The Holy Spirit is a member of the Godhead, co-equal with God the Father and Jesus. His work in this dispensation is sometimes confusing because we don’t take time to read what the scriptures say about it. We assume we know all about the Holy Spirit because of a few scriptures we read, and that confusion results in a misunderstanding about other areas in the gospel. Particularly the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gifts that accompanied it, the work of the apostles, and the way the Holy Spirit works in the lives of believers today.
To begin this study we can look at what the bible says about how we receive the Holy Spirit.
• Acts 2:18 And on my servants and on my handmaids I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
• Acts 2:33 Therefore being at the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
• Acts 10:45 And they of the circumcision were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
• Titus 3:4-6 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
The words of God that describe how we receive the Spirit are pour out and shed fourth. The same Greek word (Ek-kheh-o) is used in all four verses and what is interesting is that this action is what Jesus referred to as the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:4, 5). Luke records it as being filled with the Spirit (Acts 2:4). That shows us that baptism of the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost being poured out, shed fourth, or someone being filled with the Holy Ghost all refer to the same thing.
The concept I believe the bible is teaching us is that the baptism of the Holy Ghost, (which we formerly thought was limited to the occurrences in Acts 2 and Acts 10) is actually what happens to all believers after conversion as stated in Acts 2:38.
The gift of the Holy Ghost is the grace that is given to all those who comply with the conditions of salvation (Acts 5:32, Ephesians 2:8). This gift is different from the miraculous gifts that are given through the Holy Ghost.
The word Do-re-ah’ describes the gift of grace given to us because of our obedience to the gospel (Eph. 4:7), while the word Char’-is-ma describes the miraculous gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 7:7).
We might think of it as when someone from the kindness of their heart gives us a gift, that type of gift would be like the gift of grace, Do-re-ah’. On the other hand we may see a talent or ability that someone has and say that they are gifted, which would be Char’-is-ma.
Someone may ask the question “what about the gifts the apostles had”?
God knows what gift to give and to whom he should give it to. He chose the gift of apostleship to give to the twelve men whom he had chose, they were the first to be set in the church (Eph. 4:11, 1 Cor. 12:28) followed by prophets and teachers. According to these verses the rerason they were given the gift of apostleship was for the perfecting of the saints, the work of the ministry, and the edifying of the body. All Christians have a purpose to fulfill, and it is God that gives us the ability to fulfill whatever gift he wants us to use. In the case of the apostles, their gift gave them the ability to perform miracles, wonders, and signs all for the purpose of unifying the faith and increasing the knowledge of Christ. To others he gave different abilities but all for the same reasons, to bring the church to maturity, to be like Christ in all things.
Today, the Holy Ghost is still being poured out from on high just as He did on Pentecost, and believers are being given grace and the gifts that accompany salvation because of their obedience to the gospel. Men and women, boys and girls are using their God given gifts to build up the body of Christ just as in the first century. There is no longer a need for miracles to confirm the word, it has already been confirmed, but the Holy Ghost still gives us talents and abilities to use in the body that we otherwise would not have had opportunity to use had we not been in the church.
My prayer is that this lesson will increase your understanding of the Holy Ghost and the gifts of the Spirit.