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Your Helpful Friend

Everyone needs friends and everyone values those special friends who are always there when you need them the most. Each of us has a special friend in the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit Fills You

We have learned that the Holy Spirit is a gift. When are we ready to receive this gift? In his book, Keys to the Deeper Life, A. W. Tozer gives us an answer.

First, he says, we must be “sure that the experience of being filled is actually possible.” We must be convinced that it is nothing strange or unusual. We must see that it is the proper work of God, a gift that comes because of the work Christ did to save us. If we read and study what the Bible says about being filled with the Holy Spirit, our conviction will become strong (pp. 26,27).

Secondly, Tozer says we must desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit. “Are you truly willing  to let the Spirit of God be Lord of your life?” he asks. Are you willing to give up pride, boasting, and selfishness? Are you willing to obey the written Word of God? Are you willing to be tested and disciplined? (p. 28).

If you cannot answer an eager “yes” to these questions, examine your motives. You may want only the thrill of power or victory. But if you can, you are ready to be filled with the Holy Spirit!

In this lesson you will study . . .

  • Others Are Being Filled
  • Make the Holy Spirit Welcome
  • Believe and Receive
  • Surrender to the Holy Spirit

This lesson will help you . . .

  • Become convinced that the Gift of the Holy Spirit is for you,
  • Overcome barriers to receiving the Holy
  • Know how you can receive the Holy
  • Explain four ways in which you need to surrender to the Holy

OTHERS ARE BEING FILLED

Objective 1.     State Bible verses that describe who will be filled with the Spirit.

Did you know that God is “pouring out His Holy Spirit” on all people now even more than on the Day of Pentecost? Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled in part then and in a greater measure now.

Acts 2:17,18. God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on everyone . . . Your sons and daughters will proclaim my message . . . Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit . . . and they will proclaim my message.”

Between A.D. 300 and A.D. 1900 some individuals and groups continued to be baptized in  the Holy Spirit. Augustine, Xavier, the Waldenses, Zinzendorf, Finney, and many of the early Methodists and Quakers had the Pentecostal experience and power.

In 1900 God began pouring out His Spirit on His children all around the world. From then on the Pentecostal revival has grown. Many thousands of Christians in all different churches, such  as Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist have been filled with the Holy Spirit. Some estimate that there are over 110 million Pentecostal believers in the world today.

Who is being filled with the Holy Spirit? People who hunger and thirst for God receive the Baptism. Many go without some meals in order to spend more time in prayer. Hunger of the soul has become more important than that of the body.

Psalm 42:2. I thirst for you, the living God.

John 7:37-39. Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice; “Whoever is thirsty should come to me and drink… Whoever believes in me, streams of life-giving water will pour out from his heart.” Jesus said this about the Spirit which those who believed in him were going to receive.

The Holy Spirit is filling those who want Him to take control of their lives. They surrender mind, emotions, will, and body so God can use them in any way He chooses.

MAKE THE HOLY SPIRIT WELCOME

Objective 2.     Take steps to prepare yourself to receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

What do you do when you learn that a dear friend is coming to visit you? You clean the house and get ready to welcome him or her. Your Friend the Holy Spirit wants to come in and fill you.

General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, wrote this:

Before we go to our knees to receive the Baptism of Fire . . . see to it that your souls are in harmony with the will and purpose of the Holy Spirit whom you seek. See to it that the channel of communication, by which the Baptism of the Holy Spirit must be received, be kept open. I heard of some people . . . who could not get any water. They turned the tap repeatedly, but no water came… Plenty of water was in the reservoir, pipes, tap, and connections all right, but no water came. At last they pulled up the pipe and found a mouse in it. It is no use turning the tap, praying, singing, or even believing, if you are holding something back or refusing to do something—something about which you feel condemned, but which you refuse to give up, something in the pipe . . . Out with it; give it no rest; give it up. Destroy your idols and hindrances and stoppages, with an everlasting destruction. Let there be free communication between you and God. Let all go, and you shall be flooded before you rise from your knees; the world shall feel the power of it, and God shall have all the glory.

BELIEVE AND RECEIVE

Objective 3.     Claim and receive by faith the gift of the Holy Spirit.

You receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit like you received salvation: by faith. That is, you just believe God’s promise and accept the gift that He offers you. Here are some of the promises that will help you believe and receive. They are for you. Memorize them and say them over and over to yourself. As you realize the truth of them it will be easy for you to accept God’s gift for you.

