The Spirit within… the Spirit upon

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Spirit within upon

Sunday 05/26/24

Title: The Spirit within… the Spirit upon

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The Spirit within… the Spirit upon

The Holy Spirit given to us:

  • Helper
  • Counselor
  • Comforter
  • Encourager
  • Teacher
  • Guide
  • Partner
  • Co-witness
  • Influencer
  • Renewer
  • Revealer
  • Friend
  • The 1st installment of our inheritance  
  • The One Who seals our hearts for God
  • The One preparing us as an eternal dwelling place for God
  • The doctor Who looks after the wellbeing of our conscious

All of this and more the precious Spirit of God is to us. 

He’s the promise of the Father. He’s the One Jesus said it was to our advantage that He sent to us. Without Him we would not know our own hearts. We would not know our own spiritual state. We would have been unaware of our spiritual need. And above all we would have never had eyes to see the beauty, the Wonder and the power of God expressed in the person of Jesus Christ Our Lord. 

The Holy Spirit IS our spiritual perception. He is our eyes. He is our understanding. He is the one who influences our hearts towards Jesus

He’s both our want to, and our want to want to.

He is the very definition of faithfulness, diligence, loyalty & devotion. 

No truer or more sensitive heart could be found. 

I say that because even out of the Godhead the Holy Spirit is regarded with the highest of respect. This isn’t because the Holy Spirit is greatest among Them for They are all equals. In fact, I can’t say that I know absolutely why it’s true! 

I suspect part of the reason is because of the tenderness of the Spirit’s heart and the way Spirit functions, in many ways, like the Mother in our relationship to God and quite possibly in the interrelationship of the Godhead itself. 

In any case both the Father and the Son saw the Holy Spirit as the most valuable and precious personality They could give to the church to prepare each heart both individually and corporately for an eternity with Them.

He was the promise! 

This is why Paul and his writing to the Galatians didn’t ask them if they had received salvation by The Works of the law or by the hearing of faith but rather… if they had received the Spirit by the works of the law or the hearing of faith. 

So this relationship is both central, pivotal and of  utmost importance. So this Sunday we begin to turn our attention towards – our gift from the Father. Our friend, our helper, and our enabler and our co-witness – the precious and powerful 

Holy Spirit of God. 

I want to begin with two passages we will in all likelihood revisit in the coming weeks but I think are fitting as an introduction today.

Gal. 4…

“(4)  But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, (5)  to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons

 (6 ) And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His SonINTO your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”  (7) Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

AND

and 1Cor. 2…

“(12) Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit Who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”

EXAMPLES… 

Acts 8:9-25,

“(9) Now in that city was a man named Simon, who had been practicing magic and amazing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great.  (10)  All the people, from the least to the greatest, paid close attention to him, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called ‘Great.’”  (11)  And they paid close attention to him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic.  (12)  But WHEN THEY BELIEVEDPhilip as he was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they began to be baptized, both men and women.  

(13)  Even Simon himself BELIEVED, and after he WAS BAPTISED, he stayed close to Philip constantly, and when he saw the signs and great miracles that were occurring, he was amazed.  

(14)  Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.  (15)  These two went down and prayed for them so that they would receive the Holy Spirit.  (16)  (For the Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)  

(17)  Then Peter and John PLACED THEIR HANDS ON the Samaritans, and they received the Holy Spirit.  

(18)  Now Simon, when he saw that THE SPIRIT WAS GIVEN THROUGH THE LAYING ON OF THE APOSTLES’ HANDS, offered them money,  (19)  saying, 

“Give me this power too, so that everyone I place my hands on may receive the Holy Spirit.”  

(20)  But Peter said to him, 

“May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could acquire God’s gift with money!  (21)  You have no share or part in this matter because your heart is not right before God!  (22)  Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that he may perhaps forgive you for the intent of your heart.  (23)  For I see that you are bitterly envious and in bondage to sin.”  

(24)  But Simon replied, 

“You pray to the Lord for me so that nothing of what you have said may happen to me.”  

(25)  So after Peter and John had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, proclaiming the good news to many Samaritan villages as they went.”

Acts 10:34-48,

“(34) Then Peter started speaking: “I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism in dealing with people,  (35)  but in every nation the person who fears him and does what is right is welcomed before him.  (36)  You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all) –  (37)  you know what happened throughout Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John announced:  (38)  with respect to Jesus from Nazareth, that God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power. 

He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with Him.  

(39)  We are witnesses of all the things He did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They killed Him by hanging Him on a tree,  (40)  but God raised Him up on the third day and caused Him to be seen,  (41)  not by all the people, but by us, the witnesses God had already chosen, who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead.  (42)  He commanded us to preach to the people and to warn them that He is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead.  

