The Amazing Companion
Some Surprises About The Holy Spirit
COPYRIGHT © 1991
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Published By Brentwood Christian Press
4000 Beallwood Avenue
Columbus, Georgia 31904-7217
I hereby dedicate this work to
in hopes that all who read these
pages may learn more of Him and
be more yielded to Him.
To the reader who is trained in our modern theological schools, there are some things in these pages that will seem to be new doctrine. It has not been my purpose to be new or different. While pastoring churches in several states, I spent a good deal of my "Leisure" time in a study that I set out to do for my self. Over a period of ten years I looked at every passage I could find in the Bible dealing with the Holy Spirit. Without commentaries I sought to examine each passage in the light of the context around it with a purpose to learn all I could. (I do not mean to demean commentaries; rather for this particular study I wished only to learn as much as I could from the Word itself.) In this course I began to see some things that were new to me also. Without discrediting them I wrote them down and compared them with later passages to see if they stood the test of Bible unity. When I was through, I felt I had information that was valuable and should be passed on to all who will take the time to read these pages.
In the actual writing I did use a few ideas that I had received elsewhere, but it is predominately the passing on of my study notes. I do not expect that everyone will agree with all that I write. My request would simply be, "Read with your Bible in hand and compare what is written with the Bible passages to which reference is made. If you find help, I will be most grateful to the Holy Spirit that He would use me to help you know Him better.
If something herein seems novel to you, remember some of it was new to me also. Let me encourage the reader to study. If something is different from what you have been taught, it does not necessarily follow that it is wrong. Let the diligent study of the Holy Word determine whether these pages or any other writing be Biblically correct. If it is Biblically correct, who are we to discard it?
I do not claim any new revelation. God is not giving new revelations today. Neither do I claim any advanced scholarship. I may even appear to be brazen to offer some things I say. Let the reader be assured that it is not written with that purpose in mind. Really I have dared to express as humbly as I can what I believe I have learned to be true. I hope it will be seen that way and prove to be a spiritual blessing to many.
1 The Holy Spirit Is God
2 The Sovereignty Of The Spirit
3 The Holy Spirit And Inspiration
4 The Enabling Work Of The Holy Spirit
5 The Indwelling Of The Holy Spirit
6 The Fruit Of The Spirit
7 The Blasphemy Of The Holy Ghost
8 The Holy Spirit And Prayer
9 The Realm Of The Spirit
10 The Baptism Of The Holy Ghost
11 The Holy Spirit's Regenerating Work
12 The Sanctifying Work Of The Holy Spirit
13 The Holy Spirit Identifying Or Witnessing
14 The Filling Of the Holy Spirit
15 The Anointing Of The Holy Spirit
16 The Guiding Work Of The Holy Spirit
17 The Holy Spirit - Our Teacher
18 The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit Is God
God is a Trinity. All theists believe there is a God. Some of them will acknowledge only one person in the God-head, that being the person called "the Father". Others will affirm the deity of the Son, even Jesus Christ. Often however the deity of the Holy Spirit is forgotten or just goes unnoticed.
The Holy Spirit is often referred to as "It". This is a great mistake, because He not only is a person; He is a person of Deity. Personal characteristics are ascribed to Him. He is an individual distinct from the Father and the Son. He has feelings, and He has a will. He can feel, think or reason, and make decisions. He performs acts of a person. He teaches, guides, sanctifies, loves, reproves, etc., showing Him to act as a person. Personal pronouns are ascribed to Him such as He, His, or Him. Some have called Him an influence, but He is much more than an influence. He does influence man, but He does it as a person. He can be grieved, lied to, resisted, tempted, etc. An influence cannot be grieved or lied to. He is a person.
He is not only a person; He is a person Who is God. He participated in the creation. He inspired the Scriptures, He regenerates sinners, and He has raised the dead even Jesus. He is omnipotent and omni-present. These are attributes only of God. Having laid out some of these thoughts, let us look at some scriptures that corroborate His Deity.
. We shall begin with Gen. 1:2. From this passage we may at least learn that the Holy Spirit has existed from before creation. As a pre-existing One, which would mean an eternal One, He would be seen to be God. Surely no one else existed before creation. We may also learn that He acted in creation. Scripture says, "He moved upon the face of the waters." As "the Spirit of God" His deity is recognized, and we recognize His relationship to the Father as being of Him and therefore proceeding from Him. The word translated "moved" we are told also means brooded over. In this we can see His love. As a hen gathereth her chicks under her wings, so also He brooded or hovered over the face of those waters. Here again we learn there is generating warmth in Him as He brooded there. It is interesting also to note the condition of that over which He hovered. It was an earth void and without form. It was as waste. Darkness prevailed upon the face of the deep. It was a perfect conception of ruin and degradation upon which the Spirit moved or brooded. Yet out of that He brought our beautiful world.
In Job 25:13 the Holy Spirit is seen again in His creative work. Gen. 1:1 tells us God created the heavens and the earth. John 1:3 speaking of Jesus, the Son of God, says that all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. Job now includes the Holy Spirit in that creation. It was He Who moved upon or brooded over the face of the waters in Gen. 1:2. The beauty of the heavens then is ascribed to the work of the Holy Spirit Who is the Agent of God in all His work. Job says He garnished the heavens. Just what that is really saying is not explained. To garnish however means to decorate or adorn. When we think of how beautiful Heaven must be; we should remember, it is the Holy Spirit Who has decorated or adorned that beautiful place.
In chapter 33 and verse 4 Job again refers to the creative work of the Holy Spirit. He says, “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." What a high and holy view this should give us of man as the creature made of God thru the Holy Spirit. In the creation of man it is said that God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and he became a living soul. Job is telling us part of the same. He says, "...the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." Job 32:8 refers to a Spirit in man. Created in the image of God and receiving our life from the Holy Spirit, we too have a spirit. The breath or Spirit of the Almighty God teaches our spirit, and we are thus given understanding.
Psalm 104:30 continues the same idea. In this Psalm the Holy Spirit has spoken of the waters fleeing from the voice of God. He has then spoken of beasts and fowls living by those waters. After this He also speaks of sustenance for cattle and man. To the waters He then adds the sun and the moon. In verse 26 He says, "There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein." In verses 27-29 He shows all of these as dependent on God. Then in verse 30 He says, “Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth." Here the Holy Spirit is seen as proceeding from God. The Trinity is made of three distinct personalities, but each of them is seen as one and working in perfect harmony with the other two. The sending forth here of the Spirit and the creation seem to be related.
Isaiah in chapter 40 verse 7 tells us another side of His power. Here the opposite of creation is seen. It is a glorious thing that Jesus thru the power of the Holy Spirit could create all things (John 1:3; Gen. 1:2). It is just as wondrous to note that the dying of the grass and flowers. God's own creation, is the result of the Holy Spirit blowing on them the kiss of death. He has the power of life and death.
His creative work continues into the New Testament. Here is the first mention of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament (Matt. 1:18-20). It was similar to the original act of creation in Gen. 1:2. Yet it is very important that we do not say that He created Jesus. Jesus is God and has always been; thus, He needed no creation. He has not always been in a body though. The generating or creative work of the Holy Spirit in this case was that of Divine Power at work in the body of the virgin Mary. Without any marriage or carnal knowledge of a man she was with child. How? He did not create Jesus. There was no cohabitation of Mary with a mythological God. The Holy Spirit in miraculous power did generate the body of the divine Child. Verse 20 says, "...that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."
The creative work of the Holy Spirit is also seen in the act of resurrection. In 1 Peter 3:18 the Spirit is the Agent of our Lord's resurrection. We note our Lord's suffering in verse 11. It has as its purpose bringing us to God. The God-Man is put to death in the flesh. God does not die, but His humanity does. The Spirit here, the Agent of resurrection, made Jesus alive again. In 1 Peter 4:6 a parallel is seen. Here reference is made to saints who have died. The same Spirit is their agent of resurrection.
Again we see this same work in Rev. 11:11. The two witnesses of the Tribulation period are killed and left in the street. After three and one half days lying in the street, the Spirit of life from God enters them and they stand on their feet. Here again is the creative power of the Spirit. He can bring to life that which has never lived, or He can restore to life that which lived and died. It was the same Spirit that raised up Christ, and it is the same Spirit that quickens us to spiritual life.
We also learn that the Holy Spirit is Omni-present. Note Psalm 139:7. David, beloved of God, is in this Psalm aware of the presence of the Spirit. He is surely not running away from Him, but rather he is magnifying the truth of the Spirit's omnipresence. How wonderful! Regardless of circumstances in which we find ourselves, the Holy Spirit is always with us who are saved.
The Holy Spirit is also omnipotent. In Acts 5:3 we find a man whose name (Ananias) means "whom Jehovah graciously gave." He must have been a beautiful baby. Circumstances around his birth may have meant it was not easy for his parents to have children. Thus when he was born, they recognized him as truly a gift from God. He was married to Sapphira whose name means "beautiful". This couple no doubt well respected in the church were a union of grace and beauty. They were likely known that way in their church. These two, however, were greedy. They sold a piece of ground and gave part of the proceeds to the church, but they professed to have given it all. Peter then accused this man of lying not to man or the church but to God. He is said to have lied to the Holy Ghost. In verse nine the beautiful one came and agreed with her husband. She knew better and thus was a party to the lie. Peter informed her that their tying to the Holy Ghost was also a means of tempting the Spirit of the Lord. It was like tantalizing God in His anger or what we sometimes refer to as tempting the providence of God. The result in both cases was death on the spot. This resulted in great fear in the church.
Then let's go over to Rev. 1:4. John is addressing the seven churches of Asia. He is going to give them the revelation of Jesus Christ that Jesus had received from the Father. John had received it by the signs the angel gave to him. Now an angel is a ministering spirit (Heb. 1:14). Those spirits sometimes take on the body of a man, but they are ministering spirits. He expresses grace from the Eternal One and then includes that the same grace is from the seven Spirits which are before the throne of that Eternal One. Since the stars in the hand of Christ were the "angels of the seven churches", one might wonder if these Spirits are those angels. Then, however, we notice that these angels must be men who are the pastors of those churches. (Rev. 1:20, 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14) The seven Spirits are before the throne of God — not in His hand. Seven is a number used often in the Bible Interpretation to mean complete or fullness. Could this be then a reference to the Holy Spirit Himself in all of His fullness?
Since the grace of which John speaks is seen as coming from the Eternal One and these Seven Spirits, it seems reasonable to believe that this is the meaning here. Also Isaiah spoke of The Spirit of the Lord, Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Might, Knowledge, and Fear of the Lord in verse 2, Chapter 11. Continuing in verse 5 of Rev. 1 John says, "...and from Jesus Christ..." This then would give us the Father as the Eternal One, The Holy Spirit as the Seven Spirits, and Jesus Christ (the Three together as the Trinity) as the source from which would come the grace of which John speaks.
Again in Rev. 3:1 and 4:5 we learn of the Holy Spirit. In Rev. 1:4 grace was from the Seven Spirits of God as well as from the Father and from Jesus. In 3:1 the one giving the message has the Seven Spirits of God. The same One has the seven stars (pastors) in His hand. The Spirit is identifying Jesus. John in his vision 4:5 is able to see into Heaven. Before the throne of God he sees seven lamps of fire burning. He identifies these lamps as the Seven Spirits of God or the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Now lamps speak of light. John identifies Jesus in John 1 as the Light. In John 9:5 Jesus said, "As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world." In Rev. 4:5 the lamps before the throne are not identified as Christ, but rather as the Holy Spirit. In Matt. 5:14 Jesus said to His disciples who would be the beginning of His Church, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid." Thus Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Lord's Church are each referred to as light. How blessed! When Jesus was on earth, He was the Light of the world? Now that He is back in Heaven, His Church is the light of the world. Now here is a problem. His Church has no light in and by herself. It is said that like the moon reflects the light of the sun, the Church must reflect the light of the Son. Fine! The Church is made up of human believers. Though they have been touched by the Son and created anew in regeneration, they still bear in themselves the inabilities of the depraved nature. So where is the light? In those believers dwells the Holy Spirit. He being the seven lamps of fire He will lighten the believers and enable us to reflect the light of the Son.
The deity of the Spirit must be seen in His power. In Acts 6:3, 5, 10 the first deacons are being chosen. Among other things the qualification of a deacon was to be full of the Holy Ghost. Enemies of God and the Gospel were there of course to dispute with the man of God. The Bible declares they were "unable to resist" the wisdom and the Spirit by which Stephen spoke. Are we then out of place to speak of the Holy Ghost as an irresistible Spirit? It surely was not Stephen who was irresistible.
Then Stephen in Acts 7:51, 55 is addressing the council. He accuses them of always resisting the Holy Ghost. How can they resist Him if He is irresistible? The answer can only be that from a human responsibility standpoint, they like all unconverted men do resist the Spirit, and they do it continuously. From a standpoint, however, of God's sovereignty and power, when He begins to accompany His word as He chooses; the power of that Spirit is powerful to overcome the mind and heart of those to whom He so ministers.
The efficacy of that power is seen also in Rev. 2:7, 11, 29; 3:6, 13, 22. The Lord Jesus is speaking in these passages. In each case he gives a message to John to be given to the angel or pastor of that church. Because angels are messengers it is expected that these angels (pastors) will not keep the messages to themselves, but that they will transmit them also to their churches. These verses then are invitations for these churches to act on what they have heard. It is a way of impressing on them their responsibility to what they heard. It is interesting, however, that the Lord does not say let him hear what "I" say. Neither does He say, "Let them hear what the angel says." He instead says, "Let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Christ was physically already in Heaven seated at the Father's right hand. (He was not exalting the Spirit over Himself either.) Since He was physically in Heaven, He was sending these messages thru His servant to the angels (pastors). Those churches were made of human believers like ourselves. They might hear their pastor and yet not hear him. Here is a challenge for them to hear efficaciously what the Spirit was saying thru those pastors. This is ever the case. The Pastor's message may be ever so true, but if the Spirit does not effectively accompany that message to the hearer's heart; that hearer will not hear. Satan will snatch the truth from the mind.
Now in Rev. 22:17 is seen the cooperation of the Church with the Spirit. "The Spirit and the bride say come." It is the responsibility of the Church to preach that which the Spirit by inspiration has imparted to us. In fact where the Spirit has remained silent, the Lord's Church must remain silent. All the doctrines the Spirit has taught us are to be heralded as it were from the housetops. It is not ours to decide (pick and choose) what part of the Spirit's word is to be proclaimed. We must proclaim the whole counsel of God.
As the Church cooperates with the Spirit in this proclamation, she can also expect the blessing of the Spirit in the call of sinners to Christ. Apart from the Spirit's inspired word we have not, and we must not have any message to give. Preach that which is given ever so faithfully however, if the Holy Spirit does not bless that word to the hearer's heart, it will be in vain. Thus it is the Spirit and the Church cooperate to call sinners to repentance and life. How blessed the thought! The last reference of the Spirit in all the Bible, He is seen joining with the Lord's Church to herald forth the invitation of God to come and take the water of life freely.
What condescension is seen also! Could the Spirit not send angels to herald that invitation? Sure He could, but He didn't. Could He not raise up even the stones to tell His invitation? Sure, but He didn't. Could He not have sent back the saints who are no longer tainted by sin? Of course, but He didn't. Could He not have even done the work in our hearts without the agency of men's preaching or teaching? Could He not have created us anew spiritually by the simple word of Christ and the breath of His power as was the case in creating man physically? Of course, but He didn't choose any of these. Instead He chose to join with the Church to call sinners to Christ. What a challenge to us! Be faithful to teach what He has given to us. At the same time know that in all of our faithfulness, ours is only the external call. Before it will ever be effective to one sinner, the Spirit must join with us in the call taking it to the sinner's heart. All boasting then of what we have done has no room whatsoever. Yet what an honor that He has chosen to use us while He calls to Himself.
The Spirit's deity will be further manifested in His various works.
The Sovereignty Of The Spirit
In the preceding chapter we have discussed the Deity of the Holy Spirit. As God, He would also be sovereign. We shall see this in some incidents recorded in the Blessed Book
God sovereignly puts His servants where He wishes. We shall look at some examples in the next paragraphs.
In 1 Kings 18:12 Obadiah made a false supposition. It reveals, however, that he knew Elijah to be a man controlled by the Spirit of God. This statement in the text does not concern itself with the Spirit as indwelling Elijah. The action spoken is of the Spirit, but it is not concerned with the fruit of the Spirit. There is here no indication of the Spirit's infilling, for no preparation is here called for. The presence of the Spirit with Elijah is certainly herein stated. Obadiah knew him to be guided by and encouraged by the Spirit. Anointing is not the concern here either. Even guiding is an insufficient term. There seems to be a recognition here of the sovereignty of the Spirit in His action of carrying or putting His servants where He wishes. Elijah later reveals that Obadiah had supposed an error, because God had now purposed to have Elijah meet Ahab. His error was not in recognizing that sovereign action as a prerogative belonging to the Spirit. His error was in misjudging the purpose of God for that time.
A similar experience is seen in 2 Kings 2:9, 15, 16. In verse nine we have Elisha recognizing Elijah as being anointed of God. For this anointing Elisha had a deep longing. It was the one request he made to Elijah before the latter's departure. In verse 15 the sons of the prophets had seen Elisha use the mantle that had fallen to him from Elijah to part the waters of Jordan that he might cross again to the west side. Having watched those waters part for him, they said, "The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha." This term is again connected with power. Power is a prerogative of Sovereignty. In verse 16 the sons of the prophets refer to Elijah as having been taken up and cast on a mountain or into a valley by the Spirit. In other words the Spirit is sovereign to carry him where He wished. This is at least a reference to their knowledge of the Spirit's power.
Ezekiel experienced the same. In Ezekiel 3:12 the expression is, "...the Spirit took me up." Again in verse 14 it is, "...the Spirit lifted me up, and took me away." Now the name Ezekiel means "whom God will strengthen." God strengthening a man dependent on Him is the only explanation of what follows. Humanly speaking the man of God must have been quite perplexed. He had been commissioned and forewarned that his hearers would not heed his message. Here is the pull of God's call, I must go; but here is also the opposite pull of discouragement, what use is there to go if they will not heed. The expressions of verses 12 and 14 describe a condition the prophet was in. He is here as it were outside of himself and captured by the Spirit in the experience of this vision. It is a matter of the Sovereign Spirit getting his attention. Ezekiel (verse 14) was bitter with discouragement that God would call him to go without results. The hand of God was on him, however, how could he resist? Whether Ezekiel was in a vision or in reality, it is not absolutely clear. Nevertheless, the prophet says, "I sat where they sat..." He went where the people were. He became acquainted with all their sins and problems. We would expect that he learned to sympathize with their need.
