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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Why Should We Witness?



Have you ever asked yourself, "Why should I witness?" Several reasons should come to mind. First, because Jesus commands you to: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit," (Matt. 28:19). Also, Ezek. 3:11 says, "and go to the exiles, to the sons of your people, and speak to them and tell them, whether they listen or not..."
Second, you must witness because you love the unsaved (if you don't, you should). The most loving thing you can do is present the gospel in hopes of bringing others to salvation. Galatians 5:22 lists love as one of the fruit of the Spirit. It is love's nature to give. Take for example John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..." Love gives, and if you have only a small portion of His love, you will want to give to others.
Third, witness because it is a wise thing to do. Prov. 11:30 says, "...he who is wise wins souls." Now, I know I am not a very wise person. But, since God says I'll be wise to win souls, or try to, then great, let me at it. I want to be wise in God's sight.
Fourth, witness to keep people out of hell. Hell is a terrifying place of utter anguish and eternal separation from God. Those who are not saved go there. Witnessing is an attempt to keep them out of hell.
Fifth, witness because it pleases God and brings glory to His name.
And finally, witness so they may find the love and fellowship of God (1 John 1:3), the greatest of all treasures. I can think of no greater gift than salvation. It frees the sinner from sin, it delivers the lost from damnation, and it reveals the true and living God to those who don't know Him.
The angels of heaven rejoice greatly when anyone passes from judgment into salvation (Luke 15:10). Shouldn't we as Christians rejoice too? Shouldn't we weep over the lost? Shouldn't we ask the Lord of the field to send laborers into His harvest (Luke 10:2)? Certainly! The salvation of others is the goal of your efforts. The love of God is your motive. Is there anything greater? So, give.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What About Speaking in Tongues?


The Gift of Tongues

''I would like every one of you to speak in tongues. . . I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you'' 1 Corinthians 14:5,18.
Tongues (and its accompanying gift of interpretation) is the only gift not operating in the Old Testament - although it is foretold in Deuteronomy 28:49 and Isaiah 28:11 (see 1 Corinthians 14:21). It acts as one of the signs of the accompanying presence of the Holy Spirit (Mark 16:17; Acts 2:4), and is specifically designed by the Lord for the building up of the believer:
"He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself . . . " 1 Corinthians 14:4.
According to 1 Corinthians 13:1, the gift of tongues appears to fall into two main classifications:
The Tongues of Men
These tongues are natural languages that the Holy Spirit can supernaturally enable a believer to speak.
"All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them . . . a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked, 'Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs - we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!' " Acts 2:4,6-11.
The Tongues of Angels
These tongues are not the natural languages of men, but heavenly languages. As opposed to the tongues of men, the purpose of these tongues is for the edification of the believer as his spirit communicates with God's Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 14:14-18).
"For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit" 1 Corinthians 14:2.
Some sections of the Body do not fully understand the gift of tongues, but the Scripture clearly says: " . . . do not forbid speaking in tongues" (1 Corinthians 14:39), provided things are done in an orderly way (verse 40).
The Gift of Interpretation of Tongues
Tongues, by themselves, only build up the believer who is speaking, not the rest of the Body, but the gift of interpretation takes a message in tongues and makes it intelligible for other believers. It elevates the gift of tongues from individual edification to Body-edification, so that everyone can be encouraged and built up by what is said. The gift of tongues CAN be used in the church when it comes to individual or corporate worship, because worship is simply between the individual believer and God. But when it comes to a message to the Body, then ''the man who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says" (1 Corinthians 14:13).
''He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, UNLESS HE INTERPRETS, so that the church may be edified" 1 Corinthians 14:4-5 (see also verses 6-19).
Those who exercise in the gifts must remember that the giving of those gifts by the Holy Spirit is for the purpose of building up the lives of God's people in a framework of love and concern for one another.
"Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy... Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church"1 Corinthians 14:1,12.
The Promise of the Father
Right throughout the Old Testament, the Bible reveals one major problem in man that God continually came up against:
''The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure . . . '' Jeremiah 17: 9.
In all his dealings with mankind, people would inevitably rebel against God, and through Jeremiah and many of the other prophets. God identified the root cause of this as the heart of man - his nature of sin. But God also gave a special promise that would remedy the problem forever:
''I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees . . . '' Ezekiel 36,:26-27.
God's Power Within
''I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high'' Luke 24:49.
When the Holy Spirit was outpoured on the Church, He fulfilled every detail of the Father's promise in Ezekiel 36. The Spirit's infinite power was given to the believer so that he could live a life pleasing to God. This the Spirit does by:

What are the Gifts of The Spirit?


