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February 20, 2024

THE BODY OF CHRIST - PART 3

 

Well - last week we talked about THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT - really down to the nitty gritty - and some in our class, who had been desiring it, and yet had been struggling with it, RECEIVED IT!!!!!!  HALLELUJAH!!!!!

 

Again - I want to remind us all that I have called this series, “The Body of Christ,” because we are talking about what it really means to be The Body of Christ - those from 2,000 years ago and those of us today.  The Lord wants us to remember that it isn’t just a name for Christians - WE ARE ALL IN THE BODY OF CHRIST BECAUSE WE ARE CARRYING AROUND IN OUR HUMAN BODIES, THE SPIRIT OF JESUS CHRIST!  

 

Therefore, today I want to talk about what now is available after receiving the BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.  First, we’re going to look at an example from the Word.  I’m sure that we have all read the book of Acts and we’re probably familiar with what occurred.  I think that the Apostle Peter is a very good example to learn from.  This is the man that denied that he even knew Jesus Christ when Jesus was being crucified - 3 times.  Don’t you know that Peter was ashamed and embarrassed about that!!!!  Now here he is, preaching on the Day of Pentecost and 3,000 people came to the Lord!!!!!  HOW CAN THIS BE?

 

Well, this is the first thing that the Lord told me to share with you.  PETER HAD TO LEAVE THE PAST BEHIND HIM - ACCEPTING THE LORD’S FORGIVENESS AND FORGIVING HIMSELF - AND SEE HIMSELF IN A WHOLE NEW WAY - A PERSON WALKING AROUND ON THIS EARTH AS A PERSON CARRYING AROUND THE SAME ABILITIES THAT JESUS HAD.

 

There, on the Day of Pentecost, after receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, himself, he began to preach and it’s too long a message to read it all today.  You can read it in Acts 2:14-39.  I suggest that you do.  You will find that Peter quotes several verses from the Old Testament (and they weren’t just short little verses either).  Now he, himself, had just received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, when the other apostles did.  However, as you read it, you will see that it sounds like a teaching that he had spent a lot of time preparing.  Remember, they didn’t all have Bibles like we do.  They heard the Word of God, when it was preached in the Temple.  I personally believe that Peter was exhibiting a perception and understanding of the Scriptures that had not been characteristic of him before.

 

Now - I’m going to read two verses, one that I have read before - but it’s important to hear it again now.  The first one is John 14:26 - “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”  I believe that that is exactly what was happening to Peter that day.  The Lord was bringing things to his remembrance  - things he had heard Jesus say - verses that he had heard quoted in the temple, referring to the coming Messiah, and truth which all just came alive in him through the Helper, the Holy Spirit.

 

Now - the next verse is this - John 16:13 - “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears, He will speak, and He will tell you things to come.”  I believe that is also what was happening with Peter.  The Holy Spirit, the Helper, was bringing all the truth that Jesus had spoken to them into his being and it was coming ALIVE to him.

 

Peter was still the same man, on the outside, that he had been all along.  Now listen closely to this - the Lord revealed this to me a long time ago.  God knows us individually, down to the core of our beings, and always has.  He knows, when we are youngsters, what the plans are and the things we are going to do, and not do.  He knows the moments when we finally GIVE IN TO THE LORD (like Peter did) and He knows how we are going to react.  Even though Peter did not know about any of this - GOD DID!  God knew Peter on the inside, better than Peter knew himself.  THE SAME THING IS TRUE ABOUT YOU AND ME.

 

Now, if someone had been studying the 11 disciples of Jesus, the way they acted and talked and behaved, they would have never thought that Peter would be the one who would lead and speak the message on the Day of Pentecost - and 3,000 people would get saved.  

