If these are the last days, which many Christians believe that they are, then we, Christians need to pay maximum attention to the Spirit of God more than ever before, and the reason for this can be found in Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17 as follows:
“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”
While addressing a mesmerised crowd on the day of Pentecost, Peter emphasizes the great importance of the message he is about to deliver saying “……listen carefully to what I say.” Now we understand from the passage that he and his fellow disciples had just walked out of the upper room where they had been filled with the Holy Spirit. Consider it for a moment as if it were an inauguration – Acts 2 would be his first speech/teaching as a Spirit filled disciple on the day of Pentecost.
Notice the text says, “…my spirit on ALL people.” If you count yourself a spirit filled Christian rejoice! If you have chosen to live as a Christian who believes that the gifts of the Spirit such as speaking in tongues and prophecy ended in the Bible days with Moses and others, it is a sad affair that you have chosen to exercise your free will to unsubscribe from being among those who will have these last days’ abilities and advantage promised to ALL by God as was first written about in the book of Joel. However, if you are a Christian wondering how to receive the Holy Spirit, when we read further in Acts 2:38 Peter writes, “Repent and be baptised, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for ALL who are far off - for ALL whom the Lord our God will call. Notice how Peter uses “ALL” at the beginning and end of Acts 2, that means you, me and ALL whom the Lord our God will call. ALL. More about how to receive the Holy Spirit can be found when we read the full book of Acts.
Why is this important?
When one considers the times that we are living in, surely we need divine wisdom and revelation to stay the course that leads to a heavenly inheritance. As such we must pray earnestly and desire the Holy Spirit that the Lord Jesus promised would teach us all things, and remind us of everything Jesus said (John 14:25). Jesus also referred to Him as the “spirit of truth.” My understanding is that this is power, an edge, and access that has been promised by Jesus to all true believers (those that keep the Lord’s commands, John 14:23). In today’s world, it is important that we stand equipped against the spirit of deception that has spread so rampant and more importantly the spirit of false teachers and churches – especially those that have a form of godliness but deny all of the God’s power! (2 Timothy 3). As such we must quieten our own spirits and intentionally block out the noise from our day-to-day lives enough to solely rely on the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit that has been given to us and lives within us. Only then can we overcome and navigate the chaos that is evident in many areas of our society. With the spirit of truth as a pillar at the centre of our lives for which every decision and action is weighed then will we live as Christians producing good fruit (Mathew 7:16) with results that have the potential to transform our external environments.
Hearing from God
It is through the power of God’s spirit that we receive open and pure back and forth communication with God. Joel writes that after the spirit has been poured out, then comes prophecy, visions and the dreams. In today’s world, this extra level of knowledge and access to the secret things of God should be desirable for every Christian. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 14:1, “follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” In James 1 we read, “if any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God...” If at all we find ourselves in a place of questioning whether this power has been granted us or if we are somehow part of this promise then we can ask God, “who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Jesus teaches us in Mathew and Luke 11:9-13 to ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking... the text concludes with, “how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Jesus desires that we ask the father to fill us with the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit at work in us, we receive open communication with God and are able to walk in the will of God, know the difference between right and wrong, receive a message of knowledge and so much more as the Lord wills for us on the path that leads to life. Oh how wonderful for all the Lord’s people to prophesy, have dreams and visions! Amen.
The world is praying for peace.
We find ourselves in a time where evil could strike anywhere at anytime. What seemed like controlled threats are getting worse and worse. But how will true peace come without a spirit filled church? Paul in Romans 14:17 wrote, “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Without righteousness there will never be true peace. I believe that it is only the power of the Holy Spirit that can impart true righteousness, peace and joy. Whereby thereafter Christians can truly be the light in a dark place and impact those around them creating real and meaningful social change. As such our prayer should be for Christians to walk around with a fully charged and active spirit life, walking in love and desiring to come to the full knowledge of God.
Miraculous powers through which others will glorify God:
We know from the Bible that through the gifts of the Spirit, we receive power to do that which otherwise would be beyond our natural ability to do (Acts 1:8). Before He ascended into heaven, in Mark 16:17-18, Jesus said, “...And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Again, some Christians today among other “cessation” arguments say, well that was just for the disciples of those days, they needed signs so people would believe and I say; if people that had seen the messiah needed a sign how much more does our generation? Then I am guilty of over believing the Lord’s promise.
There are several gifts of the Spirit as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12, 13 and 14. Paul writes that the different gifts are distributed by the one Spirit as He determines and we all are part of one body. Sadly, today’s church could be missing a leg or an arm or an eye through doctrines teaching cessation and rejecting the full power of the Spirit and if so be the case then how will the church stand? Some argue that the gifts of the Spirit are not a salvation issue and should therefore not be part of the centre focus for their teaching, what a misconception. The reverse and more is true. Paul writes, “…if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!” (1 Corinthians 14). I say we are working at a dangerously low battery life when we exclude from our corporate worship this promised power. If we can lead people to Christ how much more when we equip ourselves with the power of the Holy Spirit.
A final word
In John 4:23-24, Jesus said, …” But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The Lord’s blessings, Amen