The Holy Ghost Speaks
Notice the phrase: “The Holy Ghost Said …”
The Holy Ghost was speaking during the New Testament era & sending believers forth on missionary journeys.
And so the question is: does the Holy Spirit continue to speak & to guide Christians today on a personal level?
And there are 2 extreme views: 1 is the Charismatic / Pentecostal view where people are falling down on the ground (what they call being slain in the spirit) or barking madly like dogs, behaving disorderly, and generally acting demon-possessed …
and then there is the Cessationist view that most fundamental Baptists hold to, which says that everything that God wants to tell us IS IN HIS WRITTEN WORD.
… and that the Holy Spirit no longer speaks or gives special revelation to His people, not even on a personal & individual level.
In other words, Cessationists hold to the view that the Holy Ghost is silent today and that God no longer gives dreams or visions or words of knowledge by revelation of His Spirit.
Personally, I hold to the view that the Holy Ghost IS active in believers’ lives and does speak AT HIS DISCRETION to our INNER MAN in the Spirit.
And I’m not talking about an audible voice like Moses heard at the burning bush or when Jesus when He was baptized in the Jordan; God’s voice through the ministry of the Holy Spirit is spiritual.
In John 16:13 Jesus says: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
Now, primarily this was speaking of the FULL REVELATION of Jesus Christ which the Holy Spirit would manifest to the churches of God through the apostles …
… who in turn would write the Scriptures.
But John 16:13 also reveals that the function of the Spirit is to guide believers into understanding all truth.
And 1 example of that is how we are able to understand the Scriptures by revelation of the Holy Spirit:
1 Corinthians 2:14 says: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
It’s the Holy Spirit that quickens the Word and makes it fully comprehensible to believers’ minds.
So 1 function of the Holy Spirit is to enable believers to understand the written Word.
But how far does the ministry of the Holy Spirit extend? We know He guides us in understanding the Word.
But does God speak to believers directly & personally?
Can He guide us & direct our paths supernaturally?
Does He continue to pour out dreams and visions upon His people?
Does He time events in order to coincide in our favor?
• Before I answer these questions, let me make it absolutely clear that the WRITTEN WORD OF GOD is the final authority on all doctrine.
So if we hear something in the Spirit, it is never going to go against the grain & the authority of the Bible.
In other words, there is no new doctrine.
So false prophets like Joseph Smith saying they have NEW REVELATION from God which go against the core teachings of the Gospel, is not actually from God, but from the devil.
So everything that God wants us to know IN TERMS OF DOCTRINE is revealed to us in the written Word.
But God continues to speak to our inner man through His Holy Spirit, giving us PERSONAL REVELATION AT HIS DISCRETION.
Another way to think of this: GENERAL REVELATION is complete. But personal revelation is ongoing, for the purpose of edification of the church and the believer.
And so we’re going to take a look at the Bible at some of the instances where the Holy Spirit is active among believers in the New Testament …
… and I’m also going to share some supernatural experiences that I’ve encountered personally over the years, which I attribute to the work of the Holy Spirit.
We’re also going to look at some of the verses that Cessationists (*) use to claim that all communication from the Holy Spirit ended with the apostles.
And I’m going to refute those verses.
• I’ve already mentioned Acts 13, where the Holy Spirit spoke directly to the church and sent forth Paul & Barnabas on a missionary journey.
LOOK also @ Acts 16:6-10.
In Acts 16, Paul was directed by the Holy Spirit where to preach the Gospel & where NOT TO preach the Gospel.
And you might say well that was just for the apostle Paul, and I’m going to examine that claim, but let’s first look at how the Holy Spirit worked in the early church.
Paul was actually forbidden by the Spirit to preach in a certain region which is a very unusual & unique instance of Scripture:
READ ACTS 16:6-10 >>>
So God was directly guiding Paul in ministry and the preaching of the Word.
Look also at Acts 20:22-23 >>>
So, here, the Holy Spirit was warning and preparing Paul about danger & afflictions that awaited him as the Spirit sent him forth to preach in Jerusalem.
But some will say, well PAUL WAS AN APOSTLE.
BUT WHAT ABOUT PHILIP?
Philip was a deacon and an evangelist who won the Ethiopian eunuch to the Lord in the Book of Acts, chapter 8.
In Acts 8, starting at v. 26, the Bible says:
26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
And 1 of the reasons that stories like this are recorded in Scripture, is to set an example for us today in our ministry of preaching of the Gospel.
