Baptism of the Holy Spirit, believers who hurt believers, doing the Perfect Will of God together, dunamis power, having all things in common, koinonia or fellowship, koinos or common, physical and spiritual families, physical and spiritual friends, realistic expectations, sharing community of believers
For more years than I care to remember, I used to think that no one had the power to hurt you like your kin—your natural family members plus your closest friends who are like family. Now that I am older and wiser, I know that living a godly life, one in which you not only desire to do good works for others but also are fulfilling your desire, does not mean that you can expect ANYONE to treat you right, and that includes your physical family, your dearest friends, or your spiritual brothers and sisters.
Indeed, whether in part time or full-time ministry, these days the same truth resounds: You cannot control how either your natural or your spiritual family responds to you, even if in godly love you say and do the right things. In other words, even if you are living as close to a Christ-like lifestyle as is humanly possible, you still cannot expect godly love, unconditional fidelity, or fair treatment from all or any of your blood relatives (no matter whether they are believers, unbelievers [lack belief, or faith in God], or disbelievers [refuse to believe in God, or reject that God exists]). Likewise, you cannot expect godly love, unconditional fidelity, or fair treatment from all or any of your friends (no matter whether they are believers, unbelievers, or disbelievers), nor can you expect godly love, unconditional fidelity, or fair treatment from all or any of your spiritual brothers and sisters (no matter whether they are seasoned believers, unripe believers, or blasé believers).
Moreover, even though Jesus the Christ defines His spiritual family as follows: “My true brother and sister and mother are those who do what God wants” (Mark 3:35, NCV), the sad truth is that in this 21st century it often is very difficult to tell the difference between those so-called Christians who ONLY outwardly appear to be living “a godly lifestyle,” and those genuine Christians who both outwardly and inwardly are truly demonstrating the kind of lifestyle in which the Perfect Will of God is being carried out. Consequently, this sad truth is why it is unrealistic to expect that every one of today’s “churchgoers” will have the same love and concern for you that they have for themselves, because another sad truth is that very few of this century’s “churchgoers” are keeping both of the Lord’s greatest commandments. Jesus the Christ says that those greatest commandments are:
…Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind . . . Love your neighbor as you love yourself. ~ Matthew 22:37 and 39b, NCV
The point here is that, unlike the loving, caring, and sharing spiritual family that is depicted in Acts 2:44-47 and Acts 4:23, 32-37, modern-day “churchgoers” no longer have ALL things in common, meaning they no longer share everything (cf. Acts 2:44b and Acts 4:32b). The reason why this last statement is irrefutably true today is because many of today’s “churchgoers” have moved far away from those godly teachings found in the early chapters of the book of Acts.
From the beginning of the birth of the New Testament ekklesia, or assembly of the “called out ones,” the early full of the Holy Spirit Day of Pentecost disciples revealed, by way of their Christ-like behaviors, that an intimate relationship with God and Jesus the Christ only is obtained through belief AND baptism. Put differently, having a Grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit initiated belief in Jesus the Christ and receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit are central to the “koinonia” idea of fellowship in Acts 2:42. Moreover, because these early Christian believers had ALL things in common (cf. Acts 2:44; Acts 4:32), they were able to have fellowship or “koinonia.” It is important to note here that the Greek word for “common” is “koinos,” and “koinos” is the root word from which “koinonia” is derived!
Furthermore, from the way that fellowship or “koinonia” is used in Acts 2:42, it is clear that this word denotes a relationship that is dependent on more than one individual. Fellowship or “koinonia” is an interdependent relationship. More important, prior to the Day of Pentecost’s outpouring of the Holy Spirit, fellowship or “koinonia” never was used to describe man’s relationship to God, which is why fellowship or “koinonia” doesn’t just mean being together, like sitting “in church” during Sunday morning worship service, or having a potluck dinner, and so forth. The real spiritual meaning of fellowship or “koinonia” is doing together—that is, fellowship or “koinonia” means ALL believers are doing God’s Perfect Will together. Unfortunately, most of the 21st-century Christians worldwide have ignored this latter meaning!
Spiritually speaking, fellowship or “koinonia” refers to an inner “oneness”—a spiritual relationship between believers and their God, their Savior, and every Household of Faith sibling. This combined relationship ultimately expresses itself in an outer display of co-participation with the infilling Holy Spirit, which results in the accomplishment of God’s Perfect Will on Earth. Without a doubt, the early first century born again and saved believers’ behaviors make it clear that the only way they could produce the kind of “oneness” that results in a community of believers having ALL things in common is when they ALL are: 1. filled with the Holy Spirit, and 2. fellowshipping not only with God and the Lord but also with other brothers and sisters—true believers—the ekklesia/ecclesia or the assembly of “called out ones”!
As mentioned earlier, most of the 21st-century Christians worldwide have ignored the true meaning of fellowship or “koinonia,” which, once again, refers to doing God’s Perfect Will together. A telling sign that proves that they are unmindful of God’s preferred way for believers to interact with one another is their misplaced priorities. More times than not, most “churchgoers” only pay attention to the obvious inconsequential facts: believers are not perfect, and some people unintentionally hurt others. Yes, it is true that believers are not perfect; yes, it also is true that some believers unintentionally hurt others. But the overlooked salient point here is that even when the most godly believers, who are full of the Holy Spirit, uncharacteristically blow it by hurting others, they quickly respond to the Holy Spirit’s convicting and leading, which make them sensitive to the Divine Truth—they need to apologize to the people they have hurt plus seek the hurt ones and God’s forgiveness!
