As Jesus proclaimed the gospel from pillar to post, He came up against hard rocks. The free Grace of Salvation was presented to the nation of Israel on a platter of gold, but they did not recognise or accept it. (Romans 11:8). Rather, they chose works, over grace.
Every faithful follower of Jesus Christ is a wild shoot grafted into the Olive tree. You, child of God, are described as a “wild shoot” in Romans 11:17. The only reason you are able to drink from the nourishing Olive tree is because the people who were supposed to drink from it were cut off, however, (not without a future plan to re-graft them in). Think about this deeply. The heart of Israel will be hardened “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” (Romans 11:25).
Gentiles Receive Salvation:
By Israel rejecting God’s offer of Salvation, it is opened up freely to the Gentiles. Christ’s rejection by the Jews became a huge blessing, in unprecedented colossal scale, to the whole world. (Romans 11:12, 15).
You are Christ’s Inheritance:
Christ is your exceeding great reward, if you believe in Him today. You are no longer a wild-shoot with no direction, root, plan, direction or stability in life, but grafted into God’s eternal plan and promise. Before you met Christ, you were lost.
The False Shepherd: Jesus Christ healed a blind man in the presence of Pharisees. Rather than rejoice in the removal of his blindness, they took offence and decided to bully the blind man and his parents, as to how his eyes were opened. If they had the power, they would have tried to reverse the process, pushing the once blind man back into physical and spiritual blindness, but God had the upper hand. Once God sets you Free, you are Free indeed. John 9:1-41
A Stumbling Block: Such is the way of the False Shepherd, a stumbling block to Sheep who seek The Door. The False Shepherd seeks to undo the works of Christ, His ways and His teachings.
Christ is The Door: Christ the True Shepherd, He leads His Sheep to Everlasting Life. He laid down His life so they may live the Abundant Life. The Sheep who follow Christ will never be led astray.
God’s Sheep: Love the Lord with all your heart, your soul and mind. Be careful to follow His ways and His teachings.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
“And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.” – Joel 2:28
The divine gift of Prophecy was upon the life of Joel when the Spirit of God gave him these golden messianic prophetic words about Christ (Joel 2:28). The long awaited Messiah would come and pour out His “Spirit on all flesh.” Not everyone had the ability to speak for God during Joel’s time, it was a Gift given to selected people chosen by God.
Joel can be described as one looking through a dark window, without clear vision. He gave prophecy according to the measure of the Spirit of God upon Him. As with all the Old Testament Prophets, they only knew in part… The Promise of God’s Spirit remained to be fulfilled by the One who had the power to bestow it, in a new way and on all flesh.
THE PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT:
The disciples were astonished when Jesus presented Himself to them alive. Death could not hold Him bound. Jesus brought a very crucial message, it was the long awaited PROMISE, “it was the promise of the Father…. that they would be “baptised with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4, Acts 2:4).
God is always faithful to His promises. Only Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has the power and authority to bestow the Gift of the Father. There is no other pattern or way the Gift of the Spirit flows. Christ gave His disciples what He was baptised with: the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. All power pertaining to spiritual gifts on this earth have been given to Jesus Christ.
THE GIFT OF THE SPIRIT:
On the day of Pentecost, the disciples were all together in one place (Acts 2:4). The Spirit of God fell in a new and unmeasured way… It was sudden, like a mighty rushing wind, it came from Heaven and filled the entire house where they were sitting. As the Spirit of God gave them utterance, they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in other tongues. Jerusalem was home for many peoples of the earth when the the Holy Spirit descended (Acts 2). At that time, the Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamiana, Jews, Cappadocians, the Pontus people of Asia, people from Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Libya, Cyrene, Rome, Crete and Arabaia, lived in Jerusalem. It was a true reflection of God’s Promise, that all peoples of the earth, (God’s people in every nation), would be filled with His Spirit.
In these Last Days…
In These Last Days…
In these last days, the colour of your skin, the language you speak, the country you live in, how old or how young you are, whether male or female, whether rich or poor… nothing will be able to stop or hinder the Gospel reaching the ends of the earth. In fact, these factors will greatly advance it. The praise of God will continue to resonate in every nation of this earth. The Word of God will permeate the stratosphere in every language: all creation speaking one language; declaring the glory of God. Language will no longer a barrier to sharing the Gospel. The Bible has been translated into every language.
