THE GREAT DIVIDE
A subtle distinction exists among Christ's body on earth. It depends on which side of the line you stand. If you're for it, you REALLY are! If you're not, you're really NOT!
It's not strictly demarcated according to denomination, though in some cases it can be. While it appears to be decided by head knowledge, it's really determined by the heart.
You ask: What is the dividing line? Let me respond thus:
The great divide deals with how we relate with the Holy Spirit and His preeminence in today's world. Do you or don't you believe in it, want it, have it, reject it, or claim neutrality?
The divide opposing Him and His work is based on several teachings:
- The baptism, miracles, signs and wonders evidenced in the book of Acts were for that time only and stopped when the apostles died. That belief is called cessationism.
- The baptism in the Holy Spirit or whatever term you want to use is more than you need following being born again and is called fanaticism or false doctrine.
After His resurrection and just before He ascended to the Father, Jesus gave definite instruction called the Great Commission to His disciples:
"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20.
A necessary equipping of Jesus' own true believers is essential according to His command before we are prepared to go into all the world and preach the Gospel:
"WAIT for what the Father had promised, 'Which,' He said, 'you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now...you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.'" Acts 1:4-5, 8.
To even attempt to live in victory, much less evangelize the world without the power of the Holy Spirit being resident and abiding in our spirit, soul and body, is sheer egotism. We think we can undertake the spiritual mission Jesus gave us without the necessary equipping He commanded. It is a form of disobedience and total disregard of orders from our Commanding Officer!
While some people may be converted because the preached Word of God has power in itself, the impact to win thousands and see them marvelously set free from sin and its bondage is not manifested when the Holy Spirit is not in control of the proclaimer and the atmosphere. After all, we are not fighting against earthly beings, but against '"the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12.
To disregard a commandment as fundamental as "WAIT" is to commit evangelical suicide. Professed believers lacking that oneness with the Spirit fail to know when to move ahead, in which direction to go and what to do when they get there. It is no wonder that the Church today is weak, powerless and really asleep to what is happening around her.
When she ought to be about her Father's business while there's time: "We must work the works of Him who sent Me (Jesus) as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work" John 9:4, she languishes on flowery beds of ease. Souls all around her are going to hell and she is not alarmed, not moved, not aware that hell is forever and no second chances exist there.
Paul was careful to edify and warn the early churches to be filled with the Spirit; to obey Him; to not grieve Him; to not quench Him.
A great company of believers understands that when we are born again, new life is supernaturally formed in us by the Holy Spirit. Because He lives in each of us who are spiritually changed, these believers declare that what we received at initial salvation is all we need of the Holy Spirit and a further baptism of Holy Spirit power is unnecessary and is wrong teaching. They live outside the realm of the Holy Spirit's enlightening and gifting in His fullest sense. Yet, they seem to be satisfied with their level of spirituality and want nothing more.
Among the Beatitudes Jesus taught in His Sermon on the Mount, He said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Matthew 5:6. Only someone who is alive can hunger and thirst. Dead people can't. His statement bears witness to the fact that there is more to hunger and thirst for after initial salvation: the infilling of the Holy Spirit!
Jesus promised us that out of our belly will flow rivers of living water. The Spirit is that flow that comes subsequent to initial salvation if we will hunger and thirst for Him until we are filled to overflowing.
The Holy Spirit is the birthright of every born-again soul. Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of lentil soup. Are you an Esau today? What have you received for your sell out? The judgment seat of Christ is coming for all believers. Will you receive a crown of life or will your works be burned to ashes with no reward? That, dear friend, is up to you to determine. You DO NEED the Holy Spirit in His fullness!