“A Rushing Mighty Wind” (The Work Of The Holy Spirit) – Part 1

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Gal 5:22-23

The work of the Holy Spirit is to produce fruit in us. Just in case you thought He is there only for us to speak in tongues. But first, a preamble.

Speaking in tongues has its place in the church. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 14:4:

He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.”

We see here that one of the reasons the gift of speaking in tongues has been given to us is for us to  edify our own spirits. To “edify” means to build up, to cause to grow. The Bible says that when you speak in tongues you speak mysteries with God (1 Cor. 14:2), and in this way you build up your spirit.

What a truly wonderful experience! That is why every believer should seek the gift of speaking in tongues. The Bible in 1 Cor. 14:1 tells us to “desire” spiritual gifts; and speaking in tongues is one of the spiritual gifts that God has given to the Church.

In the Early Church, speaking tongues was a gift common to the church, as we see in the Book of Acts.

Acts 2:1-4:

“1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Acts 10:44-46:

“44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as any as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.”

Acts 19:1-6:

“1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said unto him, Unto John’s baptism. 4 Then Paul said, John verily baptized the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.”

Notice the Holy Spirit came to God’s people in different forms and in different ways. But His filling up God’s people was always accompanied with speaking in tongues.

Other gifts of the Holy Spirit flowed freely also. In Acts 21:8-9 we read of the evangelist Philip. The Bible says:

“And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.”

Imagine that. Imagine the power of the Holy Spirit that was there for these girls to live such a spiritual life. Four virgins in one house. And they all prophesied. The Early Church was totally given to Christ.

That means there is a problem in the Church today when we fail to emphasize on being filled with the Holy Spirit accompanied with speaking in tongues. Or is it possible that we are a different Church from the Early Church? God forbid.

How does the Holy Spirit come on someone?

The Bible says it is by desiring. The Bible says we are to “desire” spiritual gifts. The gifts of the Holy Spirit come by desiring. The Holy Spirit does not come upon you by being prayed over. You could be prayed over by every servant of God in the world, but if you have not “desired”, He will not come upon you.

But, pray, what does it mean to “desire”?

Desiring speaks of having a hunger for God in you. It says in Isaiah 55:1,

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters…”

When I got saved in the early 90s, there was a hunger for God in the hearts of God’s people. People sought for God. As a result, people were easily filled with the Holy Spirit. One could be filled even as they were being baptized in the water. And they always spoke in tongues.

Today, the dollar sign is up. The charismatic gospel has come to up-end things, and there is a different hunger in the hearts of God’s people. People now want things, not God. They want material prosperity, miracles, and signs and wonders. There is no desire for righteousness, or for the things of God. Today, one would rather fill their pockets with money than speak in tongues!

But we need to get back that old hunger in us; and we shall witness the Holy Spirit moving as “a rushing mighty wind” in the Church. That means the Church will witness a return of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and it will grow spiritually.

The validity of speaking in tongues for every believer is espoused by the Apostle Paul , the foremost of Christ’s apostles, who spoke in tongues ceaselessly whenever he was alone; for he says in 1 Corinthians 14:18,

“I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all…”

If Paul spoke with tongues, we need to desire to do so too. The key word here is desire. Through speaking in tongues, the Bible says we edify our spirits.

The spirit of man needs to be like the Garden of Eden. The Bible says that the Garden was well- watered (Gen. 2:10).

We need to be bubbling with life in every area of our lives. We need to have soft, malleable hearts, where God can easily deposit His spiritual riches.

[The church in Minyughe, Singida. It may not be like the church that was in Philip’s house, but one amazing fact about this church is that there is an entire family of six who are all worship leaders]

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Persecution and Grace – Part 1

32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;

33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.

34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Heb. 10:32-34

The early church certainly did undergo persecution. There is no question about that. But there is also no question about the fact that, despite this persecution, or probably because of it the early church was also a church in which the grace of God flowed abundantly.

In Acts 21:8-11 we read: 8 And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. 9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. 10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. 11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. Acts 21:11

This man, Philip, had four girls, all virgins, who prophesied! Without a doubt, this ought to be declared the first wonder of the modern world.

Here we have all four sisters in one family prophesying. Not one or two, but all four. And the Bible goes to pains to point out that all these girls were virgins, which I am sure points to the importance that God attaches to those who are willing to pay the price to become “vessels of honor” (2 Tim. 2:20-22).

But notice also that these four girls were not prophets; they simply prophesied. This is a ministry of exhortation or direction to the church through a direct Word from the Holy Spirit. It is a slightly lower ministry than the ministry of the prophet. (The functioning of the Holy Spirit within the church is infinitely unlimitable, and that is why we cannot have a tunnel vision of the Holy Spirit’s operation within the church.)

And, therefore, these girls stayed with Paul for “many days”, but it was not given them to tell Paul what would befall him in Jerusalem. It required a prophet of God, Agabus, to travel all the way from Judaea to come and confirm to Paul the weighty matter of his impending persecution in Jerusalem.

Notice also that the Bible refers to both Philip and Agabus by their spiritual offices, “evangelist” and “prophet”. The Bible does not call the girls prophets.

In other words, women may not hold office in the Spirit, which designates authority; but women can minister in the Spirit in many different roles.

(One more thing we need to point out is that these girls were prophesying in the church. There are people who will say that women ought not to open their mouths in church; but I can assure you that these girls were not prophesying in their father’s living room. They were prophesying in the church. There are all kinds of misunderstandings of scripture simply because people will not rely on the Holy Spirit, but on their minds. But the Holy Spirit is faithful, and the minute we turn to Him, He opens up the Word to us. Actually, there are two ways of reading scripture: you can read and try to understand it by using your very fine mind; or you can decide to become a fool for Christ’s sake and pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide and help you. One approach will bring you life; the other, law (“It is written!”) – and death.)

But what I want us to notice here is the incredible grace that was in the early church. This church, which was persecuted left, right and centre, was the same church that produced men like Philip, Agabus, and Paul – and these four extraordinary sisters.

Probably the modern church is not as persecuted as the early church was, and that is why it is difficult to find this pervasiveness of grace operating in today’s church as was the case with the early church. Maybe someone will point to the great move of the Holy Spirit during the charismatic era, and the many miracles and healings that took place then. That was the grace of God at work all right; but it is what I would call the “tip of the iceberg”. There is so much more grace at work when people are denying their flesh and partaking of the sufferings of Christ: there is so much more inner glory. There is victory over sin, joy, and peace. Even death has no power over such people.

No one desires persecution, nor does the Bible tell us to pray for persecution. But on the other hand, if you give the flesh too much rope, the Spirit is stifled. That is why, whether we are persecuted or not, we should always carry the mind that Christ had of denying the flesh. The flesh is our No.1 enemy. The Bible says about our Lord Jesus Christ, “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me… By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Heb. 10:5, 10).

Notice the word “offering” there. The believer’s body has been given him/her, not to be pampered, but to be sacrificed. And that is the mind that we need to carry.

[Below: Life for the early Christians was a life of great persecution and profound want]

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