May 282012
 

Holy spirit 3There is a lot of misunderstanding surrounding the whole issue of being filled with the Holy Spirit. It is such a vital issue that I want to tackle it now. I believe being filled with the Holy Spirit can make such a difference in the life of the believer.

How is your Christian walk? Be honest. Are you walking in daily victory? Or are you struggling to pray, read your bible or witness? When was the last time you were filled with the Holy Spirit?

Some people believe that we receive all the Holy Spirit’s power we will ever need when we are saved. I do agree that it is only through the work of the Holy Spirit that we are saved, but I believe we also need to be regularly filled with Him. I love this quote from the great preacher Dr Martin Lloyd-Jones:

“There is nothing, I am convinced, that so ‘quenches’ the Spirit as the teaching which identifies the baptism of the Holy Ghost with regeneration. But it is a very commonly held teaching today, indeed it has been the popular view for many years. It is said that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is ‘non experimental’, that it happens to every one at regeneration. So we say, ‘Ah well, I am already baptized with the Spirit; it happened when I was born again, at my conversion; there is nothing for me to seek, I have got it all’. Got it all? Well, if you have ‘got it all’, I simply ask in the Name of God, why are you as you are? If you have ‘got it all’, why are you so unlike the Apostles, why are you so unlike the New Testament Christians?”

We can lose our edge far too quickly because as human beings our vessels are very ‘leaky’. Also it’s so important that we rely on the Holy Spirit for power and ministry in order to avoid complacency, and the temptation to think that within ourselves we have any ability or power to achieve anything.

The Holy Spirit, as you may well know, is a person, the third person of the trinity, God himself. He has inspired the bible and the bible reveals a lot about how God wants to bless, save and empower us as we join in with His mission.

As it is such a huge subject it is difficult to know where to start, but I believe there are a few key points that I want to highlight now.

The Holy Spirit has filled people throughout the bible, but in the Old Testament it was only for certain people at certain times. For instance the judges, such as Gideon and Samson, were anointed with power to deliver the people of Israel when they were being oppressed. But as God’s plan is revealed throughout scripture we can see that His ultimate intention is to fill every believer with the Holy Spirit. We get one of our first clues for God’s plan through numerous Old Testament prophecies:

The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the Lord. “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,” says the Lord (Isaiah 59:20-21).

“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved...”(Joel 2:28-32)

I hope you can now see that this promise is for you. As we continue to explore scripture let faith arise in your heart that this promise is for you; you are not excluded.

Jesus needed the Holy Spirit

This may come as a shock to some of you. You would assume that as Jesus was God he could operate from his own power, but the bible says that “he emptied himself” (Philippians 2:7). This is very important. Jesus voluntarily became ‘fully man’ setting aside his divinity and limiting himself to become entirely dependant upon the Holy Spirit. That is why we can do the same things that he did. Acts 10:38 says “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.”

What are the pre-requisites for receiving the Holy Spirit?

I want to look at one passage from the bible and take three points from it;

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. (John 7:37).

Are you thirsty? – As you have been reading this, have you had more of a thirst for the power of God’s spirit, and a dissatisfaction of how your life is at the moment? Good! Because you need to be in a place where you are earnestly seeking God, not just coming with the attitude of “yeah, why not? I might as well give it a go.” Jesus was very clear in Luke 11:5-13:

Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Also in Jeremiah 29:13 it says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” And Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

I hope you are beginning to get the idea that God wants to satisfy our desire for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. He is freely and readily available.

Come to Jesus

You must never forget that the gift comes from Jesus. Yes, someone else may be laying hands on you and praying for you, but it is the ascended Lord Jesus who gives this precious gift. We should not wait to be prayed for by a certain ‘anointed’ person or ministry. We go to Jesus. John the Baptist said about Jesus in Matthew 3:11 “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit from Jesus because he has been glorified. The first disciples had to wait for Jesus to be glorified, but now he is ascended we no longer have to wait. You can receive the Holy Spirit now!

Drink

Receiving the Holy Spirit is not complicated; we are thirsty, we come to Jesus and then we drink, or ‘receive’. We receive by faith. I hope by now that you can see from the scripture passages that this is for you, that God wants to give you His power and is able to do so. Just as Paul asks in Galatians 3:2, ‘Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?’ It’s a bit like going to a cash machine (ATM), knowing you’ve got plenty of money in the bank. You don’t wonder if you’re going to get any money out, in fact if you didn’t get money out you’d be having words with the bank manager!

