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Despite the claims of numerous Churches, Holy Spirit gifts are not available today. The different doctrines and different gospels taught by Churches who claim to possess Holy Spirit gifts should be sufficient proof that they do not in reality possess them. God is not the author of confusion.
The purpose of the Holy Spirit given to the apostles was:
1. To give them total recall of all that Jesus had taught them during his ministry.
John 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
2. To guide them into all truth.
John 16:13 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
There were just 2 outpourings or baptisms with the Holy Spirit. The first was at Jerusalem at Pentecost.
Acts 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance... 32 "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
The second was at Caesarea on Cornelius’ household.
Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, 47 "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.
Acts 11:15 "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. 16 "Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 "If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?" 18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life."
From this we see that baptism with the Holy Spirit did not normally accompany belief and baptism. Peter had to recall the first occurrence several years before 'at the beginning'. What happened at Caesarea was extra-ordinary as a sign from God that gentiles were to be accepted into the faith.
Normally Holy Spirit gifts were conferred by the laying on of the apostle’s hands. This we see from Acts 8.
Acts 8:18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,
The Samaritans, believing Philip and being baptised, could not receive the Holy Spirit gifts until the apostles came from Jerusalem and laid hands on them. Philip himself having Holy Spirit gifts and being able to heal and work miracles was not able to confer the Holy Spirit gifts on the Samaritans.
The disciples at Ephesus did not receive Holy Spirit gifts until Paul laid his hands on them.
Acts 19:1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" So they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." 3 And he said to them, "Into what then were you baptized?" So they said, "Into John’s baptism." 4 Then Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. 7 Now the men were about twelve in all.
From this we can see that when the apostles died, the Holy Spirit gifts could not be passed on. Holy Spirit gifts were necessary to establish the early ecclesias because the New Testament wasn’t available to the first believers so the gifts described by Paul were essential to build up the early churches.
1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills... 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
Is one gift more honourable than the other?
Paul lists the gifts in order of importance and indicates that that different people received different gifts:
28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
By implication some had no gift and Paul goes on to show that the possession of Holy Spirit gifts is not essential to salvation.
1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing...
He prophesies that the gifts will cease.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
That which continues until the return of Christ is faith, hope and love.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
When the New Testament was complete and available, Holy Spirit gifts were no longer necessary. The scriptures themselves written by inspiration of the Spirit are all we need to make us wise unto salvation.
2 Timothy 3:15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Faith comes not as a Holy Spirit gift but from hearing the word of God.
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Can you pray for the Holy Spirit?
If Holy Spirit gifts came by the laying on of the apostle’s hands, there can be no point in praying for a gift. If Holy Spirit gifts are available by prayer without the laying on of the apostle’s hand’s we need to find an example in the New Testament of it happening to confirm that it is so. I am unable to find one.
Receive Christ in your heart
This is a phrase commonly used by Churches which think water baptism optional or unnecessary. It is not found in the Bible. No one in the New Testament is said to have ‘received Christ in his heart’. When we believe the gospel we do not ‘receive Christ in our heart’ rather we are commanded to be baptised by immersion in water ‘into him’.
Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you...
Mark 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ... 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The promise is an everlasting inheritance on the earth in the kingdom of God. Holy Spirit gifts were a means to an end in the first century. They are no longer available or necessary for salvation.
What is necessary for salvation is
1. belief of the gospel preached by the apostles,
3. baptism by immersion and
4. to live a new life by the commandments of Christ
Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
We should follow the example of the early converts.
Acts 2:41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
I hope this helps.