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Tonight I want to speak to you about God’s enduement with power to serve Him. After He has rescued us or while we’re still in process of being rescued, He requires us to become His witnesses and His servants and He provides us with special supernatural enduement of power to do that. This enduement of power is commonly referred to as the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I’ll seek to answer many questions which I believe have been raised in the minds of people today by the Charismatic movement, by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, by the restoration of the gifts. And, they want to know what is the scriptural basis for all this, what really is going on in the church? So, I’m going to try to answer that.
I want to speak to you about the work and the person of the Holy Spirit. Two of the words that theologians use to describe God and His activity are omnipresent and omniscient. Omnipresent, I imagine, everybody finds fairly easy to understand. Omnipresent means that “in some way God is present everywhere in the universe.” Omniscient means that “God knows everything that’s going on in the universe.” I believe that both these are biblically supported statements and I believe the explanation of how God is omnipresent, present everywhere, and omniscient, how He knows what’s going on everywhere, is that it is through the Holy Spirit.
One of the unique revelations of the Bible is the nature of God. The Bible reveals God as one and yet more than one. In traditional phraseology, one God revealed in three persons: Father, Son and Spirit. Each of those persons is Himself God. The Father is God, the Son is God, the Spirit is God. Three distinct persons but one God.
Let’s turn to Psalm 139 by way of an opening Scripture. Psalm 139 describes God’s omniscience and His omnipresence. Or, to use more simple language it describes how God is present everywhere and how He knows everything. We could read the first 12 verses which really give the most beautiful picture in the most beautiful language of God’s omnipresence and omniscience. This is a psalm of David and he’s just overwhelmed with the facts that God is everywhere and God knows everything.
“O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.”
Searched me out, seen through me, known me from inside out.
“Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.”
You know what I’m thinking even before I know it myself.
“Thou compassest my path [the way I walk] and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.”
Every word I speak, God knows.
“Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.”
Now, in verse 7, I believe, we find the explanation of how God knows all this.
“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?”
Hebrew poetry basically tends to say the same thing in two distinct phrases. So, “whither shall I go from thy spirit” or “whither shall I flee from thy presence” teaches us that God’s presence is in His Spirit. It’s by His Spirit that He’s present everywhere.
“If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell [or Hades or Sheol], behold, thou art there.”
If you have the King James Version in front of you, you will notice that in verse 8 the final words “art there” are in italics. Did you notice that? Do you know why words are put in italics in the King James Version? It’s important that you do know. They’re put there because they’re supplied by the translator; they’re not in the original. In this respect the King James Version is a lot more honest than some modern versions which put in a lot of words and don’t let you know that they’re not there in the original. So, what David really says is there’s a greater distinction. “If I ascend up into heaven, behold, thou art there in heaven. If I make my bed in Hades, behold, thou ...” It doesn’t say “art there” but it’s “behold, thou.” You still know what’s going on, it’s not your place of residence, but you know all about it.
“If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.”
I don’t believe that words could more beautifully express this thought that I want to open with tonight—that God is everywhere and God knows everything. Distance doesn’t separate, hell and darkness cannot hide, from Him. No matter where I go, to the utmost part of the earth, God knows all about me. God’s Spirit is present, in a certain sense, everywhere.
I want to go back to the Old Testament and just briefly review quickly what I would call the operations of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. What I’m leading up to is a great point of division in human history. This point of division in human history comes at the period where Jesus died on the cross, was buried, rose again from the dead, ascended into heaven and then sent the Holy Spirit to earth. So, the period that divides human history is the period, really, from the crucifixion to the Day of Pentecost. I want to look at, first of all, the period before that, what we would call essentially the Old Testament period; and then the change that took place then and the way that God is working now that He did not work before.
So—and you don’t need to open in your Bibles unless you wish to—I’ll just give you a series of texts from the Old Testament about the activity of the Spirit of God. Genesis 1:2:
“And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
Genesis 1:1 introduces us to God in His entirety. The word used in Genesis 1 in the beginning is Elohim. The distinctive Hebrew word for the one true God, plural in form because it contains with it the concept of plurality within the godhead. “Im” is the plural ending in Hebrew. Elohim—God.
And then, significantly enough, the first person of the godhead to whom we are introduced individually is the Spirit. Verse 2, “the spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.” The Hebrew word “moved” could be interpreted “hovered like a dove.” For how long, we don’t know. In that dark, dismal scene the Spirit of God was hovering like a dove upon the face of the waters.
Then, the 3rd verse says:
“God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”
God’s word went forth. We discover from the Bible that creation takes place by the union of God’s Spirit with God’s word. Psalm 33:6 says:
“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath [or Spirit] of his mouth.”
Again, there’s Hebrew poetry. It’s telling us the complete picture in two statements. By the word of the Lord and by the breath of his mouth were the heavens and all their host made. God’s word, God’s Spirit together produced creation.
That is true here tonight. When God’s word and God’s Spirit are at work in your life they have in them the same creative power and authority that brought the universe into being. The only two agents of creation are the word and the Spirit of God. They’re presented right there at the beginning of Genesis 1:2, “the Spirit of God moved.” Genesis 1:3, “The Lord spoke.” The word went forth and when God said the word, the thing, “light,” came into being. In the Hebrew language the same word that means word means thing. Hebrew is a kind of revelatory language. Dabar is a word or a thing. Because, God’s words are things; things are made of God’s word. Hebrews 11:3:
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Behind all the things that appear, that we see with our senses, that we are conscious of in the material universe, behind them all is the unseen word of God. The word and the Spirit of God brought them all into being. So, right there in the opening of Genesis the Spirit of God was at work moving like a dove upon the face of the waters.
Then we’re just taking a quick run through the Old Testament just to illustrate the different situations and operations of the Spirit of God. In Exodus 31:3 we have the description of the making of the tabernacle of Moses that God instructed Moses to make. The name of the man whom God chose to supervise the craftsmanship and the workmanship, to work in the jewels and the precious stones and the beautiful fabrics and so on, was a man whose name was Bezaleel. It’s a very interesting thing. He’s actually the only person in the Old Testament of whom it is stated that he was filled with the Spirit of God. God said in Exodus 31:3 about Bezaleel:
“I have filled him with the Spirit of God, ... to work all manner of cunning workmanship.”
Do you know what I like about the Holy Spirit? He’s eminently practical. If a thing is truly spiritual it’s also practical. If a thing isn’t practical, it’s not really spiritual. Anything the Spirit of God is in ... works. What Bezaleel had to do was extremely practical. He had to engrave cut jewels, fit them, embroider, supervise workmen, carpenters, joiners and other such things. To do that, God filled him with His Holy Spirit. See how practical it is?
