Wisdom International Mission - "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved" Mark 16:16

Understanding the Holy Spirit
Revision 10/19/2017
     This book is inspired from years of evangelism, both in the States and abroad, and the continual need of having to teach against the many false concepts that have entered into religious teachings concerning the Holy Spirit.  There are synonymous questions that are asked repeatedly to me as I have traveled to regions of America and Africa.  This book began as a letter to someone concerning questions she had concerning the various teachings on the Holy Spirit.  From there, the information was expanded and turned into this book.  This book has been a key resource in the ministry, including the African prison ministry, in helping many to understand the Holy Spirit.  This book has been instrumental in bringing souls to Christ and empowering them to live new lives as a new creation in Christ Jesus.

The Multifaceted Holy Spirit
      In order to understand the Holy Spirit we must first see that the Holy Spirit is multifaceted.  The Holy Spirit cannot be put into a singular box as though He had only one dimension.   For one to understand the Holy Spirit, one needs to understand what a spirit is and what the difference is between the soul and the spirit.  If one can understand the difference between the soul and the spirit, then one can understand the difference between God and the Holy Spirit.  The word soul in the Hebrew is pronounced “nehfesh.”  In the Greek it is pronounced “psukhay.” The original meaning is “breath,” as in a breath of air.  It indicates that which is living or has the breath of life.  The word for spirit in the Hebrew is pronounced, “ruakh.”  In the Greek it is pronounced “pnumah.” The original meaning of these words is current of air or wind. The spirit and soul are like the air.  There is life in the air, as it is life to us when we have breath in us, but we cannot see air. That is why the word is adapted to refer to our soul which we cannot see, but it is the life in us.  It is what makes us a living being.  The spirit is similar in meaning, but rather than being the essence of the life itself it pictures a movement or action that comes forth from the soul. It may be said of someone that they have a spirit of kindness.  The reason for the saying is because of the action that has come forth.  This action tells us the essence of the soul. For example: A person can be alive and be a living soul, but he can be brain dead.  Even though the body is alive there is no spirit or action coming forth from the soul that is still living.  God is a spiritual being whom we cannot see, but He is life.  He sends forth His Spirit to carry out the action from Himself. In Genesis 1:1-2 we see that God is referred to as being in the beginning and creating the heavens and the earth.  Reference is then made to the Spirit of God hovering over the face of the waters. 


     Let us consider Genesis 1:26:
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth’” (Genesis 1:26 NKJV).
     In this verse we see the use of a plural form in reference to God showing that God the Father was not working by Himself.  This is pictured clearly for us in John 1:1-14 and Colossians 1:15-18:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
     There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John1:1-14).

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence” (Col. 1:15-18).
     We see that Christ was with God from the beginning of creation but not in a form of flesh, since it was later that He became flesh and dwelt among us.  He was Spirit before He came in the flesh.  The Holy Spirit, who was sent forth from God in the beginning and through whom all things were created, was the same Holy Spirit who came to dwell in the flesh.  We must remember, however, that the difference between our spirit which comes forth from us and the Spirit that comes forth from God is that His Spirit is omnipresent.  In other words His Spirit can be everywhere doing multiple things at the same time.  Even though the Spirit of God came forth in the flesh, He was still moving in other ways.  We see Him descend upon Christ in a bodily form at His baptism, which was only done as a sign for us.  While He was in the form of Christ, we see Him working in the performing of miracles through the 70 who were sent out in Luke 10:1-20.

