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February 27, 2024

THE BODY OF CHRIST - PART 4

 

Last week, we dived into the message that the Apostle Peter delivered on the Day of Pentecost - AS A RESULT OF THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT - AND 3,000 PEOPLE WERE BORN AGAIN!!!!!!  We talked about the effect that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit had on Peter’s desire and ability to preach that message he preached.  We talked about the fact that Peter was just a normal person, like we all are and the fact that he never would have been able to deliver a message like he did, without the BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.

 

Today, we are going to go a little further and discover some other things that were a direct result of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.  This area is a delicate one because a huge percentage of Christians have not been taught this - but it’s right there in the Word of God.

 

I’m going to begin with Acts 2:42-47 - “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers.  Then fear came upon every soul and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.  Now all who believed were together and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all as anyone had need.  So continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.  And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”

 

Now - 3,000 people had become Christians and had been baptized in water and had received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit!  So here were 3,000 new Christians, and the first thing that happened among them is that they began to FELLOWSHIP with one another.  That, of course, led to helping one another.  THE FIRST THING THEY DID IS TO BEGIN TO SHARE THEIR LIVES WITH ONE ANOTHER.  The church went from 120 to 3,120 in one day - and the first thing they did is get to know one another.  When it says that “they continued in the apostles’ doctrine,” it means that they had a hunger within them to get ahold of AND UNDERSTAND the way the apostles believed and how they walked the walk.  But, it also means they were helping one another get ahold of these truths deep down on the inside.  

 

Being with the fellow Christians became more important to them than anything else.  In other words, they felt like they had to be around people A LOT who believed the way they did.  BEING AROUND BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHIRST WAS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING ELSE.  I kinda’ think that they had the attitude within them of, “I’ve got to be around my brothers and sisters in Christ - because we all think the same way!  If I’m going to be around others who aren’t Christians, then I better be telling them what I’ve learned about what Jesus did for me and how it’s changed my life.”

 

In other words, becoming a Christian to these people after the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, was definitely connected to  FELLOWSHIPPING with other believers.  It was not just a “going to a church service once a week,” kind of thinking.  It was more like, “I AM PART OF THE BODY OF CHRIST - THEREFORE, THEY ARE MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS - I WANT TO REALLY KNOW THEM AND HAVE THEM REALLY KNOW ME,” kind of thinking - like eating together, praying together, helping one another, really, really, really caring about one another.  Does that mean that they were all instantly perfect in every way now?  No!  They were just normal people like you and me!  But they were interested in helping one another grow in the things of the Lord.

 

And - the last verse of those said that “the Lord was adding to the church daily those who were being saved.”  So obviously, these people were talking to their family members, the previous friends, the new people they were meeting - and DAILY OTHERS WERE ACCEPTING THE LORD!!!!

 

Therefore, one of the first things of obvious change in their lives, after the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, was LOVING THE BRETHREN!  I’m going to read John 13:35 - These are some words from Jesus - “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  SO - THIS BECAME OBVIOUS IN THESE BRAND NEW CHRISTIANS.  They began to see themselves in a BRAND NEW FAMILY - DIFFERENT FROM LIFE BEFORE.  Their Christian brothers and sisters became extremely important to them.  Remember, LOVE is one of those blessings which the Lord places in our new born again spirits, and, with the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit helps us ACCESS that wonderful FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT!  BUT WE HAVE TO BE WILLING!  ALSO REMEMBER THAT HE WILL NOT JUST WHOOSH DOWN AND OVERPOWER US WITHOUT OUR CONSENT.  WE HAVE TO SPEND TIME BASKING IN HIS PRESENCE AND OPENING UP TO HIM AND PONDERING ON ALL HE HAS DONE.

 

Now - one of the next things that began to occur after the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is that the Body of Christ began to do some of the same miracles that Jesus did, like healing!!!  I’m going to read John 14:12 - “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”  Now a huge majority of the Body of Christ cannot even begin to think about doing miracles themselves (like healing people - they think that’s for special ones who are in ministry - but not just the normal, average Christian!!!!  BUT JESUS SAID THOSE WORDS!

 

We talked last week about seeing ourselves as the NEW CREATIONS that we are - AND THAT MEANS THAT WE MUST LEARN TO SEE OURSELVES DOING WHAT JESUS DID - ALL OF US!!!!  That’s what happened to those first Christians after they had received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

 

Now this is really hard for many Christians to actually take in.  We think that miraculous healing is just for the ordained ministry to do - but that’s not what Jesus said.  Remember what I said earlier - that the word, ‘Christians’ actually means, ‘Little Christs’.  We have the ‘Spirit of Christ’ in our born again spirits and, therefore, after receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, we can access all that power that is in our new spirits.  Jesus actually said, out of His mouth, that His followers were to do what He did.  But it won’t happen unless we believe it!

