Friday, February 28, 2014

Wisdom for a Fresh Move of God

The Next several articles will deal with receiving a fresh move of God in our lives today. The beginning article by Jack Hayford will lay the groundwork for my articles which follow.

"The Holy Spirit at Work.  The power of the Holy Spirit through the church is the most striking feature in Acts. The book has even been called The Acts of the Holy Spirit. The work of the Spirit in Acts, however, cannot be understood without seeing the relationship between Acts and the Gospels, which demonstrates an essential continuity. Both the public ministry of Jesus in the Gospels and the public ministry of the church in Acts begin with a life-changing encounter with the Spirit; both are essential accounts of the results of that event.
 The power of the Spirit in Jesus’ life authorized Him to preach the kingdom of God and to demonstrate kingdom power by healing the sick, casting out demons, and setting the captives free (Luke 4:14–19; Matt. 4:23). The same Spirit power in Acts 2 gave the same authority to the disciples. Jesus is the prototype of the Spirit-filled, Spirit-empowered life (10:38). The Book of Acts is the story of the disciples receiving what Jesus received in order to do what Jesus did.
 Luke’s terminology in describing people’s experience with the Holy Spirit in Acts is fluid. He is more interested in conveying a relational dynamic than in delineating a precisely worded theology. He notes that people were “filled with the Holy Spirit” (2:4; 9:17), that “they received the Holy Spirit” (8:17), that “the Holy Spirit fell upon (them)” (10:44), that “the Holy Spirit had been poured out on (them)” (10:45), and that “the Holy Spirit came upon them” (Acts 19:6). These are all then essential equivalents of Jesus’ promise that the church would “be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (1:5; see especially its immediate fulfillment in 2:4, which Luke describes as a filling).
 Three of these five instances record specific special manifestations of the Spirit in which the people themselves participated. Those on the Day of Pentecost and the Gentiles of Cornelius’s house spoke with other tongues (2:4; 10:46); the Ephesians “spoke with tongues and prophesied” (19:6). Although it is not specified, it is generally agreed that there was also some type of manifestation in which the Samaritans participated because Luke says that “when Simon saw that ... the Holy Spirit was given” (8:18).[1]
The Book of Acts provides five accounts of people receiving the fullness or infilling or baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4; 8:14–25; 9:17–20; 10:44–48; 19:1–7). In these accounts five factors are manifest: 1) There was an overwhelming in-breaking of God’s presence experienced by all who were present. 2) There was an evident transformation in the lives and witness of the disciples who were filled. 3) That which was experienced became the impetus for the growth of the church, as "daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ" (Acts 5:42). 4) The immediate evidence in three of the five accounts was glossolalia: For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God" (Acts 10:46). [Glossolalia is a coined term derived from the Greek glossa ("tongue") and laleo ("to speak").] 5) The ultimate purpose of this experience was empowered witnessing (Acts 1:8) and a deeper dimension of Christian commitment for the achievement of happiness (Eph. 5:19), gratitude (Eph. 5:20), humility (Eph. 5:21), and fruitfulness (Gal. 5:22, 23).
Together, the above facts demonstrate what the present Pentecostal/Charismatic renewal is experiencing through the Holy Spirit at work in the church. The problem is that too frequently the elements of this renewal are misunderstood or misapplied for lack of a biblical understanding of "tongues" and the function of the Gifts of the Spirit. Although there are varying theological and ethical viewpoints among some in the Neo–Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, a common bond of unity in the Spirit-filled renewal is the practice of "speaking with tongues" in prayer and worship, together with an acceptance and welcoming of the operation of the Holy Spirit’s gifts in their midst. Thus, to fully understand this phenomenon, it is necessary to see the Pentecostal/Charismatic view as they have learned to implement the Book of Acts’ manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s power–workings, applying the controls taught in 1 Corinthians 12—14.[2]"

[1]Jack W. Hayford, general editor; consulting editors, Sam Middlebrook…[], Spirit filled life study Bible [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1991.

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