The Holy Spirit in the World Today
By Radio Pastor Perry F. Rockwood
Published by The Peoples Gospel Hour
1. THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The story is told that Dr. Walter Wilson once visited a godly man in France. One day he said to Dr. Wilson, “What does the Holy Spirit mean to you?” The doctor answered, “He is one of the Persons of the Godhead.” “Yes,” replied the man, “that is true, but I asked, ‘what does the Holy Spirit mean to you?”‘ The doctor again replied, “He is my Teacher. He is the third Person of the Trinity.” The godly man looked at him kindly. “You have still not answered my question. What does the Holy Spirit mean to you?”
Dr. Wilson saw the truth and made this reply, “He is nothing to me. I have no personal relationship to the Holy Spirit and can live without Him. This was a turning point in Dr. Wilson’s spiritual experience. He came into a personal relationship with the Spirit of God and came to know His power in his soul-winning ministry.
There are so many of God’s people who love the Lord, who have a burden for souls, who are faithful in church attendance, but who know little or nothing about personal fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Others base their knowledge of the Holy Spirit on some emotional experience. Our only guide, however, is the Bible. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).
There are those who are think of the Holy Spirit in an impersonal way because of the translation of Romans 8:16: “The Spirit Itself . . .” Now the Greek word for Spirit, Pneuma is a neuter noun; but the Greeks often used the neuter to speak of persons. We sometimes speak of a baby as “it” although we definitely mean a person. So here we may speak of the Holy Spirit not only as itself, but as Himself. Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit by using the personal pronoun: “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement” (John 16:8). “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth Is come . . .” (John 16:13). 1. The Holy Spirit is a person because He possesses the essential quality of personality. This implies three things: Intelligence which reveals itself in knowledge; Emotion which reveals itself in feeling; Volition which reveals itself in will. A person has the power to reason, to love, and to determine. This is exactly what we find in our study of the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit has a mind. In Romans 8:27 we read “and he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
The Spirit teaches us the things of God. John 14:26: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
The Spirit loves us. Romans 15:30: “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.” God’s love is revealed in the Spirit as well as in His Son, for God is three Persons in One. It is because the Spirit loves us that He can be grieved (Eph. 4:30).
The Spirit has a will. Acts 10:19,20: “While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.” Acts 13:2: “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” Acts 20:28: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
Let us further see the personality of the Holy Spirit manifested through His activity. Such activity is only possible by a person.
He creates. Psalm 104:30: “Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.”
He strives. Genesis 6:3: “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man . . .”
He moves. Genesis 1:2: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
He quickens. John 6:63: “It is the spirit that quickeneth.” He witnesses. John 15:26: “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.”
He guides. John 16:13: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
He searches. 1 Cor. 2:10,11: “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”
He sanctifies. 1 Cor. 6:11: “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are Justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
He gives gifts. 1 Cor. 12:11: “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” The Holy Spirit must decide the gifts.
He leads. Romans 8:14: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
He helps. Romans 8:26: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities.”
He raised the dead. Romans 8:11: “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
He dwells in His people. Ephesians 2:22: “In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
He reveals. Ephesians 3:5: “Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.”
He speaks. Revelation 2:11: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
He prophesies. 1 Timothy 4:1: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”
He performs miracles. Hebrews 2:4: “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”
. The Bible shows that it is possible to commit six definite sins against the Holy Spirit:
(1) He may be blasphemed (Matt. 12:31); (2) He may be rebelled against (Isa. 63:10); 3. He may be grieved (Eph. 4:30); (4) He may be done despite to (Heb. 10:29); (5) He may be resisted (Acts 7:51); (6) He may be lied to (Acts 5:3).
3. The Bible definitely teaches that the Holy Spirit is God. (1 ) He possesses the attributes of Deity. He is omnipresent (Psalm 139: 7—10). He possesses creative power (Gen. 1:2). He is eternal (Heb. 9:14). (2) He performs the work of God. He raises the dead (Romans 8:11). He appoints overseers in the church (Acts 20:28). He regenerates (John 3:5). (3) He is associated with God and is equal with God. He is called God in Acts 5: 3, 4.
In the Baptismal formula as found in Matthew 28:19, baptism is in the name (not names) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. One God in three Persons. It should be obvious that if there is one Person mentioned in this formula, then the other two are Persons also.
How wonderful it is that this Person should live in our hearts. May we be willing to surrender all to Him.
2. THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The story is told of a young man who heard that his wealthy old uncle had left him a Bible in his will. It was inscribed with these words: “To my nephew I leave a copy of God’s priceless Word which I trust he will use daily and find within its pages real treasure. “The young man was disgusted. He threw the Bible into an old trunk in the attic. Years went by and when he found himself pressed beyond measure, he turned to the old Book for comfort. When he opened it, he found between the pages money that was worth a fortune. He neglected the Book and he lost the joy of making full use of his uncle’s money.
When we neglect to open the Bible for study, we lose greater wealth than money. The blessed Holy Spirit is waiting to help us, to comfort us, to teach us, but we miss the blessings because we do not spend time with God and His Word. I would like you to notice first of all an important verse in John 7:39: “(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” The word “given” printed in italics, is not found in the Greek. The verse should then read, “The Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” The truth here revealed is that when this verse was spoken the Holy Spirit had not yet come into the world because Jesus was not yet glorified. However, we read over in Genesis 1:2 that the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep. There are also a number of other places recorded in the Old Testament where we have references to the work of the Holy Spirit.
The basic fact is this: Although the Holy Spirit was revealed in the Old Testament, He did not come to this earth to dwell until Jesus was glorified. Just as Jesus was revealed in the Old Testament in type, in shadow, and in direct prophecy, He did not come to this earth until God’s appointed time. We celebrate the Christmas season as the birthday of the Lord Jesus Christ. In like manner, there was a time when the Holy Spirit came to this earth in a definite way. This coming was in every sense the birthday of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in John 14:23: “If a man love me he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, AND MAKE OUR ABODE WITH HIM.” This promise as fulfilled and became a reality on the Day of Pentecost which was the birthday of the Holy Spirit.
Although we find the presence of the Holy Spirit recorded in a number of instances in Old Testament Scriptures, we do not find the Spirit dwelling in believers as a whole in the Old Testament.
I have heard Christians pray for the Holy Ghost. This is not right according to scripture. In Romans 8:9 we read: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. NOW IF ANY MAN HAVE NOT THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST HE IS NONE OF HIS.” If we have not the Spirit of God dwelling within we are in no sense a child of God. We also read in Romans 8:16: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”
OLD TESTAMENT PROMISE
The Old Testament surely presents the reality of the Holy Spirit in actual presence as well as in prophecy and type, and let us note a few of these instances. Job cried in chapter 33:4: “The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” The Spirit came upon Gideon (Judges 6:34. See also Judges 14:6 and 1 Samuel 10:10). Then notice too that He dwelt in Joseph (Gen. 41:38,39). This work of the Holy Spirit was particular and definite. He came to meet the specific needs of God’s servants at certain times. However, in the New Testament, after Christ was glorified, the work of the Holy Spirit became universal in the lives of all believers.
Now going back to the Old Testament we want to see the significance in the prophetic and typical pictures of the Holy Spirit. The Passover Feast was a yearly remembrance of God’s deliverance of the Children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt. It was a picture of Christ, our Passover, who was sacrificed for us (1 Cor. 5:7).
In the observance of the feast of the wave loaves, Israel was thus commanded: “And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord” (Lev. 23: 15,16). This was a typical picture of Pentecost and it marked the exact time when Pentecost would take place.
