The Advent Part 7
Since yesterday’s post one thing keeps making its way to the forefront of my mind, and that is the fact that Jesus commanded His disciples to wait in Jerusalem, and they waited. The disciples obeyed. We cannot expect anything from the hand of God if we are unwilling to obey Him. The disciples received that which was promised to them because they obeyed what Jesus commanded them to do. If they had all departed from Jerusalem even after Jesus had told them not to, if they had all gone their own way, doing their own thing, seeking the fulfillment of their own aspirations, then they would not have received what Jesus had promised that they would. Wait on the promise of God, in the place He has told you to wait, for as long as you have to wait, otherwise we wait in vain.
As Jesus continues speaking to His disciples, He points something out that is of relevance to our study, the fact that John truly baptized with water, but they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. I want to dwell on this for a while, because it is important and relevant, and because any Biblical truth that is twisted to fit our own preconceived ideology or doctrinal stance can readily become untruth.
Any apostolic practice performed differently than in the Spirit of the New Covenant, is seen of God as defilement, impure and absent of divine blessing.
John baptized with water, and the baptism of John also referred to as the baptism of repentance, was something ordained of God. As men would come to be baptized, they would be asked to confess their sins, and only after confession would the baptism of John be granted to them. Of those who came to be baptized, some could have been insincere in their confessions, this is why John consistently reminds them that the One who is to come after him, will know the hidden things of the heart, and Him they would not be able to deceive or lie to.
Matthew 3:11-12, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Although he was a man of God, John was in the end just a man with human limitations, and constrained to His calling. The One who was to come however, would be the Son of God and as such no limitations would be placed upon Him. John knew his place, he know the extent of his calling, and in humility he looked for the One who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire, for the One who would thoroughly purge His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn, and burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
It is the pinnacle of wisdom to realize our place within the body of Christ, to remain within our calling, and not attempt to ascend to duties beyond those which we were called to. John was fully aware that He who was coming was mightier than himself, he was fully aware that He would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire, and so he did his part, faithfully performed the duties of his calling until the Christ came.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the work of God, a work which He performs in the hearts and lives of the faithful, as He sees fit. I realize making demands of God is becoming increasingly popular in our day and age, I realize men who call themselves spiritual leaders are instructing their sheep to look up to heaven shake their fists at God and order Him to do one thing or another on their behalf as though He were some indentured servant, but the reality of the situation is that God does what He wants, when He wants, how He wants, and though we might stir His heart with our prayers, we will never get anywhere by making demands.
One other aspect of this passage that I want to point out is the fact that within the fifth verse of the first chapter of acts Jesus also defines what the Promise of the Father is. There has been much back and forth within theological circles, there have been speculations, and personal opinions, but they are worthless, pointless, and in the end a waste of time, because we discover the truth of what the Promise is from none other than Christ Jesus Himself.
Acts 1:5, “For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
The Promise of the Father is the baptism of the Holy Spirit! This truth is undeniable when viewed via the prism of the Word of God. Try as one might to bypass this truth, try as one might to skirt this issue because their denominational doctrine compels them to, the Word of God changes for no man, and the truth thereof is self-evident to all who have ears to hear and eyes to see.
We have not because we ask not, and we ask not because we’ve been taught that what we could be asking for, what we should be asking for is no longer available, that it has long expired and become null and void, even though God never sent out that particular memo, nor is the mention of the cessation of the work, the indwelling and the gifts of the Holy Spirit found anywhere within the Word of God. One would think that something of such paramount importance would be clearly outlined within the Bible, or that at least we would have been told that we should stop asking for the power and the gifts because, well, they were just for a handful of folks two thousand years ago, and not for us.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.