Paul Asked, "Have You Received the Gift of the Holy Spirit?"
By: Pastor Leah Farster
When I teach or preach, I'm teaching and preaching to myself! Often, the Holy Spirit will minister to me, through me and He did that very thing this week! I opened Thursday, at the Preppers meeting, with the statement of how much God loves you. “God is LOVE. God is not in the ‘rehab’ business”, I told them. “He recreates. He makes new. God is pure LOVE”.
Well, something stirred in my spirit, about that statement of, “God being love” and the Lord began opening truths up to me and expanding my understanding, of which I am so very thankful! You see, in my state of being, without the Holy Spirit, I cannot know these things. That is what the Holy Spirit is for!
Remember what Jesus told his disciples in the Gospels, when He was preparing them? He was giving them heads up, that He was leaving, but not to worry, not to fret, "it was the best thing that can happen", He told them. Why? Because Jesus was filled, without measure, John 3:34, of the 3rd member of the God-head, the Holy Spirit, and we know, when this happened, because the Holy Spirit, appeared in the form of a dove and lighted on Jesus the man, after His baptism by John in the Jordan River.
We know that the Holy Spirit filled the man Jesus and Jesus operated His life and ministry, taking His orders from the direction of the Holy Spirit. He told us that He only says and does what His Father, says and does and He knew these things through the indwelling of the Spirit of God, living in Him; living in Jesus the man.
Jesus Himself, spoke to the disciples and told them these things and told them not fret, to be HAPPY and JOYFUL, because they too, were going to now, a short time hence, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and they were going to be able to do things that they could not do before. In other words, they would be like Jesus! They would have a direct line to God the Father through the death of Jesus, shedding His blood, washing away their sins, enabling them to have a relationship with the Father and thus allowing the way for the Holy Spirit to come reside within them. Yes, actually live in them, talking to them, telling them things they could not possibly know and do things, they could not possibly do!
One interesting note is that throughout the four gospels, you see Jesus healing people and then forgiving their sins. Not the other way around! Now, notice what He did prior to the Cross. He was beaten unmercifully, Isaiah 53:5 says this was done “for our healing”, and then He went to the Cross. Isn't that interesting, how he took the stripes first, then went to the Cross? Just exactly like He walked the earth doing; He healed people's bodies, then forgave their sins! The Gifts of the Spirit were in operation to bring people to believe, that He was the Messiah, so that they could believe unto salvation.
In John 14:16 Jesus tells them that the Father will send them a "COMFORTER", that will abide with them FOREVER!!!!!!! He would no longer come and go, as we saw in the Old Covenant. Then in Verse 17, it goes on to tell us, that He (the Comforter) will dwell with them and shall be with them.
Jesus calls Him the “Comforter”, not the “Convictor”! A Comforter, brings help, encouragement, comfort, healing and deliverance. He does convict, meaning that He shows us what is wrong and helps us to give it over to the Lord, that He (Jesus) may make it right. Keep that in mind!
We see where, in Acts 19:1, where Paul and Apollos were traveling though Ephesus and they found some believers there and Paul asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" Their answer was, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." So, it's clear that these people believed on Jesus unto salvation, but they had not received, nor heard of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. Now, Paul was converted some 30 years after Jesus death, so this is proof, in my opinion, that this Gift of the Holy Spirit, was and is a separate work from Salvation and it was not intended to cease. It makes no logical sense for it too cease!
Now, I want to ask you, if Jesus Himself said, that it was better for Him to go away, so that the Comforter, the same Holy Spirit, the same 3rd member of the God-head, could then come and dwell; actually live in each of the disciples and each of the subsequent believers, as we see Paul, asking these believers, that he, Paul, came across in Ephesus, do you think you can simply live without Him, the Holy Spirit, the 3rd Member of the God-head?
From this and many other examples, you can find that Salvation and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit are separate works. If you want to be saved, and have no power to hear from God, in a supernatural way, no power to live for Him, just sit and wait to die and go to heaven, have no power to reach others for Christ, then that is what you will have! Why would anyone want to live like that? If you can turn into Superman or Superwoman, would you turn it down? And yet, people do it every day!
The Holy Spirit prays through me, speaks through me, tells me things that I have no way of knowing, tells me how to do things, tells me what not to do and what to do, warns me of danger, sends healing power, all in order to make my life better; tells me things about others in order for me to pray for them and help them get free. Sends healing to me and miracles and many other things. Why would you not want that?
It's not spooky, it's not weird, it's not frightening! It's awesome! It's the EXACT, same operating Spirit, that Jesus functioned in, as a man! I want that! How about you? 1 Cor 12:7 says this, "But to each one is given the manifestation of the Holy Spirit (the evidence, the spiritual illumination of the Spirit) for the GOOD and PROFIT (of all)!
Now, what the Holy Spirit showed me, and some of you know, that I have been looking for the answer to this question. I have asked it publicly and no one could give me a good answer, but the Lord did yesterday! 1 Cor 12 is a whole chapter on the spiritual gifts, that are given to the believer, through and by the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Vs 8 starts listing the gifts. Then in chapter 13, Paul goes onto explain, that these Gifts of the Holy Spirit, if not PRACTICED in Love, then they will do NO good!
