STOP THE SPREAD OR NOT

1 Thes.5:19 – KJV – Quench not the Spirit.

How many times have you heard we have to “slow the spread” and “flatten the curve”? I think most of us have our bellies filled with being lectured to and being treated like children. Now that I got that out let me share what’s on my heart. Obviously Covid-19 is highly contagious. We have all learned more than we ever wanted to know about stopping the spread of viruses. We have heard about shedding the virus and quarantining and previous morbidity and protecting our community. As I was thinking about this recently I begin to think of another highly contagious condition. The condition I am referring to is being filled with the Holy Spirit. When you are filled with the Spirit you are actually a highly contagious person. The anointing can be communicated to others through our speech, our singing, and our touch. We can actually be so infected with the Spirit that standing next to others puts them in jeopardy of being infected with this dreaded disease. The disease is called pentecostalism.

Now that brings me to today’s verse, quench not the Spirit. Paul is describing efforts to thwart the spread of the anointing of the Spirit. He told the church in Thessalonica not to suppress the gifts of the Spirit. I thought this simple verse is important; I included it today from several translations. Read them, I believe this is highly important for the season we are in.

Message – Don’t suppress the Spirit.

NIV – Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.

NASB – Do not quench the Spirit.

NLT – Do not stifle the Holy Spirit

Amp. – Do not quench (suppress or subdue) the [Holy] Spirit;

Wuest – Stop stifling and suppressing the Spirit.

TPT – Never restrain or put out the fire of the Holy Spirit.

I think this is exactly what has happened to churches who were previously passionate about the fire of God and the gifts of the Spirit. For “church growth” purposes the Spirit has been relegated to side meetings or for your own personal time. Let me say this very clearly, the baptism with the Holy Spirit is connected very closely to praying in tongues; praying in tongues publicly. The gifts of the Spirit all flow out of the atmosphere created when we worship the Lord corporately in the Spirit. Stopping the expression of this gift is quenching the Holy Spirit. Quenching the Spirit is the only way to stop the spread of the dreaded Holy Ghost virus. As we come out of our season of quarantine let us make a very intentional decision. We will use all means at our disposal to spread the infection of the Spirit of God.

KINGDOM PLANS

1 Cor.2:10 – But God now unveils these profound realities to us by the Spirit. Yes, he has revealed to us his inmost heart and deepest mysteries through the Holy Spirit, who constantly explores all things.

This passage could give us a key insight into the purpose of the prayer language. Praying in tongues is a bypass from our minds to the mind of Christ. Praying in the Spirit puts us in a position to hear from God. As we quiet our own mind and thoughts, the Spirit begins to speak to us the wisdom of God. This could come as a deeper understanding of the Lord or possibly insight into His plans and purposes for your personal life. Here are some thoughts from the Passion Notes on this verse.

“God has provided us with a revelation through the Spirit.” This difficult-to-translate Greek sentence may contain an ellipsis, which would render it “Yet we speak [or we know] what God has revealed to us by the Spirit.”

This brings us to a second verse. 1 Cor.2:16 – “For Who has ever intimately known the mind of the Lord Yahweh well enough to become his counselor? Christ has, and we possess Christ’s perceptions.”

This gives the Christian a huge advantage over the natural man. The Lord knows all things and rules all things. When I tap into the mysteries of God I begin to receive clear and specific guidance about the practical as well as spiritual aspects of life. Here is the Passion Notes on this verse.

“That is, we believers possess the Holy Spirit, who reveals the thoughts and purposes of Christ. The revelation of the kingdom of God that Jesus preached was not understood by the intellect of men but by those who welcomed his truth. Humanly speaking, no one can understand the mysteries of God without the Holy Spirit. Those who have the Holy Spirit now possess the perceptions of Christ’s mind and can implement his purposes on the earth.”

How many Christians actually take advantage of this huge benefit? This is so much better than just depending on my own talent, my own energy, or even human connections to help me along. The Lord has the ability to advance us suddenly. What is He looking for? Wise and faithful stewards that He can trust with His valuable resources. When He finds a faithful man, all things are possible.

SPEAKING MYSTERIES

1 COR.14:2 – When someone speaks in tongues, no one understands a word he says, because he’s not speaking to people, but to God—he is speaking intimate mysteries in the Spirit.

Praying in the Spirit is supernatural in nature. One of its chief functions is to activate our spirit so that we are not dominated by our mind and by human reasoning. Paul said that when I pray in the Spirit my spirit prays. That is huge. This is how we by-pass our human thinking and allow the Holy Spirit to express His will in and through our lives. We have so much locked up inside of us, so many things we want to express to the Lord. The prayer language helps us do just that. Here are some thoughts from Oral Roberts on the praying in the Spirit.

