Who is the Holy Spirit? – Part Eight: The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Your Prayer Language

“Paul in Ephesus
And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’  And he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ They said, ‘Into John's baptism.’  And Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.’  On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all” (Acts 19:1-7 ESV).
This story recounts that the twelve believers accepted salvation, were baptized in water and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit all at the same time. These three events: salvation, water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, don’t always happen together, and in fact, sometimes quite a long time can pass between them. As with salvation, how and when a person is ready to declare their faith in Christ through water baptism or receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and their prayer language, is as unique to each individual as their heartbeat or their fingerprints. God’s timing is always perfect for each of us. He never hurries and he never hesitates.
In Romans chapter 10, Paul writes that righteousness that is based on faith declares that “…The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (v. 6-9 ESV).
Paul is saying that speaking, proclaiming and confessing are all specific elements of faith and salvation. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we confess it by praying the prayer of salvation. When we participate in water baptism, the pastor or minister who is assisting us will ask whether we have accepted salvation through the blood of Christ, and if we agree to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – to which we must answer an affirmative “Yes!” in order for the baptism to take place – otherwise it wouldn’t be a baptism, it would just be going for a swim. To proclaim our faith, we have to actually say something!
Paul declared that “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, ‘I believed and so I spoke,’ we also believe and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence” (2 Corinthians 4:13-14). Paul spoke what he believed, and he was a man who walked his talk!
We confess Christ with our mouths to be saved, we agree out loud to be baptized in his name, and when we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we speak then, too, but it’s a little different because we won’t be speaking in our native language, but in our prayer language – the language of the Spirit. This language is described in scripture as “speaking in tongues.”
When we first receive salvation, we accept Jesus as our Lord as well as our Savior. We invite him to come into our hearts, and we give him dominion over our lives. We surrender ourselves into his keeping, for eternity. We do this because we realize that we can trust him, because he came and died in our place to accept the punishment for our sins. That, in a nutshell, is the gospel.
When we are baptized in water, we surrender again, but this time, we surrender to whomever is about to dunk us into the river, the creek, or the font.  We surrender to our minister, who represents our church family. Baptism washes away pride as it washes away the past. And just to put it into perspective, please remember that Jesus had to surrender to John the Baptist in order to be baptized in the Jordan River. And even for John, it was a moment of surrender. (See Matthew chapter 3.) We let go and let the river flow.
When we are baptized into the Holy Spirit, we surrender a third time, but this time it is to demonstrate that we so trust in the Spirit of God that we allow him to speak through us, in a language that we do not understand.
Did you know that the author of the book of James was also Jesus’ half-brother? That would be a wonderful topic to explore, but for now, let’s look at what he famously wrote about taming the tongue. He said that all of us stumble in many ways, and only a perfect man or woman is able to control every aspect of themselves.
James wrote that although we can bridle the strength of horses, and steer huge ships with just a small rudder, none of us has the wherewithal to control the power of the tongue, which he says is like a wildfire set loose in a dry forest, and full of deadly poison. (See James chapter 3.) We all know what he means because we’ve all felt the sting of unkind words which can be very painful, leaving lasting scars for the giver and receiver. Solomon wrote that life and death are in the power of our tongues (Proverbs 18:21). With our words we can either build up or tear down.
Therefore we can see that the one, single part of the human body that it is impossible for we humans to control – our tongues, as James said – would be the one part of our selves that God would ask us to surrender for his use and for his glory through the work of his Holy Spirit.
This is why the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. It is allowing God to control what it is impossible for us to control. Complete surrender.
I assure you, as Paul assured the church at Corinth, that God intends for everything, including speaking in our prayer language, to be done decently and in order, and in 1 Corinthians 14, Paul makes a distinction between speaking in tongues in our personal prayer time and speaking in the corporate setting of the church.
Remember that water baptism after salvation? That was where we also surrendered to our pastor. In salvation, we acknowledge Jesus’ headship over us, in baptism we acknowledge our pastor’s stewardship over us, and at the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we acknowledge the Spirit’s guidance and protection over us. All things God gives us for our benefit are used decently and in order, for his glory, through our surrender to his higher authority.
Paul stated that he prays in tongues with his spirit, he sings in the spirit and gives God praise in the spirit (14:15). He said to the congregation, “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than any of you” (14:18), which meant that he spent much more time praying in tongues in private than he did in public. When you read chapter 14, you can make that distinction too. Paul wasn’t speaking against the gift of tongues, he was speaking against using the gifts of the Spirit to show off in the church.
Every person’s relationship with the Holy Spirit is unique, and the gift of a spiritual prayer language that he gives each one of us is unique also. I have a lovely and precious friend who is an opera singer, who sings harmonies straight from heaven in the Spirit. Our wonderful pastor speaks over us in the Spirit when we come to the altar for prayer.  I’ve known mighty evangelists whose voices boomed out prophecies in the Spirit that were then translated for the congregation, and I’ve heard the Holy Spirit speak in almost silent whispers to comfort someone’s soul that were so private that only God could understand.
It is God, our God, who said:
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
(Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV)
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a gift that God longs to give each of us. Our part is to simply pray and ask God to immerse us in his Spirit and help us to surrender to receive our prayer language. Sometimes we are sufficiently ready to receive this gift instantly, and sometimes God takes some time to prepare us to receive more of himself through his Spirit. Either way is perfect, and when we ask God for the gift of his Spirit, he will most definitely answer when the time is right, so just keep praying and praising in faith and you will be baptized.
After all, Jesus promised, “So if you sinful people 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 11:13 NLT).