    In considering the work of the Holy Spirit in mankind we will look at the various manifestations of the Spirit throughout the scriptures.  The first mention of the Holy Spirit working in men is in Genesis 41:38 when the Pharaoh spoke of Joseph.  This was in reference to his being able to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh:
And Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?’" (Gen. 41:38).
      In Exodus 35:30-35 we are told of how Bezalel and Aholiab were filled with the Spirit of God in craftsmanship and the ability to teach.  Their ability in craftsmanship was given to them by the Holy Spirit:
     “And Moses said to the children of Israel, "See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;  and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship,  to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze,  in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship. And He has put in his heart the ability to teach, in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver--those who do every work and those who design artistic works” (Ex. 35:30-35).
     In 1 Sam 10:1-13 we are told the story of King Saul.  The Spirit of God came upon him, and he began to prophecy.  This story is similar to what happened on the Day of Pentecost:
“Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him and said: ‘Is it not because the LORD has anointed you commander over His inheritance?  When you have departed from me today, you will find two men by Rachel's tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say to you, “The donkeys which you went to look for have been found. And now your father has ceased caring about the donkeys and is worrying about you, saying, ‘What shall I do about my son?’“ Then you shall go on forward from there and come to the terebinth tree of Tabor. There three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine. And they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall receive from their hands. After that you shall come to the hill of God where the Philistine garrison is. And it will happen, when you have come there to the city, that you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with a stringed instrument, a tambourine, a flute, and a harp before them; and they will be prophesying. Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you.  You shall go down before me to Gilgal; and surely I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and make sacrifices of peace offerings.Seven days you shall wait, till I come to you and show you what you should do.’
      So it was, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart; and all those signs came to pass that day.  When they came there to the hill, there was a group of prophets to meet him; then the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. And it happened, when all who knew him formerly saw that he indeed prophesied among the prophets, that the people said to one another, ‘What is this that has come upon the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?’ Then a man from there answered and said, ‘But who is their father?’ Therefore it became a proverb: ‘Is Saul also among the prophets?’
 And when he had finished prophesying, he went to the high place” (1 Sam. `10:1-13).

     In 1 Kings 17: 17-24 we see the power of the Holy Spirit raising the dead through Elijah: 
    “Now it happened after these things that the son of the woman who owned the house became sick. And his sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him. So she said to Elijah, ‘What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?’ And he said to her, ‘Give me your son.’ So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed. Then he cried out to the LORD and said, ‘O LORD my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?’  And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the LORD and said, ‘O LORD my God, I pray, let this child's soul come back to him.’ Then the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived. And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, ‘See, your son lives!’ Then the woman said to Elijah, ‘Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is the truth’“(1 Kg. 17:17-24).
     As we look into the New Covenant we see more varying manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Jesus gave the power to cast out demons to His disciples in the aforementioned Luke 10:1-20.  In John 20:22-23 we see where Jesus breathed on the Apostles and said:
"Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained"(John 20:22b-23).
     This manifestation of the Holy Spirit was to give authority to the Apostles for giving the terms of pardon or condemnation.  In Acts chapter 2 and chapter 10, we see the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which was not truly a new thing in the gifts that were given, but it was more dramatic and extensive than had been seen in the past.  This manifestation of the Spirit involved the receiving of prophecy and revelation from God.  In Acts 4:31, Luke writes of how they prayed, the earth was shaken, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness - which is what they prayed for:

“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).  
     Since those praying here were already Christians who had already been baptized for the remission of sins to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and some were Apostles who had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we can see that this manifestation of the Holy Spirit was for the purpose of giving them boldness and enthusiasm to preach.  What we see from this is that when the Holy Spirit is spoken of or when the receiving of the Holy Spirit is spoken of it could mean a number of different manifestations. We have seen the Holy Spirit accredited with what we would define as miraculous signs.  They also received gifts that we would consider natural gifts, such as that of being a talented artisan or to have boldness.  We have seen that the giving of the Holy Spirit was for the purpose of giving authority to the Apostles to retain or remit the penalty of sin through their word.  It is only through careful and unprejudiced study of the context that one can determine which manifestation of the Holy Spirit is being spoken of in that context. 


