It may be a big surprise to many Christians today to know that in some churches the topic of the Holy Spirit is not a popular one. In fact, too much talk or too much emphasis on the Holy Spirit may get you the right foot of fellowship-right out the door. That is not a joke! How can this be since the Holy Spirit is referenced all through the Bible starting in Genesis 1?
We clearly see that He, the Holy Spirit, hovered over the waters and was instrumental in bringing forth creation. Jesus Himself said that it was expedient that He (Jesus) go away so that the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) could come. He explained that the Holy Spirit would lead and guide us into all truth, yet so many Christians have quenched and rejected Him! Many churches teach that the Holy Spirit’s gifts all ceased when the last apostle died or when the New Testament was canonized. This erroneous teaching is known as cessationism. Some have even denied Him by saying things like “I don’t want anything to do with that Holy Spirit stuff or tongues or prophecy”.
Is it any wonder that so many churches are struggling to survive when we reject the very One who was sent to lead and guide us into all truth – the One who came to reveal Jesus Christ to us and Who empowers us to do the works of Christ? Scripture makes it clear that Holy Spirit is the One who came upon Jesus and empowered Him to do the works of His Father! If Jesus needed Him, don’t we also need His ministry in our lives?
Some say they do want the Holy Spirit, but they don’t want any of that “tongues”. Some even go so far as to attribute the speaking in tongues and the other gifts of the Holy Spirit (found in 1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 14) as the work of satan, declaring that these manifestations of the Holy Spirit are “of the devil!”
It makes me wonder, are they unaware that without the Holy Spirit there would be no understanding of the Bible, no salvation, no forgiveness, no born again-regeneration, no fellowship with God and no Church?
The two most important occurrences on this earth have been:
First - the coming of Jesus Christ as a man when the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary at the Incarnation, His ministry as the last Adam by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and His resurrection from the dead by the Holy Spirit.
Second - the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost to empower Christ’s followers to continue the work of the Kingdom of God; including the initial outpouring on the Gentiles with Cornelius’ household, and the many, many revivals that have continually occurred ever since.
Without the Holy Spirit and His gifts, (including tongues), the Church would not have made it past the first century. We must never think we do not need Him now! Yes, we need Him and must ask Him to fill us and to continue to fill us with the Holy Spirit. We mustn’t quench, grieve, reject, resist or lie to the Holy Spirit, but we must welcome Him into His Church so that He may have His own way.
A.W. Tozer made an interesting observation on Church history – whenever the Church sought the Lord for His outpouring of the Holy Spirit the Church was empowered to be on the offensive and took ground from the devil. But whenever the Church turned inward by substituting ritual or something else for the fellowship of the Holy Spirit they retreated into academic and institutionalized fortresses, simply trying to survive.
Oh, how we need the Holy Spirit. If we have grieved or rejected Him or resisted Him in any other way, we must ask God’s forgiveness. Then we must humbly and passionately ask Him to baptize us with the Holy Spirit that our life and our church can once again be filled with His Pentecostal Fire!