[Word Count: 1072]
Talk is Cheap
I was raised in a denomination that talked a good game when it came to the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, the most mysterious and misunderstood Member of the GODHEAD (from a human perspective). Yet in the forty years i was an active member, i never witnessed any Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) being filled with the Holy Spirit of GOD.
Don't get me wrong, now; i know many SDAs who were converted: who had the Holy Spirit indwelling their hearts. Yet most SDAs i encountered were so cerebral in their approach to religion and so afraid of being classified as weird by their fellow Adventists that...
...well, you get the idea.
As an SDA i knew the Bible better than most American evangelical leaders, but i did not know the Lord Jesus Christ even though i genuinely believed in Him and expected Him to receive me should i die...and i suppose that's all that is demanded of American believers regardless of their denomination.
If you've read this series from Part One, however, it may have come to your attention there's more to being a Christian than just "believing" in Jesus.
"Doesn't the Bible say that a person is justified by Faith apart from the deeds of the Law?"
Aye, it does; yet Biblical Faith has a certain scent, if you will...a certain flavor and lifestyle that are unmistakable...an attitude that reminds one of Jesus Himself. It's pointless to say you are a believer in Jesus if you are not a disciple of Jesus. Furthermore, it's pointless to say you are a disciple of Jesus if no one can SMELL Jesus on you!
Take Judas Iscariot, for instance. By Christ's own words Judas was a devil who sold his Master out to the vipers who wanted Jesus dead in exchange for wealth (thirty tetradrachms: the price of a slave and well over two years of wages). That Judas was a "believer" in Jesus appeared to be beyond speculation (at the least the other disciples never questioned his loyalty). He followed Jesus, like the others. He preached the Kingdom of the Heavens, like the others. He performed miracles, like the others, and acted as treasurer. Judas Iscariot did everything you and i would be expected to do and more! So, what went wrong that wound up condemning Mr. Iscariot to eternal destruction???
Two things sealed Judas' eternal fate:
The Holy Scriptures, which are GOD's infallible Word, HAD to be fulfilled (Psalms 41:9; John 13:18). As i stated in Part Five, only the damned could conspire to betray and crucify Jesus; Judas was never really converted or saved, therefore only Judas could conspire with the Sanhedrin to put Him to death; In a city as large as Jerusalem the Sanhedrin's soldiers would've never found Jesus without Judas' assistance.
Christ said it: Judas was a devil (John 6:70). What is a devil? A devil is one who worships itself and places itself first above all. A devil is incapable of loving anyone more than it loves itself. A devil will not make any sacrifice or concession that doesn't benefit itself directly; and if you've lived long enough you've either met a devil or you are a devil. Robert Greene's "48 Laws of Power" publishes a detailed description of the kind of man Judas Iscariot was.
Contrast this with the eight Sayings of Jesus i've described in Parts Fifteen through Twenty-Two of this series; better yet, Contrast this with Jesus' own self-sacrificing devotion to His Father:
“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” -- John 5:19 KJV
“And He that sent Me is with Me: The Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.” -- John 8:29 KJV
“Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My Life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay It down, and I have power to take It again. This commandment have I received of My Father.” -- John 10:17-18 KJV
“And He went a little further, and fell on His Face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” -- Matthew 26:39 KJV
You may find the demands of discipleship intimidating and challenging, yet Jesus NEVER demanded anything of us that He Himself was not already committed to do.
Has one of your parents commanded you to die to fulfill their purpose? Christ's Parent did, and He obeyed, though the idea of evil men abusing Him repulsed Him immensely. Judas committed suicide--not in obedience to Jesus but because his arrogant ego couldn't deal with the shame the Devil heaped upon him after having deceived him (and possessed him) into betraying Jesus. The Devil was able to possess Judas because they shared the same self-centered nature.
What many of my Adventist brothers and sisters overlooked is that one cannot receive the Fullness of GOD's Spirit by [attempting to] obey the Law, but by Obedience to the Faith (Romans 1:5), which says "Christ is all the Righteousness I will ever need!" Trying to please GOD by your own obedience to the Law makes your heart self-centered instead of Christ-centered.
The Divine Spirit
Did i drift off topic, Dear Reader? Not at all; the spirit of worship, obedience and self-sacrifice for the Glory of GOD is the product of True, Divinely-given Faith that exists in the heart, and not just the mind. GOD gave up That which was EVERYTHING to Him to love you; and if you truly desire to be filled with His Holy Spirit, That Selfsame Member of the Eternal GODHEAD will inspire you to the same level of self-sacrificial love we see in Christ Himself.
Now as to all the other topics surrounding the Baptism in the Holy Spirit (the Gifts and Fruit of the Spirit, etc.), don't fret yourself over such things...
...the original disciples had no idea they were going to "speak in tongues"! Make the Enormous Love of Christ your focus, and you shall do well!