A Christian friend came over asking that several of us pray for her. Despite doing all the “right” Christian things, she had been entertaining doubts about her faith.
In the course of our prayer, as I was reminding her of what Scripture says about how God sees her, in a gruff tone of voice, with furrowed brow, she scolded me, speaking in the third person, “She doesn’t deserve it! She doesn’t deserve it!” In a couple of hours, by the Power of the Holy Spirit, she was free from demonic bondage with a total change of countenance and has, since then, moved forward with marriage and ministry.
On an Easter Sunday morning, as I was attending a Baptist church service, a man sat praying, head bowed, as the congregation headed for the exits. I approached him and asked if I might pray. He ignored me. I laid my hand on his shoulder to pray. The moment I touched him, he bolted upright, began swaying like a cobra about to strike, and started growling as he pointed, “I hate him! I hate her! I hate this church!”
My attempts to minister were interrupted by well-meaning people asking if he needed medication or asking if they should call an ambulance. When the man became unable to open his mouth to speak, I commanded the spirit to release his tongue. Instantly, he was able to understand me then and speak intelligibly in response to me. I told him I was available for further ministry by the Holy Spirit but it was obvious there was no faith present to deliver him at that moment. I made him aware that, until he got help, this WAS his Christian life and he WOULD experience these manifestations again. I left only to be bombarded with questions throughout the week by those who were there.
The young man, it turned out, was a much-beloved seminarian.
Last week, as a group of us were praying, the Holy Spirit showed me a vision of a new attendee standing with tears in her eyes, in the middle of a Civil War battlefield, dressed in a Confederate soldier’s uniform, looking at her spouse, dressed in Union blue. As I shared this vision after our prayer time, the woman buried her face in her hands and cried. Her close friend nudged me and whispered, “You read her mail.”
On another occasion, a Christian business woman contacted me requesting prayer over one of her many facilities across Texas. This particular facility was not prospering at all and she could not help but consider closing its doors. That particular location had an openly lesbian manager which attracted openly gay employees. I went on a Thursday night with ateam. She met us there. We prayed and, within ten days, the facility’s numbers were improving already. The lesbian manager couldn’t understand it. In a memo I saw, she wrote, “We must be living right.” A week ago, the manager resigned as did several of the most blatantly gay employees.
I could write many personal encounters like these, moments when the Holy Spirit took control, flushed out an unsuspecting demon, healed, delivered, set free or came through with a vision, word of wisdom or word of knowledge. He is no respecter of persons; the gifts He has shared with me, He wants to share with you.
Question is, are you willing? Do you desire more?
WE ARE SPIRIT BEINGS HAVING AN EARTHLY EXPERIENCE. WE ARE ALIENS.
We have no permanent citizenship in this world. Though we are citizens of the United States, the reality is that, as a Christian, our citizenship is in Heaven (Phil 3:20). As the book of Hebrews says, “Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come” (Heb. 13:14) For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. (1 Chron 29;15)
WE ARE ENAGED IN A SPIRITUAL WAR – a term not found in Scripture, but the concept is taught. Mankind is caught in the midst of a spiritual war with the holy God and His angels on one side and the evil Satan and his demons on the other.
(2 Cor 10:3-5) “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
(Eph 6:11-12) Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
(Rev 12:7-8) And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
IF WE RESIST THE DEVIL, HE WILL FLEE
(James 4: 7) Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
WE DO NOT HAVE THE POWER TO RESIST SATAN ON OUR OWN
(Jude 9) But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
TO RESIST THE DEVIL, WE MUST PUT ON THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD
(Eph 6:10-12) Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Jesus’ own mission statement: “He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening [of the prison] to them that are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Isa 61:1,2)
GOD ALLOWS TEMPTATIONS, BUT ALWAYS PROVIDES AN ESCAPE
(1 Cor 10:13) No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
SATAN KNOWS THE SCRIPTURES AND TRIES TO MISUSE THEM
As described in Matt 4:3-10 and Luke 4:3-12, during the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, Satan quoted Him Scripture several times. Jesus replied each time with additional Scriptures refuting Satan’s attempts to take things out of context or only use part of a section.
(Matt 28:19-20, Lk 9:1-2 and 10:1-3).
Too many American Christians have become passive and fearful. Others are satisfied to merely acknowledge the right things and attend church services and activities. This type of lifestyle is quite different from that which Jesus requires of His followers.
We must preach and teach about the kingdom of God, focus on the doctrine of Christ, heal the sick and set the captives free.
Why is the Holy Spirit referred to as being “holy”?(HOLY: Belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power; sacred.) Distinguishes Him from EVIL spirits.
SAD FACTS REGARDING THE CHURCH AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
A majority (61%) agree that the Holy Spirit is a symbol of God’s presence or power but is not a living entity. (2001)
Among the segments of the population more likely than others to deny the existence of the Holy Spirit as a living entity are Catholics (73%), non-Christians (68%), and non-whites (68%). (2001)
A majority of all born again Christians reject the existence of the Holy Spirit (52%). (2001)
WHY IS THE HOLY SPIRIT IMPORTANT?
There is no subject more important in Christianity than that of the Holy Spirit. Unless this is properly understood, a large portion of the Bible, and especially the NT, remains unintelligible. On the other hand, a just view of it will do more than a knowledge of any other particular topic to give harmony, clearness, and consistency to what may be learned to all other matters presented in the Word of God.
Despite the importance of knowing the Holy Spirit and His place in the life of a Christian, there is much confusion and superstition in the minds of many people about the Holy Spirit
WHO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT?
