The Reception of the Holy Spirit
by Pastor Jack Hyles
(Chapter 3 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Meet The Holy Spirit)
I was preaching in a southern state. My message dealt with the fulness of the Holy Spirit and how that we are to meet the conditions and then plead with God constantly for His mighty power. A wonderful preacher followed me and made the statement that we do not have to plead for the fulness of the Holy Spirit but that if we simply claimed that fulness by faith, it could be ours. Though he was sincere, and though I think that he is a Spirit-filled preacher, I was saddened that he would make such and over-simplification of this vital doctrine. He overlooked 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?" In this verse the word "ask" is in the linear or durative which means we are to ask and ask and ask and ask. What a dangerous thing it is to misunderstand the fact that God insists that we pay the price for the fulness of His power-the kind of price that George Fox paid when he was alone with God for two weeks in prayer and fasting for the power of the Spirit, the kind of price that Dwight Moody paid when he pleaded with God for His mighty power, the kind of price that Jacob paid when he wrestles with the angel of God throughout the night, the kind of price that the New Testament church paid during the ten days preceding Pentecost!
I think it is possible that this misunderstanding of simply claiming the Holy Spirit fullness by faith is caused by the omission of a truth which I call "THE RECEPTION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT." Careful attention should be given to the following discourse concerning this doctrine.
First, we must establish the fact that the Holy Spirit does come in at salvation. Romans 8:9, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." I Corinthians 6:19, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost Which is in you, Which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"
Though he does come in, there remains something else for us, and that is THE RECEPTION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Do not confuse this with the fulness, the anointing or the indwelling. It is a doctrine all its own. Here are some illustrations.
A man realizes that his mother-in-law is unable to continue housekeeping. He feels that it is his obligation to invite her to live in his house. She comes in to live, but he has a hard time accepting her. He pays her little attention. He does not accept her as a part of the family. Then one day he realizes his error. He comes to her and says, "Please forgive me. I want to accept you as one of the family." Now she has been living in the house for some time, but he had not accepted her yet. There are many believers who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but who have not accepted Him and acknowledged his presence and, as it were, His being a member of the family.
A widow with her children marries for the second time. Her new husband comes in to live where she and her children have been living. The children do not accept him; perhaps they are bitter; perhaps they are suspicious or perhaps they are jealous. Now they live in the same house with their stepfather, but they have not yet accepted him as such. Then one day they learn to love him and suddenly they accept him as a member of the family. This simple illustration describes millions of Christians who when they received Christ became the temple of the Holy Spirit. However, they never acknowledge him; they never speak to Him! They accepted Christ as their Saviour. When Christ came, the Holy Spirit came with Him, and He indwells them, but they have never come to the place to where they say, "Holy Spirit, just as I accepted Christ, I accept You. You are a member of the family. I will acknowledge you as such."
Now the Holy Spirit has been there all along to lead, to strengthen and to comfort, but He awaits His acceptance. The stepfather provided for his stepchildren. He may have comforted them, taught them and loved them, but they did not accept him as their own and acknowledge his presence and membership in the family.
Notice John 7:37-39, "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake He of the Spirit, Which they that believe of Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" Now compare that with John 20:22, "And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost." John 20:22 is a fulfillment of John 7:37-39. In John 7 our Lord had promised that the Holy Spirit would be available to indwell believers upon the resurrection of Christ. In John 20:22 our glorified Lord admonished His disciples to receive the Holy Spirit. This verb "receive" is not passive but active. It could be translated, "accept the Holy Spirit" (just as you accepted Christ). You see, Jesus is the Saviour of the world, but we have to accept Him personally for Him to be our personal Saviour. The holy Spirit indwells believers, but we need to come to a time when we receive Him or accept Him, even as the stepchild received the stepfather and the son-in-law received the mother-in- law.
This explains Acts 19:1,2, "And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost." These disciples, though they were indwelt by the Holy Spirit, had not heard about the Him Who lived in them. This, no doubt, is true in the lives of so many Christians. The One Who indwells us receives no attention, no conversation, no expression of live, and in many cases no awareness of His presence.
