December 5, 2012
The past three newsletters dealt with the Person, the presence, and the power of the Holy Spirit. We now want to discuss the program of the Holy Spirit for believers.
First, I want to make it unquestionably clear that ALL – ALL – of God’s children are born into the family of God and BAPTIZED by the Holy Spirit the moment Christ is received. John 3:5 states: . . . Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. This second birth makes all the newlyborn ones members of the family of God. John 1:12 says: But as many as received [Christ], to them gave he power to become the sons [and daughters] of God. Since one can only be a son or daughter through birth, it is clear that the placing into God’s family by a second birth takes place at salvation. However, there is more to it because one is also BAPTIZED into the Body of Christ as the birth occurs. First Corinthians 12:13 states: For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body . . .. This baptism takes place at salvation and happens to every believer. Theological accurateness will not allow the BAPTISM to be a subsequent or second work of grace but the original work of grace that occurs at salvation. It is erroneous for one who is saved to seek the BAPTISM when one’s salvation produced the BAPTISM. In fact, . . . if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his (Romans 8:9) and we . . . have been all made to drink into one Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13). Since ALL means ALL and since this text has to do with salvation, then ALL who are saved have the Spirit or they are lost. This Holy Spirit dwells in every believer, but He does not necessarily control each believer. Hence, there is a “filling of the Spirit” which every believer, after salvation, may enjoy many times. There is one BAPTISM, but many fillings. That is why the literal Greek for Ephesians 5:18 is: Be being filled with the Spirit.
Now the filling and the baptism are two distinct things. The BAPTISM is the placing of a redeemed sinner into the Body of Christ at salvation, and the FILLING is one’s yielding to the INDWELLING Spirit’s control. Let’s delve deeper into the subject. Not only does every believer receive the BAPTISM at salvation, but he receives one or more of the GIFTS as well. Much is heard today about the Charismatic Movement. May I shock you and boldly say that every Christian is a charismatic! You see, the word charismatic or charisma only means a gift from the Holy Spirit. Every believer is a partaker of the Holy Spirit at salvation when the Holy Spirit baptizes him into Christ’s body. It is at this baptism that the Spirit bestows a gift or His “charisma” upon every newborn child of God. Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 are the “charismatic” or “gift” chapters. Ephesians 4:11 describes gifted or charismatic ministers: And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. The apostles were first because the church was built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20). Once the foundation was laid and the original apostles died, this gift ceased. Prophets were next and the gift was not only foretelling the future but forth telling the facts of the gospel. Today gifted preachers giving forth the “good news” manifest this evidence of the Spirit. Evangelists, pastors, and teachers are self explanatory and are also recipients of the Spirit’s gifts. This often explains the failures of men who seek the ministry as a vocation. They have never been called and “charismatized” by the Spirit and therefore fail. It is not a job, it is a holy calling.
Gifts For All Believers
The gifts that follow are signs all believers possess. I want to again emphasize that every believer receives at least one of the gifts of the Spirit. They are freely presented to all believers as a result of the BAPTISM that placed the gifted believer into the Body of Christ. Romans 12 speaks about this Body into which all God’s children are placed and states in verses 4-8: For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing [yes, differing] according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity [or liberality]; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
Now verse 3 states: . . . God hath dealt to EVERY man the measure of faith (emphasis mine.) Some have one of the gifts mentioned already. Others must find theirs in I Corinthians 12:8-11: For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: BUT ALL THESE [Hear it again: ALL THESE] worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to EVERY MAN [How many? – EVERY MAN] severally as he [the Holy Spirit] will (emphasis mine).
It is not the gift one seeks that is important but the gift the Holy Spirit wills to give by grace. Please stay with the Book.