 

I will never forget, after we had started our church in Kansas City, and were in our own building, my husband and I were listening every day to Andrew Wommack on the radio.  He wasn’t on TV yet then.  We were learning so much.  We contacted him and asked him to come to our church and he accepted that invitation.  He was preaching, and one of the guys in the service, went to the bathroom, and coming back, he fell and died in the hallway.  We had a couple of first responders in the service and they were saying that he was dead.  Andrew was told and, as he stood there at the pulpit, he started speaking to the man’s body.  I was standing over his body with the first responders and we were all commanding his body to come back to life.  THEN - HE OPENED HIS EYES AND HE WAS ALIVE AGAIN!!!  His name was John Taylor.  As I watched that man raise from the dead, that verse that I just read about what Jesus said - that we are to do what He did - came alive to me!  

 

John told us that, while his body was dead, he was standing before Jesus, and Jesus said to him, “John, I’m going to send you back for now, and I will bring you back to Me at a later time.  Look, at those people down there standing and speaking to your body!  I’ll bring you back later!”  I will never forget that moment!!!!!

 

Brothers and sisters - while we are in these bodies here on this earth, we are to do what Jesus did!  But it won’t happen unless we believe it!  We aren’t just helpless people.  I’m not saying that we are to see ourselves with some kind of pride - No - we are to see ourselves like Jesus said for us to - AS NEW CREATIONS - WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST!

 

The end result of that is that John Taylor was perfectly healed and traveled with Andrew for awhile and gave his testimony at Andrew’s conferences.  John has now gone to Heaven and is with the Lord.  Andrew just mentioned this ‘raising from the dead’ experience on one of his daily teachings last week.  He talked about it being his first experience of seeing that, and that it occurred in a church where he was preaching.

 

Now - let me make one thing clear - when we were standing there over John’s body, we were not begging God to do something.  WE WERE SPEAKING TO JOHN’S BODY AND TELLING IT WHAT IT HAD TO DO.  WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN AUTHORITY ON THIS EARTH IN THE MIGHTY NAME OF JESUS!

 

Let me just say one more thing about this.  We can use that same authority over our own bodies.  So many Christians are begging and pleading with God to heal them.  Listen to this verse - 1 Peter 2:24 - “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were healed.”  Did you get that?  “BY WHOSE STRIPES YOU WERE HEALED!”  He’s already provided healing  for us.  We have to believe and receive it.  So many Christians are begging and pleading with God to heal them.  If we are not receiving our healing, it’s not because God is ignoring us.  It’s because we are not seeing the truth - that He has already provided it for us - WE MUST OPERATE IN FAITH AND RECEIVE IT.  I have learned in my life that, if I am not receiving healing, it’s not because God is holding out on me - it’s because I am struggling with really believing that it’s mine, usually because my body still acts like it’s not healed.  This is a very delicate subject but it’s very important for us to get ahold of this truth.  Sometimes, if I am struggling in this realm, I just set aside some time to pray in the spirit and ask the Lord to enlighten me.  Now, I’m not saying that I’ve done it all perfectly - but I’ve had more success  in this realm, as I’ve walked through the years.  

 

[Now I’m going to say something here that really has nothing to do with the subject - it’s concerning what I was just saying about receiving healing - I have learned from Hebrews 11:1 a very important truth - It says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Hope and imagination are very closely related.  I personally have learned that, if I can’t imagine it already done - the thing I’m praying about, or asking for - then faith doesn’t have anything to give substance to.  I have to see it on the inside (that’s hope) before I can see it on the outside.  THAT REALLY IS THE FAITH LIFE.  This was a little diversion but I felt like the Lord said to throw this in.]

 

Now - back to what we, THE BODY OF CHRIST, are to do - WHAT JESUS DID  - I suggest that you read the whole chapters of Acts 3 and 4.  It’s about Peter and John going to the temple - and the lame man, who was about 40, and had never been able to walk, was healed!  Peter and John were there together but it appears that Peter did the talking.  I want to read a verse from that story.  It’s Acts 3:6 - “Then Peter said, ‘Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.’”  Peter was saying that he didn’t have a bunch of money but HE HAD THE POWER IN HIS BEING TO HEAL HIM.  Oh - that we would all just get ahold of this!  So, of course, the man was healed.

