By Funda Mpanza
The Holy Spirit is God. Jesus promised to send his apostles the Spirit of Truth. He told them what the work of the Holy Spirit was going to be. The Bible tells us a lot about the work that the Holy Spirit came to accomplish.
Many people today have altered, changed or distorted the work of the Holy Spirit. Here I would like to write about seven things that the Holy Spirit was not given for.
1. The Holy Spirit was not given to make people brag. Simon, the ex-sorcerer, wanted the Holy Spirit so people would applaud him saying he was a great one. He was not given the Holy Spirit because he had a wrong motive – his intention was to boast (see Acts 8:9-11; 18:23). If Simon was not given the Holy Spirit, it is obvious that God cannot give anyone his Holy Spirit for the sake of boasting.
You will hear many people saying that the Holy Spirit drives them to do their mighty deeds – In denominational tent meetings you will hear someone saying, “I can perform miracles.” Usually if he claims it, his audience thinks he is someone great from God. This man does not have the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit was not given for boasting.
2. The Holy Spirit was not given to protect people from temptations. Those people who are running after the Holy Spirit believe that if they can get the Holy Spirit, he will protect or immunize them from temptations. I hear people testifying in pulpits that they have the Holy Spirit that guides them. He protects them from temptations and they don’t sin any more. But I find the very same people in immoralities and many other sins!
In Galatians 2:11-14 you will find that Peter and Barnabas were tempted and sinned. These men had the Holy Spirit. Peter was an apostle who had been with Jesus; Barnabas went preaching with Paul and there is no doubt that he had the Holy Spirit. This explains to us clearly that the Holy Spirit was not given to protect people from temptations.
3. The Holy Spirit was not given to keep people always well. Those who claim to have power from the Holy Spirit think he was given to heal everyone and keep everyone well. Some have even taught that if you go to the hospital you have little faith. Many people have died because they refused to go to the hospital.
In a place called Kwaceza in Zululand there is a so-called “Church of Christ” denomination. When I visited this denomination I wanted to know more about it as it called itself “The church of Christ.” The young man who was telling about it told me that its founder was already dead. I asked him how he died. He replied that he had died a few years ago because his feet were swollen up and he would not go to the hospital.
Almost all of their members believe that it is wrong to go to the hospital. This young man told me that they would not go to the hospital because the Bible does not let them do that. I tried to reason with him by the Scriptures but he would not listen because the founder and the teaching of his denomination were against taking medicine.
A preacher told me about an incident which took place in Mandini, south of Eshowe. Some people believed that it was a sin to go to the doctor or to immunize their bodies against any disease. It happened that cholera attacked our country a few years ago. These people who believed that it is a sin to take medicine were urged to be inoculated. These children died because of their false doctrine taught. False doctrine kills physically as well as spiritually.
What does the Bible say about medicine? Paul told Timothy to use a little wine for his stomach’s sake and his often infirmities (1 Tim. 5:23). Paul was an inspired man. He had power from the Holy Spirit but he did not say to Timothy, “You have little faith.” Instead he prescribed medicine. Wine was to be taken by Timothy as medicine as we sometimes take Coke as our medicine for stomach aches. I visited home one day and my mother prescribed salt and sugar mixed in water as medicine for my stomach ache. It helped me a lot.
Paul left Trophimus sick at Miletus (2 Tim. 4:20). Why didn’t he pray for him? The answer lies clearly that the purpose of miraculous healing was not to keep everyone well. Even Paul himself became sick. In Galatians 5:13 he says, “Ye know how through an infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.”
4. The Holy Spirit was not given to tell people whom to marry. This is a wrong idea believed by many people in this country, especially in black communities. They believe that you can’t get married unless the Spirit of God tells you to do so.
If the Holy Spirit was for telling people whom they should marry, those who get married before becoming Christians are not married at all! Therefore they would be committing adultery. If they are committing adultery they must repent. If they repent they must abandon their spouses until the Holy Spirit tells them the right partners. But that is not true. A married person is married irrespective of whether they married before or after their conversion to Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 7:2 Paul says, “. . . let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” In this verse he doesn’t tell us to wait until the Holy Spirit tells us whom to marry. In 1 Corinthians 9:5 he says, “Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife?” From these verses there is nothing about Christians being told to wait for the Holy Spirit to tell them anything to do as far as getting married is concerned.
