Evidence of Holy Spirit Baptism

Last week I spoke about repentance which leads to conversion, to real change in our thinking and in our character.  And that this is not only for when we first became believers in Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Some of us have had sudden and dramatic experiences and can give a definite testimony of being born-again, or of being filled with a life-changing revelation from the Word of God by the Spirit of God.  Others, especially those who have grown up in believing families and who have “always believed in God and Jesus” from a very early age, may not be able to pinpoint the day or situation where they knew something had ‘happened’ to them.  Yet without the Holy Spirit working in our life by the grace of God, we cannot do it or know it.  The good fruit of holiness and righteousness in our lives will prove our baptism in the Holy Spirit by the will of God.  So, how we can know if we have been baptized in the Holy Spirit and born-again?

We believe that spiritual gifts do not guarantee spiritual maturity, or even salvation.  A tree or person is known by his fruit; ultimately the fruit of the Holy Spirit is what pleases our Father in Heaven and the Lord Jesus Christ.  I want to bring some Scriptures to help us know we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, that is, that we are saved – whether we speak with other tongues or not.  It is important that we know with humble confidence and thanksgiving, and should anyone have any doubt, let him/her ask the Father in Jesus’ name to give His Spirit. (2Cor 13:5; 2Pt 1:10; Lk 11:13)  John the Baptizer came to baptize in water, but he said that Yeshua comes to baptize in the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Jn 16:14-15   He will glorify Me, for He will receive of Mine and will announce it to you.  All things that the Father has are Mine.  Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and will announce it to you.

Acts 1:8   But you shall receive power, the Holy Spirit coming upon you.  And you shall be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

1Jn 4:1-3   Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits to see if they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  By this you know the Spirit of God:  every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come/is coming in the flesh is of God; and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come/is coming in the flesh is not of God.  And this is the antichrist you heard is coming, and even now is already in the world.

1Cor 12:3   Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says Jesus is a curse, and that no one can say that Jesus is LORD (YHVH), but by the Holy Spirit.

Phlp 2:9-11   Therefore God has highly exalted Him, and has given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly ones, and of earthly ones, and of ones under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is LORD (YHVH), to the glory of God the Father.

1Jn 2:12   I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.

Rom 8:14-17   For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba, Father!  The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.  And if we are children, then we are heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; so that if we suffer with Him, we may also be glorified together.

1Thes 4:3-8   For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;  that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,   not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;   that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.   For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.   Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.

1Jn 4:10-13   In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation concerning our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.  No one has seen God at any time.  If we love one another, God dwells in us, and His love is perfected in us.  By this we know that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

1Jn 5:9-13   If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater.  For this is the witness of God which He has testified about His Son.  He who believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself.  He who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he does not believe the record that God gave of His Son.  And this is the record, that God has given to us everlasting life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.  I have written these things to you who believe on the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have everlasting life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Rom 10:9-10   . . .if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Our positive response and attitude to these evidences will do much to strengthen the believer in his/her faith, and to rest in the knowledge of our Savior God. Why is this important? Because the righteous will live by [his] faith, and by faith. If we are not certain whether we are born-again – baptized in the Holy Spirit – we will live accordingly, whether with doubt, or with pride of not needing to be. But if we humbly but confidently know that the Holy Spirit dwells within us, then the righteous in Christ will live in the truth of the name of the Lord Jesus, and be faithful witnesses of God.

HOPE DESPITE FUTILITY – 19 June 2013

The people of Israel lives!  Am Israel Chai!   Last night witnessed a gala celebration of a man and his life, and of a people and their hope.  Israeli President Shimon Peres enjoyed a birthday party unlike any other person on the world stage.  Although his actual birthday isn’t until August 8, leaders and celebrities from Israel and from all around the world came together in an exciting and emotive way to wish Shimon a happy 90th birthday, with the hope of many more.

President Peres was one of the founding builders of the modern State of Israel, and has served in nearly every major government position available.  He is a man who has embodied the Israeli and Jewish people’s dream and hope of a better tomorrow, whatever today brings.   It is an indomitable optimism that does not give up hope, despite the reality of futility which constantly frustrates its realization.  He has been a politician and a statesman who has never been tainted by scandal, yet has often found himself at odds with the conventional wisdom during the course of his long, and still very active, life.  He, like his nation, has a remarkable record of achievement and resiliency.  His reputation is honored as a man who has lived according to what he believes.  He received accolades of praise that properly belong to another Man.  He is a man of the world, and the world hears him.   If ever a a person has received his reward in this life, Shimon Peres is among them.  If it only ends with this, it will be an eternal tragedy he will forever regret.

King Solomon, the wisest man who has ever lived apart from Jesus Christ, was also very wealthy.  With his wisdom and wealth, he set himself to do whatever came into his heart and mind.  The book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible tells of his quest for understanding and for happiness.  What the son of King David came to realize, with all the resources at his disposal to be a self-satisfied man, was that all was vanity, and vanity  of vanities.  The  optimistic humanistic effort to have a good life and to make the world better is, at the end of the day, futile.  Yet God, the Creator and Redeemer — who has subjected the whole creation to futility  — has put into it and into every person a hope that there is — and can be — something better.  This hope is embedded in the collective soul of the Jewish people in particular, and in humankind generally; but wishful thinking does not bring fulfillment, nor does God have a dream that He hopes will come true.

Shimon Peres has struggled with his fellow pioneers and builders of the State of Israel in his and their quest for peace and security.  Last night’s gala celebration, which brought people from the whole spectrum of political and social life — both within Israel and the Jewish world, and also from many  other countries — was a proof that Shimon had prevailed.   Israel, like this man who has shared her life and struggles from the beginning, continues to seek approval from her neighbors and from the whole international community, and finds them very fickle.  Neither Shimon Peres nor his people Israel has yet overcome in their struggle with man and God, who alone gives the most important approval which anyone must have, and who gives the peace which comes from ceasing our own works to find significance and worth in this world, by coming to know that the true unifying truth and Hope of Israel — and for all humanity — is found in the Messiah Son of David, even the Lord Jesus Christ/ha-Adon Yeshua ha-Mashiach.

My prayer for Shimon Peres, and for the others of my people, is that they be saved, and to give the glory to the God of our fathers, and to do His will in obedience of the faith in the living God, and in His Son.   What a wonderful testimony to hear the likes of President Peres — who has won the acclaim of the world and accomplished so much, yet frustrated by the elusive peace he so much wants for all — to be able to confess like the apostle Paul, who had all the credentials, that all that he achieved in and from the world is rubbish not to be compared with the living and sure hope in God of the riches of the glory of knowing his exalted Lord and Savior and Prince of Peace — the Light to enlighten the nations, and the Glory of His people Israel!

AS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH – 3 June 2013

It is hot and dry in the Southland of the Holy Land.  Last night at 9:00 (21:00), the temperatures around Israel were as hot as what is normal for this time of year at mid-day.

As much as God has promised the perpetuity of agricultural growth, of temperatures, seasons, and cycle of days (Gen 8:22), nonetheless the stability of the Earth’s life seems to be less predictable and consistent as the last days progress towards the end-times.  We go from colder/wetter-than-normal immediately to hotter/dryer-than-normal, and back again.  Life goes on by the power of God’s Word holding all things together, whether people are oblivious to the realities of the times we live in, or whether we discern the signs of the times.

Praise the Lord for His goodness and mercies to sinful humanity!