Saturday, March 22, 2014

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In this blog, I provide training and instruction on Who the Holy Spirit is, why we need Him, and how to receive Him, as well as His holy fire.  You will learn about the new wine, the biblical basis for the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the role of the triune Godhead in drawing people to Himself, and the supernatural power available for all disciples.  I also discuss the importance of correctly discerning the things of the spirit and testing the spirits.

As the Scripture says:

"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. "For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. "Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? "Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" (Luk 11:9-13)

The Person of the Holy Spirit Baptized with the Spirit Holy Fire Baptism
Gifts and Fruit of the Spirit: What's the Difference? Supernatural Power for All Disciples Discerning the Things of the Spirit
The New Wine Testing the Spirits of False Prophets The Holy Trinity
The Role of the Trinity in Drawing People to God The Bodily Form of the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit Speaks
The Spirit without Limit  The Laying on of Hands International Impact of Pentecost
Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit False Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit


Please read Opportunities to Serve the Body of Christ.  You may also access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.

Image credit: "Receiving the Spirit" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist. 

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Him.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.


Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He has been based in Eastern Europe, helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. He is currently on furlough, off the field, praying and seeking the Lord's guidance regarding where to be, and for the provision to fulfill the mission. www.dmiworld.org.

Preparing the Way Radio

In December 2013, we established a new radio program called Preparing the Way, which is a worldwide radio broadcast via the Internet dedicated to preparing the way for the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ in repentance, preaching holiness, righteous, and truth.

Scriptural Basis
As the Scripture says:

"A voice is calling, 'Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley; Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.'" (Isa 40:3-5)

“And all flesh will see the salvation of God.'" (Luk 3:6)

"Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news, Lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news; Lift it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, 'Here is your God!' Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might, With His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him And His recompense before Him."  (Isa 40:9-10)

“Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations.  The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: ‘Say to Daughter Zion, “See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.”’ They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted.” (Isa 62:10-12)

"'Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,' says the LORD of hosts. 'But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.'" (Mal 3:1-3)

Program Target Audience, Time, and Schedule
This will initially be a weekly broadcast, but could increase in frequency as the Lord leads. It's usually On the Air Live, Tuesdays at 12:00 PM EST, 11:00 AM (CST), 10:00 (MST), and 9:00 AM (PST).  Our target audience includes pastors, elders, and disciples laboring for the Lord in all nations, as well as those who are lost. In Jesus' Mighty Name and with God's help, we pray that this radio broadcast will reach the nations.

Secondarily, we also plan to use the broadcast to increase awareness of the ministry of Doulos Missions International, its "parent ministry," helping to make disciples in Eastern Europe. This is another means of proclaiming what God is doing in Eastern Europe and other regions of the world. Eventually, as the Lord provides, we hope to upgrade the program to a premium level that is free of any worldly ads, which do not glorify God. We trust in the Lord to successfully accomplish the purposes for which it was established, for God's blessing upon it and provision, along with His anointing and guidance for me.

Program Archives
You can watch previously aired programs through the links below and others available at  Preparing the Way.

Program Launch with Denis Lacroix
Interview with Brother Danny Hahlbohm, the artist who created the "Footprints in the Sand" painting; and that program included an interview with DMI President, Dr. Andrew Stenhouse.

Author's note The new radio program is online at Preparing the Way Radio. You may access the Main Directory for this blog or my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Him.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.


Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
___________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He has been based in Eastern Europe, helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. He is currently on furlough, off the field, praying and seeking the Lord's guidance regarding where to be, and for the provision to fulfill the mission. www.dmiworld.org.

Opportunities to Serve the Body of Christ

Len and Jennifer Lacroix
We are missionaries, and our desire would be to come to your church or Bible Study group to preach and minister to you, while we are in the States.  If you would like us to do so, we can also make a presentation of our work in Eastern Europe.  Please pray about this.  It's a chance for us to encourage people to greater evangelism and commitment to completing the Great Commission globally, and we would be honored to come speak, if it is God's will.  So give us a call or leave a comment, if you would like us to come to speak to your group.

You can find more about us at Doulos Missions International. You're also invited to listen to our radio interview on the Truth Radio Network, which was aired September 7, 2013.  We were interviewed by Joyce George on the program "A Place Missionaries Call Home," which is recorded in the video at this link.

