Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Holy Spirit

Brief Explanation to Last Week’s Article

Brethren, we are being persecuted not because of what we share with you; we are being persecuted for speaking out against false teachings. Every teaching must be measured against the Word of God (Isaiah 8:20). In careful examination of the strange teachings by Pastor Christine and Pastor Kim, they even went on “Heavenly” visits with departed saints “imparting Wisdom and fire” in them. Does the Bible not warn us against receiving oracles from the departed spirits? (Deuteronomy 18:10-11). The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is declared in power by the Holy Spirit and He imparts gifts as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11). In their teaching, King Solomon and Elijah have imparted fire and wisdom respectively; does this not contradict Scripture? (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6; Isaiah 38:18-19).

The Bible says, we must pray to God and He gives generously gifts we need to do His will(James 1:17). If gifts are from God, why do we need gifts from the departed saints? And why does Pastor Kim and Sister Christine have the power to “impart” gifts? According to the Bible, it is the Lord Jesus Christ who baptizes us in the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:16; Luke 24:49) and the Holy Spirit give the gifts as He chooses (1 Corinthians 12:11). We cannot command the Holy Spirit or the Lord Jesus Christ, nor Angels; we have been given authority only over Satan and his demonic host (Luke 10:19). Angels are God’s messengers and they are sent by God alone(Hebrews1:14). Note the term ‘sent’; are they sent by us or God? Furthermore, for your edification, we have not and will not allow any gift from any one, whether materially or otherwise, to influence the message the Lord entrusted us to share with you (Galatians 2:5-6).In summary, last week’s article (and subsequent Follow-upto Sister Christine’s response) was not to create division, but to expose falsehood and lies. The Lord commanded us to Judge error and expose false teachers (Matthew 23:23-34; John 7:24). We simply judge the truth from error, and we do so in submission to the Lord Jesus Christ and our love for the brotherhood. We owe truth and that truth is accentuated by the mighty conviction of the Holy Spirit.

The Work of The Holy Spirit

The greatest gift a believer receives after accepting Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour is the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul call it God’s down payment that we are His (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). In the Old Testament leaders, judges, kings and priests were anointed with the Holy Spirit to be able to do God’s work (Acts 10:38; Judges 13:24-25; 1 Samuel 10:1,11; 16:12-13). This is what sets the believer and Christianity apart from unbelievers and other religions. We receive the Holy Spirit to enter God’s service (Acts 1:8). Our service is to witness, bear fruit and to worship God (John 4:24; John 15:4).

Also, when Moses was called and sent to Pharaoh, God gave him His words and with gifts of the Holy Spirit (Exodus 4:1-12). These gifts represented God’s power and authority as this Scripture declares. Furthermore, it was evident from the ministries of our Lord Jesus Christ, King David, King Saul, Moses, Samuel and others that they carried God’s authority, His Holy Spirit. Please examine above scriptures. The Power and authority from their ministry was directly from God the Father and all they did represented His will. This gave and added authority to the things they did and said in the name of God Almighty (Exodus 8:19).

Comparatively, the disciples did not go out immediately after our Lord’s ascension to Heaven. They waited on the Lord in prayer for the promise to receive preaching power and authority from God (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4). Shortly after this Pentecost experience, the disciples received words of testimony, various gifts and a conviction from the Holy Spirit to witness about Christ Jesus being God’s Messiah and the Saviour of the world (Acts 2:32-34). The Holy Spirit Himself testified that Christ was from God, because He allowed the disciples to perform God’s work in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (Acts 3:6-10). These works testified to God’s Power, just like the signs God gave Moses (Acts 3:12-16). The teaching about the Holy Spirit is the most important, yet mostly ignored by some Churches and individuals. The revelation about God and Christ comes by the Holy Spirit.

The Person of The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit was first formally introduced to us through the testimony of John the Baptist (John 1:32-34). Our Lord Jesus Christ was revealed to the world through the ascending Holy Spirit on Him. While the Holy Spirit was involved in the work of creation, His identity remained a mystery until our Heavenly Father revealed the Holy Spirit and Christ to the world. The Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit were simultaneously introduced to the world through John the Baptist as per above Scripture. As it is, the Holy Spirit set Christ, His Work and Message apart from all other prophets and messengers of God (Luke 4:18-19). If our Lord Jesus Christ was identified by the work of the Holy Spirit, shouldn’t we as believers, not be identified likewise?

