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The Holy Spirit and the Modern Church - Moza 1

SOUTHWESTERN ASSEMBLIES OF GOD UNIVERSITY

Research Literature and Technology

LDR 5213-530

Instructor: Dr. Rob Blakney

[Final Draft]

STUDENT DATA:

Name: Joshua D Moza

E-mail: joshuadmoza@lionmail.sagu.edu

Phone: 815-980-1961

Semester: Fall 2017

Date: 11/4/17
The Holy Spirit and the Modern Church - Moza 2

Abstract

The Holy Spirit is a truly amazing gift to all of mankind that has been given

to the world by God. The Holy Spirit and the wonderful gifts that come along with

the Holy Spirit are so helpful to all Christians that take advantage of these gifts

given to them by God. These amazing gifts given by the Holy Spirit include;

speaking in tongues, giving prophecy, healing and so much more.

The big problem that the church is facing today is that multiple church

leaders across the world are afraid of letting the Holy Spirit flow freely in their

services. Every church leader choosing to keep the Holy Spirit out of their church

services does so for one reason or another. Some of the reasons church leaders

have for keeping the Holy Spirit out of the modern church are a lack of

understanding, confusion, and or even fear. God has specific and amazing plans

for the modern church, however many church leaders are not seeing these plans

come to pass, because they are too afraid to let the Holy Spirit flow in the church.

Not only do pastors have a lack of understanding, but also they are also afraid of

what visitors may think.

Church leaders need to train themselves on the Holy Spirit, because the

Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are meant for the church of today just

as much as they were meant for the church of the New Testament. Church

leaders need to learn to trust God, and know that the use of the Holy Spirit will

have an amazing long lasting impact on their churches, and so many peoples

lives as a result.
The Holy Spirit and the Modern Church - Moza 3

The Holy Spirit and the Modern Church

By dissecting many passages of scripture, it is very obvious that God

promised the Holy Spirit to the Church today, and not only the early followers of

Christ. Simply searching for movements of the Spirit online reveals that God is

still doing great and mighty works in this generation today. There is however, an

issue of engagement and even readiness in the hearts of the church using the

Spirit. Each person has their own reasons for not involving the Holy Spirit,

including a lack of understanding, confusion, and even fear. The Holy Spirit is

waiting for church leaders to welcome the movement, because the Holy Spirit

cannot operate effectively without the willingness of those leaders. While many

churches today have left the movement of the Holy Spirit behind, claiming the

Holy Spirit was a first-century phenomenon, the Holy Spirit is definitely still as

relevant today as He was when He was originally poured out onto this earth as a

gift to everyone.

The Gospels records show that the promises of the Holy Spirit were

fulfilled in the book of Acts. The promises however, did not start and then end

during the apostles lifetime, but these promises continue even to the church of

today. John 14:16 says that, I will ask the Father, and he will give you another

Helper, to be with you forever.1 The word forever in this verse implies eternal,

beyond our recognition of time. Eternity is the unlimited and incalculable space

of time bounded at its beginning by the introduction of the kingdom of God in

1 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version


The Holy Spirit and the Modern Church - Moza 4

Christ and stretching out into the unlimited future.2 This generation is currently

living in the unlimited future, extending past the introduction of the idea of the

Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Holy Spirit continues to be available for the Church

today, for the same reasons the Holy Spirit was in the first century.

In the book of Acts, the apostles lay a foundation of what a Spirit

empowered church is capable of, and how to take advantage of the gift given to

them in the upper room. Alton Garrison wrote an implementation guide on the

subject, which has been used in many churches as a teaching guide on building

Spirit-filled ministries. Garrison makes a point in his book that the church, and

the individual believer should never reach the finish line. Instead, There is

always a next level expectation3. Jesus disciples had access to the greatest

database of knowledge and wisdom ever to exist on Earth, through Jesus. They

did not enter into the fullness of their ministry, however, until they received the

gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. When Jesus disciples allowed the

Spirit to fill their hearts, He spilled over into their ministry and they saw many

multitudes of miracles and salvations occur.

