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Brother Love
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« Reply #120 on: October 01, 2004, 06:24:46 PM »

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"It Is Finished!"


By Greg Bing


The Scriptures record seven times that Jesus spoke while He was being crucified. As He neared the point of death, having hung on that cruel cross for approximately six hours, one of the final things Jesus said is recorded in John 19:30, “It is finished!” Then, “bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”

What did Jesus mean when He said, “It is finished?” What was finished? Let's examine this statement and the context in which it was spoken.

To begin with, let's look at what the statement, “it is finished,” did not mean, basing our conclusions on how Jesus spoke the words.


Not the Last Gasp
of a Worn Out Life
Though Jesus had endured terrible sufferings, His words were not the last gasp of a man whose life was simply worn out. As we read further in John 19, verses 31-33 describe what happened after Jesus died. It was the Preparation Day (the day before the Sabbath), so the Jews, not wanting the bodies of these men to remain on the cross on the Sabbath day, asked Pilate to break their legs and thus hasten their death. The Roman soldiers came and broke the legs of the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus, but when they came to Jesus they found that He was already dead, so they did not break His legs. This was quite unusual, for the process of crucifixion usually took longer than this to kill a man, even a man who had suffered as much physical punishment as Jesus had endured. When news reached Pilate, he “marveled that Jesus was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time” (Mark 15:44).

While He hung on the cross, Jesus remained fully alert until the moment He died. John 19:28 declares, “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, `I thirst'.” Jesus was fully aware, even as He suffered on the cross, of all the things that had happened. He knew that the work He had been sent to do was now accomplished. He was also aware of all that was prophesied in the Old Testament Scriptures concerning Him and His death. He knew that there remained a prophecy in Psalm 69:21 that was yet to be fulfilled, therefore He uttered the words, “I thirst.”

One of the reasons Jesus remained alert is found in Matthew 27:34, where it states, “They gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.” Sour wine mingled with gall was a drink that was given to numb the senses and help decrease the pain during crucifixion. Jesus, as soon as He tasted the drink, knew what it was for, and therefore refused to drink it.


Not an Admission of
Defeat or Failure

When Jesus said, “It is finished,” it was not an admission of defeat or failure. Many people envision Jesus uttering these words quietly, almost in a whisper, as if He were, in dejection, giving up or surrendering to death. The Scriptures indicate something quite different. Matthew 27:50 states that before He died, Jesus cried out with a loud voice. Comparing the various gospel accounts, I believe the words Jesus cried out with a loud voice were “It is finished!”

After crying out these words, John 19:30 says that Jesus bowed His head and gave up His spirit. If He bowed His head, this implies that it was erect when He cried out, “It is finished;” another indication that Jesus was not admitting defeat or failure.


Not a Cry of Despair
from a Helpless Martyr
As Jesus hung on the cross, the crowds taunted Him, saying, “Save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross” (Matt. 27:40). Could Jesus have come down from the cross? As the Son of God, He certainly had the power to do so, but as a man, Jesus “humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:Cool.

Going back once more to John 19:30 we read that Jesus “bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” The word “bowed” carries the idea of laying down the head to rest, as opposed to simply letting the head drop. The expression “gave up” means to deliver or give over into the hands of another. Who did Jesus give His spirit to? Luke 23:46 records what are likely His final words, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” After saying this, “He breathed His last.” Please notice the order of the events described here. Jesus laid His head down to rest before He died. If He had died first, His head would simply have fallen as He slumped in death. After laying His head to rest, then Jesus gave up His spirit and died.

Jesus' death was certainly not the despairing cry of a helpless martyr. No one took Jesus' life from Him. Jesus Himself chose the moment that He would die. He willingly and voluntarily gave up His life for our sins. In Galatians 2:20 Paul refers to the Lord Jesus Christ as, “... the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” In John 10:17-18, Jesus Himself declared, “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”



Next: What the Expression “It is finished!” Did Mean






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« Reply #121 on: October 01, 2004, 06:29:02 PM »

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"IT IS FINISHED"
by Greg Bing

