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THESIS FOR THE YEAR 2019
 





A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE WORKING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!!!

Dear Believer,

“Denomination in the Universal Church is an abomination” observed a wise Christian. Since denominations have come to stay in the Universal Church, Yours Truly would say “Denominationism (read a perspective my Denomination is greater than other denominations) is indeed an abomination” for the good Lord may have accepted the denominations as they are in the Universal Church but He would not tolerate one denomination looking down in contempt upon His blood-bought disciples (1 Peter 1:18-19) of yet another denomination with contempt.

At this stage, Yours Truly is inspired to share a dream John Wesley the Principal founder of the Methodist Church once had…

In that dream he found himself, as he thought, at the gates of hell. He knocked, and asked who were within. “Are there any Roman Catholics here?” he asked. “Yes,” was the answer, “a great many.” “Any Church of England men?” “Yes, a great many.” “Any Presbyterians?” “Yes, a great many.” “Any Wesleyans?” “Yes, a great many.” Disappointed and dismayed, especially at the last reply, he turned his steps upwards, and found himself at the gates of Paradise, and here he repeated the same questions. “Any Wesleyans here?” “No.” “Any Presbyterians?” “No.” “Any Church of England men?” “No” “Any Roman Catholics?” “No” “Whom have you, then, here?” he asked in astonishment. “We know nothing here,” was the reply, “of any of those names that you have mentioned. The only name of which we know anything here is ‘Christian’; we are all Jesus’ blood-bought Christians here, and of these we have a great multitude which no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues.”

Yes, we shall be obliged in heaven to meet with Christians, with good men, of very different opinions. We shall be obliged there to make little of our differences, to put up with diversity of opinions, and ranks, and pursuits. Should we not better moderate our differences here, and bear and forbear with these diversities in this world? Is it not a waste of time to try to force all our fellow travelers through “our own gate now” (remember Heaven has 12 gates -Rev 21:12-13), when we shall be obliged hereafter to welcome those who enter from the western gate, though we have entered from the eastern, and those who have entered from the southern gate, though we have entered from the northern?

Praise the Lord! Unity is a Biblical mandate as the following Scripture portion affirms…

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.- Eph 4:1-6

Be that as it may, is there any doubt that in the matter of
    1) Mode of Baptisms

    2) Time and way of Holy Spirit’s advent in a Christian’s life
there are many differences of opinion amongst Christians’ of different denominations.

In this message, Yours Truly is inspired to share his thoughts on the Biblical perspective on the time and way of Holy Spirit’s entrance (through visible and invisible signs) in a Christian’s life and His subsequent workings in his/her life. If it lessens or altogether eliminates prejudice of different denominations, Yours Truly would be entitled to feel that he has succeeded to a great extent in this onerous task of eliminating what can be called with some stretch of imagination as the “Christian Babel Tower”.

I propose to present my viewpoints by using the 5 Ws’ and 1 H question…

When and Where…

First and foremost, whenever a Doctrine is being formulated would it not serve all of us well at that time to address the fundamental “When and Where question”? Are we drawing lessons or inferences from “full-fledged” sections of the Scripture on a certain subject or from the “transitional” sections of the Scripture related to the same subject? The phrases “transitional” and “full-fledged” are being used advisedly here in connection with the Scriptures by Yours Truly for when it comes to “certain subjects” (you would read of them soon), one would see how a clear picture of God’s counsel emerging over a period of time about them…graduating as it were, from the realm of His Permissive will to Perfect will. His counsel had along been “perfect” as regards those “subjects”, but just as a “little child” is taught his Dad’s perfect counsel about a certain subject, one step at a time, our Heavenly Father too has “unpacked” His perfect counsel on those matters gradually over a period of time, in order His people are able to properly “digest” them which would not be the case, if He were to reveal His perfect will on those matters all at once.

