Friday, January 11, 2008
The Holy Spirit by Pastor Don
I asked Pastor Don about the Holy Spirit and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I was wondering what happens for someone who is saved, but does not accept the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with signs and wonders – where is the Holy Spirit then? We had been looking at the various baptisms, and I was wondering about those Christians who are saved, thinking that only one baptism was necessary.
Pastor Don likened the Holy Spirit Baptism to having a tool box with tools. You can have the tool box, but unless you open the box, take out the tools and use them, it does not do you much good.
The Holy Spirit can use us without our cooperation and knowledge if need be, but He does not like to force us against our will. We have all the tools in the box, but we can choose to use them or not. We can carry the tool box with us but not open it.
Pastor Don also told us that there is a bad trend among Spirit-filled Christians – that they tend to look down on the other Christians who are not Spirit-filled. It is a spirit of religious pride and is not good for the Body of Christ. A Spirit-filled believer looks down on a person who is Born Again and does not believe that the gifts are for us today. That is not leading to harmony in the Body of Christ. The Born Again person who does not operate in the Spirit filled gifts still has the gifts to use, whether or not he uses them. They are saved and have the gifts. The Spirit-filled believer has a particular experience with God called the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with evidence of tongues.
Pastor Don told someone who questioned him about tongues that tongues emanates from our yieldedness, God will not compel us to speak in tongues, it is evidence of the Presence of God, but we have to be willing to open our mouth and speak in tongues. If we refuse to do that, God will not force us to do so – that is what makes the difference between the Gift of the Spirit called tongues and demonic possession – the believer having the gift has the freedom to manifest the gift or not – he is not forced or compelled to do so.
The presence of God makes it possible to speak in tongues, but the person can opt out. They can experience the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and make the choice not to speak in tongues. But tongues is evidence of the Power of God and the Holy Spirit.
It is also not proper to teach that speaking in tongues is because a believer is super enthusiastic and emotional and that tongues are not part of God. We praise God with our mind and understanding, and we praise God with words that we cannot understand.
Pastor Don explained that he received the gift of tongues when he was a guest speaker in a Methodist Church, and he covered his mouth, not wanting the tongues to come out, for he had been trained by the Baptists that tongues were not of God. But ultimately he prayed that God would show him the truth in the Word of God about tongues. If it was of God, he wanted the gift of tongues, if it wasn’t of God he prayed that God would remove it.
Pastor Don said that speaking in tongues or not is a condition of yieldedness. Pastor Don shared how he laid hands on his wife so she could receive the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit came in, but nothing seemed to change outwardly. Cynthia said it seemed to be no big thing to her. Then Pastor Don laid hands on someone else in his house Bible study and she began speaking in tongues. Cynthia wanted that too, and prayed to God to receive tongues and one day she too spoke in tongues.
We can accept salvation, being Born again by faith, and we also need to accept the infilling of the Holy Spirit by faith. People will experience the presence of the Holy Spirit differently depending on their yieldedness and their experiences.
THE HOLY SPIRIT MOVES ACCORDING TO HOW WE PERMIT HIM TO MOVE.
Some want little or no evidence, others are willing to yield to the gifts.
Cynthia expressed it this way, “God gives the gift to you and you have to open the package.”
We receive the Holy Spirit by faith and we choose to yield. The Key ISN’T speaking in tongues. Tongues is the evidence of the Baptism, but you receive the Holy Spirit whether or not you speak in tongues.
Pastor Don said that if he says Born Again people have money, it is a safe assumption – some will have more, some less. And then he asks them to show their money, some may have a quarter, some $20, some $200. The amount of money you have on you isn’t the evidence of how much faith you have, it is just what you have on you at that particular time – you may have a credit card, or you may have a huge bank account but left your wallet at home. You may have no money on you at the time he asks you to show money, but that is not evidence that you do not have money. It is the same with the Holy Spirit -some have much to show one day and another day when the Holy Spirit is not active, may have little evidence of the Spirit.
