Holy Spirit: Receive the Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is the personal presence of God in our lives. Jesus said He would always be with us, but He has a body in heaven. He is with us by His Spirit.

We receive the Holy Spirit when we come into salvation, and we can ask for the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

We receive the Holy Spirit when, by faith, we receive the life of Christ in us.

Ephesians 1:13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.

We can also ask for the Holy Spirit.

The Bible doesn’t record anyone praying to the Holy Spirit. None of the apostles ever pray “Come” to the Holy Spirit. We’re told to ask the Father for the good gift of the Holy Spirit.

Luke 11:13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

The disciples are told to wait for the Holy Spirit to be poured out on them to send them off with the power needed to do the work God was sending them to do.

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Even Jesus had the Holy Spirit descend on Him to send Him off to His ministry.

Matthew 3:16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him.

Other places in Acts we see people receiving the Holy Spirit as they come to believe in the salvation message and when the apostles laid hands on them (Acts 10:44 and Acts 19:6). Some people call this being baptized in the Holy Spirit. There are those who say the Holy Spirit is received at salvation and there is no later baptism. One famous preacher/author who says the latter is John Piper. However, even he says that we should ask for the Holy Spirit. He says that Romans 5:5 is an experience you feel and should seek after.

Romans 5:5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Ask the Father for the Holy Spirit to be poured into your heart! And keep asking until you know you have received by some experience that reveals it.

Two big evidences of the Holy Spirit in your life are conviction of sin and having the Scriptures come alive to you. Conviction of sin isn’t feeling guilty over things you know you shouldn’t do. Conviction from the Holy Spirit will make you realize that something is wrong that you had always before done and not questioned. When that happens, you respond. You repent. You confess it and turn from it. As for the Scriptures coming alive, the Bible is the living word. You can read something for years, but then suddenly something stands out to you and speaks directly to you and about what you are going through. It could be an answer to a question you’ve been asking. It can be when suddenly something dawns on you. You read a verse and suddenly you have a full understanding of something. It just dawns on you. It’s not a thought. You know it before you have the words to explain it.

Lesson Point: Believers must receive the Holy Spirit. The good news is that the Father loves to give good gifts. Ask!

Challenge Question: Can you point to an experience, a moment, when you know the Holy Spirit was poured into your heart? I had an experience of receiving the Spirit while I was singing a worship song after nine months of praying daily for the Holy Spirit to be poured on me like in Acts. Suddenly the song was coming out in tongues. Paul Washer (Bible teacher and founder of Heartcry Missionary Society) talks about an experience when he was already a missionary but working in his own strength. He says he suddenly knew the fullness of God’s love for him and his worked changed from that moment on. The love of God was poured into him by the Holy Spirit.

Note: People have many differing ideas about being filled with the Spirit, and I wonder how much of that has to do with our personal experience. I was already serving in ministry when I had my experience of being filled with the Spirit. There was a very distinct before and after in my life at that point. My husband walks in the fullness of the Spirit, even speaking in tongues, but has no moment he pinpoints with a distinct before and after. Others experience it all on one day when they come to faith in Christ and are baptized, which is ideal.