“I Want My Miracle”: What Is the
Acts 19:1-7, Mark 1:4-11, Nazareans (Gospel of the Nazarenes) quoted by Jerome, Psalm 29
Willing to Settle for Less?
What are you willing to settle for? If you’re like most, far less than you deserve. I ordered a steak at a well-known steakhouse. The waiter said, “How would you like that cooked, sir?” “Medium rare,” was my answer. When the steak came, it looked like it was par boiled. The waiter wanted to rush off as fast as he could, but I shouted, “Wait a minute.” He came back, and I cut the steak in half. “Does this look ‘medium rare’ to you?” “No, sir,” he said. “Then take it back and bring me one medium rare.” And that’s what I eventually got. I wasn’t being cruel, only assertive. Why accept less than we deserve or pay for?
In regards to gifts that we aren’t satisfied with, sometimes we think, “Well, it’s only a gift – someone else paid for it,” and we remember the saying, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” When someone else pays, that’s all the more reason to look that horse in the mouth. If somebody took time to pick out something for you and pay for it, then they care enough about you to want your satisfaction. It’s important to be as thankful as possible, as satisfied as possible, and use the gift as often as possible. You get blessed and so does the person who cared enough to give. Always look a gift horse in the mouth!
That goes for advice as well. If advice is well meaning and insistent, maybe it’s not just ‘advice,’ but a word from Yahweh for you. You’d better listen. After all, Yahweh foreknew you and sent his Son to pay the price for your life, prosperity and gifts. It’s bad enough to say, “I’ll settle for a tough steak,” but it’s unthinkable to settle for Yahweh’s gift-wrapping when you could have it all and make your life count for something greater than self-indulgence.
Prayer: “Father, open my eyes, mind and heart to your Full Gospel, which was preached and has been received by your faithful saints for their edification and prosperity. I want such things as are mine from you. Help me to desire them more. Amen”
from the famed discovery
oldest New Testament text has finally been released to the public.
You may read the Codex Sinaiticus online - but only if you
know Greek! To read it in
English, you need the only English translation we know.
The H. T.
Anderson English Translation
of the Codex Sinaiticus, with the three extra early New
Testament books and the Sonnini Manuscript of Acts 29 included, and
the original absences of certain verses (put in there later by the
'church') is now
available only at here.
THIS IS NOT A
CHEAP, SCANNED-IN FACSIMILE. This is a first edition of the text
published in easy-to-read Georgia font with plenty of room between
verses for your notes.2 points between verses, hard or soft cover.
Also known as
Ever wonder why
PAUL and not PETER received the
to the lost tribes? Wasn't Peter the stone upon which the
"church" was to be built? In this new translation of the
Nazarene Acts, we follow Kefa (Peter) as he itinerates from
Jerusalem and up the Mediterranean coast up to Tripoli, as recorded
in the journals of his successor, Clement of Rome (Phi 4:3).
Every message Kefa preached, the company he kept, and the great
works of faith the the Almighty accomplished through him are herein
recorded. This 300 page volume has been 'hidden' in the back
of an obscure volume of the "Church Fathers" all this time.
Could it be that, in establishing the Gentile 'church' by pushing
away from Judaism, this history was purposely hidden?
from the famed discovery
The earliest, oldest New Testament text has finally been released to the public. You may read the Codex Sinaiticus online - but only if you know Greek! To read it in English, you need the only English translation we know. The H. T. Anderson English Translation of the Codex Sinaiticus, with the three extra early New Testament books and the Sonnini Manuscript of Acts 29 included, and the original absences of certain verses (put in there later by the 'church') is now available only at here.
THIS IS NOT A CHEAP, SCANNED-IN FACSIMILE. This is a first edition of the text published in easy-to-read Georgia font with plenty of room between verses for your notes.2 points between verses, hard or soft cover.
Also known as
Ever wonder why PAUL and not PETER received the mission to the lost tribes? Wasn't Peter the stone upon which the "church" was to be built? In this new translation of the Nazarene Acts, we follow Kefa (Peter) as he itinerates from Jerusalem and up the Mediterranean coast up to Tripoli, as recorded in the journals of his successor, Clement of Rome (Phi 4:3). Every message Kefa preached, the company he kept, and the great works of faith the the Almighty accomplished through him are herein recorded. This 300 page volume has been 'hidden' in the back of an obscure volume of the "Church Fathers" all this time. Could it be that, in establishing the Gentile 'church' by pushing away from Judaism, this history was purposely hidden?