Then God explained the prophet's responsibility to his commission. He is faced with the means and the burden of ridding himself of the blood of others. As the hand of the Lord was upon Ezekiel, and as the Lord talked with him, and as Ezekiel humbled himself in God's presence; the Spirit, we read, entered him again. Again he is set on his feet and hears the message from God. The message is one of assurance and of God's presence and guidance, but that assurance and guidance are within the effectual work of the Sovereign Spirit. Both the results and the place of service were in the Spirit's power and will. It would be well if we learned today that likewise where we serve and the results of our ministry are also in His will and power.
It is often a case today that God's pastors are sovereignly moved from one place of ministry to another. Some pastors are blessed of God to have a long and fruitful ministry in one location. When this is true, a minister should be humbly grateful to the Spirit for continuing to use him in the one location.
On the other hand it is not always (and maybe not as often as we think) the work of the Spirit or the will of the Spirit to keep the man of God in the same location for extended years. No pastor should have itching feet desiring to leave a work. Every servant of God should go to a work with the determination to stay as long as the Spirit will use him there.
How then can a man know that he should move? This writer believes a man should always leave before he loses his love for his people. His moving should not be prompted either by greed. Circumstances (varied in different situations) may indicate that the man is no longer effective in that particular situation. That does not mean it is the preachers fault, but for some reason his leadership has become ineffective. Let the minister examine himself, let him lay himself bare before the Lord. Let him seek the Lord's will. God may open the door for another place. When in the providence of God, circumstances in the one place indicate that the man's effectiveness has been lost or greatly diminished, and when in the providence of God a new door is opened, and when the Lord grants peace of mind to the minister about the change1 it is a pretty good sign that God is "carrying" that man to the new place of service.
The Spirit is also sovereign in working miracles. Note Heb. 2:4. God acclaims the work of His Apostles. He is said to have spoken first of the great salvation we have. Then those apostles having heard Him went preaching that same salvation. God acclaimed their work and confirmed it to us by working thru them great spiritual gifts. They performed signs and wonders by the Spirit to confirm the authority of their message. They did not go performing miracles, as they chose, however. They did so when the Holy Spirit enabled them to do so. This He did by His own sovereign will.
In Acts 8:15-17 Philip had been preaching in Samaria where many of these people (Jews who had intermarried with Gentiles) had received the Word of God. News of their faith had reached the apostles; who, in turn, sent Peter and John to them. Peter and John, when they arrived, prayed for the Samaritans to receive the Holy Ghost. Now these people were not saved. They had believed the message and in baptism had identified themselves with the Lord Jesus. They knew nothing of the Spirit. Even Simon, the sorcerer, was among them. Peter and John having prayed for them laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. This is the first time anyone is said to have received the Holy Ghost since Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, "Receive you the Holy Ghost" as recorded in John 20:22. There is no mention of laying on of hands then. Here it is. There Jesus breathed on them. Here the apostles laid on hands. This would indicate that the sovereign Spirit is free to use whatever method He chooses.
We find another example of His sovereignty in Acts 9:17. Here is Ananias. He is a disciple of the Lord. His name means "Jehovah covers." He is not only covered so far as his past sins, but he is also covered so far as his protection. Nevertheless this covered one has been commanded to go to Saul of Tarsus, the great persecutor, and Ananias is afraid. Having been assured by the One Who covered as well as commanded, he went.
Now Saul means "asked for." He already had an intercessor. Ananias put his hands on Saul and spoke to him of the Lord's command and providence. He was sent that Saul might receive sight and be filled with the Holy Ghost. Now the record shows that he did receive his sight, and that he was baptized.
No place tells us here that Paul was saved. Some have suggested he was saved at verse 5 because he addressed Jesus as Lord. Then verse 6 has him asking the Lord what He would have him do. Some point to this as his time of conversion. In verse 11 Saul is praying. For what we are not told. We must remember, however, that prayer is not a new thing to this Pharisee. He envisions the receiving of his sight. Would this indicate anything about his prayer? Ananias spoke in verse 17 of receiving sight and being filled with the Holy Ghost. He did receive his sight. Then he was baptized. Does the receiving of spiritual sight unto salvation coincide here with reception of physical sight? Especially since his blindness came about in God's arresting him on the Damascus Road, it seems that the two may coincide in Paul's case.
Then again nothing is said about him being filled with the Holy Ghost. He received his sight, was baptized, and then he began preaching. Note verse 20. What are we to learn from these facts? First, it is not necessary and may not always be possible to pinpoint the actual moment of salvation. God is sovereign. One may be converted instantaneously, while another may be in a process brought to conversion.
God is also sovereign in the filling of the Spirit. John the Baptist was filled from the time he was born. We usually think of the Spirit's filling as some extra experience after salvation, but it wasn't with John. In every case from Matt. 1:1 to Acts nine, when it is said that someone is filled with the Spirit, they are immediately acting in some way for God. This was the case of the anointing in the Old Testament. So far in the New Testament the term of the Spirit being on or upon someone is used only in terms of describing the person. The term full of the Holy Ghost is used likewise. The only exception to this Acts 1:8 when the church is told she will be witnesses when He comes upon her. Thus it appears that the filling of the Spirit in the New Testament is synonymous with the anointing of the Spirit.
In Saul's case at hand, however, we are only told of Ananias' purpose in coming. That purpose is that Saul be filled with the Spirit. We are not told, however, that he was filled. Would anyone suggest that he was not? It appears that his filling was synonymous with his conversion. So we have at this point John the Baptist filled at birth, the disciples at Pentecost filled while met together in the church in harmony, numerous other occasions when collectively or individually disciples were filled and they acted for God, and now what appears to be Saul being filled at time of conversion. Why not then let us say that the Sovereign God dispenses His Spirit as He wishes and is not hamstrung by some changing method we might devise?
We may see that sovereignty expressed again in 1 Corinthians 12:7-9, 11-13. Only as we are enabled by the Spirit are we able even to confess Jesus as our Lord (verse 3). Our ministries are also by His enabling. The varying gifts of the Spirit are ours by the Spirit's ministration. One gift is not more important than another, for each is given by the Spirit. It is not ours to seek specific gifts. Rather the Spirit acts sovereignly to distribute the gifts as He wills. There are diversities of gifts, but there is unity in the Spirit. In one Spirit we are baptized into one body, 1 Cor. 12:13, and we are made to drink into one Spirit expressing the unity of the body.
The Holy Spirit And Inspiration
Inspiration is a very important work which is often misused. Many in our day will speak of inspiration only in the sense of great literature. It is thought of as the great gift of some special person. We are of course talking of much more than that. By inspiration we mean the very breath of God in one to produce the very words of God.
In the Old Testament there are many references to teach us of the divine inspiration of God's Word. There "the Lord" is not specified as "the Holy Spirit". That is not to say, "It wasn't the Holy Spirit." It is just a different use of terms. Many passages in the New Testament as well may teach divine inspiration without using the name, "the Holy Spirit."
It is important to remember that inspiration is God giving a direct revelation. We are not talking about illumination. Many times we have read a passage of Scripture and gained new insight to it that we had not known before. That is illumination. By direct revelation we mean new truth that had not been revealed before. A good example is Eph. 3:5, 16.
Paul is referring to what he called the mystery of Christ. He declares that men of other ages (generations, dispensations, or phases of God's kingdom as the A-millennialist would say) did not know about this mystery. Instead in his time he said it was revealed to the apostles and prophets. While Paul seems to be especially the apostle to whom this truth is revealed, he does not claim exclusive knowledge. He says it is revealed to Christ's holy apostles and prophets. How did they learn it? He is talking about the "mystery of Christ". He is talking about Jews and Gentiles being together in one body. Jews and Gentiles must be fellowheirs (same body). Both will be partakers of God's promise in Christ by the Gospel. As he relates this revelation, which God gave to him :3, he not only shares his revelation of the church; but in this he also makes claim to and teaches a work of the Holy Ghost. He is making claim to inspiration. It is that the Spirit (breath) of God breathed on him and made him to know a truth that not only he had not known, but all men of the past had not known it.
Having given this information to his readers, he wanted to encourage them. Wouldn't that truth be enough? He was being persecuted. They were about to give up thinking it was not worth the suffering and not wanting Paul to suffer for them. Paul then prays for them. He not only prays for them; he includes in his letter what he is praying for them so that he might encourage them and keep them from giving up. It is not outward power for which he prays. It is not even soul-winning power for which he prays. He prays for power to overcome discouragement. Note the multiplying of the power to overcome. First he prays the gift be granted of God. That is power in the very outset. The gift to be thus granted is to be according to God's glory (the riches of His glory). Can one expect more? This gift according to the riches of His Glory is to be a strengthening. Even that is not enough. The strengthening that God is to grant according to the riches of His Glory is a strengthening with might. There is one more step. All of this power to be granted of God is by God's Spirit, Eph. 3:16. In answer to this prayer those Ephesians must be able to go out and pull down mountains. That church must be able to conquer the town. They must be able to overcome all obstacles to evangelism. There must be nothing that can stand before them. THAT'S NOT WHAT HE PRAYED FOR!!!! What was it then? All this Power is the Spirit's work on the inside of these readers. It’s that it all might be in the "inner man". The verses that follow go on to build on the encouragement he would have them to experience as a result of this multiplied power in inner man.
In Acts 11:28 it is similar to Matt. 10:20. Here the Spirit is giving to Agabus some direct revelation. In other words by the Spirit he knew something not already given, and he in turn gave that message to the disciples.
In Matt. 22:43 our Lord is claiming inspiration for David. It is a reference to Psalm 110:1 in which David is saying that Jehovah said unto his Lord, "Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?" Thus the Lord is declaring that David spoke by the Spirit when he wrote that Psalm.
In Acts 28:25 Paul claimed inspiration for Isaiah. The context here is one in which Paul is seen as turning with his message of repentance from his people, the Jews, to the Gentiles. He claimed the passage being quoted from Isaiah as his authority to turn to the Gentiles. The particular reference in the verse is a statement of divine authority. It is saying that what Isaiah said is the Word of God. It was spoken by the Holy Ghost thru Isaiah.
Paul knew that he sometimes spoke by the Spirit's inspiration. In 1 Cor. 7:40 he had been discussing domestic policies. He expressed an opinion and declared that it was his opinion. That is he had not received this word directly from the Lord. At the same time his apostolic authority stands. Having expressed his opinion, he said, "and I think also that I have the Spirit of God." From a human standpoint, he acknowledged human weakness. At the same time he was expressing his dependence on the Spirit's inspiration, he thought he had it. / believe he did too.
Another interesting example of inspiration is seen in 1 Tim. 3:16; 4:1. First it must be seen that the God of this verse is said to have been manifest in the flesh. The only person who was or is God manifest in the flesh is Jesus the Christ. It is as a man then that He is justified. What is justification? It is that legal act of God that declares the person just. It is the Spirit that declares Him just. Also even His life in the flesh is by the direction and power of the Spirit. That direction or realm in which He walked also declared Him just. Then the writer turns abruptly to speak of the latter times. He says, "the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, diving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." Actually the work of the Spirit here is inspiration or revelation. By the Spirit of God revealed to Paul what was going to happen in the latter times. Along with this should go 2 Tim. 3:16. The Word Spirit is not found here. The work of the Spirit is. It could very well be translated, "All scripture is given by the breath of God..." Breath and spirit come from the same Greek word, the same word translated "inspiration" in the above verse. All scripture is God breathed. It is all the same. Here the Spirit is seen as the source of our Bible and the Agent of the God-head to give it to man.
Then let us come to Heb. 3:7. The writer is quoting one of the Psalms, but he says, "As the Holy Ghost saith." What the Psalmist then had written by inspiration of God is now said to have been said by the Holy Ghost.
Note still further a passage in 1 Peter 1:11. Notice the indwelling of the Spirit in the Old Testament prophets. The prophets are said to have inquired and searched into salvation and prophesied of the coming grace. They searched for the time or manner of time the Spirit signified. That Spirit of Christ is said to have been in them. That Spirit testified before it happened that Christ would suffer and would reign afterwards.
This inspiration is also mentioned in 2 Peter 1:21. We are told that our Bible came not at man's decision. It was a product of holy men, but that's not all. Those holy men using their own vocabularies were prompted and guarded to write what the Holy Ghost directed.
Once more we see the Spirit's work of inspiration in Rev. 14:13. It is the word of God, but how do we get it? The Spirit breathes on holy men. Here it is John giving us a word that the Spirit breathed on him. In turn He relates it to us.
The Enabling Work Of The Holy Spirit
The enabling work of the Holy Spirit takes many forms. We shall examine many scriptures and seek to learn what we can about this very important work.
First let us look at Gen. 6:3. This would not usually be looked at as His enabling work, but let us see. The time is one of increasing population. It is a time of noticing pretty girls which is not unusual. It is here exceptional enough, however, for attention to be called to it. It is a time of lust evident by the intermarriage of whatever the Sons of God were and the daughters of men. The Speaker is the Lord. His name is Jehovah. He is the Self-existent One, the eternal "I Am". His word is a challenge. From it we learn that the Spirit spoken of is not a spirit of man. He is the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit.
We learn that the Spirit in a time like that described above strives with man. This generally is spoken of as the drawing of a sinner to Christ. John 6:44 says, "No man can come unto me except the Father which hath sent me draw him..." We understand that no sinner who is not convicted and who is not thusly drawn can come to the Saviour, but this verse attributes that drawing to the Father. It is not the Holy Spirit spoken of here, though we often mistake Him to be. In 1 Cor. 12:3 we read, "...no man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost." The action spoken of here is not called drawing as in John 6:44. It is enabling.
The term striving indicates a battle. It is a battle between the Holy Spirit and man. The Holy Spirit would certainly not fight against the Father's drawing. In fact it is He Who enables the sinner to respond to the drawing by the Father. In other words the Holy Spirit will never fight back and turn away a sinner who is coming to the Lord. Instead He makes him able to come. Yet the battle is not with Satan. In conversion of a sinner, the Spirit's work is to defeat Satan and thereby free the captive sinner so he can come; and remember it is the Father Who draws him to the Son.
Though the Psalm seems to be prophetic, yet Psalm 2:1-3 at least describes the disposition of man in all ages. So it was in the days of the text. God thus predicts a time when He will be victorious. He will not always contend in the battle with rebellious men. He contended then for a season and now contends for a season that the wrath of man might praise Him and magnify His glory and honor. At the proper time He did and shall restrain the remainder of that wrath that would not bring Him honor. He sent the flood and thus was victorious in His striving with those rebellious men. One day, we know not when. He shall laugh, He shall have rebellious men in derision (Psalm 2:4). He with the sword proceeding out of His mouth shall smite the nations and rule them with a rod of iron (Rev. 9:15). Again He will be victorious in His striving with rebellious men. Of course this is not the general interpretation given to this striving, but does it not honor God? Does it not thrill the Christian to know that God's Spirit will not always be subjected to the battle of rebellious men but will be Victor and set the captives under His feet.
The Lord gives as the reason for the cessation of the battle the fact that man is flesh. He is said to be flesh also. !n this he is surely classed with the Sons of God. Whoever they were they must have been fleshly beings. All flesh had made themselves corrupt (Gen. 6:12). In the flood all flesh that moved on the earth died (Gen. 7:21, 22). God is Spirit, and He declared His Spirit would not strive with flesh forever. Surely He will conquer flesh.
Still further thought is called forth when we understand that the word translated "strive with" was translated "rule in" in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament). From this we might gather that redeemed flesh can look forward to a new and spiritual body like unto our Lord's glorified body. For the redeemed the Spirit is surely to be ruler of our lives. Yet this tabernacle of corrupted flesh must put on immortality. Then we shall be one with Christ in answer to His prayer (John 17).
In the Latin Vulgate and others the word is translated "abide in". We know that all the redeemed have the Holy Spirit abiding in them. We might be challenged then by this translation to give diligence to make our calling and election sure. We may remember David's praying that God would not take His Holy Spirit from Him. With this we may also remember that, "...as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Remember also that, "Whosoever shall endure to the end, shall be saved."
Now let us go to John 4:23, 24. The Spirit's ministry here is aiding or enabling the worshipper. The woman enquired about the place of worship. Jesus corrected her. The place of worship was not the important thing. What was and is important is the agent of worship. The worship she understood was in the agent of the flesh. It was ritual. It split hairs over who could worship and where.
There was no real love for God in it. Our Lord informed her that the Father was seeking true worship. He reminded her that God is a Spirit. He thus lives and moves in the realm of the Spirit. This being true, the true worship must be also in the realm of the Spirit. The flesh is evil and corrupt; the Spirit is the Holy Spirit. The two are then not compatible, but of two different worlds. This being true, all that worship of the flesh in rituals, altars, sacrifices, etc. but devoid of love for Christ could not be accepted. It cannot now. The worship that the Father sought, the only acceptable worship, is a worship in Spirit and in truth. Now since we live in the flesh which is incompatible with the Spirit, how can we worship God? We can enter that realm and so worship only by the Agent of the Holy Spirit Himself. We are flesh and will be as long as we live. We are thus limited by the corruption we still carry. The Holy Spirit in us is not flesh. He is able to thus worship the Father. As we yield our spirits to Him, He completely unlimited is able and will worship the Father thru us thus enabling us to worship the Father in the realm of the Spirit and Truth by the Agent of the Holy Spirit.
The Gospel ministry is a work done in the energy of the Spirit. See 1 Cor. 2:4, 10, 11. and 13. In verse 4 the ability of man in persuasion is discounted. Rather the results are by the demonstration of the Holy Spirit in His power. We do not even understand spiritual things in the natural mind. The Spirit must search out the Spiritual truths and reveal them to us as stated in verse 10. This is illustrated in verse 11. As the spirit of man knows man, so it is that the Spirit of God knows God. Therefore He knows the "things of God". He compares spiritual things with spiritual and teaches them to us as in verse 13.
That enabling ministry is continued in 2 Cor. 3:3, 6, 8, 17, and 18. To Christians Paul writes that we are epistles of Christ. Just as the ink makes its inscription upon the paper, so must the Holy Spirit make His inscription upon our hearts. That inscription is to be read of all men. We thus by His enabling minister to a lost world. We minister the New Testament. Neither are we to be satisfied with a mere proclamation of truth in a cold mechanical way. Rather we are to give the meaning of the truth presented and to do it in the power of the Spirit. It is still the Spirit that gives life. That ministry of the Spirit is more glorious than the glory of Moses' face. He is not binding. He produces liberty. He is also about the business of changing us so as to manifest His glory.
We have seen that the Holy Spirit enables us to worship God and to minister as he has called us. Both of these need prayer. How do we get access to God? In Ephesians 2:18 and 22 Paul speaks of that access to the Father. Is that access not by Jesus Christ? Yes it is. That's why he says, "For through Him..." It is another case in which Jesus does not work independently of the other members of the Godhead. While we gain access to the Father thru Jesus, it is at the same time by the Spirit. He is the Breath, the Agent by which the work of the Word (Christ) is accomplished. The same unity of work is witnessed In verse 22. "In whom" again refers to Christ. In Christ the believers are made an habitation of God. In Christ we are made God's dwelling place. It Is done "through the Spirit." He is the Agent that accomplishes Christ's work.