Let me give you some examples from the “transitory and the full-fledged sections’ of History of our OT Counterparts namely the Jews (who too collectively have been addressed as the Church- Acts 7:28 KJV)…

For a Jew, his Scripture related to national history (transitional one at that) begins with the call of Abraham in Genesis chapter 12 (2000 BC) and the same over a passage of time gets more and more consolidated with the fully solid picture finally emerging just before the conquest of Canaan (that is why amongst the 5 Books of Pentateuch or the Torah as the Jews call it…the last Book Deuteronomy contains a more concrete view of God’s counsel on all aspects of soon to-be-established Jewish society in Canaan). Now let’s consider by using plain common sense some important aspects of the Jewish society to see how a Jew of say King David’s time (1000 BC) would be guided by the available Scriptures with him.
    a) Wedding: the subject of how to ascertain Divine will on whom and whom not to marry for a Jew!!! A Jew of say King David’s time (1000 BC) would know that in the “transitional stage” of their Nation’s history (which Abrahamic Call represents)

    i) their First Patriarch Abraham was married to his half-sister Sarah (Gen 20:12… a lower population count necessitated it)

    and that

    ii) yet another Patriarch of their Nation namely Jacob married 2 women (who were daughters of Laban- his maternal uncle) namely Leah and Rachel (both were his cousins…due to unavoidable circumstances- Gen 29:1-30).
But would a Jew of King David’s time (1000 BC approx) depend on these 2 Scriptural examples to discern what is God’s will on “whom and whom not to marry”? No way, he would go by the more “full-fledged” Scriptural instruction on the said subject which would come later in time (1450 BC Approx). It is found in Leviticus 18,

where a Jew is clearly told that it is unlawful to marry a

1) A Half sister (Lev 18:9)

2) Two sisters like Leah and Rachel (Lev 18:18)

3) Cousins (Lev 18:6)

More broadly speaking, would not a Christian of say Jewish descent of the Church age (who has all the OT Scriptures laid out before Him containing many incidents of polygamy… 2 Sam 3:2-5/ 2 Chro 24:3) besides factoring in the principles laid-out in Leviticus 18, as regards marriage (at least on pure health grounds) now go-by by the pristine one-man-one wife command pertaining to the Church age (1 Tim 3:2, 12/ Titus 1:6)? Doubtless, he would!!!
    b) Worship: A Jew in the transitional part of his history say the Wilderness journey was permitted to offer his sacrifices anywhere but after founding of the Jewish Nation in Canaan, he would have to necessarily go by this Scriptural instruction…
“But you shall seek the place that the LORD your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation[a] there. There you shall go, 6 and there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, your vow offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. 7 And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the LORD your God has blessed you.

8 “You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes, 9 for you have not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance that the LORD your God is giving you. 10 But when you go over the Jordan and live in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and when he gives you rest from all your enemies around, so that you live in safety,11 then to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to the LORD”- Deu 12:5-11

Then again, would not a Christian of say Jewish descent of the Church age (who has all the OT Scriptures laid out before Him including the above-captioned Scripture portion) be now guided by this Scripture portion, more than anything else when it comes to worship?

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” -John 4:21-24

War: Yes, Jews of say King David’s time would know that their Patriarchs like Abraham and Jacob did wage war (Gen 14:1-16/48:22) but their methodology of waging war now would be guided not by the Scriptures related to transitional time of their History (a prayerful procedure if at all, used by their Patriarchs Abraham or Jacob) but by a prayer-oriented procedure preceding war as commanded in Deu 20:1-20

Now confining ourselves only to NT section, do not we see that a Church too was going through a “transitional stage” in the Book of Acts (especially in the beginning chapters)…for instance from the time of Acts 2 (33 AD) to Acts 15 (50 AD approx)… a clear-cut picture had not yet emerged as to whether
    a) Gospel should be preached to Gentiles too?- Acts 11:19

    b) the Christians from Gentile background should obey Jewish Laws also(especially in the matter of Circumcision)- Acts 15

    c) What ought to be the qualification of a Church Elder?- Acts 14:23
But by the time Epistles were written (Church history and its Scriptures thereof had reached the “full-fledged” state by then), a crystal clear picture had emerged that
    a) Gospel is as much a property of “Gentiles”, as it is of “Jews” (Gal 3:28)

    b) Christians need not adhere to the Law, as Christ has come with a “better system” (Gal 3:23-27/ Heb 8:6-13)

    c) The qualifications of a Church Elder are spelt out in 1 Tim 3:1-7
I reiterate as far as NT is concerned, that it is only by the time Epistles were written, we see a “clear-cut” picture on many subjects emerging clearly.

