Do Not Rest Prematurely
"For a healthy Christian life, it is indispensable that we should be fully conscious that we have received the Holy Spirit to dwell in us.
Had it been otherwise, Paul would never have asked the question: "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed?" These disciples were recognized as believers. This position, however, was not enough for them. The disciples who walked with the Lord Jesus on earth were also true believers, yet he commanded them not to rest satisfied until they had received the Holy Spirit from Himself in heaven. Paul, too, had seen the Lord in His heavenly glory and was by that vision led to conversion. Yet, even in his case, the spiritual work the Lord required to have done in him was not completed. Ananias had to go to him an lay his hands on him that he might receive the Holy Spirit. Only then could he become a witness for Christ.
All these facts teach us that there are two ways in which the Holy Spirit works in us. The first is the preparatory operation in which He simply acts on us but does not yet take up His abode within us, though leading us to conversion and faith and ever urging us to all that is good and holy. The second is the higher and more advanced phase of His working when we receive Him as an abiding gift, as an indwelling Person who assumes responsibility for our whole inner being. This is the ideal of the full Christian life.
Where Do We Stand?
There are disciples of Christ who know little or nothing of this conscious indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
It is of the utmost importance to understand this statement. The more fully we come under the conviction of its truth, the better we will understand the condition of the Church in our times and be enabled to discover where we really stand.
The condition I refer to becomes very plain to us when we consider what took place at Samaria. Philip the evangelist had preached there. Many had been led to believe in Jesus and were baptized into His name, and there was great joy in that city. When the apostles heard this news, they sent down Peter and John, who, when they came to Samaria, prayed that these new converts might receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:16-17). This gift was something quite different from the working of the Spirit that led them to conversion, faith, and joy in Jesus as Saviour. It was something higher; for now from heaven and by the glorified Lord Himself, the Holy Spirit was imparted in power with His abiding indwelling to consecrate and fill their hearts.
If this new experience had not been given, the Samaritan disciples would still have been Christians, but they would have remained weak. Thus it is that in our own days there are still many Christians who know nothing of this gift of the Holy Spirit. Amid much that is good and amiable, even with much earnestness and zeal, the life of such Christians is still hampered by weakness, stumbling, and disappointment simply because it has never been brought into vitalizing contact with power from on high. Such souls have not received the Holy Spirit as the Pentecostal gift to be possessed, kept, and filled by Him.
(continued with # 4 - "Can We Worship With Sincerity?")