Different Gifts For All Believers
It is not God’s will that all members of the Body should have the same gift. When one has three eyes or seven fingers, he is a misfit. So it is with the Body of Christ when there is an improper balance of gifts. That is why Paul says in I Corinthians 12:15-18: If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, l am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, l am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
Every part of the body is needed and every member in Christ’s body has a gift that fits into the program as needed. So we again find in verse 28: And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.We will consider the gifts in their totality before concluding the book. The point I want to make now is that every believer has at least one gift, and each believer’s gift differs. Verses 29-31: Are all apostles? [The answer is obviously `No!’] are all prophets? [No!] are all teachers? [No!] are all workers of miracles? [No!] Have all the gifts of healing? [No!] do all speak with tongues? [No!] do all interpret? [No!] But covet earnestly the best gifts . . . .The gifts described as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers lead to prophesying, ministering, teaching, exhorting, giving, ruling, and showing mercy. Clergy and laymen may experience these gifts. These are so understandable that we will only explain the final listing of nine gifts, described in I Corinthians 12:8-10.
- The gift of wisdom or the ability to speak with discretion. One may have an earned doctorate and be unwise in the usage of accumulated intelligence. On the other hand, one with a minimum of acquired textbook knowledge may have the ability to say the right thing at the proper moment.
- The gift of knowledge or the ability to delve into the deep things of God and then communicate them with simplicity to hungry hearts.
- The gift of faith or the ability to attempt the impossible for God. Joshua believed God and the sun stood still. Peter believed God and walked on the water. Since this is not a gift for all, do not foolishly launch out on some gigantic project for the kingdom and fall flat on your face. Be sure the venture is in the will of God (I John 5:14-15).
- The gifts of healing are given to some, at times, who have the faith to trust God for miraculous healings. In Christ’s day, healing generally was not produced by any virtue of the person healed but entirely through the gift of the healer. The dead were raised. What faith did they have? Nevertheless, they were resuscitated. On the other hand, there are times when the gift of healing is impossible, even though the healer may be very sincere. The problem? He has not sought the will of God for the one he is attempting to heal. First John 5:14 states: And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. When one has not sought God’s will and attempts to heal, it is all in vain. One goes through the motions and all is futile and hopeless. The Apostle Paul understood this well. That is why he left his helper, Trophimus, sick at Miletum (II Timothy 4:20). Epaphroditus also was left behind sick – nigh unto death (Philippians 2:27). Remember, God can heal anytime and anywhere when it is His will. The one enabled to heal will be given the faith to do the job properly, once God’s will is made plain to him through prayer and the Word for each case.
- The gift of miracles is the ability to win the lost for Christ. Do you know of any greater miracle than getting a man saved for all eternity? This is the reason: . . . ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me . . . (Acts 1:8).
- The gift of prophecy is the ability to tell forth the “good news” with power.
- The gift of discernment is the ability to judge whether the message is from God or Satan. I John 4:1 says: . . . try the spirits . . . .
- and 9. The gift of tongues and the interpretation of tongues was the ability to speak in unlearned, foreign languages. Acts 2, verses 4, 6 and 8, state respectively: . . . they . . . began to speak with other tongues. Also: . . . every man heard them speak in his own language . . . and . . . how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? And again: . . . we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God . . . (verse 11). Some 14 or more languages were spoken and understood. In I Corinthians 14 the word unknown is in italics, meaning that it cannot be found in the original Greek text. Think of what could happen if missionaries received the original gift as they went to China, Japan, Germany, etc. Again, the point I want to make in closing this chapter is: All of God’s people have the BAPTISM, and ALL HAVE ONE OF THE GIFTS – therefore, we are ALL CHARISMATICS. You do not believe it? The manifestation of the Spirit is given to EVERY MAN to profit withal (I Corinthians 12:7). Verse 11 states: But all these [gifts] worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to EVERY MAN severally AS HE WILL (emphasis mine). Again: . . . unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ (Ephesians 4:7). If you, dear Christian, have still not located your gift, try “helps” in I Corinthians 12:28. If you “help” as a counselor, an usher, a choir member, a nursery worker, a bus captain, or a youth worker, and if God has given you a special knack in knowing how to do it, you have a “gift.” Because you have the baptism and the evidence, you are one who has the Holy Spirit and the evidence.
