The Holy Spirit Is Given
On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit fell from heaven (Acts 2:1-4) and filled the hearts of 120 believers. These believers were the first of the New Testament church to experience the fullness of God’s plan which was accomplished through Jesus Christ. In a time of ritualistic, ceremonial worship with a history of sin and spiritual failure, Jesus brought salvation to earth so mankind could live victorious and holy lives through the atonement of the blood and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Promise of the Father
Looking forward to Pentecost, God declared His intentions in Ezekiel 36:27: “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” No longer was man bound to his inclination toward unrighteousness, but God gave of Himself through His Spirit that man could live righteously in the midst of a sinful world. He again spoke of that day when He said: “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28).
The Place of His Dwelling
In the Old Testament, the presence of God communed with man first in the tabernacle and then in temples. These buildings were made with earthly hands. “Howbeit, the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet….what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?” (Acts 7:45-49). This question is answered in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” God would only dwell in a holy place and so His Spirit would not dwell in the temple of this earthly body until it had been purged from sin through Jesus Christ.
Jesus Came to Prepare the Way for the Spirit
John the Baptist saw Jesus and spoke of the baptism of the Holy Ghost to come. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but…he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Matthew 3:11). Jesus came to prepare the way for the coming of the Holy Ghost. “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). The promise of the Father referred to the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Given Unto All
This wonderful gift of power through the Holy Spirit was first given on the day of Pentecost to the Jewish believers, but it was promised to all people of future generations. “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off…” (Acts 2:39). The Holy Spirit was given not only to the Jews but to the Gentiles. “And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 10:45). No matter how wicked the world, the Holy Spirit is still available to the believer. Some people think that they can earn the Holy Spirit or pray hard enough to finally get God to answer. Rather, it is a gift that is freely given when conditions are met.
How To Receive The Spirit
What then must one do to receive the Holy Spirit? “a convert. Chiefly, in the words of Christ, the Holy Spirit givRepent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). The Holy Ghost will only come into the life of a person who has previously repented from his sin. The infilling of the Holy Spirit is also a work of faith and is given to them which believe in Christ (Acts 19:2) and are living in obedience to God (Acts 5:32). As the Spirit will only fill a clean heart, so will He only baptize the life that is fully consecrated to God. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). As in the Old Testament, fire consumed those sacrifices that were placed on the altar, so the Holy Spirit, typified as fire, will only fall on that individual who has made a total consecration to God’s will and purpose. Repent, believe, obey, and consecrate and God will baptize with His Holy Spirit.
There Are Two Separate Works
The infilling of the Holy Spirit is a separate, definite work. It is distinct from the experience of justification. The previous scriptures support this two-fold work of salvation as do all of the examples given of the apostolic church in the book of Acts. Philip preached Jesus to people in the city of Samaria. Many of them received Christ and were baptized. Peter and John then came to Samaria to pray for them that “they might receive the Holy Ghost” (Acts 8:15). God saved them from sin and later filled them with His Spirit. Brother Saul, whose name was changed to Paul, accepted Christ and then received the Holy Spirit through the prayers of Ananias. Similarly, other Christians, as illustrated by the household of Cornelius (Acts 10) and the disciples at Ephesus (Acts 19), were filled with the Holy Spirit at separate times from their conversions.
The Holy Spirit Brings Overcoming Power
The Holy Spirit has many functions and makes a radical difference in the life of es power—power to live free from sin, power over self and the flesh, power to live holy, and power to live according to God’s word. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit gives strength in time of weakness, grace in time of trial, and victory in the face of defeat. The justified are “sanctified by the Holy Ghost”
(Romans 15:16). They are set apart, consecrated, and made holy by the power of God. Their hearts are purified by the Spirit (Acts 15:9). Through the power of the Spirit, the natural inclinations of the flesh are bound and there is divine ability to say “no” to the devil and “yes” to God.
Other Functions of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is a comforter and teacher (John 14:26). He leads and directs His people. The Holy Spirit guides and bestows spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost” (Romans 5:5). The Spirit of God unifies the true people of God (Hebrews 2:11). The Holy Spirit gives life, zeal, and purpose. “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (2 Corinthians 3:6b). There is praise, holiness, and true worship in the lives of those who have been filled with the Holy Spirit.
Evidence of the Holy Spirit
The infilling of the Holy Spirit is a work of faith and does not always come by great demonstration or emotion. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16). Many false teachers say the evidence of the Holy Spirit is speaking in an unintelligible, heavenly language. Rather, the scripture teaches what the real evidence of the Spirit is: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23). The true evidence of the Holy Spirit is the ability and power to live a holy life.
Receive the Spirit and Be an Overcomer
The fullness and richness of the Kingdom of God is the righteousness, peace, and joy that comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Many Christians are struggling in their experiences. Their spirits are willing to do God’s will but the flesh is weak. The indwelling Holy Spirit is the answer to so many problems that exist in the lives of individuals and in congregations. Through humility and faith, one need only ask the Father, and He will willingly give the gift of the Holy Spirit to them that ask (Luke 11:11-13).