Now come to 1 Cor. 12:3. Chapter 12 is clear on the Spirituality of Christian experience. The Spirit will never degrade the Lord Jesus. The Christian yielded to that Spirit within us will "not either.” By the same token man unconverted is controlled by the spirit in depraved man. The Inability of verse 3 is not being unable to form the words. It is an Inability of spirit. The natural man cannot honestly confess Jesus as his Lord. If we have truly confessed Him as Lord, It Is because we were enabled to do so by the Holy Spirit.
Romans 5:5 calls us next. Paul Is discussing results of our justification. One of those results he named as hope. He said that hope maketh not ashamed. It is because the love of God is shed abroad In our hearts. The Agent of that love shed abroad in our hearts Is the Holy Ghost. We do not naturally love. Especially do we not naturally love In face of tribulation as he had just mentioned. We love because the Holy Ghost produces love In us.
Moving then to Rom. 8:2, 4, 5, we see that the "Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" Is here spoken of as being the Owner, the Ruler, and/or the Author of a law or a principle of life. This Is far from the "Antinomian" attitude of "no law". Very true, we are not under law but under grace. Nevertheless, we are under law. God condemned and punished sin in His Own Son, Who completely fulfilled the righteousness of the law. That law could not make us righteous; it only showed us our unrighteousness. The "law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" delivered us from that law that condemns. The righteousness of that law is nevertheless fulfilled in us. How? It is by the power, the rule, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” We are then described as walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh (8:4). In other words the Spirit becomes a principle or law unto us to produce in us the righteous life that the law of works could not produce. This is so because we live in a totally different realm. While once we lived In the realm of the flesh and effort of fallen humanity, we now live In the realm of the Spirit in which He not only directs but also enables (8:5).
Now In 1 Cor. 14:2, 15, 16 Paul is speaking of one who speaks in a language not understood by those about them. God understands them, but their companions do not. Though enabled by the Spirit he speaks in the Spirit, he is not understood. What he says is a mystery. Paul said he spoke not only with the Spirit but also so he could be understood. He will pray and sing so he can be understood. If one would speak to bless the saints with the Spirit, what good would It do If he is not understood?
Our obedience and purification must also be enabled by the Holy Spirit. In 1 Peter 1:22 the redeemed have purified their souls. How? The purification is in obeying the truth. That obedience is not of the flesh. It Is thru the Spirit. He is the enabling Agent.
In the next chapter we shall explore the truth of the Holy Spirit indwelling the saints.
The Indwelling Of The Holy Spirit
It is a very popular teaching that no one was indwelt by the Holy Spirit until Pentecost. Now we need to know if that is a true teaching. This writer is convinced that such teaching is a mistake. He means no condemnation to those who have taught him and others that idea, but he means only to call attention to what does the Bible teach about this doctrine.
First, let us come to Gen. 41:38. It is Pharaoh in Egypt who is speaking. This is the inspired record of what he said. Pharaoh is certainly not to be regarded as inspired of God. Yet the record of what he said is inspired. This inspired record of what he said is certainly true. Still it would not be wise to form a doctrine of indwelling Spirit on this verse alone. It may grant suggestion of such for Old Testament Saints, but better it is to wait for more definite confirmation than this question raised by Pharaoh, who is surely in certain cases at least a type of the Devil. We can at least learn that Joseph, the man of God, was recognized as having God's Spirit. From this we may gain the suggestion that one in whom the Holy Spirit dwells is noticeable as such even to wicked men.
Second, there is Caleb. Come to Numbers 14:24. Caleb had called for battle. He was a man of faith. He had voiced the belief that Canaan could be taken even though his comrades declared the enemy to be too strong. The people murmured against Moses and Aaron not believing Caleb. God declared these unbelieving men must die in the wilderness. He promised to bring Caleb into the land. One reason for Caleb's entrance was that he "fully" followed Jehovah. Even then he is not said to go into the land. Instead he is brought to Jehovah. Caleb is a man also of God's possession being called of Jehovah, "my servant Caleb". Before it is said that "he hath followed me fully" it is said that, "Because he had another Spirit with him". Here lies the secret of Caleb's entrance. The Spirit with one usually means guidance or comfort, but here it is said that he had another Spirit with him. It seems then that he had the Spirit. He is first one of God's own servants. His name means "dog", so let's say without any merit of his own being wholly, unworthy he is a servant of Jehovah, one of His own possession simply by grace. Being one of God's possession he believed the word of his Master that He would give the land. Thus the recipient of grace was a man of faith. He believed even in spite of the unbelief that prevailed about him. He believed His God to be Sovereign.
We see that this man (a possession of God by divine grace and a man of faith in his Sovereign God by grace) is being brought to Canaan, the promised land. Man would say the reason is because he followed Jehovah. First glance of the text would lend something to that idea. A little light from God on the pages of Holy Scriptures and an honest examination of the nature of human flesh will soon cast the thought aside. The real reason for Caleb's being brought to Canaan is that he had another Spirit with him. If I cannot say that Caleb was indwelt by the Spirit, I may say at least what amounts to the same. He was a recipient of the Spirit. We are told that he had another Spirit (a spirit not his own, a spirit of faith so not of the evil one, then of necessity the Holy Spirit). We are told this Spirit was with Him. In this I am reminded of how Jesus promised to pray the Father and that He (the Father) would send another comforter to abide with the disciples forever. He told them that the Holy Spirit then dwelt with them and that He should be in them, (John 14:16, 17). This He made clear was true only to the disciples (people who knew Him), saying that the world could not receive Him.
In John 16:13 we are told that the Spirit would guide in all truth. Is it any wonder then that Caleb followed Jehovah fully? How could he do otherwise? In this then his following we see as a work of the Spirit or a work of God in a man possessing the Spirit. Why then did Caleb get to enter Canaan when his unbelieving comrades did not? It is because:
1. he was God's Own possession in Grace.
2. as such he was a believer in his Sovereign God,
3. he had the Holy Spirit to guide him,
4. guided by the Spirit, and being brought by the power of Jehovah; he followed Jehovah fully.
We turn now to Numbers 27:18. Joshua is the Hebrew form for the name Jesus in Greek. The name indicates Jehovah is Saviour. God has told Moses he is not going to enter the Promised Land. He must have a successor to lead the people of Israel into that land. In the case of Joshua it is not a laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit. It is rather a man indwelt by the Spirit that God commands Moses to lay his hand on. Here is another man in the Pentateuch of which it is said that the Spirit of God or the Spirit is in him. This is not an observation of a Pharaoh either. Here God told Moses that Joshua was a man "...in whom is the Spirit..." The fruit must have been evident and thus a reason for laying on of hands.
Nehemiah 9:30 gives us another example of Holy Spirit indwelling in the Old Testament. The Levities are here in public prayer. They recognized that the prophets were inspired of God. We are not told here of the lives of those prophets. The Spirit is mentioned here in reference to the prophets as these men recognized the works of God down through the ages. It is said that God testified against the people, "by thy spirit in thy prophets..."
Let's go now to Isaiah 63:10, 11. The prophet here pictures Jehovah as reviewing the history of Israel. He remembers when Israel rebelled against God. Israel is said to have vexed His Holy Spirit. It is a terrible thing to grieve the Spirit. Here Jehovah is seen as an enemy to His people resulting from their grieving or vexing the Holy Spirit.
Moses is in view in verse 11. The verse closes with the question, "...where is he that put his holy spirit within him?" He is referred to as having in him the Holy Spirit; this we call indwelling.
Next we shall look at Ezekiel 36:27. The message is to Israel regarding a final restoration in her land. In verse 24 Israel is brought back from the nations of the world, not from Babylon, into her own land. This is a physical restoration accomplished while Israel is still in unbelief. Verses 25 and 26 foretell a national conversion at which time all Israel shall be saved. Israel at time of this writing is back in her land. She has also come from the nations, a restoration since the return from Babylon. Is this the final one; is it the fulfillment of verse 24? No one can be sure. It fits the description of verse 24. One cannot be dogmatic that another one will not come. While the prophecy of verse 24 may have been fulfilled before our eyes, verse 25 and 26 are necessarily yet future. The rest of the chapter describes that national conversion. In verse 27, God promises to put His Spirit within them. Though this has not yet been experienced, the principle is seen again that the Spirit in people changes their lives, or the fruit of the Spirit is produced in one in whom the Spirit of God is.
Ezekiel also tells us in 37:14 of the Lord putting His Spirit in the dry bones. This chapter goes on to illustrate that restoration of Israel. In the land already they are converted in verse 14. God promises again to put His Spirit in them. He does this also with the indication that the indwelling of the Spirit is the source of their life. This is spiritual truth. It is the Spirit that quickeneth or giveth life said Jesus.
The next man we see indwelt by the Spirit is Daniel. In his prophecy chapter 4 and verse 8 our attention is called to Nebuchadnezzar's observation. Nebuchadnezzar was a wicked king, a pagan king, an oppressor of the Jews. He was Babylon, the forerunner of Antichrist. Having dreamed a dream he could not understand, he called for Daniel. Daniel means "God's Judge".
He was in Babylon by virtue of captivity, but he was also there as God's judge to Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar was relating to Babylon how the other "authorities" could not tell his dream and then Daniel came in. He calls him by his Babylonian name Belteshazzar which means “Bel or Baal Protect the King", a name according to Babylon's god. It is striking to note the further description Nebuchadnezzar gave of Daniel. He calls him a man "in whom is the spirit of the holy gods." First reading might indicate that Nebuchadnezzar was talking about the numerous pagan gods. This writer believes it is more than that. The word Elohim, name for God is plural meaning God. Used in relation to other gods it would mean gods plural. This may account for the plural form. Along with that, however, he refers to the gods as holy. Now what gods are holy? It seems that he is talking about Elohim, Who alone is Holy and Whose name is plural. He is also the only God who is a trinity in unity. Now what does all this mean? From Dan. 2:47 and 4:2, 3 it appears that Nebuchadnezzar recognized this true God. In his description then of Daniel he recognized him as possessing the Spirit of that same God. Daniel must have so manifested the fruit of the Spirit that he is recognized as being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. In verse 9 and in 5:11-14 the same observation is made again. The spirit is called an excellent spirit. It is so again in 6:3.
Now we journey to the New Testament. In John 20:22 the eleven disciples are gathered after the resurrection of Jesus. He appeared to them in their fear. After pronouncing encouragement to them he commissioned them to go for Him as He had come for the Father. Then it is that He breathed on them and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost..." The word spirit comes from the same word that breath comes from. It is like saying, He spirited on them and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost..." The order here is that He commissioned them, then anointed them. That is the Spirit came upon them when He breathed on Then they were commanded to receive the Spirit, they were already followers and learners of Him. Were they not already saved? Did they not already have the Spirit? They had been before commissioned to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. It seems that thy must have had the Spirit before, and it seems that this passage is almost the same as being filled or anointed by the Spirit. We are including it here because the Lord did say, “Receive ye the Spirit…”
This is the first time as a collective body or group that they are said to receive the Spirit. Note also that this is after the resurrection. Here is John's recording of the commission given to the church. From the Baptism of John his people had been being prepared. His apostles and prophets had been gathered who were to be the foundation of the church with Jesus Christ as the Chief Corner Stone. Their previous commission had been Jewish to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Now that they have been gathered, baptized by John, and were believers in the crucified and risen Lord He would commission them to do His work. Thus He breathed on them as a body and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost..." He will now send them forth as His Church even as the Father had sent Him. As they go, they go with His full commission and authority to declare the remission or retention of sins. This new commission is not limited to Israel. It is to all nations. In Acts 2:22-38 Peter preaches at Pentecost. This he concluded in a similar manner offering the gift of the Holy Ghost. Upon repentance of their sins they could receive the Holy Ghost. Like wise today all who repent and believe will also receive the Holy Ghost.
There are two possible explanations to a passage in Acts 8. In verse 15 it is said that the apostles prayed for the Samaritans to receive the Holy Ghost. In verse 17 it is said that the apostles laid hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost. Now in verse 12 the Samaritans are reported to have believed and were baptized when they heard Philip preach. Now the receiving of the Holy Ghost here must be one of two things. One it may be that they believed and were baptized, but the Sovereign Holy Ghost did not save them and give Himself to them until after the apostles came and laid hands on them. Being sovereign He would be well within His rights to so act.
Second, another interpretation would be as follows. The Samaritans had expressed their faith and were baptized by Philip as authorized by the Jerusalem Church. Thus a church is constituted in Samaria or at least is ready to be constituted. Then the Apostles came down and recognized the work of God there, then by the laying on of hands they set the church in order after which the Holy Ghost came upon them as He had the Jerusalem church on the day of Pentecost. While this writer believes the first could easily be true, yet he believes the second is perhaps the better explanation.
Now Simon, the sorcerer was one of those Samaritan professors. It is said that he also believed. It probably means he professed to believe. He was surely not one of those who received the Spirit. His mind is still on his craft and money. When he saw that the Holy Ghost came upon those believers after the apostles laid hands on them; he wanted to be able to do what Peter and John had done. It was to him an opportunity to enlarge his witchcraft. He would buy this power (verses 18, 19). In this he revealed that he did not understand the way of God. In verses 20-23 Peter rebuked him and described his wicked heart.
Still another incident of interest is in Acts 19:2, 6. Paul has come upon a group of disciples whom he did not know. He would test their conversion, so he asked, "Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?" The marginal reading is "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed?" It is very difficult to determine from the Greek which is correct. The structure of the Greek is nothing like ours in English. The first word in the Greek can be translated (if, whether, since or just not be translated at all except to indicate that the words following are a question). The next two words are translated Holy Spirit, and they indicate the Spirit is receiving the action. The next word is translated "receive". It is a verb with no time frame. It is not a continual receiving in continuous action. It is also not a continual receiving in the sense of continual intermittent receivings. It is rather that at some point in time was the receiving an action that took place? The last word is translated "believed". The structure is that the believing took place when or before the receiving. A literal translation might be "Received ye the Holy Spirit ye believed." This would indicate then that neither of the above renderings are wrong. Paul's concern was not about the chronological order of receiving and believing. His concern was whether their faith had been accompanied by receiving the Spirit. According to Rom. 8:9 if one did not receive the Holy Spirit, they weren't genuinely converted. They are none of His. Then he preached Jesus to them. When they heard, they received Jesus and were baptized in Jesus Name. Then Paul laid hands on them, and they were anointed of the Holy Ghost. The coming upon them is used here on a parallel with receiving. It is also used as producing a work immediately in the recipient. It seems then that they received the Holy Ghost and were filled and anointed of Him at the same time.
Next let us look at Rom. 8:9-11, 13-16. The Spirit gives us a completely new life. In verse nine He is said to be dwelling in us. This is the fact of every believer. If He be not in us, we are none of His. Therefore we live in that realm of the Spirit instead of in the flesh. He being in us, He becomes our life. We have died in sin in order to live in righteousness (:10). That same Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave is at work in our mortal bodies (the bodies we have now). What is He doing? He is making them alive. Were we not alive? Physically, Yes! Spiritually, No! He is making us so. By His Life giving power (:13) we put to death the deeds or the life of sinful humanity in ourselves that He may live thru us. The following of His direction or law (:14) is what characterizes or shows us to be the sons of God. Because the Spirit is in us (received the Spirit) and cries back to the Father (:15) from Whom He proceeds, He also produces that spirit in us and causes us to cry, Father, Father. In other words He, the Spirit, produces the like spirit in us so that there is unity of spirit testifying that we are the Children of God (8:16).
Moving on we come to Rom. 8:23. The creation around us is spoken of as groaning in their wait for some deliverance. Then the apostle says, not only they but we too groan in our waiting. In this he also describes us as having the first-fruits of the Spirit. Just what then is meant by the first-fruits of the Spirit? It would seem to refer to the redemption of our souls. He says that we who have those first-fruits are waiting for the adoption which he says is the redemption of the body.
Still further now in 1 Cor. 2:12, 14 reference is made to our receiving the Spirit of God. This occurred at our conversion. Only because this is true can we know the things of God. The natural man considers them foolish, and he cannot understand. The things of God are spiritually discerned. To understand the Bible, we must know its Author, the Holy Spirit. In verse 16 of chapter 3 he goes on to call the believers by the name, "temple of God". Temple here is used not as a place of worship but rather as a dwelling place. Thus the Spirit is said to dwell in us.
A s we go on to 1 Cor. 6:11, 19 we will find the Christian described. What has happened to us is the work of the Holy Spirit. He washed us. That is He loosed us from our sins that had us bound. He sanctified us. That is He set us apart for His own and to glorify God. He justified us. That is He legally declared us just as if we had never sinned a single time. All this is done in the name of (or in the authority given by) our Lord Jesus. The believer is again called the "temple of God" (the Holy Ghost). He is in us. We are said to "have" Him. It is not a matter of our having Him in the sense of having authority over Him. It is true that we "have" Him in the sense of His indwelling us. The truth is that He has us. It is said that we are not our own. His sovereign authority over us is just. He has bought us with the blood of Christ. For these reasons we ought to and are commanded to glorify God.
The indwelling of the Spirit is discussed also in Gal. 3:2, 3, 5, 14; 4:6, 29; 5:5, 16, 17-25. The receiving of the Spirit of 3:2 refers to an experience coinciding with conversion. Reference is made in verse 3 to beginning this conversion life in the Spirit. He is then the Agent that produced conversion. He is also the Realm in which the change is made. That same Spirit is ministered or given to you by the hearing of faith.
Jesus ascended to the Father after His resurrection and received from the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost. Here in Gal. we are offered the promise of the Holy Ghost. Here in Gal. we are offered the promise of the Spirit. In view of the context the blessing coming to the Gentiles must be justification by faith. It then seems that the promise of the Spirit would be His abiding presence with the Justified one.
We are sons by adoption. As sons we have received the Spirit of adoption. This Spirit within us causes us to act like sons of God and to call Him Father. Through that Spirit we wait for the hope of righteousness. We are commanded to walk in the Spirit. Within us the battle rages. The flesh would have its way. The Spirit on the other hand would control us. The flesh and the Spirit contrary to each other have conflicting desires. Thus the battle rages. If you are living in the realm of the Spirit following His direction, the law holds no dominion over you. Instead your life is lived in a way that shows the spirit as He produces the fruit in you. If the Spirit is your realm of life, let your walk show forth the fruit mentioned verses 22 and 23.
