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Daily Bread - February 23, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 23 February 2017 12:41
Acts 1:5 - For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized
with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

Tongues: The Language of the Holy Spirit. (Part 1)

Tongues, which is the language of the Holy Spirit, finds its supreme
position as the sign and wonder that was used by God to introduce the
outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Yet, it is more than that because so much of
what God promised to do in the New Covenant was realized on the day of
Pentecost. While those in the upper room sat in expectation of the Spirit
of God being poured out upon all flesh, the invasion of Heaven came as the
divine expression of tongues. The disciples had tarried there waiting for a
power that superseded what they had already been given. They knew that the
Holy Ghost, Who would take the place of Jesus, would come and would lead
them and be their Teacher; but they had no idea the language that He was
going to use to communicate with them.

On the day that the church was born and the promise of the Father given, it
was with tongues, the language of the Spirit, that God announced this great
event (Luke 24:48; Acts 2:4). The testimonies of God concerning His Spirit
being poured out upon all flesh came with a sound from the belly that had
never been heard before: new tongues. The expectation of power from On High
found its crescendo in the utterance of this Holy Ghost language. The
disciples had heard from Jesus that the life of God would be expressed
through them with the thunderous roar of rivers; but little could anyone
have imaged that the great miracle and divine expression would have been
this supernatural utterance (John 7:37-39). The Holy Ghost was going to be
given as a proof that Jesus had been exalted to the right of God, but the
announcement of that event could have never been imagined (Acts 2:33). The
promise of the Father, divine power to be a witness, was heard and seen
when they were all filled with the Spirit and began to speak with other
tongues (Acts 2:4). Christ Jesus, the Baptizer in the Holy Ghost, poured
out His anointing without measure and gave the mantle of His power. This
was one of the first acts of His heavenly ministry - so sacred, so divine,
so precious, the speech of Heaven. The sound of the Holy Ghost given and
residing in those endued with power was more than could be thought of or
asked (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5, 19:4).

Tongues is the witness that we have received power to walk in the power and
authority of God. We refer to tongues as the initial evidence of this
Baptism into God the Holy Ghost that grows and matures in its expression as
we yield to God. We have been given the opportunity to learn to function in
the Baptism of His Presence, of His glory and His power. We have been
granted the divine ability to fully and accurately represent Christ Jesus
our Lord and His kingdom. As we yield to God the Holy Spirit, and give
ourselves to the operation of His power in our lives, the divine
expressions of God will grow and mature. The measure that we have received
of the Spirit is that of Christ Jesus. It is unlimited in scope and works.
Unlike that which was given to Elisha or the prophets of old, we have
received the ability to do the works of Christ Jesus and greater works than
these (John 14:12). The tongues that witness of all these things cannot be
separated from how they will be revealed and function in our lives. To make
tongues a moment of ecstasy in God, and not the very means by which the
Holy Ghost will train us, is a mistake.

The gift of tongues is the first utterance of the Holy Spirit that
witnesses of us having the rivers of God's life in us, and which also
trains us to more fully operate in these rivers of His glory (John 7:38-39;
Acts 2:4, 33). When the fire of God comes upon the life of man, its first
effect is heard in his tongue and lips (Acts 1:5, 2:3-4). These tongues of
fire fill every dimension of a person's being, and every syllable spoken
has its affect. The fire of God produces utterances from the heart that
teach men to speak out of the Spirit instead of the intellect, and bring
forth every divine utterance that will profit men (1 Corinthians 14:6).
Tongues is viewed as a kind of New Testament prophesy as explained by Peter
on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:13-19). Tongues is also a unique kind of
prayer that allows us to speak mysteries in the Spirit (1 Corinthians
14:2). It is an expression of the Spirit that strengthens God's servants to
do great exploits and builds them up in the ability to yield to God in
every way. The flow of these rivers takes on diverse expressions and will
also distill into utterances of prophecy, revelation, knowledge, doctrine,
and interpretation of tongues. These utterances that everyone can
understand come just as the tongues do -unknown to the speaker and as
absent from the intellect as the tongues themselves. However, the utterance
of tongues must remain the primary event; all these other utterances are
secondary.

