Welcome to Number 2 of The Holy Spirit sessions
Last week we were introduced to the Holy Spirit and we saw the following:
- Who is the Holy Spirit? – The Holy Spirit is a member of the Godly Trinity
- How are we made up? – Human kind is made up of Body, Soul, and Spirit
- The Holy Spirit: our promise of help – Jesus said He had to leave the earth in order for the Holy Spirit to come to us
- He convicts us of sin and God’s forgiveness – The Holy Spirit will be our teacher
- Sight is not enough; we must enter – The Holy Spirit will convince us of our sinful condition and need for change
- How does this happen? – We need to have revelation that our old sinful nature has gone and daily be led by the Holy Spirit
- He gives us gifts – The Holy Spirit is a gift from God and He himself brings gifts to us – the fruit of the Spirit (singular) and gifts of the spirit (plural)
- How many gifts can I have? – We can use as many of the gifts as we desire
- What will hinder my use of the gifts? – Unforgiveness, being afraid and unbelief will hinder our use of the gifts
This week, we will go a bit deeper and explore when it is that we receive the Holy Spirit, as well as answer some questions that may have concerned us about the Holy Spirit in the past.
WHEN DO I RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT?
In John 3:3, Jesus explains that we need to become “born again” to receive awareness of our sinful nature and the righteous nature of God and then, to have a desire to change. He goes on to say, we enter the kingdom of God when we are “born of water and of the spirit…” When the Lord brings about this process in us, we receive the Holy Spirit. (Fig.1a)
Each person must take hold of the gift of Salvation, freely given to us by God – after all a gift is not a gift until we accept it! – agreed?
Jesus died on the cross so that every person on this earth would have the opportunity of entering the Kingdom of God. This work has been done – all that remains is for each person to accept the offer.
In 1 Cor 12, we read that, “…by one Spirit we are baptized into one body… and have all been made to drink into one Spirit...” – this statement is true IF we accept the gift. In other words, by one Spirit we are potentially baptized into one body and have all been made to potentially drink of one spirit. This situation can be compared to Romans 5, where the scripture says each person has justification Romans 5:18, but again, it is a potential justification until it has been appropriated or accepted by grace through faith Eph 2:8-9. Therefore, all human beings have a birthright to the Kingdom, should they accept it – they must just accept it! (Fig.2a)
In the like manner, ‘baptism’ of the Holy Spirit is the birthright of every believer; potentially awaiting only his or her appropriation or acceptance of it. For example – the throne of England is the birthright of Charles, Prince of Wales. Potentially it is his, awaiting the day when his mother steps down or passes away. (Fig.3a)
TWO EXAMPLES OF RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT
In Acts 8, we see two examples of receiving the Holy Spirit. In verses 14-17, the Samarian men were believers, baptized in the name of Jesus, but they were without the power of the Holy Spirit. Peter and John laid hands on them and they appropriated (or accepted) the power of the Holy Spirit.
These two examples appear to be contradictory.
In reality what has taken place is this: –
– When we become born again we receive sight (or awareness) of the kingdom of God – we see this in
– We also receive the potential to enter the kingdom of God by becoming born of water and of the spirit.
– Often this place of entering the Kingdom, is referred to as a ‘second experience’ but this could be misleading. All it means is that although seeing and entering the Kingdom is one place in God’s eyes, they are often experienced by us at different times.
We may have the Spirit deep within our innermost and we do not experience His presence, but when God’s time is right and the Spirit possesses our very being, we will definitely know it!
TWO SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT
Very broadly speaking, there seem to be two principle groups of thought on the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Let’s have a look at this diagram: (Fig.4a)
Group A says: –
– That they are filled with the Spirit and it was a definite “second experience.”
– This results in them being able to exercise many spiritual gifts.
– They also believe no person is saved until they have had this experience.
Then Group B says: –
– That they are filled with the Spirit, and there is no “second experience”.
– However, they believe exercising the gifts was something past, or at least only now partly exercised.
Now – there is some truth in each view, however you and I need the full truth.
