“The promise” of the Holy Spirit’s baptism, immersion, or filling of “living water”
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“The promise” of the Holy Spirit isn’t just an unnoticeable, initial deposit when you were saved, which we have to simply take by trusting-relying-faith, as so many preach. The Spirit-baptism, filling, outpouring, or falling/coming-upon of the Holy Spirit’s “living water” is very obvious to you and all those around you! It results in supernatural manifestations or demonstrational-proofs of Christ’s Spirit in the form of grace-gifts and signs & wonders, along with dunamis enabling-power to witness or evangelize (a) and overwhelming “unconditional-love, peace, joy, and controlling righteousness” (b). None of this is gnosis info-knowledge but instead experiential, relational ginosko knowing and even genuine-real-thing, experientially, relationally epiginosko knowing! Throughout the bible, this intimate koinonia fellowship experience is symbolized as “springs or fountain of living water welling up from within your innermost being” (c). This isn’t theological or imaginary but practical experience! <Notes> a) Acts 1:8, b) Romans 14:17; Galatians 5:22-23, c) John 4:10-14, 7:38; Revelation 7:17.
Paul makes it clear in Ephesians 4:5 that there is only “one baptism.” 1st c. Church writings show that they believed the initial anointing or Spirit’s filling-baptism was expected to happen at the same time as a person’s water-baptism, making them one and the same. However, we see the “filling of the Holy Spirit” can occur to the same Christians over and over after their initial water-baptism (a), and that this “agathos excellent-beneficial-salutary (b) grace-gift of the Holy Spirit” is simply received and thus limited only by our “routine asking” (c.) Thus Paul strongly urges Christians to “be routinely filled by the means of the Spirit” (d) in order to “definitively be pleroo filled-to-completion with the pleroma abundant-fullness of God” (e). But all of God’s blessings have to start somewhere and sometime, and that was at water-baptism! <Notes> a) Acts 4:31, 13:9, 13:52, b) agathos: inherent or intrinsic goodness, a unique quality or condition, excellent or distinguished in quality, respect, uprightness, honor, useful, beneficial, salutary, suitable, pleasant, kind, benevolent, agreeable, joyful, c) Luke 11:13, cf. “good things” of Matthew 7:11, d) Ephesians 5:18, e) Ephesians 3:19.
However, poor teaching on Spirit-baptism, even in their day and certainly since, had left and still does, many only hearing about water-baptism (a), though some find out about “the Spirit’s filling-baptism” much later. For example, in Acts 8:15, Christians “who had already received the logos message of God,” which is “the preached ‘Great News’ about the kingdom of God and/coupled the name/authority of Jesus Christ” (b), who were already “water-baptized in the name/authority of the Lord Jesus,” were much later proseuchomai conversationally-prayed (c) for by Peter and John “that they might definitively/wholly actively lambano ‘receive or take hold of for one-self’ the Holy Spirit for HE had not yet fallen-upon [with ongoing effects] any of them, having only been water-baptized in the name/authority of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they actively continually-repeatedly (c) lambano ‘received or taken hold of for one-self’ the Holy Spirit.” This wasn’t an invisible “deposit you just have to take passively by faith at your conversion” that so many churches preach, especially since Simon, a previous sorcerer now converted, “saw that the Spirit was given . . . he offered them money . . . for this dunamis enabling-power also” (d). However, God is gracious because He will give the Spirit-baptism to anybody who actively, routinely seeks it – and He will give it to you again and again, just as in the early Church! The lambano ‘grabbing-hold’ of the Spirit was clearly visible! <Notes> a) if they even get this teaching, b) Acts 8:12, c) rare imperfect tense, d) Acts 8:15-19.
