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Lowell Brueckner

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The Baptism in the Holy Spirit III


The Holy Spirit, miracles and supernatural signs in the epistles

coals of fire
“I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience – by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God – so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ.” (Ro.15:18-19)

“And my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Co.2:4-5)

“I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.” (1 Co.4:19-20)

“Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?” (Gal.3:5)

“Our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” (1 Th.1:5)

“How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” (He.2:3-4)

One would think that all Christians should want to take advantage of this baptism, along with the gifts that God has given to the church in order to function, but it is not so. Always, when there is a moving of the Spirit, there is opposition and the opposition does not come from the people of the world, but from the church itself. This has been the case in all revivals. We should know and be sure that, although a large part of the church has denied the power that God has granted to it, the enemy has not given any of his power away. His kingdom is threatened by a power that is greater than his.

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit II


“He who believes in Me (who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me) as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow (continuously) springs and rivers of living water. But He was speaking here of the Spirit, Whom those who believed (trusted, had faith) in Him were afterward to receive. For the (Holy) Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (raised to honor).  

John 7:38-39, Amplified

“As the Scripture has said”

I cannot find any single verse or portion of Scripture that Jesus is citing here. It seems to me that Jesus is not referring to one certain promise or prophecy, but to a spiritual principle of which the Old Testament Scriptures taught in many parts and many ways. The symbol of water meant much to the Jew. Israel is “a land of hills and valleys which drinks water by the rain from heaven, a land that the Lord your God care for. The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year” (Dt.11:11,12). Waters symbolize the abundant blessing of God upon His people. They are waters in the desert: “I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants” (Is.44:8). They are “deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through” (Ez.47:5).

There are two stories in the Old Testament that prefigure the Baptism in the Spirit. One has to do with the Israelites crossing the Jordan River. In Egypt, the blood of a lamb, sprinkled over the doorposts of a house, saved each Israelite from the death angel; they were able to escape Egypt and the slavery of the tyrant, Pharaoh, who symbolizes Satan. Their salvation was not complete until they miraculously crossed the Red Sea on dry land; when the sea closed, their old life was left behind. Israel’s liberation from the slavery of Egypt symbolized salvation from sin, brought to pass by the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Every Jew could testify that he had been saved by the blood. Paul called the crossing of the Red Sea “a baptism” (1 Co.10:2), because it signified a death and a resurrection into a new life. Only the miraculous hand of God saved the Israelites from death that day; however, afterwards there was another baptism.

The plan of God was not completed, when Israel arrived on the other side of the sea. Before them was a great desert, which they had to cross, living in tents. It was impossible that hundreds of thousands of Israelites could rest there, building houses, planting and harvesting. God had promised a land that flowed with milk and honey, and wanted them to enter there quickly.

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit I


Christ in us

The Christian life is supernatural, heavenly and spiritual. Its testimony is a mystery, “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col.1:27). This life can never function with merely human, natural capabilities. The great need these days are people, who know what it means to be under the direction and power of the Holy Spirit of God.

The apostle Paul wrote: “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh…” (1 T.3:16). This speaks of the great mystery of how it came to be that the eternal, glorious God, the Son, could appear in a human body. Of course, His body had been prepared and conceived by God, and was not corrupted by a fallen nature; it was without spot or contamination, without the possibility of sin.

However, our bodies have been conceived in a despicable and incalculably fallen state, and although we have been rescued, pardoned and cleansed, we continue to be imperfect, committing many errors. Isn’t it then a great mystery that the triune God can manifest Himself through us to a surprised world, which can see men and women living a supernatural life? Even though it is a mystery, which I cannot understand or explain, it is biblically true.

Revelation 4


The Creator’s throne

1.  After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”
2.  At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.
3.  And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.
An emerald
Jesus has given specific messages to the seven churches of Asia and has commanded John to write them in a book. They were read in those churches and preserved. The book of Revelation became the last part of the New Testament canon and the church down through the ages and in every corner of the world has had it at its disposal. We have had the privilege of participating and the eternal Word has spoken to us, as well. We have studied and come to the end of the messages, described as “the things which are” and now, we are able to go on. What follows continues to be for the enlightenment of the seven churches and for us.

The account changes dramatically, as a door is opened into heaven! This is an amazing development because, never before in all of Scripture has an opportunity been given to look upon heavenly scenes. We heard from heaven from the beginning of the Holy Bible and anointed men of God delivered multiple heavenly messages. We have seen patterns and types of heavenly things. We watched as God ordained the history of the Jews, beginning with the calling of Abraham. We were able to appreciate literature, inspired by heaven. Then, heaven’s King, God the Son, came to earth, took on a human body, and spoke of heaven with a human voice to human ears. Apostles, eye witnesses of the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, taught us heavenly principles and doctrines, but now, at the close of Scripture, we are going to be able to follow John through an open door into heavenly scenes!

Revelation 3:14-22


The Church in Laodicea

14. And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.
15. I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!
16. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
17. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
18. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
19. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
20. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
21. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
22. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

The Amen, absolute authority

Laodicea, between Hierapolis and Colosse
It is probably the case of most, if not all, of the cities that we are studying, that their history goes back farther than that, which we have described. The cities of the seven churches of Asia Minor are built upon sites of earlier towns. However, we try to find a time, when these cities developed some kind of prominence or acclaim in history. Laodicea was earlier called Diospolis, the City of Zeus, and later Rhodas. Between 261-253 B.C., Antiochus II Theos, a Seleucid king, rebuilt the town and named it after his wife, Laodice. (Some of you may remember the Seleucid Dynasty that we studied in the book of Daniel.) He populated it with 2,000 Jewish families from Babylon, therefore many of its inhabitants were Jewish. At about the time of Christ and continuing into the times of the apostles, they sent 20 pounds of gold annually to Jerusalem for the temple.

Laodicea is the southernmost of the seven churches of Asia Minor, located 40 miles southeast of Philadelphia, approximately 100 miles east of Ephesus and only eleven miles west of Colossae. It lies in the valley of the Lycus River. Laodicea held little importance, until it came under the dominion of Rome, when it became one of the most important and flourishing cities of Asia Minor. In fact, it was the judicial center over 25 cities. It produced and exported fine, black, woolen garments and it was famous for its eye salve. As in Pergamos, there was a great medical school in Laodicea and not far away, in Hierapolis (which also had a Christian church, Col.4:13), there are thermal pools. The nearest modern city, Denizli, is four miles away.