In the next newsletter I will discuss the filling of the Spirit. Although we have all of the Holy Spirit, He does not always have all of us. When He does, holy living becomes the believer’s experience. One can have the baptism and the gifts and still be carnal because he does not have the filling. One can minister the gifts and be out of fellowship with God – evangelists, pastors, and teachers often do. It takes a Spirit-filled Christian to minister properly. The gift is for service; the filling is for spiritual service.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
AM I ADDICTED?
When we hear the words “addict” or “addiction,” it seems that our chest involuntarily tightens and our heart drops in dread and alarm. Alcoholism and drug dependency-whether marijuana, crack cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, ecstasy, or powerful prescription painkillers-are problems of crisis proportion in virtually every community in our nation.
Literally billions of dollars are being spent waging a futile battle against drugs-it is a war we are losing and cannot win because it is a key prophetic sign of the end-times, pointing to the soon coming of our Lord. Almost weekly the media sources try to personalize this pervasive plague, showing various individuals-often young people-who have surrendered their minds and given their bodies over to horrendous, destructive addictions.
Have you ever known an addict? Perhaps this person wasted all his or her resources on drugs, maybe even stole from family and friends, or got involved in crime or prostitution to feed his or her enslaving habit. Its heartbreaking to see bright, decent people sink so low that they literally cant help themselves. Ive known drug-enslaved youngsters who went into rehabilitation programs and seemed to be all right for a while. But too often they ended up right back on drugs, more hopeless than before.
Is addiction killing America?
Besides alcohol and drugs, Americans struggle with countless other awful addictions. Millions are obsessed by gambling, uncontrolled spending, pornography, illicit sex, and other vicious vices. Millions more spend hour after hour surfing the Internet, playing video games, or sitting like zombies in front of TV sets watching inane and immoral programs. And in a land of abundance and excess, two-thirds of Americans are obese, literally eating themselves to death, fatally addicted to food!
Is this addiction? I believe so. When these activities habitually and obsessively control peoples behavior, causing them to develop a compulsive need for whatever controls them, they are addicts! And these kinds of addictions are powerful…and potentially deadly.
Ill never forget a teenaged girl I met on the street in downtown Toronto a few years ago. Jack and I had gone to enjoy a few days of relaxation and rest there, and had gone out for a late-night walk. Summertime Toronto is a very safe and wonderful place to walk, with thousands of other people out enjoying the lights and sights of the city.
When we stopped at a corner to wait for the traffic light to change, this teenager came up to me and said, “I know you-Ive seen you on television.” I greeted her, and we talked for a brief moment. I sensed from her appearance and facial expressions that she probably was part of the drug culture. She told me that sometimes when she couldnt sleep at night, she went over to a store window with a display of television sets and watched our program, “Jack Van Impe Presents….”
Then she asked, “Where are you going, Rexella?
I replied that Jack and I were on our way back to our hotel-that it was about bedtime for us. And I asked, “Are you going home tonight?”
Her answer burned into my very soul-“I am home,” she said, “I live on the street!”
Just then the stoplight changed, and a flood of people surged off the sidewalk into the street, carrying us along with them. Somehow I lost my new friend in the crowd. I looked for her when I got to the corner…I even went back across the street trying to find her. But I never saw her again. The Lord knows where she is-where all of the lost and addicted souls are who are wandering in the dark.
I often think about that teenager and the sad look on her face whenever I pray about the problem of addicts. I hope she watched our telecast again and received words of hope and encouragement, and that the Lord has helped her get off the streets and free from her addiction.
Can we be addicted to good?
According to the dictionary, one of the definitions for addiction could have a positive connotation-“a compelling motivation.” I believe this is what the Apostle Paul was exhibiting when he declared in 1 Corinthians 9:16, Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
He was saying, “I am compelled to share the gospel. There is something about my calling that is so powerful that it is like an addiction. There is nothing else I can do but preach-I cant help it, I must do this.” No wonder he wrote in Romans 1:15, I am ready to preach the gospel….
Pauls calling must have been a “compelling motivation,” because he traveled all over the known world of his day preaching the gospel, making converts, and planting churches. In some areas he was accepted, honored, and lauded, but in many other places he was met with opposition and persecution. No doubt there were plenty of times when he might have turned back had it not been for his addiction to the gospel and carrying out the Great Commission.
