by W.A. MacFarlane
“HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?”
MY BRETHREN, DEARLY BELOVED, CHRIST’S JOY AND CROWN, SO STAND FAST MY DEARLY BELOVED.
The coming of the Holy Spirit to the New Testament Church fifty days after Easter, is commemorated in the season of Pentecost or Whitsuntide.
This is the most important contingency in all New Testament Church History. George Bowen said, “The day of Pentecost was a pattern day; all the days of the dispensation should have been like it, or should have exceeded it… We need a Baptism of the Spirit as much as did the Apostles…”
‘Questions of Destiny’ are posed to us in the Bible. Every thinking person will not rest until the right answer is found. Perhaps the most important Bible question is that which the Apostle Paul asked certain disciples at Ephesus, a question, which, alas, the Church in general, has left largely unanswered.
Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? (Authorised version)
Did ye receive the Holy Ghost when ye believed? (Revised version)
The Spirit Holy did ye receive having believed? (Literal Textus Receptus)
Dearly beloved, the question of vast, eternal magnitude for each one of us is – have I received the Holy Ghost since I believed? My eternal destiny depends upon my answer to this momentous question.
- Some have ignored Him; some have entombed Him in dead orthodoxy; others have imprisoned Him in cold, lifeless, academic scholarship; others again have blasphemed Him, and some good meaning souls have made Him ridiculous. How grossly insulting can people be?
But Satan fears nothing more than a Christian, or a Church, mightily and truly baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire, as was the first New Testament Church on the Day of Pentecost. Satan’s latest masterstroke has been to ‘draw this red-herring across the trail’, in order to lead the keenest Christians into this cul-de-sac. Yes, indeed, just anything at all, if only he can prevent us from experiencing the real, Divine Baptism with the Holy Ghost and with the fire (Matt 3:11).
- There are three tremendous truths of infinite magnitude which we must master in both heart and mind, and have implemented into our own personal experience. They are :-
- The personality of the Holy Spirit. Are you truly mastered by this Person, the Holy Spirit?
- The purity of the Holy Spirit. Has He yet made you pure and holy in heart and life?
- The power of the Holy Spirit. Have you received power from on high? (Luke 24:49).
- THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
God the Holy Ghost is One of the Three most glorious Persons in the universe. He is perfectly equal with God the Father and with God the Son, and He is by no means Third to the Second and to the First persons of the Trinity. There is no inferiority or superiority of One with Another in the Godhead. The words First, Second and Third, as applied to God are nowhere found in the Bible, but are merely man’s method of distinguishing them, and the method is sadly misleading to man and insulting to God with appalling results of a magnitude which we cannot measure.
- My dear friend, have you been guilty of neglecting, misrepresenting, insulting or blaspheming the sacred Person of the Holy Ghost?
- Is He, at this moment speaking with you, communing, inspiring, guiding, commanding you?
- Is He the Person Whom you know intimately as moving upon your heart and life continuously?
- The Holy Spirit Himself through the Apostle Paul, explains why men can be so ignorant – (1 Cor 2:14) “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto Him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
- Can it be true, then, that you owe God a deeply sincere apology, a heartrending confession to the glorious Holy Spirit Whom you have grievously offended? Ask Him to forgive you now for this and for all of your sins, that truly repenting and beseeching Him, to take away the dimness from your soul, by cleansing your heart from all sin that He might grant you a mighty baptizing with the Holy Ghost and with fire. This leads us to the second all important truth.
- THE PURITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Of all the many adjectives describing the Paraclete, there is special emphasis laid upon His sublime purity.
He reveals Himself to us as The Holy Spirit in view of sin being the chief and fatal problem of fallen man and therefore His chief ministry for us is to awaken, convict, convert, regenerate and sanctify in order to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus (Col 1:28). In Genesis 1:2 we read, “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, when all was darkness and chaos.” How very much more does He move upon the precious souls of sinning men, striving that they might be transformed to serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of their life (Luk 1:74-75).
“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation. Because it is written, be ye holy: for I am holy” (1 Pet 1:15-16).
- This Divine exhortation is in starting contrast to the unholy religious concepts of the heathen, pagan and the humanistic world of fallen men, where there is so much defying of gross corruption, jealousy, hatred, theft, lust, bloodthirstiness, and where ‘might is right’. Any teaching that minimizes, neglects or ignores perfect holiness and purity of heart and life is not of the Holy Spirit. “God will use a weak vessel, but He will not use a dirty vessel” (D.L. Moody).
- THE HOLY SPIRIT alone sanctifies souls to experiential heights of holy life and character. And you?
3. THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
“God sent His mighty power to this poor sinful heart.
To keep me every hour, and needed grace apart.
And since His Spirit came, to take supreme control,
The love enkindled flame is burning in my soul.”
(Delia T. White)
- Powerless Disciples before the Day of Pentecost. Why could not we cast Him out? (Matt. 17:19). A question which haunts many modern Christians – why?
- Promised ‘Dunamis’ – Power. “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you…” (Acts 1:18).
Luk 24:49 … “I send the promise of the Father upon you… until ye be endued with power from on High.”
- The enormity of this soul-cleansing character transforming, infinite power has been well stated by Sir John Seeley. “The conversion of one soul is a far greater work of God than the creation of the entire material universe.”
- Have you been caught up and gripped by this blessed, glorious, soul-saving, sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost?
- Power-filled Disciples
“They were all filled with the Holy Ghost…” (Acts 2:4). “And so the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41).
“Many… which heard the word believed: and the number of the men was about five thousand” (Acts 4:4).
Then they were saved in thousands and millions. Eleven million were martyred during the first years by Imperial Rome and at least sixty to seventy million by Ecclesiastic Rome.
But, ‘The blood of the martyrs was the seed of the Christian Church’.
Oh! But what infinite spiritual power was pouring like a Niagra Falls into the heart of a terribly sin-sick world, through the life and ministry of these mightily, Holy Spirit baptized Christians. It was said of them: “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also” (Acts 17:6).
- Oh, in the power of the Holy Ghost, to speak that saving, sanctifying Word into souls, that settles their glorious, eternal destiny.
- Dearly beloved, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?”