Just before Jesus ascended He promised His disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit as "another Comforter" who would abide with them forever. "For He dwelleth with you," He said, "and shall be in you." It is evident that the Calvary victory of Christ and His ascension to begin His priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary brought His followers into a closer fellowship with the Holy Spirit than could otherwise have been possible. It made His work more permanent and abiding, and their association with the Spirit more intimate.
The statement is made in John 7:39 that "the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified." On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was given in a new sense. The dispensation of the Holy Spirit began when Jesus was glorified on the day of Pentecost and the early rain was poured out, and will end with the latter rain and the close of probation. It begins and ends in the fullness of divine power, in the two great visitations of spiritual blessings.
He shall be in you, is the promise. John 14: 18-23 shows that the promise includes the indwelling presence of all three members of the Godhead. "At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you," said Jesus. In what day ?
"On the day of Pentecost the promised Comforter descended, and the power from on high was given, and the souls of the believers thrilled with the conscious presence of their ascended Lord."—The Great Controversy, p. 351.
"Pentecost brought them the presence of thb Comforter. . . . Henceforth through the Spirit, Christ was to abide continually in the hearts of His children. Their union with Him was closer than when He was personally with them."—Steps to Christ, p. 80.
Christ dwells in the hearts of His people Through His representative the Holy Spirit. "Hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He bath given us." 1 John 3:24. "Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit." 1 John 4:33. "The holy Spirit is the comforter, as the personal presence of Christ to the soul."—Review and Herald, Nov. 29, 1892. "Those who see Christ in His true character, and receive Him into the heart, have everlasting life. It is through the Spirit that Christ dwells in us; and the Spirit of God, received into the heart by faith, is the beginning of the life eternal."—The Desire of Ages, p. 388.
"While Jesus ministers in the sanctuary above, He is still by His Spirit the minister of the church on p.166. This explains how Christ can minister in the midst of the seven churches on earth and in heaven at the same time. The church is the court of the heavenly sanctuary, where Christ died on the altar of Calvary. (See Rev. 31:3, 2.) Here we are told that the court of the heavenly temple was trampled underfoot by the papacy for 1260 years. The church is often called God's "sanctuary," "temple," "His courts," and "His temple courts" in the Scriptures and the Spirit of prophecy. (See Eph. 2:19-22.) The heart is also declared to be the temple of God and the temple of the Holy Spirit. (See 1 Cor. 3:16, 17; 6:19, 20.)
Just as Christ, the Head of the church, makes the church His dwelling place through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the members, so Satan makes His church, "Babylon the great," his dwelling place and headquarters by controlling the hearts of individual sinners. (See Rev. 16:33, 14; 18 :1, 2; Eph. 2:2, 3.) Demon possession is just as real as Spirit possession, and far more universal. Either the Holy Spirit through His "ministering spirits" or Satan through his angels is in possession of every soul. The battle between the forces of good and evil is for the control of the heart. "All who wilfully depart from God's commandments are placing themselves under the control of Satan."—Ministry of Healing, p. 92.
Need of Modern Church Today
In Revelation 3:20-22 Christ describes Himself as standing at the door of the Laodicean church, pleading and knocking for entrance. He promises the remnant that if they will open the door and permit Him to come into their individual hearts through His representative, the Holy Spirit, He will give them a place on His throne to help Him rule over the kingdom of David in the restored realm. "He that bath an ear" and "if any man hear My voice" show that the indwelling of Christ in His church temple is through the individual. It is thus that He dwells "in the midst of Zion."
The result of beholding Christ and opening the door of the heart temple, at which He knocks until He occupies the holy of holies in the inner sanctuary, is described in 2 Corinthians 3:17, 18: "Now by 'the Lord' is meant the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, freedom is enjoyed. And all of us, with unveiled faces, reflecting like bright mirrors the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same likeness, from one degree of radiant holiness to another, even as derived from the Lord the Spirit." (Weymouth.) Note the following inspired statements:
"All who long to bear the likeness of the character of God shall be satisfied. The Holy Spirit never leaves unassisted the soul who is looking unto Jesus. He takes of the things of Christ and shows them unto him. If the eye is kept fixed on Christ, the work of the Spirit ceases not until the soul is conformed to His image."—The Desire of Ages, p. 302.
