Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #332 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading the book of Jude today and our focus is on How Can We Pray in the Holy Spirit- Does That Mean Praying in Tongues? + Do Not Slander Satan, Demons or Angels. We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in . Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Jude – a most mysterious and interesting and thought provoking book of the Bible. I certainly wish it stretched out to ten or more chapters! As a child, I grew up in a church that used Jude 24 as a benediction almost every week, and I can still hear it intoned from the pulpit at Briarwood Presbyterian in Birmingham, Alabama all these years later:
Now to him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of his glory, without blemish and with great joy, Jude 24
What a wonderful blessing! Let’s also talk about a warning that is in Jude – a warning that many Christians don’t take seriously enough. Though I am a Southern Baptist pastor, I have many charismatic friends, and even served on the pastoral staff in a charismatic church in my younger days. I love the heartiness and passion of charismatic worship, but I have sometimes encountered a troubling thing in some charismatic churches – and other churches too, to be fair. Sometimes pastors, leaders, or song leaders lead songs that belittle, demean and otherwise disparage Satan. You might say – that sounds wonderful – we should put him down all we can – he is the enemy!! Except, here’s the thing. #2 – Satan is far more powerful than 1 thousand of us put together. Our taunts and insults to him are as meaningless as a toddler threatening an all-pro defensive tackle who is an MMA fighter on the side. he could squash us with zero effort. Far more important than that, however is the simple fact that we are commanded in Scripture NOT to slander celestial beings, heavenly beings, Satan or demons. Consider these verses:
8 In the same way these people—relying on their dreams—defile their flesh, reject authority, and slander glorious ones. 9 Yet when Michael the archangel was disputing with the devil in an argument about Moses’s body, he did not dare utter a slanderous condemnation against him but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these people blaspheme anything they do not understand. Jude 8-10
If the archangel Michael did not speak slanderous words against Satan, then maybe we would be wise to avoid doing so ourselves – that is a very dangerous and foolish thing to do in song or with our words.
Second topic, which is also a bit on the mysterious side. Jude gives us a command regarding prayer:
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. Jude 20-21 ESV.
This also echoes Ephesians 6:18, “18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” and also might seem to be in view in Romans 8: 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
We can see from these passages that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is integral to prayer – but, specifically, how do we pray in the Spirit? Are Jude and Paul talking about praying in tongues? I suppose that it is possible, considering what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 14:
13 Therefore the person who speaks in a tongue should pray that he can interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with my understanding. I will sing praise with the spirit, and I will also sing praise with my understanding. 16 Otherwise, if you praise with the spirit, how will the outsider say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? 1 Corinthians 14:13-16
There does seem to be a link there between praying in a tongue and praying “with” the Spirit, so I don’t want to rule that out. However, I believe if that was precisely what Jude intended to communicate, he would have made it clearer, so I think that “praying in the Holy Spirit” quite simply means praying in, through, with and under the power and leading of the Holy Spirit. In other words, praying in a way that is aware of the Holy Spirit, asks for the leading of the Holy Spirit, and obeys the leadership and impulses of the Holy Spirit. Along those lines, listen to the advice that Charles Spurgeon gave to young ministers of his day. You may not all be pastors or ministers, but this counsel on praying in the Holy Spirit is sound for every Christian:
We must pray in the Holy Ghost, or else we shall not pray at all; and we must preach under the influence of the Holy Ghost, or else we shall chatter like sparrows on the window-sill in the morning, and nothing will come of our chattering. Only the Holy Ghost can make anything we do to be effectual. Therefore never begin any work without the Holy Ghost, and do not dare to go on with the impetus that you have gained, but cry again for the Holy Spirit. The “amen” of the sermon needs to be spoken in the power of the Holy Ghost just as much as the first word of the discourse, and every word between the first and the last. Let all your service for God be in the Spirit, or else it is all good for nothing….I pray you all to adore the Holy Spirit; think of him ever with the profoundest reverence. Christian men and women, who have been quickened by his power, invoke his might to rest upon you whenever you go about God’s work, for without him you can do nothing. Pray in the Holy Ghost, preach in the Holy Ghost, and do not believe in the conversion of a single soul apart from the Spirit of God. Go and preach, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” as fully and as freely as you can, but remember that your preaching cannot, of itself, raise one soul out of its lost estate. This will be your comfort, that the Spirit of God will work with you and through you if you rely upon him, and depend wholly upon him….
It will be a happy circumstance if we can frequently bow the knee with devout brethren, and I think it ought to be a rule with us ministers never to separate without a word of prayer. Much more intercession would rise to heaven if we made a point of this, especially those of us who have been fellow-students. If it be possible, let prayer and praise sanctify each meeting of friend with friend. It is a refreshing practice to have a minute or two of supplication in the vestry before preaching if you can call in three or four warm-hearted deacons or other brethren. It always nerves me for the fight. But, for all that, to fan your earnestness to a vehement flame you should seek the spirit of continual prayer, so as to pray in the Holy Ghost, everywhere and always; in the study, in the vestry, and in the pulpit. It is well to be pleading evermore with God, when sitting down in the pulpit, when rising to give out the hymn, when reading the chapter, and while delivering the sermon; holding up one hand to God empty, in order to receive, and with the other hand dispensing to the people what the Lord bestows. Be in preaching like a conduit pipe between the everlasting and infinite supplies of heaven and the all but boundless needs of men, and to do this you must reach heaven, and keep up the communication without a break. Pray for the people while you preach to them; speak with God for them while you are speaking with them for God. Only so can you expect to be continually in earnest. A man does not often rise from his knees unearnest; or, if he does, he had better return to prayer till the sacred flame descends upon his soul.
C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students: Addresses Delivered to the Students of the Pastors’ College, Metropolitan Tabernacle. Second Series., vol. 2 (New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1889), 233–234.
C. H. Spurgeon, “The Necessity of Regeneration,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 54 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1908), 588.
C. H. Spurgeon, “Is God in the Camp?,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 38 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1892), 34..
Bible Memory passage for the month of November: John 14:6 “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
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