_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He has been based in Eastern Europe, helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. He is currently on furlough, off the field, praying and seeking the Lord's guidance regarding where to be, and for the provision to fulfill the mission. www.dmiworld.org.

Friday, March 21, 2014

False Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

In my previous article, I explained the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which is the only unforgivable sin.  Now I would like to talk about how satan and his demons tempt many people to believe they have committed this sin, when in fact they have not. He has been doing this for centuries.

Some of these people have come to me, seeking counsel in the past, because they thought for sure they had blasphemed the Holy Spirit.  This happened to at least three people I know, who had backslidden away from Christ, and then repented.  When they returned to the Lord, the enemy was so angry that he had lost them that he tried to get them to give up on serving Jesus.  The demons would whisper to them some horrible, blasphemous things to deceive them into thinking that these were their own thoughts, and then the demons would heap condemnation on them for having such thoughts cross their mind.

I would like to share some testimonies of those who have been targeted by such attacks, and who won the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rachel Mushala
First of all, sister Rachael Mushala, whom I have written about it in my article, Rachael Mushala Testimony of Hell, has also had this experience. She states:

"After my siblings and I repented of our backsliding and recommitted our lives to God, we went through a demonic attack. Only my youngest sister Lois was spared, but Zipporah, Ezra and I were all attacked. Demons would whisper blasphemous things we did not want to hear.  Sometimes they would also bring blasphemous images to our mind."

"This continued to happen, no matter how we tried blocking them.  It was a personal struggle, and we only knew we were all having the same attack when one of us decided to share about it with the others.  For me personally, it got so bad that it came to the point I thought I had blasphemed against the Holy Spirit, even when I knew it wasn’t me saying those things.  I felt guilty and depressed."

"I only overcame the temptations when I understood that the aim of the attack was to make me feel like I was the one who had said those things, so that I would give up. Once I understood that Jesus knows the truth, it helped.  I started rebuking the thoughts as soon as they came."

"Demons would tell me to just kill myself because I had already blasphemed against the Holy Spirit, and they would tell me that there was no forgiveness. This was happening during the period of fasting and prayer that we had in December 2011, when the first messages from the Lord were given to us."

"It was only on the 5th day of fasting and prayer, when I got baptized with the Holy Spirit and Jesus spoke to us, that I found peace.  The Lord told us, 'satan has been lying to you that you have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit so that you would give up.  You have not blasphemed.' That was when I knew that Jesus understood all that was happening."

Zipporah Mushala
As Rachael mentioned, her sister Zipporah, whom I have written about previously in Zipporah Mushala Testimony of Hell and Zipporah Mushala’s Second Testimony of Hell, was also attacked in this same way.  Zipporah states:

"I would like to share what happened to my sister Racheal, my younger brother and I, when we first gave our lives back to God.  Demons started whispering blasphemous thoughts about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit -- things we would rather never have thought about, because of their sexual nature.  Sometimes instead of just thoughts, images would flash before my eyes.  In my case, it was because of disobedience. I was afraid of praying alone because I feared demons would attack me."

"The Lord had told me not to be afraid, and reassured me that He would be there with me, but I still was too scared to pray alone. Therefore, demons oppressed me mentally like that for about three months until the day I finally obeyed." 

"I know first hand what it is like to come under such a demonic attack. One who is tempted in this way might just want to die, because the after demons whisper such things to you, they convince you that the thoughts are your own, and that you have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit."

"I'd just like to give you a description of what it feels like, trying hard not to have those thoughts. Its feels like running downhill at top speed, knowing there are crocodiles down there, afraid of reaching it, yet never reaching, and unable to stop running.  It’s a constant fear that is new every morning.  I remember I liked going to bed early and waking up late just so not to have them."

Are You Being Attacked Like This?
It could be that you have been attacked like this in the past.  I know I have personally been. Or perhaps you are presently being tempted this way.  If you are being tempted with such thoughts now, it is my hope and prayer that this blog has helped you.  I believe it will be a great relief to a troubled heart.  Let me encourage you with two verse of Scripture:

"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." (Rom 8:1-2)

"Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"-- (Mar 3:28-29)

Please read Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit in order to understand what this sin actually is.  And also remember that if you feel convicted for sin, that itself is a work of the Holy Spirit in you.  Jesus said, "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged." (Joh 16:8-11, NASB).

