Preaching openly

composite-717916_640Acts 28:31: preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness. (NASB)

While the church was still limited to Jerusalem, persecution rose up against the church with Saul as one of the arrowheads.

He made it difficult for the Christians to preach openly, taking pleasure in harming them, and eventually they dispersed from Jerusalem, which was the epicentre of the persecution, to places where they can more openly share the word of God.

So the persecution turned out for the advancement of the church, for its expansion (Romans 8:28). What was meant to limit them, only made them spread. The persecution was to make them afraid, but it backfired on their persecutors as the church flourished the more.

At first the Pharisees warned the apostles to shut up, but he refused and continued to wax strong in the land. They went to their company and after they had prayed God released his power the more to work through their lives, but the persecution that ensued after did not answer to such prayer, this time around the Christians were being waylaid, and starting with the martyrdom of Stephen which emboldened the persecutors to harm to the Christian, who they then relocated in droves, running for their lives, but the apostles still remained in Jerusalem.

The other onslaught against the church also came through Herod who killed James in order to curry the favour of the Jews. While all these were happening, Saul got saved. It was when the persecution against the church was really hot and Saul was a hero among the persecutors. But after he was saved, his life was marked by an endless cycle of persecution.

At the end when the writing of the Acts of the apostle was winding down, it ended with a rare occurrence in the experience of Saul (now Paul), being under arrest but able to preach openly. The numerous persecution in his life could not shut him up, he was rewarded with the opportunity in the focus verse to speak openly.

This did not happen by chance, Jesus, by revelation, had told him while he was just arrested in Jerusalem that he will stand for his name in Rome.

So Paul had no doubt in his mind as to the purpose he was to fulfil in Rome, where he was eventually taken to as a prisoner. It was to speak about Jesus at every opportunity.

He was not made an apostle just to bear the title, he had a serious job to perform, which he did. When he was in prison, he wrote letters to churches and individuals; that have endured till date. He said: though he was in bounds, the word of God was not, and the bible in our hands today is a testimony to Paul’s legacy as an enduring apostle.

His boundless energy, understanding and passion for Christ oozes out of that letter and right now we are being impacted, down the ages. Just as he passionately opposed the cross, after he had an encounter with Jesus, he directed that passion to Christ’s work so much that he said that he labours more than the other apostles (1Corinthians 15:10).

He was always on the move, having as a goal to preach Christ where he has not been named (Romans 15:20), willing to pay the sacrifices, making the long journeys to reach those places. He said that he fought with the beasts in Ephesus (1Corinthians 15:30-32), he said he was in fasting often (), in peril often (2Corinthians 11:22-33); he said that just as he was committed to the destruction of the church the tenure of his mind changed and he became burdened for the church to flourish (Romans ), saying to the church in Rome that he was hard-pressed to have them see his face in the flesh so that he can impart on them spiritual gifts and help them along in their faith. He said that he writes based on the grace that was given to him (Romans 15:15).

Paul charged Timothy to preach the word with all sense of urgency (2Timothy 4:2). He did not tell him to do what he does not do. He said follow me as I follow Christ (1Corinthians 1:11). His devotion was unquestionable.

He spoke the word with all sense of urgency. He did not regard preaching the word as something to be ashamed of. He said: I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). He spoke and wrote with 100percent conviction with no shadow of doubt in his mind, otherwise he could not have survived the many persecutions that came along his way and still continue to burn hot in passion for Jesus.

He spoke of Demas who departed from being part of his ministry team to pursue some other things (2Timothy 4:10). He said he loved this present world, while the bible says that we should not love the world nor the things in the word and that if we do, the love of the father is not in us (1John 2:15-17).

Paul talked about his attitude as a preacher, saying that he does not peddle the word of God (2Corinthians 2:17), no participate in hidden things of unrighteousness (2Corinthians 4). He is not trying to hoodwink the people.

He says his life is an open book as he seeks not just to impact the word of God, but to impact his very life. In that case, Paul cannot impact others more than he has been changed. He does not just want to speak with high-sounding words but to impact on others.

He was so effective that those who have never met him felt his impact. And in the book of acts certain people said he had turned the world upside down. He was a revolutionary. He disrupted of the status quo. He pushed the cause of Christianity with the last of his blood. He was jealous for the church he founded. And consistently watched over them in prayer.

