Discovering Your Ministry Within The Kehilah: Living A Spirit-Filled Life ~ Part 3

The Promise of the Father

In the last posting, we explored the role of the Ruach HaKodesh in the Tanakh.  In discussing His ministry, I deliberately left out a very key passage because it serves as the foundation for our study of the Ruach in the Brit Hadashah.

Perhaps the most crucial passage on the Ruach in the Tanakh was when the prophet Yo’el (Joel) declared: “After this I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions.  I will even pour out My Spirit on the male and female slaves in those days.”  (Joel 2:28-29 HCSB)  Recall from Part 1 what Yeshua promised: “Now I am sending forth upon you what my Father promised, so stay here in the city until you have been equipped with power from above.”  (Luke 24:49)  The promise of the Father was fulfilled during Shavu’ot as we read in Acts 2:17-18.

In fulfillment of Yo’el’s prophesy and Yeshua’s promise, we can identify three discernible periods of the Ruach’s ministry in the Brit Hadashah:

  1. The period of the promise;
  2. The period of the preparation; and,
  3. The period of the realization.

The Period of the Promise

The period of the promise extends from shortly after the conception of Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) and the immaculate conception of Miryam (Mary) to the resurrection of our Lord Yeshua.  We read in Luke’s account that the angel of the Lord said to Miryam “The Ruach HaKodesh will come over you, the power of Ha‘Elyon (the Most High God) will cover you. Therefore the holy child born to you will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)  When Miryam went to visit her relative Elisheva (Elizabeth), Luke records:  “When Elisheva heard Miryam’s greeting, the baby in her womb stirred. Elisheva was filled with the Ruach HaKodesh.” (Luke 1:41)

We also read that the talmidim were commissioned and the granted authority by the Yeshua to heal the sick and cast out demons. (See Luke 10:1-17)  All the time our Lord was with them He was busy creating expectation in them. He was telling His talmidim that in spite of all they had and all the blessing that God the Father had given them, they were still to expect the coming of a new and superior kind of life.  He was creating an expectation of an outpouring of supernatural power which they had not yet experienced.

The Period of the Preparation

This was a short period which intervened between our Lord’s resurrection and the coming of the Ruach in Acts 2:1-4.  The talmidim had stopped their activity at the specific command of the Lord.  He had said, “Wait for what the Father promised, which you heard about from me.”  (Acts 1:4)

The Period of the Realization

The period of realization began when the Father fulfilled His promise and sent the Spirit and has continued to this day. Kefa used a phrase to describe what was happening.  He said that the Father “has poured out this gift, which you are both seeing and hearing.” (Acts 2:33)  They got more than they expected.  In addition to being able to speak in known languages that they themselves did not speak and were not taught, they received a new assurance for the reality of their faith.

Yeshua had earlier talked about four lines of evidence for His Messiahship.

  1. He said: “You keep examining the Tanakh because you think that in it you have eternal life. Those very Scriptures bear witness to me.” (Yochanan 5:39) The Scriptures were proof of who Yeshua was.
  2. Another line is the witness of Yochanan the Immerser who pointed to Yeshua and said, “Look! God’s lamb! The one who is taking away the sin of the world!” (Yochanan 1:29)
  3. Yeshua gives us another line of evidence. He said, “the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf.” (Yochanan 5:37)
  4. Yeshua said, “For the things the Father has given me to do, the very things I am doing now, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me;” (Yochanan 5:36) and “Believe because of the works themselves.” (Yochanan 14:11)

Each of these passages which our Lord presented for His own Messiahship was external to the talmid.  But, there is another kind of evidence.  It is the immediate evidence of the inner life.  That is the evidence by which we know we are alive.  If I remember my college philosophy class correctly, Renee Descartes postulated, “I think, therefore I am.”

Yeshua wanted to take religion out of the external and make it internal and put it on the same level as life itself, so that we can know in our knower that God is God and we’re not.  We can know that God is alive, just as we know that we are alive, but only the Ruach can accomplish that in our inner life.  The Ruach was given to us, as believers in Yeshua, to carry the evidence of His Messiahship from the books of apologetics into the human heart, and that is exactly what He does.

To quote A.W. Tozer: “But He (Yeshua) said, ‘I am sending you something better.  I am taking Christian apologetics out of the realm of logic and putting it into the realm of life.  I am proving My deity, and My proof will not be an appeal to a general or a prime minister.  The proof lies in an invisible, unseen but powerful energy that visits the human soul when the gospel is preached—the Holy Ghost!’” [1]

My Personal Experience

As I shared in My Testimony, Faith Alive and Cursillo were very instrumental in my ongoing walk with Yeshua.  The church we were attending had a Faith Alive Weekend at our parish in February, 1979.  Essentially, a group of fellow Episcopalians from throughout California came to our church to share what God was doing in their lives.  There were some testimonies on Friday evening and small group discussions focusing on our own experiences with our walk with the Lord.  On Saturday morning we met in several small groups in member’s homes with prayer being the topic of discussion.  I can recall that this was the first time in my life that I heard extemporaneous prayer.  This sweet, little old saint prayed the most beautiful prayer I had ever heard.  I knew immediately that I want to be able to pray like that.

The guys and the gals met separately for lunch and we had more testimonies about meeting the needs of the widows, orphans and prisoners.  I knew that was in Scriptures, but I didn’t know that anyone actually did that.  That evening, we met back at the church and had more testimonies and were given an opportunity at the altar to quietly pray.  By then, I knew in my knower that whatever these guest who came to us had, I wanted IT!  And that is exactly how I prayed.  “Lord, I don’t know what makes these people tick, but whatever it is, I WANT IT!!  I realized that I had known Yeshua – I knew that if I believed He was the Son of God and that He died on the cross; somehow that saved me from eternal damnation, but I did not know Him as my personal Lord and Savior.  I had been practicing a religion and I needed to have a personal relationship with Him.

Now, I did not have a Damascus road experience like Saul of Tarsus had (see Acts 9:1-9).  I went home that night with peace on my heart, but no other indication that anything had changed within me.  That came the following morning on Sunday.  I was schedule to lead the congregation that morning in reciting the appointed Psalm.  Consequently, I wanted to practice the Psalm before I left for the service.  Like most guys I know, the best place in the house to read is the bathroom.  So there I am, I open the Prayer Book and begin to read and low and behold what I was reading actually made sense to me.  I realized that I had received a blessing from the Ruach in that He opened my eyes to God’s Word (see Yochanan 14:26).

I will be sharing more of my personal experiences with you as we go further into this series on “Discovering Your Ministry within the Kehilah.”  In my next post, I plan on covering “why did God send us the Ruach.”

Challenge:  Until next time, I would encourage you to read the Gospel of Yochanan with emphasis on chapters 14 to 16.

  Click here for a PDF version.

[1] How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit by A.W. Tozer.

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