Luke 11:9, 11-13. “Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you . . . Would any of you who are fathers give your son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or would you give him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Believe God. Don’t be afraid to ask. And don’t be afraid when the power of the Holy Spirit comes on you. God loves you. You are His child. He won’t give you something harmful when you ask for the Holy Spirit!

Acts 2:38,39. Each one of you must turn away from his sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven; and you will receive God’s gift, the Holy Spirit. For God’s promise was made to you and your children, and to all who are far away—all whom the Lord our God calls to himself.

Acts 5:32. “The Holy Spirit . . . is God’s gift to those who obey him.”

To receive a gift you just believe that it is for you, thank the giver, and put out your hand to receive it. You take hold of it and make it yours. In the same way, you believe God’s promise. You go to Him and ask Him for the gift He has offered. You thank God for it and accept it for your own. You believe that the Holy Spirit comes in to fill you. You surrender to Him your will, your desires, and ambitions, and let Him take first place in your life. As you do, He will fill you. And you will know it.

Galatians 3:2,14. Did you receive God’s Spirit by doing what the Law requires or by hearing the gospel and believing it? . . . through faith we . . . receive the Spirit promised by God.

SURRENDER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

Objective 4.     Give examples of four ways the Holy Spirit works in those who surrender to Him.

You want the Holy Spirit to fill you so that He can lead you, pray through you, give you the words to say when you witness, give you faith to believe for His miracle-working power. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is your initiation into this kind of life. You experience some of all this work in the Baptism. It is like a door through which you enter into the Spirit-filled, Spirit-directed life. As you enter, you surrender completely your mind, emotions, will, and body to the Holy Spirit.

Often those praying to be filled raise their hands in a sign of surrender and invitation to the Holy Spirit to take control. Some receive while singing songs of surrender.

Surrender Your Mind

The Holy Spirit comes in so that He can help you pray and witness. So you can expect Him to impress on your mind certain things to pray for or to thank God for. Obey the Holy Spirit. As you do, He will pray through you in your own language or in the one that He chooses.

Surrender Your Emotions

Your emotional nature is part of you; surrender it to the Holy Spirit. If you feel like crying when you are praying, don’t hold back the tears. Let the Holy Spirit break up all the hardness, self-will, pride, doubt, and resistance to God that He may have found in you. Let Him convict you, cleanse you, and make you what He wants you to be. Weep for your friends and loved ones lost in sin, or for the millions who have never heard the gospel. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in you for the salvation of souls.

When the Holy Spirit fills you, He may give you such love that you will just worship God and praise Him with your whole soul. Or you may be so happy that you feel like laughing for joy. Go ahead and express this love and joy from the Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 1:8. You rejoice with a great and glorious joy which words cannot express.

Romans 14:17. God’s kingdom . . . righteousness, peace, and joy which the Holy Spirit gives.

Remember, however, that God’s blessings come to different persons in different ways. Some people just don’t feel any great emotion when they are filled with the Holy Spirit. So don’t worry about it or try to work yourself up into an emotional state. Benjamin A. Bauer says this:

The power of the Holy Spirit upon you cannot be accurately measured by the amount of feeling you possess, but rather by the faith that abides within. The power of the Holy Ghost may be working through you mightily without producing a particle of emotion in your physical man. But a man or woman filled with the Spirit will always be full of faith and love.

Surrender Your Will

You have invited the Holy Spirit in to take full control of your life. Don’t start arguing with Him over how He is to do it. Don’t insist on an experience just like someone else had. Accept what He has for you. Some people resist the power of God because they are afraid it will make them look foolish. What if people do criticize you? They called Jesus and Paul crazy and said the Spirit-filled believers at Pentecost were drunk. Let go of self-will and let God have His way.

Surrender Your Body

The Holy Spirit will fill your body as well as your mind and emotional nature. You have prayed for the power of the Holy Spirit; He may let you feel that power so that you will know that it is real.

People respond physically to the power of the Holy Spirit in different ways, much as they did in Bible times. Moses trembled greatly. Daniel fell down as if he were dead. David danced for joy before the ark. The lame man jumped for joy after he was healed. On the Day of Pentecost, the group that had gathered spoke in languages as the Holy Spirit took control of their tongues and gave them the words to speak.

