Discourse 51 – The reception of the Holy Spirit - how does it happen?




When receives the believer the Holy Spirit? / Statement TUGA 00, 2001-05-10

The reception of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit and the sin

The grieving of the Holy Spirit

Are the disciples from Acts 19,1-7 not Christians? / Commentary Anonymous 2001-06-30 - Book Werner de Boor, page 341ff 

Is the Holy Spirit an abiding presence in the believer? / Commentary, B. Bollmeyer 00, 2005-07-12)

The spirit of truth will be with you for eternity. / Reply, B. Bollmeyer 01, 2005-07-25

The denial of the Trinity, the false Catholic teaching and the true Biblical Trinity     Discourse 107



(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(When receives the believer the Holy Spirit? / Statement of the leaders from the parish of Tulpengasse, Vienna, 2001-05-10*))

Every believer receives the entire Holy Spirit at the moment of his conversion (Acts 2,38;Eph 1,13). Who does not have the Holy Spirit is not at all God’s child (Rom 8,9). There are not two categories of believers although there are sensual and spiritual Christians (....)

The Abundance of Spirit:

There are two different words here in the basic text which also have a different meaning. The first word “filled with the Holy Spirit“ is pimplemi (Lk 1,15 – John; 1,41 – Elizabeth; 1,67 – Zacharias; Acts 2,3 – Pentecost; 4,8; - Peter 4,31 – the believers; 9,17 – Paul; 13,9 – Paul). It means a special authorization by means of the Holy Spirit given by the Lord to particular Christians for a special reason. This kind of “abundance of Spirit” is temporarily limited but also can be repeated.

The second word of “full of Holy Spirit” is pleres (Lk 4,1 – Jesus; Acts 6,3 – the deacons; 6,5; 7,55 Stephen; 11,24 –Barnabas; 13,52 – the apostles; Eph 5,18 – order to all faithful). This kind of filled with Spirit is a lasting situation the Christians should consciously strive for (Eph 5,18). This indeed happens through a saintly life (Eph 4,5), signs thereof are obedience and fruit, not the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5,22).


*) This extract concerning the charismatic movement is taken from the statement of the leaders of the evangelical-free church parish of Tulpengasse, Vienna / Austria (TUGA). http://tuga.evangelikale.at



The here commented statement of the leaders of the parish of Tulpengasse, Vienna concerning charismatic movements is at any time undoubtedly a necessity for the parish. Brothers and sisters have to be informed about possible wrong estimates and perhaps even warned about dangers for the true faith according to the Scriptures in these denominations. Although this clarification is to be welcomed and it contents essentially to be accepted , the above quoted excerpt of this statement unfortunately holds some passages which could leave behind a problematic if not even dangerous impression with some brothers and sisters.

The reception of the Holy Spirit.

On one hand the author postulates two kinds of being filled with Spirit – one lasting and one temporary – although directly before he makes the statement, ....“There are not two categories of believers”. But also the statement “Every believer receives the Holy Spirit at the moment of his conversion” must be examined according to the Scriptures. Let’s quote the very first Christians - the disciples of the Lord - as an example. Here normally the miracle at Pentecost is named as the occurrence at which the twelve were filled with the Holy Spirit.

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2,1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2,2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 2,3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.2,4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. 2,5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. Acts 2, 1- 5;


Now this moment for sure is definitely not the one of their conversion which reliably happened years before and still at the life time of the Lord. Indeed there is another part of the Scripture, relatively little known which proves that the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit – by the Lord himself.

And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit”.

Jn 20,19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20,20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 20,21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

20,22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 20,23 If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” Jn 20,19-23;


It was immediately after His return from the Father to earth when the Lord appeared to his disciples for the first time and He breathed on His disciples and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit”. This also was the moment when the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time. However, also this was naturally not the moment of their conversion . Also here they still were converted for years. And therefore obviously they did not have the lasting Holy Spirit from the moment of their conversion, since the Lord needed not to pour it out again on them.

