“And when the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound was heard, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speaking in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying, Behold, are not all these that speak Galileans?” [Acts 2 1-7].
The Holy Spirit…
The life principle of the early church.
The Book of Acts provides Acts 2 and four other separate and dramatic instances of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on believers [4: 28-31, 8:15-17, 10:44 and 19:6]. If you have had teaching on the Holy Spirit, you know this “helper”” guides us in discerning the truth. The Holy Spirit directs your steps into the abundant life that Jesus intends for us. The Spirit can give you spiritual gifts such as wisdom, prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues, etc. This same spiritual power gives you the power to proclaim Jesus and guarantees your hope of heaven.
Yet why are there so many questions about the Holy Spirit in Christian circles?
Pastor Billy Graham, in his book The Holy Spirit, writes that “the misunderstanding and even ignorance” of the Holy Spirit is a major reason why he has written his book. The most common questions about the Holy Spirit range from the simple like, is the Holy Spirit God, to the more complex like how can I recognize the guidance of the Holy Spirit?
Graham knew he wanted to write a book on The Holy Spirit because studying The Holy Spirit would give him needed insight. Many times people who study and write are given a chance to learn as they express themselves, but Graham is really driven by Christians who have little understanding of this important aspect of their faith lives.
Graham was such a popular world-wide evangelist that he came into contact with all kinds of people. Graham’s staff estimates that over three million people came to Christ as a result of his preaching. This amazing response put him in the forefront of religious leaders of his day and he found himself in contact with famous people throughout the world. In the preface of his book he reports that Pope John stated that The Holy Spirit is the church doctrine that Christians most needed to understand. Karl Barth, the noted theologian, personally told Graham that the next main emphasis on Christian theology should be The Holy Spirit.
Graham knew that this task would not be easy. He stated “The subject is so infinite—and our minds are so finite.”
But like me, don’t you want to know what happens when we are filled with The Spirit, slain by The Spirit, walk in The Spirit or become baptized in The Spirit. I look forward to the spiritual gifts The Spirit provides. I want to know more about them. I want to know when I am feeling The Spirit. I want to know how to pray in The Spirit. Can I speak in tongues today? Is speaking in tongues evidence of The Holy Spirit?
We may be confused and lacking knowledge today but from the earliest days, people were confused. Paul writes in Galatians 3 “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Why is he addressing the Galatians this way? Because they have the wrong idea about The Holy Spirit. Like many Christians today, they understood the role The Holy Spirit played in their conversion but they did not realize “The Helper” was available in the ongoing life of the believer. Isn’t the ongoing presence of “The Helper” good news?
Today we have to admit that we are still confused.
Pastor Billy Graham’s book was written to clear up our confusion.
Let’s look forward to exploring it together. Maybe together, we can avoid being “foolish Galatians.”