THE PRESENT MOVE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

[ORIGINALLY PRODUCED AS A LEAFLET]
 
    In these  days  of  spiritual  renewal,  there  appears  to  be growing
    confusion over the subject of speaking in other tongues, in the context
    of today.
 
    * Is it necessary?
    * Is it useful?
    * Does it make you a better Christian?
    * If you do speak in tongues, does it mean you have advanced further in
    your spiritual experience than others who 'do not have the experience'?
    * Does it mean, that you  suddenly  have gained superior knowledge, and
    have a closer link with God?
    * Do you still have the Holy Spirit if you don't speak in tongues?
 
    There is obviously much  confusion,  both  amongst  those  who have the
    experience, and those who have not. It  is high time we looked sensibly
    at these  questions,  and  put  some  of  the  claims  to  the  test of
    Scripture.
 

    1 CORINTHIANS 12

 
    There is a great diversity of gifts, and let's not think that we have a
    complete list within this chapter, or that  we can limit God to working
    in these ways alone.
    Within the Body of Christ, God has a part for all of us to play, and to
    some of us, our part may appear more humble than others! [1 Corinthians
    12:27]
    Whilst we are to eagerly seek the 'best' gifts, we will not all receive
    the same ones. This is shown clearly in verses 29-31 of the chapter.
    But by the same token, we   can't   say,   "Oh  I  don't like that
    one, it frightens me, I don't understand  it  -  I think I'll give it a
    miss!"
    We are by their very nature,  dealing with gifts that are SUPERNATURAL!
    That means, we cannot easily explain them, or even understand them, for
    they are far beyond our ability to do  that,  as they are a part of the
    spiritual realm, emanating  from God Himself through His Spirit.
    But of this let us be certain, they are for the good of the Church as a
    whole, and not just for  the  individuals own satisfaction or pleasure.
    (verse 7) None of the manifestations  of  the  Spirit are meant to be a
    kind of 'spiritual drug fix' to keep  us  going from one meeting to the
    next!
 

    THE DEVIL'S COUNTERFEITS

 
    When we had some Bible  studies  on  the  Gifts  of  the Spirit, It was
    stressed very strongly, that for  everything  God   gives  to  us,  and
    for  everything  He  does  through  the  Christian,  THE  DEVIL  HAS  A
    COUNTERFEIT!!
    This can include, healings, supernatural revelation, speaking in  other
    tongues, the apparent casting out of demons, and a host of other, often
    seemingly respectable, and dare I say even 'Christian like' things!
 
    This comes out very clearly in  Nicky  Cruz's book 'Satan on the Loose'
    he tells how his father's fame as  a  healer  was  spread  abroad,  and
    people came from all parts to  seek  help  and  even  deliverence  from
    demons! His father practised black magic.
 
    Nicky, as a young boy witnessed many of these 'healings'.
    In the book, he tells very graphically of one such occasion.
    He says that a man was brought who seemed very ill, and  there  was  a
    huge swelling in his leg. Nicky got the impression that  he  would  not
    have long to live.
    He says his father covered  the  leg  with  'healing  leaves' from  the
    garden, prayed to a certain spirit  for  deliverence,  sprinkled  water
    over the leaves, getting the man to drink the rest.
    Nicky says, that as he watched, five long things like  worms  slithered
    out of the man's toe, as the swelling began to go down.
    Such stories as this are not uncommon in countries  where  black  magic
    and witchcraft are openly practiced!
 
    In fact it was not  unknown  for  Nicky's   father  to  CAST  OUT  EVIL
    SPIRITS, on one occasion casting the spirit into a lizard,  which  took
    off like a scalded cat!
    Let us make no mistake,  the  devil  can  still  appear  as an angel of
    light, and deceive even the unwary Christian!
 

    "NEW" YET "EVER OLD"

 
    Many Christians are in a very deep rut, that becomes more like a trench
    for their spiritual warfare - a place in which they can hide!!
 
    Thank God for the renewal which is upon us, in the churches as a whole,
    including  the  Salvation  Army,   where    there   is   a   reaffirmed
    interest in the teaching and experience of the Holy Spirit.
    But let us never be afraid to 'try the spirits' to make sure things are
    genuine, and never be taken in by the devil's imitations.
    Many are prophesying, healings are taking place, and other Gifts of the
    Spirit are operating. In fact there  is  an uncanny resemblence to many
    of the manifestations of the early revivals in which many denominations
    had their beginnings.
 
 

    OPPOSITION

 
    This has brought about two things  -  the first, is a spiritual renewal
    with many being saved healed, and restored.  We thank God for this. But
    the other thing  that  it  has  brought  about,  is  opposition,  and a
    resurgence of prejudice and fear of the unknown.
 
    No doubt, there are occasions where  the testimony of those coming into
    this  personal  spiritual  renewal,  perhaps  with  tongues  and  other
    spiritual phenomena,  has  appeared  threatening,  frightening, perhaps
    even antagonising, to those who down through the years have  mistakenly
    believed - this is not for today, and definitely not for us!
 
    There are those who will react  aggressively, because they view someone
    else speaking about their own  personal  spiritual renewal, as pointing
    the finger at them, and suggesting that they are lacking in some way.
    What we each one should be saying, is  "If this is of God, then He
    gives  it  for  a  purpose,  and  perhaps  it  can  be  helpful  to  my
    experience."
    The overwhelming  evidence  is  that  it  is  an  experience  which  is
    transforming Christians and indeed  whole  churches  and  corps for the
    better.
 
