THE HOLY SPIRIT
Luke 11:11-13, “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
The Holy Spirit is a “good” and special gift from God, the greatest of all givers. How foolish we would be to think of our God, and His gifts, as any thing but good. James 1:16-18, “Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
A FAMILY GIFT
A gift is not something to be earned, but this gift is only for God’s children, those begotten or “born again” into the family of God. We read here “If a son shall ask” and “…shall your heavenly Father give…”
A REQUESTED GIFT
He does require this one thing of His children. The heavenly Father gladly gives the Holy Spirit to His own that ask Him in faith. Oh, no, this gift does not automatically become our’s at birth, or why would He say “ask?”
A NEEDED GIFT
How wonderfully our Father teaches us of our great need for the Holy Spirit, both in His precious Word, and in our experience. If we will give heed to His Word, and submit to His will, He will create in us a burning desire and almost unquenchable thirst that can only be satisfied by Him. It is a joy to consider the way He expresses the development of this craving or yearning in us, and the promises to answer it.
Isaiah 44:3, “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.” Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” John 7:37-39, “…If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
A CONTINUOUS SUPPLY
The preceding Scriptures promise for us from our Father, a supply that will never run out. In these we are also called to an aggressive attitude toward the Spirit’s provision rather than that of passiveness, or indifference. See also Revelation 22:17, and Isaiah 55:1-4. “Come unto me and Drink.” Let us keep on coming and drinking.
A PROMISED PERSON
Jesus, the Son of God, our elder brother, promised to send back from heaven another Person of the Trinity for our personal comfort. John 14:16-17, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
Before Pentecost, the Holy Spirit had been with our Lord’s disciples. He had come and gone from time to time upon Old Testament believers, but now Jesus was promising One, soon to come, that would be with them for ever.
A GIFT PRAYED FOR
Jesus Christ, our great high Priest, has risen from the dead, ascended on high, and is even on the right hand of the Father. He has prayed for us that we each accept all that the Father has given.
PROPHESIED ADVENT WITH SIGNS
Isaiah 28:9-12, “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing…”.
Mark 16:17, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.” “Tongues” as a sign or evidence of the Holy Spirit’s fulness is refused by the unbelief of many, as is “divers kings of tongues” as a “gift” of the Holy Spirit. Tongues also are misused by the fleshly zeal of many. Yet these do not change the fact of Scripture. Thank God! Consider God’s Word and believe.
We read in Acts 2:4, “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” This began as the Spirit gave utterance, and was to continue until He shall determine that knowledge shall vanish away, and tongues shall cease, I Cor. 13:8. Oh, yes, that day when we see Him face to face, and know even as we are known. Shall unbelief deny this supernatural act? How could these unlearned Galilaeans speak in about sixteen different discernable languages of the wonderful works of God? I suggest, what they said was understood.
Thank God, this gift was also to go to believing Gentiles. When Peter was speaking at the house of Cornelius the Gentile, Peter said, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Verses 44-46, “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.” Acts 11:17, “Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?”
In Acts 18:24-28, we read of a man named Apollos that was mightily used of God. He was “an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures, “yet evidently not filled with the Holy Spirit. He knew only the baptism of John. John preached the “baptism of repentance.” He had an effectual ministry to the Jews, before the out pouring of the Holy Spirit.
We read in Acts 19:1-7, Paul ministering to those at Ephesus who were believers that had been baptized and yet had not been filled. If you will read this with an open heart, you will see their receiving the Lord as their Savior and the receiving the gift of the Holy
Spirit as a separate experience. After they were baptized in the name of Jesus, they were filled with the Holy Spirit, spake with tongues, and prophesied. The children of God that are not filled with the Holy Spirit are not useless at all, but they are lacking part of what Jesus paid His precious life-blood for. Paul knew that they needed more. Paul admonishes those who are filled also, “be filled with the Spirit,” keep drinking and submit your life to His influence and control.