Deliverance and the Demonic


David Cairn’s talk notes on Deliverance from Demons presented on 17th May 2019 can be found here

The phrases ‘unclean spirit’, ‘evil spirit’ and ‘demon’ are used interchangeably in the New Testament.

Demons are persons without bodies Eph6:12(Living Bible).  Where the A.V. translation speaks of people being ‘demon possessed’, this is incorrect.  The phrase should be ‘demonised’ or ‘having a demon’.

Clearly a Christian cannot be possessed by a demon because possession denotes ownership. However, demons may have access in specific areas where Jesus is not yet Lord.

Jesus encountered demons frequently and much of his ministry was taken up delivering the believers of his day from them.  Mark1:39(Phillips) shows that there was a deliverance ‘service’ every Sabbath in the synagogues of Galilee.

In Mark 7:24-30 (esp. v27) Jesus clearly states that deliverance is the children’s bread – not generally for those outside God’s family, unless they express repentance and faith in some way as the Syro-Phoenician woman did.

The key to being delivered is repentance and renunciation of the relevant sin. Unless there is a degree of repentance in a person’s life the demon has a legal right to stay – or a right to return if it is expelled.  In the average non-Christian there is no basic repentance, so deliverance would seem to be mainly for Christians, or those seeking God and moving towards repentance. There may be exceptions to this, particularly where demons are causing sickness of some kind and faith is being expressed.

Many sicknesses, diseases and other physical problems are caused by spirits of infirmity.  Many references from the ministry of Jesus show that a significant part of his healing ministry involved delivering people from these types of demons.  Luke 13:10-16 is a clear example of a spirit of infirmity/disability causing curvature of the spine in a woman whom Jesus called a “daughter of Abraham”.  She was obviously a believer who had been bound by this unclean spirit for 18 years and was instantly healed when the demon was expelled.

Mt 17:14-18 and Mk 9: 14-27 esp. v25 gives another example of demons causing illness – in this case epilepsy, deafness and dumbness.  It is the experience of many in the healing ministry today that Christians are frequently cured of physical illness as a result of expelling the relevant sickness demon.

Jesus expelled demons with a command and by the power of the Holy Spirit (see Mt 12:28, Luke11:20) and we are called to do the same.  The commission to expel demons was given, first to the twelve disciples, then to the seventy and then to all who believe: see(Mk16:17,18; Acts 8:7).  Believers should not fear demons, rather they are afraid of the authority we have through Jesus Christ, Luke 10:17-20.

Other New Testament scriptures:-

Acts 5:3 states that Ananias had a lying demon (and probably more than one – pride?).

In 2 Corinthians 11:4 Paul writes about the Corinthian Christians receiving a ‘different spirit’ from the one (Holy Spirit) they had received when they became Christians .  There is only one Holy Spirit, whose gifts they had exercised ; but they had opened up and submitted to a different  – unholy spirit that promoted a  ‘different gospel’ and a ‘different Jesus’.  So in at least one area of their lives they had become demonised.

Col. 2:15 states that Jesus has disarmed all demon powers and triumphed over them through his vicarious death on the Cross.  But we give them power in certain areas of our lives by persistent sin.  They lose their power and legal right to trouble us when we repent and renounce these sin areas.  We can expel them by breathing in the Holy Spirit (the word spirit means breath) and breathing out the unclean spirit.  We may or may not feel them leave.  We will, however soon have the evidence, once they have gone.

Mt 12:43-45 warns us that the empty areas of a person’s life, after they have been delivered must be filled with the Holy Spirit or else more demons will return. So be sure to pray for the vacated areas to be filled with the Holy Spirit following deliverance. This warning of Jesus implies that deliverance from demons is not for unbelievers or for those unwilling to submit to him.  All those in the New Testament who experienced deliverance submitted, in some way to Jesus.  Even the man who had a legion of demons ‘when he saw Jesus from afar ran and worshipped him’ Mark 5:6.

