Date: November 8, 2018 (Training)
Bible Text: | Betty Swann
Series: Pillar Four
It is exciting to be alive right before Jesus comes back. God prophesied thousands of years ago in Joel and in Acts that in the last days God was going to pour out His spirit on all flesh. That is you and me. Today there are many miraculous things happening. Matthew 13:17 says, “Many a prophet of old longed to see what your eyes have seen and hear what your ears have heard.” Through the access of television and the internet, you can hear about things happening all over the world. It is really a small world that we live in. God is very busy because there are billions of people that need Him. We need to pray for them to come to Jesus. God says, “I am going to use signs and wonders to attract people and to get their attention, to confirm My Word to them. When I have been saying things to them, I will use and a sign and a wonder, and confirm it.”
I am going to give you examples of how that has happened in my life and how God has used me to be the confirmer. In Acts 1:8, the Bible says, “When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, He will give you power.” This applies to you. That is what happens when the Holy Spirit comes on you. You are just going along being a normal person and suddenly you know the Holy Spirit wants you to do something. You can feel it on the inside of you. This does not always happen. Sometimes it does not feel out of the ordinary in any way. You have to step out and trust that it is God, but God confirms it and says, “That was Me, wasn’t it.” Then the person realizes, “That is God.”
Today we are going to talk about ten questions concerning the way the Holy Spirit moves today. He does not move any different than He did in the New Testament, in the Old Testament, or in the years to come, if Jesus does delay. He does not change that, but He does many amazing things. You may have had some questions or misunderstanding about who the Holy Spirit is. He is the third person of the Trinity. There is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They used to call him the Holy Ghost, and some people still do. “The Trinity” is not mentioned in the Bible. It is a term people gave when they were talking about the Godhead. Today, we are talking about the third person, the Holy Spirit.
People were asking, “What is the difference?” I heard Bennie Hinn say, “Let me describe it this way. God thought up light, in Genesis God said ‘Let there be light.’ Jesus is the person that gets it to us. When you flip that switch and that power shoots through, that is the Holy Spirit.” Does that help you understand it? Recently I read a funny story in the Reader’s Digest and I want to share it with you. “While our friends from India traveled around California on business, they left their 11-year-old daughter with us. Curious about my going to church one Sunday morning, she decided to come along. When we returned home, my husband asked her what she thought of the service. ‘I don’t understand why the West Coast isn’t included, too,’ she replied. When we asked her what she meant, she added ‘You know, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the whole East Coast.’” Isn’t that funny? That may be the way a lot of the people are today. They do not understand or know where it is in the Bible. Have you ever heard the term “Quakers” or “Shakers”. There is Shaker furniture that is beautiful. You can look up what Quakers mean and where they came from or Shakers, and you can find out. We know the Quakers as peace lovers. In the early days of America, they quaked. What does that mean? The Lord would just touch them and they would be startled and they quaked. They did it so much that people called them Quakers. Who were the Shakers? They were the ones that spoke in tongues. Did you realize that people have always spoken in tongues alway? Do not let anyone tell you that passed away. It has not passed away at all and it has a great purpose.
The book of Acts is about the acts of the apostles. Who are the apostles? They were people like us. They just told what happened when they got busy serving Jesus. Sometimes we know their name and sometimes we do not, but we know the name of God. Our God is powerful and mighty and strong. He moves and no one stops Him. He moves like that because He wants to help people. He wants to help you.
(Look at this picture of a cloud that has “life” written in it. That is the best picture I could find to describe the Holy Spirit.) He brings life and excitement. He brings adventure and thrilling things.
Question #l is who is the Holy Spirit? Where does it say in the Bible who the Holy Spirit is? Isaiah 61:6 says, “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me.” That is proof that the Holy Spirit has always moved. I referred to Acts 1:8 “When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, He will move in power.” This is Isaiah, thousands of years before, saying “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me.” Think about David when he committed the sin with Bathsheba. In Psalms 51, David said “Don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.” When you walk with the Holy Spirit, it is so precious. God said “David is a man after My own heart.” He knew the Spirit and he walked with the Spirit, and he said “Don’t take You Spirit away from me.”
Question #2 is how is He different from God and Jesus? Let’s look at John 14:16. This is out of the Message Bible because I thought that explained it the best. “I will talk to the Father (this is Jesus talking) and He will provide you with another friend so that you will always have someone with you. This friend is the Spirit of Truth.” (Watch the bad things you say about the Holy Spirit because He is the Spirit of Truth.) “This godless world cannot take Him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see Him, doesn’t know what to look for, but you know Him already because He has been staying with you and He will even be in you.” Jesus had to go. His time was over. He had done and finished what God told Him to do. They said, “Please don’t leave.” Jesus answered, “I have to, but I am going to send the Comforter and He is going to always be with you.” He was talking about the Holy Spirit. Do not ever make the mistake of mocking the Holy Spirit and the things that He does because He is God.
