2.3: The Gift Of The Holy Spirit

To equip, empower and mature this people, the first followers of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem were told the wait in the city by Jesus Christ Himself.

“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” (Acts 1:4,5).

Jesus emphasized the importance of being baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Joel in the Old Testament prophesied on the coming of the Holy Spirit when he said:

“And is shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on my menservants and on my maidservants I will pour out my Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29).

NEW TESTAMENT FULFILLMENT OF THIS PROPHECY:

“But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out 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” (Acts 2:16-18).

NEW TESTAMENT PROPHESY:

“John answered them, saying “I baptize with water, but there stands one among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.” These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” This is He of whom I say ‘After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for he was before me.’ I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water. And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God” (John 1:26-34).

Verse 29, John refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world for salvation.

Verse 33, John refers to Jesus as the one that would baptize with the Holy Spirit.

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but /he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11).

“And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:7,8).

“John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16).

Jesus gave us the purpose for being baptized in the Holy Spirit.

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not for the purpose of cleansing from sin, but for the purpose of empowering for service.

The 120 met in the upper room for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, men and women. “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” (Acts 1:14)

“Then 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, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4).

Receiving the Holy Spirit upon conversion and being baptized in the Holy Spirit are two separate and distinct experiences. The disciples received the Holy Spirit on the day of Christ’s resurrection for the New Testament experience of salvation. At this moment the disciples passed from Old Testament salvation to New Testament Salvation.

“So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21,22)

Fifty days later they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the upper room. Jews then came to Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost, heard the 120 speaking, declaring the wonders of God in their own national languages. Others could not understand them and said they were drunk.

“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘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” (Acts 2:14-18).

“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 is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38,39).

So after repenting and receiving Christ as Saviour, you are eligible to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Peter denied Christ three times before receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but on the day of Pentecost he had power and boldness to preach to the multitudes and 3000 were born again.  Philip, one of the early deacons, went down to Samaria and had a city-wide revival.  People were healed and demons were cast out. People received Christ as Saviour and were baptized in water.

“But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

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.

When Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! “You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God” (Acts 8:12-21).

So here again, we see that receiving the Holy Spirit upon conversion and being baptized in the Holy Spirit are two separate and distinct experiences. The Speaking in tongues is inferred because Simon saw something and offered money.

We have Paul receiving Jesus on the road to Damascus. He often referred to the Damascus Road experience as his conversion experience. However, he did not receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit until three days later when Ananias laid hands on him.

“And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:17).

Nothing is mentioned about Paul speaking in tongues here, but in 1 Corinthians 14:18 Paul says “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than you all.”

Ten years after Pentecost, we find Cornelius, a Gentile military man, had an angelic visitation and was told to send servants to Peter so that he could come and share with him the plan of salvation. Jews were forbidden to associate with Gentiles; so God had to deal with Peter with visions from heaven.  After this, the servant came to his door. The Holy Spirit told Peter to go with them, because they had been sent by the Holy Spirit. Cornelius invited his relatives and friends to hear Peter preach on the plan of salvation.

“The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ He is Lord of all that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree.

Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.

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.”  (Acts 10:36-48).

The household of Cornelius received Christ as Saviour and the baptism in the Holy Spirit immediately after being born again. We find in verse 46 that they spoke in tongues and magnified God. This got Peter in trouble. He was admonished by the Jews in Jerusalem, and Peter had to explain why he went.

“Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, ‘Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, ‘who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.’ And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’  If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God? When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life” (Acts 11:12-18).

About 20 Years after Pentecost, Paul went to Ephesus.

“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. Now the men were about twelve in all” (Acts 19:1-7).

It would have been pointless for Paul to ask, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?”, if believers automatically receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit when they believe on Jesus as Saviour. When Paul laid hands on them, they spoke in tongues and prophesied. We see from scripture that every time someone was baptized in the Holy Spirit, they received their prayer language to praise God. It is entirely different from the gift of tongues in a church service that is to be interpreted.

Read more on the Holy Spirit at this website.

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SPIRITUAL GIFTS:

We are called to serve one and other through our different spiritual gifts. Paul talks about each of having spiritual gifts which he likens to various members of the body. Paul in Eph 4: 7- 16 talks about Jesus Christ about five gifts being given to the Church for the equipping of the members for the work of ministry and for the edifying of those members. Those gifts are: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.

In 1 Corinthians 12: 1 – 11 Paul talks to the church in Corinth about a unity in spiritual gifts. He says:

Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues ? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way. (Zondervan version).