Demons cause restlessness. They drive and compel and provoke many types of addiction and much more.  They are generally specific, affecting a particular area of the body or soul.  Some Christians gain a victory over a particular sin area; but still find the pressure to sin is intense. In this case there is probably a demon of that particular sin still active; but until it is expelled the Christian will not be properly free from periods of intense pressure. For example: a Christian of about three years was troubled by lust. He had overcome the sin but was frequently hassled, spoiling his walk with God. The demon of lust behind his eyes was commanded to leave in the name of Jesus. It went and he was free and has been since. The session only took a few minutes. Of course, not all our problems are demonic. Much is due to our ‘flesh’ which we are to crucify, see Col.3:5-9; but demons need to be expelled.

Nowhere does the New Testament say that a Christian can’t have a demon.  By contrast, the above scriptures either state clearly or imply that a believer can be demonised.  It would be nice to think that Christians could not have demons; but it just isn’t true to the scriptures or to experience.  The writer knows this from intimate personal experience and also from seeing many Christians delivered from demons.  Most left without any fuss or with just minor manifestations.  However a few of these demonstrated manifestations (exactly as described in the NT) before being expelled in Jesus’ name.                                                                                                                                                

Motivational Gifts

By David Cairns

HeartBeat Ministries

Christian Training Academy


Anointed to Serve

This module:

The 7 motivational gifts

David Cairns

The seven motivational gifts

The Seven Motivational Gifts

Introduction I am happy to acknowledge help from theteachings of Tom Jewett and Arthur Burk.

Key Verse: For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to hisfaith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully – Romans 12:3-8

These seven motivational or “redemptive” gifts are given to individuals by God’s grace for Christian ministry. God has given an inner drive and motivation towards that particular ministry to which we are primarily called. It brings satisfaction and fulfilment to be used by God in an effective way and makes us the kind of person we are.

Each of us has received one of these gifts in significant measure and probably two or three others to a lesser degree. It is a real blessing to understand where we fit into the Body of Christ AND to recognise the place of others. So, as you go through these gifts and study the examples in the Bible, note which ones you identify with most clearly.

Please note Paul’s emphasis in Romans 12 on using these gifts with the right attitude – “Do not have an exaggerated opinion of your own importance” (Romans 12:3). God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. We do not deserve any of these gifts which are freely given by God’s grace. So let us honour others above ourselves (v10) encouraging them in their gifting.

Key Verse: “As each as received a gift, use it for one another as good stewards of God’s varied Grace” – 1 Peter 4:10-11


The seven motivational gifts

Please note that the nine spiritual or manifestation gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 are to supplement and amplify these seven motivational gifts. For example, we can all use the spiritual gift of prophecy, but we do not all have the motivational or ministry gift of a prophet. So there are different kinds of gifting.

Three different “kinds” of gifts…

1 Romans 12:6-8 – Seven motivational or redemptive gifts.

Key Verse: We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to hisfaith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. – Romans 12:6-8

2 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 – Nine spiritual or manifestation gifts for everyone.

Key Verse: Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. – 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

3 Ephesians 4:7-16 – The five-fold offices or equipping ministries.

Key Verse: It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. – Ephesians 4:11-13


The seven motivational gifts

The Prophet

Examples: Ezekiel, John the Baptist, Caleb (Num 13+ 14, Joshua 14+15) Peter, James-the-Less (Acts 15) , Miriam, Jonathan, Naomi

Their primary gift is insight. The prophet identifies evil and discerns the motives and roots of church or personal problems. So they make good counsellors helping people understand themselves. They have a compulsion to honesty and see things in terms of black and white. When exposing sin, they have a direct approach and may seem harsh, but they want to bring people to repentance. They hate cheap grace, but know how to rebuild the broken sinner – in fact they are drawn to brokenness.

They understand God’s laws and principles and how to apply them to new situations. For example, James-the-less at the Jerusalem Council (see Acts 15:13-21). Their faith is based more on principles than relationship. Because they understand the principles and laws of God, they can extrapolate the consequences of peoples actions. This is different from hearing God prophetically for the future. The prophet can either disregard relationship and just speak or he can consider how to establish bridges without compromising truth.

