When Jesus was about to ascend to heaven, he told the disciples that he would not leave them without comfort – he would send help to them. On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, He fulfilled His promise by sending them the Holy Spirit. The fearful disciples who were hiding in the upper room for fear of persecution suddenly became courageous and began to preach to their persecutors to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus.
The accounts in Acts demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit. Uneducated and ignorant men became very powerful and turned cities and towns upside down because they received power after the Holy Spirit came upon them.
In this current generation, we seem to have lost the understanding of the omnipotent power of the Holy Spirit which has resulted in our inability to rely on Him for absolutely all the help we need in difficult times. The Holy Spirit has been sent to help us, to direct us, to defend us, to teach us and to comfort us. The universal Church is going through a turbulent and difficult time, and unfortunately most Christians do not know who the Holy Spirit is, his ministries and how to harness and appropriate the help and defense he graciously provides.
The Holy Spirit has the power to manipulate the people of the world and the persecutors of the Church. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is not limited to the Church. The Holy Spirit has a ministry in the world and works wonders among the lost. He condemns, converts, constrains and constrains the peoples of the world.
When Paul was arrested, the Church rested: “Then the Church of Judea, Galilee, and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, they increased in number” (Acts 9:31). It was the Holy Spirit who convinced and converted Saul of Tarsus and made him a vessel of honor. The present church can rely absolutely on the Holy Spirit to do to our persecutors what he did to Saul. We can fervently pray for the conversion of those who persecute the Church instead of praying for them to die, as some do in Nigeria.
Undoubtedly, the Church has many enemies. Either way, we should be strengthened by God’s promise in the book of Isaiah: “So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the sunrise; When the enemy comes like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a banner against him” (Isaiah 59:19). against the intimidations, the legislations and the attacks of the enemy which are programmed against the Church.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to stop those who seek to destroy believers and compel them to do incredible things. When King Saul sent three parties of his men to capture David, the Holy Spirit compelled them to join the company of the prophets and they prophesied and did not return. When Saul didn’t see them, he decided to go after David himself and ended up stripping naked and prophesying all day and night under the influence of the Holy Spirit (1 Samuel 19:20-24 ). This was a great surprise to the Israelites, and they found this proverb: “Is Saul also among the prophets?
Why is it difficult for those who persecute the church these days to be stopped by the Holy Spirit? Is the power of the Holy Spirit diminishing or are the human instruments that are supposed to lower the power of the Holy Spirit lacking? Maybe we need to check what’s wrong. Are we sure we are not grieving the Holy Spirit? For the fact that many of us do not even believe in his existence is reason enough for him to cancel his helping activities towards us.
Paul rebuked Elymas as he stood in the way of the Gospel: “Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, ‘You are a child of the devil and an enemy You are right! You are full of deceit and wiles of every kind. Will you never cease to pervert the straight ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You will be blind for a time. , unable even to see sunlight.’ Immediately mist and darkness enveloped him, and he groped around, looking for someone to lead him by the hand” (Acts 13:9-11).
If we humble ourselves to be filled with the Holy Spirit, we can face the persecutors of the church the same way Paul faced Elymas. The Holy Spirit is readily available to defend the Church, but we must acknowledge His presence, revere Him, and fear Him. Instead of depending on the flesh, the Church must understand that we cannot win the battles we face by political power and military might, but by the Spirit alone.
Oscar Amaechina is the President of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, Abuja, Nigeria. His calling is to take the gospel where no one has preached or heard of Jesus. He is the author of the book The mystery of the cross revealed.