B11 - Listen and be guided by the Holy Spirit
Matt 4:1; Luke 4:1; John 14:26; John 16:13; Gal 5:16-18;
Under the section on ‘Doctrines’, you will discover that the Holy Spirit is a person and not a force (D75 – Holy Spirit – The Holy Spirit is a person and not a force).
The Holy Spirit guides us as a teacher. (John 14:26). He prompts us. We can listen to the whisper of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, for example, was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matt 4:1). We can be guided by the Holy Spirit through his prompting.
The challenge for all of us is to learn how to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. See also B164, Once hear God’s word, trust in him.
B12 - Do not lie to the Holy Spirit
Firstly, don’t lie (S110 -Lie and deceive). Lying is a sin.
In Acts 5:3, we have the story of Ananias and Sapphira. The couple wanted to look good among other people. So, they sold a piece of property (a good thing) but kept part of it back.
Based on Peter’s reprimand, we speculate they must have told others or even the entire church that they had given the full amount to the church.
According to the Apostle Peter, that was lying to the Holy Spirit and it was a grave sin. Both of them were judged by God and died on the spot, one after the other at separate time.
The bottom line is – ‘Don’t lie’, whether it is in the ministry or outside.
If we want the blessings of God, speak the truth. Then, we would not be caught out, whether by others or by the Holy Spirit.
B13 - Do not quench (suppress or grieve) the Holy Spirit
This is a most important and underestimated element in our walk with God – the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
Our maturity as Christians depends on how well we listen to the Holy Spirit. And that in turn is related to whether we ‘quench the Holy Spirit.’
1 Thes 5:19 says,
‘Do not quench the Holy Spirit’.
The other translations use slightly different word – NLT calls it ‘stifle’, Berean uses the word, ‘extinguish’ and the Good News Translation says ‘restrain’.
The Greek word is sbennumi or ‘suppress’, ‘extinguish’.
Later, in Eph 4:30, Paul used the word, ‘Grieve’; NLT calls it, ‘bring sorrow’ while the GNT says ‘make God’s Spirit sad.’ The concept is still the same except a degree worse.
Eph 4:31 went further to say believers should ‘get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, outcry and slander, along with every form of malice.’ Will such behavioral traits represent ‘grieving’ of the Holy Spirit?
Unforgiveness, bitterness, rage and anger are some elements that can hinder our relationship with the Holy Spirit and our ability to hear God audibly.
How does one ‘quench’, ‘extinguish’ and ‘suppress’ a fire?
If we pour sand or water over it? If we starve the fire off oxygen? Here are some possibilities:
- Choosing to ignore the inner prompting voice of the Holy Spirit,
- Engaging in sinful activities that we sense the Holy Spirit is not in favor of,
- Continuing in sin and deciding not to repent,
- Not spending time in prayer,
- Not reading the Word of God,
- Remaining in unforgiveness and bitterness, as well as dwelling in rage and anger.
(See B16 – Relationship with the Holy Spirit/ Edify yourself by praying in the Spirit)
B14 - Be full of the Holy Spirit
Eph 5:18b, Acts 4:8; Acts 6:3; Luke 4:1
Eph 5:18 says
‘Be filled with the Spirit’.
The Bible mentioned about some believers who were ‘full of the Holy Spirit’.
There was Peter who ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’, answered the rulers and elders gathered together in Jerusalem. He spoke clearly and authoritatively.
There were the brethrens tasked to be overseers of the early church –
‘Select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom’ – Acts 6:3.
There was Stephen who was described as a ‘man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit’ – Acts 6:5. And there was Jesus who was full of the Holy Spirit when he was led around the wilderness and withstood Satan’s temptation – Luke 4:1.
A person, like Stephen, did many miracles but others, like Peter, was bold in the face of attack from people. We also know that Stephen was very forgiving and brave even in the face of his own cruel death (Acts 7).
To be ‘full of the Spirit’ will firstly required us to be ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ (See also B178, Be baptized with the Holy Spirit).
B15 - Be filled (baptized) with the Holy Spirit
Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5; Acts 8:17; Acts 10:44-46; 1 Cor 12:8-10
Both parents of John the Baptist prophesied even as they were filled with the Holy Spirit . As described in Luke 1:41, Elizabeth was ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’. So, was Zechariah as in Luke 1:67.
John the Baptist himself was described as being
‘filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb’ (Luke 1:15).
When Jesus was resurrected, he appeared to his disciples and left a specific instruction at the last verse of the Book of Luke, Luke 24:49,
‘And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.’
And Luke continued in the Book of Acts clarifying what that promise was in Acts 1:4-5:
“You heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
In Acts 8:17, Peter went to Samaria to pray for the new converts to receive the Holy Spirit
‘for he had not yet fallen on any of them’ … ‘ Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.’
