God has promised to give his Holy Spirit to his people, but there is a lot of confusion about the work of the Holy Spirit.
When I was a teenager the evidence of possessing the Holy Spirit was falling on the floor and speaking in tongues, the so-called heavenly language. Then came the Toronto blessing, where you laughed uncontrollably as evidence of possessing the Holy Spirit.
I was at a meeting recently where we were encouraged to release the Spirit in our “worship” time, and that meant stage-diving.
The Holy Spirit seems to love getting people to do weird and unusual things – so it seems.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are on a massive marketing campaign in our area. Unfortunately, the gospel that they are marketing is a false gospel that cannot save. It is a gospel that undermines the Person of Jesus and the Person of the Holy Spirit.
The JW’s say that Jesus is not God, but a created being. Thus, they deny the Lordship of Christ.
Not only that, they also deny the deity of the Holy Spirit. They teach that the Holy Spirit is simply a force or influence. Therefore, they deny the Trinity that says there is one God made up of three Persons. Christian people, however, hold to the doctrine of the Trinity, because it is taught in the Bible.
People, in general, like to sing. Whether they are very religious or total atheists, most people like music and song. Ask any football supporter. From singing, “Who ate all the pies” to the referee or “You’ll never walk alone” to their mates, fans like singing.
Fans pays hundreds of Rands to hear their favourite musician sing, even wave their cell phones and sing along.
In the morning, you might catch yourself singing in the shower.
Music is an inherent part of every society. All countries have National Anthems that its citizens sing together to create national unity.
Most people like singing. We may not be good at it, but we love it. Since music (and song) is such an important part of life, it should not be surprising that the Bible says much about it. In fact, the longest book in the Bible is a song book—the book of Psalms.
Often, in the Bible, when God has delivered his people, they sing about it.
I’m forever receiving WhatsApp’s forwarded to me of some supposed prophet’s new, ground-breaking, prophecy.
Funnily enough, the prophecies always involve a “break-through” and a musical instrument. For example,
“The Lord showed me a vision for Africa. 2017 is the year of break-through. You must blow the shofar (trumpet) and repent of the nation’s sin.” Etc., etc.
I’ve chatted to so many people who have had “words from the Lord” or prophecies spoken over them and to them. These prophecies have ranged from marriage partners and business deals, to the number of children they will have. A common factor is how unhelpful these prophecies have been and how they have done little, but complicated their lives (sometimes to a tragic degree) and created feelings of guilt, because the “prophecy” has not been fulfilled. The person over whom the prophecy was spoken is left thinking, “Am I being disobedient? Do I lack faith? Am I living God’s second best?” Etc.
According to body- image surveys, most girls are overly concerned about weight and body shape. They strive for their “perfect” body and judge themselves by their looks.
Most boys are also concerned with their body, their size and strength. Boys live in a culture that showcases males as glamorous, “macho” figures, who build muscles and sculpt their bodies – if they want to fit in.
The media plays a big part. Surrounded by photo-shopped models, teenagers and adults are presented with an impossible goal. A female should apparently look like Barbie and a male should look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. In our image-dominated world, image is everything and we are taught to hate any imperfections or deficiencies.
This creates depression and anxiety, because very few of us look like Barbie or Arnold – nor were we meant to. How do you think about yourself? Do you have a low self-image? Perhaps you have a glaring imperfection, disability or limitation, that causes you to think less of yourself? Perhaps you even think you’re worth less to God?
What is the mark of a Spirit-filled church? What does it mean to be baptized in the Spirit? How ought we to think about the Holy Spirit – third Person of the Trinity?
Many churches claim to be “Spirit-led” or “Spirit-filled” churches because they have apparent manifestations of the Spirit in their services.
What is the role of the Spirit?
Recently I attended a post-graduate course at George Whitefield College with Peter Jensen and David Höhne, entitled, “The Lord who is the Spirit: speaking of the Spirit in the Reformed tradition”.
It was good to be reminded that the doctrine of the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit has a rich tradition of historical development that we will do well to learn from (including Tertullian, Irenaeus, Basil of Caesarea etc.) There are several things that stood out for me: