Growing up, I was raised in a church that was really focused on the rules. At the age of 21, I began a real relationship with Jesus while in a new church. This new church believed that the Spirit doesn’t move in the same way today in which he did as recorded in the book of Acts. They held the theological position that we no longer needed to hear from God since we had heard from him and what was heard was now completely recorded in the Bible.
In his letter to the church at Rome, Paul wrote one of the most crucial chapters in the Bible about living life in the Spirit. Paul encouraged the church to be led by the Spirit over the flesh. He instructed them that being led by the Spirit brings life and peace while being controlled by the survival of our flesh produces death. Paul says to reflect on the power that comes from the Holy Spirit living inside the heart of man. He concludes that the gifts of the Spirit are beneficial to our growth in becoming more like Christ and our purpose in reconciling others in their relationship to God.
Philosophically, I submit to you that the follow statement is true if the two points afterward are valid: If Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then the Holy Spirit must be as well. 1. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are both one God. 2. Hebrews 13:8 says Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. Therefore, Holy Spirit is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Historically, most people believe that the Holy Spirit was silent from the book of Acts until Azusa Street in 1906. These people assert that once the Bible was finished there was no need to hear from the Holy Spirit or experience the gifts. However, even after the gifts of the Spirit were ruled as heretical by the Roman Catholic Church, there are several recorded instances of individuals, churches, and denominations who experienced the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Although the world attempted to hide the Holy Spirit, he could not be silenced. Then in 1906, in the “Land of the Free” on Azusa Street, Los Angeles, CA, the world could no longer keep the Spirit hidden.
Where We Stand:
The entire Bible is a story of God’s love for his prized creation, humanity. From beginning to the end the Bible teaches us that God is constantly pursuing a relationship with each and every individual even when we are running from him or fighting against him. How could we ever believe the lie that this God, who died to live within us, would turn his back on humanity and silence himself once that relationship was finally established? The Holy Spirit living inside of man is the closest we’ll ever experience on earth to living with God in heaven. The God who is constantly pursuing you, would not abandon this. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
If you have never been baptized by the Holy Spirit, I encourage you today to allow the Holy Spirit the freedom he needs to move in your life. We can contain God within our hearts just as easily as we can within the four walls of the church. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to well up inside of you and overflow into all areas of your life, not just to restore you but to restore those around you to an unhindered relationship to God as well.
Pastor Zac Breckenridge