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Becoming  a  Follower  of the Lord Jesus Christ:

If you are reading this and you are not a true Christian, you are in a very sad position of hopelessness. That can all be changed right now if you will surrender your life to the Lord Jesus. He will accept you and give you a heart that is true. You can have peace in the time of trouble and shelter in the time of spiritual storm. Call upon the Saviour now while there is still time!

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THE CHANGE FROM CHURCH AS A  COMMUNITY TO THE CHURCH AS A CORPORATION:

The present Christian is caught between the historical legacy of two alternatives, that of the early Christian Church and the influence of later centuries. There is a tension between Church as relationships and Church as a rigid organisation. The first leads to a warm, open and communal approach but not necessarily with organisational direction. The second leads to a more corporate approach, more formal but not so communal. It is Christ-ianity as God’s Community with Spirituality versus Church-ianity as Religion or God’s Corporation. The initial Hebrew view of life was very wholistic whereby all aspects of life were unified and were very important to God. The Corporation view became very dualistic with a split between the spiritual dimension and the physical dimension.

Read more fully about this in the left-hand side website page under:  The Christian Church Sequence

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A Man Who Exemplifies The Above Description in Contemporary Culture

Read the awesome book: ‘Heavenly Man, The’ by Hattaway Paul, Brother Yun.

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Publisher Descriptions

The Heavenly Man is the intensely dramatic story of how  God took a young, half-starved boy from a poor village in  Henan Province and used him mightily to preach the gospel despite horrific opposition.  Brother Yun is  one of China’s house church leaders, a man who despite his relative youth has suffered prolonged torture and imprisonment for his faith. His account challenges any complacency about the situation in China, where international economic investment ignores the brutal fact that religious  persecution is still a daily reality for millions. Instead of focusing on the many  miracles or experiences of suffering, however, Yun prefers to emphasize the character and beauty of Jesus. This astonishing book will form a watershed in your spiritual life.

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The story of Brother Yun adds a very personal note to what Dr. Paul Jenkins says in CBN News:

Then there is China. There are about 80 million Christians in China, according to former Time Magazine Correspondent David Aikman, who predicts China will be a Christianized nation in 20 to 30 years. He does not predict a Christian majority, but a China that is 25 to 30 percent Christian. Enough, he says, to change society and government. “If you have a Christianized China, the leadership of China would reflect a Christian worldview to some degree,” Aikman said. “A China that’s Christianized would not be a threat to the United States.”

And Aikman says the Chinese church leaders have a burden to take the gospel the rest of the way across the globe, to the Muslims. “It’s part of a sense that they call ‘back to Jerusalem,” Aikman said. “They believe that just as the gospel originally came out of Jerusalem and went to the West and to North America and Europe and came to China, now the Chinese need to bring it back to Jerusalem, not in the sense of evangelizing the Jewish, but in the sense of completing the circle so that the gospel message is available to everybody in the world.”

Imagine Chinese reaching the Muslims, Koreans evangelizing Indians, Africans taking the gospel back to a largely godless Europe. African Matthew Ashimolowo is the pastor of the fastest growing church in England. “God is sending people who used to receive missionaries to now be missionaries around the world,” Ashimolowo said. Kenyan Bishop Gilbert Dya has one of the largest churches in London. “I am in this country, believing that God sent me here in Great Britain to make a voice on His behalf to let them know that they need to repent and come back to God,” he said.

Also look at these websites on Brother Yun.

Brother Yun shares in his book The Heavenly Man’ some of these  life experiences how he and his wife (Deling) became Christians and passionate followers of Jesus Christ in China in the mid 1970’s.

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The Final Consummation of All Things:

In Rev 21:1 – 8 the Apostle John talks about a new heaven and new earth.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former thins are passed away.

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha andOmega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

He that overcometh shall inherit all thins; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.’

This restoration of the whole of Creation at the end of time would come about when Jesus Christ comes the second time. The promise of the restoration came about in the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the beginning. All His followers were meant to live on the Earth in the mean time as though that future world was already here …… beginning on the inside person to work outwards in practical applications.

This understanding inspired the Apostle Paul as he set up churches and wrote to those churches in his era. See 2 Cor 5:17: ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, heis a new creature: old thingsare passed away; behold, all thingsare become new’.

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BROCHURES:

Christianity, has the world’s first and best psychologist, sociologist, anthropologist and scientist, the Bible is a scientific study of social and political life using these scientific methods.

Christianity, has the best leader, teacher, counsellor, helper, healer and judge the world has ever seen.

Christianity, has answers and solutions to all social, political, economic, scientific, cultural, legal and personal problems, not only with guiding principles, tested by observation and scientific study (in the Bible) but with practical experience and proven examples throughout history.

Taken from Richard J Gibbs, BA, based on research by Dr Graham McLennan 08.07.05

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Read more on this theme at this Blog Site

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