When it comes to defeating an opponent, what is the greatest weapon? Whether it’s a sporting competition, a business rival, a battle, or anything involving an opponent, one
weapon of warfare will always succeed. What is that weapon? Division. If you can create a division within your opponent, they will begin to fight each other. If your opponent is fighting internally then much of your battle is already won. You can sit back and watch them defeat themselves. You may not even have to engage; they will self-implode. What will cripple your opponent even more is dividing them over their own weapon. Pretty good scheme, right? If I divide my opponent over their own weapon against me then I double my impact. They won’t be able to stand.
Ever heard this? “A house divided cannot stand”. It’s true,without unity, you are no match for your opponent. Who said those words? Jesus. If you are a Christian, then you are already in a battle. You already have an opponent, and enemy, who is fiercely fighting against you. If our enemy can divide us against each other, over our source of strength, our own weapon, then he can sit back and watch us implode. But, if we recognize his battle plan then we can turn it back on Him.
Examples of Division
Let’s look at a few examples of division in the Bible. John 7, the setting is the Temple during the Feast of Tabernacles. Jesus has just spoken of the Holy Spirit to the entire crowd, saying if they put their Faith in Him, the Holy Spirit will live inside them and fill them. (John 7:38). Next, the people become divided over who Jesus is. They are standing face to face with the Son of God, the Messiah, the one they have been waiting for, and they missed Him. Some started to call him a prophet,others said he was the Son of God and they all were divided amongst themselves.
What a good plan from the enemy. Here we have Jesus, telling the people to put their Faith in Him, be saved, and receive their greatest weapon against the enemy, the Holy Spirit. But what does the enemy do? He divides them against themselves. Look where the Pharisees take it. They say this about Jesus of Nazareth: “The scripture says theMessiah comes from Bethlehem”. “Search and look, for out of Galilee comes no prophet”. They are trying to use the scriptures to defend their position, which would be the right thing to do. However, instead of truly searching the scriptures with an open mind, they give a defensive reaction which is incorrect. If they had truly searched the scriptures with a clear, open mind, they would have seen that Jonah was from Galilee. Hosea, Elijah, Elisha were all from the Northern Kingdom as well. Therefore, their statement was incorrect. In addition, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not in Galilee. But they didn’t seek that information. They just spoke what they thought. They missed it. They missed HIM. They were more concerned with defending their doctrine than truly seeking the Lord. The Lord was standing right in front of them. They were encountering Him face to face. But their religion got in the way. Their doctrine and tradition got in the way. Their knowledge and interpretation got in the way. They missed Him.
What about Saul? Saul was one of the greatest Pharisees. He was going around arresting and killing Christians. He was doing it because he thought he was right. The punishment for a blasphemer in the law was death. Paul thought he was being obedient to God, obedient to the scriptures by persecuting these Christians. Paul wasn’t a heathen; he was a scripture obeying religious leader. If you had known Him you would have thought he was a very godly man by his appearance. However, he was wrong. He missed all the signs of the Messiah that the scripture taught. He was spiritually blind. So, on his way to persecute more Christians, Jesus stopped him in his tracks. Jesus took the spiritually blind Saul, and physically blinded him temporarily.Then he says to Him “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”. Afterwards, Saul then went on to become Paul, one of the greatest Christians ever. However, he had to be awakened by Jesus.
What is the enemy doing to defeat Christians today? Same old things. He is dividing us. Not only is he dividing us, but he’s dividing us over our power source, our strength, our weapon against him. What is this power source? It’s the Holy Spirit. You see, if the enemy can get us to deny the power of the Holy Spirit and divide the Church over that power then he doubles the impact. We are now fighting each other over the power that Jesus gave us. The enemy doesn’t have to work as hard. We are hurting ourselves.
What is this big debate or division? Some in the Church believe the Holy Spirit is operating in the same way today as He did in the book of Acts. Meaning, everything we see the Holy Spirit do in Acts, He is still doing today. In1Cor12 we see the “Gifts of the Holy Spirit”. These gifts are supernatural. If you believe the Holy Spirit is the same today then you believe that all nine of
these supernatural gifts are presently active and available to Christians today. In Acts 1, right before Jesus leaves the earth, he says these words:
Act1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost iscome upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
“You shall receive power”. That word power in the original Greek is dynamis. By definition, dynamis means supernatural, miraculous power. Jesus is telling us, when you receive the Holy Spirit, you will receive his supernatural power. What are these powers? 1Cor12 tells us: Word of Wisdom, word of knowledge, gift offaith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, prophesying in tongues, and interpretation of those tongues. 1Cor14 breaks down these gifts even more. These gifts the Holy Spirit gives as he wills. Meaning, different people are anointed in different gifts.