Today we read the Epistles (Romans to Jude and then onto the 3rd Chapter of the Book of Revelation) because they very much apply to Christians of any age. Now let’s examine these following Scripture portions (of the Epistles section of NT) on “when” the Holy Spirit comes into a Christian’s life
    a) Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient; we were misled by others and became slaves to many evil pleasures and wicked desires. Our lives were full of resentment and envy. We hated others and they hated us. But when the time came for the kindness and love of God our Savior to appear, then he saved us—not because we were good enough to be saved but because of his kindness and pity—by washing away our sins and giving us the new joy of the indwelling Holy Spirit… (Titus 3:3-5 TLB)

    b) …Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (Rom 8:9)
These Scripture portions bear out the truth that there is nothing like a Holy-spirit less Christian (in fact such a phrase Biblically speaking is an oxymoron much like hot-ice or bearded Tarzan).

Yes, many people after Baptism may exhibit “lack of true transformation”. That is because of lack of “true repentance” (in the first place) which necessitates a “broken and a contrite” heart (this conviction is also the Holy Spirit’s work). That is what we see in action in Acts 2:37-38…

“Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Points we need to ponder at this stage…
    1) Did not the 3000 become Christians that very day? If Holy Spirit did not come into their hearts at the time of their genuine repentance, can we call them Christians in the first place going by Romans 8:9? God forbid we even daring to think that the “very first fruits” (Church began with these blessed 3000 as Laity) of the Holy Spirit’s transforming work” were not Christians!!!

    2) If not for the overflowing love poured into their hearts by the now in-dwelling Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5), could such outstanding acts of charity and generosity ensue (Acts 2:45/ 4:34-35) amongst them?
On the basis of above, do we not get the basis to infer that the Holy Spirit comes into a person’s life at the time of genuine repentance? Yes the measure of the Spirit may
    a) vary from person to person (all in 3000 may not have had the measure of the Spirit that Stephen had- Acts 6:5), just as the measure of faith varies from person to person (Rom 12:3) b) but minus the Holy Spirit, can any individual at the beginning of his Christian life overcome the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and pride of life by his own puny, finite strength (1 John 4:4) or for that matter can any Christian deprive God of His glory (Isa 42:8), which would be the case if he claims that he is living a holy life by virtue of his strength alone post the born-again experience? From the point of regeneration, a truth that needs no reiteration is a Christian supplies the will and the Lord supplies the power through the indwelling Holy Spirit ( John 4:4)!!!
The Scripture portion (containing the words of our Lord to a Jewish audience before the Day of Pentecost) quoted by some denominations who insist their members to exclusively ask for the Holy Spirit which reads thus:

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your Children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him- Luke 11:13

needs to be tempered with yet another sober Scripture with an inbuilt, analytical observation which reads thus:

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as[f] the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified- John 7:37-39

Those who have the privilege and the benefit of hindsight know Jesus was subsequently glorified on the Day of Pentecost in the manner a prospective bridegroom (of Jewish culture) is glorified on the day of his engagement with his blessed prospective bride.

The Church of 3000 to start with was His blessed prospective bride and these believers’ would be the paradigm for other believers who would follow in their footsteps- 2 Cor 1:22/ Eph 1:13-14 -in the matter of receiving the Holy Spirit on genuine repentance- Acts 2:38 -as a token of promise of the ethereal marriage in the imminent future much like a precious engagement ring a Jewish bride-to-be would receive in a Jewish betrothal function (Rev 19:6-9).

After a person becomes a Christian, the regular visitation of the Spirit (Eph 3:16-19) to further strengthen him-an experience of enjoying deepest, spiritual joy- takes place by the Faithful Father’s will who knows that his precious children need deep inner strengthening to keep their spiritual lives afloat. Oh yes, we need to regularly exercise spiritually too by renewing our love for our Father by remembering prayerfully and thankfully with Holy Spirit’s enablement all the “good things, we have received from Him” (Rom 8:26-27/ Col 2:7/ 1 Tim 4:8-TLB).

