2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
“God is Spirit” (Jn 4:24) and “the Lord [Jesus Christ] is the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:17). Through old testament prophets, God promised to pour out the Holy Spirit on His believers to live in their hearts (Ezek 36:27).
The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, helps us understand God’s will and ways (1 Cor 2:11). He transforms our lives so that we can overcome the temptations of the flesh and live a fruitful life (Rom 8:13). The Holy Spirit also sets us apart as God’s holy people, sanctifying us and sealing us until the day we enter God’s heavenly kingdom (1 Cor 6:11; 2 Thess 2:13; Eph 1:13-14).
Jesus called the Holy Spirit the “Helper” or “Counselor” (or “Comforter,” Gk. parakletos). Like a personal guide on our heavenly pilgrimage, He is available at all times and abides with us forever, so long as we live by God’s words. He teaches us to understand the truth and to walk in God’s ways. In our weakness, the Spirit strengthens us and helps us to pray, making “intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Rom 8:26-28).
The cleansing we receive through water baptism merely marks the beginning of our journey. Sanctification is God’s life-long work on His believers. We cannot overcome our sinful nature and the devil’s temptations by our determination alone. The Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit abiding in us, gives us the transforming power we need to live out Christ’s perfect example as children of God.
And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. (1 Jn 3:24)
To receive the Holy Spirit, you must believe in the Lord Jesus as your Savior, humbly repent of your sins, and be baptized into Christ. Baptism goes hand in hand with the promise of the Holy Spirit: Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
Obey the truth
God gives the Holy Spirit “to those who obey Him” (Acts 5:32). Since the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, you need to study and obey the true gospel in order to receive the Holy Spirit.
Pray with faith
Jesus told His disciples that the heavenly Father gives the Holy Spirit “to those who ask Him” (Lk 11:13). We ask God for the Holy Spirit through prayer. With faith in God’s promise, through persistent prayer and earnest longing, you will receive the Holy Spirit as the Lord has promised.
Experience God’s power
Since the first time God poured out His Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), believers who receive the Holy Spirit speak in tongues. Receiving the Holy Spirit is an experience that is audible and often visible. It is audible by the sign of speaking in tongues. It is often visible by the movement of the body. Jesus’ disciples said that they as well as observers could “see and hear” the pouring out of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:33; also Acts 10:45-47).
When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, as recorded in Scripture, you will be moved to speak in unknown tongues. You may also experience warmth and power from above. The Holy Spirit is from God; thus the experience is not a frightening one, nor one where people lose control or consciousness. You will remain conscious and may end your prayer any time.
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. (Rom 8:9)
If the Holy Spirit dwells in you, you can speak in tongues whenever you pray. Speaking in tongues is not a one-time experience only. Through prayer in tongues, “the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom 8:26). When you ache so deeply that mere words cannot convey your pain, or when a “thank you” hardly expresses your appreciation to God, the Holy Spirit prays for you, replacing your earthly words with a spiritual language. You will find prayer in the Spirit more satisfying because the Holy Spirit enables you to know God’s will and truth. He will express your needs more effectively than human language can.
If the Holy Spirit fills you, then you will manifest God’s nature. The Bible teaches us “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22-23). Jesus said, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be my disciples” (Jn 15:8).
If you live by the Spirit, you will no longer seek to gratify the desires of the flesh, but to glorify God (Gal 5:16). In doing so, you will find that peace, joy, and love flow continuously inside you. The Lord Jesus said, “the water I shall give [a believer] will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (Jn 4:14). With the fullness of the Holy Spirit in you, your heart will be satisfied, and never thirst again.