“Tongues become the vehicle of the believer’s spirit through which he, under the promptings of the Holy Spirit, talks to God in a manner that he cannot through his mind or intellect. If one prays through his intellect, his mind creates the speech patterns and words. When one prays through his spirit, it is his spirit in cooperation with the Holy Spirit that forms the words of a new language which the deepest feelings of the inner being are expressed to God. When you do this, you are edified. Your spirit is released. Paul indicates here that when one prays in tongues it is his spirit praying and not just his mind. His intellect relinquishes active control of the speech centers for a moment. It is centered on Christ. And the mind stands by as an observer, released so that it can give undivided attention, while the spirit, or the inner being of the believer takes over.”

This experience is beautiful and life changing. This is how we learn to interact with the Lord and allow Him to express Himself through us. Praying in tongues can take on so many diverse expressions. Often it starts with just magnifying or worshipping the Lord. When you experience the power of His presence it is often too good and big for words. We find the Holy Spirit magnifying the Father and the Son through us. This is supernatural worship. Many times the prayer language will move over into petition or even intercession. We don’t know how to pray as we should but the Holy Spirit does. He prays perfectly according to God’s will. I encourage you to plumb the depths of God’s Spirit. Pray in tongues. Pray in tongues a lot. You will soon find yourself caught up in the depths of God’s love.

THE BLESSING OF THE PRAYER LANGUAGE

1 Cor. 14:15 – So here’s what I’ve concluded. I will pray in the Spirit, but I will also pray with my mind engaged. I will sing rapturous praises in the Spirit, but I will also sing with my mind engaged.

Over the last several years, speaking in tongues seems to have taken a back seat in many Christian circles. It hasn’t always been like this. During the 1970’s the church experienced a time of renewal and visitation. Catholics, Methodists, Episcopalians, and Baptists began to experience the Baptism in the Holy Spirit accompanied by the supernatural prayer language. There was the Full Gospel Businessman’s fellowship, Women’s Aglow, and countless other para-church ministries that were involved in this season of renewal. Speaking in tongues was common and part of most all public gatherings in those charismatic circles. Our Church in New Orleans began at the very end of this season. Many who had been filled with the Spirit were now looking for a church where they could continue in this new found freedom. Oral Roberts was a key leader during that movement. Here Is a quote from Brother Roberts about the prayer language.

“The moment you are baptized with the Holy Spirit, He begins to praise and magnify God through you in a heavenly language. Speaking in tongues is evidence that the Holy Spirit has come in and is perhaps the most revolutionary experience that can happen to a Christian.

I remember the night I was baptized with the Holy Spirit. I did not understand one word I said, for it was an “unknown tongue”, but I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking through me to God. Inwardly I knew I was praising and magnifying God but it was the Holy Spirit who was vocally expressing my thoughts to the Lord. He was saying what I wanted to say and what I did not know how to say, and He was using my tongue do it. What a glorious release this was to my spirit! But speaking in tongues is more than an evidence. Tongues are meaningful in the believers daily life of communion with God.”

Speaking in tongues has a public and a private purpose. Privately, it helps us stay focused on the Lord and continues our walk of intimacy. Publicly, tongues are a sign to the lost and produce an atmosphere of unity where the power of God can begin to move. I am so grateful to be Baptized in the Spirit and to speak in tongues. It has been a daily part of my life since 1973.

INSPIRED SPEECH

Acts 2:4 – And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

I am grateful to the people the Lord used to disciple me in my early Christian walk. They were young men and women who had been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit in the charismatic renewal; more particularly the Jesus movement back in the early 1970’s. Praying in the Spirit was a huge part of our experience. We understood that the word utterance in today’s verse is describing something totally supernatural. Speaking in tongues is not babbling in some incoherent, insignificant tongue. When we pray in tongues we are praying heavenly mysteries and intimacies from the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. The word utterance describing this prayer language is the Greek word apotheggomai. It has an interesting meaning described in these definitions listed below.

Passion Notes

“The Greek word apotheggomai literally means “to ring out” (like a bell). It can also mean “carried along” or “inspired.”

Kittel

“To speak out loudly and clearly, or with emphasis” (of philosophers, ecstatics, prophets, singers, and prophets)”

Thayer

“to speak out, speak forth, pronounce, not a word of everyday speech, but one belonging to dignified and elevated discourse”

What I have discovered by praying in tongues daily for the last forty-six years is that this supernatural gift opens up the world of the supernatural to me. The more I pray in tongues the more the world of the Spirit becomes real to me.

One of the results of this initial outpouring of the Spirit and the one hundred and twenty disciples praying in tongues was the supernatural message that Peter preached. It begins to describe this event in Acts 2:14.

“But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.”

