Last night was the coldest night of the year to date, negative 13 degrees F. It was cold ladies and gentlemen but the good news is that there was heat in the church (not just the heat of the Holy Spirit but actual heat). We met for a Bible study on certain hot topics in the church world in this part of the world. The wave of charismatic interpretations of the Bible mixed with the prosperity gospel has made its way to Moldova and is spreading like wildfire (because of the deep poverty, the prosperity gospel sounds so appealing to many in the Evangelical churches). So last night our senior pastor, Vasile Filat, addressed 3 major questions that these movements have produced. 1) How do I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit? (how is it manifested in the life of a true believer?) 2) What do you do when you do not “feel” love in the church? 3) Can a person be a true Christian yet not be part of the local church?
It was such a wonderful time, like the believers in the first century who met and studied the Word of God passionately. I would like to share the wonderful truths that we discovered last night.
Feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit
In this new wave of teaching about the Holy Spirit and the church, people are taught that the Holy Spirit is a work even if we do not understand what is happening, we must just go with the flow of things, even if the “things” are absurd, like uncontrollable laughing or being “slain” in the Spirit etc. Our goal was to see how the movement of the Holy Spirit was seen in the New Testament and how the people “felt” the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives, as well as, what were the results of the “moving” of the Holy Spirit. The Acts of the Apostles shares great insight about the moving of the Holy Spirit and what happens when the Holy Spirit moves. So that is what we focused on.
8 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.”
- they will receive power
- this power will cause them to be witnesses in of Jesus Christ in very dangerous places
- this power will take them to the ends of the earth so that they can preach the Gospel
- nonbelievers will hear the Gospel preached by those who have the Holy Spirit
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. 5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans ? 8 “And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born ? 9 “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs -we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”
- Each of the believers received the power promised in Acts 1
- Each one begin to testify about the mighty deeds of God (sharing the Gospel)
- All the people who were present in Jerusalem (some 19 different languages) heard the Gospel in their own language spoken by people who had never learned all of those different languages
- Nonbelievers hear the Gospel in their heart language (mother tongues so that they can fully understand it)
- In this context Peter takes his stand and preaches the Gospel
- Nonbelievers are pierced to the heart by the message of the Gospel
- Nonbelievers repent of their sins and choose to follow Jesus Christ
- Those who have the Holy Spirit desire to obey God in believer’s baptism
- Those who receive the Holy Spirit have a passion for Bible study
- Those who have the Holy Spirit have a unique form of love for each other
- They serve one another
- They meet each other’s needs
- The people (nonbelievers) around them (people with the Holy Spirit) were amazed at their love for each other, the lifestyles that they were living, and the way that they served one another
- Those who receive the Holy Spirit are sincere with themselves and with others
- Peter preaches the Gospel (with John)
- They are beaten and put in jail for their actions
- They are threatened and told to stop preaching the Gospel
- They fill Jerusalem with the Gospel
- They are beaten again and warned
- In the midst of persecution they are full of the Holy Spirit
- They obey Christ
- They consider it joy to suffer for the Gospel
- They pray and rejoice
- They are zealous for the Gospel
- Nonbelievers hear the Gospel and it pierces their hearts again
- Nonbelievers realize that those who have the Holy Spirit have been taught by Jesus Christ, by their zeal for the Gospel and the fact that they share it everywhere
- Stephen stands and preaches the Gospel in a very difficult setting
- He is bold and zealous
- Nonbelievers hear the Gospel and are pierced to the heart by It
- Paul‘s conversion
- He receives the Holy Spirit
- His life is transformed
- He does a 180 degree turn
- He turns from disobedience to God to obedience
- He begins to preach the Gospel
- Nonbelievers are amazed at the transformation and the message of the Gospel
There are many, many other passages but we will limit ourselves to these few that we have.
- The Holy Spirit transforms a person’s lifestyle
- The Holy Spirit gives the person the zeal to preach the Gospel boldly
- A person with the Holy Spirit preaches the Gospel everywhere (he is a walking Bible)
- He has a passion for Bible study
- He loves others
- He sacrifices for others
- He serves others
- He has great joy even when suffering because he preaches the Gospel
- It is evident that he walks with Jesus Christ
- He has a passion to share the message with the people around him
- He is able to explain the Scriptures
1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God ; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh – 13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die ; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba ! Father !” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
- This follows chapter 7 when Paul explains what is means to “want to do good but not be able to do it because of slavery to sin”
- He asks “who will set me free”?
- Jesus Christ is the answer
- Chapter 8 explains what Jesus Christ does by giving us the Holy Spirit
- A person with the Holy Spirit is no longer condemned to live under slavery to sin
- He has been set free from sin’s power
- He walks (lives) by the Spirit which is manifested by obedience to God
- He has his mind set on spiritual things (his spiritual life is the most important part of his life)
- He has peace because he obeys God and lives for spiritual things
- He puts to death the deeds of the flesh on a daily basis (says no to sin and temptation)
- He has assurance that he has the Holy Spirit and is a child of God (through the work of the Spirit in his life; he is a new person, lives to please God, lives for spiritual things)
- The Bible explains what it means to have the Holy Spirit and how It is manifested in us
- It is not based on emotions or sensual things (uncontrollable laughter, speaking gibberish, being “slain” in the Spirit)
- It is seen through a transformed lifestyle (no longer a slave to sin, saying no to sin and temptation, saying yes to obedience, living for spiritual things, sharing the Gospel everywhere)
What about you my friend,
- Has your lifestyle been transformed by the Holy Spirit?
- Do you have the desire and ability to say no to sin and temptation day by day, moment by moment?
- Do you have a passion for Bible study and spiritual things?
- Do you have a desire to preach the Gospel everywhere you go?
- Do others notice that your lifestyle has been transformed and that you obviously “walk with Jesus”?
- Who is your master, sin or Jesus Christ? (that is seen by whom you obey, which one, sin or God)
May God help us learn to walk by the power of the Holy Spirit. I will cover the other 2 question in the next article. Until then, have a blessed day.