Then we go on to Deuteronomy 34:9 where it speaks about Joshua, God’s appointed leader who was to bring the children of Israel into their inheritance in the Promised Land. It says there:
“Joshua ... was full of the spirit of wisdom...”
Which is one of the ways of describing the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of wisdom.
... [because] Moses had laid his hands upon him: ... And, by the laying on of Moses’ hands, Moses had imparted to Joshua the spirit of wisdom which was in Moses. The laying on of hands is a very deep, significant act.
And then we read on in Judges, we come to the period when Israel was under the judges, men whom God raised up for crisis situations, not permanent rulers. You’ll find every one of the judges operated only in the knowledge and power of the Holy Spirit. That was the only thing that qualified them to be judges. For instance, Samson’s great strength was not due to the fact that he had tremendous muscles of iron and was taller than anybody else. His strength was totally supernatural. It was given him by the Spirit of God and when the Spirit of God lifted from him he was just like an ordinary man.
The particular example I’ve chosen there is in Judges 6:34 about Gideon. Gideon was just a young man afraid of the Midianites, threshing wheat in the wine press to hide from the enemies, totally unconvinced that he could become a savior or deliverer. But, it says:
“The spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon...”
The Hebrew says “clothed Gideon.” Gideon was clothed with the Spirit of the Lord. I wonder if you’ve ever had that feeling of being clothed with the Spirit of God? I have. I’ve had times when I could feel the Spirit of God fitting around me like a mantle from my shoulders down.
“The spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet...”
And all his household gathered together. Though he was a young man and not by any means the natural head of his clan, when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he blew the trumpet, he became the acknowledged leader.
All leadership in the kingdom of God is by the Holy Spirit. No man is qualified to lead except by the Spirit of God.
Then in 2 Samuel 23:2 David says this of his own ministry in song:
“The spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.”
God’s Spirit spoke by David. God’s Spirit gave David those beautiful psalms and the other prophetic utterances that he gave forth.
Then there came the time when David sinned grievously, committed adultery and then committed murder to cover up his adultery. When he was confronted with his sin, he wrote that beautiful psalm of penitence and confession, Psalm 51. In the 11th verse he uttered this heart cry:
“Take not thy holy spirit from me.”
David knew that the whole secret of his success and his blessedness was in the Holy Spirit. He realized that God could quite justifiably take the Spirit from him, as I believe David had witnessed the Spirit taken from his predecessor, King Saul. But, in that moment of agony he humbled himself, cried out, “Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.” God heard and answered that cry because of David’s humility and penitence.
Then, without going into all the examples of the prophets we can take a statement made in the New Testament by the apostle Peter in 2 Peter 1:21. We’re summing up the ministry of the Old Testament prophets and the very nature of prophecy. Peter says this:
“Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man...”
Men didn’t just have bright ideas or reason out clever solutions and then prophesy. Prophecy was on a supernatural level, it came from God direct by the Holy Spirit. Peter says:
“... but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the [Spirit of God the] Holy [Spirit].”
The word moved in Greek means “carried along.” So, as they launched out into the Spirit, the Spirit of God carried them along in divine revelation, divine utterance, divine direction. So, in and through the ministry of all the prophets, all the rulers, all the judges, all the great men that God raised up for His people, in every age and in every situation the decisive factor was always the presence of the Spirit of God.
It still is today. It’s not seminary training, it’s not denominational affiliation. It’s not a lot of head knowledge, social position, wealth. But, one primary requirement for leadership and ministry in the kingdom of God is the anointing and presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Without that, all else is absolutely vain.
In the New Testament we read on before the time of Jesus’ ministry and death in the opening chapter of Luke’s gospel we read, interestingly enough, of three persons who were filled at one time or another with the Holy Spirit. They were all members of the same family. That must have been a rather unique family. It was the family of Zacharias. In Luke 1:15 when the angel appeared to Zacharias and told him that he was to become the father of John the Baptist the angel said about John the Baptist:
“... he shall be filled with the Holy [Spirit], even from his mother’s womb.”
Can a little baby be filled with the Holy Sprit? Definitely yes. There’s no question about it. I think I know some babies that definitely are filled with the Holy Spirit. Not all babies, but God has a special purpose in the lives of some and that purpose comes into operation sometimes from the very day they’re born.
Then in Luke 1:41–42 we read how Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist, went to greet her cousin, the virgin Mary, who was to become the mother of Jesus. When she heard the salutation of the virgin Mary, the unborn baby in her womb leaped for joy at six months old. Let the judges and the sociologists say what they will, but the Bible teaches very clearly that an unborn baby has personality and is a real soul. In my personal opinion to destroy the life of an unborn baby is murder. I happen to know from experience exactly how God categorizes it. I’ve prayed with many women who needed to be delivered from the spirit of murder. Whenever I hear that spirit declare itself I just say to them, “Did you ever procure an abortion?” Almost invariably the answer is yes. Elizabeth, when she heard the salutation of the virgin and the babe leaped in her womb, it says she was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke out and said, “Blessed art thou ..., and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.”
Then in Luke 1:67 at the time when John the Baptist’s name was given to him as an infant when he father took the tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” Not his name is going to be John, but his name is John. His mouth was opened and he spoke and praised God. Then it says:
“Zacharias was filled with the Holy [Spirit] and prophesied...”
So, there’s three members of that family that were filled at one time or another with the Holy Spirit. Zacharias, Elizabeth and their only son John.
But as yet the full purpose of God that was to be revealed at Pentecost had not been manifested. So, all that we’ve seen of the operation and work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and the opening chapters of the New is but a prelude to what God had in mind for Pentecost.
Now let’s turn and look at the preparation for Pentecost, if I may use that phrase. I think you’ll find, if you read the gospels with an open mind, that Jesus all through His earthly ministry—and particularly as He came near the end of it—was systematically preparing His disciples for what was to happen at Pentecost. Many times in our Christian theology and presentation of the gospel we present the cross as if it were the climax. But the New Testament doesn’t do that. The cross was the turning point but Pentecost was the climax. A lot of very inaccurate sermons are preached on Easter Sunday about the resurrection gave the disciples the power to become witnesses. But, historically it isn’t true. It was Pentecost fifty days later that gave them the power to become witnesses. You’ll find that all through the gospels and especially in the closing period of Jesus’ ministry He was doing everything to build toward Pentecost.
