Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Holy Spirit (Is He IN You?)

Receiving the Holy Spirit, the gift of the Holy Spirit, filled with the Spirit, the baptism with or in the Spirit, the promise of the Father, and the outpouring of the Spirit are all one and the same. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is NOT a separate work of God's grace apart from conversion; it is a part OF conversion! The reason there are a multitude of professing Christians who cannot overcome sin, the world, or the devil, and who never see any evidence of the Spirit’s supernatural power and fruit is because they do not have the Spirit of God indwelling their hearts!

Ephesians 4:4-5

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;”

This error comes from the misinterpretation of Acts 2:38

“Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Peter said let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus, he didn’t let any believer do what they thought they should do. He told them plainly what they all had to do in order to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Many believe and are taught today that when you are baptized in water the Holy Spirit descends upon you and He starts to indwell you. Well how do you know the Spirit descended upon you? And how do you know that you received the gift of the Holy Spirit?

Ask yourself this question: When I got baptized (for those who haven't, Jesus commanded it!), was there any evidence that the Spirit of the Living God came to dwell inside my body? If there was no initial physical manifestation (exhibition or revelation) of the Spirit i.e. (speaking in new languages, prophesying) and there is no perceivable manifestations after i.e. (dreams, visions, prophecy, or one of the nine gifts of the Spirit that Paul said each believer would receive in 1st Cor. 12:7), then you don’t have the Spirit of God indwelling you.

If you put Acts 2:38 in context you will realize that Jesus had just told the apostles that John indeed baptized with water, but they would be baptized with the Spirit in a few days and to wait for the promise of the Father.

Acts 1:4-8

“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Also (Read Matthew 3:11) and (John 15:26,16:5-15)

The Greek word for power in verse eight is 'Dunamis'

1411. dunamis doo'-nam-is from 1410; force (literally or figuratively); specially, miraculous power (usually by implication, a miracle itself):--ability, abundance, meaning, might(-ily, -y, -y deed), (worker of) miracle(-s), power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work.

Then during the day of Pentecost we read of the outpouring of the Spirit upon the flesh of man and the initial manifestations of the Spirit that followed this gift.

Acts 2:1-4

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues (languages), as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (not just for the apostles or empowerment to preach, there were 120 disciples waiting for the promise of the Father)

We can understand from these scriptures that the apostles and the disciples were just doing what they were commanded to do, they were waiting on the promise, and they didn’t know what day it would actually come or what would happen, but they were being obedient to the commandment of the Lord. Then suddenly the prophetic words that Jesus spoke days earlier were fulfilled and the promise of the Father was given to them all. We read of the initial evidence of the outpouring of the Spirit on their flesh and what happened after. How else would they have known they were receiving the promise of the Father and being baptized with the Holy Spirit that Jesus commanded them to wait for, if there wasn’t any evidence? They would still be waiting! And we can ask ourselves the same question today!

God also spoke through the prophet Joel about what would happen when He poured out His Spirit on the flesh of man.

Acts 2:17-18

"And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy." (We are still in the last days! The word day(s) is plural meaning many, from the Day of Pentecost until the end of the age the Spirit of God will be poured out!)

The people gathered in Jerusalem thought those who received the Spirit were drunk and could not understand what was happening, but Peter understood what they had just received, and he preached a powerful message about Christ which cut them to their heart and Peter told them what they needed to do, and how they could receive the same Spirit that he did.

Acts 2:37-39

“Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise (the gift of the Holy Spirit) is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Has the Lord stopped calling men and women? No. Did He change the way new converts are to receive the Spirit? No. But when we do not understand or believe the truth of these scriptures, and are not taught correctly we do not receive the promise of the Father, the gift of the Holy Spirit. We are the same human beings, the same ordinary unschooled men and women that they were, and we receive the same Holy Spirit that they did then.

Look at Acts 8:14-17 (Example of Unconverted Believers)

“Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”

This is a clear example of what goes on the majority of time in the church today. We hear the word, repent, confess our sins, believe in Jesus Christ, get baptized in water, but fail to receive the Holy Spirit, leaving thousands unconverted and believing that they have the Spirit indwelling them. Peter and John recognized that these disciples had not received the Holy Spirit, and how did they know? Because they did not see any evidence; they knew the initial signs and the manifestations of the outpouring of the Spirit upon the flesh because of the day of Pentecost, and they knew there would be evidence of the indwelling Spirit after the outpouring. Peter called it the “gift of God” in verse 20.

