“For the promise is to you and your children” Acts 2:39
- Sects and cults and their spiritual experiences
- Before the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
- The promise of the Spirit to every believer
- Receive the Holy Spirit
- The day of Pentecost
- They began to speak with other tongues
- How the Holy Spirit is received
- The Samaritans
- The Gentiles
- The Jews at Ephesus
- The evidence today that shows a person has been baptized by the Holy Spirit
- The baptism of the Holy Spirit, leads only to the person of Christ through the teaching of the apostles
- The gifts of the Holy Spirit
This booklet will show the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing forth the building of the Church of God. God’s people are the Church of God, and the bride for His Son. The work of the Holy Spirit is to reveal Christ in the Church Age. The Age of Grace, which has been a reality for the last 2000 years, will be shown as it is revealed in Scripture. Also some various mirages of spirit power will be shown in the first chapter.
Scriptural truths presented herein may seem strange to those who have followed spiritual experiences without the whole counsel of God and the fullness of the knowledge of Christ.
The work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament is not shown: the primary in this booklet is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to form the Church. The Holy Spirit has worked and does work with the believer in 3 ways. The Scofield Reference Bible shows these as “with,” “in,” and “upon” (John 14:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Acts 1:8). “With,” shows God working with man’s soul, to convince him of sin (John 16:9). “In,” describes the Spirit abiding in the believers body (1 Corinthians 6:19). “Upon,” is used with the Holy Spirit’s relationship to the Lord Jesus (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10). It is also used for believers in a special work of the Spirit (Luke 1:35; Acts 1:8; 2:17; 1 Peter 4:14). It is primarily seen in the Old Testament and in the gospels before the Baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred.
1. Sects and cults and their spiritual experiences
Spiritual experiences can be found in just about any religious body. They all have one thing in common; all are convinced their experiences came from God. Some of the phenomena that happen among these groups are clearly supernatural.
For example, in the Philippines, there are people who are called, ‘the Philippine Healers;’ they claim they are “born again.” They are said to reach into a person’s body with only their hand and take out a tumor in the stomach, liver, knee or any other place in the body. The testimonies of people who have gone there for treatment claim it is true.
Several years ago, Jean Dixon, a Roman Catholic, who went to mass daily, was given a crystal ball at a young age; she looked into it and said she could see supernatural events of the future. She said the power to do so came from God. Some healers in Mexico, perform operations by cutting open a person’s body without sedatives or anesthesia, and no pain is felt. The Readers Digest a few years ago reported on a man (Argo) in Brazil who would plunge a knife into a person’s body and take out a growth. The person is said to have felt nothing, and was reported to be healed afterword.
Benny Hinn also performs supernatural feats of knocking people over from many feet away from himself (Hindu mystics have done this for centuries). He said the power is from God and he gets this power by going to the graves of Kathryn Kulman and Aimee McPherson and dancing on their graves. (Going to the dead to get spirit power is called necromancy, it is forbidden in the word of God, Leviticus 20:27; 1 Samuel 28:7-21).
The appearance of aberrations by the Roman Catholic Mary, over many decades, and seen by multitudes is a fact. Many healings have been reported and attributed to her; all who believe in her are convinced that it is from God. Some in the Charismatic movement roll on the floor and make animal sounds in their meetings. The Pentecostal and Charismatic sects speak in tongues and are convinced that it is from God. Many Pentecostals in the Southeast throw poisonous snakes around in their church to show that what they believe, is God’s Spirit power at work (many are bitten). The Mormons can only authenticate truth on the basis of whether they receive the experience of the burning bosom. Some in holistic medicine practice the laying on of hands for healing, with results.
Some of these phenomena can be found in the Bible. These devotees claim it is God’s Spirit and power that has performed these things.
In the next few chapters we will examine what Scripture teaches concerning the work of God, through the Holy Spirit.
2. Before the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
John the Baptist was sent by God to bring Israel to repentance. He preached the gospel of repentance, and prepared the way of the Lord, Christ (Mark 1:2). Those who received his message, were baptized in water as an outward testimony of their inward repentance.
John told the people of the Messiah’s coming and of two events in His coming. The first was, John had been preaching to them of judgment, a judgment of fire that was going to come upon them (Matthew 3:10). The second event was that Messiah would baptize with the Holy Spirit. John prophesied, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier that I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). John’s message is concluded by telling them that they will suffer this baptism of fire if they do not repent (Matthew 3:12).
