Friday, February 05, 2010

At What Point Does One Receive the Holy Spirit? Part 3 (Conclusion)

* Please Read Parts 1 and 2 first.

So, where is the biblically defined evidence of the Holy Spirit in modern-day Christianity? The absence of the Holy Spirit (properly referenced as the Spirit of Holiness) aptly explains why the Body of Christ as a whole is so powerless, for She has not been filled! In Acts 1:8 Jesus stated, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you." When reading this statement, with the two differing approaches of this topic in mind, we either have churches teeming with unsaved people claiming to be Believers or we've been born again but have not asked for a filling of the Holy Spirit. How can I arrive at this? Because there is virtually no power to be seen in the vast majority of the goings on within church walls. (I'll let you decide which is the proper verdict.) Whatever the case, the power is just not evident so it seems to me that we need to look at Jesus' words and ask "Why not? Where is the power and why are we not seeing it?" It's quite simple really when one looks into the Word. The Body lacks power so it would seem that it is because the Holy Spirit has not come upon Her. Perhaps, since the devil can easily keep the Body up in arms with each other over this matter for eons, this is why it is always such a divisive issue.

If the Body is always busy arguing over doctrines, denominational viewpoints and constantly dividing, She can never be empowered by the Holy Spirit!

Sadly, instead of being unified in holiness and empowered by the Holy Spirit, much of the Body of Christ is back-biting, grumbling, bitter, selfish and completely divided! For some reason, the Holy Spirit seems to scare people or make them nervous, conjuring up images that might make them feel uncomfortable (oh no!). On the other side of the coin, the Holy Spirit is some short of gimmick used to attract attention to themselves, making them look somehow more spiritual. The Holy Spirit is likely more used and abused (and definitely more misunderstood) than Anything within all of Christendom. Although many men seem to get hung up on defining the presence and filling of Holy Spirit by speaking in tongues, raising your hands, "manifestations" or other "pentacostalisms", it is about the Holy Spirit empowering and enabling us to continually be conformed into the image of Jesus The Christ and going forth as Ambassadors for Christ in power! This is the Holy Spirit that I have been filled with. This, I believe, is the Holy Spirit of the Bible sent to empower and enable the entire Body of Christ.

Lastly, as I seemingly find myself saying all of the time – know why you believe what you do! You will be accountable to God Himself for what you embrace as Truth. Don't take sides and declare what a pastor, teacher, denomination or friend told you is truth if you've not studied and rightly divided the Word of God to know it for yourself! And if you disagree with someone else, it's OK! Peaceably gather and, in humility, take the lower position. Lording views and understanding over others is dangerous and it continues to do more damage to the name of Christ than anything else, in my opinion. I am often full of errors and shortcomings when it comes to studying and writing. Yet, I fully rely on the LORD to be my Guide and my Enabler! My task, my responsibility is to live a life of continually going deeper and relying upon Christ, the Head of the Body, to be my Teacher! The question is, are our stances based upon personal opinion and preference or solely upon the written Word of God? Only one will stand my friend… and it is neither my nor your opinion.

As for me, I desire to be filled to the fullest! But I must willingly, humbly lay down my life, exchanging my will, my ways and my desires for His. Then and only then will I be filled to the fullest! It is dying to myself daily that allows more and more of Him to live in me! This, my friend, is the power of being "filled" with the Holy Spirit! Pouring myself out so that more and more of the Holy Spirit is what I am completely filled with.


NINA said...

This was a great blog.I believe we as a body argue so much about what we disagree with, that sometimes we need to sit down and figure out what we believe. Because when we do this, we often find that our differences aren't really differences. But different parts of a whole.We must learn to stop taking our experiences and declaring them as truth. There is often more to truth than our experiences. And we, being the self centered species that we are,(smile) cant see beyond ourselves.We study looking for that which is familiar, so that we are justified in what is our "personal" truths. So we miss out on the entire truth. This causes division. There is but one truth and we must accept it in its entirety, because when we dont we find that there are many seperate truths and we argue and dispute this because we know the word says otherwise. Yes we must hold on to our truth, but we must keep seeking so we can have truth in its entirety. Then and only then can we be the unified body of Christ

Joel Spencer said...

Nina: Well said Nina. There is one Truth to be found and we're all called to dig it out and find it. It's an honor to uncover the mysteries of God. Imagine if the Body as a whole focused on that, rather than personal preferences and doctrines of men. Unity would be so much more likely to be attained.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Great series of posts. Many Christians, unfortunately, talk a lot about the Holy Spirit, but are afraid of Him, and so avoid Him. They are afraid of the "power from on high." They are afraid they will lose control of their lives if they give themselves wholly over to the Holy Spirit. What they want is a God who they can control, and not a God who controls them. JMHO.