So if you can still experience conviction for sin and godly sorrow, then the Holy Spirit is still at work in you to bring you to repentance.  If you are convicted of sin you have committed, then repent and ask forgiveness.  If God had finally determined not to forgive you, because you had committed the unpardonable sin, then why would the Holy Spirit still be working to convict you and bring you to repentance?

There is also a difference between a temptation and a sin.  It is one thing for an unwanted thought to cross your mind, which can be a temptation placed there by a demon.  However, you must reject that temptation the moment it comes, and you must not agree with it or entertain it.  The best way to rid yourself of it is through prayer, fasting, and the Word of God.  Spend plenty of time each day in prayer, pray without ceasing, and spend plenty of time reading the Word of God.  Ask the Father for (and receive) the baptism with the Holy Spirit, as well as the Holy Fire Baptism.  As soon as you wake up in the morning, get on your knees in prayer and put on the full armor of God (Eph 6:10-18).  Then plead the blood of Jesus upon yourself and your dwelling place.  I also encourage you to pray a Covenant Prayer that I have found to be very helpful  Close every door that was open in your life to the enemy.  Renounce every form of sin that you have been involved in.  Spend time each day making your own personal proclamations of faith, and continue to trust in the keeping power of God .

The moment an unwanted thought comes, you should redirect your thoughts to the Lord, and there are a number of ways to do so. You can say aloud, "It is written...," and quote the Word to the devil, as Jesus did against satan in His wilderness temptation.  Take the sword of the Spirit and cut the demon's head off. You can shout, "Holy fire!" This is very effective, as the demons hate the holy fire.  You can plead the blood of Jesus.  You can say, "Get behind me, satan, in Jesus' name!" or "The Lord rebuke you, satan!"  or "I bind you, blaspheming spirit, in Jesus' name, and I command you to depart from me!" Learn about the power of The Name of Jesus and how to use it.  You can praise the Lord by saying, "Glory to God!" Or you could begin to sing a worship song to the Lord. The main thing is to fight those demons in the Lord's strength, and in His mighty power

The problem is once you begin to entertain a thought and actively participate with it, and provide it with a place to dwell within you, you are going in the wrong direction.  To the extent that you give in to it and accept it, then you are entering into sin.  The Lord knows the thoughts of your heart, and He knows the truth. So if you have given into it in the realm of your thoughts, you must repent and confess it to the Lord, asking Him for forgiveness through His shed blood on the cross.  Then receive His forgiveness!

And you certainly must avoid acting upon these thoughts in sinful word or deed.  I also encourage you to confess your sins to one another.  If you are a brother, then confess to a trusted brother, who will pray for you. If you are a sister, confess to another sister.  Ask for prayer, and the Lord will help you to overcome.  Cry out to God to rid you of these unwanted thoughts.  But even if you have committed sin in your thoughts, do not automatically assume you have committed the unforgivable sin, if the thoughts you had were blasphemous.  Rather, go to the Word and learn what the actual Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is, and then avoid committing it.

It could also be that you know someone who is being tempted like this, and you found this article in your search to help them.  If so, please share this article with them.

Author's note Also see Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, Discerning the Things of the Spirit, Rachael Mushala Testimony of Hell, Zipporah Mushala Testimony of Hell, Zipporah Mushala’s Second Testimony of Hell, and Eternal Destinations.  You can access the Main Directory for this blog for more articles like this, as well as my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.
 
Do You Want to Know Him?

If you want to know Jesus, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Him.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.


Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
___________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He has been based in Eastern Europe, helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. He is currently on furlough, off the field, praying and seeking the Lord's guidance regarding where to be, and for the provision to fulfill the mission. www.dmiworld.org.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

The Lord has indicated that he is coming soon, and He is going to do mysterious things before He comes.  Because His time is short, He will use a madman, He will use a prostitute, He will even use a child that doesn't have any teeth in his mouth to testify of His coming before He comes. That is why we must correctly discern the things of the Spirit.  One can be very knowledgeable of the Scriptures, and still make a wrong judgment in this area, just as the scribes did.

