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Posts Tagged ‘Pentecost’

pictures-of-jesus-baptism-holy-spirit“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:27)

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4 )

My Fellow Pilgrims In Christ Jesus,

We Christians have been taught from sacred scripture that when were baptized we received the Spirit of Jesus in our hearts. We also Learned that because of this, the virtues of Jesus’ Spirit also dwell in us. These virtues of His character are also considered to be the seven “Sanctifying Gifts of the Spirit” that are available to us in our lives as we are conformed by the Holy Spirit to the Image Of Christ in us!

The following is the Prophesy from Isaiah Chapter 11 regarding the coming Messiah from which this teaching is derived. It goes as follows …

1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, (Isaiah 11:1-3)

When I review the gifts specified in verse two I always ask my self why is it that, if the “Church” today has the Spirit’s sanctifying gifts of “Wisdom and Knowledge”, that the “Church” does not canonically recognize at Confirmation the Spirit’s Pentecostal Empowerment Gifts, which are also the legacy of believers as specified by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians, chapter 12., namely:

1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. 3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.

“4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.” (1 Cor.12:1-11)

Now it is true that the “sanctifying” gifts indicated in Isaiah are provided to baptized believers so we can grow spiritually to be conformed to our Savior and Redeemer (see Rom 8:28-29). But it is equally true that we are given the Empowerment Gifts (the gifts of Pentecost) so that we all (Laity and Clergy) can be used by the Holy Spirit to contribute to the Spiritual Growth of the community.

“1 Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts (of empowerment) , and especially that you may prophesy. 2 For those who speak in a tongue do not speak to other people but to God; for nobody understands them, since they are speaking mysteries in the Spirit. 3 On the other hand, those who prophesy speak to other people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 Those who speak in a tongue build up themselves, but those who prophesy build up the church. 5 Now I would like all of you to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. One who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.”(1Cor. 14:1-5)

We all, as the body of Christ, do indeed need to have access to both sets of gifts in order to fulfill the Father’s purposes for us in our lives . St. Thomas Aquinas made that very clear in his “Summa Theologica” where he specified the sources of these two sets of spiritual gifts (Sanctifying Grace & Actual Grace). And the Book of acts also makes it very clear that the Apostles were told to wait in Jerusalem until they received the Spiritual Empowerment Gifts they needed to carry out their mission to preach and teach the Gospel to the whole world.

“4 While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”  6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:-8)

After the Pentecost experience, scripture also indicates the difference in the impartation of these two sets of gifts. The Sanctifying gifts at Baptism and the Empowerment Gifts at Confirmation.

14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 8:14-16)

This is in accord with the example Jesus gave us when he was first baptized to accept His role as Messiah and then, after His Baptism, received the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to carry out the Father’s purposes for Him as Messiah!

21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”  (Luke 1:21-22)

Likewise for us, we receive the Spirit of Christ in Baptism and it is the Father’s intent for us to receive the Empowerment Gifts to carry out our role in the evangelization of the world by manifesting the Power of His Kingdom in and through our earthly lives.

For example, in our own era, the Lord God, desired to revive us spiritually so we might be His instruments in bringing other people to an active faith in Jesus and the Good News of the Kingdom. In our church, Roman Catholic, the Spirit began our spiritual empowerment in 1967 by stirring up some college students at Duquesne University to study about what happened at Pentecost and deeply desire to receive the Holy Spirit as at the birth of the Church at Pentecost.

The result was that that after a week of prayer and intercession the Holy Spirit came upon them and the Empowerment Gifts were manifested among them. This event triggered the Charismatic Renewal in our Church and the movement that began there, spread throughout the world bringing more than a million new converts into the church at that time. The Charismatic movement was especially well accepted in Latin America where church growth was beyond belief!

(The following link documents as a youtube video the beginning of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-QDOcDGDWA)

Here in the United States, the impact of that Renewal has somewhat died down now, mainly because passing on the Graces of Empowerment to the new generations has been greatly dampened by the spiritual darkness brought on by our secular culture. But now the Lord has indicated that another epoch is coming upon us when the Lord will revive us again with His Power and Truth so that the powers of darkness which are coming upon this nation will not succeed and so that the Victory of His Light and His Love may again prevail! Praised Be His Holy Name!

We do not know exactly how or when the Lord will bring about this New Renewal but we do know that it will be soon and will involve the Renewal of the Empowerment Gifts — Because the main purpose of these gifts is to have His People come into His Light again so that they may again be the channels of His Light to the World! All He needs from us is for us to ardently seek Him in prayer and worship – and willingly yield ourselves to the leadings of His Holy Spirit so that He, and He alone, can lead us into this new epoch of revival we are about to enter. Praised Be His Holy Name!

I am sending this message to you my Brothers and Sisters so that you may begin interacting with the Trinity, through inspired prayer, in such a way that you may be transformed and prepared spiritually for the new epoch in salvation history that is coming.

May the Lord Bless you and keep you; and May His Face Shine upon you and bring you His Peace!

Your Brother in Christ Jesus … Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2018])

Related Links…
Prayer to Receive the Holy Spirit
The Double Portion Anointing
The Kingdom of God: Our Inheritance
St. Theresa: Regarding Prayer
Releasing the Spirit
The Key Of Knowledge

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§ Letting your Light Shine Before Others

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The Light Shone in the Darkness

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt: 5: 14-16)

My fellow pilgrims,

I have to confess to you that I was introduced to this saying of Jesus in my religious classes in a catholic elementary school and it certainly helped me in a human way to build up my self esteem as a christian and incite me to live a more disciplined christian life in this world. But it wasn’t until I was an adult, and began to understand the deeper meaning of what Jesus was saying, that the Word He spoke began to affect my inner spiritual life as well in such a way that I began to mature in my spiritual wisdom as well.

You see as I progressed in my adult life I remembered the words clearly but I also began to realize that in the life I was living I was not really being a light to anyone, in fact, I became more sensitive to my relationship problems and how I was contributing more to darkness than to God’s light. More and more, by God’s Grace, it became apparent to me that most of us Christians take our “life in Christ” for granted. First of all this is probably so because we don’t understand the spiritual responsibility behind having the Spirit of Christ living in us!

Although we have been taught the correct scriptural doctrine based on His Word – “Christ In us the Hope of Glory” ( Col. 1:27), we have not been properly catechized to truly understand, in the spirit, not in our minds, the true spiritual implications of the faith and responsibility we have in making this doctrine a true spiritual expression of faith in our lives. That is we are not taught how the Lord desires for us to be “His Spiritual Partners” and not just human individuals seeking to do what we call “good works”

Activating the Light in us

pictures-of-jesus-baptism-holy-spiritWhen the majority of us cradle Christians, after confirmation, take personal responsibility for our religious principles and belief system, we do so from an intellectually sincere basis founded on our inbred desire to be faithful to our traditions, schooling, and our family religious culture. We do this because they represent our human identity of who we are, to ourselves as a person and to our families. However, most of us, at this stage, are not introduced into the spiritual understanding of of the Word nor the Faith in the Word we need to really enter into the Kingdom!

Of course as christian initiates, we also desire, in a human way, to do good, But what is lacking is a spritual understanding that the “good” that the Lord wants us to do is in partnership with Him and His Grace – not out of our own merit-based self-righteous human effort. This partnership with Him must come from a total yielding of our “self” to Him and to His Holy Spirit. It begins with in-depth true spiritual conversion where we come to believe in Christ as our Lord and Savior, and give ourselves to Him out of a deep personal faith encounter and not just out of an intellectual agreement with the doctrine, scriptural tradition, and principles we have been taught.

In other words, we need to understand how to activate the “light”of Christ that is in us through baptism and confirmation before we can truly be a “light” to others. And that activation has to come through a spiritually revealed “faith” encounter and relationship with Jesus Himself!

Using a story from scripture as a metaphor, I refer you to the story of the encounter the “Samaritan Woman” had with Jesus (John Chapter 4), where Jesus told her not only about receiving the Living Water but also made it clear that she needed to change her lifestyle. She not only responded positively, but went back to to her village and told the people about Jesus whom she now believed was the Jewish Messiah! The villagers not only believed her but were incited with a strong desire to encounter Jesus for themselves.

That my friends, is what Jesus is seeking from us. He uses the witness and the Word, that the church presents to us, to entice us to seek Him out so that each of us can encounter Him personally so that His Word (His Light) permeates our new-born spirit. This opens our inner lives so that He can be our light and the light that we project to the world! It is only then that the seven Sanctifying gifts of the Spirit (Is. 11) can truly begin to work in us in order to conform us to the image of Jesus (see Rom. 8:28-30). It is this conformance to Jesus that activates our inner light as we enter into the process of the renewal of out minds – “and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and [thus] put on the new nature, which was created according to God in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:23-24).

Letting Your Light Shine Out

Once your inner light is activated your next step is to yield yourself to the Holy Spirit so that through His power you can be a channel of your light to others (eg., to the community). When you enter this phase and yield yourself to the Holy Spirit (see 1Cor. 12), He will provide you the “empowerment gifts” you need to fulfill the divine purpose for you to reach others (including the community) with the appropriate gifts needed to extend His Kingdom in the world. These are sometimes called the “Charismatic Gifts”.

