For years, I wondered why the
book of Acts ended so abruptly - in mid-story, right as Paul was ministering in
the midst of Rome. After years of pondering this, the Lord
spoke to my spirit and said this book never really ended. The Lord shared with me
that this dispensation
of time began with the giving of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost
and continues today.
I came to understand that we as His people have only moved away from the
sanctification required of us by God in order for Him to be in our midst in the same way as He
was in the first century. What we do today is explain away
the lack of His manifest presence with false doctrine; instead of repenting before a Holy
God. Instead of drawing near to God (James 4:8) we hide from His presence
and call it being "under grace."
I Corinthians 13:9-10 says "For
we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when
that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be
done away." The expression "when
that which is perfect is come," is a rendering of the Greek phrase "to
teleion". The word "teleion" is a term which refers to Jesus Christ.
Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon, p. 618, defines the phrase "to teleion" as used
in I Corinthians 13:10: "The perfect state of all things, to be ushered in by
the return of Christ from heaven."
Some denominations (one of which
I grew up in and regard highly) believe that tongues was an "in part" gifting,
and when the bible was completed this "in part" gifting was set aside. The
same claim is made concerning apostolic / prophetic ministry. As
demonstrated within this website; a diagram on equipping shows that the
apostolic and the prophetic ministry that Jesus walked in were only two parts of
His overall equipping ministry.
The question to those who hold true to the doctrine of these "in part" giftings
passing away; the question to ask yourself is why are the "in part" equipping
ministries of evangelist, pastor, and teacher still in operation? May I
suggest that if you have an answer to this question; it is found outside the
pages of scripture, or it is a man-made doctrine super imposed over the plain
meaning of the text.
With this in mind; the baptism of the Holy Spirit is
such a divisive issue between believers that I believe there is no profit in
discussing the divergence of opinion concerning the "evidence" of
Spiritual baptism. Rather what matters is the sound doctrine brought forth
by God's word that hopefully leads to a greater degree of agreement between the Lord's people.
Ephesians 4:4-6 says "There
is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your
calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who
is above all, and through all, and in you all."
Since there is only "one Spirit " and
only "one baptism " the existence of two sides to
this issue only demonstrates that the 'divide and conquer' strategy of satan
is at work.
One Side believes emphasizing what
is written in Ephesians 1:13-14 "In
Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of
your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy
Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption
of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory."
This part of the camp believes they have been given an earnest or a pledge
concerning their salvation as evidenced by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is a correct interpretation.
The other part of the camp
believes they have been 'baptized' in the Spirit receiving several 'giftings'
that are considered 'charismatic or Pentecostal' in nature. This is also a
Why; if there is "one
Spirit", do we have this divergence of opinion? I am
convinced that while the first apostles experienced "one
baptism" into the Holy Spirit, they most certainly had two distinct
The first one happened in the
evening on the day of the Lord's resurrection. The bible records in John 20:19-23
"Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the
week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of
the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace
be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them
His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So
Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the
Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He
had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive
the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if
you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” This was the
disciples first encounter with the Holy Spirit.
The result of this first
encounter greatly affected their ability to comprehend God's word. In Luke 24:45 in
exactly the same setting where the Lord breathed on His disciples it is
recorded "And He opened their understanding, that they
might comprehend the Scriptures." This
is why a number of denominations are able to understand the scripture having
never been baptized by the Holy Spirit. They have encountered the Holy
Spirit at the point of salvation, and the Lord "opened
their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures."
In this first encounter with the Holy Spirit - Jesus breathed on them - the word
for spirit in Hebrew (Strong's concordance reference # H7307) is ruach
meaning - wind; by resemblance
breath, that is, a sensible (or even violent) exhalation. This was the
"sound from heaven, as of a
rushing mighty wind" the bible makes
reference to in Acts 2:2.
This second 'encounter' with the
Holy Spirit is a totally separate event. In Acts chapter 1 forty
days after (vs. 3) His resurrection, the disciples were gathered together with
Him on the mount called Olivet. He spoke to them in vs. 4 - 5 saying "not
to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,”
He said, “you have heard from
Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy
Spirit not many days from now.”
What was to be the result of this
second 'encounter' with the Holy Spirit? Jesus said in verse 8 "But
you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and
to the end of the earth.”
There are untold multitudes of
precious believers in mainstream denominational churches who DO have the
indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, they ARE able to understand Holy
Scripture, they ARE born again (PRAISE GOD).
In John the Baptist' ministry at
the river Jordan he said "I
indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after
me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He
you with the Holy Spirit and fire."
This reveals that there was a baptism by water, and a baptism of the Holy
Spirit by Jesus.
There are two additional scriptures
demonstrating that the baptism of the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with water
baptism. In fact they demonstrate that the baptism of the Holy Spirit can
happen before water baptism (Acts 10:44-48), or after water
baptism (Acts 19:1-6). In fact at this second reference there is a
difference made between John's water baptism, and water baptism in the name of
Jesus. Then immediately following baptism in Jesus' name "
the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with
tongues and prophesied."
It is my sincere hope that the
thoughts on this page have been helpful, as you examine questions concerning
what lies ahead for the body of Christ. What was written here was not expressed
in order to declare theological war on anyone, rather as we approach the end of
this age, we should all be willing to take a fresh look at what we in the past
have considered sound doctrine, this writer included.
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