Summary: Part 3 of 4 in an introductory series on the Holy Spirit, looking at who He is and how He works in our lives.
INTRODUCTION: The Holy Spirit is that part of the Trinity that lives inside all believers. When and how He enters our lives is often confusing, and thus often debated… why? Most of it has to do with the fact that He has worked in different ways, in different people, throughout the ages… When it comes to the Holy Spirits action among men we are presented with 3 different manifestations,
(1) The “filling” of the Holy Spirit (2) “indwelling” of the Holy Spirit (3) “baptism” of the Holy Spirit
BACKGROUND: This morning we set out to answer the two primary questions at the very heart of our relationship with the Holy Spirit… “How does the Holy Spirit Manifest Himself?” and “How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?” Answering the first question is absolutely essential to the answer of the second question… so we begin by examining the different manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
MANIFESTATIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
• So we begin with the “filling” of the Holy Spirit – this is a distinctively Old Testament manifestation
• In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit was indeed active, His work in people’s lives was powerful, yet His actions in and on behalf of others was limited – in that His presence wasn’t constant
• The Spirit filled Joshua to enable him to take Moses’ place as leader of Israel (Deuteronomy 34:9)
• The Spirit filled and empowered Samson to be a Judge… He later left him (Judges 13:25; 16:20)
• The Spirit filled and empowered Saul and his men to Prophecy (1st Samuel 19:18-24)
• But we see an occasion where the Spirit leaves him, and He’s replaced with another (not so friendly) spirit (1 Samuel 16:14)
• And Zacharias is told that his son (John the Baptist) will be filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:15)
• This “Spirit” filled existence allowed him to be the “voice” crying in the wilderness, preparing the way for the Lord
• The book of Acts is a fascinating look into the change from the age of Judaism to the age of the Church. Jesus was a Jew. The disciples were Jews. The first Christians were Jews; but the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is distinctly Christian manifestation.
• The indwelling of the Holy Spirit (gift) was promised to those who believed in Jesus was Lord and Savior, and were baptized (Acts 2:38)
• Peter points out that this “indwelling” is for “everyone” (vs. 39) as where under the Old Covenant, the Holy Spirit only acted in the lives of a few
• The indwelling isn’t just for the “present” generations, but for “all” generations!
• And finally we look at the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit
• This is the one where we tend to get ourselves in trouble… why? because we (the church) often confuse the “indwelling” of the Spirit with the “baptism” of the Spirit
• While they are related, and while they share a common source (from God) they are NOT one in the same!
• While the “indwelling” of the Spirit is promised to all believers, the “baptism” of the Spirit only occurs twice in the whole Bible, and both occurrences happen in the Book of Acts
• (1) Pentecost – the tongues of fire, and speaking in tongues, which were always known languages (Acts 2:8) for the purpose of proving the message, and to give understanding (promised in 1:5)
• (2) Cornelius – speaking in tongues, even before they heard Peter’s message, this proving that the Gospel was for the Gentiles as well.. yes; God of the Gentiles too! (explained in 11:16)
• After the strange case of Cornelius, the manifestation of “Spirit-baptism” ceases, in fact Paul when teaching tells us quite plainly… one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism! (Ephesians 4:5)
HOW CAN I BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT?
• The answer to this is really quite simple, but we Christians, as we often do, have a way of taking the plain, simple, and easy to understand Word of God and complicate it
• The receiving of the indwelling of the Spirit is no exception – back to Acts 2:38
• While there are countless passages in the New Testament that speak of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit this is the only passage that directly us directly “how” to receive the Holy Sprit
• But Acts 2:38, being one of the most “controversial” verses in the bible, gives people cause to ask… does it “really” say what it says, and does it really “mean” what it means? YES!
• Why complicate the issue – it’s a by-product of the reformation… Thanks to a guy named Zwingli, and his student Calvin, baptism was “divorced” from Salvation, and the “indwelling” of the Sprit was divorced from Baptism (which we’ll cover more in depth in our next series)