3. These are the elements of the anointing, but we need to know that anointing is praying in the Spirit, which I knew nothing about for 17-18 years of my christian life.
“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.”
We could spend along time on this. The people that excite me most are those who pray in the Spirit – there is stimulation and movement. I ask God for people around me who pray in the anointing of the Holy Spirit and move in the power of the anointing in the realm of the Spirit. This is nothing to do with praying in tongues, although that probably does help. When I pray in the Spirit I do pray in tongues, but I am aware that my tongues are not perfect, as scripture says so. Neither is prophecy.
“We prophesy in part, we know in part.”
You can’t have perfect tongues, but if you listen to some of the rubbish going around, you could certainly have better! Chapter 14 of the first letter to the Corinthians says that you should know the interpretation before you open your mouth! There is so much rubbish, but unless someone says something, we are going to have to suffer it until Kingdom-come! Evan Roberts (of the Welsh Revival) was right when he said that passivity of spirit was the very damning thing of Revival. It makes us gullible and we accept everything and anything that flows through without any question. The devil can speak in tongues, as can his demons. Nevertheless there is an authentic movement of the Spirit.
We need to look at Romans and Ephesians to understand what praying in the Spirit is.
Ephesians 6 v. 18;
” And pray in the Spirit on all occasions… “
Don’t pray unless you pray in the Spirit; in the Spirit of God, that is, not your own spirit. Don’t just pray with the mind. Of course your mind is involved as Paul made clear in I Corinthians, but there he talked about two manners of expression rather than the motivation, which is always spiritual. The manner of expression may be rational or super-rational. In other words, you may or may not know what you are talking about initially. In the same way there are two classes of tongues.
Firstly, there is the public speaking of tongues which I have just maligned. However, I do believe in the public speaking in tongues biblically, but I don’t believe half of what happens. The public speaking in tongues requires interpretation, and that combination is something like prophesy. If there is a declaration the people need to know the meaning so they can give their “Amen!”. Paul complained about the same thing in Corinth.
Secondly there is the private use of tongues, and when I talk of tongues I am speaking more of private, of exercising my spirit. I do privately pray out loud, but if you are listening that is up to you. I overflow out-loud in private tongues, but if it is a message, you will know.
Romans 8 v. 26;
“In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for,…”
We neither know the content nor how to pray.
“…but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”
That’s Jesus, isn’t it? If you read on in that chapter, the Holy Spirit we have just read about intercedes within us and Jesus at the right hand of the Father intercedes for us. There is a divine connection there.
It is amazing how so many people are willing to be subjected to cigarettes, alcohol and so on, but are afraid of being subject to the Holy Spirit! They are worried about subjection to the Holy Spirit putting them out of control when they are already out of control since their habits are controlling them. Other people control their circumstances, yet they tell God not to take control of their life because that means they would no-longer be in control of their life. That is quite true, but why should we be afraid when God’s control leads to perfect liberty and the control of these other things leads to dark bondages? Zechariah says that he would rather be a prisoner of hope than of bondage. If you want to be in control, there will be no anointing. That’s what stops it. According to Paul, “We are under the spirit which now works in the sons of disobedience.” We still have this awful need to be in control when we very obviously aren’t. Still we refuse to be under the control of the Holy Spirit, because we would be out of control! The fact is that God knew me before I was born. He planned my life.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.”
God does not want to take me out of control by putting me under control; He wants to bring me into control by putting me under control, so that I do what pleases Him. Not only what pleases Him, though. We have to get rid of a lot of rubbish here too. God is also out to please you! He is out to do the best for you too, so that you are pleased. That is also what the anointing is about, but we will look at that later. There is fantastic satisfaction in the anointing of God. There is nothing that feeds the human psyche like the movement of the Holy Spirit. The best times in my life have been when I have had the anointing and have gone home satisfied. I wasn’t out of control. Once I got locked in a room because I was taking a youth weekend and the kids all got saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, so the leaders didn’t know what to do. They locked me in a room and called the Moderator! When this Liberal came he didn’t know what to do either because if you are a Liberal you do not know what to do with the anointing of God. He tried to be friendly and eventually let me out. Thankfully many of those kids have gone on in salvation in real power because you cannot keep God down.
The anointing also scares theologians to death because it doesn’t depend on the declension of a Hebrew verb! It explains all sorts of verses that they have spent years trying to understand and still don’t. Then a little anointed Christian comes along and finds more power in one word than they have ever tried to unravel in a life – very annoying.
What about us? Are we living in the anointing of God? The anointing is about the prompting of the Holy Spirit, about Him showing you, and He always wants to show you. The question is whether or not you receive what He is showing you. On my computer I have the Kerygma symbol, but for a while I could not get it onto the screen. I pressed the button, and this wonderful symbol appeared on my screen looking an absolute mess. There was nothing wrong with the source, but there was something wrong with the receiver. The Holy Spirit is always wanting to show us, but we have to be in-tune.
