Full Version: Spiritual Warfare
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So much of life as a worshipper is about warfare. Our trip to Las Vegas really highlighted that--again. It was evident in the planning and coming into being of the conference, it was obvious in many of the details for us and for other people on the faculty, and especially for the couple who were the organizers.

Nowhere was it more obvious than in a class on spiritual warfare. And within that class, there was a wonderful object lesson in equipping the warriors. There was a really basic teaching on putting on the armor of God from Ephesians 6. And then, the teacher brought up a thorny issue and handled it with authority and skill.

Anyone deciding to take on spiritual forces surely needs better equipping than they first think, and they need some things that you can't buy at your local spiritual warfare store! Smile What army can fight without communication equipment? What army can fight without authorization from their commander in chief? What smart soldier goes into battle without knowing the enemy, the allies, the weapons, the plans, and the soldier's personal assignment? None!

What's first on the list? Well, after Salvation and an awareness of the need for the battle, many of us who've "been there, done that" would say the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, referred to after this as "the Baptism". Yes, a controversial subject, but one that we feel strongly about. The gifts of the Spirit are such powerful weapons against the enemy of our souls. The lists of gifts are sprinkled throughout the Bible, but what some consider to be the primary warfare gifts are found in I Corinthians 12. And among those is mentioned the discerning of spirits. Several other references are made to discernment and its importance to believers. Just that gift alone makes the Baptism mandatory equipment for believers who recognize the battle. We'll probably talk some more about the importance of the other gifts mentioned in I Cor 12, and their relevance to spiritual warfare.

I was asked to prepare some thoughts on the Baptism and am sharing them here.

What IS the Baptism in the Holy Spirit? That could be a month of teaching or a book even, but I only have 5 minutes. The Greek work for baptism means to completely immerse and to take on the traits of that into which it is immersed. Take a white napkin and immerse it into red dye or purple wine. It won’t be white any more. Baptized! Same word is used in Greek when a ship sinks and water goes into every nook and cranny. The ship has taken on the property of water, instead of the air that used to be there.

Why is the Baptism important? In Acts 1:8, Jesus said that in this baptism, when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, we would receive power to be witnesses. Power is a key word. (This is NOT the Greek word for authority. More shortly on that.) In this instance, the Greek word dunamis indicates strength or ability. The Strong’s Concordance first definition is “inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature”. If I’ve been immersed in and taken on the character of the Holy Spirit, the power is by virtue of HIS nature, not mine. This is also the root word from which we get dynamo. This Baptism is a power source—a dynamo—not just a blast of dynamite. Power source, not power trip! Hearing a dynamite blast is an experience, but being plugged into a dynamo is a life long change. No more batteries!! The other word for power deals with authority. We have both! Because we’re seated in Jesus at the right hand of the Father, we have authority. Because we have been baptized in the Holy Spirit, we have His strength to do amazing things, as Father directs, for the benefit of the body and people He is drawing, but not to put on a show. It is the singular tool in our tool-belt that will enable us to live holy and righteous lives.

Am I saved without the Baptism in the Holy Spirit? Absolutely, in my opinion. There are some who would tell you otherwise, but not by anything I can see in the Word of God.

Why should I want it? Why would you NOT want everything that God has for you? Our bishop is fond of saying "Yes, you’ll get to Heaven, but without this you’ll be tired when you get there." In Hebrews 11:1 we read that "Faith is the substance [or assurance or evidence] of things hoped for. Evidence or substance is "the stuff"; it's tangible, visible, real. If I tell you that you’re invited to dinner at the Thomas house, you don’t know if you’re going to really get fed until you get there and see the table, right? Putting the food-laden fork in your mouth and chewing and tasting is EVIDENCE that there was indeed a dinner for you. I have a friend whose house was filled with antiques. I'm a big man, and am a little reluctant to sit on antique chairs. If I wiggle the wrong way and a chair were to collapse under me, I would be very embarrassed, even more uncomfortable, plus I'd feel obligated to pay for the chair! When my friend walked into the room, an inch taller and weighing about as much as I did at the time, and then plopped himself down in one of the chairs, I then knew that the chairs would hold me, too. My total unbelief changed from hopeless to FAITH. I sat and was at ease. His sitting was the evidence--the substance--that proved the chairs would hold me!

We’re told in the prophets in only one place that God suggests that we prove Him, but I think Father would have us prove Him in this area as well! Jesus told us that Father answers prayers and that He gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask (Luke 11:13). We have only to ask! We have not because we ask not, isn’t that what James said? Do we ask, EXPECTING that our Heavenly Father will give us this Good Gift that He promised in the Word? And once we have received that gift, do we regularly plug into that gift, using that strength as Father intended, or do we put it on a shelf like a trophy? If you’re filled, have you ever spoken in tongues? If not, why not? Do you still speak in tongues?? If not, why not??? I feel as though Father would say He wants you to recharge your batteries and use the gifts He’s given through the Holy Spirit! Here is my pocket flashlight. I have the authority and strength to turn it on. If I choose to stand in the dark rather than use this little gift to find what I’ve dropped or where I need to go, is that wisdom? If I have the Holy Spirit and the promise of His gifts for the furtherance of His Kingdom and choose not to use them, is that wisdom? Pray. Receive. Use the gifts. Honor our God in it all.