SermonsDiscover the Joy of Leaving Laodicea Behind
The baptism of, or with, the Holy Spirit is defined as:
“The Baptism of, or with, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God coming upon the Believer, taking possession of his faculties, imparting to him gifts not naturally his own, but which qualify him for the service to which God has called him.”
But this just raises more questions for us to ponder. For example:
What does it mean to be baptized in the Holy Spirit?
Is it a command from God?
Is it something we should actively seek?
What does it look like?
How is it obtained?
And is it even Biblical?
Want to know more? Then keep listening as we discover the truth about this controversial subject.
Twice in Scripture we are commanded to “pray in the Spirit.” We see this first in Ephesians 6:18 and again in Jude 1:20. We are not told to pray “with” the Spirit or “to” the Spirit, but pray “in” the Spirit.
Have you ever wondered what that means? Is it praying in tongues as Paul referenced in 1 Corinthians 14:15? No. That’s something entirely different.
Is it something that I do or is it something the Holy Spirit does through me? Where does my responsibility end and His activity begin? What is the essence of “praying in the Spirit”? Am I praying for what I want or is the Spirit praying through me according to the will of the Father? And if that’s the case, what’s the content of that prayer? Am I an active participant in my prayer life? Or do I just kick back and let the Spirit take over? And again, if so, to what extent?
Ah, so many questions. Do you want to know the answers? Good. Then keep listening.
Ever since the resurgence of the charismatic movement in the last century, there has been incredible controversy in church on the issue of spiritual gifts, especially the gift of speaking in tongues (1 Cor. 10:8). One faction believes it is a sign of a deeper relationship with the Lord that everyone should seek but only few find. You hear this when statements like this are made: “You must receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit as evidenced by speaking in tongues.”
Then there is the other side that throws all the uncomfortable gifts of the Spirit out the window for fear of being called strange, loopy or out of control. And these camps are entrenched, like opposing armies set for war.
But what is the truth? And how can we know from Scripture which side is right?
Simply put, the answer to this great controversy is found in the singular and plural use of the Greek word “glṓssa” – and nothing more. When you get this definition under your belt, the entire controversy vanishes into thin air, like a man-made mirage.
When we look at the gifts given us by the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12, we are drawn to the fact that some of these gifts are verbal (word of wisdom and knowledge, prophecy, discerning of spirits, different kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues) and some are non-verbal (faith, gifts of healings, working of miracles). And within the verbal gifts, we find certain pair that are closely associated with each other. For example, we have the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge. Then those who possess the gift of tongues and those who are gifted to interpret tongues. And the gift of prophecy and those who are able to discern the spirit behind the prophecy. It seems one gift is closely related to another.
But a more careful study will show that two of these gifts are directly related to one another, they’re literally different sides of the same coin. “What two gifts?” you ask. Prophecy and tongues. “How can that be?” Keep listening to find out more.
Have you ever wondered why we don’t see the healings and miracles today like they did in the times of the New Testament? Has it left you longing for what obviously the early church had that we, somehow, seem to have lost? Or could it be something else?
We have listened to a litany of theologians try to sell us on the fact that God doesn’t do the cool stuff anymore because we have the completed New Testament in our hands. Or He only did the stuff back then to authenticate the apostles’ preaching and, for some strange reason, our preaching today doesn’t need authenticating. Really? Could’ve fooled me.
But what if the Bible truly means what it says? What if God still does today what He proudly and publicly did back then? What if miracles really happen today, but they are just hiding from us, waiting for us to seek them out? What if the difference between the church in 2017 and the church in the book of Acts is not the way God moves, but the way we believe? What if things could be different?
Are you interested in finding out where miracles hide? Good. Then keep listening.
When we have the desire to know more about the gifts given each of us by the Holy Spirit, and our responsibility in exercising those gifts, we are faced with a couple of questions. Especially when we see that the purpose of those gifts is to give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to manifest or express Himself to others. Consider the following:
1 Corinthians 12:7 – But the manifestation (expression) of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.
How does the Holy Spirit manifest or express Himself in the world today?
