By John Foll, finished writing on 5/27/2017 and 5/28/2017.
© Copyright 2017 John Foll
“But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 NASB.
This text is so true! This is very important! Walk in the light as God is the Light. Jesus is also the Light, the way, and the truth and the life and He came to reveal the love of His Father to the World. John 3:16-17; 9:5, 24:6; 12:46, 35-36; Hebrews 1:1-3; John 1:1-3. There can be no sweeter fellowship than the fellowship with Jesus and the Father, with the Holy Spirit, and with others who also have true fellowship with God!
The disciples of Jesus were learning of Him, but were bickering among themselves about who would be the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. See Matthew 18:1-4; Luke 22:24. But after Jesus’ death and resurrection, they were changed more into His likeness and imbued with His Spirit, and had fellowship with one another. Then the Holy Spirit was poured out on them in Acts 2.
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” Acts 2:1 KJV. Jesus’ disciples were following His command in Acts 1:4-5 to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on High. So they waited, expectantly for the promise of Jesus. They were in one place, and they were in one accord. They were of like mind, in ‘one accord.’ This made their fellowship sweet, a place where the Holy Spirit would be happy to dwell in, since God is love. 1 John 4:8. This is the way all will be, who have given themselves to God, towards others of like mind; they will be in one accord. This is the only real unity that can be had that is of any value, unity ‘in the Lord.’ Only God can bring about this unity! He brings about this unity among those who are obedient to Him and have yielded fully to Him, because the Holy Spirit is given to all who obey Him. Acts 5:32. And to those who would speak His words, He gives the Spirit without measure! John 3:34 NASB. All those who are God’s are heeding Jesus’ counsel that they should love one another, and are Jesus’ disciples. John 3:34-35; 15:8, 10.
What is the basis for true fellowship? “We who had sweet fellowship together walked in the house of God in the throng.” Psalms 55:14 NASB. This psalm is talking about the fellowship between fellow believers walking together in harmony, sharing the same beliefs, i.e. in ‘one accord’ like Jesus disciples in Acts 2:1 at Pentecost. ‘What fellowship has light with darkness?’ 2 Corinthians 6:14 NASB. That’s a good question! How can those who are ‘walking in the Light as God is light’ have fellowship with those who do not love God and do not devote themselves to Him? So true fellowship is between those who believe and devote themselves to God. “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42 NASB. Who are “they” in Acts 2:42? It says those who ‘gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.’ Acts 2:41 KJV. What did “these” do? They ‘continued steadfastly in the apostles teaching’, they studied and thought about what the apostles taught them and put them into practice. They had fellowship with each other, and ate meals together and prayed together. Their fellowship was based on the joy and gladness they had in Christ, i.e. they were “gladly” “baptized”, and steadfastly adhered to the truths taught to them by the apostles, which led to them walking in one-accord with each other. They had received God’s Spirit, the Holy Ghost. How do we know that they received the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit? Because in verse 38 of Acts 2 Peter says, ‘Repent and be baptized each one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:39 NASB. So all those who were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching, who had fellowship with one another with the breaking of bread and much prayer, were baptized by Peter or the other apostles and had received the Holy Spirit! They had had a wonderful change wrought in their heart and lives that was impossible for anyone to get by themselves apart from God. They received the infilling of the Holy Spirit as a pledge of their inheritance in Heaven, because they repented and were baptized! There is no good reason why this shouldn’t continue to happen this way now in our day! Paul here states this same wonderful truth that these early believers at Pentecost had: “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of Promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14 NASB. This statement by Paul shows that the Holy Spirit is given for your redemption and to seal you; your personal pledge from God of your inheritance in Heaven, reserved for you if you want it! See also 1 Peter 1:4.
