THE MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD
Immersion in the Holy Spirit
"Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the teaching of immersions, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead and of eternal judgment ...," Hebrews 6'1-3.
"HOW MUCH MORE"
The harsh rebuke that the writer to the Hebrew Believers gave to them about their neglect of the elementary principles of Christ (the first principles of the oracles of God), shows just how critical they are for the Believers' spiritual growth.
This third principle is particularly interesting because mention of it often attracts doubting comments and confusion because immersion in water is not immersion in the Holy Spirit. But we can read these words: "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" Luke 11'13.
Then, prior to the Day of Pentecost: "... being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, 'which', He said, 'you have heard from Me," Acts 1'4.
Also, Luke refers to this prophecy about Jesus immersing Believers with the Holy Spirit: "... John answered, saying to all, 'I indeed immerse you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will immerse you with the Holy Spirit and fire'," Luke 3'16.
Added to all that there's what Jesus shouted out at the Feast of Tabernacles:
"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.
Finally, on the Day of Pentecost, after the Holy Spirit had come, Peter explained: “Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear," Acts 2'33.
After he had said some more ...
"... Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be immersed 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.
If you have repented and believe in Jesus for salvation, the promise of the Holy Spirit is to you today. You are among the many who "the Lord our God will call".
DID YOU RECEIVE?
Because of mixed or incorrect teachings there are Believers today who are ignorant, confused or unaware of the Father's promise of the Holy Spirit. They may have been immersed in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit but they were not told about the Promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
There's an incident in the Book of Acts about not having received the Holy Spirit:
"... it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, 'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?' So they said to him, 'We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.'
And he said to them, 'Into what then were you immersed?' So they said, 'Into John’s immersion.'
Then Paul said, 'John indeed immersed with an immersion of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.' When they heard this, they were immersed in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied," Acts 19'1-6.
Paul perceived these men to be true Believers. It's very interesting that, in order to find out more about them, he asked them what seems to be a peculiar question: "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?". They replied: "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." He then asked them: "Into what then were you immersed?".
He knew that if they had been immersed in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit they would have heard of the Holy Spirit and The Promise as well no doubt.
BORN AGAIN, ASKING, RECEIVING,
Those men in Acts 19 were born again Believers. They had received Jesus and been born of God:
"... 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," John 1'12-13.
And Jesus makes it clearer by saying: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit," John 3'6.
The point is that, having received the Lord they had born of the Holy Spirit but they had not received the gift of Holy Spirit. There is a difference.
However, if you haven't received the Holy Spirit since you believed, Jesus encourages you to ask. And He leaves no doubt as to our Father's answer:
"... I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" Luke 11'9-13.
Jesus knows His, and our, heavenly Father intimately and knows that He wants every one of His Children to ask Him for the gift of Holy Spirit. The earliest Saints who received the Holy Spirit are portrayed in the scriptures of Acts 2'1 to Revelation 3'22. They are just as Jesus had said, "... you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me ...," Acts 1'8.
So, if you have not received the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Lord urges you to ask. First of all, make sure you're right with God. Lift your hands with praise and thank Him for His love and kindness, and the wonderful things of His great salvation and redemption, etc.
You can ask the Father in your "quiet time" with Him. Having another Believer who has received the Spirit to pray alongside you as you ask can be very helpful. Or you could pray and ask at the end of a service with an Elder or other Believer.
Above all, remember James's encouragement: "Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you" (4'8). Ask Him like this:
Heavenly Father, thank you for your promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit to all who ask.
Lord give me the Holy Spirit, in Jesus' name.
Father, I receive the Holy Spirit now.
Thank you, Lord, for giving me the Holy Spirit. Amen.
"Amen" means "so be it". You have asked, you have received. It has happened. Jesus said, "... you shall receive power ..." and you have. You also might find yourself speaking some unintelligible words. They form your prayer language to God that you can use at any time.
Keep believing for more of the Spirit. And praise God. You have received the gift and the power. Amen.
Next: His Immersion.