The prophet is quick to adjust to new situations and is very generous, sometimes unwisely. They are very hard on themselves – slow to forgive themselves and aware of their unworthiness. They initiate or improve things, but are not usually maintainers or administrators. They are verbally expressive, fearless unless wounded and rejoice to experience and prove the supernatural power of God.

Primary Calling and Key Requirements…

God requires high personal discipline and prunes them hard, sometimes with long silences. The prophet wants to take others into their full birthright and calls them to holiness and voluntarily to embrace pain. For some, old or young, their prophetic season is short and for others a lifetime. Caleb was one of the greatest examples and set a very high standard. He fully possessed his inheritance and saw other tribes enter theirs.

The FIRST call of the prophet is to intimacy with God.


The seven motivational gifts

The Servant

Examples: Joseph husband of Mary (Matt 1+2), Martha (Jn 12:2, Lk 10:35-42), Barnabas (Acts 4,9,11,13-15), Timothy, Ananias of Damascus (Acts 9), Esther

Those with this very beautiful gift are motivated to practical loving action. They are quick to see the needs of others and may get involved in many activities because they find it hard to say “no” – note how Martha was burdened with many things. They see immediate tasks rather than long range issues and tend to do things themselves rather than organise others to help. For example, Martha said to Jesus “tell Mary to come and help”. They are not usually highly sensitive feelers (like Mary) but put the emphasis on practical reality. They are generous, disregarding weariness and happy to do extra work, but sometimes concentrate more on the task than the person being served. There are more in the church with this very valuable gift than any other and they really do need sincere appreciation.

They are without guile, have pure motives, are trustworthy, straight forward and very willing. For these reasons, they may be exploited or seldom appreciated. Because they can be ignored or taken for granted, they are prone to a ‘victim’ spirit. They MUST avoid seeing themselves this way and find God’s affirmation sufficient – believing the truth of His word and avoiding depending on the affirmation of others.

Primary calling and Key requirements…

God gives the servant great spiritual authority in intercession, simply because they have no empire building desire. They have a strong synergy with prophets and leaders. They are particularly anointed to pray for and support elders and leaders, who trust them because they desire nothing in exchange and have no wish to control.

Servants desire to walk in holiness and are a cleansing member of the Body, good in healing and deliverance. They are life givers, enabling others to succeed. They are ‘porcupine huggers’ – for example Barnabas taking Paul to Jerusalem then to Antioch and sticking with John Mark. They see the best in others, serving them at their own cost, but they must deal with the victim spirit. Obedience comes more easily to them, for example, Joseph at the incarnation and flight to Egypt.


The seven motivational gifts

They are very special to God – likened to the Acacia tree which was used for the Ark, incense altar and table of showbread – when covered with the gold of good character, they walk in a very high degree of dominion and God’s affirmation.

The Teacher

Examples: Luke, Apollos (Acts 18:24-28), Isaiah, Ezra (Ez 7:10, Neh 8), Samuel, Virgin Mary

This is an essential foundational gift. Teachers emphasise accuracy and facts. They need to search out and validate the truth. Note how Luke 3:1+2 gives six different date references to pinpoint the start of John the Baptists ministry when one would normally be enough – typical of the teacher!

Key Verse: In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. – Luke 3:1+2

Apollos also taught accurately from his thorough knowledge of the scriptures. He was fervent in spirit vigorously refuting the Jews.

The intellectual emphasis makes the teacher appear to rely less on the Holy Spirit, but he has the gift of imparting truth which brings great benefit to others who do not enjoy studying. He WANTS to impart truth and derives satisfaction if he can do this. He resists scriptural illustrations out of context, is systematic, orderly, fact orientated rather than feelings, with a tendency to be a loner and sometimes seems lacking in warmth of personality.

