I will be starting a new online teaching series entitled “Signs of the Spirit” in the month of May.
I have been burdened lately with the lack of the visible manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers. His missing presence has turned out Christian disciples who are aptly described by the Apostle Paul as “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7 NKJV) We have many churches filled to capacity as their popularity acclaimed pastors teach on leadership development, life skills, personal development, cultural philosophies, and so many other hot topics; yet they reject the ultimate teacher of all times to have any part of their messages. The greatest teacher of all is the Spirit of truth who was freely given to us by Christ (see John 14:16-17).
But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ. (1 John 2:27 NLT)
The Holy Spirit, as teacher, will continually lead those who are filled with his presence into the knowledge of truth. It is His truth which produces spiritual attributes within the believer. A reason for so many anemic and disillusioned disciples of Christ today is that few are living in the fullness of the purpose, presence, and power of the Holy Ghost [the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost are identical titles of the same third person of the tri-unity]. Many Christians, even many of those who profess the truth of the pentecostal/charismatic doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit, are satisfied with a religion which removes him from practical and personal application of daily living. This prophetic season was foretold by the Apostle Paul saying “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3 KJV). Jude, the brother of Jesus, reminded the early church of the end-time apostasy by describing those of the end time church as being devoid or having no sign of the Spirit in their lives:
But remember, dear friends, that the apostles of our Master, Jesus Christ, told us this would happen: “In the last days there will be people who don’t take these things seriously anymore. They’ll treat them like a joke, and make a religion of their own whims and lusts.” These are the ones who split churches, thinking only of themselves. There’s nothing to them, no sign of the Spirit! (Jude 17-19, The Message – emphasis mine)
While we are living in what Hebrew literature calls the Acharit Hayamim, meaning the time of the end, the church must learn to discern the spirit of anti-Christ from the Spirit of Christ. John, an early church apostle and one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, wrote a letter to the church describing this spirit of antichrist that had already and which continues to infiltrate the church of God. This is what he wrote concerning the Church’s need to discern [or recognize the signs of] the spirit:
Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God. But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here. But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception. (1 John 4:1-6, NLT)
The activity of the Holy Spirit during the Acharit Hayamim is greatly increased as the Lord seeks to revive and reconcile His church to Himself. The church needs a mighty re-awakening of the Holy Ghost. The call of the Lord today is for all His children to receive the promise of the baptizing presence of the Holy Spirit and to manifest the fruits and gifts of His fullness (see Acts 2:39). The manifested signs of the Spirit are the distinguishing characteristics between the apostate and genuine believers of this end-time generation. This year, in the month of May is Pentecost Sunday. What a perfect time to learn what it really means to Have the Spirit. Come and grow with me as we discern the signs of the Spirit.
In Love and Mercy,
Bishop Nathan C. Strom