Sadly, where fellowship or “koinonia” is concerned, too many of today’s “churchgoers” are uniformed and, thus, unaware that the aforementioned overlooked salient point specifically explains why the 1st-century Christians in the early chapters of the book of Acts were able to have all things in common, while they did the Perfect Will of God together. Once again, the ONLY reason why these early believers were able to have all things in common, while they did the Perfect Will of God together, is because they ALL were FULL of the Holy Spirit! In other words, if born again and saved believers are not full of the Holy Spirit, have not been baptized or filled with the Holy Spirit, which provides the power, strength, desire, and determination to come together, share in the Perfect Will of God, and never intentionally hurt anyone, then neither 1st-century Christians nor modern-day Christians would ever be able to genuinely do what the 1st-century Christians in the early chapters of the book of Acts did.
Needing to be full of (baptized with) the Holy Spirit is even-more necessary today, because there is more and more evil in this world, and this increased lawlessness not only has caused the love of many to wax cold (cf. Matthew 24:12), including professed Christians’ love, but also it has caused too many professed Christians to accept the lie that believing “churchgoers” hurting other believing “churchgoers” is the norm for today’s Body of Christ or ekklesia. Certainly, the Divine Truth is that God has never said that a believer hurting another believer is an acceptable norm. That this kind of behavior is unacceptable to Father God is proven true by the fact that He expects all believers to be overcomers in every area of their lives, by being holy as He is holy (cf. 1 Peter 1:13-16). Being made holy is the reason why God has made the Baptism of the Holy Spirit available to ALL believers, rather than just for 1st-century believers!
There can be no doubt that the believers who are not baptized with the Holy Spirit are relying on their limited amount of mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical strength to get them through life’s adversities, and to many of these individuals’ credit their limited amount of mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical strength has been enough for them to be able to bounce back from many adversities much quicker than others ever could. However, since the infilling Holy Spirit is the only One who can perform the necessary supernatural inner spiritual surgery that rids hurting people of their negative emotions and feelings, and since the infilling Holy Spirit is the only One who can help believers with any and every thing that humans possibly could need His help with, including loving and forgiving those people who hurt believers, as well as making believers holy (perfect), then it should stand to reason that every believer needs the infilling Holy Spirit’s unlimited supernatural power (dunamis), strength, and assistance.
For sure, without the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, in spite of our best efforts to do what’s morally and ethically right, regrettably, there will be some Christians who will take what we say or do the wrong way and then deliberately plan to get even by saying and/or doing unspeakable things to us that not only will bring us to our knees but also will keep us down (will keep us from getting up from and getting over the hurts they caused us). However, with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, when we have been repeatedly blindsided with unexpected negative criticism, unexpected rejection, unexpected backstabbing, and so on, we will be led to conclude that, while we must continue to love and forgive everybody, we must stop expecting the individuals (who frequently and purposely hurt us) to be loving, caring, sharing, friendly, wise, patient, or trustworthy people.
Indeed, God tells us in His Word that we should NOT put our entire trust in any humans (cf. Psalm 146:3; Micah 7:5). The absolute Truth that we totally can trust is that, without fail, only God will NEVER hurt us! For this reason, we also will be led to conclude that we need to place our expectations upon God, instead of placing them upon our fellow brothers and sisters, because only God will be forever faithful to His promises in His Word and, thus, will NEVER let us down!
Now where our Christian family and closest friends are concerned, Almighty God also tells us in His Word that He faithfully promises that He will be our father and that we will be His sons and daughters (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:18; 2 Samuel 7:14). Additionally, Jesus the Christ also tells us that He is our friend. He says:
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know what his master is doing. But I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I heard from my Father. ~ John 15:15, NCV
Then too, in King Solomon’s book of Proverbs, Scripture also tells us that “Some friends may ruin [us], but a real friend will be more loyal than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24, NCV; the [us] and the blue text are this blogger’s emphasis). So then, for believers, it should be obvious that Jesus the Christ not only is the epitome of the kind of “friend” who sticks closer than a brother but also He faithfully is believers’ joint-heir brother (cf. Romans 8:14-17).
Lastly, most of us will agree that a true friend is someone who consoles, advises, helps, guides, defends, supports, and sometimes intercedes for us. For those of us who are born again and saved believers, this true friend is the Holy Spirit, who, depending on which English translation we are reading, is called a comforter, counselor, advocate, paraclete, helper, teacher, intercessor, and guide (cf. Romans 8:26-27; John 14:15-17, 26; John 15:26; John 16:7-11, 13-14).
The bottom line is that the ONLY spiritual Ones believers ALWAYS can trust and ALWAYS can expect to receive the same degree of godly love, unconditional fidelity, and fair treatment from are their holy family and holy closest friends. This family and those friends are also known as Father God, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit!