On the Threshold of Heaven (4)

         What is the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit?

         What is the proof?

         Some people believe that being Spirit-filled is an apparent non-event in that they have no clear recollection of when it happened in their lives though they claim the experience.

         Some are taught that they are filled with the Spirit “by faith,” again, that there is no actual evidence, or that they are automatically filled somehow when “they become a Christian.”

         This is what I refer to as being Spirit-filled by osmosis, in that one is somehow filled through effortless, unconscious assimilation in which no actual choice was ever made, there is no recall of when the event happened, and the process cannot be classified as experiential.

         That’s kind of cool when you think about it, but it’s not New Covenant. It is not New Covenant whatsoever.

         The following is New Covenant:

         When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [Acts 2:1-4]

         I remember hearing a statement by a very famous evangelist’s wife who made the claim that she had always been saved from the time of her earliest memories. Apparently, she never had the born again experience the Lord said is an absolute requirement for entering the kingdom:

         Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

         Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”

         Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” [John 3:3-7]

         Let’s do the math:

(1a) Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.

(1b) Unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

         In this passage, the Lord Jesus is making a very clear and what should be an obvious reference to two distinct births. This is why Nicodemus, somewhat confused, answered in the weird way he did. He clearly heard the Lord say that there must be a second birth, one that follows the natural birth from one’s mother. But the Lord said it in the context of entering the kingdom.

         Now, this begs the question:

         Is it possible to “be saved” without entering the kingdom of God?

         If the answer is no, then anyone who is not born again is not saved.

         If the answer is yes, then one can be saved without entering the kingdom.

         There is a problem with the latter possibility, however. Have you noticed all of the references in the Lord’s teachings and parables concerning the spiritual concept of either being inside or outside the kingdom? Or being sheep and not goats, or wheat and not tares?

         Here are some examples:

ONE:

         “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:20]

         From this, it is clear that the scribes and Pharisees were outside of the kingdom: NOT BORN AGAIN.

TWO:

         “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” [Matthew 6:33]

         In this passage, the Lord equates being righteous with being in the kingdom, which signifies righteousness outside the kingdom as not being possible. If one must seek the kingdom then one must be outside the kingdom while seeking it. If one must seek righteousness it must be that one is unrighteous before one gains it. If one is outside the kingdom and is unrighteous, then one is NOT BORN AGAIN.

THREE:

         “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” [Matthew 7:21]

         Here we have the requirement of doing the will of the Father in order to enter the kingdom, meaning that those who fail to accomplish the will of God must be outside the kingdom (regardless of the apparent appearance of their miraculous works), and are thus NOT BORN AGAIN.

FOUR:

         “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [Matthew 8:11-12]

         Here is a very clear indication of either being in or out with no in between. In this case, the natural “sons of the kingdom,” that is, such natural descendants of Abraham, are not only not in the kingdom and will never be in the kingdom, but they will be cast into outer darkness and are obviously NOT BORN AGAIN.

         From the record in the Book of Acts, being Spirit-filled was an experience, an event. It was never some sort of mystical wishy-washy don’t-know-when-or-how-it-happened occasion. Such a thing was not possible.

         Remember, we are talking about the HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD entering and filling a person for the very first time. And the Lord said it was like a birth. And everyone pretty much knows when a baby is being born, especially, I would think, the mother and the baby. There is no way such an experience can happen without the recipient’s knowledge or even those in the vicinity of said recipient.

         The event of the original Day of Pentecost kept happening again in Acts at subsequent times with different people. By studying each and every recorded historical event when people were filled with the Holy Spirit, it should not be that hard to come to a conclusion regarding consistent evidence.

         Here is the key to that evidence:

         Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.

         So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.

         For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.

         But no one can tame the tongue… [James 3:3-8] [1]

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Posted on February 11, 2015, in Real Christianity and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Anyone who’s had the very real and tangible experience of being “filled with the Holy Spirit”, can remember the date and even the very hour of it’s happening. It is indeed an unforgettable event in one’s life, and without doubt, the greatest blessing and gift.
    So, why do people argue against it as such, or assume they were filled with all the Holy Spirit there is to be had upon accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior as I’ve heard some say? Or why do some people simply ignore plain scripture speaking of this miraculous event as if it’s just a tad more supernatural than they’re comfortable with? I’ve pondered those questions and have come to the conclusion that they must not have had the Infilling of the Holy Spirit and so simply don’t comprehend what it’s about. To try to describe it to such a person is like trying to describe sight to a blind person.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Scarlett. The Lord spoke of this phenomenon often. He also used the terms “eyes to see” and “ears to hear.” So much has happened regarding the altering of His pure teachings over the last 2000 years that some unscriptural things must be untaught before one can see and hear better.

      There is knowledge that must be gained, but much of it might be termed “heart knowledge.” Cerebral renderings of His curriculum and ultra-theological circlespeak has resulted, in many Christian religious cultures, as giant interstate highway overpasses that often cause one to bypass the very truth one may be claiming or searching for.

      Also, there is without doubt an “uncomfortableness” factor. I like to think, though, of all those societal and synagogue rejects the Lord spent so much time with that found the Life He brought exactly what they had been searching for and jumped in with both feet. They had no concern of losing their “good” reputation since they had none. Some people, however, are overly concerned about outer perceptions and what people may think.

      This is part of the problem. Of course, all the real stuff within the Lord’s teachings and chosen ways to operate, if not accepted, must be counterfeited or taught away and excused. But He is used to rejection.

      I had a pastor once in a very big church who believed in and practiced the Book of Acts. He was certainly well-grounded, conservative, a former star player who turned down college football to go into the ministry, a country boy, and an intelligent man. A friend of mine asked him once, “Pastor, do you consider yourself more of a hippie or a redneck?” This was many years ago when rednecks were not what some call rednecks today, but hard-core, close-minded haters of anything different or new. The pastor said, without skipping a beat, “A hippie.” Of course, he was pretty much nothing like a hippie but was much closer to being a hippie than a redneck.

      Regardless of what any of us may believe at present or what track we’re on, or how mature we are spiritually, I think most of us can agree that the Lord’s biggest problem was religious rednecks with no eyes to see or ears to hear.

      I would encourage everyone to never stop seeking more and more of the Lord and His truth, and if you are not sure about being Spirit-filled or want more, pray about it. Seek the Lord with all your heart. He WANTS to bless us all to overflowing, but we must be serious:

      “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.

      “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?

      “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” [Luke 11:9-13]

      Liked by 1 person

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