Things that Kill the Fire of God

Too many churches simply teach people how to sing songs, take sermon notes, and participate in religious routines without ever surrendering to true, spirit-led worship and obedience. As a result, people know about the Holy Spirit but don’t actually experience His power and presence moving in their lives.

The temptation is to not invite your friends into revival because they might judge what’s happening. They’re going to hear people speaking in tongues and be like, “That’s crazy, all that jabbering.”  But mockers and critics will come. But that’s no reason not to invite them!

Four Responses to Spiritual Outpouring

Drawing from Acts 2 where the Holy Spirit was first poured out, there are four typical responses when the Spirit’s power is manifested:

1. Bewilderment 

The Greek word in Acts 2:6 literally means “stirred up into confusion or an uproar.” Just as fans get riled up at sporting events jeering the referees and players, so people allow the “commentary” of their unbelief to cause an inner disturbance when the Holy Spirit moves in ways they don’t understand.

2. Astonishment

However, others respond with “astonishment” – a sense of profound admiration and wonder. Like tasting an unfamiliar drink, their flesh may initially recoil at the strangeness, but they are undeniably attracted to the effect it produces. Those with open hearts recognize, “This is exactly what I need!”

3. Perplexed

Some are simply “perplexed” – entirely at a loss for words, their jaws dropped in awestruck suspension of disbelief over what is happening. In these moments, we cannot merely rely on information and preaching but must facilitate divinely orchestrated encounters that overwhelm the mind and soul.

4. Mocking 

Sadly, the fourth response is mocking and criticism from those most resistant to the moves of the Spirit. Their disdain often stems from bruised egos questioning, “Who gives them the authority to do this?” Yet, the very first sermon after Pentecost was preached in response to such mocking critics.

The Main Thing Is Making Jesus Known

Regardless of which response surfaces, our obligation as believers is to make the truth of Jesus known – whether through the demonstration of the Spirit’s power or the preaching of His Word and resurrection.

Even if all outward signs and manifestations were removed to make the gospel presentation as seeker-friendly as possible, Acts 17:32 reveals that some will still mock the core message of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Your friends are going to get offended by the works of the Holy Spirit or the words of the Holy Spirit.  But your obligation is not what happens – it’s whether or not they were given a chance to hear it.

Our concern should not be how people respond in the moment but that they have an authentic opportunity to encounter the living truth. Some may resist initially but receive it later. Others may respond, only to eventually reject it. What matters is that the lifeline of salvation is extended.

Pursuing God Uncompromisingly

I have resolved to pursue God uncompromisingly – in worship, preaching, giving, and following the Holy Spirit’s lead above all human strategies, programs or preferences. My overarching desire is not to please people but to please God and see lives genuinely transformed by the power of the risen Christ.

The church’s role is not to create comfortable, consumeristic religious experiences. It’s to midwife people into life-changing encounters with the awesome reality of God’s Kingdom until they are awakened to the truth, no matter how they initially respond.

As those climactic verses in Acts 17:32-34 demonstrate, when the good news is proclaimed with power and conviction, “some mocked…but others joined him and believed.” Let us be faithful to preach the uncompromising gospel and model the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, trusting God to do the work only He can in the hearts of those who hear.


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