Key Principle #3: SPIRIT-FILLED (part 3)
Rewards of being Spirit-filled
The tongues of fire and the understood languages were used on the Day of Pentecost to proclaim the Word, will and works of God. It was a sign of God’s power for unbelievers to see that God has poured out His Spirit on them, and 3,000 people were saved. Speaking in other languages was again shown on several occasions later in the book of Acts, each with a significant reason and each with salvation for unbelievers. Paul explained later that speaking in other languages was not a sign for believers, but for unbelievers. However, using your spirit-filled tongue to proclaim a prophetic message in an understandable language is a wonderful way to edify other believers (see 1 Cor. 14:22) and a great reward for you.
In fact, the Holy Spirit prompting us to prophesy was direct fulfillment of prophecy from Joel 2:28-32 as shown in Acts 2:17-18. To prophesy does not only mean “fore-telling” or speaking God’s truth before it happens, but also it means “forth-telling” or speaking God’s truth that should be happening now. Both sons and daughters, men and women, will prophesy, Peter said. For nearly two thousand years, there has never been so many women so ably proclaiming God’s Word as there are today. Women like Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Anne Gramm Lotz, just to name a few. Now some denominations don’t want women to serve as pastors, perhaps, but I for one don’t want them to be silenced either. And judging by the book sales, I’m not alone.
Now it would be really cool to be able to fore-tell the future, especially in these days of economic roller coasters. But for me, I would rather forth-tell the truth of God’s word, especially if it means that people, when they hear it, will be “cut to the heart,” and be willing to change their ways (Acts 2:37). Honestly, outside of being able to be on the cover of National Enquirer, a dubious honor at best, and maybe make some serious money, or avoid losing serious money, on the stock market, what is the benefit of fore-telling the future if it is not accompanied by forth-telling the Word, will and works of God?
Being “filled with the Holy Spirit” doesn’t mean that you don’t have the Holy Spirit when you aren’t filled (is a triple negative too hard to follow?). Let me say it again with a single negative: If you aren't filled with the Spirit, you still have God's Spirit; however, the Holy Spirit doesn’t have all of you. There may be a certain area of your life that is not under the obedience to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and that will grieve the Holy Spirit. Still, you are always sealed by the Holy Spirit all the way until the Day Christ comes and redeems us to heaven (Eph. 4:30). Don’t think that just because you don’t feel filled that somehow the Holy Spirit has left you, because Jesus promised us that even though He went away physically, the Holy Spirit indwells us and Jesus said the Holy Spirit will abide with us forever (John 14:16).
God baptizes us in His Holy Spirit at the time of salvation and fills us a various times after salvation to accomplish His will, including that of bringing the Good News of salvation to a lost world. We get the power to be witnesses through the infilling of the Spirit. And Acts chapter two shows us two very important lessons to remember about spirit-filled evangelism and the both deal with the calling of salvation:
1) God is the One who sovereignly calls sinners to repentance and salvation (verse 39). It is the responsibility of God to call people to salvation. Acts 2:39 “For the promise is to you …as many as the Lord our God will call.” Romans 8:30 shows that God initiates the call to be justified, Romans 9:24-26 states that He calls us to become His people and children. (See 1 Cor. 1:26-28, Rom. 8:28, Eph. 4:1, 1 Thess. 2:12, 2 Thess. 2:13-14, 2 Tim. 1:9, and a good concordance or crosswalk.com for more references on God calling us)
2) Likewise, whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (verse 21). In response to God’s call, the sinner calls out to God for saving grace. Acts 2:21 “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (See also Rom. 10:13-15). Even though God calls us, we must respond and make the calling and election sure (1 Pet. 1:10) by calling on the name of the Lord to be saved.
As a Spirit-filled Christian, it is not your responsibility to save anyone, nor make them be saved. Once saved, the new believers were baptized, followed the teachings of the leaders, fellowshipped with other believers, participated in the breaking of bread or communion, prayed, kept regular worship with other believers, gave a good witness to others and led others to salvation (Acts 2:42-47). All we are to do is be faithful in those things and leave the results to God. Peter, the fisherman, would probably agree with this summary of the Spirit-filled life experience:
“We catch them, God cleans them!”