Continued


Jesus uttered the words, "It is finished!" as He neared the point of death, having hung on the cruel cross of Calvary for six long hours. What do the words, "It is finished" mean? Why did Jesus make this declaration from the cross? We looked last month at what Jesus' words did not mean. They were not an expression of relief from a man whose life was simply worn out. They were not an admission of defeat or failure. They were not a cry of despair from a helpless martyr. Jesus was fully alert all the way up to the point of death (John 19:28). He held His head erect and cried out with a loud voice, "It is finished!" (Matt.27:50) and then He laid down His head and gave up His spirit (John 19:30) into the hands of His Father (Luke 23:46). No one took Jesus' life from Him. He voluntarily gave it up, sacrificing Himself for the sins of the world (John 10:17-18)

nbsp; Let's now turn our attention to what the word, "It is finished," do mean. The expression, "It is finished," is translated from only one word in the Greek: "tetelestai" which is from the root word "teleo," a word whose basic meaning is "finished." However, this Greek word is very expressive and has several shades of meaning. Each of these meanings gives us a better understanding of why Jesus spoke this word from the cross.


To Bring to a Close, To Finish, To End
The word "teleo" in one sense means to bring to a close, to finish, to end. It is used in Matthew 11:1 where it states, "Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished ('made an end of' in KJV) commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities." What was finished or brought to a close when Jesus died? For one thing, it brought to a close His sufferings, yet He didn't utter this cry simply to indicate His relief that His physical sufferings for our sin were finished. The gospel message is not just that Christ died, but that "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (I Cor. 15:3-4). As Jesus hung on that cross, He "bore our sins in His own body on the tree" (I Pet. 2:24). Jesus was "made sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (II Cor. 5:21). As Jesus bore our sins there on the cross, God the Father turned away from His only begotten Son and utterly forsook Him (Matt. 27:45-46). What unbelievable agony this must have been for Jesus. At the point of death, Jesus declared that His sufferings for out sins were now ended.

The death of Jesus was not only the end of Jesus' sufferings for our sins, but also the end of the work the Father had sent His Son to do. Thus , we often refer to the finished work of Calvary. This finished work involved three different aspects: (1) Jesus made propitiation for the sins of the whole world (Rom. 3:25, I John 2:2). The righteous and holy requirements of God were now satisfied. The wages of sin had been paid (Rom. 6:23). (2) Jesus' death therefore made it possible for the whole world to re reconciled to God (II Cor. 5:18-19). (3) By the shedding of His precious blood, Jesus provided redemption for all men from the slavery of sin and death (I Pet. 1:18-19, Eph. 1:7).

Though Jesus' finished work made it possible for all to be saved, only those who believe in Him, trusting and relying upon His finished work to save then from their sins, will realize this wonderful gift of salvation from God (John 3:16, Rom. 3:24-26).


To Perform, Execute, Complete, Fulfill
The word "teleo" also means to perform, to execute, to complete or fulfill. It is used in Luke 2:39 where it states that Jesus' parents "performed all things according to the law of the Lord... ." It is also used in Luke 18:31 when Jesus, "took the twelve aside and said to them, Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished." The word means to perform or fulfill as to content, which means in every single detail, and to perform or fulfill as to form, which means in the exact manner and at the prescribed time.

Jesus had performed and accomplished the will of God. Just before Jesus uttered the words, "It is finished," John 19:28 states that Jesus knew "that all things were now accomplished." Jesus' very purpose for coming into the world was to do the will of the Father (Heb. 10:5-7), just as the Psalmist prophesied (Psalm 40: 6-8). Jesus was delivered up to be crucified "by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God" and then raised from the dead because it was not possible that death should hold Him (Acts 2:23- 24). The word translated "purpose" ("council" in KJV) refers not to the desire of God, but to His determined will which cannot be changed. God's eternal purpose was "accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Eph. 3:11) in every single detail and in the exact manner and time proscribed by the Father (cf. John 12:23-33).

Jesus had also performed and accomplished the word of God. Look again at John 19:28 which says, "After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst," but it was extremely important, for there was a prophecy of Scripture that had yet to be fulfilled. Psalm 69:21 reads, "They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.: After saying, "I thirst," they "filled a sponge with vinegar (or sour wine), putting on hyssop, and put it to His mouth." It was after Jesus had received the sour wine that He declared, "It is finished," for He knew that every prophecy of Scripture concerning His death had now been accomplished.

