Spirit-baptism brings grace-gifts and signs & wonders
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Nowadays, you wouldn’t expect the next part of Acts 19:1-7 in most churches today: “And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying!” Nowadays, the first thing people ask when they find out that you are a Christian is “What church do you go to?” as if that makes all the difference in the world! But when Paul “found some disciples in Ephesus” he evidently saw something really missing and knew what was most important to ask: “Did you take a hold for yourself the Holy Spirit when you previously were having faith?” Paul could see that the Holy Spirit was missing, yet these were believers and disciples! This does NOT fit many church’s theology! What Paul did NOT see was the clear evidence of the Holy Spirit, which is speaking in tongues and prophesying per Joel 2:28-29, Acts 2:4, 16-19, 33, 38-39, 9:17-18, 19:6, Mark 16:16-18, 20, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 13:8, which we will explore some.
The grace-gifts and signs & wonders of the Holy Spirit is God’s way of “working together with us” to confirm the preaching of the logos gospel message (a). If we don’t preach the gospel, or we don’t seek the Spirit’s baptism, or we don’t “routinely aiteo ask for, seek or earnestly desire” the supernatural grace-gifts of the Holy Spirit (b), including proseuchomai conversationally-praying and singing in tongues (c), but especially prophesying (d), or we quench the Spirit (e) by forbidding or despising any of these grace-gifts but especially tongues and prophecy (f), then we simply can NOT expect the same profound results that the early Church had until around 200 AD. This was about the time the Catholic Church started persecuting the Montanist churches that held to “New Prophecy” given by modern prophets and extensive writings of Tertullian, the premiere documenter and theologian of the Holy Spirit. However, the history of revival confirms the absolute truth of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit through grace-gifts and signs & wonders over and over – see the next BLOG Spirit-Baptism – BT3, Cure of All Ills by Dr. Mary Stewart Relfe. <Notes> a) Mark 16:17-20, b) Luke 11:13; 1 Corinthians 12:31, 14:1, c) 1 Corinthians 14:5, 14-15, 18, d) 1 Corinthians 14:31, 39, e) 1 Thessalonians 5:19-20 – see The Great Wall, f) 1 Corinthians 14:39.
Jesus promises in Mark 16:17-20, “And these signs shall actually accompany those who are having trusting-relying-faith: In My name/authority they shall actually cast out demons; they shall actually speak in new tongues; . . . they shall actually lay their hands on the sick to recover.” And Mark further records, “And they went out and preached (a) everywhere, while the Lord routinely worked together with (f) them and confirmed the logos message by accompanying signs.” Hebrews 2:4 also says, “God also bore witness/testified by signs and wonders and various miracles and by grace-gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed down-from/according-to His will.” All throughout the history of the Church, “grace-gifts, signs, wonders, and miracles as manifestations of the Spirit” (b) were being done as a result of “The Promise” of the Holy Spirit and follow-up practice of Spirit-baptism that began on the Day of Pentecost (c) and the supernatural results should always be the same: “the Lord [Jesus] added to their number daily those who were being saved” (d) – that is, if the Church still has the same mission, the same logos gospel message, still preaches it, and doesn’t quench the Holy Spirit by forbidding or despising tongues, prophecy, or any other of the Spirit’s grace-gifts (e). <Notes> a) v. 15: the logos gospel message, b) 1 Corinthians 14:12, c) Acts 2:43, 4:30, 5:12, 6:8, 8:6, 13, 14:3, 15:12, 19:11; 2 Corinthians 12:12, d) Acts 2:47, 5:14, 9:42, 11:24, 13:12, 16:34, e) 1 Corinthians 14:5, 39; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-20, f) sunergeo: co-working, partnering.
Paul’s ministry was “by the means of logos gospel message and deed, by the means of the enabling-power of signs & wonders by the means of the enabling-power of the Spirit so that … I have pleroo fully/completely preached the gospel of Christ” (a). This implies that many of today’s preachers that don’t allow the supernatural aspects of the Holy Spirit are ‘incompletely preaching the gospel,’ but the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches are still preaching a ‘full gospel!’ This is especially true, since Paul qualified this preaching further: “my speech and logos message were absolutely NOT in fact by the means of peithos plausible/persuasive/enticing/skillful words of sophia wisdom, but by the means of apodeixis demonstrating-proof of the Spirit and/coupled of enabling-power” (b), and furthermore “our gospel came to you absolutely NOT in fact only by the means of logos message, but also by the means of enabling-power and/specifically, by the means of [singular] Holy Spirit” (c). Clearly today many churches are NOT preaching a ‘full gospel!’ <Notes> a) Romans 15:18-19, b) 1 Corinthians 2:4, c) 1 Thessalonians 1:5.