 

God knew me better than I knew myself.  I was a reader - I loved to read - and I didn’t mind being alone, as a little girl.  I was an only child until I was 9 years old.  I was an extreme introvert.  I’ve told you my story.  Then adulthood came, I had 2 eye surgeries, I met a wonderful man and fell in love and got married.  I had two children - the first one a year after we had been married and then the second child in the second year.  Through all of that, my husband felt called to the ministry so, by the time, the kids were 6 and 5, we were headed to Bible School  - the first year in Canada, and then the next three years in Colorado.  The last year of Bible School, he began to pastor a tiny, little church in the mountain area.  Then he graduated, and, after a year, was asked to come and pastor a little bit bigger church - still in the mountains - but a lot closer to Denver - this one had a parsonage to live in next door to the church.  I did not minister in the church at all.  However, I did become acquainted with some other women who were ministering to women - and I was asked to be on the team with one of them.  Her name was Nettie Miller - and her husband’s name was Jessie.  I began to learn a lot - I’ll tell you about Jessie another time.  However, I just helped people like Nettie - I didn’t minister.  

 

THEN - ONE DAY EVERYTHNG CHANGED!!!  I RECEIVED THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT!!!  I’ve told you my story so I’m not going to repeat it.  A whole new world opened up to me.

 

Now - after a period of time, the Lord began to stir up something deep inside both of us, about returning to our hometown, Kansas City, to be closer to our relatives.  Our parents were getting older and we just began to desire to move back.  We both realized that the Holy Spirit was placing this desire into the hearts of both of us.  We also wanted our children to be around their grandparents.  FAMILY IS VERY IMPORTANT!!!  SO WE DID!

 

We found a place to live, which had a very large basement, which was like a huge room in a house.  It didn’t look like a basement - it looked like a BIG room.  We got acquainted with people quickly - and we decided to start a church - in the basement.  We made coffee and water available on the counter in the kitchen and people loved that.  A lot of people started coming.   Within just a few months, the Sunday morning group was getting too big - so we transferred to a community center.  We met there on Sunday mornings and, after awhile, the Lord began speaking to my heart - now remember, I was an introvert, when it came to being in front of people - telling me that He wanted me to teach His Word.  I was terrified but I knew it was from God - it certainly wasn’t from my desire.  So I started a little women’s Bible Study on one morning each week.  We sat in a circle, at the community center and I taught.

 

Then - one morning (I’ve told you this story before) - as I was setting up the chairs for the class, the Lord spoke to my heart - and I knew that it was the Holy Spirit - and He said, “I want you to put the chairs in 3 or 4 little rows, and I want  you to stand up in front of them and teach!”  I was terrified!  But, since I had received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, I had learned that this was the way God operated - it certainly wasn’t my idea!  I was so scared that I would make a fool of myself - BUT - I HAD LEARNED THAT I MUST “TRUST AND OBEY - FOR THERE’S NO OTHER WAY TO BE HAPPY IN JESUS - BUT TO TRUST AND OBEY!”  

 

I obeyed - and when the ladies started arriving, they were asking questions about why the chairs were different.  I just told them that God said to do it this way. In my flesh, I was a nervous wreck, but I knew that I knew that I knew that God had told me to do it and I was determined to obey.  When everybody was there and it was time to start, I stood up and opened my mouth - AND ALL THE ANXIETY AND NERVOUSNESS COMPLETELY LEFT ME!!!  IT WAS LIKE I WAS A DIFFERENT PERSON.  IT WAS DEFINITELY A MIRACLE - A GOD THING!

 

Several months later, we moved into our own building for the church.  That’s another miracle for another time.  My ladies Bible Study grew and grew - then another miracle - I went on a Christian radio station with a daily program called, “Girl Talk.”  Then, I was asked to go to many other places in that part of the Midwest to speak at women’s meetings.

 

At that point, I started occasionally ministering in church with my husband.  We found a way to “Team Teach,” at times.

 

I’m telling you this in a little condensed version because none of this would have happened if I had not received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit -  JUST LIKE PETER WOULDN’T HAVE PREACHED THAT WONDERFUL MESSAGE ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST (AND 3,000 PEOPLE GOT SAVED) HAD HE NOT RECEIVED THE BAPATISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT!!!!!

 

Many, many Christians are not experiencing what God wants to do with their lives because they have not received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.  

 

Now, I’m telling you this because, after you receive this wonderful experience, you have to spend time alone with God.  You must not only talk to Him, as you do through prayer to Him from your mind - but you must spend time praying in the Spirit (or in tongues).  This way of communicating with the Lord opens up a whole new way of receiving enlightenment, wisdom, understanding, and not just for others, but for your own personal life.  It is a way that God has to communicate to you - His Spirit to your Spirit!  I had to learn this truth - and God told me to share it with you.

