Posts Tagged ‘with the Holy Spirit’

THE HOLY SPIRIT AND PENTECOST

After our Lord Jesus Christ arose from the grave, he showed himself to his disciples and well over 500 faithfuls. Some of these people heared him talk, walked beside him, touched him, sat near him and ate with him, over a period of 40 days. These eyewitness accounts therefore provide overwhelming proofs to the fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ! The fact of the empty tomb is another shocking, terrifying (to his enemies), yet rejoicing evidence to all the faithfuls through time and all of eternity. Having completed his major assignment on earth, Jesus ascended into heaven 40 days after his resurrection, under the amazing gaze of believers who gathered at the Mount of Olives as they had been previously instructed. Ten days later, making up 50 days since the Passover festival, when Jesus, as sacrificial lamb was crucified, it was Pentecost Festival. It was on that first Pentecost after Christs’ crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, that God the Father chose to send the Holy Spirit from heaven to dwell permanently for the first time inside believers in Christ! In response to anxieties and questions from his followers, Jesus stated just before his ascension: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea,and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1.7-8). As some of his parting words Jesus also said: “And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high”. In obedience to this command, the believers in Christ stayed in Jerusalem, meeting regularly to fellowship and to pray. As they did so on that specific day of Pentecost, in one accord, the Holy Spirit came upon them all in the room. Cloven tongues like as fire appeared and rested upon each one of them and they began to speak with other tongues as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance. Many people (both Jews and strangers)from different parts of the world, who had gathered in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost were able to hear the disciples praising and glorifying God in their own languages. It was so definite, yet amazing that they expressed this observation. Some skeptics, as usual, tried to ridicule the believers, saying that they were drunk. Peter, no longer fearful nor timid, confounded the skeptics and preached powerfully, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, explaining to them that it was a fulfilment of God’s promise through the prophet Joel that was visible before their eyes and audible to them. He urged the peole to repent. The Jesus whom they crucified is risen and alive, because it was impossible for death to hold him down. God has glorified him and made him to sit at his right hand in heaven. That same Jesus is now both Lord and Christ(the Messiah).From his exalted position he did send down the Holy Spirit. Many were convicted in their hearts and cried out to the disciples: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter stated: “Repent and be baptised, everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2.14-40). About 3000 persons repented, received Christ and were baptised that same day.A new change came not only over Jerusalem, but over the whole nation. The risen Christ has demonstrated his power, timid men and women had become bold. The less educated disciples had become inspired and learned, able to teach and silence the educated skeptics by words and by deeds. It was the birth of the Church of Christ and the dawn of a new day! What then is the purpose of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost? The purpose is to powerfully give birth to the powerful Church.The purpose is through empowered men and women, to break down all barriers confronting the church then and today.The purpose is to unify the church powerfully as a formidable team. The purpose is to impact the church with the love of God.The purpose is to reach every nook and corner of this earth with the liberating power of the gospel, by the Holy Ghost through the church. The purpose is to have the same vision as God- vision of a world lost in sin; a hurting, needy, sick, poor, confused, ignorant and arrogant world, in need of the unlimited power of God through the Holy Ghost to rescue it, by the church. The full price for the world’s redemption has been paid; yet there are stubborn manifestations of Satans’ oppressive grip on many people. O for a heart of like-minded men and women who would selflessly arise today to rescue the 21st Century world from the brink of disaster! Are you a Christian? Are you appreciative of all that Christ did? Does your spirit and mind burn inside to help! How dry are your eyes? How compassionate are you? Do you love the people? Do you love your brother/sister in Christ? For how long have you been holding grudges and keeping malice? Are you ready to meet Christ in this your present state? O for a heart that is a true copy of Jesus Christ in you and me! Jesus said: “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not overcome it”.
That is reality. Satan has lost,no matter how much he tries to bark like a toothless bull-dog or pretend to harrass as a roaring lion. We are to stand up to resist him, steadfast in the faith, in the name of Jesus, his conqueror! Because of the victory of Jesus and the elevated status to which Jesus has brought the church, we are more than conquerors! Imagine what Jesus said: “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14.12-14). When the church today thinks, plans and acts selflessly, people would increasingly ask again “WHAT SHALL WE DO”? Are we building for God? What materials are we using to build? Are we using wood, hay, silver, iron, bronze or gold? Are we listening to and obeying the Holy Spirit, as he seeks to lead the Church of Christ today or are we just doing our own stuffs? Charles Wesley wrote:
“A heart in every thought renewed, And full of love divine; Perfect, and right, and pure, and good, A copy, Lord, of thine”. The purpose of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is to produce ‘Proof Producers’- men and women, who seek to be more like Jesus Christ and prove to the world his unlimited power in love! Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? Then, walk also in the spirit. The purpose of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost is to produce loving, obedient, willing and effective witnesses for Jesus Christ. God bless you.
One of the greatest hymn writers God gave to the church in all generations so far was Charles Wesley. His hymn, ‘Give me the faith which can remove’ still speaks volumes of goodness to the church this 21st Century:

Thinking With You: ‘The Holy Spirit’

The Holy Spirit: Then, Now and Tomorrow: Genesis 1:2, 26 The Holy Spirit was present at creation. The Holy Spirit showed up before, during and after the creation. Genesis 6:3 God said his Spirit shall not contend with man forever. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Justice and of judgment. Genesis 18: 1-5,8-10,22,33. When God appeared to Abraham and his wife Sarah, the Holy Spirit was there! Daniel 4:8,9,18 – Here we see the testimony of a gentile king about Daniel and the ministry of the Holy Spirit!. As we had last week, the Holy Spirit is also called the Spirit of God and also the Holy Ghost. We also know He is called the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the Father and Spirit of the Living God. He showed himself in the lives and ministries of the patriarchs, the prophets, and saints of old. They spoke or performed miracles, signs and wonders by the same Spirit of God working upon them. When people spoke about the arm of the LORD or the finger of God, they knowingly or ignorantly referred to the same Holy Spirit. We can say more about Moses and the Holy Spirit; Samson and the Holy Spirit; David and the Holy Spirit; Elijah and Elisha and the Holy Spirit; and many more. The Holy Spirit issues command to the holy angels to do great things for the people of God and to move swiftly in the realm of the miraculous. The Holy Ghost is still very much at work today.  How did the walls of Jericho fall flat? The people of God walked round in obedience for seven days and with a shout on the seventh day, the walls fell flat. Walls thick enough to accommodate modern cars parked on top of it! Invisible angels  of God must have been on assignment on that day Psalms 103:20; Exodus 23:20 -23)! We shall consider later on the power of praise!This is a foretaste of it. The Holy Spirit commissions the servants of God and sometimes angels are assigned to them too, helping them in carrying out the assignment. (Nehemiah 9:20 -21; Isaiah 48:16; Acts 10:19-20; Acts 13:1-3; Acts 8: 26- 40). The Holy Spirit teaches us Christians and gives us wisdom and understanding. Isaiah spoke about the coming Messiah and during his first coming, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, showed these qualities and set the stage for the future ministry of his servants and himself. The Holy Spirit is  certainly the Spirit of prophecy (Isaiah 11:1 – 16; Isaiah 40:13 -14; John 14:26; John 15: 26;). The Holy Spirit is omnipresent, because He is God (Psalm 138: 7-10). The Holy Spirit is the one who makes us sure that we belong to God as adopted children. When a person repents of his/her sins and comes to God through Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit impresses in our spirit, as a rubber stamp of ownership and intimate relationship with God, that confident assurance of belonging. Later on He impacts our minds and our physical bodies, including the totality of our lives, the truth that we are children of God! Through him, therefore, we have boldness to call God our Father, saying, Abba, Father! The Holy Spirit has come on a new assignment since over two thousand years ago, during the celebration of the feast of Pentecost that closely followed the ascension of Jesus Christ into Heaven (Acts 2: 1-4). He came not just to be upon the people of God occasionally, as in the days of old, but to live inside us and help us all the way in this 21st Century. Have you been filled with the Holy Spirit since you believed? Meet you next week, by the grace of God. Grace be with you.

