The Holy Spirit
by David Thompson
Have you ever felt empty regarding spiritual things? I know I have. Like the twelve men in today's passage, they didn't even know they were missing a large piece of one of God's ultimate promises. It would seem from the passage that there was a cognitive act that was needed to have the "whole" presence of God as part of their lives.
Now I know that most reading became filled with the saving knowledge of Christ and also had an infilling of the Spirit. The experience left them with no doubt that the Holy Spirit was infilling them. However, through the years of talking with people, there have been a good number who felt a lack in this area. If we look at today's passage once again, we can see that the men Paul spoke to had John's baptism and a promise that there would be one coming after John that would have another baptism. That baptism was after that person realized Jesus Christ and this entity called the Holy Spirit. In verse 4 it states that, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. Paul told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus."
Verse 5 tells us that when they heard of their lack, they all were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Verse 6 is the key. It states that "When Paul placed his hands on them the spirit came on them." Now there is a lot of debate about what followed. The twelve men displayed some outward signs. Just what we, as Holy Spirit filled Christians, will display have caused arguments throughout the centuries. It's not in my "pay grade" to try to convince anyone what exactly they will feel or what signs they might display. Whole denominations have been formed with the perceived answer to this age old question.
For me, I look at Paul in his road to Damascus experience. As you remember from Acts 9, Paul was struck blind and after a number of days a Christian named Ananias came to Paul, laid hands on him and Paul's sight was restored. We know that Saul (as he was known before his conversion) was a mean man who persecuted the members of the Way and had them jailed and even killed. Saul was there when Steven was stoned to death. However, once Paul received the full Gospel that included the Holy Spirit, he was a changed man. We all know he is responsible for much of the New Testament.
The key is, it changed him, and I strongly believe when a person becomes a Christian and becomes filled with the Holy Spirit, there will be a change. That person will display the "fruit of the Spirit" as related in Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Notice that the "fruit" is singular meaning you will have a degree of all the above. You might, and likely will, have some gifts as well. There are folks right here at UALC that have a survey of Spiritual Gifts you can take and find what your gifts might be. Mine include teaching, leadership and administration. I would be interested to hear what you have found or will find are your gifts. For a Spiritual Gifts Test - Click here
Thank you for your faithfulness and love. Help all who read the above to take to heart that there is no need to feel empty in our Christian walk. Help us see the need of getting a full measure of your Holy Spirit in our lives. If the fruit of the Spirit is lacking touch those that long for that and some of your gifts. We ask all of this in Christ's wonderful name. Amen and Amen!