Paul in Ephesus a Second Time
The Apostle Paul is in the midst of a grueling missionary journey to spread the Gospel through the provinces to which the Holy Spirit has called him. He’d been to Ephesus, an important port city at that time, there on the Mediterranean Sea. Long before Ephesus becomes famous in Biblical lore, Paul “argued with the Jews” in the synagogue, trying to persuade them that Jesus is the Messiah foretold by their own prophets. When Paul returns to Ephesus later, he “finds” about twelve who have come to believe in Jesus and who had received baptism by the friends of John the Baptist earlier.
Re-baptism in the Sacred Name
When he learns that the Ephesian believers have been baptized by John’s bunch, Paul teaches them that John the Baptist dunked people only after they had repented of their bodily sins against Yahweh; for water cannot cleanse a filthy spirit. Paul reminds them that John the Baptist advised all his disciples to look for Jesus, who would baptize them not with water only, but with the Holy Spirit. This way, their heart-sins would be cleansed as well.
For these twelve believers, this teaching was brand new, yet they readily accepted it and were re-baptized in water in the sacred name of Jesus (Yah-shua), learning that his Name is necessary for full salvation. Then, if they were going to do good deeds, they needed to be baptized yet again, not in water, but in the fount of the Holy Spirit – in a supernatural baptism. They hadn’t even heard of the Holy Spirit! They had no idea what gifts were in store for them from G-d. And they would never have known had not Yahweh sent them an anointed teacher to share the Full Gospel. And we learn that if anyone wants his wonderful gifts they need to experience the Full Gospel.
The Full Gospel Dessert
You do, too! Have you heard of the Full Gospel since you believed? “Full Gospel” (in its entirety) means that one is entitled to a Full Compliment of gifts and graces, both natural and supernatural, which are listed throughout the Bible – you already know about some. In order to qualify for what the Full Gospel promises, a person must complete a Full Initiation into the mystery of faith. Ours is a mystical society. One must repent of sins against Yahweh and make a full end of them, ask, then become re-born of spirit, be baptized in water in the name of Jesus, then be baptized again in the Holy Spirit. Have you completed all four steps? Are you initiated into the mysteries of the Spirit?
What does this Spirit Baptism entail? First, water is not required in Holy Spirit Baptism, for it’s a supernatural infilling that’s sent directly from the Father and the Son in Heaven to you. In the case of these Ephesians, Spirit Baptism is administered through Paul’s hands in faith. As millions of disciples from all over the world have since, these Ephesians do in fact receive this spiritual infilling with signs following.
Holy Spirit Baptism is the doorway to a powerful and abundant Christian life. Without it, believers are certainly settling for far less then their share of what it means to be called a “Christian.” When the waiter comes ‘round after you’ve eaten your steak and asks if you want dessert, are you the cheapskate that wants dessert but has to ask, “Does it come with the meal?” The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is free, but it doesn’t always come with the meal, and it always costs you something later on. Take my word for it. Like a big piece of strawberry / rhubarb / custard pie, it’s so good that no matter how much you have to pay later on, you’ll still think it’s a bargain!
The Baptism of Jesus
We get our most fundamental understanding of the Full Gospel message from the story of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan. John the Baptist was a very prominent figure in history. He was a well-known political reformer, loved deeply by the people as a prophet, but hated by the authorities for his plain speaking. The rank and file religious people believed John when he said,
Mark 1:8-9 “One comes after me who is more powerful. I baptized you in water but he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.”
The beleaguered people, desperate for prophetic freedom, began looking for this man who was to come.
“In those days,” Jesus came down to the Jordan from Nazareth to be baptized. If Jesus was sinless, if he was the perfect Lamb of God, the final sacrifice, as John prophesied, then why must he be baptized for the remission of sin? This was as difficult for the early believers to understand as it is for us. There’s an ancient story that demonstrates this confusion, from The Gospel of the Nazareans, which no longer exists except in quotations. Jerome, who lived in the fourth century, quotes this Gospel:
The Lord's mother and brothers said to the Lord, "John baptizes for the forgiveness of sins. Let's go and be baptized by John!" The Lord said to them, "In what way have I sinned that I should go and be baptized by him? Unless, of course, I have just committed the sin of ignorance!"
Otherwise, Matthew has John the Baptist entirely forbidding Jesus to be baptized because he feels unworthy and knows Jesus doesn’t need remission of sins. However, Jesus’ mission was to set the textbook precedent for all believing generations to come. That includes our generation. He was baptized in water for our benefit, so we would “go and do likewise.” He answers John, “Allow [my baptism] for now, because this is the proper way for us to fulfill all righteousness” (SEV). Yes, there’s a proper way to proceed in our religious life, my friend, and many an improper way. I choose what’s truthful and proper. How about you?
When Jesus ascends up from the freezing cold Jordan, there’s an epiphany. Does anyone remember what that word means? An appearance. Mark says that Jesus sees the sky open and the Spirit of Yahweh light upon him “as (`wV) a dove.” The dove is a private revelation to Jesus only. There is a public revelation also: the Father in Heaven announces (literally), “You are my Son, the Beloved; I was pleased in you.” Note the past tense of the passage: “I was pleased.” Jesus kept the Law of Yahweh perfectly for the previous thirty years and Yahweh was affirming Jesus’ commitment to perfection in those words.
Jesus and Water Baptism
The Gospels weren’t written as historical accounts. They are teaching manuals written in narrative style for us, so that we might learn what is required of us. The Bible is our guidebook and roadmap. Nothing in it has passed away. We not only have a perfect life to emulate, but we have perfect ways to imitate. We want the Father to tell us, “I was pleased in you” so we do things by the book.
So first let’s talk about water baptism in this account. Though this baptism was by John, it’s in fact, Jesus’ baptism. John had little to do with it except identify Jesus as the Anointed. Paul might have read to the Ephesians a quote from his letter to the Romans:
Romans 6:3,4. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Today there are many individual Christians and Christian groups that don’t believe water baptism is necessary for their salvation. Baptism is just too public and too humiliating. But in fact, both public and humiliating it’s meant to be, for we are to be baptized into Jesus’ humility and death, and we undergo it, as he did, to fulfill all righteousness. “Humble yourself in the site of Yahweh and he will exalt you in due season” (1 Peter 5:6 and many others).
Some are glad they were baptized as infants and therefore have no need to humiliate themselves again. Others, who were baptized as infants, now feel that since they’ve made a conscious commitment to live and die in Christ, they ought to be re-baptized as adults to fulfill all righteousness. The Church doesn’t condone re-baptism, mind you; but for some, re-baptism is an essential spiritual step revealed by the Holy Spirit. We must fulfill all righteousness, despite even what the church says. However, some folks glory in their many baptisms. Baptism is never to be the subject of braggadocio, but humility. Amen?
Jesus and Baptism in the Spirit
Immediately following his baptism, the epiphanies of the dove and the voice indicate Jesus did receive exactly what he came to bestow – the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. He had to “get it’ before he could “give it.” Again we may argue, “If Jesus is the Holy Spirit, why did he need the Holy Spirit?” The answer to that question leads us into paths of heresy; but we know Jesus was a mature adult and didn’t start his ministry until the Holy Spirit was poured upon him. He receives a sign of favor, and his identity is confirmed in the sure voice from Heaven, which all present could hear. And we believe in that voice still.
One very poignant fact of the matter is what happens after the fireworks. Mark 1:12 relates that,
The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness … for forty days, tempted by Satan.
Was Jesus a man? How would a man survive a month and a half in the desert against beasts and the Beast had he not fulfilled all righteousness by being baptized in water and spirit? Yet the Holy Spirit drove him there. Literally, the Spirit “cast him out” (ekballei) there and he survived the ordeal. Some of us can hardly survive the mental anguish of being well off and comfortable. Had we not the Holy Spirit, how could we stand in trial?
This passage clues us as to the function of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. We think of gifts, gifts, gifts; but think of it instead as an empowerment for life and a boldness to live through any circumstance. We’ve heard of guardian angels, but what about guardian devils? Demons are assigned to every believer to tempt them, destroy their witness and reputation, and to take their lives by way of accident or disease, if possible. Those not clothed with power of the Holy Spirit stand naked before the devil and are torn to shreds every time. Many Christians are demon-possessed and oppressed because they’ve fallen prey to the devil and don’t know how to get free. Maybe you need deliverance from demons! You wonder why bad things happen to good people like you and I? The devil sees to it; it’s our responsibility to stop him. You can never make peace with the devil. Even Jimmy Carter knows that.