The next passage is a very controversial one. While it is not practical to discuss the whole passage at this time, the writer will not pass it by. He will express his opinion on Heb. 6:4. This term is used to describe the person who could not renew again to repentance. They are usually described as people who have come up to the door, but never entered the realm of the saved. It appears, however, to this writer that the author of Hebrews is taking great pains to indicate that He is talking about saved people. Among the other things He says they "were made partakers of the Holy Ghost." If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. Does it not follow then that if one does have the Spirit, he is saved? It would certainly seem so. How can one be a "partaker of the Holy Ghost" and not have Him?
Then we listen to Bro. James in his epistle chapter 4 verse 5. The context here is one of worldliness, especially greed. It seems to be saying here that the Spirit in us has strong desires to overcome the greed or envy that is attacking the believer. Following then is further encouragement that God gives grace to overcome. We are here confronted with the indwelling Spirit producing Spiritual reaction in us.
This writer was taught that no one was indwelt by the Spirit until Pentecost. He was further taught that all believers received the Spirit at that time, his teaching was that after Pentecost believers received the Spirit only as the Apostles laid hands on them until Peter went to the Gentiles. From that time then every believer was to have received the Spirit at the time of his conversion. A look at Acts 19:6 will show that after Peter went to the Gentiles, Paul ministered in Ephesus where some followers of Apollos received the Spirit after Paul laid his hands on them. At least the Holy Ghost came on them at that time. Not only does this disrupt that so called transition system, but it seems to show an interchange in the use of terms. Were they at that time saved and received the Spirit? Or were they saved at another time and here were anointed by the Spirit? If the latter be true, why were they Baptized again? Yet if they were saved at this point, why did they not receive the Spirit until after their baptism and the laying on of hands? This writer has come to believe that God is sovereign in the method He uses and in the exact timing as to when the Spirit actually takes up abode in the believer. He has also come to believe that every believer in both the Old and New Testaments was indwelt by the Spirit. Such indwelling was and is manifested in the life of the believer as the indwelling Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit in the believer's life. The fruit of the Spirit will be discussed more fully in the next chapter.
The Fruit Of The Spirit
In Galatians 5:22, 23 we are told that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, and that against these there is no law. In the context before this he has been talking about our walk and what it should be in the Spirit. He has also talked of the victory that should be ours. In contrast to the works of the flesh he says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love..." It is important to note that he terms that fleshly walk as the works of the flesh. Now one does not work passively. He is responsible for those deeds, and he would not have done them had he not chosen to and actively produced those works. In speaking of the Spirit in us, however, He uses the term fruit of the Spirit.
Now fruit is not work. A tree simply stands and because of the nature of the life within it, it produces fruit. It is not a work; it is the natural result of the life in that tree. Likewise we are responsible for any and all of our works of the flesh, but we are in ourselves unable to produce the fruit of the Spirit. Because we have the Spirit in us, we simply surrender to Him and let Him produce that fruit in us. Also it is not a special Christian who shows that fruit. Since it is the natural thing for a tree to have its inner life produce fruit, we may say also it is just natural for a Christian having the Spirit in him to have that Spirit produce fruit in his life. In fact if the fruit is not here, we may well wonder if the Spirit Himself is here.
Jesus truly manifested the fruit of the Spirit. Mary of Bethany was grieved over the death of her brother (John 11:33). Jesus seeing her grief and that of those with her was moved with compassion and groaned with compassion or love of the Spirit within Him.
Barnabas was a man who also manifested the fruit of the Spirit. He was sent by the church in Jerusalem to the church in Antioch. This man was true to his name. His name means "Son of consolation". Upon his arrival at Antioch, he exhorted the people to cleave to the Lord. He is described as a good man and as one full of the Holy Ghost and faith. The term "full of the Holy Ghost" here is more of a description of the man instead of stating a present filling. This description is not so much concerning the number of souls he had turned to the Lord. It is rather a description that the man is full of the things produced by the Spirit as in Gal. 5:22, 23. If the description was in reference to large numbers of converts, there would be no need for the next statement, "...and much people was added unto the Lord."
Paul talks about results of justification. One of those results he named as hope. He said that hope maketh not ashamed. Then he gave a reason why hope maketh not ashamed. It is because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts (Rom. 5:5). The Agent of that love shed abroad in our hearts is the Holy Ghost. We do not naturally love. Especially do we not naturally love in face of tribulation as he had just mentioned. We love because the Holy Ghost produces love in us.
That love produced by the Spirit is seen again, in the Colossian Christians. Paul has sent Epaphras back to the Colossians (Col. 1:8). He evidently was from Colossee (Col.. 4:12), but had come to visit Paul. Paul sent him back as his fellow servant to minister to them. Paul then refers to Epaphras as having declared "...unto us your love in the Spirit." Does this mean that Epaphras was in the Spirit when he declared to Paul the love of the Colossian Christians? It could be. This writer believes it to be the Colossians’ "Love in the Spirit." It is not to deny Epaphras being in the Spirit, but the emphasis seems to be on their love. What is it then to love in the Spirit?
These people evidently had not the natural ties to cause them to naturally love Paul. Instead he had ministered to them the Word of God. They had either been saved or strengthened by his ministry. Being good Christians they appreciated that ministry and had developed a close spiritual attachment to Paul. Thus they loved him in the Spirit.
The fruit of the Spirit also includes faith. The Spirit is here (2 Cor. 4:13) referred to as the Spirit of faith. This would indicate then that faith comes by the Spirit, "...we also believe, and therefore speak;" It would also produce faith in us; we also speak.
Joy is also part of that fruit. Paul is referring back to his ministry among the Thessalonians 1 Thess. 1:5,6. He reminds them that he ministered not just the letter of the word, but he ministered in power. Having referred to that power, he was evidently claiming the source of his power. He went on to say, "and in the Holy Ghost." He surely was seeking to preach not in his power of the flesh, but In complete dependence on the power of the Spirit. The phrase, "and in the Holy Ghost," was probably more a description, however, of the power to which he referred. Power and the Holy Ghost were almost synonymous because it was Holy Ghost power. Then in verse 6 it is joy of the Holy Ghost. This refers to the joy of the Thessalonians. It was not their natural joy. The joy here is that produced by the Holy Ghost who dwelt in them.
In Eph. 5:9 we have goodness and righteousness. We also have light. Righteousness and light are not named as part of the Spirit's fruit; they are produced by Him though. The context is one in which the writer is discussing the earthly walk of a believer. Verse nine is a parenthesis. We know then that here is a commentary on what he is already saying. He has just been saying that believers are not to be partakers with the evil ones and their sins. Instead the believer is light to them; therefore he should be careful to walk that way. In this context he says, "...the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;” He is reminding the believers of the source of his light. The believer is not a light in himself to the dark world. In the flesh he is no more a light than those about him (Rom. 7:18). All the goodness that the dark world sees in the believer (and they should be seeing it) is produced by the Spirit of God in us. The fruit or the production of the Spirit is in all goodness. The same may be said about righteousness and then again about truth. What work of the Spirit are we seeing then? Here it seems to be the indwelling of the Spirit. Every believer is to be a light to a dark world of goodness, righteousness, and truth. He can only be that as the indwelling Spirit produces it in him.
In 1 Thess. 4:8 Paul is encouraging a holy life. He recognizes that unholiness can cause contempt, but he also recognizes that in another way the holy life he encouraged might also meet with contempt in some cases. He encourages the holy life anyhow, saying that any one who despised the saint was not despising him as a man. Let his contempt be because the holy life brought conviction to him of his own sins. In such case his hatred then is really toward God. That being true why would they hate us? It is because we are like God. Now that is not true in ourselves, but he says, "God hath given unto us His Holy Spirit." It is more than just having the Spirit indwell us. It is that, but it is more. That Spirit in us produces His fruit in us. In producing the fruit of the Spirit in us, He makes us like Himself. Men who hate God thus must also hate us.
The Blasphemy Of The Holy Ghost
We come now to look at a passage of scripture and a subject that truly needs our serious consideration. It is Matt. 12:31, 32, these verses should not be interpreted by themselves but in the light of the context and also in the light of other passages. Some have said that suicide is the unpardonable sin. Others have said that the only unpardonable sin is the final rejection of Jesus Christ as Saviour. Now the Bible does say that He that believeth not shall be damned. That final rejection of Jesus then must be unforgivable. The question then is, "Are these what our Lord was talking about?" These are not mentioned in our Lord's words. Our Lord speaks of "blasphemy" against or speaking a word against the Holy Ghost. What then does He mean?
Our Lord has just been presented as fulfillment of Isaiah 42:1-4. Isaiah presents Him as God's Servant to the Gentiles. He had healed a man who was demon possessed. By exorcising the demon He had given sight and speech to the blind mute. Amazement caused the people to praise the Lord and ascribe to Him the title of Messiah. "Is not this the son of David?" they asked.
Religion could not stand for that. The Pharisees were incensed over the matter and sought to discredit the Lord by ascribing His power as Satanic. They said He did His work by Beelzebub, the prince of the demons. In verses 25-30 our Lord related to them their folly. Then He spake the words of verses 31 and 32. First He declares the offer of forgiveness of all kinds of sin. No matter how terrible the crime; God will forgive. He does not even exclude suicide from His forgiveness. Upon this backdrop then He projects the startling picture. What is it? It is that there is one sin that even God will not forgive. What in the world could that be? It is called blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.
What is such blasphemy? Blaspheme means to calumniate or slander, speak against. Verse 32 enlarges on the term to declare that one who speaks against the Holy Ghost cannot be forgiven. Does He mean just any off the cuff remark against the Holy Ghost? This writer does not think so. It appears to be a determined slander of God's Spirit in the face of His revealed power. In the light of verse 24 it might well be one's ascribing the works of the Holy Ghost as being demonic. In any event the passage serves to point up the importance God ascribes to the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. It also points up the importance of watching our speech. This writer has heard both the names of God and Christ used in vain. He can't remember ever hearing the Holy Spirit's name taken in vain. Our Lord pronounced that blasphemy against Himself might be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Holy Ghost would never be forgiven. Has the mouths of wicked men been divinely sealed against such? One might hope so; but as wickedness progresses in our world, we certainly cannot be sure.
This writer does not believe God would ever permit one of His children to blaspheme the Holy Ghost. It would conflict with truth taught elsewhere; namely, that His people are save eternally. The warning is so terrible, however, that even Christians should be careful that they not grieve the Spirit with remarks condemning something to be Satanic unless they are absolutely sure by Scripture that they are right.”
The Holy Spirit And Prayer
Prayer is a vital work of a Christian, and the Holy Spirit is vitally involved with the Christian in the matter of prayer.
In Zechariah 12:10 the Holy Spirit is seen producing prayer. The setting according to the context is one of trial in the days of tribulation that are yet to come. The War of Armaggedon will be in progress. Israel as a nation, having rejected Christ, will be suffering the wrath of God. God in His mercy here will pour out His Spirit on that nation. Before when the Spirit Is said to be upon someone, they are seen busy in some service for God. It is just a bit different here. They are His by election, but they have not owned Him. His anointing in this case is one of Grace that brings about their praying. They are not ready for service, but they are seen responding by praying. It seems that our Lord's return then is In answer to their prayer. In the time of Jacob's trouble Israel experiences God's grace. He prompts the praying and then returns in answer to the prayer He prompted. At that time Israel shall see Him and the nation will be converted. All Israel shall be saved at that time when they look on Him.
In Luke 11:13 it is said that God will give the Spirit in answer to prayer. In this passage our Lord was teaching His disciples how to pray (Luke 11:1). This was an encouragement to pray. The Lord had just promised that those who ask should receive. He then brings up the likeness of one's earthly father. Would he give a stone for bread or a snake for fish? Would a father give a scorpion when his son asked for an egg? He is contrasting the fact that fathers of this evil world give proper answers to the requests of their children, with the fact that the Heavenly Father would do much better. He will give the Spirit to Once this writer overheard a prayer meeting in which men were praying. After a time one of them said, "Let's pray in the Spirit for a while." Then all of them together began "speaking in tongues." They turned it on at his suggestion. Is that what Paul was saying? Ten thousand times no. Paul was talking about continued prayer that would not give up, prayer that was in defense of or for the victory of all saints. The idea is not some ecstatic experience. It is rather realizing the mighty power of the enemy, one must not just say prayers. He is not praying selfish prayers for worldly desires. Praying in the Spirit is praying in the realm of the Spirit. It is rising above the selfish desires of the one praying and praying as prompted by the Spirit. We are really here seeing intercessory prayer, prayer so consumed by the will of God and the welfare of others that self is forgotten and denied.
The Realm Of The Spirit
We read many times in the bible about being in or doing something in the Spirit. This I call the realm of the Spirit. Reference is made in 2 Cor. 12:18 to our walking in the same Spirit. It is walking according to the rule or principle of the Spirit in Whose realm we live.
Let us remember that God is a Spirit. He thus lives and moves in the realm of the Spirit. This being true, the true worshipper must be also in the realm of the Spirit. Our natural life in the flesh is incompatible with the Spirit. We must therefore yield to the Spirit and let Him aid our worship. We must worship in the realm of the Spirit and not in the realm of the flesh.
John is seen in the Spirit in Rev. 1:10. Did John die and go to Heaven while exiled on Patmos? Is that what he meant? Does this verse speak of something else? Is he here transported in time ahead to what is referred to as "the Day of the Lord?" That would not be out of character with the message he received and transmitted. Were that the case would the readers of his day or ours understand? Now the Church was already meeting on the first day of the week to break bread and preach, Acts 20:7. The Sabbaths ended with the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Today we speak of Sunday as "the Lord's Day." Is that what John meant? This would indicate that whether publicly or privately (most likely privately) John was worshipping on the Lord's Day when he became enwrapped in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All around him then is forgotten. He is only aware of the presence of God. The Spirit came to testify not of Himself but of Christ. We might then say he was in the sphere or realm of the Spirit.
This same idea is carried on in Rev. 4:2; 17:3; and 21:10. As John worshiped on the Lord's Day and was in the Spirit (enwrapped in the Lord's presence), he was receiving the Lord's message. In that vision he heard the Lord call him into Heaven. He repeats for us here that immediately he was in the Spirit. Here again he is in the sphere of the Spirit with the rest of the world shut out. In that vision he sees into Heaven. It's as if he really was there. In this atmosphere he continues to receive the Lord's message. In 17:3 it really is some more of the same, "carried away in the Spirit." It is not just a dream. While it is not a dream or some hallucination, it is a miracle in which in the sphere of the Spirit the Lord is continuing to give His message. Finally in the same sphere of the Spirit, he is carried away and shown the Holy Jerusalem descending out of Heaven.
Paul speaks of fellowship of the Spirit (Phil. 2:1). This is also kin to unity of the Spirit. In a time of suffering for the sake of Christ, Paul was encouraging his readers to strive together for the faith of the gospel. In this setting, his readers are to look to Christ. Is there any consolation? Look to the love of God. It is either God's love for us or God's love shed abroad in our hearts for one another. The word is agape (love because there is a nature in the lover to love apart from whether the loved be lovely). Is there comfort from such love either that God loves us or that other Christians love us because of God in them?
Then look to the Holy Spirit. Is there any fellowship? When you must strive with the forces of evil, are you in agreement with the Holy Spirit? What about the few or the many who strive together with you? Is your agreement together with the Holy Spirit? It is more than a unity of spirit among you. Rather is your unity in agreement with the Holy Spirit? Then you should be the same way. Have the same mind, the same love, and the same unity.
The Baptism Of The Holy Ghost
The second mention of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament (Matt. 3:11, 12) introduces something not mentioned before in the whole Bible, namely the baptizing with the Holy Ghost. Now what on earth did he mean by that? First of all, whatever he meant, the same was true regarding fire. Fire is not the power of the Holy Ghost to be experienced by an individual in some ecstatic experience. Fire is Judgment. The context will reveal this truth. Verse 12 reveals the Lord as an executor of Judgment. "Whose fan is in His hand and He will thoroughly purge His floor." He announces that He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. It is important too that we note to whom John the Baptist was speaking. He was talking to a crowd of people who included believers as well as the Christ rejecting Pharisees and Sadducees. The Pharisees were the people who expected to get to Heaven by reason of self righteousness — good works and strict observance of legal code — on the one hand. On the other hand the Sadducees didn't believe much of anything. They were rationalists. Neither of these were true believers. Nevertheless they came to John to be baptized of him. To them the ritual was important regardless of the heart. John perceived their insincerity and called them vipers. He demanded of them repentance, not praying, but repentance. He would strip them of any religious heritage upon which they might try to rely. He described a situation in which they were on the threshold of judgment. It was to these people that the Baptist announced the coming of the baptism with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. The Agent of this baptism is not a mere man, but it is Jesus Christ Himself. It cannot be the same then as water baptism. Instead John contrasts it with his water baptism. The same word baptize is used in both cases, however. This surely must indicate that there is some likeness also between what John was practicing and what Christ would do.
It is easy to find that the meaning of this word is to dip, plunge, or submerge. This John was doing in water. The individual was then totally engulfed or buried in water. The baptism Jesus would perform then must be one in which His candidates would be completely covered with the Holy Spirit and/or fire. Perhaps we can learn more about this from succeeding passages.
In Mark 1:8 we note that this statement was made to those that John did baptize. In this case the baptism with fire was not mentioned. In Luke 3:15, 16 the statement is made to the people. Again the Pharisees and the Sadducees were present, and again the baptism with fire is coupled with the baptism with the Spirit. We may question then, "Who is to be thus baptized?" In John 1:33 Jesus is identified as the One Who baptizes with the Spirit. Then we come to Luke 24:49. There we read that the church should tarry in Jerusalem until they be endued with power from on high. This command was not made to individuals. It was given to the same group of men the commission was given to. If that commission was given to individual disciples, then that commission ceased with their death. It was given to the church with whom the Lord had promised to be until the end of the world. Then again in Acts 1:4 the Lord was assembled with that church. There again He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem. They were to wait for the promise of the Father. Then in verse 5 He told them they would be baptized with the Holy Ghost in just a few days. Then in verse 8 He told them that when the Holy Ghost came upon them, they would have power, and they would be witnesses unto Him throughout the world. This was fulfilled in Acts 2:4 when the entire church was filled with the Holy Ghost. Thus we conclude that the baptism of the Holy Ghost was experienced by the church rather than by individual disciples. It is worthy to note then that never again do you find a promise that anyone will be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Also the baptism with fire awaits His return.
What then can be the significance of this baptism of the church? We do have an answer. In Exodus 40:33, 34 we find a very interesting account. Moses had been instructed of the Lord to build the tabernacle. He had been told to build it according to a definite pattern which the Lord had given him. This Moses did. Not before but when he had finished that tabernacle according to that pattern, and everything was in its prescribed place, then the Glory of the Lord came down and filled the tabernacle. In this way God certified the tabernacle as truly the House of the Lord.
The tabernacle was a temporary house. It was Solomon who would build for God His permanent House of the Lord. That was the temple in Jerusalem. In 1 Kings 8:10 he has completed the temple, the priests have put the ark of the Lord in its place and have come again out of the temple; so all is finished and in its rightful place. Then what happened?! The Glory of the Lord came down again and filled the House of the Lord. Just as God certified His temporary house, He had now certified His permanent Temple.