Who is the Holy Spirit? – Part Seven: Pentecost, A New Language

On the day of Pentecost, three specific signs were manifested to the disciples, that signaled that something momentous had taken place.  The first was that everyone gathered in the upper room heard the sound of a mighty rushing wind that came from heaven (Acts 2:2); next divided tongues of fire appeared to and rested on the head of each disciple (2:3); and finally, each disciple became filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues “…as the Spirit gave them utterance” (2:3).
The first two signs, wind and fire, were manifestations of the presence of the Holy Spirit being sent to earth from heaven as Jesus promised:
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17 ESV).
The disciples heard the sound of the Spirit’s arrival, then they saw the manifestation of his presence as tongues of fire, then they felt the miracle of being filled with his presence, and then they allowed his indwelling presence to be made apparent to everyone through speaking in languages other than their own.
The feast of Pentecost, or Shavuot, is one of three festivals which required all Jewish men to make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem to offer a sacrifice to the Lord (Deuteronomy 16:16). Because the arrival of the Holy Spirit occurred on the day of Pentecost, Jewish men from “…every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:4b) were in the city and the gathered multitude heard the disciples speaking in other tongues and glorifying God:
 “And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?’…And all were perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’” (Acts 2:6-8,12 ESV)
Notice that the men gathered there asked how it was that each of them could hear the disciples speaking in his own language. It wasn’t that each of the disciples was speaking a different language, it was that whatever language the disciples were speaking was heard by each individual man in his native language. It would have been as if I heard them speaking in English, and the person standing next to me heard them in French, and the person next to us heard them speak in German, or Farsi, or Mandarin.
When Peter and the other disciples heard the men wondering about what they were witnessing, Peter stood up and delivered a sermon to the crowd, referring to the Old Testament and explaining that King David had prophesied the coming of the Messiah and the outpouring of the Spirit, saying:
“This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing” (Acts 2:32-33 ESV). He assured them that if they would repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, they would also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (2:36-38), and three thousand souls accepted salvation on that day (2:41).
It was the manifestation of the baptism of the Holy Spirit through the disciples speaking in unknown tongues, and the sermon preached through Paul, that was the proof of the miracle of God’s presence dwelling within the followers of Christ and the birth of the Church.
(Continued in Part 8)

Who is the Holy Spirit? – Part Six: Pentecost, the Holy Spirit and Fire.