Every Old Testament promise and prophecy concerning the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was fulfilled perfectly. When Peter preached to the people of Israel in the early part of the book of Acts he declared, "Those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has this fulfilled" (Acts 3:18). In John 19 alone, there are several specific prophecies which are identified: vs. 24 "They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cat lots" (Psalm 22:18), vs. 36 "Not one of His bones shall be broken" (Psalm 34:20), and vs. 37 "They shall look on Him whom they pierced" (Zech 12:10).



Will be Continued...





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« Reply #122 on: October 01, 2004, 06:33:53 PM »

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"It Is Finished!"
By Greg Bing

(Continued)


In our last two issues, we have been looking at the expression, "It is finished!" which Jesus uttered from the cross as He neared the point of death. What did Jesus mean when He made this delcaration?

Last month we saw that the expression, "It is finished," is translated from a single word in the Greek: "tetelestai." The root of this word, "teleo," means "to finish," but it has several different shades of meaning. We looked at two of these different meanings in our last issue: 1) to bring to a close, or to finish and 2) to perform, execute, complete or fulfill.

Let's look at two more meanings of the word.

To Pay a Debt

During Jesus' lifetime the word "teleo" was used in the sense of paying a debt, such as a tax or tribute. Matthew 17:24 describes how those who collected the temple tax came to Peter and asked him, "Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?" Today we often see the words "PAID" or "PAID IN FULL" stamped or written on receipts or invoices. Archaelogists have recovered tax receipts from the 1st and 2nd centuries with the Greek word "tetelestai" written across them, indicating that this particular debt had been "paid in full."

Each of us are sinners (Rom. 3:23), and because of our sin, we are in debt. Romans 6:23 teaches that the wages (payment, debt) that must be payed for our sin is death. When Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, He cried out "Tetelestai!" indicating that the debt or price for our sins had been "paid in full." He paid the price to redeem us or free us from the penalty of sin. The price that He paid was not gold or silver, but His own precious blood.

"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." (Eph. 1:7)

"Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, ... but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (I Pet. 1:18-19)

I John 2:2 tells us that Jesus Himself "is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." God was propitiated or satisfied with Christ's payment for our sins, therefore Jesus cried out, "Paid in full!"

Many people today feel the need to perform some type of good works or religious works in order to be saved. Nothing needs to be added to Jesus' finished work. He paid it all!

A Military Cry of Victory

The word "tetelestai" has also been used in military situations as a cry of victory. When Jesus used this word on the cross, remember that His head was erect, and He cried out with a loud voice, "Finished!" He had won the victory; the victory over Satan, over sin, and ultimately over death.

Following the sin of Adam and Eve, God spoke these words to the serpent (Satan): "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed (Christ); He (Christ) shall bruise your (Satan) head, and you (Satan) shall bruise His (Christ) heel." Enmity speaks of hatred or an enemy relationship. In this prophecy in Genesis 3:15, God announced that Satan would bruise the heel of Christ, a blow which is not fatal, but that Christ would bruise the head of Satan, a blow which is fatal. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He struck the fatal blow to Satan's head and won the victory over him. Hebrews 2:14 tells us that Jesus became a man ("partook of flesh and blood") that "through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil."

Jesus' death on the cross not only paid the penalty for our sins, but it also provided a way for the believer to have victory over sin; victory over our old sin nature. Romans 6:10 tells us that Christ not only died for our sins, but He also died to sin. We are identified with Christ in His death, thus we also died to sin (Rom. 6:2). Before we trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are slaves to our old sin nature (Rom. 6:17). When we trust in Christ we are made a new creation in Him (II Cor. 5:17). Being united with Him in His death, we read that "our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with (`rendered powerless'), that we should no longer be slaves of sin" (Rom. 6:6). We have been "freed from sin" (Rom. 6:7). This wonderful victory over sin and its enslavement of us was won by our Savior when He died on the cross.

