What Is The Gift of the Holy Spirit? | Timberland church of Christ

What Is The Gift of the Holy Spirit?



It has been aptly said that “no importance can be attached to a religion that is not begun, carried on, and completed by the Spirit of God.” That the Christian is led, guided, and strengthened by the Spirit cannot be denied by any Bible reader. To deny the fact that the Spirit dwells in us is to deny the Bible (2 Tim. 1:14). But it is asserted with equal clearness that God dwells in us (2 Cor. 6:16), and Christ dwells in us (Eph. 3:17; Col. 1:27). Before we make claims about the indwelling of the Spirit which would not parallel the indwelling of both the Father and the Son, we need to examine closely what is actually involved.

I. Three Different Ways Of Receiving The Holy Spirit Are Spoken Of In The Bible

A. Holy Ghost Baptism — Direct From Heaven

1. Two examples: Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-4 and Acts 10:44-48; 11:15-17; 15:7-9.

2. By A.D. 64, only one baptism remained in practice, Eph. 4:5.

B. Gifts Of The Spirit — Received By The Laying On Of Apostles’ Hands, Acts 8:14-17

1. This was never called “baptism.” The power to perform miracles was a gift or measure of the Spirit

which was imparted, 1 Cor. 12:7-10.

2. These miraculous gifts of the Spirit were to cease, 1 Cor. 13:8-10.

C. Indwelling Of The Spirit — Received Upon Obeying The Word, Acts 5:32.

1. Received by the hearing of faith, Gal. 3:2.

2. The Spirit dwells in those who make up the church, 1 Cor. 3:16-17.

3. Individually, our bodies are the temple of the Spirit, 1 Cor. 6:19-20.

4. The Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ are used interchangeably apparently denoting the Holy Spirit, Rom. 8:9-17, 26-27.

5. The Spirit of His Son is sent into our hearts, Gal. 4:6.

6. The earnest of the Spirit is in our hearts, 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5.

7. Believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Eph. 1:13-14.


II. How Does The Holy Spirit Dwell In Us?

A. The Point At Issue:

1. Does the Holy Spirit as a person immediately and without means enter into and inhabit the body of a Christian separate and apart from the influence of His revealed word?

2. If so, what does He do for the Christian as a result of this bodily indwelling that is not said to be accomplished through the medium of His teaching in the revealed word?

B. Consider The Difference Between The “Person” And The “Presence” Of God.

1. The Holy Spirit is a “Person” of divine nature. Personality, however, requires individuality, and individuality demands locality, and locality necessitates separation and distinction.

2. God, the Father, as a Divine Person is seated on His throne in heaven, Rev. 4:3-4; 7:10.

3. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, as a Divine Person is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high, Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 12:2.

4. The Holy Spirit as a Divine Person is before the throne, Rev. 1:4; 4:5.

C. The “Presence” Of God Is Found In Many Places Where His “Person” Is Not.

1. Through the medium of various agents, God’s presence may be found in different places simultaneously although His Divine Person (the eternal Being Himself) is in heaven.

a. God called unto Moses out of the midst of the burning bush, Exo. 3:4. But He did it through an angel, (Exo. 3:2).

b. The Lord saved Israel out of the hand of the Egyptians, Exo. 14:30. But He accomplished it through the “angel of His presence,” Isa. 63:9.

c. The Lord went before Israel in a pillar of cloud and fire, Exo. 13:21. But the angel of God actually did this, Exo. 14:19; 33:14; 23:20-25.

2. Christ promised to be present when disciples gather in His name, Matt. 18:20. But who would say His Divine Person is literally in every assembly? Through the medium of worship in prayer, singing, the Lord’s supper, etc. we have fellowship with Him. We have an awareness of His presence through service to Him, yet we know His Divine Person is at the right hand of the Father, Heb. 4:14-16; 1 Peter 3:22.

3. If both the Father and the Son can be present through the instrumentality of their agents without being present in person, why cannot the Holy Spirit also be present through the medium of His agents?

4. The fact God showers providential blessings upon His children is without question to all believers. But how and when He does this is often left to subjective reasoning. Perhaps too often we have been inclined to denote the Holy Spirit as the Father’s medium of providence when, in fact, God has sent His angels to minister unto the “heirs of salvation,” Heb. 1:14.

D. The Word “Dwell” Does Not Necessitate A Literal Indwelling Of The Person.

1. We may say of a son, “I can see his father in him.” All we mean is that we see the influence of his father because of similar attitudes and actions.

