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?
I am truly blessed to find someone that talks my language. Now I don’t feel like some oddball with two feet on the ground and a common mans vocabularly instead of one that sounds like it came off the ark. It’s nice to have direct answers instead of ones that leave you with more questions or wondering what the respondant just said and left with an unaswered question. Don’t feel so bad about how I answer deciples questions now either. Brent
Yes, and I’m with you, with Elisha on this one as well.
I was so young and literally threw myself into God, I wanted everything He had available for my life and therefore I have also asked God for a double portion of the Holy Spirit and have never been disappointed, ever! Today 24 years later I find myself still hungry and in need for the promises of Christ and the constant indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes standing under the washing line, I invite Him into my presence and what a renewing!! I am NOTHING without Him.
… “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” (2Kings 2:9)
Greetings to you Berni and everyone reading this. May the God of peace bless you all.
Thanks for that Berni. I was baptised in the Holy Spirit soon after conversion but it was without man’s assistance. it just happened. I can say this very much enables me to boldly prclaim Jesus to others.
The Holy Spirit topic got all too confusing for me in the 80’s, so I just let it ride for a decade or two. Then a pentecostal friend helped me immensely when he assessed my Christian life and character , and gave me this confirmation – ” Stuart, I know you are filled with the Holy Spirit, because just like in Acts1:8, your life witnesses to Jesus, even though overt manifestations of the spirit like tongues, prophecy and healing are not evident”. I felt a great burden lifted that I was inferior to other more ” dynamic Christians”.
Berni. I agree with all you say and the word I use now is “balance”, because without it we run the risk of being fanatical, however sincere we may think we are. Over the years I let Him be my guide, listen to what he says in His Word, and be grateful for what He does in my life. I’ve learned that ” His grace is sufficient”
Great post once again.
There’s something within me, got a hold of the rein,
There’s something within me that banishes pain,
There’s something within me, I cannot explain,
But all I know is, “Praise the Lord”,
There’s something within.
Have you got that something, that burning desire;
Have you got that something, that Holy Ghost fire?
Well if you have it, that heavenly fire,
Then all I know is, “Praise the Lord”,
There’s something within.
There is a story told about how God discussed what to do with the wisdom of the ages that He possessed. So He thought, “Where will I put it?” He thought if I put it on top of a mountain, man would eventually find it there, if He put it at the bottom of the ocean, man would find it there, if He put it in the middle of the desert, man would find it there. He decided to put it inside of man because he would never think of looking there. That is the last place that all of us ever look.
Romans 12:2 states, “Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Great poem, great story, great insight.
Thanks so much for that Leonard.
Funnily Berni I have had a choice to do a bible study by correspondance I chose
The Holy Spirit’
I have started in Genesis
Thank you Lu for your comments on how the Spirit speaks to you in your heart it has been enlightening and encouraging that The Holy Spirit is speaking to me
Nothing funny about that at all Carole. I don’t believe in coincidences.
Great article Berni
Thank you so much for posting this Bernie, I gave my life to Our Lord 6 years ago and without the help, encouragement and guidance of the Holy Spirit there is no way I can be the person that Christ wants me to be. The Holy Spirit is essential to the Christian Life. At times it is so hard yet there is no way I would be without the Holy Spirit. May God bless you wonderfully, amazingly and abundantly Bernie 🙂
Yes I have Berni and He is so gentle, awesome and mind boggling.Keep well and stay strong and I love the way you use your gifting. God bless.
Thanks Berni, for this article it’s timing is perfect for me at the moment. Blessings and more to you. Theresa C
it is hard to split up God! the way I look at it is that when we ask Him into our life, we get to whole deal – all of Him and the full kit to live life as He intended it. In Gen 1.26 He name man in “our” image, that is the unity of F/S/HS. some of us however, take a while to learn the power of the HS, who is sitting quietly in us ( the HS is very humble – never seeking its own glory, only that of the Father). it may take years for some of us to realise the HS presence and draw on His incredible power – perhaps that is an “awakening” or to some a “filling” for the first time. Either way living in the Spirit is the only way to realise the full potential of this incredible life we have been given.
blessings – keep writing!