In verse 10, it tells us that when Jesus comes, we won't need these gifts of the Holy Spirit anymore, because we will have Him (Jesus) and we will no longer "know in part", but we will be complete and full “in Him” and our knowing will be complete, not in part.
But what was so enlightening to me, was the question I have had for so long. I get Words of Knowledge that are not complimentary! Meaning, I hear someone's thoughts in the first person, and I have not known what to do with those thoughts! This is the Gift of the Word of Knowledge. Now, don't freak out! It doesn't happen regularly but when it does, I have not known what to do with the information, until now!
The Lord showed me, that I need to follow that up, with a gift of the Word of Wisdom and then I need to respond in LOVE. What I mean is, if I take that information that I received from the Gift of the Word of Knowledge and I tell it, just as it came to me, that will be hurtful and embarrassing to the person! Me too! The Holy Spirit NEVER wants to hurt or embarrass anyone. Now, according to 1 Cor 13, I can take my gift of the Holy Spirit and use it in a "carnal", fleshly way, and if I do, it doesn't lessen the gift, but vs 1 says, I then will become a "noisy gong or a clanging cymbal". The person I give the Word to, will not receive it, if I don't give it in love! That's what chapter 13 and 14 is telling me! To use the Gifts of the Spirit in LOVE.
This is why LOVE stuck in my "knower" the other day! He was getting ready to show me something. I am to use the Gifts of the Spirit in LOVE and not in carnality! God always wants to restore! Remember He is not in the “re-hab” business, He is in the "make NEW business"! That is the purpose of the Gifts!
Luke 19:10 "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost". And remember what Jesus called the Holy Spirit? The "Comforter"! I now know, that it is my job, to take the information, the Holy Spirit gives me, in a Word of Knowledge, then pray and ask for the Gift of Wisdom, which will give me further instruction on how to present this truth to the person and do it in LOVE, for the sole purpose of restoration unto God.
I'm still learning and will continue to learn and this is why the Word tells us we do these things "in part", 1 Cor 13:9. God is constantly doing things new (new to me) and different in me and I have to keep seeking Him to understand. His Word contains the Truths and answers that I need.
I recently had a vision. It was a vision of something that was not good and once again, I was completely taken off guard and I didn't know what to do with it. I believe I got this leading of understanding, through this vision, and I think it falls in line with the Gift of Discerning of Spirits and I have been asking the Lord what to do with that vision.
I was thinking also about these gifts of Words of Knowledge I get and this vision, and why they are of bad things and I felt impressed, that it's because the person/persons are in bondage, and God's desire is to FREE them! If He tells me the bondage that they are in, then I can pray against that bondage and I can ask for the Gift of the Word of Wisdom, to show me how to approach it and what to say and how to say it to that person in LOVE and then I can see that person restored and set free, by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ! I am so excited to know this!
All I can assume, is that people get Words of Knowledge, in different ways, because I have not read or heard anyone that really says, "how" the gift of the Word of Knowledge operates in them, for me to get answers from. I absolutely love it, when the Holy Spirit answers my questions! We need to ask and seek about everything we have need of! He WILL answer you! And this all started the other day, when my spirit man, my "knower", was quickened to the "LOVE of God", that I was talking about.
So to help you understand 1 Cor 12 - 14, it is laying out the importance of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, what they are, how they are used and then it goes on to tell us, to use them in LOVE, not for carnal, self-serving results, UNTIL Jesus comes, and then we won't need them anymore, because He will be with us! We will know everything then and have no need of the Holy Spirit operating in us, for we will be brand new, in perfect bodies, with no fallen nature. Everything we do, should therefore be done with one goal in mind and that is to reconcile people to God! That's what the gifts of the Spirit are for! Paul tells us to “covet the gifts”. Why? So, God can use you!
Now, tell me, if you are not baptized in the Holy Spirit, why? Why aren't you? Why have you not asked? What are you afraid of? Do you not want God to use you, to bring others to Him?
"Well, I'm scared. I'm too shy. I this and I that....” Listen! It's a gifting! An enabling, an empowering! It's like turning into Superman, doing things that you couldn't do on your own! Knowing things, that there is no way you could know. All done in love and through love, and for the love of someone else, to bring them to the Lord. If I didn't have the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, I couldn't even live for Jesus! I wouldn't know how, and I wouldn't have the power to overcome anything life throws my way!
Ask TODAY for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit! He will help you live a life that's pleasing to the Father and He will use you, to help others, even those you love the most! Do you want them to be left behind, because you were to selfish, too uncaring, to scared, to lazy, to unwilling, to let God come live in you and work in you and work through you? Give that some thought!
I hope that this has touched you and I hope that if you have not asked the Lord to fill you with His Spirit, that you will see the importance of it and desire it. Paul told us to desire the gifts! They're awesome!
Come to Discipleship Training, Sunday Mornings at 10:00 to hear about the last spiritual gift in our study, the gift of prophecy. Then we will see where the Holy Spirit leads us after that! So glad it's not up to me to figure it out! :)