As you grow in a relationship with Jesus you will begin to recognize when God speaks to you. This is not an audible manner like we read about in some stories of the Bible, rather it is often an idea, an impression, or something like a strong urging from within that causes you to stop and consider something that you know must be from God. In the book of James, James wrote that every good and perfect thing comes from above. Jesus said that the Devil comes to steal, kill and destroy and that the demonic realm will never urge anyone to do something that is clearly revealed as good and right in God’s word as presented in the Scriptures. Jesus also said that after he ascended to Heaven, he would send the Holy Spirit to remind us of all the things Jesus taught. There’s an expectation that God the Holy Spirit will communicate with Christians as we grow in Christian maturity and that these communications will never oppose or violate what God has already revealed. Learning to hear the Holy Spirit speak to you is a practice of learning what God has already said and learning to discern your own earthly desires from heavenly ones (desires that God says are good to have).
In an extra Sunday morning message, Sherry shared a recent encounter with the Holy Spirit and talked about how she responded to what the Spirit prompted.
Rod continues the series in the book of Acts. Paul and Barnabas, being chosen and sent by the Holy Spirit, sailed to the island of Cyprus. After traveling from town to town, teaching about Jesus as they went, they encountered a sorcerer who had influence with the governor of the area. The sorcerer tried to stop the governor from hearing and believing about Jesus. Paul, being filled with the Holy Spirit, turned to the sorcerer and showed him the true power of God.
Philip was known to other Christians as a man filled with the Spirit. He was gifted and successful at evangelism. Yet, as he led a revival in Samaria he was able to teach about Jesus and even baptize people in the name of Jesus, but he did not baptize them in the Holy Spirit. The apostles, Peter and John, came down to lay hands on the new Christians so that they could receive the Holy Spirit. Why could the apostles do this but Philip could not?
This question has become such a dividing point in modern Christianity that many teachers and pastors prefer not to focus too much attention on it. While it is not certain why the apostles could bring the Holy Spirit and Philip did not or could not, it’s helpful for our understanding of the Holy Spirit to take a look at the story.