New Wine for New Wineskins January 2014

By , January 1, 2014 2:05 am

reallifeinjesusReal Life (Part 2)

Filled With And Baptised In The Holy Spirit


Matthew 1: 23

23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Isaiah 9: 6 – 7

6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end

In the first part of this 3-part series we saw how the greatest move of God that the world has ever known began and how it is supposed to continue.   We recognised that if we are going to experience REAL LIFE as God intended it then the first thing we need to understand is that WE MUST BE BORN OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

When Jesus was born into the world the word became a man and revealed to us the real life that God intends for each of us to live.  Jesus said that in order to experience this brand new quality and quantity of life we must be born again – or born from above just like him!

We saw that the first thirty years of Jesus’ life were a time of preparation for the ministry that he had come to fulfil. 

We tend to use terms like “Spirit-filled” to describe believers who have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit as a second experience of the Holy Spirit subsequent to salvation, but really that is not an accurate term for Holy Spirit baptism and can cause confusion and even unnecessary division in the church.  Jesus was born from above filled with the Holy Spirit and because he never sinned he maintained that fullness, and so he retained that fullness and remained full of the Holy Spirit every single day of his life.  When we were born again from above we were born of the Spirit and filled with the Holy Spirit and have the potential to remain Spirit-filled.  However, it is an established fact that you can only be filled with one thing at a time.  You can have a mixture of substances but if you are filled with something then it has to be the only thing that you contain.  And so, the more we continue to empty ourselves of our own desires, plans, and agendas the more room we make for the Holy Spirit.

There have been and still are many of God’s people who have truly been worthy of the title “Spirit-filled” and yet they have never laid hands on a sick person and seen them healed, never seen blind eyes opened, or deaf ears unstopped, or the dead raised, or a demon cast out, or any other supernatural and miraculous manifestation of God’s power in relation to healing those who are oppressed of the devil.  And so, even though it is obvious to all that these “Spirit-filled” people display much of the character of Jesus and their lives are laden with the fruit of the Holy Spirit they still lack the supernatural dimension of Jesus’ ministry.

This should not be a surprise to us!  It was exactly the same for Jesus himself!  Although he was filled with the Holy Spirit from his birth he did nothing miraculous or supernatural until the Holy Spirit came upon him at his baptism.  He lived a completely sinless Spirit-filled life in his family and his community and yet he made very little impact on them, and in fact it is almost as though they didn’t really notice.  I am sure the majority of those he lived amongst would have acknowledged that he was a ‘nice’ guy and that he never had a bad word to say about anybody, and that you could always depend on him, and that he always had something positive to say, etc, etc., just like most folks say about the Spirit-filled people they know.   But for these first thirty years Jesus did no supernatural works.  In the same way today there are Spirit-filled people all over the world who live an exemplary life before their peers but the supernatural power of God is never manifested in and through them.

So how do we move into the supernatural dimension of a Holy Spirit-empowered life where we do the same works that Jesus did?

Genesis 2: 7

7 Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath or spirit of life, and man became a living being.

God breathed the breath or spirit of life into man and he became a living being.  Tragically, this dimension of spirit-life was lost when man sinned.  However, Jesus went to the Cross on behalf of fallen man in order to reconcile and restore us to this life!  Jesus said that he came that we might have life – REAL LIFE – as God intended it from the beginning!

After his resurrection and before his ascension Jesus met with his disciples and breathed the breath or spirit of life into them and they were born of the Spirit!  Born from above!

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.”

Romans 8: 1 – 2

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

The law of the Spirit of life!  What did God breathe into man?  The spirit of life!  We have been restored to the God-kind of life!  That is why Jesus said we need to have the God-kind of faith!  The God-kind of life is enjoyed by those who have the God-kind of faith!

Jesus said that he had come to give fullness of life and so these guys didn’t just receive the Holy Spirit – they were filled with the Holy Spirit!  But this was just the beginning!  Listen!

Luke 24: 44 – 49

44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise[h] from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

When you are born of the Spirit his life is in you but before we can continue his ministry and do the same supernatural works that he did his Spirit must come upon us.

At the appointed time Jesus presented himself to John the Baptist to be baptised.  At this time Jesus – who had been born of the Holy Spirit – and who was already filled with the Holy Spirit had the Holy Spirit come upon him and empower him for the work of the ministry. 

Acts 10: 38

38 how 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.

John 14: 12 – 18

12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. 15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”

I want to try and help us understand the reason for the unfortunate and unnecessary division that has occurred in the church simply because we have misunderstood God’s plan, purpose and provision for us.

Acts 1: 4 – 8

4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 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.”

We need to understand that Scripture says that John the Baptist was also filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb.  But his ministry was a call to repentance and preparation for the One who was coming after him – Jesus!

This should help explain to us why there have been and still are so many “Spirit-filled” ministries that have brought multitudes to repentance and yet these ministries have not been accompanied by the supernatural works that were present in Jesus’ ministry and which he said would also follow us!

The baptism in the Holy Spirit is always a second experience of the Holy Spirit!  It doesn’t necessarily make you a better Christian or improve your character – in fact, problems have arisen when some who have not remained “Spirit-filled” have continued to minister in the power of Spirit baptism, and so even although their ministry has produced spectacular results they have fallen into sin and brought reproach upon the church and especially upon the dynamic ministry of the Holy Spirit!  However, the truth is that the baptism in the Holy Spirit does make you a more effective minister because it releases you into a Jesus ministry – ministry in a new dimension – ministry at the same level as Jesus!

We must understand that God has a two-fold plan for us in relation to the Holy Spirit!

His life in us and his power on us!  His character in us and his charisma on us!  His love and compassion in us and power on us to enable us to do something about it!

Remember – God’s purpose is to conform us to the image of his Son! (Romans 8: 28 – 30) God wants his character formed in us, and his character is love because he is love!  We sing the song, “More love, more power, more of you in my life…”  That about sums it up!  Romans 5 tells us that the love of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit!  When we are filled with the Holy Spirit we are full of God’s love, and our faith is put to work by that love!

Remember – John the Baptist announced that although he was baptising people in water as a sign of their repentance there was One who was coming after him – Jesus – who would baptise them in the Holy Spirit!

Jesus said that we must be baptised in the Holy Spirit if we are going to continue his supernatural ministry!  He didn’t say that we would make brave attempts to do the same works that he did and end up failing miserably most of the time.  He said that we would do the same works, and just in case we thought they would be lesser works, he added the tag line that we would in fact do greater works! 

In the Upper Room at Jerusalem I believe the time between the disciples entering that place and their sudden and dramatic exit under the power of the Holy Spirit was a time of accelerated revelation of their sanctification and of their set-apartness.  Jesus had told them that they were already clean through the word that he had spoken to them, but they knew that they needed more than what they had if they were going to fulfill the commission given to them by Jesus in the way that he had modeled it for them!

All they had was a word – a promise – but they refused to be moved from that word and so just like Jesus in his wilderness temptation they entered the Upper Room full of the Holy Spirit and came out in the power of the Spirit.

The level of spiritual authority and accompanying power that we walk in will always correspond with the level of faith and obedience we place in the word that God has spoken.  All that we asked to do is simply believe.  God said it, I believe it, that settles it! 

Jesus’ life showed us what happens when the word of God becomes flesh in us and is empowered by the Holy Spirit.  When we are born again – born from above – we are raised up to a new level where we are no longer to live by what our flesh sees, but where we begin to live by faith and what God says! 

God’s word clearly says that the gospel we are called and commissioned to preach is the gospel of the Kingdom and that it always includes the supernatural provision of healing for the sick, cleansing for the lepers, resurrection for the dead, and deliverance for the possessed and oppressed!  He also tells us that we cannot be accurate witnesses to him as King in his kingdom without this supernatural authority that comes when we are baptised in the Holy Spirit.  We can be powerful Spirit-filled orators and preachers and bring people to repentance just like John the Baptist, or like Apollos, but we cannot establish people in the fullness of the kingdom blessings that belong to them as new creations in Christ Jesus, and we cannot equip them with the power to freely give what they have freely received unless we introduce them to this new dimension of spirit life that results from the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon us!

Because Jesus categorically stated that we would do the same works that he did we have set about trying to emulate these works which has too often ended in frustration as we have failed to accomplish what we set out to do.

Maybe that is because we forgot something else that he said that gives us a clearer insight into that will happen with guaranteed success.

John 14: 10

10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.

Jesus was saying that the Father would do the same works through us that he did through him.

Remember what it says in Acts 10: 38 – how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power and how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil because God was with him doing the works.

At the end of Mark 16 we are told that the disciples went out and preached everywhere and that the Lord was working with them and confirming the word with the accompanying signs.  The disciples were responsible to preach the word (that obviously offered salvation, healing and deliverance, etc) and the Lord took responsibility for the confirmation of the word that they preached.

All we are responsible for is the preaching of a full gospel message that invites people to experience the full provision of God’s kingdom, and God himself is responsible to ensure that the anointing that is upon us is sufficient to accomplish the works promised in the word.

If we are going to experience REAL LIFE as God intends – where the government of Jesus Christ exposes and displaces the bogus control of the powers of darkness – then we must be born of the Holy Spirit, filled with the Holy Spirit, and baptised in the Holy Spirit!

Next time – We must be led by the Holy Spirit!

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