Thank you, Bernie – your posts are always thought-provoking and challenging, speaking right to the heart. I always look forward to ‘A Different Perspective’ to learn something in a fresh way about who God is and who we are in Christ.
Where’s the ‘Like’ button! 🙂
Write up the top of the page Sondy.
In general I agree with the sentiments of your post. I would say that most believers are at either end of the spectrum. There are those who believe that every supernatural manifestation is by Holy Spirit, and there are those who think that all supernatural manifestations are demonic. I see that the enemy always works to throw up smoke screens to keep us from a pure devotion and experience of Christ (2 Cor 11:3,4). There is definitely a balance needed here.
It is interesting to note that in the Corinthian passages teaching on the gifts, Paul mentions in 1 Cor 12:3 that no one speaking by the Spirit can say, “Jesus be cursed”. It seems obvious to me that this is given to us because in that mad church at Corinth this was happening. Further in chapter 14 it speaks about weighing up prophecies that were given during the church service, indicating that prophecies were to be a part but not all prophecies were correct. Furthermore, In 1 Thess 5:18, where we are told not to forbid to speak in tongues, not to quench the Spirit’s fire, we are also told to test all things holding onto what is good – more balance.
I personally rely on the Holy Spirit for everyday living and enjoy His illuminating work when I read the word of God, his guiding when I pray or his prompting when He wants me to witness or share a word of encouragement. I have also had the privilege to experience his supernatural power at times. I have received prophecies that have been specially timed by God for guiding me through tough times in ministry. I have also witnessed on a number of occasions false tongues resulting in demonic manifestations when confronted in prayer. So I appreciate your word of encouragement to keep a balanced perspective, because God is to be enjoyed and His Spirit has been given to empower us and it is by Him that we can cry out “daddy” to our gracious God. Christ paid too much for us to miss out on all that God has for us by His Spirit.
Another great post…, I think you’re in fire these days, just keep hitting the spot. Thank you!
I never celebrated or even heard the Pentecost in my life, in fact I didn’t even know what was the celebration about just about till about 5 minutes ago.
I’d like to add something to question 7. It’s an absolute blessing if someone speaks in tongues through the spirit…, But It’s TOTALLY TOTALLY WRONG TO GO AND TRY TO LEARN HOW TO SPEAK IN TONGUES IN BIBLE SCHOOL. Speaking in tongues is not something you learn but given.
But Yes, the verse it identifies the best on how to Spirit works is in John 3:8
And Yes, The spirit works in different ways in each of us…,
In very laymen’s terms I know I have received the spirit because…
There is that inside voice always telling me to do GOOD and avoid BAD.
There is that inside force that always tells me to want to pick up the Bible.
There is that inside voice that makes me feels guilty and wants me to ask forgiveness when I SIN.
There is that inside voice that tells me, It’s going to be ok, when I’m absolutely down.
There is that inside voice that tells me, It’s ok, I’m with you when I’m afraid.
There is that feeling that comes from inside, the feeling that God is with me always when I feel lonely.
There is that side voice that tells me to PRAY PRAY and PRAY.
Now that I think about it…
I’m not sure how I am going to go about it living daily life without the SPIRIT.
SO THANK YOU MY LORD FOR GIVING ME THE GREATEST GIFT EVER!!!…
AND THE BEST PART IS THAT IT WAS FREEEEE, FREEEEEE!!!!!…:D
Berni and John L, thanks for the post and the response. The Holy Spirit has always intrigued me but I agree wholeheartedly of the need to ask for the Holy Spirit’s infilling. Just really appreciate what John had to say. My thoughts are that just as God made us all very different as people (ever notice how we are individuals and how that makes His creation so wonderful) so I should not be surprised when how I experience the Holy Spirit may well be different to my brother or sister. God bless you both.
My answer is no, you shouldn’t be surprised at all. God knows each of us infinitely better than we know ourselves.Given His great love, why wouldn’t He touch each one of us in a way that would best reach us.
Some people have very dramatic experiences of being filled with the Holy Spirit. You read about some of those in the Bible. For others, as it was for me, His infilling is much more subtle. We should never let anyone else play “Holy Spirit” in our lives and tell us God does things this way or that.
Every time we think we have Him all figured out, He’ll surprise us.