His apostolic work was not just in the fanfare alone but in the place of prayer. In his letter to the church in Ephesus, he mentioned two sets of prayer (Ephesians 1, 3). He taught them the word and understood that he has a spiritual role of prayer to play over them so that they can come into the fullness of God for them.

His two prayers for the Ephesian church was about fullness. He prayed that the eyes of their understanding be enlightened so that they may know things that have to do with their new self in Christ, that has to do with the new power they now have operating in them, which operated in Christ to raise him from the dead. It was all about the new identity in Jesus, which they should now walk in the full consciousness of it.

The second prayer has to do with the love of God which they are also to comprehend together with the saint, and which if they comprehend fully, they will be filled with all the fullness of God. Epaphras followed the example of Paul and was committed to praying for the church in Colossi that they stand complete in all the will of God. While we need to be taught the will of God, praying really gets us fully into it (Colossians 4:12).

Though you may not be able to preach to others all the time, you can pray all the time for them. Paul said that prayer should be made all the time because God does not want any to perish but come to the knowledge of the truth (1Timothy 2:1-4).

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Movement

Numbers 10:13: They set out for the first time at the command of the LORD by Moses.

abstract-140231_640For forty years the children of Israel made a journey through the wilderness. Our life too is a journey. From the time of birth to the time of death we are on journey. And even death is the beginning of another journey- a journey into more and more of God.

Our journey in heaven is determined by our journey on earth. We are told there will be rewards in heaven. There are crowns to be got, there are mansions to live in (John 14:1-3). The reward was so important to Paul that he said he will watch his life so that after he had laboured intensely on this earth, he would not be a cast away, losing his reward (1Corinthians 9:27). The reward was so important he wrote to the Corinthian church that workers need to be careful how they build because fire will test their work of what sort it is (1Corinthians 3:11-17). Wood-like work will disappear, as if non-existent, and therefore unrewarded.

Ezra

Ezra made a precarious journey (Ezra 8:21-32). He was with some people as he conveyed precious vessels to the temple in Jerusalem, from the land of captivity. He prayed and fasted for a safe journey.

Life being a journey also has dangers. The devil wants to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He is the god of this world (2Corinthians 4:4) (we are passing through his territory), and we wrestle against his cohorts, principalities and powers and the spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-12).

However we are called to cast our care on the Lord knowing that he cares for us. We are not alone in the journey of life. Ezra by calling for a time of prayer and fasting committed the journey into the hand of God, he cast his care to God. We are told that we should not lean on our own understanding, but acknowledge God in all our ways (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Joseph

Joseph made an unwilling journey into slavery in Egypt. It was a strange place but later he discovered that he was there on God’s reconnaissance mission to spy out the land for the rest of his family to come later, for a firm foundation of a nation (Genesis 37).

His brothers who sold him to slavery thought they were doing evil to him, they wanted to silence him. His brother did not even sell him directly to Egypt, he was resold by the original buyers to an Egyptian. It was as if he was a victim of circumstance, but God was working everything in alignment with his own plans.

He though he was going to the pit, but when all is said and done, he ended up in the palace. While he started off as a victim, he ended up a victor.

The journey started with Joseph screaming his voice hoax (Genesis 42:21) begging his brothers not to harm him, it ended with his brothers apologising to him.

He later told them that not only had did he make a sad physical journey from their family home several years before, he had also made the mental/emotional journey from that point.

He was not stuck in the past. He forgave his brothers for the harm. So a journey is not just physical, it can also be spiritual or emotional. We need to be healed of past memories, it is not healthy to continually fixate on a painful words spoken in the past. The bible says: do not pay attention to everything you hear, lest you hear your servant cursing you (Ecclesiastes 7:21).

We need to allow God to give us his own perspective of the situation, to impress on us that all things truly work together for us who love him (Romans 8:28). That was the conclusion that Joseph came to, saying to his brothers what you meant for evil, God was all along arranging it for good.

Jacob

Jacob made three major journeys in his life, running away from something he was afraid of. The first time he ran away from Esau his brother. He also he ran away from Laban his uncle, thirdly he ran away from famine that was ravaging the earth at that time towards Egypt, where there was much.

His journeys were all part of his formation into a formidable nation. In the three movements God showed himself to him to assure him of his presence. It is not enough to move, but we need to answer the question: is God with me on this journey?