It is safe to say that none understood the baptism of the Holy Spirit that would come at Pentecost (Acts 2:4). But all understood the baptism of fire, the judgment that would come upon them. Israel had experienced the judgment of God many times in their history. When believers and unbelievers are present John prophesies of their future, He tells them they will be baptized by the Holy Spirit and by fire (Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16). When only believers are present he only prophesies of the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:5, 8).
Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews came to Jesus by night to learn from Him. He acknowledged by the works that Jesus did, that God was with Him. However, Jesus said to Him that a person must be born again to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:2-3). He then told Nicodemus; unless one is born of the water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Also, that which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of Spirit is spirit (John 3:5-6). Nicodemus did not understand and asked how it was possible. “Jesus answered him and said to him, are you the teacher of Israel, and you do not know these things?” (John 3:10).
Jesus was emphatic; Nicodemus should have known what it meant to be born of the water and of the Spirit. The water was not Christian baptism as some suppose, as the Church had not been formed yet, nor was Jesus teaching about the Church. Jesus was teaching concerning the kingdom of God, mainly that it cannot be apprehend by the natural man (Luke 17:20). Man must have a new nature from what he was born with, a nature that believes God. Rebirth is a reality of new life in any age past or present, it is seen when a person believes and receives every word of God (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4). When he is born again, the cleansing power of the water, the word of God brings him into the kingdom of God, where the Spirit through rebirth can direct his heart.
Nicodemus should have known the truth presented in Ezekiel 36:25-29. Being born again was not new or unknown to the Old Testament saints. Jesus later said of this eternal truth, “It is the Spirit who gives life: the flesh profits nothing …” (John 6:63). This has been true from the time of Adam’s transgression, which brought estrangement from God.
Every person who becomes a saint of God is born anew in every age. This new nature, man has always acquired by faith through receiving God’s word (the water). God’s Spirit is directly integrated with His word; the receiving of the One, is the receiving of the other (Luke 9:48; John 1:1; 5:24). Nicodemus followed the Law of Moses, likely with good intent. However, the Law of Moses can not produce a good conscience or spiritual life; it only produces condemnation and death (2 Corinthians 3:7, 9).
b. The promise of the Spirit to be in every believer
Jesus had walked and lived with His disciples for 3 years. Now, suffering, the cross and the grave were before Him. He must leave His disciples; He tells them He will not leave them without a divine leader (John 16:7). He tells them that like Himself, the Comforter whom He will send, will lead them into all truth (John 16:13). The Comforter, the Holy Spirit will hear and speak of things to come. He will not call attention to Himself, nor lead anyone to glorify Himself, He will only speak those things that glorify the Son (John 16:13). The things that are God’s are also the Son’s, He will show them to His disciples (John 16:14-15).
He promised that this Comforter would abide with them forever (John 14:1). Also, in that future day, He said the one who loved Him, would keep his words. His Father would love that person, and both the Father and the Son would come to him to make their abode with him (John 14:23).
Jesus told His disciples of a day and time when the Holy Spirit who was with them, would also come to live in them, forever (John 14:16-17). He spoke of the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit would come and live in His disciples, and everyone after whom the Father has given to the Son (John 6:37; 17:20-21).
c. Receive the Holy Spirit
After Jesus had risen from the grave, He appeared to His disciples. It was yet 50 days till the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The disciples had all forsook Him (Matthew 26:56), and no doubt were still in fear. The first words Jesus said to them were “Peace be with you” (John 20:19).
Again the second time He said to them, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). They had deserted Him at the cross in fear; it is not likely they would be able to carry out any work of the kingdom in their present condition. However, He did not intend for them to be inactive or unfruitful till Pentecost. They were His chosen ones, and would bring the gospel to Israel, then the world. On the day of Pentecost, they would receive power as John had prophesied, until then, Jesus breathed on them the Holy Spirit (John 20:22). In so doing they received what they needed, authority from the Spirit of God to perform the work of the gospel. After He breathed on them, He told them, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:23). They had authority from the Spirit to do kingdom work, but they still did not have the indwelling of the Spirit.
