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Posts Tagged ‘Maturity’

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“For He had not yet fallen upon any of them, but they had only been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 8:16 AMP

For most of the Body of Christ who have received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues, this has been experienced as a second event with the Holy Spirit. One that is subsequent to salvation.  While there are always exceptions, some people have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit while being baptized in water…, mostly, the Lord has an order about how salvation and then the Baptism in the Holy Spirit proceed.

Having said that, I also recognize, the Lord is Sovereign, and He can do what He desires.  The story of Cornelius in Acts 10 is one of those exceptions. God moved upon Cornelius with a vision about men from Joppa coming to him so he and his family would be blessed.

Meanwhile, the Apostle Peter also received a vision from the Lord, about going to Cornelius. The Lord had to work on both parties, Peter and Cornelius, to pave the way for them to receive without doubt, or discrimination, or hesitation what the Lord wanted them to do.

Thus, before Cornelius and his family were technically saved (by correct procedure), the Holy Spirit falls upon all those listening to Peter’s message. They then heard them speaking in unknown tongues, because the Holy Spirit had been bestowed and poured out even on Gentiles.

This break with accepted protocol was apparently needed because there was deep bias within the Apostolic Leadership about the Gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit like this. So the Lord had to work to manage the situation, and He did!

The result was this consensus:

“Can anyone forbid or refuse water for baptizing these people, seeing that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” Acts 10:47 AMP

Here is an interesting point: it was “seen” that these people had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit – just as the disciples had.  Meaning, with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, there was the evidence of speaking in tongues, just as initially occurred in Acts 2:4, with the disciples in the Upper Room.

So, in baptism, there is an immersion.  In water baptism, we testify of the work of salvation that has occurred on the inside by being immersed in water (Col 2:11-13). We are making a declaration that we believe we are saved by the work of Jesus on the Cross.

Likewise, in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, there is also an immersion, but this time it is with the Holy Spirit and fire (Luke 3:16 AMP):

“John answered them all by saying, I baptize you with water; but He Who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of Whose sandals I am not fit to unfasten. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

So John’s baptism is unto repentance but Jesus’ baptism is unto power.  John’s immersed in water, Jesus’ immersed with the Holy Spirit.

Once Jesus had ascended to Heaven to the right hand of the Father, the way was opened for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit after the first believers had obeyed and tarried in Jerusalem to await the promise of the Father (Acts 1:4-8).

Believers today no longer have to wait in that same sense, for the Promise is already released. It is available to anyone today who meets the requirements to receive it. That, however, can bring problems that confuse the believer, and possibly delay their receiving…

Let’s look at this for a moment…

Acts 2:38-39:

“And Peter answered them (the convicted crowd of Jews had asked what they should do after Peter recounts a brief history of Who Jesus is….)

Repent, (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is to and for you and your children, and to and for all that are far away, [even] to and for as many as the Lord our God invites and bids to come to Himself.”

So we can see that a willingness to change your view and accept the will of God in your heart is a requirement to receive this Baptism. Thus, if you have not already received Jesus as your Savior and Lord, this is unavailable to you. With salvation, comes the new heart that is needed, and the willingness to trust the Lord and be aligned with His will. 

Also, being first baptized in water for the forgiveness of sins is the normal order, but not unable to be superseded by the Lord as He sees fit (as was demonstrated by Cornelius).

Now, I am really writing this to address the fact that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a second work of the Holy Spirit, generally, although we see in the word exceptions. Sometimes.

Why do I say that this is a second work?  Because the disciples had already been saved before they came to the upper room. Salvation was already in place for them…John 20:21-22:

“Then Jesus said to them again, Peace to you! [Just] as the Father has sent Me forth, so I am sending you.  And having said this, He breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit!”

So the upper room was a second work of the Holy Spirit, not for their salvation, but so they would have power to be witnesses to the Lord and would begin living and working according to the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:4-8; Gal 5:13-26)

This is a point of confusion for many. Some people merge these two baptisms into one. But simply stated, there are two different medium for the baptisms here: one being water and one being the Holy Spirit. Only the Lord can bring these together in one event as He dictates.  It, however, is not the norm.