After three days in the tomb, Jesus was raised from the dead. "God loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it" (Acts 2:24). Christ won the victory over death for all eternity. The last few verses of I Corinthians 15, which is often called the resurrection chapter, describes this wonderful victory over death that Christ won on our behalf:

"... Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Cor. 15:54-57)

Once For All

The Greek word "tetelestai" is the perfect tense form of the verb "teleo." The Greek perfect tense, which is not easily expressed in English, is used to describe an act which was completed in time past, but which has a continuing state or results. It describes something that never has to be repeated <197> something that is done once for all! When Jesus died on the cross, He finished the work the Father sent Him to do; the work of eternal redemption; a work that will never have to be repeated.

"... We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Heb. 10:10).

"For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all..." (Rom. 6:10)

Conclusion

"It is finished!" It is only one little word in Greek, but, as you can see from this brief study, it has so much meaning. With this one word, Jesus spoke volumes about what His sacrificial death accomplished for us.

If you have never trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are outside of Christ and therefore separated from God. In this lost condition, nothing that Christ finished, performed, paid and won on Calvary has been realized or experienced in your own life! Won't you carefully consider the things we have looked at from God's Word. Think about God's wonderful love for you; a love that was demonstrated when God sent His own beloved Son into the world to die for your sins (I John 4:9-10). Consider what Christ accomplished on your behalf through His finished work on Calvary.

Apart from Christ, you are still living under the penalty of your sins: "the wages of sin is death." Yet, God offers you the greatest gift that has ever been given: "the gift of God is eternal life, in Christ Jesus our Lord." You can receive this gift right now by simply believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior (John 3:16, Eph. 2:8-9).

When you trust in Christ, resting and relying upon Him and His "finished" work on the cross of Calvary, God places you "in Christ." Your debt of sin is "paid in full." You have peace with God and are at peace in your heart, knowing that you are "complete in Him" (Col. 2:10).











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« Reply #123 on: October 04, 2004, 05:32:28 AM »

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What exactly is legalism?

We define legalism as a system of living in which a person tries to make spiritual progress or gain God’s acceptance based on what they do. Legalism is focused on behavior and is therefore an achieving system. Legalism is the opposite of grace. Grace is a system of living in which God blesses us because we are in Jesus Christ and for no other reason at all. Grace is focused on our spiritual birth and is therefore a receiving system. Consider a couple of Scriptures: "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us" (Galatians 3:13). "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:11-12). For further reading refer to Grace Walk pages 79-86.








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« Reply #124 on: October 12, 2004, 05:43:27 AM »

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Did The Body Of Christ Begin At Pentecost?

Many Christians assume the Body of Christ began on the day of Pentecost. Without ever stopping to prove why (I Thess. 5:21) they then move ahead to establish their doctrines concerning this dispensation with this as the key. Have you ever considered what actually took place on Pentecost? What follows is a list of fourteen reasons why the church could not have begun at Pentecost.

There was already a church in existence on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41, 47). This church was not the church which is His Body (Eph. 1:22-23), because this was hid until it was revealed to Paul (Eph. 3). This church, to which the believers of Pentecost were added, was the kingdom church and was based on the confession of Peter that Jesus was the Christ (or Messiah). Peter was then given the keys to this kingdom church and power to "bind" and "loose" (Matt. 16:15-20; cf John 20:23).

Peter preached the "Last Days" of Israel on Pentecost and not the first days of the church which is His Body (Acts 2:16-17).

There is no indication in Acts 2, or anywhere in scripture, that the Body of Christ is being formed on Pentecost.

Pentecost was a Jewish feast day given in the Law of Moses (Lev. 23, Deut. 16). In the dispensation of the Grace of God there is no observance of days and they are spoken of as "weak and beggarly elements" and "bondage" (Gal. 4:9-11). It is inconceivable that the Lord would begin a church on a feast day which He had for another economy.

There was no casting off of the nation Israel on the day of Pentecost, as was necessary for the establishing of the Body of Christ (Rom. 11:11-15, 32). On the contrary, the first real offer of the kingdom was made by Peter on Pentecost. The kingdom was not offered during the Gospels, it was only said to be "at hand". It actually was impossible for it to have been offered until after the New Testament was established by the death of Christ (Luke 17:24-25, 24:26). Christ must first have suffered and then have entered into His glory (I Pet. 1:11).