When they preached Christ, if any believed they could tell them their sins are forgiven them. If any refused the gospel, they could tell them their sins were retained. Because they had not believed on God’s only begotten Son (John 3:36).
Jesus breathing the Spirit on His disciples would give them what they needed for service until they received the indwelling Spirit at Pentecost. Then the fullness of the Spirit with power would be with them and in them. All their labor, in the work of Christ would be by the working of the Holy Spirit in them.
3. The day of Pentecost
Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection over many days. He told them to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father, the giving of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). He told them they would receive power, when the Holy Spirit came upon them and baptized them.
Fifty days after the Jews’ Feast of Firstfruits, at the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), (Leviticus 23:15-22), the Holy Spirit was given (Acts 2:1-4). The Comforter had come. This Baptism of the Holy Spirit was totally unique, because the Church of God was formed on that day. Everyone who was baptized by the Holy Spirit was baptized into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). They were no longer Old Testament saints; they had become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). They were the firstborn of an entirely new work of God (James 1:18).
The Church, the body of Christ, was unknown to the Jews. It had not been revealed in ages past, it was a mystery of God (Ephesians 3:3). This new work and revelation of God brought the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit into everyone who believed in Jesus Christ (John 14:16; Hebrews 13:5). It was a work of God then and today, given to every person who receives Jesus Christ; they are born of God into son-ship (John 1:12-13). A person baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ is a Christian. He is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, if he is not indwelt by the Holy Spirit; he is not a Christian, “… But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, He does not belong to Him” (Romans 8:9). Whatever doctrine he holds, true or not, means nothing if he does not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
On the day of Pentecost Jew and Gentile became one new man in Christ (Ephesians 2:11-22). To a Jew following Judaism, this was unthinkable. However, the baptism of the Holy Spirit made a way for Jews and Gentiles to become sons of God and be complete in the kingdom of God (Galatians 3:26-29).
a. They began to speak with other tongues
On the day of Pentecost, the Jews from all over the Roman Empire were gathered in Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Weeks (Leviticus 23:15-22). Acts 2:9-10 lists at least 18 distinct people groups and possible languages that were spoken by those who came. When the disciples were baptized by the Holy Spirit, they were filled with the Spirit, given power to speak languages they had not studied or known.
William McDonald gives a clear meaning to the event of the tongues, that were as of fire on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:3). “It was not gibberish or ecstatic utterances but definite languages then in use in other parts of the world. The gift of tongues was one of the signs or wonders which God used to bear witness to the message which the apostles preached” (Acts 2:3-4; Hebrews 2:3-4, Believer’s Commentary).
The Jews had killed their promised Messiah, they were bent on doing the same to His followers (Acts 7:54-60; 8:1-4; 9:1-2). God did a supernatural work to establish once and for all that Jesus was the true Messiah. When they heard in their own language, the wonderful works of God, they were amazed, and asked what it meant. Peter stood up and told them what these things meant (Acts 2:22-36). (God has always used the supernatural to establish a work or a new work that He is doing on the earth, Genesis 7; 12:14-20; 22:1-4; Exodus 3:1-12; Matthew 27:50-53; 28:17, 9-10; Luke 1:5-79; 2:8-14, 25-35; John 20:19-20, 24-29).
The tongues were undisputable evidence to the work of the Spirit of God. More will be discussed on this subject in later chapters.
Peter spoke to Joel’s prophecy in connection as to what was happening. He used the events prophesied in Joel as a foretaste of God’s Spirit and work to all who would believe in Jesus Christ as Israel’s Messiah. He did not say that the events were a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. Joel’s prophecy was predicted to take place at “the great and awesome day of the Lord” (Joel 2:30-31). Many of the events in Joel’s prophecy did not take place at Pentecost. This prophecy will be fulfilled in completeness prior to and in the 1000 year reign of Christ.
b. How the Holy Spirit is received
The book of Acts shows us 4 people groups who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They are the Jews residing in Israel, the Samaritans, the Gentiles and the Jews and Jewish proselytes (Gentiles) who were baptized by John the Baptist for repentance (Acts 19:1-7). John the Baptist’s ministry imparted nothing of the Holy Spirit, it only pointed to the Messiah to come. Those baptized by John were not a part of the Church; they were Old Testament saints without the indwelling Spirit.
