I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49).
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8).
There is a distinct difference between the Holy Spirit dwelling inside the believer and coming upon or clothing a believer. We need to discern the difference and the purposes of each work of the Spirit.
The work of the Holy Spirit within us is marvelous and so vast that we do not have the space in this small article to go into the details of it. Here are a few activities of the Spirit within the believer:
- The new birth (Jn. 3:1-8; Titus 3:5)
- Guides us into all truth or reality (Jn. 16:13)
- Tells us things to come (Jn. 16:13)
- Reveals the glory of Christ (Jn. 16:14)
- Produces the character of Christ within us (Gal. 5:22-23)
- Heals or gives life to our bodies (Rom. 8:11)
- Leads us (Rom. 8:16)
- Helps us pray (Rom. 8:26)
Wow! That is a lot! None of this was the possession of the common people of the Old Testament. No one had the Spirit of God dwelling inside them as we are privileged today.
Once Jesus had purchased our redemption with His own blood (Heb. 9:12), He breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn. 20:22). At that moment, they were born again with the Spirit dwelling in them. And everything we just listed was now available to them. But they were not yet clothed!
Jesus told them to wait for the clothing of the Holy Spirit! Notice Jesus told them to wait for this clothing before going into all the world. What is the purpose of that clothing? Power to be a witness! This truth should cause us to stop and examine our experience. Is there a power in your life to witness for Christ? Is there a boldness to share the gospel? Is there a fire in your heart to see the lost come to Christ?
There are twelve references in the book of Acts of people either being initially baptized in the Holy Spirit or being refilled with Him. In at least half of the cases, the scriptures highlight their supernatural bold testimony following their infilling.
Acts 2:4, 14, 41
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd…
41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!... 10b It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.
31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Acts 9:17, 20
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.
24 [Barnabas] was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said,…
12 When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
Are you clothed? Each of us before we go out into public, put on our clothes for the day. Just because you got dressed for work yesterday, doesn’t mean you can neglect your morning routine for putting on your clothes today. In the same way, just because you were filled and clothed with the Spirit last week or even yesterday, doesn’t mean you are automatically clothed today.
I just saw a video about a house church network in China that has millions of members. They are seeing many miracles. Their secret: the power of the Holy Spirit! Every morning they gather to worship and pray for revival and the salvation of souls from 5-7am. The fruit remains!
Let us hunger and thirst for the Presence of the Holy Spirit and remember that this clothing from on High is for the sake of winning souls.