This question has brought many answers down through the years, but I am convinced there is one answer that will answer this question and will never fail, if it is followed through with sincerity and faith. It is one hundred percent effective and cannot fail, because it is the Word of God. Jesus said, “HEAVEN AND EARTH SHALL PASS AWAY BUT MY WORD WILL NEVER PASS AWAY.” God’s Word is surer than the very earth we walk upon and this must be realized before we go any further. God’s Word is the final authority, the infallible truth, for God cannot lie. Believing this is the secret to receiving anything from God.
I have heard people say, “I have sought God in tears for twenty years and I have not been filled yet.” Some say, “I have pleaded with God and begged Him to fill me with the Spirit. I have sacrificed to give to the church. I have worked for God trying to be perfect, but I just can’t seem to make the grade.”
The truth is, there is no grade to be made; there are no works required nor is sacrifice necessary, but OBEDIENCE is necessary. If it was for only those that are perfect I am afraid no one would be filled.
The Word of God says: “Not by works or righteousness which we have done but according to his mercy he saved us...” (Titus 3:5) It is also said, “The gift of God is eternal life.” Salvation is a gift and it is received by faith and not by works. You can’t earn a gift; if you did it would cease to be a gift. We could never merit salvation, because it is the gift of God. It is unmerited favor of God. Therefore, God said that our “Righteousness was as filthy rags in the sight of Him.” Ephesians 2:8 says, “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
----Faith is Evidence----
When we received salvation we confessed Jesus as Lord of our life (Romans 10:9-10). What is our evidence that we are saved? Hebrews 11:1 says, “FAITH IS THE EVIDENCE,” not sight, not sound, nor feeling, but FAITH. Faith in God’s Word that it is true and final. The same verse says: “FAITH IS THE SUBSTANCE,” so having faith we have the substance hoped for, which is salvation or anything we believe God for. In this instance FAITH IS SALVATION. If we have faith to believe unto salvation, we then have that which we believed. Jesus said: “As ye have believed so shall it be unto you.” Jesus said this to encourage us to believe.
The Holy Spirit is a gift just as salvation is a gift. It is received the same way, BY FAITH. Not by works or good deeds or sacrifice, but because it is a gift. We cannot earn the Holy Spirit, but we must accept His infilling by faith.
Jesus said in 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?” When we plead and beg God to fill us we show lack of faith in God’s Word, that He will give us the Holy Spirit of promise. If someone said he was going to give you a gift and you begin to beg and plead and cry for him to please give it to you, he would know immediately that you did not believe what he said. Jesus said, “ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE.” John 14:14 says, “If ye ask anything in my name, I will do it.” Connect this verse with Luke 11:13 and you have the promise of being filled with the Holy Spirit for the ASKING. Remember, this is the infallible Word of God, the final authority and it is true.
The Word of God in James 1:6-7 says, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.”
We find in this, the most important part of receiving anything is to ASK IN FAITH. How can we ask in that simple childlike faith? John gives us the answer in 1 John 3:21-22, “…IF OUR HEART CONDEMN US NOT, then we have confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
We receive of God only when our hearts condemn us not. The preliminary step to receiving the Holy Spirit is to have that temple undefiled. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that your bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost. God’s Sprit will not come into a temple that is defiled with SELF AND SIN. There must be a complete and whole hearted consecration of our lives unto God as spoken in Romans 12:1, “…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God…” We must agree with God that we be used of the Holy Spirit, let Him lead us, guide us and teach us that we might be better workmen in the harvest field for Christ.
Many have failed to receive because they have sought the evidence or tongues, rather than the Holy Spirit Himself. We must ask for the Holy Spirit, not the evidence. The evidence will come, but it may be later.
The power is in the Holy Spirit HIMSELF, not the Tongues or the sign. The power and service is why God gives us His Spirit. The sign is a result of the infilling, not the infilling itself. They will follow and there is no definite time element involved here. It may be immediately, but not always so.
1. BELIEVING GOD’S PROMISE. He promised to send the Holy Spirit to all that believed. Acts 2:39, “For 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.” In John 15:16 Jesus said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you…” The promise is ours for we have been called or chosen.