Paul himself was only fully converted after the Lord sent Ananias to lay hands on him to receive his sight and be filled with the Spirit. Acts 9:17 Once he received his sight and the infilling of the Spirit he got baptized in water; then we read the evidence of his conversion in the following scriptures.

Acts 9:20-22

Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?” But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.

Then we have Cornelius the Centurion, his family and friends in Acts 10

Acts 10:44-47

“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.”

In these scriptures we see God pouring out His Spirit upon the flesh of the gentiles; here we read that the Holy Spirit is given to ALL nations of people and not just the Jews. As peter testified of Jesus the Holy Spirit fell upon everyone inside the house, and even the brothers who came with Peter were astonished to see the gift of the Holy Spirit fall upon the gentiles. And how did they know the Spirit fell upon Cornelius and the others? For they HEARD them speak with tongues and magnify God. They had clear and undeniable evidence they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Then Peter goes on to say can anyone forbid them to be baptized in water because they have received the same Holy Spirit we did on the day of Pentecost.

Contrast Acts 2:38 with Acts 10:45-46 and you will see the same words being used for the conversion experience, the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now you can begin to understand what it really means to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and how thousands of professing Christians are unconverted today.

Acts 19:1-6

“And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”

In these scriptures Paul finds some disciples in Ephesus, and he didn’t hesitate to ask them if they had received the Holy Spirit when they believed. It's good he asked because these disciples hadn’t even heard there was a Holy Spirit. Once Paul told them about Jesus Christ they were baptized in water and by the laying on of Paul’s hands we read of the initial evidence of their reception of the Holy Spirit, they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now, Paul and the converts knew they had received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Paul also explains to the Corinthian church in 1st Corinthians 12:4-11 that everyone who receives the Holy Spirit will display a manifestation of the Spirit.

“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”

Manifestation: 1 a : the act, process, or an instance of manifesting b (1) : something that manifests or is manifest (2) : a perceptible, outward, or visible expression (Merriam-Webster)

Those who have received the gift of the Holy Spirit WILL have a perceptible manifestation of the Spirit. Whether its dreams, visions, words of wisdom, words of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, workings of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, different languages, or interpretation of languages, everyone who has the Holy Spirit indwelling their bodies will have evidence of that indwelling.

Not only will those fully converted to Christ have a perceptible manifestation of the Spirit, but they WILL have inward evidence as well. The believer will not be able to physically see the fruit inside themselves, but they will be able to perceive a change within, and others will see the change too. (So will God!)

Paul says to the Galatians in 5:22-23

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

Many professing Christians read this scripture and think they have all these fruits (I sure did!) and can even make others think they have them, but without receiving the Holy Spirit how can they? We can all willfully display outward signs of these fruits, but inwardly still be full of strongholds, iniquity, and sin. Like Jesus told the Pharisees who looked good on the outside; they had their nice clothes on, they said the right things, prayed out loud in the streets, knew the scriptures backwards and forwards, went to the synagogue every Sabbath, but inwardly they were full of dead men’s bones, Jesus called them hypocrites.

Matthew 23:27

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”

Without receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit the conversion process of a confessing believer is not complete, and their soul will not experience the sanctification of the Spirit, the circumcision of the heart, the renewal of the mind, or the conformation of the inner man to Christ.

NOTE* There are many who have received the Spirit with initial evidence, but through laziness, false teachings, a lack of prayer, fasting, and bible study, have quenched the Spirit’s fire. If this is you, I exhort you to repent and turn back to the Lord while He may be found.

If you realize that you do not have the Spirit of God indwelling your body, and you have been baptized in water, then pray earnestly to the Father for it, and ask Jesus to baptize you in the Spirit and He will do it! (That’s what I did when I learned this truth) If you haven’t been baptized in water, what are you waiting for? Jesus said unless one is born of water AND Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God! (John 3:5)

In All Sincerity And Truth,
Tyrone