The Acts Two model church relied heavily on the use of the gifts of the

Spirit as a means, not an end. Following the use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit,

there was a time of discipleship in which the apostles educated those around

them on what just happened and how they too, could be in relationship with

Jesus and receive the Holy Spirit. In spiritual development, growth is a Christian

lifestyle enhanced by learning the principles of Christ and practicing them

2 Elwell, Walter A., and Barry J. Beitzel. Baker encyclopedia of the Bible
3 Garrison, Alton. Acts 2 church and implementation guide
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through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.4 The Spirit was given to believers

to promote growth, in a healthy manner. The Holy Spirit acted as a catalyst for

what the disciples had been taught while spending time with Jesus. They did not

settle for knowledge of the Bible alone, they allowed the Spirit to elevate their

ministry to the next level. Without the presence of the Spirit, they would have

spoken words with little to no power behind them. Instead, Peter empowered

many others to repent of their sins and receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the
name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive
the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your
children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls
to himself. 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued
to exhort them, saying, Save yourselves from this crooked generation.
41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added
that day about three thousand souls.5

That same power that turned 3,000 hearts towards God is still alive and active

and working today, and it is available for anyone that decides to actually choose

to use it.

When churches choose to operate without the Holy Spirit, it leads to an

unhealthy do-it-yourself mentality. In the Old Testament, Saul was a king

ordained by God for the throne. His lack of respect for Gods Spirit and counsel

is similar to many other modern day churches decisions to leave the Holy Spirit

out of their services.6

Then Saul said to Samuel, I have sinned. I didnt obey the Lords
commands. I didnt do what you told me. I was afraid of the people, and I

4 Garrison, Alton L. Transforming a Church The Acts 2 Way.


5 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version.
6 Vainio, Ed. The Saul Syndrome.
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did what they said. Now I beg you, forgive my sin. Come back with me so I
may worship the Lord. But Samuel said to Saul, I wont go back with
you. You refused the Lords command. And now he rejects you as king of
Israel.

Saul repeatedly took matters into his own hands, even after God had

clearly spoken through His prophet, Samuel. Eventually, God rejected Saul for

his disobedience. This theme is not specific to the Bible, but it has also plagued

great evangelists, pastors, and other leaders of this generation. An extreme

case occurred in 1978, when over 900 people participated in a mass-suicide in

the city of Jonestown.7 What started, as a typical evangelistic movement quickly

became a cult when the leader of this organization began to view himself as God.

Many people blindly followed Jones, and his Charismatic attitude, ultimately

leading them to their own death. Jones, on the other hand, started out as an

ordained minister, God used him for both healing and saving the lost. Jones had

been able to operate in the spiritual gifts, but in one moment, he developed a

mentality that he could do what God couldnt. His ministry was no longer

effective, and his influence was greatly abused.

Proverbs 29:18 says that, Where there is no prophetic vision the people

cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. 8 The Hebrew word for

vision is chazon and the word for cast off restraint is pra.9 Chazon is a two-

part word: both parts are seen through variations in scripture as follows: vision, or

word of revelation. A revelation was given both with immediate importance

7 Nelson, Stanley, director. Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple.
8 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version
9 Thomas, Robert L. New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek dictionaries:

updated edition
The Holy Spirit and the Modern Church - Moza 7

(applicable immediately) but also gave hope and vision for the future of the

person/nation. It addresses the ability to follow God short term, and see His plan

long term.10 The meaning of pra is to lose control and give up all morality.11 It

is also used Exodus when the Israelites threw a party to worship the golden calf

Aaron had made. It is an idea of openly rebelling to a set, and accepted,

standard of behavior. This Proverb is a really good reminder to be sensitive to

the revelation of God, which is only even possible through His Holy Spirit.

Unfortunately, many churches still choose to either completely remove or

limit the Spirits ability to flow during their services. One major reason churches

have left the Holy Spirit behind is how the gifts impact the guests and the new

believers. In a 2009 survey done by the Barna Group, 1871 self-described

Christians were interviewed. They were asked various questions about God,

Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Satan, and demons. Only 25% of those questioned

strongly agreed with the idea that the Holy Spirit is a living entity, with an

additional 9% somewhat agreed with the idea. 58% of the group, however,

believed that the Holy Spirit is a symbol of Gods power or presence but is not a

living entity.12 These varying views are not uncommon, causing a general lack

of knowledge in the Church surrounding the Holy Spirit.

