There are three things that are distinct marks of a radical Christian: The demonstrated and spoken gospel, coming forth from that individual, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Such a person has also reached the end of themselves, and their only agenda is to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Jesus. These are Jesus’ rules for radicals:
First Sign of the Radical: Self-Denial
“But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me. For you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men. Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it (Matthew 16:24-25).
As we mentioned last week: To deny one’s self is to do without something that is desired. To take up one’s cross, however, if to go forward, accepting the pain that will come with the preaching of the gospel. However, we can not “deny ourselves and take up our cross” if we are mindful of the “things of men.” This is the issue we contend with the most – the cares of this world. Radicals don’t care. One more thing: Radicals do not feel comfortable with most of the church culture we are experiencing today. Something in their heart says, “There has to be more!”
Second sign of the Radical: Ego Euangelion
- In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel (Romans 2:16).
- Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages (Roman 16:25).
- Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel (2 Timothy 2:8).
- Every Christian should have their gospel message.
- What is yours?
- How do you preach it?
- How do you believe it?
Thirdly, the radical Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit.
The early disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit. This baptism is what turned fearful retreating men and women into fiery witnesses of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. When you look at the church age today, do you see the same fire? When you look in the mirror, do you see the same desperation to tell the world that Jesus is alive? There has to be more. I cannot make the gospel known by my own effort. I cannot move in the power of God, alone. I need something from God that will enable me to be credible beyond human arguments.
What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit? Why do we need it?
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the interior and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “ Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” “No,” they answered, “ we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” “Into what, then, were you baptized?” Paul asked. “The baptism of John,” they replied. Paul explained: “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the One coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:1-5).
We need the Baptism in the Holy Spirit for the ability to witness the resurrected Lord wiht POWER! It is indeed, a second blessing which is for believers, not just for witness, but for personal edification and empowerment. God will spare no means to bring the gospel to the world, and has called His church to do so. We are the resistance against the apostasy, and the uprising of the spirit of antiChrist. We are those who are called into a realm of no impossibilities. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is the thing which causes that to happen.
Question: Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?