Notice Galatians 3:2, 14, "This only would I learn of you, RECEIVED YE THE SPIRIT by works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; THAT WE MIGHT RECEIVE THE PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT through faith."
The main purpose of these studies is to acquaint believers with a Person (the Holy Spirit) so that they may ACCEPT Him Who came in at salvation and yet Who is being treated like an unwanted stepfather or an unwanted mother-in-law!
I had been preaching for many years. I knew that the Holy Spirit lived in me. The Bible said so. I even taught the doctrine, but I had never one time spoken a word to the Holy Spirit. Though I realized He lived in my body, and knew my body was His dwelling place, I had never accepted Him as a person. Yes, He provided; yes, He assured; yes, He comforted; yes, He strengthened; yes, He taught. Though I was aware of these marvelous works in my life, I never accepted Him as a person or received Him as such.
One day I was preaching on a radio broadcast. I was standing behind the pulpit of my small church in east Texas. My coat was half off, my collar was unbuttoned, and my tie was draped around my neck as I was preaching in the early morning hours to a radio audience from behind the pulpit of my empty church building. That morning I said to my radio audience, "The Holy Spirit lives in you. He hears what you say. He knows what you do. He sees where you go. He knows how you are dresses this morning." I began to tremble. I realized for the first time that He saw me and that He was a person. I finished the broadcast, I fell to my knees, lifted my voice to God and looked heavenward as I said, "Dear Holy Spirit, forgive me. I have never spoken to You. Doctrinally I knew you lived in me, but I have never accepted You as a person. I have never reckoned that You were part of my life in a practical way. I accept you today."
My life has changed! I have never been the same! I went out to my car to drive home for breakfast. I bowed beside the car and said, "Holy Spirit, lead me to know the route that I should take as I drive home." I then included Him in every decision that I had to make. I asked Him to help me when I went shopping. I asked Him to lead me in every area of my life. There has not been one day from that day until this when I have neglected to say a word to the Holy Spirit. To me He is a person. He not only lives in my body, but I accept Him as such. I acknowledge His presence. I talk to Him. I seek His guidance in even the smallest of decisions.
In summary, dear reader, when you accepted Jesus and asked Him to come into your life, He had with Him another member of the Godhead. As Jesus entered, this other member silently entered. Perhaps you did not realize it, or perhaps you realized it and have never taken time to accept this other member for what He really is. The purpose of this manuscript and of these studies is to acquaint you with Him. May we begin by accepting Him. Bow your head now and say, "Holy Spirit, I know You have been living in me. I now accept You." Beloved reader, would you do what this preacher did many years ago in an empty church building after preaching on a radio broadcast? Your life will never be the same. Accept Him now; receive Him now; include Him in everything. Ask Him to help you find the bargains when you go grocery shopping. Ask Him to lead you to the right clothing when you shop for apparel. Ask Him what route to take as you take even the smallest and most insignificant of journeys. Ask Him where to sit on the airplane. Ask Him to help you as you wash the dishes and clean the house. He yearns to be accepted by you.
Yes, He does come in at salvation. Romans 8:9, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His."
Yes, we are to plead with God for the fulness of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." 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?"
Yet, in between His entering at salvation and His filling us for service there needs to come a time in our lives where we receive Him or accept Him Who very quietly and without fanfare has been doing His work in us, through us and for us. Without any attention or gratitude He has been strengthening you, comforting you, teaching you, exhorting you, helping you and guiding you. He longs for you to know that He is there. He longs for you to fellowship with Him as a person. This moment could be the dawning of a new day, the beginning of a new era and a day of gladness for the Holy Spirit. He is in you. He is your guide. He is your teacher. He is your comforter. Bow your head now and accept Him as such and tell Him that you will never again live a day without fellowshipping with Him, expressing your love to Him and acknowledging His presence in your life.
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