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June 2012

A Baptism of Fire and of the Holy Spirit, Part 4

We finally get to talking about being baptised in the Holy Spirit. The main point of this post is that being immersed in the Holy Spirit helps us to decrease so Jesus can increase. This baptism helps us to express Jesus in this world; not just through our actions but through our being spiritually conformed to his image.

Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

The word for "witnesses" above (martus) can be translated as a legal witness, as a historic witness, and as a martyr, a witness by being willing to die for the one you believe in. In the context of the scripture above we become a witness as we experience a death to self. We are witnesses because our lives start to express Jesus more and ourselves less. This is the power we receive, and it is an incredible power.

God has expressed himself and given witness to himself in many ways prior to Jesus being born. He showed incredible grace and responded to men's faith as evidenced in Enoch, Abraham, and many of the prophets. He forgave sins, expressed himself as a shepherd, a healer, a father, a provider. Men were made clean and holy by God's fire. He performed many miracles by his own word, his own hand, and by his servants. People were raised from the dead. Promises and covenants were made and honored. People went to heaven. All of this happened before Jesus was born.

With Jesus' work and the establishment of Christianity there were three institutions that God expressed that are unique, that were not seen before.

  1. A blood better than bulls or goats. The blood that Jesus shed goes far beyond any other sacrifice. Hebrews 10 states that it is impossible for the blood of bulls or goats to take away sins. Yet Jesus has taken away the sins of the world. His blood has taken away our sins.
  2. A death and resurrection we can partake in. Romans 6 teaches us that we who have been baptised into Jesus Christ have been baptised into his death so that we can partake in his resurrection. This is new. Our relationship with Jesus isn't just that we can talk to him but that we can lose ourselves in him, so that we live, yet not us but Christ lives in us. And the life that we live we live by faith in the one who loves us and died for us.
  3. The promise of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2 teaches us that the coming of the Holy Spirit was the fulfillment of a prophecy from Joel. "In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy."

These are the foundational institutions of Christianity. They are what makes the new covenant different from the old covenant. It is important to accept the forgiveness that was purchased by Jesus' blood, to be buried with him in death and share in his resurrection, and to receive the promised Holy Spirit. These are not just a way to provision or healing or deliverance. We have that in the Father already. It is his good pleasure to give us the Kingdom. These institutions are a part of that, but they take us somewhere else.

In my first post in this blog I talked about who Jesus is; about the logos. The word logos means:

  1. a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea
  2. the act of speaking, a continuous speaking discourse - instruction
  3. reason, the mental faculty of thinking, meditating, reasoning
  4. answer or explanation in reference to judgment
  5. with whom as judge we stand in relation

Now it gets interesting. Logos was first used by a Greek philosopher named Heraclitus around 600 B.C. to "designate the divine reason or plan which coordinates a changing universe." (Strong's Concordance from Logos Software)

John 1:1-3
In the beginning was the Word (logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Jesus is the logos. He is the divine reason or plan which coordinates a changing universe. He is, in a sense, God's logic around all creation.

In the book of Acts, 8th chapter, there is an account of Peter and John ministering in Samaria. They are laying hands on believers and the believers are receiving the Holy Spirit. A man named Simon who had practiced sorcery was amazed and wanted to pay for the ability to do what Peter and John were doing.

Acts 8:18-21
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.

The word in verse 21 that is translated "ministry" is logos. Peter told Simon that he had no part or share in this logos, this expression of God. I don't ever want to hear that said to me. I want to have a part and share in this expression, in this logos. And in this context his was talking about the promise of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Exodus 39:22-26
22 They made the robe of the ephod entirely of blue cloth—the work of a weaver— 23 with an opening in the center of the robe like the opening of a collar, and a band around this opening, so that it would not tear. 24 They made pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen around the hem of the robe. 25 And they made bells of pure gold and attached them around the hem between the pomegranates. 26 The bells and pomegranates alternated around the hem of the robe to be worn for ministering, as the Lord commanded Moses.

The robe of the priests had pomegranates and bells alternating around the hem. To me this represents the promise, or baptism, of the Holy Spirit. The expression of the logos of God is made manifest in our lives through the fruit of the Spirit (pomegranates, full of seed) and the gifts of the Spirit (bells, sounding forth). As we yield to the Holy Spirit in our lives his fruit starts to come forth; full of seed to go deep into the lives of ourselves and others. At the same time the gifts of the Spirit (knowledge, wisdom, discernment, healing, prophecy, tongues, etc.) come forth and speak to ourselves and to others. All of this working in us brings about a manifestation of the logos of God. And the power we receive in the Holy Spirit enables us to get out of the way, to die to self, so the fruit and gifts can come forth.

I encourage you to desire that the fullness of the logos of God work in you. Believe God to fill you with all the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit. Don't limit him in any way. Let this witness of Jesus grow in you each day. All you have to do is trust him. He will do the rest.