I have to say this. Pentecost was either a God-appointed climax or it’s some kind of fortunate anticlimax. Much evangelical and fundamentalist teaching, really, make some anticlimax out of Pentecost. But, that’s not the way the Bible presents it. Let’s look now, we’ll take John’s gospel and follow through there in a few successive passages. Opening to John 1, beginning at verse 31. Remember, John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way before Jesus the Messiah, to announce His coming, to prepare the hearts of the people of Israel to receive Him. He set forth Jesus in one distinctive, totally new aspect. What was that? The one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit. In all four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the introduction of John to Jesus is given. In every case, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit” is the introductory statement. That’s where the emphasis is placed.
I think this is particularly clear in John 1, reading from verse 31. John is speaking about Jesus and he says:
“I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.”
I believe there’s a deep significance in that statement. I believe the very act of baptizing in water which John carried out was a prefiguration of what Jesus would do—not in water but with the Holy Spirit. And so, the very choice of that particular characteristic act of John, baptizing in water, was a prefiguration of what Jesus was to do, not in water but in the Holy Spirit. I’m going to read that verse again.
“[But] I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.”
The key word there is abode. You know, a dove is a very timid bird, easily frightened. The testimony of the Holy Spirit to Jesus is that it “abode upon him.” He never did anything to grieve or frighten the Spirit of God from Him.
And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost [the Holy Spirit]. Notice, the whole emphasis of the pointing out of Jesus is to point out the one who is the baptizer in the Holy Spirit.
“And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.”
So, the very emphasis of the preparatory ministry of John focused on this one fact about Jesus. He is the one who will baptize in the Holy Spirit. What you see me doing with water, He will do in the Holy Spirit.
Then we’ll go on to John 7 and we’ll find that at this point Jesus began specifically preparing His disciples for the coming of the Holy Spirit which was to follow after His own ministry. John 7:37–39:
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
Verse 39 is in parenthesis. It’s a divinely inspired comment put in by the writer of the gospel to just make clear what Jesus was talking about. In case there should be any doubt or confusion it is finally settled by this comment.
“But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy [Spirit] was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”
It’s very clear that Jesus there was not talking about sinners being converted. He was talking about believers receiving the Holy Spirit. We completely misunderstand that Scripture if we apply it to sinners being converted. It was specifically spoken of believers receiving the Holy Sprit. There’s one amazing statement there which if you have the King James in front of you, I’d like you to look at. In the middle of verse 39, “for the Holy Ghost was not yet given.” Do you notice something about the word given? It’s printed in italics. What does that mean? It’s supplied by the translators. Leave out given and what do you get? “For the Holy Spirit was not yet.” Isn’t that an amazing statement! It obviously doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit was not yet in existence, because we’ve seen already that the Holy Spirit is eternal. But, in some sense the Holy Sprit was not yet what He was going to be. The King James has supplied the word given. If I were to choose a word in the light of what I am going to say, I would supply the word available. The Holy Spirit was not yet available. Or even, you could say, in a sense, the Holy Spirit was not yet present in the way that He was going to be.
So, Jesus indicates something is yet ahead with the Holy Spirit. And, the commentator in the gospel sets a time limit. The Holy Spirit was not yet given “because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” The implication is clear the Holy Sprit could not be given until Jesus had been glorified. We’ll follow this through and we’ll see how the New Testament confirms this fact.
Now we come on to the closing discourse of Jesus. The last time He had a lengthy discourse with His disciples before His passion, which is recorded in John 14, 15 and 16. We look in John 14, beginning in verse 15 and reading through verse 18—to begin with. It was spoken only to the disciples.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
That’s the test of love. And He says, “On the basis of your loving Me and keeping My commandments I undertake to do something special for you.”
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for we dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
It’s worthwhile taking a little time to analyze that. Jesus says, “If you love Me, you’ll keep My commandments and that will make it possible for Me to do what I want to do for you. Which is, I will pray or ask the Father to give you another Comforter.” Notice the humility of Jesus. He was willing to ask the Father to give the Comforter. I’ve heard Christians say, “If God wants me to have the Holy Spirit, He’ll give it to me. I don’t need to ask.” That doesn’t convince me, because Jesus had to ask the Father to give us the Holy Sprit. So, I don’t think it would do us any harm to do a little asking on our part.
And He says “another Comforter.” Now, why does He say another? This is crucial. Let’s take the word Comforter for a moment. The word in Greek is parakletos. The Roman Catholic translation, the old ones, translate paraclete. Literally, a paraclete is someone who is called in alongside. In 1 John 2 the same word is translated “advocate”: “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Someone who is called in to plead our cause on our behalf. An advocate is an attorney, an expert who understands the law and knows the situation, can present your case the best way. So, Jesus says, “I’m going to go away, but when I go away, another Comforter will come.” The word another emphasizes that the Holy Spirit, too, is a person. “I’m a person, I’m with you now, I’m going. But, when I go, another person will come in My place and take My place.”
Who is this other person? He’s the Spirit of truth. It says “whom the world cannot receive.” Notice, it’s not talking about unbelievers. The world cannot receive the Holy Spirit. The world needs to be converted and receive Christ as Savior. But, this is speaking about people who know Christ as Savior, they are to receive the Holy Spirit.
“... because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: ...”
The Greek word translated “comfortless” is “orphan.” “I will not leave you on your own without anybody to care for you and instruct you and provide for you. When I go, I’ll send somebody else. The Holy Spirit, and He’ll see to it that you’re taught and cared for, provided for and comforted and instructed. You won’t be left like orphans.”
This really speaks to me because I believe that if a Christian lives without availing himself of the Holy Spirit he’s living like an orphan. He doesn’t need to be, but he is. This is the provision of Jesus to keep up from feeling like orphans. He says, “He will abide with you forever.” I want you to get the point. Jesus had been with His disciples three and a half years. He was about to leave them. They were heartbroken. They said, “What can we do?” He said, “It’s all right. When I go, I’ll send another Comforter and He’ll stay with you forever. I’ve only been three and a half years. I’m leaving but when I leave, He’ll come and when He comes He’ll never leave.” That’s the good message. Let’s go on a little further in that chapter to verses 25–26.
“These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy [Spirit], 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.”
Jesus said, “I want to say a lot more to you but it’s no good, you can’t receive it. But that doesn’t matter because when I go the Holy Spirit will come and He will teach you what you still need to be taught and He will also remind you of what I’ve already taught you.” So, there are two great ministries of the Holy Spirit: He’s the teacher, He’s the remembrancer.
You see, the record of the gospels does not depend upon fallible human memory. It depends upon the infallible memory of the Holy Spirit. He taught them and He reminded them of all that they needed to know.
Turn on to John 16 and look there at a little further teaching along the same line. Beginning at verse 5 and reading through verse 7:
“But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.”
