As Christians we often finish a prayer with, “in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” and we say it without much thought. If we did give it some thought we’d realize that our knowledge of the Father and Son far out weighs what we know about the Holy Spirit. In fact in most denominations in America the Holy Spirit is rarely mentioned except at the end of a prayer. When the Father led me to Jesus I had no idea what had happened; however, for the first time in my life I felt a relationship with Him, the same kind of relationship I had had with my earthly father who just happened to be a super good dad. A few weeks later I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit which took place in my home. I was so excited about the baptism I made an appointment with the minister of our church to tell him the good news. At my surprise the minister was not at all happy over my experience stating that charismatics caused trouble, and were too divisive in the church. I had never heard the word charismatic used in religious circles so I checked it out. The dictionary indicated it was “a person who supposedly has some Divinely inspired power, as the ability to prophecy, and the heal.” I also did an exhaustive search in a Bible concordance and found that the word, “charismatic,” is not mentioned in the Bible. I don’t know how the word came into being; however, I do know it is sure easier to be labeled a charismatic than a, “Holy Roller.” By the way, charismatics call other denominations, “The Frozen Chosen.” It’s religion folks let the name calling begin, what can I say.
The experience of being baptized by the Holy Spirit happened to me before it happened to my dear wife, Nicki. I thought it best to let Nicki share her thoughts that led up to her baptism in the Holy Spirit. “Roger and I met in college, Ball State University, got married and starting teaching. I stopped teaching when we had children. After being married seven years he applied for and got a job with the FBI. Roger served in two different states before he was transferred to the Orlando, Florida office.
Growing up I went to Sunday school and in high school I sang in the church choir and went to youth group, and in college I also sang in a church choir. In high school my girlfriends and I had slumber parties and then would go to someone’s church on Sunday morning. I sang at weddings and in choir in college. While living in another state, prior to moving to Florida, I sang in a church choir and directed children’s choirs. When we moved to Florida our family attended church together.
Soon after we moved to Florida I noticed Roger sitting in the living room reading his Bible after work. Of course I read Bible verses in church and had read some myself. Since he did this every day I finally asked why. He smiled and said he had been saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit. He talked about it for a while and I just listened. Finally I went in the other room and thought about what he’d said. Then I did whatever I’d been doing, probably cooking or talking to our kids, or watching TV. Each day he continued to read his Bible and each day I became more frustrated. I even thought about leaving.
Then one day he invited me to go to a Bible study group with him and I did. The people there were very nice and they shared Scripture. I enjoyed it and then they sang songs. I had heard a wonderful soloist from the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and members of the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra, but this music was the most beautiful I’d ever heard. It touched my heart. Soon after I went to a meeting with Roger again, and God touched my heart to receive Jesus and the Holy Spirit.” We thought Nicki’s testimony would be helpful to those who are struggling with their salvation. I know that if Nicki had received Christ before me my testimony would have been pretty much the same.
In churches across America there is knowledge of the Father and Son; however, as I mention previously very little is ever spoken about the Holy Spirit except to say His name at the end of the prayer. Yet in the trinity we curse God and the Son and can be forgiven. Not so with the Holy Spirit. If we sin against the Holy Spirit we commit an eternal sin and forgiveness is not available. Jesus was talking with the Pharisees after He healed a man who was demon-possessed and was blind and mute. The Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of the ruler of the demons. “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matt 12: 31 & 32) Man can say what he wants about the Father and the Son, but we better not mess with the Spirit of the the living God. With this in mind it would be good to see Who the Holy Spirit is, and what His function is in the Holy Trinity.
To put it simply, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, the very power of God, and by His grace the Father gives a portion of His Spirit to believers so they might be His ambassadors on earth. The Scriptures are full of the workings of the Holy Spirit. The following passages will give us an idea of His works and how they relate to us as believers. “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning. (John 15: 26 & 27) That last line, “you have been with Me from the beginning,” does that include us? Were we with Him from the beginning? We sure were, remember when we were chosen, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him… (Eph 1: 4) I could stop right there and that would enough. But there is more, much, much more. “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” (John 16: 7) “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you.” (John 16: 12 – 15) “But 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.” (John 14: 26) “but 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: 8) “for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. (Thess 1: 5) And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man. (Eph 3: 16) “I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit’ I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.” (John 1: 33)
We know that our Father gives us the gift of ever lasting life when He takes us to His Son. There are also gifts the Father bestows on us through His precious Holy Spirit. As we see from the Scriptures above, the Father gives these gifts so we might serve Him in power upon the earth. “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” (1 Cor 12: 4 – 11) As we can see the gifts mentioned here are actions of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit working through men who are appointed by God in the church, and are, “…first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” (1 Cor 12: 28) It is important to remember God’s appointments are made for the common good of the body. They are not given to glorify those who are appointed.
The gift that causes the most reluctance in the denominations today is the gift of tongues, and yet Jesus commanded, “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues.” (Mark 16: 17) Then Paul says, “I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all.” (1 Cor 14: 18) The Son of God says tongues is a sign for the believer. Paul, the author of much of the New Testament says he speaks in tongues more than the rest. In fact do we doubt that all the writers of the Bible were Spirit filled? Yet Christians in America say that’s not for us. The reason Christians feel this way is because they do not understand the Spirit’s purpose for tongues. “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weaknesses, for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and he who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8: 26 & 27) Tongues is a prayer language by which our Father gives us a perfect prayer every time we pray. “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” (Eph 6: 18) Yes, tongues is used by the Spirit as a prayer language for the believer. Problems occur when people use the gift of tongues in groups of people. Paul speaks to these things, “Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also, I will sing with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. Otherwise if you bless in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the , ‘Amen’ at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not edified. I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue. Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature. In the Law it is written, ‘By men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to Men,’ says the Lord. So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe. Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter will they not say that you are mad.” (1 Cor 14: 13 – 23) In Corinthians 14 Paul gives instruction to the church regarding Spiritual gifts, and how they are to be used when Christians meet together. He finishes his instruction by saying, “Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy and do not forbid to speak in tongues. But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner. (1 Cor 14: 39 & 40)
To review, tongues is primarily a prayer language for the believer in which the Holy Spirit intercedes for us making our prayer a prayer that is according to the Father’s will. When used in group setting, tongues is not be spoken unless an interpretation is given afterwards. In a nut shell all things are to be done in an orderly manner which will in turn edify the body of Christ. Speaking of edifying, I conclude with this message from our Father who wants us to know Him, and how deeply He wants us to know all things He has for us. “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in these taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor 2:10 – 16) Enough said!
In my next message our Lord will reveal additional workings of the Holy Spirit. Love to all!
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