A report released in 2005 by an organization called the Bible Literacy Project suggested that young Americans know very little about the Bible. That probably did not come as much of a shock. And while the report has importance, but then first things first, another fair number of Americans do not see why teenagers need to know anything at all about the Bible. And some of these same people may profess to be Christians.
Considering the previous appeals to scripture and thoughts listed on this topic, these are the remaining conclusions (in two parts).
The early disciples whom the apostles selected were granted gifts and the power of the Holy Spirit through prayer and by the laying on of the apostles’ hands, to continue to work signs and wonders until all things to be given were set and finalized by the full unfolding of the Word of God. Until the Holy Spirit was completely poured out upon all flesh.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. (1 Co. 13: 8 – 10)
At the conclusion of that time, God Almighty, who had conceived the plan, had seen that it had all been made manifest or visible. The Messiah had executed it by shedding his blood and giving his “life.” The Holy Spirit finalized and confirmed it. All three persons of the Deity completed their charges and assigned duties. Would anyone suggest otherwise?
As concerns the granting of the power to work the gifts of the Holy Spirit that had accompanied the giving of the grace of God through the Holy Spirit’s guidance; there was no agent mentioned in the NT who could pass on the gifts of the signs and wonders beyond the twelve apostles and the apostle Paul – a mere thirteen persons. And contrary to what is taught by some, not one of those holy apostles has survived from that day to this one. Further, you will not find anything different taught in the NT. Therefore, the gifts of the Holy Spirit expressed through signs and wonders, according to the scriptures, does not now exist. That expresses the end of those things.
Therefore, the baptism of the Holy Spirit was obviously not those gifts and powers and was completed back in the first century. There was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh which unfolded in time and was identified by the working of those signs and wonders. But the baptism of the Holy Spirit was not in the signs themselves; it was accounted for otherwise than through the working of those miracles. The miracles marked the way to the now open door of the Kingdom of God. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was the granting of salvation to all nations – all flesh. That was it: the immersion of the Holy Spirit – it had been made available to everyone. All people had then come under the favor of God and could come to the Holy Mountain.
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be shepherds and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. (Ep. 4: 11 – 14)
Nobody today can do the works that were done then, whether our misguided friends who teach such things believe so or not. And no one can perform signs and wonders through the agency of the Holy Spirit. Such things have been concluded and now are contrary to the Word of God.
The Word is complete with the work of outpouring through the Holy Spirit long ago accomplished. It is available to everyone who seeks salvation today. We should make use of what God has wrought.