Some read Genesis 24:10-21 and say, “Aha! Isaac did not do any thing, but God did something for him.” The people who say that must open their eyes to the Scriptures. Isaac did not wait for the Spirit of God to tell him anything. The verses put it clearly that it was his spokesman who put something forward as a sign that God was with him. Therefore no one has a right to use this verse in justifying his practice.
A certain young man had a similar false idea about marriage. He liked a young lady but wanted to make sure that God had given him this young lady. As many people do, he did something that he thought was going to be a sign from God. He unfolded the collar of his shirt and said to himself, “The lady who will fix my collar nicely will be the one the Lord has chosen for me.” This young man began moving among the young women. By accident a lady who was not very pretty fixed his collar. When this unfortunate thing occurred he cried out, “Oh Lord, that is not the right one!” You see from this that he wanted what he desired to fall on him by chance.
5. The Holy Spirit was not given to roll people on the ground and make them dirty. Many denominational churches teach that if you receive the Holy Spirit you must fall down and become dirty. To them this shows that you are submitting yourself; therefore some people will fall down and roll if they think they are receiving the Holy Spirit.
A denominational preacher was busy preaching. One of those in his audience got excited and disturbed the preacher. Almost everyone got excited and thought the man in the audience was driven by the Holy Spirit. I was also in the audience as it happened in 1984 before I was taught the way of the Lord more perfectly. After the session finished my friend said to me, “Funda, that man disturbed the Holy Spirit (meaning the man who got excited). If he didn’t, we would have seen you under the seats and dirty.” Is it the Spirit of God that is making people fall down and dirty themselves? Certainly not!
On the day of Pentecost when the apostles were baptized by the Holy Spirit, they did not fall down or become dirty (Acts 2:14). Neither did Cornelius and his companions roll in the dirt when they were baptized by the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-46).
6. The Holy Spirit was not given to harm or injure people. A woman was telling a certain preacher that if she receives the Holy Spirit she runs and harms herself with thorns and stones. But that cannot be the Holy Spirit. Her problem is either mental, psychological or some other thing which causes her to run out and hurt herself.
While we were having a weekend meeting in Vyrheid, Natal, a Zionist Church had its meeting. An old woma was standing at the door of the classroom where the Zionists were singing and running around, praying and hitting one another. We asked this woman why she didn’t join her people. Her answer was like this, “If they are like this, we who are old do not enter inside because they drag and hurt us.” Is it the Holy Spirit that drags people and hurts them?
If we examine these practices in the light of the Scriptures we will find that the Holy Spirit never hurt the people who received the Holy Spirit. Who hurts and injures people? The answer is found in Acts 19:13-16 and Mark 5:1-5. Demons hurt people. The Jewish exorcists who claimed to be doing things in the name of Jesus were wounded and prevailed upon by a man who had an evil spirit – not by the Holy Spirit. Mark tells of a certain man who had his dwelling among the tombs. In verse five he says, “And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.” This man was cutting himself because he was possessed by the unclean spirit, not because of the Holy Spirit. Therefore no one should harm himself and blame the Spirit of Jesus.
7. The Holy Spirit was not given to make people indolent and not read the Bible. Sometimes we are faced with the problem of those people who will not reason with us by the Scriptures. They claim to have the Holy Spirit so they will not let anyone reason with them in the light of the Bible. Some even say, “No, don’t keep on memorizing verses. Just be filled with the Spirit.” These people will not search the Scriptures; they receive anything that comes to their minds.
In Acts 17:11 we have an example of noble-minded people who searched the Scriptures daily to see whether the things preached by Paul were true. Paul in Ephesians 3:3-4 emphasized reading the Bible. He said that if we read we may understand the mystery that was made known to him through revelation.
From these seven points we can all see that the Holy Spirit is not a toy to play with. He is God. In John 16:8 the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit was given to Jesus’ apostles for three reasons: “to convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment.” Therefore do not run after the Holy Spirit. He has accomplished his work. We now have the New Testament to follow. It is inspired by the Spirit of God. It is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 21, pp. 656-657
November 1, 1990