Paul devoted an entire chapter of the New Testament to one gift of the
Spirit whose status among other gifts takes a predominate place (1
Corinthians 14). If its value and purpose in the church is to be properly
realized, then this is the context that it must be understood. Although all
the gifts, which are manifestations of the Holy Spirit, may be regarded as
"spiritual", Paul elevates tongues to the status of making it a synonym for
spiritual. In this expression, we find a key to walking in the unlimited
power vested in us by the Holy Spirit to do the works of Christ. Tongues is
more than an "utterance" gift; it has in its very expression the Baptism of
power.

The Greek word used by Paul to describe tongues is '??????????' which
simply means 'spiritual.' Translators added the word 'gift' which does not
appear in any Greek manuscript. The same word was used previously by Paul
to describe the words that we are taught by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians
2:13). The spiritual should be that which a person is so zealous to have
that they cannot live without it. We are supposed to be jealous over the
expression that declares that Jesus heavenly ministry has begun. With this
intensity of need and dedication to the things of the Spirit, Paul
introduces tongues, and how it is to function in the church. The Greek word
used to express this intense desire is 'zeloo' and may be translated
simply, 'earnestly desire'. Yet, there is more to the meaning of the word
than just a strong desire. There should be such a hunger and devotion to
having the manifestation of this Pentecostal glory in our life that we
ourselves become intensely devoted to the spiritual. Surely, nothing could
make us more effective soul-winners than the divine ability to look into
people's lives and speak directly by the Spirit to their need (1
Corinthians 14:24-25; John 1:47-49). If we are going to do this, then we
must know how to receive those things that are freely given to us by the
Spirit and be devoted to His teaching and instruction (1 Corinthians
2:4-13). We will not be properly yielded to the Holy Spirit to receive from
Him unless we have the deep emotion and commitment implied by the word
'zeloo'. Now, if we have such a deep desire for something, we are going to
certainly devote ourselves to obtaining it. The kingdom of God will not be
expressed without the manifestation of the Spirit; for the gospel must be
preached with the demonstration of the Spirit and power (1 Corinthians 2:4;
1 Thessalonians 1:5; Acts 1:8; Romans 15:19).

Although we should regard 'the spiritual' as referring to the vast
diversity of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit expressed through our
lives, still there is sufficient reason to believe that Paul uses 'the
spiritual' (especially in First Corinthians) to refer to the utterance of
tongues. There is no question that Paul takes the nine gifts of the Spirit
mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 and gives a preeminence to the gift of
tongues by devoting an entire chapter to explaining its function and
diversity. Tongues finds its supreme position among the gifts of the Spirit
as the most important signal and the dominate gift expressed on the day of
Pentecost. As it has already been said, tongues was the gift that was at
center stage in testifying to the promise of the Father and the rivers of
living water given to empower the church to be the witnesses of the
resurrection. There is one thing for certain: no one has the right to
exclude the gift of tongues from its central role in the birth of the
church and the activity of the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ. When Paul
describes its function in the church, he began with a command that it be
earnestly desired and concludes with a command that no one prohibit tongues
in any way. Along the way, he highlights the importance of the gift in his
own life proclaiming that he spoke in tongues more than anyone. Throughout
the chapter, Paul instructs the church about the diverse operation of
tongues, and how that tongues are to be used in: speaking directly to the
Father, excelling in the manifestation of the Spirit, prayer, singing, and
interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:5, 14-18, 27).
 
Daily Bread - February 22, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 22 February 2017 11:30
1 John 2:6 - He that says he abides in Him ought himself to walk also just
as He walks .

Part 2: Walking

Christ Jesus has given all men everywhere the invitation to come and abide
in Him (John 15:1-5). There is no salvation outside of abiding in Christ
Jesus (John 6:56, 14:17, 15:4, 6; 1 John 2:27-28, 4:13). If we have
responded to His call and are abiding in Christ Jesus, then we will live
like He lives. We will walk in the light just like He walks in the light;
for if we abide in Him, then we are even as He is in this world today (1
John 1:7, 4:17). If we have been born of God, we don't need anyone to teach
us this. The anointing that we have received teaches us that we must abide
in Him. Furthermore, we delight to dwell in Him (1 John 2:27; Psalm 40:8;
Isaiah 58:13-14 )!