SPIRITUAL GIFTS
''There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men'' 1 Corinthians 12:4-6.
There are nine gifts of the Spirit actually mentioned in the Bible, and God has distributed them evenly amongst different members of the Body, so that each member is dependent on the other. The gifts are not natural talents, but supernatural - given by the Holy Spirit for a specific purpose.
"Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit THE MESSAGE OF WISDOM, to another THE MESSAGE OF KNOWLEDGE by means of the same Spirit, to another FAITH by the same Spirit, to another GIFTS OF HEALING by that one Spirit, to another MIRACULOUS POWERS, to another PROPHECY, to another THE ABILITY TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN SPIRITS, to another THE ABILITY TO SPEAK IN DIFFERENT KINDS OF TONGUES, and to still another THE INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each man, just as he determines" 1 Corinthians 12: 7-11.
The gifts fall naturally into three categories:
• GIFTS OF REVELATION
These gifts embrace the message of wisdom, the message of knowledge, and the ability to distinguish between different spirits - all three involve special revelation knowledge straight from the Holy Spirit.
• GIFTS OF POWER
The gifts of power include faith, gifts of healing, and miraculous powers - they are an expression through the Holy Spirit of the power and earthly ministry of Jesus.
• GIFTS OF DIVINE COMMUNICATION
These three gifts include prophecy, the ability to speak in different kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of those tongues - these are all divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit and are an expression of Christ's will and direction.
THE ENEMY'S PLAYGROUND
The three chapters of 1 Corinthians 12-14 are totally devoted to a proper understanding of spiritual gifts. In chapter 12, the Apostle Paul defines the gifts, and places them in the context of the Body of Christ. Then chapters 13 and 14 are respectively devoted to:
• BALANCE
''And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, l am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, l am nothing'' 1 Corinthians 12:31 -13:2 (read also verses 8-13).
Spiritual gifts, says Paul, are nothing without love - for that is their whole reason for existence. The church in Corinth was moving in the area of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 1:7), but had obviously become unbalanced in its understanding of the use of those gifts, and this needed to be corrected. In 1 Corinthians 14:1, Paul encourages the Corinthians to "follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts . . . "
• ORDER
"For you can all prophecy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of tprophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace . . . Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophecy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way'' 1 Corinthians 14:31-33,39-40.
The Corinthian church had obviously got into areas of difficulty with those misusing the gifts. We must understand that when we enter the realm of spiritual gifts we enter the arena of the supernatural - where the enemy also works. For this reason it is important for the gifts to operate under the covering of experienced ministries - those mature in the gifts themselves - for leadership is a God-given safeguard in the Body against the misuse of gifts.
THE BASIS OF OPERATION
''What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. ALL OF THESE MUST BE DONE FOR THE STRENGTHENING OF THE CHURCH" 1 Corinthians 14:26 (see also Colossians 3:16).
The reason for the gifts given by the Holy Spirit and the basis for their operation must be to build the Body of Christ up in love, so that all may grow into a deeper relationship with the Lord. And so, for this reason, it is the Holy Spirit's desire that we:
" . . . eagerly desire the greater gifts . . . '' 1 Corinthians 12:31.
Gifts of Revelation
1. The Message of wisdom
''Keeping close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. So the spies questioned him, 'Teacher, we know that you speak and‚ teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. ls it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?' He saw through their duplicity and said to them, 'Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and inscription are on it?' 'Caesar's,' they replied. He said to them, 'Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.' They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent'' Luke 20: 20-26.
