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Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Holy Spirit Wants to Live in You!

The Holy Spirit Wants to Live in You!
Jesus promised that all who believed in Him will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 1:4)  When Peter was preaching to thousands he also promised that all who believe in Jesus and repented of their sins would receive the Holy Spirit in their lives. (Acts 2:38)   Scripture says that if we are believers in Christ we have the Holy Spirit living in us.  Our bodies are the “temple” of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) And through the Holy Spirit we are “partakers of the divine nature.”  (2 Peter 1:4) But who is this Holy Spirit?
The Bible has a great deal to say about the Person of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God and He is the Spirit of Christ.  The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity, the Three in One.  Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19 and 2 Corinthians 13:14) The Holy Spirit shares with the Son and the Father the relationship within the Godhead.  We humans don’t understand this eternal mystery of the Trinity.  If we could understand everything about God, then He wouldn’t be God. 
The Holy Spirit does so many things in and for and through us. Scripture says that the Holy Spirit guides us. (John 16:13) and he empowers us. (Micah 3:8) He makes us holy. (Romans 15:16) And He bears witness in our lives. (Romans 15:16) The Holy Spirit comforts us. (John 14:16-26) And He gives us joy. (Romans 14:17) He illuminates our minds with insights into the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:12,13)   And He reveals hidden things from God to us. (Isaiah 40:13,14) And as our teacher, He leads us into all truth.  (John 16: 13) And also, through the Holy Spirit we are “sealed in Christ” and we are given an assurance that we belong to Him. (2 Corinthians 1:22)  Doesn’t that mean that God holds onto us and doesn’t let us go?
The Holy Spirit is God’s provision to help us live a Christian life.  He helps us mature and grow up in the Lord.  He changes us from the inside out and makes us “new creations” making us to conform more and more to the character of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17) The Holy Spirit equips us with the tools to be able to serve the Lord.  Jesus described the Holy Spirit as a spring of water in the believer’s heart, with rivers of living water flowing out of the believer.  (John 7:38)
The Holy Spirit did not live in all of God’s people on a continuing basis in Old Testament days. It was the age of Law before Christ came. Old Testament prophets prophesied that in the future God would do a “new thing” and put His Spirit inside of His people.  The prophet Ezekiel spoke God’s message: “I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws.: (Ezekiel 36:27) The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a New Testament ministry. The Messiah, Jesus Christ must first come and die for our sins and rise from the dead.  His sacrifice and resurrection would usher in the new age of Grace, to fulfill the Law.
 When Jesus saw His disciples right after He had risen from the dead, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  (John 20:22)  At that moment Jesus imparted the “breath” of God, the Holy Spirit, into His followers. From this time on, the Holy Spirit has lived in His people.  We are living in the age of Grace and we have the Holy Spirit living in us - something that the saints in the Old Testament age never had!  So how do we receive the Holy Spirit into our lives?
We receive the Holy Spirit when we are sorry for our sins and we accept Jesus as our Savior.  Romans 8:9 says that if you don’t have the Holy Spirit living in you, you don’t know Christ.  When we receive Christ as our Savior we receive the Holy Spirit.  He is part of our salvation. 
 You may be asking, if Jesus breathed on the disciples and gave them the Holy Spirit before He went back to heaven, (John 20:22) then why did He ask His disciples to wait and pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit when He was leaving them and going back to heaven? (Acts 1:1-5)
Some Bible scholars have answered this question this way.  They say that all believers receive the indwelling Holy Spirit when they believe. But if a believer wants more of the Holy Spirit – to be empowered with special gifts for ministry (prophecy, healing, spiritual discernment, speaking in tongues, miracles, etc.) the believer may need to wait and pray and ask for more.  The Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit falling on believers with these gifts when they earnestly prayed for them.  Also, many seekers receive more of the Holy Spirit when others who already have the fullness of the Holy Spirit pray and lay hands on the person who is seeking more.
The “indwelling” work of the Holy Spirit (when He comes to live in us when we accept Christ) is different from the “empowering” work of the Holy Spirit.  The “indwelling”Holy Spirit works inside of us to lead, guide and teach us and convict us of sin.  Changing us and molding us as He goes quietly about His work.  Giving us joy and peace and faith and love and other fruits. 
But the “empowering” of the Holy Spirit is when the same Holy Spirit gives us gifts to empower us to do work for God.  We are empowered for ministry. Some of the gifts the empowering Holy Spirit gives are the gifts of prophecy, teaching, miracles, healing, speaking in tongues.  Many have had dramatic experiences when they received this Holy Spirit outpouring.  But some receive this fullness of the Spirit quietly. Most of us do not experience God’s power because we never ask for it.  We never even want it and are possibly afraid of it!  But I believe that we should want to receive all that God has for us. 
Jesus encourages us to ask for the “empowering” of the Holy Spirit and tells us that our heavenly Father will give Him to us if we ask Him. Here is what Jesus says: “Which of you parents, if your child asks for a fish to eat, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you, then being imperfect human parents know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:11-13)
Scripture tells us that just before Jesus ascended back up to heaven He told His disciples that it was better for them that He leave so that they could have the out pouring of the Holy Spirit in power.   Then Jesus told His followers to go to Jerusalem and wait for this promised outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  His followers obeyed and over 120 of Jesus’ followers all prayed and waited together for ten days for this promised outpouring of the Holy Spirit to come upon them.
When the Holy Spirit came upon the waiting group in power, the Bible tells us that: “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were waiting and praying.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each one of them.  All of them were fill with the Holy Spirit and they all began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”  (Acts 2:2-4) That day when the Holy Spirit came upon the believers in power was the beginning or birth of the Christian Church.  We call that day “Pentecost”.  
That same Holy Spirit power is available for all of Christ’s followers today.  And many Christians today have asked and received this baptism of the Holy Spirit.  We will learn more about the Holy Spirit in next week’s blog. 
Some of the Scriptural truths here in this blog have been taken from Robert Heider’s book, “Experiencing the Spirit.” 

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