Monthly Archives: June 2015

Baptism Into Reality

Question.  How did the children of Israel get into the Promised Land?

Answer.  They were baptized into the Promised Land.  The Jordan baptism was, as it were, a death and a resurrection: twelve stones representing the twelve tribes were left in the bottom of the Jordan, and twelve stones were set up on the Canaan side of Jordan.  Having come through this baptism the children of Israel were “in the land.” Although they had yet to discover the length and the breadth of this land, and what possessing it involved, they were actually in the land.

Fast forward.  Now consider those who were baptized in Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost—not just the initial 120, but the 3,000 who were added to them the same day.  The 120 had some understanding of what was coming (Acts 1:8), but what about the rest?  How much did they comprehend of all that this baptism meant—the breadth and the length and the depth and the height of it all?  Perhaps very little.  Nevertheless, those who had been baptized in Holy Spirit were actually “in the land” of their inheritance in the heavenlies.  It was not till later that the apostles would have opportunity to teach them what this baptism was all about, and not till much later that the New Testament, in which the significance of baptism in Holy Spirit is spelled out (mostly in Paul’s epistles), was available to the believers.

What is my point?  I am saying that one may be baptized in Holy Spirit and not yet comprehend what this is all about.  It does not negate the reality of the baptism.  It was of people who had been baptized in Holy Spirit that Paul asked, “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Rom. 6:3).  It seems they did not realize this.  “Know ye not…?”  They had been baptized into Christ, but did not yet comprehend the significance of that baptism—that as a result of it they too were dead to sin… and (the natural consequence of being baptized into His death) also partakers of His resurrection life and walk.

In Acts 19 Paul asked certain Ephesians if they had received the Holy Spirit when, or since, they believed.  They had not, and so he baptized them in water in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and then after Paul had laid his hands on them, Jesus baptized them in Holy Spirit.  It was to these saints that Paul later wrote the following words, including himself as one who was in Christ as a result of the Spirit baptism:

But God, who is rich in mercy for His great love wherewith He loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved);
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus;
That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus… (Eph. 2:4-7).

More literally that would be “with-quickened,” “with-raised,” and “with-seated.”  Christ being made alive and raised from the dead and enthroned in the heavenlies became the present heritage of the Ephesians.  They were quickened (made alive) with Him, raised with Him, seated with Him in the heavenlies.  When?  When did this happen?  It happened when they were baptized in Holy Spirit—baptized into Christ.

And so it is with all who are baptized in Holy Spirit.  Baptism in Holy Spirit is baptism into Christ—into His death, resurrection, and ascension.  It is not “positional truth.”  It is the present reality of those baptized into Christ, that is, made one with Christ, joined to Christ, by His Spirit.  Just as the Israelites were in the land as a result of the Jordan baptism, those baptized into Christ are quickened together with Him and raised together with Him and enthroned together with Him in their heavenly heritage.

It is not positional truth hopefully to be gained in a future day, it is actual and present truth for those in Christ, and so can be walked in by faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God Will Yet Glorify His Name… Again

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We have been talking about the increase in momentum in our world, and how there has been a great casting off of restraint that began in the 1960s.  It has reached the point where now they are redefining marriage.   Redefining the family.  What is next?  Christians who cry against it are considered a menace to society.  They are a threat to the new social order.  Why don’t those Christians get with the momentum and recognize that Christianity is antiquated and belongs in the museum of history?

Many Christians, of course, are doing just that.  The problem is those stubborn Christians who will not go with the flow.  So right here in North America we are beginning to see Christians being persecuted, and it will come to the place where to be a Christian in North America will cost you your job—and your liberty, and your life.  The enemies of Christ and his followers will not stop till they have eradicated His name—and and those who bear His name—from the earth.

What is God’s response to this?

 He that sitteth [enthroned] in the heavens shall laugh.  The Lord shall have them   in derision…. Yet have I set my king upon My holy hill of Zion (Ps. 2:6).

God has set His king upon His holy hill of Zion, and no forces in the universe can remove Him from there.  He is seated there ruling in the midst of His enemies, and will yet see all His enemies put under His feet.  In the meanwhile, things may look very bleak, but we must lean hard on the knowledge that Christ is on the throne, and that God will yet glorify His great and holy Name.

We must lean hard in this hour on the knowledge that God is a God of integrity.  God is a God of His word.  He has not forgotten His word.  What He begins He will finish.  He has begun a great eternal purpose “ which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:11).  In fact the word purposed there is better translated, accomplished.  It is that certain.  And so the eternal purpose He accomplished in Christ will yet be fully wrought out in the Heavens and in the earth.  God will have things His way.  He will glorify His great and mighty Name.

BUT, do we not realize that it is through the Church that God glorifies His Name?

 Unto Him be glory in the church in Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end (Eph. 3:21).

That would include this present generation, then.  This is very encouraging in a day when the glory of the Lord is not on the agenda of most churches here in the West.  Churches without number are preoccupied with their own programs.  They are content with the status quo—the way things are.  The glory of the Lord?  Who is burdened for that?

