SBS Sermon Notes

SBS     Sermon Notes     Note 02/03

Receiving the Holy Spirit

1. Analysis

Multitudes of believers all over the earth are concerned about their lack of the Holy Spirit. This secret 'concern' may be analysed as follows: In short, a constant yearning for more of the Holy Spirit is either a sign of healthy spiritual growth or it is a sign of raging doubt. Believers must examine themselves regularly to see to which category they belong. The Bible is the best tool for doing this.

2. Divine Assurances

Yahweh's eagerness to give
Luke 11:13 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?
Yahweh's guarantee to give
1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
15: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

Measured giving
John 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God:
for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.

3. Spiritual Conditions

The Most High is happy to give His Spirit to believers: but certain mandatory conditions apply.
Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
Right motives
James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
4: Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Hebrews 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

4. Know the Differences

It is essential to differentiate between the following: Great confusion will result if these differences are not understood. To begin with, all true believers are given the Holy Spirit in proportion to their faith and obedience - and according to Yahweh's will, not ours. Second, Yahweh distributes spiritual gifts to every believer according to His own will and for the benefit of the whole church. Third, all believers are expected subsequently to produce spiritual fruit. Finally, every believer will be baptised (totally immersed and absolutely purified) in the Holy Spirit before we enter the Kingdom of Heaven - yes every believer. (See Lesson 20.)

5. Evidence of the Holy Spirit

Just as surely as a tree's identity can be determined by its fruit, in the same way the presence (and measure) of the Holy Spirit in a believer can be known by his/her spiritual performance - the character. The more of the Spirit a believer possesses, the holier will that person be. To be full of the Spirit means to be an extremely holy person. "By their fruits ye shall know them."
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23: Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Ephesians 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
10: Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
11: And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12: For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

6. Promise of the Early and Latter Rain

The Holy Spirit is as essential to spiritual growth as water and sunlight are to a plant. Yahweh, the heavenly gardener, is growing a spiritual crop. The good seed (Truth) has been and still is being sown in the minds of men and women. Without the power and presence of the Holy Spirit no spiritual growth is possible. Agricultural harvests are simply given to mankind to illustrate the great spiritual lessons and realities the Most High is seeking to teach the human race. We are His vineyard, His harvest, His sheep. The whole spectrum of natural activity was ordained to teach spiritual lessons. Failure to learn those spiritual lessons is one of the tragedies of unbelieving 'nature lovers' of the world. Faith and obedience on the other hand will be blessed by God with natural and spiritual bounty.
Deuteronomy 11:13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,
14: That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.

Joel Chapter 2 Provides invaluable lessons about spiritual rain.
v 23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
v 24 And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.
25: And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.
26: And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.
v 27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.
v 28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

v 30 "I will show signs and wonders in the heavens and upon the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes."
(Isa.13:6, 9-11; 24:21-23; Eze.32:7-10; Matt.24:29; Rev.6:12-17)
v 32 "And whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be delivered."
This promise has been partially fulfilled. Read Acts 2:17-21 where the Apostle Peter quotes from Joel. But if you study Joel carefully you will see that we are still awaiting several events (blood and fire and pillars of smoke etc) which are to come. Yes, we are awaiting the full and bounteous downpour known as the latter rain.

7. Ask for the Latter Rain

Zecheriah 10:1 Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain;
so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.
Our present need and duty as believers living in the time of the latter rain, at the time when the main harvest of humanity is about to be gathered, is to: As promised in Deuteronomy 11:13-14,
"If you diligently heed my commandments ... I will give the rain in its season, the early rain and the latter rain that you may gather in your grain, your new wine and your oil."

Are you willing to meet those twin conditions of faith and obedience before you too ask for the latter rain? Failure to do so is a form of self-delusion and a tragic loss for the church.

For more information about the Holy Spirit see ...

SBS     Sermon Notes

Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
June 1999