Question #3 is what about tongues and casting out demons that Jesus talked about in Mark 16:17? “These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe.” Are you a believer? “They will cast out demons in My name and they will speak in new languages.” What about these comments? “I hear bad things about speaking in tongues. I hear it has passed away. I hear it is only for emotional people. I hear it doesn’t make sense. I hear you just speak in gibberish.” What are the good things about it if Jesus Himself said it was going to happen? You will have to wait to find out about that. I am going to teach a lesson on it next week.
Question #4 is it okay to have boldness and freedom in expressing God and glorifying God? Or do we need to be very quiet and very reverent? There is a time to be quiet and reverent. There is a time to realize we serve a holy God. He expects us to live holy lives, not to be Christians that are living like the world. God said, “Be holy as I am holy.” When you are aware of the holiness of God, you are quiet and reverent. You might even be on your face before Him or you might be kneeling, but you know who He is. However, there is another time to have boldness and freedom. Look up Acts 4:31. It says “They prayed a wonderful prayer. After this prayer, the meeting place shook.” There were 120 people there. Jesus’ mother and his brothers were there. The apostles were there. The Scripture says “The meeting place shook and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” Then they went crazy and did goofy things that did not make sense. Is that what it says? No, it does not. It says “They preached the Word of God with boldness.” All of this is about God. God thought it up. It is up to us to decide “I believe and Lord I want everything you have. Anything you talk about in the Bible, I want to be able to do it because I believe and I want to help people.” That is what you have to keep in your heart. Do you really want God to use you to step out and touch lives? If you do, you have to be filled with the Holy Spirit and you have to have His power. You cannot do it in your own strength.
Question #5 is if it okay to raise your hands to praise the Lord in church? A lot of people wonder about that question. Where does it say it in the Bible? Let’s look at Nehemiah 8:6. This Scripture is in the Old Testament so God has been talking about it a long time. “Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands, and they bowed their heads and they worshiped the Lord with their face to the ground.” Psalms 63:3-4 says, “Because Thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips will praise Thee, and thus will I bless Thee while I live. I will lift up my hands in Thy name.” You lift your hands up and worship God. It is a sign of surrender. Psalms 134:2 is another one. “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.” What is the sanctuary? It is the church. Another Scripture to read is I Timothy 2:8. It says “In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.” That means in your home, in your car, in your church, in Bible studies, everywhere. I was really scared to do it. I went to a Baptist Church in Dallas. The pastor, Howard Conaster, had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It changed his life and that church. You had to go two hours early to even get in the building. I was there, and everyone around me was raising their hands. I was thinking “I don’t know if I can do this.” I put up one hand, but still felt like I could not do it. The Lord spoke to me in my heart and said, “When you are in your kitchen and you reach up to open your kitchen cabinet, do you raise your hands to open it?” I said, “Sure I do.” He said, “You can’t raise your hands to Me? I am your Lord.” I said, “Lord, I am doing it.” You cannot imagine what it feels like if you have never done it. It is so special. You feel like you are in the presence of God Himself. Why? Because His Word says God wants us to do it.
Question #6 is very controversial. Why do people fall under the power of God? Do people push them? Some do. But is it real and does it really happen? Does God really do that to people today? Yes, He does. Another name for it is being slain in the Spirit. That is not in the Bible and I do not know where the term came from. You can call it that. You can call it falling under the power of God. Is it scriptural? That is what you base your walk with God on. Where is it in the Scripture? If it is in the Scripture, then God believes in it and God supports it. Let’s look at two Scriptures together. The first is II Chronicles 5:13-14, “Then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord so that the priests could not stand to minister be reason of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.” Let’s talk about that before we look at the next scripture. The priests could not stand to minister because God’s presence was so strong on them that they could not stand up.
That is what falling under the power of God is like. Your muscles quit working and you cannot stand up and you fall down, God talks to you and comforts you. He takes burdens off of you. That is a God thing. That is God’s business. Do not mock God’s business, especially when it is in the Word of God. You cannot stand, and when you try to get up, you cannot get up until God is ready for you to get up. I tell people when the experience happens to you, do not worry about what everyone is thinking or are they looking at you. Just forget them and think about God. What is He trying to say to you? What is He telling you or showing you? Do not be in a hurry to get up. Let God do what He wants to do. Let Him do His business. Why would he do that? To show you “I have complete control over you. You think you have control? I have complete control over you.” God is not going to embarrass you when He does that. He has a purpose for doing it. The other scripture in the New Testament about this is John 18:6. It takes place in the garden of Gethsemane where a large number of soldiers arrive with all of their armor and swords. They were there to get one man. They were there to get that crazy guy, Jesus. He had been betrayed by His friend. The friend had told them He was in this garden. They marched in and were going to show who was in control. “We are the Romans and we are in control and we are here to arrest you. Where is Jesus? We want Him.” When Jesus said to them “I am He,” it is said they went backwards and they fell to the ground. That was God showing His power. Jesus said, “I could call 10,000 angles right now and we would all be rescued but it is not God’s plan.” That was a sign and a wonder. Think about those soldiers when they went back to their barracks. They talked and could not explain what had happened. “What happened? Did you try to get up? Did you try to stand when everyone started falling?” “Yes, I tried, I could not stand. What was that?” They began to think there was something special about this man.