In addition to a general illiteracy in regards to the gifts of the Holy Spirit,

outside factors have also impacted the spiritual openness of both believers and

non-believers. Shows and movies that have been promoted by Hollywood are

10 Brand, Chad, Charles Draper, et al., eds. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary 2003
11 Swanson, James. Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew
(Old Testament) 1997 : n. pag. Print.
12 Barna Group Survey
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misinterpretations of how the Spirit works in our lives. Some of the greatest

setbacks today include horror movies like The Conjuring, and The Exorcist.

While these are not biblically accurate, they portray a side of spirituality that both

confuses and frightens people. Because of these dramatized productions, some

Christians have come to expect such responses when dealing with the Spirit. In

response, the Council of the Assemblies of God agrees that churches should

make room for the Spirit during all services; they are quick to define what a

healthy move of the Spirit looks like in their position papers.13 Unfortunately,

many churches decide not to take the time to explain the Holy Spirit, and instead

leave it out altogether. Not only do people have a skewed understanding of the

Spirit, they also lack the church as an educator on what a healthy move of the

Spirit is. This problem can be empathized by the early church, in the book of

Acts.

And he said to them, Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?
And they said, No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.
And he said, Into what then were you baptized? They said, Into John's
baptism. And Paul said, John baptized with the baptism of repentance,
telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is,
Jesus. On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them,
and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.14

Pauls struggle here was not that people were unwilling to receive; they had

never received education or training on the gifts that had been given to them.

Once they did receive, the Bible says they were able to begin doing a higher

level of ministry through tongues and prophecy. Removing the Spirit started as

13 Attacks of Satan. Spiritual Warfare (Attacks of Satan), Assemblies of God (USA)


14 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version
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an attempt to be more seeker-friendly, but this action has turned into a trend not

easily broken. Pastors have begun to question the necessity of the Spirit in the

Church, and this trend has spread since then. Disputes have become too

common concerning the use of Tongues, Prophecy and Healing in a church

setting, even though Paul clearly outlined the gifts and their benefits to both the

individual believer, and the body of Christ as well.

Paul defines the gifts of the Spirit in his letter to the Corinthians. In

chapter twelve, he begins by educating the church on the gifts of the Spirit, and

then makes an important point about why the gifts were given in the first place.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are
varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities,
but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is
given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.15

The Hebrew word for common good is , that which gives aesthetic or moral

satisfaction.16 The gifts were not meant for personal gratification, but for the

betterment of the members of the Body of Christ. On an individual level,

believers that operate in the gifts receive the satisfaction of fulfilling their

purpose. On a congregational level, using the gifts of the Spirit allow a church to

fulfill its purpose as well to reach and save those that are lost. The book of

Acts, chapter two makes the point that, as the disciples operated in the gifts and

gave the Spirit room to work, their impact on those around them grew.

And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were
being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and

15 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version


16 Packer, J. I. Good. Ed. D. R. W. Wood et al. New Bible dictionary
The Holy Spirit and the Modern Church - Moza 10

had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and
belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day
by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes,
they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and
having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day
by day those who were being saved.17

Churches today have the ability to fulfill this model that was designed by the early

church, by giving room to the Spirit, and focusing on the discipleship of others

using the gifts given by God. As this new generation returns to these gifts, many

more people living on this earth will come to know Jesus as their Lord and

Savior.

There are obstacles for leaders that attempt to implement a Spirit-driven

mentality into the DNA of their church. One of these obstacles is finding the

balance between the Spiritual unknown, and that, which can be controlled in the

physical. Donald Gee wrote the following on the matter, The three golden

strands of order, faith, and experience need weaving into the one cord that

cannot quickly be broken. A Pentecostal revival in the fullest measure will not

stress one at the expense of the others but will manifest a shining witness to all

three.18 Churches must learn to balance the order of what they can control,

while still having faith that God will use the space given to Him through the Holy

Spirit. Leaders should consider being willing to loosen up control in some

moments in order to give the Spirit the room to move. Hebrews 11:1 says, Now

faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.19

17 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version


18 Donald Gee, Toward Pentecostal Unity
19 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version
The Holy Spirit and the Modern Church - Moza 11

When the Spirit moves on the heart of the leader, the leader must be willing to

take a step of faith and believe that God is in control. Churches must learn to

balance their order with their faith in the Holy Spirit.