Here is the amazing thing about this event, where it says Peter “addressed” them the word is the same used in vs. 4, apotheggomai, to describe the supernatural prayer language. In this verse Peter is describing what the prayer language was, a supernatural sign to this generation. The powerful prophetic message that Peter preached that day began to release the harvest of the earth that continues today. Peter’s preaching was supernatural in the same way our prayer language is supernatural. So I say pray in tongues. Pray in tongues a lot. Pray in tongues everyday and you will also be caught up in the supernatural visitation that is touching our world today.

INSIDE AND OUTSIDE

Acts 1:1-4 – On the day Pentecost was being fulfilled, all the disciples were gathered in one place. Suddenly they heard the sound of a violent blast of wind rushing into the house from out of the heavenly realm. The roar of the wind was so overpowering it was all anyone could bear! Then all at once a pillar of fire appeared before their eyes. It separated into tongues of fire that engulfed each one of them. They were all filled and equipped with the Holy Spirit and were inspired to speak in tongues—empowered by the Spirit to speak in languages they had never learned!

I love praying for people to be filled with the Spirit or to experience renewal or fresh fillings with the Spirit. The laying on of hands is more than symbolic or even a point of contact, it is a time of impartation of the wonderful anointing of the Holy Spirit. Often times while praying for people in the prayer lines I can hear the Holy Spirit clearly saying, “Inside and outside”. I love this, the work of the Spirit effects our whole being. He changes us on the inside, restores and makes whole our outward circumstances, and also equips us with powerful ministry giftings. Here is some interesting insight from the Passion Notes.

“There are two Greek words used here for “filled.” In v. 2, it is pleroo, which means “filled inwardly.” In v. 4 it is pletho, which means “filled outwardly” or “furnished and equipped.” This was the anointing of the Spirit for ministry. Every believer needs the filling of the Spirit both inwardly for life and outwardly for ministry.”

It is easy for us to get fixated on our outward circumstances because that is the world we are comfortable with. Just trying to change our outward behavior will only prove to be a short term solution to whatever we are facing. Our outward circumstances and our outward actions are a reflection of what is happening on the inside of us. Being filled with the Spirit initiates the needed changes. Being continually filled helps us to walk in the needed changes in our lives. Everything from poverty, addictive lifestyle behavior, depression, and even physical sickness is effected by the anointing of the Spirit.

As we begin this new year and we all think about change, determine to stay filled with the Spirit. Pray in the Spirit often and worship the Lord as a lifestyle. Also, don’t forget to get into a prayer line and let Him do something fresh in you. As we start the year I say “Lord touch my life inside and outside”.

MARY’S SONG

Lk.1:46,47 – And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior”.

Mary is describing supernatural utterance as she begins this prophetic song. She says ‘My soul magnifies the Lord’. This is exactly how Luke describes the supernatural utterance in tongues when describing what happened to the gentiles in Cornelius’s house. He said that the Jewish believers were shocked when they heard the gentiles speak in tongues and magnify God. This is how Luke described it, Acts 10:46,47 – “And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God”. The prayer language is a vocal, supernatural language declaring the magnificence of the Lord. Mary was so full of God that she too broke out in a prophetic song magnifying the Lord. This is how Adam Clarke describes Mary’s song.

“This is the only way in which God can be magnified, or made great; for, strictly speaking, nothing can be added to God, for he is infinite and eternal; therefore the way to magnify him is to show forth and celebrate those acts in which he has manifested his greatness.”

Mary’s prophetic song is an example of how people respond when they are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. The prayer language and the gift of prophesy is how we pour out this blessing. Mary was a picture of the church about to be birthed through the ministry of her Son. Her angelic visitation and the overshadowing with the Holy Spirit marked her for the rest of her life. She was totally consumed, inside and outside, with the mighty presence of the Holy Spirit. Here is Clarke speaking about Mary being filled with God.

“My spirit hath rejoiced. Exulted. These words are uncommonly emphatical, they show that Mary’s whole soul was filled with the Divine influence, and wrapped up in God.”

This would not be the last encounter Mary would have with the mighty anointing of the Holy Spirit. In the book of Acts, Luke lists Mary as being in the upper room when the Holy Spirit came upon everyone in the room. He said that everyone there spoke in other tongues. Here again we see Mary magnifying the Lord with her Spirit songs. The good news for us, we can all be overshadowed with the Holy Spirit and pour out our hearts in prophetic songs.

SPEAK IN TONGUES AND PROPHESY

Acts 19:1,2 – And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

This description of the birth of the church in Ephesus is critical in understanding the purpose and the power of the Christian life and the Christian church. Christianity is not a creed or a system that we espouse, it is a dynamic life birthed and empowered in us through the Holy Spirit. In this chapter of the book of Acts we see the church in Ephesus birthed after an outpouring of the Spirit on twelve Christians. Paul laid his hands on them and prayed when he realized they had never been baptized in the Holy Spirit. When Paul laid his hands on them they began to speak in tongues and prophesy. This was the birthing of the power source in these twelve Christians that shook all of Asia Minor with thousands of converts and many churches that were birthed. Today’s world is no different. I feel like asking that same question to many churches and even pastors today, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit after you believed?” Our churches need to be baptized in His presence if we are going to effect our world today. Here are some comments from the Life in the Spirit Commentary on this passage.

“Paul perceives their need for the anointing and asks, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”. This question deals with their experience of the Spirit… Paul’s question does not deal with their receiving the Holy Spirit at the moment of conversion. From the time the Ephesian twelve were converted, they were indwelt by the Holy Spirit, as all Christians are. Thus, the question is not about receiving the Spirit in salvation, but about what is basic to Luke–Acts and to the immediate context, namely, the Spirit’s anointing with power subsequent to the experience of salvation… Paul recognizes, therefore, that the Ephesian twelve are lacking in regard to the charismatic gift of the Spirit…..”

Are you lacking the power of the Spirit in your life? The immersion or baptism in the Spirit is something that happens again and again in our lives. If you are thirsty and feel powerless find a place where the Spirit is moving and camp out, you too will speak in tongues and prophesy.

GALILEAN FISHERMAN OR A VOICE FROM HEAVEN

Acts 2:7 – They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?

Peter was on fire that day, he was speaking like a man from another world. He was actually speaking a new language rather than the language of this earth. Many in the crowd that day didn’t get it. All they could hear was the Galilean twang in Peter’s voice. He had the smell of a fisherman (even though he had left his nets years before). All the crowd could see was an uneducated yahoo, what good could possibly come out of this.

But something was going on that these bystanders couldn’t quite get. Twice in this passage Peter is said to be speaking in what we would call elevated or supernatural speech. First it was the speaking in other tongues. To those with deaf ears, it sounded like the babbling of a drunken man. Paul called it the language of angels, I like to call it my heavenly language. This prayer language is supernatural and flows out of what Jesus called our innermost being. Paul said it was praying in the Spirit. To the natural man this language is foolish, to the spiritual it is the very power of God. After the mocking and accusations of drunkenness Peter stepped forward to give a word of explanation. This too was called elevated speech in the original language. Peter was speaking in the language of the people by the power of the Spirit. Acts 2:14-16 describes it, “But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel…”

Even though he spoke by the Spirit only a portion of the crowd could “hear” Peter’s message. Thousands heard the voice of heaven and were filled with the Spirit, many others could only hear the voice of a Galilean fisherman. Peter had been changed by the Baptism in the Spirit, he was now speaking the language of heaven. Things haven’t changed much today. Many are still offended by the language of the Spirit, to many others that language just makes them feel right at home.

The Spirit Prays

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And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit,

because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

Rom. 8:27

I was born again during the charismatic renewal and the Jesus movement of the 1970’s. I am thankful everyday for the emphasis on the Baptism with the Holy Spirit evidenced by the heavenly language that was a huge part of the move of God in that season. The prayer language has been a blessing to me everyday for these last 43 years. It has been especially critical in enabling me to access the power and presence of the Lord. Without that intimacy in my life I would be left with only precepts and principles; not nearly enough to sustain and satisfy my hungry heart.

I can remember seasons in those early days at Gods Army in California where we would pray for extended periods of time corporately in our heavenly language. Just thinking about those special times I am brought back to the incredible sense of the glory of the Lord. In those moments there was a sense of safety, peace, power, unity, and revelation. A foundation of depending on the power of God was being rooted deeply in my life.

One of the great benefits of our prayer language is that the Holy Spirit, God Himself prays through us. When we don’t know how or what to pray, He takes over with gushings of the heart that can’t be uttered in our natural language. Here are some comments from Andrew Murray on today’s verse.

“We often do not know what we should pray for, and at times we “do not know how to pray”. Then our inability to pray impedes our prayer and handicaps the faith that is essential to the prayer’s success. But God’s Word gives us true encouragement that at times like these the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in accordance to the will of God. Where and how does the Spirit make intercession for the saints? In the heart that does not know how to pray, He secretly and effectually prays what is according to the will of God.”

It’s disappointing to me how many churches today have deemphasized the moving of the Spirit, especially the beautiful practice of praying in the Spirit corporately. This is the place where God comes down and reveals Himself among us. Without the power of His presence evident in His church what exactly do we have? As for me and our church, we will pray in the Spirit and wait in His presence, and allow Him to make His habitation among us.