Now what do these two incidents have to do with the subject at hand. Let it be remembered that Jesus had said, "On this rock I will build my church." Thus another House of the Lord was promised. He did not say His disciples would build His church. He didn't even say the Holy Spirit would build His church. He said He would build His church. That church stands out distinct also from God's House in the Old Testament. That house the Lord did build and had it all in place and commissioned by the Master Himself. Then He told that church to tarry at Jerusalem until they be endued with power from on At Pentecost the Glory of the Lord came down again and filled the House of the Lord. Thus God certified the Church Jesus built as His House.
The term baptize with the Holy Ghost is used in all four gospels. The references are Matt. 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, and John 1:33. It is also used in Acts 1:5. In each of the gospels Jesus Is seen as the one doing the baptizing. In Acts Jesus is not named as the baptizer, but He, doing the speaking, declared His hearers would soon be thus baptized. In each of these five references the Holy Spirit is what they are to be baptized with. As John had baptized in water, they would be baptized in the Holy Ghost.
There is only one other reference in the Bible where the Spirit is involved in Baptism. In 1 Cor. 12:13 we are told that "by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." This is usually referred to as the same as the Baptism of the Holy Ghost which is recorded in the gospels. It is not the same. First in the King James version it is said that the baptizing is done by the Spirit. Before it was always Jesus baptizing in the Spirit. Always before the candidates for baptism were baptized in the Spirit. In 1 Cor. 12:13 it is not stated what they were baptized in, but rather what they were baptized into. That of course was the body or the church.
Often this is interpreted as the Spirit baptizing individuals Into some "universal invisible" body called "the Church." This is not what this verse means. The word translated "by" in verse 13 comes from the Greek word en. This word is usually translated "in" and should be so translated here. If the usual interpretation is taken we have two baptisms. They are in water and in the church. They are by the preacher and the Holy Spirit. The proper interpretation then must be that the baptism of the Holy Ghost in the gospels and Acts chapter 1 is a baptism of the Church (not individuals) by the Lord in the Holy Ghost. Then it must be that the baptism in 1 Cor. 12:13 is water baptism of individuals In one Spirit (the Spirit of Unity) into the body (the local church).
The Holy Spirit's Regenerating Work
Regeneration Is one of the most Important doctrines in our faith. It Is the work of the Holy Spirit to regenerate sinners.
In Proverbs 1:23 Wisdom is crying. Wisdom in Proverbs can hardly be limited to an attribute of God. Instead Wisdom takes on a personage in the life of Jesus. The cry of wisdom is "...turn you..." The promise Is then stated — a promise to pour out the Spirit. Only under such blessing can man be brought to the point of turning to God.
As we come to John 3:5, 6 we find Jesus talking to the Pharisee, Nicodemus. This Jewish Pharisee had never heard of being "born again." He had followed the very strict rules of his religion as taught by the Pharisees. To be born again was something he did not understand. His mind immediately went back to his natural birth of the flesh. He didn't understand how he could experience that again. Then our Lord explained it to him in verses 5 and 6. He explained that one birth is a birth of the flesh which occurs by the agent of water. Another birth is offered then that is a spiritual birth and is performed by the Agent of God — the Holy Spirit. The order here is perfect. He is saying there must of course be first a "water" birth (the natural birth of the flesh), and then there must be a second birth (spiritual — the birth of the Spirit).
Let the reader determine for himself now, "Are you sure that you have experienced both?" You had to have the first of course to be alive today. Just so you have the second in order to live in the Kingdom of God. It is imperative; you must be born again. The Lord is careful to establish that the product of the first birth is flesh. That's all it will ever be. By the same token the product of the second is spirit. Likewise that spiritual man always will be spirit. This is not a natural perception of the natural being. Instead it is a result that is seen by the life of one so touched by the Spirit.
The work of the Spirit as the Agent for doing God's work is seen again (John 6:63). We are reminded again of the unprofitable flesh. He is speaking of making someone alive. That is salvation. It is also a meaning of regeneration. The spirit is the Agent of God that does the quickening (making alive). Now some also speak of being born of the Spirit and born of the Word. Are they separate; are they in conflict? Not so! Jesus said, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life," In other words, when Jesus speaks, the Holy Spirit takes the message and applies it to the heart and produces faith. He by the word quickens the dead sinner and makes him alive unto God.
Let us note this regenerating work in Acts 11:15, 16. Please note what happened in Acts 10:44-48. This reminded Peter of the Lord's statement that John baptized with water, but they would be baptized with the Holy Ghost. This statement made by Jesus just before His ascension is recorded in Acts 1:5. It is Just 10 days after His ascension that Pentecost occurs with the people being filled with the Holy Ghost. This is recorded in Acts 2. In Acts 2 the setting was Jewish. The Holy Ghost came down to certify our Lord's Church in the Gentile setting. Also Acts 10:45 and 11:17 refer to the Holy Ghost as a gift. Peter calls Him the like Gift in Acts 11:17. In Acts 10:45 the Gift of the Holy Ghost is poured out on Gentiles. In Acts 11:17 the like Gift is given of God to Gentiles meaning the like Gift as in Acts 2. In Acts 11:18 God has granted or given repentance unto life to Gentiles.
Now repentance is an act of the sinner. It is here referred to, however, as a gift. If we believe in God's sovereignty and man's depravity, and if we compare these scriptures; the writer believes it is clear to see that the Gift poured out is the opportunity and the spiritual power and desire to repent. In other words the Holy Spirit at work created the opportunity, but He also created in their hearts the desire and the spiritual power to repent. Some will agree that he created the opportunity, but they will maintain that the desire and power to repent is within the sinner himself. Were this the case, however, why would he say that God granted repentance to the Gentiles? A look at 1 Cor. 12:3 will also show that this power of repentance is by the Holy Ghost. One can not even confess Jesus as Lord but by the Holy Ghost.
Dear Reader have you been born again, made alive in Christ Jesus? I beseech you, "...make your calling and election sure."
The Sanctifying Work Of The Holy Spirit
Sanctification is a subject greatly misunderstood. The word simply means to make holy. This may be done in more than one way.
One meaning of sanctification is seen as cleansing. In Isa. 4:4 we are looking ahead to the days of our Lord's reign on the earth. Israel will have undergone great tribulation. Her men shall have perished in such large numbers and shall have become so scarce that seven women will cling to one man. Jesus will reign, however, in great glory. Israel will have turned to Jesus as their national Messiah. A fountain of cleansing will have flown forth to Israel... By what power shall all this be done? This passage is saying that the Holy Spirit will do it. Even Jesus is seen working in unity with the person of the Spirit.
Coming to the New Testament we see that cleansing work again in Titus 3:5. The ministry of the Holy Spirit here is spoken of as part of the salvation of a sinner. We are saved by the washing or cleansing of regeneration or the new birth. That's not final salvation, however. Coupled with that as part of the salvation is the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Now we certainly do not renew the Holy Ghost. He is always the same. So it must be that He renews us. That is not to say that He saves us again and again. We are regenerated once. The Spirit's work then is a continual one in which he revives us, cleanses us, or progressively sanctifies us until He finally brings us to final glorification. That renewing of the Holy Ghost is as much a part of our salvation as the washing of regeneration is.
Another meaning of sanctification is the Lord makes us holy by setting us apart for His honor and glory. It may be done collectively or individually. It may be for service or salvation.
The selection of his ministers is a work of sanctifying them. In Acts 13:2, 4 we learn that it is the ministry of the Holy Ghost to do that selecting and to call to Himself those whom He would have the church send out as missionaries. So they were sent by the church and by the Holy Ghost. The same idea is seen in 2 Cor. 6:6. Here the ministers of God are said to be approved by the Holy Ghost.
That sanctifying is also seen in the election to salvation. Note 2 Thess. 2:13. This reference is to sanctification of the Spirit. That is the channel or method of sovereign election. Christians are addressed as "brethren beloved of the Lord." Those brethren then are said to have been chosen from the beginning. Now this choice cannot be limited to service and separated from salvation as many would have us believe. The end of this choice is stated to be salvation. We learn in this verse then that "brethren beloved of the Lord" were chosen from the beginning to salvation. Then comes the little word "through." Is the salvation or the choice said to be through sanctification of the Spirit? It is both. Salvation is through that Sanctification. The choice did the sanctifying. Sanctification means setting apart. God chose the brethren in Christ, and the Spirit of God set them apart to be saved and worship God. It is important to note that the sanctification is also linked to the belief of the truth. The sanctification of the Spirit is God's part in eternity past. Belief of the truth is man's action in accepting what God has done as God enables man in time and gives him the faith to believe. Jude 19, 20 lets us know that there is a difference.
A difference is made between unbelievers and believers, difference is made by the Holy Spirit. The unbeliever not have the spirit. The believer who is indwelt by the Spirit is to live In prayer — praying in the Holy Ghost. That sanctification by election is seen again in 1 Peter 1:2. The Spirit here is the Agent of Sanctification. He is the Sanctifier. What action is involved? It is setting apart, laying by, or dedication. It is not eradication of the evil nature. It is not even done in time but in eternity past. This action of the Spirit is the means of the Father's election. The Father's foreknowledge is the basis of election, and the sanctification of the Spirit is the means. That same election is unto obedience and atonement. Thus the Spirit's action of sanctification is in cooperation with both the Father and the Son.
The Holy Spirit Identifying Or Witnessing
Do you identify with the Holy Spirit? Every Christian should. In Matt. 28:19 we have what we call the great commission. Along with verse 20 it is a threefold commission to make disciples in all nations, to baptize them, and then to train them to carry on the work of God in His Church. Baptism is the part of the commission that stands out in ritual to call attention to the ones being identified with the people of God in His Church. This then is to be done not in the name of the preacher or the denomination. Baptizing is to be done in the "name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." We thus do identify ourselves with the full Trinity.
It is a blessed thought! Yes, the Holy Spirit also identifies with us. In Acts 5:32 Peter claims the Holy Ghost as his co-witness of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. He also states that the Holy Ghost is given of God to those who obey Him. Peter is evidently not talking about receiving the Spirit as is true when one gets saved. He is rather talking about the power of God as his co-witness. That is God will verify our witness by giving the power or the Witness of the Spirit to our witness when we are obedient to Him. The Spirit is also seen witnessing to the resurrection of Christ. In Romans 1:4 it is said that Christ was declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead. That declaration is said to be according to the Spirit of Holiness. It is not hard to understand that he is "the Son of God with Power." it is easy to see that this passage is saying that his Sonship is declared by His resurrection. What is then by the phrase "according to the Spirit of Holiness?" In the Old Testament times a fact was established at the mouth of two or more witnesses. Perhaps this is the significance of the above mentioned phrase. His resurrection being one witness, the corroboration of the Spirit's witness would thus establish the fact.
In Hebrews 10:15 the Holy Ghost has been teaching the truth of our Lord's Priesthood in expiating our sins. He now witnesses to us of that job completed. On the basis of our Lord's completed expiation of our sins, He is a witness to us of the new and living way to enter into the access to God or into the "holiest."
The Spirit is even to be recognized by His witness. In 1 John 4:2 we are told of many spirits who cry for our allegiance. How can we identify the Holy Spirit? He is the Holy Spirit only who confesses the humanity — deity of Jesus Christ. To confess either His humanity or deity and reject the other is heretical. One must confess Him as human and divine at the same time. In 1 John 5:6, 7, and 8 the Spirit continues to testify to Jesus. He is Truth. He does not speak of Himself, but He testifies of Jesus. He joins with the Father and the Word to bear witness in Heaven. He joins with the water and the blood to witness in the earth.
The Filling Of The Holy Spirit
A good rule of interpretation is the rule of first mention. That simply means try to find the meaning of the first mention in Scripture and see if that meaning will fit in the passages that follow. We come now to the first time in Scripture when anyone was said to be filled with the Spirit. In the New Testament the filling and the anointing seem to blend together. In this chapter, however, we shall stick to the term of being filled.
The first time we find it is in Exodus 28:3. Moses is commanded to speak to the wise hearted. The subject at hand will deal with worship. Aaron of course is a type of Christ as the High Priest. His sons are named too in the priests office. These surely must typify the individual priesthood of believers. The wise hearted are called to the job at hand. Moses and Aaron, both types of Christ, are omitted from the activity. The wise hearted are or were those whom God had filled with the Spirit of Wisdom. Was this not the Holy Spirit? No man is wise apart from the Spirit of God.
These people were filled with the Spirit for a particular job. They were to make Aaron's priestly garments, and consecrate Him. They were filled with the Spirit for the preparation of their worship.
In Ex. 31:2 let us see if it is the same meaning. We first learn that Bezaleel is one called of God. It is interesting to note that Jehovah informs us that He called him and that he called him by name. That is what Jesus said of His sheep when He stated that the Shepherd calleth his own sheep by name." This man then must have been elect and called of God. His name (interpreted as "In the Shadow of God") signifies a close relationship with God. It may indicate his peace with God. It is this type of man that God speaks of saying, "I have filled him with the Spirit of God..." May we not conclude then that only the elect and called of God who live in the shadow of His hovering presence may know the truth of being filled with the Spirit?
Miraculous is the effect of such filling. We are sometimes made to marvel at the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of men who have not been highly educated but do have the infilling of the Holy Spirit. It is even possible to make decisions as a Spirit filled Christian that later one is made to marvel at the wisdom of his own decision of the past. The Spirit filled person does not do the work; he yields his body and mind as an instrument to the Holy Spirit to do His own work. He is entirely able to surprise the individual as well as his acquaintances. This is referred to in 1 John 2:27. We are not made omniscient, but we are made accessible to all knowledge because the Holy Spirit, our Teacher, is omniscient. We are told that He teacheth us all things.
This filling of the Spirit is not aimless. Just as the wise hearted of Ex. 28:3 were filled with the Spirit of Wisdom for the preparation of worship In making Aaron's garments; so likewise Bezaleel was filled with the Spirit for preparation of worship or the service of their worship. It was so in either case. Bezaleel also had a particular job. His job had to do with works In gold, silver, brass, and timber cutting stones and setting them and carving the timber. The Spirit filled person then must have a particular job and is filled to do that job.
In the chapter on the Indwelling Spirit we talked about Joshua. That was found in Numbers 27:18. Now we come to Deut. 34:9. This Joshua is the same man as found In Numbers 27:18. He is here spoken of as "full of the Spirit of Wisdom." the "for" of verse nine indicates this "fullness" either resulted from or was attested to by the laying on of Moses1 hand. In Proverbs 8 Wisdom claims eternity thus claiming the same place the Word claims In John 1:1. Does this not lead us to conclude that the Spirit of Wisdom must be the Holy Spirit. I wonder if the laying on of hands was not simply attesting to the fullness that was already his. No doubt evidence of that fullness was more marked, however, after the laying on of hands at God's command. Again the filling is a preparation or enabling for service — in this case to lead the Israelites into Canaan.
The next time we see this term is in Ezekiel 2:2. Ezekiel was a priest carried away captive in Babylon. The hand of the Lord was on him and he had a vision of God in His Glory. Humbling himself before God, he was told to stand up and receive the message from God. Then it is we read that the Spirit entered into him. It is expressly stated that the Spirit entered when God spoke. The Spirit then is credited with setting the priest on his feet. Then Ezekiel received his commission to carry the Word of the Lord to a rebellious and sinful people, even to a people who would reject the Word.
The terminology here would tend to indicate the beginning of indwelling of the Spirit in Ezekiel. Already, however, he was a priest of Jehovah, the hand of Jehovah was on him, and we see no change in his relation afterwards. Instead the experience is coupled with his commission. Later in 3:24 the same term is used again which would indicate repeated regeneration if this referred to the indwelling begun at conversion.
The idea must follow then that here is experienced the filling of the Spirit. If so it still follows the pattern seen continuously that the filling of the Spirit is preparation for a job to be done. This would further Indicate also that the filling of the Spirit and the indwelling of the Spirit are close kin and that sometimes the terms are used Interchangeably.
Come now to Micah 3:8. The Spirit is the source of power for the prophet. He speaks of himself as full of power by that source and states his purpose. He is empowered to rebuke sin. Again it appears to be a filling of the Spirit in preparation for a work the prophet will do. In Zechariah 4:6 it is the same. The Spirit is the source of power for spiritual work. We must learn the impossibility of spiritual work without Him. Zechariah was receiving a message for Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was governor in Jerusalem after the return from Babylonian Captivity. His name means "scattered In Babylon." Under his administration Israel was seeking to rebuild the temple. God was reminding him and those who had returned to Jerusalem with him that not only their return but their success In the land was dependent on the power of the Spirit.
Next, we come to the New Testament. Luke 1:15 is the first time in the New Testament that we have found the term "filled with the Holy Ghost." In the Old Testament when we found this term, it was used regarding preparation for service to God. Here the angel is telling Zacharlas about the son he is going to receive. He shall bring great joy, he shall be great In God's sight, he shall keep himself separated from strong drink, and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost. That's pretty good preparation, but is that what is meant? Verse 16 tells us that he shall turn many of Israel to the Lord. Then we can see why he was filled with the Holy Spirit. Surely it was God's preparing him for that converting work. Continuing in verse 17 there is a promise made to Zachariah concerning his son, the Baptist. Elijah was a plain man who did great work as a prophet and was fearless. His ministry is evidence of the Holy Spirit's power. The promise here is that John will minister in the same Spirit. That Spirit and power is to be given for a purpose. That purpose is to prepare the people for the coming of Jesus Christ.
In Luke 1:41 we find that "Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost." Elizabeth was with child. That child was to be born in about three months and would be called John. He is the fulfillment of verse 13. Mary came to her cousin Elizabeth with her secret message. It is highly probably that they had discussed the miracle of Elizabeth's condition before. Elizabeth had been barren, but God gave her and Zacharias their son, John. Now three months before the birth of John, Mary came to Elizabeth. She had a story to tell too. She was a virgin, but she was also now with child. Yes, she and Joseph had married, but they had not consummated the marriage. They did not consummate that marriage until after Jesus was born. Thus Mary was still virgin. Mary simply spoke to Elizabeth. Yet it was powerful. When she spoke, John leaped in the womb of his mother, Elizabeth. It was upon the occasion of this salutation also that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.
In this chapter there seems to be a switch in the terms used and the following results. Previously when it is said that one is filled with the Spirit; it appears that it was a preparation for some work; and when it speaks of the Spirit coming upon someone (the anointing), immediately the person was doing the job. In this chapter the anointing is a promise, and the result of course is future as in verse 35. In verse 41 when Elizabeth is filled with the Spirit, she immediately is speaking praise to God. Maybe the terms will be used interchangeably in the New Testament. We shall perhaps see more as we progress.
