Receiving the Holy Spirit - A Study Part 1

Posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Sunday, 2 August 1998, at 10:00 p.m.

Hi All,

Probably many of you on the board agree with the following statement by Merritt:

"I believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an experience separate from salvation. All believers receive the Holy Spirit at their new birth, but scripture seems to indicate that there is an anointing, infilling, empowering, baptism, (or whatever you like to call it) of the Holy Spirit that can only occur to people who are saved already."

Since I disagreed, I'd like to back my opinions up a little bit here.

Merritt (and William) asked me about my interpretation of the passages in Acts 8:14-17 and Acts 19:1-6. I find that a hard question to answer succinctly, because my approach to studying Scripture is a matter of reading and re-reading several chapters or passages at a time, and trying to find common perspectives and ideas. When I come up with conclusions, they're rarely easy to put into just a few words, and hardly ever susceptible to proof-texting. All I can say is, "That's what I see as a common theme in all those verses ... don't you see it too?" It'd be a lot easier to make my case in person than in writing.

Anyway, I thought I'd provide at least a partial answer by considering the specific phrase "receiving the Holy Spirit". That is the phrase used in the two passages in question. Let's look at the other Scriptures that use the term "receive the Holy Spirit" in some form or another. After doing this, I hope to be able to get a good sense of what "receiving the Holy Spirit" would have meant to Luke as he wrote Acts; that will give us a handle on what he was referring to in the two passages in Acts.

My fundamental question at every point will be, "Does this passage use ‘receiving the Spirit' to refer to a salvation experience, or to an experience that comes subsequent to salvation?" My answer in every case will be that it seems to refer to a salvation experience — but I am going over things verse by verse so all can search these Scriptures and decide for themselves.

Here are all the verses in the NT that use some variant of the phrase "receiving the Spirit".

John 7:37-39

... Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'" But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

I think this describes the experience of any saved person after Pentecost. It says "He who believes in me" and "those who believed in Him", emphasizing that this is the common privilege of all believers. It connects the receiving of the Spirit with living water, which I take to be related to having eternal life. At the same time, it explicitly clarifies the distinction between what was true of believers before and after the glorification of Jesus, i.e., before and after Pentecost. It seems to view Pentecost as the watershed event between two different ways in which the Holy Spirit deals with believers. The emphasis is on the Spirit's ability to quench our spiritual thirst (more than, say, on spiritual power).

John 14:16-17

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.

Here the emphasis is on the Spirit in us as a Helper or Comforter. Again it seems to be related to the basic salvation experience for all believers. Christ compares it with His own presence (in previous verses), and says "that He may be with you forever" (as opposed to Jesus' physical presence with them, which was about to end). When Jesus said "He abides with you", He didn't mean Himself, standing before them, but the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, who was already guiding their lives — but nonetheless He refers to a change in the way the Holy Spirit relates to them and they to Him. Similarly the Holy Spirit works in the lives of unbelievers, but He does not abide in them eternally the way He does in believers. We acknowledge this fundamental truth about being saved every time we talk of asking Christ into your heart.

Once again there is a clear distinction drawn between the way the disciples experienced their walk with God THEN, during Christ's earthly ministry, and they way they would experience Him later, when the Holy Spirit came in a new way to them.

John 20:21-23

Jesus therefore said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; but if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained."

I have to admit, this one is the most confusing for me. I don't see how it can mean that they received the Holy Spirit at this point, when so many of the other Scriptures emphasize that it would happen after Jesus was glorified. It's also not clear why this is paired with the next verse about forgiving and retaining sins.

My current understanding is this: Jesus was giving a sort of a benediction or blessing. I think when He breathed on them, that wasn't the actual receiving of the Spirit but a symbol of what would eventually happen. It was similar in some ways to Jesus' actions in instituting the Lord's supper, where He held up the glass of wine and said "This is my blood." In this case, He breathed on them as a sort of ceremony to impress on them that they had His authority to receive the Holy Spirit. Then connected with that, He gave them special authority with the forgiving/retaining sins statement. Both of these things were connected with the general preparation He was giving His apostles in the period between His resurrection and Pentecost.