Whenever the inner joy is at a low ebb, it would serve us well to introspect and repent. I for one who has been substantiating my points from the “full-fledged” section of the Christian Scriptural History I,e…Epistles section of the NT (Rom till the 3rd Chapter of Rev), do not find therein a single instance of the Apostles who wrote the Epistles or our Lord who directly dictated His Epistles to the 7 Churches’ situated in Turkey (Rev 2-3), ever asking any of the believers’ to ever tarry for the Holy Spirit but to introspect and repent in order to receive a fresh visitation of the Spirit, if they had “veered off the track”.

Reader, if you find any Scripture contrary to my above statement, you may kindly furnish the same to me to facilitate my higher learning on this subject.

From the day the 3000 received the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, did not a new dispensation begin on the matter of receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38) with tarrying instruction hitherto expressed becoming superfluous (Acts 1:8)???

How…

Taking the subject further, how does the Holy Spirit enter a person’s life? There is much debate in the Christian circles on this subject. Some hold on to the view that that Holy Spirit comes only through “visible” signs (such as speaking in tongues or prophesying) whereas others’ hold onto the view that He comes only “silently” into a Christian’s life at the time of genuine repentance and subsequent instant regeneration.

Let’s take the example of 3000 souls won over to God’s Kingdom on the day of “Church-birth” (Acts 2:37-45).

Going by the established truth that the Holy Spirit entered the hearts of 3000 genuinely contrite Jews at the point of their repentance and subsequent regeneration, the next question is “did the 3000 speak in tongues or prophesy” (read were visible signs obvious?) when the Holy Spirit entered their hearts? This leads to a subject as to what is the “norm” and what are “exceptions” (because exceptions are also there in the Book of Acts notably in Chapters 8, 10 and 19) when the Holy Spirit comes into a person’s life.

Besides the 3000 in the Acts 2, I am giving here below the list of Christians/Churches’ which did not “speak in tongues or prophesy” when the Holy Spirit came into their lives (the point at which they became Christians)…always keeping the sacrosanct Romans 8:9 in the background Reaffirmation of the receipt of the Holy Spirit by the believers’ of the Galatian Churches’ and those of the Thessalonian Church at the time of genuine repentance and baptism is further substantiated by these Scripture portions culled out from the Epistles’ of Paul to them…

Galatian Churches…

“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?”- Gal 3:1-2

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”- Gal 4:6

Thessalonian Believers’…

And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit,- 1 Thess 1:6

Mind you due to some unavoidable persecution, Apostle Paul who founded this Church in the City of Thessalonica had to leave the said City in a hurry, as such he would not be able to make the claim such as “I have preached to you the “Whole counsel of God” – Acts 20:27 -which he made in his farewell address to the Church at Ephesus, where he had spent almost 3 years. The above-captioned Scripture portion leaves none in doubt as to the fact that despite their poor grounding in the matter of receiving the “whole counsel of God”, the Thessalonians were not deprived by the Sovereign God of the gift of receiving the Holy Spirit at the point of their regeneration.

Honestly, let’s just ponder for a moment would the very wise Lord who said that “clean but an empty house” is a recipe for disaster (Matt 12:45) leave a new Christian powerless against Satan (1 John 4:4)? Talk of a Doctor of very reputed Hospital not following say the principles of hygiene and sanitation in his own house…

Does not the Saviour only save and not sustain? How will the fair God punish a Christian for sinning, if the Christian doesn’t have the power in the first place to overcome the lust of the eyes/flesh/pride of life? Punishment is never given for not having power but for not utilizing it or renewing it with prayer or other spiritual exercises (1 Cor 3:16/6:19/11:30/ 1 Tim 4:8).

Now neither3000 who received the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost or the above enlisted Christians started preaching Ministry from Day one. They witnessed, led a consistent life of holiness, growing spiritually and scripturally (Acts 2:42-47).

Of the Daily life (24*7) of the Early Christians it is written…

“They walked in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:31)

A Christian may not do Ministry (preaching, prophesying, healing etc) 24*7, but considering that one does “walk” with the Lord 24*7, more than any other Scripture portion, the above-captioned one needs to be applied as a “litmus test”, as it were, to check a Christian is really Christian!!!

