Having watched some of the Strange Fire Conference recently held by Pastor John MacArthur at Grace Community Church, I was immediately struck not only by the amount of truth and information shared, but also by the lack of other information from the Word of God that would help to dispel much of the confusion that surrounds the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. I truly believe that anyone who knows and loves the Lord Jesus Christ wants to walk in the continual truth and revelation of Gods Word. As we walk in the light of His glorious revelation we immediately see and understand the importance of the Person and work of the Holy Spirit to lead and direct in our lives.
What I learned from Pastor Chuck Smith was the balance and clear teaching in the Word of God in relation to the Person of the Holy Spirit. Simply stated we need to let the Word of God speak and not so much of the commentary of man. What Jesus imparted to His disciples was the importance of the coming power and immersion into the Holy Spirit. Christ words were clear and simple, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NKJV).
I have always believed and taught that the witness of the believer is not just the Gospel, but the very life that we live in the Spirit. On the day of Pentecost there was the fulfillment of the very promise Christ had made in Acts 1:8. There was a supernatural outpouring of the Holy Spirit. “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1–4 NKJV). They were speaking worship, prayer and praise to God, the witnessing came when Peter stood before those present and preached the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I am thankful and daily praise the Lord that some 38 years ago I was introduced to the Person and work of the Holy Spirit in my own life. In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he helped the Corinthians, and us as well to have a sequential understanding of how spiritual gifts were received, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:”
(1 Corinthians 12:1 NKJV), the spirit in which they were to be used, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1–3 NKJV), and lastly the practical usage of those gifts “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.” (1 Corinthians 14:1–3 NKJV). Thank you Paul for bringing to light a simple and straight forward explanation for the desiring and the use of spiritual gifts.
Yes, I am a continuationalist and not cessationist when it comes to all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the empowering of the Holy Spirit immersing (baptizing) any who simply ask! “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13 NKJV)