 

The man was leaping and running around and lots and lots of people were seeing and hearing him as he praised the Lord.  They knew that it was the man who had been lame - sitting  at the temple - begging for alms - and this miracle was having an effect on lots and lots of them.  So Peter responded to THEM and he preached the Gospel to them.  Now - the ones all in authority came and arrested them - but, from Peter’s preaching that day - 5,000  repented and gave their lives to the Lord!

 

Peter and John were put in prison.  The next morning, they brought them out and began to question them about, “IN WHAT POWER OR NAME THEY HAD DONE THIS.”  Then - Peter preached to them!!!!!  (That’s in Acts 4.)  The end result was that they let them go - and told them never to preach in that name again.  BUT PETER AND JOHN TOLD THEM THEY WOULD HAVE TO FOLLOW GOD - NOT THE RULERS!

 

Peter and John returned to the other apostles and told them all that had occurred - and all of them prayed a wonderful, wonderful prayer together!  (That’s in Acts 4.)

 

Now - I want to read this verse, which is right after they had finished their prayer together.  It’s Acts 4:31 - “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”   Now - as I have pondered on this verse, the Lord has shown me that there is great power in SPIRIT-FILLED CHRISTIANS PRAYING TOGETHER IN LOVE AND UNITY WITH ONE ANOTHER.  When the brethren are together in complete unity, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power and authority, with nothing hindering it, the Holy Spirit will be actively obvious in all kinds of ways.  In this situation, the place where they were was SHAKEN!  The Holy Spirit had already been in each one of them but this LOVING UNITY WAS THE HOLY SPIRIT’S INVOLVEMENT WITH ALL OF THEM AT ONE TIME.  Oh - that we would see this kind of agreement and unity and love today!!!!!!!

 

I’m going to quote a comment of Andrew Wommack’s about this verse, in his ‘Living Commentary’.  “The Holy Spirit’s control and influence over our souls and bodies fluctuates proportionately to how well our minds are renewed to His will.  In that sense, we can be more full of the Holy Spirit at one particular time than another, although the presence and power of the Holy Spirit does not come and go in our spirits.  Therefore, even after we receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, our souls and bodies will sometimes stray from the leadership of the Holy Spirit.”  I’ve talked before about the fact that, as we spend time praying in the spirit, we learn more and more - and the result is that we are getting more spiritual information into our minds - WHICH IS RENEWING OUR MINDS.

 

SO-O-O-O-O - THE THING THAT THIS PORTION OF SCRIPTURE IS TEACHING US IS THAT PRAYING TOGETHER IN PERFECT UNITY WAS A POWERFUL WAY TO TOGETHER BEING LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT - AND WE CAN LEARN FROM THOSE FIRST CHRISTIANS!

 

Now - I want to read a verse that are the words of Jesus  - Acts 1:8 - “ But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses for Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of this earth.”

 

Now I want to read Acts 5:14-16 - “And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.  Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”

 

Now - lots and lots of Christians are praying for there to be a breakthrough in this world we live in today - where the things about God and Jesus are just discarded from what is appropriate to talk about in public.  People are praying for there to be a huge revival all over the world.  I believe we all need to be praying for the SPIRIT FILLED CHRISTIANS IN THIS WORLD TO BEGIN TO GET AHOLD OF THE TRUTH THAT WE ARE TO DO WHAT JESUS DID, LIKE PETER AND THOSE OTHER CHRISTIANS DID!!!!!!!!!!!

 

It begins with just normal people, like you and me, getting ahold of what Jesus told us to do - and then getting brave enough, and in love with Him enough, to DO IT.  We have to soak in the Word enough to really, really BELIEVE that He has really put raising from the dead power and power physical healing power (for ourselves and others), in our spirits.  We also have to see that Holy Spirit prayer by ourselves and with other Christians is very powerful and we will begin to see people attracted to Jesus because of what they see the Christians doing, saying, and on and on.  

 

God wants what happened there in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago to happen all over the world - but it takes the co-operation of the Christians who have received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.  THAT WILL BRING OTHER CHRISTIANS TO DESIRE THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT - AND THAT WILL PRODUCE MORE MIRACLES AND MORE MIRACLES…………..