Whom… At this stage, it would serve us well to address yet another “W” question! A Christian in 2019 is to be compared with
    a) 12 Apostles (including Mathias- Acts 1:15-26) who would testify that their faith came by “seeing, hearing and touching Christ” (1 John 1:1)

    or with

    b) 3000 whose faith
      i) would be born only on “hearing the Gospel” (Rom 10:17) as prophesied about the Saviour Himself (John 17:20/20:29)

      ii) whose life events would bear closer resemblance to events in Jesus’ life rather than those of the 11 Apostles’ (they were appreciated by the great Apostle Peter Himself -who led them to the Lord- in his Epistle written about 30 years after Pentecost for believing in the Lord and loving Him without having seen Him- 1 Peter 1:7-8)
Proof that these 3000 were subsequently anointed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit (yet another phase…different from regeneration… when the Holy Spirit works in a Christian’s life whilst ushering him into any one of the many Ministries- 1 Cor 12:28, Eph 4:11- in the Church) and used mightily can be seen in Peter First epistle (penned 30 years after the Pentecost of Acts 2). This Epistle was primarily written to many of 3000 (of Pontus, Cappadocia etc… Acts 2:9/ 1 Peter 1:1)
    a) who had grown spiritually,

    b) were now weathering persecutions

    c) besides being used wondrously in God’s Kingdom after being anointed (1 Peter 4:8-11/5:1-4)
What I want to emphasize is that there is always interim growth period before anointing (read the time, the good Lord starts using a Christian in any one of the Ministries meant for the building-up of His Body…the Church). Yes, from time a person is born-again there are gifts in him/her but they are there in him/her in just the way, the limbs and other organs are there in little children. Full-bodied, healthy children may not be of use to the society as a whole, till they acquire the needed “mental maturity” “strength” and “boldness” to go out of home and work which comes with passage of time. Is it any wonder that Governments across the World prescribe an age limit for employing a person!!! Will not our Lord who is wiser than all the Governments in the World, wait for the “correct time” before entrusting Ministries to His children, even as the process of Christian growth starts in them from the point of their regeneration? Anointing is an experience of equipping (it would be a continual process) a Christian with the “needed strength and boldness” to Minister for the Lord’s glory in or outside the Church (Acts 4:31) when a Christian as per the Lord’s infinite wisdom has reached a stage of spiritual maturity in understanding the framework of a Christian life better.

Let me illustrate scripturally using our own Saviour’s life as an example (I reiterate that a Christian’s life in 2019 bears closer resemblance that of Christ and the 3000 souls regenerated on the Day of Pentecost). Permit me also to use these pictures also to better substantiate my points as to where and how we need to prioritize…









If Jesus is the head and we Christians are His body then there are bound to be similarities between Him and us all the way…like if He was persecuted then we too would be persecuted (John 15:18-20) …if He was resurrected, then we too would be resurrected (1 Cor 15:20-23). Likewise in paramount matters like “origination of life” and in “anointing” there are bound to be similarities.
    a) Jesus was born miraculously, we like the 3000 on the Day of Pentecost are also re-born miraculously by the powerful act of regeneration wrought by the same Holy Spirit (John 1:12-13),

    b) If Jesus had the Holy Spirit right from His miraculous birth calling His Heavenly Father “Abba” , we too like the 3000 from the Day of Pentecost would have the Holy Spirit right from our miraculous birth entitling us to address the Creator of both our physical and spiritual life as “Abba” (Gal 4:6/ Rom 8:14-16)

    c) If Jesus Himself needed anointing before entering the Ministry (Acts 10:38) which is a separate experience by itself (Baptism by fire-empowering the Child of God to enter Ministry) then we also like 3000 who were reborn on the Day of Pentecost and were subsequently anointed in due course of time need anointing before entering any one of many Ministries of the Church (1 Cor 12:28/ Eph 4:11-15). These Ministries cannot move ahead without being equipped by the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:8-10) If Jesus anointing was preceded by God-pleasing life (the Father Himself certifies to that effect- Matt 3:17), then anointing for any Child of God also would be impossible without a God-pleasing, Holy Life as this Scripture portion affirms…

