When Does a Believer Receive the Holy Spirit?

Category: Questions & Answers
Bible: Acts 8:14-17

Does the Christian receive the Holy Spirit the moment they believe? If so, how should we understand the accounts in the book of Acts when believers apparently receive the Holy Spirit subsequent to their conversion?


The subject is "Doubt about Holy Spirit," from Midhun P. Matthew. And he writes this, "Hi, brother. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is the second time I write a letter to you. When I wrote the first time, I was in a desperate situation on my spiritual life. God heard my prayer. Now I am a happy man. Thanks for your support." Probably James, you dealt with him, because I don't remember that name. James: Who was that? Tim: Midhun. (unintelligible) "Now I am eagerly studying the Word of God in a daily manner. I am very curious about it and I try to share the Gospel with others also. When I started to share the Gospel with others, I had to face many, many questions, mostly from my Catholic and Jacobite believers. All of them are my friends." Let me ask, anybody familiar with what the Jacobites are? Ever heard that name before? Okay. They're basically Orthodox. They would be an Eastern Orthodox offshoot. Probably mainly in India. "Someone asked me about the Holy Spirit and I gave my belief as follows: We receive the Holy Spirit at the same moment we believe Christ. And the Holy Spirit becomes our permanent possession the moment we believe. I came to this conclusion mainly by these two verses." So, let's look at the two verses that he references. The first verse is 1 Corinthians 12:3. So let's look at that. So, 1 Corinthians 12:3 is one of the verses that he was using to tell his Catholic and Jacobite friends that we get the Spirit of God the moment we believe. So, I'm not sure exactly what translation he's reading from, but he has the verse printed out here so I'll just read it the way he has it. "Therefore, I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says, 'Jesus is accursed,' and no one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except in the Holy Spirit." So he sees this as a verse that means if you're saved, you've got the Holy Spirit. Can anybody see why he would think that? This is actually an interesting text. What do you make of it? Can a lost person say, "Jesus is Lord"? And in fact, let me ask this question, is there not even a verse in our Bible that says that there are people that say "Jesus is Lord," but on the last day, Jesus is going to say, "I never knew you." What's Paul saying here? I mean, we all know it. Can lost people say, "Jesus is Lord"? Certainly they can. Certainly they can mouth those words. So, what do you think Paul's saying when he says, "I want you to understand, no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says, 'Jesus is accursed,' and no one can say 'Jesus is Lord,' except in the Holy Spirit"? What is he saying? Anybody ever thought about that verse before? James: You did an APT on it a year ago. Tim: Anybody remember? (from the room) I have a reference to 1 John 4:3. Tim: Which says? "And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God." Tim: Okay. What do you think Paul's saying? We could say yes, maybe there's some connection, but I don't know that that text from 1 John really helps us decipher. What does Paul mean? Is it safe to say, Paul would be the first one to recognize that an unbeliever can lip those words? Of course, he recognizes that. He's not saying that there's a linguistic impossibility for somebody to vocalize those three words if they're lost and have not the Spirit of God. So what's he saying? It seems like if you just start reading here, , "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers..." Well, that right there - obviously they were asking him about spiritual gifts. And probably what they were saying is there were questions coming. They had questions. There were people prophesying. There were people speaking in tongues. There were things happening. There were expressions of these gifts coming forth. And people perhaps appearing to be manifesting a gift of the Spirit, and as that gift is being supposedly manifested in their meetings, something is happening where Christ is not being exalted. I heard John MacArthur say that there were meetings taking place where somebody was speaking in tongues. And there was - I forget if it was a Greek or a Hebrew scholar, who was attending the meeting. And they were speaking in tongues, and they actually were speaking in a tongue. And if there was any interpretation happening, I don't remember, but it was being lauded as this was some great manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit, and this man sitting there understood exactly what was being said, and Christ was being cursed. Now, I think what you want to tie together here is this: Spiritual gifts is what's on the table. And so, the idea here is that if somebody is prophesying or if somebody is speaking in tongues or if somebody's interpreting, if a genuine manifestation of a spiritual gift is taking place, obviously, Jesus said Himself, the Spirit is coming to glorify Him. And if you've got things happening that are not glorifying to Him... We could take this in many different offshoots. Peden - do you have any memory of the Peden guy who was a Covenanter? Anyway, I remember Don Currin telling me an incident there, and I've voiced it before to you guys that there was a revival taking place. And there was a man in the meetings. And he was calling out people's sins. And he was right on. And this would be kind of unsettling if you were in a meeting and it's like: Ryan, you've been