This is the Second part of the series “The Holy Spirit – Who Is He?”
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is God, in the same way that Jesus is God and The Father is also God. They are one and the same and equal.
So when Jesus told the disciples, in John chapter 14, that he would be going away so that the Holy Spirit could come. He was letting them know that He was going away so that he wouldn’t just be limited to his fleshly body. But, that by going away, he would send himself, as the Holy Spirit, who would not just be WITH them, but, that he would also be IN THEM.
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever—
The Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive (welcome, take to its heart), because it does not see Him or know and recognize Him. But you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you.
I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, desolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless]; I will come [back] to you. John 14:16-18 (Amplified)
The word chosen for the Holy Spirit in this and 2 other times in the same chapter is usually only translated as “Comforter.” However, the greek word Parakletos, that is used, is much deeper and encapsulates the description of Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener and Standby.
Jesus is describing his own relationship with the disciples, but he is saying that when he is dwelling inside them they will have access to someone who is all of these things and will always be with them, providing all of these atributes.
As I’ve said, in this particular passage, Jesus describes the person of the Holy Spirit, in this way 3 times. It is certainly possible to take from this that Jesus is trying to drive a point home. In fact, youo can almost hear Jesus saying “c’mon boys! Have you got it yet?” behind the third time that he says it. Because they keep on saying to him “Lord, why don’t you show us the Father?” It’s very possible to think that Jesus’ patience is truly being put to the test with this bunch.
Post resurrection and Jesus spends the next 40 days visiting with the disciples (not just the 11 remaining apostles) appearing to them and sitting down to eat with them. By doing these things in particular he left them no doubt that he was truly risen from the dead. He knew what each one of them faced in their futures; he knew what they would be required to endure for His Name’s Sake.
So he was ensuring that they had a firm foundation. They knew, that they knew, that they knew, that Jesus Christ, The Messiah, The Annointed One, had risen from the dead AND was still Alive. We hear how important this is in the opening to the first Epistle of John. As well as in Peter and John’s proclamation, in the Book of Acts, within the first few chapters, speaking to the Jewish leaders when they had been arrested because they had raised up the man, crippled from birth, who daily sat at the Beautiful gate.
In that 40 day period, leading up to the Jewish celebration of Shavuaot (Festival of Weeks) and in particular in that year it accompanied the Festival of Yovel or Jubilee which fell 10 days later. For the Christian this is known as “The Day of Pentecost.”
Because of these particular festivals falling at this time men from every people and tongue from the Nation of Israel were required to be in Jerusalem, to present themselves to The Holy One; it should be remembered that this was the same temple where the curtain seperating the Holy of Holies from the people had been rent in two. I’m sure the significance of all of these circumstances culminating at this precise moment in time and space is not lost when you consider them in the light of the book of Acts chapter 2.
The enabling, the enduement, with power from on high. Of Dunamis, life-changing, miraculous, world-altering power, that would not just be with them, but would come to live IN them. That is the reason that Jesus was so determined that they undesrstand that they were to WAIT in Jerusalem. He was adamant, because had they done otherwise there would have been serious consequences. Not the least of these being the birth of the church, the ekklesia.
In Old-Time Pentecostal circles the word Tarry became synonymous with those who wanted to receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, with the manifestation of Other Tongues. They taught that the seeker had to tarry, or wait, because Jesus had told his disciples they had to wait.
But, the fact is that the day of pentecost has come and gone and the Holy Spirit HAS been poured out upon the Earth already. There is no longer the need to Wait to receive Him. There is no mneed to Wait to speak in Other Tongues. One only has to be Born Again and be open to RECIEVE the Holy Spirit.
You need only yield your tongue to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to give you the utterance. BUT, it is YOU who will do the speaking, NOT Him. You will use YOUR VOICE, YOUR BREATH, YOUR MOUTH AND YOU wil be the one making the sound. Just remember, it is NOT an earthly language, or any language you will have spent time learning. It will NOT come from the mind. It is a Spiritual language and will comedirectly from YOUR SPIRIT. These points are essential to realise, because this is where the majority of confusion comes from, regarding this essentail gift from God.
The Holy Spirit does NOT take you over to speak through you. He gives your spirit the sounds to make. To do otherwise would be akin to posession. God would never over-ride the free will of any human being; that was the particular atribute, the ability to self-determine, that identified humanity from the rest of His creation.
Many Christians want to argue along the lines that: “I don’t need other tongues. I have a very good prayer life. God and I understand one another very well.” My response to something is I won’t argue with you. But, I will pray that you cast aside the spirit of Pride that you are entertaining. Aside from that I believe that it is important to consider some VERY important issues around this gift.
In Mark 16 Jesus say’s that it would be one of the attesting signs of a person who is a follower and disciple of Jesus. In the first chapter of the Book of Acts Jesus commands, he doesn’t just suggest, that the disciples WAIT until they receive the enduement from on High; the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 2 we see that there were nearly 360 people in the upper room on the day of Pentecost (remember they only counted the men) plus Mary, the Mother of Jesus, Mary, Mary Magdalene and Martha. As chapter 2 unfolds we discover that when the Holy Spirit descended and sat upon each one of them “AND they were ALL Filled AND began to Speak in Other Tongues” as the Holy Spirit gave them uttereance. ALL of them.
In all 5 accounts of the baptism with the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts the accompanying sign was that they spoke with Other Tongues. That includes the experience of Paul on the road to Damascus.
Although the account in Acts doesn’t directly say that Paul spoke with tongues when Cornelius laid hands on him to receive the Holy Spirit, we can deduce that it did occour. Because, in the first letter of Paul to the church in Corinth, who had been using the Gifts of the Spirit to excess, Paul comments on their abuse of their use of Tongues when he states: “I Thank My God I Speak with Tongues, More than all of you.” ICorinthians 14:18.
My response to someone who says that “I don’t NEED Tongues to be a good Christian!” (beyond the temptation to laugh) is to agree. The truth is that there are plenty of non-Christians who leed good lives (in some cases even better than some Christians I’ve met). But, I would have to ask that person: “are you better than Peter, James, John, Mary the Mother, Mary Magdalene and even Paul?”
I would then go deeper into the reasons why a Christian cannot live the fulness of their life, In Christ, without this subsequent experience. Why they cannot receive the revealed knowledge God has for them within his word. But, most important of all, is the importance of the enabling to live the Christian life that can ONLY come once the believer has received and experienced this very special gift from God. Over the following weeks these are areas we will investigate further.
I’ve lived with the baptism in the Holy Spirit for 43 years. I was Born Again as a child and was confirmed and baptised in the Holy Ghost at Age 9. Unfortunately it took another 8 years for me to hear that the Holy Spirit was still manifesting himself with the gift of Other Tongues. I had heard about this during the week and on Sunday, after receiving Holy Communion, I returned to my seat and prayed a very simple prayer: “God, if it’s real, I’ll have it!” with that I began to speak (quietly,at the level of a murmur) in a language that I had never learned. It sounded like something you might make up, yourself. to my mind it was gibberish. BUT God had answered my heartfelt prayer.
From that point in my life things took a different direction. It is only by looking back that I can see that I attained a level of confidence that I had not experienced before; slight as it was, I began to engage with the world around me in a more determined way.
It was 2 years later that I encountered a group of Christians witnessing in the main city street and after accepting their invitation to go to their coffee-shop meeting, that I was able to go forward, at the invitation, to experience a fulness of that experience that I had been missing out on for the previous 10 years.
It was an infilling so great that the person who had stood by me saw my whole body shake, yet I stood up strong and tall. All I knew was that I was flooded in the most amazing, brilliant white light, It was like I was enveloped in a fire; but safe and secure; a comforting warmth; and that the language that I had experienced in short, but effective ‘dribbles’ had become a flowing torrent. It wasn’t a matter that I couldn’t stop. It was more a case of not wanting to stop. The toll of the darkness and pain of the previous years seemed to be shattered by the Joy that was flooding my entire being.
The point I make here is that, because I had required no-one to school me in the experience, no-one can take it away from me; I wasn’t just copying something I had seen, or heard. For me, this experience was and still is as real as the day that it happened.
So, Who is this Holy Spirit? He is God. He is Jesus come to reside within us, personally. He is the Spirit of Wisdom and so much more. Jesus told his disciples that “when He, the Spirit of Truth is come. He will lead and guide you into All the truth.” For this reason alone we need to ensure that we have and continue to yield ourselves to the promtings,instruction and direction of the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus descibed him to his disciples as:
Over the next few weeks we will look deeper into the role that this wonderful person of the Godhead plays in the life of the church and in the individual life of the believer.
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Audio And They Were All Filled
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