The Body of Christ is a joint body of Jews and Gentiles. Peter only addressed Jews at Pentecost. Notice the words, "Ye men of Judea", "Ye men of Israel", "Ye", "You", "Your", "Men and Brethren", and the "House of Israel" throughout the passage.

Part of the Pentecostal celebration was the two wave loaves of Lev. 23. This is used as a type of the "Jews and Gentiles" by many dispensationalists, but this cannot match the clear teaching of I Cor. 10:17 which shows that the body of Christ is one bread.

Part of the message that Peter preached on Pentecost involved water baptism as a requirement for salvation (Acts 2:38). Water baptism has no part in the gospel message committed to Paul for the Body of Christ (I Cor. 1:17, Eph. 4:5).

On the day of Pentecost the promise of the Father was fulfilled to Israel. This was a spiritual baptism where Christ was the baptizer, and Israel was baptized into the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11-12, Acts 1:5). This spiritual baptism is quite different from the baptism of this dispensation, where the Holy Spirit is the baptizer and the believer is baptized into the Body of Christ. The student of the Bible should learn to make a difference where God makes a difference. There are two different spiritual baptisms: one is to the kingdom church, the other is to the church, which is His Body. One is associated with signs and wonders, and the other is not (I Cor. 12:13, Rom. 6:3-4).

Pentecost was a fulfillment of prophecy (Acts 2:16, 33, 3:24), whereas the body of Christ was a mystery which had been kept secret since the world began (Col. 1:24-26).

If there was any dispensational change, the Apostles were completely unaware of it, for they continued at the Temple (Acts 2:46, 3:1, 3, 8,11, 5:20-21, 25, 42).

The Twelve and the kingdom church at Jerusalem also continued, throughout the book of Acts, to observe the Law (Acts 21:20-25, 22:12).

The kingdom church, in accordance with the kingdom teachings of Christ, sold their possessions and established a common treasury (Acts 2:44-45, 3:6, 4:32-35).

Peter, in his message on the day of Pentecost, did not preach the Gospel of the Grace of God, which is the clear and distinctive message of Paul given to him by revelation.
Some would argue at this point that God started the Body of Christ here, despite the accounts given in Acts 2, and that Peter was simply ignorant of it being formed. This is hard to believe since Peter had his understanding opened (Luke 24:45), the indwelling of the Spirit (John 20:22), the Baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:5), and the filling with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). No, Peter was not ignorant - he was completely aware of the program which Christ was carrying out at Pentecost and was right on target.


By Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.




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« Reply #125 on: October 19, 2004, 06:00:53 AM »

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BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT

by Dennis Kiszonas

The Apostle Paul wrote, in Ephesians 5:18, "And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit."

This study is a brief consideration of what it means "to be filled with the Spirit," and what the evidence is of His filling.
 



1.) What does it mean to be "filled with the Spirit"?

Sometimes in the Bible we read of someone being "filled" with joy, or sorrow, or anger, etc. What does that mean? To be "filled" is to be controlled by something, under the influence of something: So joyful that they were under the control and under the influence of joy, or of sorrow or of anger.

To be "filled with the Holy Spirit" is to be under the control of the Spirit, or under the influence of the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18 starts out with the command not to be drunk. I used to read that verse and wonder, "Why put these two so seemingly different commands in one verse? 'Don't be drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit'? Then I realized: to be drunk with wine is to be filled with wine, under the control or influence of wine in much the same way that we are to be filled with, under the control or influence of the Spirit. The two parts of the verse go together very well.

When we are drunk with wine, we take in a foreign substance which has an effect upon our brains, and as we begin to think differently, under the influence of the alcohol, we begin to talk differently and act differently. So also when we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us, He begins by renewing our minds, our thinking comes under the influence and control of the Holy Spirit, and when our thinking changes, our speaking and acting changes. We are under the Spirit's control and influence.

Paul's command in Eph 5:18 is a present tense imperative which indicates "be always filled, controlled, and influenced by the Spirit," or "keep on being filled by the Spirit." Not a momentary action, but a constant condition.



2.) Earlier in Ephesians Paul told us that we all have the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13 said that first we heard the good news that Christ died for us. Then we believed in Him as our Savior. Finally, we were sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit. And in Eph 4:30 we learn that the Holy Spirit is never going to leave us, we are sealed unto the day of redemption (the day of the rapture). We may grieve Him, cause Him sorrow as He sees how we act, but He will never leave us.