The Greatest Manifestation of the Holy Spirit
     There is one manifestation of the Spirit that I have not yet spoken of.  It is the most important manifestation of the Holy Spirit.  It was the purpose of Christ’s going to the cross and dying for us.  The manifestations of the Spirit we have looked at in light of miracles, artistic skill, and the inspiration of zeal and boldness, were all achievable under the Old Covenant.  In 1 Samuel chapter 10, King Saul had the Holy Spirit fall on him, and he prophesied.  In 1 Kings 17:17-24, Elijah was able to raise the dead. In Numbers 22:28-30, God gave a donkey the gift of tongues.  None of these manifestations of the Holy Spirit required the sacrifice of Christ.  There is, however, one manifestation of the Holy Spirit that could not occur until Christ had suffered, died, resurrected, and ascended to heaven.  Please, understand that Jesus was born and lived under the Old Covenant.  The New Covenant did not come into effect until after the death of the Christ: 
“For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator” (Heb. 9:16). 
     The Holy Spirit was there working in men’s lives already and was even given by Christ to the disciples to perform miracles, yet John records this message for us in John 7:37-39:
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart
will flow rivers of living water." But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified”  (John 7:37-39).
      In this case John tells us that this is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit that was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.  The glorification of Jesus was completed through His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven:
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory”(1 Tim 3:16).
     John recorded many things for us that were spoken by our Lord concerning this manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Beginning from John 14:15 he said:
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-- the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you orphans;
I will come to you.
      "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him”(John 14:15-21).

        In this passage Jesus promises a manifestation of the Holy Spirit who is now with them and would be in them.  The Holy Spirit was with them in the body of Christ, but soon He would be in them.  Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit in this passage and others as the Helper.  In John 16:7 He tells them:
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7).
     This passage reinforces what John was saying, in John 7:39.  The Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.  Jesus had to go to the Father in glory before He could send the Helper back.  This is the manifestation of the Spirit that was to give life.  This was the indwelling Spirit that is spoken of in Romans 8.  Paul had begun his subject in Romans chapter 6 by explaining that the Christian was not to continue in sin.  He proves that through one’s obedience to baptism God works a great work in us by killing our old man and making us a new creation who is no longer a slave to sin.  In chapter 7 he speaks in the first person of a man who is under the law and cannot cease from sin.  In chapter 8 he refers back to those who are not under the law but are in the Spirit.  In this chapter we see the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to work in us to put to death the deeds of the flesh and to change us but only in unison with our faith and commitment: 
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh”(Romans 8:1-3).
    In this passage Paul refers to the old law as the law of sin and death, referring back to chapter 7.  He shows that it was through Christ that God completed what the law could not do, which was to change a man from the inside. Paul states:
“So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.  And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you”  (Romans 8:8-11).

     Please, notice how the terms of the Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of God are all used in a synonymous way, thus showing them to all be the same Spirit.  This passage also makes it clear that if one does not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in him, he cannot be saved.  If Christ is in us, then we are no longer in the flesh, but we are in the Spirit. Paul then goes on to add:
“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:12-13).


     Here, Paul makes it clear again that it is by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us that we are able to put to death the deeds of the flesh.  It was not possible for the Holy Spirit to dwell in us in this manner until Christ had lived in the flesh, suffered in the flesh, died for us, arisen from the dead, and had ascended back to heaven.  The reason for this is that God, therefore the Holy Spirit, could not know the temptation of the flesh since He was not flesh.  Therefore, He could not judge with empathy for humanity.  James said:
“Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone” (James 1:13).
     In the Hebrew letter we see an explanation of Christ having become our High Priest by suffering and being tempted in the flesh. This gave Him the ability to be our judge and intercessor.  He begins by saying:
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin”  (Hebrews 4:14-15).
      He ends by saying:
“who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,  called by God as High Priest ‘according to the order of Melchizedek’" (Heb. 5:7-10).
     By these scriptures we can see that Christ was perfected as our High Priest through His suffering and obedience.  The Spirit could not dwell in us as our high priest, helper, and intercessor until He had done this because He could not empathize with us in our trials and temptations, but now Christ our intercessor and priest dwells in us.  As it says in Romans 8:26:
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).
     Understanding these manifestations, especially the most valued one of the Helper, will lead us to see the misconceptions that rise up over the work of the Holy Spirit and to understand the answers to the following questions:


