Be Filled With The Spirit
What does the Bible teach us about the Holy Spirit? About tongues? And about the Spirit-filled life? A call to a Biblical understanding of these important truths.
(17) Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
(18) And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
(19) Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Today I want to address the subject of what I believe to be a serious LATTER DAY HERESY.
A heresy, a movement, which is worldwide in its scope. It reaches its tentacles everywhere, like a giant octopus. It has an influence that reaches far across all denominational lines. It is like leaven in a lump of dough. It has caused much damage to the cause of Christ. And it is DANGEROUS TO YOUR SPIRITUAL HEALTH.
There is much confusion today about teachings about THE HOLY SPIRIT.
I believe that there is ABUNDANT DOCTRINAL CONFUSION because of POPULAR VIEWS that are being spread, far and wide across Christendom, by many of the faith prosperity TV preachers of today.
This teaching is LIKE A VIRUS that infects and multiplies. It is LIKE A POISON, A POLLUTION, A SPREADING CANCER…
All this is happening because there is a dearth, A LACK OF SOUND BIBLE TEACHING across Christendom today.
Christians are not attending Bible studies. This is a great reproach for the people of God.
People are falling for what are essentially UNBIBLICAL, DIABOLICAL TEACHINGS.
Nowadays many people will try and base their theology ON WHAT THEY FEEL.
People will often say things like: I have had an experience. I CANNOT DENY MY EXPERIENCE.
Well, EXPERIENCE is changeable and fickle.
To depend on your feelings and your goose bumps is dangerous ground.
We cannot build doctrine on that. It is LIKE BUILDING A HOUSE ON THE SAND OF THE SEA. HUMAN EMOTIONS are no sure guide for WHAT IS TRUTH, or NOT.
We need something UNCHANGING and DEPENDABLE.
As A STARTING POINT today it is FUNDAMENTAL that we have THE WORD OF GOD as the sound basis for all of our teaching.
The Bible is SUFFICIENT.
It is the COMPLETE, FINAL AUTHORITY, God’s Word to man.
It is no longer being added to. It stands complete and completely trustworthy. There is no THUS SAITH THE LORD outside of WHAT IS WRITTEN.
Some will consider they can add to the Bible. I have been in churches where people professed to prophesy, and what they said was even written down, verbatim, in a book and treasured as if it was God in the first person uttering words through the person.
But no, we cannot rightfully claim EXTRA BIBLICAL REVELATION. The whole Bible is the Word from God that we need.
I have a Word from the Lord for you, and here it is. In my hand.
Many today yarn on about many things that have NO FOUNDATION IN SCRIPTURE.
There is a total over-emphasis…
- On experience
- On new revelations from God
- On signs and wonders
- On God speaking to them and saying blah, blah, blah
- Or on conversations with demons and outlandish claims of encounters with God and angels and demons and farfetched tales of visits to heaven or hell
- On naming it and claiming it, or blabbing and grabbing it, and demanding things from God in prayer, as if He is our lackey; our servant, who runs here and there at our bidding, like some kind of errand boy.
There is an undue emphasis on things SUPERNATURAL, and on supposed SPIRITUAL REVELATIONS AND WEIRD MANIFESTATIONS that are nowhere found in the Bible.
Why so? Because of the spiritual vacuum people have who live in a Christless culture and a Word-less church.
There are people parading around these days with their names in lights who profess to be great ministers of SIGNS AND WONDERS. Yet they do not go and visit the hospitals and heal the sick, or go the cemeteries and raise people from the dead. Their claims are hollow and false. We see many Christians profess to believe in divine healing like the Book of Acts yet they are chronically ill and evidently sick. The claims just do not stack up. What they profess to believe they deny in the reality of their lives.
People like Reinhardt Bonnke have made various claims that have been proven false. It’s kind of funny that many of these healing movement preachers, including Mr Bonnke, wear glasses. If they can command healing at the invocation of a mantra then why do they need to go to an optometrist? It doesn’t stack up.
People like Benny Hinn have been exposed to be false preachers whose many claimed healings cannot be substantiated. There are many cases of claimed healings that have been exposed as fraudulent.
People like David Wilkerson have made false prophecies and have been exposed as false prophets. Yet people still swallow more and more of the same.
I believe, based on the evidence I see today, there are NO APOSTLES AND PROPHETS IN THE BIBLICAL SENSE THAT ARE ALIVE TODAY. This is evident. Any people who have made claims to be such today have been shown to be imposters, fakes, frauds and phonies.
These MINISTRIES were a part of the FOUNDATION STAGE of the church. As Paul puts it; the church is built on this…
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Any who claim such supernatural ministries today have been largely exposed as charlatans and false apostles and prophets, of whom the Word of God speaks as being a sign of the latter days.
Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. And he seeks to replace or corrupt the Word of God every chance he gets, to cast doubt on it or to sideline it with a circus show of man’s making. He is a master counterfeiter. He has joined the church and in some he is a member in good standing, and running their boards.
Brothers and sisters I am telling you these things because, in days where error abounds and is multiplying at a rate of knots, we must have the truth, the unvarnished, unadulterated truth.
DECEPTION is all around us. The gullible masses are falling for dangerous teachings because they have no sure grounding in THE MORE SURE WORD OF PROPHECY – the Word of God.
Let me emphasise that there is absolutely much need today that we BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD.
(17) Wherefore BE YE NOT UNWISE, BUT UNDERSTANDING WHAT THE WILL OF THE LORD IS.
(18) And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; BUT BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT;
(19) Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
We need to BE SPIRIT FILLED.
What does this mean?
What is THE TRUE SPIRIT FILLED LIFE?
What is critical is that we understand WHO the Spirit is.
- He is the HOLY Spirit.
- He is the SPIRIT of TRUTH, in contrast with the Spirit of error.
Firstly, let me assure you what is NOT the Spirit filled life.
It is important that we discern what the scriptures actually teach us.
We are witnessing A WHOLESALE DEPARTURE FROM THE WORD OF GOD.
We need THE UNADULTERATED WORD OF GOD.
Many people today TALK MUCH about THE HOLY SPIRIT, and teach people what they call SPEAKING IN TONGUES.
I think this is an important subject that needs careful analysis and scriptural study.
We see that tongues had a place and purpose. Back in the New Testament there were specific occasions and circumstances in which we see tongues was evident.
What does the Bible actually TEACH us about TONGUES?
There is one reference to tongues by the Lord, in Mark 16:17.
There are three passages in the Acts where Tongues are referred to, in Acts 2, 10 and 19.
And, in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians we see the subject of tongues explained, in chapters 12 to 14.
Tongues are not referred to anywhere else in Scripture.
Firstly, a simple DEFINITION helps…
Tongues means languages.
At every occasion it was always KNOWN HUMAN LANGUAGES, though they may have been unknown to some people who were present at the time.
The New Testament CONSISTENTLY DESCRIBES TONGUES AS A HUMAN LANGUAGE.
To understand tongues we need to go back to the first mention…
God first confused the tongues of nations at Babel. Likewise, in many quarters of Christendom today we have the Babel or confused babbling of false tongues. It is confusion and error.
So, what was THE PURPOSE OF TONGUES?
An important place to start is where the Old Testament tells us of tongues…
(10) For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
(11) For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
(12) To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
(13) But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
(14) Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.
It was prophesied why tongues was to be given. As a sign to the Jews; a sign of JUDGMENT.
Likewise 1 Corinthians 14:22 tells us that tongues… are FOR A SIGN to THEM THAT BELIEVE NOT – a sign for unbelievers.
Some spiritual gifts are specifically for a SIGN. They were SIGN GIFTS, as part of the foundation of the church. One of the sign gifts is TONGUES.
In the context, in verse 21, the Word says that God will speak UNTO “THIS PEOPLE”. The sign was for THIS PEOPLE.
The New Testament term “THIS PEOPLE” always refers to JEWS.
The unbelievers referred to in verse 21 were Jews (as a cross reference with Isaiah 28:11-13 explains).
In Acts, whenever tongues was used Jews were present.
So, WHAT is THE PURPOSE of TONGUES?
The purpose of tongues was to be A SIGN to UNBELIEVING JEWS.
It was a sign to show that salvation was for the Gentiles also (that is why it was foreign languages). Clearly, the sign is no longer needed.
Tongues was also a sign OF JUDGMENT, AGAINST THE JEWS.
Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:21-22 was quoting Isa 28:11-13, where judgment is pronounced against Israel.
Their Temple was destroyed in 70AD.
What does the Bible teach us about tongues?
In 1 Corinthians 13:8 its says, in part,
whether there be tongues, they shall cease.
A man who knows Greek says that the Greek rendition of this means “shall come to an absolute end” (Zodhiates).
The sense of cease here means that THEY WILL COME TO A STOP. There is no sense of them restarting. There is no such teaching in the scriptures.
God says, TONGUES SHALL CEASE. The question is, WHEN were they to cease?
Tongues were to cease when their purpose had been fulfilled.
What does church history tell us?
It is evident when we examine church history…
Tongues speaking was unknown, since AD70, when the temple at Jerusalem was destroyed, as the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 28, and of the purpose of tongues, of 1 Corinthians 14:21.
The Jews had rejected their Messiah. God sent judgment in 70 AD by allowing the Roman armies to destroy Jerusalem.
God says tongues shall cease, AND THEY DID.
