Joel's Remarkable Prophecy of the Outpouring of the Spirit Two most important questions of Biblical exegesis • “What did the words mean to those to whom they were first spoken?” • “What do they mean to us?” Applying the Message about the Outpouring of the Spirit Today Outpouring of the Spirit Possible answers • Pentecostalism says “Expect a miracle!” Problems with this view • “Revelations” are of dubious value and often contradict the NT • “Signs” are not authentic miracles • Ignores the external historical evidence that spiritual gifts came to an end Possible answers • Pentecostalism says “Expect a miracle!” • Denominationalism says, “Let the Spirit guide you”. Problems with this view • There is no manifest miraculous confirmation of the truth and no way to determine who is being guided by the Spirit and who is not • Even those who claim to be guided in understanding by the Spirit do not agree on the most fundamental questions • The “charismatic movement” crosses over all denominational lines; yet brings no clarity to the religious confusion of denominationalism! Why is that? Possible answers • Pentecostalism says “Expect a miracle!” • Denominationalism says, “Let the Spirit guide you”. • Some brethren say Christians “receive the Spirit” in a non-miraculous way”. – Personal “indwelling” of the Spirit – Representative “indwelling” of the Spirit` Problems with this view • Granting this assumption leads to classification of Biblical texts into miraculous and nonmiraculous or charismatic vs. non-charismatic texts • It separates the statements about the Spirit’s indwelling in the epistles from the background experience of those same churches described in the book of Acts • Why is it necessary to have the Holy Spirit merely dwelling in a Christian’s body if He does nothing while there and there is no real evidence of substance that He is present? Applying the NT Teaching on the Outpouring of the Spirit 1. Acknowledge the manifest miraculous nature of the outpouring of the Spirit • The Scriptures refer to the miraculous work of the Spirit in new disciples with consistent terminology. • In many of the texts where this language is used there are contextual indicators to show us that the writer is thinking of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit. 2. Understand that this outpouring ceased • In 1 Cor. 12-14 Paul gives commands that regulate spiritual gifts. • We can apply the principle, but not the specific command. 3. Acknowledge that what the Spirit accomplished through NT revelation and confirmation can still have an affect in the present NT Spirit-powered miracles can produce faith now. • Through Spirit-powered miracles unbelievers were made to believe in the validity of the gospel through the miracles performed (Ac. 5:12). • Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:30-31) NT Spirit-revealed sermons can convict sinners & tell them how to be saved now. • When the apostles were filled with the Spirit they spoke messages that convinced the sinner that he needed to repent and to believe in Jesus Christ! (Ac. 2:37-38) • We separate out of the cases of conversion the miraculous elements and look for those timeless principles. NT Spirit-revealed truth can lead 21st century disciples now. • The early church received their guidance directly and by miracle through prophets and tonguespeakers. • We read the Spirit’s message recorded in the NT. 4. Acknowledge that reading about the miraculous work of the Spirit in the NT is not a disadvantage to experiencing it personally nor is it an affirmation that the Spirit no longer works A message from a truthful messenger is just as beneficial as an eye-witness experience. • Jesus *said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” (John 20:29) • and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, (1 Peter 1:8) The testimony of miracles can convince people with a right attitude; but even seeing miracles cannot convince people with a wrong attitude. • “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’” (Luke 16:31) The Spirit’s revelation is as living and active now as it was in the first century. • For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) The wonderful blessings of the Spirit’s coming and work are available to us through the Spiritrevealed and Spirit-confirmed message but we cannot “receive the Spirit” as described in Scripture.