Joel Spencer said...

Daughter: When you said "They are afraid they will lose control of their lives if they give themselves wholly over to the Holy Spirit. What they want is a God who they can control, and not a God who controls them" you sure said a mouthful. A God that would call us to do something we might deem as uncomfortable is sure something the majority shy away from. It's easier to not risk it and settle for mediocrity and repetition, that is "controllable".

It's time the Body of Christ learns to walk in complete abandon and submission, myself included.

Anonymous said...

Joel, I disagree with your statement "If the Body is always busy arguing over doctrines, denominational viewpoints and constantly dividing, She can never be empowered by the Holy Spirit!"

I work in a church where the Holy Spirit is always allowed to do as he wills, in an orderly manner. Our denomination governs the actions of the body for its benefit. Guidelines establish order and eliminate chaos and confusion. Without the "rules" that you reference as limiting thye church, people will do whatever they wish and all would get out of hand. The church is to be a holy place where God dwells and I see no issue with maintaining said order.

If others do not cling to the established denominational statutes, then perhaps they should follow their inclination to join a body that sees the Holy Spirit as they do in order to keep peace and unity.

Joel Spencer said...

Anonymous: Thanks for your comment. For starters, the “control” that religion attempts to place on the Holy Spirit is just silly. I guess I’d ask which is the worse scenario, maturely handling a situation that may arise where someone might be outlandish and blame it on the Holy Spirit or completely remove Holy Spirit from the entire picture? Most major denominations choose the latter and therefore the power is not allowed to indwell the Body.

I believe that perhaps the biggest error is how misunderstood Holy Spirit is. When you bring up the HS to most Believers, you likely hear of things like church services that got all hyped up, speaking in tongues, raising your hands, etc. – things that may or may not have anything to do with HS.

Instead of seeing the power that comes with HS, religious leaders choose to abandon His work altogether and go forth into the future with their “rules”. I won’t even get started on the silliness of the “church” building being “the holy place where God dwells”. This is an OT mindset.

Lastly, your urge to tell others to move on and go somewhere else if they don’t agree with the denominational doctrines baffles me. I’m writing a piece about this as we speak, so I won’t divulge here. It’s time the Body of Christ lays aside personal preferences and embraces biblical unity. How is this all connected? Without the power of HS, this will never be possible.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Joel wrote:

"I believe that perhaps the biggest error is how misunderstood Holy Spirit is. When you bring up the HS to most Believers, you likely hear of things like church services that got all hyped up, speaking in tongues, raising your hands, etc. – things that may or may not have anything to do with HS."

Well said. Many people think being 'filled' with the Holy Spirit means wild abandon and loss of self-control. Be it far from the truth! No one was more filled with the Spirit than Jesus, and He NEVER behaved in any wild, erratic, uncontrollable manner. That was the behavior of demoniacs!

One of the fruits of the Spirit, if anyone forgets, is SELF-CONTROL (see Galatians 5:22-23).

"22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control."


Joel Spencer said...

Daughter: Good point. By His power we actually have the ability to be self-controlled. Isn't it funny how HS has been painted as being the exact opposite of this truth?

As I often say, just because something has been poorly portrayed and exemplified does not mean that we throw out the truth behind it. Thanks for pointing this out.

Shawn said...

I like this. Far too often the Holy Spirit is seen as some scary "thing" that should be avoided. How foolish of us (the church) to attempt to be God's people without Who He sent to enable us. Let me throw this out there: do you think that the Holy Spirit can still do through people today what we see taking place in the NT? We seem so far from how Christians lived back then, I'm curious your thoughts.

Joel Spencer said...

Shawn: You asked, "do you think that the Holy Spirit can still do through people today what we see taking place in the NT?" Then you stated, "We seem so far from how Christians lived back then".

I believe that you kind of answered your own question here as the issue is not whether HS can still move as He did in the NT, but rather what has happened to the Church that has moved away from allowing Him to.

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. It is the Body of Christ that must return to Her first love and return with expectation that HS will again move throughout His people.

The average Christian not only lacks expectation but I would dare to say dreads the possibility of HS moving in their midst, because of the unknown outcome His presence ushers in. When the Body is ready to abandon control and predetermined outcomes, perhaps once again we'll see HS come in power!

Thanks for your question.

Bible Hugger said...

