Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bible Study: Proclaiming the Gospel by the power of the Holy Spirit

Romans 15:19
John 14:15-17
The gift of having the Holy Spirit in us extends FAR beyond the standard marks of a charismatic Christian: energetic verbal prayers and praying in tongues. As a charismatic Christian myself, I appreciate the value of those things, but they are really only tools for the truly important work for which the Holy Spirit was given to us by Christ Jesus.
Paul attributed to the Holy Spirit his ability to evangelize people throughout his various travels. To do that he was gifted with the ability to perform various signs and wonders. God is just as willing and capable of evangelizing people today if we will only be open to cooperating with Him. If that means we need to be able to heal people and raise them from the dead, there is no reason to think the Holy Spirit isn't available to us to do just that. But the culture we live in is very different from that of the Roman Empire so the people we are reaching out to respond differently. Not that they don't respond to miraculous physical healings, for they (we!) certainly still do, but their expectations of God are altogether different. They want to see, for example, our lives transformed and our love for God made manifest in our love for one another. The Holy Spirit is available to help us do that and to help us share that with those who need to witness it.
Consider for a moment the non-Christians you are closest to today. What do you think it would take for them to become Christians? We don't always know, of course, yet often we can have a certain indication of whether they claim to resist Christ because of the behavior of Christians toward one another, or blaming Him for the desperate poverty of people in other countries, or a prayer they once made that seemed to go unanswered. Has the Lord given you the gifts to address these objections? Are you open to the Holy Spirit providing what you need to overcome them? Will you be the one to proclaim the gospel to those who need to hear it?

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