Does the Holy Spirit give His gifts to everyone that belongs to Christ?
Does that include you?
What gift or gifts has He given you?
And why did He give you His gifts?
So He could express Himself to others through each of us.
Do you realize the reason the Holy Spirit gives us His gifts is to manifest Himself to others through us? Let that sink in for a moment.
Many of us make resolutions this time of year. It just seems natural. Maybe we want to lose weight, get out of debt, or finish a long neglected project around the house. But as a Christian, we want to somehow make our resolutions more spiritual. That also seems natural. So we often resolve something like this:
“I want to read my Bible more.”
“I want to pray more.”
“I want to share my faith more.”
“I want to love more, forgive more, worship more.”
“I want to live more like a Christian.”
“I want to know more of God and have myself conformed to the image of His Son.”
But the key to discovering the “abundant life” (John 10:10) Jesus spoke about is not in keeping resolutions, no matter how good they may be. It’s living a life of holiness. It’s practicing sanctification. It’s being set apart or consecrated unto God. After all, we belong to Him.
But sanctification never takes place unless we first understand the way God’s if / then promises work. The promise comes after the condition. The then follows the if. Consider the following:
When we read the reason God gave each of us spiritual gifts, we find they are an expression or representation of the Holy Spirit to a lost world in dire need of Him. Think about it, the Holy Spirit lives in each of us as a deposit or guarantee of our future inheritance in Him (Eph. 1:14). In essence, no Holy Spirit, no salvation. And because the Holy Spirit now lives in each of us, He also graciously gives us certain gifts that come from Him. Some of these gifts we readily embrace. Others we feel less than excited about. But regardless of our personal feelings about what the Holy Spirit has blessed us with, we are given these gifts for the benefit of others. They are to be used for others as a clear expression of Him who now lives in us.
Consider the following:
1 Corinthians 12:7 – But the manifestation (expression, to make visible or observable) of the Spirit (Holy Spirit) is given (to bestow, to give freely of one’s own accord and with goodwill) to each one (to each and every one separately and individually) for the profit (benefit, advantage, usefulness, help, to bring together for the benefit of another) of all.
Does this also apply to the “gifts of healings” and the “working of miracles” in the verses that follow? What about tongues and the interpretation of tongues? How about the gift of discerning of spirits? Now it gets a little squirrely, doesn’t it? Do you have questions about these gifts? Are you wondering how your experience lines up with the Scriptural teaching about spiritual gifts? Do you feel confused and somewhat in the dark when it comes to these controversial gifts? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most of the church feels the same way. Want some answers? Then keep listening.
When we think of the cost of Christmas, most of us think about how much it is going to cost us and how long before we pay our credit cards off. But that’s the horizontal cost. The cost of presents that feel good for the moment but have very little lasting value.
There’s also a vertical cost to Christmas. And that cost was paid by the Son of God who “emptied Himself and took on the form of a slave” (Phi.2:7), the lowest of men.
What did Christmas cost Jesus? You’d be shocked, surprised and humbled to know. He exchanged the praise and adoration of angels for the spittle of men.
In 1 Corinthians 12:9, in the beginning of the second group of spiritual gifts, it says one of the gifts is faith.
“To another faith by the same Spirit” – 1 Corinthians 12:9a.
But what kind of faith are we talking about? Is this saving faith? The faith God gives to those chosen by Him from the foundation of the world? (Eph. 1:4). Or is it something else? And, if so, what exactly is this kind of faith?
Is it faith like Abraham had when he left his home to travel to a land the Lord would show him? (Gen. 12:1). Is it faith like Moses had when he approached Pharaoh with a staff and a simple message from the Lord, “Let My people go!”? (Ex. 8:1). Or is it faith like Peter had when he asked Jesus to let Him step out of the boat and walk on water to Him? (Matt. 14:28). Or again, is it something else?
And is this faith really a gift from God to reveal the Holy Spirit to others like the Scriptures say? (1 Cor. 12:7). Could this gift be for you and me today? Or was this gift only given to others who lived long ago in a land far, far away?
So many questions. Do you want some answers? Then keep listening.