In this modern age, a simple key stroke on a computer will result in all of
the scriptures defining what it means to 'abide in Christ', but men still
choose to define the life that is acceptable to God in their own way. Many
have been deceived to believe that they can live their lives according to
their own insights. There is a way that seems right to man, but when it is
not what the Holy Spirit directs, then it leads to destruction (Proverbs
14:12; Matthew 7:13). We can all be certain as to the direction of the Holy
Spirit because Jesus modeled the consecrated life for us. Worldliness is
not a part of His life. Living for one's own self-interest has nothing to
do with the life of Christ. The life of Christ is living only to do the
will of the Father, as it is revealed in His Word. Any kind of compromise
with sin is not a part of the life of Christ.

The life of Christ is filled with the goodness and purity of heaven, and
God demands that we conform in every way to the image of Christ Jesus
(Romans 8:29, 12:1). He has given us the opportunity to repent, to be
converted, and to learn to walk just as He walks. We are living in perilous
times. Everywhere men live very differently from that life shown to us by
Christ Jesus; and yet, they believe that they abide in Him. In these
perilous times, the voice of Christ Jesus, which cries out against a
rebellious and crooked generation, is regarded as the voice of mad and
angry men. Yet, the foundation of God stands sure. God has not changed, and
He will not be mocked (2 Timothy 2:19; Galatians 6:7). In His abundant
mercy, He has provided the salvation which we need in order to live life
according to godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4). We must take heed that we be found
in Christ (2 Peter 3:14; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:17). If we live in
Christ Jesus, then we keep His word; we walk as He walks; the Holy Spirit
teaches us and leads us; we do not continue in sin, we keep His
commandments, we have His Spirit; we dwell in God; He dwells in us; and the
fruits of His life are manifested in our lives (1 John 2:5-6, 27-28, 3:6,
24, 4:13, 15-16, 5:20).

The way Jesus walked received the Father's full approval as witnessed
definitively when God said, "This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well
pleased" (Matthew 3:17, 17:5). The whole life and walk of Jesus was found
in one single purpose: to live for and to do the will of the Father (John
5:30, 8:28; Hebrews 10:7). Those who follow Jesus, and live only to do the
will of the Father, walk even as He walks. These are the ones that will
hear the Father say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant", simply
because they are found to exist in the Son (Matthew 25:20-21; 1 John 5:11;
Matthew 12:50; 1 Peter 4:1-2).
 
Daily Bread - February 21, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 21 February 2017 08:59
1 John 2:6 - He that says he abides in Him ought himself to walk also just
as He walks .

Part 1: Abiding

The gospel message of "being in Him," is one of the most important in the
New Testament and is the chief theme of John 15. The two phrases "to be in"
(Gr- "einai en") and "to abide in" (Gr- "menein en") are, for the most
part, interchangeable as in John 14:10. The importance of being "in Him" is
highlighted by scriptures such as "If any man be in Christ Jesus he is a
new creature" (2 Corinthians 5:17, also John 15:4, 5, 7, 10; 2 Corinthians
5:21; Ephesians 1:4; Philippians 3:9; Colossians 2:6, 7, 10; 1 John 2:27,
28, 3:5, 6, 24, 4:16, 5:20). Similarly, we know that we are crucified with
Christ, yet we still live; but not us, its Christ who lives (Galatians
2:20). Also, we know that if one died for all, then all were dead; that we
should no longer live unto ourselves, but unto Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians
5:15). We have lost our lives that we might find them in Him.

The ability to abide in Him, which is the same as saying "to live the life
of Jesus" or to "behave just like Jesus", comes to us by the anointing that
we have received from Him. In fact, "abiding in Him" and having "the
anointing" are inseparably linked. The promise that God gave to anyone who
would believe was that we would be born of the Spirit, and subsequently,
Jesus would baptize us with the Holy Spirit (John 3:5; 1 John 2:27; Acts
1:8, 8:15-16). He promised us the same Spirit and the same anointing that
He was baptized with (Luke 4:18). The idea of abiding in Him is
communicated in a unique way in John 15 to help us understand how the
supply of His divine life flows into our lives. We learn that we can depend
on Jesus for everything that we need, and that without Him we can do
nothing. The life of God supplied to us by the Holy Spirit flows as the sap
of the vine, and through our intimate union with Christ Jesus, the fruit of
His life in is manifested in us. It is astounding to consider the
interdependency that exists in a vine and a branch. The life of Jesus is
revealed through us, to the world around us, as we abide in Him. In fact,
when Jesus said, "abide in Me and I in you", He was saying, "live My life
and I will live in you". As we abide in Him, the glory of His divine life
and love flows into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5; Ephesians
3:19; 1 Thessalonians 3:12). The miracle of salvation has supplied us with
an inseparable union with the Lord Jesus (John 15:1-6, 17:22-23; 1 John
3:23; 2 Peter 3:18).
 