Note: St. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologia, explains that there are two types of Spiritual Grace: Sanctifying Grace and Actual Grace. The spiritual gifts just mentioned are emanations of these two types of Grace. Sanctifying Grace helps us to grow spiritually in the inner man. While Actual Grace permits us to be channels of Grace to the community so the Lord may extend His Kingdom into the world. The gifts emanating from latter type of grace are sometimes termed as “empowerment”gifts exactly because they empower us with the grace needed to each others for Christ Jesus!

“So I tell you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.…” (Luke 11:9-10)

As I end this posting I present to you a couple of prayers that you may use to encounter Jesus for yourself by, (1) first activating the Light of Jesus that is in you through Baptism and (2) receive the empowerment gifts you need to fill out the role in community-building that the Lord has in mind for you!

May the Lord Bless you and Keep you, May The Lord Shine His Face on you and be gracious to in all that you pray, say and do in His Holy Name!
… Your Brother In Christ, Bartimaeus

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Suggested Prayers Regarding Activating your Light …

Activating the Sanctifying Gifts
As I have indicated before, a true and sincere conversion is the scriptural prerequisite to receiving the “Promise of the Father”, the Gift of the Holy Spirit, in your own personal Pentecost. This means you first need to discern whether you are indeed a converted Christian and not just a cultural one as I was. If you are not sure, and you have determined in prayer that you want to be right with God and have a hunger to know the Lord Jesus personally then that is easy to remedy.  Just pray as follows:

“Lord Jesus, I am deeply aware that my sins have separated me from you and from the eternal life which you have promised to those who believe. I repent of my sins and turn to you in faith for the salvation and forgiveness you won for me on the cross through the shedding of your blood even when I was yet a sinner and without merit before God. I surrender my life to you. Come into my heart, be the Lord of my Life. Be my Savior and my King. Live in me and through me so that I can truly represent you in my service to others in your Name. Amen.

If you made this request sincerely and in Faith you can be sure that the Sanctifying Gifts of Isaiah 11 – representing the spiritual virtues of “Christ in you”are now active in your Life! Praised Be His Holy Name!

Activating the Empowerment Gifts
Now, if the terminology,  “baptism in/with the Holy Spirit”, creates a theological hurdle for you receiving the empowerment gifts of the Holy Spirit, just think of what you are desiring as a  “release of the Holy Spirit” that is already in you through baptism and confirmation. The Holy Spirit is not so much concerned as to your theological understanding of the Promise of the Father as much as He is looking for your sincere desire to be open to His working within you and through you, no matter how or what you call it! All He wants is your permission! Your surrender to His purposes in and through you!

Once this is settled in your mind, then you need to pray about what you are sensing in your spirit. If, after prayer and meditation on the scripture you sense a strong sincere desire to receive all that the Holy Spirit has for you and to be open to His working in and through your life (without restrictions on your part), then you are ready to proceed to the next step.

In asking for the Holy Spirit to empower you (whether in a community setting or a personal one) come into the Father’s presence and ask (something like this):

“ Father, as your child in Jesus I desire to be totally an instrument for Your Kingdom to manifest through my life. I desire to receive your Promise of the Holy Spirit to those who believe. Jesus, my Savior and King, baptize me in the Holy Spirit so that the power of your resurrection will work in me and transform me according to your will. Holy Spirit, empower me and fill me to overflowing. I hold nothing back from you. Work your gifts in me and through me, all of me, so that the Father’s Kingdom may be manifested in and through my life. I ask this in Jesus’ mighty Name. Amen!”

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Now, begin praising and worshiping God with all your heart. Release yourself from all the inhibitions you have and raise your voice in songs and psalms. Express those longings you have held in your heart for so long but were unable to let loose because of your inhibitions. As you sing and worship release yourself to the Holy Spirit so that He can pray and worship through you.

As you enter this time of praise and worship you will begin to experience a sense of the presence of the Lord. You will begin to lose your self-consciousness and you will sense that the flow of your prayers and song is coming as if from out of nowhere. In fact, as your praise increases you sense that you are uttering words that are no longer in your mother tongue. But you know in your spirit that these words are honoring God so your flow in these phrases increases. You have just received your prayer language. You are feeling so blessed, you find that you don’t want to stop. Don’t stop. Pray and sing your heart out, glorifying God!

Praised be His Holy Name! You have now ”Entered the Kingdom” of the Father! Walk in the leading of the Holy Spirit and be obedient to His call!
© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-20018].

Related Link (click on Video URL below)
A Catholic Pentecost is Here (video)

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1313373916_fire_book_800x600_618x463_xlarge“His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1: 3-4)

Therefore…“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised)” (Hebrews 10:23)

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Understanding and Receiving God’s Promises …
              – And, on Pentecost, especially, “the Promise of the Father”

My Fellow Pilgrims …

In my prayers and meditations on His Word as presented in the post-Easter liturgy of this past 3 weeks I begin to think about Jesus’ Promises that were centrally embedded in the scriptures of that period …

For instance, as Jesus was about to endure His passion and crucifixion, He was preparing His disciples regarding the events that were about to happen and His return to the Father (cf, John 16ff), saying …“In that day you will no longer ask Me anything. Truly, truly, I tell you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” (Jn 16:23-24)

Here we hear Jesus promise the disciples that “On that Day … Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be fulfilled”. I asked myself, what is this “Joy” that Jesus speaks of and what or where is that “Day” and when I can ask for anything in His Name and receive? Through His spirit, I was led to understand that, for me, that “Day” is the day I grow spiritually enough to the point where I enter into an intimate union with my Lord, and my Joy will come from my union with His Spirit deriving from my obedience to the Kingdom of His Love in me!

As the Lord continues to conform me to His image I have come to experience this promise of “asking and receiving” more and more – yet there always remain unanswered prayers in my life. Through His Spirit in me, however I am beginning to understand more and more the the reason why some prayers are not realized.

It is not that  I doubt in Him and His Promises. No, my doubt is in myself and my current spiritual state – versus the state that the Lord has predestined for me – that is a state of selfless dedication and separation unto Him! And, as I asked the Lord about my failing state I began realize the real reason why I am not always able to “ask in His Name” is that although He is slowly drawing me into Himself, I am not always totally “in Him” – because me “flesh” still occasionally still interrupts the Holy Spirit’s work in me.

The understanding given me by His Spirit being, that I, a mere human cannot truly speak “in Jesus’ Name” unless He abides in me and speaks through me! The reason being that it is the Father’s purpose to “conform us” to the image of His Son so that He can work in us an through us as He did with Jesus to initiate the manifestation of His Kingdom of LOVE in us so that His Will may be done here in this world as it is in Heaven!

The process of being conformed into His Image is a varying process depending on my cooperation in yielding to His Spirit in me – the more I empty of my “self” the more “His self” manifests in me. The reverse also being true – thus it is clear that my fleshliness, lack of faith and cooperation deters me in my ability to enter into a deep communion with Him so that He may manifest Himself through me!

When I repent of my fleshly episodes, and turn back to spiritual union with Him, His peace and presence begins to flow into me again. Not only that, His Spirit in me enables my faith and frames the content of my prayer so that in that in that immersion in Him, my petition becomes His petition so that when I ask, I truly receive!In the Word I am referencing, Jesus continued his directives to His disciples, telling them what I am now experiencing. That is, when I am truly come into spiritual union with my savior, I know that I am in Him and He in me so that I am enveloped in the Father’s Love and when I abide in that Love I can truly ask as Jesus Himself would ask the Father!

Jesus continues to prepare His Disciples by sating, “I have spoken these things to you as illustrations. A time is coming when I will no longer speak to you this way, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in My name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world. In turn, I will leave the world and go to the Father.” (Jn 16:25-28)

Brethren, I am sharing this with you because the Father Himself desires for all of us to enter into this type of spiritual union through the Spirit of His Son. For He truly is the Way the Truth and the Life. And it is only through Him that we can approach the Father!

However, the scripture I am focusing on here tells us that although the disciples responded in a positive manner, it was only in a “human” manner, because by their presumptive attitude they thought that by merely understanding his words as one human through another they could understand the spiritual meaning of his words necessary to take root in their spirits.

Continuing on … His disciples said, “See, now You are speaking plainly and without figures of speech. Now we understand that You know all things and that You have no need for anyone to question You. Because of this, we believe that You came from God.” (Jn 16:29-30)

As we can see from this scripture Jesus’ disciples were accustomed to Jesus’ continual use of figures of speech in His preaching and teaching, so when He begin speaking to them more straight forwardly, they told Him that because of this they had no trouble believing that He was sent from God.

In response Jesus amusingly responded to their fleshly inspired response… “Do you finally believe?” Jesus replied. (i.e., “do you really think you have moved into spirit-based faith from human-based faith?”, Jn. 16:31).

