Monday, December 29, 2008

Foundations of the Spirit-Filled Life - A Preview

Have you ever wondered what it takes to do some of the things that the apostles did? Do you want to be closer to God, witness signs and wonders? The book of Acts, chapter 2 gives us all the information we need to know. Here are seven steps to becoming a Christian who walks in the ways of the first century Christians. How we take these steps is as personal and unique as we are, and ultimately up to the depth of relationship we have with the Lord Jesus.

Entering into the process of sanctification we find seven foundational steps for living the spirit-filled life. If we reject anyone of these, we will not be able to live in power and purity, nor sense the assurance of salvation, or effectivly perform whatever ministry God has called us to.

-1 Salvation through faith in Jesus – Acts 2:41(a) “Then those who gladly received his word.”

Getting to this step, for some, can be quite a long process, but Romans 10:9-10 is the bar that we must meet. We need to confess Jesus with our lips and receive Him in our hearts. This is only the first step because there is more to Christianity then just glorious salvation!

-2 Water Baptism - Acts 2:41(b) “were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”

Although I do not believe that water baptism is a requirement for salvation, I believe that it is an important step in growing as a Christian. Some see it as a step of obedience and others as identifying with the death and resurrection of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I view it as part of the relational "pie." This act/experience is an important facet of knowing and relating to our Savior. We don't have to have dessert with our salvation experience, but it sure does taste good.

-3 Baptism of the Holy Spirit – Acts 2:33 (b) “Received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit.

Step three is important to understanding the fullness of the godhead in us. The Holy Spirit is our comforter, our teacher; One who convicts us of sin and empowers us to do what the Father is doing. The Holy Spirit is a witness to the resurrection of Jesus. Without the activity of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives, our Christian walk is mostly a lot of lip service to the biblical belief system, and belief is not faith. A relationship with the Jesus, through the Holy Spirit; God's voice in our lives, God's power to preform the supernatural through us, and the seal and assurance of our salvation.

-4 Study - Acts 2:42 (a) And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine

Without putting on the mind of Christ, and having a "sword" that separates the soul from the spirit, we are bound to make mistakes and fall into sin. We will have little wisdom in times of trouble, and we may even lead others astray.

-5 Fellowship - Acts 2:42 (b) and fellowship,

We can’t be apart from the body of Christ endlessly. Even Paul while in prison “kept the faith.” Sure there are some that are isolated, but the norm is to be in a body and bear one another’s burdens, while showing kindness and love to the brethren.

-6 Communion - Acts 2:42 (c) in the breaking of bread,

Remembering Jesus is the bases of communion. Breaking bread can take many different forms, but it is the heartfelt remembrance of the work done on the cross that is central to this sacrament.

-7 Prayer - Acts 2:42 (d) and in prayers.

Prayer comes in many different forms. There is praise, intercession, seeking, directive and prophetic prayer. It is more than talking to God, it is deep calling deep; a place to hear His voice for your life and for others.

I am working on a new book which I hope will be available sometime in the early Spring. These previews are rough drafts of stories and biblical insights that I'll be including.

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