Real Evidence That You Have the Holy Spirit

Real Evidence That You Have the Holy Spirit


Once you have the Holy Spirit, you will be empowered by Him to glorify Christ in and through your life.

When you think of the Holy Spirit, what comes to your mind? Different tongues and miracles come to some people’s minds. Others think of current Pentecostal believers who keep saying Hallelujah in their prayers and preaching. On the other hand, others think that all the gifts of the miracles and gifts of different tongues are ceased.

Amid all the opinions, at times we get confused about what to believe about the Holy Spirit.

I won’t touch on the above controversial topics today. But what I want to do is that I want you to look at the work of the Holy Spirit from a different angle and perspective.

So let me ask this question to you: What is real evidence that you have the Holy Spirit?

Let me put it in a different way. What if somebody is speaking in different tongues or doing miraculous deeds like driving demons and giving you some secret information about your past event which you only know, can you say with certainty that this person truly has the Holy Spirit?

I do not think we can say with certainty that these miracles and deeds are the work of the Holy Spirit. Why?

Because we know from experience and from the Scriptures that the demonic spirits have some power. Satan and unclean spirits are also capable of entering a person’s body and start controlling one’s speech and language and performing miraculous deeds. I have seen people possessed by demons and start speaking in English or another language even though the person had not previously known them. Plus, we know from the Old Testament that Satan is capable of doing wonders.

It is possible to have all these seemingly miraculous gifts but not have the actual Holy Spirit in your life.

So, what is the one criterion we can use in the life of a church and an individual to identify the work of the Holy Spirit?

Let’s read Acts 1:1-11:

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, ‘you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’

So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’ And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.  And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.'”

The author of this book, Luke, answers this in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”

What does Jesus say in Acts 1:8? He says that we will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses.

Jesus also says in John 15:26-27, “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send you to you from the Father-the Spirit of truth who goes out from the father-he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.”

So, according to Luke and John, how can we know if a person has met the Spirit of God?

The primary reason we are given the Spirit of God is so that we will testify Christ and we will be His witnesses in this world as a result more people would repent and accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Jesus Christ gave His Spirit to the church because the church would spread His name and glorify Himself among the people. In other words, one of the important works of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ.

Isn’t it interesting? Holy Spirit does not draw attention to Himself but He draws his attention to Jesus Christ.

Many people who claim to have the Spirit of God like to draw attention to themselves by their works. But if you have really encountered God through His Spirit, you will draw attention to Christ through your speech and works.

So, what is the one criterion we can use in the life of a church and an individual to identify the work of the Holy Spirit?

If you are truly encountered by the Spirit of God, the Spirit would show you Jesus Christ. He will continue to lead you to appreciate Jesus’s work on the cross for you and do everything to spread Jesus’ name on this earth by whatever means you have on this earth.

Pastor Timothy Keller says, “Being filled with the Spirit is not getting some kind of electrical shock. Being filled with the Spirit is having God give you the truth about Himself.”

Many people believe that the real evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit is to speak in tongues and do miraculous works. But as I have already mentioned, we also know that Satan has the power to do miracles and wonders and enter a person’s body and cause him to speak different unknown tongues. But what is the one thing demonic spirits cannot do? The demonic spirits cannot exalt Christ and will not be interested to spread Jesus’ Kingdom on earth.

So, my friends, if you claim to have the Holy Spirit, one of the key pieces of evidence is that you would glorify Christ and care for Jesus’s reputation more than yours.

If the main work of the Holy Spirit is to empower us to be Christ’s witnesses, how does He empower us to be His witnesses?

As I told you that when a person is possessed by an unclean spirit or filled by a demonic spirit, the unclean spirit will inspire the person to do his works.
Similarly, when we are filled by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God will work in our hearts and increase our affection for Christ and for His redemptive work.
As a result, our love for Jesus Christ will grow and we start giving more value and importance to Christ and His kingdom.