“Look, an hour is coming and has already come when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and you will leave Me all alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!” (Jn 16: 32-33)

Jesus of course knew their hearts and that although they thought they understood what He was telling them in their minds, He knew they really could not comprehend the spiritual reality of His Relationship with the Father, the promises He was declaring to them, and the events that were about to happen. So much so, that they would, in fact abandon Him.

We must realize from this analysis brethren that we are as human as the disciples, and we also initially tend to interpret the Word of God in a human level of faith, only to find out later in our lives, as we grow in the gifts of the Spirit, that there was something missing in our preliminary understanding – mainly the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is always through this inspiration that we enter into the depths of what God was trying to tell us personally through His Word, rather than what we perceived in the flesh that past moment.

As an example of how we, like the disciples, sometimes use our human-based faith in trying to interpret what God is telling us through his Word.
One of the cases we most tend to understand and thereby fail to experience is that of “the Promise of the Father” and its manifestation on the day of Pentecost.
In the Book Of Acts, for example, the apostle Peter explains to the crowd that gathered outside the upper room at Pentecost that what just happened to the 120 believers in the room was a fulfillment of the Promise God made to the Prophet Joel, by citing the actual word of the Promise which states that …

‘In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
(Acts 2:17-18)

This then defines “the Promise of the Father” that Jesus told His disciples they were to wait for in Jerusalem (Acts 1:4) and that, from the manifestation of this Promise they would receive Power so they could act as His witnesses to the world! That is why the spiritual gifts associated with the “Promise” are sometimes termed “the empowerment gifts”

Opened Your Gifts Yet?

Opened Your Gifts Yet?

In Chapter twelve of his letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul describes for us these Empowerment Gifts that fulfilled the “Promise” on the Day of Pentecost. Look around you, how many Christians in our culture today believe, receive and operate under the spiritual gifts provided by this promise of God in their lives or in their churches? Could it be because we are not properly informed?

“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed… Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.” (1 Cor. 12 ; 1-11)

Now, all christians certainly believe that the “twelve” received Power at Pentecost and that this power was manifested in the variety of spiritual gifts (ie., the empowerment gifts or charisms) that were distributed among the Apostles. But how many of us know and believe that not only were these gifts given to the apostles but also to all of the 120 persons in the upper room?

And how many of us Christians believe that the 3000 who converted after Peter’s speech also received a portion of these Empowerment Gifts, as distributed by the Holy Spirit?

Advancing my questions further, how many Christians today know and believe that all baptized Christian are eligible to receive these empowerment gifts in order to truly be empowered to fulfill the “Great Commission” and be His witnesses?

Remember, that Peter also told the crowd that “the Promise of the Father” (and the Gifts) are not just for the apostles but that … “the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:39)
So then, my final set of questions for you is: Have you answered your calling and received the Promise by unpacking the Empowerment Gifts that have already been made available to you?

If not, why not? If the Holy Spirit has inspired you at this moment, then, just …
pictures-of-jesus-baptism-holy-spirit“Ask and you Shall Receive!” (Jn. 16:24)
“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13)

 

 

I leave further understanding of this to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and your personal discernment of the Word. Your understanding of this message that I share with you today depends not on me but on your faith in God’s Word and what His Word states about the Promise of the Father!

Your fellow Pilgrim and Brother In Christ Jesus … Bartimaeus

Related Links …

# Prayer to receive the Holy Spirit

I Stand at the Door and Knock

Sweet Yoke of Love

Releasing the Spirit

The Kingdom of God: Our Spiritual Inheritance

Reclaiming Our Legacy In Christ

Hearing God’s Voice, and Obeying It

Pentecost and the Promise of the Father

The Empowerment Gifts (Part 1)

The Empowerment Gifts (Part 2)

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2017])

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Has Jesus Arisen In Your Heart? (part 2)

From Enlightenment to Empowerment and Consecration

Jesus receives the Anointing

Jesus Baptized in the Spirit

My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you! (Gal. 4:19)

Jesus Welcomes Children

Jesus begins teaching us as children

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need some one to teach you again the first principles of God’s word. You need milk, not solid food; for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil. (Heb. 5:11-13)

“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, with instruction about ablutions, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.” (Heb. 6:1-3)

My dear fellow pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

In the first article of this title I postulated that, at the very least, there are three major phases or stages possible in our growth to spiritual maturity while we are in this world. Sadly, most of us Christians rarely get beyond the first stage which I summarized in part 1 of: ”Has Jesus Arisen in your Heart?”. The stages that I listed in that article are as follow:

Stage 1 – Unbelief to a Living Faith and Spiritual Awakening (Enlightenment)

Stage 2 – Spiritual Awakening to Spiritual Empowerment and Consecration

Stage 3 – Spiritual Consecration to Spiritual Union With Christ

<> What we learned from the first stage and why we need to grow out of it …

I described the first stage as basically consisting of how, upon hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ, our spirits come into an awareness of our fallen state and an inner desire seek to be the reconciled with the Father through repentance and faith in Jesus His Son. This Enlightenment results in a re-born spirit within us that enables us, through conversion and baptism to experience God in our lives and begin a relationship with Him through Jesus as our Savior, Lord, and Shepherd.

You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake. Through him you have confidence in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere love of the brethren, love one another earnestly from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord abides for ever.” That word is the good news which was preached to you. (1 Ptr. 18-25)

This turning to God and spiritual re-birth is a decision that is the beginning of our conversion and initiates a personal relationship with the Jesus that, if we endure in faith, will take us to our eternal destiny with Him in Heaven. I term this stage as an Awakening or Enlightenment because through this process of conversion our spirits re re-born and become sensitive to the spiritual presence of God in our lives. That is why the church also calls this phase “Enlightenment”. However, we really need to understand that this Phase is only the beginning of our enlightenment, for really, once we become spiritually aware we will continue growing in our enlightenment through eternity. In this initiation stage, in most cases, we merely gain enough enlightenment to enable our faith in who Jesus is and our dire need to receive Him so that we turn to Him for salvation.

In this stage we find ourselves, like babes, thirsting for His Word and immersing ourselves in His loving presence through prayer and worship. Some of us enjoy this stage so much that we have the tendency to linger and not understand that this is only the beginning – an open door to even more wondrous transitions that are part of our legacy in Christ Jesus! But we need to continue growing into that legacy. That is, the legacy to be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29), so that we may one of His many brethren as true children of God.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom.8:28-31)

Yes, brethren, in Christ, we are called into a glorious spiritual inheritance, an inheritance that involves several transitions, from spiritual babes to spiritual maturity. Unfortunately some of us, like myself, tend to get stranded in the infancy stage

However we don’t have to remain in this stage but taking the apostle peter’s advice we can grow by feeding on the Word of God…

Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation” (1 Ptr.2:2)

Those of us who tend to get stranded in this stage, do so mainly because we end up being conformed to the world rather than to Jesus. I, for instance, though I grew up in a Catholic Christian family and was more or less compliant to all that my tradition required of me, I did not, however, experience an renewed spiritual awareness until adulthood, when for the first time the Word of God reached my heart and I gave myself to Him and encountered Him in a personal relationship! Praised Be His Holy Name!

Also, not all of us who enter this phase take appropriate action in responding to our newly awakened spiritual sensitivity and continue operating the venue of the ”flesh” or our human nature., thus grieving the Holy Spirit within us.

The apostle Paul makes this possibility clear to the Christians in the Corinthian community when he tells them …

“But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men?” (1 Cor. 3:1-3)

<> Now –  Proceeding on to the Next Stage – Our Consecration as True Disciples in the Spirit …

The apostle indicates that even though they are baptized “brethren”, they have not yet broken through to the spiritual maturity they ought to have and he further informs them that without their appropriate response to the Spirit they will not be equipped to become disciples and proceed into the next phase that requires an even greater acuity of spirit…

“…God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit. The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor.10-16)

So likewise in our age we must understand that … The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

Here, we need to ask ourselves, “am I able to understand and receive the spiritual gifts mentioned by Paul in his letters to the Romans, Corinthians and Ephesians? If they appear to be folly to me, does that mean I am ‘unspiritual’?

Sadly, brothers and sisters, unless we learn to operate and grow with our newly awakened spiritual nature, we should consider ourselves as ‘unspiritual’ and, because of this, we will not be able to cooperate with the Spirit of God that is in us as converted Christians to truly carry out the ultimate purpose for us in this world: which is to be a disciples and to make disciples. To put it in Jesus’ terms, you will not be able to hear the Shepherd’s voice in order to be able to follow Him (see Jn. 10:27).

You would think that once we entered the first stage of spiritual awareness through our conversion and subsequent enlightenment, that proceeding on to the next stage would be easier. But, as you can see from what I stated prior, that if we cannot get out of the rut of walking in the flesh, we will not be able to move on ‘in the spirit’. It requires a renewal of our minds (Rom 12:1-2) as well as our spirits. That is not that easy for us humans, we like to live in ruts – we feel more comfortable when we are not challenged. We can only progress in our spiritual growth if we cooperate with the Holy Spirit and NOT grieve Him by ignoring Him and His Gifts!