Moses told God: if you will not go with us lead us not from where we are (Exodus 33:15)? When David moved in battle he wants to be sure not just that his men carried the right weapons or were arrayed in the right formation but also of the blessing of God on it.

Paul

He was a man in constant journey. He did not stop until the whole of the known world was swamp with the message of the gospel. He was a man on a mission, set on fire from the presence of God. He said: I do not count my life to be dear to me so that I may finish my course (Acts 20:24). He was a man acutely aware of his life mission. He had the gospel to the gentiles committed to him and he did all he could to fulfil his mission. He was vigorous in defending the truth even when he had to confront older disciples of Jesus (Galatians 2:11-15).

Paul asked for prayer that he be delivered from wicked and unreasonable man (2Thessalonians 3:1-2). He told some other people that he fought with beasts in Ephesus (1Corinthians 15:32).

Paul made a precarious journey from Jerusalem to Rome. It was full of twists and turns but it was all about moving in the direction of fulfilling his ministry at a higher level. It was about getting to Rome to be a witness of Jesus there. He moved in the direction of fulfilling the will of God.

The Lord’s blessing

lane-412586_640Genesis 39:5: From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had, in house and field.

The lords blessing is represented by two things: his words and his hands.

His words

The release of the word of God is a blessing. That was the perspective of Peter and why he stuck to Jesus. He said to him: where shall we go, since you have the words of eternal life (John 6:68)? Of Jesus a psalmist wrote: you are fairer than all men, grace is poured upon your lips (Psalm 45:2).

Paul said that he commit the church in Ephesus to the word of God’s grace and which is able to build them up and give them an inheritance among those who are sanctified (Acts 20:32). Therefore, without the word they will not be built up. They will not be changed. They will not be all that they can be, gain all the inheritance they can.

It is with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God that we hit the enemy where it hurts (Ephesians 6:17) and we are on the offensive while he is on the retreat as we take territories from him for our inheritance.

God’s word is a blessing because it communicates his life, creates his will and manifests his essence.

a. Communicates his life

When Adam and Eve were in line with the word of God, all was well. They experienced life and communicated the same. But when they rejected the word of God, they entered into the death experience.

When Jesus was going to manifest in the world for redemption, it was as God the word; to take on our death and give us his life. There is no life without the word.

Whenever God communicates his word, he communicates his life, his power. The bible says God sends his word to heal and deliver (Psalm 107:20). The word is not just a series of statement for analysis, it is a vehicle for the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that the words he speaks are Spirit and life (John 6:63).

b. creates his will

The word of God is the vehicle to his plans and purposes. The psalmist prayed: for your name sake lead me and guide me (Psalm 31:2). When we know his will, we can align with his purpose, and in cooperation with him, we create that will. The worlds, we were told, were framed by the word of God, the invisible creating the visible (Hebrews 11:3).

c. manifests his essence.

Jesus is the manifestation of the full essence of God. He is the full representation of the father (Hebrews 1:1-3). He is the manifestation of the grace and truth of God, the harbinger of divine change, the conveyor of the glory of God. When John described Jesus, the word, he said that he was full of grace and truth, which are the manifestations of the glory (John 1:14, 17).

His hand

The hand of God is about his activities, his working in our lives. And his hand can work: upon us, inside us and around us.

a. Upon

The hand of God came upon Elijah and he outran the horses and chariots of Ahab (1Kings 18:44-46). The anointing of the Holy Spirit is also a depiction of his hand, just as the hand of God came upon Elijah, the Holy Spirit as we are baptism in him comes upon us today to do extraordinary things. Remember what the Spirit of the Lord coming upon Samson helped him to do?

The hand of God confers supernatural ability. It helps to do mighty things, to say mighty words and build mighty things, fight victorious battles. Paul was sent out by the Holy Spirit and at the end of the day he was successful (Acts 13:1-4). He was made like a bulldozer pulling down the works of the devil wherever he went.

It is the operation of the hand of God that leads to the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit (1Corinthians 12:1-12). With the Spirit of God coming upon Saul. He started prophesying in the grip of the Holy Spirit (1Samuel 10:10-11).

c. Inside

The hand of God, his Spirit in you is to build you, transform you, to help you to know what you should do, how you should live. It is written: as many as are led by the Holy Spirit, they are the sons of God (Romans 8:14). His leading is internal. It brings a change on the inside. That is inside power.