Jesus Himself, the source of all revelation, provides the best examples of the message of wisdom (see Luke 4:1-13; 10:25-37; 20:19-39; John 8:3-11).The message of wisdom operates in circumstances where we may be faced with a problem that we don't know the solution to. The Holy Spirit can prompt our hearts, and suddenly we find ourselves with a wise answer. This gift is particularly useful in counselling or witnessing to others.
''If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault; and it will be given to him . . . the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere" James 1:5; 3:17.
2. The Message of Knowledge
"When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, 'Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.' 'How do you know me?' Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, 'I saw you while you were still under the fig-tree before Philip called you' '' John 1:47-48.
The message of knowledge, like the message of wisdom, is inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is not natural, acquired learning, but a portion of knowledge that could not have been received by any other means than supernaturally. Once again, this is a gift of the Spirit which can help when we talk to others about the Lord - we can ask the Lord to isolate for us the key-problem in their lives so that we can speak right to the heart (see Matthew 9:1-8; 17:27; John 4:18; Acts 9:11-12; 2 Kings 6:8-12). God is all knowing - He has a complete knowledge of things past, present and future (Psalm 147:5; Hebrews 4:13) - and in the operation of a message of knowledge, the Holy Spirit gives the believer a portion of specific knowledge straight from the Throne of God.
'' . . . that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge'' Colossians 2: 2-3.
3. The Ability to distinguish between Spirits
''From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 'Never, Lord!' he said. 'This shall never ha ppen to you!' Jesus turned and said to Peter, 'Out of my sight, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men' '' Matthew 16:21-23.
This gift is the God-given ability to distinguish the difference between good or evil spirits, between right and wrong attitudes of the heart, and between the Holy Spirit's work and that of the spirit of Satan (see Matthew 23:13-36; Luke 9:51-56; Acts 5:3; 8:9-24). The gift of distinguishing between spirits comes into crucial use when on the outside it is impossible to tell whether something that is said is from God or from the enemy (see Acts 16:16-18). Like the first two gifts of revelation, this gift can be used particularly in witnessing and counselling, and is designed to help us perceive the spiritual powers and forces we are dealing with (see also 1 John 4:1-3,6; 1 Corinthians 12:3).
The Gifts of Power
1. The Gift of Faith
The gift of faith is NOT saving faith - the faith we put in Jesus when we are born again. Nor is it the daily trust we place in God's character when we need His help. It is a dynamic, direct inspiration from the Holy Spirit related to the boldness which many Old Testament heroes experienced and which the early Church was birthed in (see Joshua 10:12-13; 1 Kings 17:1; 2 Kings 1: 1-15; Daniel 6:16-23; Mark 4:35-41; Acts 3:2-7; 27:22-25).
" . . . I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you' '' Matthew 17: 20.
2. The Gifts of Healing
This gift is one of the "signs and wonders" gifts which confirms for the world the reality of the Gospel, and is an extension of the ministry of Jesus when He was upon the earth. It is one of the ways that the Holy Spirit "bears witness" that Jesus is alive (see Acts 5:32) (see also Matthew 4:23-24; 11:4-5; John 9:6-7; Acts 3:6; 5:14-15; 8:5-8; 10:38).
Jesus promised of the believer:
''I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father" John 14:12.
3. The Gift of Miraculous Power
The Bible is full of miracles, displaying God's power over all circumstances of life. The gift of miracles involves a special enduement of the creative power of the Holy Spirit over natural laws for a specific time and purpose, and can include everything from miraculous provision to the casting out of evil spirits (see Exodus 7:10; 10:21-22; 1 Kings 18:31-39; 2 Kings 2:13-14; 4:1-7; Matthew 8:23-27; 17:27; Mark 6:41-51;John 2:1-11;Acts 8:39-40; 19:11-12).
''And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well'' Mark 16:17-18.
In all these gifts, because it is "the same Spirit'' working them, there is considerable overlap and dependence on other gifts. There are special ministries that the Lord has endowed specifically with one gift or another, but it is the Holy Spirit's desire that every believer operate in some or all of His gifts when the need arises.