In the opening quotation from Paul’s letter to the Galatians (Gal.4:19) we see the apostle express his frustration the Galatian community. A community of newly evangelized and baptized Christians who found it so difficult to proceed on to spiritual maturity that Paul said that he was in prayerful “travail” for them until Christ be formed in them! This clearly indicates that the work of the Holy Spirit in us only begins at our initiation into Christ Jesus, our initial conversion and enlightenment being only the door to the Spirit bringing us to perfection (completing our transformation to the image of Christ).

The reason Paul was concerned for the Galatians was that, although they had accepted Christ in the spirit so as to be enlightened through faith as to the nature of the salvation that had been won for them by Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection from the dead, they still did not have any notion of the continuing spiritual transformation involved in being conformed to the Spirit of Christ (Rom.8:28-29) and the cooperation that was required of them to proceed to the stages that followed in their spiritual growth.

Here is Paul expressing himself again on the reasons behind his frustration in their lack of progress in their spiritual lives:

“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were in bondage to beings that by nature are no gods; but now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days, and months, and seasons, and years! I am afraid I have labored over you in vain.” (Gal. 4:8-11)

The background behind the situation that Paul encountered was, that after evangelizing and founding this nascent Christian community, certain unauthorized “missionaries” came from Jerusalem with the intent of “Judaizing” the new converts to the religious practices of the Jerusalem community. Of course, they came with a misguided zeal, to ensure that these gentiles be circumcised and be faithful to the rules and regulations they thought were needed for them to be part of their belief system.

You see, it was still unthinkable to these “Judaizers”, who had accepted the Messiah as Jews, that any one could be part of God’s plan of salvation unless they were truly “practicing Jews”. They still did not fully understand that the Messiah was sent not just to save the Jewish people but the whole world and, salvation would come, not through compliance with religious rules and regulations, which were but a shadow of God’s ultimate intent, but by Grace through Faith in the Messiah Himself! All of this would come through the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of men as “The GIFT of the Father” and not due to any merits or works on our part so that the Glory of His Gift would be totally His through the sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son!”

What we moderns also don’t seem to realize is that when we first come to Christ, our human nature (that is our flesh) causes us to behave in a manner very similar to the Galatians. That is, we have a hard time understanding the “Truth” that our salvation is NOT dependent on our compliance with the religious practices of the community into which we were assimilated.

Rather, our religious practices and our “good” works must come as the “fruit” of God’s indwelling Spirit in us and from our need to express our worship through praise and thanks to the Father, for the magnificence of His Love for us through Jesus who as the Lamb of God, offered Himself in propitiation for our sins so that we might become a new creation, acceptable to the Father in Him! By taking our place to satisfy God’s justice, He, Jesus, freed all humanity from the bondage of sin and reconciled us to the Father, enabling us to take our place as His Children and as brothers to Him, the very Jesus who brought us to salvation! A salvation, that was provided to us while we were yet sinners and did not in any way merit the inconceivable generosity of His Grace! Praised be His Holy Name!

Its clear then, that many of this generation have not come to fully comprehend is that Christ died for us, not only to save us and reconcile us with the Father, bringing us into the Kingdom of Grace, but also so that we might be conformed into His Image here on earth, so that He, living through us (abiding in us), might continue, through us, to bring forth fruit to the Glory of God the Father!

<> Consecration as  a Disciple Requires a Decision

This, then, is our purpose in Christ, a role that we take on as we enter into this, the next stage of our spiritual growth where we go from Enlightenment to Empowerment and Consecration. It is not a stage we automatically enter into, it is a stage that requires our full understanding and willingness so that we may consecrate our lives fully to Him, through the renewal of our minds (Rom.!2:1-2). It is a stage where He sends His Holy Spirit to empower us so that the works that we do are empowered by the Spirit of Christ in us so that they are truly His works and NOT ours! It is a stage where it requires us to make a decision to yield ourselves fully to Him – in fact to yoke or “consecrate” ourselves to Him by denying our self-driven instincts and letting His Spirit to totally take hold of us and direct us down the narrow path of discipleship to Him and Him alone! Praised be His Holy Name!

The Way of  True Discipleship

The Way of True Discipleship

This is the stage where our transformation truly begins. Where we truly take up our cross of self-denial. Again, it is Paul that instructs us, regarding the requirement for this stage, the first of which is moving from walking in the flesh to walking in the Spirit (see Rom. 8:4; Rom 8:9; Gal. 5: 16; Gal. 5.25). A walk that requires entering into an enhanced intimate spiritual relationship and awareness of the Trinity, so that we may know and understand the Father’s desires and enable us the ability to cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit in us to carry out these desires in our lives.

This level of spiritual awareness permits us to understand and receive the gifts of God as well as the divine wisdom we need to operate in these divine gifts (NOT our natural gifts). It also, necessarily, brings us into a closer relationship to the Divine through Jesus Christ who is the Door and who has told us that …

“No one comes to Me unless the Father draw him…”                             (Jn. 6:44)

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”

(Jn 14:6)

and …

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.                                                                                          (Jn. 15:45)

When Jesus accepted His role He submitted to be baptized by John in order to identify with sinful humanity thus assenting with the will of the Father to be the Sin Offering four us. When the Holy Spirit came upon Him after His baptism with water, He received the anointing and authority He needed to fulfill His Role as Savior and King.

So it is with us, when we are converted and baptized in water we identify with Him and the role He accepted to take on our sins. When we receive the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” we are empowered (anointed) with His anointing to carry on His ministry in this world.

Shortly after His baptism, when Jesus attended a Sabbath service in Nazareth, …

…and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4: 17-21)

In the same way we, His Disciples, are called not only to be baptized in water but also to be anointed (with His Anointing) to empower us to fulfill our roles when we receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as all the apostles, disciples and believers received at Pentecost.

The spiritual gifts mentioned by Paul in his letters are, in fact, the manifestation of the anointing of the Holy Spirit (see 1Cor. 12) needed by us to carry on our Master’s work for the building up of the Church. The anointing is the anointing that was on Jesus and is now distributed amongst ua to continue His ministry to His body, the church.

This is the baptism of which John said “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Mathew 3:11)

It is also termed by Luke (who wrote The Acts of the Apostles) as the “Promise of the Father” as the source of the Gifts received at Pentecost, saying …

“… the day when he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:2-5)

And Peter, at Pentecost, also spoke of this “Promise of the Father” as follows…

“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and [then] you shall [also] receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him.” (Acts 2:38-39)

Thus, brothers and sisters, it is clear that if we are to progress on to our calling and growth in the spirit in this phase of our transition, we cannot ignore the need to be empowered to serve by asking for and receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

In conjunction with this empowerment is also the need to intentionally consecrate ourselves as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ by offering our selves totally to Him for His Service. Listen to what the apostle Paul exhorts regarding our consecration…

“I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I bid every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith which God has assigned him.” (Rom. 12:1-3)

Many of us take for granted that if we are believers we are “automatically” disciples of Jesus. No, my brethren! To enter discipleship requires a separate decision from believing in who Jesus is or entering into a relationship with Him. It is a decision that must be made freely, out of “agape” love, and NOT as a condition on our salvation. That is why Jesus admonished those who believed in Him and were ready to follow Him MUST measure the “cost” of discipleship before making a decision – a discipleship of which the first step is to “deny oneself and carry that cross daily”. It is a sacrifice of your right to yourself by a thorough and complete yoking of your life to His! But since your salvation is already assured by your faith in Him, you make this decision freely without any coercive thoughts that you might lose your salvation.

Besides the carrying the cross of self-denial daily, you also need to understand that you are committing your self to the Holy Spirit so  He may  continue to conform you to the image of Christ. And that this process of transformation will, of necessity involve the “renewal of your mind” so that you will no longer live your life in conformance to the world but to the Spirit of Christ who is in you. This is the process the apostle Paul refers to “as working out your salvation” when tells the Philippian community…

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” (Phil.2:12-16)

Paul, in order to ensure that they maintain their commitment and their consecration, also asks the Galatian community to…

“… walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh, for the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would.

But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”                       (Gal. 5: 16-25)

Let us, who consecrate ourselves as intentional disciples of Christ Jesus, set for ourselves the same goal that Paul set for himself …

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)

I urge you therefore, beloved pilgrims in Christ Jesus, to consider carefully in prayer and meditation the themes that I have presented here, based on the Word of God. And, asking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, seek the desire of the Father for your life and freely commit yourself to fulfill the Fathers desire. I pray this in Jesus’ mighty Name! Amen and Amen!

Your brother and fellow pilgrim in Christ Jesus …. Bartimaeus

PS: If my presentation here has moved you to further inquiry I now refer you, below, to several  previous articles on this matter that will provide you further information that will permit the Holy Spirit to guide you as you prayerfully consult Him!

Important Related Articles:

Prayer to receive the Holy Spirit

Cast your Net on the Other Side

Sweet Yoke of Love

Husbands Love your Wives

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THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER  (Part 2)

The Promise of the Father

The Dove of Promise is For Real

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And [then] you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. [ For…] The Promise [of the Father] is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)

My fellow Pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

Continuing from where Part 1 left off, we remind all believers that….

