Wow! I’m really enjoying the emails and feedback I’m getting from the previous post “Believers, What Exactly Holds Your Foundation?”. Here are my responses:
Question: Is the Spirit measurable?
Answer. Let me begin by asking, Is faith measurable? “I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith.” (Rom. 12: 3-6) The Bible warns one to not think of himself too highly but to understand that it is God who ALLOTS to each a MEASURE of faith. The Bible goes on to say that we each have different gifts NOT OF OURSELVES, but according to the “GRACE” that was given to us. Whoa! Time out. That word “GRACE” is the Greek word “Charis” which is where we get the term “Charismatic Gifts”, or “Gifts from the Spirit”What is the gauge for the use of this Spirit-given gift? What determines its measure of activity? Bible’s answer? It is to operate within the proportion of your faith! Faith is the governor of the Spirit’s activity. Faith determines the level (measure) of the Spirit’s activity. Jesus was LIMITED in doing miracles because of this principle. “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith.–Mk 6: 5-6
In the Bible we see that the Spirit’s measure of activity can be governed by the measure of a person’s faith. Be it unto you according to your faith. Spirit activity is measurable. Can you quench (suppress, stifle, lessen) the Spirit? If you couldn’t lessen the measure of the Spirit or its activity, then why would the Bible give us the warning in Thessalonians: “Quench not the Spirit”
The Bible declares that Jesus was filled with the Spirit without measure. For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him Why? Because there was no hindrance, sin, offense, or doubt within Him. Do you operate at that same level? Would you say that there is a difference of the measure of the Spirit’s activity in his life compared to ours?
Why does the Bible make the following statement when Stephen was about to get stoned? But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. WHAT? I thought Stephen was already filled with the Spirit? If he had already experienced the Holy Spirit, then why would the Bible point this out as if something was different? Let’s back up earlier in the story to Acts 6 and see what was happening: And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel. Another version says that Stephen’s face was shining bright like an angel! Do you think that perhaps Stephen was experiencing a little bit MORE of the Holy Spirit at that time? Do you think that he was experiencing, shall we say, a greater measure of the Spirit’s presence? Now be careful how you answer that! Your theology might say that you can never experience MORE, or even have another experience of being full again. If that’s the way you want to believe, then let it be according to your faith.
Question. Can you receive the Spirit more than once?
Answer: The Disciples received the Spirit at least three times.
Read carefully in John 20: Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” They received the Holy Spirit right then! It was powerful. What was the evidence? They now had power to forgive or to withhold. That’s some real spirit power! Also, before the experience at Pentecost it was the Spirit that enabled them to to experience the miracle of 120 people “in one accord” Can we understand the magnitude of that statement? This group had never been in “one accord”. Jealousies, differences, and bickering had been abundant. This was a big Before & After! Why were the 120 in “one accord”? Because they were reflecting the change that had come to their leaders! This change was brought about by the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Look at the way they were working and agreeing in Acts 1. This was not the same group. Brother, that was sheer evidence of the Spirit’s work! (It was this “one accord’ that led to the 2nd filling. ) Unity, love, fervent prayer are a work of the Spirit. Don’t tell me that the Spirit wasn’t working “in them”! As I said in my earlier post, This experience in John 20 wasn’t some “greasing the skids, preparatory, hope you get the Holy Ghost, smell my breath move”. The same Jesus who said, “Lazarus come forth” said right then and there “Receive the Holy Spirit”. If Jesus stood so close to me that I could smell Him and He (who had the Holy Spirit without measure) then breathed on me saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit”, I would definitely have the Holy Spirit! Some may say “Impossible! They couldn’t have received the Holy Spirit until Pentecost! And you can’t possibly have multiple fillings.” I would counter, “John the Baptist was filled with Holy Spirit before birth. “for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.” It does not say that the Holy Spirit was “upon” John, it says he was “filled with”. This was EVIDENCED by the fact that before he was born, he had the ability as a fetus to recognize the presence of Christ and leaped for joy (Lk 1:41-44) If you want to talk about impossibilities, then let’s talk about that! You may say, but the Day of Pentecost hadn’t happened yet, so they weren’t really filled. That’s like Martha telling Jesus that Lazarus wouldn’t be raised again until the Last Day. Before the Resurrection, Jesus was/is the Resurrection. Before Pentecost, Jesus was/is the Baptizer with the Holy Ghost and Fire. With God nothing is impossible.
Even though the promise of the Father was upon them, God had MORE in store for them…”And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”–Luke 24:49
(On the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:4 NASB) And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. Note: On this occasion they experienced a “rushing mighty wind”, and it came after they had gathered.
Because we are vessels of flesh that are broken, that leak, that sin, that grieve the Spirit, that quench the Spirit, that get filled with doubt, etc. we have need to be filled again. We are sealed, but our measure of the Spirit can run low for various reasons. The same disciples who received the Spirit in John 20 and Acts 2 were needing another fresh outpouring or baptism of the Spirit…
Acts 4:31 NASB (After Pentecost, Peter and the gang are together again after some confrontation with local agitators. They were feeling the need for more!) And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. Note: On this occasion they experienced a “shaking earthquake”, and it came after they had gathered.