"The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, 'He is possessed by Beelzebul,' and 'He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.'" (Mar 3:22)

Jesus warned them, "Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"-- because they were saying, "He has an unclean spirit." (Mar 3:28-30)

A pastor, named Yong Doo Kim, whom I love and respect, has explained it like this.  Just because someone has a difficult time believing the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, they must never judge or insult the work. We must be careful not to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, which includes neglecting, ignoring, or totally opposing the gift of tongues, prophecy, miracles, and interpreting tongues. It includes aggressively opposing the gifts that have or are manifested in different ways. The spectrum of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit is very broad.  At one end of the spectrum are those who incorrectly make allegations, based on their prejudices and humanistic views. At the other end are those who judge and condemn others who operate in the gifts, as well as those who deny or reject the work or manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Those are the people who so easily drive out the work of the Holy Spirit and judge it as a cult or condemn it. Therefore there is the risk of progressing into the sin of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit.

On one hand, we should avoid the error that some have made of accepting every supernatural manifestation as genuinely coming from God.  People who do so tend to be mystical and easily deceived.  However, we must always cherish the presence and power of the precious Holy Spirit in our lives, and be careful not to lose it.  If we do, we could move into a place where we are left with nothing more than a cold doctrine of the Holy Spirit.  Once you do so, there is the possibility that this could eventually lead to blaspheming the Holy Spirit.  That is an eternal sin, which cannot be forgiven.  Those who commit this sin will be greatly judged and tormented in hell.

Therefore, we should love Him and fear Him. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength."  (Mar 12:30)  And "do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil." (Pro 3:7).  Hopefully this little study has helped to restore you to a correct perspective.

Image credit: "Receiving the Spirit" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.

Author's note Also see False Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, Discerning the Things of the Spirit, A Warning to the Nay Sayers, Testing the Spirits of False Prophets and Eternal Destinations.  You can access the Main Directory for this blog for more articles like this, as well as my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Him.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.


Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
___________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He has been based in Eastern Europe, helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. He is currently on furlough, off the field, praying and seeking the Lord's guidance regarding where to be, and for the provision to fulfill the mission. www.dmiworld.org.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Baptized with the Spirit

When a person gives his life to Jesus Christ, he repents of his sin, asks the Lord to forgive him, and invites Jesus to come and live inside his heart. At that point, the Lord takes up residence within him by His Spirit. But God has more to give. He has a gift for the believer. That’s what I would like to explore together in Scripture today.

Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit

First of all, John the Baptist spoke about this. He said, "As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Mat 3:11; cf. Lk 3:16; Ac 11:15-16). John the Baptist also testified, "I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, 'He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.'" (Joh 1:33)  John made a clear distinction here between water baptism and the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

In Mark’s gospel, the two baptisms are even more clearly laid out as separate and distinct from each other. There we read of John the Baptist: “And he was preaching, and saying, ‘After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’" (Mar 1:7-8)

Some time after John made this statement, he baptized Jesus in water. Immediately afterward, the Holy Spirit descended like a dove upon Him in bodily form. Later “John testified saying, ‘I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, “He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.”'” (Joh 1:32-33). So the Father told John that Jesus is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.

Differences between the two baptisms
The word to baptize (Gr., baptizo) means to dip or immerse, to make whelmed, fully wet. It’s important to understand that it is not a sprinkling, but rather a dunking.

We should note that there are some similarities and differences between water baptism and Spirit baptism. Both baptisms are for believers, not for non-believers. They are both an immersion -- an action that makes the believer fully wet or whelmed. Yet the Holy Spirit baptism is distinctly different. Unlike water baptism, where the believer is immersed in water, now the believer is fully immersed or whelmed by the Holy Spirit. And this does not necessarily happen at the time of water baptism, as we will see.

In the case of the disciples, Jesus commanded them to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. After he had risen from the dead and was about to ascend back up to heaven, He said to 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." (Luk 24:49) Here he said that He would send what He called the promise of the Father. So whatever He was referring to was a definite promise from the Father, which Jesus Himself would send. You can be assured that this is not something God has forgotten about or that He takes lightly. God keeps His promises.

And Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for this promise, until they were clothed with power from on high. When you receive the promised baptism with the Holy Spirit, you will be clothed with power. The word for power here is dunamis, which means a miraculous, mighty, and wonderful power from God. It’s where we get our English word for dynamite, which produces violent explosions. This power was so important that Jesus did not want the disciples to go anywhere without this. They needed to wait for it. And you also need to wait for the Lord to send the promise, so that you can be empowered for service.

Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit
At the time that Jesus was baptized in water, He was filled with the Holy Spirit. Here is the account of what happened: “Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.’" (Luk 3:21-22)

Immediately afterward, the Scripture tells us that “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness.” (Luk 4:1). This was the first time that Jesus was referred to as being full of the Holy Spirit. So it’s reasonable to say that from that point on, Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit. In fact, He testified of this Himself in the synagogue. He read the passage in Isaiah that says, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free…” (Lk 4:18)

As Jesus said, the reason the Spirit of the Lord was on Him was to empower Him to preach the gospel to the poor, proclaim freedom for the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind and to set the oppressed free. And we know from his life and ministry that He did just that.

Power is the distinct evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit
There is distinct evidence when you are baptized with the Holy Spirit. You don’t need to wonder if it has happened to you, because the evidence is always power in your life. After all, this is what Jesus promised when He said, “You will be clothed with power from on high.” (Lk 24:49b)

“Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ (Act 1:4-5) So while they had been baptized in water already, Jesus said they would soon be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And he explicitly said that this would be evidenced by power. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Act 1:8). The power they would receive would enable them to be His witnesses throughout the world.

When they were baptized on Pentecost, here is what happened. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” (Act 2:4). They had power to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

But it wasn’t a single occurrence. They were filled again later. “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.” (Act 4:31). When this happened, the evidence was once again power to speak the Word of God with boldness.

Then there were the people in Cornelius’ household. He was a righteous and God-fearing Gentile man, who had invited his close relatives and friends to his home to hear Peter preach the gospel. “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God.” (Act 10:44-46).  As Peter recalled the incident, He said, "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'" (Act 11:15-16).  The gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on these people in the same way as it had been poured out on the disciples on the day of Pentecost. And the evidence was the same. They all spoke in tongues. And Peter said the Lord had referred to this experience as being baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Another example is when Paul first encountered the disciples in Ephesus. “He said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said to him, ‘No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.’ And he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ And they said, ‘Into John's baptism.’ Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.’ When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. There were in all about twelve men.” (Act 19:2-7)

When Paul first found the Ephesian disciples, they had only been baptized into John’s baptism for repentance. He discovered this by asking them if they received the Holy Spirit when they believed. Amazingly they did not even know there was a Holy Spirit. So after Paul told them they needed to be baptized into Jesus, they did so. And then when he laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them. The power of God was evidenced there just as it was elsewhere. They began speaking in tongues and prophesying.

The same power was displayed when Peter and John were in Samaria. “Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, saying, "Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." (Act 8:17-19) Just as had happened elsewhere whenever disciples had received the baptism with the Holy Spirit, so also there was evidence when the Samaritan disciples received this gift. That’s why Simon the sorcerer offered to pay money for this power. He was a magician who had supposedly given his life to Jesus. But when he saw and heard the powerful evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit that was given by the laying on of the disciples hands, he wanted this power also.

Scripture records that Peter rebuked him for this. But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! "You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. "Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. "For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity." (Act 8:20-23). The gift of God cannot be bought with money, as Simon tried to do.

It is possible to be born again without being baptized in the Spirit
In this same passage, aside from the laying on of hands, and the evidence of supernatural power, I want to draw special attention to one other very important thing about the Samaritans who received the gift of the Holy Spirit. That is the fact that they had already believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and been baptized by Philip, before Peter and John arrived. Luke recorded, “But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.” (Act 8:12). It was after they believed and were baptized in water that Peter and John prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit. “Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Act 8:14-16).

Many people claim that when we believe in Jesus, and are baptized in water, that the Holy Spirit falls on us at that time. We cannot put God in a box. While this does happen in some instances where a person is baptized in the Holy Spirit when they are baptized in water or even beforehand, it is rather exceptional. The point here is that the Samaritan believers had “simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus,” and “the Holy Spirit had not yet fallen upon any of them.”

This is the same thing that happened in Ephesus, as I’ve already explained earlier. The Ephesians also received the Holy Spirit as a distinct and separate event that occurred subsequent to being baptized into Jesus Christ (Act 19:2-7). It proves that receiving the Word of God and being baptized into Christ does not necessarily mean you’ve received the baptism with the Holy Spirit.

In fact, you might even be a preacher or teacher who has been instructed in the way of the Lord. You may be speaking and teaching fervently about the Lord. You may be mighty in the Scriptures without ever having received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. That was true of Apollos. “Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” (Act 18:24-26). My friend, please don’t assume you’ve been baptized in the Holy Spirit simply because you have become a disciple and been baptized into Christ, or because you are an effective Bible teacher. You will know when you have been baptized in the Spirit, because the evidence of supernatural power will accompany it.