From this we can conclude that the above mentioned statement of the author: “Every believer receives the entire Holy Spirit at the moment of his conversion” does not comply with the Scriptures. But what’s much worse: this description insinuates a certain automatism: “I am converted therefore automatically I have the Holy Spirit“. And herewith connected is a certain superior self assessment which consequently leads to the next declaration: “Who does not have the Holy Spirit is not at all God’s child”. In this way every believer is deprived of his faith and being a child of God who has not experienced the Holy Spirit in his life. Subsequently this leads brothers and sisters to simulate “demonstrations” of the Holy Spirit in an attempt to compensate this imaginary blemish and drives these people straight away to that place of which in reality the author in his statement wanted to save them from: to the Charismatic Movements.

Therefore here it is most important to indicate that with the above argumentation also this wrong proposition : No Holy Spirit – no child of God plainly can be refused. When the disciples only received the Holy Spirit after the resurrection of the Lord, naturally they were before – as long as they were with the Lord and up to his death – without the lasting Spirit. This would mean in the sense of the above mentioned declaration of the author that the disciples of the Lord in all these years would not have been children of God thus not truthful believers . For whom who knows the gospel this definitely is unimaginable.

In his description about the “Abundance of Spirit” the author unfolds the theory of two different conditions of the believer regarding the dwelling of the Holy Spirit. On one hand he speaks of a “temporary limited” abundance of Spirit which also can be reiterated and on the other hand of an abundance of Spirit as “permanent condition”. To stay with the above illustration, we have to ask of what kind of abundance of Spirit was this pouring out here of the Holy Spirit on the disciples by the Lord?

According to the accompanying words of the Lord: “As the Father had sent Me, I also send you” it must be this abundance of Spirit which the author describes as a “permanent condition”. When now the disciples were blessed with the permanent abundance of Spirit, the question arises why at Pentecost they had to be provided with the Holy Spirit anew.?

A very similar situation evolves with Paul and Barnabas. The above mentioned extract Acts 13,52 is quoted by the author as a proof that the disciples have been filled with the (permanent) Holy Spirit. As we have just seen further above it wasn’t Acts 13,52 but once the Pentecost event in Acts 2,4 and even earlier the pouring out of the Holy Spirit by the Lord in Jn 20,22.

That Acts 13,52 not at all concerns the twelve disciples but solely Paul and Barnabas who preached the gospel in Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13,14) we understand from the context of this part:

Paul and Barnabas were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 13,50 But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 13,51 But they shook off the dust of their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 13,52 And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 13.50-52;


Paul and Barnabas were filled with the Holy Spirit here at this occasion. But especially of Barnabas it is said already much earlier, exactly when he started to search for Saul in Tarsus that already then he was full of the Holy Spirit.

Barnabas was full of the Holy Spirit and he left for Tarsus to look for Saul.

Acts 11,22 The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch. 11,23 Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord; 11,24 for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord. 11,25 And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul; Acts 11,22-25;


And therefore also here we have to ask the question why Barnabas, who already was full of the Holy Spirit, received a second time the Holy Spirit in Antioch. And also Paul was not for the first time anointed with the Holy Spirit at this occasion in Antioch in Pisidia (above, Acts 13,52) but as commonly known when he still was Saul and on his way to Damascus as the Lord sent to him Ananias:

Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus has sent me so that you may be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 9,15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 9,16 for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” 9,17 So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 9,18 And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; Acts 9,15-18;


This text above, Acts 9,17, where Paul is filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time in Damascus is quoted again by the above mentioned author as a proof of a “temporal limited” abundance of Spirit which not only contradicts the described continuity in this context – Saul became Paul and was sent by the Lord to convert the Gentiles – but also deprives Paul here of his permanent abundance of Spirit.

Therefore it would be very helpful if we could answer the question by means of the Scriptures when a faithful Christian definitely is filled with the Holy Spirit. The passages of the Scriptures Acts 2,38 and Eph 1,13 quoted by the author as a proof indeed say that this happens after the conversion but there is no more exact moment mentioned. It could have happened immediately but also much later.

And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2,38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 2,39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” Acts 2,38;

In Christ you were sealed with the Holy Spirit.

Eph 1,13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, Eph 1,13;


Moreover, in the Scriptures we still have a further way how man can be filled with the Holy Spirit:

For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.

Lk 1,13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. 1,14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 1,15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.” Lk 1,13-15;


It is John the Baptist of whom the angel says here that already while in his mother’s womb he was filled with the Holy Spirit. This, of course, seemed to be a unique exception.

Another rather good example we find in Acts. Acts 8,14-17 reports of the matter that “Samaria had received the word of God”. This means that in the area of Samaria people came to belief on the Lord Jesus. And not only they were converted but already baptized as Acts 8,16 tells. In the same sentence it is also confirmed that they as yet had not received the Holy Spirit. Here again it becomes quite clear that the contention of the above quoted author: “No Holy Spirit – no conversion” lacks of every biblical foundation.

Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.

Acts 8,14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 8,15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 8,16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 8,17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. Acts 8,14-17;


And then it is told here above that the apostles Peter and John especially were sent from Jerusalem to Samaria so that these brothers and sisters were receiving the Holy Spirit by means of praying and laying hands on them.

Thereof we just can derive two things:

1. The believer does not receive automatically the Holy Spirit neither after his conversion nor after the baptism.

2. A way to receive the Holy Spirit is by means of prayer and laying on of hands of faithful brothers and sisters.


We became acquainted with this procedure already further above in Acts 9,17 when the Lord sent Ananias to Paul who then received the Holy Spirit by laying on of hands.

A further hint we get in Acts 10,44:

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.

Acts 10,42 “And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.

10,43 Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” 10,44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.

10,45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 10,46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 10,47 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 10,48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days. Acts 10,42-48;


This here does not concern Gentiles – as one could suppose – who were just converted by the sermon of Peter. These people were relations and near friends of centurion Cornelius from Caesarea of the so-called Italian cohort which were gathered in his house to listen to the sermon of Peter. And that Peter appeared there was not an incident either. This centurion Cornelius from whom it is told that he was a righteous and God fearing man and his house devout and God fearing, four days before prayed earnestly to the Lord to give him knowledge. And the Lord himself ordered Peter, who lodged nearby, in a vision to go to Cornelius. And although it took Peter, being a Jew, a great effort to set foot into the house of this Roman centurion, he went and preached the word of Christ who arose from death.

And also here we can retain two findings:

1. Also the sermon is a way to cause the pouring out of Holy Spirit, whereby here also not baptized people have received the Holy Spirit and

2. because this sermon of Peter was the Lord’s answer to the prayer of Cornelius, also the prayer to the Lord is to be seen as a possibility to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


In the following text from Acts 19, 1-7 an experience is depicted which Paul had in Ephesus.

When Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them.

Acts 19,1 It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. 19,2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 19,3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 19,4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 19,5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 19,6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.

19,7 There were in all about twelve men. Acts 19, 1– 7;


As verse Acts 19,1 says, Paul had found some disciples in Ephesus. And here the impression could arise that these 12 men did not receive the Holy Spirit because they had the wrong baptism. They weren’t baptized in the Lord Jesus but into John’s baptism. As we already repeatedly could notice further above, not baptized believers have after all continually received the Holy Spirit. Therefore This can’t be the reason.

But what was now the reason why these men not yet had received the Holy Spirit? Verse Acts 19,2 gives here the right answer: “We have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit”. Therefore they did not know anything about the Holy Spirit. But even knowledge alone about the Holy Spirit is not yet decisive to also receive it. It is the wish and prayer to God of the believer to receive the Holy Spirit as can be recognized by all the aforementioned examples.

From that we can see that all other situations, like conversion, baptism, prayer of brothers and sisters, laying hands upon them and also the sermon only then can really cause the blessing with the gift of the Holy Spirit when the individual believer himself asks the Lord for the Holy Spirit. This is the unconditional assumption for the reception of the Holy Spirit. And also this is what the Lord Jesus has promised to us:

How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.

Lk 11,11 "Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 11,12 “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 11,13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Lk 11,11-13;


The Holy Spirit and the sin.

There is further widespread misunderstanding namely that the believer who once received the Holy Spirit can commit sin no more. Here also we recognize the total over-estimation of mankind which is caused by confusing reason and reaction.

It is right that the believer has to be without unforgiven sin when the Holy Spirit dwells with him. However, certainly this man is not without sin because he has the Holy Spirit but on the contrary he only could receive the Holy Spirit because at this moment he was without unforgiven sin. However, just as God does not tolerate sin, the Holy Spirit immediately will leave a man where he had dwelled when he becomes sinful.

