THE WONDERFUL WORKINGS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
By Rodney W. Francis
Right now, around the world, many are experiencing reality in the Christian faith through the mighty infilling of the Holy Spirit, and the evidence of speaking in other tongues. To say the least, this is a wonderful experience that God is giving His people; and we praise Him for His love and goodness to us. We are hearing of people who are experiencing God in a sovereign way and being baptized in the Holy Spirit right outside of church meetings, etc. For me it happened in the midst of a herd of cows at 5:30 a.m. in the morning when I was 18 years old and quite a new Christian believer. What God did for me, and spoke to me about that morning amongst those cows has enabled me to rise up and fulfil a ministry that now touches thousands of people around the world. However, let us realize that this experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is but a “door-way” into deeper realms and deeper experiences that Jesus Christ has for us. He desires to so possess these bodies of ours (which are His temples of the Holy Spirit) that we will know what it is to move, live and function in the realms of the supernatural.
THE BOOK OF ACTS ~ PHILIP
The Book of Acts gives us some wonderful workings of the Holy Spirit ~ the ways by which He (God) brought hungry hearts together to receive Jesus Christ as the Lord of their lives, etc. How thrilling it is to read of the Spirit’s working in the life of Philip as he went to Samaria and simply preached CHRIST unto them. The people were “stopped in their tracks” when they heard and saw the miracles which he did:
“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded (“to pay attention to”) the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed (“to have” evil spirits); and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:5-8 ).
Philip was no apostle or prophet. He was one of the seven deacons who were chosen to serve at widows’ tables. But he was “filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom” (that makes all the difference) (Acts 6 ). When the Holy Spirit is allowed to work in a person’s life there will always be a demonstration of the Word of God ~ it will be confirmed, even with signs, wonders, healings and miracles. Jesus Himself declared that “signs will follow those who believe” (Mark 16:15-20 ).The Early Church and Philip simply believed that Jesus meant what He said and went forth preaching everywhere. They expected and knew that He went with them: “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs, Amen” (Mark 16:15-20 ). Notice that the Lord went with them ~ they (the disciples) initiated the fulfilling of the Great Commission to go preach the Gospel ~ as soon as they believed what Jesus told them!
Philip believed what Jesus said and taught! He believed in the power of Jesus to confirm His Word, and the Lord never failed him! Samaria had a visitation of God because one Holy Spirit-filled disciple dared to believe the promises of Jesus Christ! Further on in Acts Chapter Eight we read of Philip receiving instructions from an angel of the Lord to go out into a desert (“a deserted place”). Philip obeyed and went. Out there he met an Ethiopian sitting in a chariot reading. The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot” (Acts 8:26-40 ) ~ which Philip did. The man was hungry for spiritual truth, but had no understanding of what he was reading. He was reading from Isaiah 53 , but it was somewhat meaningless to him. From the very same Scripture Philip preached JESUS to him. The Spirit of God opened the man’s understanding to believe on and receive Jesus as his personal Saviour! He was so born-again and revolutionized that he instantly desired to be water baptized! And he was! God saw the hunger in the Ethiopian’s heart and directed Philip to him, that he might have an encounter with the Living God. But it did not stop there. I have been told that as a result of this one act of obedience by Philip that the Ethiopian took the Gospel of Jesus Christ back to Ethiopia and a visitation of God started there that was so impacting that Ethiopia was a Christian nation for many generations to come! Philip’s one act of obedience to the Holy Spirit gave him a greater harvest than the visitation in Samaria!
Now, stop and consider something. If you were in Philip’s shoes and had the wonderful privilege of ushering in a city-wide revival in an area, and then in the midst of that God called you to go out into a desert place where there was no known human population, would you leave the revival and obey what the Holy Spirit said? I think we would find a number of reasons and excuses as to why we could not do that ~ especially as the Samarian revival was built around Philip’s ministry. People would say that Philip needed to remain in Samaria! But Philip demonstrated that his heart was more committed to Jesus than to the dictates of the people, and so he walked away from the revival and did what the Lord asked him. In reality he exchanged a city revival for a national revival by being “the link in the chain” that the Lord wanted him to be! Millions of lives were impacted for Jesus over the succeeding generations!
