|A ministry with end-time focus and dimensions. . .|
|Copyright Alpha and Omega Ministries 2010|
| THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
It is amazing that professed Christians ignore the clear and explicit teaching of Jesus regarding the “Promise of the Father”, the Holy Spirit. So many in the Body of Christ really ignore that teaching as well as the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Church today. The terrible result of all this is the failure to be fully New Testament Church. At the worst, it could be called what Paul termed, preaching “another Gospel”. (2Corinthians 11:3-4)
Preaching the Gospel and leading people to salvation is essential to New Testament Church. But to stop there and fail to believe in the ministry and the full range of manifestations of the Holy Spirit for all ages of the Church, and the experience of the Lord confirming the Word preached with signs following, is to deny the essential witness of the New Testament Church that this world is desperate to see.
Some even teach from the Acts of the Apostles and never mention the mighty manifestations of the Holy Spirit (miracles, signs and wonders). Nowhere in the Bible is there word that these were just for the first century Christian Church. The reason for this rejection of any intention of the Lord that the Spirit would continue to manifest the gifts of Jesus through a believing Church and throughout the ages is too many Christians are caught in denominational theology that too often brings them into disobedience to the Word and sometimes without even realizing it. Many Christians who profess to believe in the full ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Church today, actually and practically do not see signs and wonders, miracles, because of religious formalism and unbelief.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit, as a movement of the Holy Spirit in the believer subsequent to the personal experience of salvation, has clear foundation in the scriptures. What we believe should have solid foundation in the Word of God, and should be verifiable in that Word.
Jesus prophesied that the Holy Spirit would dwell in one who would believe in Him (Jesus) as “rivers of living water”. At that time, the Spirit “was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (that is, risen form the dead with a glorified body) (John 7:39) The Holy Spirit of truth would “abide” with the believer and the Church “forever” The Comforter will “teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26) H e would also “testify” of Jesus. (John 15:26) He would reprove the world of sin, and righteousness, and of judgment as believers would preach and teach the Word of God. “The Spirit of truth” would guide the Church into all truth and show it things to come, glorifying Jesus as He receives from Him and shows it unto Jesus’ disciples. (John 16:8;13-14)
Jesus instructed His disciples as He met with them for forty days after His resurrection. As well as being vessels of truth, the believer/the Church would receive “the promise of the Father”. Because the Church is called to be witnesses of the fact that Jesus died and rose again, they would need “power from on high” to do this. “I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued (clothed) with power from on high. (Luke 24: 46-49)
Just before Jesus ascended to the Father, He spoke of the soon coming of the Holy Spirit as a “baptism” - “ …ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.” (Acts 1:5) Why this subsequent movement of the Holy Spirit in the believer? Because every believer is called to be a witness to Jesus. “…ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
In a matter of ten days after Jesus prophesied this and ascended to the Father, “when the day of Pentecost was fully come”, and some 120 disciples were gathered together, suddenly and as a rushing mighty wind filling the house where they were, “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4)
Jesus was endued with power as the Holy Spirit was upon Him to do the work of the Father. In the synagogue of Nazareth He declared, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18)
Jesus did the work of the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit, and before His death, resurrection and ascension, He told His disciples, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14:12) The works Jesus did are clearly described in the four Gospel accounts: He preached the good News to the poor, he healed the sick, cast out demons – miracles of all kinds. Here in John 14:12, He is clearly telling His disciples that they would do such works as witnesses of the act that He would be with them. “These signs shall follow them that believe…” (Mark 16:17) Signs, works of Jesus, should be manifest in and through a believing Church of Jesus Christ for all ages!
Jesus had trained His disciples on the job to go forth. “And as ye go, preach saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons; freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-8) There is no way that Jesus’ commission was just for the early Church witness, but for the whole time of the Church on earth until He returns. It would be essential to His Church’s mission to do the very works that He did.
As believers in the Church of Jesus Christ, we are to be in this world as Jesus was. “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” (1 John 2:6) “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17) And that includes doing His works! Failure to understand this, in all its full import, the Church would not be Church in this world as Jesus instructed and commissioned it to be.
Paul’s instruction to the Church at Corinth on the diversities of the gifts that the Holy Spirit distributes to the Church was clearly intended for the Church’s mission throughout history until Jesus’ return. (1 Corinthians 12: 1-13) To teach otherwise is simply a fabrication of man’s theology.
The sad fact of history is the mission of the Body of Christ has been greatly sabotaged by man’s theologies that have restricted the Church in its powerful mission in the world: doing the works of Jesus as the Holy Spirit endued it with power from on high to show the presence of the Lord and that Jesus is alive and with his Church unto the end of the age.
The saying, “The closer you get to the beginning of something, the closer you get to the truth”, bears remembering here. From the day of Pentecost, the disciples “went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word with signs following.” (Mark 16:20) And it was so! “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; …and they were healed every one.” (Acts 5:12-16)
It has been a great deception from Satan perpetrated on believers in Jesus who have come under teaching and theologies that do not harmonize the scriptures and take them as they are. Some have taught so aggressively as to come too close to blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Error, with terrible consequences: the rendering of whole segments of the Church of Jesus impotent. Jesus’ Church is to be a powerful witness through which the Holy Spirit would manifest the power of the glorious Lord and Savior in the world.
It is for the Church to humbly acknowledge these things, and that it is woefully powerless in contradiction to the powerful Church Jesus commissioned, because
it has allowed man’s theologies to contradict the full Word of God. It is time for repentance for the pride and ignorance, and a whole-hearted pursuit of a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit for a restoration of the Church. Let it be!
How To Receive The Holy Spirit