1. Do people receive the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit yet today?
     The question here is, “Does someone receive the Holy Spirit?” rather than, “Can someone receive the Holy Spirit?”   Those who ask this question are speaking of the miraculous gifts manifestation of the Spirit.  It is certain that God could give signs and wonders to whomever He wishes.  He did so to the household of Cornelius in Acts 10.  As to whether He is doing this now, all of the evidence says no.  We are instructed by John to test the spirits to see if they are from God. (1 John 4:1)  As for the gift of tongues, what those of this day claim is tongues is not what the Apostles received on the Day of Pentecost or what Cornelius received or what the Apostles gave the churches through the laying on of their hands.  When the Apostles received the baptism of the Holy Spirit there was a sound from heaven as a mighty rushing wind. (Acts 2:2) Fire came and sat upon each of them. (Acts 2:3) They began to speak in the tongues of those who were there:
“ And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.  And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, ‘Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?  And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs--we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God’” (Acts 2:5-11).
    The reference in verse 8 of saying, “…our own language in which we were born,” indicates that the speaking by the Apostles was as though they were native born in the language.  This is what made it an amazing thing to the people.  What we see today called “tongues” is not amazing at all.  We see people making unintelligible noises with no fire from heaven and no miraculous sound of a mighty wind.  That is not a miracle.  If we follow the pattern of the scriptures, we see that those who spoke with tongues on the Day of Pentecost, prophesied, and did miracles were the Apostles.  Acts 2:14 tells us that Peter and the other eleven Apostles were the ones that had received this manifestation of the Holy Spirit, as they were the ones who stood up to make their defense to the people. Acts 2:43 also clarifies that it was the Apostles who were continuing to work the miracles after many others were baptized.  We see, as time went on, that the Apostles gave the gifts to others by the laying on of their hands. In Acts 8:14-19 Luke records:
“  Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.  For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit’" (Acts 8:14-19).

     The language here indicates that the Holy Spirit falling on someone was a known occurrence but that was no longer the case.  We see that the pattern that became common was of one receiving the power of the Holy Spirit by an Apostle laying hands on them. (Acts 19: 1-6, Romans 1:11)  The
household of Cornelius in Acts 10 and 11 is an exception to this order for the purpose of convincing the Jews that the Gentiles were acceptable to God.  Even in this case, Peter shows that it was not a common occurrence when he tells the story by saying:
“And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning” (Acts 11:15).
      The term, “…at the beginning,” references the beginning of the church.  However, no matter whether the tongues were by the laying on of hands or by the baptism of the Holy Spirit the gift was the same.  It was the gift of speaking languages fluently by the power of the Holy Spirit.  If we then follow the pattern that the interpreters were those who were there and could understand the language, this paradigm fits all the way through all of the scriptures.  It is evident in scriptures that God gave some people the gift of interpretation of foreign languages, but the interpreters on the Day of Pentecost were those who spoke the language naturally.  That is why Paul explained that the gift of tongues was for the unbeliever. (1 Cor. 14:22) It was the unbelieving foreigner whom tongues was aimed at. If we study the entire text of 1 Cor. 14, Paul makes it clear that if there is no one to interpret the language, whether it is a foreigner or an interpreter to translate the message, the one who had the revelation was to keep silent in the assembly of the church and not utter a word.  Even if there was an interpreter to translate, there were only to be two or three people speak, and they were to speak one at a time while one person interpreted. Paul taught:
     “Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.  Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?  But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.
      How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints” (1 Cor. 14:22-33).
     As for the other signs of prophecy and miracles, we again see that the miracles and prophecies of those today do not hold up to the test of God’s word.  Jesus said:
“Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'”  (Matt. 7:21-23).

     In this passage we see that many signs and wonders were being done, but they were not from the Holy Spirit. If someone claims to be a miracle worker from God and confesses Christ as Lord but he is not doing the will of the Father, he is not even known by Christ; therefore, he could certainly not have the Holy Spirit.  Jesus goes on after this to explain that it is the one who hears His sayings and does them who is like a wise man who built his house upon the rock, and it is the one who hears His sayings and does not do them who is like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand.  This shows us that the fruit of doing the will of the Father is to listen to Jesus and do what He teaches.   Those today who proclaim to do miracles and to have prophecy are simply not speaking the truth.  I have not found any of them to be preaching that a man must repent and be baptized for the remission of sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  I have never heard any of them preaching that Jesus only began one church, and that the divisions created by men are wrong.  Their preaching is always about materialism and giving to God in order to get material gains.  The miracle workers of today live arrogant lives consuming money from the poor and spending it on their
own lusts, which Christ and his apostles condemned.  They do not have the Holy Spirit.  While it is possible for God to allow them to have the power of miracles from Satan in order to test us, I do not even see that as what is happening today, as the so called miracles they perform are too phony. 
     When Jesus and the Apostles healed people, they healed those who were well known for being lame from birth or blind from birth.  Lazarus was in the grave four days when Jesus raised him up. The so called miracles of today are no more than theatrics, people falling down and claiming to be healed of things that cannot be seen.  If you can find someone who can speak perfectly in foreign languages by miracle rather than study - if all that he prophecies comes true - If he can heal those who have visible ailments that are well documented - if he is preaching the truth about the church, baptism, and the indwelling Holy Spirit - if he is a man of humility who is not preaching materialism and money while living a meek and moderate to poor lifestyle, then I would have to consider that God may have returned these signs to us.  However, that is not the case.  It seems clear from the pattern we see in the scriptures that God allowed miracles to jump start the church, but His intent was for us to be a church that grew to be based on love and not on miracles. In Matthew 12:39 Jesus stated: 
“An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign…” (Matt. 12:39).
     Those who are always seeking miracles are still under the influence of their carnal mind and they have missed the spiritual picture.  Paul spoke about the doing away of such gifts and coming to the greater gifts as the mature church:
“Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:8-13).

     A people who base their faith in miracles have always been a people of shallow and weak faith.  After the Israelites of old saw all of the miracles that led them out of Egypt, they turned from God to complaining and wanting to go back to their slavery in Egypt in only a few days.  The church at Corinth had more miraculous gifts than all of the other churches, yet they were the weakest spiritually in the true faith, hope, and love of perfect Christianity.  God has shown us this so that we who are mature in the faith might see that miracles and signs are not the answer to great faith.
    It is necessary for us to be a people of intelligence and wisdom in order not to be led astray by emotions of the flesh.  We are to be led to understanding through the truth with the mind of discernment that God has given us to use.  In 2 Timothy 2:15 Paul said:
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
     When the last Apostle John finished the Revelation the word was perfected (made complete).  If prophets are still active today, we need to add their words to the Bible as scripture.  There is a reason why there have not been any scriptures added beyond the writings of John. No scriptures have been added since John passed from this life because no one else has been given that power.  Truly, the system of the completed word is far better than that of the dependence upon incomplete prophecies.  We do not have to guess and wonder if what is being said is from God or if we are listening to a false prophet.  We can rest assured that the scriptures are true and complete; therefore, we have the message we need for our salvation in its entirety. 
2. What is the gift of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Acts 2:38?
     The gift in Acts 2:38 is the indwelling Holy Spirit spoken of in Romans 8.  As it was pointed out previously, we cannot be saved without the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us.  The context of Romans 8 is a continuation of the subject that he began in Romans 6.  There he points out the act of our burial and resurrection by baptism.  The message is that during baptism a miraculous work was being done by God.  When someone is baptized, God crucifies the old man and he becomes a new creation by the power of the Holy Spirit:
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (Romans 6:1-6).