 

God has a plan for each of us - no matter how old we are.  There are things He wants us to understand, things He wants for us TO DO, things that will change situations in our lives, things which will bring wonderful experiences into our lives that we never could have experienced before.  

 

Now - think for a minute - Peter was just a human being - like you and me!  Later in that night, or even the next day, when he laid down to rest and sleep, can you imagine what he must have thought?  “God, You really did use me today - all those people accepted Jesus as their Savior - after the way I have messed up and yet You have forgiven me - look what You did!  Thank You - Thank You - Thank You - I love You - Oh Lord, help me be usable to You!!!!!!!”

 

Now, if Peter had continued to think about all the bad he had done, instead of the marvelous wonders that God had done through him that day, things would have been much different for him.

 

I’ve taught some other sessions in this class with titles of “Seeing Yourself As God Sees You,” and “Seeing Yourself As A New Creation,” and “Getting Acquainted With The New You.”  This is an extremely important issue.  If Peter had laid on that bed, or floor, or whatever he was laying on over that ten day period between the resurrection and the Day of Pentecost,  and had just concentrated on all the bad he had done, and let himself get into the mully grubs because of the mistakes he had made - he would not have been used like he was that day.  BUT HERE’S THE GOOD THING - GOD KNEW IN ADVANCE (BECAUSE HE’S GOD) SO GOD KNEW PETER’S HEART - JUST LIKE HE KNOWS YOURS AND MINE!

 

WE SURE DO NEED TO SEE OURSELVES AS THE NEW CREATIONS THAT WE ARE - IN THE BODY OF CHRIST!  I want to make a suggestion.  When the memories come up in your mind, and the pictures in your imagination, of the wrong decisions you have made, of the things you have done that hurt people, of the ungodly things you have said and done, any bad in your past - make a quick decision to dismiss that from your mind, and fix your attention on WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST - AND WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR YOU.  

 

Become so acquainted with the New You that you can just quote verses like this - 1 Corinthians 5:17 - “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.”  This isn’t a fairy tale - this is the TRUTH FROM THE WORD OF GOD!  

 

Here’s another one - Galatians 2:20 - “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

 

BROTHERS AND SISTERS - THIS IS THE WAY WE HAVE TO SEE OURSELVES.  One of the ways that we make this all come alive in our everyday lives is to quote these verses to ourselves outloud - then - make them personal - like, “I really am a new creation - Christ really does live in me - in my new spirit.”  

 

Now, here is something I have learned.  The more I ponder on verses like this, the more they become just the way I think in my mind (which is in my soul).  The Bible calls that “RENEWING THE MIND.”  I have quoted these verses several times in this class - but you’re going to hear them again today.  It’s Romans 12:1-2 - “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

 

Now - listen to this!  The more you renew your mind (which is in your soul), the easier and easier it is to see yourself as the NEW CREATION, as you are now - and to tell the truth, the easier it also is to know, deep within you - in your spirit - what God wants you to know and do.

 

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is the new inroad into the spiritual world that wasn’t there before for you.  Yes, you were born again, and you had a new spirit, but most Christians, who have been born again but have not received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, really don’t have much access into the spirit realm.  They read the Bible and they pray, and all of that is good, but, once you have received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, He is helping you pray in the Spirit (or tongues)  and opening you up to the spirit world, like never before.

 

It really is God’s will for every single one of His children to really, really, really have such a personal relationship with Him - and for each one of us to know that we know that we know what God wants us to do in our lives - no matter how old we are.  He has a plan - and He wants us to all know what it is individually for each of us.

 

I have learned that praying in tongues (or in the spirit), after receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, is the most important way of opening up the whole realm of the spirit.  We have a born again spirit, with all the wonderful things in it that were available to Jesus.  But I have discovered that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is the door that opens up that whole realm to us.  Now - I really struggled with this in the beginning.  Because I didn’t know what was coming out of my mouth - therefore, my mind didn’t know what to do.