2. The word “dwell” often indicates that by which one is controlled.

a. City of Pergamos — “where Satan’s seat is,” Rev. 2:13

b. Controlled by sin — “sin dwelleth,” Rom. 7:17-20

c. Controlled by truth — “dwelleth in us,” 2 John 2

3. In the sense of controlling influence, both the Father and Son dwell in us.

a. God dwells in us, 2 Cor. 6:16; 1 John 4:12-15; 2 John 1:9.

b. Christ dwells in us, Col. 1:27; Eph. 3:17; Gal. 2:20.


It has been aptly said that “no importance can be attached to a religion that is not begun, carried on, and completed by the Spirit of God.” That the Christian is led, guided, and strengthened by the Spirit cannot be denied by any Bible reader. To deny the fact that the Spirit dwells in us is to deny the Bible (2 Tim. 1:14). But it is asserted with equal clearness that God dwells in us (2 Cor. 6:16), and Christ dwells in us (Eph. 3:17; Col. 1:27). Before we make claims about the indwelling of the Spirit which would not parallel the indwelling of both the Father and the Son, we need to examine closely what is actually involved.

III. Three Different Ways Of Receiving The Holy Spirit Are Spoken Of In The Bible

A. Holy Ghost Baptism — Direct From Heaven

1. Two examples: Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-4 and Acts 10:44-48; 11:15-17; 15:7-9.

2. By A.D. 64, only one baptism remained in practice, Eph. 4:5.

B. Gifts Of The Spirit — Received By The Laying On Of Apostles’ Hands, Acts 8:14-17

1. This was never called “baptism.” The power to perform miracles was a gift or measure of the Spirit

which was imparted, 1 Cor. 12:7-10.

2. These miraculous gifts of the Spirit were to cease, 1 Cor. 13:8-10.

C. Indwelling Of The Spirit — Received Upon Obeying The Word, Acts 5:32.

1. Received by the hearing of faith, Gal. 3:2.

2. The Spirit dwells in those who make up the church, 1 Cor. 3:16-17.

3. Individually, our bodies are the temple of the Spirit, 1 Cor. 6:19-20.

4. The Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ are used interchangeably apparently denoting the Holy Spirit, Rom. 8:9-17, 26-27.

5. The Spirit of His Son is sent into our hearts, Gal. 4:6.

6. The earnest of the Spirit is in our hearts, 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5.

7. Believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Eph. 1:13-14.


II. How Does The Holy Spirit Dwell In Us?

A. The Point At Issue:

1. Does the Holy Spirit as a person immediately and without means enter into and inhabit the body of a Christian separate and apart from the influence of His revealed word?

2. If so, what does He do for the Christian as a result of this bodily indwelling that is not said to be accomplished through the medium of His teaching in the revealed word?

B. Consider The Difference Between The “Person” And The “Presence” Of God.

1. The Holy Spirit is a “Person” of divine nature. Personality, however, requires individuality, and individuality demands locality, and locality necessitates separation and distinction.

2. God, the Father, as a Divine Person is seated on His throne in heaven, Rev. 4:3-4; 7:10.

3. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, as a Divine Person is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high, Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 12:2.

4. The Holy Spirit as a Divine Person is before the throne, Rev. 1:4; 4:5.

C. The “Presence” Of God Is Found In Many Places Where His “Person” Is Not.

1. Through the medium of various agents, God’s presence may be found in different places simultaneously although His Divine Person (the eternal Being Himself) is in heaven.

a. God called unto Moses out of the midst of the burning bush, Exo. 3:4. But He did it through an angel, (Exo. 3:2).

b. The Lord saved Israel out of the hand of the Egyptians, Exo. 14:30. But He accomplished it through the “angel of His presence,” Isa. 63:9.

c. The Lord went before Israel in a pillar of cloud and fire, Exo. 13:21. But the angel of God actually did this, Exo. 14:19; 33:14; 23:20-25.

2. Christ promised to be present when disciples gather in His name, Matt. 18:20. But who would say His Divine Person is literally in every assembly? Through the medium of worship in prayer, singing, the Lord’s supper, etc. we have fellowship with Him. We have an awareness of His presence through service to Him, yet we know His Divine Person is at the right hand of the Father, Heb. 4:14-16; 1 Peter 3:22.

3. If both the Father and the Son can be present through the instrumentality of their agents without being present in person, why cannot the Holy Spirit also be present through the medium of His agents?

4. The fact God showers providential blessings upon His children is without question to all believers. But how and when He does this is often left to subjective reasoning. Perhaps too often we have been inclined to denote the Holy Spirit as the Father’s medium of providence when, in fact, God has sent His angels to minister unto the “heirs of salvation,” Heb. 1:14.

D. The Word “Dwell” Does Not Necessitate A Literal Indwelling Of The Person.

1. We may say of a son, “I can see his father in him.” All we mean is that we see the influence of his father because of similar attitudes and actions.

