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Restoration of Presence as the First Priority in Discipleship
April 21, 2018      |     By: Sam McVay, Jr.      |      Category: Sermons

What changes people's hearts is the Presence of the Holy Spirit.  Sam points out that the restoration of this Presence is more important than learning principles and doctrine.

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Matthew 28:18-20
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in (into) the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The first action, according to Jesus, in making disciples is: “baptizing them INTO the name of…"

Christian baptism has represented some of the BEST and the WORST moments in church history.

The ministry of John the Baptist brought about an outbreak of baptism connected with repentance.

How was the word baptism used in that generation:

The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be 'dipped' (baptô) into boiling water and then 'baptised' (baptizô) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change.

Wherever John the Baptist got this practice the gospels tell us why he was doing it:
John 1:23-34
23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.)
25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know,
27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”  
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’
31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”
32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.
33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’
34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

John’s baptizing was a “revealing of Jesus” and a prophetic pre-cursor to the real baptism that was about to be released on the earth through Jesus which was a baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Paul’s experience helps us further in this regard:

Acts 9:10-19
10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”
11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying,
12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”
13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem.
14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”
15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.
16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so (1) that you may regain your sight and (2) be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose (3) and was baptized;
19 and taking food, he was strengthened.

Acts 19:1-7
1 And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples.
2 And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John's baptism.”
4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.”
5 On hearing this, they were baptized in (INTO) the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.
7 There were about twelve men in all.

The reality is that we have made “learning principles and doctrine” the first priority in discipleship.

Jesus and Paul made knowing the Holy Spirit in living presence the first priority.

True life-changing transformation comes only through the powerful work of the Holy Spirit though the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We are not to be “information dispensers” that make people think, but rather “presence dispensers” that causes people to transform.

The Lord is raising up a generation of apostolic and prophetic lovers of and ministers of His glorious presence in the nations.  

The first wave of the reformation was a restoration of the Gospel of Grace in the word of God.

The second wave of the reformation is the restoration of the Gospel of the Kingdom found in the Holy Spirit of God.

May we all step into the radical outbreak of presence based prayer, worship, community, and mission.

Engaging others with the Presence of God:
1 - Jesus centered gospel sharing
2 - Personal witness to experience with Spirit
3 - Heart-felt presence acknowledging Prayer
4 - Praise and Worship
5 - Prophetic words
6 - Interpreting the sovereign movements of the Lord in their lives
7 - YOU filled with the Spirit

Lab Time - Ministry of the Holy Spirit
Scriptural Experiences the Believer Should Expect from the Presence of God:
1) Conviction
2) Comfort
3) Communion
4) Communication
5) Confirmation

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