In my own encounters of soul winning (preaching the Gospel to the lost), there have been numerous times when the Holy Ghost has specifically directed us on where & when to preach …
… and souls have been won as a result of obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
[SOUL WINNING TESTIMONY]
About 10 months ago, I was preaching the Gospel with brother Marshall …
… & We would always pray beforehand and ask God to reveal to us where to preach that week.
One week, God spoke to my inner man in the spirit to go to one of the local campuses and to preach the Gospel ON THE CAMPUS.
So we went and I thought the best place to preach would be right at the entrance of the campus where the most amount of people were coming in & out from the campus onto the street.
And so we stood JUST OUSIDE the campus, on the sidewalk, and began to share the Gospel.
We spent about 2 hours there, & not 1 soul got saved.
And I thought, well, it’s just one of those days, let’s pack up & go home.
And then I heard the voice of the Spirit say, “Step ONTO the CAMPUS.”
And I remembered that He had specifically told me that week to go ONTO the campus, but this whole time, we were standing just outside of the campus.
And so we stepped onto the campus, and LITERALLY, within 10 minutes of being ON the campus …
… we encountered a young college girl sitting on a bench, we approached her with the Gospel, & she got saved!
And after we finished preaching, she opened up and told us that she had been praying all week and asking God for answers, because she was confused about how to get saved …
…. whether salvation was just by faith alone or if she also had to have works.
And if we had not been open to the leading of the Spirit, we would never have been on that campus in the first place, we would have packed up and gone home in those first two hours, and that girl would not have gotten saved that day!
And this was just one incident among many, where God has directed our paths supernaturally over the years.
And so we see that both in Scripture and in our personal testimony, that the Holy Spirit continues to guide and lead the church in preaching the Gospel.
Cessationists claim that these portions of Scripture are only a matter of historical record and that they have no relevance for us today.
But I say: God record this portion of Scripture because He expects us to be open to the leading of His Spirit when preaching the Gospel.
Would why God stop guiding His church and leave us to our own abilities and our own intellect alone and become a dumb and silent God?
Especially during the End Times as we enter the falling away, when we need His guidance now more than ever?
In fact, the apostle Paul himself laid down clear instructions TO THE CHURCHES on the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Turn to 1 Corinthians 12.
This is the main chapter where Paul specifically addresses spiritual gifts.
The last few chapters of 1 Corinthians is a sort of church instruction manual on how churches ought to operate.
In ch. 11 Paul addresses how the Lord’s Supper should be taken in a worthy manner.
In ch. 13 Paul addresses the importance of charity.
In chapter 14, Paul addresses the participatory nature of church, discusses how prophets are to speak two or three in an orderly fashion, and how women are to keep silent in churches.
And in CHAPTER 12, Paul dedicates an entire chapter to spiritual gifts.
& so when you consider how these final chapters in are about the very structure, organization, and ecclesiology of the church …
… you have to ask why Paul would dedicate an entire chapter to spiritual gifts in chapter 12, if those gifts were to be done away with a generation later?
Turn to 1 Corinthians 12:1-12, 28-31
James 5:14: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:”
These instructions are given to the churches in a VERY GENERAL MANNER.
It was broadly given to all believers in all churches in all ages to study and model their churches after.
And there’s absolutely no indication or Scripture to support that the gifts were done away with at the death of the apostles.
• And what’s ironic is that the #1 passage that CESSATIONISTS use as their main Biblical support is 1 Corinthians 13 …
… what’s ironic about that is that the verse that they use is in the very next chapter after Paul expounds on spiritual gifts to the churches in such a general manner.
1 Corinthians 13 is a very beautiful and somewhat poetic way of saying that LOVE is GREATER THAN KNOWLEDGE and SPIRITUAL GIFTS & that Christians ought to be characterized by love.
But those who deny the work of the Spirit will use it to say that spiritual gifts have ended.
1 Corinthians 13:8-12:
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
They say that the phrase, “when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” is speaking of the completion of the canon of Bible.
… and that once the Bible is complete, then prophesy and miracles will be done away with.
But that’s so out of context. It’s completely extraneous to the verse.
When the PERFECT IS COME is talking about the RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST.
Isn’t that obvious when you go to the Scriptures without a perceived notion?
Once we’re in heaven ….what need will there be for prophecy and spiritual gifts?
And the rest of this passage proves it.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
This is speaking of heaven.
It’s speaking of seeing the Lord face to face.
It’s speaking of having the perfect knowledge once we get to heaven vs. the impartial knowledge that we have now as temporal beings (which now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face).