2. The word “dwell” often indicates that by which one is controlled.

a. City of Pergamos — “where Satan’s seat is,” Rev. 2:13

b. Controlled by sin — “sin dwelleth,” Rom. 7:17-20

c. Controlled by truth — “dwelleth in us,” 2 John 2

3. In the sense of controlling influence, both the Father and Son dwell in us.

a. God dwells in us, 2 Cor. 6:16; 1 John 4:12-15; 2 John 1:9.

b. Christ dwells in us, Col. 1:27; Eph. 3:17; Gal. 2:20.


III. Through The Medium Of The Revealed Word, The Holy Spirit Dwells In Us.

A. The Spirit Directs Our Lives Through the Revealed Word. Compare: Eph. 5:18 — “Be filled with the Spirit ...” Col. 3:16 - “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly ...”

B. The Bible Itself Is Not The Spirit, But The Bible Is The Agency Or “Means” By Which The Spirit Guides Us, Rom. 8:12-17.

1. For example, one may say he chopped down a tree. Do you under stand that he did it with bare hands or by “means” of an axe?

2. A man flew to Paris. Do you understand he flew by flapping his arms or that he went by “means” of an airplane?

C. Obedience To The Word Is The Means By Which We Are Controlled By The Spirit.

1. We are “born of the Spirit” — when we obey, 1 Peter 1:22-23; John 3:5; Eph. 5:26.

2. We “know” we are saved — when we obey, 1 John 2:3-5; 5:2-4.

a. Rom. 8:16 — The Spirit bears witness with our spirit (cf. Rom. 10:17).

b. Eph. 1:13-14 — “Sealed,” i.e. given stamp of heaven’s authority

c. 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5 — Given an “earnest,” i.e., assurance, pledge, or a guarantee by God’s immutable word

3. We “bear the fruit of the Spirit” — when we obey, Gal. 5:22-26.

a. Evidence of being filled with the Spirit is shown, Rom. 5:5.

b. As we are controlled by these attitudes, the Spirit can be seen in us, Gal. 5:16-17.

D. What Could The Spirit Do Within Us That Is Not Accomplished Through His Word?

1. To possess the Spirit does not mean one must be able to work a miracle. John the Baptist did not work a miracle, Luke 1:15; John 10:41.

2. Perhaps the Spirit might give us faith — the word does that, Rom. 10:17.

3. He might give us a new birth — the word does that, 1 Pet. 1:23.

4. He might give us light — the word does that, Psa. 119:130.

5. He might give us wisdom — the word does that, 2 Tim. 3:14-15; Psa. 19:7.

6. He might convert us — the word does that, Psa. 19:7.

7. He might open our eyes — the word does that, Psa. 19:8.

8. He might quicken us — the word does that, Psa. 119:50.

9. He might give us understanding — the word does that, Psa. 119:104.

10. He might sanctify us — the word does that, John 17:17.

11. He might save us — the word does that, James 1:21.

12. He might purify us — the word does that, 1 Peter 1:22.

13. He might cleanse us — the word does that, John 15:3.

14. He might make us free from sin — the word does that, Rom. 6:17-18.

15. He might build us up — the word does that, Acts 20:32.


IV. What Is The Gift Of The Holy Spirit In Acts 2:38?

A. Does This Mean The Spirit Is The Gift Or The Spirit’s Gift?

1. John 4:10; Acts 8:20 — It does not mean God is the gift, but God’s gift.

2. Eph. 4:7 — It does not mean Christ is the gift, but Christ’s gift.

3. Only by the context or other related passages can’the meaning of Acts 2:38 be determined.

B. What Is The Promise Of Acts 2:39?

1. It is the same promise made unto their fathers which is the “word of salvation,” Acts 13:32,26.

2. It is the same promise referred to in Gal. 3:7-8,13-16,29 concerning the blessing which would come through the seed of Abraham.

3. On Pentecost the Holy Spirit began to pour out the word of salvation. When men obey that word revealed and confirmed by the Spirit, they receive salvation and all the attendant blessings which is the “gift of the Spirit,” (cf., Gal. 3:14).

C. The Work Of The Spirit Is Summarized In The Prophecy Of Joel, Acts 2:16-21.

1. REVELATION OF TRUTH — “prophesy,” Acts 2:17-18 “Pour out of” or “from” does not say the Spirit Himself was poured, but “from” the Spirit was poured this revelation.

2. CONFIRMATION OF TRUTH — wonders, miracles, and signs, Acts 2:19-20

3. SALVATION — Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, Acts 2:21. We must remember that this is the ultimate work of the Holy Spirit as He reveals the Will of the Father.

Conclusion

(Acknowledgment is hereby given to Franklin T. Puckett, my esteemed departed brother, whose published notes and personal conversations helped this writer formulate the arrangement of these outlines on the Holy Spirit.)

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