Many focus on the power upon the outside power ignoring the inside power, they focus on the demonstration to the neglect of the internalisation of the power of God, though both are equally important.

The hand is also a symbol of skill that God confers. A man was appointed by God for the building of tabernacle. He followed the divine specification fully and built something that is worth-while. He was full of the Spirit and did the task fully (Exodus 31:1-5).

c. Around

The bible says that the children of Israel knew the hand of God (Psalms 103:7). They saw him dividing the Red sea, supplying them manna from heaven. The hand is also about his provision. He opens his hands and satisfies the needy (Deuteronomy 15:8).

His hands bring you the right people, opportunities and open doors. Paul said that a sure and effectual door was opened to him, but there are many adversaries (1Corinthians 16:9). That was something happening around him (the open door is the hand of God, the adversaries, the hand of the devil).

Paul wanted the church to pray so the adversaries will be dealt with. The hand of God around takes care of the adversaries in whatever shape or form. While he was in prison he trusted that the prayer of the church in Philippi for him will cause God to move things around so that he is set free (Philippians 1:19).

Prayer and success

steps-388914_640Genesis 24:12: And he said, “O LORD, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham.

Prayer is as simple as that- making a request from God. Those who pray seek help from God, they do not seek to try and accomplish things on our own. The bible says it is not by power or might but by the Holy Spirit. Prayer is about deriving help from the Holy Spirit in all your ways.

When Jesus prayed, he received the Holy Spirit, and he was powerfully impacted to He had a successful ministry (Luke 3:21).

The man who prayed in the focus verse did not have an alternative but to do that, to ask for help to successfully accomplish his mission (Genesis 24).

He was going to a strange land to get a wife for Isaac his master’s son. That was uncharted territory, it was something he had not done before and he needed to prayer for success.

Ezra also prayed for success (Ezra 8:21-31). Making a journey to Jerusalem, through precarious landscape and he had with him precious metal for the temple which had been carted away to a foreign land many years with him. So he prayed and fasted for safe journey.

When Moses was leading the children of Israel from the land of Egypt to the Promised Land, he prayed that God should go with them, saying if you will not go with us, take us not from here (Exodus 33:15). He knew with the presence of God the millions of people he was with can move through the wilderness in peace.

This world is also a wilderness. And because of that Jesus taught us to pray: deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:9-13). Similarly, Paul asked for prayer that he will be delivered from wicked and unreasonable men (2Thessalonians 3:1-2).

When we pray it is a sign of humility that we need God and that qualifies us for grace. When Israel moves from place to place in the wilderness, Moses will declare: let God arise, and let his enemy be scattered, let those who hate him flee before you.

Prayer releases the power of God to aid us in our journey in life. It is a recognition of the supremacy of God. In the Garden of Eden, the devil was able to get Eve to reject the supremacy of God and seek supremacy herself (Genesis 3). That was the beginning of a fall, and you start to rise when you say Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9-10).

We would not trust in the Lord with all our heart and not lean on our own understanding, and acknowledge him in all our ways when we are not do not see him as supreme, as worthy of our total trust (Proverbs 3:5-6).

If we do not recognise that we are empty without him, we would not seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that we who are evil know how to give good gifts to our children how much more would our heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him (Luke 11:13). But you cannot ask for what you do not think you need

When we ask for the Holy Spirit we express a recognition of the power of God, we express an openness to the workings of God, a need to experience the glory of God.

In prayer we are empowered to go to the next level. In prayer we seek an encounter with the light of God, with Jesus the light, with the Spirit of revelation, we seek enlightenment, as Paul prayed that the church in Ephesus be given the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God (Ephesians 1:15-18).

We are constantly moving into new places, into new situation, even new days and we constantly need God’s help. When Jesus was in the garden of gethsemane, he did not go there to express objection to the will of God as much as to seek help from God to do him will, because of the new experience of dying on the cross, seeking God’s help (Luke 22:42).

Remember he said to God: let your will and not my will be done. That has a parallel in the words of the prayer he taught his disciples, thus: let your (God) will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Success therefore can be defined by the will of God getting done. There is hardly a more powerful prayer than saying: help me to do your will Lord.

Prayer brings a change of fortune. The widow of a prophet was about to sell her two sons to pay for a debt owed by her husband. It was not a good thing. She needed respite and she met Elisha for a solution. That, at that time was like seeking God in prayer. And Elisha gave her a prophetic word, and from a pauper she became a major oil seller of some sort (2Kings 4:2-7).

