Reading Scripture: Acts 19:1-7
Verse to Memorize: 2 Corinthians 1:22
Reference: Acts 2:38
Goal: to help believers have the clear evidences of transformation by receiving the Spirit after they accept Jesus Christ and receive the forgiveness of sins
Acts 2:38 reads, “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'” In other words, anyone can gain the forgiveness of sins and receive the gift of the Spirit if they confess they are sinners, repent of their sins with humbleness, and believe that Jesus is their personal Savior. Then, let’s look into the evidences manifested in the lives of those who have received the Spirit.
1. The evidences of having received the Spirit
There is a total difference between men who have received the Spirit and men who haven’t. Although many people sit together in the sanctuary and offer worship services, God accepts the praise, prayer, and services of those who have received the Spirit while He can’t accept those of people who haven’t. Then, what are the evidences that follow after you have received the Spirit?
1) You will try to keep God’s commandments
People who have received the Spirit come to love God with thanks for His love and the grace with which He forgave you of your sins. Since your dead spirits are revived, your communication with God, who is spirit, is enabled and you begin to realize His will. That is, you will realize that the commandments of God are given to His children in the fullness of His love.
Before you are born again of the Spirit, you find it difficult to understand the Word of God because you read and listen to it with human logic and reason. You can’t realize or understand the will of God. But after you receive the Spirit you can listen to the Word in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So, you can realize the will of God and make it spiritual bread for your spirit. As recorded in 1 John 5:3, saying, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome,” God’s children who have received the Spirit try to keep God’s commandments.
2) You will have the desire to obey the Word of God with joy
If you become God’s children by receiving the Spirit, you naturally come to have the desire to obey the Word of God because you are thankful for the great love that redeemed you from all sins. To the extent that you know the love of God, you will feel more grateful from your heart and obey the Word of God more joyfully.
God handed over His only begotten Son Jesus to be crucified for all men while we were yet sinners. By this, He demonstrated His own love towards us (Romans 5:8). If we realize such love of God, we will come to love God and obey the Word with joy. God accepts such obedience and lets us receive His love.
But some of you who have received the Spirit sometimes disobey due to the weakness of faith even though you try to obey. This is because you have your own thoughts or opinions that were formed in your frameworks before you met God. Still, God is pleased with your desire to obey in itself. If you find yourself within this level you have to destroy your personal thoughts, knowledge and opinions by offering up fervent prayer. In doing so, you should endeavor to grow up in spirit and obey.
3) You will want to lead a purified life
If you’ve been born again of the Spirit, the Spirit dwells in you. So, you come to hate sin and evil and try to live in goodness and the Light. That is why 1 John 5:18 says, “We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.” In other words, to the extent that we have less sin and end up being sinless, God can protect us from the enemy devil and Satan and they cannot touch us.
So then, what is sin? 1 John 3:4 says, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” Just as every country has its law, the kingdom of God also has spiritual law. It is the truth. That is, it is the Word of God that doesn’t change forever. If you act against the Word of God recorded in the Bible it means that you practice lawlessness. If you commit such sins God can’t guard and protect you.
‘Sin’ can be divided into two categories: the things of the flesh and the works of the flesh. The things of the flesh, though they are not yet revealed outwardly, refer to men’s sinful natures that can cause sins in action such as jealousy, envy, hatred, and adultery. When the things of the flesh are revealed outwardly they become what is known as ‘works of the flesh’ (Ref: Galatians 5:19-21). God looks at the inner heart, and He deems both the things of the flesh that lie dormant and the works of the flesh all as ‘sin’. So He says in 1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from every form of evil.”
Before we are born again of the Spirit we are not able to be guided by the Spirit, but we just follow the desires of the flesh. It is in this way that the fruit of sins and evil are borne. But those who are born again follow the desire of the Spirit since they can hear the Spirit’s groaning when they practice lawlessness. They want to lead a sanctified and purified life by acting in the truth even more earnestly.
4) You will love brothers in Christ deeply
1 John 4:20 says, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” If you are born again of the Spirit you will realize believers are all your brothers and sisters who come from God. Naturally they will love each other. Because they love God, they love and serve the church, that is, the body of Christ. They love and serve the shepherd and their brothers and sisters.
5) You will overcome the world with faith
If you receive the Holy Spirit, you will gain the right to become God’s children and give birth to spirit by the Spirit. Then, you can come to have spiritual faith and have hope for Heaven through the help of the Spirit. You won’t befriend the world that causes you to act in sins, lawlessness, and unrighteousness. You will also ponder the ways you can follow the will of God.
1 John 5:4 reads, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world뾬ur faith.” If you become God’s children by receiving the Holy Spirit, you can overcome the world with faith in Jesus Christ who had already overcome the world with the truth.
6) You will have assurance of salvation
Even if you have attended church for a long time, if you haven’t received the Spirit, no assurance of salvation has been given to you. But even if you are a beginner in faith, if you’ve received the Spirit, you have the assurance of salvation. Then, you can be given faith upon faith because you practice the Word of God and you also become full of hope for Heaven. You will possess the assurance of salvation by witnessing the evidences of the Lord’s being with you. In other words, the evidences of receiving the Spirit follow you because you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
7) You receive the assurance that you will receive answers to your prayers
1 John 5:15 says, “And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” If you receive the Spirit and become God’s child, you will naturally ask God to fulfill your heart’s desires and you will believe that He will do so because you know He is your Father.
Because you love your brothers and sisters in Christ and keep the commandments, you will receive the assurance of salvation. In the assurance, you will ask in accordance with the will that pleases God. This is because the Spirit teaches us that God gives us what we need abundantly anytime we need.
8) You will live with God first above all else
If you realize the will of God who loves us enough to give His only begotten Son for us, you will be able to live a God-centered life. A habitual liar becomes an honest man and a man who lacks love can love others. A peace breaker becomes a peace maker. That is, they can come forth from darkness into the Light. They come to follow the way of the truth that pleases to God and lead a changed life where the evidences of receiving the Spirit are shown.