In the Body of Christ, those with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, choose to yield to God. Those who yield will show evidence of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
1. God filling
The Number One reason why people do not manifest the Holy Spirit is PRIDE. They want God to give them the power when they want, how they want, and in the way they want, or they don’t want to yield.
Pastor Don also said, just because you had the experience of the infilling of the Holy Spirit with evidence does NOT mean that you are always filled with the Holy Spirit. When we are not yielded to God, when we are so concerned about our earthly concerns, we are not walking around with the infilling of the Holy Spirit, we are not Spirit filled. So there are many times we are walking around with the same amount of activity of the Holy Spirit as a non-spirit filled believer.
The goal is to BE BEING FILLED all the time, not drunk as with wine, but filled with the Holy Spirit. It is an active, ongoing process of being filled continually.
Ephesians 5:18-21 AMPLIFIED And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit. 19Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [and instruments] and making melody with all your heart to the Lord,20At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.21Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
Ephesians 5:18-21 NKJV And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
We are blessed to have a person in our Friday Bible study who reads Greek fluently and she translated this passage for us. She told us that the word for “dissipation” or “debauchery” is the exact same word that was used for the prodigal son, and implies lack of self-control.
Asotia in the Greek means to be filled, be completed in or by.
This is infilling of the Spirit is something that happens continually, it is not our permanent state but a temporary filling. When we are Born Again we are Born Again always, the devil can’t take that from us.
In Greek the Word filled, means continually drinking, be being filled.
In Verse 19 and 20 contain the steps we have to take to achieve the filling, being in the presence of the Holy Spirit and then He fills you up. The step is Worship. The Apostle Peter tells us that when you know the Lord, when he fills you with power, we are not to gossip and backbite. Why are there negative behaviors like that in a Spirit-filled church? The Spirit-filled believer ends up sounding and acting like a fleshly person. And if there is backbiting, gossip and evil acting, are either the Spirit-filled believer or the Born Again believer any better than unsaved people? Divorce rates among believers are high, and at times higher than unbelievers. We are not filled with the Spirit all the time – if we were we would not be able to lie, backbite, gossip or act evil when we have the Power of the Holy Spirit within us. That is why we have to not be obnoxious with pride.
All we are doing is yielding to the power of God, it has nothing to do with our being any more special or spiritual. Some receive the Holy Spirit once and that is enough for them. Some sin and do not want to come back to Christ. God may save their lives in an emergency or they will sit on the fringes of church until the next emergency. A Spirit- filled believer can sin in the flesh, and when they are ready to sin they stop going to church, stop praising God, etc. The fleshly, carnal decisions are made when we are not filled with the Holy Ghost.
If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, and have that experience but don’t translate that into a habit of life it does us little good. The Holy Spirit may not impact you when you are not filled with the Holy Spirit (and then again He may choose to impact you for that situation). We can get upset in the flesh, and then spend time worshipping God and get filled with the Holy Spirit which helps us to get over our fleshly situation. You can will to have the Holy Spirit infill you.
Tongues are speaking in words that bypass the intellect. It is not something one should pride oneself on, for that would not edify the church. The Spirit-filled believer, in their personal life, may not look any different from a Born Again believer, Born Again believers just don’t believe in the gifts and deal with their problems in many of the same ways as a fleshly person would.
The problem comes when CANNOT becomes WILL NOT. God can load us with Spiritual gifts but the person needs yieldedness, worshipping in the presence of God, a contact by the supernatural to unleash these gifts.
The purposes of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
1. FELLOWSHIP. We desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit so we can worship in the Spirit and have fellowship with God, not just talk to Daddy, but fellowship in the way it was back in the Garden where you can walk with Him in the sunset, and be one with Him.
2. WORSHIP, we are to worship in Spirit and in Truth, and being in the Spirit takes us to a deeper level, not just the floor level. Pastor Don tells people at church to not look at what other people are doing in church, but to close our eyes, quit judging, and get into the presence of the Lord.