1 Corinthians 13 actually affirms the presence of spiritual gifts …
… because Paul was admonishing believers not to boast & get puffed up in their spiritual gifts (which he just admonished them about in the previous chapter)
.… but to rather emphasize Godly love for the brethren.
The final verse in Chapter 12:31 on spiritual gifts, ends with: “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”
He’s just saying that charity, love, is greater than the spiritual gifts, not that the spiritual gifts will end when he and the other apostles die.
That wouldn’t make sense at all!
Paul also said in 1 Corinthians 14:1, the very next chapter: “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.”
Another passage that CESSATIONISTS use is Hebrews 1, again misapplying the context to say that spiritual gifts have ceased.
1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
All this is saying is that Jesus is the culmination of all the work of the prophets and the prophecies concerning Him.
It’s not talking about the cessation of spiritual gifts.
It’s simply a parallel to Acts 10:43: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
• There are also mentions of numerous prophets in the New Testament.
The Bible says that Philip the Evangelist, who I mentioned earlier, also had four daughters who were prophets.
Acts 21:9, speaking of Philip, says: “And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.”
And people will say well that just meant “to preach”, but we see from the context of the same chapter that “prophesy” meant to see and proclaim future events.
Look @ Acts 21, v. 10, the very next verse, speaks of another another prophet, named Agabus:
10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.
11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
So Agabus explains what would befall Paul in Jerusalem.
So Agabus and Philip’s 4 daughters were prophets in the traditional sense of the word.
The prophet Agabus is also mentioned in ACTS 11, where he accurately predicts future events:
27 And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.
28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth [famine] throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.
So there were active believers with the gift of prophecy mentioned in the New Testament era, and this also coincides with Paul instructions on prophesying within the church in Corinthians 14 and telling believers to covet the gift of prophesy!
There’s also Cornelius the centurion, a gentile, who had a vision which led to his salvation, as recorded in the book of Acts.
Cornelius didn’t even know Jesus Christ as his Savior yet …
but God gave him a vision, which led to his salvation.
1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
So we see that God even gives visions and works miraculously in the lives of those He is drawing unto Himself.
It’s rare. But it happens.
Brother Marshall is one example of that.
Let me tell you how brother Marshall got saved. It’s a fascinating story.
It was January, 1994, about 23 years ago.
I was saved for about a week or two myself. I was just a babe in Christ at the time.
And I was at Marshall’s house preaching the Gospel to him. It was very late, around 4 am in morning, as younger adults we had been out to some coffee houses that stayed open late.
And I went to Marshall’s house to preach the Gospel.
And Marshall didn’t want to hear it.
And I didn’t blame him, because a few weeks before that, I didn’t want to hear it either!
But now I was saved, and I said to Marshall, “Marshall … I need to tell you something …. And it’s serious. I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord …”
And right away, Marshall was like, “Shut up, I don’t want to hear it!”
And I said, “Marshall, you have to listen to me. I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord … and it’s the END OF THE WORLD … !”
And as the words, “the end of the world”, came out of my mouth, the biggest earthquake of our lives hit at that precise moment …
It was the 1994, Northridge earthquake in CA, and we were about 10 minutes away from the epicenter!
This was the biggest earthquake ever that we’d experienced.
Freeway bridges collapsed, apartment buildings crumbled to the ground, houses were destroyed.
And Marshall ended up getting saved that day.
Talk about powerful, Holy Spirit-led soul winning!
• But denying the supernatural work of the Spirit is akin to dispensationalism if you think about.
By saying that God communicating with us and guiding us in the Spirit was only for “back then” is really dispensational in nature.
It’s also a product of modern rationalism, which seeks to remove all supernatural elements from the Bible, and this is just 1 aspect of it.
• In Mark 13, Jesus tells the disciples that under trial and tribulation, the Holy Spirit will speak through them, and that they are not to meditate upon what they say.
This is significant because Jesus was not only speaking to the apostles, but the context of Mark 13 is specific instruction to believers during end-times events.
This is called dual prophecy, where there’s an immediate prophetic context to the apostles as well as future prophecy about end-times events.
9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.
10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations.
11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.
12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.
13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
• The false teaching that the Holy Spirit became dumb after the apostles died, is dangerous error being promulgated by fundamentalists, cessationists, and some dispensationalists.
That’s 1 of the reasons we don’t call ourselves fundamentalists or IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptist).
We are simply Independent Baptists.
We believe in the fundamentals of the Bible in the true sense of the word, when it comes to salvation, OSAS, etc.
