Friday, February 17, 2012

Fully Submerged

Last night Chelsey and I just happened to be hanging out at a place where Tyson Coughlin (leader of C4) was doing a bible study with a group of C4 people, so we got to spontaneously join and hear from God's word. It was pretty cool. What we were talking about was fulfilling the great commission through the power of baptism of the Holy Spirit. We weren't talking about just the symbolic ritual of being plunged under water, but being completely filled and covered by the Spirit in real time.

We started out in John 14:12-14
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Think about what Jesus is saying here. We will be able to do the same works as Jesus, plus even greater ones. When you remember that the works Jesus did were healing the sick, making the blind see and the deaf here, making the paralyzed walk, and raising the dead, you kind of have to take a step back and say "whoa"! It's intimidating, right? And what about greater works?

What kind of miracle is greater than raising the dead?!

The answer is that we, as disciples, plants seeds of salvation. Raising someone from the dead in this temporal world is incredible, but it's not lasting. What we get to do is point people toward something eternal, salvation, which is kind of like pulling a spiritual Lazarus move.

Jesus never saved anybody during His ministry. He couldn't have, because He hadn't died on the cross yet, he hadn't been resurrected yet.

The thing that shocked me was that Jesus wasn't able to do these amazing miracles just because He was God and He was cool like that. He was able to do them because He had the Holy Spirit upon Him. That was something that I had never really considered before last night, but it's so true.

It's the Holy Spirit that performs all the signs and wonders. But God says that we, as believers, are all vessels of the Spirit, so that God can work through us.

The thing about a vessel is that to achieve it's purpose, it needs to be filled and used continuously. I used to think of this in terms of having a cup that gets filled, but that's not exactly how it's supposed to be. Having only a cup-full of the Spirit is a measured amount and John 3:34-36 tells us that the Spirit is given to us without measure.

For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
Instead of just having a cup-full of water (or in this case, the Holy Spirit), we need to take that cup and throw it into the ocean, fully submerging it.

All believers have the Spirit in them, but it's when the Spirit is upon them that the miracles happen. We need to constantly immerse ourselves in the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 3:13-17 talks about Jesus' baptism. Yes, He was baptized too.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
So, verse 16 talks about a dove descending on Him. The dove symbolizes the Spirit. Up until His baptism, Jesus had the Spirit in Him, but it wasn't until He was submerged that it was on Him. Jesus' ministry didn't start until that happened. And it's the same for us.

Once Jesus was crucified, resurrected, and seated at the right hand of God, the Spirit that was within and upon Him was given to us in the world (aka Pentecost).

I think the most important thing that Tyson mentioned about baptism last night was that it's for believers and the church, but it is for the purpose of submerging believers in the Spirit so that "rivers of living water flow" out from us and into the world, fulfilling the great commission to make disciples.

Jesus didn't send any of His disciples out until they had been baptized in the Spirit.

In the context of healing kinds of miracles: There is a reason we lay hands on people when we are praying for it. It's so that the Spirit (which should be upon us) will transfer to the other person. A biblical example of this being when the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of Jesus' garment and power left Him and healed her.

I don't know about you, but I think it's kind of scary and nerve-wracking to think that God has trusted us with this kind of power. But in 2 Corinthians 10:4 it does say that:
"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."
My last point is to point out that one key characteristic of people with the Spirit upon them is that they are lead by the Spirit in their lives and not trying to accomplish huge (or small) things in their own strength. Baptism is a conscious decision to yeild ourselves to recieve the Holy Spirit entirely, not just where we think we need it.

*Disclaimer: I wouldn't suggest going crazy and testing the Holy Spirit, so put down the venomous reptile, that's not necessary.*

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