in tongues?

First Corinthians 13:1 says, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal" (NKJV). The world we are trying to win is not interested in our doctrine as much as it is in our attitude. Anyone who takes only tongue speaking into the marketplace and is void of the fruit of the Spirit — love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22,23) — has only a facade of what it means to be filled with the Spirit. Our doctrinal statement says that speaking in tongues is the initial physical evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Sadly, many never get past the starting point and are going through life as sounding brass and clanging cymbals, both of which irritate rather than bless. If the fruit of the Spirit is not evident in the marketplace, there is not much point in trying to demonstrate it inside the four walls of the church.

There has never been a greater day of opportunity for the church. The pain and hopelessness of this generation provides a backdrop for us as Christians to demonstrate, on a day-by-day basis, the wonderful joy of serving Christ. We must show that the blood of Jesus does make a difference in our behavior in the marketplace — that we not only speak in tongues but we are gentle people who are kind and considerate because Christ lives within. The need to place the Ten Commandments in the public arena is not as great as the need for godly people to live by the Ten Commandments in public places.

— Charles E. Hackett

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