#361 Kingdom: Getting Started On The Basis Of The Kingdom
One of the amazing things about the Book of Acts and in some of the Epistles is the speed that some new believers came to maturity and began to function in power. Today it seems that after many years of being “saved” that believers have developed very little and are still quite immature. “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you” is little more than a distant dream. It is little wonder that many churches have rejected these scriptures as NOT being valid today. The “all these thing have passed away with the last Apostle” appears to be the only rational explanation.
With even a casual reading of scripture it is clear that these promises were for ALL PEOPLE AND FOR ALL TIME!
Act 2:38 And Peter said to them, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 "For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself."
Act 1:7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
Receiving the power of the Holy Spirit is just part of the “promise of the Father” that is available to ALL who have been “baptized with the Holy Spirit. This promise is for all people, for all time, that have repented, been baptized in water and have been baptized with the Holy Spirit. None of these provisions have passed away nor will they pass away during the church age. Therefore, if they are not being manifest today there must be a valid reason.
My theory is this; There is a valid reason and it is not too difficult to understand why! Something is seriously lacking in these initial experiences within the new believers which has affected the performance of the whole visible church. If we don’t receive the “Promise of the Father” we can’t expect its benefits! If we have failed to receive “Power when the Holy Spirit came upon us” we may logically conclude the problem is NOT with God but with us. If no one expected to receive “power” and the “other promises of God”, the fault must lie with the ministry that didn’t preach the fulness of the Holy Spirit. Of course if we preach that all these things have passed away, it is certain that no one will even expect to receive anything and exercise no faith to receive anything.
Therefore, getting new believers started on the correct path from the very beginning is the key to experiencing the promises of God and then come to maturity quickly. Otherwise they will be of no help in caring on the ministry and multiplying the church by demonstrating the power of the Holy Spirit. Powerless preachers beget powerless believers which results in a powerless church. This CANNOT be the church that he is building and therefore MUST be the church that men are building.
A very poor start, that is deficient in power, could be even lacking in a real conversion within the inner man. This lack of power should be the first indication that the person is only PARTIALLY regenerated. This lack of power has become so common in every denomination that it is accepted as normal conversion today.
Powerless people, who are totally ignorant of the promise of the Father, are readily accepted in the church as good members. Many are given important responsibilities but MUST carry out their duties in the flesh and must attempt to do the very best that the natural man can accomplish in natural ability.
This fact has NOT passed away; Those who are in the flesh CANNOT please God! Of course, if they can please the pastor or the elders they are acceptable to the church.
Multitudes are still trying to please God in the flesh and wondering why it is so difficult to gain the favor of God. Well, didn’t the prophet confirm that this congregation was going to walk in the “Favor of God?” Nevertheless, those who are in the flesh CANNOT walk in the “Favor of God” even if the “prophet” says they can! “Powerless Prophets” and “Powerless Apostles” are so common today that a normal one seems too extreme.
I have often wondered about my own attempt at ministry and why there is so little power manifested today in my ministry and the lives of those who believe through the word I preach. Has the Word of God failed? Obviously not! Then I must have failed to preach the real Word of God so that the believers have failed to receive the real conversion and the real power of God. If the believers continue to function in the flesh after several years, it is obvious that they have failed to be converted as far as the Kingdom.
If there is a lack of power there must be ignorance of the New Covenant provision. This New Covenant that is built upon better promises must include the Power of the Holy Spirit within its provision. The Promise of the Father IS the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and we are supposed to receive Power when the Holy Spirit comes upon us! ALSO, the Promise of the Father is the New Covenant! Then if we lack Power we also lack the provision of the New Covenant. If this POWER is by Covenant it is clear the problem is not on God’s side but ours.
In the last study we showed how the Kingdom, the Promise, the Holy Spirit and the New Covenant all are different viewpoints of the same thing and the full experience of these things is normal for the Christian Life. If we lack these things our Christian Life will reveal it. If we lack these things we also lack something within our conversion experience and our Christian Life will reveal it.
Regeneration is largely considered as one event when we receive new life from God. Some consider being born again as “regeneration.” The “washing of regeneration” is literally from the “ Greek- loutron” or ‘Laver.’ It is in the regeneration connected to the washing that we have difficulty.
The Greek - “Palingensiea” translated as ‘regeneration’ is made up of two words ‘palin’ which means ‘again’ and ‘genesis’ which mean “Genesis.” The beginning or birth. This certainly means returning again to a new beginning or a new birth or new Genesis. This seems straight forward until we add the “laver” or washing of the new beginning. It seems to say “Baptismal regeneration” which is rejected by most evangelicals.
However, if we could see the combination of ALL the Outer Court experiences as “returning to a new Genesis” it would be easier to accept.
Strong’s number 3067 translated as washing is also used in Ephesians 5:25 just2531a as Christ5547 also2532 loved25 the church1577 and gave3860 Himself1438 up for her, 26 so2443 that He might sanctify37 her, having cleansed2511 her by the washing3067 of water5204 with the word4487,27 that He might present3936 to Himself1438 the church1577 in all1741 her glory1741, having2192 no3361 spot4696 or2228 wrinkle4512 or2228 any5100 such5108 thing5108; but that she would be holy40 and blameless299b.
Christ sanctifies by the “washing of water with the Word.” This obviously is not talking about ‘baptism’ even though he uses the word ‘laver.’ It appears this is a subsequent experience beyond baptism and has to do with the preparation of the church to be presented to Christ. This word is also used of a mundane washing of the nets or the washing of cups.
My point returns to “getting started correctly on the basis of the Kingdom of God.” For example; there is born again, born of the water and born of the Spirit to enter the Kingdom. I am assuming that these are actual experiences rather than just ‘principles.’
If my application is correct we may see that regeneration may not be progressive as some say but it is more than a nce for all time experience! In my theory regeneration is one total experience made up of various experiences which we are relating to the 7 Outer Court experiences. If this is correct we could say that the 7 Outer Court experiences relates us to returning to a new Genesis.
I would have difficulty accepting that being born again returns us to a new Genesis. Why? Because Adam’s expulsion from the garden caused him to experience much more that a dead spirit. There was a curse put upon him and besides that there was no more access to the garden OR to the Tree of Life. Adam had no more direct access to the Presence or the Voice of God. In the Tabernacle of Moses we could relate the Garden to the Holy Place and to the Torn Veil.
If His sheep hear His Voice, the ‘sheep’ should be in that place.
Of course this is the place we find the Lampstand Church which He is building. It is obvious that ‘His body’ will be in His Presence and hear His voice.