“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4 ESV).
In Part Five of this series, we discovered that the Spirit of God is imparted by God as the Breath of Life, as when God breathed life into Adam, and Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into his disciples. And that before the crucifixion, Jesus had already described the Holy Spirit to Nicodemus as moving wherever he willed, like the wind.
In the verses above, Luke witnessed that as Jesus’ followers waited together in the upper room, suddenly they heard the sound of a mighty rushing wind, which actually filled the house. That Pentecost wind was a mighty breath of God from heaven, that breathed Life and Spirit into the Body of Christ and gave birth to the Church.
But what about the “tongues of fire” that alighted upon the disciples? What does that mean?
Before we talk about fire, let’s have a word about water.
Matthew chapter three begins by telling us that “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,
‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’
Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins” (Matthew 3:1-3, 5-6 ESV).
John was sent by God to prepare the way for Christ, baptizing the repentant with water.
But John himself tells us that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire:
““I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11 ESV).
At salvation, we receive God’s Holy Spirit to dwell within us, and we are baptized for repentance by the Blood of Christ; his Blood washes us clean of every sin. (Hebrews 9:11-15; 1 John 1:7)
After salvation, a minister of Christ baptizes us in water as a symbol of our death with Christ and rebirth into God’s kingdom, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19; Romans 6:3-5)
Then it becomes possible for Christ to baptize us in his Holy Spirit, to equip and empower us for witnessing, ministry and mission. (Acts 1 and 2)
Every person who is saved receives forgiveness of sins and God’s Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus appeared to his disciples in the upper room with the proof of his crucifixion and resurrection, and why he breathed on them to impart his Spirit as we discussed in Part 5. That is the first baptism, in the Blood of Christ, for salvation:
““On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness” (Zechariah 13:1 ESV).
The next baptism, in water, is the public proclamation of salvation, in the name of the Holy Trinity.
The last baptism is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, first demonstrated by the sound of the wind (the breath of God) and the tongues of fire, witnessed at the birth of the Church, at Pentecost. This is the baptism of which John said that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.
The only baptism that is absolutely required is the first baptism, with repentance, by the Blood of Jesus, for salvation. This baptism is experienced by all who sincerely call upon Christ for forgiveness and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Baptism in water does not impart salvation, but it follows salvation, as a proclamation of our salvation.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a gift from God, that empowers us with all the available attributes of the Holy Spirit to fulfill God’s purpose for each of us individually on earth, and as the Body of Christ and the Church.
As Jesus promised before his ascension:
“’…for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth’” (Acts 1:5b,8b ESV).
So we’ve talked about the Breath of Life and baptism in water, but what about fire? What does fire symbolize?
In Exodus 3:2, God spoke to Moses in the wilderness: “And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed” (ESV).
The “angel of the Lord” is another name for the Holy Spirit.
In Exodus 33:14 God promised Moses “…My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (ESV). And it was God’s presence, his Holy Spirit, who guided Israel out of bondage in Egypt. The Word of God says, “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night” (Exodus 13:21 ESV).
Hebrews 12:28-29 says, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (ESV).
God’s presence is often signified in scripture as fire, and the fire of God can be a consuming fire, as was called down from heaven by the prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:19-39); or a fire that burns but does not consume, as with the bush that God used to speak to Moses, or the tongues of fire that fell on the disciples at Pentecost. The fire of God is also a flame, burning in the darkness, that guides us and lights our way, as the pillar of fire led Israel through the wilderness. The fire of God is a manifestation of his Holy Spirit, and fire is one of his attributes.
The story of Pentecost is the birth of the Church and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, through the life-breath of God and the illuminating fire of his presence.
(Continued in Part 7)

Happy Father’s Day – 2019!

Our prayers, thanks and love are with all the fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers and spiritual mentors who give so much of themselves every day, on this Father’s Day.
“The righteous who walks in his integrity — blessed are his children after him!” (Proverbs 20:7 ESV).
And for those families whose fathers are not with them today, we ask a special blessing over you and your loved ones, as you celebrate and remember.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4 ESV). “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair” (Isaiah 61:3-4 NLT).
We pray that God will place his mighty protecting hand over those families whose fathers are serving in the armed forces, and as firefighters, law enforcement and EMTs. Thank you for your sacrifice and your courage. God be with you all.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:11-12 ESV).
May God, our heavenly Father, comfort all the fatherless on this day, and every day, with his loving presence.
“‘May the Lord bless you
    and protect you.
 May the Lord smile on you
    and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor
    and give you his peace” (Numbers 6:24-28 NLT).
Happy Father’s Day from all of us at Speak Comfort!

