Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. – Hebrews 13:8
There is a box sitting on a shelf in a pastor’s study. It is brilliant white and it is sealed tightly with a festive blue ribbon. A visitor to the office of the commander-in-chief of the congregation asks the pastor what is inside the box.
The pastor looks up from his desk at the box and smiles. “That’s where we keep the Holy Spirit.”
The visitor is startled. “Why do you keep Him in that box?”
The pastor replies, “If we let Him out He might tell us how to run this place and it might not be what the deacons and I have planned for our church.”
While this fictional conversation may be a bit facetious, it’s not that far from the truth. Today there are multitudes of congregations to whom the Holy Spirit seems to be more of a threat than a Comforter.
It is the mentality of some to view the first century outpouring of the Spirit of God with the resulting gifts of tongues, prophecy, healings and other miracles as but a one time event of the past. In the minds of these Christians, the Holy Spirit has entered retirement and is no longer operating with the same vibrant manifestations and zeal.
But the apostle Paul affirms that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. In the context of the text, (Hebrews 13: 7,) he is using this statement as a criteria for determining the validity of Christian leadership; Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct (verse 7).
The leadership of those first century church certainly believed that Jesus is the same then as He would be in the churches of the future.
John the Baptist declared that the Messiah Jesus would “Baptize with the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33) If Jesus truly is the same yesterday, today and forever then the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” that motivated the first century church is also available and ready to be poured out on believers today, at least on those who are willing to let God’s Spirit out of the box.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Do not quench the Spirit - I Thessalonians 5:19
Copyright 2013 by H. D. Shively
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