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Receiving The Fullness of The Holy Spirit – Catholic Congregation of St. John, Preparer of the Way – ccsjchurch.org

Receiving The Fullness of The Holy Spirit

Receiving The Fullness of The Holy Spirit

“Receiving The Fullness of The Holy Spirit”
Archbishop Loren Thomas Hines
The Holy Spirit Seminar, Part 2
June 11, 2017

God is creating a new people of God. The first man created by God was given the responsibility to control the earth, to cultivate it, to subdue and reign over all creation. Adam failed so Christ came to restore the place of man in the kingdom of God. I believe that God sent the Holy Spirit because He doesn’t want a repeat of what happened with the fall of Adam. He doesn’t want to lose His people again. In the beginning, God gave man everything that he would ever need, but for some reason he failed God. Since then God has given us the Holy Spirit to confirm His presence in our lives and to empower us to fulfill all that He has given us. Scriptures tell us that we lack in nothing yet we persist on walking on our own, not depending on what God has given us. Perhaps we don’t fully understand how to do this but Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit comes, He will teach us all truth. I believe we’re living in that time today where the Holy Spirit is revealing God’s plan, will and all that He has given us and how they function. When we were baptized, the Holy Spirit came to us and that presence within us is not meant to just remain there but it’s meant to be a vital, working part of our lives. Most of us don’t know how to put the Holy Spirit to work for us so that it teaches us all things and leads us in the ways of God. What the Holy Spirit does is guide our steps, like for this morning’s homily I didn’t speak from my notes but from what the Holy Spirit was speaking to my heart. We need to understand the work of the Holy Spirit.

Scripture reference: 1 Corinthians 2:1-16. “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God” (verse 11). Only your spirit knows what you’re thinking. You may sit there smiling but inside you have hatred. Nobody knows that because we judge by what we see. In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God who understands God and His ways. Therefore if we have the Spirit within us, when our spirit speaks to God, our spirit will reveal to God our need and whatever is inside of us that we may not be willing to share with others such as our problems and weaknesses. It may even be something we don’t know ourselves. We are limited in our flesh by what we think we need. We think we need certain things, like eating 3 meals or drinking so many glasses of water a day, but Scriptures tell us that man does not live on bread alone. When we walk with God, He reveals to us what He is in our lives and gives us His Spirit and wisdom so that we can have security and strength far beyond what food gives us. Our spirit knows our weaknesses so when we pray to God, our spirit reveals to God our needs, praying in a manner we cannot even understand completely. When we receive something from God and then separate ourselves from Him, we become weak in that which He gave us and in many cases, we lie to ourselves because we don’t really know who we are and what we’ve been created to do. We limit ourselves and say we can’t do certain things when in fact there are no limitations. We deceive ourselves because our human reasoning doesn’t understand what God has given us. The Spirit understands this and when our spirit prays to God’s Spirit, it can relate to and receive from God the answer we need even if we don’t understand it in our natural minds. This is what the Spirit does – it communicates to God so that His strength, wisdom and truth may come to us. It’s very difficult for us to comprehend this unless the Spirit reveals it to us. God doesn’t want us to be weak. Look at the life of Christ; He communicated with God to get the strength and direction He needed to fulfill His mission. He knew His mission and understood what He was here for, and in order to fulfill it, He had to go beyond the flesh because the flesh is weak. Man in the flesh had failed for many generations before Christ came. Christ depended on the Spirit to bring Him the power and wisdom to fulfill His mission.

This is the purpose of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It was given to us at baptism, but we must allow it to be part of our lives so that it can communicate with God. Scriptures tell us that when we pray in tongues, we don’t understand what we’re saying. The mind is fruitless but the Spirit is communicating with God and will reveal to us what we need. When you don’t know what to pray, the Spirit will pray for you because the Spirit knows the mind of Christ. The spirit within us is the Spirit of God so that when we pray in the Spirit, we pray with the mind of Christ; we therefore pray for God’s will. In our mind we may be praying for healing for a person, but the Spirit is praying for God’s will and it may be that He is dealing with the person at that moment and is allowing the test to teach him. We don’t know how to pray. Sometimes we reject the things God puts in our lives because we don’t understand, but when we pray in the Spirit, we will receive the truth along with the courage to live out what God gives us and do His will.