    “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.”- 2 Tim 2:21

    Greek word used for “sanctified” is Hagioz which means “anointed”.
In my own life, the pattern has been same…
    a) I was born again in 1983 (Church did not insist on baptism, so out of my own will, I took the same later),

    b) was walking in the fear of the Lord and comfort of the Holy Spirit till 1989 (I should add overflowing joy from 1983 onwards),

    c) when one day in July 1989 I was anointed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit namely utterance of wisdom and utterance of knowledge (2 main gifts for preaching and teaching Ministry- a fire descended on me- 1 Cor 12:8) when I stood to preach my maiden sermon one evening in a youth meeting in St. Georges Church (that whole night, I was hesitant to use even the wash room). Subsequently even before I came to the Ministry and later too, I have always experienced the surge of power within (fire-like), at the time of preaching/teaching. Subsequently I got used to the “ethereal experiences” and hence did not resort to “panic reactions” (like not using the washroom…sic).
When it comes to getting anointed, while my experience may have been on the lines I have brought forth above, it may have taken place in a different way in yet another Christ’s Minister life…like in a way it took place in Young Pastor namely Timothy’s life (1 Tim 4:14). If the Holy Spirit’s anointing came “silently” in a Christian’s life equipping him/her to Minister for the Master’s glory, would I raise any objection as long as I am able to witness for myself (using gift of discernment- 1 Cor 12:10 KJV) that this Christian is ministering with Holy Spirit’s power only without banking on his puny, finite strength? No way!!!

Let me state here that while “ethereal experiences” in a Christian’s journey are good (play a role in his growth) and are to be welcomed, however when it comes to the subject of full-fledged growth of a Christian into Christ-like image, Cross-bearing with perpetual power of indwelling joyous Holy Spirit (Romans 5:3-4/ 1 Peter 1:7-8) plays a more important role than anything else. Once again I reiterate that ethereal experiences are not 24*7, whereas the joy of the Holy Spirit manifesting His presence is (equipping a Christian to walk in the fear of the Lord- Acts 9:31).

What…

At this stage, it would serve us well to examine the subject of Holy Spirit gifting by addressing yet another “W” question and that is “What” ministry has the good Lord called you to?

I would share my own testimony here. After 16 years of part-time preaching and teaching Ministry, the good Lord called me to full time Pastoral/teaching Ministry exactly in consonance with the Biblical qualifications required for the same…

“Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders (my erstwhile Petrol Bunk Dealers will testify as to my credibility), so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.”- 2 Tim 3:2-7

Of course an apostle and an evangelist like Paul who would perform signs (2 Cor 12:12) to plant a seed of faith in the hitherto unbelievers at Corinth would always proclaim “…my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Cor 2:4). However by the same token we need to remember he would also bank upon “Word of knowledge” and “Word of wisdom” whilst ministering amongst mature believers (1 Cor 2:7-8). Signs are “facilitators” in drawing unbelievers to Christ (Yes, I affirm miracles do take place even today) but for a Pastoral Ministry like that of say Rick Warren within the Church what would Apostle Paul say? The answer is there in the same Epistle, while by and large “Signs are for outsiders” (1 Cor 14:22) …for the edification of the Body of Christ…need of the hour is and always has been authoritative preaching (read prophesying or forthtelling).

The principle of putting a “wrong wine into the wrong wine skin” would apply to anyone (I say with utmost love and respect) who compares a Pastor like Rick Warren with an apostle cum evangelist like say Late Dr. D.G.S. Dhinakaran instead of with yet another Pastor like C.H. Spurgeon. It would be akin to comparing Virat Kohli the batsman (that’s his specialty) with an all-rounder like Kapil Dev instead of with yet another specialist batsman like Dravid. The very thought if it seems ludicrous in human sight, how it would appear in the Lord’s sight who calls His Servants as per His Sovereign choice and equips them suitably (1 Cor 12:11)!!! It would tantamount to questioning the Lord’s choice and His wisdom!!!