In another case, Paul came across 7 disciples/followers of Jesus in Ephesus in Acts 19:1-7, and what was the first thing out of his mouth? What church do you go to? No! “Did you definitively/wholly actively lambano ‘receive or take hold of for one-self’ the Holy Spirit when you had trusting-relying-faith?” Come on, when is the last time you heard someone ask you that when they just found out you were a Christian? Maybe if you met a Pentecostal or a Charismatic Christian! But when the Ephesians said to Paul: “No, we haven’t heard of the Holy Spirit,” Paul immediately asked, “Then into what were you water-baptized?” Can’t you see that the early Christians directly connected “grabbing-hold-of-for-oneself the Holy Spirit” with water-baptism? Pretty obvious! But when Paul found out it was John’s water-baptism of repentance instead, he explained further “the WAY of God” and “on hearing this, they were water-baptized in the name/authority of the Lord Jesus.” The Holy Spirit is where it’s at! See New Covenant Ways page.
This sounds just like what happened right before this incident in Acts 18:24-28, where Apollos had just come to Ephesus, who “only knew the water-baptism of John” (a), but when two Christians “Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the WAY of God more accurately.” It didn’t matter if Apollos was “an eloquent man, competent in the [OT] scriptures” (b), nor that “he had been instructed in the WAY of the Lord, or being fervent in [human] spirit, speaking/preaching and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus” (a). Most churches would hire that guy in a minute and that’s why so many churches are deader than a door nail! Clearly the “more accurate WAY” is water-baptism and Spirit-baptism together! <Notes> a) Acts 18:25, b) Acts 18:24.
You can see the two situations are directly related because the disciples Paul met in Ephesus were just like Apollos, “having only heard of John’s water-baptism.” Therefore, clearly “the WAY of God more accurately” is the “water-baptism in the name/authority of the Lord Jesus” in order “to lambano grab-hold-of-for-oneself the Holy Spirit when you had trusting-relying-faith.” And evidently, knowing that you have lambano grabbed-hold-of-for-oneself the Holy Spirit was no guess work – it was obvious to everybody because of the grace-gifts and sign & wonders as we shall see!
As Christian musicians, do we want to perpetuate a false theology that you just have take “the indwelling, filling, outpouring, falling/coming-upon, anointing, or baptism of the Holy Spirit” simply ‘by faith’ as if it were just a dogma creed or didache doctrine to agree with? Instead, shouldn’t we be expecting to see “supernatural manifestations or demonstrational-proofs” that it actually has occurred and that the genuine “knowledge of God” has nothing to do with information gathered from the bible but actual relational experience?
Will we return to expecting ALL this to start at a Christian’s water-baptism and that it should continue repeating itself throughout a Christian’s life every time they routinely ask, seek, and knock whole-heartedly and relentlessly to actively ‘grab-hold-of-for-oneself’ this “excellent-beneficial-salutary grace-gift of the Holy Spirit?” Let us not “tear asunder what God has joined!” Let us be like Paul, Priscilla, and Aquila that “explain the WAY of God more accurately” – that the Holy Spirit’s filling-baptism accompanied with grace-gifts and powerful manifestations by signs & wonders indeed is expected when a person is water-baptized for salvation. The NT and Church history certainly bear this out! Without this enabling-power for zoe genuine-life and witness, all we have is fervent, doctrinal, eloquent preaching that is empty of God. And that’s exactly why so many so-called Christians and churches are deader than door nails!
Lord, we cry out, ask, seek, and knock relentlessly like a little child to You over and over that we desperately need and want MORE of YOU. Fill us up with your abundant-fullness by the means of Your Spirit of holiness. Fall upon us, well or gush up from within us, pour out upon us, rain down on us, anoint us! We will grab-hold-of-for-ourselves YOU when YOU come. We want more than dogma creeds, didache doctrine and theology – we want to experience ‘the real thing.’ We want your zoe genuine-life and dunamis enabling-power to demonstrably-prove YOU to the world. How else can they be saved – the gospel message, even with our fervency and eloquence, without YOUR proof is powerless, which explains the state of many Christians and churches. We yearn and pant for YOUR solution – “the excellent-beneficial-salutary grace-gift of the Holy Spirit.”
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