Just as the birth of Christ was fulfilled in every respect according to the detailed prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures (“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4), so the coming of the Holy Spirit was according to God’s appointed time and manner. His time was fixed as we saw symbolized in the feast of the wave loaves and when the disciples gathered together in the Upper Room waiting for the fulfilment of God’s promise, they waited in prayer for ten days because after Christ’s forty days on earth following His resurrection, there were still ten days remaining of the “seven sabbaths.”
NEW TESTAMENT PROMISES
Let us now note the promises in the New Testament concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit.
We have the words of the Lord Jesus in John 15:26: “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.” Jesus promised to send from the Father the Holy Spirit whose ministry here upon the earth would be to testify of the Son.
I am afraid of Holy Spirit experiences that do not exalt the Lord Jesus Christ. I remember one day meeting a friend who was a believer like myself. The friend became very excited in relating to me an experience which was attributed to the Holy Spirit. The believer said something like this: “O, I’m so happy today. I really have it now. I never was satisfied with my life but I know I’m all right now. I’ll not have to worry about sin any more. I have no more doubts. I feel better now than when I was saved. In fact, this is better than salvation.” I stopped the believer right there. I said something like this “Whatever you have it is not an experience of the Holy Spirit. In no way have you been exalting Christ and testifying of Him. You are exalting yourself rather than Christ. Jesus said, “He shall testify of me.”
We also read in John 16:7: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” Here the Lord Jesus sees beyond His cross-work, His blood atonement, when by the Spirit of God, He will minister as our Great High Priest.
Notice also the 14th verse, “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” The Holy Spirit always glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. In Acts 2:32,33 we read that the apostles witnessed the fulfilment of the promise of the Holy Spirit’s coming. “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” What they now saw and heard was the beginning of this new dispensation (the birthday) of the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 2:1 we read: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” The great prophetic day had come. God’s promises were being fulfilled. It was the birthday of the Holy Spirit. He now took up His abode in the lives of the believers. He joined the believers together into one body which is THE Church.
May I say that Pentecost does not take place today. There cannot be two Pentecosts any more than there can be two birthdays for the Lord Jesus Christ. Pentecost was a once-for-all experience. We receive the Holy Spirit when we receive the Lord Jesus as our Saviour.
3.THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE NEW BIRTH
The promise of the Holy Spirit to every believer was made by our Lord in John 14:16,17: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” What Jesus says is that He is the Comforter now present with the disciples but another Comforter would come who shall abide in them.
Jesus also said: “He shall abide with you forever.” He is to come not for some special period of time but forever. He is to dwell in the believers forever. When we pray for the Holy Spirit we do not pray for Him as though He were absent. We pray for Him to come into every department of our lives so that He may possess us and own us and work through us to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.
When we consider the Holy Spirit and the New Birth we begin with his work of convicting sinners. How we need to stress this truth today. Jesus promised that when the Holy Spirit would come into the world He would “Reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of Judgment of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of Judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:8—11). The work of the Holy Spirit is to “reprove” or “convict” or “convince” the world of sin.
It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that men and women come to know themselves as sinners before God. As sinners they are dead. You will remember that God told Adam that he could eat of all the fruit in the garden except the fruit which was in the midst of the garden. The penalty for disobedience was death. Those words “thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17) literally mean “dying, thou shalt surely die.” The moment Adam sinned he died spiritually and the process of physical death had already begun.
Now I pray today that God the Holy Spirit will burn this truth into your heart. As you listen, you stand before God as a believer or an unbeliever, as a pardoned sinner or a guilty sinner, saved or lost, on the narrow road or on the broad road, on the way that leads to Heaven or on the way that leads to Hell. The Holy Spirit has come to convict you of your sin. Your sin means your standing before God. So many people say to me something like this, “I’m not so bad. I’m not perfect but I do the best I can. I go to church. I pay my bills. I look after my family. I try to follow the Golden Rule.” This means nothing as far as your standing before God is concerned. Jesus said, “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).