Acts 14 relates how unbelievers sought to stone Paul and Barnabas in Iconium, but they escaped and went to preach at Lystra. Then his persecutors did stone Paul there and left him for dead. But he managed to get up and go to Derbe, another city in the area, to preach. After teaching many people there, Paul headed right back to Lystra and Iconium to minister in the very places where people had tried to kill him.
Later Paul listed some of the persecution and trouble he faced in order to carry out his calling. He spoke of being in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness (2 Corinthians 11:23-27).
Why would Paul take such risks and endure such pain and hardship? He was an addict to his calling. He had to go, even if it meant facing persecution. “I have to do it,” he said, “for woe is me if I preach not the gospel!”
Paying the price
There is a price to be paid for serving God. Those who are not sold out, soul and body, to their commitment to Christ and their calling to His commission may find the Christian lifestyle too arduous and difficult. Some have turned back and said, “This is not for me.” But many, many others have given their all to the cause of Christ-they became addicts who gave themselves so completely to the Lord that they could do nothing else.
We have a great host of tremendous examples, all the way back to the first disciples. All of them became martyrs for the Lord-they were all murdered for their faith, every single one. And there are other great Christian champions in almost every era.
Some years ago Jack and I were in Europe visiting England, where I was privileged to interview some noted church leaders in that country. During a visit to historic Westminster Abbey, I was particularly drawn to the burial site of David Livingstone, the renowned missionary to Africa.
Livingstone was born into a poor Scottish family, and began working fourteen-hour days in the cotton mill at age 10. He went to night school for two hours after work each day, and would also prop books on his machine so he could study while working. Later he studied medicine and theology in Glasgow, and soon felt called to go to Africa as a missionary.
Asked why he would leave Britain to go to the “dark continent,” where he most likely would give his life and die, Livingstone said simply, “I am compelled by the love of Christ.”
For the next thirty years he served God in Africa as a missionary preacher, physician, scientist, anti-slavery activist, and explorer. He trekked over and mapped an amazing one-third of the continent. When Livingstone died on May 1, 1873, kneeling by his cot in prayer, his faithful African friends buried his heart at the foot of a giant tree, mummified his body and carried it almost a thousand miles to the coast. A ship carried his remains to London, where he was buried in Westminster Abbey on April 18, 1874. That day was an official day of national mourning in England.
When I stood in that famous old church and read the memorial marker for Livingstone, I was impressed by both his total life sacrifice and his remarkable accomplishments for the Lord. “Compelled by the love of Christ,” he helped change the course of history in Africa and strike a powerful blow against slavery world-wide.
Buried next to Livingstone in Westminster Abbey is his brother, John. While David was preparing himself for a lifetime of missionary service, Johns ambition was to find a way to earn lots of money. Apparently he was successful and became very wealthy. I believe he also became a famous cricket player, and enjoyed fame and adulation in addition to his affluent lifestyle.
None of these things were worthy of consideration when Johns memorial marker was inscribed. There is no mention of his wealth, fame, or position. The marker reads simply: John Livingstone, The brother of David Livingstone.”
Isnt that astounding? All of Johns riches and privileged lifestyle amounted to nothing in the end. But David Livingstones addiction to the gospel-being compelled by the love of Christ-will be recognized forever, both here and in heaven.
I live with an addict!
For an example of a person “addicted” to the work of the Lord, let me take you a little closer to home-in fact, to my home. I have had the privilege of spending a lifetime with my dear husband, Dr. Jack Van Impe. And from the beginning of our life together, I realized that he was absolutely an addict when it came to serving the Lord.
For many years we traveled all over the world ministering in churches, later in large community auditoriums, and doing everything possible to win souls to our Lord. In those days we spent far more time on the road than we did at home. It took dedication, hard work, and an all-consuming passion for soul-winning and for giving people hope and comfort in a troubled world.