In these last days, a spirit of boldness will been released in the face of opposition and darkness. By this you will know the Spirit of God is at work. Both men and women, young and old, rich or poor, will do what can only be done by God’s Spirit. God’s people will be given clear vision and direction, with the empowerment to do the extraordinary. In the face of anger and opposition, these men and women will declare Christ. In these last days, the Spirit of God will be poured out in a greater measure. The voice of the Lord will get louder and louder. As the day of the Lord swiftly approaches, nothing will be able to stop the advancement of God’s Kingdom.
This is a very controversial subject. It divides people because of the different perspectives and understanding of the role Holy Spirit. The role of the Spirit is to unite and not to divide: thereby uniting all in Christ, into one body (1 Cor.12:13).
While John the Baptist, baptised into repentance with water, he made it quite clear that One, more powerful than him, would Baptise with the Holy Spirit and Fire.
You may ask, what is the difference? What is the significance of this?
The Baptism of John & The Promise of the Spirit by Jesus.
John the Baptist was the last prophet of the Old Testament and like a town crier, he went about telling all who had an ear to hear, to repent and prepare, because the “kingdom of God was at hand,” in other words, he announced the arrival of the long awaited Messiah. This was His role.
John the baptist did not know who the Messiah would be, He had to rely on what was read as Scripture at that time; (what was written down in prophecy.) It was John’s cry that the Messiah might be revealed to Israel (John 1:31). Jesus’ identity was revealed to John the Baptist as, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the Sin the world.” (John 1:29).
John the Baptist had a unique call as the ladder between the Old Testament and New. He would go before Jesus Christ to announce Jesus’ arrival. John baptised with the Baptism of Repentance, for the forgiveness of sins in preparation for Jesus Christ’s role of Redemption.
Jesus carried the Spirit of God without measure. After John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee declaring He was the fulfilment of Prophecy. All that the Prophets and John the Baptist revealed were fulfilled in Jesus, He embarked on His Messianic Mission anointed with the Spirit and Power.
The Promise of the Holy Spirit, as prophesied by Joel, was fulfilled at Pentecost. Jesus appeared to His disciples, as they gathered together, reminding them about everything written about Him in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.
Through Jesus Christ, repentance and forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed to the nations, beginning in Jerusalem. Even after the vigorous one on one practical training with Jesus, the disciples were not released into their own ministries without the Power of the Holy Spirit. (Luke 24:49; John 20:19-23; 1 John 1:1-4). It was here Jesus reminded them that the Holy Spirit would be sent to them with Power.
While John the Baptist Baptised with water, the disciples would experience a new phenomenon. They would be baptised with the power Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:5). The Lord promised the disciples. “Power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8) for the spreading of the gospel, starting from where they were in Jerusalem, to the ends of the earth. At Pentecost the Spirit was poured out in abundance, giving power to the disciples to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Baptised into Christ:
The water baptism is symbolic, it is the outward declaration of submission to God; repentance of sin; the washing away of the sinful Old Life to welcome the New Life. In the New Covenant Baptism, the Holy Spirit dwells on the inside, working change, by the power of the Holy Spirit It is a New Covenant, giving God’s people a New Heart and New Life just like Ezekiel prophesied in Ez.36:24-27. In union with Christ, you become Brand New! The Work of the Holy Spirit is not-done, it’s on-going, a mystery, especially to onlookers, who watch the Christian run their race with joy and fortitude in the face of trials. Jesus, the One who prevailed is to all who believe in Him a life giving Spirit. 1 cor 15:45
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He left no stone unturned in calling for a change of heart and mind. Calling the people to repent, He declared and proclaimed the kingdom of God was at hand: John the Baptist was a forerunner, He was the beacon of light that announced the arrival of Christ, who would shine even brighter.
A GREATER CALL: While John Baptised with water, asking the people to repent of their sins, He spoke about the One he was preparing them for,
“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
fire.”- Matthew 3:11
REPENTANCE AND FAITH TOWARDS GOD: John the Baptist’s ministry was renown and great. He preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Throngs of people from Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to meet him, but he knew that he only prepared the way. The Messiah would bring salvation by grace, He would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Jesus would pay the penalty for sin and Redeem souls. He would be a living sacrifice. No amount of Baptism can redeem a soul without the saving power of the blood.
Christ is a true testimony of Light that shines in darkness. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12. The Pharisees were confounded at Jesus’ words. They were not happy that He bore witness to himself, as the “Light of the World.” The fact of the matter is that the whole world is in darkness without the revelation of the knowledge of Christ. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one can come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6)
Christ is the Door:
There are many pathways you can take in this dark world. It is only the true “Light of the World” that can lead you to the Door of Everlasting Life. You need the Light to show you the way to the Door. Light has illuminating power, it enables you to see clearly. There is no darkness that can overcome the Light that leads you to the Door of Everlasting Life.
