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Three Words of the Baptism
By David A. DePra
But you shall receive power, once the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
There are three important words in this passage that tell us the nature of, purpose of, and end result of, the baptism with the Holy Spirit – RECEIVE, UPON, and WITNESSES.
Of course, Jesus spoke these words immediately prior to His ascension. Despite much erroneous teaching to the contrary, the Holy Spirit had NOT YET been given, and could not be given, until Jesus did ascend. This is vital to see. For the descent of the Holy Spirit from heaven to earth was the direct result of the ascension of Jesus from earth to heaven.
There were two vital reasons why the Holy Spirit could not come until Jesus ascended. First, before the Spirit could come, Jesus had to complete His redemptive work and win all victory, and then take that victory to heaven, and sit down at the right hand of the Father – only then could He send it all back down to us through the Holy Spirit. The purpose of the Holy Spirit in us is to make Jesus Lord of us, and this work could not begin until Jesus was made Lord in heaven – through His finished victory. Thus, if Jesus had to take to heaven all redemption and power and victory, before He could sent it back down through the Spirit, then obviously any notion of the indwelling of the Spirit before Acts 2 is error. The second reason the Spirit could not come before Christ ascended is that Christ dwells in us through the Holy Spirit – and that could not happen before He ascended. Christ could not, for example, dwell in the apostles by the Spirit while He was physically present on the earth with them. Christianity is Christ in us through the Holy Spirit. This demands the ascension of Jesus to heaven, before the He can descend by His Spirit to dwell in us.
The ascension of Jesus into heaven, and the descent of the Holy Spirit to dwell in His people are two events that cannot be separated. Jesus continually said so.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (John 16:7)
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:38-39)
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:16-17)
These passages prove beyond a doubt that the Holy Spirit did not come before the ascension of Jesus Christ. But do we realize what that means? It means that before Acts 2, the Holy Spirit had NEVER BEEN present on this earth the way He would be after Acts 2. You cannot escape that fact. And once you accept it, it ought to change your thinking about much of both the old and New Testament.
But wasn’t the Holy Spirit present in the Old Testament? Sure. And yet Jesus continually said, "WHEN the Comforter comes….." He continually taught that the Holy Spirit COULD NOT come until He ascended. So what was the difference between the work of the Spirit BEFORE Acts 2, and the work of the Spirit AFTER Acts 2? Just this: Only after Acts 2 did the Holy Spirit actually dwell IN PEOPLE.
Read again John 14:16-17. To His own disciples Jesus said, "The Spirit is WITH you, but shall be IN you." So the Spirit had never come to be IN people, although He had been WITH people. Well, if the Spirit is WITH you, that is no small thing. All of the miracles of the Old Testament, the prophecies, the inspiration, and even the miracles worked by the disciples themselves during the ministry of Jesus – all of these were the result of the Holy Spirit being WITH them. But not IN them.
This should not be surprising. For the VERY DISTINCTION that God Himself makes between the OLD and NEW covenants is exactly that – the INDWELLING. For example, Hebrews records:
For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (Heb 8:8-11)
According to God Himself, the fundamental distinction between the two covenants was that the old was merely outward, and the new was INWARD. Can you see that? This is stated loud and clear. What this tells us absolutely aligns with the words of Jesus to the effect that the Holy Spirit never dwelt in anyone before Acts 2, but would dwell in us since then.
Do we realize what this means? It means that Acts 2 ushered in the New Covenant. Sure. That may not be news to many people. But do we now realize what that means? It means that Acts 2 was the first time the Holy Spirit ever dwelt in anyone. It means that Acts 2 was the first time anyone was BORN AGAIN – which is the inward dwelling of the Holy Spirit. All of these things are really ONE EVENT. It should not be surprising that the first time anyone was born again of the Spirit of God would be the birth of the church! – since the church is comprised of born again believers!
Now, I do realize that there are many Christians who try to say that Acts 2 was none of the above. They try to say that the disciples were already born again prior to Acts 2, but that Acts 2 was a second blessing. From this false premise it is reasoned that before Acts 2, the disciples were indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but in Acts 2 they were filled with the Holy Spirit. This is really the entire premise upon with the charismatic doctrine of the baptism with the Holy Spirit is based. But it is wrong. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is not a second experience. It is THE ONE experience – of the new birth, all of the gifts, and everything else that belongs to the New Covenant.
If you doubt that, then you don’t believe Jesus when He said that unless He ascended the Comforter could not come. In fact, if you believe that the OT saints, and the disciples, were born again before Acts 2, then you believe they were indwelt by the Holy Spirit before Acts 2 – the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the MEANS by which we are born again – and if you believe that they were indwelt by the Spirit before Acts 2, then you must say that Jesus was silly to continually promise them that the Comforter would come. Why would Jesus promise them the Comforter WOULD COME if He was already living in them? No. Jesus promised them He would come TO DWELL IN THEM – which had never before happened to anyone.
In fact, even AFTER the resurrection of Jesus, but BEFORE the ascension, Jesus continues to promise them the Holy Spirit would come:
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry you in the city of Jerusalem, until you be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. (Luke 24:49-51)
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. (Acts 1:4-5)
All through the ministry of Jesus – read John 14 through John 16 – Jesus promised them the Holy Spirit. He reminds them here, in these two passages, of that promise, and tells them it is going to happen after He ascends – they must go and tarry in Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit had therefore NOT YET BEEN GIVEN prior to Acts 2. No one had ever been born again. The New Testament had not yet begun. The church had not yet been born. All of this began in Acts 2.
Prior to Acts 2, God provided a LEGAL salvation through the OT, as embodied in the baptism of John. If you came under the OT, then you were saved legally by the same Christ – but not born again. The Spirit was WITH you, but not IN you. You would still go to heaven, but your experience in THIS life of the things of God would not be the same as it would be after Acts 2. You could experience God, and see miracles, and know the Lord. But you could not be made a new creation in Jesus Christ for this life.
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Col. 1:26-27)
Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: (Rom 16:25-26)
So Acts 2 really did begin Christianity. It was not a second blessing on top of a new birth. It was the new birth – both of the individuals in that upper room, and of the church. In addition, after Acts 2, we find examples in Acts where people had received only John’s baptism of legal salvation for the remission of sins, but who still needed to receive the Holy Spirit. From that point forward, however, new converts would no longer need John’s baptism, but would receive ALL that God had for them through the single experience of the new birth through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.
I’ve taken the time to go through all of this so that it might be clear as to what the disciples were promised that they would receive when the Holy Spirit came upon them. But before concluding this point, I want to address one passage of scripture that is usually brought in to supposedly prove that the disciples were indwelt by the Holy Spirit prior to Acts 2, thus making Acts 2 a second blessing on top of the new birth. That passage is found in John 20:
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her. Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. (John 20:17-23)
Here we find Jesus clearly stating that even after His resurrection that He had still not ascended to the Father. He states this directly. So right off the bat we have a problem – if the disciples received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit just a few verses later in John 20:22, then everything Jesus had told them about the necessity of Him first ascending, before the Comforter could come, was wrong. For it is inescapable that if the disciples received the indwelling of the Spirit here in John 20, then the Spirit DID COME before Jesus ascended. This is exactly what those who teach that Acts 2 was a second blessing do believe and must believe.
The Truth about this is so important to see. You cannot have it both ways. The question is this: Did the Holy Spirit come to indwell believers BEFORE Acts 2? Of course not. Jesus said He could NOT. Indeed, even after John 20, when Jesus breathed on them, Jesus is still promising them the Holy Spirit is going to come, "not many days hence." But that leaves us needing to explain John 20:22. What did Jesus mean when He said, "Receive the Holy Spirit?"
