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Bible Study Eight: Receiving the Holy Spirit

When you consider the various subjects that Jesus spoke about, the one upon which He spoke most largely was how we are to receive the Holy Spirit to live a new life.

1. When do we first receive the Holy Spirit? Acts 2:38

Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins [or the forgiveness of sins], and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38.

When we give our sins to Jesus, we not only receive the forgiveness of our sins, but we also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. God gives us something for our sins, He gives us the Holy Spirit to live a new life. When we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit we receive a new heart, new motives, and new purposes. The evidence of a new heart is a changed life.

2. How do I receive the Holy Spirit every day? Acts 1:8

“But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8

We shall receive the Holy Spirit proportional to our desire to be like Jesus, and our willingness to be used in God’s service. In the above verse, they were to receive more of the Holy Spirit as a result of witnessing for Christ. The more we are willing to be a blessing to others, the more we will receive of His Spirit. However, if we are going to hide our light under a bushel, then why be empowered?

Jesus said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6. What will they be filled with? They will be filled with the Holy Spirit.

If we hunger and thirst to be like Jesus, then we shall be filled with the Holy Spirit. However, if I only want to be a little like Jesus, then I will only have a little bit of the Holy Spirit. But if I want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, then I will proportionally receive more of the Holy Spirit.

The purpose of receiving the Holy Spirit is to be like Jesus and to share Jesus. It is not enough just to desire to be like Jesus. We must exercise our faith and cooperate with heavenly agencies to be like Jesus.

Do you sense a daily need for Jesus? When you wake up in the morning, do you sense your need for Him? Is it your desire to be like Him? If you sense your need and chose to be like Him, then you will receive power from above. But if you have no desire to be like Jesus, and you exercise no faith to be like Jesus, then why be empowered?

3. How would I know if I desire Jesus? 1 John 1:1, 2

We can answer that question with another question, namely, “Who has your highest thoughts?” If our highest thoughts are of Jesus, then we desire Him. But if sports and entertainment personalities have our highest thoughts, then Jesus is not the One we desire most. If Jesus does not have our highest thoughts, then we will not be exercising our faith to be like Him.

What is our greatest need? We need a movement of people who know that they both need and want Jesus. They realize their helplessness. Every morning they reach out to Him asking for strength. Daily they spend time contemplating His altogether beautiful life.

John wrote, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have looked upon [meaning, they couldn’t take their eyes off of Jesus], and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.” 1 John 1:1.

Why did the disciples keep looking at Jesus? Why is it that they could not take their eyes off of Him? The next verse reads, “For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.” 1 John 1:2.

The disciples kept watching Jesus because He manifested “life” to them. What kind of “life”? Jesus manifested “that eternal life, which was with the Father.”

Think about this. The disciples kept watching Jesus because they saw something they had never seen before. They saw “the life.” They saw what “eternal life” is all about. They had never seen “life” before. Of course, they saw people going to and fro. But in our fallen world we mostly see death, not life.

Lying, selfishness, stealing, crude jesting, immorality, and such, is not life. It is death. When people watch worldly television they are watching death, not life.

If we want to know what life is all about, we have to behold Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the LIFE. See John 14:6. When we are together as a body of believers we should be talking about life; those things that are eternal.

If you want the Holy Spirit you must desire life, and this life is in Jesus. Consider these words of John, “He that hath the Son hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” 1 John 5:12.

Do you want life? Then you need Jesus. Do you want the Holy Spirit? Then you need Jesus. The Bible says, we have “all things that pertain unto LIFE and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” 2 Peter 1:3.

The more we know about Jesus, the more we know about life. The more we know about the life of Jesus, the more we will love Him. Therefore, step one in receiving the Holy Spirit is to receive Jesus as your life. And step two in receiving the Holy Spirit is for witnessing.

