Thursday, February 09, 2006

The King, the Kingdom and the Holy Spirit!

Many, many thanks to Ministries Without Borders for a most amazing parcel that arrived today from All Nations Church, Cardiff! I've agreed with James in previous entries that the series Ern Baxter gave on the "The King, the Kingdom and the Holy Spirit" was a particularly unique one - and today they sent me it in book format! I've been trying to get hold of it second hand on Amazon for ages - but not surprisingly it is always not available. So very excited and very pleased!

Once again, Baxter's former administrator, Ritch Carlton writes the foreword and noted:

"The message in this book is, by his own words, the most significant one he feels he has ever presented. He taught this series many times ... Ern believed that the Word could not be without the Spirit, and that the Spirit without the Word would lead to error. He refused to separate them ... Here he calls us to follow him in his life journey by refusing to choose between the Word and the Spirit. Keep them together. Insist on both ... This is the essence Ern's life message, captured here for the next generation".

Ern opened the book with a broadside on the "Neglected Holy Spirit" - this will be the focus of todays post. By the way, I discussed Ern's views on the "Neglect of the Holy Spirit" a few years ago with a former hero of mine, and he suggested that the situation had changed in the light of the Charismatic Movement to, "Misunderstood Holy Spirit" - just a thought.

Ern wrote:

"The Holy Spirit has suffered from neglect, depersonalization, neutralization, misdefinition and a whole host of other unhappy things. I believe that these happened precisely because of His importance; the Holy Spirit is that Person of the Holy Trinity who comes directly in touch with us in life and experience. Satan is not at all adverse to our having intellectually orthodox views of the Holy Spirit, but he is clearly against our becoming involved with Him in our lives. The Holy Spirit is the One who brings the life, power, energy, illumination, inspiration and enablement of the Triune God to each of us, individually and corporately.

Recognising this, Satan said; "I don't mind them holding right views about the Holy Spirit, but if He ever gets loose among them, He will tear up my kingdom". For this reason I believe that the Holy Spirit has been Satan's prime target for the past 2, 000 years. His plan has been simple; "Keep him out of activity. Get men arguing over the nature of the Father and the Son, over the nature of the Trinity, and over the nature of election. Keep them arguing over a thousand aspects of philosophy and theology but keep them seperated from the Holy Spirit. If He ever gets loose among them, then I'm in trouble.

To a certain degree, Satan has succeeded in his objective; much of the Church has remained ignorant of the role and function of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity ... It's not enough just to receive (the Holy Spirit), be baptized by Him and enjoy His gifts and blessings. He has come for more reasons than that. He came to bless you, change you and regenerate you. He came to fill you. He came to gift you and heal you. He came to illuminate you. Indeed He did all that, but He didn't come just for your sake; He came from the Father, for the Father's sake.

The Kingdom, the government of God is the rule of God. It is the place where He is proceeding to fill all things to Himself. As we respond to the working of the Spirit, to the purposes of God on the earth, we also become agents in the realisation of God's government. God rules in Spirit, and as the Kingdom comes it brings all things into subjection under Christ our King".



jul said...

I just thought I'd let you know that you've influenced my songwriting! And I suppose, that means Ern Baxter has. ( I never heard of him before your blog). I've just changed a couple of lines in the song I wrote today from an old hymn. Really, I just changed the words of the hymn around a bit a put it to my own melody. Anyway, it's kind of long so I won't put it here, but if you're interested, I'll put it on my own blog and you can guess which lines were influenced. Thanks again!

Baxter's Boy said...

That is really exciting! Ern himself was quite an avid songwriter and would sing them if he got particuarly anointed while preaching - I might make that a blog subject soon!

jul said...

That's really interesting. I'd love to read some of his lyrics. I was thinking he seemed to be a poetic soul. Some preachers preach messages that beg to be sung.

Dr Alex Jones @ Missouri said...

