The true religion, The true marks of Holy spirit: Not necessarily speaking in Tongues.
Okay, these days things are hot in churches. Some pastors believe that the devils can only be chased by speaking against them so loudly. I have heard some of my friends claiming a spirit-filled pastor who prays and people fall down, cry and eh shout. We all have heard the preaching of Holy spirit manifesting in tongues. And eh if you cannot speak in tongues, you do not have Him!!! Some churches here in Uganda have taken it a step farther, the word of God, the preaching, the announcements and every other activity in the church is accompanied by loud voices of instruments, whistles, shouting of people to their loudest and eh you know it all. But now we wonder, really is that the true manifestation of Holy spirit?? Is it true that our body behaviors in voice, actions, and signs can increase the presence of God in a place??You must have heard about the great American theologian and philosopher, Jonathan Edwards. In His book, Experiencing God, Robert Back house quotes Jonathan, "A work of God is not to be judged by any effects on the bodies of men; such as tears, trembling, groans, loud outcries, agonies of body, or the failure of bodily strength". I agree with him. You see, many people confuse God to be excited with some kind of behaviors and so want to attract his presence or much of His power by some kind of behaving. However, our God is not like that. He listens to a quiet prayer as He does to a prayer in a song. He can listen to a prayer of a sleeping person as He listens to a prayer of the one standing. He can pay attention to people at home just as He can to those at church. He cannot be motivated or discouraged by our behaviors but by His will.
So what about the spiritual gifts and fruits? Both spiritual gifts and fruits are works of the Holy spirit. However, they are not always present with one person. The Bible is clear on this: He gives different gifts to different people but all of these gifts are from the same God or Holy Spirit. Speaking in tongues, preaching, prophesying, explaining the tongues are all gifts. However, not to have one of them does not mean not to have God or the spirit. Yeah, actually Paul says that the gift of prophesying is greater than speaking in tongues simply because it helps the whole church compared to speaking in tongues that helps the one individual speaking in tongues (Must read 1Corinth 12:27-31, chapter 14 also).
What is my point today? Do not be confused by these current preachers who speak loudly so as to show they are speaking with God, far from it, they may be just convincing you. Also, there are churches that have prioritized speaking in tongues as the only true sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit, that is also wrong. I wish you read the above bible verses, you won' t have more confusion. You cannot chase demons because you shouted a lot, cried or fell down, but because you prayed with true faith. You cannot make people get true salvation by barking within the church service, calm down, explain the word, let sinners hear God speak to them and oh they will get saved (1Corinth 14:25). Ayayaya, some people, actually many, can speak in tongues without God's spirit in them, i wish you mark that.
The truth is that speaking in tongues, prophesying or any other gift of the spirit is good and better if it is helping the church but it is not what can help you tell a good church or a true believer, do not be deceived. Remember, we shared about 5 reasons you are likely to fall down during a prayer other than the presence of the true spirit. These included over standing for long hours, fear and anxiety, loud music in the church, hunger following fasting, closing your eyes in prayer, and a simple physical push from your pastor or neighbor during prayer. All of these are tricks used by modern churches to make you believe that the Holy spirit has visited you.
So what is the right church or religion? We simply looked at this when we discussed Church hopping and when it is valid. However, let us get another glimpse from the book of James, chapter 1:27. The true religion is helping orphans and keeping clean from evil. Of course, this answer is very poetic or it is a proverb. There is a lot in it. However, the simple definition is believing in Christ Jesus( keeping clean) and exercising this faith by showing helpful fruits to yourself and others ( helping orphans). Okay, Jonathan advises us to trust churches not by the nature of their movements( like good singing, signs and wonders, preaching in high voices, speaking in tongues and falling etc) but by the fruits of such a church or its people.
When we read Galatians 5:22, we find there the spiritual fruits and which other than spiritual gifts, very true Christian must have. They include, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. You cannot say i am saved but i do not have the fruit of love, peace or joy. It automatically means you are not saved. But it is possible to be a true christian yet you do not speak in tongues or prophesy. Jonathan Edwards is cited by Dr Packer giving 5 features of a true church (Exalts Christ as divine savior, opposes Satan's kingdom by weaning people from sin, induces trust in the bible as the word of God, makes people feel the urgency of eternal issues and their utter lostness without Christ, and makes them love Christ and others.)
We are clear.
Finally, do not be driven by such bodily manners and behaviors in modern churches and forget your honest prayers guided by emotions or desires. Now, you know the kind of church you are in and the kind of people you trust to be of God. Remember, speaking in tongues, preaching in loud voices, prophesying and other gifts are true too but they are not vital to your salvation or the true foundation of the church. Know what to believe in. We love you
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