Friday, April 22, 2011

The Sign Of The Seal

Acts 2:1-4

"When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

These scriptures in Acts have been misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misapplied for decades, but by the grace of God and the revelation of the Holy Spirit I want to shed some new light on the subject of receiving the Holy Spirit and the sign of speaking in other languages.

First let's take a look at the father of faith Abraham, and what God did with him and his descendants (Israel) when He established a covenant with them.

Genesis 17:9-14

"And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”

In these scriptures we see God establish a covenant between Abraham and his descendants throughout their generations. The sign of the covenant between Abraham and God was circumcision, every male child that was among him at the time and every one after was to be circumcised in the flesh of their foreskins. The family of Abraham probably thought he was crazy being circumcised at ninety-nine years old! But this is what God chose for him to do, and Abraham obeyed the words of God immediately!

The Old Covenant law of circumcision remained in effect up until Jesus said, "it is finished" on the cross of Calvary, this is when He fulfilled all the law. After that point a New Covenant was purchased for us by the shed blood of Jesus, and with a New Covenant there came new commandments, no longer would there be physical laws to keep in order to be in relationship with God, now the commandments would be primarily spiritual. God would put His laws in the mind and write them upon the hearts of His people by the Spirit.

With a New Covenant there also came a new way to enter into covenant relationship with God and that way is through Jesus Christ, not the law of Moses. Now, one must believe the gospel and be born from above, born of water and Spirit in order to enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)

Hebrews 8:10-13

"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, “A new covenant, ” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away."

Ephesians 1:11-14

"In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory."

Ephesians 4:29-30

"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."

2nd Corinthians 1:21-22

"Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee."

When we enter the New Covenant of God He seals us with the Holy Spirit, and the sign of the Seal is speaking in other languages! Just as the sign of the Covenant with Abraham and his descendants was circumcision in the flesh.

This brings us back to Acts 2:1-4 where we see the Holy Spirit is first given to the apostles and disciples in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. They hear a mighty rushing wind from Heaven and then they see cloven tongues like fire sit upon each of their heads, they were all filled with the Spirit, and then they began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them utterance.

What we need to understand here is that their eyes were opened by God to see into the spiritual realm and they saw the manifestation of the Holy Spirit as a tongue of fire on their heads, and the physical manifestation of what was happening at that moment in the spirit was the outward sign of speaking in other languages. This is how all the believers in the upper room were able to know that they had received the promise of the Father! They were now sealed with the Holy Spirit of God!

The book of Acts is the only New Testament book that gives us conversion examples of the first century believers in Christ, and what we see in Acts 2:1-4, Acts 10:44-46, and Acts 19:1-7 are clear examples of what it looks like to be converted to Christ.

Acts 10:44-46

"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days."

Acts 19:1-7

"And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all."

In these scriptures we see that these converts to Christ all spoke in tongues as the sign of the Seal was manifested in their flesh. What also accompanied the tongues was prophesying, and magnifying God. On the day of Pentecost only tongues was manifested, as this is the sign of receiving or being sealed with the Holy Spirit.

All believers who are converted to Christ according to the biblical pattern of baptism in water and the Spirit will manifest the outward sign of speaking in other tongues. This is how the believer will know that they have been sealed with the Holy Spirit!

Here is what Jesus said in Mark 16:14-18

"Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;  they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Speaking in other languages is the sign that will follow the believer who has been baptized into Christ and sealed with the Holy Spirit!

Now here's the questions every believer must ask themselves. Am I in the New Covenant of God? And have I been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise?

I pray this message has enlightened you.

Many Blessings,