Written by :   Zac Poonen Categories :   The Church Disciples
WFTW Body: 

When we first started gathering together as a church, we did not know victory - either in our personal lives or in our home lives. When we looked at other believers, we found that they too were in the same condition. So we could not turn to any of them for help. So we fasted and prayed frequently as a church and sought God for an answer. We spent most of the public holidays in fasting and prayer. Gradually God began to reveal truths to us about the new covenant from His Word that we had never known before. As we began to understand these truths, we became more and more liberated - and our lives and our homes were gradually transformed.

 I felt a responsibility then to proclaim these truths to others. It became clear to me that God was calling me to emphasize those truths in the Bible that other Christians were not preaching. So I listened carefully to what others around me were teaching. Thus I discovered what I was called to emphasize in my teaching ministry.

The Full Gospel

I heard some preachers using the expression "the full gospel". But when I compared what they taught with Scripture, I found that they were not preaching the full gospel at all. In Hebrews 4 the Holy Spirit describes "the gospel" (verse 2), as "entering into Canaan" and not just "coming out of Egypt". I also read there that God's people were to enter into a "Sabbath rest" of victory (verse 9). So I saw that the message of forgiveness of sins was only half the gospel. The full gospel included overcoming sin as well (slaying the giants in our flesh). As such a life gradually became a reality to me, I began to preach the full gospel. 


Most evangelists were preaching faith in Christ as the only requirement for forgiveness of sins. Repentance from sin was hardly being preached at all. And even where repentance was mentioned, the root of sin was not being clearly defined as selfishness, self-centredness and wanting one's own way. So people did not know what exactly they had to hate and what they had to turn away from. I saw that my calling was to explain the root of sin clearly so that everyone would know what they had to repent of.


Most converts were not being taught that they had also to become disciples of Christ. The three conditions of discipleship (that Jesus laid down) were not being explained: Loving Jesus supremely (above all family members); taking up the cross (dying to Self) daily; and forsaking all that we possessed (not being attached to material possessions) (Luke 14:26-33). This therefore became a major emphasis in my preaching. 

 The Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Almost every group that preached the baptism in the Holy Spirit taught that its initial evidence was "speaking in tongues". But I saw that most of those who taught this were worldly-minded and lovers of money. At the other extreme, I saw some believers who were convinced that all speaking in tongues was from the devil!! But Jesus taught that the evidence of the baptism in the Spirit would be power - power to BE His witnesses (referring to the way we lived) and not merely to bear witness (by what we spoke) (Acts 1:8). And so, I proclaimed that. Speaking in tongues was only one of the gifts of the Spirit that He gave to some. Because of my stand on this issue, the 'Pentecostal' folk labelled me as 'Brethren'. And the 'Brethren' folk labelled me as 'Pentecostal'!! I was quite happy to be equidistant from both these extremes.

(to be continued…)