Their world had collapsed. Jesus had suddenly announced He was going to leave them. What hope was left? Then He goes on to say in verse 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.”
Let’s look at that carefully. Jesus says, “You are all upset because I’m going and leaving you. But,” He said, “I tell you, it’s in your best interest. Because, if I don’t go away the Comforter won’t come in My place. But, if I go away as a person then He’ll come to take My place.” You see, there is to be an exchange of persons. This is absolutely clear and specific. One person is to go, another person is to come. Jesus is going, but just a little while after He goes He’s going to send somebody else to take charge of the disciples and the whole situation. That somebody else is the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
Then He says what the Holy Spirit will do for the world (we’re not dealing with that tonight); He says, “He will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.” We’ll pass that by, because we’re speaking tonight about what the Holy Spirit is to do for the people of God. So, we go on into verse 12 of John 16.
“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.”
The same as He said in John 14: “There’s a lot more I need to tell you, but it’s no good trying to tell you now.”
“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 shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
Let’s look at those verses and see what Jesus is saying. Verse 13, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come.” In the Greek text there is a deliberate breaking of grammatical rules. I don’t know how many of you understand about gender but many languages—French, German, Italian, Spanish and so on—have genders. Masculine, feminine, so on. If you’ve ever struggled with French, you always wonder why door should be feminine and window should be masculine. Or, glass should be masculine and cup should be feminine. But, we don’t need to go into all that now.
The Greek language has three genders; not just masculine and feminine. It has masculine, feminine and neuter. Neuter being that which is neither masculine or feminine. In the Greek language the word pneumos (spirit) is neuter. So, the pronoun is not he or she but it. In this passage the writer deliberately breaks all the laws of grammar and says “when he, the Spirit of truth, is come.” Not “when it” but “when he” to emphasize that it’s talking about a person, not just a thing.
“When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself.” This is always true of the Holy Spirit; He doesn’t direct attention to Himself. He always directs attention to the Lord Jesus.
“Whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.”
The Holy Spirit lets us in on the counsels of heaven. What He hears in heaven He tells us on earth. In that way He tells us what God’s going to do next. Isn’t that beautiful! He shows us things to come. That’s why it pays to be very sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
“He [the Holy Spirit] shall glorify me.” That’s one of the distinctive marks of the Holy Spirit’s activity. It’s always directed to glorifying Jesus. If you want to know whether a thing is of the Holy Spirit of not, one of the basic questions to ask is: Does it glorify Jesus?
“He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
Not only does the Holy Spirit reveal and glorify Jesus, but He takes the things that Jesus has—His inheritance—and imparts them to us. He’s a revelator and the administrator of the things of Jesus Christ.
People sometimes say about Pentecostals or Charismatics, “Why do you spend so much time telling us about the Holy Spirit? What we need to know is about Jesus.” But that’s exactly why we take time to tell you about the Holy Spirit. Because, it’s the Holy Spirit that reveals Jesus. You can never know Jesus as God wants you to know Him except by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. “He shall glorify Me; He shall receive of Mine and shall impart it unto you.”
In those two passages in John 14 and John 16 we have four ministries of the Holy Spirit. He’s the Teacher, He’s the Remembrancer, He’s the Revelator, and He’s the Administrator of Jesus Christ. He teaches us what we need to know. He reminds us of what we need to remember. He reveals to us the glory of Jesus and He takes our inheritance which is Christ’s and imparts it to us. If you don’t know the Holy Spirit and you don’t cooperate with the Holy Spirit, you end up living like an orphan. The inheritance is yours, but you’re not enjoying it. Why? Because you’re not friends with the Administrator. The Administrator of the whole estate is the Holy Spirit. The Bible says we’re heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ. Everything Christ has is ours. But, only the Holy Spirit can impart it to us. So, without the Holy Spirit you should be living like the child of the King, but you find yourself living like an orphan.
We’ve seen how Jesus has gradually built up to the climax of His teaching in this passage here about the coming of the Holy Spirit to take His place. Now, I want to go beyond the story of the crucifixion to the resurrection and I want to take John’s account of the first appearance of Jesus to His disciples in a group after the resurrection which is found in John 20:19–22.
“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side.”
He wanted to make it absolutely clear to them that He was the same person that had hung on the cross. He wanted to leave no shadow of doubt in their minds, to establish absolutely His identity. He showed them His hands and His side with the mark of the nails and the mark of the spear.
“Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”
I believe that was the first time they really were convinced that Jesus was risen from the dead. This was a critical moment.
“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost...”
That 22nd verse is crucial and I want to take a little time to analyze it. “He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Ghost.’” I want to just go a little bit behind the English translation to the original words. The word that’s translated “he breathed on them” is more literally “he breathed in them.” It’s used in contemporary secular literature of a flute player breathing into the mouth of his flute to play his flute.
One thing that’s very obvious is that a flute player does not stand 18 inches away from the flute and just blow at it in a general way. But, he puts his lips right up to the mouth of the flute and blows specifically directly into the flute. If that be a correct interpretation of that word—which I won’t press— the implication is that Jesus did not stand at a distance and breathe collectively on His disciples as a group. The implication is that He went up to each one of them individually, put His lips to their lips and breathed directly into each one.
I believe there’s another Scripture that makes that probable, but let me also comment for a moment on the phrase “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” The Greek language is very rich in tenses, it has many different tenses and they all have specific meaning. The imperative form that’s used there, “receive,” indicates that they were receiving when He said it. It cannot be carried over to the future. It doesn’t mean that they were to receive later. Receive means to receive now.
The article “the” is not there in the Greek. He said, “Receive Holy Ghost.” The word that’s translated “ghost” or “spirit” is the Greek word pneuma, which also means “breath” or “wind” or “spirit.” He breathed in them and said, “Receive holy breath.” That’s a perfectly legitimate translation. Understand me, I believe it was the Holy Spirit, but I believe there’s a significance in the way He expressed it. Because, He breathed into them and said, “Receive holy breath.”
