We're going to talk today about how to receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 10:1 says, "There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band." This was a military rank, probably a captain over a regiment. Verse 2 continues, "A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway." He was righteous, did things that were right, feared God, gave much money to people in need, and the Bible says he prayed to God always. But we are going to find out, and it will be amazing, that even though he did things right, even though he feared God, and had a prayer life, he didn't have a personal relationship with God though Jesus Christ.
It says in verses 3‑6, "He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day [about three o'clock in the afternoon] an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord?
And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms [giving] are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon whose surname is Peter: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do" (brackets mine).
This man, although he was God-fearing, righteous as far as doing things that were right, and had a prayer life before God, was sent an angel who told him to send for Simon Peter who would tell him what he must do. We see in Acts 10:43 exactly what Peter was instructed to tell him: "To give him all the prophets witness, that through his name [through the name of the Lord Jesus] whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins" (brackets mine). Isn't this amazing? This man who had all these things to his credit didn't have a personal relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ.
God said, "The things you're doing are great, they're wonderful, and they are a memorial before me, but I tell you what I'm going to do. I've sent an angel down to tell you to send for a man named Peter, and he will tell you what you must do." In Acts 10:43, when Peter went to Cornelius' house, he said, "Whosoever believeth in him [the Lord Jesus Christ] shall receive the remission of sins" (brackets mine).
Now look what happened here. "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word" (Acts 10:44). Cornelius was receiving as he heard of faith in Christ, and he put his faith in Christ for the remission of his sins. As soon as he did, the Holy Spirit fell upon him and all those that were in that house. It says in verse 45, "And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost." How did they know that? "For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God" (verse 46).
Every time the Holy Spirit falls on an individual in the New Testament, a gift of the Holy Spirit manifests and gives evidence that they have received the infilling of the Spirit. In the New Testament, they usually spoke in tongues or prophesied.
I got down on my knees one evening in a field in Dallas, Texas, and said, "God, I don't know about all this speaking in tongues and the baptism in the Holy Spirit that people are talking about, but if there's a way I can praise you, a way I can magnify you, a way I can go beyond my human English language, I want it. I started worshiping God, and as I did, the Holy Spirit gave me a language, an utterance that I hadn't known or learned. The Bible says in Acts 2:4, "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." Who did the speaking? They did. Who gave the utterance? The Holy Spirit.
Luke 11:13 says, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" All you have to do right now is ask, believe that you receive, yield yourself to God, begin to worship the Lord, and He will give you an utterance to worship and praise Him in a language you have never learned.
- Describe some of the terms that the Bible uses for salvation.Answer
- Read Acts 11:15."And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning." - Acts 11:15How does this verse describe the experience of the baptism with the Holy Spirit?Answer
- Jesus' disciples received the Holy Spirit (John 20:22),"And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost." - John 20:22but a few days later were actually baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1‑4).Look at and compare these facts (John 20:22 and Acts 2:1‑4)."1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." - Acts 2:1‑4Answer
- Read Acts 1:8."But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." - Acts 1:8What is the purpose of the baptism with the Holy Spirit?Answer
- Read Acts 2:38‑39."38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." - Acts 2:38‑39Read 1 Corinthians 1:7.Is the baptism with the Holy Spirit for us today?"So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Corinthians 1:7Answer
- Read 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?" - Luke 11:13If you have not received the baptism with the Holy Spirit, what should you now do?Answer
- Read Acts 2:4."And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." - Acts 2:4Will you ask, receive, speak and worship God in the prayer language that God gives you?Answer