Praying in the Spirit is great. It’s powerful. There are at least three important things to say about this in Jude.
1. It speaks of the exercise of praying in the spirit by the Spirit.
The Spirit of God is energizing my spirit and that is the exercise, the interchange that is going on. When I talk of praying in the Spirit I am talking about being open to what God is doing in the deep recesses of my person as He is bringing revelation and stirring and movement that otherwise would not occur.
2. It speaks of the energy of our prayer.
Rom. 8 v. 26
“…the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”
This is a mystery. The living God dwells in you!
“Do you not know that you bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit?”
It can just become a framework of reference; “Push button ‘A’ for healing, ‘B’ for deliverance, etc…”, but in the middle there is a still and empty place.
“Having a form of godliness, yet denying its power.”
The anointing is the power. It is the Holy Spirit, a person, not a vapour. He is real.
3. It speaks of the effect of our praying.
I could get carried-away here. For me the most humorous book of the Bible is James;
James 5 v. 17
“Elijah was a man just like us.”
He was fed by ravens, the flour never ran out, he raised the widows son to life and did all sorts of things like that. He went to challenge Ahab, prophesied with Elijah, built an altar and poured water all over it and called the fire of God down. He anointed kings, ran away from Jezebel and was taken up to heaven by a whirlwind.
“Elijah was a man just like us.”
He prayed and is stopped raining for three and a half years. He prayed again and it rained for three and a half years. Just like us! He had the anointing. Just like us.
James 5 v. 16
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
That is praying in the Spirit. It puts an end to the prayer meetings that paralysed the Church for decades. Hymn, prayer, silence. Hymn, prayer, silence. Hymn, prayer, silence and home to supper!
4. It speaks of being taught by the Spirit.
The book of Isaiah speaks of the prophetic activity of the Holy Spirit;
Isaiah 30 v. 20-21
“In that day your teacher will no-longer hide Himself. Whether you turn to the left or to the right you will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it”.”
That is terrific, but Jesus was even more specific:
John 15 v. 26
“All this I have spoken while still with you, but the counsel of the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
Some people say that only applied to the early disciples, to the first generation of apostles. Well, praise God it was to them – they have a good Gospel! Paul says:
“I didn’t receive this revelation from men, but have received it from God”
This text did not apply only to the first generation of apostles, but to all generations until the coming again of Jesus Christ.
I John 2 v. 20-22
“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. Who is the liar? It is the man that denies that Jesus is the Christ.”
John is not speaking to the first generation but to the second generation; not to the apostles but to the body of Christ. There are a lot of liars around in the Church today from bishops down. You may think that is a bit nasty, but it is true. I am not knocking the Church for the sale of it. It is a grievance that we have deserted the faith “once-delivered to the saints”. Is that not true? Paul said that this Gospel did not come by man, but by revelation from Jesus. It belongs to God, so what right do men have to tamper with God’s Gospel? And yet we treat it like a recipe, taking the bits we like and leaving the rest out! We need to be taught by the Spirit, as we read in I Corinthians:
I Cor. 2 v. ???????
“You have an anointing. See to it that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father, and this is what He promised us: Eternal Life.”
[This looks to me more like an amalgamation of couple of verses from 1 John 2:20, 24,25 – Editor]
There are two things the anointing does about belief.
Firstly it helps us to know who we believe.
Secondly it helps us to know what to believe.
If you do not believe in the powerful, ever-present, living, miracle-working God, then your doctrine will not sustain that. It will be different! When you look at the doctrine of people who dispose of the Gospel, you can tell what kind of God they believe in. Your belief in the truth doctrinally reflects your experience of the truth spiritually. Your experience of the truth doctrinally will be reflected in your doctrinal apprehension of the truth. There is a direct connection. It matters who you believe in and what you believe, and the Holy Spirit teaches us both “who” and “what”.
There is no need to go to Bible College for that. I’ve been to 3 or 4, and I do not despise the right kind of learning: the right discipline of the mind; the right tackling of biblical languages; the right appreciation of the tremendous dynamic of Scripture; an exploration of the principles of hermeneutic and interpretation; understanding of Church history; of the living testimony of God from the first day until now; an appreciation of the meaning of things; how to have apologetics – the defence of the Gospel. Many people in the charismatic church need to grapple with these things so that we do not end up in a generation of spiritually enthusiastic ignoramuses. I have founded this place to marry the enthusiasm of the Spirit and the anointing and exhortation of devotional scripture. I want to marry some of the gifts my other men have got with the thing God has done in me in the other areas.
In the midst of all that we still need the Holy Spirit to be our teacher. I started at university without the qualifications I needed to do what I was doing. In one year I had to learn Greek and Hebrew from scratch. The Holy Spirit enabled me to get 98% in my Hebrew! He gave me a thirst, a quickening and an understanding although I am not naturally a linguist. How did it happen? The anointing of God. God knew what He wanted to equip me for.