The Lord’s model of proseuche conversational-prayer for all Christians throughout the ages tells us how to make our request for “Thy kingdom to come, Thy will to be done” even a possibility in our lives. Otherwise, we are only “wishing upon a star!” As every good teacher does, Christ’s final teaching on proseuche conversational-prayer in Matthew 7:11 is about God’s “good grace-gifts to His children” (a), which likely refers to the same thing the parallel passage of Luke 11:13 does – “the grace-gift of the Holy Spirit [given] to those who are aiteo routinely asking Him.” This present participles within the Lord’s Prayer Model depicts a lifestyle habit of “diligently asking, seeking, knocking, begging or crying out for, craving, desiring, and requiring of” the Holy Spirit from the Father. If you are going to be doing any deesis supplication within your proseuche conversational-prayer, this surely is key to the Christian life!
Prophecy by definition is hearing/speaking the direct-spoken/heard rhema words of God – it is absolutely not knowledge gained from reading! The “testimony of Jesus” isn’t supposed to be anything but “the Spirit of prophecy” (a), but we have a lot of people preaching a lot other than what was heard directly from God! Jeremiah the prophet, “spoke from the mouth of Yahweh” (b) and understood that this is how God speaks (c), even though he understood there would be false prophets who “speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of Yahweh” (d). A lot of preachers are making stuff up or getting it from a book they read! Micah also understood “for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken” (e). When Isaiah prophesied, “the mouth of Yahweh has spoken” (f), for “the mouth of Yahweh has commanded” (g) or “has spoken” (h). Isaiah heard Yahweh declare the distinction of the New Covenant people and their Messiah: “And a Redeemer will come to Zion, . . . this is My Covenant with them: My Spirit that is upon You (the Redeemer) and My directly-spoken/heard prophetic rhema words that I have put in Your mouth, shall not depart out of Your mouth, or out of the mouth of Your offspring, or out of the mouth of Your children’s offspring,” says Yahweh, “from this time forth and forevermore” (i). “The Promise” isn’t for more scripture but for more prophesying by ALL of God’s people! “The Promise” of the Holy Spirit’s manifestations was clearly in mind for ALL of God’s people far into the future, to the end of the ages (j). <Notes> a) Revelation 19:10, b) 2 Chronicles 36:12, c) Jeremiah 9:12, d) Jeremiah 23:16, e) Micah 4:4, f) Isaiah 1:20, g) Isaiah 34:16, h) Isaiah 40:5, 58:14, i) Isaiah 59:20-21 cited by Paul in Roman 11:26-28, j) Acts 1:4, 2:33, 38-39.
Peter says “absolutely no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along (or moved, driven) by the Holy Spirit” (a). Jesus promises His witnesses: “For it is absolutely NOT in fact you who will speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (b); and “Do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is absolultely NOT in fact you who speak, but the Holy Spirit” (c); and “for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (d); and “The Helper (e) the Holy Spirit, … will teach you ALL things and bring to your remembrance ALL that I have said to you” (f); and “When the Spirit of The Truth comes, He will guide you into ALL The Truth . . . even things to come” (g). <Notes> a) 2 Peter 1:21, b) Matthew 10:20, c) Mark 13:11, d) Luke 12:12, e) Parakletos: ‘Close-beside’ caller, summoner, or inviter; helper, succorer, or assistant; encouraging teacher, counselor, comforter, or consoler; defense-attorney, judicial-advocate, or court-intercessor, f) John 14:26, g) John 16:13.
There was absolutely no need to write down all of Christ’s teachings to teach other Christians! Jesus didn’t have any scribes (scripture experts and copiers) record any of His teachings, nor did He ask His apostles to do so! This is a radical deviation from standard rabbinical practice! All important rabbis had recorded their teachings in 18 volumes of the Mishneh Torah or 22 volumes of the Babylonian Talmud or 73 volumes of the Gemera commentaries, which include 1500 years of Oral Torah called the “Traditions of the Elders,” which the Jews believe to this day ALL are just as authoritative as the scriptures.
