Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is one of my favorite subjects and I love discussing about it. I could spend days and weeks just talking about the Holy Spirit (and am still learning). The New Testament is filled with numerous quotes about the Holy Spirit and there is such great emphasis on receiving the Holy Spirit. Just to make it easy, I'll make this posting as brief as possible.
Holy Spirit is something God wants us to receive. All we have to do is - ASK! Wait - just asking won't do. Acts 5:32 says, "God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him." Isn't that true - when we love God, we tend to obey God. When we obey His commandments, we become best friends with Jesus, for Jesus is the one who completely obeyed God. Those with exact same nature and thinking end up being friends for ever.
Jesus explained to his disciples that He will ask God, the Father to send the Holy Spirit. Pay attention here - Jesus is the one who is requesting the Father to send out the Holy Spirit.
“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father - the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father - he will testify about me. (John 15:26)
The same night, when Jesus told his disciples that He had to return, those disciples felt extremely lonely. They did not want someone whom they loved so much (Jesus) to leave. At that time, Jesus tried to comfort them and this is exactly what Jesus told them about the Holy Spirit (John 14: 15 - 31).
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
“Come now; let us leave."
Did you notice Jesus addressing the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth (Truth with a capital T). We know how hard it is to stand up for truth, without hurting our friends and without the fear of losing our friends' approval. Here is one of my favorite quotes about Truth. I don't know who said it, but it's been etched in my mind the very first time I heard it - "Everyone wants Truth on their side, but nobody wants to stand on the side of Truth." Let me tell you from my own experience - it's extremely hard to stand by the side of Truth. It's been like this from the very beginning of time. Truth is absolutely indispensable in our relationship with God. Nothing can ever take it's place. Everything that can be done must be done to secure and safeguard the truth. The one who wants to be God’s servant is admonished to: (1) call upon God in truth; (2) serve God in truth; (3) walk before God in truth; and (4) worship God in truth. Since truth is that what holds the creator and creation together, satan is continuously trying to come in between and break that bond. King Solomon in his proverbs says, "Buy the truth, and do not sell it, Also wisdom and instruction and understanding."
In order to receive the Holy Spirit, Jesus asked His disciples to stay and pray.
"And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven." - Luke 24:49
The disciples, along with Mary spent 10 days in prayer. Then the most wonderful thing in the history of earth happened - the Holy Spirit descended upon them and they received spiritual gifts that transformed their lives and gave them the power to touch the lives of other people.
There are 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit:
3. Counsel (right judgment)
4. Fortitude (courage)
6. Piety (reverence):
7. Fear of the Lord
Then again, there are 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit:
Earlier, I used to wonder, "What's the difference between 'gifts' and 'fruits' of the Holy Spirit?" Later, I learned that 'gifts' come all at once from an outer source - in this case, from God (just like how we distribute gifts on auspicious occasions to one another) and 'fruits' are something that gradually grows within ourselves (like how a good and healthy tree produces delicious fruits by itself).
Jesus did not limit the availability of Holy Spirit only to His disciples and those gathered there. It was certainly not something reserved for a select few, rather available for everyone who repented and had faith. It says in Acts 2: 38:
Then Peter said unto them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Thousands of people believed Peter and took that path of experiencing the Holy Spirit.
Our church celebrates the feast of Pentecost by symbolically sprinkling water over it's believers. There is lack of coaching and training about the importance of the Holy Spirit in our church - hardly anyone knows the significance. On Sunday, take a look at those standing beside and around you. Make note of how many (including you and I) are really waiting to experience the presence of Holy Spirit and how many are prepared to accept it. To many (in my observation) it is a fun event when water droplets fall upon them, without realizing what it actually represents. Can we spot anyone in the crowd filled with Holy Spirit who's empowering and emboldening?
Children, here is some food for thought:
Now, what do you think about the Holy Spirit?
Do you think the Holy Spirit would come this Sunday, if you obeyed God?
Do you think the Holy Spirit would bring you 'gifts' and you could produce those 'fruits'?
Do you think you could handle the arrival of Holy Spirit, if it came onto you today?