These 4 people groups were representative of all people on the earth at that time. They show that God has opened up His kingdom to all people on the earth. The kingdom of God is for all who receive Jesus Christ by being baptized into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). Paul preached at Antioch, that all men are justified before God by faith in Jesus Christ. In Galatians 3:1-5 the Holy Spirit uses Paul to make clear that the Holy Spirit comes into every believer by faith alone. The miracle of God indwelling the believer is without any physical works on man’s part. It is the reception of a person’s heart in receiving Jesus Christ (John 1:12-13; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). No person had been baptized by the Holy Spirit before the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost. The Spirit’s work, through indwelling the believer, is to recreate him into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). A believer no longer lives by a set of rules or by his works, but lives by the leading of the Holy Spirit living within him (Romans 8:14).
4. The Samaritans
The Samaritans were considered by the Jews to be the same as the Gentiles, dogs. Jesus referred to them as dogs as well (Mark 7:24-30). Why were they looked on by the Jews as such, because they were without the knowledge of the true God (John 4:22).
After the Church was well established in Jerusalem, persecution scattered the Church all over the Roman Empire. Philip went to the city of Samaria, there he preached Christ to them, doing many miracles among them (Acts 8:5-8). Seeing the work of God, they received the gospel of Christ with great joy.
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the Samaritans had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them (Acts 8:14). When Peter and John arrived, they found that the Samaritans had indeed received the word of God and were water baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. But they had not yet received or been baptized by the Holy Spirit. Up to this point they were followers of the Messiah without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They were in the same place as the disciples and apostles before Pentecost.
Then the apostles Peter and John used what Jesus had given to Peter, the keys of the kingdom (Matthew 16:19), (Peter being representative of all the apostles). “Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:17). The kingdom of Christ had now been opened up to the Samaritans, (the Samaritans were thought of as a mixture of Jew and Gentile because of the Assyrian conquest centuries before). No mention or record of them speaking in tongues is shown when they were baptized by the Holy Spirit.
The Samaritans received the Holy Spirit which brought them fully and completely into the Church, the body of Christ. They had now become one new man with the Jewish Christians in the kingdom of God (Ephesians 2:15-18). To the Jewish mind this was unthinkable, but with God all things are possible and done for His kingdom and His Glory (Isaiah 42:8; Ephesians 1:14-17).
When the apostles left the city of Samaria, for Jerusalem, they preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans. The keys of the kingdom of God had now opened the door, for all Samaritans to enter in.
5. The Gentiles
The Gentiles were another people group that had neither part nor lot with God’s special people Israel (Romans 9:4-5). They were unclean, outside of the privileged place that God had given to Israel. This knowledge every Israelite held. However, in every age there were Gentiles who believed in the God of all the earth (Genesis 14:18-20; Job 1:1; Daniel 4:34-37; Acts 10:1-2).
Later, after Pentecost, Peter was in Joppa staying at Simon the tanner’s house. While there, Peter went up on the roof to pray, and became hungry. He fell into a trance; he then saw heaven open and a great sheet lowered down with unclean animals in it (unclean according to Noah’s day and the Law of Moses). He heard a voice say, “Rise, Peter kill and eat.” Peter said, “I have never eaten anything common or unclean. And a voice spoke to him again the second time, what God has cleaned you must not call common” (Acts 10:14-15). This was done 3 times, then the sheet was taken up into heaven (Acts 10:16).
Earlier, God had given a vision to Cornelius in Caesarea. Cornelius, a Gentile, and a Roman Centurion; “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household…” (Acts 10:2). In the vision he saw an angel who told him to send men to Joppa where Peter resided, Cornelius did as the angel instructed. The men he sent arrived at Joppa.
While Peter was wondering what the vision he received meant, the Spirit told him 3 men are seeking you. “…Go with them doubting nothing, for I have sent them.” Peter went with them back to Cornelius’s house. The vision Peter received of the unclean animals revealed to him that God receives all men who fear Him and work righteousness. Then Peter preached the gospel to them and the Holy Spirit fell on all of them while he was still speaking (Acts 10:44). The Jewish brethren who came with Peter were amazed that the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles (Acts 10:45).