We are the future generations that were indicated and thus the “Promise of the Father”, as manifested in the nine Empowering Gifts of the Spirit (cf., 1Cor.12 ff), is clearly meant for us today, as baptized Christians, as much as it was for the original believers at Pentecost!

The question I ask all baptized believer’s today who have not yet experienced the Baptism of the Spirit, which is the manifestation of the Promise of the Father, is: Why Not?

In my case, the answer is, “I did not even know what the Promise of the Father was and especially that it was manifested as the “Baptism in the Spirit” on the day of Pentecost.

As a baptized Catholic Christian, I went through the usual rite of initiation. As a child, I was baptized shortly after birth and then taught about baptism when I entered elementary school. I went to catholic schools through high school and then spent my first two years of advanced education at a Jesuit University. In all that time I was never taught about the Baptism of the Spirit and the Spiritual Gifts as being something we Christians were entitled to receive in today’s world.

The teaching I received for Confirmation (at age 13 years) basically brought me to the understanding of the basic doctrines of our faith in Christ as the Son Of God, the redeemer and savior of the world, so that I could reinstate for myself the vows my parents had made for me at baptism.

In my further instruction for the reception of the sacrament I was taught the primary doctrines of the catechism, especially that, at confirmation we are strengthened through the reception of the Seven Gift of the Holy Spirit (cf.,Is. 11) so that, through help of the Holy Spirit in me, I can live a full and holy Christian Life. Even though I studied the Acts of the Apostles and the birth of the Church at Pentecost, I was NEVER taught that the Nine Spiritual Gifts (cf., 1 cor.12) that the disciples received on that day were for me and for every Christian today. I did not know that these gifts were available and, in fact, needed by me, and very other Christian, to empower us to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel with signs following. The only thing I remember was that that we were taught to pray for a renewal of the Seven Gifts (the gifts stated in Is. 11) at every celebration of the Day of Pentecost.

As a faithful and compliant adult Catholic I was never taught that every Christian needs the Holy Spirit in order to truly encounter God in “Spirit and in Truth”. Yes we were taught that there were special people who had encounters with Our Lord and some very spiritual gifts but that was because they were chosen by God to be “Saints”. Of course, since I was well aware that I, and every one I new was not a “Saint”, I could never expect God to choose me to experience the Holy Spirit and His Gifts. After all, according to what I was taught, the most we lay persons could aspire to was to get into Purgatory.

How wrong and misguided I was! And how miraculous was God’s working in my life through His Word to rip off the veil of religious darkness that enveloped me and opened my eyes to the Word of Truth and the Light of the Fullness of His Salvation.

Jesus became real to me

Jesus became real to me

Through a series of events that I cannot go through in this article (cf.,Recommended Links, below), the Lord opened the eyes of my spirit (yes, I found out that I had a spirit) so that I could encounter Christ in the spirit and receive the fullness of my inheritance in Him, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit – an encounter that changed my life forever. Truly it was an encounter that permits me to say today that … “once I was blind but now I see”. That, my brothers and sisters, is the reason I took on the persona of “Bartimaeus” in initiating this web-log, to tell everyone that The Promise of the Father is For Real! If you are a converted and baptized Christian, all you have to do is ASK!

To God Be the Glory Forever!

In order that you too, through the Word of God, inspired by His Spirit, may also come to receive the Promise, I now append the second part of the booklet I have been sharing with you and which I believe will remove some of the barriers that may be keeping you from the fullness of our inheritance in Christ.

Your Fellow Pilgrim In Christ Jesus …  Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2012])

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UNDERSTANDING THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER (Part 2)

 

(Continuation of an excerpt from the booklet, “Understanding the Promise of the Father”,  by  Jorge Alfonso Madrid Sr., with the author’s permission)

What About Water Baptism?

Now here is where we moderns encounter a bit of confusion. It is commonly understood by most Christians that we receive the Holy Spirit when we are baptized with water. So when Peter says “… you will receive the Holy Spirit” isn’t he referring to water baptism? Why then do some people claim that this refers to another reception of the Holy Spirit?

In responding to these questions it should be pointed out that the scriptures and church tradition clearly indicate that the Holy Spirit is received in the two main impartations of grace[1] involved in Christian initiation. A third impartation usually associated with the initiation of adults into the body of Christ is the Eucharist. The first impartation of grace occurs when a person hears the Gospel, is converted, repents and submits to be baptized into Christ by immersion in water. In Church tradition and scripture[2], this impartation was, historically, sometimes referred to as the “Enlightenment” or “Illumination” where the initiate receives the life of Christ to enlighten or bring new life to his/her soul.  The second impartation occurs when the baptized person is anointed or empowered in the Holy Spirit to be a witness to Christ in the building up of His church. This impartation is sometimes referred to as the “Empowerment” or “Strengthening”. Jesus modeled the first two impartations when first he submitted himself to be baptized in water by John the Baptist and then was empowered or anointed for ministry by the Holy Spirit immediately after baptism with water. It is, by its nature, assumed to be a completion of baptism.

Similarly for us, through baptism and confirmation, we receive the Holy Spirit in both of these impartations with the correspondingly distinct modalities of operation of “enlightenment” and “empowerment”, both of which are direct manifestations of the Holy Spirit in us. In one we are “baptized into Christ” (Gal.3:27) by the Holy Spirit and in the second we receive the empowerment of the Spirit to carry out the ministry of Christ in our community and the world (Acts 1:8).

At this point, our discussion brings up another question. If the fullness of the deity dwelt in Jesus why would He need to “receive” or be “anointed” by the Holy Spirit after He was baptized with water by John the Baptist?

Jesus receives the AnointingAccording to prophetic scripture the anointing of the Spirit was a necessary attribute for the Ministry of the Messiah. It was this prophesy that Jesus read at the synagogue at the beginning of His Ministry when He said to the congregation, :  “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”. (Luke 4: 18-19).

The prophet Isaiah, speaking for the Father about the Messiah says: “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations”  (Isaiah 42:1 )

From these and other such scriptures we understand that the Messiah was to receive the Holy Spirit in order to empower Him to fulfill His ministry as Messiah (CCC 1286-1289). It was this anointing that Jesus received immediately after His water baptism by John and which was symbolized by a dove coming to rest on Him (John 1:32). It was through this anointing that Jesus performed the works of power and healing indicating that the reign of God was amongst men demonstrating the Father’s compassion and love.

What may still not be clear is why would Jesus, who is God incarnate, need to be empowered to do anything?

To begin with, we understand from scripture that when the Son of God took on human form, He relinquished the use of His divine prerogatives, that is, He emptied himself[3], so that in His saving work of atonement He could legitimately act as a substitute for mankind as a “second Adam”.  Thus, as a pure and sinless human being He would submit himself completely to the will of the Father, even to His substitutionary death on the cross on behalf of all mankind, In order to accept this role as a stand-in for all humanity, Although sinless, He first had to identify with us in our fallen nature and submit to God’s judgment on the sin inherent to our nature. This Jesus accomplished when he submitted Himself to water baptism at the hand of John the Baptist.

Secondly, since He had emptied Himself (from the Greek: kenosis) of His divine prerogatives, He could only act in the Father’s behalf to open the doors to the Kingdom if he was empowered by God as a human being to fulfill God’s purposes and will. That is, He needed to be anointed by the Holy Spirit so that God, the Eternal Father, could manifest Himself through the person of Jesus. That is why Jesus, As Messiah, needed the Spirit Anointing, and why it could only happen after He accepted His role as Messiah and as a substitute for the humanity He was destined to save.

Thirdly, since His was to be an eternal throne or empowerment that could not be removed, He had to impart the Holy Spirit Anointing to His church (his Body) so that His ministry would continue unimpeded through His body, the church, through all time. That is why he told His disciples to go to Jerusalem to await the Promise of the Father so that they might be also be empowered with power from on high (Luke 24:49).

Thus, when Jesus told Nicodemus that one must be born of water and the Spirit in order to enter the Kingdom[4] He was merely indicating to Nicodemus that in order to be a true and effective disciple and participate in His ministry, which He sometimes termed as “The Kingdom of Heaven”, one must be baptized with water, as he was, and one must also be baptized (or anointed) with the Holy Spirit, as he was.

While He was still on earth, He and His disciples operated under this personal anointing that was on Him. In meeting with them prior to His passion and death He told them that after He went away they and those who believed through them would continue working under the anointing  “ …  I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12). And that they would be able to do this because,  “… it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor (the Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7). In this way, by imparting the Spirit Anointing to the disciples and to those who became believers through them, Jesus, the Messiah would continue His Ministry through His church here on earth.  Thus we see why believers need to “receive” the anointing of the Holy Spirit after their water baptism in order to effectively fulfill their God-given roles in life.

