11/11/14 Filling with the Holy Spirit

Monday, November 10, 2014


Morning Meditations 11/11/14

I received the following request recently from one who receives our Morning Meditations: “Could you relate your understanding of Luke 11:13 in relation to this discussion? (The filling of the Holy Spirit). Is Christ applying this to His present day and in the post-pentecost era? Does this passage not apply to us? Could it be a general reference to God’s wisdom in James 1:5?

I will give you my opinion of what this teaches. Luke 11:13: “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”

I believe that we all understand that the Holy came and went upon believers in the Old Testament period. Jesus is making a dispensational change. I believe that Jesus is speaking to Jews and the basic application has to do with what was applicable in that day before Pentecost. It probably has reference to praying for the Holy Spirit who would come on Pentecost.

The words “shall give” in the clause “How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit” is a future active indicative verb. The word “ask” in the words “to them that ask him?” is a present active participle. This means that they ask in the present tense and they receive in the future tense. Now compare this to the words in Mark 11:24: “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” The words “when ye pray” translate a present middle participle. This means that it is speaking of praying at that time when Jesus was speaking, i.e., that is of the day in which they lived. The word “believe” is a present active imperative. The words “that ye receive them” translate a present active indicative verb. This teaches that when we pray, we are to believe that we receive what we are asking of the Lord at the time we are praying. The words “and ye shall have them” translate a verb (esomai) which is a “future first person singular of "to be. "Now lets look at the whole. What we pray for now we must believe that we receive it now. But what we receive now may have to wait for future fulfillment.

I believe this is also true of what Jesus is saying in Luke 11:13. The Holy Spirit would be coming on Pentecost. They did at that time pray for this Gift; Acts 1:8; Luke 24:49.

There is a rule of interpretation that has helped me a lot. Doctrine is declared by Christ in the gospels. That doctrine is applied by the Apostles, as they understood it, in Acts. The Epistles deal with those doctrines in context of testing. For instance, Jesus washed the disciples feet. The Apostles did not wash feet in the book of Acts because they did not understand it to be practiced as an ordinance. It is not found in the Epistles. Baptism is taught by the Lord in the gospels, the Apostles practiced it in Acts and it is taught and explained in the Epistles. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is taught by Christ in the gospels. The truth of this teaching is practiced by the Apostles in Acts. The truth of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit explained over and over again in the Epistles.

I believe the only definitive statement in the New Testament on when the Holy Spirit comes into the life of the believer is stated in Ephesians 1:13.. And Ephesians 1:14 tells us how long He comes to stay. (Excuse me. I must pause at this point to have an old fashioned camp meeting spell!!!)

Our brother also stated: “I have heard men talk about a definite time in their lives after they had been saved when they felt the Lord come upon them in a special way which was followed by a radical change in their effectiveness in Christ’s service.”

That statement is hard to answer. First of all, I have great respect for those who have had this experience that they claim. So, I would not for a moment try to say they did not have this experience. I believe they had it and it was a genuine experience from the Lord that affected their ministry in a powerful way. Second however, I have discovered over the years that we can make mistakes theologically in the interpretation of our experiences. We are not taught in the Epistles to pray for a baptism of the Holy Spirit. We are told in 1 Cor. 12:13: “ For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” I believe Eph 1:13 defines when this baptism takes place.

No matter what you call it, all of us need (must) be filled with the Holy Spirit. That filling is simply His control in our lives. Some have tried so hard to do things for the Lord in their own strength that when they came to realize that they could rest in His finished work and depend on Him now for all that they need to carry out His work, they had a subjective experience that they called a baptism. It was overwhelming to them and the joy of that hour will remain with them the rest of their lives.

Let me ask you a question. When you hear a testimony, or read one, where this experience has taken place, how does it affect you? If you are like me, it makes me want that experience. Most, if not all, bow before God and say, “Please Lord, do it again.” I prayed “do it again” for years and I never had an experience like those whom I read after. I came to the place where I even questioned my salvation. I said, “I’m just not saved. God wants me to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and if I were truly saved He would baptize me.” I think what really helped me to get past this is I began to analyze my situation. When I read the writings of men, I got under deep conviction because I did not have the experience like they had. When I read the Bible, I did not have one touch of conviction. Though I read it on the subject of the Holy Spirit. I said, “Wait a minute. This is not right. When what men say the Bible teaches convicts me, and the Bible itself does not convict, something is wrong.” So I backed off. I did not become critical of those who claimed the experience. I believe they had the experience they talked about. And I believe they explained it the way they understood it. But mistakes are often made when one interprets his experience. We MUST let the Bible interpret our experiences. And when our experience does not line up with Scripture, forget the experience. It did not come from God.

One Sunday morning early as I studied God’s word in Hebrews 11, I came across the statement, “He that cometh unto God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” The “is” became my Holy of Holies that morning. I knew what those men were talking about. The truth of the matter I had just come to realize by faith that God was in that room with me. That I had been praying for the coming of a Person who had been standing there all the time. I have had many of those experiences since then. I am very close to having one right now as I write these lines. God’s grace is the only explanation of why He would come down to dwell permanently in the life of such as sinner as I. Glory to God and the Lamb forever.

I hope these words will help some struggling soul who needs to know what I discovered that Sunday morning in the quietness of my study (well, to be honest, it wasn’t too quiet!) at Shady Grove Baptist Church in Bossier City, LA.

In Christ

Earl White

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