2. CLAIMING THAT PROMISE BY FAITH. If we believe something is ours, we claim it. This is exactly what we must do to receive the Holy Spirit. If we don’t believe that it is ours we can’t have confidence in God to give it to us. We have believed the promise by placing faith in the Word of God, that it is the true and infallible Word. Now we must claim the Holy Spirit of promise by having faith in God Himself, that He will do what He has promised. (Luke 11:13 and Hebrews 10:23)
We have believed God’s promise and claim God’s promise to give us the Holy Spirit, but we still don’t have it. WHY? Moses and the children of Israel believed that the land of promise was theirs. They even claimed it, but they never did possess it because they failed God in the last step – POSSESSING the land. They began to doubt God’s Word that they were able to go in and possess what God had promised. So they sent men in to see if they could find MAN’S EVIDENCE that they would be able to take it. This displeased God so much that He refused to let them have possession of it until all the doubters were dead. He demanded that they accept HIS EVIDENCE, which is FAITH.
3. POSSESSING THE PROMISE. This goes without saying that it is the most important step of all. How do we possess the Holy Spirit of promise? We possess the Holy Spirit by YIELDING TO FAITH IN THE POWER OF ALMIGHTY GOD TO GIVE US THAT WHICH WE HAVE ASKED HIM FOR IN THE NAME OF HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST. That faith you yield yourself to will motivate you into possessing the GIFT OF GOD (THE HOLY SPIRIT). As you yield yourself to that faith, FAITH possesses the gift for you. In fact, at this point, FAITH is the title deed to the gift of the Holy Spirit. When you have that faith and YIELD to it you have just possessed the Holy Spirit. You say, what is my evidence that I have received? In Hebrews 11:1 God’s Word says FAITH IS THE EVIDENCE. This is God’s evidence to you that you have received it and if you doubt God’s evidence as Moses did and begin to wait for man’s evidence, God will not be pleased. Then because you fail to accept the evidence God has given to you (Luke 11:13) you don’t receive. FAITH is your evidence that you have received the Holy Spirit, but someone said tongues was the evidence. The Word of God in 1 Corinthians 14:22 says “tongues is a sign to them that believe not.” They are not a sign to you; they are not your evidence because you have BELIEVED. Sight and sound is man’s evidence, but God’s evidence is FAITH. YOU MUST TAKE GOD’S EVIDENCE.
----How we feel has nothing to do with God keeping His promise----
When you have met the conditions by dedicating your life to God, believing, claiming the promise and yielding to faith, is there any reason to think God did not fill you with the Holy Spirit as He promised? How we feel has nothing to do with God keeping His promises. Feelings change; God’s promises never change. “HEAVEN AND EARTH SHALL PASS AWAY BUT MY WORD WILL NEVER PASS AWAY.”
When you have followed these steps from God’s Word and have once CLAIMED the Holy Spirit and have YIELDED to FAITH to possess it, from that very minute begin to praise God for the Holy Spirit. There is not any need to ask for something you already believed God for. Jesus said, “If you ask anything in my name I will do it.” (John 14:14) You may or may not have to wait for man’s evidence, tongues, which is a sign to them that believe not. Tongues is a result of, not the infilling of the Spirit. The power is not in the sign, but in the Holy Spirit HIMSELF. You put enough faith in man to work a whole week or month for him because he said he would pay you. His word was all you had, so HOW MUCH MORE SHOULD YOU BELIEVE GOD’S WORD. The sign or tongues will come, but not always immediately. WE WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT. Continue to thank God for filling you with the Holy Spirit every time you pray, because you received HIM when you yielded to faith and began to act out your belief by praising God. Jesus said, “AS YOU HAVE BELIEVED SO BE IT UNTO YOU.” Hebrews 11:1-2 says, “Faith is the substance (Holy Spirit) of things hoped for, the evidence (sign) of things not seen. (Holy Spirit) For by it (faith) the elders obtained a good report.”
AND BY IT (FAITH) YOU CAN BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.
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