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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Why we need the Holy Spirit

Excess: A clear Satanic Strategy
As I reflect back on my Christian journey I am nothing but amazed at how many stumbling blocks were placed in my path to confuse me over the work of the Holy Spirit. To be blunt, I could have been completely put off of the Holy Spirit by people in the church. Here are some of those stumbling blocks...
  • Excess - I was once a member of a church which went through a 'Holy Spirit' phase where every sermon every Sunday for six months was on the Holy Spirit: if that isn't excess, I am the Pope. I have attended "Toronto Blessing" meetings where people barked like dogs and giggled like idiots - I couldn't find dogs or idiots in Acts (fools for Christ, but not idiots). 
  • False Prophets - I  heard prophecies that were never fulfilled and manipulation dressed up as "words of knowledge." One prophet said in public that a particular church was soon to grow to 3000; that was thirty years ago, nothing has happened yet. 
  • Pseudo-healings - people claimed to be healers or claimed they were healed, but of little more than back-ache, head-ache and the sort of things that might  go away with nothing more than an aspirin, Ovaltine and a good night's sleep: not exactly Gospels and Acts types of radical healings.
  • UnChristlikeness - worst of all, the people who most spoke about the Holy Spirit seemed often to be the least filled with him! People who boogied on Sunday turned out to be unChristlike witnesses on Monday.
All of these experiences, had the effect on a whole generation of Christians, of frightening us away from any talk or the work of God's Spirit. We would label these people "charismatics" and run a mile from - and here is the Satanic tactic - not only everything excessive, but everything "Holy Spirit"......

A better look
.....but we must overcome this Satanic tactic. And for myself, I have become more and more aware, not only from the Scriptures, but from experience of the necessity and work of the Holy Spirit. 

He is absolutely necessary and precious to the church (We know that in our heads and theology, but need to believe it in our hearts and act upon it in our lives).

It is only through the Holy Spirit that we are converted (John 3:5-8), empowered for service (Judges 14:6), given courage (Acts 4:31), encouraged (Acts 9:31), comforted (2 Cor 1:3-4), directed (Acts 13:2), sanctified (2 Thess 2:13) and formed into the character of Jesus (Galatians 5:22-23).

I now seek to be led every day by the Spirit, I ask for his power in my life and ministry and pray that he would direct and lead the church. 

The author Jim Packer put it helpfully like this:  

“The Christian’s life in all its aspects—intellectual and ethical, devotional and relational, upsurging in worship and outgoing in witness—is supernatural; only the Spirit can initiate and sustain it. So apart from him, not only will there be no lively believers and no lively congregations, there will be no believers and no congregations at all.”

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