HOW TO RECEIVE
THE HOLY SPIRIT
"Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?" (Ac. 19:2) This is an important question for all Christians. There is much controversy concerning the Holy Spirit today. Through the Word of God, we can know the truth.
If you have received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you have been born again and have become a child of God. You were cleansed by the blood of Jesus and became a new creature in Jesus Christ. What actually happened to you when you got saved?
In Ezekiel 36:26 we find the answer: "A new heart also will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you." You got a brand new spirit. The old spirit you had was removed, and you now have a new spirit.
What is this new spirit? It is the spirit of Jesus Christ. You received Christ as your Savior and you were given the same spirit He has. Is the spirit of Christ the Holy Spirit? This is a very important question because this will show you if you got the Holy Spirit at the time you were born again, or if you need to receive the Holy Spirit after you have been born again.
To answer this question, we must understand where the spirit of Christ proceeds from and where the Holy Spirit proceeds from. The spirit of Christ obviously proceeds from Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are now in Christ because we have His spirit.
The Holy Spirit does not proceed from Jesus, but proceeds from the Father. "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me." (Jn. 15:26) The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, and the spirit of Christ comes from Jesus.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 shows this clearly. We saw verse 26 above where it said, "A new spirit will I put within you." Verse 27 then says, "And I will put My spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes." Notice verse 26 says "a new spirit," while verse 27 says "My spirit." It is talking about two different spirits.
When we get born again, we get "a new spirit," the spirit of Christ. Afterwards, the "My spirit" is put within us. The "My spirit" is the Holy Spirit, which is the promise of the Father, who is to indwell believers in Jesus to cause them to walk in His statutes.
We have seen thus far that there is a difference between the spirit of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. The spirit of Jesus Christ is what we receive at salvation, and then the Holy Spirit is to be received by believers subsequent to salvation. This is clearly seen in the New Testament.
At Ephesus, Paul found some believers and said to them, "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" (Ac. 19:2) These believers had not heard of the Holy Spirit. They were saved and needed to receive the Holy Spirit. So Paul laid his hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit, spoke in tongues, and prophesied. The word "received" used in Acts 19:2 is the Greek word lambano, which means to actively take hold of something to receive it. Thus, we see the Holy Spirit was actively received by believers subsequent to being saved.
Jesus taught this truth in the gospel of John. "But this spake He of the Spirit which they that believe on Him should receive [lambano]." (Jn. 7:39) Those who believe on Jesus should actively take hold of the Holy Spirit to dwell in them. In Acts, Peter said, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive [lambano] the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Ac. 2:38) Those who have repented, received Jesus, and have been baptized are saved. When saved, the Bible does not say that you have already received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Instead, it says that you shall actively take hold of the Holy Spirit to dwell in you. Again, we see that believers receive the Holy Spirit after salvation.
In Acts 8, Philip went up to Samaria and preached Christ to them. "But when they believed Philip preaching things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women." (Ac. 8:12) Philip's preaching was believed by the Samaritans, and they got saved and were baptized.
Had they received the Holy Spirit yet? No! This is clearly shown in verses 14-17. "Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John, who when they were come down, prayed for them that they might receive [lambano] the Holy Ghost; for as yet He was fallen upon none of them, only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received [lambano] the Holy Ghost." (Ac. 8:14-17) Here, we see Philip preached Christ to the Samaritans, and they believed and were saved. Then, Peter and John came down and prayed for them, and they received the Holy Spirit at a separate time. Clearly, the Holy Spirit is received subsequent to salvation.
Paul confirmed this truth when he wrote to the Ephesians, "In whom ye also trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise which is the earnest of our inheritance 'til the redemption of the purchased possession." (Eph. 1:13-14) First, they trusted in the word of truth which was the good news that brought them salvation. Then after they believed, they were sealed with the Holy Spirit which was the first fruit of their inheritance as believers in Christ. Thus, the Holy Spirit is part of our inheritance as believers in Christ and is actively received following salvation.
Jesus further confirmed that the Holy Spirit is to be received by believers when He said, "How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him." (Lk. 11:13) Only believers in Christ have a relationship to God as their heavenly Father. Here, believers are instructed to ask their heavenly Father to give them the Holy Spirit. If believers already had the Holy Spirit, Jesus would not have instructed them to ask for it. The truth is that believers do not have the Holy Spirit until they receive it from the Father. Thus, believers ask the Father to give them the Holy Spirit.
We've seen that we get the spirit of Christ (a new spirit) when born again, and then we receive the Holy Spirit (My spirit) to indwell us. Have you received the Holy Spirit since you became a believer in Jesus Christ? If not, you can receive the Holy Spirit right now! As a believer in Christ, you can ask the Father to give you the Holy Spirit, and He will do it.
You don't have to tarry for the Holy Spirit as some have taught in error. The only time the disciples tarried or waited for the Holy Spirit was before He was poured out on the Day of Pentecost. They were tarrying in Jerusalem because that was the place where the Holy Spirit was initially going to be poured out. After the initial outpouring, there never is any mention of tarrying for the Holy Spirit because He had already come. Instead, believers received the Holy Spirit immediately through prayer or laying on of hands.
If you have not received the Holy Spirit since you became a believer, please pray the following prayer with your mouth, and you will receive Him now:
"Father, as a born again believer in Jesus Christ, I come to you to receive the Holy Spirit. Your Word says, "How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him." I ask you now in the name of Jesus to give me the Holy Spirit. I believe that I receive the Holy Spirit into me now. The Holy Spirit has now come to dwell in my spirit! Thank you, Father, for giving me the Holy Spirit! In Jesus' name, Amen."
Congratulations if you just prayed this prayer! The Holy Spirit has come to dwell in your spirit. Now that the Holy Spirit dwells in you, you have the ability to speak with unknown tongues. Speaking in tongues is your own prayer language. The Bible calls it "praying with your spirit." "For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful." (1 Cor. 14:14) This is not the gift of tongues. It is the prayer language in tongues which is prayed at your will.
To begin speaking in tongues, open your mouth and begin to speak out the sounds from the Holy Spirit within you. You speak in tongues at your will. So, don't wait for the Holy Spirit to bring the sounds out. You begin to speak them out with your faith. Praying in tongues enables you to pray effectively according to the Holy Spirit's direction.
For more information on the Holy Spirit or help in speaking in tongues, please contact us at (602) 279-5212 or Toll Free 1-877-77DOERS [773-6377]; or, you may e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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