Scott Wilson addresses a similar issue found in churches: the

awkwardness of using Spiritual gifts in a public service. He responded to the

issue stating, our worship gatherings should be a laboratory for believers to

learn how to flow in the gifts so they can be more confident when the Spirit

prompts them to use the gifts in the marketplace.20 The church was never

designed to house a group of totally healthy, perfect Christians. Instead, God

placed the five-fold ministry in place for the purpose of equipping. Paul writes

about this in Ephesians 4:11-12, And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the

evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of

ministry, for building up the body of Christ.21 The existence of the church is to

equip the believers to do ministry. The only way successful ministry occurs is

when the Spirit is at the front of the charge. As leaders in church, pastors must

be willing to educate their congregations on the Holy Spirit, in order for them to

accomplish all God has placed in front of them. Without a willingness to allow

the Spirit to move in church, there will be no training in the Spirit. And without the

training in the Spirit, they will not be able to operate effectively in the Gifts.

Another issue facing the church while introducing the Holy Spirit is the

understanding of Pauls body mentality. Paul addresses the self-righteous

20 Wilson, Scott. The Order of Things: The Use of Spiritual Gifts in Contemporary
Worship
21 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version
The Holy Spirit and the Modern Church - Moza 12

attitudes of some of the Corinthian believers in 1 Corinthians 12:1424. These

members believed they were more important, and therefore worthy of more

honor, since the more prominent gifts of the Spirit were manifested through them

in public worship.22 The members of the church had missed the reason they

had been given gifts to benefit the body as a whole. Instead of focusing on

this, the Corinthian believers began to flaunt their own greatness for having the

gift, instead of honoring the One that gave them the gift. Pauls message to

these believers was that no one in the body is more important than another, but

all are necessary for the body to function correctly. This truth is a key to

successfully allowing the Spirit to move in churches today. While not every

church will have a prophet, or a healer, or even an apostle, it is important not to

limit the spirit to working in one specific gifting. Church leaders must be very

sensitive to everything that the Spirit brings, not just one or two gifts that they feel

should be more important.

There exists a correlation between the Gifts of the Spirit and the Fruit of

the Spirit. Anthony Palma made the following statement, Gifts and fruit of the

Spirit have several points in common. As we have seen, their source is the Holy

Spirit. They do not originate with the believer apart from the enabling of the

Spirit.23 Believers that are seeking more of Christ, and wish to show more fruit

in their lives should consider seeking the Gifts of the Spirit as well. As church

leaders, if a congregation is lacking the fruit of a healthy church, it may be time to

22 Richardson, James. The Holy Spirit and Body Building: A Study of 1 Corinthians 12-
14.
23 Palma, Anthony D. The Gifts and Fruit of the Spirit.
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place focus back on the Holy Spirit, and allow gifts to begin to flow again. Palma

makes the statement that, All Christians are required to demonstrate all the fruit

of the Spirit. But God does not require all Christians to have all the gifts. 24 While

Spiritual gifts are powerful and dynamic, the Holy Spirit does not promise all of

them to each believer. Nowhere in the Bible is there evidence that everyone will

receive all of these gifts. However, when believers pursue the Holy Spirit for the

sake of the Holy Spirit, not the gifts, then the fruits will definitely manifest. Palma

finishes his article stating that, The baptism in the Spirit so sensitizes the

believer that he is in a much better position to desire and receive spiritual gifts,

and should also, be a means whereby the believer is better enabled to manifest

the fruit of the Spirit.25 Church leaders should emphasize the importance of

pursuing the Spirit independently, not just the Gifts that the Holy Spirit brings.

Looking toward the future, church leaders should be intentional about

inviting the Spirit back into our congregations. Church Leaders should be making

an effort to return to the First Century model of the Church found in Acts chapter

two. The early church was successful in reaching and teaching the lost. In an

effort to model their ministry and hopefully, their success, leaders must be willing

to welcome the Spirit into churches, as well as individual lives as well. It is

possible to do ministry without the Gifts of the Spirit. It is possible to share the

gospel message with unbelievers, and not have the Holy Spirit. The impact that

church leaders make when they utilize Gods gifts to people shines far greater

than when the church leaders just try to do it all on their own.

