Christ’s Finished Work: Holy Spirit

My experience of the Holy Spirit

My first experience of the Holy Spirit was in a Saturday meeting in a home. I cannot remember what the preacher A.M. Mathew spoke about but when he gave an invitation for those who want to follow Christ to go forward I somehow went forward, to my own surprise. On hindsight I now know it was the Spirit drawing me to Christ. In my own self, I would have been too shy to have gone forward. From that day on I had different desires. My desire for God, reading the Bible, praying and attending meetings grew and my basketball passion went limp. I helped around at home more and was more at peace and joyful. 

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit

In the meetings God was moving in revival power. At that time, all I knew was that at every meeting there were inspiring testimonies, heartfelt praise and singing, lengthy doctrinal teachings, followed by weeping, repentance and prayer in tongues. I wept often, sometimes in repentance; other times, overwhelmed by sense of his presence and love. 

I asked about the speaking in tongues and someone passed me a booklet full of Bible passages and verses about the Holy Spirit organized under sub-headings comprising common questions people ask about the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues. I remembered reading the booklet over and over again, until faith got hold of me and I believed and started praying for the baptism of the Spirit and the gift of tongues. It was several weeks of prayer and seeking God until finally I was filled and spoke in tongues aloud with my church friends in a field bench between two three-storey blocks in Princess Elizabeth Estate. I was sure it caused a stir because I saw people staring at us from their windows, wondering what the loud “noise” and crying was all about. That night I continued using the gift of tongues softly till dawn. It was a day I would never forget. I was overflowing with the joy of the Lord.

Hunger For Truth and Reality of God

The presence and person of God became so real and it drew me more frequently and for longer periods into prayer and study of the Bible and reading of Christian books. I attended conferences such as the Spiritual Renewal Seminars and wrote notes and practiced what I heard. I had a deeper sense of being forgiven, loved and assurance of sonship. I became bolder in personal witnessing, sharing Christ and my testimony to strangers and distributing tracts house to house and with others in town and the esplanade after the Saturday meetings.

Gifts and Fruit of the Spirit

I learned about the gifts of the Spirit and prayed for the gift of prophecy, and began to prophesy. I also found Ithat God used me to often to preach and teach the Word. I also prayed for the gifts of healing but I was rarely used by God in this area. 

More importantly I became more aware of the companionship and faithful gentle friendship of the Spirit. He was helping me with all kinds of things and would often help me to serve the church better, giving me wisdom and abilities and the graces to do what I could not in my natural self. The Spirit transformed me little by little from the shy, introverted, insecure, anxious youth to the person I am today – and the work will continue till Jesus returns. 

No Finished Work, No Outpouring of Spirit

The person and gifts of the Holy Spirit was made available to us because of Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension. Unless Jesus was exalted to the right hand of the Father, the Spirit would not be poured out upon all who believe in Him.

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified (John 7:37-39).

When Jesus spoke these words, Jesus had not yet been crucified. Jesus knew he would be glorified and taken up to the right hand of God in heaven. Then and only then would the Spirit be poured out upon everyone who trusted him. Peter preached to the crowd on the Day of Pentecost: “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear (Acts 2:32,33).

One of God’s great blessings of Christ’s finished work is the person and gift of the Holy Spirit.

This article is part 8 of 26. To access other articles about the A to Z of Christ’s Finished Work go HERE.

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Missing from Pentecostal pulpits

It is not uncommon for Pentecostal churches to shelve preaching on Pentecostal distinctives as they seek relevance with a contemporary audience. Addressing felt relational, emotional and felt needs of church members take priority over church’s distinctives. This can happen because the Pentecostal doctrine of baptism of the Holy Spirit can be an offence to today’s young adults. Yet it must be talked about or we will lose our heritage, our identity and one of God’s greatest gift to his church and his greatest resource to reaching the world for Christ.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

I announced and planned a series on the Holy Spirit. I initially planned something that began with the works that the Holy Spirit would do according to the teaching of Jesus in John 14-16, and then talk about the Baptism of the Spirit, and finally a session on Speaking in Tongues.

However, as I proceeded to prepare, with the Lord’s influence, it began to be (1) The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, covering the five incidents in Acts when the Spirit was poured out as initiation experiences/encounters. After feedback from members, newbies and mature ones, I slowed down and stayed with Acts 2 the Day of Pentecost and drew most of my observations and conclusions from Acts chapter 2, after painting a picture of what happened there, giving the Bible background of the passage. I also brought in two persons, one of mature age, and another younger person to share their experiences of being baptized with the Holy Spirit and how the gift of tongues had blessed them.

At the end I gave an invitation for prayer for fresh anointings and healings, and invited those who wanted to be filled with the Spirit to meet at the conference room after the service. Three adults in their 50’s showed up. After giving them a briefing, several of us laid hands and prayed for them to be filled and remarkably they were granted the gift of tongues within fifteen minutes, and we spent the rest of the time praying, prophesying, anointing with oil, and singing in tongues for another 20 minutes or more.

My Cry and Prayer

It was a blessed time and gratifying. My only disappointment was that not many of the younger age group were there desiring and thirsting for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I am praying that God would stir the hearts of people who had been content with what they have experienced of the Christian life thus far, with a holy discontent that wants more, indeed ALL of what God promised and intended for His people. May we have a people with hearts aflame for the passion of His name.

I wonder if it is the same with the church you worship in. Do they preach about their distinctive? How often?

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