The Holy Spirit and You – Pentecost
As Pentecost Sunday comes and goes again for another year, I wonder if this isn’t a good time to ask you a question, about the Holy Spirit and you. So – here it is:
Have you received the promised Holy Spirit yet?
It’s a question straight out of Scripture. And the answer is going to make a world of difference in your life. Here’s why:
What is it about us that we Christians can create controversy out of just about anything?!
Did God really create the entire universe in just seven days?
Did Jesus really rise physically from the grave?
Is it okay to use the preposition “She” in referring to God?
Should we baptise infants?
Are we saved by grace or do works play a role?
Should we take a premillennial, postmillennial, amillennial or panmillennial view of eschatology?
The list goes. Some are clearly addressed in Scripture. Others … don’t really matter.
One of the greatest controversies of all revolves around the Holy Spirit – God Himself. How can we get our knickers in a knot over Him? Well, somehow we manage to … and as a result, many people miss out on the intimacy, the fellowship and the power that the He brings.
As I write this post, we’re about to celebrate Pentecost – that time when the Holy Spirit first fell on the Christ followers in this world.
It’s time to get God’s take on all this. So … let’s ask Him:
Q&A with God
Q1: Does every believer receive the Holy Spirit the moment they believe?
God: Yes – unless you have the Spirit, you don’t belong to Christ. You are sealed with the Spirit.
Q2: Is there a difference between being sealed with the Spirit and filled or baptised with the Spirit?
God: Yes there is. That’s why I tell you to be filled with the Holy Spirit on a continual, ongoing basis.
Q3: Is everybody filled with the Spirit the moment they believe?
God: No – some receive the infilling or the baptism of the Spirit after they believed, like the Ephesians.
Q4: So does that mean that no one receives the infilling of the Spirit the moment they believe?
God: No, that’s not true either. Some do – like Cornelius and his family.
Q5: Now I’m confused – are you saying that you do things differently for different people?
God: That’s absolutely what I’m saying. The way the Spirit works, you just don’t see Him coming.
Q6: What about spiritual gifts – prophecy, healing, that stuff. Still around or passed away?
God: My Word commands you to eagerly seek and excel in spiritual gifts that build up the church.
Q7: Hmm. But what about this speaking in tongues? Surely we should forbid that. It’s weird.
God: Do not forbid speaking in tongues – those who speak in tongues edify themselves.
Q8: Alright Lord, last question. How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?
God: Gee – that’s a tough one. How about …you just ask.
I’ll Have A Double Portion Please
I was blessed to study at a non-denominational Bible college. We had just about every denomination on faculty and so as I was learning, I had to critically examine their theology, to develop my own understanding of what God is saying.
As your sane, rational, left brain thinker, I’m not one for great shows of emotion. I don’t seek out sensational experiences. But at the same time, I don’t want my faith to be dry and lifeless – totally cerebral if you know what I mean.
So … here’s what I did in developing my understanding of, and relationship with the Holy Spirit.
I refused to be swayed by the denominational baggage going round on either side of this controversy.
The Holy Spirit is God. And if God tells me through His Word (which He does) that the Holy Spirit can come and dwell in me, to make me holy, to illuminate God’s Word in my understanding, to comfort me, to guide me, to give me the power to obey, courage to follow and love to serve, to fill me with the new life that Jesus died and rose to give me … you know what, I decided that I want as much of this Holy Spirit as He is willing to give me – no matter what the cost.
I’m with Elisha on this one – he’d seen the power of God on Elijah’s life, so what does he ask for?
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” (2Kings 2:9)
So that’s what I started praying. I’ll have a double helping thanks God!
Have I had some out of the ordinary experiences? A few, not a lot.
Have I been given prophecies by others? Yes, about eight or nine over the years – and truly, had God not sent those to me, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today.
Do I now swing of chandeliers, find a healing around every corner and a demon under every bed? No, not at all.
Do I have access to God’s power to achieve things way beyond what I can achieve? Absolutely I do.
Hang the controversy. Hang the denominational baggage. Hang all the stupidity. I’ll go with what God says in His Word, and with what God does in my life. Is there a chance I’ll get things wrong from time to time? Sure there is. But then … God knows my heart. Let Him be my guide.
So let me ask you again – have you received the promised Holy Spirit?