3. TO SERVE, God wants to do something, and we minister to God first, through Praise, and worship, and tell God how wonderful He is.
4. GET INSTRUCTIONS, not carnally, but to hear what God tells us in the Spirit. In the flesh we don’t know what to do, but the Spirit instructions are different from the Carnal. God got the prophets to tell Paul and Barnabas to be sent out – that instruction came from the Holy Spirit.
When there is an action to carry out, there is a natural action and a spiritual action. We are not always acting in the Spirit,.
1. Don’t be deceived, drugs and alcohol minister to the flesh, medications, if people are depressed they reach for a drug to medicate their feeling. Most alcoholics want to kill the pain. This is Key knowledge because if we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the devil will come up with his counter offers, and find a way to take away from the Spirit. When we are in that situation we have to call a prayer partner, find someone to share a song with, or a Scripture, so that we can get back to the Spirit.
Pastor Don told us that sometimes a Born Again believer doesn’t realize they really are speaking in tongues. He gave an example, saying that some people start out singing a hymn or spiritual song, they know the first verse, and some of the words of another verse – in the spaces where they don’t know the real words they start saying, “dum, de, da, da, dum” in tune to the song. It is nonsense syllables but still worship.
We get into the Spirit to edify ourselves, and when we pray in tongues or sing in tongues we build up our Spirits. Not always do we do this in public, but it builds up the Body of Christ. When in church there is an order to be followed with tongues – tongues must come with interpretation, and that interpretation is prophecy and for the building up of the Body of Christ.
Pastor Don mentioned Paul and Silas in prison, singing songs, worshipping God and praying in the Spirit. Paul said 1 Corinthians 14:18-19 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Paul says that he speaks in tongues more than all of the others, but in Church, he would rather edify those who do not. The Holy Spirit comes when you are born again, He convicts you of sin, and the Holy Spirit points to Jesus Christ.
The sinner’s prayer that many are instructed to pray is not Biblical, it is an institution made by man, and has become a tradition. Confession is Biblical, and the disciples were to confess to one another.
Pastor Don then uses Cynthia, his wife for an illustration for us. He took a napkin and put it on her forehead and told us when we become Born Again we are sealed by the Holy Spirit which he said was the napkin- it is a mark that is clearly visible to the devil, and when he sees that mark he knows a person is Born Again, and someone that the devil wants to try and pull off course. While the person is still a sinner, the devil didn’t need to bother with them for they were in his camp, but now that the person is Born Again and has that mark (napkin – I wish you could have seen Mrs. Moore’s face, she is rather shy and does not like to be in the limelight), satan now starts bothering us. She, as Born Again, is filled with the Spirit, but maybe chooses not to do the tongue stuff. Pastor Don then took his sweater and put it around her shoulders and said when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you have tools to work with. Pastor Don proceeded to show Mrs. Moore various little objects he said represented various gifts of the Holy Spirit, Healing (the ability to heal other people or heal yourself with the power of the Holy Spirit), Prophecy (singing in the Spirit and a divinely inspired sermon comes out, a message in three seconds are three minutes that can impact 3,000 people, if you are sick you can preach to yourself and build yourself up to fight the devil, or give a prophecy and interpret it – pray in tongues and interpret what you say), Supernatural dreams and visions, dreams from heaven. If she accepts the gifts of the Holy Spirit, she can read the Bible and there will be supernatural revelations in the Word for her, or she can have the gift of helps, so what she does in the Spirit helps people to be blessed. She can have supernatural provision, prosperity in any area she touches (not just financial), and God can give her God ideas for her situations. And spiritual armor to protecting her from the fiery darts of satan.
All of these tools are available to her in the tool box, but it is up to her if she wants to accept these gifts or not, and if she accepts them, then she has to make the choice to take them out of the tool box and use them. You can have all the gifts, but one thing Pastor Don told us is, if you don’t use them and practice with them, when you need them in a pinch they won’t be developed to the point of you being able to fully wield them. That does not mean the Holy Spirit won’t intervene, but we will not be operating in the full power available to us.