    God never works with two of  us  in  exactly  like  manner - we are not
    expected to go through  His  holy  sausage  machine,  and  all come out
    looking the same, doing  the  same  things,  having  the same ideas, or
    possessing the same Spiritual Gifts.
    God has always been a God of diversity - and will remain so!
 
    Let us therefore, never try and force anyone into our 'mould', and also
    realise, that God may not have the  same things for someone else, which
    He has for us  - HE MAY HAVE EVEN BETTER!
 

    TONGUES

 
    Of all the Spiritual Gifts down  through the years, probably that which
    has been heralded as causing the  most division amongst the Children of
    God, is the Gift of Tongues.
    This is partly because some who profess to speak in tongues, have taken
    on an air of superiority which  appeared  to belittle those who had not
    'attained to these great heights'.
    So rather than some Christians  consider the experience for themselves,
    they have  rejected  the  whole  practice  aggressively,  and literally
    thrown the baby out with the bathwater.
    It has meant that to broach  the  subject  at  all, can risk an adverse
    reaction.
 
    We can be certain  that  the  Biblical  Gift  of  Tongues, cannot cause
    division! It is impossible, for  we  are  speaking  about a Gift of the
    Spirit of God, and He is the Spirit of unity! [Ephesians 4:3]
    But division has undoubtedly come  about,  and  brothers and sisters in
    Christ have been offended and rifts have  developed! So why and how has
    this happened?
 

    THE FILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

 
    Often division has come about  through  a misunderstanding of the whole
    concept of being filled  with  the  Spirit,  and  the  evidence of that
    filling.
    Lets face it, if someone tells  you,  after you've been a Christian for
    many years, that you haven't  got  the  Holy  Spirit, because you don't
    speak in tongues,   DO THEY REALLY THINK YOU SHOULDN'T BE OFFENDED!!!
    This is especially the case, when you are aware that your own spiritual
    growth and stability,  far  exceeds  that  of  the  person uttering the
    statement, even though they might well 'speak in tongues'!
 
    There are those who apparently seek a 'BAPTISM IN TONGUES' and yet SUCH
    AN EXPERIENCE IS UNHEARD OF IN SCRIPTURE!
    If they mean the BAPTISM IN  THE  HOLY  SPIRIT, then it is difficult to
    over-emphasise THE INSULT GIVEN  TO  THE  HOLY  SPIRIT in replacing His
    Blessed Name with one aspect of the  experience which He gives. It is a
    bit like worshipping the creation, rather than the Creator.
 
    Unfortunately today, we find some  Christians  with  a froth and bubble
    experience, which has little or no substance, and when put to the test,
    blows away in the breeze! Let us remember that the letter from which we
    get most of our teaching on  tongues,  was  written  to one of the most
    unruly, un-spiritual and immature churches in Scripture!
    So obviously, contrary to the impression sometimes given, an experience
    of 'tongues' is not a simple 'fix-all' for our spiritual experience!
 
    BUT IN SPITE OF ALL THAT,   THERE   IS   A VERY REAL SCRIPTURAL BAPTISM
    IN  THE  SPIRIT,  WHICH  CAN  OFTEN   TODAY,  AS   IN  BIBLE  DAYS,  BE
    ACCOMPANIED BY GLOSSOLALIA, OR SPEAKING  IN  LANGUAGES NOT KNOWN TO THE
    SPEAKER!
 
    This is undoubtedly both  in  Scripture  and experience, a supernatural
    evidence of the Spirit's Baptism, but let  us never be tempted to think
    that it is the only sign, or  that  those  who do not possess it are in
    some way 'second class' Christians!
 
    It is patently obvious to those  with  a knowledge of Scripture that it
    is stated clearly that  all  Christians  are  NOT  expected to speak in
    tongues, and that  there  are  other  even  more  important gifts which
    should be actively sought after!  [1 Corinthians 12:29-31 & 14:12]
    The Scripture instructs us not to  try and dissuade anyone from wishing
    to speak in tongues. [1 Corinthians 14:39]
    Tongues, used aright as part  of  our  prayer life, will be spiritually
    helpful to us, and used in  meetings,  as  a  Gift of the Spirit, along
    with the Gift of Interpretation, will help the whole assembly.
    [1 Corinthians 14:4, 13,14,26]
 
    As a young Christian, I  remember  a  lovely  man of God, a Pentecostal
    pastor in a large church. He did not  speak in tongues - but many other
    Gifts of the Spirit just flowed through his life!
 
    After all,  some  of  the  most  greatly  used  pastors,  preachers and
    evangelists down through  the  years,  have  been  people, who although
    gifted by the Spirit  in  many  ways,  bear  no  witness to speaking in
    tongues.
 
    As intimated earlier,  this  does  not  mean  that  we  can discard the
    experience, or encourage others to  do  so.  On the contrary, God never
    gives anything that is superfluous, and for those who possess the Gift,
    they, like the Apostle Paul, will find it beneficial in their spiritual
    experience.
    But let us also bear in mind  the  warning  given by Paul that if we do
    not keep other aspects of  our  spiritual  lives maintained, then (even
    though we may speak in  tongues)  we  can  end  up as nothing more than
    "BLARING BRASS OR CRASHING CYMBAL."
    [1 Corinthians 13:1 - Phillips]
    Tongues must be given their place -  no  more, and no less, and we must
    always realise, that it is but  one  of the many faceted manifestations
    of God the Holy Spirit in our lives. [1 Corinthians 14:18,19]