Having said that, I must say this.  There is no reason to believe that you must be saved many years before you somehow are “qualified” for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In truth it is always a gift of grace that we never earn.  Meeting the requirements that our heart is in the proper place is different than being qualified!

There are many factors that delay our pursuit and receipt of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, but I must say from the Lord’s standpoint all things are ready and in place for anyone to receive this very day…

The notion that you loiter in a salvation mode awaiting processing for greater gifting is false.  The enemy would prefer you to delay this process as long as possible, even indefinately so as to keep you from a walk and living in the Spirit and in power.

To that end he tries to convince people that it is not for everyone. And so, there have been sown into belief structures and doctrines that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not for everyone, and in fact, the word has even been misinterpreted to support that very notion.

Next time I will pick up more on this topic and specifically why the Baptism is for everyone who is a believer.

Shalom…

 

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“But when anything is exposed and reproved by the light, it is made visible and clear; and where everything is visible and clear there is light.” Amp Eph 5:13

“Bless the Lord, all His works in all places of His dominion; bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul!” Amp Ps 103:22

Where the Lord’s dominion is, there is light and there is the reign of light. But where things have not been exposed to me and reproved by the light, that area persists and is ruled by darkness.

This is especially true in the hearts and minds of believers. Yes, darkness can have a welcome place in you… because you allow it.

This is the measure of maturity of me as a believer. How much of me is walking in light?  Am I in the light as He is in the light?

Interesting thing: pertaining to light and its rule in me…the more I filter God’s light through my reasoning and intellect…the less light I have. The more I respond to His light with submission and obedience… the more light I have.

Here’s an example. Say the Lord shows you by the light of His Word and conviction of the Holy Spirit that some attitude of yours or behavior is wrong. You then take that revelation knowledge and examine it, process it according to your own thinking and standards, and then take action to obey.  As you have parsed and diluted the force of this word based on your thinking and reasoning, you have chosen to modify the thrust of the word of God – and thus you have much less light than you could have.

You have elevated, through pride, your own thinking and power of reasoning, and made it more prominent than obedience to God.

So how would this have looked if say Abraham had reacted this way in reference to the command of God: “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, and offer him as a burnt offering…” (Gen 22:2)

Abraham went the very next day to do as God said. If he had “reasoned” with himself, he might have delayed and delayed, figuring and reasoning, projecting and waiting until he thought he knew what God was really doing. But  thankfully he didn’t.

The point is: He trusted God more than his own understanding of things. He believed God!

It is vital for us to come to maturity with the light of God leading us as well as exposing and reproving us – especially as it concerns our thoughts about the word, God’s expectations of us, and even our perceptions about ourselves.  It is not good for a believer to  exercise self-perception, or self-analysis.

Psalm 36:9 explains: “For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.”  Thus it is God’s light that is sufficient to lead us into all understanding and truth. Not own own light.

When Paul advocates for us to examine and test and evaluate as he does in 2Cor 13:5 – it is done on the basis of us first seeking such light from God. Otherwise we would be like the physician trying to heal himself—not a good thing as he lacks full perspective and full understanding.

The days of us walking at a glacial pace into the maturity and holiness God desires and has provisioned for are at an end…. He now tells us, “… Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine ( make day dawn) upon you and give you light.” Amp Eph 5:14

Awake! Choose to suspend further self-analysis, investigation, rational examination, and consuming self-sifting to try and arrive at a comfortable assessment concerning your spiritual maturity… your “Okayness” with God… or that you are acceptable to Him.

Instead, asking for His light… let Him confirm that you are loving in deed and truth.  Let His Truth reassure, quiet, and pacify your heart in His presence. (1Jn 3:18-20) Nothing is hidden from Him, but many things are still hidden from you!

And receive from Him all that is needful, because you are watchfully obeying His orders, observing His suggestions, following His plan for you, and practicing what is pleasing to Him…(1Jn 3:22-24)

Shalom

 

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