I think the key here is the phrase, "And He breathed ON THEM." You will notice that He did not breath INTO THEM. In other words, they received the Spirit WITH them, but not yet IN THEM. This agrees completely with Jesus’ promise that the Spirit could not come to dwell IN THEM until He ascended. And it agrees with the passage of Acts 1:8 where Jesus continues to promise them they will RECEIVE the Holy Spirit from on high – something that would be unnecessary if they had already received the Spirit. In point of fact, in John 20:22, we find the narrative of what appears to be the very first time that Jesus appeared to the disciples as a group – Thomas was not there that night. When He breathed on them and said, "Receive you the Holy Spirit," this was a reassurance that the Spirit was again WITH THEM.
There are tons more I could write about this, and have done so elsewhere. But we must go on. In Acts 1:8, just prior to His ascension, Jesus promised, "But you shall receive power, once the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8) Again, we find our three key words: Receive, upon, and witnesses.
You Shall Receive
What is Christianity? Christ in us, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:27) Christianity is a new birth as a new creation. In all of this, we see that in order to be a Christian, you must RECEIVE something – Someone – from above.
I don’t know how that strikes you. Most of us think that our Christianity is defined by what we give to God. No. It is defined by having RECEIVED from God. Now, certainly, we must surrender ourselves to God. But that isn’t the point. The point is -- unless you have received new life from above you are NOT a Christian.
New life in Christ is not a THING. It is a Person – it is Christ. When we receive the Holy Spirit we are receiving Christ Himself – His resurrection life. But note: The source is not US. The source is not of this world. There is nothing of the earthly, and nothing found in any of us through natural birth that can manufacture or generate this eternal life. We must receive from above.
This seems so obvious and evident, and yet I’m not sure that most Christians get it. What we usually do is try to figure out how God wants us to live, and then try to do that. We try to establish a religion we call Christianity out of Bible verses – equipped with doctrines to believe in and rules to follow – and then we try to gather together all of the assets of our natural man and try to live in accordance with this religion. In short, we try to mold our flesh – our religious flesh – in the pattern that we believe God requires. And yet none of this is new life. It is the flesh. Have we yet realized that we are doomed to failure?
There is absolutely nothing about the flesh that can please God. This is not only because the flesh is inherently weak, but also it is because the flesh is all about SELF. Thus, no matter what you try to do through SELF, it will always be about SELF. People are pretty good at making themselves into martyrs – not for the sake of Jesus, but for the sake of the religious satisfaction and the self-righteousness that comes from it. The only solution for SELF is the Cross. But that is not the end. Once SELF is subtracted, you must still RECEIVE.
Christians continually try to offer to God what He wants by trying to produce it through religious flesh. And then when we don’t get anywhere, we blame God. What God is trying to do is bring us to the end of our attempts, so that He can then GIVE us what He wants to GIVE us – and then we can truly RECEIVE it. If God were to release us in the fullness of what He wants while we continue in religious flesh, we would bring corruption to the things of God. So He must often wait.
Many Christians spend years trying to club to death their flesh, trying to make it behave. Well, if that didn’t work for Paul – read Romans 7 – it won’t work for us. The solution is not to force your flesh into patterns you believe will please God. Neither can we subtract from ourselves the flesh. All of that will have to run it’s course until we see it won’t work. Rather, we must RECEIVE – have added to us – the Spirit of Christ. Do that and the flesh will come under the Cross. And the Spirit will emerge and be released.
You must be born again from above – get that – from above. This is really another KIND of life than is possible from this present age. It is not life that is OF this world. Rather, it is life that is received from the outside of this world, INTO US from above.
Jesus said, "You will receive….." The Bible also states:
Know you not your own selves, how except Jesus Christ is in you, you are reprobates? (2 Cor 13:5)
John answered and said, A man can receive (possess) nothing, except it be given him from heaven. (John 3:27)
We must RECEIVE. But then, after we receive, we must COME UNDER what we receive, or else we will continue walking according to the flesh. This is why Jesus also said that the Holy Spirit would COME UPON the disciples.