The primary reason you are condemned is because you have not yet believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. To believe on Jesus is to come before Him as a guilty, lost, condemned, Hell-bound, helpless, hopeless, sinner – trusting Jesus and Jesus alone to save you by simply receiving Him as your personal Saviour. It has nothing to do with christening, baptism, confirmation, joining the church, working in the church, being good, doing the best you can. Your standing before God is dependent only upon your relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you received Him personally? Do you know definitely when you were saved?
A YOUNG MAN AND JESUS
One day a rich young ruler came to Jesus (See Mark 10:17-22). None of us could claim what this young man claimed in relation to the commandments of God. He said, “Master, all these have I observed from my youth.” Jesus said in reply, “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” But we are told that he departed from Jesus very sorrowful for he had great possessions. Actually the great possessions “possessed him.” He was chained by his possessions and he could not break loose to receive the Saviour. The Holy Spirit is trying to teach us that whatever there is between us and the Saviour we must be willing to give up if we are to be saved. God knows your heart. God, by His Spirit, is able to see the secret places of your life. He knows what is keeping you back from Christ. He sees your pride. He knows your indifference. He beholds your sin. He perceives the wickedness and the deceitfulness of your heart.
Consider Nicodemus. He was a religious man, a teacher in Israel to whom Jesus said, “Except a man be born of water (the Word of God) and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. . . Ye must be born again” (John 3: 5 and 7).
I asked a young man the other night this question, “Are you a Christian?” He answered, “Of course.” I continued, “When were you saved?” He said, “I have always been a Christian. I was born a Christian.” Jesus would say to this young man and to others like him, “Ye must be born again. Ye must be born from above.” Your good birth, your Christian home, your godly parents, your church and Sunday school, your good moral character can in no way save your soul. There is no other way into Heaven except through the NEW BIRTH which is the work of the Holy Spirit.
True there is the element of mystery. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is the GIVER of eternal life. He imparts to us a new nature. You cannot explain it, but you can receive Him and receive eternal life.
HOW TO BE SAVED
In John 1:12,13 we read, “But as many (and you are included in this number) as received him (not as many as are christened, confirmed, baptized, reformed) to them (and to them alone) gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
The moment we receive Christ we are adopted into the family of God. It is an instantaneous experience. When the Holy Spirit does His work of regeneration, He then comes to dwell in the heart of believers.
HE ABIDES WITHIN
Every believer has within his heart the presence of the Holy Spirit. We read in Romans 8:9: “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” In the 15th verse we read: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” We also read in Gal. 4:4 – 7: “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, than an heir of God through Christ.”
In 1 Cor. 6:19 Paul through the Spirit asks this question, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
Every believer has the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. Your body and mine is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Do we really grasp this truth? Is God being glorified in our bodies? We are bought with a price. We are not our own. But our bodies must be yielded personally to God. In Romans 12:1 we read: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Your body belongs to the Lord by right, but you must present it or hand it over to Him if He is to use it for His glory.
So few of God’s people enter into the deeper act of consecration, giving their bodies to the Lord. God wants Christian young people to lay their bodies on the altar of sacrifice. Will you today yield your body to Him that He may use you in full-time service to help reach multitudes with the Gospel? There is one further work of the Holy Spirit that needs to be mentioned. In Romans 8:16 we read: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” Have you the witness of the Holy Spirit? We may know and we ought to know that we are saved. We have the witness of the Holy Spirit bearing witness with our spirits that we are the children of God. God is our Father. When we are saved we are adopted into His family as His dear children. “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father.”
4.THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE BELIEVER
We have already seen that the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and brings us to the saving knowledge of Christ. The moment we are saved He indwells every believer. Our Lord promised this before He went back to Heaven. John 14:16,17: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
When Paul came to Ephesus he asked, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” They replied, “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” Many are like these people today when it comes to a complete understanding of the work of the Spirit in our lives.
