What Is The Gift Of The Holy Spirit?

This article is part 1 of 7 in the series Holy Spirit

   You have to be patient with beginning preachers…. (and maybe a few experienced ones)… we make mistakes. Looking back over sermons preached back in the 70’s and 80’s, I have to admit, I would make a few changes. There was too much guilt, not enough grace. Balance was sorely missing and greatly needed. I recall I was full of excitement, yet very nervous. My mind was ‘packed’ with scriptures, yet there was something missing. A minister needs both a knowledge of the scriptures and A KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING OF PEOPLE.  I was afraid of being ‘marked’, and upsetting those who ‘held the church purse strings’. For whatever reason, I held back from saying some things which needed to be said… things which would have helped, not only those who listened, but myself as well. 
    I spoke strongly about “remission of sins” mentioned in Acts 2:38, but said little about the last part of the verse where Peter speaks equally about receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. I can’t really explain it. How could I preach so much on baptism being FOR the remission of sins, and fail to teach that those who are baptized receive something very important, even critical to living the life of a Christian…. a gift from God, the Holy Spirit?
  The fact is, that those on Pentecost, were told to do two things, “repent” and “be baptized” (immersed is the meaning of this word). They were also told that they would receive two things, the “remission (forgiveness) of sins” (this was the reason for doing what Peter said), AND “the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now, after personal study, and independent thinking, I want to share some things with you.
   John the Baptist, introduced Jesus by saying, “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:8).   John was speaking to a people from  Judea and Jerusalem.  This was BEFORE Christ chose his 12 apostles. When and how does Jesus baptize believers in the Holy Spirit?  Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified” (John 7:37:39).  If the penitent believer receives the remission of sins at baptism (immersion), and does not receive the Spirit of God, then this would indeed be called, ‘water regeneration or water salvation’. Much indeed would be missing. Paul wrote, “having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12). Does God work in the process of being baptized or is it just a matter of form?  Is there an actual birth, and if so, does it not require a new Spirit?  (Because without the Spirit, that which has been planted (buried) in baptism… receives no LIFE,  therefore will not grow. The past would be dealt with, but there would be no future.) If it requires a new Spirit, who’s Spirit is it? Why hold back in teaching that every believer receives the Holy Spirit in conversion when the Word of God clearly teaches this truth!
            More to come….

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