So, it looks like a separate experience.
In Acts 10:44, Peter witnessed the amazing event as the first Gentile converts, Cornelius and his household, experienced the Holy Spirit. It says, ‘While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised (that is, Jews) who had come with Peter were amazed because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.’ By v46, it expands to ‘for they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God.’
What is this ‘manifested gift’?
1 Cor 12:8-10 tells us the various gifts of the Spirit as follows: utterance of wisdom, utterance of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working or miracles, ability to distinguish spirits, various kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. So, can we identify among these gifts what was that ‘manifested gift’?
The secret lies in the word, ‘another’. Two Greek words were used in these verses to describe ‘another’ – ‘Heteros’ and ‘Allos’. ‘Heteros’ was used for both faith and various kinds of tongues while ‘Allos’ was used for all the rest.
‘Allos’ means ‘another of the same kind’ while ‘Heteros’ means ‘another of a different kind’, that is, it is ‘qualitatively different from its counterpart.’ It implies that these elements of ‘faith’ and ‘tongues’ described here were a ‘different kinds’, that is, these were ‘supernatural faith’ and ‘supernatural tongues’.
If that is the case, then it makes sense as to why ‘heteros’ is used for ‘various kinds of tongues’ in 1 Cor 12:10.
This is what we know:
- The Holy Spirit comes as a separate experience after a believer’s conversion,
- The believer has a visible and recognizable experience as seen by others,
- The experience is manifested with the outpouring of the gift of the Holy Spirit,
- The specific gift is the speaking in tongues,
- The Holy Spirit is received either directly (‘fell upon them’) or through the laying of hands.
A necessary action for a believer is to be ‘filled (or baptized) with the Holy Spirit’.
B16 - Pray in the Holy Spirit to edify yourself
1 Cor 14:4 says,
‘For the one who speaks in tongue builds up (edifies) himself.’
Rom 8:26 also says,
‘The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.’
It is a personal tool whereby a believer can pray and intercede using the power of the Holy Spirit in us. It strengthens our own spirit man.
For personal edification, believers ought to pray in the spirit regularly.
B17 - Speak in tongues but practice orderliness
1 Cor 14 talks about the need for orderliness when speaking in tongues while at church.
- In v 23, it says, ‘If therefore the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?’
- Then v 33 explains, ‘For God is not a God of confusion (or disorder) but of peace’ and
- It concludes in v 40 as ‘But let all things be done properly and with order.’
The main principle is that God is not a God of disorder. Jesus loved order and that can be found under D57, Jesus the Son/ Order. And God the Father is also orderly.
Hence, while we can use tongues to edify ourselves in private, believers must be careful when speaking in tongues in a church setting.
B18 - Avoid speaking in tongues in a public setting
1 Cor 14:13-18 suggests that when we are in a public setting, we must observe orderliness. It is fine to sing praises with our minds and with understanding but believers should avoid speaking in tongues in a public setting.
B19 - Ask for interpretation of tongues
‘If one who speaks in tongue should pray that he may interpret.’
When speaking in tongues in the public, the interpretation is important. Whatever it is, believers must exercise care when speaking in tongues in a public setting. Instead ask for interpretation.
B20 - Practice prophesying
‘But if all prophesy and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.’
In the Old Testament, a school of prophets was mentioned in 1 Sam 19:18-24 and 2 Kings 4:38-44. In 1 Sam 19, King Saul’s men met a group of prophets who were with Samuel and the king’s men prophesied. It was a supernatural manifestation of the Spirit’s power.
In Acts 2:17, the Apostle Peter used the words of Joel to proclaim,
‘And in the last days, it shall be, God declares that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams.’
We understand that there are schools of prophets training Christians who are eager to experience more of God in their lives. May we see the unleashing of prophets and prophecies in our time among believers.
Nevertheless, aspiring prophets can practice prophesying within a nurturing environment, while at the same time, be mindful of what they are saying to the person receiving the word; a careless word can truly mislead the latter.
To the person receiving the word, remember to always test all prophecies.
B21 - Exercise (and do not neglect) our spiritual gifts
1 Tim 4:14-16 says,
‘Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them so that all may see your progress. …. Persist in this.’
We are to exercise our spiritual (and natural) gifts. Paul asked his spiritual son not to neglect the gift(s) given to him through the laying of hands by the elders.
In an environment of true prophets, and within the confines of a spiritual coach, believers must be encouraged to exercise their giftings although without doubt, some giftings, like word of knowledge, may have to be carefully administered. It is interesting to see more of these spiritual gifts being utilized because the church will be stronger for it.
Please also see S81, Fail to use our gifts and practice wastefulness, as failure to use our giftings is considered a waste and wastefulness is a sin.
Hence, do not neglect utilizing our spiritual gifts.