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I Am Truly Born Again
Written by arkwriter   
Thursday, 07 April 2011 15:15
 

I  Am  Truly  Born  Again

 

Rick Eckert

 

I started keeping the Sabbath 41 years ago, when I was seven years old  (1958).   My family attended what was then called the Radio Church of God, which later became the Worldwide Church of God (WCG).  I saw the church grow and nourish, and years later my wife and I went to Big Sandy, Texas and I received a second Bachelor's Degree from Ambassador College in 1977.  I went to work for the Feast Office in Big Sandy, and was later transferred to Pasadena, California when the college closed and all festival operations were moved to the church headquarters.  We arrived one month before the church went into receivership, and saw firsthand many things that made us question where the church had gone over the previous 20 plus years. We moved back to Missouri a year later, and knew something was missing in the church, and after much study and prayer realized it was the Holy Spirit that was missing.

 

The Holy Spirit was and is a highly controversial subject among WCG and the many splinter groups that came out of that organization. It is also a highly controversial subject among many other non-Sabbatarian churches, and causes arguments and debates which are usually never resolved, and therefore the subject goes dormant, only to be resurrected later in some other location where people know something is missing, and are seeking the truth. I would like to briefly describe my experience in seeking the Holy Spirit: 

 

In 1983 we left the WCG because of doctrinal differences. We became members of the Church of God, lnternational (CGI), and I was ordained a minister in that organization in 1984. Several years later we realized there was no basic difference between CGI and the WCG, and started having services in our home.  During this time, we knew the gifts of the Spirit as listed in I Corinthians 12 were missing in the churches and in our lives. After much prayer and study we realized that the old thought and teaching that these were "done away" at the end of the first century, which was not Biblically true. It was a man-made doctrine cunningly devised to explain the fact that he Spirit was not in evidence in the church today. We then did as Luke II says:

Luke 11:10-13

10    "For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

11     If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?

12     Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

13     If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (KJV)

 

This is clearly talking about seeking the Holy Spirit, and seeking involves work!   I read Scriptures, read practically every book or booklet from every source I could find, compared the books to Scripture, listened to tapes on the subject by numerous denominations, proved all things, "held fast that which was good" and threw out the bad, and after almost 10 years of seeking, reading, praying, fasting and studying, KNEW there had to be what I called "Spirit-filled Sabbatarians" somewhere, but where were they? I had one bad experience that almost made me quit seeking and give up. We live on the Gulf Coast near tile Florida State line. I had heard of an internationally known revival close by, where the Holy Spirit was supposed to be in evidence every night, and people were telling of miracles and being "filled with the Spirit and slain in the Spirit." In the interest of proving all things, I prayed about it, and asked God to fill me with His Spirit if it was truly of Him, and if it wasn't, to keep me from evil.  I went to this revival, and being a minister, I got to sit close to the front - actually the second row. I was there six and one half hours, and saw all sorts of things that I had never seen before - people falling backwards on to the floor, rolling around on the floor, barking like dogs, crying. laughing uncontrollably (which is called holy laughter in charismatic circles) and everything else you could imagine.  There was a large group of sick and dying people that had come to be healed, and they were completely ignored. Not one time did the ministers ever attempted to care for them or heal them. I was sadly disappointed from what I learned from this "revival.' If this was of God, I knew I didn't want it.  At one point, the minister cried out "A fresh anointing!" and waved his arm and at least one hundred people all around me fell backwards instantly to the floor, and I was the only one left standing in a circle of incoherent 'worshippers.  I felt it was not of God.  I was protected, and left feeling that maybe I should just give up this idea. But I didn't.

 

Thanks to the Internet, and corresponding with many Sabbath keeping people whom I had never met, I began to find people who had the same general belief and I was given the name of Brother Paul Wong of the True Jesus Church in Houston, Texas. I had never heard of this church, and contacted Brother Wong and we corresponded for several months over the Internet, and he provided me with some very important information concerning the Holy Spirit and Sabbath keeping churches.

 

Contrary to what we had been taught in the WCG, regarding the Holy Spirit being an impersonal force, energy or essence, I carne to understand the Holy Spirit is in truth God Himself.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of the Son. The Holy Spirit is the same Spiritual Being as God. I discovered that without the true understanding of who the Holy Spirit is, it is impossible to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. In addition to this, I learned the truth of the Sabbath was not "revealed" initially to the WCG in this end time. In fact, the True Jesus Church originated in China in 1917, and the truth of the Sabbath was given to them through direct revelation of the Holy Spirit. The history of the True Jesus Church is fascinating, and I would recommend any Sabbath keeping people to contact them and find out how they originated and what they believe and why.

