Intro. We sing, "God in three persons, blessed Trinity." We know the person of Father, and the person of the Son, but so many do not know the person of the Holy Spirit. One of the reasons for this is that the Holy Spirit testifies to us of the Son, and not of Himself. He has come to glorify Jesus. Any true work of the Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus and draws attention to Jesus and not to any man.
I. PAUL'S QUESTION TO THOSE IN EPHESUS, "HAVE YOU RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT SINCE YOU BELILEVED?" OR AS SOME PREFER, "DID YOU RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT WHEN YOU BELIEVED?" THE GREEK CAN BE TRANSLATED CORRECTLY EITHER WAY, AND NO MATTER HOW YOU TRANSLATE IT THE SAME IDEA IS THERE. i.e. YOU CAN BELIEVE IN JESUS AND NOT RECEIVE WHAT IS KNOWN AS THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
A. There is a separate experience that one can have with the Holy Spirit which is separate from and subsequent to salvation.
1. In John 14
Jesus said to His disciples, "And I will pray to the Father and He shall give you another comforter that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth which the world cannot receive because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him, but you know Him, for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you.
2. In John 20
after His resurrection Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit."
3. Yet he told them later, "But wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father which I have told you about, for John indeed baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days, and you will receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be witnesses unto Me, both in Jerusalem and Judea, and Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the world.
a. We note the Holy Spirit is with you, shall be in you, and the promise of power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, or over you. The Greek preposition can be translated either way.
b. On the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the waiting disciples, when Peter addressed the crowd that had assembled to explain what the supernatural phenomena meant, the people were convicted and said, "What shall we do?" Peter answered, "Repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, for this promise is unto you and to your children and to those who are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
c. When Philip preached Christ to the Samaritans and many believed and were baptized, when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, sent Peter and John down to them: who when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for as yet He had not come upon them. That is, they had not yet had the overflowing experience of the Holy Spirit to give them power to witness.
d. Paul was converted on the Damascus road, but a few days later he received the Holy Spirit when Ananias came and prayed for him.
B. Our threefold relationship with the Holy Spirit.
1. He is with us prior to conversion.
a. He is convicting us of sin, righteousness and judgment.
b. He is drawing us to surrender our lives to Jesus.
c. He is testifying that Jesus is the only way by which we can come to the Father.
2. When we respond to the witness of the Holy Spirit, and invite Jesus to be the Lord of our lives, the Holy Spirit comes into our bodies and dwells in us. Paul said, "Don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you?"
a. He guides us into all truth.
b. He begins to lead us in our walk.
c. He begins to conform our lives into the image of Jesus. Paul said, "And you with unveiled faces beholding the glory of the Lord and changed from glory to glory, into the same image by His Spirit that dwelleth in you."
d. The Bible tells us that no man can call Jesus Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.
e. Paul said, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His."
3. Jesus promised power when the Holy Spirit has come upon us to be His witnesses.
II. WHY WOULD PAUL ASK THIS QUESTION?
A. He no doubt saw that their experience in Christ was lacking something.
1. Maybe there was an absence of love.
a. One of the real marks of the truly Spirit filled life is love. The fruit of the Spirit is love.
b. This love is described as bringing joy and peace, and causing us to be longsuffering. It manifests itself in gentleness, goodness, meekness faithfulness and self control.
2. Maybe they lacked real zeal and enthusiasm for the things of the Spirit.
3. It could be that they lacked a real dynamic in their walk with Jesus, and their witness for Him.
4. Whatever it was that Paul noticed, he suspicioned their deficiency was due to the absence of the Holy Spirit.
B. It is one thing to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and quite another to be overflowing with the Spirit.
1. When on the feast day, recorded by John in chapter 7, Jesus stood and cried to the assembled multitude, "If any man thirst let him come unto Me and drink, and he that drinks of the water that I give, as the scripture says, out of his innermost being there will flow rivers of living water." John tells us that Jesus was speaking of the Spirit which was not yet given.
a. What did He say of the Spirit? He would be like a torrent of living water flowing out from your life.
b. The question really is not do you have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, but do you have the Holy Spirit flowing out from your life like a torrent of living water?
2. You can pour water in a glass until the glass is full, but if you keep pouring, the glass will begin to overflow. There is a difference between full and overflowing.
C. Many have complained of the difficulty of living the Christian life, and have given up because they found that it was too difficult. It is not only difficult, it is impossible.
1. It is very frustrating to see the ideal and to admire the ideal, to admit to the ideal, and then be unable to live up to the standards of the ideal.
2. Paul spoke of that frustration in his own life in Romans 7
. "I do the things I don't want to do, and I don't do the things I desire to do. I hate the things I do. I consent to the law that it is good, but I cannot perform that which is good. When I would do good, evil is present with me. My inward man delights in the law of God, but their is another law in my flesh that wars against my mind, and brings me into bondage to my flesh. Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of death?"
3. Paul then found his answer in chapter 8 as he speaks of the life in the Spirit. "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed me from the law of sin and death, for what the law could not do because of the weakness of my flesh, God has done for me by sending His Son in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in me as I walk after the Spirit. So then they who are in the flesh cannot please God, but we are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit if the Spirit of God is dwelling in us."
4. He shows me the ideal, and then gives me the power to live the ideal.
III. HAVE YOU RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT? IS THERE SOMETHING MISSING IN YOUR WALK WITH THE LORD? ARE YOU LIVING A DYNAMIC CHRISTIAN LIFE?
A. On a scale of one to ten, where would you rate your fervency for Christ?
B. If Paul would meet you and visit for a while, would he be apt to ask you if you received the Holy Spirit when you believed?
C. Is the Spirit flowing forth from your life like a torrent of living water?
D. Would you like a new dynamic to live the Christian life?
E. Ask the Father for the gift of the Holy Spirit, that your life might overflow with His love and power. Jesus said that if you earthly fathers know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those that ask Him.