I believe myself that at that moment those disciples were regenerated, they were born again of the Spirit of God. They entered into New Testament salvation. I believe that on the basis of Romans 10 that if you are to be saved you must do two things: believe with your heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead and confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord. I believe that was the first time those disciples really believed in their hearts that God had raised Jesus from the dead. Before that, they were not qualified to receive New Testament salvation. They were like the Old Testament believers, looking forward in faith into something which was yet ahead. But, at that moment, their faith became actual. Jesus had risen from the dead. They were saved with New Testament salvation; they were regenerated, born again by the act of Jesus breathing into them holy breath. They entered into the new creation. “If any man be in Christ he is a new creation.” I think this is very, very vivid when we compare it with the account of the first creation of Adam— which, let me tell you, I believe literally. I believe that Genesis 2 indicates that God—and it was the Son of God, by whom all things were made, the second person of the Godhead, the eternal Son—formed a body of clay. It must have been the most perfect piece of sculpture that has ever been. All it was was a perfect clay body. I picture it stretched out lifeless on its back. One thing that impresses me is whenever God deals with man, God has to stoop. I picture the Creator in the Garden stooping down over that body of clay, perhaps kneeling beside it, and placing His divine lips against the lips of clay, His divine nostrils opposite the nostrils of clay and then breathing in the breath of life.
Another feature of the Hebrew language is many of the words that it uses by their sounds convey the action. This is particularly true of the word “to breathe,” which in Hebrew at that point in the form it occurs is ?vi-yepheach?. That’s got two letters, the letter P, which in phonetics is called a “plosive,” an explosive letter which is made by an explosion of breath. Then the letter huh, which we don’t have in English but they have in phrases that you use in Scotland like Loch Lomond. The ordinary English language doesn’t have that huh which is a soft, continuing, guttural breath.
Just for a moment let me play a little game with you that I used to play with my students in Africa when I was trying to teach them phonetics. I used to hold a piece of paper in front of my mouth and say the word pip. Pip contains the letter P twice. When you see the paper you’ll see the two explosions that are made by the letter P. Pip. See that? So, we have the plosive P and the long, continuing, outbreathed, guttural huh. That’s what it was; it was a forceful, outgoing breath. Think what it did. That body of clay became a living soul, a living human personality. What did that? The divine, creative breath of God.
It’s wonderful to think about the interior of that personality, but it’s also wonderful to think about the physical body. It means that every organ of your body was created by the Holy Spirit. Your nerves, your glands, everything. Bones, muscles, ligaments, the whole thing. It was just clay till the Spirit of God transformed it to a living body. That makes divine healing the most logical thing in the world. When your watch breaks down you don’t take it to the boot maker, you take it to the watch maker. And, when your body breaks down why don’t you take it to the body maker, the one who made it in the first place? He’s got all the tools, He’s got all the equipment, He’s got everything that’s needed. It’s all in the Spirit of God.
Now, if you accept that account of the first creation, consider now the new creation. The resurrected Christ, having triumphed over sin, death and Satan, stands in the presence of His disciples, moves up to each one of them, puts His mouth against their mouth and breathes into them the breath of resurrection life. I believe there’s something in the word resurrection. That was a life that had triumphed forever over the tomb. That’s the life that is breathed into every born again child of God. “He that believeth in Me shall never see death,” Jesus said. There’s a life in us that death cannot touch, death cannot conquer. Sure, it can take the body, but it cannot touch the regenerated spirit of a born again believer. We’ve already passed from death into life because the life that’s breathed into us is a life that’s passed through death and risen from the dead and is triumphant. This is the regeneration; this is the new birth.
I believe it’s a pattern. I believe that every person who is born again has to meet Jesus. Not hear about Him, not just believe in Him theoretically, but encounter Him. I believe when you encounter Jesus by the Holy Spirit, He breathes into you the breath of resurrection life and you’re born again of the Spirit of God. I believe you have the Spirit in you as resurrection eternal life from that moment onwards.
But, now, glorious though that is, please observe it is not the fulfillment of what Jesus was speaking about when He promised the coming of the Holy Spirit. Because, He still went on to promise that the Spirit would come even after the resurrection. Let’s look at two passages. Luke 24:49. These words were spoken several weeks after the resurrection. He said this:
“Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you [that’s the promise of the Holy Spirit]: but tarry ye [wait] in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”
The word until indicates clearly it still lays ahead in the future. He had already breathed the breath of resurrection life into them, but that was not what He was talking about. He was talking about the coming of the Comforter, the enduement with power to be witnesses. In Acts 1 again the same truth is brought out in two verses. Acts 1:5. Shortly before His ascension into heaven, something like forty days after His resurrection, He said:
“For John truly baptized with water [John the Baptist baptized with water]; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy [Spirit] not many days hence.”
It was still in the future ten days ahead. So, when He talked about being baptized in the Holy Spirit He was not talking about the Resurrection Sunday encounter. He wasn’t talking about regeneration. That was in the past. But, the baptism in the Spirit was in the future. You see, they’re completely distinct experiences.
Then He said in Acts 1:8:
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy [Spirit] is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses ...”
Again, it’s in the future.
Almost all theologians and Bible commentators without exception are agreed in this: that all these promises of the coming of the Holy Spirit were fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. Catholics, Protestants, Pentecostals or non-denominational, I would say 99.9 percent of all serious Bible students, commentators and theologians agree that those promises were fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, not on the Resurrection Sunday. Whatever happened on the Resurrection Sunday, glorious though it was, it was not the fulfillment of the Father’s promise. That took place on the Day of Pentecost. If you end at the resurrection, you’ve cut off the climax of all God’s provision which was Pentecost, not resurrection.
Turn now to Acts 2 and we read the first 4 verses which are the scriptural account of the fulfillment of the promise of the coming of the Comforter.
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues [other languages], as the Spirit gave them [to speak].
This is the fulfillment. My personal conviction is that when God does a thing He does it right the first time. He never has to amend it, improve it, edit it, redesign it, recall it and then send it out again. When Noah built the ark according to God’s specifications, it was right the first time. Nobody had ever seen an ark, nothing had ever sailed on water like that before, but it never needed repair, it never needed modification. Whatever God does He does right the first time.
I’m convinced that when God sent the Holy Spirit and fulfilled the promise, gave the Comforter, baptized the disciples in the Holy Spirit, He did it right the first time. I am not concerned to improve on what God did. All I’m concerned is to get it. If others prefer to have it some other way, I’m glad I got it the way the apostles got it. Furthermore, if you’re a Catholic, I can’t think of any better way for a Catholic to get it than the way that the apostle Peter got it and Mary the mother of Jesus got it. If you can improve on that, you’re too advanced a Catholic for me.
When you read this account there are three elements that stand out, three successive phases: an immersion, an infilling, an outflow. I believe, together, they constitute the New Testament experience of baptism in the Holy Spirit. It says the Spirit came like a rushing mighty wind and it filled all the house where they were sitting. So, every one of them was completely immersed in the Holy Spirit coming down over them from above. Without any arguments, the Greek word “baptize” means to immerse, dip or plunge. There’s no question about its meaning. They were immersed in the Holy Spirit. If there is no immersion there’s no baptism. That’s just a matter of language, not theology.