A good example is King David of the Old Testament. The Lord Jesus quotes in Mk 12,35-37 a statement of Psalm 110 written by David and confirms that David has done this statement in the Holy Spirit:

David himself said in the Holy Spirit.

Mk 12,35 And Jesus began to say, as He taught in the temple, "How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 12,36 “David himself said in the Holy Spirit, ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet.”‘ 12,37 David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; so in what sense is He his son?” And the large crowd enjoyed listening to Him. Mk 12,35-37;


The Holy Spirit has manifested himself at this moment in David. That this indeed was a only temporary occurrence shows the fact that David by having an affair with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, committed a great sin which not at all could have happened with the Holy Spirit’s dwelling with him. The conclusion “once Holy Spirit always Holy Spirit” is therefore wrong and to be rejected.

Also the passage of the Scripture Eph 1,13ff quoted by the author shows very clearly that also men sealed with the Holy Spirit always again run the risk of being succumbed to temptations.

In Christ you were sealed with the Holy Spirit.

Eph 1,13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, Eph 1,13;


In this introduction of his letter to the Ephesians Paul confirms that they already were sealed with the Holy Spirit. He does not speak of a certain moment but only says: “... after you have believed”.

But subsequently he exhorts them:

That walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind.

Eph 4,17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, Eph 4,17;

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth.

Eph 4,25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Eph 4,25;

Be angry, and yet do not sin; and do not give the devil an opportunity.

Eph 4,26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 4,27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. Eph 4,26-27;

He who steals must steal no longer.

Eph 4,28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Eph 4,28;

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth.

Eph 4,29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Eph 4,29;


Now we can proceed from this that Paul here did not make unnecessary exhortations. In fact it existed – and still exists – the absolute and real danger that the believers could succumb to all temptations Paul names here. And although – as confirmed in the abovementioned verse Eph 1,13 – they had been sealed with the Holy Spirit. Paul confirms even this once more at the end of this paragraph here below in Eph 4,30:

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed.

Eph 4,30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Eph 4,30;


And now one has to put the question what happens to a believer who grieves the Holy Spirit?

(See also Discourse 64: “What is the sin against the Holy Spirit?”)


The grieving of the Holy Spirit.

In the Old Testament , in connection with the obstinacy of Israel, we have a quite real indication of the consequences which involve the grieving of the Holy Spirit.

But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit.

Isa 63,8 For He said, “Surely, they are My people, Sons who will not deal falsely.” So He became their Savior. 63,9 In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.

63,10 But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them. Isa 63, 8-10;


As Isa 63,10 says, God turned Himself from friend to enemy because of their obstinacy and even fought against them. But also the New Testament repeatedly demonstrates to the Israelites how they resist the Holy Spirit. E.g. such as Acts 7,51:

You are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.

Acts 7,51 “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did”. Acts 7,51;


By all means we have to consider with these statements that here we don’t speak about a temporary grieving of the Holy Spirit but as mentioned above in Acts 7,51: “You always resist the Holy Spirit”, this is a continuous and lasting opposition to the Spirit of God. And as we know, Israel has not regretted this attitude up to now but persists in it after all.

It is indeed – as proved by the following text of Hebrews – an absolute negation of the Holy Spirit.

Those who have made partakers of the Holy Spirit and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance.

Hbr 6,4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 6,5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6,6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. Heb 6, 4- 6;


If someone has also been made partaker of the Holy Spirit and then fallen away from faith, he can’t be renewed again to repentance. Therefore we have to distinguish whether someone who received the Holy Spirit afterwards falls away from faith or only has sinned, regretted and prayed to the Lord for remission.

The reason therefore is obvious: if someone knows the Holy Spirit and nevertheless departed from faith has committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, a sin, as mentioned below in Mt 12,32, which can’t be forgiven.

Any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.

Mt 12,31 “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 12,32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” Mt 12,31-32;


Those who have sinned but furthermore continue in faith tells the Lord in Mt 12,31 that every sin – even blasphemy against the Lord Jesus himself – can be forgiven provided that repentance is done and forgiveness asked of the Lord.