Responsibility and Blame
You know, we needn’t have any church growth problems. The Bishop might bring all the District Superintendents together and see that they were properly baptized in the Holy Spirit and taught how to cast out demons. The Superintendents then might bring the ministers in, baptize them in the Holy Spirit, then send them back to their churches, to preach the Full Gospel and break the devil’s hold. The pastors might teach this truth in their congregations, baptizing and empowering them all.
This is nothing more than a return to Biblical Christianity and Primitive Methodism. Wesley wouldn’t send a soul out unless he’d been baptized in the Holy Spirit. We’ve lost so much and our power has become so limited only because we’re apathetic in our ministries, refusing the Bible way.
Back to Ephesus
Back to Ephesus now, Paul re-baptizes these few believers in the name of Jesus then he lays hands upon them. They’re baptized in the Holy Spirit. These disciples want to know the truth; they want to go forward in faith; they aren’t content to say really stupid things like, “We ain’t never done it like this before.” No, they covet a deeper walk. They want all they are entitled to! They want to win against the devil. Because they do, it doesn’t take Paul a whole lot of shakin’ and pushin’ and catchin’ and howlin’; the Holy Spirit just flows through his hands, and these believers speak in unlearned languages and prophesy.
They’re now empowered to spread the Full Gospel to Ephesus and any place else. They do business with the devil now and come against every disease and spiritual affliction. They’re transformed; no Bible school necessary, no mandatory retirement age. The Holy Spirit gives them everything they need before he casts them out into the wilderness of the world, white with harvest.
“I Want My Miracle”
We went to St. Luke’s hospital in Jacksonville to see Paul M, who’s afflicted with pancreatic cancer. When he was here in church at Thanksgiving, he seemed at death’s door, and still undiagnosed. Paul had no money since he hadn’t been able to work. But we prayed for him and, despite his incredible pain, he came forward and experienced an emotional and spiritual breakthrough. I believe he was baptized in the Holy Spirit then, because his heart broke, and he showed a public outflow of emotion and love that I’d never seen since I’d known him. That was a miracle, but it was only the beginning. This story may explain why I think he was baptized in the Holy Spirit right here.
Yahweh miraculously got him into the Mayo clinic without charge for a full diagnosis. You just don’t walk in there penniless and engage the finest liver specialists in the world. Yahweh made a way as a result of our prayer. Therefore we expected a miraculous outcome. But his diagnosis was not as expected. The doctors found an inoperable tumor; they say he will die shortly. After he heard the bad news, several of us prayed with him, each in turn: that he would have a good death, that his children would fondly remember him, that he would go quietly and comfortably, that the L-rd would be with him – the prayers were long and meaningful. Paul was absorbed in these prayers and the tears of Holy Ghost anointing were flowing generously.
Then someone audaciously prayed for a miracle: that the cancer would be cursed, the tumor eradicated, and that Paul might be returned to life by the power of the Holy Spirit – that he would be totally healed. But Paul’s case is hopeless; that prayer was out of the flow. Later, someone asked, “Do you really think that building his hope is a good idea at this point?”
Well, on the next day, having said our goodbyes, we were all leaving the hospital room to return home. Paul’s wife was called back just for a second – Paul wanted to say something -- she put her ear to his mouth. When she came out we asked what happened. She told us, “Paul said, ‘I decided I want my miracle.’” Good choice, brother.
Is it too late for him? You’ll put a lot of faith in doctors, don’t you? The doctors say no hope. But to answer my own question from a Holy Ghost point-of-view, “No, it’s not too late for him or for you.” One way or another, Paul will get his miracle because the Holy Spirit who baptized him will see that he gets it. But how about your miracle? What have you decided? Yes or no? The Bible way or your way? If you want to be more than a pew-sitter, my friend, and be on both the giving and receiving ends of the miraculous, then there’s only one way for you – that’s Yah’s way. You might need that miracle someday. Better to do it Yah’s way today. Amen.