To begin this message lets review God’s appointing of gifts in the body of Christ. “And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” (1 Cor 12:28) As members of the body of Christ it is so very important to use our gifts with all humility so as to edify the body. It is a huge mistake to seek our own glory for, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness'” (Matthew 7: 21 – 23) Wait a minute, how could God deny access to His kingdom to those who were prophesying, casting out demons, and performing many miracles? Yes they were administering gifts of the Holy Spirit; however, in doing so they lacked the one thing that is paramount in God’s eyes.
“If I speak with the tongues of man and of angels, but do not have love I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.“ (1 Cor 13: 1 – 3) After reading this passage it is quite evident our Father places great emphasis on love. This being the case we would be wise to understand God’s interpretation of love. “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; it there is knowledge, it will be done away.” (1 Cor 13: 4 – 8 ) If we pay close attention we can see that God’s love is all about action. Worldly love is emotional. Godly love is action. Think about it, do we know people love us by what they say, or by how they treat us? In this instance talk is definitely cheap. Does this mean we should not seek the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Absolutely should, “Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. (1 Cor 14: 1)
In order for us to receive spiritual gifts we must first be baptized by Jesus with the Holy Spirit. For John the baptist tells us, “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matt 3: 11) In our culture we practice baptism by water which is according to His word. In some cases people are baptized when they are infants with the sprinkling of water. Older children and adults are many times submerged in water. My question is why aren’t people being baptized by Jesus with His precious Holy Spirit? The reason is because the vast majority of churches in America do not believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit; however, just because a church doesn’t believe, doesn’t mean a believer cannot receive our Lord’s precious gift. Keep in mind baptism in the Holy Spirit is from God, not an earthly church. Searching the Scriptures I have found three ways our Lord baptizes with power from on high. The first and most notable experience is when the Holy Spirit falls on the believer like He did on the day of Pentecost. Also the Holy Spirit fell on people when Peter was talking to a group of Gentiles. As Peter states, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning.” (Acts 11: 15) A second way to receive the baptism is by the laying on of hands. “Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8: 14 – 17) Receiving the Holy Spirit is not about works. It’s about about faith which brings us to the third way to receive the baptism. “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find, knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? It you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11: 9 – 13)
One reason the brethren have so little knowledge of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is because it is rarely preached in churches across America. A second reason is because most people who claim Jesus as Lord very seldom read His word. They very seldom read the Bible. I know this is true because that is the way I practiced religion for most of my young adult life, and I know I am not the only one. I have a good Christian friend who I had not seen for years. We came in contact with each other at a luncheon and one of the first things out of her mouth was that she was trying to find a good Bible teacher. I couldn’t believe it. She had been a Christian for as long as I could remember, how could she say she was still looking for a Bible teacher. Sadly this is the condition of the church in America today, always looking for a teacher instead of seeking the Teacher. After rebuking the religious leaders in His day, Jesus said, “They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is Christ. But the greatest among shall you be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matt 23: 6 – 12) Here’s where to find the real teacher. “These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” (1 John 2: 26 & 27) And then there is this, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14: 16 & 17)
Doesn’t it seem strange for the Lord to say One is our Teacher, Father, and Leader? How can it be that we need no one to teach us relying instead on the anointing of the Holy Spirit? These things seem strange to us, and appear to be unreasonable. We feel this way because we haven’t a notion about the reality of God. It also reveals how far we have fallen away from the truth. For the most part we have ignored the Holy Spirit, the third part of the Trinity. In this regard the Lord has a word for us. “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come, For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. (2 Timothy 3: 1 -5) By denying the Holy Spirit, the very power of God, we walk away from all the joy and love the Father has for us. In other words we give up the kingdom of God. “Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14: 16 & 17) Until we understand the fellowship of the Holy Spirit we’ll never experience real joy. “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15: 11)
If we want to know how to walk in the Spirit, when administering His gifts, look to Jesus as our example. Every healing, casting out demons, raising the dead, and performing of miracles was done to glorify the Father. In many cases Jesus would tell recipients of His power not to tell others what he had done for them. There was no fanfare or exulting of self when He performed His many works. He knew who He was, and that He had authority to do His Father’s will on earth. My dear brethren, our heavenly Father wants to give us a portion of His authority through the Holy Spirit. All we have to do is ask.
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