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August 2, 2017, 8:37 AM

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“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).

Dr. J. B. Chapman used to say that he got saved so that he could get sanctified wholly (A. F. Harper, Holiness and the High Country). His testimony was somewhat as follows, “As a young man I listened to holiness preaching. It sounded so good to me that I wanted to live that kind of life. I understood that I needed to be converted before I could become a candidate for sanctification. I therefore went to the altar to be saved, so that I could become a seeker for holiness.” Are not this preparation and this sequence the clear teaching of Peter’s message in Acts chapter 2? He had just come from the Upper Room, where he with others had been filled with the Holy Spirit. At the close of his first sermon, following this experience, Peter’s convicted listeners cried, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Peter knew the answer to that question. He knew that these men needed to find what he had found. He had followed Jesus for three years, but even these years of discipleship had not solved his own spiritual problems. To be clear, neither had seeing the risen Christ with his own eyes and speaking with Him on the shoreline. However, he had obeyed Jesus’ command to wait until the Holy Spirit came (Acts 1:4-5). Now things were different! The infilling of the Spirit made all the difference.

How could Peter’s hearers experience this same radiant, lifechanging relationship with God? Peter could only point them to the same route he had taken. “You must repent – and as an expression of it, be baptized in the name of Jesus – that you may have your sins forgiven; and then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” He goes on to declare that this experience is not limited to a few select individuals. Indeed, “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39). The promise, therefore, includes us – some 2,000 years later.

The question that remains for us is the same one Paul later asked a group of believers in the city of Ephesus: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” (Acts 19:2). Their response was, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Paul then placed his hands on them, prayed for them, and they were filled with the power of God’s Holy Spirit. What is our response today? Consider it: Are you completely filled to all the fulness of God’s Holy Spirit? (Eph. 3:14-21). Does God have complete sway over every area of your life? If not, like the Ephesian church, are you willing to invite His coming in His fullness and pray until you pray through?

Let us pray: O God, we desire to have a lively sense of your love always possessing every ounce of our hearts, continually urging us to love you, obey you, and trust you fully. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens

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