Every Christian has the Holy Spirit. We are never commanded to "receive the Holy Spirit." But every Christian is not filled with the Holy Spirit. So we are commanded, not to receive the Spirit, but to be filled with Him. He is in us, but He may not be in control. We may be saved, and yet we may not be "spiritual." And so Paul writes, "Let the Spirit be in control of your life."



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« Reply #126 on: October 19, 2004, 06:03:53 AM »

BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT

(PART 2)


3.) How do we know if we are filled with the Spirit? What is the evidence of His filling, of His control, of His influence?

Here's where the doctrine gets controversial! Some churches and denominations claim "we're Spirit-filled--and the others aren't!" Other churches and denominations say "We're not a Spirit-filled church, and we don't want to be!" Spirit-filled has come to have a certain meaning based upon certain supposed evidence: Spirit-filled means speaking in tongues, or acting in some strange manner, etc.

But what does the Bible say the evidence is of the Spirit's filling?

The Body of Christ today is broken into thousands of different denominations and groups. And each group has their verses in the Bible to prove that they're right and the others are wrong. And they all point to verses in the same Bible, yet they all disagree with each other. It is an awful tragedy to see the Body of Christ broken again, divided and confused. What is the reason for all the confusion? The failure to "rightly divide the word of truth" (2 Tim 2:15).

Take the commands in the Bible about food for example:

In Gen 1:29 God gave Adam the herbs of the earth and the fruit of the trees to eat as his food. Then later in Gen. 9:1-4 God added to Noah the meat of the animals, fish and fowls to eat as his food. Then God commanded Moses in the Law to eat only some meat, fish and fowls as food, only "kosher" or clean food (Lev. 11) Finally the Lord told Paul that we could eat any kind of food, that every creature was created for our nourishment and nothing was to be forbidden or refused if it is received with thanksgiving (1 Tim 4:3-5).

Now let's imagine there were four preachers: One preached that we could only eat fruits and vegetables. He preached Gen. 1:29. His followers would start the "Vegetarian denomination." The second preacher preached that we could eat only "kosher foods" and he preached Leviticus. His followers could start the "Kosher denomination." The third said "We can eat any kind of food as long as we gave thanks for it." And he preached Paul's letters and his followers would be "followers of Paul."

All three would be "Biblical" -- they all had their verses in the Bible. All three would be "scriptural." But two of them would be wrong. Because, though they were scriptural and Biblical, they weren't "dispensational." They failed to "rightly divide the word of truth."

It was the Apostle Paul alone who wrote, "If you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God that was given (by the Lord Jesus Christ) to me for you (the gentiles)" (Eph 3:2). The Lord gave Paul the dispensation of grace for us today and that includes the instructions on what kind of food we can eat.

But this is an illustration of how all the denominations and various divisions got started. They may be Biblical and scriptural, but they fail to be dispensational, and fail to follow "our apostle" for this dispensation of grace, the Apostle Paul, not about food, but about salvation, assurance, prayer, and even the filling of the Spirit, and that's why there is so much disagreement, division and confusion in the Body today.

When we want to know what the evidence of being filled with the Spirit is, there are several Biblical and scriptural answers, but there's only one dispensational answer.

The first person said to be filled with the Spirit is found in Exodus 31:1-5. His name was Bezaleel. And the evidence of being Spirit-filled was that he was a master craftsman, a carpenter, a jeweler, a metal worker. Moses was building the tabernacle and God supplied him with a Spirit-filled craftsman.

Later in the Bible, in Acts 2, we read that the disciples were filled with the Spirit and the evidence then was the ability to speak in other languages (or 'tongues'), so that Jews in Jerusalem who came from other countries could understand the apostles' message in their native languages (Acts 2:11).

The Holy Spirit filled people in other dispensations, but the evidence was different in each dispensation. What is the evidence of His filling in the dispensation of grace? Its not being a master craftsman as in Exodus, or speaking in a foreign language as on the day of Pentecost.