Fellowship with one another:
John the Beloved is saying in 1 John 1:7 that if you want the blood of Jesus to keep cleansing you from sin, you must keep walking in the Light of God, allowing God to change you and remake you into His image. What image? Simply put love and obedience. Love is the fulfillment of the Law. Romans 13:10. If we have the love of God in our heart, we will have fellowship with one another. How do you get the love of God in your heart? First you must confess your sins to God and ask Him to help you. Then He will give you a wonderful change if you do not resist Him. Then you must continue to walk in this light, and go where He leads you, not struggling against His will or the truth He has revealed to you from the Bible or for your life. You must walk in the light, if you want the blood of Jesus to cleanse you from all sin! If any are not willing to do everything He wants, stop doing it, drag their feet, or stop asking for His help, they will no longer be walking in the Light, and will lose their ability of having sweet fellowship with the other true believers. If this continues the blood of Jesus will no longer cleanse them from sin. This is the progression. Unfortunately there are many who go to church who are no longer walking in the Light, as He Himself is the Light, or they are not fully walking in the Light of His love and truth. This is the cause of the lukewarmness that is almost universal in the Church which manifests itself. Those in this state are missing the divine spark of God’s love and willingness to obey Him in their life.
But if any want to have life, they will walk in the Light of God’s love, allowing Him to mold and shape them, making them a new creature! “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV. This is something no one can do by themselves, but if they want this, they will cooperate with God, and willingly give themselves to Him and desire to please Him. The only way anyone can have sweet fellowship with other believers, is to have God’s love in their heart and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Then the blood of Jesus will cleanse them from all sin, and they won’t be guilty of His blood, because they will be forgiven and be led by His Spirit, walking in the Light. 1 Corinthians 11:27. This is God’s wonderful gift that He gave through the gift of His Son, and through the gift of the Holy Spirit that He gives to His people. “Gathering them together, He [Jesus] commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” Acts 1:4-5 NASB. The Father promised to give all of Jesus’ disciples this gift, this promise is for you too if you want it! If you repent, wait and pray for this promise, you will get endued with this power! When you get this power, you will be able to go forth and preach God’s love to the world with the same power that Jesus’ disciples did in the book of Acts! This is walking in the Light, as He is the Light! This is the true fellowship with God and this is how you have true fellowship with His true believers! Amen.
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© Copyright 2017 John Foll
The Gifts of the Spirit are not gone from among those who have given themselves completely to God.
For over 100 years, God’s church as a whole, not as individuals, has been in a lukewarm state as Jesus predicted it would be in Revelation 3:14-22, before the Judgement. Revelation chapter 2 and 3 reveal to us that there are seven church “periods”, beginning with the Church in the book of Acts to the Seventh Church, just before the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the world. There have been more than one scholar and more than one denomination that taught this. We believe that God has given a measure of the Spirit to each of the Seven Churches in each of the seven ages, but not everyone has accepted the Spirit or met the conditions to receive the Spirit.See Joel 2 for the conditions: complete repentance.
* Proof that God’s church has been for over 100 years in a lukewarm state is outside the scope of this article.
* We believe that in each of the periods of God’s church there have been people who have had not only the Fruits of the Spirit, but the Gifts of the Spirit as well.
But to answer the question proposed on Disqus.com: ‘Did the gifts die with the Apostles?’ No! But it should be clear to all that there is something wrong with a lot of God’s church today, since they are not bearing the Christian fruits of the Spirit of peace, love, joy, faith, hope, self-control, etc. How do we know this? By their fruits shall you know them. Matthew 7:16-20. There is unkindness, lack of love, lack of peace, addictions, falsehoods, worldliness, strife, and wickedness, yes, even among those professing to know God and His Son Jesus.But many seek to excuse themselves and there are many false teachers that teach people to excuse their lack of love and godliness in their life, but the Bible is clear that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life – but only given to the humble and the penitent. Romans 6:23; Luke 18:13-14. Jesus clearly promised the Gift of the Holy Spirit to all of His disciples, which should be all Christians, since all Christians should want to be Jesus’ disciple, and they should all be filled with the Holy Spirit. If they really loved Jesus, they would be His disciple! Acts 1:4-5; John 14:16-17; Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16, Acts 2:3-4, Luke 13:26-33.
