December 10, 2012
In the last newsletter we saw that every saved person has the Holy Spirit, for if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his (Romans 8:9). Not only does every child of God have the Holy Spirit but each believer has experienced the “baptism.” This baptism, or placing into the Body of Christ, by the Holy Spirit, accompanies salvation. I Corinthians 12:13 states: For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body . . . . The baptism, administered to ALL the saved immediately, endows each believer with at least one of the gifts found in Ephesians 4, Romans 12, and I Corinthians 12. The gifts are not for a select few who “strive” or “work” in order to appease God for spiritual favors. Never! Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:3). Instead, the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal (I Corinthians 12:7), and . . . all these [gifts] worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will (I Corinthians 12:11). Believers are not commanded to seek any gift but instead the Giver – the blessed Holy Spirit.
Then, because He divides to every man as He wills, one gladly accepts His choice of gifts for his life. If one feels his gift is unimportant, remember that we are all members or parts of Christ’s body and . . . those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary (I Corinthians 12:22). Fingernails and toenails may seem to be inferior parts of one’s body, but what problems one encounters without them. So every member has his place of importance in Christ’s body.
Rejoice in the gift God has given you and do not seek another’s gift. You might be out of place if the Holy Spirit wants you to be a finger instead of an eye. Likewise, you may be out of order when you seek the gift of faith and the Holy Spirit wants “helps” for your lifelong gift. Whatever the gift, every believer has at least one.
You see, there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh ALL IN ALL (I Corinthians 12:4-6). Praise God, it is He who works ALL THE GIFTS and IN ALL. All that God requires is that every believer use his gift to the best of his ability. To do so will bring great reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Disobedience in administering the gift will bring loss of rewards (II John 8).
Let’s move now to the teaching concerning the filling of the Spirit. The “baptism” and the “filling” are two distinct things. The baptism is a once-for-all experience which places the believer into the Body of Christ. Since the Holy Spirit is God and all-knowing, He makes no mistakes as He places the saved into Christ’s body. If He did make mistakes, and members of the Body of Christ were eventually removed, there would be a mutilated, amputated, disfigured atrocity in eternity. Instead, every true believer is “baptized” and “sealed” into that Body by the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).
Though there is only one “baptism,” there are many “fillings.” Ephesians 5:18 states: . . . be filled with the Spirit. The literal Greek declares: Be being filled which implies a continuous process. Every believer needs it, as much as his fuel-guzzling automobile needs gas, in order to run efficiently for Christ. The baptism produces the gifts but the filling enables one to minister the gifts spiritually. Though all have gifts, not all are spiritual. Thousands today who claim “the gift” are carnal because they are not being filled daily by the Spirit.
Let me prove this from I Corinthians 13:1-3: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity [love], I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, l am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Five gifts are mentioned in these three verses: tongues, prophecy, knowledge, faith, and helps. They can all be ministered in a state of carnality. One is not spiritual because of tongues, prophecy, knowledge, faith, or helps. Why? Because it takes the fruit of the Spirit to minister the gifts spiritually.
Read carefully: Love is Number One on God’s listing in Galatians 5:22 as the fruit of the Spirit. This is the same love of I Corinthians 13 that suffereth long, and is kind; that envies not; that vaunts not itself and is not puffed up; that does not behave itself unseemly, that seeks not her own, that is not easily provoked, that thinks no evil, that rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (verses 47).
Do you have this fruit? You may speak in tongues and be mean, or you may have the “gift of faith” and be cantankerous. You may be a “helper” in the vineyard and do nothing but cultivate poison grapes for other Spirit-filled believers.
God says even though one prophesies, preaches with power, or has the gift of knowledge and faith and has not love, the “gifted” one is nothing in God’s eyes. And even though one “helps” by giving his all for the poor or being burned to death and has not love, he will end up with nothing at that day when God’s rewards are distributed for service. You see, it is the fruit of the Spirit that counts. The gifts can be ministered without the fruit.