From what we have seen in scripture, the Spirit indwells us at the time of us being born again (Jn.3:3-5).
As a result, we will either: –
– Immediately appropriate (or take hold of) His power, and begin to display fruit of such – as witnessed in
– We may experience the power at a much later stage as witnessed in Acts 8:14-15.
Either way is scriptural and acceptable, as long as it results in a life changed for effective service in the body, a life that displays the love and power of Jesus.
WHY DO I NEED THE HOLY SPIRIT?
The Holy Spirit shows us our sin AND sinful Nature—also the need to change.
We see in Luke 24 that Jesus told His disciples they should wait in Jerusalem until they had received “…power from on high” (Luke 24:49). This simply means that they would receive power to help them do the work of building the body of Christ Eph. 4:12, in other words, efficiency in witness, testimony, and service for Jesus.
There is a stronger meaning to this as well. Acts 1:8, says “…you shall be my witnesses…” meaning some may be martyrs for His cause, as seen throughout history.
HOW DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT PREPARE ME FOR SERVICE?
We see from scripture that once the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples, they experienced dramatic change in their characters. Unfortunately, time restrictions on this video don’t permit us to go through all the scriptures in this section, so I’d like to please encourage reading them during the course of this week. It is important for us to see the Word of God backing the spoken word.
As a result of the Holy Spirit residing in the disciples, the following happened:
– It caused them to accept martyrdom (Acts 7:55-60).
– They became led of the Spirit (Acts 11:27-28).
– They cast out demons (Acts 16:18).
The list of their changed characters is endless.
WHY NO CHANGE IN ME?
Why is it that we don’t apparently see many today, like the disciples of the book of Acts? The answer to this question is certainly not, “…it was only for that time…” From the time of the fall of mankind, it has been God’s purpose for His children to go and make disciples (Matt.28:19). God’s purpose has not changed and nor has the method He uses through us. The mission is the same today and so the tools that God gives us to work with, have always been the same – The Holy Spirit.
We must understand that there are people living in this New Testament power. There are people, right in our midst who are experiencing all or some of the above characteristics in their lives.
HOW DO WE KNOW WE HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT INDWELLING US?
We should be confident that the Holy Spirit lives in us. We would be amazed to know how many believers are still wondering where they will go after this life. There is an English saying that says, “the proof is in the taste” when referring to judging food. Well, there is proof when it comes to the Holy Spirit living in us. Eph.1:13-14 (AMP) tells us that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. During this coming week, spend some time in the scripture of Eph.1:13-14 to hear God’s promise for yourself.
Has there been change in our lives? Do we hear the ‘still small voice’ showing us the difference between right and wrong?
If ‘yes’ to these questions, then we have the Holy spirit within us!
Let’s recap what we’ve heard this week:
- When do I receive the holy spirit? – We receive the Holy Spirit during the process of becoming Born Again.
- Two examples of receiving the holy spirit – The Samarian men were baptised but had not received the Holy Spirit; Cornelius’s household were born of the Spirit, but not yet baptised.
- Two schools of thought – Whether we take hold of the Holy Spirit at the time of being born again or at a later stage, both are scriptural
- Why do I need the holy spirit? – We need the Holy Spirit to assist us in our work of building the body of Christ
- How does the holy spirit prepare me for service? – Dramatic change comes to our lifestyles as the Holy Spirit takes up residency within us
- Why no change in me? – There are people, right in our midst who are experiencing all or some of the Holy Spirit’s power.
- How do we know we have the holy spirit indwelling us? – If there has been change in our lives and we hear a ‘still small voice’ teaching and guiding us, then we have the Holy Spirit living in us.
I’d like to encourage you to finish off this week’s session by praying together in your group. Hopefully by now we are getting used to praying with each other and we’ve begun to hear God sharing His heart with us in the prayer time. Those who are still not comfortable praying allowed should not be forced or feel threatened. They should just allow the Lord’s Spirit to wash over them.
Thanks so much for spending this time with me – next week in session 3, we’ll start to look at some of the gifts the Holy Spirit brings to us. Until then, Bless you all.