 

Now remember - I just quoted Romans 12:1-2 to you and talked about quoting Scriptures that say who you are now, since you have been born again - and said that it is a remarkably wonderful way to RENEW YOUR MIND.  Your own ears hearing your own voice speaking the truths about who you are now - is an extremely powerful way to renew your mind.  Your mind is being taught by your own voice telling you who you are now - rather than who you used to be.  Your mind likes to bring up all the bad from the past.  But, when you fill your mind with who you are now, IT GETS RENEWED.  (Now, I have to say, I’ve never heard anybody teach that - I’ve just learned that from the Holy Spirit.)  

 

Listen to this verse from the Old Testament - It’s Isaiah 26:3 - “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.”  Isaiah is speaking to the Lord here and this truth is just as true for us today, as it was for those Old Testament people like Abraham, Moses, and many others, especially ISAIAH!!!!  They weren’t born again and didn’t have new spirits - but if they kept their attention focused on the Lord and what He had said and done for them, their minds wouldn’t  think the way the rest of the world was thinking.

 

As New Covenant believers - THE BODY OF CHRIST - we have a whole realm opened up to us through being BORN AGAIN AND BAPTIZED IN THE HOLY SPIRIT that the Old Testament believers didn’t have available to them.

 

Remember all those wonderful things that are in our new, born again, spirit.   I’m going to read Galatians 5: 22-23 - “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.”

 

Now - brothers and sisters - when we are born again, those wonderful things are in our new spirit - but they’re not in our soul (where our mind is).  So - when we receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, we have the ability to have a relationship, through the Holy Spirit, and easy access to all that is in our new spirits.  

 

I have personally learned that, if I am struggling with kindness, love, and on and on and on, concerning a brother or sister in Christ, I can get alone with the Lord, and talk to Him about it - then spend some time praying in tongues (in the spirit), and miraculously, the Lord allows me to actually think, act and talk in a loving way to that person, and about that person - WITH LOVE AND PEACE  ACTUALLY IN ME - I’m not just putting on a good show - it’s actually true and real within me.  I am actually at PEACE within me and I want what is good for that person.

 

If I’m having a day when it seems like I’m frustrated, or confused, or upset in some way - things seem to be going different that what I thought they would (and on and on and on) - if I just get alone and pray in tongues (in the spirit) for awhile - miraculously, as I fix my attention on the Lord with my mind - I have a peace that I cannot even explain just kinda’ overwhelm me.  Be careful where you let your mind go!!!!!!!  Your emotions and your body will react to what your mind is thinking about.  It is important to think about the FACT THAT YOU HAVE AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE AND YOU CALL HIM FATHER!!!!!!!!  HE LOVES YOU, AND IS ALWAYS READY TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOU.  What I just said is a very, very, very important thing and we all need to PONDER ON THAT!!!!

 

THAT IS POSSIBLE FOR ALL BORN AGAIN CHRISTIANS WHO HAVE RECEIVED THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.  IT WASN’T JUST FOR THOSE FIRST APOSTLES - IT’S FOR ALL OF US.  But, unfortunately, many, many Christians have not been taught the truth about this.

 

Now - for just a moment, I want to say that, if there is anyone here, who really hasn’t received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit yet, you don’t have to be embarrassed or upset about yourself.  I have learned, through the years, that one of the major reasons that people have trouble receiving, is that they just wait for God to miraculously cause words to come out of their mouth, through their mind.  They feel ridiculous to open their mouths and start to talk when they don’t what to say.  The Holy Spirit does not overcome you, and just do things without your cooperation.  I had to learn, myself, to just BELIEVE, THAT, IF I OPENED MY MOUTH AND JUST STARTED TO TALK, HE WOULD PUT A LANGUAGE IN MY MOUTH, AND I WOULDN’T HAVE A CLUE WHAT IT WAS SAYING.  

 

If there is anyone who would like to receive today, I would be happy to pray for you.  

 

But first, is there anyone who would like to give their own testimony of receiving last week?     

 

Scriptures for this lesson

Acts 2:14-39

John 14:26

John 16:13

2 Corinthians 5:17

Galatians 2:20

Romans 12:1-2

Isaiah 26:3

Galatians 5:22-23

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