In the Genesis account of Creation, God took the dust of the earth and formed it into a man. Then God breathed life into the man’s nostrils.
God’s breath is more intimate than His hands. He exhales life.
22-23 Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. "Receive the Holy Spirit," he said. "If you forgive someone's sins, they're gone for good. If you don't forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?"
Receiving the Holy Spirit is not just an experience for Pentecostals. It is the empowerment of God entering your life via Jesus. Jesus gave the disciples the Holy Spirit. This too is how we are empowered to respond to God’s mission in our life.
Jesus ties the empowerment of God’s Spirit to enabling forgiveness. We can forgive at a humanly intangible level when we are filled with God. The child of God who will not forgive is left with a dilemma. How can God’s peace remain in us if we will not forgive? Can you be at peace when the Holy Spirit lives in you and still you harbor a grudge?
You cannot read the book of Acts without encountering people who lived lives empowered by God’s Spirit. There appears to be a distinct experience of the Holy Spirit entering into believers throughout the early Church record.
14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria.15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
In this instance, you had devout followers of Jesus who had been baptized but had not received the Holy Spirit. Jesus was sent to breathe God’s Spirit upon the disciples, and now they were sent to lay hands on others to receive the Holy Spirit.
What about you? Have you received the Holy Spirit? Did you know that Jesus wants to empower you with God’s Spirit?
It’s possible to be baptized and confess Jesus as Lord, but still be needing God’s Spirit to empower you in your mission.
1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.
4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.
The ancient believers stood out because of their great love. They suffered much in this world and were not understood. But, the Spirit-empowered mission locked in their hearts kept them on track with the plans of God. They lived in this world filled with God’s Spirit. Let us do the same.