Jesus expected there to be prophesy (a), even to the end of the ages, just as Peter said (b), even if some of this would be false (c) even if they did it in Christ’s name/authority (d). The early Church had many prophets including Paul and Barnabas (e), even if some were false (f). The key signs of the Holy Spirit coming upon Christians was tongues and prophesy (g) that are often related (h), even urging “routine proseuche conversational-prayer by the means of the Spirit” (i), likely in tongues (j) to build yourself up in your most holy trusting-relying-faith” that is directly related to the imperative “tereo ‘carefully watch/observe to safely-guard, care-for/attend-to, firmly-hold/stand-in/maintain-a-present-state’ yourself in The Unconditional-Love of God” (k). <Notes> a) Matthew 10:41, b) Acts 1:4, 2:33, 38-39, c) Matthew 7:15, 24:11, 24; Mark 13:22, d) Matthew 7:22, e) Acts 11:27, 13:1, 21:9-10, f) Acts 13:6, g) Acts 2:4, 10:44-46, 19:6, h) 1 Corinthians 14:6, i) Ephesians 6:18, j) 1 Corinthians 14:14-15, k) Jude 1:20-21.
Prophecy is a grace-gift listed for the entire Church (a), often listed second after apostleship to possibly indicate its importance in the Church (b), certainly to be most sought after (c), and is thus assumed to be commonplace or the norm in the Church (d), but especially as a sign for believers (e) – even though an ‘outsider’ who hears the whole church doing this “will be convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you” (f). Don’t we want this to happen in our churches? But primarily, prophecy is to build the assembly up (g), even giving rules for orderly prophesying so that all of them could participate and/or weigh in on what was said (h), and that through prophecy other grace-gifts came into people’s lives (i) as with the laying on of hands imparted the filling of the Spirit and grace-gifts (j). <Notes> a) 1 Corinthians 12:10, b) Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:28-29, 14:5; Ephesians 2:20, 3:5, 4:11, c) 1 Corinthians 14:1, 39, d) 1 Corinthians 11:4-5, 13:8-9, 14:6, 24, 37, e) 1 Corinthians 14:22, f) 1 Corinthians 14:23-25, g) 1 Corinthians 14:3, h) 1 Corinthians 14:29, 31-32, i) 1 Timothy 1:18, 4:14, j) Acts 8:18, 9:17; 2 Timothy 1:6.
After the outpouring of the promised Holy Spirit on Pentecost, complete with supernatural prophecy and worship in tongues, Peter says in Acts 2:17-19 citing Joel 2:28-29: “This is what was spoken of through the Prophet Joel: In the last days it SHALL ACTUALLY BE, God declares, that that I will pour out My Spirit on pas all mankind: For your sons and your daughters SHALL ACTUALLY prophesy – that is, your young men SHALL ACTUALLY see visions (a) and/coupled your old men SHALL ACTUALLY dream dreams, that is, upon My male servants and female servants in those days I SHALL ACTUALLY pour out My Spirit, and they SHALL ACTUALLY prophesy.” As often the case, pas, doesn’t mean every of a whole, but all those of a class/category/portion of, as defined by the context – here ultimately, the smaller class of “My servants” of the larger class “mankind” during the Church Age (b) before Christ’s Second Coming. Zechariah 4:6 also spoke 520 years earlier about the New Covenant period: “It shall absolutely no longer be by might nor power (c), but by My Spirit.” No more religious works for God! Clearly “The Promise” is the “the Spirit’s manifested outpouring, most often demonstrated by tongues and prophecy – speaking God’s directly-spoken/heard prophetic rhema words, particularly received by dreams and visions. There is absolutely no hint of more sacred gramma Letters collected into graphe scripture, or any second-hand contact, communicated logos messages! <Notes> a) optanomai: gaze in awe with wide-open eyes upon, b) Hebrews 1:2, c) Hebrew for all of man’s external resources and internal abilities.
Jesus had already told them “I am sending ‘The Promise’ of My Father upon you, but stay in Jerusalem until you are clothes with enabling-power from on high” (a). So Luke further records after the resurrection, “while Jesus was staying with them, He ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for ‘The Promise’ of the Father that you have heard from Me [many times earlier], for although John baptized (b) with water, you will be baptized (b) with the Holy Spirit (thus Spirit-baptism) not many days from now” (c). So Peter says in Acts 2:33, 38-39, “Having received ‘The Promise’ of the Holy Spirit, which He has poured out, this is what you yourselves are seeing and hearing (d). . . .Therefore, repent (e) and/coupled/thus be water-baptized every one of you in the name/authority of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins (f). And moreover, you will [at an unspecified future time] receive the grace-gift of the Holy Spirit, for ‘The Promise’ is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.” <Notes> a) Luke 24:49, b) baptizo: transformational immersion in any liquid, even cucumbers in vinegar changed into pickles, c) Acts 1:4-5, d) this isn’t an invisible, quiet ‘deposit’ made into many Christians that churches that you just have to “take by faith” happened. No! This is clearly manifested in context by prophecy and tongues, e) turn your mind’s direction back, f) Clearly repentance and/coupled water-baptism are required for forgiveness of sins in order to save you – see 1 Peter 3:21.