While on the subject of gifts, it needs to be made abundantly clear that
    a) utilization of some gifts like Preaching, teaching, prophesying, healing, doing miracles speaking in tongues borne out of the Gifts of Holy Spirit mentioned in 1 Cor 12:5-11 may bring a Christian minister concerned to public limelight (however spiritually salutary persecutions or some thorn in the flesh would keep him humble- 2 Cor 12:1-10- but the sad irony seen in some areas’ of “Christian Ministry” is some souls-Globe-trotting, Private Jet owners at that- want to perform all signs and wonders which Paul or Peter may have performed without in any way wanting to undergo the persecutions these 2 noble Servants of God underwent in the First Century)

    wheras

    b) utilization of some blessed gifts like the ones’ mentioned in Romans 12:7-8 of service (including administration- 1 Cor 12:28), generosity or hospitality borne out of charity (1 Peter 4:8-10) may not make one noted or popular but nevertheless, they are precious in the sight of all-seeing God (3 John 1:5-8). Relatively lesser known Christians (when compared to the Apostles) of the First Century like Gaius, Philemon and Onesiphorus belong to this category (Rom 16:23, Philemon 1:7, 2 Tim 1:16-18).
Be that as it may, one needs to remember all gifts are to be utilized for the welfare of the Body of Christ and not for any individual benefit (1 Cor 12:7).

Much of the confusion in Churches’ is stemming from
    a) comparing the life of a 2019 Christian with the life of Apostles rather than with the 3000 regenerated Christians on the Day of Pentecost. The very definition of putting a “wrong wine into the wrong wineskin”.

    b) formulating Doctrines from “transitional” phase of Christian Scriptures (represented by the Book of Acts) rather than with “Full-fledged” phase (represented by the Epistles…running from Romans to the 3rd Chapter of the Book of Revelation) .I repeat never depend on transitional phase of Church History to draw conclusions…I already gave an example of Jewish weddings, worship and war). No Epistle was ever written to “Apostles” because their lives (or events in their life which represented a transitional phase of Church History) are not the standard to go by. But Epistles were written (I repeat) to the 3000 and the people (Corinthians, Galatians, Thessalonians etc) who were saved like them. These Epistles clearly spell out a pattern in a Christian’s life which is very much applicable to the contemporary Christian. The best example I can give to underscore my point is the following Scripture portion culled from Peter’s First epistle to many of the 3000 who received the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost …
“You love him even though you have never seen him; though not seeing him, you trust him; and even now you are happy with the inexpressible joy that comes from heaven itself.- 1 Peter 1:8 (TLB)

Just ponder…can it be said of any of 11 disciples or the 120 in the Upper room “who had not only seen the Lord but some among them had even touched him (1 John 1:1)?

Why…

Now addressing the “Why” question even while addressing the subject as to reason behind the “visible signs” when the Holy Spirit came into the lives of the following individuals (more of an “exception” than the “norm”)…

Clear reasons for the same can be discerned from the Scriptures. Lets go case by case…

Cornelius, his close friends and relatives- Acts 10:24-48

Holy Spirit came into the life of above with accompaniment of visible signs even before they had made the confessional prayer…so as to readily convey His willingness to accept these Gentiles also into God’s family (Eph 2:14-20). But for these visible signs Peter would have found it hard to convince “legalistic” Christians of Jewish background (and covenantal pride, I should add)
    a) who accompanied him from Joppa to Caesarea all the way to the home of Cornelius ( 10:44-48) and

    b) those who opposed him in Jerusalem upon his return from Cornelius home to accept them (11:1-18)
that God is willing to accept Gentiles too as “His own children” in the same manner, He had accepted the Jews from the Day of Pentecost till the events recorded in Acts 10.

