Over the last few weeks, we have established the dual working of the Spirit of God in the lives of God’s children: The Holy Spirit within (indwelling) in the new birth and the Holy Spirit upon (infilling) in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Since our focus this week is on the infilling, it will be crucial to reiterate the difference between the infilling and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The infilling refers to the Holy Spirit coming upon believers to endue them with power from on High (Luke 24:49 & Acts 1:8). Just as the Spirit within in the new birth is a definite experience, so there is also a genuine infilling of the Holy Spirit which believers can (and as a matter of truth must) receive in our present dispensation, which is also a definite experience. Also note that it is the same Holy Spirit, only that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is responsible for fruit bearing while the infilling of the Holy Spirit is primarily for service. In other words, being born again and having the Holy Spirit dwell within is the entrance into the ninefold fruit of the spirit while being filled with the Spirit is the doorway into the ninefold supernatural manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit. In our lesson today, we shall consider biblical examples of people who experienced the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Clarifying a misconception: Tarrying Is Not a Formula For Receiving the Holy Spirit
Right from the onset, let it be clear that tarrying before the Lord is not unscriptural. Certainly, tarrying before the Lord and waiting on the Lord in prayer, praise, and worship is important in the Christian race so believers must pray long and wait earnestly before God. However, ‘waiting and praying’, crying out and agonizing to receive the Holy Ghost, is unscriptural as it is not necessary. Let us look at the scriptures that suggested the above misconception and clarify it.
Luke 24:49 - And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but TARRY ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
Acts 1:4,5 - And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but WAIT for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY GHOST not many days hence.
- If tarrying is a formula, then “Jerusalem” must be included in the formula
- The disciples were only waiting for the day of Pentecost and not “getting ready” to be filled with the Holy Spirit otherwise the bible would have said, "When they were fully ready, the Holy Ghost came." But it doesn't say that
- Other examples in the new testament did not portray any sort of “tarrying and waiting”
Hence, teaching believers to tarry for the baptism of the Holy Spirit only produces doubt and confusion in those candidates who desire to receive this gift.
The key preparation/”waiting”/”tarrying” must be that of the heart!
Bible Examples of Receiving the Holy Ghost
The Samaritan Believers Acts 8: 5-8 , 12-15, 17-20
- Joy can be experienced pre or post infilling experience vs. 5-8
- Great revival in Samaria with hundreds of people saved, and scores healed. And all of these folks received the Holy Ghost: "Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost" (Acts 8:17). Notice that all of these Samaritans received the Holy Ghost without waiting, praying, or agonizing — and they received without exception or disappointment.
Cornelius and His Household Acts 10: 34-46
Neither Cornelius nor his household was saved. They were Gentiles who had become Jewish proselytes. A person can't be saved without hearing the gospel. Those of Cornelius' household didn't know that Jesus had died for the sins of mankind and was raised from the dead for our justification.
Therefore, Peter preached to them about Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection (Acts 10:34-43). They believed the gospel message (Rom. 10:9,10), and they were born again while Peter was preaching (Acts 11:14). Then they received the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues before Peter even finished his message. Notice that while Peter was still speaking, Cornelius and his household were not only saved, but were filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke with tongues — without waiting, agonizing, or struggling.
How did the Jewish believers know the gift of the Holy Ghost was poured out on the Gentiles? "For they heard them SPEAK WITH TONGUES, and magnify God..." (Acts 10:46).
Saul of Tarsus Acts 9:11-12, 17
Account of Saul (turned Paul) receiving the Holy Spirit and validated by what he said in 1 Cor. 14:18 "I thank my God, I SPEAK WITH TONGUES more than ye
No suggestion of the need for Saul to tarry or wait to be filled with the Holy Ghost; Saul was immediately filled with the Holy Spirit when Ananias laid hands on him. It is most probable that Saul didn't know a thing in the world about the Holy Ghost until Ananias came in and laid hands on him. But Ananias obeyed the Lord and Saul was immediately filled with the Holy Spirit.
The Ephesian Disciples Acts 19:1-6
These folks at Ephesus had not heard about being filled with the Spirit and speaking in tongues. But as soon as Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spoke with tongues. Every one of them was filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke with other tongues as the Spirit of God gave them the utterance — without waiting, agonizing, struggling, or tarrying.
In conclusion, we have seen a number of examples of those who experienced the infilling of the Holy Spirit in the Scripture. They had this encounter without “tarrying”/”waiting”. Infact, while Peter was still ministering, the receivers (Gentiles) received the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues. God does not have any “cut-and-dried” methods. In every single instance where a company of believers sought the Holy Spirit, everyone received right away. Not one went away disappointed because of failing to receive the Holy Spirit.
Contributor: Akin Akande