The Way of Destiny:
Jesus Christ clearly declared himself as the Light of the World through His testimony. To know Christ is to know the Father. Everyone who follows Him will reach their final destination. No one who approaches Him will be disappointed. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ today, follow His lead into the Life of Everlasting Life.
The Old Man: The wonderful spiritual life Adam enjoyed with God was ruined through His disobedience. Drawn by her natural desires, Eve convinced Adam to blatantly disobey God. It was Adam, God spoke to directly, commanding him not to eat from the forbidden tree. The authority and dominion given to Adam was stolen through his disobedience. Adam sold this world into slavey, bringing darkness, death and corruption.
Carnal Desires: Adam’s disobedience came through the carnal desire of Eve. Even though Adam knew the right thing to do, He chose to disobey God. Whatever, supersedes God’s voice will have dominion over you.
Christ’s Death Brought Life: When a seed is planted in the ground, it first of all breaks open and dies before it brings new life. Christ’s body was bruised and broken. He died, paying the penalty for Sin. Just as every believer in Christ died with Him, they also rose from the dead through Him. Sin no longer has dominion, it has no power.
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Prophetic declarations about who Christ would be; the kind of life He would live and His purpose were revealed long before His supernatural birth.
Words of prophecy were given to the Prophets, by the One who knew Christ the most: The Holy Spirit.
One, Yet Distinct:
Working together, The Father, Son and Holy Spirit, formed this earth. Though distinct in their roles, they are ONE ( Psalm 33:6; John 1:1-2.)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God. This great mystery is eternal. CHRIST IS EQUAL TO THE FATHER, YET DISTINCT IN HIS ROLE.
The Man is distinct from Woman, yet in Union they are ONE.
Creating the human-being in their own Image: The Man and Woman have distinct roles, yet they are ONE. In Union: the man and woman mirror the Godhead. (Gen. 1:27).
The Spirit of God Reveals Christ:
It is the Spirit of God who reveals Christ to us. It is His distinct role. The Holy Spirit never speaks of Himself, He always points to Christ.
It is through the Spirit of God we understand God’s Word. It was the Spirit of God with Christ before this world began. Christ had glory with the Father, before this world began, “glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. – John 17:4
A small number of disciples had the privilege of knowing Christ personally, but even when Jesus departed, they were not left alone (John 14:15-31). Anyone today in Christ is not left alone. The Spirit of God still speaks about Christ’s identity (John 15:26-27). It is the Spirit of God who gives evidence of who Christ is to His followers. This same Spirit, who is the witness of Christ, lives inside the Christian, teaching them a New Way, a New Heart, giving them a New Identity.
The only way the heart of a human being can be changed is by the Spirit of God: The One who knows you the most. God created you. He is a counsellor and helper, He is a revealer, He brings about change. He brings about a New Life.
Jesus was Undeniably Distinguished in His Birth – Part 2 of “The Work of the Holy Spirit in Christ’s birth.”
The prophet Isaiah 7:17 gave prophecy about the Messiah coming to earth this way:
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel”. This historical prophecy is essential in our understanding the Work of the Spirit in the virgin birth.
Why the Virgin Birth?
If the relevance of the virgin birth is not understood, or mis-understood, we lose the central part of why mankind needed redeeming in the first place. We lose the purpose of redemption.
A Supernatural Conception:
Without looking into the Work of the Spirit from the beginning, you will not understand the significance of the Holy Spirit and the influence of the Holy Spirit in Christ’s life-line. There is a Parallel between Christ’s incarnation by the Power of the Spirit and the New Birth of the Christian by the Spirit.
Mary did not conceive Jesus in her womb by the actions of man, but by the power of The Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ, a sinless man, who came from Heaven, was conceived super-naturally, even though He had the appearance of an ordinary man.
Unless Born Again:
Jesus gives a beautiful analogy of what it means to be “born again” in John 3:3. He said, unless one is born again, one cannot see the Kingdom of God. The natural man cannot see God, you must be born again. Jesus appeared like a natural man, however, He was from Heaven, a spotless sacrificial lamb, unlike Adam, who introduced sin into the world. Christ was born sinless and guiltless. He is the One who prevailed, enabling those who believe in Him to live a life of distinction.
The new-birth of the sinner, comes through Jesus Christ, the spotless Lamb, who came to this earth FREE of the sin and guilt that overcame Adam.
If the relevance of the virgin birth is not understood, or mis-understood, we lose the central part of why mankind needed redeeming in the first place. We lose the purpose of redemption. – Ruth Dickson