So what happens to us when we become followers of Jesus and we place our trust and faith in our Lord and Savior? Well, . . . Shhh!! Pssssttt!!! We get . . . presents!!! It's true!!
More on those in a moment.
God's Holy Spirit is THEE least understood entity in the Trinity. The entire Bible is about God and about Jesus but the Holy Spirit gets a few mentions here and there. I mean there are stories and parables about Jesus but, except for a massive showing by the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts, stories about Him are pretty much hit and miss. But boy, does that guy change lives!!
Paul Washer was talking with Todd Friel (of Wretched TV) at some event and related an experience where he spoke God's truth to a man in Alaska. Simply by having the man read John 3:16 a few times, and then think on it's meaning, this man received God's Holy Spirit the instant he believed. Watch this video of that story. John 3:16
A question for you. Is water baptism essential to getting into heaven? There are many denominations that say YES. Infant baptism IS practised by more than just a few churches. But is it essential? Can we get into heaven without water baptism? The answer is . . . YES.
Remember when Jesus was being crucified? The thief on the cross? There was no baptism in his case. The thief was nailed to a cross! Oh, and for all of you who think you have to say a sinner's prayer to get into heave? Nope. A prayer is not required to get into heaven either. No prayer was offered by the thief. Just a request.
"42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” - Luke 23:42-43
No a sinners prayer was offered. Oh no! And if we'd stop and think about it, having to say a prayer would mean that getting into heaven would depend on something WE did. That's not faith. That's like . . . well, witchcraft - something we say conjuring up spirits and making them do our bidding. No.
Look back at what the thief said. He acknowledge that Jesus was the Son of God "when you come into your kingdom." In verses prior to these two the thief had said he deserved his punishment and that Jesus was innocent. The thief figuratively laid himself at the feet of Jesus. And THAT is when the thief changed. That's when he gained access to heaven . . . when he believed and he repented. And God's Holy Spirit did that.
You know, there is one thing that is lacking in The Bible. Much like a letter or a text message, what's missing in the Bible is the inability to relate emotion or emphasis to what was spoken but then recorded in words.
When Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus about being born again, Jesus says, "no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit." I tend to think that Jesus actually said, "You must be born of water AND the Spirit." Emphasis on the SPIRIT! Nicodemus was very familiar with water baptism and perhaps was thinking that was all that was needed. But it kind of sounded like Nicodemus was not familiar with baptism by the Holy Spirit and Jesus was trying to tell him this. Does that make sense? Of course it does! Now, . . . about those presents . . .
"12 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
"4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines." - 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
I am amazed that more people are flocking to Jesus. The benefits are "heavenly!" Free room and board . . . for-e-ver. A supernaturally enhanced gift to use for the glory of God and absolutely no cost. And as if that's not enough, when this life if over, we get to walk with the creator of the universe and the author of the Bible. Imagine what it will be like to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear him tell a parable or two. I absolutely cannot wait!
I posted this song on a friends Facebook page this week. It's a good song to end this blog with.
I Can Only Imagine by MercyMe