@ daughter ;

One of the fruits of the Spirit, if anyone forgets, is SELF-CONTROL (see Galatians 5:22-23).

while self control is the meaning of temperance (STRONGS egkrateia, self control (especially continence): - temperance.), which is the word used in KJV (its what i use)- i feel like the reference of the word in the mention scripture refers to selfcontrol over fleshly lusts.

i guess people, well i know people can definatly get in the flesh when dealing with the Holy Ghost, but people that i know, love, cherish and trust, who have wholly devoted lives have been known to shout a little and move in the spirit. did Jesus? when the Holy Spirit decended on him like a dove? no it doesnt say. rather the heavens opened up and the Father said this is My Son with whom I am well pleased. that doesnt happen to us (granted i know - he was the son of God - but from this we know that not everything that happened to Jesus will happen to us) now when the 120 in the upper room where baptized in the Holy Ghost - the people thought they were drunk! there was somethin going on!

idk i have a bit of a reading comprehension prob so if ive miss understood n e thing PLEASE in humilty - im just saying whats on my heart! i dont want to offend, i love my Lord and i try my best to serve him!

Daughter of Wisdom said...

No offense Bible Hugger, but we need to broaden our definitions of the word "temperance." God has called us to exercise self-control in ALL THINGS, not just fleshly lusts. As a matter of fact, we are to AVOID fleshly lusts, and show moderation in all things.

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22)

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand (Phillipians 4:5).

As for the day of Pentecost, yes the disciples appeared "drunk." That does not mean they were in a state of wild, out-of-control abandon, but that feelings, emotions, and senses were heightened. They were in a state of ectasy, joy, and elation. Hey, I love a good lively service myself!

I am just saying do not confuse being filled with the Spirit with emotional highs triggered by music, and drummed up excitement.

Joel, I hope you don't mind me replying to this. I could not resist! :-)

Joel Spencer said...

Welcome Bible Hugger! Thanks for joining in the discussion.

Daughter, all appropriate discussion is welcome here. :)

Bible Hugger said...

self control in all things.. we should be able to control our walk with God? ( im trying to think this out not be a smart allick) u say show self control in all things not just fleshly lust, but anything not lead of God is of the flesh. when i said 'fleshly lust' i didnt just mean n e sin in particular, i mean anything done outside the Spirit.

Gal 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

if someone is walking in the Spirit - i think that 'getting emotional' can be of God..
i completely agree - to get all emotional off the beat of the drum or the words of a song can be done totally outside of the Spirit of God - but it can be done in the Spirit. i know i have truely been blessed by the Spirit of God when the right song comes on .. but its the touch of God that brings the excitement, not some man made routine.

this is the definition of temperance i was going by;

The word used here, (ἐγκράτεια egkrateia), means properly “self-control, continence.” It is derived from ἐν en and κράτος kratos, “strength,” and has reference to the power or ascendancy which we have over exciting and evil passions of all kinds. It denotes the self-rule which a man has over the evil propensities of his nature.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Of course, getting emotional can be of God! Emotions are God-given expressions of our inner feelings. All I am saying is that sometimes people confuse a 'feel-good' moment in church as being filled with the Spirit when maybe it is just an emotional high. Look, being filled with the Spirit is not just a 'feel-good' moment that we experience in church, but is a daily, constant awareness of the presence of God living within you each and every day. He fills you with joy, peace, ectasy, warm-fuzzy feelings, and so on, EVERY DAY. Some days more than others, but every day. And did I say ectasy? Yes! Feelings of excitement and joy and elation!

Personally, I do not know how people function without the Holy Spirit. He quickens your body (makes it come alive) and fills your life with hope and excitement. He increases your energy level over x100, and fills you with drive and motivation. Without the Holy Spirit, life is drab, hopeless, and without purpose.

Peace and Blessings

Daughter of Wisdom said...

BTW, 'fleshy lusts' by definition are sinful desires. All fleshly lusts are sin.

Sometimes people confuse legitmate desires with lusting. To lust is to have an evil desire or to crave for something sinful or for something you have no right to. For example, desiring to commit murder is an evil desire; craving for others to worship you is sinful; and desiring to have an illegitimate sexual relationship with someone is something you have no right to, and is sinful.

Legitimate desires are God-given desires given to us either naturally or spiritually. Examples of legitimate desires include desiring food in response to hunger, desiring to protect your family from harm, and desiring to provide for your family.

Sometimes even these legitimate desires can become sinful if you choose to fulfill them in a sinful way, such as stealing food to satisfy your hunger, or killing others to protect your family, or swindling others of money to provide for your family.

I like how you are thinking about these things. Continue studying and reading God's Word, because in it is Light.


Hillary :-)

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Thanks Joel! God Bless!

Joel Spencer said...

The Holy Spirit's moving is surely not outside of our emotions, but as you've both stated, we need to be clear that we don't see Him as an emotion or feeling.

Far too many only see Holy Spirit as a feeling of excitement or hype and miss His constant, ongoing activities on our behalf. And, of course, many discard Him entirely because things "might get out of hand" if He's allowed freedom to move as he desires. We must have balance.

I commend you both for kindly discussing the topic here. :)