What about Hannah (1Samuel 1)? Her prayer was for a child and she got it. Before the birth of the child she was an object of mockery, and she felt life has dealt her a poor set of cards. But with prayer her situation changed.

Jesus taught on the central role of prayer in our lives. He told his people: men ought always to pray and not to faint (Luke 18:1). Jesus pushed the prayer mandate saying: we should pray in the secret and with that we receive a big reward from God in the open (Matthew 6:6).

Jesus modelled prayer. The bible says he prayed all night (Luke 6:12), he also prayed early in the morning (Mark 1:35), he prayed when he was baptised by John. Jesus offered up prayer and supplication, to the one who is able to save him from death (Hebrews 5:7).

He sought the help of the Lord and he received it in abundance. And his mission on earth was successful. With prayer, light is released on our path, we are given special insight into the word of God, and we get to gain God’s interpretation of situations so that we can take the right step.

Baptisms

globe-140051_6401Peter 3:21: And also, corresponding to this, baptism now saves you, not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

The baptism which saves us, as explicitly declared in this verse, is not about immersion in physical water, but identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus in a spiritual sense.

It has to be spiritual because you were not even personally there when Jesus died, and the people to whom Peter wrote the words were not even there physically when he died. (They were there spiritually because of the eternal consequence of his death.) They were not even aware of it when it happened but through the preaching of the gospel, that was made explicit to them.

It is spiritual because God’s problem was not that man was unclean on the outside and needed to physical water to become clean, rather it is spiritual, heart uncleanliness because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. As we read: God looks at the heart, not the outward appearance (1Samuel 16:7).

The spiritual baptism we go through in Jesus is for us to become spiritually alive having been spiritually dead. So perish the thought that through some immersion in water you will be saved.

Remember that Peter, who wrote the focus verse, was in the audience, when Jesus said that if anyone believed and is baptised shall be saved (Mark 16:16) and he that is born of water and (even) the Spirit shall see the kingdom of God (John 3:5).

Therefore, for Peter, based on the focus verse, the issue of water baptism needs to be seen as both a spiritual and physical event, and that should be the template through which we should view baptism.

That is not to remove from the importance of water baptism, immersion in a physical body of water, but it is a severely limited view to assume that baptism is all about what is physical. The physical one is merely a depiction of the spiritual.

Without a grasp of the spiritual baptism, the physical one is without meaning. It cannot stand alone and it does not mean anything on its own. It is physical and at best it can only make you cleaner on the outside. It is therefore nothing more than wetness of the body without a new heart/life already within when it happens. I.e. the baptism is in the name of the father, Son and the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19) is invoked on the individual in recognition of what has happened on the inside.

A strong example is the experience of the house of Cornelius, who were baptised in the Holy Spirit as they heard the words of Peter (Acts 10).

Peter was aghast.

There he was still thinking that the gentiles might not be worthy of salvation, and he just heard them speaking in tongues. That must have shocked him out of his socks. And his reaction was that these people needed to be baptised in immersion.

It is clear that these people are already saved, as the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in their lives showed. Before the immersion in water they were already saved, and the water baptism is the public affirmation, incorporation into the church which showed that they truly were.

So though he prioritised water baptism as a practice in the church, the focus verse showed that Peter did not think that guaranteed people as saved, and that event in the house of Cornelius might have been a paradigm shift for him on the ways of God. It was similar to when Jesus said it is not what goes into the mouth that defile but what comes out of the heart in corrupted life.

Those who will be baptised in immersion should have already been saved i.e. experience the spiritual baptism of the identification with Jesus in his death burial and resurrection. This obviously exempts infants.

The writer of the book of Hebrews spoke of the doctrine of baptisms (Hebrews 6:1-2). What is stated above is one kind of baptism, that the spiritual baptism into the body of Christ should precede the physical. The former is the main priority, though the latter is also commanded and teaches great spiritual lessons about our identification with Christ as espoused in the first verses of Romans chapter six.

The third is called baptism in the Holy Spirit, also called “receiving the Holy Spirit.”

In the first baptism talked about by Peter in the focus verse, which is baptism into Christ, the Holy Spirit receives us into Christ as members of his body, as the water of regeneration. In the second baptism (which was third for the house of Cornelius and I also), it is immersion in water.