A, B, and C. And you, X, Y, Z. And it's right. And it's like I was there when you were alone. That was the kind of thing happening in this meeting. But there was one man and he was especially discerning. Everybody thought this is really a work of God. This is incredible. We've got a prophet in our midst. He knows our sins. But there was a man in the meeting that was really troubled. And he recognized, Jesus Christ is not being glorified. The sinners are having their sin called out, but they're not being shown Christ as a great Savior. The people are going out beat up and trampled on and left hopeless. And they had meetings night after night. And he finally, in the middle of the meeting, he stood up and he called the man out, and he said, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to tell us by what spirit you speak." And suddenly demonic voices came out of the guy and they said, "oh, we've been discovered!" (incomplete thought) Paul is not just dealing with whether a person has the capacity, but what's happening in the midst of these folks is all manner of spiritual gifts being manifested, and I think, obviously, the Corinthian letters - the first Corinthian letter especially - it's numerous responses to the things that they had written to him about. And I think this again, he's responding. They had something happen undoubtedly. They had many things happen. They were having many supernatural things happening. And I think what you really want to nail down here is this: Just because something is supernatural doesn't mean that it's a work of the Spirit. That's really what he's hitting on right here. And that if you have anything happening supernaturally that is not bringing attention and glory to Jesus Christ, you can identify that. It may be supernatural, but it's very likely demonic. Well, it is demonic. That's the test. You go to the text in 1 John. - we are to test the spirits. How do you test? Well, you test it whether it's biblical. You test it if it glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. I don't think it's probably difficult to figure out if somebody said, "Jesus Christ is accursed," to simply figure out that, wow, that's of the devil. But I think what happens is things do happen that indirectly send that message; indirectly tear Christ down. You know, you get Jehovah's Witnesses show up at your door, can you kind of figure out that the Spirit of God is not there? See, they won't come out and say, "Jesus Christ is accursed," but what they're going to do is they're going to belittle Him. They're going to tear Him down. They're going to make Him out to be much smaller than He is. But anyway, I didn't even prepare anything for that text. I wasn't thinking that we would even go there, but because we read it and it is a verse that brings up questions, I'm not exactly certain how this brother is interpreting this text. I'm not sure exactly what he's doing with it, but the next one is clear. The next one he goes to is 2 Corinthians 1:22 which I think is a very good text, and of course, there's a parallel statement in Ephesians 1. We dealt with that if you've been coming to Grace about the sealing of the Spirit. Probably the most emphatic verse I would say is found in Romans 8, and we'll look at that in a second. But these are the two he mentions: , "...Who has also put His seal on us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee." Now, I'm aware of different interpretations about even what the sealing of the Spirit is. And there are good men, some who say it happens right when we're converted and some who believe it's experiential and happens later. So, maybe these two verses wouldn't even necessarily be the best ones to even try to prove what he felt convicted about. I think his conviction is right. What he's saying is, "I thought we received the Holy Spirit the same moment we believe in Christ." Well, can anybody think of verses that seem to really establish that reality? Ezekiel. Yeah, the promises of the New Covenant. Somebody read that. Brother, you can look that up if you want. Ezekiel 36. What is it we find there? He says, "I will sprinkle clean water on you and you shall be clean from all your uncleanliness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart (and then simultaneously it seems) and a new spirit I will put within you, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh, and I will put my Spirit in you." Tim: It's a whole package there. And it's happening. When do you get a new heart? When are you born again? When are you regenerated? At the time you receive this new Spirit? You're given a new spirit and He puts His Spirit within you. That all happens. Ezekiel. You can find those promises concerning the New Covenant in other parts of Ezekiel as well. Ezekiel 12. But let's look at one of the clearest passages. Romans 8:9. Whoever gets there first, why don't you read that? There's no mistaking it. Somebody could come along and say, well, I think sealing of the Spirit is something that happens later after you believe. Somebody could say, well, I don't think the thing about "Jesus is Lord" and "Jesus is accursed" - I'm not even sure that that has to do with receiving the Spirit when we get saved. Maybe somebody would even say Ezekiel 36 - it sounds like it's all a package there, but maybe it doesn't necessarily all happen simultaneously. Somebody could perhaps argue that. But you can't argue this. Romans 8:9. Somebody have it there and want to read it? "You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him." Tim: There it is. If you don't have the Spirit of Christ, you don't belong to Christ. Period. It couldn't be clearer. True Christians possess