In fact, the gifts can be duplicated by Satan. The present situation is sometimes similar to Moses’ day when the devil’s magicians counterfeited the miracles of God’s servant. Do not take my word for it but look at the statement of the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 7:22: Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? They manifested the gifts of prophecy, discernment of spirits, miracles, plus helps or works. But Christ never knew them (verse 23). Since “never” means never, they manifested the gifts without being saved. They did not possess the “fruit” of the Spirit but were workers of iniquity. Let’s seek the fruit of the Spirit to minister the gifts. This will produce godliness and holiness.
The Fruit of the Spirit
Every believer needs a daily infilling of the Spirit in order to live a spiritual life. No believer has ever reached the place where he does not need to walk by means of the Spirit, for when we walk in the Spirit, we shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). The nine words describing this fruit are: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22). These represent superhuman qualities which the flesh could never produce. Only God, the Holy Spirit, is able to make mortal beings act this way. No human can duplicate, nor devil counterfeit, the fruit of the Spirit. It is the only way to be like Jesus, for someone has well said: “Galatians 5:22 is the shortest biography of Christ ever written.” Only the “fulness of the Spirit” can make one like Jesus. The term fruit is singular, meaning that all nine graces form the fruit. The Holy Spirit does not produce a few of these but usually all nine when one is Spirit-filled. They are:
A. LOVE. This is not the romanticized or sexual love of the street or of society’s rebels. It is the divine love that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). It makes one love the lowly, the unlovely, and the unclean. It makes one love members of another race or denomination. It does not look down upon those whose gifts differ.
In Corinth this love was missing and the gifts became a source of competition among the “spiritually elite.” That is why Paul said in I Corinthians 13:1: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity [love], I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
The presence of gifts is not the evidence of the Spirit’s filling. You may have gifts, but prophet, miracle worker, helper – do you have the fruit? This is where Satan can fool and deceive us. He can imitate the gifts mentioned in I Corinthians 12, 13 and 14, but he cannot imitate or produce the fruit of the Spirit. Do not misunderstand – I am not against gifts, but gifts prove nothing. The real evidence is found in the fruit one bears as he ministers the gifts.
Oh, that we might be filled with all the fulness of God (Ephesians 3:19). This Holy Spirit produced love makes us love others. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God . . . (I John 4:7). Do you have the real evidence of the Spirit’s filling? It is described in I Corinthians 13:4-7: Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not [or is not jealous]; love vaunts not itself [boasting about its gifts]; love seeks not its own; is not easily provoked; thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity but rejoices in the truth; love bears all things; believes all things; hopes all things and endures all things. The world is waiting to see this evidence. Get filled and show it to them. Don’t split churches arguing about superior gifts, but manifest the love that proves one has the Spirit’s fruit.
B. Next in line is JOY. Joy is not the superficial happiness that springs from sports or television, for happiness depends upon happenings. Instead, it is the joy of the Lord which is one’s strength (Nehemiah 8:10). It is a contentment in times of suffering, sorrow, and even death. It is joy unspeakable and full of glory (I Peter 1:8).
C. PEACE also fills the minds and hearts of those who are Spirit dominated. This is not peace with God that accompanies salvation (Romans 5:1) but the peace of God, which passeth all understanding (Philippians 4:7). This peace produces a sublime calm of heart and mind in spite of every disturbance, heartbreaking circumstance, or adverse condition and glorifies God before an unsaved world.
D. LONGSUFFERING within a believer is a quality that only the Holy Spirit can produce. It is the opposite of impatience. It cannot be produced by members of Adam’s race but must be wrought within a Christian by God. The Lord God, [is] merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth (Exodus 34:6). This is why the ungodly receive countless opportunities to be saved, for: The Lord . . . is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Peter 3:9). This same attitude may be the believer’s portion, for God strengthens us with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness (Colossians 1:11). We are to walk with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2, 3). Yes…. be patient toward all men (I Thessalonians 5:14). How are you doing? Do you have the real evidence of the Spirit’s fullness?
