by Anthony Connell, Elder, National Council.
I AM A CHRISTIAN – DOES GOD HAVE MORE FOR ME?
Surely if we have the Holy Spirit, ‘the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead,’ then we have all of God that is to be had. Some Christians believe that if I am ‘born again’ then that is all there is to have – ‘I have the Word of God to guide and inspire me to live a godly life.’ How important is the Word of God! We are transformed by the renewing of our mind through the Word of God. (Rom 12:2)
There are also other Christians who have been baptised in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues according to Acts Ch 2. Many of these Christians believe that they have received ‘the second blessing’ and that is all there is to have. These born again and ‘Spirit filled’ Christians can live fruitful lives as they seek to please their wonderful Saviour and endeavour to live out the Word of God – but is there more?
IS THERE MORE?
The Apostle Paul, talking to the Christians at Ephesus, says in Ephesus 3:16-19 NKJV “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” In verse 19 of the Amplified Version, we read, “That you may really come to know practically, through experience for yourselves, the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge without experience; that you may be filled through all your being unto all the fullness of God; may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself! “ Wow! What a promise! What an invitation from God!
ISN’T IT SELFISH WANTING TO INDULGE IN HEAVENLY PLEASURES?
I can assure you that our flesh nature and our adversary, the devil, won’t sit idly by as we seek to enter into this experience that Paul teaches us about. Jesus had the Spirit without measure yet He spent a lot of time in the presence of His Father, through protracted times of prayer, maintaining that vital union with the Father.
Jesus spent His life wanting only to please His Father. In John’s Gospel 5:19 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.”
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING MORE OF GOD?
Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 NKJV “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” If we are ‘filled and flooded with God’ imagine ‘the light’ that would shine from us, so much so that ‘men (people) would see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.’ It would be so obvious that something pure and wonderful inside us was issuing forth!
Another benefit would be that this delightful presence on the inside of us would cause us to want to praise and worship God for, “His loving kindness is better than life.” King David is a prime example of someone who experienced God on an ongoing basis. In return he wanted to make God happy. In Psalm 34:1 David says, “I will bless [make happy] the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” What a godly lifestyle!
As those under the new covenant, we all have access to the throne room of grace. The promise to the Church of Ephesus is the same promise to us. There is a dimension in the Spirit that Jesus Christ has purchased for us to enter into. He took away our sins on the cross so that we could be forgiven and was then raised for our justification. At Pentecost He sent the Holy Spirit so that we could receive power from on high and become effective witnesses.
HOW CAN WE RECEIVE THE ‘RICHEST MEASURE OF THE DIVINE PRESENCE?’
As we read Ephesians 3:16-19 we can see steps that Paul gives us to become a person ‘filled and flooded with God.’
In vs 16 – 17a We see that through God’s glory we can be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…….. A condition to experiencing an ongoing revelation that Christ is actually in us is that we are strong in our spirit.
The New Testament teaches us how to be ‘strong in the Lord!’ In Jude 1:20-21a NKJV Jude says, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God.” Again in 1 Corinthians 14:4 NKJV Paul says, “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.” We also know that the Holy Spirit gives us revelation of His word as we read or listen to it. Revelation inspires us and strengthens our spirit in the knowledge of God and His wonderful Son, Jesus.
I have found personal times of praise and worship to the Father and Son, very strengthening, as the Holy Spirit fills my spirit with Himself. The scriptures declare in Ephesians 5:18-19 NKJV “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,”
After being strengthened with might in the inner man, we are further empowered by ongoing revelation that Jesus Christ has made His home in our bodies; God is in me! The Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in His temple and I am the temple of the Holy Spirit. The word of God that I have studied over the years is now springing up within me – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” “Greater is He who is in me than he that is in the world”. “Who is it that overcomes the world? – even he that believes that Jesus Christ is the son of God.” Liberating, healing, empowering words are issuing from our mouths, all by the grace of God, for we are now living by ‘every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’
After ‘knowing’ Christ is in us, we experience His love; a love that surpasses mere head knowledge. This love delights in honouring and worshiping God and releases a passion to please Him. We have an increased capacity to love others because we know from Romans 5:5 NKJV “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Through our union with Christ we are producing beautiful fruit, we are trusting in Jesus and loving others and we ‘with all the saints experience what is the width and length and depth and height and come to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.’
We experience the promise that we become ‘filled with all the fullness of God.’
God longs for us to be filled through all of our being unto all the fullness of God with the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself. This honours God through our Christlike life, and we find God’s Spirit coming forth, empowering us to be effective in defeating the powers of darkness.
Be encouraged, for Jesus is not only the author of our faith but He is also the perfecter of our faith. If we fall we will not be cast down for the Lord upholds us with His hand.
In Jude 1:24-25 NKJV, Jude sums it all up,
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Saviour, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.”