"The Holy Spirit is the breath of spiritual life in the soul. The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ. It imbues the receiver with the attributes of Christ."—Ibid., p. 805.
"By the power of the Holy Spirit the moral image of God is to be perfected in the character. We are to be wholly transformed into the likeness of Christ."—Review and Herald, March 2, 1897.
"By implanting in their hearts the principles of His word, the Holy Spirit develops in men the attributes of God."—Christ's Object Lessons, p. 414.
"Transformation of character is the testimony to the world of an indwelling Christ. The Spirit of God produces a new life in the soul, bringing the thoughts and desires into obedience to the will of Christ ; and the inward man is renewed in the image of God."—Prophets and Kings, p. 233.
It may be asked how it is possible for the Holy Spirit to dwell in the heart since He is a person. It is in the same way that the Father and Son dwell in the heart of the Christian. "I have you in my heart," declared Paul to the Philippians. Those we dearly love are continually in our hearts. Paul also said, "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith." Eph. 3:17. In The Desire of Ages, page 388, we are told that "the Spirit" is "received into the heart by faith."
The indwelling of the members of the Godhead, as well as our abiding in them, is a part of the "mystery of godliness" which cannot be fully explained, but can be known by experience. Scores of times Paul speaks of our abiding "in Christ" and Christ abiding "in us." "Christ in you, the hope of glory" is the very core of the gospel and the secret of a godly life. It indicates complete possession and control of the heart and life by Christ, as well as surrender to His guidance and sovereignty. Only during the early rain in the past, and again during the latter rain in the future, does Christ have full possession of His church.
Spirit baptism represents the experience by which the Holy Spirit completes His work and mission in our lives. Only those who have departed from all iniquity and whose characters are fixed for the kingdom, so that they "reflect the image of Jesus fully" and "love righteousness and hate iniquity," can experience the indwelling and sealing and baptism of the Holy Spirit.
John the Baptist told his hearers that while he baptized theni with "water unto repentance," he would be followed by One who will "baptize . . . with the Holy Ghost and with fire." The fanning, sifting process would precede the gathering of the wheat into the garner of God and the burning of the chaff in "unquenchable fire." (See Matt. 3:11, 12.)
"But the days of purification of the church are hastening on apace. God will have a people pure and true. In the mighty sifting soon to take place, we shall be better able to measure the strength of Israel_ The signs reveal that the time is near when the Lord , will manifest. that His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor. . . . In this time, the gold will be separated from the dross in the church. True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Many a star that we have admired for its brilliancy, will then go out in darkness. Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind, even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat."--Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 80, 81.
Baptism of the Spirit
The fullness of divine power on the day of Pentecost is called the baptism of the Spirit. (See Acts I :4, 5, 8.) Christ gave the commission to "go . . . into all the world" and preach the gospel to all nations including "every creature"; but He told them first to 'tarry . . . in the city of Jerusalem" until they received the promised power for the task, or until they were "baptized with the Holy Ghost," which would take place "not many days hence." The baptism of the Spirit was necessary to the fulfilling of the great commission:
Baptism represents complete Spirit possession, beino-6 both filled and clothed. We are told that "the Spirit of the Lord came upon [margin, "clothed"] Gideon." "The Spirit of Jehovah came upon [margin, "clothed itself with"] Gideon." Judges 6:34, A.R.V. This is what happened on the day of Pentecost. Infilling and baptism are both used to describe the complete sovereignty of the Holy Spirit over the church and its individual members. How did the disciples spend their time of waiting, or tarrying, for the promised gift?