(43)  About Him all the prophets testify, that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.”  

(44)  While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the message.  

(45)  The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were greatly astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles,  (46) FOR THEY HEARD THEM speaking in tongues and praising God. 

Then Peter said,  (47)  “No one can withhold the water for these people to be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?”  (48)  So he gave orders to have them baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay for several days.”

Now we are going to learn a little more about the Spirit being given both at and after salvation as we move forward and there are at least two passages in Acts which confirm and offer deeper insight into this occasion at Cornelius’ house which we will read in a little while.

But first let me address the word “tongues” here. It is the same word as that used in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost but may mean something different. The word implies a language not known by the speaker. Now I believe there is much asserted regarding this by well intending people but which would be hard to demonstrate from scripture.

I believe the traditional view of those who believe in tongues as a natural result of having the Holy Spirit come upon a believer (or being baptized in the Holy Spirit) is that it is a heavenly language, but I don’t know that this is always the case. One has to be careful because it is easy to get confused between one use of this word and another. 

Sometimes it seems to indicate a special manifestation of the Holy Spirit for ministry as in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost. This, as we discussed last week, was NOT the actual “gift of tongues” as is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12-14 since there is no need for an interpreter. Those hearing the tongue understand the language being spoken, meaning that the Holy Spirit empowered believers to speak languages they had not personally learned but which others present knew and spoke.

Other times the word is in reference to the “spiritual gift” of tongues which is for the edification of the church and ALWAYS is accompanied by an interpretation.

Other times it refers to praying and is NOT ministry oriented at all, but rather benefits the believer – building them up in faith even though their minds are not edified through comprehending what they are praying.

What I am suggesting to you is that in any and all of these cases, that the language spoken is unknown to the one speaking – it is not unknown to everyone. Paul, in writing to the Corinthian believers who were much intrigued by manifestations of the Spirit in gifts, wrote to them in his famous chapter 13 on love that all must be done to edify, build up and in love – not for selfish gain or promotion. In that chapter he addressed several expressions of the Spirit – tongues – prophecy and giving. 

Regarding tongues he says, “though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”

While much can be learned from this statement, I think one is often overlooked. Paul seems to be saying that tongues can be either a natural language of humans on earth, or it can even be the language spoken among angels (by which he may mean the language of heaven or angel’s specifically). Clearly either of these latter ones would be beyond the knowledge of any natural human being in this life. 

So my point being that, to qualify for ANY of the tongues mentioned in scripture as a manifestation of the Spirit it need only be foreign to the speaker. Though it does seem that if it is the actual “gift of tongues” meant for the edification of the church it must be a language the Spirit KNOWS for sure no one present understands – thus requiring supernatural interpretation. This could be achieved by either an human language foreign to all in that congregation, or by an angelic language. Either would seem to get the job done.

Jude 1:20, “But you, dear friends, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,” 

***PERSONAL EXPERIENCE***

I offer this example as ONLY an example. It is a personal experience and is therefore NOT on par with scripture in ANY WAY! Being the one involved I know it was a real experience and since it helps to illustrate and confirm something scripture DOES say and imply, I am offering it as such – nothing more!

When I was 7 years old, which was 2 years after I placed my faith in Jesus as my Lord and Savior – my mother went to a meeting in order to learn more about the Holy Spirit. As she was heading out of the house that Saturday morning, she asked me if I wanted to go. I was laying on our living room floor watching cartoons, but I jumpt up and went with her. After the meeting she told me to stay put in my chair as she went forward to talk to the minister, which was about 12 or more rows ahead of me at the front of the auditorium.

At one point I noticed that he placed his hands on my mother’s head and she lifted her hands in the air. As she did, from where I was sitting is looked like she was crying. So I ran forward thinking this man had hurt her. When I approached them I asked my mother if she was okay. The man answered and said that she had just been baptized in the Holy Spirit. I looked concerned and asked, “Well is she okay?” The man affirmed that she was and asked if I wanted the same. 

Now you have to understand that I grew up in a Souther Baptist church which was a VERY godly church with some amazing men of God as Pastors, but I never heard them teach a single message about the Holy Spirit to my recollection. I knew he was part of the Godhead and was separate from the Father and the Son in that he is a separate personality, but that was pretty much it!

So when this man asked me if I wanted the Holy Spirit I did not know if I did or not.

I don’t remember saying this myself, but later my mother told me that my answer to this question was, “If its more of Jesus I want it!”