I see this, then, as Jesus' seal of authority on the apostles (and the church, by extension) to receive the Spirit.

Acts 2:33

Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.

I include this because it uses "receive" and "Spirit" in the same sentence, but of course this verse is not really talking about receiving the Spirit in the sense we've been discussing; it is talking about JESUS receiving from the Father the "permission" to give the Spirit to His followers. This is the heavenly counterpart of John 20:21-23, and the fulfillment of John 7:37-39 and 14:16-17.

By "this which you both see and hear" Peter means the events of that first Pentecost (2:1-4) — a noise like a big wind, tongues of fire on appearing above the disciples, everyone there speaking in tongues.

Peter's sermon says "What is happening? The Holy Spirit is revealing His presence. He is now indwelling the believers here. What does this mean? It means that Jesus has been glorified (‘made both Lord and Christ') and has poured the Spirit out." Then he adds "You are guilty of crucifying Him," and when they are convicted to the heart and ask "What should we do?" we come to the next set of verses ...

Acts 2:38-39

And Peter said to them, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself."

Peter says, in essence, "Repent, become followers of Christ, and you will receive the same Holy Spirit. This is being offered to you right now by Jesus."

First, let's deal with why Peter says they should be baptized (in water). He is doing something similar to Billy Graham when he asks people to come down the aisle to receive Christ. Billy Graham doesn't mean to imply that people can't get saved without coming down the aisle — but in the context of a crusade, that is the most natural and appropriate means of expressing a new belief in Christ. In the same way, Peter means "show that you want to be followers of Christ; respond to the invitation I'm giving". Baptism might be considered God's divinely appointed altar call. Peter didn't mean that water baptism is essential to salvation.

Second, to what does Peter refer when he says "you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" and "the promise is for ... as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself"? In the context, He is inviting them to participate in the outpouring of the Spirit which Jesus has given, by becoming followers of Christ. It comes straight out of the demonstration of the Spirit's presence in the Pentecostal signs, it occurs right in the middle of a presentation of the gospel, and it leads to a report of how many people got saved.

I am convinced the most straightforward way to read this is that receiving the Holy Spirit is offered to all in salvation — those who become followers of Jesus will receive it. The promise is for them all.

More to come in part 2 ...

In Him,
Kevin Megill

Receiving the Holy Spirit - A Study Part 2

Posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Sunday, 2 August 1998, at 10:06 p.m., in response to Receiving the Holy Spirit - A Study Part 1, posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Sunday, 2 August 1998, at 10:00 p.m.

Hi All,

Continued from part 1.

Acts 10:44-47

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, "Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?"

The context of the whole story is the extension of the gospel to Gentiles. It amazed both Peter and the others that God would not only save Gentile believers but even give them a full part of that salvation, including the Holy Spirit Himself. Peter says "how can we refuse water baptism for them now", since it has become clear that they must be saved, or they could never have been given the Holy Spirit. Again, it seems most straightforward to see this as speaking of salvation itself. Of course, I need to be clear — Cornelius and the others, like the apostles before Pentecost, were probably already children of God, already saved (since he apparently trusted in the true God of Israel, even as a Gentile: see 10:2,4 etc) — but only in an Old Testament sense. They hadn't yet heard the gospel, weren't yet indwelt by the Spirit of God.

The fact that they spoke in tongues is mentioned as a parenthetical comment to explain how the others knew they'd received the Holy Spirit, since otherwise it would've been invisible.

Notice all the different terms that are used almost synonymously here. The Holy Spirit fell upon them; the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them; they received the Holy Spirit. The event is linked back to the apostles' own experience: "just as we did" — this reads most naturally as pointing back to Pentecost, not to earlier times in the walk with the Lord in His earthly ministry.

I have a friend who was worried about whether water baptism was necessary for salvation, and the Lord led him to this verse coupled with the one in John 14:16-17 where it says the world cannot receive the Spirit. Clearly Cornelius et al were saved and filled with the Spirit before being baptized in water.

Romans 8:15-16

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.

