The Preparation for the Gift of the Holy Spirit in Acts
February 26, 2006 -
THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (continued) - Today we will consider the preparation for the gift of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts.
1) THE BACKGROUND OF THE COMING OF THE SPIRIT IN THE GOSPELS - The Gospels point forward to the coming of the Spirit as the Epistles presuppose His coming in the past. It is not by accident that the disciples were waiting for the Spirit in the upper room. The gospels record much teaching about the soon coming of the Holy Spirit.
a) Mark 1:8 - “I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." From the very beginning, John recognized Jesus as the One who would "baptize you with the Holy Spirit". Notice that this was a separate baptism from John's. John proclaimed a "baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins" (Mark 1:4). While there are other passages teaching that we are to ask God, the Father for the Spirit, it is Jesus himself who is clearly seen as being the channel or immediate source of the Spirit as believers seek to be filled.
b) John 7:37-39 - “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.' "  Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Jesus would give the Spirit after He was glorified and exalted to the right hand of the Father.
The timing element is for a specific reason. The Spirit can be given only after the foundation for repentance and forgiveness has been laid. See also John 16:7-9 - “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.  And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:  concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;
c) Luke 11:9-13 - “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;  or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
In addition to the generosity of God's heart when it comes to giving the Holy Spirit to those who ask, notice that Jesus speaks of the Spirit being given to those who ask as the Father’s children. This is a family request. My view is it is somewhat difficult to apply the request of these words to the experience of conversion alone. It appears to be a gift for those who are already God's children.
d) Luke 24:48-49 - “You are witnesses of these things.  And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." The Spirit is given to those who already understand the plan of salvation revealed in the Scriptures. The baptism with the Spirit is to further empower them to reach those who are lost.
2) THE WORDS OF JESUS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS - It is highly significant that Luke leads us into the story of the Holy Spirit by setting the stage with the final teaching of Jesus.
a) Acts 1:4-5 - “And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me;  for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Jesus tells the disciples they are to wait for the "promise of the Father"(1:4). With the work of redemption complete, and Jesus about to return to the Father, things were now in place for the promise of the Spirit to be fulfilled. It is set in this post ascension context right from the beginning.
b) Acts 1:8 - “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Again, the gift of the Spirit is directly tied to the carrying out of a mission. The Spirit is task oriented. He is the ultimate purpose driven Person.