In the third, we receive the Holy Spirit, allowing him to control us and the control starts with new supernaturally-given tongues, since the ultimate control is the control of the tongue (James 3:1-13).

In the first he (Holy Spirit) receives us and we are born again, in the second the church receives us and we are water baptised, in the third we receive the Holy Spirit, yielding control to him, and he established his command and control centre for his work on the earth in us, through the facilitation and expression of his supernatural gifts in us.

In the bible Jesus associated the Holy Spirit with water (John 7:37-29). And Jesus said we shall be endowed with power after the Holy Spirit comes upon us (Acts 1:8). When he comes upon us (as we receive him) we are immersed in him.

When Jesus was baptised by water another kind of baptism took place, which is the Holy Spirit coming upon him (Luke 3:21-22). Though he was conceived by the Spirit just as we were at the point of salvation, he needed the baptism of the Holy Spirit to express the fullness of that on the earth. We also need to take the same path.

We are born of the Spirit at salvation, at which time we have the Spirit of Christ, for a new spiritual identity are new creatures (2Corinthians 5:17), but we need to be baptised in the Holy Spirit for our spiritual functioning, for us to flow out into the world with redemption power just as the people in the New Testament church. To reject the baptism of the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues, is to reject your spiritual functioning.

Jesus said that out of our bellies shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:38-39). That is the Holy Spirit flowing out of the belly of the believers. But it is not those who believe in Jesus only but they which also believe in the Holy Spirit, whom he spoke about.

If really you believe in Jesus you will believe in the Holy Spirit whom he spoke about, you will believe everything he says about him, believing in the possibility of the operation of the his power through you.

He does not just come so that we might have goose pimples, but to transform use us as God battle axe and mighty weapon of war (Jeremiah 51:20), to break the hold of the devil on many people.

Paul did not presume to move into the next level of God of God for him without the release of the Holy Spirit in Acts 13, together with Barnabas, and their movement was marked with signs and wonders. As they moved they led the converts in the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

It is clear that after anyone believed in Jesus in their ministry the next thing they did was lay hands of them for the experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Paul’s first question for 12 disciples he met in Ephesus was: “did you receive the Holy Spirit when you belied, revealing that the two (believing and receiving the Holy Spirit) should be twin events, separate, and one coming after the other in quick succession (Acts 19:1-8).

Understand that both Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the gifts of the love of God to us. In John 3:16 we read that God loved the world and to express that love, he gave us his begotten son as sacrifice. So everything in the word is offered the son for salvation, but only those who have received the son now have the right to receive the Holy Spirit, which can be asked for. Jesus said we can ask our heavenly father for the Holy Spirit and he will give us (Luke 11:13).

Salvation

goat-50290_640Acts 28:28: Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”

The theme of salvation is something that we need to continue to explore. It is captured in various analogy in the bible. It is seen as a well water; name of a person.

The bible says that with joy we will draw water from the well of salvation (Isaiah 12:3). A well has water and water quenches thirst.

In the book of Isaiah we are told to come, everyone who thirsts, come and buy milk and honey, without money (Isaiah 55:1). The point being made is that salvation is free.

But water cannot come into you by itself, you have to take it in, you have to recognise your need and go for it.

Jesus says that he is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6), but until you recognise him as such you will not be able to take advantage of the possibilities he offers for a brand new relationship with God. You will remain thirsty and die from it.

Let’s say that there is somebody who is not aware of his thirst, has no sense of thirst, then death is inevitable. It means he does not know he has a problem and he would die from it, from thirst.

That is why for us to embrace salvation, we needed to see our need, we need conviction. After Peter rose up in the 2nd chapter of the book of Acts to address a crowd of thousands, at the end of it, the bible says their hearts were pricked and they cried: what shall we do (Acts 2:37)?

The Holy Spirit had gone to work on the heart of the people. They saw their need, realised their thirst and they cried out for water. They realised they needed water that will quench their thirst for a relationship with God, the need to have peace with God, realising they lacked it and their religion was not enough to give it.

The Samaritan woman whom Jesus spoke with beside a well obviously had a thirst for God (John 4:1-31), which she tried to meet in various men. Jesus told her: the water I will give you will be in you a well of living water springing up into eternal life, and you will never thirst again. She knew she was thirsty, but did not realised where or who the lasting water is, as he comes day by day to the limited water which was symbolised by the well by which Jesus met her.

