Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Power of His Presence

You have often heard me make the statement “God is not interested in having a visitation with us, but in making His habitation in us.”

In Ephesians chapter 2, Paul writes using metaphors for Christ’s body as that of a building or temple being inhabited by God through the Holy Spirit. (vs 21, 22) “In whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Rauch) The Hebrew word for “Rauch” is “Spirit; breath of God; wind.”  Another word for “Spirit of God” is “Rauch Elohim.” The word “Rauch ha-Kodesh” refers to the “Holy Spirit.”

The word for “dwelling place” used in the King James translation is “habitation.” We must get past our notions that church buildings or temples are where God’s presence dwells, as though that is where His power is demonstrated. We have become acclimated to go to a church building to “meet with God.”

That is really not what church is all about. It is true that people can meet God at church. But God’s true tabernacle is the people who belong to Him. Paul writes, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God (Rauch Elohim) dwells in you?”

Stephen, who was a first-century deacon wrote concerning God’s true tabernacle in Acts 7:47, 48 “Solomon built God a house. However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands…”

So we see then, God’s Spirit now rests within us, inside of our physical bodies. The Apostle Peter called God’s chosen ones “living stones as building up a spiritual house.” Paul says, “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (Rauch ha-Kodesh) who is in you.” I might add that the rest of this scripture includes that “you are not your own, for you were bought at a price; (Christ’s blood sacrifice). Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20

Glorify God in Your Body! Remember: We are being built up a “spiritual house.” Our bodies are for God’s Holy Spirit to inhabit. Both our spirit and our body is for God’s glory. To experience God’s presence living inside of you powerfully, we must commit both our bodies and our spirits unto God. The more we shake off our worldly mindsets and give ourselves wholeheartedly to the Holy Spirit to lead us, we will experience the mind and will of God and His glory.

We are vessels and containers for God’s presence to make us alive unto Him. As we empty ourselves of self we will make more room for the power of His Presence!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Why Water Baptism?

On Sunday, May 24th we celebrate a water baptism service in both services. Many new believers are being added to the Lord through this ministry and we are honoring God’s word by following our Lord’s command to be baptized in water. (Matthew 28:19)  Water baptism should follow immediately after conversion to Christ.

Acts 8:12 - “When they believed Philip...they were baptized.”
Acts 10:47, 48 - “Peter commanded Cornelius’ household to be baptized.”
Acts 16:33 - “The Philippian jailer and his house were baptized at midnight.”

What is water baptism?  Water baptism is a holy act commanded by God’s Word. In baptism, the body of the believer is submerged (dipped, immersed, plunged) completely under water. In this act of obedience and faith, the believer is identifying himself with the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
           
Then Peter said unto them, “Repent, and be BAPTIZED, EVERY ONE of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38
           
And he COMMANDED THEM to be baptized in the Name of the Lord. Acts 10:48
           
Therefore WE ARE BURIED WITH HIM by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4
           
Who Can Be Baptized?  Anyone who will repent (turn to Christ) and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ can be baptized. We have many Bible examples of these requirements:

1. The disciples of Jesus were given authority to go into the world, preach the Gospel and teach the people. All who would believe were to be baptized. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 28:19

He that believeth AND IS BAPTIZED shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16

2. Repentance and faith for water baptism were required on the day of Pentecost.  Then Peter said unto them, “REPENT, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Acts 2:38, 41

3. Believers in Samaria. But WHEN THEY BELIEVED Philip preaching the things concerning the Kingdom of God, and the Name of Jesus Christ, THEY WERE BAPTIZED, both men and women. Acts 8:12

Should babies be baptized?  Baptism is for those who are mature enough to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. A baby cannot take the step of repentance nor can he/she understand enough to believe on the Lord. There is no Bible command to baptize babies.

Water baptism gives us an identification with Jesus Christ!  When a repentant believer is baptized, he shares in the benefits of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and becomes one with Christ. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were BAPTIZED INTO JESUS CHRIST were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:3-4

We do administer water baptism in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ according to fulfilling the scriptures in Acts 2:38 and Matthew 28:19. We are saved by calling upon the Name of the Lord Jesus. We are buried with Christ in baptism, and are commanded to be baptized in the Name of the Lord in Acts 10:48

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

God is Building a House!

Thank God for a firm foundation! God is building a house that is going to withstand every pressure, plague, and persecution. It’s a spiritual house! Jesus has become the chief cornerstone of God’s new house. We are the “living stones” which God uses to build up a spiritual house.

It might be difficult to perceive ourselves as a “spiritual house” but that is what God calls us when we have been born into His family. Ephesians 2:19 “Therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners (an alien), but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”  “Household” literally means “members of the family.”

The fact that God is building a house simply means that it isn’t finished or complete until the last stone has been placed in it. That will happen whenever the Lord calls His spiritual house into glory with Him at His coming.

The Apostle Peter calls us “living stones” that have been chosen by God. (I Peter 2:5) We are not just a pile of rocks!  In the Old Testament the Lord is likened to a stone, or a Rock. In the New Testament Peter describes Him as a Precious Stone. This same Precious Stone is still attracting men and women to Himself. He is gathering the stones together to build His house. He turns dead stones into living stones. He is the foundation stone on which we build our lives. “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11

There is no other foundation that is a sure foundation upon which to stand except Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 2:19

There is a tradition that during the erection of Solomon’s Temple, a stone was brought up by the straining oxen which refused to fit into any one of the rising walls. It was cast aside, soon forgotten, and covered by weeds. As the building neared completion, it was found that a stone of a special form would be required to knit the walls in a particular corner. Then was remembered the forgotten and rejected stone that lay in the weeds. It was placed and fit perfectly to hold and strengthen the stones in the temple.

This reminds us that of Psalm 118:22 “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.” We are called to gather more stones for Him to turn into “living stones” to continue to build His house.