A good teacher will bring out of his storehouse the old and the new, preferring the old which has been established and validated. He rightly emphasises the word above experience, but this can be his downfall if taken to extremes such as in John 9 where we see the obdurate resistance of the Pharisees to accept the obvious healing of a blind man, because the scriptures ‘seemed’ to have disqualified the healer. The teacher is wired by God to go to the word first, but needs to be willing to accept new things that God does in peoples lives.


The seven motivational gifts

They process everything carefully before they extend principles on new and pivotal issues. Think of the Virgin Mary, the teacher. She pondered all these things in her heart – it didn’t make sense! But God could trust her not to over-react in this strange calling, for which there was absolutely no model in history! He trusted her with the Christ child.

This concern to validate truth can cause conflict if the teacher is married to, or works with a more impulsive or intuitive person, who comes to conclusions – right or wrong, more quickly. This concern for the truth makes the teacher a very safe person and wounded people are comfortable around them. This may cause them to be confused with having the gift of showing mercy.

In contrast to the prophet, who confronts sin, the teacher prefers to persuade and wait for the person to come to repentance themselves. He wants to love people into the Kingdom. This can be right to a degree, but deadly in extreme situations. The teacher who cannot confront children, wife or flock is forfeiting much of God’s blessing. He needs to address this.

Faithful teachers are worthy of double reward. They are also profoundly loyal, such as Samuel to King Saul and Luke to Paul.

Primary calling and Key requirements…

The gift of teaching is prophetically portrayed in the 12 loaves of showbread sprinkled with incense. The incense represents prayer. This highlights a battle for the teacher: There is the temptation to study the Bible and develop a professional relationship with God. This is incomplete without prayer and intimacy, feeding his spirit. His calling is FIRST to intimacy and second to equip and feed the Body of Christ. The showbread was also called the “Bread of His Presence”. God wants to be present in the life of the teacher so he can reveal the Manifest Presence of God to the Body of Christ.

It is a noticeable gift given to the Virgin Mary, Samuel, Isaiah and Luke, who all revealed the Manifest Presence of God.


The seven motivational gifts

The Exhorter

Examples: Moses (Ex 2, 3, 32-34), Paul (Gal 1:15-17), Jeremiah, Gideon.

The exhorter is God’s primary choice for a world changer. They love people and are very relational. They positively stimulate and inspire people to abundant life and to come out of themselves. They relate well to strangers, quickly finding the key to their heart. They have the ability to cross all types of social boundaries and make excellent evangelists. They can move people easily from ‘small talk’ to the gospel. They can have strong arguments without alienation.

Exhorters are excellent communicators and good at resolving conflicts, but can be prone to governing by persuasion and relationship and not always by principle. Their motivation is in relating to many, they are good net-workers, but they hate isolation and being alone.

They are visionaries with a broader picture than the prophet. They are always intensely busy, involved in diverse projects. They are diligent, very hard working, very flexible and full of love, faith and works. Faith comes easily to the exhorter – as it does to the prophet. They are usually strong teachers with a practical emphasis.

The exhorter may avoid confrontation to avoid rejection and pain, but God requires them to walk by principle and risk alienation. If they can overcome this by dying to peoples approval, God gives them very great authority to mobilise people for His purposes.

Primary calling and Key requirements…

The exhorters primary task is to convey the knowledge of God and how to apply God’s truth to each situation in the Body of Christ. But, the biggest battlefield is the issue of time – to overcome the tyranny of the urgent, the opportunities, the demands and stimulation of people around them. The only way to know their God is to say “no” to these demands and allocate time in God’s presence. Moses, Paul and Jeremiah were all forced to have a season alone, to know their God. The exhorter HAS to choose to take dominion over time otherwise he will have little depth in the vertical and so he will be less effective in the horizontal. This will hinder the rest of the Body because of his pivotal calling.


The seven motivational gifts

He may be loved, popular and effective in secondary things and good at mobilising people, but fall short of his main calling which is to impart the knowledge of God out of experiential relationship with the Most High God. He is called to inspire people to know God.

