Dear Faith Partner
What a year this will be! In 2018 there is so much God wants to accomplish through His church! However, for His plans to be successful, we as believers must return to some vital basics. I believe that one of the essential basics we, as the body of Christ, have gotten away from is understanding God’s Holy Spirit and recognizing Him as a real person. Holy Spirit truly wants us to cultivate a relationship with Him, so we can grow deeper in who He is in our lives.
Let’s look at some Scriptures to see and to better understand the reality of who Holy Spirit is. In Acts 19:1-2 (NIV) “While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Later the Apostle Paul asks the question, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” (I Corinthians 6:19 NIV)
Do you realize that you can have intellectual knowledge of someone and not truly and personally know that person? Knowledge without understanding cannot be applied. The Holy Spirit is a real person, the third Person of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. He is a gift from the Father to His children. He has a will, a personality, and He has feelings. That is right, Holy Spirit has feelings and you can grieve and quench Him. “Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.” (Ephesians 4:30 MSG)
Additionally, He knows all things. He reveals, shows, teaches, encourages, and comforts. The Holy Spirit really wants each of us to develop an intimate friendship with Him and as we do that we will discover He is with us all the time. “The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.” (2 Corinthians 13:14 MSG)
Do you recall in Acts 19 when Paul discovered a pocket of disciples who had received John’s baptism, but had never heard of Holy Spirit. They represented people throughout the Mediterranean region at various stages of spiritual knowledge and understanding. When Apollos left Ephesus and sailed across to Achaia, he ended up in Corinth. Apollos was well-versed in Scriptures, look at Acts 18:28, it says “ For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.” The word “vigorously” is rare in the New Testament and comes from the word that means “to stretch”. Apollos stretched the Jews to their intellectual limits as he crushed their arguments. However, he did not have an understanding of Holy Spirit as a person.
These twelve men in Acts 19 were born again otherwise; they would not have been called disciples. They were not Pharisees or anyone else’s disciples; they were the disciples of Jesus. Paul would not have asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit since they had believed if they were not disciples of Christ. The Apostle knew that people could receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit until they had first believed on Jesus (see John 14:17). Therefore, we can be assured these men believed in Jesus. However, they were not operating in the power of the Spirit that came through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Which brings me to my point, Christians, to include leadership, can be born again, serving God, doing great things without having the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a separate experience from being born again (see Acts 2:4). However the fullness of what God wants to do, the power of God, the supernatural results will never be seen without Him.
These men heard about the Spirit baptism, believed, and were re-baptized with water in the name of the Lord Jesus (see Acts 19:5). Immediately thereafter, they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with gifts of the Holy Spirit being evident. These brothers were ready, they were expecting and God meet them at their place of expectation! Immediately – this proves there does not have to be a waiting period or “tarrying” for the Holy Spirit. (see Luke 24:49) Listen to what John the Baptist revealed in Matthew 3:11, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Holy Spirit can also be described as the freshness of air; pneuma—a wind, breath, a violent exhalation, blast of breath. Wind is unseen, yet you can see and feel the effects. “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.” John 3:8 (NKJV) Holy Spirit – always present, always leading!
Many see the “darkness” of the days we are living in but let me encourage you, it is in the darkest of days the power of light is most appreciated and needed. God has supernatural plans established for 2018 and I believe it is up to the Church – that is you and I – to rekindle our relationship with Holy Spirit. If we refuse to embrace the fullness of God’s Power made available to us, then we should be prepared to experience the natural results our own endeavors will render. I do not know about you but that is not enough for me.
Janice and I pray that you, your family, and ministry will take time this year to reacquaint yourself with Who Holy Spirit is in your life and that you will begin to completely rely on Him to lead and guide you through 2018. We are grateful for your covenant commitment to RBPM. Thank you for your continued faithfulness in all areas.
Your Covenant Partner
Richard B. Peoples, Sr.