     If one continues to follow the message, one can see that in chapter 7 Paul regresses to show that the man who is under the law is still enslaved to sin.  He is not free from the old man; but in chapter 8 he brings us back to the point that the Christian who has died to the flesh and now lives in the Spirit is free through the indwelling Spirit of Christ.  The subject matter of the baptism in Acts 2:38 is about attending to the things that bring salvation.  When the people were convicted about their sins by the preaching in Acts 2, they asked Peter and the apostles:
“Men and brethren, what must we do?” (Acts 2:37). 
      The response was:
“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

       Peter also goes on to confirm that this is a promise to all people: 
“For this promise is to you, to your children, to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39). 
     It is made clear from Acts 2:43 that the miracles were still being done through the Apostles and not through the 3000 who were baptized: 

“Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles”(Acts 2:43).
     This shows us that the Holy Spirit given to them was not the manifestation of miracles. The promise of the indwelling Spirit is a promise to all people who repent and are then baptized with faith in the promise. 
3. How does one know if he has the Holy Spirit?
     This question is usually asked as a means of promoting the idea that if we do not have miracles we cannot know that we have the Holy Spirit.  Those who ask it do not understand the scriptures or the very essence of faith.  Faith is a belief in God and His promises to us.  I knew that I had the Holy Spirit the day I was baptized, because God promised it to me.  God gave His promise on the Day of Pentecost that everyone who is baptized for the forgiveness of sins will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  We will again consider Acts 2:38-39:

“ Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call’"(Acts 2:38-39).

     For those who believe the scriptures this promise is enough for one to know that he has the Holy Spirit.  As time has passed I have come to see many other factors that tell me my faith in His promise was not in vain.  His Spirit has changed me into another man.  By the power of His Spirit I have put to death the deeds of the flesh.  The things that once haunted my life and frustrated me, as Paul spoke of concerning the carnal man in Romans 7, I have put to death by the Spirit who dwells in me, as he promised in Romans 8:13:
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live”(Rom 8:13).
4. Isn’t the indwelling Spirit simply the word of God dwelling in us?
     There are some who teach that the indwelling Spirit is only the word of God dwelling in us through our study or memorization of the word.  This concept is perpetuated from the scriptures that show us that the word of God is alive and works in us, such as Hebrews 4:12:
“But the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of the soul and the spirit, and the joints and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and the intents of the heart”(Heb. 4:12).
     While this concept may survive under the scrutiny of some scriptures, it falls short in the light of all that is said about the indwelling Holy Spirit. Peter stated in Acts 5:32 that God has given the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him:
“And we are witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him”(Acts 5:32).
     Since not all believers had received the gifts of miracles, this reference must be about the indwelling Holy Spirit that is promised to all Christians.  That being the case, one can see that the notion that this reference is about the word of God does not fit.  Faith comes because the word is given first.  We do not obey and then receive the word: 
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”(Rom. 10:17).
    Since Peter makes reference to the Holy Spirit being given as a result of an act of obedience, this reference fits perfectly into His previous comment on the Day of Pentecost:
“Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”(Acts 2:38).
     We also have to consider the reference of Romans 8:26:
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weakness.  For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26).

    The context of Romans 8 had been entirely about the indwelling Spirit to the point of this quote. Again, this example does not support the idea of the indwelling Spirit simply being our memorization of God’s word. We also have to consider the scripture of Hebrews 13:20-21:
“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,  make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Heb. 13:20-21).
     These scriptures together show that the indwelling Holy Spirit is given by God through the individual’s obedience and that He is working in us to change us and to pray on our behalf.  It has been reported that Joseph Stalin, the renowned “atheist” dictator, had memorized the entire Bible. If this philosophy is true - that the amount of the Spirit in us is determined by the amount of scripture we have memorized - it would mean that Joseph Stalin had more Holy Spirit in him than any of the Christians I know.  Trying to fit this philosophy into the copulation of all the scriptures on this subject is like trying to force a square peg into a round hole. The word of God is certainly a manifestation of the Spirit of God, but that is not the entire picture.
5. Is the gift of the Holy Spirit different from the fruit of the Holy Spirit in Gal. 5:22-23?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23).
     The fruit of the Holy Spirit is that which grows from us when we have the Holy Spirit in us.  As the Holy Spirit is perfected in us, we grow to maturity in each of the attributes listed concerning the fruit of the Spirit.  We are given the gift of the Holy Spirit at our baptism.  Once the Holy Spirit enters into us, there is a growing process that takes place.  In Galatians 4:19 Paul said:
“My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you…” (Gal. 4:19).
     Christ is being formed in the Christian.  The fruit that he will bare is love, joy, peace, and so on.  It is the indwelling Holy Spirit who is changing us into a new man.  The fruit here is the fruit that comes from the Holy Spirit and, therefore, from us when we have matured to that point.   We will again consider the prayer of the writer in Hebrews 13:20-21:
“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,  make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Heb. 13:20-21).