Jesus said, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit COMES UPON you….." Isn’t it amazing how, when we read a verse like that, we instantly think about the power we are going to be able to USE – to God’s glory, of course. Sure. We think that if we receive power, we will then POSSESS power – to work miracles and to serve, etc. But note the working of Acts 1:8 very carefully. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would COME UPON us. Clearly, this means --NOT that I will so much POSSESS power – but it means that when we receive the Spirit we are to COME UNDER the power of the Spirit.
We cannot possess the power or authority of Christ unless we first come under the power and authority of Christ. We are never given power as a THING to use, even if we think we want to use it to serve God. No. We are to come UNDER that power – and then it won’t be us possessing it. It will be God possessing us, and using us as He desire for His glory.
When we talk about coming under the power of the Holy Spirit, we are clearly talking about coming under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, or, if you like, the kingdom of God. All the same thought. The purpose of the Holy Spirit for this age is to take all that Jesus is, and all that Jesus has done, and make Him real in us, to us, and through us. But all of this can be gathered up into one statement: The Holy Spirit will, if we yield, make Jesus Christ our personal Lord in all things.
When we RECEIVE the life of Christ from above, we are coming UNDER that life; under Him as our Lord. His is resurrection life – it is the power of God over all. But only as we come under His Lordship, and under His life, which will mean we must lose OUR OWN LIFE, do we really experience what His life holds. He that loses his life for the sake of Christ will find life. You cannot operate in the power of the Holy Spirit unless you are under Jesus as Lord – unless you are under the power of resurrection life. It is impossible.
What is the purpose for which we are to come UNDER the Holy Spirit? That Jesus might be our Lord – or, to put it another way, that we might be His witnesses.
A witness to Jesus is someone whose life is a testimony to His Lordship. We are to become living epistles of what it means for Jesus to live in us. A witness is not someone who merely tells about Jesus. He is someone through whom Jesus tells about Himself!
God doesn’t use us, and neither does Christ live through us, by BYPASSING US. God does not, "take people over." Neither does God say, "Because you are a child of God indwelt by the Holy Spirit, from this time forward, everything you do and everything you say is OF ME." Nonsense – but it is amazing how many people think the opposite! Many people walk around daily thinking that what they feel with their emotions, or think with their mind, MUST be of God, because the Spirit is in them. This is wrong – they are actually walking according to the flesh. It doesn’t have to be a, "bad flesh," or an, "immoral flesh." It can be a religious flesh. And if God doesn’t break up such a pattern, people will end up using the things of God to glorify themselves and profit themselves – which is the only thing religious flesh can do if it is allowed to govern.
The Holy Spirit always DOES and always LIVES the will of God, to the glory of Christ. The Holy Spirit will not give us OUR will – He wants to give us God’s will, indeed, cause us to BECOME God’s will. This is what it means to BE a witness. Thus, if we are not walking in according with this purpose of God, we are NOT being led by His Spirit – and it doesn’t matter how sure we are to the contrary, or how good it feels.
If you examine what I just said about the intent of the Spirit to give and make us into expressions of God’s will, you will see the necessity of a big CHANGE IN US. In order for you to DO the will of God – from the heart out of a real faith – you must BECOME the will of God. You must KNOW Jesus and be yielded to Him. But none of us come close to that except through much dealing. None of us. We find that out loud and clear when God does begin to deal.
I’m not saying that a sincere Christian stands in open rebellion against God. No. We may be as yielded to God as we know to be, and really, we may be yielded in everything that God has brought before us in life. If we are, well, we are where God wants us to be – we are indeed IN the will of God. But we don’t know our own hearts. Have we recognized the incredible battle and warfare that is necessary for God to get His will in a life? Read the NT. Spiritual warfare is business as usual – it is continual and intense. Therefore, before we congratulate ourselves for our great faith and spiritual condition – before we think we stand – we need take heed lest we fall.
