Miracles rarely happen by accident. Miracles come by deliberate and active faith. Peter looked at the lame man at the gate beautiful and was conscious of the power that was his by the Holy Spirit as received in Acts 2. He instructed the crippled man to look at him – that is deliberate. He said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have, I give you.” Is it possible to be more deliberate or wilful? He possessed the promised Holy Spirit. He was possessed of the fact that God has promised by His word to heal the sick. He purposefully delivered the divine goods. “In the name of Jesus Christ rise up and walk”(Acts 3: 1-6). Because of the ever present consciousness of the Holy Spirit and the clothing of His power embedded in his being, Peter could speak as Christ would have spoken.
The same process of intelligent choice, consciousness of the endowment of power that was his possession, an innate knowledge of what the will of God was for the “about twelve” disciples at that moment, and the confidence in his engrafted ability from heaven to deliver the promise of God to them, Paul ministered from that overflow. Those facts exude from the text of Acts 19:1-7. The comprehensive teaching that took them beyond John the Baptist’s words, the decision to baptise them in water, the impartation of laying on of hands, and the resulting baptism in the Holy Spirit that immersed them all was wilful, deliberate and targeted. This is New Testament ministry.
It was nothing like a bungling through some minister’s manual instruction and, “Oops! Look what’s happened? A miracle! It totally took me by surprise!” Paul saw the situation, diagnosed the whole group, asked the question, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?” and immediately resolved the deficit. Moving in faith and in the Spirit always resolves the deficit of any status quo. In Christ the “status quo” that had been long held with all its deficits becomes the “status quo ante,” meaning, “the status that was previous.”
It is the consciousness of present indwelling power that makes the difference in ministry. Jesus promised this consciousness and ownership of power in Luke 24:49. “I am sending you what my Father promised. But stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” To be “clothed with” or “endued with” is the same word used as when one steps into a garment. Jesus said that those receiving the Holy Spirit as per Acts 2:4 would actually be stepping into and be conscious of the mantle of power that they were endowed with. It was to become part of their human consciousness. This is God’s promise. It is specifically for the expression of God’s power in the Christian life (Acts1:8).
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is the gift of God to those in Christ who ask. Anybody can receive. It takes character, however, to maintain the sharpness of that gift in use. Maintenance is the major issue. You may give me a brand new, top of the range Rolls Royce car. But if I do not have the currency with which to insure, service and purchase oil and petrol for the vehicle, the gift becomes an unusable burden.
Know this, that when the Holy Spirit takes up residence within you, He does so with the sole purpose of engrafting within you the character of Jesus Christ. And that character is one of power. Jesus Christ never struggled to get a good reputation; He had character. If you want to honour Jesus Christ, honour Him with your character. We possess Jesus Christ and are possessed by Him when we have His character. We can only maintain God’s gift with God’s character. Only your character can testify to the truth of your confession of faith in Christ and reception of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Ministry without the baptism of the Spirit is not ministry as Christ promised.
Other blogs by Keith Lannon:
http://lannononsamuel.wordpress.com The Prophet Samuel.
http://keithlannon.wordpress.com How Ephesus was taken for Christ.
http://thelonghaulwithisaiah.wordpress.com A long trawl through the book of Isaiah.