     It is evident in this prayer that it is God working in us that makes us complete.  He is perfecting us through the power of Christ in us.  It is truly important for one to understand that it is God’s power that is changing us through the Holy Spirit.  If one believes that his being changed is only a matter of his mind over the will of the flesh and that he is changing by his own power and obedience, he is no different than the one who was under the law and trying to change by his own power. 
     In 2 Corinthians 3 Paul was referring back to the story of the Old Covenant where Moses had to cover his face after seeing God because it glowed with the glory of God.  He did not want the people to look on the glory that was fading away.  According to Paul’s analogy this is a picture of the fading away of the Old Covenant Law.  He then brings about the teaching of the glory of the New Covenant, which we now have through the Spirit of God:
“But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:15-18)
     As we continue to look steadfastly to God with the Spirit of Christ in us, we are being transformed from glory to glory by His Spirit into the image of Christ. It is the power of Christ in us that is changing us.  It is by His power in us that we can overcome sin and be changed into the children of God.  In order for this to happen, we must first receive the Holy Spirit through our obedience to His promise; but we must then truly believe that the power of Christ in us is greater than the power of Satan.  As John said in 1 John 4:4:
     “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, (false prophets and the spirits of antichrist) because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world”(1John 4:4 – Parenthetic clause added).
In Conclusion:
     The indwelling intercessor and helper is truly the greatest manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and love is the greatest manifestation of His fruit.  I have often heard from those who like to take a stoic philosophical approach that love is not an emotion, it is a commitment.  While it is true that commitment is an outcome of love, love is certainly something that is felt and it is a spiritual fruit.  It is not just a rigid determination that is to be acted upon.  Paul wrote a chapter on love in 1 Cor. 13.  In the first three verses he lists several acts of love that could be methodically done by and individual, yet they can be done without love:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing” (1 Cor. 13:1-3).
     Love is certainly more than a commitment of works.  Love is a power within us that produces the fruits of patience, kindness, unselfishness, commitment, and the like; but, as Paul has shown us, we can act out those attributes without love.  I can attest that in my own life God has truly shown me that there is nothing greater than coming to fully know love as He has loved us.  The love that I have come to have for others is far greater than any other gift that could be known.  No miracles could even come close to compare to the joy of knowing that love.  As we assess the life of Christ, we can ask ourselves which was greater - was it the miracles that Christ did to heal diseases of the temporal bodies during His life, or was it the love that compelled Him to give His life on the cross?  If God wanted us to have perfect physical bodies, He would only need to say it and it would be.  God does not want us to have perfect physical bodies, but He does want us to know the love of the perfect Son of God and to be perfected in His love by the Holy Spirit.  That is something that God cannot just say and it will be.  If love is not of freewill then it is not love.  The infirmities of the flesh and its trials are part of the divine plan that leads us to love God.  Without the struggles that lead us to look to a greater hope humans will forget about God, and they will not seek Him.  I will leave you with the words of John:
“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:17-21).
     I pray that all who read this will come to believe in the power of the Holy Spirit; and I pray that the God of love will perfect them in His perfect love through His eternal power.    
His servant:

Bob Hartman

Contact me a spiritualbackbone@yahoo.com to purchase hard copies of this book.
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