I am convinced that many Christians today – those who think they have, "arrived" – I am convinced that God simply doesn’t disturb them. I know of Christians that seem to be blessed no matter what they do, and no matter where they are. Everything goes right, and they are quick to point out that it is God blessing them. It is good to give thanks and glory to God, but sometimes there is a subtle BOAST in this – "I am blessed because God is pleased with ME." You know what I mean. Again – read the NT. Despite God’s blessings and grace, if you want to truly come into fellowship with Christ, it is going to cost you much. You absolutely MUST be broken of the notion that YOU determine what you get from God. You don’t. God does. In fact, there may come a time when God takes everything away. Will you continue to say that you are blessed?
It is here that we must get something straight. There is nothing about our Christian life that belongs to US. We have nothing to say about it. Of course, we do have choices of faith and obedience to make – beginning at salvation. But this is not a matter of us having a say-so. It is a matter of us yielding to God’s will and say-so.
Today in the church, so many people continue to think that the work of the Holy Spirit is to HELP US achieve our goals, and really, to help us possess our lives. We don’t think of this in a rebellious or sinful way, of course, but we think that we belong to ourselves, and that the Spirit is here to help us belong to ourselves. We think that the when Jesus said the Holy Spirit was The Helper, that He meant that WE get to decide God’s will for our lives, and that the Holy Spirit is here to help us come into what we have decided is God’s will. So we walk around having, "leadings," as to the will of God – but the will of God is really OUR will, with the name of Jesus pasted on it. Most people don’t even realize what they are doing. But this is all wrong.
Well, doesn’t the Spirit lead the sons of God? I have heard that quoted again and again by those who think that God leads them every five minutes in life – they think that whatever they think or feel is of God; is God’s leading of them. Well, let’s read that passage and see what it is really saying:
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (Rom 8:12-16)
This passage from Romans 8 is NOT talking about LEADINGS – it is not talking about God speaking to you and telling you what to do. I’m not saying that God doesn’t sometimes lead that way – but I am saying that in this passage that issue is not being discussed. Read the context and you will see what the Greek bears out. Paul is saying, "For as many as are GOVERNED by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." In other words, you are going to ultimately be GOVERNED by either the flesh or the Spirit. But if you are a son of God, the Holy Spirit is going to seek to GOVERN you, and break down all barriers to this. In short, the work of the Holy Spirit – once again – is to make Jesus Lord of every part of you.
What this means is that you do not belong to yourself. You do not have the right to decide your life, or even the right to decide WHO YOU ARE to God. The Holy Spirit has not come to help you achieve your dreams. Jesus is not going to hop aboard your bandwagon. Rather, the Spirit has come to take your life completely out of your hands and to bring you under the sovereignty of God – and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In other words, when you gave your life to Christ, it was no longer your own. The work of the Spirit is to bring you under the GOVERNMENT of Christ.
The sons of God are those who are more and more being GOVERNED by the Holy Spirit. The result is that they will not only DO the will of God, but they will BE the will of God. But since God cannot achieve this by bypassing OUR wills, it is necessary for OUR wills to be brought to the ground, so that OUR wills shall become HIS WILL. This is why God must deal with us through the Cross.
Jesus Christ is not fire insurance. God is not a contingency plan. The Holy Spirit is not here to release our greatness. Jesus did not come to enhance our lives, or to give us, "Your Best Life Now." Rather, the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to bring down every kingdom that was not built by God – including all of the very nice religious ones that men have built to God’s glory – and to establish in the lives of people the absolutely Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Does this sound negative to you? Does it sound like you will be deprived? Well, it might sound like that to the flesh, or natural mind. But only if we don’t know God. When will we get it through our heads that God has only GOOD for us? That the worst possible condition is for us to belong to ourselves – even if we think that it is unto God’s glory? When will we realize that if God ever got us fully under the Lordship of Jesus, that WE would be the greatest benefactors?
