[Acts 2: 1-4] The Holy Spirit is NOT fire. He only appeared to the sight of people as tongues of fire. The Holy Spirit came upon the apostles (as tongues of fire) to equip them in order that they might speak in the languages those around would understand. That experience momentarily restored the universal comprehension of words that the world lost at the Tower of Babel when the language of humankind became confused. Conversely, an apostolic church must speak the language the whole world understands.
The Bible says that Jesus was declared the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead [Romans 1:4-5]. In Acts 2:3, we are shown that the Holy Spirit descended on everyone present without exclusion. The women in the congregation were not excluded from this Pentecostal in-filling of the Holy Spirit. If anyone has anything against female apostles, pastors or preachers, they should query God for allowing the Holy Spirit’s fire descend on the heads of women. There was no disparity or hierarchy in the impartation of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit that came upon Peter was not bigger or greater than that which came upon John. The same Spirit received by James also descended upon Mary. Each one had this tongue of fire sitting on them, and God did not exclude anyone of them from ministering in His presence according to the leading of the Holy Spirit in them.
[Acts 4:15-17] The same people that went to Pilate to secure the sepulchre where Jesus was buried, and told the soldiers to spread lies against the resurrection of Jesus afterwards [Matthew 28: 11-15], now sought to forbid the disciples from spreading the gospel, despite the evidence of the miracle they witnessed. Sadly, the lies they hired people to spread against the resurrection of Jesus Christ is still believed among the Jews till today. The power of the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and endowed them with fierce boldness so that people that had denied and fled from Jesus began to testify about His resurrection. The impartation of the Holy Spirit upon them gave them courage and boldness to stand up for God.
In Acts 2:3 we saw how the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples. In Acts 4:17 we encounter the rulers and religious leaders conniving to silence the apostles and stifle the advancement of the gospel of Christ. These verses give a contrast of the fire carriers (those filled with the Holy Spirit) and the fire quenchers (those that work diligently to stop the movement of the Holy Spirit). It is the inherent nature of fire to spread once it starts burning, but it is also the job of the firefighters to curtail the fire and to contain it. However, the fire of the Spirit of God cannot be stopped or contained.
The problem of the Church is not the firefighters that operate outside the Church, but those who fight the fire of the Spirit of God inside the church. There are more firefighters in the congregation than outside the Church, and they use everything at their disposal to turn off the fire of the Holy Spirit. These are the deadliest enemies of the Church of God, and they co-mingle with the saints of God in order to cover the fire the saints carry, like wet blankets over raging flames.
Proof Producers and Firefighters
The fire carriers were made up of the apostles and the Church present in the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost after Jesus Christ had ascended into heaven. Their primary assignment was not just to display the Holy Spirit’s fire, but to ensure that other people caught and carried the fire of the gospel. We are the fire carriers of our generation, and we must be careful not to contaminate the atmosphere, and offend the sensitivity of the Holy Spirit. God called us to be carriers of His Holy Spirit for only one purpose – that we may produce proof of the resurrection, power and Lordship of Jesus Christ wherever we go.
All the so-called Orthodox Churches that appear dead today were originally the firebrand churches of their day. But, the fire they carried was extinguished while they were busy with irrelevancies and squabbles over superiority, pre-eminence, and disagreements over titles and appropriate attire. It was not the enemy, but the people in the church, that extinguished the fire. The firefighters were the priests in the temple and the Sadducees (religious leaders at that time). Their major preoccupation was to ensure that the Holy Spirit’s fire did not spread any further, as ordained by God [compare Acts 1:8 with Acts 4:13-18]. When the firefighters encountered and threatened the fire carriers, their response was resolute, instant and clear, without ambiguity, like the response of Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego [compare Daniel 3: 8-25 with Acts 4:19-22].
The 5-Fold Mandate of Proof Producers
The five (mandates) focus of the mandate we are given, as fire carriers and proof producers of the power of God, and these can be found in Matthew 28: 16-20; Mark 16: 14-20; Luke 24:44-52; John 20:19-23 and Acts 1:4-8.
[Matthew 28:16-20] God has given the power and grace to all proof producers to raise and produce others to be proof providers, so that the fire of the Holy Spirit can spread to all the nooks and crannies of the world, until the whole earth is set ablaze with the glory of God as the water covers the seas [Isaiah 11:9, Habakkuk 2:14]. God wants the gospel of Christ to be a global inferno engulfing the whole world so that there will be no foothold for Satan to build a stronghold. As proof producers, we must watch and pray, and vigilantly ensure that nobody spreads a wet blanket over our fire.
[Mark 16:15-20] Every proof producer ought to manifest the proof of the mandate and impartation of the Holy Spirit [v17&18]. In the light of this mandate, anyone in the Church that cringes away in fear of demons and witchcraft is a spectator and has not caught the fire of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, they are not carriers of God’s presence.
[Acts 4:23-31] Every proof producer understands that the given mandate is to boldly and fearlessly spread the gospel of Christ, even in the face of threats to their lives and liberty. This mandate comes with the knowledge that every gang-up or plot against a proof producer’s destiny can only propel them to the fulfilment of their God-given dream or vision. When the apostles refused to yield to the threats of the religious leaders, these firefighters raised people within the Church to make accusations against Stephen [Acts 7: 9-15], but even as he was being killed Stephen continued to testify to the power of God, the resurrected Christ.
The firefighters threatened the proof producers and subjected them to severe torture. This only produced thanksgiving and praises to God, for counting them worthy of suffering for the sake of Jesus Christ. These apostles were permanently sold out to the cause of the resurrection power of Jesus. This is the example we should follow – living daily for Christ and rejoicing in God.
8 Vocabularies of Proof Producers
These 8 vocabularies described what happened to the church when the day of Pentecost had fully come, and the Holy Spirit came upon the congregation. We can also depend on God in our generation to experience the infilling of the Holy Spirit so that these vocabularies can fine tune and rejuvenate our spirits.
- Great Power and Great Grace: [Acts 4:33] We find two of the vocabularies here. One is Great Power, and the other is Great Grace. A powerless church is a useless church.
- Great Fear Acts 5:1-11. When the hypocrites within the church were given an occasion they polluted the good work Barnabas had begun. We need a great fear of God to pervade the church again, or else, the sanctuary of God will be filled with religious hypocrisy.
- Great Multiplication and Great Wonders Acts 6:7-8. As it was on the day of Pentecost and much after, many people will seek God and become Christians in the years to come, because the great power, great grace and the great fear of God upon us will produce great multiplication and great signs and wonders.
- Great Persecution and Great Lamentation. The persecution escalated after Stephen was killed, and the enemy rose up against the Church [Acts 8:1-3]. The present Church plays to the gallery, wanting to look good to everyone, instead of remembering the lessons of Jeremiah’s lamentations and intensify efforts to warn the world of impending doom. You learn greater wisdom in the house of mourning than in the house of feasting. Great lamentation and persecution usually precede something greater, if the people do not relent.
- Great Joy in the city Acts 8:8. This is the origin of the “Eight-Eight Fellowship.” Great joy followed once Philip stepped into Samaria and preached the gospel of the kingdom of God and the resurrected Christ with the demonstration of God’s power. He suspended all the powers of the occult among them and the liberated city greatly rejoiced in the new freedom they found in Jesus Christ. There is no joy without persecution. You cannot have the one without going through the other.
We ought to fear those who pretend to be one of us but go about quenching the fire of Holy Spirit within the Church. Are you a proof producer or fire quencher in God’s house? The most dangerous enemies of the church are not those operating outside the Church, but those within, silently destroying God’s establishment. Nobody can frustrate God’s assignment, but God will frustrate all tokens of lies and deception. The enemies of the Church include whisperers, gossipers, complainers, murmurers, hypocritical benefactors and givers, who use gifts to obtain access to, and exert undue influence on, leadership in order to derail and destabilise them. These are fire quenchers.
The enemies within the Church are carriers of bitterness, and rumour mongers within the church – internal firefighters. They both grieve and quench the Spirit [Ephesians 4:25-32], attacking leadership and despising prophecies and spiritual authorities [1 Thessalonians 5:12-20]. This is how churches become ineffectual religious institutions where congregants gather to sing hymns but cannot influence or change their societies. We must bring back the fire of the Holy Spirit into His Church.
Pray for the return of the fire of the Holy Spirit. That we may remain hot, and on fire, for God, instead of cooling down. May we not neglect the ministry of the word and prayer, in Jesus name.
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