Who is the Holy Spirit? – Part Five: Pentecost, the Breath of Life.

“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4 ESV).
When Nicodemus came to Jesus in the middle of the night to ask the famous question, “How can a man be born again?” (John 3), Jesus explained that being born again is not a physical birth, but a spiritual re-birth. He said, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8 ESV).
So let’s take the time to explain this, and if necessary, we can add a Part 6 so we can cover everything. (And Hi, everybody! Thanks for following along in this series.  We love and appreciate you!)
In the beginning, God created Adam by first forming him and then by breathing his own breath into him: “Then the Lord God formed a man  from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7 NIV). Adam did not become a living being until God breathed life into him. Adam had a form but he did not yet have a spirit.
The Hebrew word used here for breath is nĕshamah, which means breath, soul, spirit and inspiration. If you were to stop breathing, and I were to breathe into your lungs to attempt to resuscitate you, I might be able to keep you around long enough for help to arrive, but I would not be able to breathe soul, spirit and inspiration into you. Only God can do that. The breath of God is the Breath of Life.
Now let’s look at something interesting that Jesus did with the apostles after his resurrection but before his ascension. Please note that this took place on the evening of Jesus’ resurrection, in the same upper room in Jerusalem where the Last Supper and the Day of Pentecost described above occurred.
“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:19-21 NIV).
In Part 1 of this series, we explained that when Jesus gives us his Holy Spirit, he is at the same time giving us his peace (John 14:27). Therefore, please note that Jesus made it a point to say to his disciples in the upper room before he breathed on them, “Peace be with you!” not once, but twice. First, I think, to reassure them before giving them the proof of his death on the cross by showing them his wounds; and then as a reminder of what he had said to them three days earlier. This time, Jesus breathed on them and endued them with his peace.
This was the first time that the Holy Spirit was imparted to believers, to remain with them forever. At this point, Jesus’ disciples, in the upper room, on the day of his resurrection, were given the proofs of the death of Christ by examining his wounds, and the proof that he had defeated death by rising again by appearing behind locked doors in the midst of his disciples. Once they believed and were filled with joy, Christ imparted his Spirit to them. In that moment, they were born again into the kingdom of God and received salvation. The Body of Christ had been resuscitated.
So why was it necessary for Jesus’ disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father after the ascension, if Jesus had already breathed his Holy Spirit into them? And what exactly happened on the Day of Pentecost?
We will answer those questions in Part 6!

 

 

Blue Letter Bible. "Neshamah". Blue Letter Bible. n.d. Web. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5397&t=ESV . 14 June, 2019.

Who is the Holy Spirit? – Part Four: The Ascension and the Promise.

