For me this journey in the Spirit comes with a bit of a shock. I still find it hard to believe that the Holy Spirit is a subject of confusion, ignorance, fear, and division. But most of all I am saddened that I have grown up in the church totally void of this power. So we have called on God to revive us again. We have been told to wait so we will wait. I want to say up front that I am not endorsing most of the charismatic movement, as I believe most have been deceived. The likes of the TV evangelists such as Benny Hinn or the false revivals like Brownsville and the Toronto Blessing are not what we are talking about. This example I give you is not a manifestation of the Holy Spirit but satan masquerading as an angel of light. Bethel Church at Redding California – “On October 14th, 2011. Suddenly a mysterious gold-sparkling cloud appeared on the right side of the stage and kept showing up over a time period of 2 hours. People also report to have found Diamonds on the floor, which appeared supernaturally and grew in size as they were watching. Some claim to have been covered with gold dust all over their shirts while worshipping God, others speak of having received gold-teeth People in the congregation began laughing uncontrollably and falling and rolling on the floor, believing themselves to be under the power of God during church services.” This is where the daughter in law thinks “The Holy Spirit is a like a blue genie to her. And He's "sneaky." Matthew 24:24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.” This is not what we will be talking about so have no fear. But also note that it is just as evil to reject the Spirit as many do. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 “Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.”
We look so much like Judges 2:10 “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. 15 Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.” The problem is that there is no distress. Leonard Ravenhill said, “What alarms me the most about the church is that there is no alarm in the church.”
When you look at the Holy Spirit throughout scripture you see the Holy Spirit move in power with a result. I said a few days ago that many have said that salvation is the greatest gift showing the power of the Holy Spirit but that is not what scriptures say. Hebrews 2:3 This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. Salvation is confirmed and testified to. Since these that have testified to are missing, we then have to say also that salvation is in question. The signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will are not in effect so much so they have been set aside as no longer part of the church. How ludicrous is that? Since scripture does not teach this we must respond with repentance.
Many people talk about the fruit of the Spirit and love. You know the favorite love passage found in 1 Corinthians 13. They talk as if love basically wipes out the need for chapter 12 and 14 but without those 13 does not make much sense in the context of the book. We are being taught about the gifts of the Spirit. Some talk of love as if the gifts are no longer needed but in chapter 14 the first verse says, “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” So what it is saying is that with love and the gifts of the Holy Spirit the church can fulfill its mission with the fruit of the Spirit. You cannot love according to the word of God without the Spirit. You cannot worship without the Spirit. So if the Holy Spirit is missing, guess what, so is love and worship. We end up with a warped view of love and a distorted view of worship and both become narcissistic. When we embrace the power that is available, the church then moves in power and will once again look like the true church as designed by Jesus.
The outcome of walking in the spirit are the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5. I will talk about those tomorrow. Lets go back and take a look at Saul. 1 Samuel 10:6 “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. 7 Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you. 8 “Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do. 9 As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart.” You basically see the same scenario at Pentecost. The disciples were told to wait; Saul didn’t and lost the Kingdom to David. When the Spirit came upon Saul it was powerfully with a result, he prophesied. Later 1 Samuel 11:6 “When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with anger.” Peter as we know was constantly walking in the flesh but after Pentecost he became a different person. As we look at the different examples of the Spirit coming powerfully upon people we see a result. They went to war, filled with strength, prophesied, carried to a different place, plans given, words spoken healing, demons cast out, freed to name a few.
When we look at 1 Corinthians 12 we see the gifts of the Spirit described very clearly. 1 Corinthians 12:1 “Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” Unfortunately most are uniformed about this subject but they shouldn’t be because it is right there in scripture. What isn’t there is mans attempt to take it out of scripture and give reasons why these are not available. The church has been led astray to a mute idol that has nothing to offer. There is a form of godliness, which would be an idol, and they deny the power. If the power of the Holy Spirit has been withdrawn then is it really possible to say Jesus is Lord. So when you look at Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” You must have the Holy Spirit at work.
These next verses clarify that there is one Spirit at work. 1 Corinthians 12:4 “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Malachi 3:6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” How preposterous to think that all of a sudden the power of the Holy Spirit is going to be totally different that when the church started. Now we simply have people going to church, many of which have never changed.
You now see the similarity to the Old Testament except the power is now available to all who believe as Peter said, Acts 2:33 “Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” The warning he gave also applies to us. “40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” We too are a corrupt generation as the power of the Holy Spirit is no longer present due to our disobedience because of the empty way of life handed down from generation to generation but there is no alarm as the apathy towards the gospel is extreme. Ezekiel 2:3 They are “a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day. 4 The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn.”
This gift of the Holy Spirit is not something you may or may not have. You will know and most do not know and many that say they have, are deceived. I won’t get into it now but many in the charismatic circles have been deceived into thinking that some babbling that serves no purpose whatsoever is a sign of being filled with the Spirit. Again being filled with the Spirit means there is purpose.
1 Corinthians 12:7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” As I read this there really is no explanation needed. We know what all those mean because we see them in the gospels. Paul goes on to say “27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.” He is not saying these gifts will be rejected as many have said to explain away the lacking power in the church. Ephesians 4:12,13 and 3:20 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature and to know the hope and riches of His glorious inheritance to which He has called us as His holy people, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, His incomparably great power for us who believe, the same power as the mighty strength He exerted when he raised Christ from the dead. To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” This is the true church in operation. The Holy Spirit will give gifts as needed. It really is that simple. It only becomes complicated when the Holy Spirit is rejected.
It is astonishing how many have rejected these gifts yet say they believe in the Holy Spirit. It is also just as astonishing to me that Christians can read this passage and not ask as Gideon did when he said, Judges 6:13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” We need to be asking, repenting and waiting so that we can be clothed with power once again. We must turn back as Josiah did. Most will not but the remnant will. 2 Kings 23:25 “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.”
This is one of those read and believe passages. Jesus himself said, John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
Jesus quoted part of this passage at the beginning of His ministry. Also know that the crowds were furious upon His saying, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” So much so they tried to kill him right off the bat. I am going to add all of Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. 5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. 6 And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. 7 Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. 8 “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed.” 10 I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.”
As we wait, anticipate the church looking like the early church once again, moving in the power of the Holy Spirit. Habakkuk 3:16 “Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” 2 Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.”