... how I shrank not from declaring unto you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly, and from house to house ... - Acts 20:20
by Paul Galligan
I want to share with you a revolutionary development that is happening among us and invite you to become part of it.
The Scripture says "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life" Jude v.20-21.
These verses have come alive and within them is the key to building ourselves up, to keeping ourselves in the love of God, and to receiving the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, keeping us in eternal life now and preparing us for His coming. And what is the key? 'Praying in the Holy Spirit'.
Jesus called the coming of the Holy Spirit "the Promise of the Father" in Luke 24:49, and referred to the Promise of the Father again in Acts 1:4. He said the Promise of the Father was being baptised with the Holy Spirit (Acts1:5); then He said that the disciples would "receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon" them (Acts 1:8).
When the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, the Bible says "they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" Acts 2:4. The expression of receiving power, of being baptised in the Holy Spirit, of receiving the Promise of the Father, was to speak in other tongues.
The Promise of the Father was made through the prophet Joel to all mankind. "And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days" Joel 2:28-29. This prophecy was quoted by Peter on the day of Pentecost to explain the coming of the Holy Spirit that had been manifested in mighty signs and wonders including 'speaking in other tongues' (Acts 2:16-21).
God said He would pour out His Spirit on all flesh - this means every human being is able to receive. Gender is no issue - sons and daughters. There is no discrimination on the basis of gender. There is no discrimination on the basis of age - young and old. There is no discrimination on the basis of status in society - servants or masters. All are able to receive the Holy Spirit and there will be dreams, visions and prophecies as a result of receiving the Holy Spirit.
The 120 disciples were gathered in the upper room waiting for the Holy Spirit to come. The Holy Spirit came with "a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them" (Acts 2:1-3). These manifestations brought a great crowd into the streets and through the manifestation of tongues, people in the crowd "heard them speak in his own language" (v.6). They were hearing of "the wonderful works of God" (v.11).
Peter spoke quoting from the prophet Joel, showing that the Promise of the Father in Joel, was being fulfilled. Peter preached that Jesus "being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the Promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear" (Acts 2:33).
John the Baptist had prophesied it would be Jesus who baptised with the Holy Spirit [see Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33]. Jesus is the baptiser in the Holy Spirit.
As Peter's preaching came to a climax, and many were "cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?'" Acts 2:37.
"Repent, and let everyone of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" Acts 2:38. Coming to Christ begins with repentance of sin and believing in Jesus Christ. Then the new believer needs to be baptised in the name, for those sins to be fully cut off and for the new man in Christ to emerge (Rom.6:3-14). But it does not stop there: repentance, faith and baptism are to lead to receiving the gift of Holy Spirit. There is something more than being born again, even though being born again is a definite spiritual experience; it is more than repenting and believing; it is more than being baptised into Christ through the water. All of this has to happen to enable the person to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. God does not just save us, but He fills us with His Spirit. God wants you to receive the gift of Holy Spirit
Speaking in tongues is clearly Biblical evidence of having received the gift of the Holy Spirit; also referred to as being filled, and also referred to as a baptism. [See Acts 2:4, Acts 10:46, Acts 19:6]. There are also clear instances where people were filled with the Holy Spirit and the evidence was the manifestation of prophecy. In Luke 1:41 Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, was filled with the Holy Spirit when she heard Mary's greeting. As a result she spoke prophetically (Luke 1:42-45).
John the Baptist's father, Zacharias, was "filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied" (Lu.1:67). Read the awesome prophecy he gave in Luke 1:68-79.
The twelve disciples that Paul met in Ephesus "were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied" (Acts 19:5-6). It is unlikely that each of the twelve men both spoke in tongues and prophesied on that occasion, but it is possible. What is clear is that some of them prophesied when they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
When Peter and John "laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit" there was a manifestation of power. These were the new believers who had been baptised (Acts 8:12). Simon the sorcerer wanted that power (Acts 8:19).
In summary we can say that when a believer receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, or is filled with the Holy Spirit, there is a release and manifestation of power as Jesus said (Acts 1:8). On a number of occasions the manifestation was that the new believers spoke with tongues.
In 1 Corinthians 12:1 Paul says he does not want us to be ignorant of spiritual gifts. In verse 4 he says, "there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit". He instructs that "the manifestation of Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all" (v.7). Then Paul lists nine gifts of the Spirit (v.8-10). One of these gifts is tongues, and another one is interpretation of tongues. This gift manifests when someone brings a message in tongues to a meeting and that message needs to be interpreted. This gift is not exactly the same as the gift of tongues that each believer can receive.
God does appoint gifts of the Spirit as ministries in the body such as miracles, gifts of healings, tongues and interpretation. This is referred to in 1 Corinthians 12:28.