Jesus was crucified on the day of the spring Feast of Passover, and three days later he appeared alive outside his empty tomb during the Feast of Unleavened Bread on the day of First Fruits.
After the resurrection, Jesus spent forty days with his disciples, giving them many demonstrations that he had indeed defeated death, and teaching them about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:1-3). As the apostle John wrote, “There are so many other things Jesus did. If they were all written down, each of them, one by one, I can’t imagine a world big enough to hold such a library of books” (21:25 MSG).
Luke, who was a gentile, a medical doctor and a follower of Jesus, authored the gospel of Luke and the book of the Acts of the apostles, which tells the story of the birth of the Church.
He wrote that he had chronicled “…all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen” (Acts 1:1b-2 ESV). Matthew wrote that Jesus had charged them to fulfill the Great Commission, instructing his followers to “…make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” (28:19b-20a ESV).
However, Jesus knew that even though he had commissioned his followers to carry the good news of the gospel of salvation to the ends of the earth, the group of men and women who had accompanied him during his earthly ministry were not yet ready to carry out their task.
He also knew, and had warned them, that he was leaving.
Before his departure Jesus instructed them to wait in Jerusalem. He said, “And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49 ESV).
Jesus told his disciples that he had a huge job for them to do, but that they shouldn’t start out on the project until they were fully equipped.
The promise that they were waiting to receive was the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5).
But before he could send his Spirit, Jesus had to return to the Father:
“He told them, ‘You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.’
 These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared—in white robes! They said, ‘You Galileans! —why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left’” (Acts 1:7-11 MSG).
After they recovered from the surprise of witnessing Jesus’ ascension into heaven, Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the zealot and Judas the son of James – along with Jesus’ mother, brothers and other disciples – men and women - totaling 120 persons, went to Jerusalem, returning to the upper room where Jesus had eaten the Last Supper with the twelve apostles; and “…all these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together…” (Acts 1:12-14 ESV), for ten days.
This timing is very important.
Remember that Jesus, our Passover Lamb, was crucified on the day of Passover. His substitutionary death for us on the cross is the fulfillment of the “type” in the book of Exodus of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. The remission of sin was represented by the unleavened bread that God instructed the Israelites to carry with them out of their bondage in Egypt (Exodus 10:21-50; John 1:29).
After the resurrection, Jesus remained with his followers for forty days. Four, forty and four hundred are numbers that carry specific meaning in scripture. For example:
On the fourth day of creation, God said, “…Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth” (Genesis 1:14b-15 ESV).
And Moses wrote that Noah’s family and all the animals “…went into the ark with Noah…And the Lord shut him in. The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth…and the ark floated on the face of the waters” (Genesis 7:15-17 ESV).
While Israel suffered in slavery in Egypt for four hundred years, waiting for their deliverer: “Now there arose a new king over Egypt who did not know Joseph…Therefore they set hard taskmasters over them…so they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves.” (Exodus 1:6-14 ESV).
These are types and shadows illustrating our need for Jesus as the Light of the World and our Kinsman Redeemer.
Jesus was crucified and died on Passover. He rose again as a fulfillment of First Fruits (Deut 26:2-4; 1 Cor. 15-20). He remained with his disciples for forty days. Before ascending to heaven, he instructed his followers to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father.
They waited for ten days, gathered together in one accord, praying in Jerusalem. Those ten days represent the ten plagues that God visited upon Egypt while Moses petitioned pharaoh to release Israel from slavery. The final, convincing plague that Almighty God brought upon Egypt was the death of their firstborn sons, as a type and shadow of the death of God’s only begotten Son on the cross of Calvary.
The disciples waited together in the upper room and they prayed, until the day of Pentecost had fully come…

(Continued in Part Five)

Who is the Holy Spirit? – Part Three: The Oil of Anointing.

Luke chapter 4 tells us that after his baptism in the Jordan river, Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, fasting forty days and nights and being tempted by the devil (v. 1-13). Afterward “…Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country” (v. 14).
When he came to Nazareth on the Sabbath day, he entered the synagogue and read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah:
““The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor”
(Luke 4:18-19; Isaiah 61:1a ESV).
 The Blue Letter Bible states that Jesus was anointed through the Holy Spirit in order to consecrate him to the Messianic office and endue him with the necessary powers for its administration. Notice that the presence of the Holy Spirit, the anointing for operation in the Holy Spirit, and the power to carry out the administration of the Holy Spirit occur at the same time: Presence = Anointing = Power.
In 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Paul wrote “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee”, using the same Greek word for anointing, chrio, that Jesus quoted from the book of Isaiah in the gospel of Luke, referring to himself and his ministry on earth.
Through the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in us, we are established in Christ, anointed for ministry, and sealed with the guarantee of our legal standing as children of God and co-inheritors with Jesus.
Therefore that same anointing that was demonstrated by Jesus is extended to us through his Holy Spirit, and we also are called to declare the good news of liberty to all those who are oppressed, herald the recovery of sight to the blind and to proclaim the wonderful grace of God’s favor.
In Jerusalem, in the upper room at the time of the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12 ESV), and just two verses later, he promised “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17 ESV).
Jesus promised that he would send the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. He assured us that because of the presence of his Spirit abiding within us, we would be endued with power to work and to witness for the glory of God, and to extend his ministry through time and space.
Because of the presence of the Spirit of God dwelling within the followers of Jesus, through the operation of the gifts of the Spirit, Jesus promised that his disciples would do even more works than he, himself, did.  Jesus’ ministry on earth lasted for approximately three years, but the Church, in Jesus’ name, has existed for approximately two thousand years, with the Holy Spirit working through billions of members of the Body of Christ.
The anointing that Jesus manifested through his Holy Spirit is the same anointing that we who believe in his name receive at salvation, and that we operate in today.
Just before Jesus made his second radical departure from the earth, Matthew recounts that he told his disciples, “…All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (v. 18b-20).
But before their mission could begin, Jesus instructed his disciples to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father to come upon them, so that they would be endued with power from on high.
He said, “…John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit, not many days from now…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses…to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:4-8 ESV).
“And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9 ESV)…….
(We will explore what happened next in Part Four.)