Thus when Peter exhorted the crowd at Pentecost to be baptized in Jesus’ name and then “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” [5] he was using the word as to the reception of the Holy Spirit Anointing in the same way as we have stated before that, Jesus “received” the Holy Spirit as an anointing to empower Him to act in the name of the Father.  The Holy Spirit already indwelt in Him so the word “receive” did not mean an inward reception but more of an outward reception of an anointing that was placed “on” Him to empower His Ministry. This is borne out by other usages in scripture of the word “on” when referring to a receipt of the Holy Spirit Anointing, or empowerment.

Similarly, at Pentecost, the converts who were first baptized in water received the Spirit of Christ “inwardly” to bring them eternal life in Christ Jesus. But now they needed the outward anointing of the Holy Spirit “on” them so that Jesus could continue His ministry to the community and to the world through them[6].

Regarding the inward anointing of the Holy Spirit, remember that, before His passion and death, Jesus told his disciples: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John14:16-17). Thus referring to the inward grace received at water baptism when the spirit of Christ comes to dwell in us.  It is this grace, which enlightens and sanctifies us, that is, sets us apart from the world to bring us into conformity with Christ. This sanctifying grace is distinct from the outward grace which St. Thomas Aquinas terms “free (or gratuitous) grace” in his Summa Theologica.[7]

John, in his epistle, reiterates this implication on the inward or sanctifying grace when he states: “ As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit — just as it has taught you, remain in him.” (1 John 2:27)

The outward grace, or the empowering of a believer through the Anointing of the Holy Spirit, sometimes called the “Baptism in the Holy Spirit”, corresponds to the grace defined by Aquinas as “free (or gratuitous)” grace, that is meant, not for the person who is a channel of that grace, but for the community and the world, as the empowerment by the Holy Spirit, required by the person receiving it to fulfill his or her calling as a participant in Christ’s ministry here on earth.

It is of this latter type grace that Paul refers to in his letter to the Corinthians, when he says, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good”[8], that is, for the benefit of the community. This clearly indicates why the “empowerment” gifts are classified as the “free grace” defined by Aquinas.

Early church tradition regarding the Christian initiation rites rightly maintained both these impartations of grace: “enlightenment” and “empowerment”.  Before child baptism was the norm and when the Christian communities were small and locally organized, adults who believed the Gospel and converted, usually received both forms of these impartations at the same ceremony (rite of initiation). Although baptism could be conferred by a deacon or elder, the Anointing of the Holy Spirit, or empowerment, could only be conferred by a Bishop or overseer.

Later when child baptism became the norm, and the Christian communities larger and more dispersed, the impartation of the two forms of grace were separated, sometimes not only for cultural and logistical reasons, but so that the children receiving the Spirit Anointing (called Chrismation in the Eastern Churches) would have reached the age of reason so that they could, after adequate catechesis (teaching), be able to “confirm” the baptismal promises made in proxy for them by their parents. This “confirmation” was essential because, by tradition, the Spirit Anointing could not be conferred except to those whose had heard and understood the proclamation of the Gospel and thus willingly and freely converted and accepted to be baptized[9].  Another understanding of the term “confirmation” is that the Greek word from which the term is derived is that it also means “strengthening”.  And, of course, this is another indication of the  “empowerment” which we all need to proclaim the Gospel and manifest the Ministry of Christ through the nine empowerment Gifts of the Spirit.

The “Confirmation” ceremony, then, became an amalgam of the formal public announcement of a person’s own personal decision to renounce evil and accept Christ (conversion) followed by the concomitant empowering Anointing with the Holy Spirit.  Through the haze of history, the special graces (the charisms) received at rite of the Spirit Anointing (Chrismation) were deemphasized and the spiritual gifts indicated as received were more related to the rite of water baptism and the Christ-presence in the believer.

Why we need the Empowerment Gifts Today

This is why, today, the “gifts of the Spirit” currently indicated at Confirmation really correspond to the spiritual gifts attributed to the Messiah in Isaiah Chapter 11 rather than the “empowerment” gifts experienced by the 120 disciples and the 3000 believers at Pentecost as indicated in the Book of Acts, and Paul’s epistles. Of course, if you have been baptized in water and confirmed, you have access to all the promised gifts. The only reason we fail to manifest all of them is that we can only exercise faith in the promises of God when we are taught those promises and expect them to happen (in faith). If we are only taught a select portion of those promises we cannot exercise the faith we need to manifest those other gifts because we don’t even know they are available to us.

Today, the Holy Spirit is at work amongst us, lifting the haze of history and revealing, supernaturally, through the Word of God, our access to these gifts (charisms) in order to renew and empower the church for a final work of evangelization before the return of the Messiah. The charismatic renewal is not the work of any person or movement but rather the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit in and through the church so that the Kingdom of God will be proclaimed to the whole world before His coming as well as to foster the purification of His Bride through the sanctifying gifts.

This work of world evangelization, which is to precede the second coming of Messiah, has already begun. This wave of renewal has been in evidence since the beginning of the Twentieth Century, and is attested to by the hundreds of millions of persons that have been evangelized worldwide. The extent of this evangelization in the course of a century exceeding even that of the rate of growth the primitive church when the apostles were leading the proclamation of the Gospel, thus confirming Jesus’ prophecy that anyone who has faith in me … will do greater works than these because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12).

We pray brethren, that through this brief exposure to the intent of the Father in endowing us with the Gifts of the Spirit, both for our inward spiritual formation and our empowerment as channels of His Grace, that you would seek His will in your lives and yield yourselves to His Spirit so that He may fully use you in bringing forth His Kingdom in this world. For His is the Kingdom and the Power, and the Glory Forever and Ever. AMEN!

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      Understanding the Promise of the Father  ©2008 by Jorge Alfonso Madrid Sr.

All rights reserved.  Permission is granted to any individual or group to reproduce this document (via photocopy or the internet) and to imprint no more than 1000 copies at each instance under the following conditions:

1.              For the purpose of Building up the Body of Christ (the church)

2.              No changes or additions are made to the document

3.              If a fee is charged it must only be to cover printing costs

4.              Not to be used for personal or corporate profit

Appropriate credit be given to the author, contributors, and publisher

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[1]Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.” (Hebrews 6:1-2)

[2]It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened [baptized], who have tasted the heavenly gift [Eucharist], who have shared in the Holy Spirit [confirmation],…”  Heb.:6.4

[3] Phil. 2:6-8 (see also CCC 472)

[4] John, Chapter 3

[5] Acts 2:38-39

[6] When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. (Acts 8:14-16)

[7] There is grace through which a man is himself united to God, which is called sanctifying grace. There is also grace whereby one man cooperates with another to lead him to God. This latter gift is called “free” grace. (Summa Theologica, Vol XI, Nature and Grace, 12 ae, Q111, Art.1, Par. 3)

[8] I Corinthians 12:7

[9] Paul when traveling through Ephesus encountered some believers who had been baptized by John the Baptist but had not received the Holy Spirit. He then baptized them in the name of the Lord Jesus, and laid hands on them to receive the Holy Spirit. They then spoke in other tongues and prophesied (Acts 19:1-6)

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Recommended Links

Regarding my own conversion

Releasing the Spirit

Praying in the Spirit

The Kingdom of God: Our Spiritual Inheritance

Reclaiming Our Legacy In Christ

Hearing God’s Voice, and Obeying It

Pentecost and the Promise of the Father

The Empowerment Gifts (Part 1)

The Empowerment Gifts (Part 2) 

A Prayer to Receive the Holy Spirit

Read Full Post »

THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER  (Part 1)

The Charismatic Gifts are for All Believers:

The Promise of the Father

The Dove of Promise is For Real

“While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples.He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. [Then…] When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:1-20)


My fellow Pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

Are you one of those that have never experienced the Holy Spirit?

As we approach another memorial of Pentecost I believe it is appropriate to bring to your attention some matters that require you prayerful discernment regarding the manifestation of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Unfortunately for too many of us, this Holy Day does not carry the spiritual weight it ought to have; this mainly due to the fact that we have never experienced our own personal Pentecost.

Yes, we all believe that one of the reasons this feast is celebrated is that it is considered as the birthday of the church, and that through the gifts that were imparted on that occasion on the 120 disciples in the upper room the Gospel began to be preached and witnessed with power to the whole world, multiplying its members by the thousands day-by-day.

What is sometimes lost in our celebrations is that the impartation of the Spiritual Gifts at Pentecost was not meant to be a one time affair – it was meant to be a notice to us all that the Promise of the Father – the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, that the apostles, disciples and their converts all received was a promise to be experienced by all Christians throughout the generations to come. Listen to what Peter preached on that day …,

“But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares,

that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,

and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,

and your young men shall see visions,

and your old men shall dream dreams.

Even upon my slaves, both men and women,

in those days I will pour out my Spirit;

and they shall prophesy.

And I will show portents in the heaven above

and signs on the earth below,

blood, and fire, and smoky mist.

The sun shall be turned to darkness

and the moon to blood,

before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.

Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

(Acts 2”14-21)

And, continuing …

Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”

(Acts 2:38-39)

This promise He mentions is the promise of the Father that Jesus passed on to them when, before His Ascension He told them…

While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4-5)

It is through this promise, the Promise of the Father, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, that we all are to be empowered to be His witnesses. It is by the Great Commission (Mark 16:15, Matt. 28:19) that we are all called to be His witnesses.  Yet it is this very promise for our empowerment that is neglected in our celebrations and our sacramental practices.