Now the question is…should we make a Doctrine out of this exceptional case and proclaim “Holy Spirit comes EVERY TIME into the lives of people even before they have formally repented”. It would be fallacious to do so. By the same token, it would be fallacious to go by yet another exception (follows)

2. Samaritan Church- Acts 8:5-18

The delay in the Holy Spirit coming into the lives of the Baptized Samaritan believers’ till the arrival of Jerusalem Church leaders (of Jewish descent namely Peter and John) achieved three purposes when we especially consider the background of long hostility between the Jews and the Samaritans…
    a) Acceptance of leadership of the Jerusalem (Mother) Church by the Samaritan Church. The Lord in His sovereign wisdom nipped in the bud itself…the live possibility of 2 Churches looking at each other with hostile and prejudiced eyes with passage of time

    b) It was also proof to the Apostles of Jewish descent that when Holy Spirit came with “signs” into the lives of the Samaritan believers that the Lord was totally “impartial” in conferring the gift of “new life in Christ and the power to sustain the same” (1 John 4:4). All this resulted in

    c) Christians of Jewish background never “looking down” upon the Samaritan believers quite unlike their forefathers.
    This exception was not the norm…hence cannot be made into a Doctrine or for that matter even the last exception…
Between an out and out Gentile like a Cornelius and a partial Jew like a Samaritan believer (reading of 2 Kings 17 would help us understand better about the origin of a mixed blood Samaritan-a half Jew and a half Gentile), a closer look at the timing of the infinitely wise God in sending the Holy Spirit at the right time to the right group would make us proclaim a “a loud Hallelujah”!!!

From the perspective of a devout Jew (prejudiced one at that, including Peter and some early Christians- Gal 2:7-10, Acts 11:19), a Samaritan is more acceptable than a Gentile, for a Samaritan at least has some Jewish blood flowing in his veins!!! Therefore the Holy Spirit who leads the Church into all truth progressively (John 16:13), selected Samaritans first (Acts 8:5-18) to be added into God’s Kingdom and then only the Gentiles (Acts 10), so that the “poor” Jewish Christians would be able to better “digest” this Divinely-ordained induction process!!!

3.12 Apollo “Disciples” at Ephesus – Acts 19:1-7

It is said “half-baked Gospel will produce only half-baked Christians”. Consider the “Gospel” (without the birth, atoning death and the resurrection of the Saviour which is the complete Gospel- 1 Cor 15:1-4) Apollo had been preaching. Let me quote verbatim from The Bible…

“…While he was in Egypt, someone had told him about John the Baptist and what John had said about Jesus, but that is all he knew. He had never heard the rest of the story! So he was preaching boldly and enthusiastically in the synagogue, “The Messiah is coming! Get ready to receive him!....” (Acts 18:26-TLB)

No wonder his preaching led to “birth of those kind of believers” (who were not Christians in the correct sense of that term…a disciple of the risen Christ- Acts 11:26) into whom “Holy Spirit simply cannot come”.

Apostle Paul who never asked this question “Did you receive the Holy Spirit at baptism” to Galatian believers or Lydia at Phillipi or to countless ones’ he had preached and led to Christ (Acts 13-18) TILL THEN was forced to pose this question to this 12 on seeing the “vitality” (which the Holy Spirit brings into a believer’s life) being conspicuous by its absence in them.

Holy Spirit coming with signs into these men was proof to them as to what belief in full Gospel would accomplish (makes it clear to them…that the “Gospel” they had hitherto placed their faith in was NOT COMPLETE).

Let me state here the Biblical explanations, I have given for three exceptions above are the same as one would find in Bible commentaries of reputed commentators like Adam Clark, Jamison, Fausset and Brown and their ilk (Spurgeon once said that his library would be incomplete without them).

Dear Believer, I am praying that we would see eye to eye on all matters including the “when and how” of the coming of the Holy Spirit into the lives of the believers.

Finally remember what Lord Jesus Himself said about the Holy Spirit. He is like a wind (John 3:8). We cannot dictate to a wind its course. He may have come into one Christian’s life in an exceptional way (a la Samaritan Church) and He may have come into my life like in a more normal way like in the case of 3000 believers and then anointed me at the time of entrusting me a Ministry (Acts 2:38-45/ 1 Peter 4:10-11/ 5:1-4). As I had mentioned at the beginning of my message that more than uniformity in the type of Holy Spirit-related experiences, unity borne out of the Holy Spirit given love (Roman 5:5) is important amongst Christian Brethren. We ought not to give any room for any prejudice in any way but exemplify the teaching of our Lord as seen in John 13:34-35.



Yours in Christ,


(Suresh Manoharan)