Before I finish, I just want to include a few thoughts around this whole subject to help us:

  • Ephesians 5:18 says “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” The feeling of this is not a ‘once for all’ filling, but rather a ‘continuous’ filling. It also has the feeling of a command.
  • Be prepared to be changed when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. He will highlight sins and other things he wants to deal with, in order to make you holy. His mission is to glorify Jesus and He wants to do that in your life.
  • It is not necessarily an emotional experience, but you will know when you have been baptised!
  • Praying in tongues is a sign that you have been baptised. There is no evidence that I can see in scripture that it is a guaranteed experience for everyone. If you don’t speak in tongues this doesn’t mean you haven’t been baptised in the Holy Spirit. See 1 Corinthians 12:29-30
  • Don’t wait until you feel worthy, you never will be!!

I do hope this helps you. My own testimony is that I have received power for ministry and greater love for Jesus when I have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I know you will too.

Be filled!!

 May 28, 2012  Posted by at 10:20 pm Holy Spirit No Responses »
May 132012
 

This week I want to celebrate God’s gift of healing. We have seen quite a few people healed in our church recently and I think it is so important to celebrate what God has done to increase our faith and see even more miraculous things happen. My good friend Martin experienced a really significant healing in his life and he agreed to share it with you. Read on…..

Hello my name is Martin and I want to tell you about how God healed me a couple of weeks ago following years of pain. I am now pain free and can testify to what Jesus has done.

My background is in the building trade.  As with all manual work my back was being put through strain which, without realising it, was causing irreparable damage to my lower spine. Just over ten years ago I found out what the phrase “the straw that broke the camel’s back” really meant. I merely bent down to pick up my young son’s sock and my back simply disintegrated. I was in agony and unable to move. What followed were years of hospital and doctor visits and a prescription of numerous tablets and pain killers, which I have been taking ever since. I had to have pins put in my back to support it which caused immobility, pain and discomfort on a daily basis. I took so many pills every day that I should have been rattling like a child’s toy!  Although this cocktail of prescription drugs deadened the pain there were many other side effects causing further discomfort to my body.

A couple of weeks ago we had a visiting speaker come to our church who has seen many  successes as he has prayed for people, both  in church and on the streets, to receive healing in Jesus’ name. He asked all those with bad backs to raise both arms above their heads. This should have been something I would have struggled to do (and indeed haven’t been able to do since the problems started with my back) as the strain on my lower spine would have stopped me. However, I raised both my arms above my head and I felt something physically move in my back.  It felt better but I couldn’t tell fully whether the pain had gone until the effects of the regular pills I was taking had worn off.

That was nearly 3 weeks ago.  The supply of tablets that I should have started the next week is still sitting in the chemist waiting to be picked up!

I am in no doubt that God has healed me as the pain since that time has totally gone. These are early days but I am enjoying discovering what I can now do with my back without the expectation of pain. I am shortly going to go back to the doctor to have some tests, but even if nothing dramatic shows up on the x-ray, I know that I am now pain free.  I want to thank Jesus for what he has done in me through physical healing, and also in so many other areas of my life. I am a living testimony that Jesus still heals today and I hope that this testimony gives you encouragement and faith for your healing, or for those you know who are sick.

I will be adding this testimony to my ‘blessings’ page. Why not have a look and consider sharing the blessings God has done in your life. It doesn’t have to be a major healing; it may be just a scripture that God has blessed you with.

God bless   Adrian

 May 13, 2012  Posted by at 4:50 pm Healing No Responses »
May 062012
 

shoutingI was challenged in a meeting recently by the following question; “If somebody came up to you at the end of a church service and said they wanted to become a Christian, how would you talk them through the steps to salvation?” A fair question, and one that on the face of it you would think reasonably easy to answer. Could you respond to it straight off the bat? Or would you, like me, get a bit flustered? Do you know the relevant verses? Are you able to set it all out in an understandable way?

In 1 Peter 3 verse 15 it says “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

I have another question related to this: “What is the gospel?” You have probably heard the phrase “…I gave him the gospel” many times spoken by church members and those with an evangelistic gift. But how do you “give” someone the gospel?

It’s a good question to ask and certainly as the verse above reveals, something we should be ready to do at any time, so let’s look at it now. The Greek word “euangelion” is translated “gospel” in the New Testament and it simply means ‘good news.’ It is the good news that God has saved us by sending His son to take our place by dying and rising again, so that we can be reconciled to God. But that needs some explanation, especially if speaking to a person with no church background, as is becoming increasingly the case in today’s society.

I am now going to go through the main points that I think should be raised when presenting the gospel to somebody.

(1) God and man are separate.

  • It is clear from the bible that God is Holy. We can be so focussed on the fact that God is loving that we forget the other side of the coin, that He is Holy, He is ‘other’. We are created in His image but He is not like us. He is perfect. He is the creator, all knowing, all present, all powerful. Verses referring to this start in Genesis 1:1 and continue throughout the bible, such as; Exodus 15:11, Psalms (take your pick!), Isaiah 43:15, Jeremiah 10:10,  1 Timothy 1:17.
  • It is equally clear that Mankind is sinful. It started with the first man Adam and has affected every person ever since. It is in our nature. It is important to stress that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23, Romans 3:10-12, Romans 5:12).

The consequence of these two facts is that our sin separates us from God. The sentence is death (Romans 6:23) and without God intervening there would be no hope, which takes us to point two:

(2) God made a way to restore our relationship.

We could do nothing about this separation, so God stepped onto this planet in the form of His son Jesus Christ who is God (God has revealed himself in the bible as three persons in one). Because Jesus lived a perfect life he was able to take our punishment (death) for us (John 3:16,  2 Corinthians 5:21). He did this by voluntarily dying on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins (1 Peter 2:24, Isaiah 53:4-5) and coming back to life three days later to demonstrate His victory (1 Corinthians 15:17-18, 1 Peter 1:3, Romans 6:4,  1 Corinthians 6:14). We could not earn this. He did this freely by His grace (Ephesians 2:8-9, 2 Timothy 1:9).

(3) We can now believe in Him and be saved

We are saved through faith when we repent of our sins and trust that what Jesus has done saves us (Romans 10:9, John 11:25-26, John 3:36). We are now at peace with God and in a relationship with Him. Our sins (past, present and future) have been dealt with, we can start a new life and Jesus has promised us he will never leave us or forsake us. No wonder it is called ‘Good News’!!

I would just like to make a couple of points for consideration when we are presenting this gospel:

  • It is important to stress that they are coming to Jesus, not just because they want their sins forgiven. They are entering into a relationship with Him. When they accept this free gift, they are understanding that Jesus is now Lord of their lives and they are following Him.
  • I’ve mentioned it before and I will mention it again now, (and no doubt on many more occasions due to the fact that in our humanity we feel we must somehow contribute to God’s work of salvation): but it’s ONLY BY GRACE. We cannot earn it, we certainly don’t deserve it, it’s a free gift. FREE! FREE! FREE! (Repeat this to yourself endlessly until death!!).
  • We are not on our own; we actually couldn’t live this life on our own. We need the Holy Spirit to empower us. In a later blog we will discuss how you can pray for somebody to receive the Holy Spirit, (but actually what better time is there than as soon as they enter their new life?! Start as you mean to go on!).

I would really encourage you to learn these three simple steps, or indeed any other way you find comfortable: You may want to use the ‘Bridge to Life’ model or something similar, or copy the way in which the gospel was presented to you (it obviously works!). I would also make it a commitment to memorise the passages of scripture mentioned above – there is nothing more powerful than quoting scripture as it is the power of God.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. (Romans 1:16)

Please feel free to make any comments on this subject. I really hope it helps you to think how you can more effectively share your faith. Don’t forget that God is with you and will be with you as you step out. Let me know of your successes.

Speak soon

Ade

 May 6, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
May 032012
 

There are so many blogs on the internet, some good, some not so. Whenever I find a good one that’s worth sharing I will share it with you, my reader. This one comes from UCB a Christian media ministry who send out a word for today each day. This was one that Liz and I liked and found helpful from April 4th. I hope you enjoy it Continue reading »

 May 3, 2012  Posted by at 6:42 pm Temptation 1 Response »