Purpose of the Power
So what’s the purpose of this power that we receive, when we are baptized in the Spirit? It’s so that we can be witnesses for the Lord Jesus. Jesus told His disciples “that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” (Luk 24:47-48). It was immediately after this that He told them to stay in the city until they were first clothed with power. So the power is needed to be His witness.

Jesus went on to say, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Act 1:8)

Being a witness for Jesus is not just a matter of talk but of power. Notice the way the believers prayed in the first church. They prayed, "’And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.’ 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.” (Act 4:29-31). As I mentioned earlier, Jesus said the same thing of Himself, after He was full of the Spirit, that He was anointed to preach, heal, and bring deliverance to those bound by Satan (Lk 4:18-19). He preached with authority and a demonstration of power. “And amazement came upon them all, and they began talking with one another saying, ‘What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out.’" (Luk 4:36)

“Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them.” (Mat 4:23-24). Before you can be an effective witness for Jesus, you need to receive power from on high.

The outpouring is ongoing and for all mankind
On the day of Pentecost, Peter explained what was happening, when the disciples were baptized in the Holy Spirit. He said that this was a fulfillment of what Joel had prophesied that the Lord would pour out His Spirit. The Lord said that prophesying, dreams, visions, signs and wonders would accompany this outpouring (Ac 2:14-17). And He said the outpouring would be for all mankind, men, women, and children alike, not just a select few. It’s for every disciple of Christ.

At the home of Cornelius’, when the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit, Peter explained again what was happening. As he retold the event to the elders in Jerusalem, he said, "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'” (Act 11:15-16). So Peter made a direct connection between what happened there and what Jesus meant when He said, “You will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Peter also said that what happened at Cornelius’ home was just like what happened on Pentecost. This proves that the outpouring would be ongoing, rather than a one-time event.

This ongoing outpouring for all mankind is in stark contrast to what happened under the Old Covenant. At that time certain people were filled with the Holy Spirit. But it was rather isolated and did not happen to everyone. For example, Elizabeth responded by crying out with a loud voice, when she was filled with the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:42). Likewise, her husband, Zechariah responded by prophesying, when he was filled with the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:67). And their son, John the Baptist responded by leaping for joy, when he was filled with the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:41).

Everyone responds when filled with the Holy Spirit
Just as Zechariah, Elizabeth, and John responded under the Old Covenant, when they were filled with the Holy Spirit, everyone who receives this power responds. Peter responded with great boldness when filled with the Holy Spirit (Ac 4:8). Stephen responded by speaking fearlessly of his ability to see the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God (Ac 7:55). Paul responded by regaining his vision. Immediately it was as if scales fell from his eyes when he was filled the Holy Spirit (Ac 9:17-18).

Subsequent fillings with the Holy Spirit
There were subsequent fillings after the initial baptism with the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul taught the Ephesians, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” (Eph 5:18). He contrasted this filling with being drunk with wine. Just as a person can repeatedly be drunk with wine, we are to repeatedly be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is not for the purpose of dissipation or wasting our lives, but so that we can build one another up by sing to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that we sing to one another, as we make melody in our heart to the Lord (Eph 5:19).

The Greek word in Ephesians 5:18 is a continual action “to be”. Literally it means continually “be being filled” with the Spirit. This is consistent with what happened with the early disciples. When they prayed together after they had been filled with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, they were filled again. These were the same disciples who were previously baptized in the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Ac 2:4; Ac 4:23-24,31). Likewise, Paul was subsequently filled with the Holy Spirit and displayed power as well as boldness (Ac 13:9-11).

Given through the laying on of hands
One of the elementary teachings of the faith that the writer of Hebrews mentioned is the laying on of hands (Heb 6:1, 2). As I’ve mentioned previously, the Holy Spirit is given through the laying on of hands. We saw this when the Holy Spirit was given in Samaria (Ac 8:15-18) and Ephesus. “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.” (Act 19:6). In the same way, healing and miracles happen when believers lay hands on the sick, just as Jesus and the first disciples did. (Mark 1:16-18).  However, just as healing and miracles can happen without the laying on of hands, so can the baptism of the Holy Spirit happen without it.  In fact, sometimes people are baptized with the Holy Spirit when there is no one else present with them.