However, one gift that all Christians can receive is the ability to pray in the Spirit. Another term for this is praying in tongues, or a spirit prayer language. Many confuse this with the gift of diverse tongues, but they are not the same thing. Every Christian can pray in the Spirit if they are baptized in the power of the Holy Spirit. Why would you want to pray in tongues? Because it renews your mind and builds you up (Jude 1:20). Paul says in Eph 4:23 to be renewed in your mind. The other reason is that when I pray in the Spirit (tongues) then I’m always praying the perfect will of God. We don’t always know what to pray, but the Spirit does. (Rom 8:26)
Lastly, how do we start operating these gifts and praying in our spirit prayer language? We must be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit baptism comes through faith after we are saved. When we are saved, the Holy Spirit comes and lives in every believer. Anyone who is saved has theHoly Spirit dwelling in them. However,the Holy Spirit baptism is a separate act where a believer receives the supernatural POWER of the Holy Spirit. He lives in all Christians, but his power comes when you believe in it and receive it by faith. This is what happened in Acts 2. These Christians already had the Holy Spirit dwelling in them (see John 20:22). But they did not have the dynamis, the power, the baptism. (See Matt 3:11). But it came in Acts 2, and they were baptized, or filled with the power. Anyone who is Pentecostal lives and stands on this doctrine. However, others in the Church do not believe this doctrine today.
Think about this. If I have the ability to operate supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, andI have the ability to pray in the Spirit where I can renew my mind and always pray in the will of God, isn’t that a big problem for the enemy? Absolutely. When Christians are operating the gifts of the Holy Spirit and Praying in the Spirit then we are fighting back against the enemy and his schemes. Our greatest weapon against him is the Holy Spirit’s power which comes through Holy Spirit baptism. Therefore, wouldn’t the enemy want to divideus over it? Wouldn’t he want us to deny the power? (2Tim3:5) Certainly, and he is doing it. However, we don’t have to let him succeed.
The Other Side
The other belief is that all of these gifts ceased after the Church was established. This group believes the supernatural power was only for the apostles and others to get the
Church started. Some believe these gifts ceased when the last apostle died (John).
Others believe that they ceased when the Bible was completed. This belief comes from 1Cor 13:8-10. These verses say that the gifts will cease when “That which is perfect is come”. So when “perfect” comes, there will no longer be a need for these gifts. However, what is this “perfect” that Paul is talking about. Paul uses a similar reference in Eph 4:13. He is saying when we become a “perfect”man, unto the measure of Christ. When will we become perfect? When Christ returns. When do the gifts cease? When “perfect comes”, or at Christs return. When Christ returns, we no longer need the gifts. We are perfect in a resurrected body. They are no longer necessary then. However, until that day, we need the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The other argument against the gifts is the “fakers”. Are there Holy Spirit fakers out there? Certainly. That’s what the enemy does, he wants to imitate the real thing to break your Faith. We see this in Acts 8 with Simon the sorcerer. We can see the fakers all the way back to the sorcerers in Moses day. But look at Moses and Aaron, they were the real deal. In Acts 8, Peter and John show up. They were the real deal. Certainly, your enemy wants to deceive you, but don’t let the imitators distract you from the real deal. The Holy Spirit and his gifts are real. They are in operation today and there are many true believers that can testify to this.
There was a time in my life where I was on the otherside. I took this stance because I was going along with what others told me. I had not truly sought the Lord on this. When others around you believe a certain doctrine it is easy to agree with them and stick with that same belief. However, we should always seek the scriptures for ourselves. Ask the Lord to show us the truth. I cannot think of a time when I asked the Lord to show me something in the Word and He didn’t lead me to it. But, we must seek with an open mind and heart. We cannot go into this with our minds made up, looking for things to support our doctrine. You have to ask and truly seek truth openly. This was the mistake of the Pharisees. They wanted to defend their own doctrine so bad that they missed Jesus right in front of them. Friends, the power of the Holy Spirit is right in front of you, but you have to truly seek it in Faith. Don’t miss the Holy Spirit.
Look at Saul. He was so sure he was right. He was so sure he was defending God, but he was wrong. And Jesus called him on it. Friends, none of us wants the day to come where the Holy Spirit says our name twice, followed by, “why are you persecuting me”. We especially do not want to be speaking negatively against Him or calling his works “not of God”. We don’t want to be persecuting other Christians as they worship or flow in the Spirit. You are better to say, “Lord, I don’t know about this, show me” than to take a hard stance and go against the Holy Spirit. Friends, don’t fall into this trap. None of us wants to persecute the Holy Spirit.
We all have an enemy out there. We need our weapon. We need the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. We need the gifts. We need to be praying in the Spirit without ceasing. There are hard days ahead, but it’s the power of the Holy Spirit that gets us through it. We can all receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Just ask for it. Come to the Lord in Faith and ask!