I remember him singing this one:

"Rise and soar into the sunlight rays, using both your wings of PRAYER and PRAISE. Mount like eagles, higher in the sky - and you'll find things look so different when you fly".

Wow that brings back memories.

Don said...

Dan, as you read this book, please share with us any important passages in which Baxter discusses the importance of experiencing the Holy Spirit rather than just learning about Him.

(A number of the people I "grew up with" were happy in 1995-97 to remember youthful experiences with the Spirit, but either weren't hungry for new ones in the renewal, or were afraid of what new ones might do to change their ordered lives. They didn't understand that the Spirit can do new, fresh and different things in us at different stages of our walk with Jesus. They also didn't understand that in so many ways, we are *always* poor, naked and blind in comparison to the riches Christ offers in the Spirit, and need "eye salve" to see and welcome what He has waiting at the table for us -- if we continue to ask, seek and knock. I was just like this, until the Lord opened my own spiritual eyes by allowing me to suffer a humiliating failure at that time. Without that failure and sensed need for something fresh from God, I might've wondered why anyone would want to receive prayer and possibly have the embarrassment of falling down, crying, groaning, shaking, etc. As it was, however, I was totally open for anything God wanted to impart to me -- in whatever way(s) He wished it to come to me. And I'm so glad I did! I agree with Matt Redman: "I'll become/Even more undignified than this!")

There is such a lack of pastoring on how to seek and nurture the ongoing filling/anointing of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I almost wrote "there is such a lack of teaching on pneumatology," but use of that word puts it right back into the realm of teaching "doctrine," rather than teaching from Scripture *and experience* how to seek, welcome and work with the Spirit in a fresh filling/anointing that touches our spirits even more than it does our intellects. A lot of this is part of what used to be called "spiritual direction," in relation to a life of contemplative prayer in which the Spirit is open to bring one into many different experiences with Him, during/after which a person usually needs help from someone more mature to understand how to interpret and react to what the Spirit is doing inside the heart.

At any rate, if Baxter addresses this -- as Lloyd-Jones did so well in his teachings on the Spirit -- I'd like to learn what he says. Thanks!

Baxter's Boy said...

Yere this is a definite definate thing that Ern Baxter was hot on - so much so that you didn't often hear him preach about the baptism of the Spirit! You've inspired my blog piece for today - Thursday I think!! This has been a real concern, that I have encountered quite a few people who are still trying to drink from the somewhat stagnant puddle of the 1970's - and a historical baptism in the Spirit, but not seeking Him for a fresh encounter, a fresh drink.

And I want to argue tonight as Ern did, that the filling of the Spirit can be really somewhat MORE glorious if possible than the initial baptism, because we have gone on in our walk with the Spirit, we have grown in our foundation of the Word etc etc.

Don said...

"...the filling of the Spirit can be really somewhat MORE glorious if possible than the initial baptism, because we have gone on in our walk with the Spirit, we have grown in our foundation of the Word etc etc."

That "MORE glorious" has been my experience, and the experience of thousands of people in their 40s-70s who re-encountered God in the '90s revival. There was so much more given that people hadn't even realized was possible to receive from God - even fresh gifts and callings not given earlier, fresh revelation from the Word, and powerfully rich experiences with Jesus that gave *personal* confirmation of scriptural truth.

I'd read of such "second fillings," which made people wonder if they'd really even been Christians before this experience -- so powerful and deep was the encounter, their fresh revelation of God's holiness and their utter need for His presence, power and Word. I'd found these descriptions odd and curious, until it happened to me and others I talked with.

Now I believe that God intends such "latter rain" blessings for every believer, whether they occur suddenly in "revival," or gradually in patient, faithful fellowship with God over a lifetime. I am convinced there's always MORE, and that we have not because we ask not -- few are ever told by others to ask and expect MORE than just a one-time salvation or Holy Spirit-baptism experience. This is a great hope to place in young believers' hearts.