But thats not all. There is absolutely no way for me to fully describe Jacks determination-no, compulsion!-to memorize the Word of God. For weeks, months, years, he spent hours every day studying handwritten cards with Bible verses written on them. Not only did he memorize each verse and where it was found in the Bible, but also its subject. Thats why today, its not unusual to hear him quote a dozen verses from various parts of the Bible relating to a specific topic. Its amazing, even to me after all these years.
But I know what it cost him-hours and hours and hours of daily study to memorize them…and ongoing hours and hours every year to review and refresh those verses in his mind, even today.
And thats still not all. For many, many years now, Jack has averaged reading at least one book a day, studying the Bible and prophetic topics, as well as history, current events, and international politics. When he speaks so authoritatively on television, applying the Word of God to todays news about events and world leaders, he knows what he is talking about. He is an absolute addict to his ministry!
By the way, Jack and I produce fifty television programs a year, in addition to the videos, books, magazines, and other ministry projects. The average TV sitcom does only twenty-seven or twenty-eight shows per year. Weve been producing fifty programs annually for years. Is the extra work worth it? Absolutely! We get thousands of letters from people who say they prayed the prayer with Jack at the end of the program and accepted Christ into their hearts.
When we go out to a restaurant or a shopping center, were almost always bombarded by people whove seen us on TV and just want to say hello or share a brief testimony. One evening we were stopped nineteen times on a short walk.
Our office has record of more than two million precious people who have come to Christ through the outreaches of Jack Van Impe Ministries. At a time when others might be thinking of slowing down, he still is addicted to helping others open their hearts and lives to our Lord! Full speed ahead!
Are you an addict?
What about you? Even if you are not called to a pulpit ministry, or to minister on television, or in a church setting, I believe God has given you a special gift to share with others. There is a way you can serve the Lord-in fact; there may well be people you can reach with the gospel who might not respond to anyone else in the whole world.
Wherever God has placed you is your mission field! How can you be a witness to those in your world? Are you taking advantage of your unique opportunities to be used of the Lord?
What if you set a goal to share a testimony, a word of witness, or to stand up for what is right at least once each day? You wouldnt have to be a preacher, or have dozens of Bible verses memorized, or be a trained counselor. What if you just shared what God has done in your life? If you are willing to do it, someone will listen!
Become an addict for good, for God…driven by an all-consuming passion to do something-anything-for the Lord today.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
I have watched your program from the day I found it. I love total honesty and I know I will always get that…I pray for you because honesty is not always safe in this world but I know the hand of God is on both of you until the day He comes to take us home…I’m an OM struck with a terrible illness but I know my Jesus died for me and I will be up and preaching again soon…its been years but never give up and keep learning through it all there is a reward.. I’m sending for my second JIV Bible can’t seem to keep them…thank you again for your ministry.
In Him Jolie
The teaching you gave, Jack, about The Holy Spirit in your email Newsletter Nov 22 taught me things I never knew before and I found it exciting and easy to believe every word. In fact, I find it hard to believe anyone’s teaching from the Bible apart from yours. God has really given you the gift of teaching the truth of The Word.
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are set to ride – and the USA slumbers in ignorance of the catastrophe about to descend upon her! Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe want to awaken this nation to the perils that lie ahead, and the soon return of the Savior! Discover the answers to critical questions:
- How soon will apocalyptic judgments begin?
- What does the Bible say about the prediction of the world’s end in 2012?
- How do current events fit with prophecies of Christ’s coming?
- What is the Mark of the Beast and who will control it?
- And much more!
Unprecedented blasphemy; apostasy; heresy; so-called Christian leaders utterly turning their backs on the Word of God.
What does it mean? What does the Bible say about this colossal falling-away from the faith? What does it signal about YOUR FUTURE?
Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe offer the astonishing answers to these and other riveting questions:
- What does the word apostasy actually mean? Where are we seeing it today?
- What is the “blasphemy law”? How have our U.S. leaders responded to it?
- How does the persecution of Christians around the world relate to the final signs pointing to the return of the Lord?
- How is it possible to determine whether someone is truly a Christian when they claim to be?
- And much more!