A. T. Jones
WHEN Paul and his company had sailed away from Miletus, by Coos, and Rhodes, and Patara, and had come to Tyre, there they found disciples, and remained with them a week. And these disciples “told Paul through the Spirit not to go up to Jerusalem” (Acts 21:4).
When they had gone from Tyre, and had met the brethren at Ptolemais and stayed with them one day, they came to Cæsarea, where they tarried many days. While they were at Cæsarea, there came from Judea a prophet, who took Paul’s belt, and, binding his own hands and feet, said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’”
After all this had come to pass, with many other vicissitudes, Paul was finally brought to Rome. At Rome he called the chief of the Jews together, and told them how it was that he had been brought thither. “So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet,” etc. (Acts 28:23–25).
Thus the book of Acts begins and ends with the mention of the Holy Spirit; and all the way between the beginning and the end, the Holy Spirit is recognized and received. He is constantly deferred to; He is ever and everywhere recognized as being present as witness, counselor, and guide.
That was the time of the early rain. The book of Acts is the inspired record of that time. It is the record of the working of the Holy Spirit in the time when He was recognized and allowed to reign. It was written for our instruction. And now, in “the time of the latter rain,” when again the Holy Spirit is to be recognized and allowed to reign, the book of Acts is especially present truth.
The message of God today is, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” But the Holy Spirit is to be received only for service; only for guidance into a deeper, more thorough, and more stable experience; only unto sanctification: never for self-gratification. And in this time the book of Acts should be carefully, diligently, and reverently studied, that we may know the way of the Spirit in His wonderful working.
Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? If not, why? He is freely given; you are urged by the Lord to receive Him; why do you not receive the Holy Spirit, and be filled with the Spirit?
Do you say that you do not know how? Do you know how to receive the forgiveness of sins? If you do, you know how to receive the Holy Spirit. The Lord tells you to confess your sins, and that He is faithful and just to forgive you. You confess your sins, accept His forgiveness, and then thank Him for it. You know you are forgiven, for He says so.
Do you know how to receive the righteousness of God? If so, you know how to receive the Holy Spirit. Righteousness is the free gift of God, and is received by believing God. It is received by faith. So, also, is the promise of the Spirit received by faith. The Holy Spirit is received precisely as any other gift is received from God.
He tells you, Ask for the Holy Spirit, and He shall be given you. “if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14, 15).
Ask for the Spirit: by so doing, you ask according to His will. Then, having asked, you know you have received, because He says so. Then thank Him, and continue to thank Him, that you have received the Holy Spirit. How you may feel has nothing to do with it. It is not how you feel; it is what He says.
“Ask, and it will be given to you.” “Receive the Holy Spirit.” “Be filled with the Spirit.”
The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, September 13, 1898