,In 1978 I received salvation through Christ sacrifice on the cross. But is wasn't until the fall of 1994 when I first encountered the power of the Holy Spirit just like I read about in the book of Acts. Up until then I had only known the Holy Spirit like the disciples did in John 20:21-22 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
As in the garden of Eden when God breathed in the nostrils of Adam and he became a living, life giving being, so Jesus breathed His breath on the disciples and they were anointed with the life giving power of the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit power and authority that Jesus had to preach the Good News, cast out devils, heal the sick and do miracles was imparted to the disciples. Christ was the embodiment of the Holy Spirit and freely gave His power to His disciples.
But... did you ever wonder why they were still so insecure, fearful, double minded and jealous? How on earth could Judas be a thief stealing from the treasury and betray the Son of God? How could Peter deny Him when just days before said He would die for Him. Very simply, they were still under the power of their lower nature of carnality even though they received the anointing of the Holy Spirit to do the works of Christ. They didn't lack Holy Spirit power, they lacked the nature and character of Christ, that ONLY can be found in the power of the crucified life hidden in Christ on the cross. It is then, that...."it is not I who lives but Christ who lives in me." After the cross and resurrection the disciples were instructed to wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the upper room. THERE WAS MORE! Church...there is MORE! God is preparing His people who are willing to trim their wick and fill their lamp with oil...there is MORE!
We can be born again, repent for our sin, receive and give forgiveness, confess the Lordship of Christ, read our Bible, go to church, sing in the choir, teach Sunday school and still be living life in the power of the lower nature of carnality and sin. Let me remind us, sin is simply, knowing to do good and not doing it, to him it is sin. James 4:17.
How often I hear from believers, "I know the Word says perfect love casts out fear and he who is fearful has not been perfected in love. But after all I am not perfect and God understands my circumstance and that my personality is one that has difficulty trusting, I am the kind of person that needs to know all the details before I can step out in "faith." I am just cautious and God made me that way. Not all are called to radical life of faith and trust."
To those who justify themselves based on human nature and temperament I would ask, how do you reconcile within your own heart Matthew 5:48? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Prior to the resurrection Jesus breathed on the disciples, they had anointing, but after the resurrection Jesus was glorified and the Holy Spirit was given as a gift to not only individuals but to the church to reach the world. His breath in us is our blessing, but the outpouring of His Spirit is a blessing for all the world to see Him work through us.
John 7:38-39 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
God will hold us to a greater measure of responsibility and accountability when we have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. What was once acceptable no longer is, what was once my personal opinion no longer matters, I must be grounded in the truth, what is permissible for others is no longer permissible for me. I once could travel on a broad path, I now walk on the straight and narrow. As a steward of Holy Spirit power it is no longer, bless me. It is Holy Spirit power to reach a lost and dying world. I now joyfully choose the better thing and willingly live under a stricter judgment.
Many are called to a life of purity and holiness but not many will choose it. Many a single person wants to be married, even if the Lord desires them a life of celibacy. The married person wants a divorce to marry a more spiritual "soul mate", even though they made a covenant with their spouse before God Almighty and they cause their children to be spiritually vulnerable by breaking covenant. Many seek position of authority to rule over others, even though their own life is out of order. Many like the Simeon the sorcerer want the power of the Holy Spirit without repentance from witchcraft. Many want to slay giants in the public arena, but they haven't slayed the lion and the bear when no one is watching. Many want to sing on stage, but they don't sing in the secret place of their own heart to minister to the Lord. I am not judging or pointing the finger. I am identifying how I lived before the encounter with the Holy Spirit that FOREVER changed the matrix of my soul.
As a follower of Christ I too was once was a thief, a liar, a counterfeit, a glory seeker, man pleaser, full of fear, anxiety, jealousy and selfish ambition....but then I encountered the power of the Holy Spirit. I let go of the past and embrace what He desires for me and that is, to be a reflection of the beauty of His Holiness, daily conforming me to be more like Him. So as not to mislead you to think I am saying I am perfect, oh I am far from it, but I am being perfected (as in maturing) to be more like Him. I have joined the company of disciples of Christ traveling on the highway of holiness in pursuit of His nature and character, until that glorious day when I see Him face to face and I will be like Him.
Acts 5: 3-11 reminds us of the narrow path of holiness required for those on the path of holiness.
But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. 6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.
7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”
She said, “Yes, for so much.”
9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. 11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.
The world is waiting for the manifest presence of God that comes with true revival. Revival is amazing, glorious and wonderful, but it will require holiness, and holiness will cost us everything!