Yes, at these annual celebrations we are led to acknowledge of the Seven Enlightenment Gifts that represent the Spiritual virtues of the Messiah (cf., Isaiah 11), whose Spirit indwells us through baptism. Yet, It is notable that this Old Testament scripture about the Messiah is used to specify the “gifts” received at Pentecost but the New Testament Scriptures regarding the actual “spiritual gifts” are never mentioned. This odd attitude that pervades proclamations the feast of Pentecost seems to neglect entirely the Nine Spiritual Gifts (cf., 1 Cor.12) that were actually manifested at Pentecost and thereafter by the newly converted (Cf.,Acts 10:42-48; Acts 19:1-6 ).

It is this omission, which we Christians need to remedy, and for which I have intended this article so that, through prayer and discernment, the Holy Spirit, in His Wisdom, may guide you and lead you to the fullness of our inheritance in Christ.

Remember this, The Father NEVER repents of His Promises(2 Cor.1:20; 2 Ptr.1:4)! All you need to do to receive His Promise is to ask (Luke 11:9), in Faith – then you shall receive the Promise yourself!

With the consent of the author, I am presenting to you an article which I believe will instruct you further in this matter so that you may take action as the Spirit leads you. The article will be presented in two separate postings of which this is the first.

May the Spirit of Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding guide you through His Word and lead you into His Truth – For He is the Spirit of Truth and he will NOT deceive you!

Your Brother in Christ, Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2012])

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UNDERSTANDING THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER (Part 1)

(Excerpted from the booklet, “Personal Reflections on the Holy Spirit Baptism”,  by  Jorge Alfonso Madrid Sr., with the authors permission)

 

“The LORD is good to all;

he has compassion on all he has made.

All you have made will praise you, O LORD;

 your saints will extol you.

They will tell of the glory of your kingdom

and speak of your might,

So that all men may know of your mighty acts

and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

and your dominion endures through all generations.

The LORD is faithful to all his promises

and loving toward all he has made.”  (Psalm 145:9-13)

God’s Gifts and Call are Irrevocable[1]

The Word of God is unequivocal about God’s faithfulness to His promises, it is only we humans who equivocate in how we believe and act on His promises. Because we Christians are human we sometimes have a tendency to gloss over or take for granted the fact that our salvation and continued flow of graces from our heavenly Father hinge on His promises – promises that are at the very core of our Judeo-Christian tradition. Here is what the Apostle Peter says regarding the Divine Promises: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2Pet. 1:3-4)

            Among the more direct of the Lord’s promises that His people are to participate in His nature is one found in the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, speaking about how, in the latter times, the Lord promises to put His Spirit into those called by His Name: “‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws’”. (Ezek. 36:24-27)

As Abraham’s Children through faith in the death and resurrection of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we Christians experience a fulfillment of that promise when we are grafted into the trunk of the cultivated olive tree[2] (Israel) through baptism into Christ, being sprinkled clean with water and receiving His Spirit in us. Soon, at Jesus’ coming, our brothers and sisters descended from Abraham, the branches of the cultivated olive tree by natural descent, will be grafted back into the divinely ordained olive tree so that we may all be gathered as one under the Messiah, Our Lord Jesus the Anointed of God.

And just as The Father, through this promise, sanctifies us and endows us inwardly with the Holy Spirit, so also there is another promise through which He also empowers us to be channels of His grace and power to the community of believers and to those who have yet to believe. It is this divine promise that is termed by Jesus himself as the “Promise of the Father” as cited in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles: “And, he (the resurrected Jesus) being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, you have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” (Acts 1: 4-5) (see also, CCC 1286,1287)

Is the Promise of the Father for Believers Today?

After His Resurrection Jesus commanded his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for “the Promise of the Father” which would be fulfilled by what Jesus called “baptism with the Holy Spirit”.  Then, just prior to His ascension, He further told them that, “…But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.(Acts 1:8), thus making it clear that the intent of the baptism with the Holy Spirit, as manifested at Pentecost, is to empower the church to carry out the mission to which it has been entrusted by Jesus.

After His ascension, in obedience to Jesus’ command, the apostles along with the other disciples (about 120, men and women, in all) went to the upper room in Jerusalem there to pray and wait for the Promise of the Father. Ten days later,

… when the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2: 1-2).

The people in the area near the building, who were in Jerusalem to celebrate Jewish feast of Pentecost, heard all the commotion and in their astonishment they rushed to the house to see what was happening and saw people streaming from the building and acting extremely disoriented, loudly praising God and speaking in other tongues. “Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:  “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy” (Acts 2:12-18).

Thus, on the day of Pentecost, when the Promise of the Father was fulfilled, we see the process the Holy Spirit used, through the disciples, to bring forth His church and empower it. The Apostle Peter proclaimed the Good News to the astonished crowd, then on calling them to conversion he tells them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And [then] you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)

In these two citations we see that the Apostle Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, was telling the believers at the original Pentecost event that what they were witnessing (ie., prophecy, speaking in tongues, etc. ) was  the manifestation or verification of the “Promise of the Father” and that this promise was not only for the 120 disciples that gathered in the upper room but for all believers and their descendants for future generations, whom the Lord will call.

We are the future generations that were indicated and thus the “Promise of the Father”, as manifested in the nine Empowering Gifts of the Spirit, is clearly meant for us today, as baptized Christians, as much as it was for the original believers at Pentecost!

 

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Understanding the Promise of the Father 

Copyright ©2008 by Jorge Alfonso Madrid Sr.,

All rights reserved.  Permission is granted to any individual or group to reproduce this document (via photocopy or the internet) and to imprint no more than 1000 copies at each instance under the following conditions:

1.              For the purpose of Building up the Body of Christ (the church)

2.              No changes or additions are made to the document

3.              If a fee is charged it must only be to cover printing costs

4.              Not to be used for personal or corporate profit

Appropriate credit be given to the author, contributors, and publisher

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Recommended Links

Releasing the Spirit

Praying in the Spirit

The Kingdom of God: Our Spiritual Inheritance

Reclaiming Our Legacy In Christ

Hearing God’s Voice, and Obeying It

Pentecost and the Promise of the Father

The Empowerment Gifts (Part 1)

The Empowerment Gifts (Part 2) 


[1] Rom. 11:29

[2] Rom. 11:24

Read Full Post »

House on Rock

Built on Rock

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came,and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!” (Matt.7:24-27)

My Fellow Pilgrims,

When I was going through engineering school I thought I had mastered the basics of a subject when I took the “101” course in that subject, like “Physics 101” or “Chemistry 101”. But in each case, to my dismay, when I took “laboratory course in that subject I found that just knowing the basic principles is not enough! You have to actually do something with the intellectual knowledge and learn to experience and manage the effects of these principles before you can really begin to say that you understand them. And then, when you do, you find that you don’t really need to memorize the equations because now you “really” understand where the equations came from, and you can reconstruct them intuitively!

The same is true of the spiritual principles on which true discipleship is based.  Just hearing the Word of God and deriving a set of spiritual principles from the Word is not enough! You have to let the Word come be activated in your Spirit by acting, in Faith, on that Word. When you do you will experience that Word in its spiritual fullness and thus have it become an unshakable reality in your life! That is why the Lord Jesus tells us that, unless you act on the Word you hear from Him, the basis for your discipleship is built on shifting sand. Only when you act on that “Rhema” Word in Faith will it become a Rock for you in your discipleship.

I have written much to you regarding entering into a true discipleship through a personal relationship with Jesus and the spiritual basics behind following Him. Now, however, it is time to talk you a bit about how to put your faith in God’s Word by putting Jesus’ Word and teaching into practice so that the Word can manifest and bring forth fruit in your lives – fruit that will endure for His Glory!

Like all apprenticeships, we learn the most and fastest by putting what we learn into practice, that is, through on-the-job training. Although most of us Christians are routinely exposed to the Word of God in our religious services, our ability to put the Word we hear into practice in our lives is not usually very consistent. And even when we attempt to put what little we do into practice we are every selective about what we choose to do – and it is usually those items in which we feel comfortable doing.  Just read the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) and ask yourself “how much of this teaching am I comfortable putting into practice?”

In order to make you more aware of our failings in putting Jesus’ words into practice, I will pose a few more questions so that you can grade yourself on your progress towards discipleship.

[1] “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also…” (Matt. 5:38-39)

[2] “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.”  (Matt” 5:43-45)

[3] “ … bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:28)

[4] “Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.” (Jn.5-19)

If we are truly His disciples and are following Him, can we truly say that we only do what we see the Father or Jesus doing? If not, why not?

[5] “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.”(Jn 14: 12)

If we are truly His disciples are we doing the works of power that he did? If not, why not?

From what we read in the Gospels, it should be clear to us all that Jesus expected ALL his disciples to follow after him in how He related to the Father and how He, in obedience to the Father, manifested His Kingdom in all that He said and did.

