By Allen Palmeri
BRANSON—As Missouri Baptists work toward spiritual awakening and revival in our state, a verse that popped up in the first of four Biblical Reconciliation Seminars this year featuring Johnny Johnson, a certified Christian conciliator equipped with Peacemaker Ministries materials, may prove to be instructional.
Johnson shared Ephesians 5:18 at the Director of Missions (DOM) Winter Conference Feb. 16-17 at the Radisson Hotel here. The verse reads, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” Johnson said it is the key to completing the Great Commission.
“You’ll never get your Great Commission done in the energy of the flesh, and you’ll only work in the energy of the flesh if you’re not being obedient to the command,” he said.
He challenged the directors of missions to minister this way.
“We’ll never do kingdom work as DOMs if we don’t exercise that spiritual gift of apostleship made possible by the fullness of the Holy Spirit,” he said. “It won’t happen.”
Johnson explained “be filled” in Greek means “to be possessed.” In other words, the believer is to be in a state of continually being filled with the Holy Spirit in the sense of being completely and totally controlled by Someone on the outside.
“We often think of that in terms of a substance occupying a space, but that’s not it,” he said. “It’s the human will in submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ so that the Holy Spirit has our bodies as His living sacrifice that He can be in possession of our spirit, will, mind, emotions, body, demographic setting—everything about us.
“If you do an analysis of the grammar of the sentence, the following truths are revealed. It’s plural in number for every born-again believer. It’s present active indicative (in the) continuing tense of the verb. It’s in the passive voice, meaning the subject is not acting, but being acted upon. But here’s the big kicker: It’s in the imperative mode.
“This is not an option. This is not an option for Southern Baptists. Don’t let Pentecostal perversion to the extreme right lead us to … the extreme left by excluding or ignoring it. Let’s come to the Word of God, find out what it means, and let God enable us to live up to it.”
Johnson enjoyed “camping” on that verse for the purpose of explaining the importance of thankfulness in the Christian life. Thanksgiving is to be practiced within relationships as believers conduct themselves as kingdom citizens. Ultimately, Johnson said, we are commanded to lovingly submit ourselves, one to another, time after time again.
“The last ordination for deacons you went to, in the council for questions and answers, did the question, ‘What do you understand, believe or practice of the command to be being filled with the Holy Spirit get asked?’” Johnson said. “No, we ask about tithing, and marriage, and the training union … that kind of stuff.”
Reading several Bible verses that he welded to each point, Johnson described five conditions for being filled with the Holy Spirit represented by words beginning with “A.” They are: aspiration, which is the beginning; acknowledgment of the absence of this divine blessing; abandonment of the sin that is consciously tolerated in the life of the believer; abdication of the throne by the usurper known as Self; and appropriation of the promised fullness.
The outcome of these conditions being met in the life of the believer is a supernatural manifestation of the ministry of reconciliation.
“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey,” Johnson sang.
Johnson reminded the DOMs that the Great Commission “would have no foundation whatever were it not for the Great Commandment,” which is Matthew 22:34-40. Later he declared that “you can’t do the Great Commission apart from the Holy Spirit,” referencing Acts 1:8.
Our worship of God the Father must be acceptable to God the Father, Johnson said. His text on that is John 4:23-24, which he said can be reduced to the sentence, “God seeks worshippers.” This means believers are saved for His glory.
“Nothing is bigger to God than our worship of Him,” Johnson said.
The title of Johnson’s series of messages was, “Becoming a Culture of Peace.” They were heard by around 40 DOMs each day.