What is The Body of Christ


THE BODY OF CHRIST
''The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptised by one Spirit into one body . . . and we were all given the one Spirit to drink'' 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (see also Romans 12:4-6).
All believers are part of the Body of Christ - the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23), and ''God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be'' (1 Corinthians 12: 18). Christ is the Head of the Body, and God's desi√łgn is that ''from him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, AS EACH PART DOES ITS WORK" (Ephesians 4:16).
That means that, for this to happen, every believer must have a part to play, and it is with in this framework that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are revealed. The Body of Christ is the physical expression of Christ on earth, and just as the FRUIT of the Spirit is the expression of Christ's character to the world, so now the GIFTS of the Spirit are the expression, through the Holy Spirit, of Christ's power and will. These gifts are not given for ourselves, but so that others in the Body may be built up and encouraged, and as a witness to the world.

What is The Fruit of The Spirit?

THE FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

''But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law'' Galatians 5:22-23 (see also Romans 7:4; Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11; Colossians 1:10; James 3:17).
All the fruits mentioned in this verse are NOT just the natural products of circumstances around us. Even when things are going wrong, the life of the Holy Spirit inside can well up in an overflowing expression of these fruits (see John 7:38-39).
1. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE
Love is the giving of yourself for the good of another. The greatest expression of love is found in the Lord. John 3: 16 says, ''For God so loved the world that he gave . '' The fruit of love is an expression through the Holy Spirit of God's own nature of love, and the quality of that love is described beautifully in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
''Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered . It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres'' (see also v.1-8; John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:7-21).
2. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS JOY
''If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love... I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete'' John 15:10-11.
The joy that comes from the Holy Spirit is not dependent on happy situations, but on the character of God. People in the world are searching for happiness, but the answer is found only in the supernatural joy of the Holy Spirit (see Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 16: 11; 132: 16; Isaiah 12:3; 35; 10; Romans 14:17; Philippians 4:4).
3. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS PEACE
Peace is that quality which everyone desires but only the child of God can truly experience. It is the peace of God Himself - ''the God of peace'' (Romans 15:33) - that has been given to us, and is designed to operate even in times of turmoil (see John 14:27).
''And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus'' Philippians 4:7 (see a”lso Colossians 3:15).
4. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS PATIENCE
" . . . being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience . . . '' Colossians 1:11.
Patience is that ability given by the Holy Spirit to wait with confidence for the result promised by God. It is not a passive emotion, but is in actual fact an expression of faith and of the inner strength that comes by the Spirit. The fruit of patience comes when we begin to see things the way God sees them (2 Peter 3:8-9; see also Ephesians 4:2).
5. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS KINDNESS
This fruit is expressed in the loving acceptance of those around us. An attitude of intolerance leads to broken relationship. The word "kindness" comes from the same root word that "kindred" comes from- and points to a quality of relationship similar to that found in a close-knit, loving family.
''Be kind and ,compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you'' Ephesians 4:32.
6. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS GOODNESS
''The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart . . . For out of the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks" Luke 6:45 (see also Ephesians 5:8-10).
Goodness, as a fruit of the Spirit, is that purity of heart which produces virtuous behaviour. The child of God has received, through the Holy Spirit, a new heart (Hebrews 8:10). The fruit of goodness in our daily dealings with people can be maintained by keeping our heart pure before God.
7. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS FAITHFULNESS
Faithfulness is one of the most important aspects to Christian life. It begins in our relationship with God, and then overflows into our relationship with others. God is absolutely faithful (Psalm 36:5; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Timothy 2:13), and it is His desire that through the Spirit that faithfulness will become a part of our character also.
''They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings - and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers'' Revelation 17:14.
8. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS GENTLENESS
The two men renowned most for the fruit of gentleness were the Lord Jesus and Moses (see Numbers 12:3; 1 Peter 2:21-23). Both were great deliverers - Moses for the nation of Israel, and Jesus for the whole world. This shows that gentleness is not weakness but CONTROLLED STRENGTH. The world's attitude toward strength is to aggressively defend yourself, but real strength is found in a gentle spirit - an attitude of being able to receive a wrong without fighting back and demanding your rights.
''Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls'' Matthew 11:29 (see also Psalm 37:11).
9. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS SELF-CONTROL
''Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who la"cks self-control'' Proverbs 25:28.
This is the crowning fruit of the Spirit because it is the evidence of a Spirit-controlled life. The Holy Spirit's ministry is to help us regain the control we lost to Satan and sin, so that we might live the way that God created us for.
''For those who are according to the flesh and controlled by its unholy desires, set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh. But those who are according to the Spirit and controlled by the desires of the Spirit, set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the Holy Spirit" Romans 8:5 (Amp) (see also Galatians 5:16-17;Titus 2:11-13).
"The righteous . . . planted in the house of the Lord . . . will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, 'The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him'" Psalm 92:12-15.
''Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, l do not want you to be ignorant" 1 Corinthians 12:1.
The Apostle Paul placed a tremendous importance on the operation of ''spiritual gifts'' endowed by the Holy Spirit, and so we will be looking at this vital part of the Holy Spirit's ministry, through the individual believer, to the Church and to the world. Our first step is to see the gifts of the Spirit in their setting.

