Some years ago while on a ministry trip to Mali, West Africa, Vickie and I had a two-day layover in Paris, France. Perhaps you too have visited this incredible city and experienced sites including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Louvre, It was an amazing two days except for one event – I was pickpocketed on our train ride to the Eiffel Tower. Whoever stole my wallet was oh-so-good. I never knew that my wallet had found a new place to exist. The agony of this tragedy was twofold. First, the wallet and its contents (money, credit cards, and identification) were stolen (all replaceable). Second, it was disheartening to deal with the fact that the theft was 100% preventable. Honestly, I knew better. Had I kept my wallet safe and secure in my front pocket, this would have never happened. Believe me when I write that this will never happen again.

All across the world today, believers are experiencing a similar loss which too is 100% preventable. I’m writing about Jesus-loving Christians who unknowingly are being robbed of a Jesus-desired relationship with the Holy Spirit. I know this is true from reading doctrinal positions posted on the internet by leading ministries and prominent churches. Here are two examples copied verbatim from their websites.

  • God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today, and that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 13:8-10; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:7-12; Hebrews 2:1-4).
  • We believe that some gifts of the Holy Spirit such as speaking in tongues and miraculous healings were temporary. We believe that speaking in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of the baptism nor of the filling of the Spirit, and that the deliverance of the body from sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection (Acts 4:8,31; Romans 8:23; 1 Corinthians 13:8)

To me, it is so sad that the church has been robbed because the Person and full work of the Holy Spirit has been relegated to being either a blast in the past or a promise for the sweet by and by while we are living in the nasty now and now. These fellow believers (and I wholeheartedly believe that we are joined together in Christ) through traditions or simple misunderstandings are missing out on the help that only the Helper (Parakletos – the One called to walk alongside) can provide today.

Again, thankfully this robbery is 100% preventable. The Holy Spirit is still here and readily available. He wasn’t sent here to be like the gallon of milk purchased from Walmart that expires almost as soon as you leave the store. The Promised One (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5; 2:16-18) is available in the nasty now and now for all who ask (Luke 11:13). He hasn’t changed one iota since the Book of Acts days and neither has His purpose for placement in the Church. His promised power (Acts 1:8), gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-11), and advantages (John 16:7; Jude 20; 1 Corinthians 14:1-5,12-15) are still available today.

Lessons learned – WAYS TO PREVENT ROBBERY – 1. Keep your wallet in your front pocket while traveling abroad. 2. Keep the Holy Spirit in His place in today’s Church and our lives.