Holy Spirit Empowering: Three Terms, One Reality
“You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now…you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you”…And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:5, 8; and 2:4)
When the book of Acts addresses Holy Spirit empowering for ministry, three different terms are used to describe the same reality. When Jesus promised this power, He used the term “baptized with.” “You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” When He indicated that this power would result in a worldwide witness, the term “come upon you” was used. “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” Then, when these promises of the Spirit were fulfilled, the term employed was “filled with.” “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.”
It is clear that these three sets of terms in Acts 1 and 2 are all referring to the same spiritual phenomenon: the Holy Spirit empowering Jesus’ followers for witness. Each terminology may carry its own descriptive implications. To be “baptized with” the Spirit is like being inundated by Him. To have the Spirit “come upon you” is like being impacted from above by Him. To be “filled with” the Spirit is like overflowing with Him. Nevertheless, although each expression brings its own picture, they all are describing the same reality. All three terms are biblically accurate (although “filled with the Holy Spirit” is used most frequently throughout Acts).
These promises of Holy Spirit empowering cannot be monopolized by any denominational group or theological heritage. Nor can they be ignored by any individual or segment within the body of Christ. These truths are for all of God’s children. Every disciple of the Lord Jesus must continue to learn and to grow in this essential spiritual empowering.
Perhaps a word of clarification is in order. These promises are not about the Spirit indwelling the people of God. The Holy Spirit definitely lives within every born again believer in Jesus Christ. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). The Spirit already lived within the apostles when they were given these promises. “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit'” (John 20:22). These promises are about the indwelling Spirit flooding and overflowing our lives with the empowering reality of His presence.
But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (1 Peter 2:9)
As Christians, we have the tremendous privilege to be called “God’s own possession.” Although we were once lost with no identity as a people, we have come to know the excellent mercies of God. He has brought us together as a holy nation, set apart for His glory. For we certainly have become property of the almighty King, that we may proclaim His goodness and righteousness to all people.
Say among the heathen [that] the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. (Psalm 96:10)
The Lord will judge the people of the earth with all equity and justice. All men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and all men ought be judged unworthy (Romans 3:23). Fortunately though, you who are given faith in Christ are not judged for your works, for Christ has been judged in your place! Amen!
Take up the cross, and follow Me.
You have not the making of your own cross, although unbelief is a master carpenter at cross-making; neither are you permitted to choose your own cross, although self-will would fain be lord and master; but your cross is prepared and appointed for you by divine love, and you are cheerfully to accept it; you are to take up the cross as your chosen badge and burden, and not to stand cavilling at it. This night Jesus bids you submit your shoulder to His easy yoke. Do not kick at it in petulance, or trample on it in vain-glory, or fall under it in despair, or run away from it in fear, but take it up like a true follower of Jesus. Jesus was a cross-bearer; He leads the way in the path of sorrow. Surely you could not desire a better guide! And if He carried a cross, what nobler burden would you desire? The Via Crucis is the way of safety; fear not to tread its thorny paths.
Beloved, the cross is not made of feathers, or lined with velvet, it is heavy and galling to disobedient shoulders; but it is not an iron cross, though your fears have painted it with iron colours, it is a wooden cross, and a man can carry it, for the Man of sorrows tried the load. Take up your cross, and by the power of the Spirit of God you will soon be so in love with it, that like Moses, you would not exchange the reproach of Christ for all the treasures of Egypt. Remember that Jesus carried it, and it will smell sweetly; remember that it will soon be followed by the crown, and the thought of the coming weight of glory will greatly lighten the present heaviness of trouble. The Lord help you to bow your spirit in submission to the divine will ere you fall asleep this night, that waking with to-morrow’s sun, you may go forth to the day’s cross with the holy and submissive spirit which becomes a follower of the Crucified.
Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)
Find your warmth and care in the loving arms of the Lord for He will ever comfort you. His love for His children is enormous and unceasing. He will dry your tears and replace your sorrow with joy. He shall lift you up and shall be your strength in times of trouble.