The Bible says that the tongue is the hardest to control of all our members. We are quick to say things we shouldn’t and slow to say what we should. So we surrender our tongues to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to help us use them for the Glory of God. He lets us know that He has accepted them by taking control and giving us a new language with which to pray and praise God.

People receive this work of the Holy Spirit in several ways. Some suddenly begin to speak fluently in another language without problems, struggles, or doubts. They just yield their voices to the Holy Spirit.

Others yield little by little to the power of the Spirit. Some stammer and struggle to keep speaking clearly in their own language. Some are like children learning to talk as they repeat over and over one or two syllables or words that the Holy Spirit gives them. But as they learn to yield to the Spirit each time they pray, He takes control of their tongues and speaks fluently through them.

Still others feel a strong impression from the Holy Spirit to speak a certain word or words that they do not understand. In faith they accept this leading of the Spirit and speak the words. As they do, the Holy Spirit enables the person to speak in another language—no longer in words that pass through their mind but in direct, supernatural power.

Here is a condensation of Robert W. Cunninghams’ experience when he was a Presbyterian missionary in India:

I was praising God and saying, “Glory be to Thee, O God.” Suddenly . . . He seemed to say, “You really are not praising me and praying for My glory, because you are anxious for My glory, but because you want your Baptism.” . . . I returned to the meeting . . . and began at once to pray as He had taught me . . . “O God! be Thou exalted and glorified here, in this meeting, in each of Thy children, in me.”

As I prayed thus with all sincerity, a very powerful spirit of sorrow laid hold of me…. In a spirit that I recognized as not my own I wept my heart out because God was not loved and glorified when He was worthy.

After the spirit of jealous, burning desire for God’s glory, came a sense of wonderful and supreme joy and freedom. I felt as if I were in the heart of God’s love and freed from all that bound me. I laughed with the joy of it—laughed at my doubts and fears, laughed at the enemies of my soul, and laughed with the joy of triumph over every worry that had attacked me.

For a long time the Spirit taught me to praise Him for His holiness, for His justice, for His righteousness, and for His goodness. Next He taught me the passion of the desire of His heart that His kingdom come. Oh! if we only knew how the Spirit yearns that Christ be crowned King.

The next lesson He taught me was God’s jealous desire that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. He began to deal with me personally. He showed me that all members, my whole body, had been made for His glory.

All this while tremendous Power had been upon my body, . . . Power that was intelligent . . . Power that was infinite, yet stopping before my will and refusing to accomplish its desires except as my will would cooperate.

Then He made it very plain to me that He expected me to use my speech to glorify Christ. He wanted me to give my life to glorify Christ as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world . . . the Healer . . . the One who baptizes in Spirit and in fire . . . the coming King.

Then He let me know that He wanted my tongue, to speak through it as He gave utterance. As I yielded it to Him He spoke through me in a language which I did not know or understand. Why? I cannot say.  I only know that He made me feel that He the Holy Spirit had used my tongue  to speak mysteries to God, and that it was eminently fitting that He should seal the flooding and filling of His temple by taking the tongue and worshipping God as He gave utterance, in a language I by my own prayer could not speak.

God, who makes no two leaves exactly alike, will fill you with the Holy Spirit in the way He chooses. Some are filled with the Holy Spirit right away after their conversion. Others pray a long time before receiving. Some are kneeling at an altar when they are baptized in the Holy Spirit. Others are sitting or standing. Some are in a prayer group or in a home. Others are singing, reading the Bible, or going about their work when suddenly a great love for God wells up in them and they burst out praising Him and are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Maybe you have been filled but are not as full of the Spirit now as you would like to be. Do what the early Christians did: let Him fill you again to overflowing. “Keep being filled with the Spirit.”

As you see how others are being filled with the Holy Spirit, you realize that God has no favorites. What He is doing for others, He will do for you too. How long you have been converted, where you are, and what you are doing are not important. What is important is your attitude, your hunger and thirst for God, your willingness to obey Him, and your faith that He will keep His promise. Surrender to Him and let Him fill you right where you are.

God bless you as you put into practice what you have learned. We pray this for you:

Colossians 1:9-11. We ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will, with all the wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives. Then you will be able to live as the Lord wants and always do what pleases him. Your lives will produce all kinds of good deeds, and you will grow in your knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength which comes from his glorious power.