When the Holy Spirit grows our affection and love for Christ, then what happens next? We will automatically start talking about Christ to others. We will start witnessing Christ’s love for the lost people. As a result, the church will start spreading Christ’s redemptive work to the people who do not know Christ and more people start following Jesus Christ. No wonder, why the First Century church started growing like a rapid fire. Today also, Jesus’ kingdom is growing.
It is growing because Christ is active through His Spirit in the life of His church and followers.
Luke shows us that Jesus is still active even though He is ascended to heaven.

We know that Luke has written two books. He mentions this in Acts 1:1, “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach.” His former book is the Gospel according to Luke. And his second book here is the Book of Acts.

Why has Luke written the two books? What is the main subject of Luke’s two books?

Basically, Luke writes about Jesus as the main Hero in his two volumes. He talks about Jesus’s works in two stages.
In the first book, he writes about Jesus’ teachings and miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension. It means Luke focuses on Jesus’ earthly ministry while Jesus was on this earth. You can read it in Acts 1:1, “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach.”

But in his second book, which is Acts, Luke shows that Jesus is working from heaven through the Holy Spirit. So, Jesus from earth working in the gospel of Luke, and Jesus from heaven working in the book of Acts.

I believe that Luke is telling us that Jesus is still active even though He is taken up to heaven. Jesus is working from heaven through the Holy Spirit through His followers.
It means Jesus’ works are not yet done what He has already begun while He was on this earth. It is still going on by His church through the Holy Spirit. Jesus is still active from heaven.

So, you may ask me, what are the works that Jesus has already begun and continues to do now?

Notice in Acts 1:1 that Luke writes, “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach…”

Notice Luke mentions the works of Jesus in Acts 1. For example, in verse 1 Jesus began to do and to teach. In verse 2, Jesus chose apostles, Jesus was taken up to heaven, in verse 3 Jesus suffered, died, and appeared to His followers for 40 days. And in verse 4, Jesus commanded apostles to wait for the Holy Spirit. Here we see that Jesus taught, chose apostles, did wonderful works, suffered, died, rose from the dead, appeared before people, and ascended to heaven. These are the works Jesus began to do while He was on earth.

Why did Jesus teach, chose apostles, and do all these works? And, why did Jesus suffer? Why did Jesus do the work that includes suffering?

Friends, Jesus suffered because of you and me. If Jesus did not suffer on the cross and die for us, then we would deserve to suffer and die for our sins.

Many think that “If I do good works, I can earn heaven, God will accept me and take me into heaven.” Others say, “I can never make it to heaven because I am so bad that God cannot forgive my sins.” Do you see, both groups of people are operating in the same assumption that we can earn forgiveness of sins by our good work and efforts?

We know by experience that we can earn so many things in this world by our efforts. But this does not mean we can earn forgiveness of our sins by our efforts. No amount of money can purchase forgiveness of our sins. No amount of good works can earn salvation. Imagine, you commit a crime and then you go to jail and you appear before a judge and you tell him, “Sir, I have done so many good works, and I will also do good works in the future, so please release me.” Can the Judge let you go unpunished because you will do good work in the future or you have done good work in the past?

No, the judge cannot let go you free without punishing you. If a worldly judge cannot forgive your sins and let you go unpunished based on your good works, how can a Holy God do that to you?

This is why Jesus suffered on our behalf so that we do not have to be judged for our sins. Jesus did choose suffering for us so that we can have eternal life in Him.
Do you see, this is one of the important works Jesus has already begun while He was on this earth?

Luke is saying that Jesus has already started the work of salvation and he is still working from heaven to save people. Now Jesus is still doing the work of salvation by His church through the Holy Spirit.

The question is, are we part of Jesus’ mission? Is our church part of this great work that Jesus has already begun? This is a movement that Jesus has already started and it is not completed.

Pastor Timothy Keller, said, “Two thousand years ago, there was a tiny group of Jesus’s followers who had no political power, no educational power, no cultural power, no economic power but within two centuries this group became a leading force in the Roman empire.”

Today still the kingdom of God is spreading. People from all walks of life are repenting and pledging their allegiance to Christ.

Another pastor and theologian, John Stott, said in one of his commentaries, “The Kingdom of God is his rule set up in the lives of his people by the Holy Spirit. It is spread by the witnesses, not by soldiers, through a gospel of peace, not a declaration of war, and by the work of the Spirit, not by the force of arms, political intrigue, or revolutionary violence.”