THE BOOK OF ACTS ~ CORNELIUS and PETER
In Acts Chapter Ten we again read of the wonderful workings of the Holy Spirit, this time in the lives of Cornelius and Peter. Cornelius was a devout (“one who is reverent”), prayerful, and giving man who feared God. He was a Gentile believer, so obviously had had a supernatural experience with God that was not according to the protocol of the day. God responded to Cornelius’ hunger for more and sent an angel to speak to him. Cornelius was told to send men to Joppa to find a man called Simon Peter. The angel told Cornelius where Peter could be found, and that he (Peter) would tell him what he must do. He obeyed and sent men to look for Peter at Joppa. While the men were on their way to find Peter, the Holy Spirit began to speak to Peter as he waited for lunch. He actually got quite hungry and “fell into a trance.” Peter “saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth . . .” (Acts 10:10-16 ). Peter interpreted the meaning of the vision wrongly and began to resist the voice that accompanied the vision. His own mindset and Jewish beliefs would not allow him to see that God had a new and better way through the New Covenant. While Peter was arguing with God, the Holy Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, do down with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them” (Acts 10:19-20 ). This time, in obedience to the Lord, Peter went with the men to Cornelius’ house, not knowing what God was sending him to say and do. I find it interesting that the Gentile (Cornelius) was the one who was acting in faith and the Apostle (Peter) was full of doubts!
The resulting meeting of Peter and Cornelius was that Peter was able to preach Christ to the assembled Gentiles. He did not go with a “prepared sermon,” for he asked Cornelius, “For what reason have you sent for me?” (Acts 10:29 ). Like Philip, Peter went at the leading of the Holy Spirit . . . and Jesus was uplifted and allowed to do His work. As Peter opened his mouth to speak, the Holy Spirit gave him the true revelation of what the sheet let down from heaven was about. He declared: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ ~ He is Lord of all ~ that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, Who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did . . .” (Acts 10:34-38 ).
THE PEOPLE WERE ASTONISHED!
The anointing of the Holy Spirit was so upon Peter as he preached Christ, that the people believed, received, and experienced a visitation of God in their midst. Even while “Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word” (Acts 10:44 ). How did those Gentiles know that it was the Holy Spirit they were receiving? They began speaking with tongues (the Holy Spirit language) and magnifying God. Those listening were “astonished” (Acts 10:45 )! That word “astonished” has a very interesting meaning. It comes from the Greek word “existemi” and means: “to put (stand out) of wits, i.e. astound, or become astounded, insane:- amaze, be (make) astonished, be beside self (selves), bewitch, wonder” (Strong’s Concordance); “to stand aside from, go away from, yield; to be out of one’s wits” (Bullinger’s Lexicon to the Greek New Testament); “to fill with amazement; surprise greatly” (Collins Dictionary). The receiving of the Holy Spirit and the resulting evidence of speaking in tongues had a radical impact on those people receiving, as well as on those watching and hearing! And it should be the same for us today. The world may think we have lost our wits and gone insane, but we know that we have received something powerful right from the heart of God!
THERE IS NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT
THAN THE DOING OF GOD’S WILL!
The wonderful workings of the Holy Spirit take us right out of the natural, logical thinking realm, and into the place where God can do His supernatural work! Even the apostles at Jerusalem questioned the “sanity” of Peter going to the Gentiles ~ until they heard his testimony of how the Lord had poured out His Spirit on the people (Acts 11:1-18 ). This is still the same today. Men try and tie ministries down to a local or national church control ~ and get upset if someone dares to move outside of their “covering,” etc. It is time for Christians to realize that God is powerfully at work outside the circles of what we call “church” also, and is raising up an army of men and women who will do “new things” in order to fulfil His will. From experience I have learned that there is nothing more important than the doing of God’s will. For me, personally, the will of God has caused us to function outside what is often known as the “accepted circles.” But, in all honesty, we are impacting thousands more people from the position we find ourselves in today. You have to know the will of God for you, and I have to know the will of God for me.
Today throughout the nations there are “Ethiopian eunuchs” and “Cornelius’” whose hearts are open and hungry for “the real thing,” whose hearts are crying out for Spiritual revelation and understanding of the purposes of God ~ longing to be right with God, and to serve Him with a whole heart. You and I who are Holy Spirit-filled believers need to be walking close to God, listening to His voice, exercising the Spiritual Gifts, so that He can direct us to these people and use us to bring them into His fold. The Lord is using people in this way today, and causing wonderful things to happen whereby Jesus Christ is glorified. Hallelujah! God is also using men and women in this way to bring salvation and deliverance to captives, as well as healing and miracles to the sick, afflicted and needy.
Reader, YOU can have an experience like I have been writing about. Let God see the desires that you have in your heart. He will work in such a way that someone will cross your path and be able to minister Jesus to you. If you already are a Christian believer, then keep your eyes firmly focused on Jesus and He will lead, guide and direct your steps to someone who needs what you have to give from the heart of God. YOU can be a Philip, a Cornelius, a Peter today. The same Holy Spirit is available to you right now. Open your heart and reach out to Jesus. “There is always someone waiting on the other side of your obedience” (Kevin Dyson, Australia).
God Bless You!