Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, January 12, 2018

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

I love the Holy Spirit, Amigos.

After a service one Sunday, a gentleman approached me with a question: “Pastor, is it necessary to have tongues and such in the service? There’s a family I want to invite, but I’m afraid they would be offended by that stuff.” This man was Spirit-filled and a member of our church. He was familiar with the Spirit of God. I responded, somewhat sarcastically, “Do you think we should be ashamed of the Holy Spirit?” I was irritated, yet I knew exactly what he meant. There is a constant pressure to back away from the things of the Spirit and try not to offend anyone. Those ideas flow through the mind of any honest person who wants to help people. We know and love the power and Person of the Spirit, but we don’t want to be intentionally offensive. In our current day, I believe this is a bigger issue than ever. A secular, humanistic culture recoils at the supernatural. A Church that wants to convert the world by either hiding from it or joining it, finds the supernatural threatening.

One of my earliest encounters with Church-world heresy hunters came in the mid-1980’s. A local pastor asked to meet with me. He had a written list of questions his deacons wanted answered. If I failed the quiz, they wanted him to break off all fellowship with me. After hearing my responses, they decided that he could still speak to me, but they would simply refuse to participate in any community activities at our church. If they were hosting an event, then we could come if we promised not to speak in tongues. They made it clear they did not want to live in constant fear that one of us would erupt in a glossolalic frenzy. I’m not sure what they thought would happen, but it was apparently a terrifying prospect. This class of modern Pharisee seems determined to spend its time inspecting and correcting other Christians, rather than reaching the unreached. The moment God starts to move you can expect a visit from one of these folks. They seem OK with the Holy Spirit as a doctrine, but when He shows up as a vibrant, living Person they get really nervous.

Somebody Said: “I remind you that there are churches so completely out of the hands of God that if the Holy Spirit withdrew from them, they wouldn’t find it out for many months” ― A.W. Tozer

Scripture Reading: If you claim to be a prophet or think you are spiritual, you should recognize that what I am saying is a command from the Lord Himself. But if you do not recognize this, you yourself will not be recognized. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues. But be sure that everything is done properly and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:37-40 NLT)

I am the first to admit that much has been done in the name of the Holy Spirit that is simply emotional excess. That being said, without the Holy Spirit we are totally incapable of doing anything in ministry. Our assignment is humanly impossible: to transform human beings into the image of God. To have any chance to get this done, we are obligated to identity Bible manifestations of the Spirit and seek them fervently. We will make some mistakes, but we must keep pushing forward. The first resistance will inevitably come from church folks who are uncomfortable with a real God who really does things out where we can see it. We love these people, but we never yield to them. The stakes are too high.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
Office: 520-792-3238

Visit us on YouTube to taste the goodness @FCFTucson.

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