There is nothing Satan will fight against more strongly than the Lordship of Jesus Christ in a life, or in God’s church. He has provided not only opposition to the Lordship of Jesus, but has provided many a SUBSTITUTE. For example, the release of the Holy Spirit into the full potential that God has for a person is only achieved when that person comes under the Lordship of Jesus Christ – through the work of the Cross and the enlargement of His resurrection life in us. But Satan says, "No. You don’t need all that trouble. You can receive the fullness of the Spirit all at once through a second blessing."
I don’t know if we really see the magnitude of what I am saying. If the work of the Holy Spirit is to make Jesus LORD of us personally, then it is a fact that only if Jesus begins to be made Lord of us – really and operatively – that the true fullness and release of the Spirit will begin to be possible. What? Do we actually think that we can experience the fullness of the Spirit if we dismiss, neglect, or remain ignorant of the very work of the Spirit of making Jesus Lord of us? Nonsense. And yet millions today think they are experiencing the fullness of the Spirit, and living in the power of the Spirit, simply because they got a second blessing. They think God just poured it out on them, and now it works – they think God is leading them and enhancing all they do.
Even the NT doctrine of, "the laying on of hands," has been corrupted along this line. The laying on of hands was symbolic of the fact that God was laying hands on an individual for HIS possession and purpose. That individual, from that point, no longer belonged to himself – he was set aside for God’s use. Thus, the laying on of hands was indicative of the Lordship of Jesus over that person. Can we now see why, at salvation, when a person was baptized with the Holy Spirit, that the laying on of hands was done? Sure. They are coming under the Lordship of Jesus. But today, many are saying that it is through the laying on of hands that an anointing is imparted or transferred. The emphasis is upon some anointing that is passed from one person, and received by another. Such teaching is never in the Bible.
These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which you have received of him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in him. (1 John 2:26-27)
There is NO, "transferable anointing!" None! The anointing of the Holy Spirit is from God directly to each of us. Sure. The anointing of God is not a THING. It is a matter of us being apprehended by a PERSON. How much more clear does God need to be about this matter? Indeed, John states that he is assuring us of this Truth SO THAT NO MAN SEDUCE US. If you and I think we can ignore such warnings and remain clear of deception we are already deceived.
Now, if you grasp what I am saying about all of these things, you will see that the Christian life is a matter of, yes, us surrendering to God’s call to Christ, but once we do, it is a matter of God apprehending us for His will, purpose, and glory. It is not a matter of us apprehending God for our goals in life. Sure. Can we see that this gets back to us COMING UNDER the power of the Holy Spirit, rather than us possessing some power? In order to BECOME a witness unto Christ, you must COME UNDER the Holy Spirit, COME UNDER the Lordship of Jesus, and COME UNDER the kingdom of God. This is what it means to be GOVERNED by the Spirit of God as a son of God.
It has always been the goal of Satan to get people to try to possess the things of God, but not as the result of being GOVERNED by God. The gospel of Satan is that you can have what God has for you, but that you don’t need to come under the work of the Cross or Lordship of Jesus. Of course, it won’t be taught that way – it will be taught as the real gospel.
A witness unto Jesus is one who is apprehended by Jesus for HIS purposes, unto HIS glory. A witness is one who, yes, has RECEIVED life from above, but who is more and more being GOVERNED by that life – is one who has come UNDER the power of the Holy Spirit.
The results of being governed by the Holy Spirit is that we will become living epistles of what it means for Jesus to be Lord of a human being. The fruits of the Spirit will emerge. Good works will be there. We will actually experience God Himself – we will be set free. And we will serve God through ministry. But all of it will be the outcome of the government of God OVER US.
So we have these three words regarding the baptism with the Holy Spirit: RECEIVE, UPON, and WITNESS. In the end, they all come back to ONE Truth – Christ in us, the hope of glory. Jesus is Lord, not just in word, but really.
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