While a great deal has been written on the person of the Holy Spirit, we will be brief on this but we would like to add our testimony that the Holy Spirit is God and equal to the Father and the Son, yet distinct from them (Matthew 28:19; John 14:15-17; Acts 5:3-4). The Bible describes the Holy Spirit in personal terms as having feelings, knowledge and desires (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Corinthians 2:11,13; Romans 8:27). In addition, the Holy Spirit is identified in Christ and Christ is identified in a believer through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9).

The Life and Conduct of a Spirit-filled Christian

As believers, there is a constant conflict in our lives, because our sinful nature fights against the Spirit of God (Romans 8:5-7; Galatians 5:17). Because of our union with Christ, the Spirit has given us life and freedom – not a freedom to do as we please, but a freedom from the bondage that the law brings (Romans 7:6; Galatians 5:1). As it is, through the Spirit we now have the power and freedom to live Christ-like. This change, in our behaviour, does not happen automatically, but as a result of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. This is not a mechanical process; we must exercise self-discipline and effort (Romans 12:9-13; 1 Corinthians 9:27). If we allow the Holy Spirit to take control and direct our lives, the result will be a quality of character that is like Christ Himself (Romans 14:17; 2 Corinthians 3:18). Knowing that, a Christ-like attitude is what the Bible calls the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Like the Lord’s disciples after the Pentecost experience, the production of spiritual fruit and power was evident in them (1 Corinthians 1:7; 3:1-4). It is not only the gifts of the Holy Spirit that testify about Christ, but fruit is evidence of Christ’s indwelling.

We must therefore remember that obedience and faith are necessary for enjoying the Spirit’s power after receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32; Galatians 3:2). The Holy Spirit will convicts us if we are confronted by a sinful situation and we are faced with a choice to obey or disobey the conviction we receive (Ephesians 4:29-32; Acts 5:9).

In conclusion, we know that the Holy Spirit in our lives precedes any law or rule (Galatians 5:18). Like I explained elsewhere, in the beginning of our Lord’s visits to us, He prepared us for service so He gave us gifts and encouraged us like Paul did to young Timothy to use the gifts (1 Timothy 4:14). The Lord taught us that our testimony would not be accepted if we do not show some of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. We were encouraged to build our lives daily around the fruits of the Spirit. I recall an incident I had with someone I witnessed to a few years ago, I became very angry and answered an unbeliever back for hurling insults at me. I felt convicted immediately when the person turned back and told me that if that is how Christians are then he didn’t want to be one. I felt ashamed of my actions and I cried many days to the Lord to remove the guilt I had and to help me not to react to people’s insults. The fruit was lacking in me. I was told by the Lord that the work of ministry is not just the ministry of the word, but we must be what we preach and the Father delights in those fruits. We have many Christians today who cannot be differentiated from the unbelievers; they have the knowledge of God but show none of God’s character.

I was once confronted by another situation at one of my previous places of employment. I considered this as a test. The Company’s stock/inventory was missing through theft and I was the only one who did not steal. Everybody knew I was a born-again believer and the warehouse manager approached me and asked if I knew who was stealing stock or merchandise. I hesitated to answer at first but I summoned courage in the Lord so I spoke up and spoke the truth. This obviously landed me in big trouble with everybody. I was confronted by my colleagues and promised a beating. That was a very humiliating experience for me. I was called names in public and in full view of everyone present. I felt like fighting my accusers physically. I kept quiet and I went back to my work station and cried out to the Lord in a broken spirit to please help me and protect me against this abuse. My managers and everyone cared little about me. I even thought of resigning from my work as a result of the pressure and the promise of me being beaten every day. I covered myself with prayer before leaving home for work and the Lord in His faithfulness protected me from them. I heard their insults, but I still held my peace. A few weeks later, the Lord turned that situation in His favour. They discussed about churches and the messages, and almost in one voice they praised the God I served by pointing to the fruit of the Holy Spirit in my life. These men knew me before my conversion that I was drinking alcohol with them, smoking and was formerly a gangster.

Finally, prayer and Bible reading are food for the Spirit and the Fruit of the Holy Spirit in us as believers shows Christ to the world and these fruits attract man to His message, while the gifts are displaying God’s power. Moses was mighty in the power of the gifts, but he was considered to be the humblest man in the world; and so was our Lord known (Deuteronomy 34:10-12;Philippians 2:5-11). Let us therefore not just be powerful in speech, but in our inner attitude as well. The Lord loves truthful and obedient children. Let us desire the Holy Spirit in our lives not just for the sake of the gifts, but to BE in ministry to others.

Peace to you through the Holy Spirit,
Brother Glenn.