THINKING WITH YOU:’The Holy Spirit’

In this new series, we shall be thinking about the Holy Spirit regularly.The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Most High God. He is part of God. Therefore he is God and inseparable from God. God shows himself in three forms to humankind. As the number one status of Father; as the number two status  as the Son called the Word; and as number three status as the Spirit called the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Triune God! God in three persons and yet ONE GOD. The Holy Spirit is the power at work at creation! However in his special role he moves on this earthly domain and helps people to interact with God. He makes us know our faults and advises us on how to straighten our crooked ways. The major trouble in our world today has been around from time immemorial! The trouble is called SIN! During the 1970’s one of the songs  often sang by some Gospel artistes had these words: ”God says You are a sinner; the Bible says You are a sinner; Your heart tells you, You are a sinner; O sinner, Repent; Repent and be saved”. How true and more relevant is this song to the situation in our world today is ! The Holy Spirit himself was instrumental in encouraging us to do good. Almost 30 years ago in a village in Nigeria, I met one old man called Do Good and his family. The man was a humble, easy going farmer. He was hungry to know more about God and some of us shared the words of God with him and his family. Do Good surrendered his life to God. He was helped by the Holy Spirit to open up his inner self and mind to God, inviting Jesus into his life. From then onwards he was able to do more of good, not by name only, but practically. His face and life radiated with peace, love and joy till it was time to die. He often sang: ”The word of God, which I hear; gives me new life; and it gives me power”. The Holy Spirit is the creative power of God. When the time came for God to move to rescue us, humankind, from our troubles and woes he came in human form to make the operation easy and perfect. God THE WORD came into this world in human form and was born through the work of the Holy Spirit upon the virgin called Mary. Mary submitted herself to be the vessel for God to use in coming into this world by birth. She personally overcame the ridicule of a strange pregnancy in not having a foretaste of sex with any man before conceiving Jesus! She risked the possibility of being abandoned by her fiance, Joseph the carpenter. She asked initial questions, but the angel of God, assured her that nothing was impossible with God! From that moment of Mary’s submission, the miracle birth became reality. The angel of God told Mary that she shall give birth to a son, whose name shall be called Jesus, because he shall save his people from their sins! As powerful as God is, he never overrides our human will ,but respects us. Whenever any person submits to the will of God, he or she opens the door to a miracle. My friend, the days of miracles are not over, but in fact a flood gate of miracles is being opened upon this generation, in our world today! No nation would be spared, because God is not partial and he is no discriminator! The Holy Spirit made it possible for Mary to conceive Jesus. The same Holy Spirit filled Jesus and enabled him to do all the good works that he did in his earthly ministry over two thousand years ago. He went about doing good and setting people free from the prison of Satan! The climax of the work of Jesus is that he died on the cross for you and me. He who never sinned, died as a sinner would die, in order to take our place as a substitute. The perfect, righteous man died for crooked, evil mankind! Jesus died, giving up his spirit into the hands of God, his real Father. He was buried, but on the third day Jesus arose as the Christ of God, because death, sin, the law and the devil (Satan) could not hold him down! He has satisfied the just demands of the law, which is the revealer and the power of sin. He has nullified and neutralized the sting of death which is sin. He has paid the wages of sin, which is death. He has defeated the devil who used to have the power of death. It became compulsory and inevitable for Satan, death, the grave, sin, and the law to bow to Jesus the Christ of God! Jesus Christ therefore arose victoriously from the grave by the power of the Holy Spirit! Hallelujah! Death could not hold him captive! Satan could not accuse him of any wrongdoing! Heaven, Earth and Hell in unison agree and acknowledge the perfect sacrifice that Jesus Christ made, once for all time, for every human being born and yet to be born into this world! The Holy Spirit made all these great work of salvation possible through Jesus Christ! Since then, it has become possible for everyone and anyone in every land, who calls upon the name of the LORD to be saved! The Holy Spirit is the moving power that would release angels all over the world to help people see the tangible power of God in a great dimension, as this present world system comes to a close! Servants of the Most High God in every land would be bold and stand up for the truth and for the right. Skepticism would be put under our feet. The Kingdom of God is being ushered in! The kingdoms of this world shall be surrendered to the Kingdom of our God and of his Christ! The Holy Spirit is moving powerfully again! Fasten your seat belts! Jesus said: ”And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come”(Matthew 24:14). You must do something positive. This work is going on now. God bless you. Meet you next week.