E. GENTLENESS. Again, this is a fruit from God, for . . . the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated . . . (James 3:17). Paul could also say: . . . we were gentle among you . . . (I Thessalonians 2:7). Bickering, fighting, fussing church members forget that the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men (II Timothy 2:24). Do you have the fruit? Remember, it cannot be attained by human effort or by imitation, but only as a direct filling by the Spirit.
F. GOODNESS is produced at salvation and made to bloom in one’s life as the Spirit fills a believer. Jesus said: . . . none is good . . . (Luke18:19). Paul said: . . . there is none that doeth good, no, not one (Romans 3:12). Men talk about doing good, and it is only egotism seeking praise. However, the Spirit within produces real goodness toward others.
G. FAITH, in this listing, is actually faithfulness. Lamentations 3:23, speaking about God, states: . . . great is thy faithfulness. This same faithfulness in a Christian may become a daily reality. One does not have to be up and down spiritually. God’s faithfulness, wrought in a Christian by the Spirit, can make him faithful daily.
H. MEEKNESS is the hardest fruit to possess, for as soon as we think we have it, we’ve lost it. However, let it be remembered that meekness does not consist in pretending to be less than one really is, but rather when one does not pretend to be more than he really is. Again, the flesh cannot generate meekness because it is only puffed-up flesh. It takes the filling of the Spirit to put on meekness (Colossians 3:12).
I. Finally, TEMPERANCE is self-control. The term speaks for itself and, praise God, the Holy Spirit produces it in those who have the fullness of the Spirit.
We have seen that God demands a high and holy standard of life, but He has also provided the means to produce it .. . . Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Let’s begin seeking the fruit instead of gifts. Gifts are for all, but the fruit – though for all – may only be realized by those who grieve not the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30), quench not the Spirit (I Thessalonians 5:19), and then walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). In simple terms, one must turn from all known sin to a daily reliance on the Holy Spirit if he is to evidence the fullness and fruit of the Holy Spirit. Why not begin today?
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Through the Eyes of a Child
Just last week I met and talked with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. Right away I said, ‘You look so sad!” I could tell by her eyes.
Certainly our eyes do serve as a barometer of our inner being and can express deep-rooted feelings and emotions without a word being spoken.
The English poet William Blake said our eyes are “windows of the soul.” I’m sure you’ve noticed that the eyes of those around you communicate in a dramatic way their state of mind-anger, fear, mischief, tenderness, love, excitement, boredom, etc.
Doctors often look into the eyes of their patients while examining them to determine their state of health.
So it’s not really surprising to discover that the Bible has much to say about our eyes-there are numerous references throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Only recently have I begun to comprehend just how important our eyes are to our spiritual well-being-that where we look and what we see help determine who we are and what we become.
The Apostle John speaks of the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16), and Peter warns against those having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin (2 Peter 2:14).
The psalmist, recognizing that what is fed into our eyes affects what we become, affirms, I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes (Psalm 101:3). And the Apostle Paul, in what may be my life’s foundation verse, urges us to continue looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
The lesson of a look
Several years ago, our ministry had an open house in which we invited friends and partners to come tour our World Outreach Center and visit personally with Dr. Van Impe and me and our staff. About 1,500 people toured our headquarters in a single afternoon-it was wonderful to greet so many friends.
I couldn’t help noticing how many little children came through with their parents. And inevitably, when I looked down at them, they would be looking directly into my eyes. I would find myself kneeling to get to their eye level… and happily, many times they ended up in my arms.
But I began noticing how children look at the world. They spend a lot of time looking up! And when they encounter an adult, they look into his or her face, up into the eyes.
Children are very perceptive. They can tell, almost at a glance, if a person is friendly or menacing, if they can trust the person or should run away. By looking into the eyes of the adults around them, they sense if they are welcome or are intruding. And they can tell almost instantly if their parents are pleased with them or disapproving.
Jack and I were having breakfast at a little pancake house not long ago when a mother and her two children came in. They sat at a nearby table-the little boy was unceremoniously dumped into a high chair and the little girl thumped into a chair across from the mother. Once seated, she paid little attention to the youngsters, staring away from them, with a disgruntled look on her face.