1 Corinthians 14: 2 “For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.” When our spirit prays to God, the communication is not for us. It bothers some that when they speak in tongues, they don’t understand what they’re saying and they feel that they have no control. But when we speak in tongues, we pray to God and not to others and this strengthens us so we can go through life with all its challenges without fear of failure, and conquer and overcome the problems. “One who speaks in tongues edifies himself….” (1 Corinthians 14:4). Also, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weaknesses; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). The Spirit helps us pray when we don’t know how to pray, and strengthens us when we are weak. St. Paul said that he came to them (the Corinthian church) in weakness and fear. He depended on the Spirit to do the work in his life. Through the Spirit, God gives us what we need to strengthen us that we can be a witness of Him, with strength that goes beyond physical strength. God is powerful and that power can overcome anything. When I had an accident a few years back in my truck, the Holy Spirit was at work in my life. The Holy Spirit gets our attention by allowing these things to happen which are beyond the natural; God’s power and ability are far greater. He’s not limited; He can move mountains and cause things to turn around in our favor.

1 Corinthians 14:14 “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.” This is one of the first things that we have to understand when praying in the Spirit. Our mind won’t necessarily understand what we’re saying because it’s not for us but a communication to God. Our spirit is praying to God and He will answer through our spirit, then our spirit will quicken us to give us the answer. God gave us the Spirit and we should remember what Jesus said: “I’ll ask the Father to give you a Helper who will be with you always”. The Spirit is with us to help us and be the strength and wisdom that God wants us to have in life.

There are several things that hinder us from praying in the Spirit:

1. We overanalyze what’s going on. We want to be in control when we pray and we want to impress others; but when we pray in the Spirit, we don’t understand what we’re saying and if we struggle to comprehend, it can hinder the freedom that we need to be able to feel free in the spirit. When we pray in the Spirit, many times it’s God wanting us to intercede for someone, and even if we don’t understand what we’re saying, God does His work.

2. Our need for information or revelation about what we are saying. Do we want information or are we willing to take what God reveals, what He wants to use us for, that something that we need to have faith in? God will not put us to shame. Imagine the apostles coming from the Upper Room and having received the Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues in the midst of a crowd from every nation. The Hebrews, the Greeks, the Phoenicians heard the apostles speaking in their own languages. God spoke to them individually, yet the disciples didn’t understand what they were saying. It’s a matter of having faith even if we don’t understand what we’re saying. God doesn’t force us. We have to initiate in using what God has given us. “The spirits of prophets are subject to prophets” (1 Corinthians 14:32). God uses what we speak and uses it for the glory of the Kingdom. When the apostles spoke, they didn’t know what they were saying, but God caused each of the different nations to hear in their own language so that they were convinced of how great God is.

3. Pride. Our pride may cause us to be embarrassed or self-conscious that people may think we’re blabbering and losing control or making a fool of ourselves when we speak in tongues. Humility comes before God and opens the door. Pride will destroy us. God understands what the Spirit is praying through us. Sometimes when we’re praying for someone who’s sick and we speak in tongues, we don’t understand what we’re saying but our spirit understands what needs to be prayed for and communicates this to the Spirit of God.

4. Fear that when we speak in tongues, it is something evil and the devil is making us do it. Our spirit is controlled by God and for as long as we put our faith in God, we don’t have to worry about what we’re saying.

Normally the prayer life is for personal use. Paul tells us that when we pray in the spirit in a congregation, nobody will understand because we’re not praying to the congregation but to God. If praying in tongues is done in a congregation or an assembly, there has to be an interpretation so that the people are benefitted. So prayer in the spirit is personal, between you and God. This doesn’t mean it can’t be used publicly but basically it’s meant for personal prayer for you to receive the truth that’s meant for you. You should not wait for God to make you speak in tongues. You have to initiate it, begin speaking in tongues because the spirit of a prophet is subject to the prophet. Don’t worry about what you will say. Let God speak through you. It may not sound like much and won’t make sense to others because it’s to God. Therefore we should have that comfort that God will use what we say. We always have to be the ones to initiate, and when we do this by faith, God gives us the freedom to pray.

One thing I want us to understand is Scriptures say that if we ask for the Holy Spirit, He will give us His Spirit. It’s like when we pray to be healed, the healing may not be manifested immediately, but we prayed and God said we will be healed, and we will be if we act on it. If you can’t walk, try to begin to walk, and when that faith is released, God will use it as the open door to complete His work. You have to take the step of faith and manifest what you have been praying for. It’s up to us; we can deny or accept. If we’re believing for healing, we have to act upon it. The flesh can’t comprehend; it will come through the spirit. God will speak to you in the spirit and make you do things you don’t understand. I’ve spoken many times to people who told me that I spoke to them what they needed at that moment, even if I didn’t know their need. God uses your faith to give you the ability to help meet someone’s need. I believe that today, the Holy Spirit wants to complete His work and purpose in your life, to strengthen you and reveal to you the truth about who you are and what God has prepared for you. He won’t fail you in this.

Last week I said that there are three steps you have to take:

1. Confession, an acknowledgment of all your weaknesses before God.
2. Baptism
3. Receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

It’s there for us. It’s a matter of faith, of taking the time to trust God and let Him be what He wants to be in our lives.

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