 

It isn’t enough to just get people saved - of course, that’s important - but we have to follow what the BODY OF CHRIST DID 2,000 YEARS AGO.  THEY RECEIVED THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT - AND THEY GOT  TO FOLLOWING THE THINGS THAT JESUS SAID TO DO -   IN OTHER WORDS, HE TOLD THEM - YOU GO DO WHAT I DO!!!!!!!!!!

 

Now, one of the other things we are to do is take authority over Satan and his demons.  The last verse of that portion of Scripture that I just read (it’s Acts 5:16) says this - “Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”  There are verses all through the New Testament that say that we are to use our authority over the enemy - but a huge amount of Christians do not exercise that authority.  That authority over the enemy can be in all kinds of circumstances.  I have learned through the years that the Holy Spirit will reveal to me when to speak in that God-given authority.  There have been many, many situations - but I’m just going to share one.

 

My husband had moved to Heaven and I was living by myself in a little apartment, in a large building containing many apartments, in Liberty, Mo., just outside Kansas City.  I lived on the ground floor and therefore, had a sliding door in my little living room, out to my little patio.  I had been at my sister’s house, with her and her family for dinner, after church on a Sunday.  We had the TV on and they  were talking about the bad weather coming - possibly with tornadoes.  I decided to hurry up with eating and get home before it came.  I got home, changed clothes, and went out on my little patio.   I sat in my chair and was just looking around as I prayed.  Then, after a little while, I looked up and I could actually see a TORNADOE  headed directly toward me.  I stood up, and I pointed my finger exactly at that tornado and spoke to it in the NAME OF JESUS, and told it that it could not come toward me.  I told it to turn away and GO AWAY!!!!.  I said it with authority - I REALLY BELIEVED THAT I HAD BEEN GIVEN AUTHORITY BY GOD ALMIGHTY - AND I WAS EXERCISING IT.  I stood there and watched that tornado turn and go another way!!!!!!  After I couldn’t see it anymore, I went in and turned on the news and it said that the tornado threat was gone in our area.  I will never forget that moment!!

 

I cannot tell you how many times through the years that I have taken authority over the enemy in all kinds of situations - family problems, disagreements, financial trouble, physical problems, and on and on and on.  The enemy comes to  steal, kill, and destroy - but the Lord has given us authority over all the wiles of the devil.

 

Now a lot of Christians do not access and use that authority because they think it sounds silly- like fairy tale stuff - or crazy imaginary stupidity.  BUT IT’S THE TRUTH OF THE WORD OF GOD.  BUT YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE IT - IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE IT, IT WON’T WORK FOR YOU.

 

For me, getting ahold of this authority over the enemy, speaking healing over myself and others, praying with other spirit-filled believers and seeing miracles as a result, speaking to other people regarding the TRUTH OF THE WORD OF GOD, and seeing miraculous changes take place, and having a GOD-GIVEN LOVE AND FELLOWSHIP WITH CHISTIAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS - FOR ME - IS THE RESULT OF  RECEIVING THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.

 

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit was an open door for me to see the will of the Lord and understand how God thinks and does things.  It was also  a learning process about how trusting and obeying the Lord was connected to faith and hope.  

 

Through the years, as I have spent time praying in the spirit, the Lord has shown me to take authority over the evil one in the lives of people close to me.  I have seen changes occur in lives.  Brothers and sisters - God has given us authority over Satan and all his demons.  The Baptism in the Holy Spirit has provided a way for us to receive information of what’s going on in the spiritual world so that we can use that authority and be used by the Lord to bring breakthrough into the lives of others.

 

So-o-o-o - to bring this to a close, these are some of the ways that THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT CAN PROVIDE THE WAY FOR US TO DO WHAT JESUS SAID FOR HIS FOLLOWERS TO DO!    We can’t do those things in our own human strength and knowledge.  But God won’t make us do it.  We have a free will!  We have to be willing to co-operate with God.  We do that by spending time praying in the spirit - and, thereby, receiving insight and wisdom and enlightenment and knowledge of His will - AND THEN TRUSTING AND OBEYING.  

 

ISN’T IT JUST THE MOST WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY THAT THE LORD HAS MADE AVAILABLE TO US - TO BE IN TUNE WITH THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE - HEARING FROM HIM AND BEING INSTRUCTED BY HIM!!!  WHAT A WONDERFUL PLAN GOD HAS FOR US CHILDREN - THE BODY OF CHRIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    

 

Scriptures for this lesson

Acts 2:42-47

John 13:35

John 14:12

1 Peter 2:24

Hebrews 11:1

Acts 3:16

Acts 4:31

Acts 1:8

Acts 5:14-16

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