It appears that there is another miracle here too. No mention is made of Mary having revealed her secret. Yet Elizabeth seems to know. She refers to Mary in verse 43 as the mother of her Lord. It appears that she knew that as a result of the "filling of the Spirit."
Then the 67th verse of the same chapter tells us of Zacharias being filled with the Spirit. John the Baptist's birth is the occasion. There was discussion about what his name would be. Zacharias declared his name to be John. Then he was filled with the Holy Ghost. Again immediately following the filling, he was prophesying. Let us watch for further development In the New Testament as a result of the Spirit's filling.
Moving on to Luke 4:1 we find our Lord filled with the Spirit. As Matthew and Mark give us this part of our Lord's life, they simply tell us of the Spirit leading or driving the Lord to the wilderness of temptation. Luke adds this factor that deserves our attention. Matthew and Mark told us of our Lord's baptism and how He was anointed of the Spirit after His Baptism. Both of them also told of the Spirit's guidance. Only Luke tells us here that Jesus was full of the Holy Ghost. It appears to this writer that in the New Testament the trend is to speak of the Spirit coming upon one (anointing) and being full of the Spirit as the same thing. They seem to be used interchangeably. It still follows, however, that these experiences are a preparation for something to follow in the ministry of our Lord.
Let us go now to John 7:39. Jesus had offered a general invitation to come to Him and drink. This was offered to anyone who thirsted. Then He made a promise concerning the believers. The promise to believers was not to drink or quench their thirst. His promise to believers was that they would be able to satisfy the thirsty world. He said that out of their belly should flow rivers of living water.
In verse 39 then John is explaining the promise. Jesus had spoken of quenching thirst and rivers of water. John said He was speaking of the Holy Spirit. Here was a promise to believers. On first reading it would seem that He spoke of the indwelling of the Spirit. This writer does not believe that to be the case. In light of verse 38 which John is explaining, it would seem that He is speaking of the fullness of the Spirit. It is for the purpose of satisfying the thirst of a thirsty world. His reference to our Lord not being yet glorified points also to our Lord's resurrection and ascension to the Father. The receiving then spoken of seems to point to the time of Pentecost. Let the reader be reminded that the experience of Pentecost was not what we generally call receiving the Spirit, but rather it was a time when the entire church was filed with the Spirit at one time.
What happened at Pentecost? We turn to Acts 2: to find out. In verse 2 the house was filled with a sound like a rushing mighty wind. The disciples were completely engulfed in that sound. This must have been the baptism that Jesus spoke of. In verse 4 it is not a baptism. It is not receiving the Spirit as is usually taught. Instead they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. Now we have found in the Old Testament that the filling of the Spirit was in preparation for a particular service. In the New Testament we have found the same except that it is often in the New Testament immediately followed by action as is the case of the Spirit's anointing in the Old Testament. It is just so here. They are filled; immediately they are speaking. They spoke with other tongues. That is they spoke languages that were not their own. This was done by the power of the Spirit. He gave them utterance. Now what was the miracle? Did the Spirit perform His miracle on the men or on their message? In other words did the Spirit prompt the men to speak, and did He give them the words of another language to speak; or did He prompt them to speak, and while they spoke (they thought in their own language), He performed a miracle on the message to enable the hearers to hear in their own language? this writer knows of no way to be sure. The latter does seem to be possible in view of the words of verse 6 where it is said that every man heard them speak in his own language. It also appears that they were all hearing at the same time. There were sixteen different peoples listed as being present. That many different languages actually being spoken at one time would have been mass confusion. That this was not some "unknown tongue" is evident also from verse 8 and 11. The message was recognizable in their own native tongues or languages.
This experience amazed the people and some thought the people were drunk. Verses 17-21 is a translated quotation from Joel Chapter 2. Peter identified the experience as that Joel had prophesied. That also identifies this age as the time spoken of by Joel. In verse 22-38 Peter preaches the sermon of Pentecost. This he concluded with offering the gift of the Holy Ghost. Upon repentance of their sin they could receive the Holy Ghost. Likewise today, all who repent and believe will also receive the Holy Ghost.
Note with me Acts 4:8 and 31. In verse 8 Peter is filled with the Holy Ghost again. It follows again that immediately he is fulfilling service for God. Then in verse 31 Christians are gathered again when once more they were filled with the Holy Ghost. The result was that again they were serving the Lord. They spake the word of God with boldness. There is no mention of "other tongues" this time though. This would verify that tongues are not necessarily a mark to prove the Spirit's filling.
Then look to Acts 13:9. Here is the first time that it is actually recorded that Paul is filled with the Holy Ghost. Saul (asked for) the one prayed for, is now Paul (small). He is filled and immediately he is speaking for God.
Then in Acts 13:52 the disciples are said to be filled with joy and the Holy Ghost. This is the first time that action does not spring from the filling in the New Testament. It appears to be not so much a statement of the Holy Spirit's action as a description of the disciples. For this see Acts 11:24.
In Eph. 1:17 Paul is writing to believers. He is now praying for them. What is he praying? He is asking God the Father to do something. He is asking Him to give the believers the Spirit. Do they not already have Him? Of course! What does he mean then, "...may give, unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him." It is another reference to the Spirit's work of guidance, comfort, and preparation for service.
Now let us look at Eph. 5:18. Here are two commands. The negative is to not be drunk. This writer believes Christians should not drink strong drink at all. That is not the command of this verse, however. Wine as a beverage used in moderation without getting drunk is not here prohibited. The prohibition of this verse is the excess. He said, "...be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess..." In other words don't be filled with wine; that's too much. Don't be controlled by wine; that's too much. What is said about wine here is to teach us what he meant by the parallel, "but be filled with the Spirit..." It would also be wrong to use this passage to make a case for social drinking. He is simply making a contrast to teach us what should be true with us in relation to the Spirit. The second command is positive, "...be filled with the Spirit..."
The first time a whole congregation was ever filled with the Spirit all at the same time was at the Pentecost gathering. Peter explaining the experience said, "These are not drunken, as ye suppose..." Some had said they were "full of new wine" but Peter said," no, it is the fulfillment of the promise of the Father." What happened, however, was so different from the usual that they were thought to be drunk.
To say it another way Paul in effect said. While you may sip a little wine as long as you are in control, you must not be filled with it. don't get drunk! Then he said in effect: Drink of the Spirit all you will. Be filled with Him. Let Him control you.
The context that follows this verse reveals the evidence of that filling. They are three things, and filling of the Spirit will produce them. First is expression of joy in public worship. In Acts 2:7 this was in the speaking of tongues. Second there is the giving of thanks or marveling at and praising God. At Pentecost hearers were amazed and marvelled at the miracle they witnessed. Third there is a submissive spirit. At Pentecost they were in one accord when the miracle occurred. Verses 22 thru chapter 6 verse 9 of Eph. 5 are examples of the submissive spirit seen in Eph. 5:21.
On to 2 Tim. we go. Chapter one and verses 7 and 14 tells us of His work. The word Spirit of verse 7 is not necessarily referring to the Holy Spirit. When it speaks of the spirit of fear, it does not mean the Holy Spirit. It should be understood, however, that the terms that follow have the word spirit understood. It is the Spirit of power, the Spirit of love, and the Spirit of a sound mind. Now we know that the Spirit of power is the Holy Spirit. The same would follow concerning love and sound mind. These are all the one Holy Spirit. He Is the Gift of God. This probably refers more to the filling of the Spirit than the Indwelling. The good thing of verse fourteen is the ministry of God's Word. Note verse 6. Now Timothy is commanded to keep that ministry by the Holy Ghost. In the realm of the Spirit or in total dependence upon the power, he was to guard and fulfill the ministry that had been given to him. He is to be able to do this because the Spirit indwells him.
Now note 1 Peter 1:12. The Holy Ghost is the Power here that accompanied the preaching of the Gospel. The preachers in this verse probably refers to the Apostles. They preached the writings of the prophets of verse 11. The Spirit accompanied that preaching to make it effective.
In the next chapter we shall turn our thoughts to study the anointing of the Spirit.
The Anointing Of The Spirit
We have already noted that in the New Testament the filling and the anointing of the Spirit blend together. It is very difficult to separate them. In the Old Testament their difference is a little more pronounced. We have already seen the filling of the Spirit as a preparation for some work. The anointing (when the Spirit Is said to come upon someone) is different in that the work is immediately being done. The filling seemed to prepare, but the anointing seemed to produce.
The first time this term is used is in Numbers 11:17, 25, 26. These were elders called of God by Moses, God's mediator between Him and man. It must be significant that it is not recorded that the Lord spoke to these elders, he spoke to Moses. The same Holy Spirit that rested on Moses God gave also and put Him upon the seventy elders. In verses 17 and 25 we may gather that the elders received and came under the anointing of the Holy Ghost. The anointing was to prepare them for service. Their job was to bear with Moses the burden of the people.
When the Lord gave the Spirit and they were anointed of Him, they prophesied. They prophesied or spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit who had just come upon them. Concerning the two of verse 26 they had the same Spirit. They were also, in another place, speaking as that Spirit gave them utterance.
Next we see Numbers 24:2. Whatever might be the significance, Balaam's name means "ruin or destruction." hi Num. 22:34 Balaam confessed his sin and surrendered to the preincarnate Christ. Willing to turn and go back home he received further command, however, to go and speak what the preincarnate Christ would tell him. His will thus broken and surrendered, he no longer sought for the rewards of materialism. Now he voluntarily turns his eyes towards God's people. This is toward a people not having attained but on the way. In our New Testament terminology, he looked upon the field. His heart flowed toward the people as he saw them whom he was about to curse for gain. The Spirit of God came upon him.
Joseph was seen as being indwelt by the Spirit, the wisehearted and Bezaleel were said to be filled with the Spirit, the seventy elders were men upon whom the Spirit came, and Caleb had the Spirit with him. Now another is said to have the Spirit upon him. The man Joseph was recognized as capable of leading because the Spirit was in him. Those said to be filled with the Spirit were so filled for the purpose of doing some work. In Caleb's case the work of the Spirit was guidance. It was a man called of God surrendering to and seeking the Lord's guidance manifested in the Spirit with him. As in the case of the seventy elders so in the case of Balaam, when the Spirit came upon them they spoke for God. This writer has concluded that the Spirit works sovereignly and manifests Himself in certain systematic ways. Those systematic ways seem to be expressed as follows: Indwelling manifests fruit Filling is preparation or enabling Being with is guidance, comfort, and/or encouragement.
Coming upon goes further than preparation to the point of producing.
Then we come to Othniel in Judges 3:10. His name means "My strength is God." The first mention of him is in taking the land of Judah. Caleb had promised concerning the city of Books that to him who would take the city he would give his daughter to wife. Othniel (My strength is God) took it. Now in the time of Israel's trouble it is such a man (one who gains victory in God's strength) that the Spirit of the Lord came upon. He has at least two fruits of the Spirit according to his name. They are meekness and faith. It is self-denial and trusting God. On such a man the Spirit came. This writer believes it is not a new experience or crisis as often expounded but a manifestation of the Spirit that was already his. It must be noticed again that the coming upon him of the Spirit is followed by service, judging and making war on enemies of God's people. Also the victory is gained. Again the coming upon seems to go further than preparing even to the actual producing.
We see this anointing several times in the book of Judges. Judges 6:34. Gideon is a man upon whom the Spirit of the Lord came. This was a time when the enemies of God and His people were rallying to battle. Gideon had cast down the altar of Baal. Once again the coming of the Spirit upon the individual is immediately followed by action. Gideon blew a trumpet. From this the armies were gathered.
The next time we see this manifestation is in Chapter 11 and verse 29. The children of Ammon are the descendants of sin. Lot in a drunken condition lay as a husband with his own daughter and begot a son. This son named Ben Ammi (Son of my people) was the father of the children of Ammon.
The first thing we learn about Jephthah is that he was a Gileadite, a descendent of Joseph through Manasseh. The meaning of Gilead's name is "hard or rough." Jephthah certainly knew the hard knocks of experience. He too had the unfortunate lot of being born a product of sin. He was the son of Gilead and a harlot. He was refused the brotherhood of Gilead's other sons. When they grew up, they threw him out that they might have his inheritance. To him cast out and denied for no sin of his own but because of his father's sin a company of wicked men gathered. Needless to say this too was not good for Jephthah.
Jephthah's name means "God opens". Evidently he was one whose heart God opened, as we are told concerning Lydia of Thyatira. She heard Paul and Silas; then her heart the Lord opened, and she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul and was baptized. Seeing the need, Jephthah answered the call and spoke his words before the Lord.
It is this Jephthah that we are told the Spirit of the Lord came upon. He was on the way in his call to duty. It is indeed doubtful that the Spirit ever came upon a person who was not already obeying God in his call to duty. The Lord never Justifies laziness. Here again, as usual, when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, he immediately was doing that which the anointing was for. In this case immediately Jephthah passes over the land to meet the enemy. Under the anointing of the Spirit, he was victorious too. The Lord delivered his enemies into his hands. God used him to open victory to Israel.
As a practical application in line with the definition of Ammon (belonging to the people), this writer is made to think of all the sins like self will, pride of self, and all such related sins as belonging to the people. All of our ways and possessions when self employed are sin. Do we not find a lesson here that we who once were outcasts too with no part in the brotherhood and inheritance of Christ should hear the call of God to deny self and follow Christ. Is it not our duty to make war on these sins of self? May we not also expect in the line of duty as we march to attack that we should know the anointing of the Spirit also? Would this not open the way too that we might bless others?
Then we come to Samson. In Judges 14:6 He is anointed by the Spirit as he is being moved by the Spirit. As before in the Old Testament, when the Holy Spirit came upon him, he was not only prepared for a task but immediately was doing that thing. The motivation of Judges 13:25 and 14:6 is successful in not only guiding but securing the action. In this he overcame the lion, no small task for a single man without weapons.
Again in Judges 14:19 it is the anointing or coming of the Spirit upon Samson. With this anointing again immediate action is produced. He slew thirty men.
In Judges 15:14 Samson has been bound by his own men, though of another tribe, and is delivered by them to the Philistines their mutual enemy. The Philistines shouting against him, the Spirit came upon him again, and immediately his fetters were loosed. With the jaw bone of an ass he then slew a thousand Philistine men.
Next comes Saul. Saul is anointed by Samuel to be king over Israel. Samuel predicts the Spirit's coming upon Saul. In verse 10 of 1 Sam. 10:1, 9, and 10 this prediction is fulfilled. Again there is immediate action. When the Spirit came upon him, Saul prophesied. Saul was chosen of God for a job. Anointed by Samuel for that job, Saul started on his way, and God gave him a new heart. It was upon this chosen of God who possessed a new heart that the Holy Spirit came in verse 10. Before he was the son of Kish out seeking his father's lost asses. After this anointing of the Spirit he is known among the prophets. In the words of verse 6, he has been "turned into another man."
In 1 Sam. 11:6 the Ammonites were about to make war against a city in Saul's Kingdom. Saul's people were told, and they wept. Saul learning of Israel's crying inquired of the matter and found the danger in which his kingdom lay. It is written that the Spirit of God came upon him. As in all other cases before when this term is used, immediately the individual is active. In this case Saul is not only angered, but he acts decisively to protect his people. He calls his men to battle, and they win the war. Some then wished to take vengeance on those who had previously objected to Saul's kingship. In this they hoped to honor Saul, but Saul said, "No." No one was to be killed of Israel because the Lord had wrought salvation to Israel.
A most interesting passage is this 1 Sam. 16:13, 14. Proceeding thru the Bible from Gen. 1 until now, we find this term (the Spirit came upon) used here for the first time without immediately relating some work thereby produced. At God's command Samuel had just anointed David to be king over Israel. It may be that in this incident David acted immediately in some manifestation of the Spirit upon him. Yet it is not recorded here. It is said here that this was a continual experience of his. It may be that our Lord's purpose here is simply to state that David was a man anointed of God as a description of the man rather than a relating of the Spirit's work. Nevertheless here is a contrast! On David the Spirit abode continually. The next verse tells of the Spirit of the Lord departing from Saul. Now there are only two incidents before this that mention Saul's relationship to the Spirit. In each of the two cases it is an anointing in which the Spirit came upon him, and he was used to do a job for God.
The first incident is in 1 Sam. 10:1, 9, 10 where he is included among the prophets. There it is said of him that he should be turned into another man and then that God gave him a new heart. This sounds like a conversion experience. It may be significant, however, to note that no where is it said that he had the Spirit with him. This has been the term used in referring to the Spirit's leadership or guidance. No where is it said of him that he was filled with the Spirit. This has been used always in referring to preparation for a job. In no case has any reference been made to any indwelling of the Spirit in Saul. This term previously has been used where one's life was such that those around him witnessed the manifestation of the Spirit of God in him or the fruits of the Spirit. None of these have been used of him.
It may be argued then that the fact that God gave him a new heart is the same as the Spirit indwelling him. This may be true, but does it of necessity conclude that it is true? All of us have known some men who because of some sermon they heard or because of some crisis in life changed their way of living in a rather drastic self reformation. Yet many of their acquaintances spoke of them as being new men, which in a sense they were. Many times men have been rough characters perhaps beating their wives and children along with revealing many other acts of violence and brutish actions. Many of these men have for some reason ceased to drink strong drink and started staying home with their families and providing for them instead of beating them. It has been said of them that they are new men; they have new hearts. It does seem that a soft heart has replaced the hard brutish heart of yesterdays. Many times, however, these have happened without any acceptance of Christ and therefore without any presence of God's Spirit indwelling them. Could this not have been Saul's case? I am not trying to conclude that Saul was lost. I am trying to show that these verses do not prove he was saved even though he may have been. Until shown otherwise this writer maintains the view that nobody knows or will know whether Saul is saved or lost until we get to Heaven.
The only other reference we have had of Saul's relation to the Spirit is in 1 Sam. 11:6. Again it is the Spirit coming upon him, and he is then seen doing a job winning a battle of war for God by this Spirit's power. Still there is no mention of the Spirit In any other relationship with him. One might conclude then that God's Spirit may come upon any man to use him In God's purpose whether that man personally knows God or not. It may be a reminder that God's using a man in His purpose to accomplish a job does not guarantee that such a man is born again. Our hope of salvation then is not to be based on whether some prayer of ours has been answered or on whether we have been used of God to accomplish some purpose. Our hope, yes our assurance, of eternal life is to be based on God's Holy Word. It is ours through faith in the finished work of Christ accomplished at Calvary.
This passage (1 Sam. 19:18-24) strengthens the thought given in the last paragraph. The very same man of whom chapter 16 verse 14 spoke saying, "the Spirit of the Lord departed from him" is now experiencing the anointing of the Spirit again. In verse 23 of Chapter 19 we are told the Spirit of God was upon him and he prophesied. Again as this term is used it is producing action. In this is seen too the sovereignty of God. He may pour His Spirit upon whomever He pleases to accomplish that which pleases Him. This is done too upon a man (Saul) who is at that very moment seeking to take the life of God's anointed, David, the man after God's own heart. It is illustrative of the fact that the wrath of man shall praise God and the remainder of wrath He shall restrain. Though God uses sinful men it does not follow through that He is pleased with their sin.