the Spirit of God. Now, if you don't possess the Spirit, you don't belong to Him. That is clear. Paul is making it undeniably clear. Okay, so our brother here says, "...That we can believe in Christ only by the Holy Spirit, and God gives the Holy Spirit as a seal, a guarantee..." But we looked at the text that he quoted in 2 Corinthians 1:22. I would just say this. You can look at this kind of indirectly. For one, I would say, Ezekiel 36 is indeed a package. I think that does affirm this truth as well. But let's think about John 3 - very well known. Most of us are familiar with it. What is said about being born again that would lead us to believe that to even be born again, you would need to have the Spirit? Or the Spirit's influences at least? (from the room) "No one can see the Kingdom of God unless he's born of the spirit and the water?" Tim: Well, right, you've got to be born of the Spirit. You're not going to see the Kingdom unless you're born of the Spirit. Now does that necessarily say specifically that we have the Spirit? Well, obviously it means that the Spirit is actively working upon you in your life changing you, being born again. It's the same idea of being born of God. Those who are born of God are bringing forth - what does 1 John say? Can anybody think what 1 John says is true of everybody who's born of God? (unintelligible) They love. Where does love come from? It's the fruit of what? The fruit of the Spirit. Jesus also said, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." You see, the reality is this, we go from being dead in our trespasses and sins to being alive in Christ. That Spirit gives us the life. (from the room) Titus 3. "But He saved us..." and then it goes on to say, "by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior in order that we might be justified by His grace." (unintelligible) Tim: So, it's clear. You're not born again, unless you're born of the Spirit. "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit." If you belong to Christ, you possess the Spirit of Christ. If you don't have the Spirit of Christ, you don't belong to Christ. We have the text that James read out of Ezekiel 36 that He is going to put His Spirit within us. A new heart - He takes the old heart out. The Spirit - it's a package deal. We hear the text in Titus. We see this - the renewal of the Holy Spirit. It's definitely put in a package with justification - pretty amazing. We're justified by faith. But we know that those who are dead, those who are dead can't respond to God. You've got to be made alive. "He made us alive together with Christ." And the very power comes to us by way of His Spirit - His life-giving Spirit. We're born of the Spirit. Okay, this is what this - I'm not sure if he's a young man, I'll just call him this brother, Midhun P. Matthew. This is what he believes. This is what he was telling his friends. "But then," he says, "one day, I came to this verse." Now let's all turn to it. Acts 8:14. And before we even read it, I'm going to tell you what he says. He says, "this verse entirely contradicts my belief of the Holy Spirit. I want to know the truth. I don't want to spread the wrong thing about our Lord. So could you please help me to understand about these things?" I'm wanting to deal with this because I think it's a fantastic question. And listen, any of you that take your Bible seriously and read Scripture and have read all the way through your Bible maybe several times, if you haven't had questions about the Spirit of God and His operations, then I'm thinking, you're not reading your Bible because you're going to come across the same kind of things that this brother has come across. And what he feels is that Acts 8 entirely contradicts the truth that we just set forth. So Acts 8. Anybody have it there? Verse 14. "Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent to them Peter and John." Tim: Keep going. "...who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for He had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit." Tim: Okay, so you come over to the book of Acts, and here's what you really need to see. This is obviously what this brother is seeing. These folks if you go back before this - I don't have my Bible open there, but if you've got your Bible open there, you see - what happened? Phillip came. Phillip preached the Gospel. And what happened? They believed. They believed and then what happened? Peter and John are dispatched and they go down, and of course, that whole thing with Simon the magician happens, but what else happens? This happens: "They heard that Samaria had received the Word of God." So here's the thing, they believed, they received the Word of God, "they had been baptized." So Phillip came. Phillip is doing his ministry. They hear the Gospel. They see the miracles that he was doing. They believe on him and are baptized. But now what happens? Then, Peter and John come down, and "the Holy Spirit had not yet fallen on any of them. They'd only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit." So, basically, what this brother is feeling is wow, this totally contradicts. How can this be? How can you have true believers - maybe what? Maybe they weren't true believers? Or, they are true believers and this is really contradictory? I mean, doesn't Paul say in Romans 8:9, didn't we see it? If you don't have the Spirit, you don't belong to Christ. So did these people not belong to Christ until the Spirit fell on them? Because see, this is where he's wrestling. In fact, if you read the book of Acts, there's various things that happen. We might just go over to Acts 19. Something very interesting happens there. You've got these - probably men who were affected by Apollos. See, Apollos had been at Ephesus and he only knew the baptism of John. And what happens is once he's set right by Priscilla and Aquila, then you have Paul go over to Ephesus, and I think what he finds are probably some disciples of Apollos, who all they knew was the baptism of John. And when you get these guys - Acts 19:1, "It happened while Apollos was at Corinth. Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples." Maybe we back up to the previous chapter, verse 24, "a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus." So, you see, Apollos was at Ephesus. Eloquent man. Competent in the Scriptures. He's a mighty preacher. "He'd been instructed in the way of the Lord, and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John." So you've got this man who knows only the baptism of John. Why the folks at Ephesus didn't set him right, I don't know. Maybe he was such a powerful preacher, they thought he must know what he's talking about. Who knows why they wouldn't have? "He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately. When he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus." So what happens is he's at Ephesus. He knows just the baptism of John. He's set right by Priscilla and Aquila. Then he goes over to Achaia. He leaves Ephesus. Paul in turn comes to Ephesus and here's what Paul finds. "It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth..." So, he goes over to Achaia. Paul passed through the inland country. He comes to Ephesus. And there he finds some disciples. "He said to them, 'did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?'" Now, what's he assuming? They are believers. He's asking them. See, he's not questioning whether they're believers. He's not saying, well, I'm calling into question whether you're truly Christians or not. He just simply asks them this: Since you became Christians - since you've become believers - did you receive the Holy Spirit? And they said no. Okay, if you don't have the Spirit, you what? You don't belong to Christ. So do we have a contradiction here? "They said, 'No. We have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.'" Now, I think what happened in Paul's mind is this: Jesus told His disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And I think he was wondering how could they not know that there's a Spirit if they're being baptized? I'm just conjecturing. But he asks then, "Into what then were you baptized?" They said into John's baptism. What's interesting - this is the only time in Scripture you find somebody re-baptized. Or, where it seems like their initial baptism is not regarded and they need to be baptized for real. And that's what happens here. Paul said, "'John baptized with the baptism of repentance telling the people to believe in the One who was to come after him - that is Jesus.' On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, and when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying." So what do we do? What do we do with this? What do we say to this? How do we interpret this? Is this brother right? Is he saying, wait, Scripture is contradictory? Well, here's the way we want to think about this. (incomplete thought) We have clear truth. Some of these accounts are not clear. We don't exactly know what's happening. Some are extremely clear. Let me ask you this, can you be a Christian without the Holy Spirit? Whatever happens here, Romans 8:9 is crystal clear. If you don't have the Spirit, you don't belong to Christ. John 3 - crystal clear. If you have not been born of the Spirit, you will not see the Kingdom. That means you are not a genuine Christian. Crystal clear. So, you either have to say the people who believed - it wasn't saving faith yet. But, when the Spirit came, it became real. You either have to say that, or you have to say this: They actually had the Spirit when they first believed. But what happens when the Spirit falls upon them is something different. And I would say that when we look at the biblical evidence it's the latter. That what we have here is Scripture is talking about different manifestations of the Spirit. You say what do you mean? Well, for instance, look at Acts 10. This is Cornelius in Caesarea. This is the Gospel - it's moving outward from Jerusalem. You have Gentiles being converted. And here we see. Look at about verse 47. Maybe 44. "While Peter was still saying these things..." he's preaching. "...The Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the Word. And the believers from among the circumcised (believing Jews) who had come with Peter were amazed because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles, for they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God..." Now listen very carefully to what Peter says. "Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" What's he talking about? What event is he speaking about right there? When did he receive the Spirit in this same fashion? The day of Pentecost. That's what he's talking about. He says - listen - verse 46. "They were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God." When did Peter speak in tongues so that people heard the mighty works of God in their own language? Where? Acts chapter 2. The day of Pentecost. That's where that happened. Now let me ask you this, he's saying that on the day of Pentecost he received the Spirit just as those people there in Acts 10 were receiving the Spirit. But let me ask you this: Were they already believers in Acts 2? And had they already received the Spirit? And had they already been baptized? Long before that day of Pentecost which he's referring to here? You see the point I'm