But, there are two ways to get immersed. One is the swimming pool way. You go down into the water and come up out of it. I was standing at Niagara Falls some years ago and watching that great volume of water come down over that cliff I thought to myself, “You wouldn’t be under that water for as much as a second without being totally immersed.” It suddenly came to me there’s two ways of being immersed. There’s the swimming pool way and the Niagara Falls way. The Niagara Falls way, the water comes down over you. I believe believers’ baptism in water is you go down in and come up out. But, God’s baptism in the Holy Spirit is it comes down over you and you are immersed in the Spirit coming down over you from above.
I would venture to say this, without going into detail. In every place in the book of Acts where it describes what happened when people were baptized in the Holy Spirit the language used indicates that the Spirit of God came over them from above. There are four places, and it occurs in every one of them. If it were not so, it would not be a baptism. If there’s one thing clear in the New Testament, the word baptism runs all through the gospels and into Acts an then on into the epistles.
Number one, there was an immersion. Number two, there was an infilling. Each one of them was individually filled with the Holy Spirit within. Number three, there was an outflow. Each one of them individually gave forth of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 12:34, Jesus said:
“... out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
In my paraphrase, when the heart is filled to overflowing it overflows through the mouth in speech. That’s exactly what happens. When they were filled and began to overflow, the initial overflow was they began to speak in other languages. Supernatural infilling; supernatural outflow. If you pour milk into the jug you don’t expect tea to overflow. If you pour in the supernatural, you do not expect merely a natural outflow. The supernatural inflow demands a supernatural outflow. That is provided in Acts 2:4, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak languages which they did not know. They did the speaking; the Holy Spirit gave them the words. It was supernatural. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a baptism into the supernatural.
And, if you want to know how great a part the supernatural played in the early church, do what I did. I read through the 28 chapters of the book of Acts finding out what changes would have to be made if I removed all reference to the manifestly supernatural. Do you know what I discovered? Not one chapter would be left intact. You cannot talk about New Testament Christianity on the natural plane; it’s a contradiction in terms. New Testament Christianity was supernatural. Supernaturally born, supernaturally empowered, supernaturally directed, supernaturally attested. That’s the way it is. If you believe that God can do the same, then let’s see it. If you’ve got it all, where is it all?
Let’s turn on to Acts 2 and notice one more important verse. Acts 2:32. When Peter and the apostles were asked the explanation for what had taken place, they immediately directed their hearers to Jesus. Notice, it’s not to the Holy Spirit, it’s very specific. And Peter began to talk about Jesus, His life, death, burial and resurrection, and finally His ascension as the explanation for what had happened on the Day of Pentecost. He comes to the climax of his explanation in verses 32, 33.
“This Jesus hath God raised up, [Raised from what? From the dead, that’s the resurrection.] whereof we all are witnesses. [But he did not stop at the resurrection:] Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted [that’s the ascension], and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy [Spirit], he hath shed forth [poured out] this, which ye now see and hear.”
Notice, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit produces results which can be seen and heard. It is not done secretly, it is not invisible, it is not inaudible; it is something that can be seen and heard. It is the supernatural public attestation by Jesus placed upon His disciples. It’s public.
Now, going back to John 7:39, link that up with Acts 2:33. John 7:39 said that Jesus spoke about believers receiving the Holy Spirit. But then it went on to say, “the Holy Spirit was not yet given.” Why? Because Jesus was not yet glorified. Till Jesus had been glorified the Holy Spirit could not be given. But Acts 2:33 says now Jesus has been glorified. He’s been exalted at the Father’s right hand, and being there He has received from the Father the promise of the Spirit and poured it out on us. That’s why you see and hear us doing what we’re doing.
Notice that all three persons of the godhead at this point are involved. Jesus the Son turns to the Father and says, “Father, it’s time for My promise.” Somebody said this is “the throne promise” of Jesus. It’s the reward of all His travail, of all that He endured, the privilege of pouring out the Holy Spirit upon His disciples. He said, “Father, I’ve done all You asked Me to do. Here I am, the day has come. Please.” The Father said, “Son, it’s My good pleasure to give it to You.” The Spirit says to the Father and to the Son, “It’s My delight to go.” So, down comes the Holy Spirit, they’re all immersed, filled, and begin to speak. That’s it. Immersion, infilling, outflow.
Now you say, “What’s the difference between regeneration in the Holy Spirit and baptism in the Holy Spirit?” Let me give you one Scripture in Titus 3:5–6 talking about salvation.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he [God] saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy [Spirit]...”
That’s regeneration. It’s a work of the Holy Spirit. It’s washing, renewing, regenerating. Those are the three aspects of the new birth. They’re cleansing, a new creation, and a new birth. It’s produced by the inbreathed Spirit of God. But then the next verse says:
“... which he shed on us [poured out upon us] abundantly [in overflow] through Jesus Christ ...”
That’s the outpouring. So, you see, you have the regeneration by the inbreathed Spirit, you have the baptism through the outpoured Spirit.
If I were to sum it up, if this will help you, I’ll define the difference between regeneration and the baptism in the Spirit this way. Regeneration is the resurrected Christ, the inbreathed Spirit, received as life. The baptism is the glorified Christ, the outpoured Spirit, received as Lord. That’s the point at which the Spirit becomes Lord in you. Now we’re dealing not with the Spirit of inbreathed life, but as in received Lord. Shall I say that again? Regeneration is the resurrected Christ, the inbreathed Spirit, received as life. The baptism is the glorified Christ, the outpoured Spirit, received as Lord.
“If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life ...”
When you receive Christ as Savior, in Him you receive the Holy Spirit, divine resurrection life. From that day onwards you have the Holy Spirit. But, you haven’t yet received the Holy Spirit as Lord. That’s the baptism. And, if you care to check in the New Testament, from Acts 2 onwards when the early church talked about receiving the Holy Spirit they were not talking about regeneration. They were talking about the baptism. You can use the language any way you choose, but if you follow the apostolic pattern, receiving the Holy Spirit from Acts 2 onwards is exclusively used not for regeneration but for the baptism. It’s used that way and described that way without going into details in Acts 8 in Samaria, Acts 9 in Damascus, Acts 10 in Caesarea, and Acts 19 in Ephesus.
Acts 8, Philip had gone down to Samaria to preach Christ, the people had been converted, healed, delivered of evil spirits and baptized in water. Were they or were they not born-again Christians? There’s no possibility of denying that they were born-again Christians. But, nevertheless, the apostles came, laid hands on them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. What in? Not in regeneration but in the baptism. Then it says “the Holy Spirit fell upon them.” And, Simon the sorcerer saw that through laying on of the apostle’s hand the Holy Spirit was given. Not regeneration, but the baptism.