In 2 Sam. 23:2 we have come near to the time of David's death. The passage in which this verse is found is called the last words of David. It seems he is looking back over his life and service for God. The only other reference we have found so far to David's relationship with the Spirit has been in 1 Sam. 16:13. There it is said that the Spirit came upon him from that day forward. Here we see continual anointing. In our present passage we see David has spoken. He says the Spirit spake by him. This seems to be the answer to 1 Sam. 16:13. Surely David is not limiting this to one particular utterance. Here the Spirit is seen as the breath of God to give us an inspired Bible. Yet He acts through man. The fact that this is continual also lends corroboration to the idea that though no immediate manifestation is recorded following 1 Sam. 16:13, this anointing must have continually produced some work for God. Both of these passages will still coincide with the system of terminology we have been noting since Genesis began to speak of the Spirit.
Another reference to the Spirit's anointing is seen in 2 Kings 2:9, 15, 16. Again it is descriptive of the man.
Amasai is another example. In 1 Chron. 12:18 David was not sure of his motive. David offered peace for peace or in case of betrayal to turn them over to God. Amasai then assured David of his allegiance. This came only after the Spirit came upon him. He is another example of one acting or speaking immediately after the anointing of the Spirit. Azariah further illustrates the same use of the term. Azariah means "whom Jehovah aids." He was the Son of Oded whose name means "setting up". Thus we see Azariah as a product of man's planning or setting up as desired. It is as Azariah (whom Jehovah aids), however, that he sets out on his mission. This mission was not planned. The Holy Spirit came upon him and immediately he set out on his mission. It was to meet Asa (physician) and warn him of Jehovah's Word. 2 Chron. 15:1.
Another man is named Jahaziel which means "one over whom the Lord watches." He was the son of Zechariah, which means "one whom the Lord remembers," and the grandson of Benaiah, which means "one whom the Lord built." This man then at least by definition of name is a man who is close to God. He was of the Levitical line who ministered in the worship and service of Jehovah. According to 2 Chron. 20:14 the Holy Spirit came upon him and he began to prophesy.
Zechariah was another man thus used of God. Zechariah means "whom God remembers." He was son of Jehoida a faithful priest in Judah. Judah had experienced revival under the king, Joash, during the life and ministry of Jehoida. Joash was dependent on Jehoida and wavered after the death of the priest. He hearkened unto princes in Judah and fell to idolatrous practices once again. In such a time the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah according to 2 Chron. 24:20. Immediately He was active. He stood above the people and delivered God's message. It was a message of indictment for sin, and of judgment again the sinners.
This passage is usually explained in the following manner. I believe it does. "In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit did not indwell the people. He came upon them at will and left at will. So David would be praying that his experience or relation with the Holy Spirit would not cease. It is thus not necessary for New Testament Christians to pray such because of their indwelling Holy Spirit Who will never leave them." In the first place we have established in more than one place that the Spirit is spoken of as being in Old Testament Saints manifesting the fruit of the Spirit. It is important to note also that Psalm 51:11 is not saying "take not thy Holy Spirit out of me." This would be expected to be the meaning except that in numerous and varied occasions other relations of the Spirit are seen.
Second, the New Testament makes the indwelling of the Spirit essential to salvation (Rom. 8:9). Salvation is not the problem of Psalm 51:11. The context shows this plea in relation to the Psalmist's joy and related to his witness for God (Psalm 51:12, 13).
We have seen the Spirit with one is for guidance. The Spirit upon one we have seen as producing a work for or in service of God. This we call anointing. The Spirit's filling is a preparation for service. In either of these cases the Holy Spirit might be taken from one and shelve the saint of God from fruitful service without disrupting the Indwelling of the Spirit for salvation. This may be true in our New Testament days as well as in the Old Testament era. This seems to me to be the meaning of this passage.
The Psalmist goes on not asking to be saved again but asking for renewed joy. He asks for the help of the Spirit. He promises to teach transgressors and win sinners to God.
In Isaiah 11:2 we have a prophecy that the Christ will be empowered by this anointing.
Each term, "the Spirit of Wisdom", etc. is referring to the Spirit of the Lord or the Holy Spirit. This Spirit is promised to rest upon the Christ. At this point we must wait for the fulfillment to find the result. This we shall find in a later passage.
In chapter 32 and verse 15 Isaiah has been warning | his people of a coming desolation. He warns that this desolation will continue until the Holy Spirit is poured out. This must be something similar to what happened at Pentecost and which will again be accomplished at the close of Israel's tribulation. With the rebirth of Israel as a nation, one might reasonably ask, "how long before this shall be fulfilled before our eyes?" or better, "How soon shall it be?
In Isaiah 11:2 we saw our Lord's anointing prophesied. In Isaiah 42:1 it Is stated as being done. It is, nevertheless, what we might call a prophesied past. The result stated in prophecy as past is yet future. If we take the Anointed One here to be Christ (and Who Else could it be?) we see it is still waiting for fulfillment in another passage.
Isaiah 44:3 is another like passage. Prophetic utterance again promises to cheer the thirsty and dry people of Israel. Of course there is no refreshing like that of the Holy Spirit poured upon His people. Again fulfillment must wait.
In Isaiah 11:2 and 42:1 we have prophecies of the Anointing of Jesus. Here in Isaiah 61:1 it is given again. Note why He was anointed. There was a purpose. This time we shall go over to the New Testament for a brief passage. In Luke 4:18-21 Jesus actually quotes this Isaiah passage. Then He immediately began to do what He was anointed to do. A look at the passage will reveal that He has just returned from the temptation in the wilderness. He returned In the power of the Spirit. But notice, He was led of the Spirit, being full of the Spirit when He went into the wilderness. In fact He is seen doing the bidding of the Spirit from leaving the Jordan. It was there the Spirit came on Him. There He was anointed. Yes, again the One anointed is immediately active in the will of the Spirit.
In Ezekiel 11:4 the man "whom God will strengthen" was commanded to prophesy against Israel. In verse 5 we are told that the Spirit "fell upon" him and told him God's message for the house of Israel. It was a message of rebuke in verses 5-12. Verse 13 finds Ezekiel having obeyed God's command. Pelatiah, a prince of the people, was also among those who led Israel in her ungodliness. Ezekiel obeyed the command of the Spirit of God and witnessed the fall of Pelatiah. The indication is that the fall of Pelatiah was a result of the judgment of God falling upon Israel even as God's prophet spoke.
In the context of Ezeklel 38: and 39: from 39:25-28 this writer sees a future gathering from the nations. In 36:24 we have a gathering that the present state of Israel could well be the fulfillment. Israel will experience in her land "the time of Jacob's trouble" or in Jesus' words a time of great tribulation such as never has been nor will ever be afterwards. Events of chapters 38 and 39 seem to occur during that time of tribulation. A flight of Israel is indicated at least in some manner during that time in Rev. 12:14. If this is the case Ezekiel 39:25-28 would likely refer to the bringing back of those so scattered. This indicates too that all Israel will be gathered whereas many at this time are still scattered among the nations. Then God says He will not hide His face from Israel anymore. His reason for such grace is that He has poured out His Spirit upon the House of Israel. Usually such anointing is followed by service of some kind, and it most likely will be then. Here we simply have a promise that God will so anoint Israel.
The prophecy of Joel 2:28-32 will be studied more fully in the New Testament. It is something different from possessing or being indwelt by the Spirit. It is an anointing that produces action. The signs in Heaven are not the direct result of this outpouring, but the prophesying and seeing visions are.
Jesus Christ our Lord was also anointed by the Spirit. This we have already seen prophesied. Now He comes to His baptism. He has fulfilled all righteousness in that baptism. He has led an example for all believers to follow in water baptism. In Matt. 3:16 only after His baptism the Holy Ghost came upon Him. That ordinance though not necessary for salvation must be very important. Even Jesus is not anointed of the Spirit until after its experience. Having been baptized, however, the Spirit came on Him, and the Father spoke out of Heaven to voice His pleasure of the Son.
Following this experience we find further in Luke 4:14, 18 the fulfillment of prophecy we have already studied. We learn His source of power. We naturally think of His working in His own divine power. It is interesting to note here, however, that He returned from His temptation into Galilee in the power of the Spirit. It is there that He stood to read in the Synagogue from Isaiah 61. After reading the prophecy of one anointed and commissioned. He declared that it spoke of Him. It is also interesting to note that His first miracle was performed in Cana of Galilee. There He turned the water into wine. This He did only after he was anointed by the Spirit. In Matt. 12:18, 28 His miraculous expelling of demons from the bodies of men was by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Even the birth of Jesus was a result of the Spirit's anointing Mary. In Luke 1:35 is a special work of the Spirit. It is here a promise, but we know the fulfillment in the virgin birth of Jesus. Mary was perplexed at the message she had just received. The Angel had just informed her that she would give birth to Jesus Who would be the Saviour. She, a virgin, could not understand. A miracle was promised. The Holy Spirit would come upon her. This is anointing. It is also powerful to accomplish. As result of this overshadowing of the Spirit, she would and did conceive a child. He is called that holy thing. He was to be and is the Son of God.
An uncommon man named Simon was also anointed by the Spirit. The meaning of his name is "a hearkening". This characteristic fits well with what is said about him. He is said to be just and devout. He was not without sin; instead he was faithful to offer the prescribed sacrifices for his sin. "Waiting for the consolation of Israel" would indicate also that he had learned how to wait on God and be patient waiting for God's timing. It is this type of man (just, waiting on the Lord ready to hearken to His call) that we find described here as also having the Holy Ghost upon him (Luke 2:25). He took the Child, Jesus in his arms and recognized the fulfillment of God's promise. He said, "mine eyes" have seen thy salvation." The effect of this anointing then appears to be the Spirit of discernment on the part of Simon which in turn produced the declaration of Messiah's arrival.
Attention is called in Acts 1:2 to our Lord's ascension. That is noted as after He had given commandments unto His Apostles. Those commandments are here said to have been given thru the Holy Ghost. This must be referring back to the experience of John 20:22. There our Lord breathed on the disciples and told them to "Receive the Holy Ghost." Then He told them that as His Father sent Him He was then sending them. He was commissioning His Church. Then we come to Acts 1:8. There He speaks of receiving power, but He doesn't say anything about receiving the Spirit. Instead He speaks about the Spirit coming upon them. They would receive power after the Holy Spirit came upon them. This He projects as being at a later time. The commandment then to be witnesses is another reference to the commissioning of His Church The commandment was to evangelize the earth just as He had given in Luke 24:47-49. That church was there told to tarry in Jerusalem until they be endued with power from on high. Also in Acts 1:5 they were told that the anointing would be accomplished in a few days. Verse nine tells us then that after He had given this commandment, He was taken up from the earth. Then on the day of Pentecost that anointing came as the church was baptized with the Holy Ghost and thus certified as our Lords' church.
Let us come now to Peter's witness of the Spirit's anointing. In Acts 10:38 he is describing our Lord. He said that God anointed Jesus with the Holy Ghost. This was done in his sermon in the home of Cornelius. Cornelius and his company were all unsaved. They were also most probably a mixture of nationalities. He was of the Italian Band, but he was in Caesarea. This is probably the old Roman capital of Palestine. It is likely in such a status his friends would have included different nationalities of people. They all heard the word of God which Peter preached. No reaction on the part of the hearers is mentioned yet, but it is stated in 10:44 that the Holy Ghost fell on them while he spoke. Then their reaction is seen in verse 46. They were heard speaking with tongues and magnifying God. Each man spake in his native language magnifying God. The question then is when were they saved? The time is not stated. Since we know, however, that salvation is received thru faith (Mark 16:16), we may construct only this much. They heard the word and they heard it with accompanying faith receiving the message not only in its letter, but also as the truth to their own lives. This the Holy Ghost sealed. He empowered the Word and wrought faith in their hearts which was then followed by the manifestation of their conversion.
Now what may we learn from this? We learn that being religious is not being saved, that preaching the Word is a means to salvation, that salvation is not limited to Jews, but is for all people. Just as before the anointing produced action. We also learn that some times the Spirit's anointing is simultaneous with salvation. This is borne out still further when Peter asked about baptizing them in verse 47. He spoke of them as receiving the Holy Ghost. He said, "...as well as we." Is he saying that when they were all filled with the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, they received the Spirit? If that be so, did they not receive the Holy Ghost when Jesus breathed on them as recorded in John 20?
Let us consider a possible answer. Could it be as follows? The eleven disciples received the Spirit when Jesus breathed on them. Could this mean they were filled and anointed with the Spirit at the same time? If this be true, then what happened at Pentecost? There were more than eleven. One hundred twenty were gathered in one Place and people from all over the world were there. Acts 2 says they were all filled. Could this mean that all but the eleven who had already received the Spirit did so now and that the eleven were filled anew? We do know that the filling of the Spirit is repeated. In Acts 2 the disciples are filled. It is repeated in Acts 4. Then what about Saul? If the above summation is true, then could Saul (Paul) have received the Spirit and been anointed at the time of his conversion along with being filled? It then follows right on that if this all be true, what about Cornelius and his company? Did they receive the Spirit and His anointing at the same time Acts 10:44, 47? If so, were they filled at the same time too?
In the next chapter we shall study the guiding work of the Holy Spirit.
The Guiding Work Of The Holy Spirit
Often one is spoken of in the Bible of being led by the Spirit. There is certainly ample material regarding His guidance. One special term will constantly be used in reference to His guidance. That term is with. When it is said that the Holy Spirit is with one, it speaks of guidance or comfort.
Let us notice the man, Samson. He was born in a time of apostasy and servitude. A Nazarite he was from birth. To his parents he was promised, a child who would begin to deliver his people, Israel, from the Philistines. A promised child and a God blessed child, he grew to manhood and began to be moved by the Spirit of God. Moved by the Spirit is much like having the Spirit with him. This moving certainly was in the prompting of his will meaning to motivate and guide him Judges 13:25.
David also claimed to be guided by the Spirit. He is instructing Solomon about the building of the Temple. David clams his pattern was by the Spirit. (1 Chron. 28:12).
In Psalm 143:10 David, the beloved of God is seeking divine guidance. In doing so He is reminded that the Holy Spirit does just that. He proclaims that the Spirit is good.
In Isaiah 63:14 the Spirit is active in causing Moses to rest.
Ezekiel in Ezekiel 8:3 is also experiencing that guidance. His name means "whom God will strengthen." This indicates his dependence on God. It is said that the Spirit lifted him up. For what purpose? This term might be interpreted to mean encouragement except for the context. We are not sure whether the results of this lifting are actual In a physical transportation or in a spiritual elevation to receive the vision of God. The purpose, nevertheless, is to give a revelation to God's man. This we may include in the Spirit's teaching or guiding ministry. In chapters 11:1, 24; 37:1 and 43:5 we have the same idea employed.
The Holy Spirit's guiding ministry is truly astounding. When one contemplates what is ahead of our Lord in Mark 1:12 and Matt. 4:1-11, he would certainly not naturally think of the Holy Spirit leading Him into it. Here He is to meet Satan and be tempted by him for forty days. Mark says the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. Matthew says the Spirit led Him. In either case it is even our Lord being guided by the Holy Ghost. Guidance we found to be one of the Spirit's works in the Old Testament. In the New Testament He is guiding even Jesus Christ the Lord.
In Luke 2:25 an uncommon man whose name, Simon, means "a Hearkening", is anointed of the Spirit. Because of that anointing his hearkening was keen to receive the revelation God had for him. The Holy Ghost upon him revealed to him that he would not die until he saw the long awaited Messiah for Israel. That same Spirit guided him into the temple. It was at the exact time that Jesus, the small infant, was being brought to the temple to be presented by Joseph and Mary to the Lord as required by the Mosaic Law. He took the child in his arms and recognized the fulfillment of God's promise. "For mine eyes have seen thy salvation."
When we come to Acts 8:29, 39, we see the guiding work of the Spirit again. How can a Spirit speak? It is not revealed. Nevertheless, Philip heard Him say, "Go near and join thyself to this chariot." He obeyed the Spirit. Then the eunuch confessed his faith in Jesus and was baptized. Then it was that the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip. Where he was taken we do not know. The Spirit brought him to the place and directed his work then took him away.
The Spirit spoke to another man. In Acts 10:19 Peter has just had a vision. God was preparing him for something. Peter was meditating on the vision, seeking to determine what God was teaching him. Then the Spirit told him of the men seeking him. They were men sent from Cornelius whom God also had prepared. The Spirit told him to go with them for He had sent them. Here is another example of the guiding work of the Spirit.
In Acts 15:8, 29 Peter is reporting to the council in Jerusalem. He related how God had sent him to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles in the home of Cornelius. He gave witness to the fact that God had borne witness concerning those Gentiles. The manner in which God bore witness to their experience was that he gave them the Holy Ghost as He had also given Him to Peter and his brethren. The gift in turn caused the receiver to glorify God. This was their distinguishing mark.
Then in Acts 15:28 the conclusion of the council is to be rendered. James declaring that conclusion claims a united relationship between the Holy Spirit and the council. He claims that they are together in their decision. Apollos is in view when we come to Acts 18:25. He is said to be fervent in the Spirit. This would refer to his zeal in preaching the gospel. It would indicate, however, that it was not just business zeal but rather that he was zealous because he was motivated by the Spirit.
Man cannot predict the way of the Spirit. He is not always onward ahead the way we might think. This truth is not often noted, but Acts 16:6 is a good illustration. Paul and Silas had been moving on in their missionary pursuits. Success had followed them and so had persecution. Then they thought to go east into Asia. Verse 6 then says they "were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia." Many today would claim that such was not the Spirit but was the Devil hindering the onward work of God. It is true that the Devil does a lot to try to hinder the work of God, but can the devil hinder God has purposed to do? How easy we are to fall into error because we do not know the way of the Spirit! One might ask why would the Holy Ghost forbid them to preach in Asia. We are not told why. God is not obligated to tell the why of His doings. When He is silent, it is best if we be silent also.
One might ask how the Holy Ghost forbade them to preach in Asia. It does not say that He commanded them not to go. It is evident from the passage that Paul and Silas thought they should go to Asia. Rest assured if Paul was going that way, he thought it was God's will for him to go that way. Since God did talk directly to Paul, it is reasonable to conclude that God had said nothing about not going that way. Had He done so, no doubt, Paul would have already looked in other directions. As he goes on, however, in the way he thought he should go; verse seven tells us that the Spirit suffered them not. That is he wouldn't let Paul go into Bithynia as he had purposed. There are at least two ways the Holy Spirit may forbid His servants from going where He does not choose. One is in the matter of Providence. As Paul assayed to go to Bithynia, we may likewise purpose certain goals only to find that what we thought was the will of God is prohibited by Him. That is He works in such a way that things seem to just happen which keep us from doing as we had purposed. It didn't just happen. God the Holy Spirit had so directed that in the providence of God we were hindered.