Finally it still must be pointed out that the statement quoted in the beginning holds a contradiction in itself. When the author in connection with the two kinds of abundance of Spirit he postulated, writes of one as

“This kind of abundance of Spirit is a lasting condition .....”

than his definition contradicts with the second kind of abundance of Spirit in this statement. As he writes of this second kind of abundance of Spirit that it is

“… a special authorization by means of the Holy Spirit given by the Lord to particular Christians … ”

In case a Christian is in possession of the first kind – the lasting – abundance of Spirit, no further additional abundance of Spirit would be required. Unless, with this first kind one would not receive the whole but only a part of the Holy Spirit. But this the author himself contradicts with his statement:

“Every faithful believer receives the whole Holy Spirit at the moment of his conversion”.

According to the above analysis on the basis of the Scriptures we come to the following conclusion:

Every believer then receives the Holy Spirit when he asks the Lord.


Not earlier and not later. Is this request made at the conversion, the believer will receive the Holy Spirit at the conversion. Is this request expressed later – whenever it may happen – the believer will receive the Holy Spirit later.

Every accompanying action, like laying hands on, prayer of brothers and sisters, sermon and so on is absolutely helpful and desirable because we human beings always need something visible to better accept the invisible works of our Lord. Nonetheless we must know that it is not because of these performances of non-participants and also no special “demonstrations” which establish our relation to God. Just as in the human sphere we don’t use any “postman” in important matters but speak personally to our fellow-creatures, so we have to establish a quite personal contact to our Lord without mediator.

And likewise it is in our further life when we grieved the Holy Spirit because of our sins and He abandoned us. After confessing our sins and our sincere prayer for forgiveness, here too we have to pray our Father in heaven to send us the Helper again.

(See also Discourse 76: “Distinguishing the spirits”)



Summary

Summarizing it can be retained: as important and necessary it is to inform the believers about background and context of the charismatic movements, so much we have to pay attention to examine our statements according the Scriptures to also offer our brothers and sisters the same possibilities to check and judge these indications. If we don’t do that our arguments lose weight and we easily incur suspicion not to be objective.





Are the disciples from Acts 19,1-7 no Christians? / Comment Anonymous 2001-06-30

A visitor whose comment has not been released for publication and therefore also his name cannot be told, supposes, among other things, that the disciples from Acts 19, 1-7 not yet have been Christians.

Werner de Boor refers exactly to this question in his interpretation of Acts:


(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(The disciples from Acts 19,1-7 / Book from Werner de Boor, page 341 and the following pages *))

In Ephesus he finds (Paul, note FH) “some disciples”, some “Christians”. (....) Where did they come from? And how did Paul “find” them? We don’t hear anything about it. But we are used to this from Luke and have to be content to take note of facts we don’t get explained further. This also applies to the astonishing glance we get into the internal situation of these men. They are “Christians” but Paul quickly realizes that their Christianity is not correct. The signs of spiritual life are missing.

Note de Boor: (...) But who is really doing ministerial work, also today notes often enough during conversation and mutual prayer this quite specific fault and has to put the same question as Paul did at his time: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you came to faith?”


(…) Paul asked them a clear question: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you came to faith?” Once again it becomes evident we are dealing with “Christians”. These men “came to faith”, in the New Testament this plainly means “coming to faith in Jesus the Messiah”. But still quite different as with Apollos, the deep absence of this faith in Jesus becomes clear. (…) This faith has not heard from the true gospel, from deliverance because of the suffering of Jesus the Messiah, from the already given fulfillment of messianic salvation and the pouring out of Holy Spirit, they had not heard but were satisfied with their baptism by John and their end of time expectation. This lies in their response to Paul’s determined question: “No, we don’t even have heard that there is a Holy Spirit (or: that the Holy Spirit already is here)”.

Note de Boor: When we meet Christians where we feel their deficiencies, we ourselves should not hesitate and ask them more clear and determined. What help for them could accrue there from! That such questions might be felt “arrogantly”, need not to discourage us. Also today there is much “faith in Jesus” which has to be acknowledged “faith” but is quite inadequate, since the believer does not see Him, in whom he is believing, in all His greatness and the abundance of His donations. Here we have to show, as Paul did likewise with these men, how much more Jesus has to offer us.


(…) It is a great thing when men come to real truth and abundance of life in Jesus Christ after a “Christianity” which was poor and narrow. For all times but especially for us now it is most important to know: True Christianity is reception of the Holy Spirit and life with the Holy Spirit. How many “baptized” have to be asked seriously: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit?”