This clearly points to salvation. Those who have received this Spirit are the true adopted children of God. The context supports this (v 9,14,17). Note the related phrases in the immediate context: being in the Spirit, having the Spirit dwell in you, having the Spirit of Christ, being led by the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:11-12

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God ...

Paul says that since the Spirit in us is God's Spirit, He knows the mind of God as completely and fully as we know our own minds. We have God Himself thinking in us, and that is why we have the ability to perceive spiritual truth. There's no good reason not to assume this happens at salvation.

Galatians 3:1-3, 13-14

You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

... Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law ... that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Again, this refers to salvation. Receiving the Spirit is "having BEGUN by the Spirit", i.e., it refers to the very beginning of their Christian life. When he speaks of hearing with faith, in context he means hearing about Jesus' atoning death. He is saying that since we received salvation, with all its benefits — including the indwelling Spirit — by faith, having decided that our works would not suffice, it is foolish to switch back to a works-based approach afterwards. Verses 13 and 14 summarize the preceding arguments by emphasizing that through Christ Gentiles receive the opportunity of receiving the Spirit (i.e., salvation) through faith.

SO ... except for Acts 8:14-17 and Acts 19:1-6, I would lean towards the idea that "receiving the Spirit" refers to what happens at salvation. Notice that at Pentecost and at Cornelius' house this happened to believers AFTER they were already faithful followers of God, they just hadn't entered into the experience of New-Testament-style salvation.

More to come in part 3

In Him,

Receiving the Holy Spirit - A Study Part 3 - The final chapter

Posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Sunday, 2 August 1998, at 10:09 p.m., in response to Receiving the Holy Spirit - A Study Part 2, posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Sunday, 2 August 1998, at 10:06 p.m.

Hi All,

Continued from part 2.

Let's take a look at the two problem passages, starting with Acts 19:1-6.

Actually, I'm going to start back in chapter 18:

Acts 18:24-19:6

Now a certain Jew named Apollos, ... came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures ... had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wanted to go across to Achaia ... he helped greatly those who had believed through grace, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

And it came about that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul ... came to Ephesus, and found some disciples, and he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" And they said, "Into John's baptism." And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus." And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.

First, trace the chronology here. Apollos started at Ephesus, knowing "the way of the Lord" accurately, but only as far as it was concerning "the baptism of John". Priscilla and Aquila taught him the rest of the facts, which he apparently accepted willingly. Soon he moved to Achaia (that is, Corinth), where he boldly argued for the gospel, now with a fuller understanding. In the meantime, Paul came back to Ephesus and found some disciples who only knew the things acquainted with the baptism of John. Now the passage doesn't spell it right out, but it's reasonable to assume that these disciples were the products of Apollos' ministry in Ephesus — BEFORE he learned more of the truth about the Lord.

Second, let's ask, what did these disciples believe? What had Apollos been teaching, and what did they themselves believe? Apollos "knew the Scriptures", so he probably had a very good grasp on the OT prophecies about the Messiah. He was "acquainted ... with the baptism of John" and the disciples were baptized with John's baptism. John the Baptist emphasized the need to be personally repent and prepare for the Messiah who was coming very soon. His baptism gave his followers an opportunity to publicly identify themselves as repentant of their sins and serious about returning to God, to show that they were waiting expectantly for the Messiah.

It also says Apollos was teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus (although it qualifies that by limiting it to "being acquainted only with the baptism of John"). For a while I thought that Apollos only knew about Jesus as "the coming Messiah", without realizing that Jesus of Nazareth was Him. But I've changed my mind about that — I think Apollos probably knew some about Jesus' life. One reason is, Luke doesn't say "the things concerning the Messiah" but "the things concerning Jesus". A second reason is, John the Baptist himself identified Jesus as the Messiah (I think? John 1:29 for instance, although he seems to have had doubts later), and a third is, it wouldn't have been very easy to have followed John and NOT known about Jesus the Nazarene. Their ministries were closely connected for awhile (they were cousins after all) and occurred in the same area. I think a better guess is that Apollos knew quite a bit about Jesus' earthly ministry — about his signs and miracles, about much of his ethical teaching, about his claims to be the Messiah. When it says Apollos was instructed in "the way of the Lord", I think that emphasizes Jesus' ethical teaching.

Still, there are clearly some things Apollos DIDN'T know, or Priscilla and Aquila wouldn't have had anything to straighten out. His disciples in Ephesus hadn't even HEARD of the Holy Spirit. They apparently had never been baptized into the name of Jesus. I suspect that what they didn't know was anything connected with the Great Commission, i.e., everything Jesus told His disciples to preach after His death and resurrection. If you compare the passages that discuss the period between the resurrection and Pentecost, you see Jesus shifted gears, so to speak, with the apostles. He gave them a new message, a new mission, different from that they'd had before Compare Matthew 10 with Matt 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:25-27,44-49; John 20:21-23,29; Acts 1:2-8. This new message was echoed in all the sermons in Acts by Peter, Stephen, Paul etc. It consisted of preaching that Jesus died for our sins, was raised from the dead, would come again soon to judge the world, and that those who wanted to become his followers should be baptized in His name and continue to live by His principles; and that they would gain forgiveness and eternal life and receive the Holy Spirit I think these are the things the disciples at Ephesus did not know — they hadn't heard about Jesus' atoning death and resurrection, about being baptized into His name, about the deeds and preaching of the apostles in Jerusalem. In short, they knew nothing about the aspects of salvation and following Jesus which related to the New Covenant. Like other disciples of Jesus during His earthly ministry, they believed He was the Messiah; they had heard some of His teachings and tried to live by them; but they had never come to terms with the atonement.

The conversation in Acts 19:2-4 is of course a short summary of a much longer discussion. Paul didn't just ask "did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" — he probably assumed they had and began to talk about something related to it, and they said, "Whoaaa... what are you talking about?" Then Paul said, "Didn't you receive the Holy Spirit?" and they said "We don't even know that there IS a Holy Spirit." This doesn't sound like believers who had previously received the Holy Spirit in ANY sense! And so Paul immediately tried to find out whether they were believers at all — "into what were you baptized?" (By this Paul meant their PHYSICAL baptism. He meant, if you were baptized as followers of Jesus, then how in the world were you NOT taught about the Holy Spirit? After all, the water baptism was a symbol of the spiritual baptism.) So in effect he asked, "Wait a minute. What did you do when you became ‘disciples'?" They told him, "John's baptism." Aha! That clarified things, and he went ahead and explained the gospel further. Verse 4, again, is almost certainly a simply a brief summary of what Paul actually said — he must have had a fairly lengthy discussion with them, explaining all the aspects of Christianity they hadn't heard about. Then he baptized them in water in the name of Jesus — their first chance to officially and publicly declare themselves followers of Jesus with a full knowledge of the gospel. At that time, they received the Spirit as well.

Were they saved before Paul got there? Well, they were saved as much as the disciples were saved before Pentecost or Cornelius before Acts 10. In a word: yes. They were saved in the OT sense.

This view seems to me to take more seriously the claims that they didn't even know what the Holy Spirit was, and Paul's immediate enquiry into whether they'd even been baptized in the name of Christ at all. If this were a matter of a second blessing, and something Paul frequently encountered in his travels, the whole episode would've gone a little differently.

Finally ...

Acts 8:14-17

Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

First, the believers had "received the word of God", which in this context means the gospel. Unlike those in Acts 19, they had heard the whole truth of the death and resurrection of Christ. They had "been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus". Second, somebody somehow realized that they hadn't received the Holy Spirit, and as a result the apostles specifically laid hands on them and prayed for them. According to 8:6,10, whole multitudes were listening attentively to Philip, and the implication of that and verse 12 is that many people were being baptized — not just 12 men, as in Acts 19, but perhaps many more than that. Yet it seems clear that Peter and John individually laid hands on each one and prayed for them, especially in light of Simon's request to buy that power.