Jesus’ answer to the First Church of Ephesus gives us the reason why the Gifts of the Spirit are not apparently seen here in our day, to the same extent as in the book of Acts:Because God’s people have lost their first love for Him! Revelation 2:4-5. This passage also tells us how God’s church can get the Holy Spirit back … if they repent and do their first works. What works? By becoming truly converted and loving Jesus all the way, and He will give us the power to do His works. We cannot do this ourselves, we must submit fully to God, and receive this power from Him if we want it. Then we will preach the gospel to the world with great love, joy and power, and love our neighbor as ourselves! This was the church that started out strong in the power of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, but by the time Paul died and for sure after John the beloved died, the church had lost their first love for Jesus and His Father! And they also lost the full power of the Holy Spirit as well. The Church has yet to recover this full strength yet in our day. The book of Hebrews also gives us a clue too as to why many don’t have the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in their life, because of unbelief! (It doesn’t mention this specifically, but this is an application of what it says.) See Hebrews 3:19; 4:6, 22.
Those who have no desire to live by the gospel or to preach it to the world, or who have lost their first love for Jesus or never had it, cannot have the wonderful sweet promise of the Holy Spirit, nor the Fruits nor the Gifts of the Spirit either, unless they have a great change made in them willingly! But if they have a change in their mind and give themselves to Jesus all the way, they should receive the Holy Spirit in full. Note what Peter here says, “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:32 NASB. So we see here that the Holy Spirit is given by God only to those who obey Him (or want to obey Him), this implies that they have submitted themselves completely to Him. There is no middle ground here.
The Gifts of the Spirit cannot be the gifts of the Spirit, without the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I. e. if someone wants to have the Gifts of the Spirit, they MUST first have the Fruits of the Spirit. Their heart must be converted and completely devoted to God, if this is not the case, they do not have the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Or they do not want to obey God, Acts 5:32, or do not want to be Jesus’ friend and do all that He commanded, especially that we would love one another, and everyone in the world. John 15:14, 12-13. The full outpouring of the Holy Spirit is given on the condition of complete repentance and yielding to God. See Joel 2 and Jeremiah 31:31-34. There are popular teachings nowadays that say we don’t need to be concerned too much, if at all, about obeying God or wanting to live a righteous life, or even to make a full confession, and some imply that it is a sin to do so. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:20-21 KJV.
Unless a person has a desire to come clean with God, and make a complete repentance, they will never get the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit, nor the Fruits of the Spirit, nor the Gifts of the Spirit. God’s best gifts are only for those who love Him all the way, and more than anything and everything else.
But there is a false Holy Spirit out there, from ‘the father of lies’, and you can get this one quite easily without doing anything that Jesus or the Bible says that we should do, because it requires no cross to bear, and no confession to make, and no obedience to render. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-11. But we would rather have the true outpouring of the Holy Spirit and keep it, because as the song says, ‘‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word.’ By Louisa M. R. Stead. If any will repent, and get their first love for Jesus, and give their heart completely to Him, and want to obey Him and love to obey Him, they too can get this ‘promise of the Father’ that Jesus promised to all Christians! Jesus’ sheep will all hear His voice, and follow Him wherever He goes, want to obey Him, and they will have His Spirit and belong to Him and have life abundantly.
John 10:27-29; Romans 8:9,14; Revelation 14:4.
Jesus says, “'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 'He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.'”
Revelation 3:20-21 NASB. Amen.
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Peter said, “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:32 NASB.
So obedience to God is the condition for receiving the Holy Spirit! There is a true Holy Spirit, and there is a counterfeit. How do you know which Holy Spirit is the real Holy Spirit? If you are obeying God in what He has revealed in the Bible, or if you want to obey Him, He will give you the help you need and the continued desire to obey Him in everything He has said. If there is any resistance to what God has said, you can be sure that this soul does not have the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Acts 7:51-53. If someone is disobeying any of God’s commandments willingly from the Bible, you can be sure that they don’t have the Holy Spirit. The fake outpouring of the Holy Spirit is ‘another Gospel’ (2 Corinthians 11:4), and can never satisfy the soul’s longing for peace, love and purity that God placed inside of everyone. God never compels any, but only those who want to love Him, and want to serve Him and obey Him, will be given the Holy Spirit in full. Sometimes the soul doesn’t want all of this when it first starts out, but just wants to be clean and pure before God, but the heart will be given the desire to love Him, and serve and obey Him, once the soul starts to cooperate with Him, and decides that they love Him more and more! This is the sign that the Holy Spirit is taking up residence in full in their heart! There is no compulsion, but there is a very sweet, strong desire to serve and obey God once you get the Holy Spirit in full! There is a sweet joy in communion with God that none but those who have experienced it can ever know or understand. This helps the heart to submit and completely surrender to God. Then what joy and love and peace will flood their soul! Then no trouble or perplexity will ever be able to dim their love for God!