My friends, we know from the book of Acts that the disciples and the church took risks for the Gospel. The First Century community spent all their resources among themselves and supported one another for the gospel. They suffered and died to spread the message of Christ.

Are we investing our lives, time, money, and resources to glorify Christ and extend His kingdom? Or are we more concerned about our little ambitions?

How can I be a Christ-exalting person? How can I think more about Christ’s kingdom rather than my own agenda?

Most of us are selfish. Many live for their reputation and glory, rather than God’s glory. We hardly think about what the Lord wants from us. We claim to be Christians but we do not want to act like Christ. We do not want to sacrifice and suffer for noble cause. Doing God’s work is not easy, it requires sacrifice and suffering. People will reject you and may persecute and kill you.

We can notice the same thing from the First Century Christians.

They are selfish people like us. They do not want to suffer while following Christ. Instead, they expect to rule along with Jesus Christ in His kingdom. This is why they argue about who would be great when Jesus comes into His kingdom. They want a life without sacrifice and suffering. This is their hope.

Look with me in Acts 1:6, here disciples are asking the resurrected Jesus. “Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom of Israel?” They are saying, Lord, you are now resurrected and you are the true Messiah, are you now going to restore the Kingdom of Israel?

They are still thinking about the Kingdom of Israel and their independence from Roman Rule. They are still focused on their Jewish people and land. They are nationalistic and they cannot think of other people. They are not able to think that they need to share Jesus with all the people beyond their land. This is the major problem they had.

Despite being with Jesus and experiencing His physical presence, disciples were still thinking to keep Jesus within their wall. They have not changed their mind.
How did the disciples experience Jesus? They heard Jesus’s teachings. They saw Jesus raising dead Lazarus, feeding thousands, and healing people from many diseases. They also witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion and death. Furthermore, they saw risen Jesus and touched Him. Jesus appeared to them for 40 days. After that, before the disciples’ eyes, Jesus was taken up to heaven. They experienced the physical Jesus on this earth. So, Jesus was available to their senses.

Despite having all these wonderful experiences with Jesus, they are still thinking to keep Jesus inside their community, nation, and congregation. This is why they are asking Jesus, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom of Israel?”

So, what is the thing that changed the selfish hearts of the disciples?

Truly disciples needed real change. Something radical needs to happen in their hearts so that they would drop their worldly thinking and start thinking about Christ’s kingdom.

Even though the disciples had seen and experienced Jesus on this earth, He had asked them to wait for the Holy Spirit. Jesus knew that their experiences with Jesus weren’t enough to change their hearts and move them beyond their selfish nature. He knows that when the Holy Spirit comes, He will empower them to witness Christ. This is why Jesus tells disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit.

We know what happened on the day of Pentecost when the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit. Their selfish hearts were changed and they started to witness Christ. They risked, sacrificed, suffered, and died to extend the kingdom of Christ. They needed the experience of the Holy Spirit to move them beyond Israel to witness Christ.

We as a people of God are no different than those First Century disciples. Though Jesus’ disciples had all the physical experience and still needed the experience of the Holy Spirit to change their selfish mindset, how much more do we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit to change our life? Friends, we need the Spirit of God to change us from our selfish agenda. We need the Holy Spirit to risk our life and sacrifice and suffer to spread Jesus’ kingdom till the ends of the earth.

Some of you are thinking, “I am a housewife, a businessman, a woman, a teacher, an engineer, or a doctor, how can I spread Christ and support His cause?” I am not saying that you need to be a missionary and go out and help the needy. What I am saying is that even if you are a housewife or a businessman and a woman, or a teacher, you will do whatever it takes to spread His name. You may devote yourself to prayer, you may contribute money and resources, or you may send someone so that Christ is proclaimed. You will do whatever it takes to glorify Christ. This is why the Holy Spirit is given to you and me. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you will be empowered to do everything that Christ wants.

Maybe we need to ask Christ to fill our lives and our church with the same Holy Spirit who will empower us to glorify His name and lead us to be more Christ-centered.

May the Lord bless us through his word! Thank you.


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