Holy Spirit Lesson Two


Today’s church in great part does not recognize the distinction between indwelling of Holy Spirit and the empowering by Holy Spirit received by baptism in the Spirit, let alone the need to remain filled. As a result, much of the church fails to manifest the inner and outer workings of the Spirit. Today’s condoning of compromise recalls reaction to godly teaching in centuries past. “Prophesy not to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. Get you out of the way; turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us” (Isaiah 30:10,11). The Israelites of old did not want to be confronted with “right things” and desired to hear only pleasant {“smooth”) things from prophets sent by God.

Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun. Today we have a host of so-called prosperity teachers with messages which ignore God’s demand for holiness and for righteousness. Yet it is the role of Holy Spirit to convict of sin, the righteousness of Jesus, and judgment: “And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). Holy Spirit also comes to testify of Jesus who is the truth so believers might be guided into righteousness, for no one will see the Lord apart from holiness, a statement inspired by Holy Spirit and yet ignored by many who profess Christ (Hebrews 12:14).

“When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth, for He shall not speak of Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak, and He will show you things to come: He shall glorify Me, for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it to you.”  John 16:13,14

Although Jesus tells that “I and My Faher are one” (John 10:30), there is still order to the Godhead. Jesus also says, “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). In our human comprehension, there is no full comprehension of what we call the Godhead. Though having flaws, we might think of their roles as follows: God the Father makes decisions. The second person of the Godhead known as “The Word” prior to being revealed as Jesus (John 1) speaks thoughts of the Father: “The words that I speak to you, I speak not of Myself, but the Father that dwells in Me” (John 14:10). The third person of the Godhead, Holy Spirit, is responsible for executing what the Father thinks and what has been spoken by “The Word” prior to and following incarnation in human likeness.

Paul prophesied that in latter days, a time would come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead they would gather around them teachers willing to say what itching ears want to hear, turning away from the truth (2 Timothy 4:3,4). It is no longer necessary to wait for this prophesy to come to pass. That time is here! And what Paul described as the “ministry of the Spirit” is now in such a desperate need. Yet the work of Holy Spirit as manifested in the gospels and book of Acts is denied as being in operation today by enire denominations. William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, warned long ago that we’d come to preaching forgiveness of sins without repentance and regeneration without reformation. Heresy of this kind has come upon us in the past century.

Despite claims to the contrary, the work of Holy Spirit in Acts is a pattern for today, including divine healings and miracles as well as expelling of demons. Inheritance of life in the power of the Spirit has not changed since Pentecost. Apart from coming of Holy Spirit to indwell and empower, life in faithful obedience to the ways of God is not possible. Overcoming what can cause one to have their name blotted out from the book of life only takes place as spoken by God through a prophet: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6).

“He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment: and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.”  Revelation 3:5

This passage in the letter of Jesus to the church in Sardis is unknown to most today, especially those taught the false security of eternal security that there are no eternal consequences for sin once a person is saved. Instead of teaching salvation as a door to enter so one might begin to walk in righteousness, false prophets who are dressed in sheep’s clothing deceive the unsuspecting by proclaiming the doctrine of Balaam (sin without consequences because it is covered by grace). It is a heresy which began in the earliest days of the church (Jude 3,4). Jesus says names can be blotted from the book of life because of failure to overcome ways of flesh which do not represent  God. Such is why Jesus warns the way to eternal life is narrow and very few find it.

“Enter you in at the strait gate for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.”  Matthew 7:13-15

The Greek translated as “few” in this passage is oligos which quite literally means very, very few. God the Father knew before creation that men would fail to live by His standards. So the second person of the Godhead is referred to as a “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”  (Revelation 13:8). God knew intentions would not suffice for man to live according to His will, and that Calvary would be needed so reconciliation might be possible by the shed blood of a perfect man who would be an acceptable sacrifice for remission of sins. Furthermore, death and resurrection of the man Jesus of Nazareth would make it possible for Holy Spirit to be sent to abide in believers (John 14:16).

The gospel message includes far more than simply forgiveness of sins as taught from many pulpits. The gospel includes a “mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations….which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:26,27). It is indwelling of Christ by His Spirit that is foretold by Ezekiel. All whe come to repentant faith in Jesus become a temple of the Spirit: “Know you not that you are the temple of of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). Paul describes the new covenant as a “ministry of the Spirit” who writes the ways of God on hearts of men instead of being written upon tablets of stone. Yet one further act by Jesus remained after His resurrection, an act John the Baptist spoke of when asked if he were the Christ.

“I indeed baptize you with water, but one mightier than I comes, the lachet of whose shoes I am not worthy to untie: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.”  Luke 3:16

After resurrection, Jesus returned to heaven and received the promised Holy Ghost from the Father. Ten days later on Pentecost, He baptized those believers who had tarried in prayer in Jerusalem as instructed. They were not to begin ministry of any type until empowered by what Jesus called the baptism in the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:5). “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He has shed forth this which you now see and hear” (Acts 2:33). These words were spoken by Peter to amazed onlookers at Pentecost who heard disciples praying in their own languages of disstant countries from which they had come.

It is critical to appreciate that the Holy Spirit came with power to disciples who were already born again and indwelt by Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49). It was earlier on the eve of Jesus’ resurrection that He appeared in their midst and breathed on them, saying, “Receive the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22). A resurrected Christ and inbreathed Spirit gave new spiritual life to disciples who were now born again. At Pentecost, it was an ascended Christ and the outpoured Spirit that ignited divine power in those already born again on the eve of Jesus’ resurrection.

There are misguided teachers who claim one receives all God has at salvation. These teachers dismiss baptism with the Spirit as a distinct work of God and are called dispensationalists. They do not believe divine healings and miracles continue to take place today. Their heresy is common in a large part of the church, despite scripture clearly describing baptism in the Holy Spirit as an experience distinct from salvation throughout the book of Acts (2:1-4; 8:14-17; 9:17; 19:1-7). It should be realized that the man Jesus of Nazareth required anointing from the Father with the Holy Spirit for earthly ministry. This took place after Jesus was baptized in water by John the Baptist. As Jesus prayed, the Spirit descended and rested upon Him “like a dove”  (Mark 1:10).

“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him.”  Acts 10:38

The same anointing with the Holy Ghost takes place today in spite of heresy to the contrary. However, just as John the Baptist preached a baptism of repentance and told people as a voice crying in the wilderness, “Prepare you the way of the Lord, make His paths straight” (Luke 3:4), so also must hearts be prepared for baptism in the Holy Spirit. It is a “doctrine of devils” caused by seducing spirits that has led to teaching dispensationalism as forewarned by Paul (1 Timothy 4:1). Supernatural manifestations of the Spirit have continued without interruption since Pentecost. It is failure to be baptized and remain filled with the Spirit that is responsible for the absence of “signs and wonders” in the vast majority of American churches.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *