JUST BECAUSE someone can preach or speak with passion about the things of God and look the part of a disciple does not mean they are working on behalf of God or are truly endued with the power of the Holy Spirit to go forth and do the work of God. The real question is, “Have they received the Holy Spirit?” Preaching a thought-provoking message about the need to be filled with the Holy Spirit to carry out God’s work and be effective witnesses of Christ, Reverend Jewell Callender of People’s Cathedral warned Christians not to be carried away by those who appear to be disciples of Christ but do not possess the baptism of the Holy Spirit. According to her: “We have to be careful what teaching we fall under. There are people who sound real good. They have fire. When they preach you get goose bumps but [we should] sit back and allow the Holy Spirit to show us whether or not these are people filled with the Holy Spirit and are under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.” Warning that “not everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord is truly a saint of God” and that the Church is too easily led astray by imposters, Callender urged believers recently to ask God for the gift of discernment so they would know the true messengers of Jesus Christ. Her warnings came against the background of the account in Acts Chapter 19 when Paul discovered that Apollos, who was eloquent in speech, instructed in the way of the Lord and fervent in spirit, was teaching his followers about the baptism of John the Baptist, but not that of the Holy Spirit. She also alluded to other disciples who were doing the same until Paul discerned their erroneous teachings and noted they had not yet received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Callender explained that while one receives the indwelling Holy Spirit after sincerely repenting of one’s sins and receiving God into one’s life, “the baptism in the Holy Spirit is an infilling of power which Jesus performs in the lives of the born-again believer”. She added: “It is a gift from God. You cannot buy it. You cannot work for it. Simply being a true and sincere born-again believer makes us a candidate for the infilling of the Holy Spirit.” She stated that while John baptized with water, the infilling of the Holy Spirit is given to empower believers “to carry out the functions God has given us to do”. The Church was weak in its ministry to the world because Church leaders “have neglected the infilling power of the Holy Spirit”, Callender said. “We as leaders must take responsibility, examine ourselves and ask if it is possible that the reason why the Church is not working as the Church worked before is because it is not hearing as frequently concerning the baptism in the Holy Spirit. “We as leaders must ask ourselves: ‘Have we taught the people. Do they know the Scriptures’?” She said the Church must return to the place where the baptism in the Holy Spirit becomes a regular diet of the Church. “There is no excuse for people not getting up and doing what the Bible says we should be doing for the Kingdom of God. It is only when we have the baptism of the Holy Spirit that we can move forward,” she added.” Callender said that believers must be endued with the baptism of the Holy Spirit to deal with the moral decline of our society without fear or excuse. She shared several Bible references of the infilling of the Holy Spirit and said being infilled would result in greater works and manifestation of spiritual gifts within the Church. “Some of us have been in church for years. We know the scriptures well. We know the liturgy of the church well but the question I would ask is, Have you received the baptism in the Holy Spirit? “It is not until we receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit that we can move from having a head knowledge to a heart knowledge; to doing what God wants us to do.” To have your church or sermon featured in Altar Call, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.