Our text for this Lesson is found in Acts 2: 38-39.
"Then 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 Spirit. For the promise in unto you, and to your children, and
to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall
It never ceases to amaze me, that there are so many people (many in the church) who contend that the "gift" of the Holy Spirit is the Spirit Himself, and that it is some miraculous working of the Spirit that guides or influences them in some way separate from the written word. We are sometimes told that this gift is the Holy Spirit which "illuminates" the Word of God so we can understand it. So far as I know, this claim was first made by Ellen G. White, Founder of "Seventh Day Adventism" in the middle 1800's. She makes this claim in her book, "Great Controversy". She claimed that even though the inspired Apostles gave us the Word of God, it took the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit in her to "illuminate" this Word, so it could be understood. This same claim is being made by some today. I cannot have any confidence in such a claim. If the Holy Spirit could not "illuminate" the Word when he first revealed it through the inspired Apostles, so that we can understand it, how do we know that He can do any better the second time around through Ellen White, or some of our own preachers, who are making the same claim? Besides that, Paul said the Holy Spirit revealed the Word in such a way as to be understood in "few words." - "How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)" (Eph. 3: 3-4). Paul is simply saying here that the Holy Spirit revealed the word to him in such a way so that when we read it we may understand what Paul understood. That being the case it needs no further "illumination" from Mrs. White, nor from modern day preachers (including some in the church) who claim to have such direct guidance.
The preacher for the ultra liberal church here in Paradise claims that he has the "gift" of the Holy Spirit, which gives him direct guidance in his preaching, and yet I have never heard him attempt to preach even one sermon, without contradicting both himself and the Bible several times.
In one sermon he preached that there are no
qualifications for elders. In another sermon he preached that the only thing
that was nailed to the cross was man's sins. In yet another sermon he told how
he had promised to take his twelve year old son to an amusement park and how it
was pouring down rain on the day they were scheduled to go. He said his son
insisted on going anyway, and how the boy prayed all the way to the park for
the rain to stop. Then when they arrived at the park, lo and behold, the rain
had stopped, and the sun was shining brightly. He said the boy did not get to
play in the park, because the attendant told them the grass was too wet. About
two weeks later he told the same story again,but this time he added that the
reason the grass was too wet was because the boy forgot to pray for the Lord to
dry it. I suppose he got to thinking that people would wonder why the Lord
would send the sunshine and still not fix it so the boy could use the park.
Such foolishness by a man who claims to be a gospel preacher, sickens me, and
reveals his ignorance of the Bible. His knowledge is not likely to improve as
long as he continues to try to preach from this Calvinistic NIV instead of the
Bible. I told this preacher's elders that I did not need the Bible to prove
that he was not guided by the Holy Spirit in his preaching, that I could prove
it by the man's own contradictions, and wild stories.
The "gift" of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2: 38-49 is not one of the miraculous gifts we have talked about in these Lessons, and it is not the Holy Spirit himself. Our relationship with the Holy Spirit is exactly the same as our relationship with God and Christ; and we enter that relationship by our obedience to the gospel, and in no other way. When one hears the gospel and believes it, repents of his sins, confesses Christ, and is baptized into Jesus Christ for the remission of his sins; he enters into that relationship. The Lord said so. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in (INTO) the name of the father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:" (Matt. 28: 19) When the people of Acts 2: 38-39 were baptized in the name of Christ for the remission of their sins they thus entered into that relationship and received the "gift" of the Holy Spirit. This was His "gift" and it was not the Holy Spirit Himself, nor was it any miraculous manifestation of the Spirit. When the people of Samaria believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (Acts 8: 12) They did exactly the same thing that the people of Acts 2 did, and they received the same "Gift". Peter said, "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 Spirit." So, when the people of Samaria repented and were baptized they too received this "gift". But what they received was NOT the Holy Spirit, for we are told that Peter and John "prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." (Acts 8: 15-16) Did they receive the remission of sins and the "gift" of the Holy Spirit at the time they were baptized? They did, if Peter told the truth. Did they receive the Holy Spirit at that time? NO, "only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." So, the "gift" of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit Himself are NOT the same. Anyone not looking the other way should be able to see this.
One more example: In Acts 19 we have a record of Paul finding about twelve men in Ephesus who knew only the baptism of John. When Paul taught them to believe on Christ Jesus, "they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."(Acts 19: 5) Did they receive the remission of their sins and the "gift" of the Holy Spirit? According to Peter in Acts 2: 38-39 they did. Was this "gift" the Holy Spirit Himself? NO, because after they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, "Paul laid his hands upon them, and the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied". (Acts 19: 6) Other examples could be given, but these are enough to furnish proof that the "gift" of the Holy Spirit is not the Holy Spirit Himself. And I might add, if any will not accept this "neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead". (Lk. 16: 31)
Now the question is: "What is the "gift" of the Holy Spirit?" Compare the following parallel phrases:
1. John 4: 10 "If thou knewest the gift of God...thou wouldest have ask of him, and he would have given thee living waters."
2. Eph. 4:7 "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ."
3. Acts 2:38 "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 Spirit."
Now, no one would even dare to say that the "Gift" of God in John 4: 10 is God Himself, or that the "Gift" of Christ in Eph.4: 7 is Christ Himself, but the phrases in these two passages is identical in the sentence structure with the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2: 38--and yet many people attempt to make the latter passage the Holy Spirit Himself. The "Gift" of God does not mean the personal God, but rather what God "gave"; The "Gift" of Christ does not mean the personal Christ, but rather what Christ "gave"; and the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit does not mean the personal Holy Spirit, but rather what the Holy Spirit "gave".
The word "gift" in each of the above passages is the Greek noun "dorea". The gift "dorea" of God. The gift "dorea" of Christ, and the gift "dorea" of the Holy Spirit--The exact same word, the same exact structure. The "gift" of God in John 4:10 is "living water". The "gift" of Christ in Eph.4:7 is the "blessings" of grace mentioned in the text, and the "gift" of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2: 38 is all that is included within this "promise" in all of its equivalent terms, the blessings of the Holy Spirit's dispensation for the Jew and the Gentile. When Peter in Acts 2 said. "and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" he told in simple terms that the "gift" was "the promise" which was "unto, you, and to your children (The Jews) and to all that are afar off (The Gentiles) even as many as the Lord our God shall call (Both Jews and Gentiles throughout the Gospel dispensation). This is the promise God made to Abraham, first recorded in Genesis 15: 5, and re peated several times thereafter. emphasizing that "all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in Him" (Gen.18: 18). Thus these repeated promises that God made to Abraham was the "promise" of the blessings of the Holy Spirit's dispensation of salvation in Jesus Christ in the gospel age. Paul puts the climax on the whole matter in Galatians 3: 16 by saying, "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed which is Christ."
In conclusion--Do you know of any other promise that was ever made to "You, and to your children, and to all them that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call"? In other words, to all people, for all time, under the gospel dispensation. That is exactly what Peter said the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit is, the "promise" unto all men, and it is the "gift" of the Holy Spirit, given to all who "Repent, and are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and thus come INTO covenant relationship with God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. (Matt.28:18-20)
Go to lesson 11 The Case Of Cornelius