The key is yieldedness to the Holy Spirit
and having an expectation of God manifesting through the gifts
Since the early twentieth century God has been restoring the baptism with the Holy Spirit with the restoration of the manifestation of speaking tongues. Through the Charismatic movement of the 1960s to 1980s, the baptism of the Holy Spirit was preached and experienced by believers all over the world. This baptism was released through the laying on of hands.
In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul is teaching us much more on spiritual gifts and especially tongues and prophecy. It is not my intention to repeat that teaching, but to highlight the practice of speaking in a tongue. In the context of pursuing love we are to be diligent to desire and minister the spiritual gifts, including speaking in tongues.
In verse 2 Paul says, "For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries." This is an awesome statement: when I speak in a tongue that God has released in me and given to me, I am speaking directly to God, and I am speaking mysteries known only to God.
Paul then says, "He who speaks in a tongue edifies [builds up] himself" (v.4a). Again this is an amazing statement: God has given each of us a tool whereby we can build ourselves up in our spiritual life; whereby we can pray directly to God in a spiritual language that He has given us by the Holy Spirit filling us. Only God understands this prayer in a tongue, and through the process of praying to God in this tongue we are being empowered.
Praying in tongues directly links us to God in the spirit. Praying in tongues is only possible because the Holy Spirit has released that gift in us. Paul said "I wish you all spoke in tongues" (1 Cor.14:5a). We can understand from this statement that not everyone at Corinth spoke with tongues. And that is the situation today - not all speak with tongues, but the Scriptural reality is that we are all to desire spiritual gifts and Jesus said that one of the signs of the believer was to speak with other tongues (Mark 16:17). There is no Scriptural evidence that anyone is debarred from receiving this gift and speaking with a tongue. Therefore desire earnestly that you may speak in tongues. And if you do speak in tongues, then make sure you use this gift. It is a vital means of building yourself up.
Paul quotes from Isaiah 28:11-12, in 1 Corinthians 14:21, confirming that God was speaking about tongues when He said, "For with stammering lips and another tongue you will speak to this people, to whom He said, 'This is the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest,' and, 'This is the refreshing'; yet they would not hear." Praying in tongues brings you into God's rest and into His refreshing. Who would not want to speak in tongues!
• He will give you revelation
• God will speak and respond to us
• You will feel happier, that is, built up
• You will be refreshed and rested
• You will see things from a different perspective
• it is a proof of being a believer, Mark 16:17. Therefore any believer can expect this gift
• it is one of the ways by which God empowers us for the work of the ministry
"But you, beloved" - God loves you. Each one of God's children is loved by God. He even loved you before you were born again!
"building yourselves up"- edifying yourself; being made strong; empowered!
"on your most holy faith" - people often ask 'how can I grow in faith?' Jude gives us the
answer: "praying in the Holy Spirit" - we have talked about praying in tongues: that it is a God given way to build ourselves up and now Jude tells us that by praying in the Holy Spirit we are built up in the faith.
"keep yourselves in the love of God" - this is the result of praying in the Holy Spirit, not only building ourselves up in the faith, but experiencing the love of God!
As we build ourselves up in the faith and experience the love of God, then we are to be "looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ". As we are built up in the faith and are "rooted and grounded in love" (Eph.3:17b), then in every situation that we face, personal, communal or national, we are able to call upon and experience the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ who has already died for us and for the whole world.
"unto eternal life" The result is that we enter into eternal life, which God intends for us to know and experience in the here and now, not just a hope for an eternal future with God, but a life that is lived as a witness here in the earth.
If we will commit to "praying in the Holy Spirit" in a disciplined and focused way each day, then we will readily experience change.
We will realise that we are:
1) being built up;
2) that we are growing in faith;
3) that we are experiencing God's love in a more intimate way;
4) that we are seeing the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ in every situation that we are praying into, and
5) that eternal life becomes a living reality.
We have seen earlier that Paul teaches us that a sure and certain way to be building ourselves up is to pray in tongues. What if we do not have the gift of tongues? Then pray in your own language; pray according to the word of God, meditating on the word, speaking your prayers out loud in private. Begin by praying and meditating on Jude 20 -21. Ask God, 'what does it mean to pray in the Holy Spirit?'
In Luke 11:9-13: Jesus urges us to ask, seek and knock. All of these verbs in the Greek are present continuous; that means to ask and keep on asking. Jesus then says if you will do this, "Your heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him." No one can say, 'I can't pray in the Holy Spirit'. Jesus said, 'Ask for the Holy Spirit'; Paul said, 'Desire earnestly the Spiritual Gifts'.
The qualification is not necessarily speaking in tongues but to receive the Holy Spirit - the outworking of this will be:
Keep going and push into Jesus as He promised to give if you ask. If you will do this on a committed basis, even starting with five minutes per day and adding a minute every day until you reach thirty minutes, you will notice a change immediately. God is faithful; He will respond to you.
You will discover what it means to 'build yourselves up' by praying in the Holy Spirit. This blessing will overflow in your life and everything will begin to change as you experience, "the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life" (Jude 21b).
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