The really significant thing here is not just that they hadn't received the Spirit, but that apparently Philip, who had done signs and wonders and preached the gospel with great effect, was unable to do anything to help them receive the Spirit. It took the apostles — Peter and John — coming down and laying hands on people for them to receive the Spirit. This wasn't a simple matter of Christians not realizing what was available to them in Christ. It's even possible that the very reason Peter and John came down was to do this, which would doubly emphasize the unusualness of this situation. (Although actually I suspect the idea is that Peter and John came down to see how things were going, to inspect what was going on, and when they got there they realized the need for people to receive the Holy Spirit.)

If we faced truly similar situations today — perhaps, as William said, in "current situations where the evangelism of the lost was occurring" — it would mean that the only way Christians in the new area were able to receive the Holy Spirit in this deeper sense was through having the original missionaries personally lay hands on them. I don't think that's what William or Merritt or anyone else really believes, is it?

On the contrary, while a lot of you out there would tell a Christian "you are saved, yes, but there's something more available for you — the baptism of the Holy Spirit — if you'll just receive it", and while a lot of the rest of us would say to the same Christian "you are saved, yes, but you don't realize what you were given at that time — the baptism of the Holy Spirit — and how it can affect your life, if you'll just believe that it's been given to you", what ALL OF US agree on is that every believer has the full resources of the Spirit's power available to him. None of us believes that we need certain special believers to come and pray for us to receive the Spirit in a deeper sense.

So I think we have to conclude that the Acts 8 passage is talking about an unusual situation, not the norm. The question then becomes, what was happening here? Why did these people find themselves unable to receive the Spirit (in whatever sense it was meant) except when the apostles themselves came down and prayed for them?

I don't have a sure answer, but I have a suggestion. I think that verses like John 20:23, and Matthew 16:19 are referring (partially at least) to a special authority that God left in the hands of the church and specifically the twelve and possibly mainly Peter. I think that in the plan of God "the twelve" played a special role in the development of the church which was quite different from the role of other believers. This difference is really evident in the first few chapters of Acts, if you read it through looking for the differences that it points out between the apostles and the other believers. I think that God honored this setup by waiting until the apostles came to Samaria before He poured out the Holy Spirit there. Two chapters later Peter went to the house of a Gentile and God poured out the Spirit on Gentiles too. So the pattern seems to be that the twelve (mainly Peter) were the first to offer the gospel to the Jews (Acts 2), the first to confirm its offer to the Samaritans (Acts 8) and the first to offer it to the Gentiles (Acts 10). There's no evidence of further need for such steps. I realize this sounds a little Catholic (with its emphasis on Peter's special role) but only a little — I'm still a died-in-the-wool Protestant! (* grin *)

In any case, since what the Samaritans faced was really out of the ordinary anyway — since they were held back from the full blessing of the Holy Spirit until the apostles visited — I see no need and no reason to suppose that they got "half the blessing" when they were converted. It makes more sense to me to assume God did not give them the Spirit at all when they professed Christ but waited until Peter and John came down. Then He replayed Pentecost in the lives of these believers, one person at a time.

OK ... anyway, that's essentially why I don't believe that Acts 8 and Acts 19 refer to a second blessing of the Holy Spirit that is separate from salvation. I realize that most of my arguments depend on nuances of interpretation in each of the passages. It's quite possible to go through every verse I quoted and interpret in a way that supports the second blessing doctrine. Most of those interpretations seem forced to me, but I suppose my interpretations could seem forced to some of you. All I can do is interpret each passage as naturally as possible, as I see it, trying to avoid reading my own presuppositions into it.

I also want to re-emphasize in closing that I in am in full agreement with the importance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I just happen to believe that any experience we have of it is grounded in something which actually took place when we were first saved. I realize that many times a Christian IN PRACTICE does not move into the full blessing available until later on in his life.

In Him,
Kevin Megill

Re: Receiving the Holy Spirit - A Study Part 3 - The final chapter

Posted by Corrine on Sunday, 2 August 1998, at 11:50 p.m., in response to Receiving the Holy Spirit - A Study Part 3 - The final chapter, posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Sunday, 2 August 1998, at 10:09 p.m.

I would like to "fill in" for Merritt, but I am not as eloquent as he is, but since he had to go to bed to get up early for work, I am going to try to pass along a few things we have discussed.