If he succeeds in this, God gives him supernatural authority to mobilise people as a “world changer”. Exhorters need the rest of us to pray for them on this issue as commanded in 1 Tim 2.

Key Verse: I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. – 1 Tim 2:1-4

The Giver

Examples: Abraham (Gen 14:20-24; 22), Jacob, Job (29, 31), Matthew.

Those whom God motivates with this gift derive great satisfaction from giving and under-girding certain Christian work. They just LOVE to give and want to see the work of God go forward and succeed. This gift is not limited to wealthy people. They have a strong gift of insight and can detect insincerity. Givers know when and to whom to give. They are noted for their liberal and generous spirit and are always ready to act on behalf of others when they see a valid need – for example, Abraham rescuing Lot – taking no reward for themselves.

Givers have no problem at all in tithing and will sacrifice their all – for example Abraham being willing to sacrifice Isaac. In fact sacrifice is a very strong drive within them. They know the value of things and that wealth comes from God.

The are often tested and are people of faith. They love to see their wealth used for others and put no strings on their giving – they give with “simplicity” – Romans 12.8.

They are open and receptive people, often active in correcting injustice. They are faithful and loyal, not letting people down. They are normally people with very diverse interests and they listen to God, wanting to be sure of doing the right thing.


The seven motivational gifts

A key principle for the giver is stewardship. Job is an outstanding example of using his wealth for the needs of the community rather than as security for himself. He gave to the undeserving with no prospect of any return. Read Job 29 & 31 – Amazing! His life was stewardship in every way, walking in justice and great ethical behaviour. This accrued to generational blessing supernaturally. In fact givers have a generational world view. The blessing that has flowed from Abraham to the Jews and the world is totally incalculable.

Primary calling and Key requirements…

The giver has great authority to bless, but the main test is faith. He has a God-given independence. This, together with supernatural material blessing can cause him to find security in things rather than in relationship with God (Abraham was the friend of God). So the carnal giver may not feel needy and may give “religiously” rather than relationally – by faith.

The giver has great authority as an intercessor, especially to nurture and protect new Kingdom advances.

He also has great authority for supernatural provision and incredible generational blessing.

The Leader/Administrator

Examples: Nehemiah, Solomon, Boaz, Noah, Joseph, Jeroboam (1 Kings 11:37, 38 & 12)

These are usually people of vision who can see the overall picture and have long range goals. They give thought to issues and have made plans well in advance of leading people into action – Nehemiah 2:6, 11-16. They are good organisers with an awareness of resources and people available and team leaders with the ability to motivate others. They can deal with all kinds of unruly attitudes – Nehemiah 5+8. They are not deterred by threats and thrive under pressure.

They have a zeal for the task (Nehemiah 1:4, fasting, praying and weeping) and derive fulfilment from seeing it completed. They have a broad outlook, a wide range of interests and can be very generous – see how Nehemiah supported himself and 150 others, taking no “perks” for twelve years.


The seven motivational gifts

They are designed by God to make anything bigger, are often involved in varied projects, but can be “task driven” and weak on nurture – but Nehemiah addressed this as well. They attract loyalty and draw the best out of imperfect people. They do not need the affirmation of others, but leave that to God.

They have a God-given spiritual authority and a level of dominion blessing that they can impart to many others. This is very powerful and generational bringing freedom to others, provided they walk in spiritual freedom themselves and do not compromise their moral authority. Solomon and Joseph (in Egypt) used their gift without moderation. Solomon missed God’s best because he just did what Kings do and did not seek God’s will. He was the only man in history who could have evangelised the whole world and made Israel a Kingdom of priests. He missed it and released a generational curse instead. By contrast, Noah the ruler obeyed and honoured God and so released covenant and generational blessings to all mankind for all time!

Primary calling and Key requirements…

Leaders are required to be holy, non-compromising and careful to seek what God wants them to do. When in partnership with God, they have great authority and the results from their work will be totally disproportionate to their skills. They have authority to impart great blessing to their own and subsequent generations.

Showing Mercy

Examples: John the Apostle, King David, Adam, The good Samaritan, Ruth

Those with this gift are the “crown jewels” of God’s creation. They delight to help broken people and are full of Christ’s love. They are strong feelers; very sensitive. They identify with those in distress, comforting them, being strong in empathy. They are filled with joy helping the handicapped and rejected. They are safe people to be with, they draw others to themselves and rarely have enemies.

The “DNA” of the Mercy is to keep people from hurting. Compassion motivates them to action as well as the desire to meet the needs of others – they weep with those who weep. Note how the Good Samaritan was drawn to the injured man. He bound his wounds, put him on his donkey, nursed him personally and then paid the inn-keeper to see the healing completed. He saw the job through.


The seven motivational gifts

Those with the gift of Mercy can sense the wounded person in a crowd. They also have insight to identify insincerity, self-pity and true motives. Even as children they are drawn to those who are hurting. They tend to be gentle, not forceful people but with a quiet strength. They are easily hurt and need to be encouraged.

The “Mercy” tends to make decisions based on what they feel or sense God wants, so they may find it hard to explain why. They know the heart of God, whereas the prophet knows the mind of God.

Unless they are secure in the Father, they may be people pleasers and exploited because they want to protect others from pain. For this reason they hate confrontation. For example, King David did not discipline his older children or confront Joab. He also seems to have been weak administering firm justice in his court, so Absolom easily usurped that role (see 2 Sam 15). However Solomon as a boy had an excellent Dad – so David changed.

The “Mercy” is designed by God to want, and need physical contact in a holy and appropriate way. For example, John the Apostle leaning on Jesus at the last supper. They are made for intimacy of body, soul and spirit and have the greatest predisposition to worship of any of the gifts. They not only love to worship, but by gifting and design they can go into the presence of God more easily and more deeply than others. As they worship they absorb the holiness of God to sanctify the world around them. They are called to impart and release the Glory of God. Having been in His presence, they can walk in the authority of making holy the things that are unholy. King David is a wonderful example of a worshipper with the gift of mercy, who is still imparting the life of God to us today through his psalms.

Many others are low in this gifting so we really need those with this beautiful gift.

Primary calling and Key requirements…

The heart of the person with the gift of showing mercy is to “BE” and to worship. They need TIME in the presence of God so they can impart this to others and bring the blessing of holiness to the Body of Christ. They have an ability to lift others in worship.

As they grow in the security of knowing the Father and walk in tune with his heart, they are freed from the opinion and exploitation of others to walk effectively in their calling and authority.


The seven motivational gifts

They are called to be “most holy”, bringing the blessings and holiness of the throne room to people and places – to make holy those things that are unholy. They love to interface with the Spirit of God at the highest level of the spirit of man, so there can be a transference – an impartation and release of the holiness of God’s Glory. This is the authority those with the gift of mercy are called to walk in.

They are anointed to bring the Manifest Presence of God.


The seven motivational gifts

Over to you… Activation

Having studied these seven motivational or redemptive gifts and the examples from the Bible, try to fill in your own percentage figures, marking each of the seven giftings out of 100. Don’t rank yourself too low.

Prophet % Servant % Teacher % Exhorter % Giver % Leader % Mercy %

What is your strongest gifting and which others do you have?

Perhaps, more to the point which do you want to develop by using what God has given you?

We can all improve and develop our gifts as we USE THEM in the power of the Holy Spirit. Best of all – it blesses God and the church when we do.

Finally, don’t get distracted by these gifts from your pure devotion to Jesus Himself.



holy_spirit_fire_by_jpsmsu40The N.T. speaks of two separate experiences, both of which are described as receiving the Holy Spirit.  This means it is possible for a Christian to have received the Holy Spirit in one use of the expression but not in the other.