We know that because the Corinthian church spoke in languages (tongues) more than any other of Paul's churches (1 Cor. 1:4-7) but they were not spiritual believers, Paul said they were not spiritual but carnal Christians (1 Cor. 3:1-4). The gift of languages (tongues) was never a sign of spirituality or of being "Spirit-filled" in the dispensation of grace. The most carnal church spoke in languages more than any other church.

The evidence of being "Spirit-filled" in this dispensation of grace that we're living in today is found in Ephesians 5:18-6:9. This is the only place in Paul's letters where he writes about being filled with the Spirit, and here's where he gives us the description of a Spirit-filled believer:

Eph. 5:19 "Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord." Singing and joy are evidences of the Spirit's filling.

5:20 "Giving thanks always for all things..." A thankful, trusting attitude is an evidence of the Spirit's control, not fearful, not complaining.

5:21 "Submitting to one another..." The evidence of the Spirit's control is seen in our relationships:
Spirit-filled wives submitting to their husbands (5:22) and Spirit-filled husbands loving their wives just as Christ loved the church (5:25), and Spirit-filled children obeying their parents and Spirit filled parents raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (6:1-4), and Spirit-filled employees doing their work as unto the Lord and Spirit-filled employers respecting and honoring their employees (6:5-9).

It is interesting that in this passage that starts with the command to be Spirit-filled (Ephesians 5:18) and then gives this long list of the evidences of the Spirit-filled life (5:19-6:9), Paul never mentions speaking in languages (tongues) as one of the evidences. That was never an evidence of spirituality or of the Spirit's control in the dispensation of grace. The evidences of spirituality are things like: a husband loving his wife, a joyful believer making melody in his or her heart to the Lord, a peace-filled believer giving thanks for all things to God the Father, etc. A Spirit-filled believer is a believer who is manifesting the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in his/her life.

The Body of Christ is broken into thousands of denominations, all claiming to be biblical and scriptural, but all divided from the others, and nowhere is the division sharper, the breaks more clear-cut than in the doctrine of the Spirit-filled life. But the answer, as always, is to "rightly divide the word of truth" (2 Tim 2:15). The Lord Jesus gave the Apostle Paul the dispensation of grace for us today and that included the provision of the Holy Spirit, His control and His influence to renew our minds and to transform our lives. The command to be "Spirit-filled" is not just for some Christians (the "spirit-filled ones"), but it is for all of us, and it is not a momentary experience, but a constant and ever growing influence as we "let the word of Christ dwell in us richly." (Col 3:16).

Note the results of letting the word of Christ dwell in us in Col 3:16-4:1 and compare them to the results of being Spirit-filled in Ephesians 5:18-6:9. They're the same! To become Spirit-filled, we need to spend more time in His word, and let it "soak in." As we "behold the Lord Jesus Christ" in His word, God the Holy Spirit transforms us to be like Him, He exerts that wonderful influence and takes that gentle control of our lives, He fills us to become like Him.

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THINGS THAT DIFFER By C.R. Stam
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« Reply #127 on: November 06, 2004, 12:18:54 AM »

Hello A4C

Hi, I have opened the site and as usual, read first their Doctrinal Statement.

They have linked to a long 5-series study on Water Baptism. As I am so busy to read the whole thing, and as this is your favorite site which you believe and so promote to all, would you please be kind enough to write, in short, what they say about Water Baptism in clause No.12 of their Doctrinal Statement? Thank you.

Blessings!


There is one baptism" (Eph 4:5), which is administered by the Holy Spirit and not by human hands (Col 2:11,12), which results in the permanent union of every believer as a member of the Church which is His Body (1 Cor 12:13). Therefore this Church does not practise the ordinance of water baptism.

Grace & Peace

A4C,
Baptism, a very controversial subject.  Wink
Of course I don't believe that being baptized saves anyone. It is the born again experience and a true relationship with Jesus Christ that saves. The Bible also says, by this gospel we are saved.
However, what are we going to do with Mt.28:19? This is also the Trinity mentioned for those who do not accept that.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Another passage, (Acts 2:38) Is that water baptism?
We are baptized to identify ourselves with Christ. These are just some of the small arguements concerning the rite of baptism. What is your view?
I haven't read all that has been posted yet.

Blessings, in His name,
bluelake




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