Sermon on the Holy Spirit 3.
The Essential Qualification
To Be the Apostles
< Acts 1:4-8 >
“And being assembled together with
them, He 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.’ Therefore, when they
had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this
time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is
not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in
His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit
has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem,
and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’”
In God’s plan of salvation, the ministries
of Jesus were absolutely required. The contents of these ministries
were the baptism that Jesus received from John, His shouldering
of the sins of the world and death on the Cross, and His resurrection.
A promise was made between God and us that He would give the Holy
Spirit as a gift to those who believe in this truth. The Holy Spirit
whom God gives to those who have been forgiven of their sins is
a gift that is permitted only to those who believe in the gospel
of the water and the Spirit exactly as set by God.
Acts 1:4 says, “And being assembled
together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem,
but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you
have heard from Me.’” Jesus commanded the Apostles, “To receive
the promised Holy Spirit, do not leave Jerusalem but wait.” Jerusalem
refers to the Church of God spiritually, where the gospel of the
water and the Spirit is found. Therefore, God commanded the saints
of the Jerusalem Church to stay in the Church to receive the Holy
The Holy Spirit Is the Gift to the Born-Again
The Apostles continued to hear the
Lord’s promise that He would send the Holy Spirit to them. Acts
1:5 states, “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall
be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
We must realize that the Bible tells
us that the faith of those who have received the Holy Spirit is
not a result of their own acts or deeds, but it is a result of believing
in the gospel of the water and the Spirit (Acts 2:38, 3:19). In
other words, whether we can receive the Holy Spirit or not is absolutely
depended on God’s established promise, and not on our own efforts
or any spiritual achievements.
As written in the Four Gospels, the
Holy Spirit comes inevitably to those who believe in the gospel
of the water and the Spirit.
The Spirit of God “is a gift permitted
to those who believe in the remission of sin given by Jesus.” We
can reaffirm in quite a many phrases in the Bible that the Holy
Spirit descends on those who believe in the gospel of the baptism
of Jesus and His blood. Those who have received the Holy Spirit
in the Bible are the ones who believe in the gospel of the water
and the blood as their remission of sin.
But from the main passage above, we
can see that the power of this Holy Spirit is not for the flesh,
but for world mission. “You shall be witnesses to Me.” The
purpose of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, in other words, is
to make us Jesus’ witnesses. And for us to become His witnesses
means to become His workers who preach the gospel of the water and
the Spirit for the rest of our lives. The saints already belong
to the Holy Spirit and they are His servants. The Holy Spirit works
with the gospel of the water and the blood. This is the power of
the true gospel.
When we take a close look at the account
on the first Pentecost in Acts 2, we can find that that the baptism
of the Holy Spirit on the disciples was for them to spread the gospel
of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus. In the ministries of
the Holy Spirit, the purpose of His coming must be found in the
spreading of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
When it comes to the “Day of Pentecost,”
we generally associate it with chaos, set loose the very moment
the Holy Spirit descended. In today’s time, we associate it with
the kind of gatherings where people are lying on the ground—on the
pretext that when they received the Holy Spirit they would be filled
by the Spirit, fall flat on their backs, and have fellowship with
the Lord for days—levitating and shaking uncontrollably, with their
hands as if they were shocked by electricity. But this is not the
work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not work like this.
He works only with and with in God’s Word, especially with the gospel
of the water and the Spirit.
Do you believe in the gospel of the
water and the Spirit that enables you to receive the Holy Spirit?
Or are you still seeking after man-made methods to receive the Holy
Spirit? Does the Holy Spirit come when people repent their sins
with their prayers of repentance, or when they abandon their idols?
Do we receive the Holy Spirit by praying?
What truly enables us to receive the
Holy Spirit is the gospel that came about by the baptism and blood
of Jesus. There is no other way but to know the gospel of the baptism
and blood of Jesus, the gospel that allows us to receive the Holy
Spirit given by God, and to believe in and accept this gospel into
The descending of the Holy Spirit
on the Day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of the Word of prophecy
given through the Prophet Joel (Joel 2:29). And God gives the Holy
Spirit to those who, now in this age, believe in the gospel of the
water and the Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to those who believe
in the gospel that has forgiven and blotted out all the sins of
the entire world through the baptism of Jesus, His blood on the
Cross, and His death and resurrection. You, too, will surely receive
the Holy Spirit as a gift when you believe in the gospel of the
water and the blood.
What Kind of Gospel Did Jesus’ Disciples Believe?
The disciples were the ones who believed
in the baptism and blood of Jesus that He received and shed to save
sinners. Why? The reason is well described in the passage from Acts
1:21-26. When the Apostles selected another Apostle to replace Judas,
they selected someone who believed that Jesus’ baptism through which
He took upon all the sins of mankind. In other words, having faith
in Jesus’ baptism was the most important qualification for the disciples
to be the supplementary Apostle. Of course, they had to believe
in the truth that Jesus was the Son of God and had become the Savior
of sinners. Here, we can know the faith of the Apostles. In short,
the disciples of Jesus believed in His whole public ministries:
His baptism, crucifixion, death on the Cross, and resurrection.
Like this to become an Apostle, one had to believe in the baptism
that Jesus received to take upon the sins of the world.
to know more about "The Faith of the apostle's Creed"?
Please click the banner below to get your free book on the
To become His disciples in this last
age, we, too, have to believe in the truth of the water and the
Spirit. If people ignore any single element of Jesus public ministries—His
being Godhood, His baptism through which He took upon the iniquities
of sinners (Matthew 3:15), His bloodshed on the Cross, and His death
and resurrection, then they cannot become His disciples. Do you
believe in Jesus while ignoring His baptism? Then, you cannot receive
the remission of sin, but will be destroyed as a sinner instead.
For all of us to become Jesus’ disciples, we must believe in the
baptism that He received and in the blood of the Cross.
To those who have the same knowledge
of truth as the Apostles of God had, He has filled them with the
Holy Spirit. Like this, we can also receive the Holy Spirit only
when we have the faith that believe in the baptism that Jesus received
from John, His death on the Cross, and His resurrection.
Before the advent of the Holy Spirit
on the Day of Pentecost, the disciples had been weak and cowardly.
But when God poured the Holy Spirit on them as He had promised to
the Prophet Joel, they all became strong and bold to preach the
gospel of the water and the Spirit publicly.