1. A person with characteristics
2. NOT, merely an “influence”, or “impersonal force” that emanates from God.
3. We should regard the Holy Spirit as a “He”, not an “it”!
I. THE HOLY SPIRIT’S PERSONALITY
A. THE HOLY SPIRIT SPEAKS…
1. He “expressly says” that some will depart from the faith – 1 Tim 4:1
2. The Spirit spoke and gave directions to Philip – Acts 8:29
3. He spoke to Peter and gave him charge concerning the Gentiles – Acts 10:19-20
4. He spoke to the brethren at Antioch concerning Paul and Barnabas – Acts 13:1-4
B. THE HOLY SPIRIT TEACHES…
1. He was to teach the apostles all things – Jn 14:26
2. Please note that Jesus consistently refers to the Holy Spirit as “He”, not “it” (implying a personal being, not an impersonal force) – Jn 14:16-17
C. THE HOLY SPIRIT BEARS WITNESS…
1. He was to testify of Jesus – Jn 15:26-27
2. Just as the apostles (who were “personal beings”) would bear witness, so also the Holy Spirit
D. THE HOLY SPIRIT GUIDES, HEARS, SPEAKS, TELLS…
1. He would carry on and complete the work started by Jesus – Jn 16:12-13
2. Jesus consistently refers to the Holy Spirit as “He”
The Holy Spirit is a real person who came to reside within Jesus Christ’s true followers after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to heaven (Acts 2). Jesus told His apostles…
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (Jn 14:16-18)
The Holy Spirit is not a vague, ethereal shadow, nor an impersonal force. He is a person equal in every way with God the Father and God the Son. He is considered to be the third member of the Godhead. Jesus said to His apostles…
“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.” (Matt 28:18-20)
God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And all the divine attributes ascribed to the Father and the Son are equally ascribed to the Holy Spirit. When a person becomes born again by believing and receiving Jesus Christ (Jn 1:12-13; Jn 3:3-21), God resides in that person through the Holy Spirit (1Cor 3:16).
E. THE HOLY SPIRIT’S PRIMARY ROLE
1. He bears “witness” of Jesus Christ and tells people’s hearts about the truth of Jesus Christ. (Jn 15:26, 16:14).
2. He acts as a Christian’s teacher/guide (1Cor. 2:9-14).
3. He reveals God’s will and God’s truth to a Christian. Jesus told His disciples…
“The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (Jn 14:26)
“When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (Jn 16:13)
4. The Holy Spirit was given to live inside those who believe in Jesus, in order to produce God’s character in the life of a believer. In a way that we cannot do on our own, the Holy Spirit will build into our lives love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). Rather than trying to be loving, patient, kind, God asks us to rely on Him to produce these qualities in our lives. Thus Christians are told to walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:25) and be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18).
5. The Holy Spirit empowers Christians to perform ministerial duties that promote spiritual growth among Christians (Rom 12; 1Cor 12; Eph 4).
6. The Holy Spirit also performs a function for non-Christians as well. He convicts people’s hearts of God’s truth concerning how sinful we are — needing God’s forgiveness; how righteous Jesus is — He died in our place, for our sins; and God’s eventual judgment of the world and those who do not know Him (Jn 16:8-11). The Holy Spirit tugs on our hearts and minds, asking us to repent and turn to God for forgiveness and a new life.
F. THE HOLY SPIRIT FORBIDS…
1. He prevented Paul and his companions from going into certain areas of Asia – Acts 16:6-7 This He did by “forbidding” them, and “not permitting” them, despite their initial efforts
G. THE HOLY SPIRIT INTERCEDES…
1. The “Spirit Himself (note Paul’s use of the personal pronoun) makes intercession for us” – Rom 8:26
2. Just as Christ “also makes intercession for us” – Rom 8:34 [All these works of the Holy Spirit manifest personality]
II. THE HOLY SPIRIT POSSESSES PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS
A. HE HAS A MIND…
1. “the mind of the Spirit” – Rom 8:27 This suggests thinking on His own.
B. HE HAS KNOWLEDGE…
1. He “knows the things of God” – 1 Cor 2:11 just as the “spirit of man” (a personal being) knows certain things. He has intellect.
C. HE POSSESSES AFFECTION…
1. Paul speaks of “the love of the Spirit” – Rom 15:30 When have you known of an “impersonal force” that could love? He has emotion.
D. HE HAS A WILL…
1. “the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” – 1 Cor 12:11 It was the Holy Spirit Who decided what person received which gift. Again, these are all characteristics of a being possessing intelligence and personality.
III. THE HOLY SPIRIT SUFFERS PERSONAL SLIGHTS AND INJURIES
A. HE CAN BE GRIEVED…
1. “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God” – Eph 4:30 He can be made sorrowful through our willful neglect
B. HE CAN BE BLASPHEMED…
1. That is, to be spoken evil of, as in attributing His deeds to the works of Satan, the “unpardonable sin” – Matt 12:31-32
C. HE CAN BE INSULTED…
1. One who has “trampled the Son of God underfoot” has also “insulted the Spirit of grace” – Heb 10:29 This is done by sinning “willfully” – Heb 10:26
D. HE CAN BE LIED TO…
1. As Ananias and his wife Sapphira were guilty of doing. Acts 5:3: “…why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit…?”
E. HE CAN BE RESISTED…
1. As Stephen charged the Jewish leaders of doing – Acts 7:51 This they did by resisting the message and persecuting the messengers who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Acts 7: 52-53
In my opinion, much too great an emphasis has been placed on the gift of tongues – so much so that an ungodly caste system of the haves and have-not’s has developed in some groups – despite the promise of Scripture that you shall receive POWER (NOT tongues) when the Spirit comes upon you; power to be a witness (literally, a martyr). Request my study entitled “Speaking of speaking in tongues.”