1. The "birth of the church" actually took place on the day Jesus breathed on the disciples. John 20:22 "And with that he breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.' " NOT on the day of Pentecost, as so many choose to believe. Jesus told them, in Acts 1:4-5, "On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: 'Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." Later he says to them in Acts 1:7-8, "He said to them: 'It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit come on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.' " The believer does not receive the power from the Holy Spirit except through the baptism.

2. You have not been able to give an explanation for the incident at Cornelius' house and the other one (I'm sorry I don't remember the incident right now.) where they receive the baptism separate from their being saved. Merritt said that if he was not already baptized in the Holy Spirit, he would be very confused with your teaching.

3. Finallly, why not ask God for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues and see if it is separate? What better way to find out which is true? We are not issuing a challenge, just suggesting that if you completely yield yourself to God, He will show you and let you experience for yourself. I doesn't take the laying on of hands to receive it. Merritt's Mother did it on her own in private. The laying on of hands is just one way. What it really takes is faith to believe that God will give it to you. If you want it, it is yours. Take that step of faith.

I hope you understand that we do not want to argue. We just want to make sure there is no confusion. Unexplained scriptures cause confusion.

God Bless you, and I will be praying for you for understanding.

In Christ Jesus, my All in All


The "chocolate milk" analogy and the Holy Spirit!

Posted by joni on Monday, 3 August 1998, at 7:29 a.m., in response to Re: Receiving the Holy Spirit - A Study Part 3 - The final chapter, posted by Corrine on Sunday, 2 August 1998, at 11:50 p.m.

I believe that we receive the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation. I also believe during New Testament times, through the laying on of hands by the APOSTLES (as indicated in scripture), that certain individuals received special powerful gifts from on high for the purpose of spreading the church.

The Holy Spirit descended on the l2 at Pentecost (I know some believe it is more, but Jesus told the l2 to wait, and it was the 12 that were filled with the Spirit and began to preach.) The twelve then laid hands on believers at which time they began to speak in tongues as a sign to unbelieving Jews as recorded in scripture.

About the chocolate shake analogy:

I once heard someone give a talk on the Holy Spirit (I'd give him credit if I could remember his name!) and this is how he described the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

At the point of our salvation, we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. You don't get a little now and more later, just like you can't be a little bit saved and then more saved, or a little bit pregnant or more pregnant! You're either indwelled by the Holy Spirit or you aren't! Period. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity, and when we keep that in mind, rather than think of Him as some "power" or "force" like in Star Wars (!!!), it is easier to understand that we don't get more of Him or less of Him!

Imagine that you are a glass of milk and someone pours chocolate into your glass. If it's not stirred, it's still a glass of milk with chocolate in it, but it doesn't taste very "chocolatey"! Now, stir the milk! It tastes "chocolatey"!

I believe the "shaking" up is a lot like our lives. Sometimes we need shaking up!

Sincerely in Christ
and indwelled by the Holy Spirit,

oops! Jesus told the "eleven" to wait, not the "twelve"! nt

Posted by joni on Monday, 3 August 1998, at 12:10 p.m., in response to The "chocolate milk" analogy and the Holy Spirit!, posted by joni on Monday, 3 August 1998, at 7:29 a.m.


Re: Receiving the Holy Spirit - A Study Part 3 - The final chapter

Posted by Jan on Tuesday, 4 August 1998, at 12:33 a.m., in response to Receiving the Holy Spirit - A Study Part 3 - The final chapter, posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Sunday, 2 August 1998, at 10:09 p.m.

