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[thoughts] The Holy Spirit (March 5-11, 2001)

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  • Mark Roth
    Egroups placed the above message; not I. Anabaptists Web Project: http://www.anabaptists.org/status.html Now for this week s thoughts.... ... This edition goes
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 4, 2001
      Egroups placed the above message; not I.

      Anabaptists Web Project:
      http://www.anabaptists.org/status.html

      Now for this week's thoughts....


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      This edition goes out today to 1179 subscribers. Thank you!
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      The Day of Pentecost
      (Acts 2:1-4, 37-47)


      Is the filling of the Holy Spirit something to be sought?

      I do not believe we need to seek the filling of the Holy Spirit. I believe
      the Father gives the Spirit to those who surrender to the Son. In other
      words, our covenant with the Godhead brings the Spirit into our lives. As
      Christians we do not need to seek the Holy Spirit; He has already been
      given to us.

      However, there *is* another dimension to this issue. As we mature in our
      relationship with Jesus, we discover areas of our lives to which we have
      not given Him full and free access. We need to seek out those areas and
      allow Him that kind of access. In that sense, we *do* need to seek further
      filling of the Spirit. Actually, though, our real pursuit is a more
      complete surrender to His Lordship. A more abundant filling will naturally
      result from that surrender.

      If you are one who pleads with God to fill you or fill you more with His
      Spirit, I challenge you to take the surrender approach instead. Ask God to
      show you areas of your life which you have not yet yielded unconditionally
      to Him. Then when He answers those prayers, yield those areas to
      Him...unconditionally. Only under such circumstances will you know the
      greater filling of His Spirit. You see, God's Spirit does not force His way
      into your life. You must open all the doors and invite Him in. Just never
      forget that He doesn't enter anyone's life as a guest; He enters only as Lord!


      How do I know I have received the Holy Spirit?

      This question has bugged and puzzled many folks. In fact, it still does.
      They crave some sort of divine assurance and manifestation. They want to be
      able to point to a definite experience as proof that they have received
      God's Spirit. I can understand that easily enough, so I don't necessarily
      fault them for that mind set.

      Unfortunately, many people do what seems to be the obvious thing: They look
      at certain events in the early church in order to establish what that
      confirming experience needs to be. For instance, they read in Acts 2:4 that
      "they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other
      tongues." From that and similar passages they conclude that unless a
      Christian has spoken in tongues, he has not received the Holy Spirit.

      The fact is, though, that the Biblical record has only a few isolated cases
      of people speaking in tongues upon receiving the Holy Spirit. So I do not
      believe that God gives everyone the gift of tongues in order to prove that
      the Spirit has been given. Otherwise it would seem Paul got it all
      backwards in 1 Corinthians 14:19 when he affirmed, "Yet in the church I had
      rather speak five words with my understanding...than ten thousand words in
      an unknown tongue." It is also instructive to notice that 1 Corinthians
      12:10 does not say, "to everyone divers kinds of tongues."

      So, how do we know we or anyone else has received the Holy Spirit? Allow me
      a weak illustration. I have a hard time distinguishing lemon trees from
      orange trees. But I have a sure-fire way of eventually identifying such
      trees. No, I don't wait around for someone to put special signs on these
      trees. I simply wait till the trees bear fruit. Then I know a lemon tree
      from an orange tree!

      I have no other way of knowing if I or anyone else has received the Holy
      Spirit. But I need no other way. This method of discernment works amply
      well. Remember, the Master Himself declared, "Ye shall know them by their
      fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" (Matthew 7:16).



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      Mark Roth


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