Daily Bread - February 20, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 20 February 2017 13:17
1 John 2:5 - But whoever keeps His word, truly in him is the love of God
perfected. This is how we know that we are in Him.


The word 'agape' (love) is defined by the love that God has for us. The
usage of 'agape' in Classic Greek is rare. When it is found, it is neither
dramatic nor colorful. It was usually translated, "to like, prefer, be
content." However, when it appears in the New Testament Greek, it defines
the kind of love that the Father has for the Son, and the kind of Love that
the Christian should have because they are regenerated and given the Holy
Spirit (John 13:34, 14:15, 14:21, 14:31, 15:10, 15:12, 15:17, 17:23; Titus
3:5). This kind of love does not have a human origin, but is purely divine,
flowing both into us and out of us by the Holy Spirit. Raymond Brown
writes: "Agape is not a love originating in the human heart and reaching
out to possess noble goods needed for perfection, it is spontaneous,
unmerited, creative love flowing from God to the Christian, and from the
Christian to a fellow Christian." (The Epistles of John, pages 254-255)
Jeremiah writes, that love comes through a circumcised heart (Jeremiah
31:33). Proverbs say that God loves us as a Father loves his son (Proverbs
3:12).

Although, the Hebrew word for love is 'ahav' and is translated in the
Septuagint exclusively by 'agapan', another Hebrew word that expresses the
New Testament meaning of 'agape' is found in the Hebrew word 'chesed' in
Exodus 34:6. The Hebrew word 'chesed' can mean both 'lovingkindness' and
'covenant love', or 'loyal unfailing love'. When God Almighty revealed to
Moses who He was, He said I am "full of covenant love and truth". The
reading would be similar to that found in John 1:14, but instead of, "full
of grace and truth" it would be, "full of covenant love and truth" (Exodus
34:6). I believe that the biggest problem that many of God's people face
today is they do not know how to experience the presence of God which is
fundamental to the love of God flowing into them. The burden is upon the
pastors and leaders to teach people how to yield to the Holy Spirit, so
that they may enjoy the wonderful and all consuming Divine presence of God.

The love of God is perfected in the sense that the believer has come to a
place of complete surrender to the Holy Spirit, and has yielded without
reservation to Him. God's love does not need to be perfected, for it is
already perfect. However, for the Christian, becoming totally obedient to
the love of God is the key to knowing the fullness of God (Ephesians
3:17-19). The perfect love of the Father has been given to us by the
indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As we learn to yield to the Holy Spirit and
walk in love, we find ourselves always doing those things which please the
Father. Keeping His word and walking in love results in maturing in love;
and as a result, we say that His love is perfected in us.
The Greek word for 'perfected' is the past tense of 'teleioun' meaning
'complete, perfect'. The concept of being perfect in the New Testament is
first mentioned in Matthew 5:48 "Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is
perfect", also 1 Corinthians 2:6, 14:20; Colossians 1:28; Ephesians 4:13.
In Hebrews, perfection, or being made complete, was not possible by the
Law; but now has been supplied through Jesus Christ, the One who perfects
(Hebrews 7:11, 19, 9:9, 10:1, 14, 12:2, 23-24). The idea of walking in love
and being perfect are closely related in 1 John. In fact, one may also
understand walking in the Light as He is in the Light as equivalent to both
walking in love and perfect obedience to the Word, thus walking in
righteousness absent of sin and darkness.
 
Daily Bread - February 18, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 18 February 2017 11:23
1 John 2:3-4 - And by this we know that we know Him, because we keep His
commands. The one who says, I know Him, but does not keep His commandments,
is a liar; and the truth is not in him.

