HAVE YOU RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT?
by Rev. Ernest O'Neill
I am asking, have you received the Holy Spirit -- just received Him? Maybe you're not filled with Him, maybe you're not baptized with Him, but have you received the Holy Spirit personally?
Now, here's the point. When you have received the Holy Spirit; even if you're just a little child in God, even if you are only a little baby in Jesus, even if that happened only yesterday, when you receive the Holy Spirit at conversion, and someone comes along and preaches this glorious victory over inward anger and jealousy, the Holy Spirit within you rises to that. He rises to that because He knows He is able to bring that about in your life and so you sense a rising to it.
You sense an inability too but the rising is stronger than the inability. And even though you may feel at times terrible and the conviction of sin may get unbearable yet always there'll be that bright little light inside you that will keep saying, "Yes, yes, but I can do it in you. I can do it through you."
Now, if you haven't received the Holy Spirit when you were born of God, if you have got into some kind of half baked experience and you haven't received the Holy Spirit, then when somebody like me preaches victory over sin and the baptism with the Holy Spirit and the fullness of the Holy Spirit and victory over inward anger, jealousy and envy, then there'll be no rising in your heart. You'll just valiantly and bravely feel (because you love me or you've listened for so many Sundays), "Well, I ought to try to do that." But on the whole, it'll be a depressing message to you.
On the whole, you'll feel, "Oh, I couldn't. I can hardly make it as I am over outward sin and now you're talking about inward sin?" Now, do you see that? That's why I am sharing this with you, so that you'll know where you are. There were people in the New Testament who were regarded as Christian disciples, thought of themselves as Christian disciples, and hadn't received the Holy Spirit. Let me show you where they are mentioned in Acts 19:1-6.
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said, "No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They said, "Into John's baptism." And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus." On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
That was the baptism with the Holy Spirit that they came into. But the point was that they hadn't even received the Holy Spirit in any form before that.
So it seems to me, many of us are like that. Whether we've to go on and be baptized with the Holy Spirit and filled with the Holy Spirit all at once or whether we have to go on and just receive the Holy Spirit and then walk for a year or so until we're filled with the Holy Spirit, many of us are in the same position as these people were in regard to the Holy Spirit. We haven't really received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Some of us have believed in the name of Jesus Christ. Some of us have experienced the forgiveness of our sins. But could it be that some of us have not received the gift of the Holy Spirit? In other words, could it be that you have come through some of the experiences that involve becoming a Christian but you have not entered into the vital one, which is the gift of the Holy Spirit?