Receiving the Holy Spirit


Receiving the of the Holy Spirit

We all know why Jesus came to earth:

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.  (Luke 19:10  NIV)

The promise of salvation was why Jesus came, we all know that.  But the gift of the Spirit is as much a promise of Christ as the gift of salvation:

When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.  (John 15:26  NIV)

When we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, we become sons (and daughters) of God:

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,  to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.  (Galatians 4:5  NIV)

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…  (John 1:12  NIV)

In the same way we as children of God have a right to be filled with the Holy Spirit; to be filled with His power.  But how exactly does this happen?  To be sure, at conversion we are filled with the Spirit.  But what about after that?  What about subsequent infillings of the Holy Spirit?  What about the fullness of the Holy Spirit?  Such questions are not the purview of the Pentecostals or the charismatics!  The fullness of the Spirit is available to all Christians.  The Bible tells us exactly how to receive the Holy Spirit.

1.  You must live in forgiveness!

As one Bible scholar remarked, “The holy dove cannot dwell among unclean birds.”  So, if you want to experience the fullness of the Spirit, you must be forgiven and walk in forgiveness.

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  (Acts 2:38  NIV)

Peter, in preaching to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost answered the burning question of the ages:  “What shall we do to be saved?”  Peter had just told those in the assembled crowd that they were guilty of crucifying Jesus, and that He was the Messiah.  Peter’s answer to their question stresses three things. If these people wanted to get right with God and enjoy His presence, then they must make:

  • A complete confession of their guilt, as it related to how Jesus was treated;
  • A complete confession of their helpless condition:  they were sinners unable to save themselves;
  • A complete submission to the apostles so that they may be delivered from their guilt.

If you notice, in Peter’s answer to, “What must we do?”  he does NOT tell them, “There is nothing YOU can do.”  In his answer, he tells them exactly what they MUST TO. While they cannot save themselves; there is a correct response to hearing the Gospel:  THEY must repent;  THEY must be baptized.  But none of this is possible unless God is drawing them by the power of Word.  It is our will that moves and acts but it is only God’s grace that makes that possible..

The baptism referred to here is water baptism.  It has no saving power in and of itself, but it is symbolic of their submission to God and a demonstration to others of their new found faith in Christ.

Once these things are in place, they would be free to receive the Holy Spirit.  If you want to experience the absolute fullness of the Spirit in your life, you have to do what Peter told his people to do.  Repent, submit, live your faith then you will be in a position to receive the Spirit.

2.  You must be a child of God!

Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”  (Galatians 4:6  NIV)

In the context of this letter, Paul wanted his readers to know that they, mostly Gentiles converts, had become “sons of God.”  It is for these “sons of God,” the Spirit in intended.  The Holy Spirit was poured into their hearts just as He has been poured into our hearts.  Why? Every child resembles their parents.  God sent His Spirit so that we may start looking like our heavenly Father!

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.  (2 Corinthians 3:18  NIV)

It is the Holy Spirit that slowly transforms us into God’s image.  This is not to say we become “gods,” but that we begin to take on some of His attributes.  We, as born again believers, like to talk about our “relationship” with God, and we certainly have that.  But “relationship” is not the same thing as “likeness.”  It is only through the work of the Spirit that we become like Jesus.  And that “likeness” is nothing less than the outward evidence of our “relationship.”

3.  You must recognize your need!

Consider the words of the prophet Isaiah:

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.  (Isaiah 44:3  NIV)

Unless you feel the need, God will never endow you with the fullness of the Spirit.  Yes, you are filled with the Spirit when you become born again, but there is more.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit IS the fullness of the Spirit, but no believer may enjoy that unless they know they need it. If you feel self-sufficient in yourself, you won’t be seeking the fullness of the Spirit and it won’t be offered to you.  But to those who need more strength, more of the presence of God, the fullness of the Spirit is offered unreservedly.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  (Isaiah 40:29  NIV)

But you have to KNOW your need before God can meet it!  A lot of Christians seem to want to experience Spirit baptism, but they haven’t realized the purpose for which it is given.  Know your need or needs and God will give you MORE of His Spirit to meet those needs.

4.  You need faith!

It’s strange that people seem to be able to have faith for salvation but have very little faith for receiving the fullness of the Spirit.  Part of this problem is a lack of teaching or just plain bad teaching.  Over and over again, otherwise orthodox preachers and Bible teachers make fun of the baptism of the Spirit and mock those who believe in it and the contemporary manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit.  But if you if have the faith, you will receive more of God’s presence in your life.

By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.  (John 7:39  NIV)

It all starts with belief in Jesus; confidence in His Word and in His Work.  Think about what Paul told the Galatians:

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”  He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.  (Galatians 3:13, 14  NIV)

 In this verse, we see the two aspects in receiving the Spirit:

  • The fact:  Christ redeemed us!  Our redemption is an accomplished, historical fact.
  • The purpose:  That we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

It is an odd thing that within the broad Christian community, the FACT is so universally believed, but the PURPOSE is so ignored.  If you have faith for your salvation, you should easily have the faith to receive the fullness of the Spirit!

5.  You must be obedient!

It’s a fact.  You can desire all the things of God—the deeper things of God—but if you aren’t living in simple obedience to His will and His Word there’s only so much God can give you and only so far you can go.

We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. (Acts 5:32  NIV)

When you are living in obedience to the Lord, you will be placing yourself in the very mainstream of His will for you and you will be in a position to receive all that God wants to give you, including the fullness of His Spirit.

6.  You must be willing to wait (be patient)!

The disciples were told to “wait for the promise of the Father,” in Acts 1:4.  As the disciples waited in patient obedience, the Promise came.

I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.  (Luke 24:49  NIV)

Why did they have to wait?  What was the purpose for the waiting?  We can’t know for sure, but it probably all has to do with two things:  obedience manifested by patience.  Human beings, even redeemed ones, are not good at waiting for anything.  We want what we want when we want it.  But we have to wait for the Promise to come to us.  When we exercise our faith, we obey, and we learn patience.

7.  You must pray!

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!  (Luke 11:13  NIV)

Such a simple step, but it gets missed in the hustle and bustle of our lives.  Sometimes we get so caught up in expecting God to “just do” things for us that we neglect to sit down and actually talk to Him about it!  Even with Jesus, it was while He was praying that Heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him—

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”  Luke 3:21, 22  NIV)

And it was while the disciples were praying that they were filled with the Spirit—

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. (Acts 4:31  NIV)

And remember what happened to Solomon?

When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.  (2 Chronicles 7:1  NIV)

Prayer is what moves the Hand of God.  Prayer is what shows God how serious you are.  It’s more than merely “talking” to Him.  True prayer reveals your heart to Him and it opens you up to His Spirit.

If you are serious about walking in the fullness of the Spirit and and if you want to do extraordinary things in and for the Body of Christ, then start considering receiving more of the Holy Spirit.  Why wouldn’t you want more of Him?


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