Through a webcast on May 25, Pastor Bai Yu'e shared her insights on the coming of the Holy Spirit during a special Pentecost sharing time.
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper country, came to Ephesus, and found certain disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They said to him, “No, we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” (Acts 19: 1-2)
As the Bible says, people accept Jesus as Savior, and the Holy Spirit dwells in their hearts. But in reality, many believers are still unfamiliar with the Holy Spirit.
What is the Holy Spirit? Pastor Bai replied that the Scripture states that “The Holy Spirit is the third divine person of the trinity, honored the same as the Father and Son, and the counselor sent by the Father and Son.”
So what does the Holy Spirit do? She cited nine points:
1. Convict. The coming of the Holy Spirit helps us to know about God and ourselves. Sometimes we reject the blame of other people, but the Holy Spirit illuminates us and makes us aware of unrighteousness and sin, thus we blame ourselves.
2. Rebirth. Jesus answered, “Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can’t enter into God’s Kingdom. That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don’t marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don’t know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8)
Many Christians don’t know they’ve been reborn, yet some think they have experienced new birth but really have not. So now we must be reborn in the Holy Spirit and have the life of the Son of God. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.
3. The Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of believers to seal and assure us of eternal life. We not only become children of God but receive an inheritance in heaven. But how can we receive this inheritance? It is through the Holy Spirit that we receive the evidence of our salvation. “In him you also, having heard the word of the truth, the Good News of your salvation--in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is a pledge of our inheritance, to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1: 13-14)
4. Witness His glory and testify for Him. “He will glorify me, for he will take from what is mine, and will declare it to you. " (John 16:14) The purpose of being filled with the Holy Spirit is not to show off how spiritual we are, but to testify to the glory of Christ. Christ is shown in us.
5. Change our life and understand the truth. "However, when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth, for he will not speak from himself; but whatever he hears, he will speak. He will declare to you things that are coming. " (John 16:13) We don’t read the Bible every day to increase our knowledge, but to change our lives. Therefore, we must constantly rely on the Holy Spirit so we can understand all truth.
6. The Holy Spirit came to guide and touch the believers. "When they had come opposite Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit didn’t allow them." (Acts 16:7) Sometimes we do whatever we want. Or we don’t know whether we should do it or not, even after praying. At this time, we should ask the Lord to grant us a special petition so that we can receive the touch and guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and live in it every day.
7. Give us all kinds of gifts. "For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; to another faith, by the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, by the same Spirit; and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages. But the one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing to each one separately as he desires."(1 Corinthians 12: 8-11)
We should use God's gifts to build the church, and benefit others, not for us. The church grows on the ground for the perfecting of the saints, to the work of serving, to the building up of the body of Christ. In fact, those who use the gifts are more important than the gifts themselves. For example, a knife, if put in the hands of a surgeon will treat people; in the hands of a robber, he may kill; in the hands of a child, he will hurt himself. To serve the church well we should hold the gift of God in one hand and truth in the other hand, and walk in the will of God.
8. Full of believers. "They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages." (Acts 2: 4) In the New Testament, the purpose of Holy Spirit’s presence is to fill each of us. Some say they do not have the Spirit—they are not full of the Spirit because they have not emptied themselves of guilt. Do not rely on feelings but on faith. This is God ’s precious promise to us. He is willing to fill every one of his children so that we can be empowered to witness the strength of Jesus and the glory of God.
9. Encourage believers to live a life full of the Holy Spirit. "Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit." (Galatians 5: 24-25) The Holy Spirit not only fills us but leads us to live a life full of Him. Gifts and fruits are perfectly balanced. While we use gifts, we must pay attention to the changes in life and hope the Lord gives us strength to receive everything the Holy Spirit has done for us.
How do we accept the filling of the Holy Spirit in a biblical manner? Pastor Bai divides the fulness of the Spirit into two types: poured out by the Holy Spirit and full of the Holy Spirit.
Poured out by the Holy Spirit is an external manifestation of the power of Christ, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and ministry. It’s beneficial. To be full of the Holy Spirit is related to the fruit and life of the inner being, to live and die with Christ and a mature Christian life.
Be alert and do not rely on feelings when the Holy Spirit is poured out on you. For example, some believers are not filled with emotions when praying. Pastor Bai said, "Suddenly there came from the sky a sound like the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” How could we feel such a great power of the Holy Spirit?
In addition, she reminded us to rid ourselves of selfishness and prevent ourselves from thinking too highly of ourselves.
To be full of the Holy Spirit is to commit ones life and live for the Lord. Obey the Lord in every decision and walk in the way of the cross through every struggle and period of brokenness. Live the life that is crucified and resurrected with the Lord, bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and show the ability to act by relying on the Holy Spirit.
In the end, Pastor Bai emphasized that no matter whether the Holy Spirit is poured out or it is being filled with the Spirit, only by balancing the two can we walk ahead. "We are all believers in the early church and are committed to following a life of service. Therefore, we need a thirst for God and keep an equal balance between pursuit and acceptance. We need a balance between the Word of God and the Spirit of God, life and gifts, madness and perseverance, truth and experience. I pray that the Lord will give us special grace and strength so we can move forward. "
- Translated by Elaina Wu