[6]“They who have my [directives] and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”  (Jn. 14:21)

[7]“If you keep my [directives], you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s [directives] and abide in his love. (Jn. 15:10)

Here is one of the “directives” He gave to his disciples when He sent them out – a directive that has been termed “the Great Commission” and which we have been told by our church leaders applies to all Christians:

[8]“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16: 15-18)

Do you consider yourself in compliance in putting this “directive” into action in your lives?  If not? Why not?

In doing all that the Father expected of Him, Jesus himself modeled the ideal type of apprenticeship He wanted us to follow. Admittedly, we are NOT Jesus, so our individual ability to emulate Him is limited. However, He did not intend that we would merely attempt to imitate Him out of our own human strengths and abilities. No, His intent was that He would send the Holy Spirit to empower us, just as He was empowered, so that we could live out our discipleship totally dependent on the Father’s power. In this manner, it will be clear, that all that proceeds out of our willing service is attributable only to Him! Thus through faith and our obedience, He would manifest His Kingdom, His Power and His Glory.

He taught His disciples the manifestation of power through the working of miracles, healing and deliverance intermixed with preaching and teaching so that is was clear that The Kingdom He was proclaiming was more than just holy rhetoric but a spiritual reality that could be observed through its power manifesting itself among men. He also taught using parables intermixed with explanations that related the works of power to the Kingdom of Heaven.  His private teaching to His disciples was centered on teaching them how, to enter the Kingdom (that is, the reign of God) in their own lives so that they could act as the Father’s instruments, under the empowerment that was on Jesus, to bring forth fruit for the Kingdom. When He gave them a directive and sent hem out to carry it out, He also empowered them with the Holy Spirit so they could fulfill that directive.

So I suspect, brethren, that one of the reasons we cannot answer the above questions is that, although we have heard the Word and His directive, we don’t have the faith to believe that we have been empowered to carry it out.

If that is the case, no problem, He has provided the empowerment at Pentecost. And, all who believe and have been baptized have the empowerment within them – Jesus, in us, the Hope of Glory (cf., Col.1:27) !

All we need to do is ASK and yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit so that we may receive the empowerment and the Charismatic Gifts of the Spirit to begin to carry out our calling to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom with signs following! Praised be His Holy Name!!

Everything He did with His disciples was a learning event about how to bring the Kingdom of God into manifestation in the events of God’s people. In their on-the-job training, the Kingdom of God was preached and manifested by them, through faith in Jesus, to the most needy, both spiritually and physically, of the community so that, through their experiences, they understood that the anointing that was on Him was covering them as they ministered in His Name!

It also became clear, through Jesus’ teaching, that the anointing and empowerment of the Holy Spirit that was on Him was merely the Father’s way of attesting to the truth of who He claimed to be (the anointed of the father). Thus Jesus’ works of power affirmed the Good News of the Father’s Love by communicating this Love in a visible emancipating manner so that the proclamation of God’s Kingdom could not be denied! As disciples, He is calling each of us to do likewise, in the very environment in which we live.

It is not recorded anywhere that Jesus taught His disciples religion or how to comply with the religious practices of His day.  He did not come to disregard or negate these practices, derived from God’s Word, but rather to fulfill them in His Person by His example and His actions.

He did make it clear, through His confrontation with the religionists of His day (the Scribes and the Pharisees), that the legalistic keeping of religious statutes was not the ultimate desire of the Father. Rather, the law was given to assist His people in discerning the Love He had for them – a Love that could only be understood by their obeying the teaching of the Torah with a spiritual vision as to what was in the Heart of God.

That is why, in His “sermon on the mount” (Matt. 5-7), Jesus challenged them to go beyond the literal keeping of religious rules and fulfill the Spirit of the Law and not just the letter. In doing so, He also indicated that those desiring to be His disciples needed to realize that they must rise above the literal and human sense of compliance of the Law and operate at the spirit level of their hearts in order to be part of the Kingdom that God wanted to bring to realization through them!

Of course, He would later reveal to them that the only way they could accomplish this is to be attached to the Vine (Himself) so that His Spirit could work through them to comply with the Spirit of the Law and truly bring forth fruit for the Kingdom! (Jn. 15:1-2)

The objective of Jesus’ discipleship program was NOT to make His disciples more religious, but to bring them to the awareness that the Father wanted them to be more and more like himself and thus cooperate with the Holy Spirit so that after His departure they would continue to bring the Ministry of the Kingdom of God’s Love to all humanity.

In this manner, acting as channels of God’s Ministry of Love, they would go out into the world as His yielded instruments to bring the spiritual reality of the Father’s Love into palpable demonstration through the proclamation of the Word and the corresponding works of power that follow the anointed preaching of the Word! This, would validate not only their preaching of the Good News of Salvation, but would also open the door for the Holy Spirit to draw the people to God through conversion and baptism and thus enter the door to the Kingdom through faith in Jesus, the Anointed Son of the Living God!

At a certain point in Jesus’ ministry, the people finally caught on that Jesus’ preaching and teaching was, in reality, an invitation for them to follow Him and thus enter the Kingdom by letting God reign in their hearts. His teaching and accomplishments incited them to ask, “How can we do the Works of God?”, that is, “ how can we do what we see you doing?”.  Jesus’ plain and simple response was… “Believe in Him who He has sent”!

This, then, is also our starting point for discipleship, but it is only the Door to the Kingdom, a door that we must go through to really progress into true discipleship, where we can come to the point where we fulfill Jesus’ further directive to do the works that he did  (cf., Jn. 14;12).

Jesus is the Open Door

Jesus is the Open Door

Isn’t it clear then, brethren, that we who are baptized believers, are standing before an open door to discipleship, a door to becoming more and more like Jesus, to the point here we begin doing the works that He did — the only things constraining us, however, is our unbelief and our fear of yielding to the Holy Spirit, through whom comes the empowerment that was on Jesus.

Well, I shouldn’t say the only things, because we are also constrained by the artifices of our human culture and tradition which restrains us from being more like Jesus and from being fully empowered channels of God’s Love. Oh yes, we are exhorted by our churches to exhibit our Christian virtues of taking care of the physical needs of the poor and the needy and visiting prisoners, which is as it should be, but when the Holy Spirit leads some of us to preach, teach and  lay hands on the sick so that they may recover, we are told that doing so is presumptuous and  beyond our role as laity!  That is pretty much how the world views our acting on our faith! But that is exactly the  attitude we have to go against when we act on God’s Word in our daily living! Praised be His Holy Name!

Yes, brethren, Divine Agape Love (Charity) MUST INDEED be the foundation of our discipleship but such Love does not exclude us from bringing healing, deliverance, and a prophetic word to those to whom we minister. In fact, if we don’t bring them the supernatural help from the Father that they need are we not instead doing them a disservice?

So when we enter into discipleship, we must not be choosy about what we do in obedience to the Lord, doing only what we feel comfortable doing. If the Lord asks us to preach or to teach in His Name, we must certainly do so! If He asks us to cast out demons and heal the sick, then we must do so! Remembering that if He asks us to do something, He will provide the anointing and empowerment to fulfill the task to which he asks us. (cf., 1Ptr.4:10-11 )

Return to Jerusalem

Go into all the world ...

That is why the discipleship that the Lord is calling us to is NOT the type to be practiced in some convent or monastery. The discipleship we laity are being called to is in the rough and tumble of the real world around us. We, brethren, are at the front lines of the battle against darkness and we need all the empowerment we can get to bring about the VICTORY OF THE KINGDOM. In order to FULLY put to practice al that the Lord has asked of us we cannot take NO for an answer! Not from the world and certainly not from our religious communities!  Behold, He says..” I hold before you an open door!” (Jn 3:8), an open door through which you, as He did, will face rejection and obstacles, an open door for On-the-Job Training under Jesus’ yoke of Love. Seek that open door and enter in, no matter what, for He is indeed calling you, but you need first to ask and to seek in order to find the door to His calling!

Every day each of our lives and the lives of those around us there are lives and relationship being broken, there are children with terminal illnesses, there are homeless, hungry and desperate people all around us who, not only are being deprived materially but spiritually – being deprived of the Good News of the Kingdom and its manifestation in their midst! Are you ready to answer the call? Then, get ready, for the Lord is indeed calling for those who have an ear to hear and a sincere and faithful heart, which is the good ground for the Word to take root and flourish a hundred fold!  Be one of the workers the Lord is sending to collect the harvest for His Glory and the Glory of His Kingdom!

May His Name be glorified forever and ever! Amen and Amen!!

May the Spirit of he Father confirm His call in you this day for the Glory of His Name!!

Your Brother and Fellow Pilgrim in Christ … Bartimaeus

(© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2012])

Recommended Links
Sweet Yoke of Love
Responding to the Spitit’s Call
The Kingdom of God: Our Spiritual Inheritance
Reclaiming Our Legacy In Christ
Hearing God’s Voice, and Obeying It
Pentecost and the Promise of the Father
The Empowerment Gifts (Part 1)
The Empowerment Gifts (Part 2)

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