The Good Gift

J. Oliver Jones

Matthew 7:7-11 (NKJV)

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things (i.e. give that which is good) to those who ask Him!

Luke 11:1-13 (NKJV)

1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”  2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say:  Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.

9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 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!”

 

Who Is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity.  The Bible identifies Him through many names:

He is called the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Holiness, the Spirit of Grace, and the Spirit of Glory, just to name a few. Jesus identified Him as a helper and a counselor. The Apostle John has Jesus identifying Him as a “paraklatos” (from “paraklete”)meaning one who is called alongside to help.  It is translated as Helper, Comforter and Counselor.  Jesus said that He would pray that the Father would send this “Helper/Comforter/Counselor” to abide with us forever (John 14:16), and that He would be sent in Jesus’ name (authority) (John 14:26). Jesus even told the disciples that it was to their advantage that He (Jesus) should go away so that He (Jesus) could send another Comforter/Helper/ Counselor to them (John 16:7).

The same word (paraklaton) is used of Jesus in 1 John 2:1 and is translated as “advocate” in the KJV and as “one who speaks in our defense” in the NIV. This is why Jesus said that He would send us “another” Helper in John 14:16.

The Holy Spirit Promised – Acts 1:4-5

And being assembled together with them, He (Jesus) commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Baptism in the Holy Spirit – What Is It?
Some say that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the same as the indwelling of the Spirit. Others say it is a separate ministry from His indwelling and occurs at a later time in the believer’s life. We do know explicitly from the Scriptures that every believer is indwelt by the Spirit at conversion when He takes up residence in our lives (John 14:17; Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; 1 John 4:4).  Romans 8:9 states that if a person does not have the Spirit of God then he does not belong to God.  Therefore, every true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has experienced baptism in the Holy Spirit. That is why Paul could state, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body… we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

Baptism in the Holy Spirit – What Are the Results?
In the book of Acts, baptism in the Holy Spirit sometimes resulted in speaking in tongues (Acts 2:4; 10:44-46; Acts 19:6). However, in other instances, people believed and therefore received baptism in the Holy Spirit, but nothing is said of tongues (Acts 2:41; 4:4; 5:14; 8:17; 13:12, 48; 14:1; 17:12, 34; 18:8). Again, the Bible makes it abundantly clear that every believer has received the baptism in the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13), but not every believer speaks in tongues (1 Corinthians 12:27-31). As a result, there is no specific sign that a believer should expect when they are saved and receive baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Is being baptized in the Spirit the same as being filled with the Spirit?

It is important to distinguish the indwelling of the Spirit from the filling of the Spirit. While all true believers are indwelt (baptized) by the Spirit, not all believers are filled with the Spirit.  In Ephesians 5:18 we read, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” (the Greek tense is actually “be being filled” – a continuous action). We should be so completely yielded to the Holy Spirit that He can possess us fully and, in that sense, fill us. While Romans 8:9 and Ephesians 1:13-14 states that He dwells within every believer, He can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30), and His activity within us can be quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19).  As you would expect, it is sin that hinders the filling of the Holy Spirit, and it is obedience to God that allows the filling of the Spirit to be maintained.

John MacArthur states that “Ephesians 5:18 is an emphatic imperative, and is literally translated, ‘Be being kept filled with the Spirit.’ It is a command that includes the idea of conscious continuation. Being continually filled with the Spirit is not an option for the believer but a biblical mandate. No Christian can fulfill God’s will for his life apart from being filled with the Spirit.”

Back to the Beginning

Our Matthew text for this message quoted Jesus as promising us that our Father in Heaven would certainly give “that which is good” to those who ask Him. The Luke passage further clarifies what that “good thing” is – the Holy Spirit. Now, nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to be “baptized” in the Spirit, or to be “indwelt” by the Spirit. I believe these two acts, if not interchangeable, at least occur simultaneously at conversion. When we repent and believe in Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit indwells us and baptizes us into the Body of Christ. This cannot happen until we believe, and it must certainly happen for us to be true believers – so says the Bible.

However, we are commanded to be continuously being filled with the Spirit. There are a lot of different people who will tell you a lot of different ways to “be filled.” But as for me, I have determined to ask the Father for that “good gift.” And I am willing to allow God to show me whatever I need to confess, forsake, put off, take on, or change in order to be filled with the precious Spirit of God, the Power from on High, the Promise of the Father. I challenge you to ask, seek and knock – persistently – for the good gift. In so doing, not only will you have all of Him, but He will, in the process, get all of you!

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