making? He's saying, why should we not baptize these people? But you see the point he's making - they have just received the Spirit the way we received the Spirit, but he's not talking about receiving the Spirit the way that is necessary simply to become a Christian. Because if you go back to what he's talking about happened in his own life, they had been baptized and saved way before that event. What had happened? Listen, Jesus says in John 14, 15, 16 - He's telling them about the Helper, about the Comforter who was to come. And He said then to them, "He is in you..." already, and then He said this, "and He will be with you." Now I think that's important to catch because I think what He's saying there is much according to this truth. In Luke 11, we are specifically told that if we're Christians, we should be praying to our Father that He give us the Holy Spirit. "How much more will our heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask." He's not speaking to the lost masses. He's speaking to His disciples who specifically asked Him, "Lord, teach us to pray." And He said I'll teach you to pray. And He said one of the things you need to ask your Father for all the time is that He give you the Holy Spirit. Now see, you could stop right there and say, why should a Christian pray for the Spirit? And I'll tell you this, it's because we receive the Spirit in more than one way. The Spirit's operations are not simply: you receive Him the moment you're saved and He breathes life into you - there's much more. You see, when the Spirit of God fell on all those 120 in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, what happened? I'll tell you what happened. "You will be My witnesses." Jerusalem and just moving outward. Judea, Samaria, the uttermost parts of the world. And He told them you go to Jerusalem and you sit there until what happens? Clothed with power. You see, what this Spirit is - this Spirit is the missionary Spirit. When Jesus said, "Lo, I will be with you until the end of the world. You go to all the nations;" what happened was, what you find in the book of Acts repeatedly is the Spirit falls and people speak with power, with boldness, and with supernatural manifestation. Every single time. Look at it. You study carefully in the book of Acts where the Spirit is being unleashed on the church and they are being clothed with power. Every single time - speaking gifts and boldness in speaking are given to the people every single time. This is different than simply having the Spirit - not that it's so simple, but than that initial Spirit of God causing you to be born again. What you want to realize - brethren, look at it. Look at Luke 11. Because this doesn't only help our brother explain how these things can be; how these Scriptures actually work together. But what it does is it opens to us a glorious reality of ongoing manifestations of the Spirit, empowerings of the Spirit, help of the Spirit, ongoing prayers asking for more of the Spirit. If you look at Luke 11, and Luke especially, he among the Gospel writers - and by the way, he's the one that wrote the book of Acts too, but he loves to speak about the Holy Spirit in a way that the other Gospel writers don't do. But in Luke 11, prayer. Verse 1, "As Jesus was praying in a certain place, when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, 'Lord, teach us to pray.'" Of course, we have Luke's version of the Lord's prayer. Verse 5, "And He said to them, 'which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, "Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey and I have nothing to set before him." He will answer from within, "Do not bother me. The door is now shut. My children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything." I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence (or persistence or importunity, the KJV says) he will rise and give him whatever he needs.'" This doesn't mean that our Father is reluctant. But this does mean that our Father loves importunity and persistence. There is a vain repetition, brethren, but there is a repetition that is not vain. There's a repetition that is importunity that says, "Lord, I'm not letting go of you..." It's like Jacob. "I'm going to keep asking You for the same thing and I'm going to hold on to You and You know what I want. I'm not going to get go of You until I get what I've come for, Lord." "I tell you, ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, it will be opened." Now you remember, they specifically asked the Lord, "teach us to pray." These things where I started reading till now, they give us principles regarding prayer. They give us generalities. He focuses in on some certain things in v. 2, 3, and 4. But He focuses in right here. "What father among you, if his son asks for a fish will instead of a fish give him a serpent? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? Or if you then who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit?" Now, notice that - the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. What I want you to recognize is this, when you go back to verse 1, this is not the lost masses saying, "Lord, we're lost. We don't know how to interact with God. We don't know anything about Him. Teach us what we should pray." And He's saying, "Pray for the Holy Spirit because you don't have Him and you need Him to be saved." That's not what's happening here. What's happening here is the disciples who are already saved (incomplete thought) Notice verse 2. "Father..." These are people who know God as their Father. These are the disciples. They're saying, "Lord, teach us to pray." And He says this to people who are already saved. "Let Me teach you how to pray." "Ask your Father for the Spirit." Somebody might say why? If I belong to Christ, I have the Spirit. Why would I pray for the Spirit? Because this is the very truth that I've been driving at. There's more. Just receiving the Spirit - I say it like that - that's not a small thing. To receive the Spirit - to be born again, listen, this is one of the Persons of the Holy Trinity. When the Holy Spirit indwells you - what is it, 1 Corinthians 6? What's said there about the Spirit? That's another text. Can you quote it, Kevin? (unintelligible) . But 1 Corinthians 3:16. What does it say? "Do you not know that you are God's temple? And God's Spirit dwells in you?" Tim: Yeah, God's Spirit dwells in you. If you are His temple, God's Spirit dwells in you. I mean, that's a given. But the thing is, what are we going to say to Jesus? Are we going to say, "Jesus, I'm God's temple. Don't You know...?" That's what Paul's saying. Jesus, don't You know that if I'm the temple of God, the Holy Spirit dwells in me? Don't You know that? Why would You say ask for the Spirit? Because there's so much - there's more to be had. It's like one of the things that Jesus is teaching us is if you want to be specifically asking for something that I know is really important in your life - something as you ask and you keep going back - this importunity; I feel like He's teaching on importunity, and He says you want to go back to the Father again and again and again and again for something? I'll tell you what to go to Him for. Go to Him for the Spirit. But why? I already have Him. For this reason: don't you realize? You can do nothing apart from the Spirit of Christ. We read that. "You can do nothing apart from Me," Jesus said. But it's through and by His Spirit that we are empowered to do anything that we do. Listen, the Spirit was given to Jesus Himself without measure. And Jesus did what He did through the power of the Spirit. And the more of the Spirit that we have, the more manifestations of the Spirit we have, that's what happened. That's what happened in the book of Acts. People had the Spirit of God fall upon them and supernatural things happened. That's what we need to have happen. We need to be praying for the Spirit. Why? Even if you're already saved, you need to be praying for the Spirit. Why? There are more manifestations to be had. The Spirit of God falls on people who are already saved. You say why? Power. That's what He told the disciples. You wait for power. That's what the coming of the Spirit brought. The Spirit empowers the church, especially in evangelistic cause. To take the Gospel forth to the nations; to be witness; to have the Gospel truly be something more than a dead letter. What do you think makes the difference when somebody speaks the Gospel and the place is shaken? What were we hearing about just recently? I was just hearing recently about somebody was preaching the Gospel, just a very simple preacher, and he was just saying the simplest truths and God just broke loose. (unintelligible) That's what it was. Yeah, it was Mack, I think, at Pearl talking about the simplicity of Keith McCloud, how he was just the simplest man. His messages were very simple. He was just so plain, but when he spoke, power came. How do you explain that? No great gift. It's just when he spoke, heaven let loose. How do you explain it? Right here. That's how you explain it. You can have people with the greatest oratorical gifts. You can have the most gifted individuals and nothing will happen because raw talent isn't what makes the Kingdom of Christ move. The Spirit makes it move. And what you actually find in the book of Acts are repeated outpourings of the Spirit of God. That's just a reality. And that Spirit is being poured out on people - sometimes people who had already had the Spirit poured out on them in an earlier chapter. You say what's that all about? Well, what does it mean to pray for the Holy Spirit if you already have Him? Obviously it means you're praying for greater manifestations, re-visitations, greater demonstrations, greater power. Being clothed - don't you love that? Clothed. It's like putting a jacket on. Can you imagine some glowing jacket of light that you wrap yourself with? This is the idea. Being clothed, being covered with power. That's what the church needs. We're dead in the water without it. (From the room) Hey brother, I was remembering in Acts 4 when Peter's before the Council and it's interesting how Luke uses "power" and "filled" in kind of the same verses, but says, "And when they had set them in the midst they enquired by what power or by what name did you do this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit..." and he goes on. Tim: Filled. He was filled there. But he had alreadly been filled in Acts 2. He had already been saved. I mean if you go back to John 17, Jesus is saying, "they have kept Your Word." Well, nobody but true Christians keep His Word. He had already said to them in the chapters before that that the Spirit is in you. He breathes on them. "Receive the Holy Spirit." You have all sorts of things that happen. I don't have them all figured out, but I know this: There's more to be had of the Spirit. We should be asking for the Spirit all the time. And when the Spirit comes, things happen. I know this, you can't be a Christian without the Spirit of God. But even if you're a Christian, you should be asking for the Spirit all the time because what the Spirit brings - power to proclaim the Gospel, transformation in your life - Christlikeness, the fruit of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit. We need these things. We need them desperately.