Peter was brought back to the Council and the high priest at Jerusalem by the captain of the guard in Acts 5:26-28, after God had delivered him and the Apostles miraculously from prison (Acts 5:18). “When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, saying, ‘We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man's [Jesus’] blood upon us.’” Acts 5:27-28 NASB. But Peter was filled with the Holy Ghost when he told them: “But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men.’” Acts 5:29 NASB and “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:32 NASB.
What was Peter referring to when he said that the Holy Spirit is given to all that obey Him?Obeying God in every way. In this instance Peter was referring to the command by Jesus to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20; Acts 1:4-5, 8-9), but more specifically in this circumstance it was: “But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, ‘Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.’” Acts 5:19-20 NASB. Now ‘the angel of the Lord’ can refer to God or Jesus Himself (one example of many is Genesis 22:15), but it can also refer to an angel, but the command by the angel of the Lord for Peter to preach to the people in the temple the words of life was a command from God none the less. The rulers and high priest of Israel didn’t want the Apostles to preach the news of Jesus dying on the cross, because it put them in the spotlight as murdering Jesus, the Prince of Life! Obeying God is not just the command to preach the Gospel to the whole world of God’s love, but is also for every word contained in the Bible, for all of it is love for the human race, because God is love, and all of His words are love! 1 John 4:8. Jesus Himself said, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ Matthew 4:4, which was a quote from one of the books of Moses (i.e. the Law), Deuteronomy 8:3. Thus to obey Jesus or God, means to obey every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God in the Bible. But this is the Law of love, as Jesus stated in Matthew 22:36-40! Jesus came not to do away with the Law, which is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your mind, and all your soul and to love your neighbor as yourself, but to fulfill it. He came to provide a way for us to keep the Law! “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17 NASB. And in Acts 1:4-5, 8-9, Jesus tells His disciples to wait in Jerusalem, until they receive the promise of the Father for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! Once they received this power from God, the Holy Spirit, they then had the power from God not only to preach the gospel of Jesus and His Father’s love for the world and salvation (words of life, Acts 5:20), but to live a holy life for God and to keep His law. This ability to keep God’s Law of love was prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-34, where God promised to write His Law of love in the hearts of His people, so that all of them from the least to the greatest of them would all know Him; and He would forgive their iniquity, and He would remember their sin no more! Thus we see that obedience to God and the desire to obey Him in everything He has commanded, is the requirement for the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit!
The idea that we can have the Holy Spirit, but not obey God in all that He has commanded in the Bible is another gospel than what Jesus, Peter, John and Paul preached, and another spirit! This another gospel is a lie from the spirit of the Father of lies, not the right spirit! The right Spirit brings obedience and peace, but the wrong spirit tries to get you to disobey God and bring you no peace.
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 KJV.
Those that love God will not get deceived by ‘another gospel’ from ‘another spirit’, and will want the real outpouring of the Holy Spirit, not the counterfeit.
In the same way as the Apostles were to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father for the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit, so we too in our day are to wait before the Lord for this full refreshing of the Holy Spirit, by making our heart right with God and with others by confession of all sin. Yes God has promised the Holy Spirit to all Christians who would repent and receive Him! Acts 2:38-39. Then we will receive this wonderful power too, and we will have the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit to help us keep His Law, and to proclaim His love to the world! Pray for it, seek for it, yield your heart to God for it, and you will be richly blessed with peace, love and joy, and the desire and the power to obey Him!
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