Paul also says, “In Christ, the blessing of Abraham (eternal inheritance) might also come to the Gentiles, in order that we [all] may receive the promised Spirit through trusting-relying-faith,” not by obedience to OT commandments (a), and “The [previously hidden but now revealed to us] mystery [of Christ] is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same Body [of Christ], and/thus partakers of ‘The Promise’ in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (b), and so “when you heard the logos message of The Truth, that is, the gospel of your salvation (c) and had trusting-relying-faith in Him, and were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance” (d). Paul uses “The Promise” consistently to refer to the demonstrable Holy Spirit that is a proof you are a Christian! <Notes> a) Galatians 3:14, b) Ephesians 3:6, c) the logos word/message of God in the NT has radically been redefined from the OT because of a completely different-in-kind New Covenant. In the NT 99% of the time it’s either refers to Jesus Christ Himself as with John 1:1 or His gospel message, as here. d) Ephesians 1:13-14.
So far, what we have seen is that “The Promise” for the New Covenant wasn’t more scripture that never really worked in the old covenant to reveal God, bring people closer to Him, or help them do His will. It is the definition of insanity to believe and do the same things as before and somehow expect different results! God isn’t insane, but apparently many churches and Christians are!
As Christian musicians, like the apostles, shouldn’t we be looking for evidence that a person really does have the Holy Spirit instead of just taking it by faith because they “said the sinners prayer,” especially when the Holy Spirit’s filling indeed comes with grace-gifts and signs & wonders, particularly tongues, prophecy, or both? If the demonstrable evidence is missing, maybe we should conclude that either God is no longer backing up the gospel during this “dispensation,” or more likely we aren’t preaching the gospel but something else and/or we really don’t have trusting-relying-faith in the supernatural ability of God. Are we also going to perpetuate the Catholic Church lie around 200 AD that these manifestations all died off – because that’s when they tried to eradicate it, even though history continues to reveal these demonstrable proofs of God’s Spirit?
As Christian musicians, despite Paul’s approach, are we going to preach a “message-only gospel” devoid of the grace-gifts and signs & wonders, so that people can only rely on what we say instead of the power of God that confirms His message? Are we telling people to pray for the kingdom to come but then not lead them to the enabling-power that actually makes the kingdom possible? Are we building The Great Wall quenching the Spirit by forbidding tongues or despising prophecy, even though the NT repeatedly warns us against this? Even though the NT says God has a completely new way of knowing Him and communicating His will to ALL His people, especially to “the least among you,” now treating each one of us as His prophets that Moses and the OT Prophets longed for, are we trying to go back to the OT ways of gramma writings collected hundreds of years later into graphe scripture and being satisfied with Sola Scriptura approach to God?
As Christian musicians, don’t you find it odd that unlike every other rabbi, Jesus didn’t have scribes following him around to write every one of his sayings down to collect into many volumes for disciples to study for thousands of years, nor did He ever ask for this? John 21:25, 30-31 explains why not: “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did/caused/made. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. . . . Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these [relatively few] things are written so that you may have faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by having faith you may have life in His name.” So evidently, having a written record of ALL His teachings just wasn’t that important to Jesus or His apostles! This surely disappoints religious people and theologians that can only be guided from or financially benefit from what is written – many industries have formed around collecting, understanding, and teaching the bible.
As Christian musicians, are we going to cherry-pick the low-hanging gifts of the Holy Spirit for us today? Are we going to forbid one of the most important gifts of praying/singing in tongues as Paul boasted of and that he wanted for the whole Church? We will disobey Paul and NOT earnestly desire more than any other gift, the gift of prophecy, but actually despise it to quench the Spirit? Can’t we see that “the promise” of the Father is simply the coming of the Holy Spirit that enables us ALL to prophesy in order to more directly know God, and that there is no such “promise” for continued use of scripture or that more was to come? And why are we holding onto things from the OT that the NT said should be let go of?
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