"And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost." Acts 11:15-16
Peter had been to Caesarea to the house of Cornelius who was a centurion, or captain over one hundred men, in the Roman army. You can read about the thrilling details in Acts 10 and I urge you to do so but the end result was Cornelius, and his relative that were with him, were saved and then filled with the Holy Ghost. Because he was a gentle, Peter was called in question for having fellowship with him as that was not the Jews custom. So now we quickly come to the verses above in Acts 11:15-16 where he is relating the incident to the Jews in Jerusalem. He noted that "the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning." We can read about how it fell on them in Acts 2:1-4
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."
The question I have is, have you received the power of the Holy Ghost since you believed? Someone may say, well I have it by faith and there's really no way of knowing if you have the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit (both are the same). According to scripture, there is a way to know; they spoke in other tongues.
Peter knew that those in the Cornelius's family had received the Holy Ghost. "For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter," Acts 10:46 Paul met twelve men in Ephesus who had been saved under John the Baptist's ministry but knew nothing about the baptism of the Holy Ghost. But then we read the following in Acts 19:6, "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied." During a revival in Samaria, Peter was laying hands on folks who were getting the Holy Ghost as well. While the Bible does not specifically say that the spoke in other tongues, the outcome was so awesome that Simon the magician tried to buy the power from Peter but was sharply rebuked for his folly.
People back away from this valuable doctrine for several reasons:
- They don't fully understand it and are afraid that it may not be of God. We can not fully explain how a lost sinner can suddenly become a new person with new desires and goals just from praying, but it happens.
- They have been told that it is of the devil. There is absolutely no scriptural basis for that.
- It is humbling to yield to God and trust him to receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost and be re-filled I'm afraid we have way too much pride in the church.
- They are told that it is not for today. The scripture used is found in 1 Cor. 13:8, "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away." They say that tongues will cease, but if that is the case, so will knowledge. When read in context, Paul is talking about when we see God face to face. At that time, tongues, prophecies, and knowledge will cease, but not until. "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." 1Cor 13:12
- Perhaps bad incidents or things have happened causing one to be prejudiced against this doctrine. I will assure you that I can tell you of things that have gone on that were not of God and they were done by people who spoke in other tongues. But I've had rotten fruit before but haven't quit eating fruit because I got a bad apple.
If there is any time that we need the power of God it is now in these last days. Being filled with the Holy Ghost will greatly enhance your understanding of the Word of God and will give you more power in prayer. It is really not an option, but a command, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;" Ephesians 5:18 If you really desire the Holy Ghost, I recommend the following:
- Examine yourself and forsake any know sin in your life. Your conscience must be clear before you can fully yield to Christ, which means you must get all of the known sin out of your life and be clean.
- Spend time fasting to receive the Holy Ghost and earnestly pray for it. Luke 11: 9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
- Don't give up! Study scriptures that relate to the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit. Keep focused on Christ because he is the giver!