But we reject man-made traditions and teachings which deny the work of the Holy Spirit.
• Acts 2 is another example of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, when at the Day of Pentecost, Peter and the apostles preached the Gospel in foreign languages.
16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
Cessationists will point to Joel 2, which this passage is referring back to, and claim that Joel 2 was completely fulfilled in Acts 2.
… But what they miss is that the Joel 2 prophecy BEGAN with Acts 2, but has not yet ended, until Jesus Christ returns at the Second Coming!
The verse says that this was an outpouring of the Spirit in the End Times.
We have not seen the fulfillment of the End Times yet!
And so Joel 2 has only been partially fulfilled.
God continues to speak by the Holy Ghost, God continues to give dreams and visions and speak forth words of knowledge to His people for the edification of the church.
So I’m going to end with one final personal testimony, which was an example in my own life … where I can’t deny the work of the Holy Spirit!
It had to do with FUKUSHIMA: the earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear melt-down.
We were back in CA, the year 2011.
And for about 2 weeks, I had this overwhelming wave of anxiety washing over me almost daily … and I knew it was from the Holy Spirit.
And I felt as though something horrific was about to happen.
And all I could think was that there was going to be a massive earthquake.
And we lived in CA at the time, so I automatically assumed God was talking about CA.
And the Spirit also kept telling me that He was going to “trouble the waters.”
And I had no idea what that meant!
I just kept hearing the phrase, “Comfort My people, for I am about to trouble the waters.”
And I thought, What does this mean? Trouble the waters?
And I told my wife, Mary. And I also told brother Marshall.
I said: “I think there’s going to be a major earthquake! And God keeps telling me that He’s going to trouble the waters!”
And this went on for a few weeks.
And then I just kind of forgot about and went on with my life.
But, again about a week later, when it was no longer on my mind anymore, I was woken up in the middle of the night, around 11 o’clock or so.
And that same forboding feeling came over me …
And I hear God’s voice again in the Spirit, say, “Comfort my people, for I am about to trouble the waters.”
And then He tells me, to turn to Psalm 46. And so I get out my Bible and open up to Psalm 46.
& I had no idea what was in Psalm 46.
READ PSALM 46 >>>
And there were the words, “trouble the waters” in Psalm 46.
The same phrase I had been hearing.
And I’m thinking, When, Lord? When is this going to happen?
So I say, “When, Lord? When is this going to happen?”
And I hear Him say, “Tomorrow.”
And I’m thinking, “Tomorrow, Lord? How are you going to protect me?”
And so I start praying. And I’m asking Him what He’s going to do, and He doesn’t say another word.
And a deep sleep comes over me in the middle of praying.
And I fall asleep.
The next thing I know, I’m being shaken awake in bed by wife saying, “There’s been a major earthquake in JAPAN … and it’s caused a massive tsunami which is headed to the coast!”
And, so of course, later we learn that this was the great FUKISHIMA EARTHQUAKE and TSUNAMI, which led the nuclear melt-down in the coast of Japan.
So God had TROUBLED THE WATERS!
And this Japan earthquake was so catastrophic, that the nuclear melt-down continues even today to contaminate the Pacific Ocean.
Now, the thing is, when people begin to desire hearing God in the Spirit and having dreams and visions and desiring spiritual gifts, a lot of times people tend to do it in the flesh, because they want it so bad.
And that’s where you see that the vast majority of claims of visions and dreams, especially online, are false.
And a lot of these people don’t even hold to the right doctrines of salvation.
So you really have to be careful and have lots of discernment.
It’s really at HIS discretion, when and if He chooses to give someone a word, or a prophecy, or a vision. We can’t make Him talk to us.
But through deep prayer and fasting and the study of His Word, we can seek spiritual gifts.
Paul concludes to the Corinthian church in chapter 14:1, concerning spiritual gifts: “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.”
& there are steps that we can take, in hopes of receiving such gifts.
Cultivate a deep prayer life with fasting and the study of God’s written Word.
Abstain from the voices of the world that drown out the voice of God: turn off the TV, turn off the worldly music (even most of the so-called Christian music), get offline for a bit! Go into the wilderness or into your secret prayer closet and pray!
And also understand that these types of supernatural gifts aren’t for every believer. There are different administrations of gifts for different parts of the body.
So don’t feel bad if you have never heard God in the Spirit, it doesn’t mean you’re not approved of God or spiritual, but if this is something you earnestly desire, pray and ask God to impart spiritual gifts to you for the purpose of the edification of the church!
29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.