Christ In The Midst of The Church – 5

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Christ Jesus in our midst is the key to powerfulness.

When Jesus greeted them with His peace, the Word says, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” – John 20:22-23.

Jesus breathed on His disciples and gave them the Holy Spirit. Now understand something, this was before the day of Pentecost, yet here we see the Savior of man, giving the Holy Spirit to those who believed on Him and awaited upon Him in obedience. Many point to the day of Pentecost as the beginning of what we know now as The Church, yet here, we see the resurrected (not yet ascended) imparting His Spirit to those who would start His Church. These were the ones that He imparted Life into to share with others who would become a part of His Body.

There is no doubt that when John wrote this, he was remembering the story of creation. The writer of Genesis states, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” – Genesis 2:7. The coming of the Holy Spirit is like a new creation. It is like the wakening of life from the dead. When the Holy Spirit comes upon a person, he or she is born again and recreated to do the will of God. That is what happened to those disciples gathered there when He sent them as the Father sent Him!

The Greek word labete is the word translated as “receive” in verse 22 of John, chapter 20. It derives from a word in the Greek that means to “take, to seize.” In other words, when Jesus breathed on His disciples, He was essentially saying, “Take, seize, the Holy Spirit.”

There is a natural reluctance on the part of Christians to take this gift of God, and don’t be deceived, a gift it is. We shrink from receiving this priceless possession of God’s presence in our lives because we feel unworthy. It reminds me of the a story of the first Emperor Alexander of Russia:

He once ruled all of Russia after his father was assassinated. It is said that on one occasion he presented to one of his lowly servants a rare and expensive golden cup. The poor servant (most likely a slave, really) drew back and said, “Your Majesty, it is too much for me to take.”

It is said that for a moment the Czar hesitated, but then he thrust the chalice into the hand of his servant, replying, “But it is not too much for me to give!”

This is the same predicament we put ourselves into. We shrink from taking the precious gift of God’s Spirit, saying, “I am not worthy; it is too much for me to receive.” But our matchless, loving Savior, with His nail-pierced hands, thrusts the gift of the Holy Spirit into our lives, saying, “Take it! Take it! It is not too much for Me to give.”

Today, anyone who has accepted Christ Jesus in obedience, as the disciples of long ago did, can look up into heaven into the face of the Savior and boldly, yet humbly state, with confidence and assurance, “Oh, blessed Lord Jesus, unworthy though I am, I receive the Holy Spirit. May He fill my life with His presence.”

The precious gift of the sweet Holy Spirit is ours forever for the receiving. All we have to do to receive it, is to take Him and seize Him with our whole heart!

Peacefulness, joyfulness, usefulness, and powerfulness are yours. Again I ask you, what and who is the key? The simple answer and plain truth, is, Christ Jesus standing within our midst, in the midst of His Church!

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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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