The bible says that there is no salvation in other, and there is no name given under heaven by which we might be saved, but the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12). Our salvation is in his very name which means saviour (Matthew 1:29). He was so named because he will save his people from their sins. There is no solution to sin in another, there is no forgiveness in any other.

What’s in a name? The name of Jesus is different. By his death, resurrection and ascension, by his obedience to God, he was given a name that is above every other name (Philippians 2:5-11). The bible says he who calls upon the name of the lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).

When you come to him, his name becomes your identity, as he becomes your saviour. When we believe, we embrace the fact that when Jesus died, you died in him; that means you were judged in him, and therefore have passed from condemnation to justification, all on the basis of a name, the name of Jesus, the saviour.

The Hebrew meaning of Jesus is Joshua, and Joshua brought the people of Israel into their inheritance. And Paul said that he commits the church in Ephesus to the word of God’s grace which is able to save us and give us an inheritance among those who are sanctified (Acts 20:32). These words (word, grace, inheritance, sanctify) captures the dynamics of salvation.

  1. Word

The word is the divine encoding. When God made man he gave him commandments, told him what to desire, what to eat, what not to do.

The challenge of the deception of the devil was to attack belief in the word of God (Genesis 3). Now in Jesus we have the word of God coming again, and the same challenge has been put before humanity. Now whoever believes in Jesus would not have to perish as we have everlasting life, but to not believe is to be condemned to death (John 3:18).

Adam and Eve perished for not believing God, but they believed in the devil when he said that they will not die if they eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9). Now we get to have life in us, as we eat the flesh of Jesus, as we believe in him (John 6:51).

  1. Grace

Just as salvation has to do with believing the word of God, it also have to do with receiving the grace of God. That we receive grace means we have realised that we need help. And that is our ongoing experience of the salvation provided in Jesus. We need him daily to receive grace from him. He is our saviour not just in an historic sense, but also in an ongoing sense. The bible says that Jesus is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through him (Hebrews 7:25).

When we hear the word, we are saved, and we come to the experience of the grace of God, and the transformative grace, and we also experience the grace of service.

The bible says that we ought to think of ourselves soberly because God has given us a measure of faith, adding that we have gifts which differs based on the grace of God given to us, and we are supposed to bless others with it.

From the application of that grace, the flow of that grace through us, we serve God’s kingdom. And as we serve we get to grow in grace (1Peter 4:10-11).

  1. Inheritance

When you are saved, you take your place in the body of Christ (Romans 12:1-7). Our inheritance is in heaven, but on earth we get to be faithful over little to qualify for ruling over much there (Luke 16:19).

Your inheritance today is your place or service, contribution and reward in the kingdom of God. It is the sphere of your dominion, and the expression of your divine gifting.

  1. Sanctification

Sanctification is about what your relationship should now be with the world, it is about a journey of personal transformation. Paul wrote that we all should know how we ought to keep our vessel (spirit soul and body) in holiness (1Thessalonians 4:3-5). Sanctification has to do with your dedication to the cause of God, and moving away from the love of the world. The bible says that we should keep our garments unspotted from the world. That is the call of sanctification, which is part of salvation, i.e. in an ongoing sense. Then we are in pursuit of the holiness of God. We are told that we are to be holy as the lord our God is holy (1Peter 1:15-16).

Speaking with new tongues

megaphone-150254_640Mark 16:17: And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;

The common denominator in everyone who is baptised in the Holy Spirit is to speak in new tongues.

The tongues allows us to go into deep realms of prayer. The bible says that we do not know how we should pray as we ought, but the spirit intercedes for us with expressions, longings that cannot be “intelligibly” articulated (Romans 8:26).

Communication with man is in the heart of God when he made him, but with the fall, man’s capacity to connect with God who is Spirit (John 4:24) was severally limited, but when the believers are baptised in the Holy Spirit, that problem is rectified as we speak in new tongues.

There is something illogical in speaking in tongues. That is why Paul said that when he speaks his tongues his natural mind is shut down (1Corinthians 14:2, 4, 14-15, 18), it is unfruitful, however when we speak in tongues we speak mysteries in the unseen realm even though in the earthly realm we are not making any sense at all (gibberish?).

When we pray in tongues we get to go build up ourselves, we increase our spiritual capacity, and no other form of prayer does that. Also that gives you the ability to pray without ceasing (1Thessalonians 5:17). It is with speaking in tongues that we can do that, in which you set out to pray bypassing whatever is going on in the mind, or not going on there.