24 Palma, Anthony D. The Gifts and Fruit of the Spirit.


25 Palma, Anthony D. The Gifts and Fruit of the Spirit.
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For churches that are struggling to break their spiritual slump, Alton

Garrison said the following, Holy Spirit empowerment is necessary to achieve

the transformational process of revitalizing a church that has been on a spiritual

and numerical plateau.26 In order to achieve Spiritual growth, leaders must be

willing to engage the Spirit. Pastors must be willing to relinquish control of the

service and trust the Holy Spirit. Teachers must be willing to subject themselves

to the knowledge and the wisdom of the Spirit. When pastors allow the Spirit to

empower their personal lives, it will reflect positively in their ministry. And when

pastors utilize the Holy Spirit in their ministries, then lives will be forever

changed.

Sometimes, churches become caught up in practical, business and

financial ways to fix their churches. They look to the bookkeepers, or the

attendance-trackers, or even the bank-teller. Olson, states, Restoration takes

place when God acts through the power of the gospel and the movement of the

Holy Spirit, breathing new life into His church.27 Its not up to church leaders to

change peoples lives. Its not up to church leaders to cause a shift in someones

heart. Its not up to church leaders to see how many people can come to know

Christ in a calendar year. It is, however, up to church leaders as the caretaker of

Gods house, to make room for His Holy Spirit to operate. Church leaders need

to give control back to the Spirit, and take a dependent role on God, instead of

doing it all on their own. As Garrison put it, unless we dedicate ourselves to a

26Garrison, Alton L. Transforming a Church The Acts 2 Way.


27Olson, David T. The American Church in Crisis: Groundbreaking Research Based on a
National Database of over 200,000 churches.
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biblical transformational process and seek Holy Spirit empowerment, we will lose

this generation for Christ.28 Church leaders should trust God, and know that the

use of the Holy Spirit will have an amazing long lasting impact on their churches

and so many peoples lives as a result.

28 Garrison, Alton L. Transforming a Church The Acts 2 Way.


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References

Attacks of Satan. Spiritual Warfare (Attacks of Satan), Assemblies of God


(USA),
http://www.ag.org/Beliefs/Topics-Index/Spiritual-Warfare-Attacks-of-
Satan.

Brand, Chad, Charles Draper, et al., eds. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
2003: n.
pag. Print.

Donald Gee, Toward Pentecostal Unity, Springfield, Missouri: Gospel Publishing


House, 1961: 18. Print.

Elwell, Walter A., and Barry J. Beitzel. Baker encyclopedia of the Bible 1988:
726.
Print.

Garrison, Alton. Acts 2 church and implementation guide. Gospel Publishing


House,
2012. Print.

Garrison, Alton L. Transforming a Church The Acts 2 Way. Enrichment


Journal
(Winter 2010).
http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/201001/201001_093_Acts_2.cfm

Most American Christians Do Not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit
Exist. Barna
Group, 13 Apr. 2009, www.barna.com/research/most-american-christians-
do-not-believe-that-satan-or-the-holy-spirit-exist/.

Nelson, Stanley, director. Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple.
Firelight
Media, 2006.

Olson, David T. The American Church in Crisis: Groundbreaking Research


Based on a
National Database of over 200,000 churches. Zondervan, 2008. Print.
The Holy Spirit and the Modern Church - Moza 17

Packer, J. I. Good. Ed. D. R. W. Wood et al. New Bible dictionary 1996: 423
424.
Print.

Palma, Anthony D. The Gifts and Fruit of the Spirit. Enrichment Journal (Spring
2010)
http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/top/holyspirit_articledisplay.cfm?targetBay
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Richardson, James. The Holy Spirit and Body Building: A Study of 1 Corinthians
12-
14. Enrichment Journal (Summer 2010)
http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/201003/ejonline_201003_HS_Body_build.
cfm

Swanson, James. Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains:


Hebrew
(Old Testament) 1997: n. pag. Print.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
Print.

Thomas, Robert L. New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek


dictionaries :
updated edition 1998: n. pag. Print.

Vainio, Ed. The Saul Syndrome. Enrichment Journal (Fall 2007).


http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/200704/200704_000_saul_syndrome.cfm

Wilson, Scott. The Order of Things: The Use of Spiritual Gifts in Contemporary
Worship Enrichment Journal (Spring 2014)
http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/201402/201402_076_Worship.cfm