So what about Pentecostalism and the teachings of the charismatic movement? What is all this about? When we look into something it is good to look at the genesis of it – ITS BEGINNINGS.
WHERE did it begin and WHO was behind it?
Some claim tongues restarted at around the turn of the century around 1900, and in particular at a place called AZUSA STREET.
This is regarded by most as the birthplace of Pentecostalism.
Pentecostalism was birthed in the midst of strange delusion, error, and excesses.
Azusa Street was a place of meetings filled with all kinds of strange manifestations, jabbering, shaking, jerks and barking. Observers commented about hypnotic manifestations and fleshly contortions. Mediums and spiritualists joined in. People were possessed by fits and spasms.
The so called tongues of today is not the Biblical tongues. It is no language at all. Linguists have studied it and studied it and found it to be no language at all, not even resembling a language. It is false.
Thus Pentecostalism began, and it has continued the same down through history. It is built on a foundation of sand.
Right from its inception it has been marked by excesses, heresies and deception.
And now through the charismatic movement it is leading people into ecumenism and the ultimate one world church of the Antichrist. Catholics testify how they have found that their speaking in tongues helps them to worship mother Mary and the saints better.
This teaching and practice is utter disobedience to the Word of God.
It is a work of emotional hype and deceiving spirits.
It is not the work of the Spirit of God, who will always act in accord with His word, and in decency and in order.
But you may say, preacher, you can’t deny my experience.
I say to you that the Word of God denies your experience and that is enough said.
Biblical tongues was ALWAYS A KNOWN HUMAN LANGUAGE at every occasion.
But some may further contest that there are TONGUES OF ANGELS. Biblical tongues were a known language, and angels always spoke in a human language.
Even in the book of Revelation in describing the future and eternal events in heaven, there is no evidence that the angels and John conversed in an “angelic” language, but rather a known human language.
Tongues ended by 70 AD, with Titus destroying Jerusalem, as the judgment our Lord foretold came upon the Jews for rejecting Christ’s gospel.
What we are seeing today are counterfeit manifestations.
We so badly need discernment today.
Some will try and say that they use A PRAYER LANGUAGE. This practice is based entirely on a misunderstanding of one scripture text:
1 Corinthians 14:14
For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
The prayer would be unfruitful and not edify anyone who did not speak that specific language
Paul was not recommending the practice of speaking in an unknown language here. It is actually teaching us to pray with our understanding.
The whole context is a rebuking of the misuse of tongues as people were disordered and selfish. They were not employing the use of tongues to bless and edify others.
Paul was not saying that tongues is a private prayer language that cannot be understood.
Paul is pointing out the futility of speaking in a language that is UNKNOWN to the hearers. What we pray in a language unknown to others we understand but it is unfruitful – it does not profit the hearers who do not know the language, except it be interpreted.
The context of this passage has to do with edification. If someone is speaking in a language that is UNKNOWN to the hearers, how is that edifying? That person is left speaking to the only one who can understand – God.
So the Bible does not teach a private prayer language. This is yet another deception.
The babble and gibberish that some people use is actually not scriptural prayer. Because it is not with the understanding also. We are to pray with the understanding.
Not everything that is called signs, miracles, healings are of God. Some are. Some are not.
We need to exercise discernment in these desperate days. God calls His church to a purity in the midst of a rotten world.
We need a genuine reviving again.
We need to seek after God. Seek souls. Seek His face.
We need a brokenness, top repent of our itching ears and our backslidden heart.
We need to abandon man centred faith and our spiritual apathy. Our neglect of prayer. Our neglect of the Word.
We need to be healed of our spiritual blindness. That we may see God’s glory
We must get back to the Bible.
Scripture teaches us that it alone is to be OUR RULE OF FAITH AND LIFE.
Paul says be filled with the Holy Spirit.
What are the characteristics (or evidences) of a Spirit-filled, spiritual Christian?
These are some of the evidences…
- A CRUCIFIED, SELF-DENYING LIFE (not just a one-time experience, but a LIFE), Gal. 2:20; 6:14.
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
- A SURRENDERED LIFE—submissive, yielded to the Lord. The will subjected to His will, Romans 6:13, 19; 12:1-2.
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
- A CHRISTLIKE LIFE, Gal. 2:20b; Rom. 8:29.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
- A FRUITFUL LIFE—the fruit of the Spirit in manifestation, John 15:5, 8; Gal. 5:22-23.
(22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
(23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
- A LIFE EFFECTIVE IN CHRIST’S SERVICE AND WITNESSING, Acts 1:8; 4:31.
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.
- A LIFE THAT GLORIFIES GOD, John 15:8; 1 Cor. 6:20.
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
1 Corinthians 6:20
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.