July 12, 2015

The Holy Spirit Is A Gift To You Of God The Father And God The Son. You Do Not Have To Earn It. Just Trust And Believe.

[source: Systematic Christianity]

There are two important points in this section. The first is that the Spirit is a gift, given freely. All that is necessary is for us to allow him in. The second point is that he is the gift of both God the Father and God the Son. Jesus promised that after his departure, he and God the Father would send the Holy Spirit to assist the apostles in their mission to spread the message of God. The Holy Spirit is also referred to as the Advocate or the Spirit of truth.

On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and exclaimed, "Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture says:

'Rivers of living water will flow from within him.'"

He said this in reference to the Spirit that those who came to believe in him were to receive. There was, of course, no Spirit yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified. (Jn 7:37-39)

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you." (Jn 14:16-17)

"When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning." (Jn 15:26-27)

And when he said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit." (Jn 20:22)

In John, the Holy Spirit is given to the apostles shortly after the resurrection. In Luke-Acts, the Holy Spirit was promised shortly after the resurrection, but is not actually given until fifty days after the resurrection, at the event that we call Pentecost. Both writers agree, however, about what the Spirit is, and what he represents.

You are witnesses of these things. And [behold] I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." (Lk 24:48-49)

In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for "the promise of the Father about which you have heard me seek; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the holy Spirit." ...

"But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:1-5,8)

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, "Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language?" (Acts 2:1-8)

The gift of the Holy Spirit did not end with the apostles. God continues to give out the Holy Spirit as the church grows in Acts.

While Peter was still speaking these things, the holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word. The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also, for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God. Then Peter responded, "Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people, who have received the holy Spirit even as we have?" (Acts 10:44-47)

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior of the country and came to Ephesus where he found some disciples. He said to them, "Did you receive the holy Spirit when you became believers?" They answered him, "We have never even heard that there is a holy Spirit." He said, "How were you baptized?" They replied, "With the baptism of John." Paul then said, "John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus." When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid [his] hands on them, the holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. Altogether there were about twelve men. (Acts 19:1-7)

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." (Acts 2:38)

"We are witnesses of these things, as is the holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him." [Peter is speaking] (Acts 5:32)

Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the holy Spirit.

When Simon saw that the Spirit was conferred by the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money and said, "Give me this power too, so that anyone upon whom I lay my hands may receive the holy Spirit." But Peter said to him, "May your money perish with you, because you thought that you could buy the gift of God with money. You have no share or lot in this matter, for your heart is not upright before God. Repent of this wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord that, if possible, your intention may be forgiven. For I see that you are filled with bitter gall and are in the bonds of iniquity." Simon said in reply, "Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me." So when they had testified and proclaimed the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem and preached the good news to many Samaritan villages. (Acts 8:14-25)

"As I [Peter] began to speak, the holy Spirit fell upon them as it had upon us at the beginning, and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, 'John baptized with water but you will be baptized with the holy Spirit.'" (Acts 11:15-16)

And God, who knows the heart, bore witness by granting them the holy Spirit just as he did us. (Acts 15:8)

The Holy Spirit is a gift of God to you, not just some long-dead prophets, or some far-off saints.

When you feel that you are not up to the task of living the faith, God will give you what you need, if you but ask and allow him to guide you. What you need is the Spirit, who will fill you from within, to make you strong and bring you home.

When you feel empty, ask for the Holy Spirit, and he will fill you.

When you lose sight of truth, ask for the Holy Spirit, and he will guide you.

When you are weak and afraid, ask for the Holy Spirit, and he will give you power.

It is commonly said that God is too distant, too other-worldly for us to be near him. He has shown us that this is not the case. He loves you so, and desires you so, that he fills you from the inside and gives you true life.

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