It's a gift
If you are a disciple of Christ, you shouldn't feel that God will give this gift to others and withhold it from you. A gift is free, and that means you cannot earn it. Jesus taught us to ask for it. He said, "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" (Luk 11:9-13). Jesus explicitly said that the heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. So go ahead and ask. Then expect to receive!

How to Minister the Baptism to Others
One of the best instructions on how to minister the baptism to others is found on following, one-hour video by Charles and Frances Hunter, who had ministered the baptism to over 350,000 people during their lifetime (see here).

After you have watched this video, please go on to watch the second hour, which is a recording of a service in Florida, where Charles and Frances ministered the baptism to hundreds of people en masse.

Putting it All Together
Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit, and He is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given through the laying on of hands. The distinct evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is power. The power we receive from the Holy Spirit is to be witnesses.

It is possible to be born again without being baptized in the Spirit. Under the Old Covenant, certain people were filled with the Holy Spirit, but it was rather rare and isolated and not common or widespread.

On Pentecost Day, Peter explained that this was the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy where the Lord promised to pour out His Spirit on all mankind in the last days. Peter also explained that the experience at Cornelius’ home was a fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to baptize in the Holy Spirit.

There are certainly subsequent fillings with the Holy Spirit after receiving the initial baptism. It's meant to be a continuous lifestyle, rather than a single event in your life.

So if you are a disciple of Christ, who has never been baptized with the Holy Spirit, I encourage you to ask the Lord for this gift. He promises to give this good gift to those who ask.

And if you have received the baptism with the Holy Spirit, but it's been a long time since then, and you need a refill, I encourage you to pray and ask the Lord to fill you once again. Take the time to wait upon the Lord to send you a fresh outpouring of His Spirit.

Author's note: Please see Opportunities to Serve the Body of Christ.  If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the other posts in this blog available through the links in the side bar, such as Holy Fire Baptism. You may find the Main Directory for this blog at Home, and also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."  "Receiving the Spirit" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist. 

Do you want to know Him?
If you want to know Jesus, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Him.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.



Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
___________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He has been based in Eastern Europe, helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. He is currently on furlough, off the field, praying and seeking the Lord's guidance regarding where to be, and for the provision to fulfill the mission. www.dmiworld.org.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Spirit without Limit

John the Baptist spoke of Jesus saying, "For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.” (Joh 3:34).  

At first I thought it was saying the Father had given Jesus the Spirit without measure, but when I looked more closely, I realized that it is Jesus who gives the Spirit without measure.

The phrase "without measure He gives the Spirit" in Greek is eκ μeτρου δiδωσιν τo πνεuμα.   The verb didosin comes from didomi, which means to give, grant or bestow (Strongs).  

In this verse, the verb is used in the present active indicative.  The present tense represents a simple statement of fact or reality viewed as occurring in actual time. In most cases this corresponds directly with the English present tense.  The active voice represents the subject as the doer or performer of the action. e.g., in the sentence, "The boy hit the ball," the boy performs the action.  (Blue Letter Bible)

So this means John was indicating the fact that Jesus is the One who gives the Spirit without limit.  Jesus is the doer or performer of the action, and it is occurring in actual time.

Have you yet received the Spirit of God without limit? If not, then seek the baptism with the Holy Spirit. If you are a born again child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, then this gift is available to you.

Jesus said, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" (Luk 11:13) 

Let me encourage you to get alone with God and pray in Jesus' name, "Lord, please give me the Spirit without limit right now!" Then believe that you have received what you asked for.  You will receive supernatural power to be His witness when the Holy Spirit comes upon you (Ac 1:8).

Even if you have already received the baptism with the Holy Spirit, you should ask again and again for more of the Spirit, since the Lord Jesus gives Him without limit to those who ask.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the other posts in this blog available through the links in the side bar, such as Baptized with the Spirit, Supernatural Power for All Disciples, Holy Fire Baptism, and International Impact of Pentecost.  You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."  "Receiving the Spirit" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist. 

Do you want to know Him?
If you want to know Jesus, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Him.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.


Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
___________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He has been based in Eastern Europe, helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. He is currently on furlough, off the field, praying and seeking the Lord's guidance regarding where to be, and for the provision to fulfill the mission. www.dmiworld.org.