"As the disciples waited for the fulfilment of the promise, they humbled their hearts in true repentance, and confessed their unbelief. . . . The disciples prayed with intense earnestness for a fitting to meet men, and in their daily intercourse to speak words that would lead sinners to Christ. Putting away all differences, all desire for the supremacy, they came close together in Christian fellowship. They drew nearer and nearer to God. . . . These days of preparation were days of deep heart-searching. The disciples felt their spiritual need, and cried to the Lord for the holy unction that was to fit them for the work of soul-saving."--Acts of the Apostles, pp. 36, 37.
Result of Spirit Baptism
The result of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is pictured in the book of Acts. "Multitudes came together" and "marveled" and were "amazed" and were "confounded." One sermon multiplied the church membership more than six times. Miracles were wrought even greater than those performed by Christ as He had promised. (See John 14:12-14; Acts 2:37-41; 4;31-33; 5:11-16; 6:7.) The secret of their success is described in Acts 9 :31 : "The church, however, throughout the whole of Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, had peace and was spiritually built up; and grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord and receiving encouragement from the Holy Spirit." (Weymouth.)
"The Spirit came upon the waiting, praying disciples with a fulness that reached every heart. The Infinite One revealed Himself in power to His church. It was as if for ages this influence had been held in restraint, and now Heaven rejoiced in being able to pour upon the church the riches of the Spirit's grace. And under the influence of the Spirit, words of penitence and confession mingled with songs of praise for sins forgiven. . . . The sword of the Spirit, newly edged with power and bathed in the lightnings of heaven, cut its way though unbelief. Thousands were converted in a day. . . . The Pentecostal outpouring was Heaven's communication that the Redeemer's inauguration was accomplished." —Ibid., pp. 38, 39.
Our task today is to complete the gospel commission by proclaiming the message of Revelation 14;6-14 to the world, and this can never be accomplished without the baptism of the Holy Spirit. "What we need is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Without this, we are no more fitted to go forth to the world than were the disciples after the crucifixion of their Lord. Jesus knew their destitution, and told them to tarry in Jerusalem until they should be endowed with power from on high."—Review and Herald, Feb. 18, 1890.
This experience will never come to a church that is boasting of being "rich, and increased -with goods" and in "need of nothing," when in God's sight she is "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Pharisaical boasting must cease, and we must recognize our spiritual poverty and the need of an upper-room experience. The attitude of the Pharisee in the temple who prayed, "God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men," will never bring the gift of the Spirit. It comes rather to those who cry out, "God be merciful to me a sinner." Laodiceans are sinners guilty of the terrible sin of self-complacency and lukewarmness in affection. "'Lack of love and faith are the great sins of which God's people are now guilty.'" —Testimonies, vol. 3, FL 475.
The Spirit of prophecy indulges no flattery as to the spiritual condition of God's remnant people in their Laodicean state. The following passages are but samples of scores that might be cited:
"The spiritual stagnation that prevails is terrible." —Ibid., vol. 5, p. 265. "We have not the first reason for self-congratulation and self-examination."—Christ Our Righteousness, p. 155. "As a people, we have preached the law until we are as dry as the hills of Gilboa that ,had neither dew nor rain."—Review and Herald, March ii, 1890. "All through our churches there are those who are spiritually paralyzed. They do not manifest spiritual life.!'—./bid., May 24, 1892, "There is spiritual drouth in the churches, and we have accustomed ourselves to be easily satisfied with our standing before God."—Christ Our Righteousness, p. 145.
"The spiritual energies of His people have long been torpid, but there is to be a resurrection from apparent death. By prayer and confession of sin we must clear the King's highway. As we do this, the power of the Spirit will come upon us. We need the Pentecostal energy. This will come; for the Lord has promised to send His Spirit as the all-conquering power."—Testimonies, vol. 8, pp. 297, 298. (See also pages 104-106.)
For this experience every leader and member should earnestly pray.