As Paul talked to these twelve men who professed to be disciples he realized that their knowledge of the Christian faith was very imperfect and defective. He wondered if they had ever really received the Holy Spirit. This passage is wrongfully used by charismatics who quote it as a basis for believers to receive the Holy Spirit and the speaking in tongues as the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. As we said before, when we are saved we receive the Holy Spirit and are immediately baptized into the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” Romans 8:9 says, “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” The teaching of these verses is not that the receiving of the Holy Spirit is a work of grace that follows salvation.
Since these men (Acts 19) were disciples of John the Baptist they certainly knew the existence of the Holy Spirit from the Old Testament Scriptures. They also knew of the promise because John had taught his disciples that the One who would come after him would baptize them with the Holy Spirit. What these disciples did not know was that the Holy Spirit had already been given at the day of Pentecost.
These men only knew the baptism of John and they declared their repentance by baptism as a necessary preparation for receiving Him as King. They did not know that Christ had died, had been buried, had risen from the dead, and had ascended into heaven. Paul explained this to them, and urged them to believe on Jesus. Then they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Paul laid his hands upon them and they received the Holy Spirit. They then spoke with tongues which was full proof to the Jewish people there that they too had received the same experience as that which had occurred at Pentecost. Such supernatural powers were given by God before the New Testament was written. Today we know that we receive the Holy Spirit at the time of conversion, not by signs and wonders and feelings and experiences, but by the testimony of the New Testament itself. The moment a person is saved he is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He is sealed by the Holy Spirit. He receives the earnest of the Holy Spirit. He receives the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
When the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in our bodies, He seals us, or more accurately, He becomes our seal. In Eph. 1:13 we read: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” The Bible makes a distinction between the new birth and the seal. We are born of the Spirit in order that we may become the children of God. We are sealed with the Spirit because we are the children of God.
When the cattle rancher brands his cattle, he does this, not to make them his cattle, but because they are his cattle. We are born again through the power of the blood of Christ. As God’s children, God seals us by His Spirit. When we write a letter, we sign our name, put the letter in the envelope, and then seal it. We seal it because the letter is finished. The seal of the Holy Spirit is the witness that the transaction is completed.
If we do not have the seal, the presence of the Holy Spirit, we are not saved. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8:9)
This is what Paul refers to in Eph. 1:13,14 as the EARNEST of the Spirit. ” …Ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. Which is the EARNEST of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
The Bible also teaches us that the Holy Spirit anoints all believers. We cannot understand the Word of God except by the anointing of His Spirit. In 2 Cor. 1: 21, 22 we read: “Now he which establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” In 1 John 2:20 we read: “But ye have an unction (anointing) from the Holy One and ye know all things.”
Then I want you to notice the need for the FILLING of the Holy Spirit. In Eph. 5:18 we read: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” This filling is not a once-for-all experience. We need to be filled every day if we are to serve the Lord in His power.
In Acts 2:4 we read that on the Day of Pentecost the believers “were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” A few days later we read that they were filled again. Acts 4:31: “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness.”
I would like you to notice that when the early church received the filling of the Holy Spirit they preached the Word of God unto the salvation of many precious souls. It was God’s power working in them for the salvation of lost souls. There is so much talk today about the filling of the Holy Spirit but there is so little soulwinning. How different from the early church.
The filling of the Holy Spirit comes as a result of our yielding to the perfect will of God. In Romans 12:1,2 we read: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
This time of heart-searching before the Lord must be continual. It is so easy to become absorbed with other things rather than the Lord. If we are to serve the Lord we must be filled with the Spirit. It is not an emotional experience that calls for noise or any outward manifestation. It is a faith experience before the Lord that comes through a complete surrender to God’s most perfect will.
GRIEVE NOT THE SPIRIT
We also read in God’s Word that the Holy Spirit may be grieved. “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30). Then notice the next two verses: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
As I see so many people without Christ and so many opportunities to reach them, my heart is burdened. We are not able to reach the lost because of the indifference of God’s people. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will not count the cost but will press on with the Gospel message. Let us be much in prayer that His Spirit may truly guide us into His perfect will.