Okay, so I confess, I am a book loving, book reading fool, a junkie perhaps. I have been slowly reading through "The Normal Christian Life", by Watchmen Nee. You know how it goes with me, I simply must quote from the book. But, before I do, I want to share a bit of something I have been processing lately. I have never been a part of a 'genuine' Charismatic church. My former church, declared that they were charismatic, but were minimally so. Played it too safe, in my current opinion. So, naturally, I have sought to explore and understand more of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the aspect of the tangible Presence of God in the person of the Holy Spirit. As I have come to know grace more deeply, I have just wanted all and every aspect of who God is in my life. This has been a wonderful learning process as well as an experiential delight from time to time, of which I want more and more of in my life!!
I have to say for awhile, I struggled in my mind to understand this dual nature of the Holy Spirit. As believers we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, which is AMAZING!! But, shouldn't that be enough? Well sure, it certainly is wonderful and the more precious of the deal, but for some reason we get more than that. We get to have an indwelling Spirit, always with us, and we can have the Holy Spirit poured out upon us. I am loving this! I am seeing it more and more and wrestling less and less with trying to wrap my mind around it. I always want to be able to understand what I believe and why I believe it, so I can explain it to others. I never want to base what I believe on experience alone, or other people's experience.
So what I am saying is, I finally had a clearer revelation of this truth. The Holy Spirit, in us, and the Holy Spirit upon us. I believed it all along when I first spoke in tongues, but I didn't 'get' it enough to be able to explain it. Or to have confidence in sharing about His tangibility as poured out, for myself. Does this make any sense?
Anyway, something just really clicked in my spirit when I read Watchmen Nee share on the dual purpose of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. Even though I had been hearing and seeing this truth, through listening to Rob Rufus and other preachers and experiencing this tangibility myself time and time again, it just now really clicked. Here's a bit from Watchmen.....
"...........let's consider something which lies at the heart of all our experience as the vitalizing power of effective life and service. I refer to the personal presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit of God.
And here too, let us take as our starting point two verses from Romans, one from each of our sections. "The love of God hath been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Ghost which was given unto us" (Romans 5:5). "If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Rom. 8:9).
God does not give his gifts at random, nor dispense them in an arbitrary fashion. They are given freely to all, but they are given on a definite basis. God has truly "blessed us with ever spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3), but if those blessings which are ours in Christ are to become ours in experience, we must know on what ground we can appropriate them.
In considering the gifts of the Holy Spirit it is helpful to think of this in two aspects, as the Spirit outpoured and the Spirit indwelling, and our purpose now is to understand on what basis this twofold gift of the Holy Spirit becomes ours. I have no doubt that we are right in distinguishing thus between the outward and the inward manifestations of his working, that as we go on we shall find the distinction helpful. Moreover, when we compare them, we cannot but come to the conclusion that the inward activity of the Holy Spirit is the more precious, for God only gives good gifts to his children.
Unfortunately we are apt to esteem our privileges lightly by reason of their sheer abundance. The Old Testament saints, who were not as favored as we are, could appreciate more readily that we do the preciousness of this gift of the outpoured Spirit. In their day it was a gift given only to the few - chiefly to the priests, judges, kings and prophets - whereas now it is the portion of every child of God. Think! we who are mere nonentities can have the same Spirit resting upon us as rested upon Moses the friend of God, upon David the beloved king, and upon Elijah the mighty prophet. By receiving the gift of the outpoured Holy Spirit we join the ranks of God's chosen servants of the Old Testament dispensation. Once we see the value of this gift of God, and realize too our deep need of it, we shall immediately ask, How can I receive the Holy Spirit in this way, to equip me with spiritual gifts and to empower me for God's service? Upon what basis has the Spirit been given to his children?
THE SPIRIT OUTPOURED
Let us turn first to the Book of Acts chapter 2 verses 32 to 36 and consider this passage briefly:
"This Jesus God did raise up, whereof we are all witnesses. Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath poured forth this, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Till I make thine enemies the footstool of they feet. Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified."
We will set aside for the moment verses 34 and 35, and consider verses 33 and 36 together. The former are a quotation from the 110th Psalm and of Peter's argument better if we ignore them for the time being. In verse 33 Peter states that the Lord Jesus was exalted "at the right hand of God". What was the result? He "received" of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost." And what followed? The miracle of Pentecost! The result of His exaltation was - "this, which ye see and hear."
