Interacting with the Holy Spirit
4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Teaching topically is hard. We will be all over the NT this morning. Read the first twenty chapters of Acts and consider the working of the Holy Spirit. That is what we want to see in our lives! There is a lot of confusion and controversy over how the Holy Spirit wants to work in our lives, there has been arrogance over the Holy Spirit working differently. Because of this I believe that churches have often divided up along the lines of gifts that their people have. I Corinthians is alive and well in the 21st century.
One area of confusion that I have seen is over verbs used in Scripture as it relates to the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Three common verbs: Filled, Baptized and Receive are used to describe the Holy Spirit’s actions in the lives of people.
- Holy Spirit Verbs
- Filled with the Spirit
John the Baptist twice, Zechariah,
Acts 2:4; (Apostles) 4:8, ( Peter again) 4:31 (Group of at least the Apostles) Acts 9:17 Paul, Acts 13:9 Paul again, Acts 13:52 A group called the disciples,
Filling sounds like we should use the preposition “in”
- Baptized by the Spirit
Outpouring, initial experience, baptism is a one time thing.
Acts 1:8, The Holy Spirit comes on you
Acts 2: The Holy Spirit is poured out according to the prophecy from Joel 2:28-32
Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16 Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.
John 1:33 Jesus is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. (Which by implication is greater than water baptism!)
Acts 11:15-17 The Gentiles are baptized in the Holy Spirit in the same way that the Apostles were. Peter takes this to mean they are fully members of the family of God.
Baptized by the Spirit sounds like we should use the preposition “on”
- Receive the Holy Spirit
There is an interesting difference here as this relates to our receiving the Person of the Holy Spirit and His working in our lives.
Two other verbs that are negative: quench and grieve.
Grieve: Ephesians 4: 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
I Thes 5: 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt
John 20:22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Apostles and believers in Jerusalem
Acts 2:38-39 38 Peter replied, “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. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Believers in Samaria
Acts 8:15-17 14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
Acts 10:47 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”
Disciples of John the Baptist
Acts 19:1-7 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.
4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
7 There were about twelve men in all.
Issue of subsequence is resolved by the idea of continual filling and growing our experience with the Holy Spirit. If we can quench and grieve the Holy Spirit, then we can grow in filling!
- Holy Spirit Experiences in Acts
- Signs are for a purpose
God performs signs for a reason. The coming of the Holy Spirit is accompanied by signs to indicate to people that the Holy Spirit has come!
What are the signs? A sound. A visible manifestation of what looks like fire. (Baptism by fire).
Tongues: People hear folks speaking in their own languages.
Drunk looking? I’m thinking extreme joy!
The sound and the fire are not repeated. The tongues are. And the most common evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit is power for ministry.
Acts 4: 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them:
Acts 4: 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
31 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.
The signs are not consistent!
But the speaking in tongues is obviously the most common repeated sign. You can see where the idea comes from that all would speak in tongues as a sign of receiving the Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit and power for ministry
This includes gifting
This includes what people mean by anointing (which is actually more a picture of baptism)
The Holy Spirit empowers ministry:
They speak the word with boldness.
I Peter 4 is a great example of this!
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.
- Have you received the Spirit?
This question cuts through the philosophical and gets to the personal issue? What does the Holy Spirit desire to do in the lives of people?
- He sanctifies their behavior. He works in us to work out our salvation. God is at work in us both to will and do His good pleasure. This is the role of the Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit empowers us for ministry. What does this look like? Well, there are lists of spiritual gifts in the NT. We will encounter one soon enough here in Romans. A spiritual gift is an ability that you will have for ministering in the lives of others. You will learn about your gift best by ministering life to others. Serve, love and give!
- The Holy Spirit is the gift. If the Holy Spirit is at work in you then you have what you need to do what God wants you to do. Move forward.
If the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, repentance is receiving the Spirit.
If the Holy Spirit motivates you for ministry, then active obedience is receiving the Holy Spirit.
III. Receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit
- Testimonies are unique
Don’t compare. Celebrate!
The Apostle Paul: Acts 9
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
I must have continued in this state for a good while; but my mind was too much absorbed with the interview to recollect anything that I said. But I know, as soon as my mind became calm enough to break off from the interview, I returned to the front office, and found that the fire that I had made of large wood was nearly burned out. But as I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any recollection that I had ever heard the thing mentioned by any person in the world, the Holy Spirit descended upon me in as manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul. I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed it seemed to come in waves and waves of liquid love; for I could not express it in any other way. It seemed like the very breath of God. I can recollect distinctly that it seemed to fan me, like immense wings.
No words can express the wonderful love that was shed abroad in my heart. I wept aloud with joy and love; and I do not know but I should say, I literally bellowed out unutterable gushings of my heart. These waves came over me, and over me, and over me, one after the other, until I recollect I cried out, “I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me.” I said, “Lord, I cannot bear any more;” yet I had no fear of death. . . .”
Scott Kirkconnell saw the Holy Spirit when he was first baptized in the Holy Spirit.
- The goal is communion with God
We are not playing games with the supernatural. And even those who have had amazing experiences with God are in process. The goal is for us to know God. I know this because of the name Emmanuel!
- Emmanuel is God with us
Put off the flesh, be renewed in the spirit of your minds, put on the Holy Spirit
Present your bodies to God as a living sacrifice. Do not be conformed to the pattern of living of the world, but be transformed by having your minds renewed!
How will I be filled with the Holy Spirit?
Illustration of water in the pitcher