Priority #4 : Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Chapter 23 - What Meaneth This?

There are many people who would like to put a test on the Lord. But the test is measured by whether it fit's the creed or the theory or the concept that they may have. When Paul was preaching about the life on the other side, the place that God has prepared, he had some people say hey you're a cultist talking about life after death. In our day there are people who have a hard time believing that God can do anything. They have an idea of God somewhere. But when somebody brings that idea into focus and shows that something is tangible and no longer just an idea somewhere, they get a little uncomfortable because all of this time they've been content and happy with their position. Some of the folk have come to me and said Pastor somebody said to me that the things that are happening in Central Assembly really aren't of God because they don't seem to fit what we have in our minds, in our doctrine. But instead of saying in their minds or in their doctrine they said it doesn't fit the Bible and so you must stay away from it. And so these people have come back really worried. So I just wanted you to know that you are the authorities on whether this is real or not. Not those people out there who have never been here. Is God among us or isn't He? You know that He's here; you don't have to take a back seat for you know what God is doing.


God is doing a very special thing. And forces who feel that what He's doing here are a threat to them have had an opportunity now to gather some type of a counter attack and they're attacking you just like the Sadducees attacked the Pharisees. Every message that has come is not bringing another gospel but they are supporting what's in the Word. There are some people that say well I was looking in the Bible and I don't find any precedence for some of the experiences that may have happened. Well do you know that if God put everything everyway that He works in the Bible it would take more books than you could fill this room with? His ways are passed finding out and God reserves the right to do anything He wants to do that is consistent with His nature. That's what they said about Jesus when He went out in the field and decided to pick a little bit of corn. But they found some things in the Bible that said you're not supposed to do such a thing on a Sabbath day. Jesus said God is not going to be bound by your interpretations of this book. God has another law where He said when people are hurting I'm going to help them. So Jesus said so what? My Father works on this day in helping people and I'm going to work. And people can imply their ideas about Scripture anyway they want to. The work of God and what He's doing needs no defense. But I felt I owed you a little insight so that when people would ask you and seek to undermine your faith, you wouldn't feel they were bringing you something that would offset or in some way point out that what God was doing is not real.


All those people that came up here this morning that were delivered from afflictions one way or another, that's God's character, God wants to help people. And He promised to help people. They are God's fingerprints on what God is doing. God is more interested in people than He is in proving a point. So remember that because you feel that you don't have arguments to prove what the Lord is doing, don't worry about it. We're not trying to prove anything; we're trying to make Jesus real to a whole bunch of people. Last week for three nights we had some services here where people saw a lot of things that they wondered about. And there may be some people here tonight that need some questions answered. They need to understand so their mind might be at rest. The work that God is doing, what you have witnessed is God keeping a promise. He promised that in the last days I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh. And there are many outpourings in our day. We are watching God at work. Some of the things that you have heard with regard with supernatural things that were taking place, are these things really for us?


There are Arcticles that say that all of these things passed away with the Apostles and there's no need for them any more and that God can no longer perform His miracle power. They forgot to tell God that. God had other plans. I don't know how in the world anyone could be content serving a God that they could never make contact with or that could never do anything for them. But thank God He is moving. He is on the march. I like to put the truth of God in an easy way to remember. So I'm going to ask you to write down three little lines here. The people that watched a great stirring take place in Jerusalem just after Jesus went away. They saw the disciples move, they saw people being healed and they cried out what meaneth this? And then Peter answered them and told them and I'm going to put what he said in just a real simple paragraph here. First God made a promise. That promise was found and referred to in many places in the Old Testament. But Jesus in Luke 24:49 said "behold I send the promise of My Father upon you." That was the promise of His Spirit you see. "But tarry until you are endued with power from on high."


Acts 2:33, a great event took place that the religious leaders of that day couldn't understand. They said these folk are drunk. And there were a lot of derogatory remarks made about them because of the moving and stirring of the Holy Spirit. Peter said this Jesus hath God raised up where we are all witnesses and therefore being by the right hand of God exalted and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost He hath shed forth this which you now see and hear. What happened on that day of Pentecost that these disciples that these people saw and heard was God keeping His promise. The third line would be God included you in His promise. God made a promise, God kept a promise and He didn't stop with the disciples as a lot of people would tell us. So he said this promise is unto you and unto your children and unto all that are afar off. All that are a far off, down through the centuries. The Lord made that promise to us. That there would be something that was real, something that was vital.