God is, and He will yet glorify His great and holy Name.  He has done it before.

When God’s people Israel for the most part would not receive His glory—His Son—and thus, as Paul put it, judged themselves unworthy of eternal life, God opened the door to the Gentiles—and in doing so enlarged His purposes exponentially.  This was in accordance with His promise to Abraham, and also the result of an oath He had sworn to Moses long ago. When Israel of old refused to enter the promised land in the days of Moses, God threatened that He would wipe them out and start afresh with another people out of the loins of Moses.  That humble man would have none of it and pled with God to forgive His people.  “Okay,” God said, “I have pardoned according to your word.  But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord” (See Num. 14:11-21).  This began in the day when He turned to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46).  And what an hour that was!

However, only a blind man could say that this has come to any degree of fullness.  In fact the churches of the Gentiles, at least in the West, are now largely in a state of apostasy.  In this hour it is not the Jews, but Christians who have settled for less than the glory of the Lord.  And so the parable of the marriage supper holds as true today as it did when Jesus used it to provoke the Jews.  A great king had made a marriage supper for his son, and those who were bidden spurned the invitation.  What was his reaction?  He commanded his servants to go quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and into the highways and hedges, “and compel them to come in that my house may be filled.  For I say unto you that none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper” (Lk. 14:16-14; Mt. 22:1-14).

No, you say, that’s already fulfilled, that applied only to the Jews.  Really?  What about Paul’s warning concerning  “the goodness and severity of God”?  He warned that Gentiles who had been grafted into the olive tree of Israel could yet find themselves cut off if they do not continue in His goodness (Rom. 11:17-22).

And so there comes an hour when God, who has stood all the day long with open arms calling to His people to come to this supper, only to be slighted again and again… suddenly He turns and brings to Himself multitudes who were not even looking for Him—the despised, the rejected, the forsaken… and also in this hour—mark my words—multitudes from among the newly “liberated” LGBT world—multitudes, mark my words—who will discover in Christ a salvation and liberty that transforms them to the depths of their being, and satisfies their greatest longings far beyond anything they thought possible.  And He will give them all He offered those who would not come to Him when He called.  And more.

I Will Raise It Up

God has promised His Son that of all He has given Him He should lose nothing, but “raise it up in the last day” (Jn. 6:39).  What is this about?

“Of all that the Father has given Me I should lose nothing…”  Why does He prophesy that?  It’s because the truths that were vibrant, alive, in the days of the early church apparently died, were lost, throughout what are called the Dark Ages.  Then we saw the beginnings of the resurrection of truth in the days of the Reformation (although even through the Dark Ages there was always a small remnant that walked in revealed truth).  However, the reformers built denominations around the truth God had revealed to them, as did their contemporaries the Anabaptists.  The same thing has happened again and again through the history of the Church.  When God wanted to continue the reviving, the resurrection, of truth, His people chronically failed Him, would not move forward with Him into further truth.  And so God had to raise up a new people who would embrace the further truth, till they, in turn, would build a new denomination around this truth instead of going even further with God when He wanted to lead them further.  This has happened chronically throughout the history of the church.  This is what accounts for the system of denominations the world knows as Christianity.  It is a testimony of the failure of God’s people to flow in the river of God, and instead set up their denominational cisterns to contain their little puddle of truth, and further truth was lost to them—along with the glory of the Lord.  Truth is a river, not a puddle.  God’s desire is that we get into His river, and continue to flow all the way back to where the river came from—God Himself.

What does God do, then, with all this lost truth?  He gathers it all up in a last day, and raises it up from the dead, and gives it to a people who are not a people.  I pray with all my heart, and tears in my eyes, that I may be one of them.

God shall yet gather up all that seems to have been lost by previous generations—and truths that are yet hidden in Him that none have ever walked in—and shall give it all together to a generation that shall glorify His name.  A people despised, the scum of the earth, a people who in and of themselves are nothing, a people who were not a people, a people brought in from the highways and hedges and compelled to come in to God’s feast… these are the ones who shall fill the places of those who first invited had spurned the invitation.  They shall see, and reveal, the glory of the Lord.  He shall pour out such grace upon them that they shall glorify His Name as fully as God glorified His Name in His Son.

 And it shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not My people, there shall they be called the sons of the living God (Rom. 9:26,   Hos. 1:10).

I tremble at this.  I want to be numbered among them.  I want my seat at the Kings’s table along with them…

…And I am encouraged to remember that, along with these, there are those throughout all generations who have responded to the King’s invitation in their day.  These too shall He raise up along with the truth He is raising up, and they shall enjoy it in the last day with that generation (Jn. 6:39-40).

Know this.  God’s word shall be fulfilled. All the failures of former days have only intensified what is about to break forth like the waters a dam backed up, backed up, backed up, till the pressure can no longer be contained, and suddenly it bursts.

God will yet again glorify His great and mighty name.