Dear Kevin,
Thanks for an excellent study on receiving the Holy Spirit.
My experience is not profound and I haven't researched as well as Kevin.
When I became a Christian, age 9, I knew nothing about the power of Christ. I just knew the few stories I learned in Sunday School. Over the years our family drifted from church. I became an agnostic.
At the age of 20, and after some family and personal difficulties, I had a rededication to the Lord. Not by my doing, however, God came to me. I sensed His presence while in a prayer meeting, so strongly that I believed if I looked up I would physically see Him.
He overwhelmed me and delivered me, immediately, from many sins and harmful vices. With in days I was a new person.
During the first two weeks (in the throes of the lightening bolt experience) I attended a revival at a local pentacostal church. Great messages! A very exciting time. The preacher was telling us that if we desire to have the baptism of the Holy Spirit to simply ask and we would receive. I was so full of the Lord then that I really wanted this gift. I spent hours praying to receive this gift, I prefaced that prayer with "if it be Thy will Lord."
I never received a gift of tongues but was filled with the Spirit.
Through my Christian life I have prayed many times to be filled with the Spirit but I have never been expecting or asking for tongues. I only wished that the Lord would use me in a very special way for that particular time. This is usually when witnessing, or when having a discipleship meeting with a new Christian. God has always answered and filled me, I experience love, power, confidence and a clear mind. I can recall verses that I sometimes believe I have forgotten. Praise God!
This is the manifestation of God's Spirit.

On a sad note, I have a life long family friend who although is a Christian and attends a good church, and she speaks in tongues, feverishly at every Sunday service, lives in complete and shameless sin throughout the week.
My point in saying this is only that people can be deceived and I believe this friend is. I love her and am sorry that she rests in her experience on Sundays. She relies and trusts her very real experience as an indication that she has somehow "arrived".

I do not by any means define people with the precious gift of tongues by my friend's behavior.


I completely agree! Thank you for making it easy to understand! (nt)

Posted by Lisa TX on Wednesday, 5 August 1998, at 1:45 p.m., in response to The "chocolate milk" analogy and the Holy Spirit!, posted by joni on Monday, 3 August 1998, at 7:29 a.m.


I think this is a very balanced view! (nt)

Posted by Lisa TX on Wednesday, 5 August 1998, at 1:48 p.m., in response to Re: Receiving the Holy Spirit - A Study Part 3 - The final chapter, posted by Jan on Tuesday, 4 August 1998, at 12:33 a.m.


Re: The "chocolate milk" analogy and the Holy Spirit!

Posted by Jayne Bennett on Wednesday, 5 August 1998, at 5:18 p.m., in response to The "chocolate milk" analogy and the Holy Spirit!, posted by joni on Monday, 3 August 1998, at 7:29 a.m.

Great analogy Joni! I've always thought of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as a gift within a gift. Salvation being the larger of the two. When we get saved we're given the gift. It just takes some longer to get around to opening the smaller package. Some never do. Isn't that sad?

I like getting gifts. Especially if they're chocolate! :^)))

The chocolate is stirred in my milk,

Think about it next time you're in the tub!

Posted by Jayne Bennett on Wednesday, 5 August 1998, at 5:41 p.m., in response to The "chocolate milk" analogy and the Holy Spirit!, posted by joni on Monday, 3 August 1998, at 7:29 a.m.

I just recalled an analogy I considered somewhat silly at the time (a brand new baby in the Lord)although it made perfect sense to me then and still does. (note: I was taking a shower)
here goes:
Jesus being the shampoo that washes away my sin; the Holy Spirit being the conditioner that, when used properly, causes the hair to shine and remain "tangle free". Conditioner not used properly can cause one's hair to get pretty yucky pretty fast and it's not very pleasant to behold. Shampoo not used often enough can cause the same appearance!

I love taking "showers",

Respecting the Ministry of the Holy Spirit

Posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Wednesday, 5 August 1998, at 6:22 p.m., in response to Think about it next time you're in the tub!, posted by Jayne Bennett on Wednesday, 5 August 1998, at 5:41 p.m.

Hi Jayne,

You wrote:

> .... the Holy Spirit being
> the conditioner that, when used properly, causes the hair to shine
> and remain "tangle free". Conditioner not used properly can cause
> one's hair to get pretty yucky pretty fast and it's not very pleasant
> to behold.

I think we need to be VERY careful how we speak of the Holy Spirit...and make a distinction between the Holy Spirit Himself and the human vessels that sometimes misuse their gifts. It is IMPOSSIBLE for the *Holy Spirit* to be "not used properly". We don't "use" the Holy Spirit, He uses us.

