Thursday, February 24, 2011
Have you received the Holy Ghost since you have believed?
Jesus breathed upon His disciples and said "receive ye the Holy Ghost" (Jn 20:21-23) herein they were given the power to remit and retain sins. The breath of God which is Jesus Christ the Word made flesh breathed "on" His disciples and sent them forth in the power of the Holy Ghost. On the day of Pentecost the Breath of God (Acts 1:5,8, Acts 2:1-39) came into the room as a sound of a mighty rushing wind and there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire and sat upon each of them and they were all "filled" with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. They were all "filled" with the "Word of God" and went forth in the power of the Holy Ghost and spoke in different languages so that all would hear the saving Word of God (Jesus and Him crucified, resurrected and coming again)! It was also at this point that Peter said to them: Repent and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the "Gift of the Holy Ghost"(Greek 4151 blast, breath, breeze, air) for the promise (Acts 2: 38-39) is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off (that would include us), even as many as the Lord our God shall call (this also would include us). And many wonders and signs were done by the Apostles. The Promise, The Gift of the Holy Spirit that Peter is referring to here is the Word/Breath (Greek 4151) of God (Jesus) via the Holy Spirit has been planted into the hearts of each one. Faith has been planted in each heart after hearing the Gospel to believe, repent and be baptized (baptism unto repentance) in the Name of Jesus! Thus the beginnings of our faith so as to be "saved". That is where most people stop. By faith and the grace of God I am saved, I have been forgiven and I will make heaven my home. The end.
I do not want to diminish the miracle of saving faith and the grace of God. A "changed" heart is the greatest miracle of all but should it be just for the sole purpose of salvation and eternity and nothing more? What about operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit for here and now? Eternal salvation has been taken care of but Paul speaks of the gifts of the Spirit as well. The gifts of the Spirit in operation is essential for us today.
The gift of the Holy Spirit (operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit) is not for today many will say. I will have to strongly disagree with such a statement. And here's why:
When the Apostles head off to Samaria word has it that the people there have already received the Word of God and were baptized with water in the name of the Lord but they had not yet received the Holy Ghost. They believed and accepted the Word of Jesus and was baptized in His name but they had not received His Holy Spirit yet (Acts 8:14-17). At that time the Apostles laid hands upon them and they received the Holy Ghost. Correct me if I'm wrong but Isn't the popular teaching out there that when you repent and are baptized and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ that you automatically receive the Holy Spirit? If so then why does Paul ask this question? (Acts 19) Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on Him which should 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 his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied (wow! they seem to be operating in the gifts of the Spirit here) They weren't doing this before when they only believed.
(Acts 10:44-48) While Peter yet spoke these words The Holy Ghost fell upon all of them (Gentiles) which heard the Word, so also upon the Gentiles was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost and they also began to speak with tongues and magnify God, and "then" they were baptized with water in the name of the Lord (ah.. this time the Gift of the Holy Spirit came first and then the baptism with water in the name of Jesus unto salvation came second. (Acts 11:15-17) And as Peter began to speak the Holy Ghost fell on them (Gentiles) as on us (the Apostles) at the "beginning" (still going beyond the Apostles here). Then Peter remembered the Word of the Lord, how that he (the Lord) said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave Peter and the others the like "gift", who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was Peter that he could withstand God (Acts 11:15-17)? You gotta be kidding, the Gentiles are operating in the gift of the Spirit just as the Apostles? They were baptized with water unto repentance in the name of Jesus and they were also baptized with the Holy Ghost? Evidently it doesn't stop with the baptism of repentance/salvation, there's this extra receiving the Holy Spirit gift thing going on.
How does one know if he has received the Holy Spirit since he has believed? Well now that we have established that believing and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit are two different things let's take a look at God's Word and see how one can know. Tongues, Prophesying, Speaking the Word of God with Boldness is all evidence of receiving the Holy Ghost and also according to Apostle Paul in (1 Cor. 12: 7-11 Amp.) here is the manifested presence of the Holy Spirit in ones life: For to one is given in and through the Holy Spirit the power to speak a message of wisdom, and to another the power to express a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same Holy Spirit. To another wonder working faith by the same Spirit. To another extraordinary powers of healing by the same Spirit. To another the working of miracles, to another prophetic insight (the gift of interpreting the devine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between the utterance of true spirits and false ones, to another various kinds of unknown tongues, to another the ability to interpret such tongues. All these gifts, achievements, abilities are inspired and brought to pass by one and the same Holy Spirit, who apportions to each person individually exactly as He chooses. So, if you are a special messenger then you would be considered an Apostle, If you are an inspired preacher, expounder then you are a Prophet of God. Some are teachers, some are wonder workers, some are the healers with the gift of healing, others are helpers, administrators, speakers in different unknown tongues (1 Cor. 12:28 Amp.). So with that said, I would say that receiving the Holy Ghost is very much for today and desperately needed in the body of Christ so as we can be about our Father's business.
So now I will ask you, have you received the Holy Ghost since you have believed/Are you operating in the gifts of the Spirit? If your answer is no or even I don't know but you desire to receive the Holy Spirit here is what you must do. First you must whole-heartily open your heart and humble yourself before the Lord. In other words you throw your "mind" back and your "heart" forward with a true desire to receive all that the Lord would desire to give you. This is hard for many especially those who have a hard time receiving when giving is their comfort zone. Peter for example had a hard time receiving when Jesus began washing his feet, but Jesus told him that if you want to have any part of me Peter then you must receive this washing from me (this was a symbolic example of the blood of Jesus that is needed to wash our sins away), It was a truly humbling experience for Peter. Peter said I should be washing your feet Lord, do not wash mine. But when Jesus told him that if he did not receive this washing from Him then he could have no part of Him, it was at this point Peter whole-heartily received and said Lord don't just wash my feet but wash my hands and head also, in other words Peter was saying "wash me all over". That is the key that unlocks the treasure box in receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. One must be willing to humble himself and receive from the Lord "all" that the Lord would have to give him, and one must have the attitude as Peter did.. Do what you must Lord for I desire all that you would need to do unto me so that I may have "all" of you. If that is your attitude then you are open to the receiving of the Holy Spirit. Humble your self before the Lord, lift your hands, or prostrate yourself before the Lord, kneel, just present yourself humble physically as well as spiritually before the Lord your God and say here I am Lord wash me all over and baptize me with your Holy Spirit and fill me to overflowing, for I desire all of you and all you have to give me. I am yours Lord!