Pastor Don then took a few items out of the pile of things that Mrs. Moore had in her hands and said that you can choose to use one or two of the gifts and let the others lie dormant.
Pastor Don says, He prays in the Holy Spirit before he begins to preach. The Holy Spirit can loosen the gifts, and when Pastor Don wants to edify He wants to come in agreement with what the Holy Spirit wants to do.
No one can get Born Again without the Holy Spirit, we can get filled with the Spirit, and have opportunities for giftings, but some do not want this. If we never experience the infilling of the Spirit, we will have to face the pressures and problems of life without the help of the Holy Spirit, and some believers will be so burdened by the problems that they fall by the wayside.
Pastor Don wants all that God wants Him to have, and he also told us we have to let the Holy Spirit use us for service, and when we do, the Holy Spirit empowers us. The Holy Spirit builds us up. He then went on to remind us that tongues and other evidences of the Holy Spirit may seem like foolishness to men, but God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.
We have the SPIRIT IN, but that does not mean that we operate in the gifts and callings, and we can have the SPIRIT UPON. You have to be yielded and worship to get to the point of the Spirit upon. Remember Elisha when he says, “Get me a Minstrel” to help him get into the Spirit. You can tell when the Spirit comes upon, and Pastor Don watches for the Spirit upon.
You want to see what anointing is on a person, and when the Spirit says calm down, obey Him. Sometimes in situations we panic, but that is not Christ in you when you panic. When you are dealing in your circumstances know that God loves you all the time, and keep a hold of the truth, the Good about God. We will not always be happy in our circumstances, there will be trials and tribulations, but know that God is there, and God is good.
Even for the person with the happiest life, not everything is all right all of the time. People can forsake you, there can be sickness and enemies. Even in the midst of that know you are good to go with God and that you can make a difference by being filled with the Spirit, and His Word, to get His Presence. Even in our Spirit filled lives, we do not always have the Spirit active in us. And if the Born Again believer refuses to function in the gifts of the Spirit because he believes that they are of the past, both the Spirit filled believer and the Born Again believer are missing out.
Signs and wonders help to grow a church. We have seen this in India where undeniable signs and wonders have pulled people to God. Once God used Pastor Don to heal a 14 year old deaf girl at a meeting in India and God brought many to Christ through that healing. God healed her, and it allowed her to feel God’s presence and know that God is not something distant, and it increased her faith for God. Pastor Don told us it was funny because, through the interpreter he asked the girl if she could hear and she shook her head “no”. Pastor Don was sure God had healed her and asked her again. It turns out that in India the head gesture for “yes” is what we use for no. So she was shaking her head yes.
If you are in the Spirit great things can happen. If you have trouble with your kids, get into the Spirit. A Born Again believer can get there, it doesn’t take speaking in tongues, we can say hymns and praise God. God is merciful to Born Again believers with no understanding of the Spirit. Pastor Don said sometimes a person is hurting so much that they fall on their face and cry out to God. Romans 8:26-27 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
When you stand before the firing squad of life you want as many gifts of the Spirit as possible. Pastor Don told us we ought to read Fox’s Book of Martyrs to see that there are people who were Born Again and not Spirit-filled that died for Christ.
Jesus had an Advocate (The Holy Spirit) to help Him on earth, He told people, “I and my Father are one and without Him I am nothing.” In the flesh Jesus had a skin suit, and needed the help of the Holy Spirit. Jesus never made a move without getting into the Spirit.
We want every opportunity to bless others and the Body of Christ. Why live with only part of the tools available to us? Is it possible for us to be perpetually filled with the Spirit? In our natural state, we have to be yielded all the time, and most of us never do that. But we want Him to use us as much as possible, so seek the infilling of the Holy Spirit with worship, praise, tongues, and let Him do His good work through us.
Praying this answer helped you as it did me,