As evidence to the Jew’s at Pentecost, the disciples spoke in tongues in known languages (Acts 2:6; 11:6), just as the evidence of tongues was seen by the Jewish brethren with Peter. These brethren with Peter, would be witnesses (Matthew 18:16; 2 Corinthians 13:1), to the whole Church, that the Gentiles had also received the Holy Spirit. Peter upon seeing the evidence of the Spirit come on them, commanded that they be water baptized.
These Gentiles were representative of all Gentiles in the world, having been given access into the kingdom of Christ (Acts 11:18). From that time on, God would baptize all Gentiles with the Holy Spirit who would come to faith in His Son. God would see all Gentiles from that point on as being, “in Christ” or not in Christ. Those Gentiles baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ, were the same as the Jews at Pentecost, “complete in Christ” (Colossians 2:10).
6. The Jews at Ephesus
When Paul was traveling in Ephesus, he found some disciples (of John the Baptist) (Acts 19:1). He asked them if they had received the Spirit when they believed. They said, they did not know there was a Holy Spirit (verse 2). Asked what baptism they were baptized into, they said John the Baptist’s, baptism. Paul explained that John’s baptism, was the forerunner for the Messiah to come, Christ Jesus.
When they heard that, they were water baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. At this point they were still Old Testament saints who believed in the Messiah. “And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied” (verse 6).
These 12 men are seen as Old Testament saints who had faith. No Old Testament saint was baptized by the Holy Spirit, which included being placed into the body of Christ. They like John the Baptist, were not a part of the bride of Christ, but friends of the bride (John 3:27-29). When they were baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ they were incorporated into being the bride of Christ (Revelation 19:7-9; 21:9).
These also spoke with tongues and prophesied (Acts 19:6). This gave evidence to the Holy Spirit’s work, and of the promise of God, that it was not just for the Jews in Israel. Peter had spoken by the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, “For the promise of God is to you and your children and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39).
These 12 Jewish men (part of the dispersion) appear to be representative of all Jews living in abstention throughout the Roman Empire. The same as the Gentiles in Cornelius’s house were representative of Gentiles everywhere (Acts 11:18). (The number 12 in Scripture is God’s number for representative government). These Jews were part of Peter’s declaration on the day of Pentecost, “… all who are afar off” (Acts 2:39). They received the promise, alone with all other Jews living in abstention who believed in Jesus as the Christ, and were included to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Today, in the Dispensation of the Grace of God, all people who believe from the heart (Romans 10:9-10), in Jesus Christ are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (however, all do not walk in the Spirit, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). All who believe He was the only Begotten Son of the Father (John 1:14), and God the Son (John 1:1) are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27; Galatians 3:1-5). What God has done through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit leaves no room for sectarianism, denominationalism, independence, or any other attempt to divide the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:1-4).
Today, in this Age of Grace, the Spirit of God has shown us that God sees only 3 divisions of man on the earth. They are the Jews, the Greeks (Gentiles) and the Church of God (1 Corinthians 10:32). All people on the earth fall into the category of one of these 3 groups.
7. The evidence today that shows a person has been baptized by the Holy Spirit
Jesus did not leave His saints without the Comforter or spiritual discernment. Every Christian has the Spirit, and is able to believe God in what He has told us (Acts 27:25).
Every Christian has been baptized by the Holy Spirit with the purpose, of conforming that person into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). This is the work of the Holy Spirit; it is done two ways, as a singular work, and a corporate work. We will look at the singular first.
God has made man a spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). He was made in God’s image, with God’s design of the spirit giving direction to man’s total being. Therefore the spiritual is intended to be an inward director or leader of his person. However, today most religions are not God given; they come from the religious desires and ideas of man’s soul, not from the Holy Spirit or God’s revelation in Scripture. God only has One truth to offer man, His Son. He is shown throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament, and revealed to the believer by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13-15).
If a believer is walking in faith to God’s revealed truth, Jesus Christ, without reservation, he is being led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14). The evidence of his faith is seen as he believes (follows) every word of God (Matthew 4:4). The Apostle John shows the position of the believer, through following only Jesus Christ, through the love of God, “…as He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17).
Jesus was clear, “… If anyone loves Me he will keep My word…” (John 14:23). Those who are religious but not baptized by the Holy Spirit are seen in His next words, “He who does not love Me does not keep My words” (John 14:24).
The Apostle Paul speaks to the difference between those who have been baptized by the Holy Spirit and those who have not. “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Romans 8:9).