Acts 9, Saul of Tarsus met Jesus on the Damascus road, saw Him in His glory, fell to the earth, was converted. He spent three days without food or drink. Then Ananias, a humble disciple incidentally, not an apostle, was directed by the Lord to go and lay hands on him. Some people say only apostles should lay hands on you. But that isn’t true. Ananias was a mere disciple and he laid hands on the future apostle Paul that he might receive his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. He was already converted but he still had to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 10, Peter went to the house of Cornelius reluctantly against the Jewish prejudices. He began to tell them about Jesus and forgiveness of sins. While he still spoke God interrupted his sermon. The Holy Spirit fell on all them because of the word of these Gentiles. And it says, “Those of the circumcision which came with Peter were astonished because on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit for they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.” How did they know the Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit? Because they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Peter said instantly, “Can any man forbid water that these should not be baptized in water which have received the Holy Spirit just the same as we?”
Peter went to that house not believing that Gentiles could become Christians except by going through the Mosaic Law. The moment the Holy Spirit fell and those Jewish believers heard the Gentiles speak with tongues, all the barriers were down. They said, “They’ve got the same as we.” They didn’t say, “We’ll wait around for six months and see if you produce the fruit.” One thing convinced them and nothing else would have convinced them. People say tongues is divisive. I say tongues is unifying. It just depends on what point of view you look at it. In the early church it was unifying. Nothing would have united Jews and Gentiles but tongues. The Jews would never have accepted the Gentiles if they hadn’t heard them speak with tongues.
And, in the Charismatic movement tongues is unifying because it’s unifying Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Baptists, Assemblies of God and what have you. Frankly, nothing would have convinced me that a Catholic priest or nun could have received the Holy Spirit till I stood beside them and heard them speak in tongues. After that I said, “God, you may have made a mistake, but they certainly have what I have!” My attitude was like that of Peter. Peter thought God had made a mistake but he couldn’t deny what had happened. God forgive me.
Let me tell you something simple but very logical. You say it’s divided. I want to tell you this. Everything that unites also divides. It cannot be otherwise. Suppose I say—don’t do it—but suppose I say, “Everybody in this room that drives a Volkswagen, would you stand up?” All right. What have we got? All the drivers of Volkswagens united. What’s happened? They’re divided from all the people that drive other cars. Isn’t that right? So, tongues is both unifying and dividing. But, it’s unifying those whom God wants unified and it’s dividing those who don’t want what God has. That’s the simple truth. You can take fifty different nice ways to say it, but it all boils down to the same thing.
Remember, it isn’t man that gives the Holy Spirit. If you criticize it, resist it, you’re criticizing and resisting Almighty God. You look out. “He that speaketh against God,” the Bible says, “let him answereth.” That’s a very solemn thought.
As a Pentecostal I’ve been called almost everything. It doesn’t matter to me. Now they find a new name to make us respectable. We used to be fanatics, that was all wrong. Now we’re Charismatics and that makes it all right. All they’ve changed is the label, not the experience.
I’m reminded of the preacher who said, “I didn’t give up drinking when I was converted, I just changed brands.” Then he went on to say, “And what’s more, I didn’t give up dancing, I just changed the floor.” That’s my testimony.
Let us come to a closing thought and we’ll bring our message to an end. What is the temple of the Holy Spirit? I want to answer you from two passages in 1 Corinthians. It’s a double answer. 1 Corinthians 3:16–17. One thing that’s good about the King James is that it retains the difference between the plural and the singular form for “you.” You’re familiar with that, you know that ye is plural, thou is singular. It’s very important because sometimes we wouldn’t know from ordinary English whether it’s singular or plural. In 1 Corinthians 3:16–17 it is ye all the way through, it’s plural.
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you [plural, collectively]? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
Plural, plural, plural. So, the dwelling place of God is “you,” collectively—all believers. And ever since the Day of Pentecost it is my conviction that Spirit of God as a person, as Lord, has indwelled the temple which is the Body of Christ, all true believers. So, as a believer you are part of a temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells as a person. That is the divine dwelling place in this dispensation.
You see, as I understand Scripture today, God the Father is in heaven. God the Son is at His right hand also in heaven. But, there’s one person of the Godhead who is on earth. Who is that? The Holy Spirit. That’s the exchange. Jesus went and ten days later the Holy Spirit came. The resident personal representative of God on earth is not the Father, not the Son, but the Spirit. He’s Lord just as much as the Father and the Son. Second Corinthians 3:17:
“The Lord is that Spirit...”
He’s the resident representative of the Godhead; He dwells in a temple which is not made with hands, not a cathedral, not a church, not a synagogue but it’s the body, the corporate body made up of all true believers. So, if you’re a true believer in Jesus Christ you are part of a temple in which the Spirit of God dwells. You have that by right of membership in the church.
Turn on to 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 and we see a further truth.
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy [Spirit] which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price [What is the price? The blood of Jesus.]: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
When Jesus died on the cross and redeemed us He redeemed us complete. Not just the spiritual part of us but the spirit and the body were redeemed by the blood of Jesus. The body of every believer is redeemed by the blood of Jesus for one supreme purpose. What is that? To become the individual temple of the Holy Spirit. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. You do not control what happens in the church at large but you do control what happens in your individual body. That is where you have the God-given privilege of making your body available to the Holy Spirit as Lord to dwell in. He will not come in unless you invite Him. He will not force His way in. So, to every believer is given the privilege of saying, “Holy Spirit, make my body your temple.” Jesus said in John 7:38:
“He that believeth [in] me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the [Holy] Spirit ...)”
Where does the Holy Spirit indwell? Let’s say it, the belly. Sounds vulgar, doesn’t it? I remember as a boy in the Anglican church in Britain when I heard the lessons read and I heard that word belly I always thought there was a mistake. Church is too holy a place to talk about the belly.
Do you know what I discovered tonight—and God directed my attention to this. Remember I quoted to you the passage that John the Baptist shall be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb? The word that’s translated “womb” in Luke 1 is the same word that’s translated “belly” in John 7. So, even if you’re a man you have a womb, a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit.
I believe this. I believe it’s very, very solemn. I believe that right from the beginning of creation the body of man was created with a specific end purpose. Do you know what that was? To provide the Holy Spirit with a temple. This I absolutely cannot conceive of with my natural understanding that Almighty God the Holy Spirit would design and desire to indwell the physical temple of my body. But that’s what the gospel says.
