What makes a Christian different from other religions, beliefs, and tenets? Jews keep all ten of the commandments, as do Christians, but this is not a difference. Christians believe in a Messiah, but, so do the Jews, Protestants, and Catholics; except Jews think the Messiah has yet to come. So what is special about a Christian?
We have to go back almost two thousand years ago because something significant happened that changed the world. A short time before this event, Jesus spoke with the Apostles and told them to wait in Jerusalem for a gift on high from Our Father. After giving them some further information, he ascended into heaven, from which he will descend in a future time.
On the day of Pentecost, all of them were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues, foreign (to them) languages, to the Jews gathered in Jerusalem for the Holy Day. Peter quoted Joel to the Jews there, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
From that day forth, the power of the Holy Spirit was and is available for all people on Earth. Even the psychologist, Jung, observed that there was an awesome power around and about people, which, at times, intruded itself into the dreams of people. Maybe his knowledge of the Bible influenced him, maybe he discovered what the Bible revealed.
In any case, the power of the Holy Spirit is there for the desiring, asking, and taking. What makes a Christian different from all others? They have been imbued, that is, been filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. How?
What is this Spirit Our Father has poured out?
Jesus told his disciples and us that the Father will send the Counselor, the Spirit of Truth that will testify of him. The writers of the Gospel, inspired by the Spirit of Truth, gave us The New Testament (from the root, testify). The prophets noted that Our Father would give His People a new Spirit and a new heart, upon which He would write His Laws so that they would be able to obey the Law.
The world would have no interest in the Spirit of Truth, but believers would not only know of the Spirit, but also have the Spirit within.
Jesus prayed that his people might be sactified by the Truth, which is Our Fathers Word. If the Spirit is Truth, and the Word is Truth, then the Spirit is the Word. So when a person is filled with the Word, he is filled with the Spirit.
What Our Father wants are believers who will be born again by the Word, Spirit, that will be first fruits of all He made.
We all know what we want to be free from sin, sickness, fear and death. Jesus has freed us from our sins by his blood. In almost every case, sickness is caused by sin. There are rare exceptions, that Our Father uses for His purposes. In almost all cases, fear comes from disobedience. The cause of death is sin. When we look from the worlds perspective, we know that we die from disease and sickness or from violence. But, the world does not recognize the true cause of sickness, violence and death sin. And, sin comes from the deceptions of Satan and his doctrine of death.
But, Jesus has set believers free, forever. And, where the Spirit of Our Father is, there is freedom from slavery to sin and fear. The faithful are doubly free, by Jesus and by the Spirit.
In reality, through Jesus and the law of the Spirit of life, believers are set free from an insidious law, the law of sin and death. The old law of the letter kills, but the Spirit bestows life. When Our Father wrote the commandments on stone for all to see, the children of Israel benefited greatly by their obedience. How much greater benefit will believers receive when they obey the Spirit, which writes the Law on their hearts and minds.
Spirit and Faith
A person must desire to be filled with the Spirit. Why would a person want to be filled with the Spirit? Obviously, they must know that the Spirit is available to all who want it earnestly. They know about the Spirit because they have studied the Gospel, which tells the reader that Our Father wants His People to receive and use His Holy Spirit. Their hearing, or reading, of the gospel produces faith because no one could desire the Spirit unless they believed, with their whole heart, that Our Father wanted them to have this gift.
Jesus said, Our Father gives His Spirit to those who ask Him for it, if they ask out of faith without any ulterior motives. The second thing a believer does is speak what his heart knows to be true. Believers know that the Spirit is available to all who want it; so they express that desire in prayer, with forgiveness. A person cannot help speaking what is held deeply in his heart, good, or bad. A faithful person articulates his profoundly held faith.
Finally, a person acts on what he believes. James says that faith without works is dead. Acting on what a person faithfully believes completes faith. You know, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The proof of the faith is in the doing. Of course, you might expect me to use this example, if you believe Jesus is the Lord, then the proof of that faith is keeping the day he is Lord of, the Sabbath.
If a person knows he is filled with the Spirit promised by Our Father, he will act on that knowledge. But, a person must have knowledge of the Spirit from the Gospel of Christ.
Sanctify means to make holy, i.e. purify or consecrate, to venerate. Sanctify means sacred, pure, blameless or consecrated, clean, innocent, modest, perfect.
From the beginning of time, Our Father predestined those He would call to be conformed to the very likeness of His Son, so he would be first born among many brothers and sisters. Without the Spirit sactifying many other believers, Jesus could not be first born, but an only child not something Our Father wanted at all.
Then Paul likens Gentiles to acceptable offerings, as Jesus was, to Our Father because He sanctified them by the Spirit.
The sactifying work of the Spirit enables a believer to obey the gospel of Christ and the Laws of Our Father.
Only the Spirit Can Put to Death the Deeds of
Mans Sinful Nature
Our Father gives His faithful followers the ability to put to death the sins of the body. While Jesuss death for our sins destroyed Satans rule over us, Our Fathers Spirit is the only means to destroy peoples proclivity toward sin. The Word acting through the Spirit enables a person to live by Our Fathers way. Those who are led by Our Fathers Spirit are sons of God, just like Jesus.
