In Acts 1:4, Jesus commands His disciples "not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me" (NASB)
The importance of this statement cannot be under emphasized; Jesus commanded His disciples not to leave Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit (the 'promise'). Jesus commanded His disciples to wait until they received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. They were not asked. It wasn't inferred or implied that they should maybe hang around, they were commanded to wait for the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Think about that. If Jesus commanded His disciples not to begin their ministries until they received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, who are we to think or believe otherwise? That Jesus thought so much of the Holy Spirit that He commanded His disciples to wait to receive it before they spoke one word of the Gospel to even one person should be sufficient evidence to support its importance in ministry. How arrogant it would be to think that we know better than Christ! But yet today there are thousands of Pastors and Ministers operating in ministry that have not received this precious gift. This doesn't mean that they're not effective but it does mean that they aren't near as effective as they could and should be with the Spirit alive inside them. They aren't as effective as God wants them to be. Furthermore, there are some that say that we don't even need the baptism in the Holy Spirit, that we get all that we need at salvation. There are still others that say that the baptism in the Spirit was only meant for the 'original, first century disciples'. I ask these church leaders one question; "Where does it say in the Word of God, the very breath of God, that the Holy Spirit isn't important today and that it was strictly intended for Christ's eleven?" Please, show me! The Word of God, in this very passage, says the exact opposite, that the Holy Spirit is essential, a pre-requisite to doing proper ministry the way God intended it. How incredibly audacious of us to ignore God's directive when it comes to ministry.
In Ephesians 3, Paul prays that "of the rich treasury of His glory" (AMP) that God would grant us the Holy Spirit so that "Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith" that we may experience the fullness of God. To dwell means 'to abide, to make His permanent home in'. Paul tells us in this passage that it is only by way of having the Holy Spirit residing in us that we can begin to comprehend "the breadth, and length, and depth, and height" of God. I (Mark) have been in God's presence on three occasions. Having been physically touched by Him on one of those occasions I can tell you that the power of Love that is in just one finger's touch from God is more than we can ever hope to comprehend or withstand Spiritually, emotionally or physically. The power of God is overwhelming and without the Holy Spirit in us we would never have the opportunity to experience even the tiniest part of the fullness of God. This is why the Holy Spirit is so important. He is the key that unlocks the door to power, strength and security, rooted in the love of God, that enables us to just scratch the surface of the fullness of what God has for us in this world - and we won't experience the fullness until we are with Him in heaven - and in our new heavenly bodies that can withstand the fullness. The Holy Spirit also gives us the supernatural strength to suffer persecution, the type of persecution that Christians have suffered since the beginning. It was the Holy Spirit that enabled Andrew, as he was lead to a cross for execution, to utter these words, "I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it". It was the Holy Spirit that gave Timothy, with his last breath, the heart of Christ to forgive the men that had stoned him to death. How would this be possible if it were not for the Spirit of God living inside him? This strength and power is what Paul referred to.
If there is anything that should run common through Christianity it is that we believe that the Bible is the breathed Word of God. If we believe that the Bible is the breathed Word of God, what gives us the right to think that we can edit it? How can we possibly go against the Word of God if we believe that the Bible and everything in it is the very being of God, His very breath? That everything breathed into this most sacred of texts is for our instruction, our good - our salvation. How can we take what we want from one section and not accept another? We don't have the right to pick and choose what we want to believe and what we don't want to believe - it is ALL for us, every word...and every command. Derek Prince, mentor of my parents and one of my first teachers once said "anything that does not agree with the Bible is not from God" and nowhere in the Boble does it say "from these words choose what you want to follow and discard the rest."
This Pentecost I pray that each and every one of you would seek God's face with all of your heart and that you would be open for everything that He has promised you. God bless.
~May the blood of Jesus cover, bless and protect you!
Mark & Cathie