So the man laid his hands on me and told me to use my voice, just make a noise. I was a little uncertain of myself and so the man illustrated by simply making a tonal noise – like singing a single note and so I followed his example and did the same. He laid his hands on me and I felt a sinsation at the back of my neck that ran along the bottom of my jaw that felt a little like a tingling. I felt a strong desire to speak – almost like I could not hold it in. It was not scary at all, though it may sound that way. I was actually near to giddy and very excited. I sensed love and commrodary like I’d never felt in my life. I had a deep sensation of belonging and being pleasing to God. My tongue was literally taken over in that it began to move and my mouth began to speak, but I had no idea what was happening. I seems to me now that at this point I experienced a hint of concern, but it went away almost as quick as it suggested itself.

At that moment I had a vision. I was stanging before a very bright throne which was elevated by stairs in front of me. I saw the shape of a man on the throne, but not his face. In fact, the only physical attributes I saw was His hands and feet. The further up got to His chest and face the less you could make out – it was just so bright.

Now around the throne was a greenish glow, almost like a halo or lense refraction. There was a man standing to His right (my left as I was facing Them) Who stepped down the stairs a little and held out His hands. From His wrists shot shafts of light. The next thing I knew I was in the arms of the One on the throne, almost like an infant would be held by a parent.

I experienced a sense of “home” like I had never known. A deep and penetrating awareness of being loved, cherished along with a concrete knowing that I belonged.

Even recounting it this many years later it has a sense of perminence to it that I can’t quite capture in words.

I’ve only felt something similar one other time and I go there in my memory frequently since it is a place of peace and knowing that was simply transcendant. I don’t live with that awareness, but I wish I did!

At any rate – and this is really the point of all of this personal recollection – both THAT moment and for a good while afterwards, the prayer language I spoke was very repetative. There were words which would pop up from time to time that were unfamiliar but others happened frequently enough that I grew to recognize them though I had never heard them before and did not know what they meant.

The first word was Abba. Yes that is a term which today, I imagine even non-believers amy be familiar with, but in 1974 it was not so commonly known or even taugh upon in my circles so it was entirely foreign to me.

Later, of course, I learned what that word meant but for those who may still not know I will explain it. Abba is a transliteration of an Aramaic word for father.

Every use of it in scripture is immediately followed by the Greek word Pater which also means Father.

So on the surface each appearance in scripture looks as if they are saying father, father. However, this Armaic transliterated word for father carries with it a more intimate and personal meaning. For years it was taught that its English equivalent is “daddy”, but this is not true. However, when used as it was in Scripture it expresses a high degree of closeness with reverence, and could even be used outside of one’s family as a term of respectful endearment by disciples of a much loved teacher.

The only other word which appeared frequently in my praying in the Spirit was kaneva. I did not know the meaning of this word for a VERY long time. In fact, it wasn’t until my adult years when one could search the internet for such things that I finally recieved an answer to its meaning. Evidently it is a word of Russian origin and means unique, Kind and selfless.

So these meanings, taken together with the experience I had and the sense of belonging which came over me seems to indicate that I was worshipping the Father in my prayer language as being a tender and loving Father Who is unique, kind and selfless. This is consistent with what I believe the Father’s intention that day and for many more years to come. You see I had a terrific dad. He was a hard worker and great provider but was not very outwardly affactionate and did not communicate his feelings to me very well. To be fair, he was probably better than his father who was a 100% purebred English man of the late 18 to early 1900’s, was a brilliant engineer who had the emtional depth of a turnip. I believe it is only right to place my father in a context because he was a good man who loved God and family.

As a child to whom words mean more sometimes even than actions, this was devistating. Though I later learned that my father did in fact love me and was proud of me, in my youth I filled in those glaring blanks of silence with an altogether different story. I felt like I was an embarrassment to him, that I was too much of a child (though I was in fact a child in reality) and that his acceptance of me was real, but largely limited to the environment of the home.

All of this no doubt would have had an even greater impact on my relationship with God, had the Father not revealed Himself to me as loving, tender, affectionate and kind.

Now I did not piece all of this together until many, MANY years later, but looking back on it, the whole goal seems rather obvious.

Now, after all of that personal stuff let me bring this back around to my point. I believe that one of the things Paul was telling us in 1 Corinthians 13 was that when we pray in the Spirit or are used in the spiritual gift of tongues, we may be speaking either an earthly language or a heavenly one or a mixture of both. The only real “rule” if you can call it that, is that the language is unknown to the speaker and those being spoken too. In my case the language I was speaking was at very least a mixture of Aramaic and Russian – both of which were not known or spoken by myself either then or now.

Next week we will continue the series picking back up with the two scriptural confirmations to the Spirit being given at Cornelius’ house – both of which offer us further insights into this truth.

Blessings!

Tri

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!

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