Walking in the Power of the Spirit

In this last post in our Pentecost series we will be talking about walking in the power of the Spirit. To talk about walking with the Spirit we need to first look at what Jesus said about the Spirit.

John 14:16 KJV “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you forever.

John 16:12-13 KJV “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he shall show you things to come.”

Understanding the Scriptures

When Jesus talked to His disciples about the Holy Spirit, He never mentioned a supernatural prayer language, although that is important and is addressed in the New Testament, Jesus focused His attention on the Holy Spirit as our teacher.

It is little benefit to have a prayer language without understanding the Scripture. We wage our warfare, we pray, we receive, everything about our lives is based from our understanding of the Word of God. When we begin to read and study the most important thing we can do is invite our teacher the Holy Spirit to come instruct us.

1 John 2:20 and 27 HCSB “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 27 The anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in Him.”

We can always count on the Holy Spirit to lead us on the right path, show us and correct error, and lead us away from false teachers. In order to walk in power and be witnesses we must first have a strong foundation in God’s Word and that is the first priority of the Holy Spirit in our lives, to teach us the truth of God’s Word.

Power to be a Witness   

Acts 1:8 KJV “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

If the disciples were known as the people who turned the world upside down, how much more could we with cars, planes, television, podcasts, social media and so many more avenues to quickly spread the gospel change our world for the better! Part of being baptized in the Spirit is being empowered, receiving a supernatural boldness to tell the story of Jesus and the goodness of God. Scripture says that it’s the goodness of God that leads to repentance. When we allow ourselves to receive and walk in the boldness of the Holy Spirit we can see our world change for the better, one person at a time.

Praying in the Spirit

One thing that is commonly misunderstood is that the gift of tongues and praying in tongues is not the same thing. The gift of tongues is for the edification/encouragement of the body and requires an interpretation. Praying in tongues is personal and is between us and God.

When we pray in tongues the Spirit is praying through us. We have all been faced with or will be faced with a situation at some time that comes from nowhere and takes us completely by surprise to the point where we are at a loss for words when it comes to prayer. The Holy Spirit is there for us in those times. Romans 8:26-27 from the Wuest New Testament says, “And in like manner also the Spirit lends us a helping hand with reference to our weakness, for the particular thing that we should pray for according to what is necessary in the nature of the case, we do not know in an absolute knowledge; but the Spirit himself comes to our rescue by interceding with unutterable groanings. Moreover, He who is constantly searching our hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because, according to God, He continually makes intercession on behalf of the saints.”   

Praying in the Spirit also builds up our faith. Jude verse twenty in the King James says, “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,” We can build up our faith by praying in the Spirit! There are many types of prayer in Scripture but only one is connected to building your faith and that is praying in the Spirit.

We end where we began, the Word of God. Romans 10:17 says faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God. If the Holy Spirits primary job is to teach us the Bible then it stands to reason that when we just begin to pray in the Spirit we are building ourselves up in the Word!

One Final Thought

A Rabbi was studying one day and found a connection between the Torah, Prophets and the Writings and fire danced around him. When he was challenged he responded, “I was only linking up the words of the Torah with one another and then the words of the Prophets, and the Prophets with the writings. And the words rejoiced as when they were delivered at Sinai, and they were as sweet as their original utterance. Were they not originally given in fire, in accordance with the text, ‘And the mountain was burning with fire?'”.

Could it be that the cloven tongues as of fire on the day of Pentecost is not the representation of the Spirit but of the Word. The wind was the Spirit and the fire was the Word. Could it be that when we allow Holy Spirit to teach us the Word will burn in our hearts and change our lives?

When we are filled with the Spirit we open ourselves up to deeper revelation, bigger boldness, and a more intimate prayer life. A Spirit filled life is a full life. If you have never been baptized in the Spirit ask the father to send Him. If you haven’t been refilled in a while ask to be refilled, the disciples were filled in Acts chapter two and refilled in chapter four, when we use power we need to be refilled. The ministry the Holy Spirit wants to have in and through our lives is powerful but we have to be open, we have to walk the path, hear the instruction, we have to ask. I encourage each of us to engage in conversation with our teacher daily and allow the prayer language of the Spirit to flow freely through us.  

Preparing to Receive Power

In the last two posts we have looked at the beginning of Pentecost and receiving and walking in new revelation from the Word. Today we will look at preparing and receiving the power of Pentecost, the infilling of the Holy Spirit.  

Acts 1:4-8 KJV “ And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

The disciples were told to wait until they receive power, the old-timers of Pentecost called this tarrying or praying through, we have lost that in today’s church. I’ve grown up Pentecostal/charismatic and I’ve heard stories about this but I don’t think I have actually ever seen it in a service. I have heard stories of great prayer meetings where people were overcome by travail (a deep prayer) and prayer meetings lasted for hours. I have heard and read many stories but I am not seeing this in our Pentecostal churches (and by the way, no, I don’t handle snakes).