Another way that He might forbid our taking a certain course is His peculiar workings in our own minds. Having felt we were proceeding correctly, sometimes we have strangely become uncertain about our course. We have purposed to follow a certain course and then sometimes suddenly we begin to have misgivings about that course. Doubts arise and as we seek the Lord's guidance, more and more we do not have peace about that particular path even to the point that we say, God wouldn't let me do it. It is really a fact that physically we could have done it, but God so troubled us that we couldn't have peace to do it. We are not told which it was, but God. the Spirit, wouldn't let Paul go to Asia.
As a result he turned to the western world. Thus it has been the western world primarily who has heard the Gospel and preached to others. It is believed by many that he not only went to Spain, but that he went on to Great Britain and established a church there. Many believe that Baptist churches in America today are the results of that church they believe he established in Great Britain. Who can say that it is not true?
Another case of the Spirit's guidance is seen in Rom. 8:26, 27. He guides our praying. He is said to help our infirmities. It is not our strengths then that He aids. They may get in our way of trusting Him. It is rather our weaknesses that He helps. As the Apostle said in another place; when I am weak, then I am strong. This passage even tells us we don't know how to pray. He then prays for us. He agonizes for us with unuttered groaning. He knows the mind of God and thus prays for us according to the will of God. The rest of chapter 8 is ours because of the Spirit's intercession. This is sweet providence, foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justification, glorification, and preservation.
Continuing in Romans 9:1, it is still the guidance or help of the Spirit. Paul is about to say something that he feels his readers might hesitate to believe. It is a strong statement recorded in verses 2 and 3. In order to gain their attention and hopefully their belief he says, "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not." Then the statement about his conscience in verse 1 is to say, the Spirit has given me peace of mind. I am convinced of what I say.
Note also Gal. 6:8. Here is the law of sowing and reaping. If our lives are lived under the direction or guidance of the Holy Spirit, reaping will be in the fullness of everlasting life.
Paul in Eph. 1:17 is writing to believers. He has related to them their election, their predestination for God's glory, their acceptance in the Beloved (Jesus), their redemption, their forgiveness, their inheritance, and their sealing by the Holy Ghost. He is now praying for them.
What is he praying? He is asking God the Father to do something. He is asking Him to give the believers the Spirit. Do they not already have Him? Of course! What does he mean then, "...may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him?" It is another reference to the Spirit's work of guidance and/or comfort.
Some times the term with will mean comforting instead of guiding, and sometimes the two go together.
In Acts 9:31 the churches are being described. They were edified and walking in the fear of the Lord. They were then described as walking in the comfort of the Holy Ghost. A fourth description stated they were multiplied.
Paul was a man who was on speaking terms with the Holy Ghost. He was in the pursuit of what he felt was God's will for his life (Acts 20:23, 28). In this he felt he should go to Jerusalem. He knew such a trip would be accompanied with danger, but he didn't know just what. The Holy Spirit was his guide and his comforter. He related that the Holy Ghost warned him that bonds and afflictions would be his. Knowing this he still felt compelled to go.
The same work is seen again in Acts 21:4, 11. In verse 4 the disciples are talking to Paul seeking to get him not to go to Jerusalem. It is said, however, that they did it thru the Holy Spirit. This would indicate that at least they thought they were warning Paul by Spiritual instruction. Were they or were they not? In verse 11 it is the same thing again. The prophet, he believes, is led by the Spirit to warn Paul not to go. Was Paul stubborn? No, he appreciated their concern, but he was possessed with a vision that he must go.
This comfort of the Spirit was very real to Paul. It is seen even in his benediction to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 13:14). He has spoken of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the love of God. Then he concluded with the communion of the Holy Ghost. It is a fellowship and a communication with the Spirit.
Peter recognized that persecutions were sure to come. He would encourage his readers to stand for Jesus anyhow. He accepts or assumes they will be happy in face of the persecutions (1 Peter 4:14). He tells them that the Spirit of Glory and of God resteth on them. Usually this is a term of anointing, but the context clearly shows it to be comforting here.
One of the great discomforts of many Christians is a lack of assurance. In 1 John 3:24, 4:13 the Holy Spirit is noted as the source of assurance.
The Holy Spirit — Our Teacher
In this chapter we shall consider the work of the Holy Spirit as our Teacher. This is very closely related to His Guidance and could have been discussed in the previous chapter. Nevertheless we shall note a few things here under this title.
First let us notice Nehemiah 9:20. In this passage the man of God, Nehemiah, tells of the priests and Levities praying and confessing their sins. Out of praise to God the history of Israel is traced taking note of God's care and blessings. Here in verse 20 His care is remembered as He was with Israel in the wilderness. The Spirit mentioned here is called, "thy good spirit." It is a reference to the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit. What is He doing? He is instructing. The "instructing", teaching, or guiding ministry of the Holy Spirit has been and remains a most important and encouraging work.
In John 14 we learn more about that teaching ministry. Our Lord is concerned about His disciples. They are saddened because He has Just announced that He will be going back to the Father in verse 12. He has been their Teacher, Counselor, and Comforter. He has been like a Father to them. They looked to Him in every kind of need. He was always there a very present Help. With His departure at hand, what would they do? He anticipates the question and gives His answer. He says He will pray the Father, and that the Father will send them another Comforter. This word comforter embraces about all that He meant to them. It means One called along side. It was in this manner He had walked with them and taught them. He counseled them concerning eternal life. He had been their Helper whenever He was needed. He fed them when they were hungry and comforted them when they were fearful. He counseled them when they were perplexed. The "another" Comforter He promised would then be someone like Him with one thing added. The new Comforter would abide with them for ever.
Then He named Him. He would be the Spirit of Truth in verse 17. He like Jesus would be rejected. The world would be unable to embrace that Spirit. This moral inability is due to their lack of Spiritual perception. They could not see Him. Because of this lack of Spiritual perception, they could not even be able to get to know Him. He nevertheless would be closer than Jesus had been. Then men only received benefit with Jesus when they made some contact with Jesus, who was in a body of flesh. When the Comforter would come, he would not only be along side, but He would be in them.
Verse 26 names that Comforter as the Holy Ghost. He would be sent by the Father. He would come in the name or in the authority of Jesus Christ. That indwelling Comforter would like Jesus be a Teacher. He would teach all things and bring to remembrance all that Jesus had taught. His ministry was still primarily for the disciples own benefit. In John 15:26 we learn also that the Spirit is sent from the Father by Jesus. This with chapter 14 verse 26 lets us know that He is sent by both the Father and the Son. He comes by the authority of both the Father and the Son, but His ministry is to testify about Jesus.
Again in Hebrews 9:8, 11 we see the Holy Spirit teaching. Here the Holy Ghost is the author of the Levitical Priesthood as a means of teaching us the truth of expiation. According to that Levitical Priesthood only the high priest could go into the Holy place of the tabernacle, and he could only go once a year to expiate the sins of the people. That was to teach us that our access to* God was not opened until Jesus (God's own provided Lamb) was offered for our sins. The Holy Spirit used that priesthood to teach this lesson. Jesus through that same Spirit offered Himself in sacrifice to God. His shed blood now does what the blood of bulls and goats could not do. His shed blood does expiate our sins. We now have that access to God.
The Holy Spirit-Some Terms Not Used In Other Chapters
There are some terms regarding the Holy Spirit that are not used very much and have not been dealt with in previous chapters. They are important. I shall in this chapter discuss those varied terms.
The three persons of the Godhead always work in unity one with the others. Yet sometimes you will read of One doing something, and then again you may read of one of the others doing the same thing. It is without a doubt that Jesus Himself commissioned His Church before going back to Heaven. Yet we also find the Holy Spirit doing some commissioning too.
In Isaiah 48:16 the First and the Last is speaking. We know that to be the Lord Jesus. He tells that He is sent by the Father and His Spirit. Thus the Holy Spirit commissions or sends forth His Messenger.
This we see again in Acts 13:4. We are told that there were certain prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch, and at least some of them were named. The Holy Ghost spoke to them and commanded they separate Barnabas and Paul to a work to which He had called them. In verse 3 Paul and Barnabas are said to be sent away by that church. In the next verse, however, they are said to be sent forth by the Holy Ghost. It seems then to be appropriate to say that the Holy Spirit commissioned Jesus. Later the Lord Himself commissioned His Church. Now in the duplication of His Church the Holy Spirit is the Agent to commission His messengers.
The Holy Spirit is also seen in a protecting ministry. In Isaiah 59:19 we are told that the Spirit shall fight the enemy. All our battles must be won only through His power. Then in verse 21 God promises that the presence and anointing of the Spirit will be an ever abiding fact.
Paul gives us a brief description of God's kingdom. Rom. 14:17 is to set the work of God as distinct from other religious or social causes in the world. It is to say that the realm of His sovereign rule is not things of this world. Now His rule will affect those things, but the real realm of His government is higher still. His sovereign rule is more concerned with righteousness and true peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. It is in other words a spiritual realm. When He rules the heart and produces righteousness of the Spirit and peace and joy that only the Spirit can give, then other things like meat and drink or other affairs of this world will be affected too. It is not His way to affect them and bring about His purpose. It is rather to bring about His purpose in our lives and thus affect the others. He will one day reign on this earth, but that is not for now.
In Rom. 15:16 is a reference to Paul's special ministry of bringing in the Gentiles. He is expecting that the Gentiles will be accepted of God because of the Holy Ghost's sanctification. That is the Holy Ghost has set them apart and dedicated them to God's service in His extension of Paul's ministry to them. It is also by Holy Ghost Power (:13, 30). By the love of the Spirit he pleads for their prayer in his work of reaching the Gentiles.
In Heb. 10:29 the Holy Spirit is referred to as the Spirit of Grace. He is the same Person who taught us about the access to God. Under the Old Law if one despised the Law, at the mouth of two or three witnesses; that person died without mercy. This Spirit has acted in Grace to provide not representative access to God but actual access. Now if one tramples the Son of God under foot and despises the sacrifice of Christ, he does despite to that Spirit of grace. He is then much more wrong and should suffer much greater punishment than the people who rejected God's rule under Moses.
In John 3:34 we have the Gift of God to Jesus. This passage speaks of Jesus Christ. Sure He has sent others but none like our Lord. He spoke the Word of God. Did not the apostles do so too? Sure they did, but only as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Jesus and the Father are One. He not only was; He is God. Thus He spoke the words of God. This is so because He had the Spirit of God. Do we not have the Spirit of God? Yes, as He is given to us. God did not give His Spirit to Jesus by measure. Jesus being God had all the Spirit, all His power, and no limit in use of that power except as He volunteered to limit Himself in His earthly ministry. Thus He always spoke the Word of God.
In John 16:7-13 we are told of the Spirit reproving the world. We are told of the Spirit's coming to take the place of Christ on earth. He is the true and only true Vicar of Christ on the earth. In this passage we learn that He has a ministry to the unsaved world too. His coming in itself is a reproof to the world. This passage is generally taken to mean that He deals with Individuals to bring them under conviction so they will turn to Christ. He certainly does this all right. More than that is seen here though. Regardless of whether an individual soul ever has contact with the Spirit or not, His very coming is a reproof to all the world. The world is reproved or stands convicted of guilt In three respects. They are guilty of sin because they rejected Christ. They are reproved and their guilt is made grievous because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. That righteousness is established in His going to the Father. They are reproved and their guilt is made even more fearful because of judgment. He has judged even the Prince of this world, so the world stands judged too. Now just the fact that the Holy Ghost has come — the fact itself — is the reproof. It says He is here because Christ was rejected. It says He is here to establish the Lord's righteousness. It says He is here to verify judgment.
Then our Lord knew that even the disciples could not take all He had to say. He promised again that the Spirit would guide them into all truth. In John 16:13 we learn that not only will the Spirit testify of Jesus, but that He will speak only of Him. The Spirit does not magnify Himself. Persons who claim unusual powers from the Spirit while they magnify the Spirit and what they claim as Spiritual miracles simply show that they do not know the Spirit. This verse plainly says He will not speak of Himself. The Spirit speaks what He hears from the Father and the Son. He will show things to come and He glorifies the Son (verse 14).
Next we see the sealing work of the Spirit. Note 2 Cor. 1:22. The One doing the action In this verse is identified in verse 21. He Is God. He is the One which established us In Christ. He has anointed us. Here is a term we have found referring to the Spirit on one. The One Who anointed Is the same One Who sealed us in verse 22. It is also said that He gave us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. Here is the promise or the guarantee of the Spirit. Guarantee of What? We are not told here. Perhaps we can find the answer later.
In 2 Cor. 5:5 we have a context in which Paul speaks of our going to be with the Lord. Then in verse 5 he speaks of having wrought us for the purpose. Then He speaks of giving us the earnest of the Spirit. In 1:22 He spoke of the same. There we were given no hint as to what we were being promised or guaranteed. The context here indicates that it is a guarantee of our going to be with the Lord.
This subject he continues in Eph. 1:13. Paul is writing to believers in Ephesus. He has related their election, their predestination for God's Glory, their acceptance in the Beloved (Jesus), their redemption, their forgiveness, and their inheritance. Then he refers back to their initial experience of faith following their hearing the Gospel. That Is he Is referring to their initial experience of salvation. Then He says "in whom." He had said that also In verse 7, again in verse 11, and again In the beginning of verse 13. In each of these cases it unquestionably refers to Jesus Christ, now the "in whom" must be the same Person, Christ. What happens in Him? In Him they were sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise. When? It is after they believed or when they believed. It is not after in the since of believing then six. months later being sealed. It is after in the since that It is logically after faith but really in the same moment of time. What did the Spirit do when He sealed them? He attested to all their experience of the preceding verses. He thus claimed them as His own, and He assured them of His final victory in their life. This is seen in that the following verse calls Him the "Earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of His glory." Earnest means down payment or security that He will accomplish that which is yet lacking.
Finally the scriptures also speak of grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit. These terms are so much alike that we shall discuss them together. Note John 13:21. The Lord is about to announce His betrayal. He is troubled not for Himself, but for those whom He would leave behind and the disappointment they would experience since they would not appreciate or understand what was happening. Surely He was also troubled (the Spirit grieved) because of the terrible position in which Judas would find himself.
In 1 Thess. 5:19 we are told "quench not the Spirit." What does that mean? The Spirit is sometimes seen as a fire. The word quench is applied easily to fire. It would mean, "put it out." The Spirit is sometimes seen as water. We don't speak of quenching water. We do sometimes speak of quenching our thirst. How? With water! Again the idea is get rid of the thirst we quench. We sometimes use the term quench in reference to one's spirit being quenched meaning because of some hurt their outgoing personality was dampened, and they became much quieter and less enthusiastic. In this case it usually follows some hurt or grief. If the word then is applied to the Holy Spirit, He can't be put out. You can't stop Him when he shows His power. What then can it mean? In Eph. 4:30 we are told not to grieve the Spirit, or not to disappoint Him. May we not conclude that quenching the Spirit would be disappointing Him or grieving Him in some way? I mean grieving Him to the point that He is hurt or grieved in great measure. I mean a measure that, though He cannot be stopped. He Himself draws back. He Is not a pouter, but may His enthusiasm be lessened by our grieving Him? May He be thus disappointed to the measure that He puts out His own fire?
The term is sometimes used as not obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Suggestion Is made that He wants the believer to vent forth his emotions in praising God or responding in some other way. Not to do so then is considered quenching the Spirit. That might be quenching the believer's spirit. On the other hand Paul in 1 Cor. tells us that the spirits are subject to the prophets. The context shows that the individual is to act in control of his emotions.
On the other hand if one is truly being prompted by the Spirit to perform some service for God, and if that one disobeys those promptings; he may grieve the Spirit causing the Spirit to Himself draw back. Thus one could quench the Spirit in this way.
Next, we come to Philippians 1:19. The concern of this verse is Paul's "salvation." Was he not saved? Sure he was! What then did he mean? He had just been writing about some who preached Christ of envy and strife. He had said that they did it "supposing to add afflictions" to his bonds. Would their so preaching cause Paul in prison to suffer more? It is possible that such preaching might generate strife over the area causing the prison officials to be influenced. Thus they might take it out on Paul ill treating him. This is probably not what Paul meant, however. It is hard to see how that could turn to his salvation in any way.
Such preaching, however, could add to his affliction in the sense that he is grieved at their wrong motives and what they produced. He is nevertheless rejoicing at the fact that Christ is preached. What has that to do with his salvation? It may be that he expected that the more Christ was preached the more lives would be changed and the better the chance for a climate In which he might be released from prison. Thus his release would be his salvation. On the other hand he could be thinking the more Christ is preached the more Christ would recognize the fruit of his labor and thus add to his reward at his glorification (salvation). Still Paul knew that this would not happen by itself. The Philippians were to pray and the Spirit of Christ would be the power to accomplish the salvation.
Paul is so practical. The Holy Spirit is too. He is there to meet every need — even those which seem to be conflicting needs. In Eph. 3 Paul has soared with the powerful work of the Spirit. In Chapter 4 he immediately comes right back down to earth with all of its call for saneness. Give me not a religion that simply soars in the sweet by and by. Give me a life that can meet my needs in the nasty now and now. In verse one he immediately calls us back down to our walk. Be encouraged, yes even to ecstasy; but bring that encouragement down to your daily walk. Translate it into life. Verse 2 don't let it go to your head; someone else may need you. Be ready to give in here and there. Don't lose your encouragement if it becomes necessary to make some sacrifice in order to keep the body (the church) In unity. That is not unity at any cost, however. That is unity of the Spirit. It is a unity the body may and should enjoy because all members are encouraged by that same Spirit. He goes on to tell us in verse 4 that there is only one Spirit. It is now that we get to the ministering in the verses that follow. The Spirit encouraged believer is ready to walk and minister for Christ. He continues, however, to put us on our guard. As he comes back to consider the walk and help us keep it above reproach of man, He calls our attention again to that same Holy Spirit. In verse 30 it is now be careful — don't grieve the One Who so powerfully encouraged you. You are sealed by Him to be eternally God's own possession. Don't disappoint Him. Let Him regulate and mold your walk after His.
About the author…
At the time of this writing (1991), Pastor Moody Roberts has for thirty-five years pastured Baptist churches in the two Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. He organized three churches and two schools. The author has also ministered in evangelistic meetings and Bible conferences, as well as a broadcast ministry.
He was an instructor in the Central Baptist Bible College of Hampton, Virginia and he currently teaches Theology in the Peninsula Baptist Bible College of Newport News, where he is also Executive Vice President.
He was graduated from Bob Jones University with a B. A. degree.
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