4. What is the work of the Holy Spirit? John 16:14

Jesus said, “He [the Holy Spirit] shall glorify Me; for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” John 16:14

The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ by pointing us to Christ. As His work “He will reprove [literally, “convince”] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” John 16:8. In convincing us of sin, He convinces us of our need of a Savior. In convincing us of righteousness, He convinces us to be like Jesus. In convincing us of judgment, He convinces us to daily receive power from above to overcome sin.

5. What will the Holy Spirit use to guide us to Jesus? John 16:13

Jesus said, “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come.” John 16:13

The Holy Spirit speaks (1 Timothy 4:1); teaches (1 Corinthians 2:3); bears witness (Romans 8:16); makes intercession (Romans 8:26); distributes the gifts (1 Corinthians 12:11); and invites the sinner (Revelation 22:17). In all of this, the Holy Spirit uses truth, and only truth. He is known as the “Spirit of truth.” John 14:17. And He will testify of Jesus who is the truth.

6. What will happen to us if we allow the Holy Spirit to do His perfect work in us? Galatians 5:22, 23

Paul wrote, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Galatians 5:22, 23. The fruit of the Spirit is all found in the life of Jesus. As we become more like Jesus through the work of the Holy Spirit, we will become more loving, gentle, and meek. In fact, we shall receive all the fruit of the Spirit, which is found in the life of Christ.

We are told that “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:5

7. What brings about unity amongst believers? Ephesians 4:3

Paul wrote, “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3. If we allow the Holy Spirit to do His perfect work inside of each one of us, then the Jesus in me meets the Jesus in you, and we now have the “unity of the Spirit.”

Paul wrote, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13. The “unity of the faith” is based on our experiential “knowledge of the Son of God” through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Paul wrote, “Now there are diversities of gifts; but the same Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:4. Within the church, there are various gifts and talents. The Holy Spirit brings us together in one body to work together. As we work together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we come together in greater unity.

A dying church is one where the members make no effort to be like Jesus or to share Jesus. But a Spirit-filled church is one where we help and encourage one another to be like Jesus and to share Jesus. For that to happen, each one of us needs to personally choose to be like Jesus and to share Jesus.

8. What will happen when enough people choose to be like Jesus and to share Jesus?

John wrote, “After these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with His glory.” Revelation 18:1. At the time of Pentecost, the followers of Christ received the early rain. In these last days, we shall receive the latter rain of the Holy Spirit. Concerning Pentecost, Jesus said, “Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. . . and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:5, 8. The result of this outpouring of the Spirit was the conversion of three thousand souls. See Acts 2:37-41. The disciples performed many miracles. See Acts 5:12-14.

God promises to pour His Spirit “in the last days.” See Acts 2:14-18 (Joel 2:28, 29). In Palestine, the early rain prepared the soil to receive the precious seed to bring forth life. The latter rain is at the end of the growing season, and it is to bring the precious wheat to perfection. Hence, the latter rain of the Holy Spirit is to conform us into the altogether beautiful image of Jesus. In reflecting His character, we shall go forth enlightening the earth with the truths of God’s Word. Then the end shall come.

In conclusion, I want to encourage all of us to find a time and place to communion with Jesus each and every day. Be specific. Will you communion with Him and study His life in the living room at 6:00 in the morning? Or will you pick another time and place? Be specific. Remember, you are finding a time and place to study what life is all about. Without a knowledge of Jesus, we do not know what life is, for He is “the life.” Do not procrastinate on this issue. Rather, grasp hold of Christ and learn of Him each and every day.

Second, write down the names of people that you know and begin to pray for them. This could include the person who cuts your hair, the person at the checkout counter at the store, whoever it may be, write down their name and pray for them. Ask God to open a door whereby you may have an opportunity to mingle with them as one who desires their good. If you do this consistently, God will open up doors of opportunity to share His love.

As we daily spend time with Jesus, we will hunger and thirst even more for Him. As a result, we shall progressively become like Him. In all of this, we are preparing ourselves for the soon return of our Lord.