Paul encouraged people to be filled with the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues as a consequence of that. He met some disciples in Ephesus and the first thing he asked them was: have you receive the Holy Spirit since you believe (Acts 19:1-7)? There is not a more important question we can ask people. Not: “do you enough money?” not: “are you well educated?” not: “are you for me or against me? Or: “are you holy enough?” If only this question was important to the modern day church leaders as it was to Paul, Peter and John!

Paul asked the Galatians church, when you receive the Holy Spirit, was it by the hearing of faith or by the works of the law (Galatians 3:2)?

Receiving the Holy Spirit is by faith. Though it seems that it was something that happened to the 120 people in the upper room and has been a source of confusion ever since. Do I wait for the Holy Spirit as those people did or what (Acts 2)?

Answer? Do not wait for the Holy Spirit to come to you. Why? He has come already. That was what happened at that time in the upper room. Peter said was Jesus pouring out the Holy Spirit. Now the Holy Spirit is active and as many who will receive him by faith, he will fill.

Understanding that the principle of asking and receiving (Matthew 7:7) still operates in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that we who are evil knows how to give good gifts to our children how much more will God give the Holy spirit to those who ask him (Luke 11:9-13). If you asked for the Holy Spirit prior to the event of Acts two, what do you think would have happened? Nothing. Why? The Holy Spirit had not been given.

John the Baptist introduced Jesus this way: I baptise you with water but he will baptised you with the Holy Spirit. After the event of Acts chapter two when anyone believe in Jesus hands are laid on her to receive the Holy Spirit.

To receive the Holy Spirit should be by faith. Faith is our divine lifeline for everything from God. You must put the principle of “asking and receiving” to work. That means you ask for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). Thereafter you must start acting as if you believe, speaking in tongues in faith. Yes, that is what I said, and not wait for any fluffy feeling. Faith in not feeling, but action based on what you believe, and this time around the action is speaking in tongues.

You act on the word of God that whoever believes in Jesus will speak in new tongues (Mark 16:17). That means there is a measure of the exercise of the will even in the experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Even after we are baptised in the Holy Spirit and we initially speak in tongues, we still need to be wilful about speaking in tongues going on from there. Some people wait for a special feeling before they can speak in tongues after the initial experience. They do not think biblically but emotionally about speaking in tongues. They should know that just as they spoke in tongues by faith in the first instance, they have to do so every day of their life.

Paul said that he speaks in tongues more than the people in the Corinthians church. He was not being boastful, but just impressing on them how a major part of his life speaking in tongues was, while charging the church to put it in its place and not abuse it.

He said: I will pray with my spirit and with my understanding also. We need to be deliberate about speaking in tongues, carving out hours for it, if we can, and the benefit are incalculable.

Not speaking on tongues makes some Christian feel like second class citizen and they fight that feeling, as they construct and affirm doctrines that seems to declare either that tongues have ceased or that it is just for some people as God sees fit, or that the Pentecostal move is demonic because it emphasises speaking in tongues. That feeling of being second class citizens is actually good, it is to provoke you from your comfort zone of the “sane state” of only speaking in words you understand when you pray.

Paul said that the gentiles receiving salvation through Jesus Christ in droves was meant to drive the Jews into jealousy (Romans 11:11). So instead of rejecting and opposing the whole issue of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, allow yourself to thirst for the experience of it. Enough of sitting on the fence and saying: “what will be will be.” Jesus had poured out the Holy Spirit thousands of years ago.

Jesus died thousands of years ago and you can be saved now by faith, keying into that experience. Jesus does not have to die for you again, before you will be saved. In the same way, he does not have to do anything more than he did two thousand years ago to have you baptised in the Holy Spirit, having released the Holy Spirit at that time. But there is everything for you to do in believing, just as you need to believe to be saved.

Both salvation and the Holy Spirit baptism are about experience in/of the Holy Spirit. There are different experiences of the Holy Spirit.

For salvation you confess Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-10), expressing faith in Jesus as saviour, which corresponds to what Paul said that if anyone does not have the spirit of Christ he is none of his (Romans 8:9).

For the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you utter things beyond your understanding, activating the experience of baptism in the Holy Spirit as you express faith in Jesus as baptiser in the Holy Spirit.