Upon what basis, then, was the Spirit first given to the Lord Jesus to be poured out upon his people? It was upon the fact of his exaltation to heaven. This passage makes it quite clear the Holy Spirit was poured out because Jesus was exalted. The outpouring of the Spirit has no relation to your merits or mine, but only to the merits of the Lord Jesus. The question of what we are does not come into consideration at all here, but only what He is. He is glorified; therefore the Spirit is poured out.
Because the Lord Jesus died on the Cross, I have received forgiveness of sins; because the Lord Jesus rose from the dead, I have received new life; because the Lord Jesus has been exalted to the right hand of the Father, I have received the outpoured Spirit. All is because of Him; nothing based on human merit, but on the Lord's crucifixion; regeneration is not based on human merit, but on the Lord's resurrection; and the enduement with the Holy Spirit is not based on human merit, but on the Lord's exaltation. The Holy Spirit has not been poured out on you or me to prove how great we are, but to prove the greatness of the Son of God.
Now look at verse 36. There is a word here which demands our careful attention: the word "therefore." How is this word generally used? Not to introduce a statement, but to follow a statement that has already been made. It's use always implies that something has been mentioned before. Now what has preceded this particular "therefore"? With which is it connected? It cannot reasonably be connected with either verse 34 or verse 35, but it quite obviously realtes back to verse 33. Peter has just referred to the outpouring of the Spirit upon the disciples "which ye see and hear," and he says: "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified." Peter says, in effect to his audience: "This outpouring of the Spirit, which you have witnessed with your own eyes and ears, proves that Jesus of Nazareth whom ye crucified is now both Lord and Christ." The Holy Spirit was poured out on earth to prove what had taken place in heaven - the exaltation of Jesus of Nazareth to the right hand of God. The purpose of Pentecost is to prove the Lordship of Jesus Christ."
I know this is a lot to take in, but isn't it wonderful!!! A lot of people are afraid of this outpouring of the Spirit, but if they could just see that it is to exalt Jesus, I think it would be a different story. Are we not as Christians to exalt Jesus and to seek things above where Christ is? I want evidence both from God's word and in my experience!! So what if we have no experience of this outpouring aspect of the Spirit? Do we ignore the truth of it? NO! Here's what Watchmen has to say about our experience.
"If the gift of the Spirit depends thus upon the exaltation of the Lord Jesus alone, it is possible that He has been glorified and you have not received the Spirit? On what basis did you receive forgiveness of sins? Was it because you prayed so earnestly, or because you read your Bible from cover to cover, or because of your regular attendance at church? NO! A thousand times, NO! On what ground then were your sins forgiven? "Apart from the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins" (Heb. 9:22). The sole ground of forgiveness is the shedding of blood; and since the precious Blood has been shed, your sins have been forgiven.
Now the principle on which we receive the enduement of the Holy Spirit is the very same as that on which we receive forgiveness of sins. The Lord has been crucified, therefore our sins have been forgiven; the Lord has been glorified, therefore the Spirit has been poured out upon us. Is it possible that the Son of God shed His blood and that your sins have, dear child of God, have not been forgiven? Never! Then is it possible that the Son of God has been glorified and you have not received the Spirit? Never!
Some of you may say: I agree with all this, but I have no experience of it. Am I to sit down smugly and say I have everything, when I know perfectly well I have nothing? No, we must never rest content with objective facts alone. We need subjective experience also; but that experience will only come as we rest upon divine facts. God's facts are the basis of our experience.
Go back again to the question of justification. How were you justified? Not by doing anything at all, but by accepting the fact that the Lord had done everything. And enduement with the Holy Spirit becomes yours in exactly the same way, not by your doing anything yourself, but by your putting your faith in what the Lord has already done.
If we lack experience, we must ask God only for a revelation of this eternal fact, that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the gift of the exalted Lord to His Church. Once we see that, effort will cease, and prayer will give place to praise. It was a revelation of what the Lord had done for the world that brought to an end our efforts to secure forgiveness of sins, and it is a revelation of what the Lord has done for His Church that will bring to an end our efforts to secure the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We work because we have not seen the work of Christ. But once we have seen that, faith will spring up in our hearts, and as we believe, experience will follow."
This was such a clear simple explanation of the truth of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, that I had to share. It really produced a greater measure of faith in me and of confidence in this aspect of our christian lives! So who wants some outpouring.......................