 

Blue Letter Bible [US]. “Lexicon : Strong's G5548 – chriō” Blue Letter Bible. n.d.  Web. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G5548&t=ESV . 6 May, 2019.

Who is the Holy Spirit? – Part Two: From Glory to Glory.

The Spirit of God is a transforming Spirit. John 8:36 says that if the Son of God sets us free, we will be free indeed; and Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (ESV).
In the presence of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit there is freedom – and this freedom is designed, by God the Father, to renovate us from mortal, material, earthly beings into the image of his Son, through his Holy Spirit:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17 ESV).
God’s Spirit is the Spirit of Freedom and Transformation.
Even though at the moment that we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we are washed clean from every sin and our standing with God is made perfect in him, our souls, our mortal bodies and even our immortal spirits cannot – as a unit – receive all of God’s glory all at once. The process of sanctification while we are on earth is gradual.
The Holy Spirit transforms us into the image of Christ, renewing our “inner man,” which is another way to say that the Holy Spirit is renewing our spirits and restoring our souls, day by day. The Holy Spirit is leading us on a straight path, from glory to glory, one day at a time. He is our Teacher and Guide. God’s Spirit is the Spirit of Sanctification.
"...the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life" (Romans 6:22b ESV).
Listen to Paul’s prayer for the church in his letter to the Ephesians:
“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ…” (1:16-20a ESV).
God gives us his Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation. His Spirit is the Spirit of Power and Might, who enlightens our hearts and minds so that we can grasp the hope to which we are called and the riches of our inheritance in Christ. The presence of God’s Holy Spirit in us brings us enlightenment, grace and peace through God’s transforming power.
The Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of Adoption, whom God sent to dwell in our hearts as the Spirit of his Son, teaching us to cry, “Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4:1-7).
God opens the storerooms of heaven to pour out his riches on his children and everything we need to fulfill our calling is brought to us directly from the throne room of our Father in heaven through and by his Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit is the Spirit of Blessing.
Just look what God has done to prove his love for us! Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”(ESV). Our Father has given us the life-blood of his Son, Jesus, so that through him we could be reconciled to the holiness of God once again; and he has given us his Spirit, through whom we are being transformed from glory to glory, back into his likeness as the Imago Dei the Image of God, as one Body and one Family forever and ever as heirs of Christ, according to his eternal promise.
"...because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Romans 5:5b ESV).
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Freedom, Transformation, Sanctification, Wisdom, Revelation and Blessing. He endues us with God’s power to witness. He comforts, guides and protects us. He is the Teacher who brings us the knowledge and understanding of the Word of God. His presence is healing, and he fills us with supernatural peace, hope and joy. He is the Spirit of Truth.
Romans 8:1;14 says, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (ESV).

Pray for America’s Heartland

Millions of people are affected by destruction and flooding following a massive tornado outbreak in the United States.
KTVQ.com in Billings, Montana reported that “On the heels of a week of deadly weather in the central United States, Tuesday threatens more of the same, including possible severe storms in the Plains, South, Midwest and Northeast; dangerous flooding in many states; and a suffocating heat wave in the Southeast.”
We lift everyone in the path of the devastation up to God in prayer as we trust in him.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.  
And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27 ESV).

 

CNN News. “Tornadoes and floods ravage nation’s heartland as deadly heat takes hold in the Southeast” KTVQ.com. May 28, 2019. Web. https://ktvq.com/news/trending/2019/05/28/2-suspected-tornadoes-strike-ohio-in-30-minutes-bringing-significant-damage-and-injuries 28 May, 2019.