Question #7 is if there are other instances in the Bible of people falling over in the Spirit? I am going to give you some of them. In Daniel 10:9, Daniel fell when God began to speak to him. The power of God was so strong that he could not stand. In Matthew 28:4, at the tomb, the guards, strong men again, could not stand. They fell over. Go back and read that. Acts 9:3-4 tells how Paul on the road to Damascus fell over. Here is the great Paul, riding his horse, going to take care of the troublemakers. He fell off his horse; God knocked him off. That is falling under the power of God. Did it really happen? Is that what happened? You can go on to Acts 22:6, in front of the king. If you would be afraid to talk about weird stuff, that would be a good time to do it. Paul said “I fell.” Another time is told in Revelation 1:17. John was on the Isle of Patmos on the Lord’s day. The Lord appeared to him and spoke to him with one of the most powerful visions. (I need to be real honest with you; I can hardly stand up right now. I can feel the Holy Spirit. The power of God is right here.) The scripture says, “John fell over.” This was many years after Jesus was resurrected and after Acts. John was about 90 years old when he died. He got this revelation late, after Acts. It did not all stop with all of that. It may have stopped for the people that say it stopped, but it has not stopped for everyone.
Question #8 is what about people dancing at church? Where in the Bible does it say people danced before the Lord? It is in the Bible. Miriam is an example. Miriam was the older sister of Moses and she had seen God do great miracles. When millions of them were saved from certain death at the Red Sea, the Red Sea parted and they went across on dry land. Pharaoh’s army came after them and the waters closed over Pharaoh’s army and they were all killed. That was a powerful thing. How would you act if you saw God save you in a big, big way? She danced and all the women danced, too. Can men dance? Absolutely. They do in my church. Miriam, the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine and she led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced. How about a king doing it? David did. In II Samuel 6:14, “And David danced before the Lord with all his might wearing a priestly garment.” You just have to get to the place where you quit worrying about what other people think and you focus on Jesus. You worship Him in new ways. It is okay. You might not want to do it on the town square but you can certainly do it where God opens the door for you to do it. Are there other places where God talks about dancing? In Psalms 149:3, scripture says “Let them praise His name with dancing.” You praise God’s name when you dance before the Lord. “and let them make music to Him with tambourine and harp.” It says in Ecclesiastes, “There is a time to dance and a time not to dance.”
Question #9 is will I be able to control myself, or will I be out of control when I am doing all of this? That is even in the Scriptures. I Corinthians 14:22-33 says, “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets for God is not the author of confusion but of peace as in all the churches of the saints.” You and I are saints. How can we be saints? We have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus and He sees us as righteous. God looks at us and He does not see our sin. I do not care how bad it is. If you have been forgiven by Jesus, if you have received His forgiveness and received Him into your life, God looks at you and He cannot see anything but Jesus. The blood of Jesus covers every sin. God does not even remember them. Would that make you happy? Why wouldn’t you dance and clap and sing? Why wouldn’t you raise your hands? You would do those things because it is joy and it is precious.
Question #10 is what are some examples of God doing signs and wonders in my life, other than the ones I have told you about? One time I was out walking near a hotel where I was staying in Austin, Texas. God does not just get you in a church and do signs and wonders. Sometimes He gets you out where there are a multitude of people. He does them out there and you just have to step out. I was walking by the QVC building and suddenly I hear a word for someone named Robert or Roberto. What was I going to do with it? I got my nerve together and went in. I said “I need to tell you this. I was out walking and God gave me a word. There is a man that works here, his name is Roberto, and he has a past. It is drugs. God said ‘Lay it down, I forgive you. I want to walk with you. Come walk with me.’”
That is the whole point of learning to move in signs and wonders. Don’t be afraid of the Holy Spirit. He is here to give you power, comfort and help. If you have never been baptized in the Holy Spirit, then pray and ask God to pour out His Spirit on you. You will never be the same.
QUIET TIME QUESTIONS
Does Acts 1:8 relates to us?
What is the purpose of signs and wonders?
How is scripture used to answer each of the questions?
How can you apply these biblical principles to your relationship with the Holy Spirit?
Topics: Holy Spirit Power