See, this gospel is as far above our natural thinking as heaven is above earth. I’ve tried the other versions of religion; I’ve tried Hinduism and Buddhism, these things. Friend, there’s nothing in them that compares with this message. This is a divine message. No man could ever have conceived the truth of the gospel. Paul said, “The gospel which I preach unto is not of man, neither is it after man.” It didn’t originate with man and no man would ever have thought it up. I could sit down and work out an Eastern religion, I wouldn’t have any problem. It’s the product of a natural mind. But, the truth of the gospel comes from an altogether different source. The climax of all God’s dealings with us from salvation through the blood of Jesus is that your body may become the temple of the Holy Spirit. There’s a special part in your body set aside for the Holy Spirit to dwell in. If you’re a child of God, you’re regenerated; you have the Holy Spirit in there as life, resurrection life. If you die, you’ll go straight to heaven.
But, the point is that when you get saved most of you don’t die. It would be much easier in many ways if you did! You’ve got to live with a tiresome husband, difficult children and a pastor that doesn’t understand you in a world that’s cold, alien and hostile. You need something special from God to live right. The baptism in the Holy Spirit isn’t to prepare you for the next world; it’s to equip you for this one. Regeneration prepares you for the next. The baptism equips you for this. Don’t mix them up. Both are important, neither is a substitute for the other.
I’m going to tell you now how to receive the Holy Spirit. Not talking about regeneration, talking about the baptism. I believe that the best simple explanation is found in John 7 where Jesus spoke those words we’ve already quoted, verses 37–39. It’s very, very simple.
If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. Those are the three things you have to do. Anybody. It means any believer because the Scripture says it’s talking about believers.
What’s your first requirement? To thirst. What does that mean? It means to long for more of God than you already have. You don’t have to be a deacon; you don’t have to be able to quote Scripture. You may have never paid your tithe. God isn’t talking about that. He’s talking about spiritual birth. Are you longing for more of God than you already have? All right. Then you qualify. The less qualified you feel the more qualified you are. God has filled the hungry with good things but He’s sent the rich away empty. If you think you can get on all right without the baptism in the Holy Spirit that’s just exactly what you’ll have to do. If you don’t need it why should God force it on you? “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness. They shall be filled.”
The second requirement is “let him come unto me.” There’s only one baptizer in the Holy Spirit, His name is Jesus. All sorts of people could baptize you in water; only one person can baptize you in the Spirit. Jesus. If you want the baptism, you must come to the Baptizer. Praise God, He said, “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” So, if you come, He’ll not turn you away. He’s promised to receive you. You come to Him.
The third thing is the simplest but the most important. It’s the one where people fail. You’ve got to drink. Nobody ever drank with their mouths closed. No one ever received the baptism in the Holy Spirit with their mouth closed. You can sit on a church chair and say you’re seeking the Holy Spirit and sit there with your mouth closed from now till the millennium, you will never get it. God will not zap you and force it on you. You’ve got to meet His conditions and cooperate with the Holy Spirit. So, you drink. What’s that? It’s to open up your mouth, to open up your whole being and receive the outpoured Spirit within yourself. That’s drinking.
In the last ten years I have seen literally thousands of persons receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit and wherever I have been able to bring people to the place of drinking I cannot recall that I’ve ever seen a person fail to receive the Holy Spirit. When they come that far, it’s sure. But, it seems a little silly. I don’t know why, but people think as long as they keep their mouth tightly sealed they’re respectable. If they begin to open it, well then, it’s not so dignified. But you don’t receive without drinking. You’re not drinking literal water; you’re drinking in the Holy Spirit who is called “the breath of the Almighty.” How do you receive breath? By breathing it in. That’s how you receive the Holy Spirit. If you haven’t met the previous requirements you can sit there and breathe in all night, nothing will happen. But, if you’re thirsty, if you come to Jesus, if you’ve presented yourself as a candidate, then you drink in and believe me, something will happen. What will happen? The outflow. “He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture says, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to do what? Speak. That’s the primary outflow.
Notice who did the speaking. They did. The Holy Spirit didn’t do the speaking. They did the speaking, the Holy Spirit gave the words. Some people say, “I want it to be all of God,” and they never get it. God hasn’t planned it that way. God says, “You do your part; I’ll do Mine. You come to Me, meet My conditions, open your mouth, drink, begin to speak, and I’ll give you the words. But, if you wait for Me to speak that’s not My bargain. I won’t do that.” You say, “I don’t know what I’m going to say.” Precisely. It’s an unknown language. “But I might say the wrong thing.” No, you mightn’t because God has given you a guarantee. This is very important. Luke 11:13:
“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
If you are a child of God and you come to your heavenly Father through Jesus Christ for the Holy Spirit, God guarantees that you receive the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “If you ask for bread you will not get a stone. If you ask for a fish you won’t get a snake. If you ask for an egg you won’t get a scorpion. If you ask for that which is good you will never receive that which is evil.”
You say, “I don’t want what the Pentecostals got.” That’s not what you’re asking for. Let me quote you one remark that was made which, I think, is possibly in some cases appropriate. “Don’t let the table manners of the Pentecostals keep you from enjoying what they’re eating.” If your manners are better, well, praise God. You’d better wait till you’ve been through the experience before you point a finger.
A couple of problems and we close. My experience is that for more than fifty percent of persons who receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, problem number one is this. The devil comes and says, “That isn’t real. You’re doing it yourself.” You should see the people nodding their heads right now. They’ve been through it. “That isn’t real; you’re doing it yourself.” Okay. Let me give you the answer. The answer is, “Quite right, devil; I am doing it myself. I’m doing the speaking; the Holy Spirit is giving me the words.”
Well, the devil may stop there, he may not. He may say, “How do you know you got the right thing?” It sounds very silly, doesn’t it? How do you answer that one? The answer to that is what I’ve explained. “Devil, I know I got the right thing not because of what I feel, not because of what I think, not because of the way it sounds, but because God promised me that if I asked for the right thing I’d get the right thing. I asked God for the Holy Spirit and what I’ve got is the Holy Spirit. My faith is not in myself, my feelings, people’s opinions, church traditions; it’s in the written word of God.”
Let me say it again. What do you have to do? Three simple steps. If any man thirst. First of all, you have to be thirsty. Secondly, you have to come to Jesus the baptizer direct. Thirdly, you have to drink. You have to open up and receive within. As you drink a miracle takes place within you and you become the outflowing source of rivers. And the outflow initially is through the mouth in speech. There comes a moment of faith which you cannot bypass when in simplicity and foolishness you begin to speak not knowing what you’re going to say. At that moment the Holy Spirit never lets you down. Okay? Your confidence is not in yourself, it’s in God. Praise God!
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