*) The excerpt is taken from “Acts – explained by Werner de Boor” (WStB)Publisher R. Brockhaus, Wuppertal.



We have to admit that many people tend here to a certain “automatism”:

Having turned to the Lord, (automatically) you have the Holy Spirit.

I think that this does not happen – and try to proof it with Luke 11,13 and other parts of the Scriptures. Who never in his life has asked the Lord for the Holy Spirit simply does not have him. As Paul shows us in Acts 19,1-7 he might by all means be a good Christian – but without the Holy Spirit dwelling in him.

The distinction of believers in the way of Old and New Testament which is also the motivation of this pretended “automatism” cannot be understood as if Old Testament-believers had not known the Holy Spirit. We have too much counter-evidence about it in the Scriptures.

David himself said in the Holy Spirit.

Mk 12,35 And Jesus began to say, as He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 12,36 David himself said in the Holy Spirit, ‘the LORD said to my Lord, “sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies beneath your feet.”‘ 12,37 David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; so in what sense is He his son?” And the large crowd enjoyed listening to Him. Mk 12,35-37;

Who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said.

Acts 4,24 And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them, 4,25 who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, ‘why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples devise futile things? 4,26 The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.’” Acts 4,24-25;

And the Holy Spirit was upon him.

Lk 2,25 And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 2,26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Lk 2,25-26;

He will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.

Lk 1,13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. (lit.: call his name) 1,14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.

1,15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.” Lk 1,13-15;


The distinction which indeed exists, derives from the fact that believers of the Old Testament had no active influence upon the receipt of the Holy Spirit. He came “upon” them according necessity and the will of God.

We believers of the New Testament but have the favor and the privilege – as our Lord says in Lk 11,13 – to ask our Father in heaven for the blessing with the Holy Spirit.

How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.

Lk 11,11 “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 11,12 Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 11,13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Lk 11,11-13;


If now this prayer is done with a sincere heart, the Lord definitely will grant it. Nonetheless, the believer has to express it. As well as the request for forgiveness can only be successful with our Father in heaven if we say it in our daily prayer and also the request for the Holy Spirit only is effective when expressed to the Lord.

However, everybody is wrong who thinks the Holy Spirit is somehow an “addition”! Just as well as those who think that the Holy Spirit is somebody with whom ecstatic “spectacles” could be staged and people can produce themselves (Pentecostals, Charismatic Movements, etc.). Questions about the Holy Spirit we have to examine with special accuracy and respect since already our Lord Jesus told us:

But he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.

Lk 12.10 “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.” Lk 12,10;




(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Is the Holy Spirit an abiding presence in the believer? / Commentary, B. Bollmeyer 00, 2005-07-12)

To consider the biblical passages. Eph.1,13-14: “In Him you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation - having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” Eph. 4,30: “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

I understand these passages to mean that on the day of our conversion God gives us a “brand” (I know, it is not a very suitable expression, but nothing better occurs to me) - marks us as his property, as it were, by giving us the Holy Spirit. Now I do know of course that the Holy Spirit also has other tasks, but this is a relevant task as well, that of being a pledge and a seal. In verse 30 we are urged not to grieve the Holy Spirit. Luther translates 1The 5,19 as “do not quench the spirit”. We are quite evidently in a position - and bear an associated responsibility - where we can have an effect on the Holy Spirit’s effective sphere of activity in us. But I do not know of any passage that tells us that the Holy Spirit can leave us again. If there is any such statement in Scripture, especially in the New Testament, please would you let me know, as I would then have to revise my view.

Now the logical conclusion that I draw from this: if the Holy Spirit is an abiding presence in us, he would have to accompany us into hell if we were to lose our chance of salvation, and that would be quite absurd!

Brunhilde Bollmeyer brunhilde.bollmeyer@gmx.de



I like your interpretation of Eph 1,13-14 very much, and your concluding logic is appealing. It is this same logic that causes me to come to the very opposite conclusion - if the Holy Spirit is in us, given the wickedness of human beings (seeing that we are all wicked after all), he cannot possibly condone all our deeds.

So for instance we are frequently told in Scripture that David spoke in the Holy Spirit, so he must have known the indwelling presence of the Spirit. But when he put Uriah in the front line of battle (2Sam 11), so that he got killed and David was able to take his wife Bathsheba, with whom he had already committed adultery, the Holy Spirit cannot possibly have been in him. So the Spirit must have abandoned him at this point. Later on we are told that David again had the Holy Spirit, and in the Millennium God will raise David once more so that he can again be king of Israel. This also shows that according to Scripture the Holy Spirit is not an abiding presence in human beings, but reacts to their choices and actions as appropriate.

As for your final question:

“But I do not know of any passage that tells us that the Holy Spirit can leave us again. If there is any such statement in Scripture, especially in the New Testament, please would you let me know, as I would then have to revise my view.”

- may I just draw your attention to the New Testament passage Heb 6,4-6.

Those who have once been made partakers of the Holy Spirit and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance.

Hbr 6,4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 6,5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6,6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. Heb 6, 4- 6;


So the Christian believers referred to here had the Holy Spirit, and then fell away again into apostasy. If the Holy Spirit, then, were an abiding presence in them, it would have to be - as you quite correctly state above - with them in hell. And here, of course, we are completely agreed that this would be an absurd conclusion.

And so the only remaining alternative is that the Holy Spirit has abandoned them.



(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(The spirit of truth will be with you for eternity. / Reply, B. Bollmeyer 01, 2005-07-25)

Thank you for pointing out Hbr. 6,4ff. What is stated in this passage causes me some difficulties with my line of argument. Many questions come to mind - how, for instance, am I to understand Jn 14,15-17: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because he abides with you, and will be in you.” - ?

Brunhilde Bollmeyer brunhilde.bollmeyer@gmx.de



The statements made here by the Lord are certainly very interesting in connection with the reception of the Holy Spirit, and it is worth analyzing them in greater detail. One of the problems of scriptural interpretation is the abbreviated reproduction of scriptural texts - as a result of which promises are often referred to, but without any mention of the conditions. So we would like to take the context of this passage fully into account in our present analysis of its meaning.

He who loves Me, My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.

Jn 14,18 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 14,19 "After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. 14,20 "In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 14,21 "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." 14,22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?" 14,23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 14,24 "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. Jn 14,18-24;


 

In the continuation of the scriptural passage quoted by Ms Bollmeyer above, we can now see in greater detail what is involved, and the conditions under which this “spirit of truth” - that is to say, the Holy Spirit - is given. In Jn 14,23-24 the Lord says: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him”. The condition, then, is that we love the Lord Jesus and keep his word, and the Father will love us too. And then we are further told that these two - Father and Son - will come to us and make their abode in us. And this “making an abode in us”, now, is nothing other than the indwelling in us of the Father and the Son, through the Holy Spirit - that is to say, the presence of the Trinity in us. This applies, then, to all believers who love the Lord and keep his commandments.

And then we are told as well that

He who does not love Me does not keep My words.

This is the negative corollary of the first part of the above passage. And where this condition is absent, then of course the consequence - namely, the promise of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit - lapses likewise. This means that Christian believers can only count on the Holy Spirit being manifest in them on condition that, and so long as they love the Lord and keep his commandments.

A few verses before, now, we come to the passage which Ms Bollmeyer cites in her reply, and which at first glance and on the face of it could easily give the impression - as she indicates - that the Holy Spirit is an abiding presence in us (“forever”).

The Father will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.

Jn 14,15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 14,16 "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 14,17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. Jn 14,15-17;


But all the more so if it is our intent to hold to the words of the Lord, we must read this passage carefully in order to come to a correct understanding of the significance of these same words. And here we find, both in Jn 14,16 and in 14,17, that the Lord says the Holy Spirit will be or remain with us. The Greek text similarly uses the word para, meaning something like “alongside” or “in the vicinity of” a person. This suggests the explanation that the Lord is not saying that the Holy Spirit will be in us forever, as an abiding presence, but rather that he will be forever with us, at our side, in our vicinity. And John makes exactly this same connection in Revelation, when he sees the Spirit of God as the seven eyes of the Lamb.

The seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.

Rev 5,6 And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. Rev 5, 6;


We can see from this that the Holy Spirit of God is sent out into the whole earth, and so is close to every human being. This does not mean, however, that he makes his abode in every human being. This is stated only in the concluding indication that we find in Jn 14,17 - “and will be in you” - though here the Lord again refers to those preconditions for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which have been mentioned in Jn 14,23: “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word.”

From this we may again conclude that while the Holy Spirit is here with us on earth, his activity in us is dependent on the extent to which we love the Lord and keep his commandments. If we do this, then it will be our dearest desire that the Lord should be in us and we in him. And then the Father will send us his Spirit, and Father, Son and Holy Spirit will make their abode in us.

Anyone who does not love the Lord will not keep his word, and so the Spirit will not come into him. And this does not just apply to the godless and the unbelievers, it also applies to those who once had this love of the Lord and so were in possession of the Holy Spirit, and yet subsequently fell away into apostasy. The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews indicates as much in the passage quoted earlier (Heb 6,4-6), and we find it confirmed by the Lord Jesus himself in the Revelation of John, in the letter to the congregation in Ephesus:

But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

Rev 2,1 "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: 2,2 ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 2,3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 2,4 ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 2,5 ‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place-unless you repent. Rev 2, 1- 5;


So we can see from this that the admittedly very enticing formula “once in the Holy Spirit, always in the Holy Spirit” is just a pipedream cherished by many of the brethren, and has no foundation in Scripture. It is unfortunately the case that in the life of faith you cannot have any such guarantees. We must take care, all our life long, that we do not lose our love of the Lord - otherwise that threat which the Lord addresses to the congregation in Ephesus could become a reality for us as well.

Conversion to faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the acceptance of his redeeming sacrifice for our sins, is a quite personal decision for every individual, which must be based on free will and not subject to any kind of compulsion. A compulsion exercised by God would go against the justice, dignity and majesty of the Almighty. Just take a look at this world as it is: do we see any sign here of a compulsion being exercised by God? The very opposite is the case. And just because God does not force anybody to choose a particular path, but leaves the individual free to decide, the world is approaching the edge of chaos. And because the Lord our God does not compel anyone to decide for him when a person is not willing, he will not compel anyone to remain with him against his will either.

But any kind of compelled conversion or compelled faith - such as so-called “missionaries” have been responsible for in the past, as in the conversion of the South American Indians to Catholicism by the Spanish and Portuguese Conquistadors - is null and void in the sight of God, and can only lead people from one darkness to a still deeper darkness. It may well be possible to give people information, warning and signposts, but a decision on this issue must be taken by each individual for himself or herself, on the basis of genuine personal conviction.

Since you have not warned wicked and righteous, they shall die in their sin but their blood I will require at your hand.

Ezk 3,18 "When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 3,19 "Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself.

3,20 "Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he will die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. 3,21 "However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself." Eze 3,18-21;

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Mk 16,15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16,16 "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

And this being so, nothing and no one can rob us of this decision or snatch us out of the hand of our God (cf. Jn 10,28-29) apart from - yet again - we ourselves. So any Christian believer can also go back on this freely determined decision and fall from faith into apostasy. For the same reason, we need not be scared of any Satanic hosts, or feel compelled to free our cities from their power by praying in tongues or by “spiritual war”, as some denominations do - it is only our own will that we need to focus on. And if we really love the Lord and keep his word, then the Triune God will personally dwell in us and strengthen our love with his love, so that we will be happy to remain in his hands, in full trust and on the basis of our own free decision.

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.



(See also Discourse 114: “The battle with invisible worlds for a Europe on Christian foundations?”)





Summary

It is a fact that before God all human beings are sinners as Paul is also writing in Rom 3,12: "There is none who does good, there is not even one". And this not only refers solely to the ungodly who live in the darkness and add sin to sin but also to the believers who walk in the light but again and again succumb to one or the other temptation.

Another fact is that the Holy Spirit cannot tolerate sin and leaves a human being who is bearing an unforgiven sin. The best example thereof is the cry of the Lord Jesus on the cross (Mat 27,46): "My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?" at this moment our Lord carries the sins of all human beings of all times to save those who claim this ransom sacrifice for themselves. And therefore the Spirit had to leave even the Son of God on the cross.

But as the Lord tells us above in Lk 11,11-13, by the grace of God we can ask the Father for the Holy Spirit again. As we are giving to our children when they ask us for a fish or an egg - that is the daily food - likewise our Father in heaven will give us, after confessing our sins, the mental nourishment of the Holy Spirit when we ask Him.