So when He spoke to them about salvation he said they that believe shall have life. Then He said they that come shall have life. Then a little farther down he said it shall even come to pass that those who are dead shall hear His voice. He's not talking about people in the grave because a couple of verses farther down, he said there's coming a time of resurrection when those that are in the grave shall hear His voice. But He's talking about people who are walking around but have their ears closed. There are people who are totally unresponsive to the Word of God. Jesus said I even have a way of getting to them. They won't listen to your voice, but God said I'm not going to tie my hands by anything that people think I might have said. There's coming a time when those dead people, I'm going to get my loud speaker system right up to their ears and I'm going to jar those people. Those dead people are going to hear not your voice but His voice. And He said those who will listen shall live too.


The Lord is bringing people to Himself, He's speaking to them in a lot of different ways and life is flowing. God is doing it. God keeps His Word. He's not bound by men's idea. He's not bound by tradition. But He is bound to keep His nature and His nature is to minister to people. God must prove He is righteous. The word righteous means His unfailing ability to do that which is right. I talk to some over in the Philippine islands. Many of the church groups that were there said we can't do anything; we just don't have enough people. These people are unresponsive and so on. They said it just looks like were getting farther behind all of the time. I told them not to worry about God's part. Those people that are unresponsive are not going to be left without some kind of a challenge; God's going to speak to them. And the Lord placed it in my heart to challenge these missionaries to get out because they have a bigger duty to fill now than ever before because people all over those islands are going to be hearing the voice of God who have been long separated from God. God is keeping His word.


What did Jesus say about the coming of the Holy Spirit, what was the purpose of the Spirit? In John 16:7-15, (He reads it) What Jesus is actually saying here is that the Holy Spirit will make Jesus real to you. Have you noticed that when people are just worshipping God and the Spirit of the Lord is in their life, the tears may be running down their face, but they're not just praising the Holy Spirit. They're saying "Oh Jesus I love you so much," Jesus is so real it just seems like you can reach out and take hold of Him. He has come off the printed page and they can hear His heartbeat, Jesus is glorified, He is real to people. That's the work of the Holy Spirit.


The second thing is to make the Word of God real. He will take the things of mine, the things of the Word, and He will make that word live to you. Those of you who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit haven't you noticed how the word suddenly comes alive? You like to read it and it seems like God speaks to you out of every page? Well that's what the Spirit came for to make the Word real. Then He said He will make heaven real to you. He will reach out and take just little bits of heaven, the goodness of heaven, He will take it and give it to you. He will show you those things that are going to come. Praise God. Do you thank God for the Holy Spirit? He has a real definite purpose for His coming.


Now on the day of Pentecost, those people spoke in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Some people have asked me "what was the purpose of this prayer language?" Oh it has a tremendous purpose. Do you know what a physiatrist does when somebody has a lot of pressures on them and it feels like there's a dark cloud following them around? He has them lay down on his couch and then he has them lay out layer after layer after layer of things that are bringing pressure in their mind until maybe he gets down to a pressure point and he tries to replace that with something else to make them feel better. Well the Holy Spirit does a whole lot better than that. He not only makes you forget about something that may be hurting you, He not only relieves you but the Spirit searches out those deep things, things that we may not even know about. Things that are hurting us, and he lays them out before God and then have you noticed as you've prayed in the Spirit, worshipped Him, you feel just like you've been filled with His love and power? Hallelujah. I wouldn't trade this experience for any other type of praying experiences I know, because I know what it does to me. Just to be able to lay things out before God.


If I were to pray of the things that I felt were important, I could start listing some things and I could say "now these are the things in the order of priority." Some of you would come up and look at them and you'd say those aren't the important things at all. I know some things that are more important than that. And if I were to get 100 of you here everyone would have a different list. Some of you would think I was unfair. But the Holy Spirit doesn't make that kind of a mistake. I can only pray and talk to God when I am searching out the needs, the things the way they look to me. But the Spirit who knows the deep things, the Word tells us He searches out those things that are really important, where the real needs are and then as we give God our faculties and the Spirit the control of our faculties, the Spirit then taking our lips, our tongues, our voice and as we pray regardless of what those sounds are, the Spirit rearranges those sounds, they come up to the ears of God and there it is, beautiful prayer reaching down to where the needs really are. And while He's doing that you're just ventilated, lifted and the surge of His life is going through. You may be healed; God may have given you the direction to go that you needed because the Word tells us He would guide us into all truth. These things are so important. So never hang your head and say I do speak in tongues once in awhile. You are the recipient of God's highest gift, His Spirit and He says here I'm giving you the Spirit.


I spoke of praying in tongues, let me give you the purpose now of the promise that God gave for His Spirit. There are two reasons. When Jesus promised the power, the first place was power to be, to be like Jesus. You couldn't be like Jesus if you didn't have the Spirit of Jesus. It would be impossible. I could act like some of you but unless I had your spirit I couldn't be you. God's promise was, I need people in this world who are like Jesus and the only way they are going to be like Jesus and let the world know what Jesus is really like is to have the Spirit of Jesus within them. And so He's given us power to be like Jesus. He wants you like Him. And so the word tells us in Galatians 5:22 that the fruit of the Spirit, the character, the nature that the Spirit builds within you is love, joy, peace, and gentleness. All of those traits of Jesus are the things the Spirit develops in you. God wanted to see Jesus. He wants them to see Jesus in us. He wants the world to be able to say Jesus is still alive; there He goes walking around in those people's shoes. That's what He wants, that's the real reason for the power of the Holy Spirit.


