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Is There Enough Evidence to Convict You?
Acts 10:44-48 New King James Version (NKJV)
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And [a]those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
The outpouring of the HS falls upon the Gentile believers as at the day of Pentecost (sign of tongues) as a confirmation to Peter and the other Jews that God has indeed accepted these Gentile converts.
Peter then commands them to be baptized and they ask Peter to stay with them and teach them in the ways of Christianity.
This born again experience of the Holy Spirit was long foretold and promised, and as a Jew, Peter would have known this Scripture:
Ezekiel 36:25-27 New King James Version (NKJV)
25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
I am going to inundate you without a lot of knowledge and then ask you a simple question. I want to talk to you about the Holy Spirit- not in the gifts of speaking in tongues and prophesying; these are incredible gifts, but these gifts, although they must be sought after, are not the reasons to be born again. We cannot overcome sin and be God’s people without the promised HS.
It is essential that you recognize the importance of the HS in God’s redemptive purpose. Most Christians have no idea what difference it would make if there was no HS- there would be no creation, no universe, no human race, no Scripture, no power to proclaim the gospel, no faith, no new birth, no holiness, basically no Christians.
The HS is not a mere “influence” or “power”, but He is revealed as a person of the Trinity, He thinks, feels, wills, has the capacity to love and to enjoy fellowship, was sent by the Father and we should treat Him as the infinite God living in us, worthy of worship, love and surrender. HE was given at such a high cost, the death of Christ, that to blaspheme Him (disrespectful, profane talk) is the unforgivable sin.
The HS is the agent of salvation, convicts us of guilt, reveals to us the truth of Jesus, gives us new birth and incorporates us into the Body of Christ- The HS lives in the Church, builds the church, inspires her worship, directs her mission, appoints her workers, gives gifts to the church, anoints her preachers, guards the gospel and promotes righteousness.
The HS sanctifies, cleanses, leads and motivates us into holy living, delivering us from sin’s bondage.
THIS is why we NEED the HS and we MUST be born again-
Here we see a clear example of Jesus words in the book of John:
John 3:5-8 New King James Version (NKJV)
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemis being a Pharisee would understand this as from Ezekiel 36. This has been a troubling verse for the church- some have interpreted it to mean: born of water=baptism; OR water being symbolic for the Spirit, and the Greek word used for “and” is also used for “even” Therefore translates as “born of water even of the Spirit” born of the Spirit= death to the old man, alive to the new man
Either way, what is clear is that we MUST be born again of God’s Spirit and interestingly enough Peter commands them to be baptized in water immediately following their born again experience.
To be “born again” requires profound repentance, which includes choosing a radical new attitude toward sin and repentance is a major part of what is being expressed in water baptism
These Gentile converts had a deep respect for God
Acts 10:1-2 New King James Version (NKJV)
10 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian [a]Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave [b]alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.
These Gentiles that feared God, turned away from idolatry and saw something better in the Word of God that they heard in the Jewish synagogues. They did not submit to Jewish circumcision or ritual washings, but they did believe in Yahweh and worshiped Him as such. These Gentiles came to be known as “God-fearers”
They were in a state of repentance and wanted the truth of God in full. Peter preaches to them of Jesus, the Messiah and as he is speaking, the HS falls on them. Peter then commands them to be baptized.
How could the meaning of repentance be more vivid than by immersing someone under water in a symbolic burial ceremony? A believer chooses to lie down in a watery grave with Christ, joining Him in His death.
Romans 6:3-4 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
In baptism we are declaring:
- we are dying to our old way of life in which we had lived in rebellion to God and in pursuit of our own selfish goals. We are deliberately burying our old way of life- EX: my baptism day
- it expresses something deeper than a human decision; it becomes a statement and a prayer to God asking Him to crucify our old sinful nature
- the choice to die with Christ becomes an actual death- has implications in the spiritual realm. It is as if a literal, physical death has taken place. The law can no longer condemn us, the devil can no longer accuse us, and Adam’s rebellious sin nature that we inherited has no right to govern us. YOU MUST reckon your old self as DEAD.
Baptism is far more than symbolic, it is a declaration of faith testifying to real transactions that have taken place in our heart and to neglect baptism is to neglect a direct command of God.
Romans 6:5-6 New King James Version (NKJV)
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be [a]done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
Now we see baptism more than just a burial, but the act of coming out of the water symbolizes our participation with Christ’s resurrection and walking at a new level of obedience to God.
Like Jesus, we choose to die to self as He did. We place on the cross with Jesus the old, independent, rebellious, selfish person we used to be, so that person will die there with Him.
This is a profound rejection of our old sinful nature.
We are telling God that we long to be free from the sinful impulses that arise from our flesh. Our spirit now wants to please Him, and these old impulses become enemies because they constantly tempt us to disobey.
Is there enough evidence to convict you of being filled with the Holy Spirit? You are leaving a wake….
- Are you free?
Christ broke the right of sin to dominate our flesh and gives us the HS to be able to continue a life of obedience to Him. Every believer has been set free, you may allow your flesh to control you, but you are no longer a SLAVE to your flesh. You have been given the HS to draw power to overcome your flesh.
Yet, we have the choice. We are not made to follow the HS, we are asked to allow the HS to lead us.
No matter how deep the addiction or how strong the impulse, we are no longer enslaved to it- we have been set free to obey God, but since we are free, we are also free to disobey– we can choose to let the flesh control us and we will in turn return to be a slave to sin. Incomplete conversions-
This is why it is urgent that we use the tools that God has given us and not ignore the HS urges and promptings. We must exercise the proper authority to rule over our flesh by drawing on the power of the HS.
Romans 8:12-13 New King James Version (NKJV)
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
GOD is more invested in your success than you are and He has given you EVERYTHING you need to overcome your flesh. EVERYTHING. But what are you drawing from?-2 Peter 1:3-4
- Are you full?
The fullness of the Spirit encompasses everything that God is. The HS tells us we are children of God, helps in our worship of God and in our prayer lives; intercedes for us as we cry out, He is our divine Teacher, Helper, Comforter; continually imparting God’s love, grace and truth to us and gives us comfort, joy and help.
1 Thessalonians 1:6 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,
John 14:16-18 New King James Version (NKJV)
16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another [a]Helper, (Comforter) that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
So it begs the question, if you are not comforted why?
If you are not in the truth, why?– give me some time with a person and I will tell you where they are spiritually
If you are without help, then why? If you feel alone and forsaken, then WHY? Where are you going to find these things? God promised that the HS would fill all these needs. God cannot lie. The problem is never with God- it always lies with us. So if we are not FULL, then why? The HS has been given so that our life may be full.
Maybe your mind has not been renewed? What does your thought life look like? Are you looking for pity or comfort? Are you seeking to be validated as a sinner or justified in Christ?
- Are you firm?
FIRM- having a solid, unyielding surface or structure; fixed, steadfast. IS your faith unswerving and unyielding? The HS comes only by FAITH and reveals to us the truth about Jesus and what is expected of us as His people. We are to be a witness for Christ, a life lived that witnesses to His power in words and actions. Faith pleases God, without faith it’s impossible to please Him.
Strong and solid faith is built over time and through obeying God when He tells you- EX: framing houses with Mark, examine every piece of wood
If we are sons and daughters of GOD, we are to have the faith of Abraham- this is the kind of faith that saves
Romans 4:16-21 New King James Version (NKJV)
16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be [a]sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
Abraham’s faith was tested to see if he would believe and obey God, take God at His word no matter how the situation looked.
2 Corinthians 1:8-9 NKJV
And this is the true test- do you trust in yourself and others, or is your trust in God alone?