We are now in a series on the Holy Spirit, having just come through Pentecost.
What are the important facts?
Pastor Jeter pointed out the different baptisms.
John baptized with water for repentance, interesting, for today even much of the church doesn’t believe in repentance as a part of salvation. Maybe that tells us something about where we are as a country today.
The Holy Spirit baptized us into Christ’s body. This occurs when we believe the gospel.
Jesus, who is the Christ (the Messiah) baptizes with the Holy Spirit. The question becomes — For whom is this promise and when does it occur?
Some supporting scriptures
Peter quoted Joel in Acts 2, and Joel says that this promise of the Holy Spirit is for all.
Acts 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (KJV)
This verse is giving us the definition of the “all” who are promised this gift?
For “all” could otherwise mean all humankind, but that is obviously not God’s meaning. It is the Holy Spirit who leads us, who are in Christ, into all truth. Does this just happen as a result of God’s desire for us? Is it an automatic baptism? Is it a second work? Or — Do we interact in any way with Jesus in this promise that He has given us? If it is all God and thus nothing from us; then every believer has this promise, and we do not participate; but if that be the case; then why is the Holy Spirit, whose purpose is for our learning and walking in His truth, directing what is the confusion evident within church doctrine? For this confusion is definitely what we see in our day. Obviously He is not doing the directing in all cases for every believer, or every theologian, because He is not the author of confusion. Scripture says: you have not because you ask not; or because you ask in vain or amiss.
Yet, confusion reigns:
—Salvation is taught differently. You can lose it; you can’t lose it.
You must repent; or there is no need for repentance, as you only need belief, for you can’t work to earn salvation, and repentance is work.
—baptism: You must be baptized in the Holy Spirit after salvation; or we get all of the Holy Spirit at salvation that we will ever get.
—Tribulation: the church will go through The Tribulation; the church will not see The Tribulation.
— yes: and there is even more.
I take it from the confusion that we must cooperate with the Holy Spirit from a pure heart in order to be led into all truth. For if our truth is not solely dependent on the Word of God as taught by the Holy Spirit without conflict; then our truth must be deceiving us and confusing us?
The question we need to ask is — is this doctrinal confusion at the heart of our problems in this country, as it was in Israel at the time of Messiah’s first coming? We know that confusion is not of God. It in fact is from the enemy of our souls. How do we repent of this failure on our part to be in unity as a body of believers, and where do we go from there?
Rather than debating the truth, should we not rather be discussing the truth in prayer, and in light of the questions posed from scripture surrounding what is being taught in opposing views?
We are to be discerning of and we are to resist false teaching. The Holy Spirit is behind all of the looking for and finding of truth, and if He is resisted by us in any way we are then led not by Him, but by the enemy.
My suggestion for what it is worth would be for church denominational leadership to come together with the goal in mind of not proving myself to be right, but to determine what God intends to lead us to understand in a doctrine, and we all need to be walking in the same Spirit in order to accomplish that. We His church need to discover whether or not it be His truth and not ours.
Will this happen? I seriously doubt it, and this is partly why, I believe, that God must teach us the hard way what is His truth, and therefore it would seem that His method is likely to be the great Tribulation. I base this understanding on what I see as an interesting revelation within the book of the Revelation.
In chapters 2 and 3, we read messages to the angels of each of the seven churches. Then in Revelation 14 we read:
And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; Revelation 14:6 NASB1995
Whereas we see entering the Tribulation these seven churches, with a message that was to a divided group of churches, yet, here we see after a period of time of being involved in the Tribulation, only one message is going forth from what would appear to be the one vehicle charged with this message. This seems a significant mention in scripture of an Angel preaching the gospel. Yet, It is commanded by Jesus that we the church are the vehicle responsible for this task.
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 NASB1995
Based upon this charge and on what Jesus the Revelator reveals in chapters 2 and 3 may we conclude that this Angel in chapter 14 could or would most likely represent a prayed for united church in this age, answering Jesus John 17 prayer for our unity? This then could likely represent not a confused body but a church body without spot or wrinkle. One that Paul said is the church for which our Lord will return.
All of this, I now believe, points toward truth that is taught throughout scripture. But I am only one man seeking truth from the scriptures on many topics.