New Wine for New Wineskins December 2017

By , December 2, 2017 9:40 am

iBelieveLogoSilver01iBelieve (Part 10)

John 3: 16

6 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

The Message

16 This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. 17 God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.

DST (Donnie Stewart Translation)

God loved all the lost and broken people in the world so unconditionally that at the very highest personal cost to himself he was willing to provide the only possible solution when he gave his only Son so that whoever believes in Him as the demonstration of God’s unconquerable benevolence and undefeatable goodwill can be restored to the true purpose of their lives and have all of their brokenness fixed.

Only believe.

Remember the “Practical Atheist” I mentioned previously? A practical atheist is someone who claims to believe in God and yet lives as though he doesn’t exist. They claim to believe in God and yet they ignore what his word says on how to live and so they fail to appropriate the fullness of God’s blessing and favour.

John 1: 12

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name

John 20: 21 – 22

21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”  22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit….”

When we are born again it is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit and we receive the gift of eternal life.  The Holy Spirit wraps himself with us. But Jesus also gave those disciples with whom the Holy Spirit had just wrapped himself further instructions.

Luke 24: 49

“Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Acts 1: 7 – 9

7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.  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.”

It’s Christmastime again, the time of giving of gifts as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the greatest gift ever given. When we are wrapping gifts for those of our own household or those who will be with us in our home on Christmas morning we aren’t usually too concerned with how strong or robust the wrapping is.  But if we are sending a gift via a carrier or the postal service we take a bit more time to ensure that the gift is well wrapped.  In fact, we usually wrap the gift in Christmas paper first of all and then double-wrap it in something stronger.

Jesus told the same disciples upon whom he had breathed and said to receive the Holy Spirit to wait until they were clothed with power from on high, to wait until they were double wrapped before he sent them out locally, regionally, cross-culturally, and internationally.

So stage one is the Holy Spirit wrapping himself with us, and stage two is the Holy Spirit wrapping us with himself as the Holy Spirit comes upon us. Why do we need to be double-wrapped?  Because we are being sent out into the world, and so we need an extra layer of protection.

Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and he was born filled with the Holy Spirit.  He didn’t have to be born again because he was born right the first time. The Holy Spirit wrapped himself with Jesus of Nazareth and for thirty years he lived a sinless life in a rural backwater where nobody really took a lot of notice of him, other than probably to comment on what a decent chap he was.  However, after thirty years of virtual obscurity, as he presented himself to John to be baptised, Jesus of Nazareth was wrapped with the Holy Spirit and everything changed. Jesus began to speak and act in supernatural ways that attracted the attention of everyone he came in contact with. He also began to openly speak of God as his Father.

At Pentecost the church was wrapped with the Holy Spirit, and everything changed.  The church was ready to be sent out locally, regionally, cross-culturally, and internationally.

Only believe.

As we go out wrapped in the Holy Spirit, people get to encounter him.

John 16: 8 – 11

8 And when He (the Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world (not the church) of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

As believers, the Holy Spirit doesn’t come to convict us – he comes to convict the world through us. The best way to make an unbeliever aware of his sin is for him to be around a believer.

Only believe.

That is  our function. Someone may have lived for years oblivious to the goodness of God but when we show up wrapped in the Holy Spirit, it’s Christmas all over again. Our testimony produces a conviction that they have been missing out on something, that there is something missing in their lives. Let’s take a look at how this worked for Jesus, because that’s how it can work for us.

Luke 5: 1 – 11

1 So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret,  2 and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets.  3 Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. 4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”  6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.  7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.  8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken;  10 and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”  11 So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

Jesus is preaching and then he brings a prophetic word of knowledge by the Holy Spirit and tells the fishermen to relaunch their boats and to let down their nets for a catch. These guys had just fished all night and caught nothing, but they act on the word and end up catching enough fish to almost sink two boats.

Please allow me to bless you with a very powerful revelation. Our heavenly Father is not anywhere near as super-spiritual as a lot of his children like to act. However, our Father is super-practical.  What do fishermen who have fished all night and caught nothing need?  Exactly what they got – a boatload of fish.

Acts 10: 38

God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

Jesus didn’t call the Holy Spirit the Helper for no reason. He comes to help, to bring supernatural assistance.

Our faith and the works that follow our faith and our testimony of God’s supernatural provision should be convicting unbelievers of how much they are missing out on God’s best for their lives. How can they believe if they never hear and how can they hear if we never tell them? We can choose to be “practical atheists” who never produce any conviction of sin that exposes the empty futility of people’s unbelief, or we can choose to be believers with all of the accompanying signs that point people to Jesus and to the Father.

Only believe.

Similarly, the best way to convict someone (to make them aware) of righteousness and what it really means to be righteous is to demonstrate and to live in the reality of what it means to be the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. We are wrapped in the Holy Spirit to show the world what it is like to have confidence with God and to live free from the destructiveness of sin and all of the guilt, shame, and baggage that accompany it.

Jesus spoke words to the Samaritan woman at the well that could have been the most hurtful for her. But this woman’s greatest need was to be set free from the reproach of her past failures and restored to her true destiny as a child of God.

1 John 3: 21 – 22

21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.  22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

If our heart doesn’t condemn us we have confidence toward God. We simply walk in love that activates, energises, and puts our faith to work. People should pick up on the level of intimacy and personal friendship we have with the LORD God Almighty.  To be righteous means that we have the freedom and right to stand in God’s presence without a sense of fear, guilt, shame or any other negative emotion. Do people know from our words and our actions that we know that we are God’s child and that he is our Father? Are we “practical atheists” when it comes to righteousness or are we believers?

Only believe.

The best way to convict people that the ruler of this world is judged is for them to encounter someone who no longer lives under their circumstances but lives as an overcomer. They need to meet someone who doesn’t yield to sin, sickness, or oppression but has a testimony of victory and dominion over everything that the illegitimate tyrant ruler of this world can throw at them. Are we “practical atheists” when it comes to living as an overcomer or are we believers?

Only believe.

We are no longer to live under the conviction of the Holy Spirit as those who are guilty but we are to be led by the Spirit as the righteous sons of God. We are here to be unashamedly pentecostal regardless of our denominational or non-denominational affiliation. We are here wrapped in the Holy Spirit to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit and bless people with his gifts. When people ask where the power comes from we tell them about the Holy Spirit who immediately introduces them to Jesus who will reconcile them with their heavenly Father who will then personally bless them with the gift of the Holy Spirit.

If we are born again the Holy Spirit has wrapped himself in us, but we are only fully equipped to be sent out locally, regionally, cross-culturally, and internationally when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, and we are wrapped with the Holy Spirit.

Only believe.

Luke 16: 14 – 20

14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.  15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  16 He who believes and is baptised will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.  17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;  18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.  20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

Have you received the gift of the Holy Spirit? What better time to receive than right now at this time of giving and receiving gifts so that we are all double-wrapped as we go out into the world to do good and bring healing to all who are oppressed by the devil.

Have a great and superabundantly blessed Holy Spirit wrapped Christmas season.

Only believe.

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