The General Overseer of the Church of God, Dr. Tim Hill at the Ministerial Intern Commissioning Service last weekend said, “Pentecost – put up or shut up”. This may sound in your face but his point was right on. If we claim to have power, this deeper experience with Holy Spirit, we should have something to show for it.

I believe we have lost our passion and our patience.   

Our passion has been replaced with routine and rutted services. Our patience has been reduced to we want to be out by 1:00pm and wanting to see people hurry out of the altars and moving to the closing prayer. I’m not saying every service needs to be wild and crazy, there are times when God wants to come down in his peace and dwell with us as we sit quietly (with no tongues to try and break the uncomfortable silence). True Pentecost is both still and moving; loud and quiet, concert prayer and personal prayer.

When I look back at my Pentecostal heritage I see founders who loved and taught the Word of God, I see people passionate and long in prayer time, I see people who had a heart for worship and lived empowered by the Spirit. True Pentecost is all these things. When  we look at the Scriptures and our heritage we see both instantaneous receiving of power and those who had to seek for it more than one time. I don’t believe this is because God was holding back or because the persons didn’t have the faith. If we are truly hungry for the infilling of the Spirit, as the old-timers we will tarry, we will pray through.

Like the disciples who were filled in Acts chapter two, they were refilled two chapters later. Some of us who were filled ten or forty years ago need to receive a fresh baptism. Ask Holy Spirit to give you the hunger, the desire, the passion you once had. Let us not look to our heritage as the good ole days but let us see it as an example and say their ceiling is our floor, we will see more salvations, more baptisms, more infillings, more churches built, more missionaries sent. Pentecost is not a onetime historical event, it started with Moses, it culminated in the giving of the Spirit and now we have the privilege of celebrating both the Word and power of God.

This Pentecost, let each of us read and receive new revelation in the Word, receive the baptism or a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Spirit is given freely to those who ask. Ask to be given the power to witness ask for your personal prayer language that builds your faith according to Jude twenty.

We are under the open window of heaven right now, today can be your receiving day, all you have to do is believe and take it – open your mouth and let a new language come out. Take the step and witness to someone, you have received boldness to witness! The Bible says we receive when we pray, now it is up to us to act on what we believe.

Resources on the baptism and ministry of the Holy Spirit can be found on the bookshelf.

Part 6: Pentecost – The Word and Spirit

shavuotPentecost is a Greek word meaning fifty. The Pentecost Celebration is fifty days after Passover. In the Hebrew it is called Shavuot, “feast of weeks”. Each feast finds its fullness in the new covenant, that being said we cannot ignore the foundation in the original covenant. The Power of the Spirit without a foundation in the Word will lead to error. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would lead and guide us in all truth, and the Word is truth. Acts chapter two says when the day of Pentecost was fully come, what does that mean? For the believer it means a double celebration, the Word and the Holy Spirit.

It was fifty days after the Exodus that God called Moses up to Mount Sinai and gave him the Torah (Exodus nineteen and twenty). Deuteronomy 16:9-12 NIV “Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the LORD your God has given you. And rejoice before the LORD your God at the place He will choose as a dwelling for His name – you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites in your towns, and the foreigners, the fatherless, and the widows living among you. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and follow carefully these decrees”.

You’ll notice not a lot of instruction is given as to how to celebrate these feasts, I believe that is because God wanted us to enjoy these appointed times and receive them and participate in them according to the purpose of them and not have them become legalistic observances. There have been helpful books written in both the Jewish and Messianic communities to help guide our celebration, but the moment things become ritualistic or legalistic they have lost purpose and power.

Look at Psalm 91:14-16 in The Message, “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says GOD, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care, if you only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you long life, give you a long drink of salvation.” This is the feasts – this is God throwing parties every year! We go from faith to faith and glory to glory, this is the cycle of the feasts, to bring us higher every year and keep us cleaned up.

Pentecost has three areas of celebration; celebrating the Word, celebrating increase, and celebrating the Holy Spirit.

  1. Celebrating the Word of God

Many of our translations use the word law in place of Torah but the word in Hebrew actually means the teaching of God rather than the law of God. The word law for many as they read the Bible carries a negative connotation since the new covenant says we are not under law. Law in this sense means legalism. The teaching of God in both covenants still very much are applicable to our lives. The feast of Pentecost is a celebration of the Word. Reading Psalm 119 is great during this celebration, have a Bible study with friends, dig into the Word of God as part of your celebration. Psalm 119:10-16 in the Amplified gives a wonderful picture for this celebration. “With my whole heart have I sought You, inquiring for and of You and yearning for You; Oh, let me not wander or step aside [either in ignorance or willfully] from Your commandments. your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes. With my lips have I declared and recounted all the ordinances of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts and have respect to your ways [the paths of life marked out by your law (*teaching)]. I will delight myself in your statutes; I will not forget Your word.”   