The Law Producing Accountability for Sin
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God…For by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:19-20)
God’s law speaks to those who are under the law. This would certainly include the Jews, for the law of God was given to them in writing (first engraved on stones by God)…
Lets get in this current days, we find that we governed byxthe laws of the land for us to be accountable as responsible citizens. Citizens if they violate the regulations, one gets the courts to pass an accountability judgement. Food for thought
To be continued….
Many [are] the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. (Psalm 34:19)
Though affliction be the promise to the sons of God and though suffering fills their path on this earth, still does the Lord promise deliverance. Still does the Lord promise comfort and still does the Lord promise salvation. And O what a deliverance-what a comfort-what a salvation! For but a moment’s trifling pain, what rose jewel is bought the believer! Glory eternal! Love unceasing! Joy unquenchable! For the merest pinprick’s bother, the believer is given all. Now rejoice! Take up your heavy cross made weightless by the sustaining power of God, and follow unto the way everlasting!
The God of all grace…pray without ceasing. (1 Peter 5:10 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
These two biblical phrases are ideal correlations. The only way that we can live as God intends is by grace. Our God is the source of all grace. We draw upon God’s grace through humility and faith. Prayer is the most appropriate expression of humility and faith. We pray, because we need God’s help (thereby, expressing humility). We pray, because we believe God will help us (thereby, exercising faith). Consequently, praying without ceasing is a simple, yet profound, way to relate rightly to the God of all grace.
“Pray without ceasing.” This command does not require the incessant recitation of prayers. Rather, it is a call to a prayerful way of living: “continuing steadfastly in prayer” (Romans 12:12). Praying without ceasing is primarily an attitude of the heart. To pray without ceasing is to have the inner man humbly dependent upon the Lord, while consistently addressing actual prayers to the Lord.
Paul was such a man of prayer. The Lord was definitely the object of his expectations: “the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope” (1 Timothy 1:1). In addition, he consistently offered prayers unto the Lord: “without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers…do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers…without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day” (Romans 1:9; Ephesians 1:16; and 2 Timothy 1:3). Notice also, Paul’s prayers included recurring prayer for others. Those who live by grace develop hearts of intercession, praying that others might enjoy the grace of God as well.
It is common among the spiritual examples of Scripture to find lives of prayer. David was clearly one who prayed without ceasing. A great portion of his Psalms are prayers to the Lord. Some Psalms testify of his habit of prayer. “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice” (Psalm 55:17). Jeremiah was a man of prayer. “O LORD, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in the day of affliction…Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved…Give heed to me, O LORD, and listen to the voice of those who contend with me!” (Jeremiah 16:19; 17:14; and 18:19). Daniel was also a man of prayer. “He knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Daniel 6:10). Likewise, those who truly live by grace increasingly become people of prayer.
Once More on Exceedingly Abundant Grace for Transformation
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 1:12-14)
Before Paul believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, he spoke evil of Jesus, oppressed His followers, and exalted himself. “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man.” Yet, God called Paul from this ungodly religious life and made him a faithful, fruitful servant of the Lord. Once more we will see this can only happen by exceedingly abundant grace for transformation.
This magnificent transformation process began with mercy, the necessary companion of grace. God’s mercy holds back the awful consequences that our ungodliness deserves. God’s grace brings us the wonderful blessings of godliness that we could never deserve. God was merciful toward Paul’s ignorant and unbelieving behavior. “But I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” The ministry of grace that God would eventually give to Paul (as well as any ministry God has for us) was established upon mercy. “Therefore, since we have this ministry [new covenant grace-2 Corinthians 3:6], as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart” (2 Corinthians 4:1). God chose Paul to be a distinctive example of His rich mercy. “For this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life” (1 Timothy 1:16).
To be continued
What journey are you on ?
I’m seating next to my brother, this thought just crossed my mind so fast like a rocket towards mars. In retrospect realising that I have been traveling for a pretty while – now gazing at nature surrounded by farm and grazing lands, wind blowing, cars flying to different destinations its a Friday down here Friday is a big deal.
Here is the deal what journey, path or destination are on?
Look around you someone is thinking of a move, hold on not talking of location it can be a train of thought, things you have power over like getting coffee at your favorite café – excuse me coffify kkk.
The past was once a destination but it ain’t a location it doesn’t exist on the map but in one’s mind, frequently
visited space ummm.
To be continued