If you are a Christian, but you think you have not received the gift of the Holy Spirit, then I have a question for you:
Do you want to have Someone who will be your:
- Helper in times of trouble?
- Who will bring Bible passages alive to you to strengthen you? (John 14:26)
- Who will give you power? (Luke 24:49)
- Who will give you boldness and spiritual authority? (Acts 4:31)
If you want these things, then continue to read this article as we explore ‘How do we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit?’
1. Who is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit of God is part of the Godhead, comprising the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is a person like the Father and the Son and is not an impersonal force.
The Holy Spirit is sent by the Father:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”John 14:26 ESV
But the Holy Spirit is also sent by Jesus Christ, God’s Son:
And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”Luke 24:49 ESV
So does the Bible contradict itself?
No, the following verse where Jesus is speaking explains it: 1
But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father he will bear witness about me.”John 15:26 ESV
Somehow, both are involved in sending the Holy Spirit.
Each person in the Godhead has different duties to perform.
The Holy Spirit is also referred to as the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9), the Spirit of truth (John 16:13), the eternal Spirit (Hebrews 9:14), and the Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10:29).‘How Do We Receive the Holy Spirit?’ By Philip Wijaya Christianity.com 2
Note that John and Paul use masculine pronouns for the Holy Spirit, contrary to the normal Greek word pneuma (i.e., spirit), which is neutral.”
2. Is the filling of the Holy Spirit possible?
The answer is in the Bible and the answer is yes! Because Peter said:
Repent .. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.Acts 2:38 NIV
The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Some say that the filling and gift of the Holy Spirit was just for that time only.
But it states “for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
I think that is very plain and anybody who tries to translate that differently has just got an axe to grind and is not open to what God is saying.
I came to salvation in a Pentecostal church, but then through the Toronto Blessing I turned away from anything to do with the filling and gift of the Holy Spirit, but I couldn’t avoid these sorts of Scriptures!
If the Lord has called you to be His child, then the promise of the Holy Spirit is for you.
But it does not take place automatically at conversion.
We know that to be a fact because the apostle Paul:
found some disciples and asked them,Acts 19:2 NIV
‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ “
And on another occasion:
When the Apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.Acts 8:14-17 NIV
When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptised into the name of the Lord Jesus.
Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.“
3. How do we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit?
Many Bible verses indicate that the gift of the Holy Spirit is given in response to prayer and also He, the Holy Spirit, is received by faith:
so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”Galatians 3:14 NIV
The motive has to be right for being filled with the Holy Spirit.
It can’t be for personal gain or pride:
Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying,Acts 8:18-21 ESV
‘Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’
But Peter said to him ‘May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!
You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.’ ”
Jesus gave one of the most important reasons for wanting the Holy Spirit’s power.
He told the disciples after His resurrection in these verses:
This is what is written:Luke 24:46-49 NIV
The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.
I am going to send you what My Father has promised;
but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
When Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit it is an experience that will be known because He seals our salvation, makes us aware that we are God’s children and gives us power to be His witnesses.
God has many ways of doing things, some loud, some in a whisper, so we mustn’t dictate to God what constitutes our filling!
4. A Spirit filling without knowing?
We mustn’t fake our filling with the Holy Spirit, just so that we can ‘fit in’ with the rest of the group.
And we mustn’t judge someone else’s experience by our own experience of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Some Christians may have experienced something which changed them spiritually years ago, but they never put a name to that experience or experiences.
That may well have been the filling and gift of the Holy Spirit.
It was only because of a lack of understanding and teaching that they didn’t realise what had happened, but looking back at it, they did experience the Holy Spirit coming upon them.
5. Can anyone be Spirit-filled more than once?
From the Bible, we can see that Jesus’ followers were filled again by the Holy Spirit.
Peter and John had received the filling of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and then again when they were released from prison when they met with the other believers:
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.Acts 4:31 NIV
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
Possibly the first filling would be the ‘seal’ of assurance and sonship, as well as power for witnessing.
After that, there could be more fillings to give boldness and power.