There is awesome power in the Word of God. Hosea 4:6 NIV “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.” I know many will say we are under grace so this doesn’t apply to us but Jesus’ grace does not do away with God’s teachings. The sermon on the mount reiterated the ten commandments on a heart level. Now grace does allow for freedom to celebrate or not to celebrate the feasts but there is blessing that comes in the celebration. Yes, you can be blessed outside of these feasts but the blessings in the celebration are clearly given in Scripture.

  1. Celebrating Increase

Deuteronomy 16:10 NIV “Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing the LORD your God has given you.”  At Passover everyone gives an equal offering but at Pentecost the offering is based on increase and when you give in a mindset of increase, you increase more and more.

Psalm 115:14 in the Amplified says, “May the Lord give you increase more and more, you and your children”. The NIV says, “may the LORD cause you to flourish”.  Provision and increase is not just a financial thing but a physical thing as well. God instructed, remember and celebrate coming out of the bondage of Egypt. Exodus 15:26 KJV “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.”

In the season of Pentecost give. Give and it shall be given unto you. Receive increase, receive finances, receive healing, health and divine life. Claim increase as yours based on how you’ve sown into others and given to God.

  1. Celebrating the Holy Spirit

Acts 1:1-8; 2:1-4 KJV “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” 2:1 “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

We cannot look at this even apart from the festival context they would have been participating in. The night before Pentecost had fully come the disciples would have given offerings joyfully in the temple and stayed up late into the night studying the word of God. To see the Holy Spirit’s coming purely through the lens and purpose of tongues is to miss why Jesus said the Spirit would come. John 16:12-15 KJV “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine, therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

It is interesting that in the three chapters Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit, He never mentions tongues. Don’t misunderstand me, I believe in tongues and I do pray in tongues, however, the fullness of the feast is not found in a prayer language or tongues and interpretation but the Spirit revealing the truth of the word to us and empowering us to witness. If we dismiss these two things from our understanding of Pentecost, we have truly lost its power and only have a form in the manifestation of tongues.

Pentecost for the believer is a celebration of the word and the power of the word through the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is the continued celebration of the provision of healing and finances. When Scripture talks about receiving thirty, sixty and one hundred fold, I would submit that it has something to do with celebrating Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles; thirty, sixty and one hundred. At Pentecost gather with some friends; give joyfully, study the Scriptures and ask for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit.

Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)

sukkotRevelation 21:3-4 NKJV “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. (4) “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Amen. This Wednesday begins Sukkot, (Feast of Tabernacles). This is one of the appointed feasts, the Feasts of THE LORD.  (The second of four blood moons occurs on this day).

The instruction for this feast is found in Leviticus 23:34-43. This feast relates to us for two reasons; one, because it is a Feast of the Lord and second, because Jesus came and tabernacled with us and will again.

John 1:14, The WORD became flesh and tabernacled among us.

Tabernacles is a week to rejoice in the goodness of God, it comes after the head of the year and the day of Atonement.

The Israelites built and dwelt in tabernacles as a reminder of the time in the wilderness. This is a time where God dwelt in the midst of the camp.

It was on the last day of Sukkot that Jesus spoke these words in John 7:37-38 NKJV “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. (38) He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his [belly] will flow rivers of living water.”

Even though this feast is yet to be fulfilled in Christ’s return, we can still take this special appointed week to get alone with God and hear Him.

Some might be saying, I spend time with God every day, that is good, but this week God has set an appointment, every year this appointment stands, will you come and meet with Him?

This is not a legalistic issue, you don’t have to celebrate the feast, but there is a BLESSING in celebrating!

Paul said of Passover, because Christ the Passover lamb was sacrificed let us keep the feast.

These are the Feasts of the Lord, they still have benefit. They are circled dates on God’s calendar.

Enjoy God! If you have kids build a tabernacle and camp out with them! Draw close to God this week and He will draw close to you.

Again this isn’t a legalism thing, God appointed these feasts for our benefit, let’s do what believers have done for centuries, let’s celebrate the feasts!

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I began my week last Friday at 3:00pm. While I am not staying in a “tabernacle” I did decide to take a week away from social media and television and seek God. I would encourage everyone to do the same. Even if you can only give an hour a day, Holy Spirit can do and say many things in an hour a day for seven days. Be creative and just get in the presence of the Lord to be renewed and have the river flow from you.