The person, who is indwelt by the Spirit walks after the Spirit, the evidence being that he follows every word of God. Even before the Church Age, Jesus pointed out the difference to the Jews (and all people), between those who are just religious and those who walk in response to God’s Word, “He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God” (John 8:47).
When a person has been baptized by the Spirit, that person receives spiritual hearing. Following God’s words is the normal course for those that are His; through Spirit baptism, they are now no longer spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14), or unresponsive (John 8:12). They are the sheep of Christ with only an ear for the Chief Shepherd’s voice. This is shown to us by the Apostle John. “We are of God. He who knows God hears us (the apostles), he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:6). The Holy Spirit tells us here, that those who cannot hear to follow the Doctrine of Christ as taught by the apostles are not of God.
Religious spirits were at work in John’s day, just as they are today bringing in the spirit of error. Those indwelt by the Spirit of God can hear and follow the truths of the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit teaches us that the words of the apostles are the very words of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13; Revelation 1:9-11).
John also makes it clear that those who have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit, abide in God (1 John 4:13). The fruit of the Holy Spirit (“…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” Galatians 5:22-24), is seen in them. After hearing, comes receiving then following the Spirit’s leading into developmental truth. In other words, receiving the commands of Jesus Christ to do them (not the Law of Moses) is a normal course for a person led by the Spirit. For a person not indwelt by God’s Spirit, His commands and words are very grievous [religious flesh will always change or reject by practice God’s words]. Because those not indwelt by the Spirit are not interested in crucifying the flesh (Galatians 5:24), and living after the Spirit (Romans 8:5). But the commands of Jesus to those who are truly baptized by the Spirit, are not grievous or burdensome (1 John 5:3).
For example, the Holy Spirit’s words are to the Corinthian Church, and to “all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (1 Corinthians 1:2). This epistle addresses the whole Church everywhere for all time, and gives the commandments of the Lord to those indwelt by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 6:19).
We are told without exception that these epistle truths given of the Holy Spirit are the commandments of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:37). To those who have an ear to hear, those indwelt by the Holy Spirit, His commandments are not burdensome. However, some in the Church do not know the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:34), and will teach the spirit of error and twist the Scriptures to their own hurt (2 Peter 3:15-17).
Today there are many religious experiences that people have, as in past ages. All who have them are sure they are of God even when they lead away from the Apostles Doctrine. Many believers (if they are believers) become stunned in spiritual growth because they had a spiritual experience at some earlier time. Many put hope in their experience and refuse to follow God’s word through the Apostles Doctrine. God has set the apostles as the foundation of what the Church is being built on (Ephesians 2:19-22). The pathway of following religious experiences rather than divine truth is following religious spirits or the doctrine of humanism, error, silver tongued leaders, and resistance to the truth in Christ, the Word of God (John 1:1).
8. The baptism of the Holy Spirit, leads only to the person of Christ through the teaching of the apostles.
The corporate work of the Holy Spirit, the Church
The Church was started on the day of Pentecost, and has been in the process of being built by the Holy Spirit for 2000 years. This work of the Spirit is one work with many aspects. First, is the unity of the Spirit in which all believers are told to keep (Ephesians 4:3). This unity that the Spirit builds the Church on, is in every person indwelt by the Holy Spirit (John 17:11) and is an ecclesiastical unity as well. We are shown that in this truth, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in hope of your calling; one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).
This unity of oneness leaves no place for anyone to undermine the Spirit’s work. Jesus gave His disciples instructions on how the Church was to keep the unity of the Spirit among all Christians, and assure His presence among them. “For where two or three are gathered together unto My name, I am in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).
The presence of the Lord Jesus to be in the midst of those who keep the unity of the Spirit is assured by His promise. To those who go beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6); no such promise is made. The Spirit’s work is to bring unity to those who meet to the Lord Jesus alone.
The Spirit’s work is to build the Church, the body of Christ, which is every person indwelt by the Holy Spirit. As the Scripture teaches in the first four chapters of first Corinthians, the Spirit’s work does not include denominationalism, sectarianism, or independence. The Spirit works to build His Church only where Christ (the Word of God) is honored, above man’s words and his carnal religion (1 Corinthians 3:1-4).
God is love, the Spirit’s work is to bring forth the love of Christ among His brethren, the Church (1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 4:7). The fruit of this love is shown to us in 1 Corinthians 13 and in Galatians 5:22-23. The love of Christ working in His brethren is above all things (1 Corinthians 13:13).
These are only a few of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s work in the Church.
9. The gifts of the Holy Spirit
1 Corinthians 12
Spiritual gifts given by the Holy Spirit are shown to us in 1 Corinthians 12. The practical use of these gifts and the order of their use are shown in chapter 14. Nine gifts are listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 as follows, Wisdom: the word of wisdom is the gift that gives wisdom beyond human ability; Knowledge: the word of knowledge is divine insight into the kingdom of God and its effect on individuals. However, no new revelation of God concerning the kingdom of Christ is possible today; Faith: the gift of faith is an extraordinary reliance on God bringing a divine response; Gifts of healing: gifts of healings are able to heal all diseases without compromise or failure; Miracles: working of miracles, can do supernatural things for the kingdom of Christ; Prophecy: the gift of prophecy is shown with New Testament prophets as ‘revelators.’ and the apostles in laying the foundation of Christ as the Chief Cornerstone in building the Church. In that sense no prophet exists today, in a weaker sense all who preach the word of God with power and results are prophesying; Discerning of spirits: discerning of spirits, is a gift that enables one to discern whether the Holy Spirit, the human spirit, or a Satanic spirit is the power behind a prophet or prophesy; Tongues: a person can speak a foreign language without ever having learned it; Interpretation of tongues: the Spirit’s power to give a person to understand the message of tongues without ever learning the language.
In verse 28, there are two more gifts not listed any where else. They are Helps: which answers to those who have an unction or desire of compassion to help others or do for others in the assembly, those who serve, deacons. Administrations: this refers to governmental help and oversight for an assembly, usually the work of elders or bishops.
Because demonic spirits and the flesh can come in and imitate the Holy Spirit; the Lord’s commandments (1 Corinthians 14:37) are the foundation of His order for the practice of gifts in the assembly.
These gifts are given by the Holy Spirit as He desires (1 Corinthians 12:11). Some gifts have more importance than others for the Church (1 Corinthians 12:28), but each gift is given for the purpose of building up the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 14:12).
We are shown the place of importance of gifts in the Church. First is apostles and the least important of the gifts is tongues (1 Corinthians 12:28). This order of importance has nothing to with the individual’s value, but the Spirit’s work. “But God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased” (1 Corinthians 12:18). The gift of tongues, the least of the gifts is a valuable gift when it is used according to the mind of the Lord (1 Corinthians 2:16; 14:12).
In general, the Holy Spirit’s work has not ceased or diminished today. The Spirit still brings gifts to men when and where He pleases. The soulishness of men and the corrupted state of the professing church today does not allow the freedom of the Spirit to work as in the beginning of the Church. However, wherever there is faith in the Son of God alone, the Spirit is not limited to perform His work.
Believers are instructed to pursue prophesy as a primary spiritual direction (1 Corinthians 14:1). Prophesy in its exercise is to speak the mind of the Lord, past, present, or future, primarily prophesying what God has told us. With the rejection of Scripture and lack of Biblical knowledge in churches today, prophesying the whole counsel of God for the most part is not received in a high percentage of churches. The Spirit does not have liberty to bring forth the kingdom of God where His word is not received. So the Spirit is quenched.
However, wherever Christ is received, the Spirit brings forth that which He will, God tells us where the Spirit works, “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 62:2).
In Romans chapter 12, we see a practical way to use the gift one has been given. In Romans 12 service to Christ and His people is the emphasis. Romans chapter 12 is different than what is shown to us in 1 Corinthians 14, where the sign gifts are exercised in the liberty of the Spirit, in the assembly (1 Corinthians 14:23, 26, 28). Ministry in service of gifts is shown to us as the theme in Romans 12. This chapter relates closer to Ephesians 4:11, because it teaches the importance of ministry for each gift a believer has been given, whereas 1 Corinthians 14 is in a worship setting in an assembly gathering (1 Corinthians 11:1-34).
The 5 gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11 are in actuality men whom God has given to the Church (Acts 8:26-40; 11:22.26). However, these are also gifts of the Spirit functioning in them. These men are gifted of the Spirit for service wherever the Spirit may lead them. The apostles, those who saw the Lord, had all 5 gifts, and probably all the gifts functioned in them at one time or another. These gifts are seen in their life and writings throughout the New Testament.
The Apostolic Era set the foundation for the Church of Christ (Ephesians 2:20). The Doctrine of Christ (what the apostles by the words of Jesus and divine revelation received and wrote in the New Testament) is the only authority for the Church (Ephesians 2:19-22; 2 John 9). After that time, the revelation given of God ceased. We are specifically told not to go beyond what is written or take away from what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6; 2 Corinthians 10:13; Revelation 22:18-19). Anyone today who violates what the apostles received and wrote in Scripture is showing they are ignorant of the Spirit or not gifted of God.
The word apostle in Greek simply means “messenger.” Missionaries led of God to go where no one else has labored in the gospel (Romans 15:20-21; 2 Corinthians 10:13, 15.16), manifest the work of an apostle. Apostolic authority does not exist today, only the authority of Christ with Himself as the true Head and complete foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11). His authority is shown in Scripture through the apostles who spoke the very words of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
The New Testament prophets gave revelation to the Church and were empowered by the Holy Spirit to make known revelational truth in Christ (Ephesians 2:20). When the mystery of the Church was fully revealed, prophets no longer became revelators of Christ. The mystery of the Church was made known in the churches by the apostles in their writings.
In this day, anyone prophesying with new revelation is a false prophet, and he is to be exposed throughout the churches (Galatians 1:6-9).
The work of an evangelist is wherever the Spirit of God may lead him. His gifting is primary not in the Church, his work is in the unbelieving world. Jesus is the example to the evangelist, He came to seek and save those who are lost (Luke 19:10). An evangelist is known by the fruit that his labor in Christ produces. His ministry is not in building up sectarianism as in the churches today (1 Corinthians 1:10, 12-13). But in making Christ known and building up only the body of Christ. His message is, “Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:22).
Hardships, resistance to Christ by false brethren, attempts to conform him to a sect and many such carnal assaults does not dampen or deter the unction of the Spirit within the evangelist gifted of God (2 Corinthians 11:22-33).
The man given by God to teach, brings forth the truth in Christ, so Christ may be clearly seen and the falseness of the imitation is unmasked. His labor is not in shepherding, nor evangelizing, even though on occasion he may find it necessary to do this work. Like the evangelist, the Spirit leading him does not teach or follow sectarianism, only Christ.
His field of labor is without geographical borders. His labors in the truths of Christ are to build up the body of Christ, and to equip the saints for the work in the ministry. The teacher true to his head (Christ) keeps the wolves out of the flock (Acts 20:29-35).
He does not teach, or involve himself in sects or men’s religious persuasions. His labor is to teach the Church as the Apostle Paul taught the Ephesians assembly, “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).
The teacher has only one source for his truth and his teaching, to be led by the Spirit in the Scriptures.
The man God has chosen as an under-shepherd has the Lord’s heart for His people. He is not a teacher, or an evangelist; even though at times he must do both. This man is gentle, humble, and has a listening heart for the sheep of the great Shepherd. His work entails seeing the grace of God grow in the sheep (2 Peter 3:18). And the personal knowledge of Christ become impregnated into their hearts (Peter 1:3-8). The edifying of the saints through building them up in the grace of God is the fruit of his labor. Christ is seen in this man as a true servant of God. Because of his servant character, he can be at times taken advantage of by people who ignorant, or prideful, people with a spirit of religion and high minded people.
The Apostle John speaks to the desire of a true shepherd, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4). The heart of a shepherd has no desire for a hierarchical position or to move up the religious church ladder. His desire is for the Lord’s sheep to live and walk in the favor and blessing of God.
Fellowship with Christ is the calling of a Christian (1 Corinthians 1:9). This calling is eternal, without the religious ideas and doctrines of men. This fellowship with Christ is an individual position. Walking with others who desire only the truth in Christ as revealed in Scripture is the path God has laid out for every believer. The following Scripture shows God’s path for the Christian today. “…Pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).
God puts before the believer, the cross, and the crucified life as the only way to discern what the work of God’s Spirit is and is not. Knowledge, without action and response of faith to known truth, will not protect a believer from deceiving and domineering spirits. “…God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).