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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

Sermon on the Holy Spirit 3.



The Essential Qualification To Be the Apostles


< Acts 1:4-8 >

“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’”



In God’s plan of salvation, the ministries of Jesus were absolutely required. The contents of these ministries were the baptism that Jesus received from John, His shouldering of the sins of the world and death on the Cross, and His resurrection. A promise was made between God and us that He would give the Holy Spirit as a gift to those who believe in this truth. The Holy Spirit whom God gives to those who have been forgiven of their sins is a gift that is permitted only to those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit exactly as set by God.

Acts 1:4 says, “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me.’” Jesus commanded the Apostles, “To receive the promised Holy Spirit, do not leave Jerusalem but wait.” Jerusalem refers to the Church of God spiritually, where the gospel of the water and the Spirit is found. Therefore, God commanded the saints of the Jerusalem Church to stay in the Church to receive the Holy Spirit.



The Holy Spirit Is the Gift to the Born-Again


The Apostles continued to hear the Lord’s promise that He would send the Holy Spirit to them. Acts 1:5 states, “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

We must realize that the Bible tells us that the faith of those who have received the Holy Spirit is not a result of their own acts or deeds, but it is a result of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit (Acts 2:38, 3:19). In other words, whether we can receive the Holy Spirit or not is absolutely depended on God’s established promise, and not on our own efforts or any spiritual achievements.

As written in the Four Gospels, the Holy Spirit comes inevitably to those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

The Spirit of God “is a gift permitted to those who believe in the remission of sin given by Jesus.” We can reaffirm in quite a many phrases in the Bible that the Holy Spirit descends on those who believe in the gospel of the baptism of Jesus and His blood. Those who have received the Holy Spirit in the Bible are the ones who believe in the gospel of the water and the blood as their remission of sin.

But from the main passage above, we can see that the power of this Holy Spirit is not for the flesh, but for world mission. “You shall be witnesses to Me.” The purpose of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, in other words, is to make us Jesus’ witnesses. And for us to become His witnesses means to become His workers who preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit for the rest of our lives. The saints already belong to the Holy Spirit and they are His servants. The Holy Spirit works with the gospel of the water and the blood. This is the power of the true gospel.

When we take a close look at the account on the first Pentecost in Acts 2, we can find that that the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the disciples was for them to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus. In the ministries of the Holy Spirit, the purpose of His coming must be found in the spreading of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

When it comes to the “Day of Pentecost,” we generally associate it with chaos, set loose the very moment the Holy Spirit descended. In today’s time, we associate it with the kind of gatherings where people are lying on the ground—on the pretext that when they received the Holy Spirit they would be filled by the Spirit, fall flat on their backs, and have fellowship with the Lord for days—levitating and shaking uncontrollably, with their hands as if they were shocked by electricity. But this is not the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not work like this. He works only with and with in God’s Word, especially with the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

Do you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that enables you to receive the Holy Spirit? Or are you still seeking after man-made methods to receive the Holy Spirit? Does the Holy Spirit come when people repent their sins with their prayers of repentance, or when they abandon their idols? Do we receive the Holy Spirit by praying?

What truly enables us to receive the Holy Spirit is the gospel that came about by the baptism and blood of Jesus. There is no other way but to know the gospel of the baptism and blood of Jesus, the gospel that allows us to receive the Holy Spirit given by God, and to believe in and accept this gospel into our hearts.

The descending of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of the Word of prophecy given through the Prophet Joel (Joel 2:29). And God gives the Holy Spirit to those who, now in this age, believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to those who believe in the gospel that has forgiven and blotted out all the sins of the entire world through the baptism of Jesus, His blood on the Cross, and His death and resurrection. You, too, will surely receive the Holy Spirit as a gift when you believe in the gospel of the water and the blood.



What Kind of Gospel Did Jesus’ Disciples Believe?


The disciples were the ones who believed in the baptism and blood of Jesus that He received and shed to save sinners. Why? The reason is well described in the passage from Acts 1:21-26. When the Apostles selected another Apostle to replace Judas, they selected someone who believed that Jesus’ baptism through which He took upon all the sins of mankind. In other words, having faith in Jesus’ baptism was the most important qualification for the disciples to be the supplementary Apostle. Of course, they had to believe in the truth that Jesus was the Son of God and had become the Savior of sinners. Here, we can know the faith of the Apostles. In short, the disciples of Jesus believed in His whole public ministries: His baptism, crucifixion, death on the Cross, and resurrection. Like this to become an Apostle, one had to believe in the baptism that Jesus received to take upon the sins of the world.

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To become His disciples in this last age, we, too, have to believe in the truth of the water and the Spirit. If people ignore any single element of Jesus public ministries—His being Godhood, His baptism through which He took upon the iniquities of sinners (Matthew 3:15), His bloodshed on the Cross, and His death and resurrection, then they cannot become His disciples. Do you believe in Jesus while ignoring His baptism? Then, you cannot receive the remission of sin, but will be destroyed as a sinner instead. For all of us to become Jesus’ disciples, we must believe in the baptism that He received and in the blood of the Cross.

To those who have the same knowledge of truth as the Apostles of God had, He has filled them with the Holy Spirit. Like this, we can also receive the Holy Spirit only when we have the faith that believe in the baptism that Jesus received from John, His death on the Cross, and His resurrection.

Before the advent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, the disciples had been weak and cowardly. But when God poured the Holy Spirit on them as He had promised to the Prophet Joel, they all became strong and bold to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit publicly.

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