We did not receive a Spirit that enslaves us to fear, but a Spirit of sonship, where there is no slavery or fear, but only a longing for Our Father, Our Daddy. Our Fathers Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are Our Fathers children, and if His children, heirs and co-heirs with Christ to share in the blessing of the Kingdom of God.
Those who please their sinful nature, will be destroyed. So believers must be careful to please the Spirit to gain entry into eternal life.
Our Father said, Let there be light. And light was created. Our Fathers Word has tremendous power. The Spirit manifests the power of Our Fathers Word. Jesus used this power to do good healing, casting out demons, multiplying loaves and fishes, and more. Jesus preached the Good News, proclaimed freedom for the prisoners of the State and Satan, brought sight to the blind, and declared to Israel their sins by the power of the Spirit.
Pauls message was imbued with deep conviction and the power of the Spirit.
Paul prayed that believers would be filled with hope by the power of the Spirit. He propounded the fact that Our Father filled His followers with a Spirit of power to love and be self-disciplined. That Spirit teachers believers the vast depth of Christs love, which he demonstrated by his death for all.
Now to him by the power at work within is able to do far more abundantly than all we could ask or think. (Eph 3:30)
How to Receive the Spirit
As said above, a person must know about the Spirit from the Words of the Bible, and especially the Gospel. People must know that the Spirit has been poured out on all flesh and is available to them. Several examples of people in The New Testament would help.
Jesus received the Holy Spirit just after he was baptized by his cousin, John. The heavens opened up, the Spirit of God descended and lighted on him. Then he acted on the infusion of the Spirit and let it lead him into the desert.
Another time, as noted above, the Apostles were gathered together on Pentecost when the Spirit descended upon them with the sound of rushing wind and tongues of fire rested on them. Then being filled with the Holy Spirit, they began to speak in tongues. They acted on the reality of receiving the Spirit by speaking in tongues, and then Peter preached a powerful sermon.
As an aside, the Greek and Hebrew words for Spirit strongly suggest a powerful wind, in part.
After Peter finished his inspiring message, the Jews asked him what must they do; they strongly desired to be saved. Peter told them to repent, be baptized, and they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The hearers of the message of the gospel had the heart to believe the Truth. Then they had to repent, that is, they had to change from breaking the Law to being Law abiding.
Our Father gives His Spirit only to those who obey Him, keep all Ten Commandments and walk in the ways of the Gospel. This leads us the importance of Baptism.
But, more importantly, Baptism represents two vital requirements to receive the Spirit. After a person repents of breaking Gods Laws, he must be washed clean from the filth of sin by the act of Baptism. But, Baptism also represents being buried in a watery grave with Jesus in his death and then being resurrected with Jesus from the watery burial.
Next, they were instructed to be baptized, an act of faith. While the Bible doesnt say so, we must assume they, too, were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.
In another place in Acts, Peter laid his hands on a group whom Our Father called, and they manifested the power of the Spirit. Another time, Peter was preaching the Gospel to a Gentile group, when they suddenly received and manifested the power of the Spirit.
Manifestation of the Spirit
We know that all people on Earth have access to the Spirit from Our Father if they really desire it, ask for it, and obey Our Fathers Laws. Then, a person can manifest the Spirit to be used for good.
Some manifestations of the Spirit are messages of wisdom and knowledge, which the Spirit teaches the believer, not by human wisdom but by spiritual truth in spiritual words. Paul prayed that believers would be filled with the knowledge of Our Father's will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Only by the manifestation of the Spirit can a believer accept things from Our Father. Those who disdain the Spirit cannot understand that which is spiritually discerned.
Other manifestations of the Spirit are faith, gifts of healing, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in unknown languages and understanding these foreign words.
The Spirit is available to all, but received only by a tiny handful that desire it so mightily that they will strive to obey Our Father with all their hearts. Once received, a person can manifest that Spirit by faith.
Acts 1:8, 2:17, 4:31, 5:32, 10:38, Gal 3:5, 5:6, 6:8, 1 John 3:24, 5:3-6, Heb 8:10, 4:12, 10:22, John 1:4, 3:36, 5:21, 8:36, 11:25, 15:26, 14:26, 16:13, 14:17, 17:17, 1 Cor 2:4-5, 14, 12:7-11, 13, 14:24-25, Eph 1:13-14, 17, 3:16-21, 6:17, James 1:18, 2:14-24, 3:18, 2 Cor 3:6-11, 17, Rev 1:5, Rom 1:4, 5:17-19, 8:2, 13-17, 29, 10:17, 15:13, Col 1:3-6, 3:4, Mar 11:22-25, 2 Thes 1:7, 2:13, 1 Pet 1:2, Isa 11:2, Luke 1:17, 4:18, 1 Thes 1:5.
Verses for: Work of the Spirit
Verses PDF file: WorkoftheSpirit.pdf