John uses several key words and phrases that are shown to be equivalent in
these passages: the truth, the word, the commandments of Christ Jesus which
are equivalent terms in 1 John 2:3-6. The consecration of God's people, who
are committed to Him and keep the commandments of Jesus Christ, is
describing the same thing as those who abide in Christ Jesus and walk with
God.

One of the first messages preached by Jesus was one that tried the heart
and the works of those that would say that they know Him. Jesus said only
those who did the will of the Father, and ceased from iniquity, knew God;
and warned that those who continued in their own way would hear the Father
say, "depart from me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you." (Matthew
7:23).
Jesus spoke a number of different times about the commandment that He
received of the Father to lay down His life (John 10:18, 12:49,50, 14:31,
15:10). Jesus also gave this same commandment and others to his disciples.
These commandments were directed at both their love for God and their love
one for another (John 13:34, 15:12, 14:15, 21, 15:10; 1 John 2:7-8, 3:23,
4:21; 2 John 1:5-6). The only legitimate response to God's love, as
underscored by Him, is obedience (John 14:15, 23, 15:10). Furthermore, the
love that Jesus described was not only a consecration to doing the will of
the Father, but to walking in a love that fulfilled all of the law and the
prophets (Romans 13:8, 10). When we understand that God's commandment to
love one another is to love as He loved us, we should also recognize that
He is describing divine love for which we will need divine power to
fulfill. Such a command to walk in divine love is only possible by being
made a new creation, and then yielding to the leadership and inspiration of
the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17; Philemon 1:6; Philippians 2:13; Romans
8:4; Galatians 5:16).

The key to walking in all the ways of God is to be ruled by divine love.
Divine love is also the means by which we dwell in God; and, in fact, step
into all of His fullness (Ephesians 3:19; 1 John 4:16). The only way to be
ruled by divine love is to first be committed to it, and then to allow the
Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us. If we are determined to obey God, then
the Holy Spirit will supply what we need so that we can obey from the heart
and fulfill God's command. Walking in the love of God should be the focus
and consecration of our hearts, for by doing so, we fulfill the whole Law;
and, obviously, fulfilling the whole Law is important to God (Romans 13:10;
8:4). To walk in love is to walk in the Light, which is the glory of God
being revealed in His people (2 Peter 1:3-4; 1 Peter 2:9; Ephesians 5:1).

The commandments of Jesus are not just a set of rules; but, rather, insight
to a whole new way of life that is possible only through the power of the
new creation. The word of God that created the universe will speak into
those who will receive, and bring forth those things which God demands. The
Holy Spirit that is given to us will then work to establish us in all that
God has spoken (2 Timothy 1:6; Philippians 2:13; Philemon 1:6). The New
Testament believer is called to obey God's commandments, and this obedience
is set forth as the proof of knowing God. There is a higher order of
commandments that goes far beyond the 10 Commandments of the Old Testament.
Through the divine nature, we are empowered to walk in all the ways of God
and fulfill all that is revealed in His Word (Romans 8:4; 2 Peter 1:3-4).
There are those who have wrongly assumed that obeying God's commandments is
somehow equivalent to 'legalism'. They would classify this essential
commitment as the "works of the law", but nothing could be more erroneous.
When we obey the Word of God, we are obeying God's commandments. One may
correctly view the Greek word 'logos' (word) as interchangeable with
'entole' (commandment), which are interchangeable in both the Septuagint
and the New Testament (John 8:51, 55, 14:23, 24, 15:20; 1 John 2:5).
Keeping all the words of the Lord Jesus is the same as keeping all of the
commandments of Jesus (John 14:15, 21, 15:10). The technical name for the
Ten Commandments is "The Decalogue," which means "The Ten Words" (Exodus
20:1, 34:28; Deuteronomy 4:13, 10:4). In Deuteronomy, for example, the
whole of the Law refers to "all the words of this Law," translated by the
Septuagint as "all these commandments." Also, the opening statement of this
verse serves to further equate commandment with word: "But whoever keeps
His words..." We are commanded by God to keep all the words of God, which
are His commandments. These commandments are not a grievous thing to do,
but are the ways of life and communion with God; for how can two walk
together unless they agree (Amos 3:3)?
 
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