Field Sobriety Test

by Tad Lindley


ave you ever been charged with a DWI or a DUI? It usually starts like this: you told yourself you would only have one, because you didn’t want a DUI. But after that one drink, you felt even more in control of yourself than before and so on, until eventually you found yourself being interviewed by law enforcement. And in the course of that interview, they smelled a strong odor of alcohol upon you which caused them to ask you that famous question, “Have you had anything to drink?”

Just had a couple

Alcohol puts you at a very high risk of telling lies, and so you give the officer the equally famous answer, “Yes, I had a couple.” Next thing you know you are out of the airplane, or the car, or off the Honda, and now the subject of a field sobriety test. The purpose of these tests is to determine if you are actually being influenced by the alcohol you drank to the point that walking in a straight line is difficult for you to do. There are also other tests like balancing on one leg. Once I sat on a grand jury where the officer had asked the accused to count backwards from 97. I thought, “I haven’t had a drink in 30 years and I’m not sure I could do that under the pressure of a field sobriety test.”

Next step: how to beat the breathalyzer

Now the purpose of the field sobriety test is to determine whether or not the person is above the legal blood alcohol limit. If you do not pass the field sobriety test your next stop is the police station for a breathalyzer test. The State of Alaska is a firm believer in the breathalyzer test, but you can beat it. The way to beat the breathalyzer is to not drink alcohol.

How about when Christianity becomes illegal

Actually it already is illegal in many parts of the world, but we are hurtling toward the day when it will become illegal in most parts of the world. If you don’t believe me, read the second half of Daniel and the book of the Revelation. Think for a moment about how that will look when it becomes illegal to live under the influence of the Holy Ghost.

“License and registration please, sir”

“Sir, we noticed your car parked in the United Pentecostal Church parking lot earlier. Have you been going to church lately?”

How would you respond to that?

“Yes, officer, but I only went once.”

Or, “Yes, sir, I was there, but I played game on my phone the whole time.”

Or maybe, “Yes, ma’am, but I never prayed. When they were praying I was looking all around and then I checked my cellular telephone.”

Or maybe you suddenly played Euticus on him, “Yes trooper, I was there, but I was so bored I slept through the whole thing.”

To which the public safety officer would reply, “Okay, I’m going to just give you a warning this time, because I can clearly see that you are not under the influence of Jesus.”

The Bible’s quick field salvation test

The apostle, Paul, one time pulled some guys over on the road to Ephesus and gave them a quick field salvation test. (Something about them made Paul think that they might be under the influence of the Holy Ghost.) He asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They answered him, “No, we’ve never even heard of the Holy Spirit.”

Paul asked them, “What kind of baptism did you have?”

They answered, “John’s baptism.” (Acts 19:2-3 GW)

The New Testament standard for salvation was to be born of the water through baptism in Jesus’ name and of the Spirit through receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Don’t take my word for it, check what Jesus said in John 3:3 and 3:5. Also study Acts 2:1-4, 2:38, 8:12-16, 10:44-48, 19:1-7, 22:16, Mark 16:16) So Paul did that quick field salvation check and found out that these men were not under the influence of the Holy Ghost, not good.

Getting under the influence

So in short order Paul gave them a brief Bible study: Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all. (Acts 19:4-7 NKJV)

Your personal field salvation test

If we could bring Paul back from the dead and he could speak those same questions to you, how would you answer:

1. Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed? (Check the biblical standard in Acts 10:44-46)

2. How were you baptized? (When Paul asks this he is asking, How were you dunked under water? He is trying to find out if you were baptized in Jesus’ name, or in John’s baptism of repentance, or in a Jewish proselyte baptism reciting Deuteronomy 6:4. If you were not dunked under water, then you have never been baptized.)

Do you pass the test?

Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.

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