Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Power From On High Part 3--Praying in Tongues

Today, we tackled the difficult and tricky topic of praying in tongues.
We started by discussing 3 Things Satan Tries to Keep Believers from Having:
1       1)  Prosperity (not just money)– health, wealth, joy, peace, highly favored
2       2) Grace – wants to keep you (feeling) separated from God.  Grace is our assurance that sin cannot separate us from God or keep us from being used by God.
3       3) Praying in the Spirit – because it is prayer that he can’t stop
We also discussed our makeup as Christians:
    1) Body/Flesh – Temple of the Holy Spirit
    2) Soul – Holy Place – mind, will emotions – where understood prayer takes place
    3) Spirit – Holy of Holies – where praying in the Spirit takes place
Why does the enemy hate praying the Spirit?  Sometimes we wonder why he cares, since we don't even know what we are saying.  Neither does he!  We do tremendous damage to His kingdom, because Satan can't counteract what he doesn't know is coming.  We are praying the Word of God and the enemy doesn't understand what we are praying.  Also, when we pray with understanding (which is important to do also), we can doubt what we are praying.  When we pray in the Spirit, we can't doubt what we are praying because we don't know what we are praying.  When we pray with understanding, often Satan is right there to put doubt in our heads.  We can then pray the perfect will of God without any doubt entering in!
Why all this babbling?  We looked at Genesis 11.  We noted this passage last week also.  God said that with one common language nothing will be impossible.  At this time, he was worried because they weren't employing God.  When we pray in the Spirit, we don't sound the same, but we are speaking God's word through His Spirit. 
Sometimes we don't pray in tongues because we don't understand it.  Do we all completely understand how our cellphone or our car works?  Does that hinder us from using it.  If we know it works, why not utilize it?
Why tongues?  We looked at James 3:1-10 and Proverbs 18:21.  These speak of the power of the tongue and our inability to tame it.  In Acts 2:2-4, the Spirit takes control of the tongues of the disciples.  Finally, our tongues can speak His words.  Then will I just babble all the time?  We must submit to the Spirit to allow this to flow, so we can discern when it is necessary and when we should refrain.
Why an unintelligible language?  Wouldn't be less weird that way, and I'd understand it better?  That's the problem.  Once we understand, we either start doubting or try to take over and do it our way. 
Does praying in the Spirit really mean praying in tongues, or just "really intense prayer?"  If that was the case, we'd see praying in the Spirit mentioned in the Old Testament, but it doesn't appear until after Acts 2.  We looked at Jude 20 and 1 Corinthians 14:14-19.  We edify ourselves by praying in the Spirit, and there is a proper place and time for the use of this tool.  We are to pray with understanding and with the Spirit, depending on the situation.  Paul says that he does both, but in their proper time and place. Praying in tongues doesn't edify others because they, like us, cannot understand what is being said (this is different than the gift of speaking in tongues with interpretation). 
Is praying in tongues really essential?  We looked at Ephesians 6:10-18.  The list of the armor of God is usually listed as 6 items (belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the Gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit), but verse 18 INCLUDES praying in the Spirit.  God's number of perfection and completion is 7, not 6.  Day 7 was the day of rest.  Praying in the Spirit allows us to enter His rest.  We don't have to worry about what we pray or how God is going to do it.  We are told to make sure to put the FULL armor on.  Without praying in the Spirit, it is not complete.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Power From On High Part 2--baptism of the Holy Spirit

This week, we continued our series on the Holy Spirit.  This week we started in Acts 1:8.  There are many questions about receiving the Holy Spirit that we addressed that are critical.

Who is it for?  We looked at Acts 2:17.  The gift of the Holy Spirit is for all people.  Just like salvation, we have to choose to receive the gift to have it, but anyone who believes can have it.

When is it for?  Some believe that the Holy Spirit was only for a certain time in history, but Joel says it is for "all flesh" in the "last days," which is the time after Jesus until He comes again. 

What is it for?  It's to empower us to achieve our God-given purpose.  We have provision to walk out our purpose for each day, no matter how big or how small it may be.  Some days our purpose may be just living for God in what may seem to be small ways, and others bigger, but all of them can be huge when done with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  God's power to do all those things is available to us through the Holy Spirit.

Didn't I get the Holy Spirit when I got saved? Why is there this other thing I am to receive?  John 20 says yes, the Spirit is "in us" at salvation, but the baptism of the Spirit is the Spirit "upon us," which is God's power on us.  Jesus breathed on them here to signify the Holy Spirit in them.  The word here is the same word used elsewhere for the soul that God put within us that makes us different than other creatures.  This was restoring the life and relationship with God Adam and Eve had in the garden.  Then Jesus tells them to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit to come.  We also looked at Luke 4:18, which shows that the Spirit "upon us" empowers us to fulfill our God-given purpose.  In the Old Testament, the power of the Spirit came upon people for specific purposes (Samson is one example).  Back then, it wasn't always available, but only in certain situations.  Since we now have the Spirit in us, we can have that all the time!  We also looked at John 14:16 and following.  Jesus adds to the Holy Spirit in and upon us, "with us."  We could also call it "among us."  This is when believers come together in unity and connects us to each other and to Him, like in worship, where we can even "feel" His presence.

Why do we call it the baptism of the Holy Spirit?  If it is in, with, and upon us, we are immersed completely in it. 

How do I receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit?  Many times we as Christians have made it difficult to receive this by putting rules on how and when we can receive the gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but it really is as available to us as salvation is to anyone who believes.

Do I have to pray in tongues to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit?  Tongues is one evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but not the only one; however, it is still an important part of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  We looked at Genesis 11:1, where the people were unified with one language, and God said nothing would be impossible for them.  Praying in tongues gives us one language, God's language, to pray in.  It may not sound the same, but we are praying God's words, and that unifies us toward His purpose.