THE HOLY SPIRIT
There is a great deal of confusion about the Holy Spirit in the world today. Perhaps, this is because the author of confusion, who is Satan according to I Corinthians 14:33, is working behind the scenes to create this confusion. Satan is contrasted with the Holy Spirit many times by being identified as the spirit of this world.
Paul tells us in I Corinthians 2:12, "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God." Satan is a clever devil and the Scripture tells us that we should not be ignorant of his devices (II Corinthians 2:11), "lest Satan should get an advantage of us."
There are three specific areas in which Satan works to deceive us. We need to be made aware of these three so that we can be alert to Satan's activities. The three areas of deception are as follows:
1) Satan will present another Jesus
2) Satan will present another spirit
3) Satan will present another gospel.
Paul, the apostle, was fearful that Satan would successfully deceive believers, so he gives this warning in II Corinthians 11:3-4, "But I fear, least by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."
Please take careful note that one of the three major areas of deception is that of the Holy Spirit. Let us take a look, therefore, at some of the most important aspects of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
We know that the Holy Spirit is revealed in Scripture as being God himself. "Now the Lord is that Spirit (II Corinthians 3:17)." When Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11 lied to the Holy Spirit (vs.3), Peter declared that they had lied unto God (vs.4). The Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are co-equal. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus said, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Ghost." "Name" is singular, and denotes that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit all have the same name and are therefore one.
Every believer is born of the Spirit (John 3:3; 6:1 I John 5:1), indwelt by the Spirit, whose presence makes the believer's body a temple (I Corinthians 6:19; Romans 8:9-15; I John 2:27), and baptized by the Spirit (I Corinthians 12:12-13), thus sealing him for God (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). These four operations of the Holy Spirit are experienced by every true believer of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit has been a major area of confusion. This operation of the Holy Spirit, whereby a believer is placed into the body of Christ, is experienced by every believer. This is made clear by I Corinthians 12:13,27, "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."
The New Testament distinguishes between having the Spirit, which is true of all believers, and being filled with the Spirit, which is the believer's privilege and duty (See Acts 2:4 with Acts 4:29-31; also Ephesians 1:13-14 with Ephesians 5:18). "One baptism, many fillings"- a better word to explain the concept of being filled is controlled. I believe this can be easily seen by looking at passages like Luke 5:26 where the people were "filled with fear" (controlled) or Luke 6:11, "filled with madness" (controlled), or John 16:6, "filled with sorrow" (controlled). So to be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by the Spirit of God. This occurs as often as we yield ourselves to be obedient to God's word, of which the Holy Spirit is author (II Peter 1:21).
It is interesting to note that soul winning and the filling of the Spirit are related. In Acts 2:4, the people were filled with the Holy Spirit and the result was 3,000 persons saved. In Acts 4:8, Peter was filled- warned by the Sanherdrin, not to preach Jesus anymore. The disciples, hearing the report, prayed for boldness. Again they were filled (Acts 4:31) and people continued to get saved (Acts 5:14). In Acts 6:3, the condition for being a deacon was to be filled with the Spirit. The result was soul winning and a large number of Jewish priests trusted Christ as Savior (Acts 6:7). Many more examples are given. Since we read in Acts 1:8, "ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me," it is understandable that a person controlled by the One (Holy Spirit) who gives the power to be a witness, would be witnessing. Are you filled with the Holy Spirit?
Another great area of concern is that of the gifts of the Spirit, especially the gift of tongues. Some are teaching that the gift of tongues is the evidence that one is baptized with the spirit or the evidence that a person is saved. This is not true, as has already been demonstrated in I Corinthians 12:13. Every believer is baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Even when the genuine gift of tongues was in existence, not everyone received it (I Corinthians 12:28-30).
The gift of tongues was a temporary gift and was to cease (I Corinthians 13:8-10) upon the completion of the New Testament. No one in the world today is speaking in the Biblical gift of tongues, which was a known foreign language. God gave the ability to speak a known foreign language without any training to reach the lost (I Corinthians 14:22). It was to be easily understood (I Corinthians 14:9). Women were not permitted to speak in tongues at all in the church (I Corinthians 14:34). If this one truth were practiced today, the modern day tongues movement would die. Most of those who practice the so-called tongues (a counterfeit because it is not a known foreign language) are women.
The Word of God is truth and we must check all experience against the Word. Are you saved? Put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. God will forgive you and give you his Spirit. Do it today!