Then the second reason for the gift of His Spirit is power to do, power to accomplish. He not only wants us to be like Jesus but then He said you will receive power to do the things that I did and greater works than these will I do, but we have to keep it in the right perspective. There are some people that are teaching that the purpose is power first without being. God says no, I won't have it that way; I want you to be like Jesus first. And then power to do. The Spirit has many different ways that He manifests Himself. Human nature has a bad trait of looking for reasons why a thing can't be instead of looking for reasons that it can be. There are many people that are saying if what God is doing through the power of the Holy Spirit fits my little brain capacity, if I can relate it to the few of the little things that I have up here then it's of God. But if I can't relate it here it's not of God. Oh how egotistical can people be? If God was no bigger than what could fit in that little peanut brain of yours He wouldn't be any bigger than you are. But His ways are passed finding out and He can do whatever He pleases. He would rather have us yield ourselves to Him and not be bound by the traditions of man. Not to restrict the Holy Spirit. God says get out of My way; I have a job to do.


He said in the last days I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. And right now in Catholic churches, Baptists, you name it; the Holy Spirit is reaching down and touching lives. God is bringing the churches back to the kind of a church that He founded on the day of Pentecost. He founded it on that day because it was in His plan; it was in His heart that there would be a church that was directed by the Spirit of God. And I just so appreciated the words of God as He brought them to me by an angel that the Spirit of the Lord now is reaching out where denominations, each of them have gone after their own way, they've built their own little code of ethics and their operational plans. He told me it was like a big lake with fences running out in every direction. And the denominations, the different concepts that people accepted were like these fields running away from the pool. And as these people joined together and got farther and farther from the pool the fences got higher and higher and higher and higher. But God is doing a new thing in our day. He called a halt to the building of the fences and the Spirit now is moving in every denomination and He's pushing people now back to the pool where there are no fences. Because He's coming again and He's coming for the kind of a church that He founded on that day. That's what it all means. That's what's happening today. That's what's happening when the thrill of the charge of the Holy Spirit comes, when people are healed.


Well, what about these people that have fallen down under the power? I had a lot of people say what on earth is happening? Somebody told me well I don't see any sense to all that. I just think that Francis Hunter pushed that man over. If a surgeon can take care of an illness better by standing on his head when he operates and gets it all taken care of and really gets the job down fast and smooth. Why let him stand on his head. And if God can quiet people down by getting them flat while He's doing a little work on them, let Him go ahead. I don't care if somebody pushes them down, but there are a whole lot of them that the Lord had to push over Himself. I don't push people down but if I felt like you could get what you need from God by pushing you down then I would sure do it. I don't mind helping the Lord a little bit.


The main thing is that God is moving by His Sprit and the Lord wants us to let Him have a little working room. And rather than make ourselves the judge and say I'm going to test this. Do you know that God never told us to be the judge of spirits, angels, God or anything else? Did you know that? You can't judge the Holy Spirit. What He's asking you to do is to judge whether He's trying to tell you something or not. Whether He has something for you, He wants you to look at your heart and say hey is He trying to tell me something? It might be that He's trying to tell somebody else something. But when you hear from God always open your heart to see whether He wants to tell you something. But never judge and say God you can't do it that way. Anytime we set ourselves up to judge the Holy Spirit we're saying to the Lord, "move over off that seat there, and let me take your place there for awhile." The Word of God was never given to regulate God, but us. He can still do whatever He wants too. He does all things after the counsel after His own will.


He has allowed us to participate in the greatest awakening this world has ever seen. And it's the awakening that's going to climax in a sound of a trumpet from heaven as the Lord reaches down and pulls people from every nation, tribe and tongue, every denomination. There will be individuals who have looked and their hearts have cried to God. His church has an invisible boundary that flows in and out of denominational lines. The Lord knows those that are His. Let's just stand together and in the presence of God, let's stand with our hearts open and our hands raised for just a few moments. The Spirit of the Lord is here and I know that as we respond to Him something is going to take place. Do you have a need? Is there a cry in your heart for God? Let that cry be heard to Him right now as you stand in His holy presence for He is here. Praise God. We know that what we see happening is God at work. He made His promise, He kept His promise and He has included all of us in His promise. Praise God forever. Hallelujah. "Jesus we ask that You might be formed in us that the beauty of Jesus might be seen in us." Hallelujah.