The Power of the Holy Spirit

“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4).

In our last discussion we dealt with the idea that being Spirit-filled is more than just an experience. No church is truly Pentecostal simply because they have believers who speak in other tongues.

Following are four distinguishing characteristics of a true, Spirit-filled, New Testament Pentecostal church.

1 The Church is Spirit-filled
This means the church has had the Pentecostal experience, and as a congregation does preach, teach, and experience the baptism with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues. However, the true New Testament Pentecostal church does not stop with this specific experience. They should also be living a lifestyle that reflects being filled with the Holy Spirit.

As a believer are you aware that there is more of the Holy Spirit that you can experience?

Paul instructed the believers at Ephesus that instead of getting drunk with wine they should, “be ye filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). The Greek used here is in present tense with the imperative mood. First and foremost, this was a command from the Apostle Paul to do this and do it now! Be ye filled with the Holy Spirit! Secondly, by using the present tense, the Apostle is telling these believers that they should be doing this continually, meaning at all times. Some may ask, how can I continue to experience what I experienced on the day I was baptized with the Holy Spirit? However, that’s not exactly what we mean. To be specific, the Holy Spirit has the liberty to flow into the heart and life of every believer based upon Christ’s finished work at Calvary, and so the Spirit-filled life goes beyond our initial experience, and exists as a continual drawing from the power source of the Cross of Calvary!

(2 The Church is Spirit-led.
This is an aspect of the true New Testament church example, given in the Book of Acts, which we rarely see in our present-day churches. The term used in Act 2:4 states that they were all “filled.” This word stems from the Greek word “pleres” used in Luke 4:1, “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” When this term is used it always goes beyond the thought of simply being filled with something, and implies that what you are filled with actively drives everything that you do. Jesus was “filled” with the Spirit and the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness.

In Acts 13:9-10, Paul fixed his eyes upon a sorcerer named Elymas and said, “you who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord.” Elymas was “full” of deceit and fraud and this caused him to make the straight ways of the Lord crooked. The point being that what you are filled with is also what drives you. So why is today’s church adopting the things of the world into her pulpits and churches? Because her eye is closed to Christ’s finished work at Calvary. But the true New Testament church, being Spirit-led, is continually being filled with the Holy Spirit because her eye remains fixed on the finished work of Calvary alone. Hallelujah!

3 The Church is Spirit-controlled.
Control by its very definition means to exercise authority and power over another. I Corinthians 6:19- 20 states, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Paul is clearly telling the New Covenant believer that they are not their own, which in turn, means the church is not its own. Sadly, much of the church today puts too much emphasis on our own ability to control our own destinies, callings, and future. My friends, we must relinquish control in every area of our lives. The day I came to Jesus my identity ceased to exist and I became a new creation in Christ Jesus. My new identity is swallowed up in all that He is and all that He has done, including my purpose, my calling and my future.

As a church we do not live for ourselves, but for Jesus, and He must have all authority over us. Jesus Himself tells us when we pray we should say, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done.” He is talking about His rule and His reign in our hearts today. As the body of Christ, and the church of Jesus Christ, we need to ask the Lord to take control of our lives and our services, because we have been “bought with a price.”

3 The Church is Spirit-empowered.
Acts 1:4 & 8 says, “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father…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.” The Church was instructed not to do anything until they had received the power of the Holy Spirit.

This power involves three main elements:

• Power to be an anointed verbal witness – This power of the Holy Spirit gives you the ability to proclaim the Gospel to a congregation, a fellow student, a teammate, or to a fellow employee.

• Power to be a supernatural witness – This is power to perform supernatural miracles. Hebrews 2:4 says, “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” Shortly after the day of Pentecost, as Peter went up to the temple, he encountered a man lame from birth laying at the Gate Beautiful. As he begged for alms, Peter told him, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” The Holy Spirit empowered Peter to perform a supernatural miracle of healing.

• Power to be a lifestyle witness – This power deals with our conduct. As we have stated, it is through our baptism into Christ that we are able to overcome the power of sin in our lives, including our failures and inconsistencies. We have seen that the baptism with the Holy Spirit deals with power for ministry and intimacy. But how does this baptism deal with our character? The baptism with the Holy Spirit, according to Matthew 3:11-12, deals with our sanctification process. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to survive the purge of the threshing floor, as we experience the crushing and separating necessary for sanctification.

Without this power of the Holy Spirit there would be no church. Through these four aspects we are able to more adequately understand what constitutes a true New Testament Spirit-filled church.

In our next message we will begin to deal with the actions of a true New Testament church, and make clear the activity our modern day churches should display.

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about author

Paris, accompanied by his wife Marybeth, coordinates and oversees <a href="">Crossfire Unite</a> fellowship groups. He is a regular teacher on SBN’s “<a href="">Generation of the Cross</a>” with Gabriel Swaggart. Paris is a workshop instructor and assists with Church Needs for the <a href="">International Youth Conference</a>, and he has been an evening professor at <a href="" target="_blank">Jimmy Swaggart Bible College</a> since the spring of 2017. He oversees all Crossfire Unite Student Outreaches. Paris also contributes writings to the <a href="">Crossfire Blog</a>.

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