 

After numerous e-mails with Brother Wong, and having come to the conclusion that we needed not only Ihe Holy Spirit, but needed also to be re-baptized, and receive the laying on of hands for the Holy Spirit, according to Scripture. We invited Brother Wong to come to our home in Orange Beach, Alabama, where we could pray and study the subject in more detail first. He agreed, and the visit was arranged. When Brother Wong arrived, we had some very good preliminary discussions, and decided to get up the next morning (Sabbath) to fast and pray and discuss the subject in greater depth. The next morning Brother Wong told us that he could not pray in his room because of some objectionable posters and pictures that our youngest daughter had left there when she moved out. In retrospect we can see how it was much like what happened in the camp of Israel when Achan had an "accursed thing" in his tent, and caused a curse to come upon the whole camp. For those unfamiliar with the story, please read Joshua chapter 7. We removed the objectionable objects from our home, and it was like a veil had been lifted - we were able to understand the Scriptures in a way we had not been able to for years.

 

To summarize. we studied, fasted and prayed, and made sure everything was based on the Word of God, NOT on traditions of men or man-made doctrines. We studied water baptism and found it is for salvation, remission of sins, regeneration, and entrance into the Kingdom of God. According to Peter's sermon on the Day of Pentecost, one needs to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins in order to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. I had only been baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Hoi}, Spirit, which are not names, but merely titles. Throughout my experience with other churches, there was not a single teaching of the blood of Jesus Christ in connection with water baptism. Throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, there are references concerning redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ. I have beard people "pleading" the blood, which is not scnpturral. The Bible instead talks about redemption and washing by the blood. On tile cross, the blood and water flowed from the side of Jesus, and this connects water baptism and His death on the cross and washing by the blood. Brother Wong showed several tapes and gave us several books concerning the correct mode of water baptism with head bowed in the likeness of Jesus' death. He also showed us that baptism must be in living waters, which is natural bodies of water created.by God. I recall the minister that baptized me did not have the Holy Spirit. According to the mandate of Jesus Christ, he did not have any power or authority to baptize anyone (John 20:21-23). After much prayer and fasting, my family (wife and 22 year old son) decided we needed to be rebaptized.

 

On Sunday, August 22, 1999, we went to Perdido Key Beach, Florida, and were re-baptized according to the true Scriptural method. Before being immersed in the water, I confessed my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as my only Saviour, repented of my sins, believing Jesus to be with me dring the baptism and His blood is in the water, and I was baptized into HIM. Understanding the TRUE meaning of baptism, which we had never been taught, as a minister I am ashamed to say I had never taught others tne correct meaning and method of baptism. After baptism we came home to have washing of feet and Holy Communion. Through the washing of feet my family now have a part with Jesus, and because we partook of His flesh and blood during the Holy Communion, we now have eternal life and will be resurrected at the last day. Brother Wong gave the Apostolic teaching of the four abstentions and placed emphasis on leading a pure Christian life that is free of sexual immorality. During the last prayer, we received the laying on of hands. and after a very short time I began to speak in tongues as evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit. This was a very joyous occasion, one of completeness, joy, happiness and fullness. The feeling is hard to describe in words, but I just did what we had always been told we could not and should not do in the other churches - I spoke in tongues, as Scriptures says we arc to do in Mark l6:17, Acts 10:46 and Acts 19:6. There was no falling backwards to the floor or other weird experiences associated with other denominations or churches, or such experiences that have caused so much concern and controversy in the Sabbath churches. There was no "taking over of my mind" that we have always been told would happen. There was no other manifestations that I would consider "evil" according to any teaching I have ever heard of or read about. The baptism of the Holy Spirit that I experienced was real, Scriptural, and fulfilling, But the greatest blessing of all is knowing without a shadow of a doubt that our names are now written "in the Lamb's book of life." I know for certain that I have now entered the Kingdom of God, as spoken of by Ihe Lord Jesus Christ in John 3:5 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter inro the kingdom of God." Praise and Thank God!'! I am now a truly born-again Christian - born of water and the Spirit on the very same day. Every Sabbath keeping believer should have this assurance. If you do not, you better keep seeking, asking and knocking, and you WILL find, and be filled, and have that assurance. May God bless you. HalleluYah!

 

May God bless You

This Testimony was written by Rick Eckert after he
had received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in his home

 

Paul Wong is a Christian minister and the President of ARK International.
His ministry also serves as an architectural service company in Houston.
The ARK Forum on the Internet is international and non-denominational

 

 

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P.O. Box 19707, Houston,
Texas, 77224-9707, U.S.A.
Tel. No. (713) 467-1462

 

Last Updated on Friday, 08 April 2011 03:23