How Does The Holy Spirit Help Us?


THE HELP THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES

When we receive Jesus into our lives, the Holy Spirit comes and resides in our hearts as a guest - a guest who is with us forever (John 14:16-17), available to help us when we face difficulties. He fulfils this ministry in a number of ways:
1. The Holy testifies of our relationship with God
''Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us'' 1 John 3:24 (see also 4:13; Galatians 4:6).
When we were born into God's family as His sons, the Holy Spirit came and fused with our spirit in an everlasting relationship. Now the Holy Spirit ''testifies with our spirit" (Romans 8:16) concerning our new relationship with God. Even when we go through difficult times, we still have God's Spirit as a ''guarantee'' (Ephesians 1:14).
''This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything" 1 John 3:19-20.
2. The Holy Spirit teaches
''But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" John 14:26.
God has sent into our hearts His very own Spirit - the Spirit who ''knows everything'' (1 John 3:20; Hebrews 4:13) and who "searches all things, EVEN THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD'' (1 Corinthians 2:10). Thus the Holy Spirit helps us by teaching us - and in times of spiritual attack, He helps us recall parts of His own Word, making it alive to our hearts (see Luke 12:11-12; Nehemiah 9:20).
''This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit... ' 1 Corinthians 2:13 (read also verses 9-16; 1 John 2:27).
3. The Holy Spirit guides
''... because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God" Romans 8: 14.
As an expression of the Father's loving heart, the Holy Spirit is ever-present to help God's children follow the right path. The Book of Acts gives many accounts of, the direct guidances of the Holy Spirit (see 10:19-20;13:2; 16:6). Whenever we are faced with a decision that we can't handle by ourselves, we can ask for help from the Holy Spirit - for He is in us to express the mind of Christ so that we can fulfil the will of God.
''O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you . . . Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it' '' Isaiah 30: 19,21 (see also 42:16; 48:17).
4. The Holy Spirit helps us live a life pleasing to God
''So l say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature . . . Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit'' Galatians 5:16-17,25.
The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to live a righteous life. If we strive to do this in our own strength, we will fail - but with the Spirit's help, backed by the full legal work of the Cross, we have a God-given formula for success. This success is described as the ''fruit'' of the Holy Spirit's own character, and that fruit can begin to grow in our lives only when the Holy Spirit is allowed to express Himself.
''But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law" Galatians 5:22-23.
5. The Holy Spirit helps us in prayer
''In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express" Romans 8:26.
Because of our human limitations, we often don't know exactly how to pray, but the Holy Spirit knows exactly what needs to be expressed. When we lean on the Holy Spirit in prayer, we can have full confidence that our prayer will be answered - because we are in teamwork with God Himself!
"And the Father who knows all hearts knows, of course, what the Spirit is saying as he pleads for us in harmony with God's own will'' Romans 8:27 (TLB).
6. The Holy Spirit gives power to witness
''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses . . . to the ends of the earth'' Acts 1:8.
The Holy Spirit is not only our power to live the Christian life, but is the power to tell others about the Good News of what God has done for us! God has given us a Commission (Matthew 28:18-19) that is far too big for us to fulfil in our own strength, but when we allow the Holy Spirit to demonstrate His power through us, we are enabled to fulfil the call.
'' . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly . . . With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was with them all'' Acts 4: 31,33 (see also 1 Thessalonians 1:5).
7. The Holy Spirit gives life
''And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you'' Romans 8:11.
The Holy Spirit works on every level of our lives. He has brought life to our:
• SPIRIT
''Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit'' John 3:5-6.
• SOUL: MIND, EMOTIONS AND CHARACTER
''And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" 2 Corinthians 3:18.
And now the marvellous truth is that the Holy Spirit is also the agent for bringing life and dynamic power into our physical bodies. We can look to the Holy Spirit for physical strength when we have to face situations that would normally wear us down (see Ephesians 3:16; John 6:63).
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen'' Ephesians 3:20-21.
The Holy Spirit's work is not limited solely to the believer; He is also very much at work in the world, and His ministry is fulfilled in five ways: