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Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 159

The Gifts Part 64

Discerning of Spirits continued...

When we know with certitude that it is God leading a work or a congregation, those called upon to serve, walk in the authority of this profound knowledge. When we are humble in our walk with the Lord, when we defer to Him in all things, we know that He will not leave us in the dark, and He will shed light upon every situation that seems to be in the shadows.

A great example of God intervening by way of the gifts the Holy Spirit to bring light to a situation that would have otherwise remained hidden is the example of Ananias and Sapphira as they came before the apostles with a part of the proceeds they received for the possession they had sold.

On the surface, their act seemed a selfless and charitable one, as they came and gave of their own goods to the work of God. Any one not endowed with the gift of discerning of spirits would have looked upon their actions and commended them; they would have lauded their noble intent, and perhaps even praised them before the congregation as has become customary in our day and age when someone is exceedingly generous. To the naked eye there was no wrongdoing in their actions, and to human reason they were just a very generous couple who came and laid the proceeds from their piece of land at the feet of the apostles.

Only the Spirit of God could have known the deceit of their heart, and only the Spirit of God could have revealed such a thing to Peter.

What I’ve always found intriguing about Ananias and Sapphira, is that no one compelled or asked them to give the entirety of their proceeds to the work of God, no one compelled them to offer a certain percentage, yet they felt they needed to lie and say that what they had brought before the apostles’ feet was the entire sum that they received from their transaction.

Acts 5:3-4, “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in our own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.’”

Peter makes it clear to Ananias that it was his land, it was his money, and while it was in his control he could do with it as he saw fit. Yet Satan had filled his heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, for no other reason than to seem more generous and giving than he truly was before the brethren. We know of the punishment both Ananias and Sapphira received for their deceit, we know by way of Scripture that they were both carried out dead, and buried side by side, and for some it is difficult to reconcile a loving and merciful God, with what took place on that day, because they attempt to omit the justice and righteousness of God from His nature.

Two people knew of the attempted deception, namely Ananias and Sapphira, yet the Holy Spirit knew their hearts, knew their actions, and by way of the gift of discerning of spirits revealed to Peter what they had colluded and agreed to do.

This is the beauty of the gift of discerning of spirits that try as one might, they cannot hide anything from the sight of God, for He sees all, and knows all, and searches the depths of men’s hearts. For this reason, the gift of discerning of spirits is a very practical and necessary gift within the household of faith, because it brings light to the darkness, and reveals the intent of men’s hearts which are often in stark contradiction with their actions.

God knows not only what we do, but why we do what we do, and it is an amalgam of action and intent that He judges justly and righteously. The action of Ananias and Sapphira was a noble one. They came, and gave of the proceeds of a land sale to the work of God, yet the intent of their heart was to deceive God, and hold back part of what they claimed they had given to God. It was theirs to begin with, theirs to do with as they saw fit, yet because they attempted to deceive, because they attempted to lie to God, they were punished and severely so.

Whenever we see the manifestation of any of the gifts of the Holy Spirit within the household of faith, we are encouraged and edified, and we are reminded that God is with us, that He is ever present, and that He is still working among His children. I could not think of a more discouraging and disheartening mindset, than that of God no longer working among His children, than that of the power of God no longer being evident within the fellowship of the saints.

For decades men have attempted to redefine the purpose of fellowship, they have attempted to redefine the purpose of the church, wherein it is no longer the place where you go to feel the presence of God, wherein it is no longer the place where you go to see the power of God, but rather the place where one goes to be entertained, made to feel at ease, pacified, and appeased.

The house of God is not a social club; the fellowship of the saints is not a social gathering. We do not gather in fellowship to be entertained, we gather in fellowship to be as one body, with the singular desire to feel the presence of God, and witness His miracle working power.

Do not be content with merely being entertained, do not be content with merely being made to feel comfortable, desire to see the power and presence of God, desire to see the gifts of the Holy Spirit operating within the church. I’m not asking anyone to take a leap of faith; all I’m asking is that you believe God at His word.

Acts 1:8, “And you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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