Can the Gifts of the Holy Spirit be counterfeited? Certainly! Is it possible for people to get in the "flesh" and not use gifts in wisdom? Absolutely! Jesus Himself even said in Matthew 7:22-23 that "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

The Lord also so clearly desired that the Holy Spirit be honored and respected that He said in Matthew 12:31-32 "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come."

He spoke these words in response to those who were charging the works of the Holy Spirit to the devil --a dangerous situation!

I'm sure you meant to refer to the abuse of the gifts, rather than the Gift Giver (the Holy Spirit), but I just wanted to be sure to point out the seriousness of confusing the two.

In His Abiding Joy and Strength,


Re: Respecting the Ministry of the Holy Spirit

Posted by Jayne Bennett on Thursday, 6 August 1998, at 9:01 a.m., in response to Respecting the Ministry of the Holy Spirit, posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Wednesday, 5 August 1998, at 6:22 p.m.

Hello Tamara,

You wrote:
>> It is IMPOSSIBLE for the *Holy Spirit* to be "not used properly". We don't "use" the Holy Spirit, He uses us. > I'm sure you meant to refer to the abuse of the gifts, rather than the Gift Giver (the Holy Spirit), <<
Yes, yes, yes! Thank you for clarifying that.

And for further clarification we use shampoo, we don't 'use' Jesus.

My analogy was, I believe, given me by God. It was given at a time I was seeking an answer to the question, "Is the Holy Spirit at work today?" A baby in the Lord, I had just been told by a pastor that the Holy Spirit, was not at work today, in fact, I was told any manifestation, tongues, prophesy, etc., would be the work of the devil.

You gotta understand I was confused, to say the very least. Here I had read and accepted the Truth of this Wonderful Book, was seeking a place where I assumed there would be others who believed The Bible, and I'm told not to believe this particular portion. Hmmmmm...

So, what was God saying to me? Like horse and carriage, shoe and sock, shampoo and conditioner, Jesus and the Holy Spirit go together. The pastor was wrong- that was not the place to attend. (we were lead to an AG congregation)

Thanks for the reminder to clarify. Sometimes I forget that others -can't- read my mind and I should make sure I make myself clear when I speak or write stuff down.

In Him whom I live for,

Amen, Jayne! Praise God for the work of His Holy Spirit today! (nt.)

Posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Thursday, 6 August 1998, at 10:21 a.m., in response to Re: Respecting the Ministry of the Holy Spirit, posted by Jayne Bennett on Thursday, 6 August 1998, at 9:01 a.m.


P.S. One more thing...*grin*

Posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Thursday, 6 August 1998, at 10:40 a.m., in response to Re: Respecting the Ministry of the Holy Spirit, posted by Jayne Bennett on Thursday, 6 August 1998, at 9:01 a.m.

Jayne, one more thing I wanted to add...your explanation of the "background" behind your analogy helped me understand even more where you were coming from. Unfortunately, we've come across some professing Christians who are so against the present-day ministry of the Holy Spirit, convinced that the Gifts of the Spirit are no longer valid for today, that they would practically mark out all references to the Holy Spirit and His Gifts from their bibles if they thought they could get away with it. God calls us all to be discerning but that doesn't mean we should jump to the extreme and reject everything just because some have fallen in error. How that must grieve the Holy Spirit --I know it grieves us! Thank you for your encouraging post!

In His Abiding Joy and Strength,


Re: Respecting the Ministry of the Holy Spirit

Posted by Lisa TX on Thursday, 6 August 1998, at 11:07 p.m., in response to Respecting the Ministry of the Holy Spirit, posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Wednesday, 5 August 1998, at 6:22 p.m.

Thank you so much for pointing out that passage, Tamara! I have been struggling for a little while now about something someone who left my church said. He was not sure the manifestations of the Spirit he saw there were real.

Until I had that conversation with him, I was just fine with my church. I still love it, but that conversation haunts me. My friend now goes to a church where the gifts are not practiced nearly as much.

I honestly believe our church is not "abusing the gifts," but I let this conversation bring doubts to my mind. The passage you pointed out really helped clarify things for me. I do not want to be guilty of saying the Spirit's work is of Satan!

Thank you for helping bring peace to my mind!