Holy Spirit Indicators
Pervasive throughout the world today is a vast charismatic movement that many, who are associated with the movement, attribute to the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. In many, if not all, of the assemblies and conferences of this movement there are vivid emotional displays, the production of unintelligible sounds called “speaking in tongues,” and exhibitions of “miraculous” healings and other paranormal activities, all of which fall under the umbrella of “charismatic manifestations.” Attendees at such affairs and individuals within numerous religious denominations believe these manifestations (or signs) reflect true spirituality and mirror those signs that occurred on the Day of Pentecost in the second chapter of the book of Acts. They believe that such signs prove the validity of “spirituality,” and that those who exhibit such signs are being “led” or “filled” by the Spirit of God.
It is not the objective of this study/article to provide extensive and detailed evidence to discredit the charismatic movement. Should anyone be interested in obtaining such evidence, this writer suggests that he type in the words, “charismatic movement” in an Internet search engine such as “Google” and follow the leads that come up. Although the movement, which is characterized by different designations such as Pentecostal, Charismatic, Vineyard, World-Faith, Holy Laughter and others, embodies an appearance of sincere worship and praise, this writer finds no evidence within God’s Word for such a movement and personally believes that it redirects attention away from the gospel message, the true reason for Christ coming to earth. The reader should understand the writer’s position at the onset.
Likewise the reader should understand that this writer personally believes that the tongues spoken of in the New Testament refers to (1) the sign promised by God to the Nation Israel (Isaiah 28:11; 1 Corinthians 14:21, 22) of their impending judgment for refusing Jesus Christ as the Messiah and (2) the use of foreign established languages of earth to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ at the start of the Church Age (Acts 2:7-11).
All scriptures within the New Testament, contextually, categorically, isagogically and exegetically, fit perfectly within this framework of interpretation. Paul had to face the unwarranted emphasis on glossolalia (Greek for “speaking in tongues”) and the confusion caused by the same in the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 14). In recent history even more confusion exists over the use of unknown tongues (believed by many to be ecstatic heavenly languages) in the Church today.
This writer has dear friends who, due to their experiences, disagree with him over this position on “speaking in tongues.” Fortunately, the doctrine of tongues is not a major doctrine within the Word of God, and Christians need not break fellowship over it. But what is for certain is that God would have His children place their faith in the sure Word of God, regardless of and especially not in “personal emotional experiences.”
It is this writer’s contention that the canonical record, the Holy Bible, which contains 66 individual epistles, is God’s finished and complete record for doctrine and practice; and that any doctrine or belief, in order to be valid, must be consistent with it. This writer further contends that the warning regarding any additions or subtractions from the book of Revelation (22:18, 19) also applies to the Bible as a whole. If anyone sincerely desires to know the truth pertaining to any doctrine or belief by any organization or any one, he need only study God’s Word for the answer.
These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. (Acts 17:11)
For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17)
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
And even though there is great emphasis in the New Testament on the concept of love and “unity” between all members of the Body of Christ, no sacrifice of (acquiescence to) love, acceptance and unity is acceptable at the altar of false doctrine. Even though Paul wrote the greatest chapter on love in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 13), he was also an ardent defender of the faith.
Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed. (Galatians 2:11)
But the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. (Philippians 1:17)
This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith. (Titus 1:13)
Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 3)
But even in light of this position, many Christians will continue to hold to their subjective experiences over the sure Word of God, believing that their experiences are born of the Holy Spirit. This being the case, it is worthwhile to distinguish exactly what the Bible says are indicators and works of the Holy Spirit.
First, a quick review of some of the works of the Holy Spirit relevant to the child of God (believer) is warranted.
Works of the Holy Spirit
Knowing the major works of the Holy Spirit and knowing that the Holy Spirit is with (lives in) the believer from the believer’s birth as a child of God, the believer may then also know what are the indicators of the Holy Spirit during any event he experiences during his life. This goes for any emotion, any personal experience, and any contact with persons or organizations. And such indicators are few!
Indicators of the Holy Spirit (i.e., when the Holy Spirit is present)
(John 15:26; 1 Corinthians 2:2; Galatians 1:16; 6:14)
(John 16:14, 15)
(Galatians 5:22, 23; Ephesians 5:9)
Note: This writer suggests that when the Holy Spirit is speaking about, honoring and glorifying Jesus Christ, He does so without confusion and in unambiguous simplicity.
All human beings crave emotional experiences. All wish to escape the mundaneness (ordinary and boring) of life through intense encounters. The flagrant use of drugs and immoral ventures in our world gives witness to this. But such occurrences, experiences and ventures, regardless of how good they make one feel, should never take the place of the sure Word of God. So, place your trust in God’s Word; not in your emotions.
When a work, a demonstration, a meeting, a manifestation, a program, an organization or whatever is the product of the Holy Spirit, then you may be certain of one thing. It will focus on, will honor, will glorify and will clearly emphasize the Lord Jesus Christ. There will be no ambiguity, no confusion and no doubt. The Holy Spirit will NOT draw attention to Himself. He will NOT emphasize the Father. He will NOT bring attention to an individual believer or any gift the believer appears to demonstrate. He will spotlight, credit and bring honor to the Son of God and His sacrifice on Calvary for eternal salvation; and He will do the same regarding the believer’s sanctification (Colossians 2:6; Galatians 2:20)—a faith-walk in Christ that will evidence the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23; Ephesians 5:9).