When the little boy peered up at the chandelier, pointed a chubby finger and said, “See! See!”-her response was a terse, “Eat!” And when the little girl squirmed and tried insistently to get her mother’s attention, the unseeing, uncaring reply was, “Be quiet- sit up.”
When Jack and I finished eating and he went to pay the bill, I walked over to the table where this mother and her youngsters were sitting.
“You are so fortunate,” I said. With a bit of a start, she asked, “Why?” “You have such beautiful children-they are so sweet.” I said. Then I leaned down and looked into the eyes of the little boy and said, “You are so good.” My reward was a bright, innocent smile.
“I’m good too,” said the little girl.
“I know you are, honey,” I acknowledged. “What a sweet sister you are…and so pretty!” With just those few words, the child blossomed like a rose.
The mother barely smiled, even during the little conversation I was having with her children-she hardly responded, managing a mumbled “Thank you” as I walked away.
I couldn’t help wondering how many children are rebuffed and desensitized by parents whose eyes are too full of other things to really see and respond to their own youngsters.
Suffer the little children
No wonder children were attracted to our Saviour during His earthly ministry. The New Testament tells how the children thronged about Him until the disciples were going to send them away. But the Lord said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God (Mark 10:14).
The Bible doesn’t tell us specifically, but I’m very sure each of those little ones came close to the Lord and looked up into His face, directly into His eyes. What they saw there-love, acceptance, safety-made them relax and feel free. I think they wanted to climb up onto His lap and just be near Him.
Many learned and wise theologians have speculated about the meaning of Jesus’ words concerning children and the kingdom of God. Certainly I do not claim to have greater knowledge or wisdom than they have. But I have my own idea about what He meant.
Perhaps He was suggesting that if we looked up into His eyes more often, we would find the peace, direction, and strength we need for our lives. We can find the answer for guilt, sorrow, pain, and loneliness in our Saviour’s loving gaze.
Keep your eyes on Jesus
Our problems come when we take our eyes off Jesus, when we look away from His love, guidance, strength, and sustaining power.
The Gospel of Matthew relates the thrilling story of Peter walking on the water toward Jesus. The Lord had come to the disciples as their boat was tossed by a stormy sea. As long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he was fine. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and [began] to sink (Matthew 14:30).
I’ve found in my own experience that when I felt life’s problems were about to overwhelm me, it was because I had taken my eyes off Jesus and fixed them on my troubles. When I looked to Him, He saw me through.
From time to time, I meet an individual who is disillusioned-even cynical-about the Church. Sometimes they say they have lost their faith-they don’t believe in anything anymore.
As I visit with people like this, I usually discover that they have been disappointed in the mistakes and failures of a particular religious leader-their eyes had been fixed on a man. Once they looked back to Jesus, the bitterness and disillusionment lost its intensity, and the healing love of Christ could make them over again.
One of the most beautiful and powerful verses in all of the Bible, for me, is found in Matthew’s account of Peter, James, and John at the transfiguration of Christ. After the disciples had bowed down in the awesome presence of God, Jesus told them not to be afraid. And the scripture says-And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only (Matthew 17:8).
No wonder Jesus said we should become as little children to enter the kingdom of God. Their eyes are focused in the right direction. Lord help us to keep our eyes on You…to seek Your will by looking into Your face-through the eyes of a child!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Thank you for your newsletter on the program of the Holy Spirit for believers. This is such a widely discussed and misunderstood subject among Christians today. I am a Baptist minister with many friends from different denominations who have differing views on this subject. You did an excellent job of explaining the difference of Baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit. Wonderful food for thought. I am going to forward your newsletter to some of my minister friends. Should make for some interesting discussion. I have watched your program for many years and bought your Revelation revealed video set which is a great learning tool. I enjoy and appreciate all you do.
I greet you the blessed name of our Lord Jesus.
I wish to let you know that the two news letters on the subject of the Holy Spirit have deepened my understanding. I subscribed for the weekly newsletter two weeks ago and from the two I have received, I can tell that I have missed a lot of spiritual transforming material.
God bless u richly
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