On Resurrection Sunday evening the Lord Jesus breathed on the apostles and said to them “Receive the Holy Spirit” John 20:22.  At this point they experienced the new birth; they passed from O.T. salvation to N.T. Salvation. But even after this Jesus made it plain that their experience of the Holy Spirit was still incomplete.  He told them to wait in Jerusalem for the “gift my Father promised- – – in a few days you will be baptised in the Holy Spirit”Acts 1:4&5.  On Pentecost Sunday they were all baptised in, or filled with the Holy Spirit. (They were immersed from above). This shows that baptism in the Holy Spirit is a distinct and separate experience from that of being “born of the Spirit” at the new birth, although each is described as “receiving the Holy Spirit”

We see a similar thing in Acts 8:5-19 where Philip the Evangelist has a very successful mission to Samaria and many were converted and baptised in water v12; but Peter and John went down from Jerusalem and prayed for them to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, “for as yet He had fallen (an interesting word) upon none of them”.  When the apostles laid hands on them they received the Holy Spirit with obvious evidence – v18 &19.

A similar event is recorded in Acts 19:1-6 where 12 men become Christians and are baptised in water v5. Then Paul places his hands on them and they are baptised  in the Holy Spirit with evidence of tongues and prophecy v6.  So there are three clear scriptural examples of receiving the Holy Spirit at the new birth (being born of the Spirit) and being baptised in the Holy Spirit later.

The exception to this order of events is in Acts 10 where Cornelius and his household were born again at the same time as being baptised in the Holy Spirit, with obvious evidences as on the day of Pentecost. Immediately the Apostle Peter commanded them to be baptised in water.  This was an exceptional situation to demonstrate to Peter and the other, “all Jewish” Christian community that the gospel was also for the Gentiles.  It also shows that if some are converted and then baptised in the Holy Spirit before they are baptised in water, they are not outside the examples of scripture.

In this Acts 10 account and Peter’s subsequent recalling of the event he uses the following phrases: “The Holy Spirit fell upon them”; “had been poured out on” them; they “received the Holy Spirit;” they were “baptised in the Holy Spirit”; “God gave them the same gift of the Holy Spirit” – (as he did to the apostles at Pentecost), Acts 10:44,45; Acts 11:15-17.

Derek Prince summarises his conclusions on this subject as follows:

  1. It is normal for a Christian to receive the Holy Spirit as a separate and subsequent experience, following conversion.
  2. Even if a person receives the Holy Spirit baptism at conversion, receiving the Holy Spirit still remains, logically, a distinct experience from being converted.
  3. Whether a person receives the Holy Spirit baptism at conversion or after conversion, the evidence that that person has received the Holy Spirit baptism still remains the same: the person speaks with tongues as the Holy Spirit enables them.
  4. The fact that a person has been genuinely converted does not by itself constitute evidence that that person has received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

The other thing to say is that in Luke 11:13 Jesus says his “heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him”.  This clearly implies that it is a gift that every converted believer has a right to ask for; but there is an obligation to ask specifically for this gift of the Holy Spirit.  This Baptism in the Holy Spirit was not only predicted by John the Baptist and recorded in all 4 gospels; but Peter says in his Acts 2:39 sermon that “this promise is for you and your children and for all who are afar off– for all whom the Lord our God will call”.

In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit came upon each individual and each was filled and then each one overflowed with speech in a language they hadn’t learned, but which was recognised by others.  I have been in a meeting when this has happened.  The language was spoken by a Swedish man leading the meeting in English; but his supernatural language was a far Eastern French dialect, and was translated (not interpreted) by a man present in the meeting who was a Belgian linguistic professor from Brussels!

On all four occasions in Acts where people were baptised in the Holy Spirit, supernatural manifestations followed. These made it clear to the recipients and the onlookers alike that the Holy Spirit had come.

In all this don’t forget that the Holy Spirit is a PERSON, not just a power, who continues the ministry of Jesus through us, His people.

Quite often entering into the experience of these wonderful truths involves inward wrestling with personal issues because both baptisms are major steps forward in the Christian life.