The Advent Part 43
Acts 2:12, “So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘whatever could this mean?’”
The work of God for the uninitiated, or those who have never experienced it, is if only briefly a shock to the system. It is something new, never before experienced, but that shock gives way to clarity soon after the initial amazement and perplexity one experiences.
Because much of today’s church is caught up in the back and forth concerning the availability of the Holy Spirit, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, firmly planting their feet on one side of the isle or the other, we overlook certain truths concerning the infilling of the Holy Spirit that are of paramount importance for us as believers. In an instant, those who had gathered in the upper room were radically transformed, and we see the difference the Holy Spirit made in them with clarity and certainty.
These were not the same people, they were no longer fearful, they were no longer scared, they were no longer reticent in sharing the Gospel, they had suddenly become bold and courageous men and women of God whose only purpose was to lift high the name of Jesus. Truth had overcome them; truth had filled them to overflowing and as such had chased away the fear that had been evident in them before the advent of the Holy Spirit.
The power of the Holy Spirit, the infilling of the Holy Spirit, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is much more than the ability to speak in other tongues, or to prophesy, or to dream dreams, or to work miracles, the Holy Spirit gives you boldness, and He gives you strength, and He gives you authority to trumpet the truth of Christ fearlessly to whomever might be standing before you.
The flesh is weak, Jesus Himself confirmed this in the gospel according to Matthew, so if we trust in the arm of the flesh to do the work of God, if we trust in the arm of the flesh to preach the unadulterated and undiluted truth, the flesh in which we trust will fail us. Although we might say as Peter did ‘Lord I am ready to go with you to prison and even death’ and really mean it, and be sincere in our statement, when the moment of truth arrives, when the rubber meets the road as it were, if the Holy Spirit is not residing in us, our flesh will betray us, and we will do as Peter did so long ago, deny the Christ, and even be adamant in our denial.
We have placed an inordinate amount of value on these husks of flesh, we’ve made them out to be more than they are, especially in our day and age, and as such it is hard for us to come to terms with the notion that the flesh is weak, and the heart is evil, and only by the power of God residing in us, only by the power of the Holy Spirit strengthening us are we able to resist the enemy in these evil days.
The Holy Spirit took men and women of flesh, men and women given to fear and trepidation, and transformed them into fearless children of God. He changed the lives of thousands of individuals on the Day of Pentecost, and continues to do so to this very day. I know, some say that the age of miracles has passed, that God no longer does what He once did, because He’s grown tired, or His power has diminished over the centuries, but this is a lie, because we serve a God who changes not, a God who is the same yesterday, today and forevermore, a God who doesn’t need to recharge His batteries, and whose strength does not ebb with the passage of time. We serve a glorious God, a God of power, a God of miracles, a God of mercy, and a God of grace. People are still being born again, they are still having their lives radically transformed by the power of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, and to me at least, this radical transformation in the lives of individuals is the greatest miracle of all.
We strive for more in every other area of our lives except for the spiritual. In our jobs, we work hard hoping to get promoted or to get raises, in our relationships we put in the time and the effort to make them stable and make them grow, even with our hobbies we invest resources and spend time to expand our understanding and our ability, yet when it comes to the spiritual we are woefully content with the status quo. Rather than press in, rather than seek out, rather than knock that He might open, and ask that He might give, we have resigned ourselves to the existing state of affairs, believing the voices that say the Holy Spirit is no longer a viable option for the believer, even though the Word of God never makes such affirmations.
‘But the brother who said that the Holy Spirit is no longer available for us as believers and that the gifts of the Holy Spirit no longer operate is credible and well respected.’
All well and good, but men make mistakes, God does not. In His wisdom God would have made it crystal clear if and when the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased, the date and time on which they expired, because He is not the author of confusion. Why would we be encouraged to seek after spiritual gifts, why would we be encouraged to desire to prophesy if these things were no longer available? Is God so cruel in that He would encourage us to ask for something that is perpetually out of our reach or unavailable to us? I think not.
It is because we deny the power of God in our day and age, it is because we deny the baptism and infilling of the Holy Spirit that we are witnessing the weakest and most compromised generation the Church has ever produced, in a time when we ought to be the strongest generation that has ever been seen.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.