Holy Spirit

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Who Is The Holy Spirit?

Many of us have heard  a lot about God the Father and  about His son Jesus, but most of us have heard little about the powerful Holy Spirit.  He is one person of the Trinity.  God is three parts:  God the Father, God the Son  and God the Holy Spirit.  The King James translation of the Bible refers to the Holy Spirit as the Holy Ghost.  Just as God the Father and Jesus have tremendous impact on the life of a Christian, so also the power of the Holy Spirit can transform a life.

When John the Baptist came on the scene to announce the coming of the Messiah (Jesus), he reported “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 untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matt. 3:11). The Baptism of Jesus is one of the special accounts in the Bible where we clearly see the three separate workings of the Trinity. “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water and behold, the heavens were opened to Him and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven saying ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:16-17). We see the Son (Jesus) being baptized, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove coming on Jesus to anoint Him with power and God the Father speaking from heaven.

When you see the word Spirit capitalized in your Bible, it is referring to the Holy Spirit.  If it is not capitalized, it is referring to your spirit or another spirit (perhaps an evil spirit).

GO DEEPER  Using a concordance or the index in the back of your Bible, look at a dozen passages in the Old and New Testaments about the Spirit.  See Him working in the lives of believers.  Know that the Spirit’s power is available now to those who have put their faith in Jesus as their Savior.

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What Is the Role of the Holy Spirit?

There was a vast difference in the Holy Spirit’s interaction with people between the Old and New Testament.  In the Old Testament, we see Him primarily empowering kings, priests and prophets.  There were a few other key figures who were directly impacted by the Holy Spirit (Gen. 41:38 refers to Joseph “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?”).  The Holy Spirit did not necessarily stay with a person but the anointing or power could “lift.”  The anointing gave power, prophesy, knowledge and strength.

Even though Jesus was the Son of God, He operated on the earth as a man with the powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit. Jesus never performed a  single miracle until He had been baptized by the Holy Spirit.  The same Spirit who anointed Jesus anoints believers!  That is why Jesus said “Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do because I go to My Father.” (John 14:12).

The Christian has the permanent, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to guide, teach, provide wisdom and produce “fruit”.  The fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control should develop as the believer matures and is guided by the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit also gives spiritual gifts ~ see the discussions below under Spiritual Gifts and Fruit of the Spirit.

Just as Jesus has many names in the Bible that describe what He does (Shepard, The Truth, Deliverer, etc.), so there are a number of names for the Holy Spirit that describe His work (Comforter, Advocate, Helper, Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, Spirit of Truth, etc.)

What Is The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit?

The scriptures give multiple accounts where people believed in Jesus and received the Holy Spirit but then later had another, separate encounter with the Holy Spirit.  The first is illustrated right after Jesus’ crucifixion.  Jesus had been raised from the dead and appeared to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18).  The disciples were fearful of the Jews and were behind locked doors when Jesus appeared in their midst (John 20:19).  “Jesus said to them ‘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.’  This clearly illustrates the first time the disciples received the Holy Spirit and it happened right after Passover, they had received Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

We later see in the book of Acts (1:4) that Jesus commands His disciples “not to depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the Father, which 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.  (vs.8) “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.”  We see that promise fulfilled in Acts 2: 1-13.  The disciples and other believers were together in one place on the day of Pentecost (Pentecost is 50 days after Passover).  The Holy Spirit showed up like a “mighty rushing wind” and “what seemed to be tongues of fire” came to rest on each believer.  “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”   As a result of this gift of language, Jews who were visiting in Jerusalem for the feast from many different regions, heard believers speaking in their own unique languages.  This miracle gave the Apostle Peter an opportunity to share the gospel and approximately  3000 people came to faith in Jesus Christ as a result.

Another example of two separate “events” with the Holy Spirit is seen in Acts 8:14-17.  “When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.  When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.  Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”  The Bible is clear that when we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are born again.  We are given a new spirit and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us.  He guides and comforts us and we should begin to bear His fruit.  But there is more!  There is a secondary anointing that provides power to be witnesses for Jesus Christ.  We first saw the disciples, terrified, hiding behind locked doors.  It was after the  in-filling of the Holy Spirit that they became courageous evangelists, spreading the gospel in the face of great opposition.  That same power and anointing is available to believers today.

How Do I Receive The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit came into you when you made Jesus Lord of your life. He came into you when you were born again. Getting baptized in the Holy Spirit is another thing. It’s when the power of the Holy Spirit comes upon you to empower you for service (Acts 1:8).

Let’s look at what happened in Acts 1:14  They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers and 2: 1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 

Jesus’ followers were having prayer meetings.  They were waiting to receive what Jesus had promised would come – a baptism in the Holy Spirit with fire.  This would not have been unusual language for the Jewish community.  The Jewish community was well aware of the symbolism of fire.  They knew God had spoken to Moses in a burning bush and had led the Israelites in the desert with a pillar of fire at night.  They were familiar with the Holy Spirit’s anointing with oil on kings, prophets and priests.  They knew a baptism was a total and complete emersion.

We receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit by having:

– An attitude of praise and worship
– An expectation that Jesus will fulfill His promise with the Holy Spirit
– A desire to receive
– A willingness to accept God completely and giving Him total control
– Asking God to fill us with the Holy Spirit

Are you ready to receive all God has for you?  Would you like to have the power to fulfill the plan and purpose God has for your life?

Pray this prayer:

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for all the many things you have done in my life, especially for Jesus who died on the cross to redeem me from the curse and arose from the dead.  I give myself completely to You.   I believe you sent the Holy Spirit to live inside of me when I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  I want to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  I receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  I receive my spiritual prayer language.  I receive the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit to flow through me as I work for Your Kingdom.  Thank you Lord, in Jesus name, Amen.

By faith we receive Jesus as our Savior, by faith we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Everyone’s experience is different and unique to that person.   Stay open to the moving of the Holy Spirit in your life.  He will guide you.  You will have a witness inside for the things that are of God and the things that are not.  Let the Bible be the authority in your life.   Remember, the actions and will of the Lord are always in agreement with the Bible.

GO DEEPER  Go to this Andrew Wommack link for an in-depth teaching on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit where he will discuss the life-altering benefits of receiving the baptism.

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Is Speaking In Tongues Relevant for Today?

There is a spiritual gift that is unique to the New Testament.  We see many accounts  when people were “baptized” with the Holy Spirit or they had the “infilling” of the Holy Spirit, and they  began to speak in new tongues.  Many churches do not teach that this is a gift for today.

We should determine our doctrine from what God gives us in His word, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16). 

For example, the apostle Paul said “Do not forbid the speaking in tongues.” (1 Corinthians 14:39).  Paul also told Christ’s followers to “earnestly desire spiritual gifts.” (1 Corinthians 14:1).

GO DEEPER   Some people question whether or not speaking in tongues is a valid gift for today.   We encourage you to read the attached article about a scientific study that was performed to see if some people really do speak in a spiritual language.  Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine did a study where they monitored the brain activity of people who were speaking in tongues.  The results may surprise you!   We also recommend the following in-depth teaching on Speaking In Tongues by Andrew Wommack.

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Spiritual Gifts

We see spiritual gifts mentioned in several places in the Bible.  1 Corinthians 12:8 “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 same 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.”

We see other gifts listed in Romans 12:6  and the instruction to use the gifts that you have and to not let them go to waste.  “If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously, if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”  

Ephesians 4:11  “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

GO DEEPER  Do a self-study on all the gifts of the Spirit.   Ask God which gifts have been given to you.  It may be that you have gifts that have not yet shown themselves.  Pray and ask God about stepping out in areas where you feel led.  Ask a close Christian confidant if they have seen evidence of your gifts.    Pray and tell God that you earnestly desire spiritual gifts.  Stand in faith, knowing that He gives gifts to every believer.  Don’t waste your gifts!

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Fruit of the Spirit

In Galatians 5:19-21, we see the fruit of the “flesh”, which includes adultery, selfishness, envy, drunkenness, etc.  Then the beautiful contrast of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is seen in vs.22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…”.   Vs. 24 goes on to say “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  As you follow God and seek to “walk in the Spirit”, being obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit, you will see “fruit” being produced in your life.  That fruit (love, joy, peace, etc.) is not produced by you but rather by the Holy Spirit IN you.   These fruits represent who God is.  They are traits of His personality and He wants you to have those same traits!

GO DEEPER  Go to God in prayer.  Slowly present each fruit to Him, asking Him how you might be more fruitful in that area.  Yield yourself to God’s pruning, asking Him to cut off things that do not produce fruit (that could include wrong friendships, bad habits, selfish behavior, etc.).  Tell Him of your desire to bear the most excellent fruit that He might be glorified through you.  As you interact with people, keep checking your behavior/thoughts/motives against the Spirit’s fruits.

Please feel free to email us if you would like prayer or have questions.

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