Sunday, 9 July 2017

Led by the Holy Spirit

Scripture:  1 Thessalonians 1 v 5 - 6: "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
 6  And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:"

The Holy Spirit is a person who is the Third Person of the Trinity.  He is never an "it" nor "an influence" that comes upon a person or a meeting.  He feels joy, love, peace and can also be grieved, He is our Friend and Teacher.

We can be filled with the Holy Spirit without being baptized in the Holy Spirit.  It's like a glass being filled with water which only gets wet on the inside.  Baptism is full immersion in water which gets the glass wet inside and out.  To be filled with the Holy Spirit changes our nature, the baptism of the Holy Spirit gives us power to be witnesses, and endows us with His gifts of tongues, miracles, healing, discerning of spirits, faith, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, word of knowledge, word of wisdom. 1 Corinthians 12 v 7 - 11.

Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into his disciples after His resurrection in John 20 v 20 - 23: " And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
 21  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
 22  And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
 23  Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained."  This gave them the ability to forgive sins or to refuse to forgive sins if they knew it was sham.

However, they were all present when Jesus ascended to Heaven and said, Wait in Jerusalem till My Father sends The Holy Spirit, as He promised to do.  Then in Acts 2 v 1 - 4: "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
 2  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
 3  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
 4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

Jesus had told them that they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit in a few days time and they would receive power to witness to the whole world, starting in Jerusalem then spreading further and further.  

They spoke in tongues so loudly that people in the streets of Jerusalem heard them, they were strangers from other lands but they heard in their own languages about the wonderful works of Jesus.  So the very first miracle was a microcosm of the fulfilment of the purpose of the Holy Spirit.  It was heard in Jerusalem by those who would carry it to other lands and plant seeds that would germinate in the centuries ahead.

A few years ago there was a testimony from a youth group in Edenvale, South Africa, where I lived, that were on a mission to evangelize people in the town.  They stood together outside the local shopping  centre when one girl spoke loudly in tongues, this usually happens when there will be an interpretation.  Suddenly, the Greek owner of one of the shops came running out and fell at her feet.  Only he could understand the words she was speaking which was a list of his sins and Jesus wanted him to repent.  He did.

The Holy Spirit leads us to evangelize and then prepares the hearts of people, then sends His people in, then assists them in ways that can only be described as miracles.  He did that back in Bible times and He has not stopped and will not until the work is done.

In Acts 16 the Holy Spirit forbade Paul and Silas to go into Asia, twice, but showed Paul a vision of people dressed in Macedonian clothing asking for help.  The Holy Spirit directs us, and also prevents us going the wrong way.

The whole of chapter 16 explains how the Holy Spirit led them to a woman called Lydia who was their first convert.  She took them into her home where they stayed for two years.  They encountered the opposition, a fortune teller shouting out about them daily, These men are sent from God!  It's not a benefit when the enemy undermines the ministry.

Paul interceded for her for many days, or months, and eventually the Holy Spirit led him to cast the demon out.  Some demons are so huge and strong that it takes months or years until they are completely bound.  The demon left the same hour and those who exploited this now powerless woman were very angry and had Paul and Silas arrested.

They sang praises to God in the lowest part of the prison and the Holy Spirit sent an earthquake which set every prisoner free.  The jailer wanted to commit suicide but Paul told him everyone was still there.  So the tailor and his whole family got saved and baptized at midnight.  The magistrates told them to leave town immediately, which they did.  The whole town now knew about Jesus and Lydia and the tailor were left to witness to them all.  That's revival and the true Ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Too many receive the Holy Spirit and His gifts but bury them under a blanket of fear of being ridiculed if something they do does not work out as intended.  The enemy is quite satisfied with that as it stems the flow in their lives.  Sometimes the Holy Spirit has to jerk them back to reality by ignoring prayers, blocking blessings or even stronger measures if that does not penetrate.

Our part is to do everything we can to bring truth to lost souls.  The Holy Spirit knows exactly what to do with what we entrust to Him.  We must have faith like Abraham that when we are sent on a journey, no matter what happens He is leading us.  He has a purpose which we may only understand long afterwards.  Be patient and unwavering, every person has something different to do.  Don't judge what you cannot know.  Trust Jesus to run the world as we are led by the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, It is such a privilege to be led by the Holy Spirit to do Your will.  Help us to always know Your perfect will and to do it.  Every soul is precious to You no matter what their circumstances.  They are trapped in the lies of the enemy and are only truly lost if they prefer those lies to Your truth.  Help us to discern correctly and give every one a chance to change their mind.  We praise and thank You for Your love. In Jesus' name. Amen.