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20 March 2008

The Gift

It's been a few months since I wrote anything, but I was researching something today for a Bible lesson I'm teaching tonight at Landmark Bible Church in Rockport, IN. While searching for one thing I unearthed an old email to an Internet acquaintance I met a few years back. Here's a response to that fellow minister in the Gospel, which I've edited for this blog. God bless you all as you receive the free gift.

“A gift, to be a gift, has to be accepted. Otherwise it lies like a burden between people.”
–Robert Fisher, The Knight In Rusty Armor

I think that we are too casual in explaining the present of the Holy Ghost. Since it is in fact the Spirit of Christ in us, it is no wonder that He would be grieved by those who would not want Him in them. I think of those in the nominal church world who have the same access to the Holy Ghost as all of us in this age of grace and Holy Ghost outpouring, but who merely put it on a shelf and never unwrap it. The gift then lies unwrapped, unaccepted, and a burden.

My first date occurred at a banquet on February 14th, when I was twelve years old. I gave the young lady a present that night, which she accepted. However, later that evening, as she was preparing to go home, I misunderstood something she said. She wanted to go get her present, but I thought that she was saying something else. Consequently, she thought that I was refusing to let her keep the gift. To this day I think she still has little time for me and that event is a burden between two individuals.

LOL!! What a catastrophe!?!?

God is not like that. He not only gives a gift, but He never takes it back and He always knows exactly what we communicate - even when we don't know how or what to say.

My grandfather began his journey towards God in the late 1940s. He had such an experience in repentance that he received the joy that the Samaritans had in Acts 8, but he had not received the Holy Ghost. His wife then met some Pentecostals and received the Holy Spirit. Grandpa would get upset with her at night because she spoke in tongues before going to bed at night and insisted that he needed more than what he had. It lay as a burden between them. Finally, Grandpa prayed to God and said that he knew he had all that God had for him, but to make his wife happy, would God let him speak in tongues. Instantly, the presence of God that he'd felt since his repentance left him. This was when he knew that God had more for him - it lay as a burden between him and God. He then cried out in repentance for His pride and God filled him with the Holy Ghost speaking in tongues.

Salvation is a gift that unless received in totality will be forfeit no matter who we are. Paul wrote about receiving the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness, which is only accessible through Jesus Christ, who is our portion and free gift through grace. (Ro. 5:21). Refusal of this gift, in this particular text, results in the refusal of eternal life.

Paul also wrote of the gift he was given charge of by the churches of Macedonia, who gave it to bless the Corinthian church (2 Cor. 8). I imagine that if this gift had been refused that there would have been ought among these two groups.

Unrequited love is often mentioned in literature and even God Himself is mentioned by some as a jilted lover covering His eyes in grief as His Jewish bride rejects Him and He then turns to the Gentiles for succor. I only know that He wept at their obtuseness and they became a people who had eyes but did not see. This rejection of Jesus still lies as a burden between God and the nation of Israel as a whole, but, praise God, Israel did not stumble to fall. I believe that the burden will be lifted when they look on Him whom they pierced and acknowledge Him as Messiah.

We call it the gift of the Holy Ghost and it is, by one man’s estimation, being received by 35,000 people a day throughout the world. Why wouldn’t people want to receive this phenomenon that Christ has paid for with His blood and made available to all people?


LLannie said...

When I was first introduced to Pentecost, it was the custom to seek for the Holy Ghost...with encouragers around yelling, "Say Jesus, Jesus, Jesus." or "Just say Hallelujah, Hallelujah." Not having a clear undestanding of all this, I tarried in such a way for the Holy Ghost.
I did not understand the principle of The Gift.
After a misunderstanding and being told I had received the Holy Ghost...I was left unfilled and unsatisfied. Finally, my very first youth leader told me that God wanted me to be satisfied and to experience joy...and if I would just pray sincerely for understanding, God would make it all right.
One night shortly afterward at a service, the preacher gave the invitation that whatever we had need of or desired from God, if we came forward believing we would receive it...then we would. I went forward to ask God for this "satisfaction" in my experience...and as I opened my mouth to say "glory to God" I began to speak fluently in a language I did not know.
OH! The beautiful simplicity of accepting and receiving The Gift!

James Anderson said...

Good post Bro. This quote just hangs with me:

“A gift, to be a gift, has to be accepted. Otherwise it lies like a burden between people.”
–Robert Fisher, The Knight In Rusty Armor

Praxeas1972 said...

llannie (Mom),
Thanks for sharing. I don't think you've ever told me that one. Quite a powerful testimony to just now be sharing with your oldest son. :)

Bro. Anderson,
It does sorta just stay with you. If you have the time, I'd suggest reading that book by Robert Fisher. It's not too long. but it contains some woderful truths.