Wow! Look at the boldened words I’ve highlighted in the second and third times. Now, read it again! Okay, one more time! How about that, 1) they are using the same exact phrase! 2) In both of these events they experienced either a rushing mighty wind or an earthquake. 3) It occurs when they have gathered. These are striking and undeniable similarities. This is another outpouring or baptism of the Spirit! Remember, this is the exact way the Holy Spirit chose for this to be written. Do you want to argue with the way the Holy Spirit chose to inspire the writer with all of the similarites and exact phrase? Do you think they got filled again? (Speaking in a Fred Sanford voice “Don’t be a dummy, Dummy! Of course they did!) Yes, they got filled again! He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Let’s count. 1-2-3 times. There are no accidental statements when the Holy Spirit writes.
Do you think the disciples may have experienced being filled with the Spirit anymore after that? Acts 13:52 And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Look at the second part of Ephesians 5:18, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit”. This is written in present verb tense indicating a requirement to do so on a continual basis. The ISV version points this out very well: “but keep on being filled with the Spirit.” Why would there be an actual command to stay filled or keep being filled if there was no risk of running low? Why give this command if a one-time event took care of everything? Why did they need an Acts 4 experience w/ earthquakes and filling if Acts 2 was all they ever needed? Why would you need an Acts 2 experience if you had already received the Spirit straight from Jesus Himself? Because God is a God of MORE who wants us to keep coming to Him and never depend upon our flesh…no matter how well-intentioned that flesh may be. Many believers have never experienced another baptism of the Spirit because they have never seen John 20, Acts 2, Acts4. They have been handed down the traditions of men that say “Once is all there is, and you can’t be further immersed in the Spirit. You can’t experience more.” Does that sound like God or does that sound like men? If there was no risk of “running low”, that would be like commanding a woman to keep being a female, or commanding a man to stay male. There would be no reason for a command.
A Baptism in the Spirit is a remarkable event as seen in the Scriptures. This isn’t just another refreshing, or chill-bump experience. The experiences that we’ve talked about were either breath-feeling”, wind-blowing, or earth-shaking experiences. In other passages they were events worthy of being recorded and easily remembered by those who have experienced it more than once. It is unmistakeable. There is no guessing or wondering.
Question: Did Jesus pray in tongues?
Answer: Jesus prayed perfectly. We, on the other hand, need the Spirit’s help…And his help can come in tongues, through our groans and tears, as we pray in singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and in our own language.
A PLEA TO CHARISMATICS AND NON-CHARISMATICS
Charismatics are wrong to say that if their brothers and sisters don’t pray in tongues, then they aren’t filled with the Spirit. Charismatics have focused so much on Acts 2 that they have ignored John 20. They didn’t speak in tongues in John 20 but they had power to forgive and the power to be in one accord. That’s love being manifested! Just because you don’t speak in tongues doesn’t mean that you don’t have the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist was filled from before birth, but there is no record of him speaking in tongues. Read 1 Cor. 12: 29-30. The term “Baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues” needs to be replaced with “Baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of love”…For thou I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but have not love... You cannot be saved apart from the Spirit (John 3:5). Let’s tear down the wall that some Charismatics have of thinking that their brothers & sisters have not received the Holy Spirit, and get back to the Spirit’s original intent of gathering us all together to “pray in one accord”. Repent from divisive teachings and embrace your family. Jesus’ last prayer was that we would be one.
Non-Charismatics are wrong to say that we can only have one experience of being filled with the Spirit. You need to seek and be filled again. The same people who received the Spirit in John 20 received more from the Spirit in Acts 2; But, they didn’t settle there. Later they recognized their need for even more from the Spirit; and they were given more. God desires us to seek Him for “more on a continual basis”, so that we may do His work. The outpouring of the Spirit again in Acts 4 is indicative of this. Let others lay hands on you. Don’t hinder your brother from exercising the Charisma gifts in the congregation. Ask him to abide by the order set forth in Corinthians. But don’t be fearful if you are not in the main assembly and he prays that way in a small group. God’s presence is often compared to water, streams, rivers. Everyone has a different experience when going to the river or lake. God’s presence is like going to a public lake. Some like to swim, some like to enjoy activities, some play their music loud, some splash in the water, some are laughing and having an exuberant experience while others lay quietly sunning in the sand. But they all get along and even though everyone is behaving differently, everything is still orderly. Why? Because they understand that this is a PUBLIC lake, and not their private pool party where they dictate the activity. Churches need to change their spiritual activity mindset from being private pools into public rivers/lakes where the stream of God’s presence is allowed to touch each one according to the grace that is given. The rules of orderly and decent are different when you change your mind from being at your private pool to a public lake.
I dare you to share this! LOL. Truth is, I have never felt more certain about the need for a message to be shared. If you believe in this message, if you believe that this helps to bring understanding, if you believe in Christ’s prayer for unity in the Body, then share this message via Facebook, email, whatever. This isn’t about me, this is about His message.
Defrosting Windows by defrostingwindows.wordpress.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.