Posted by: blackfootsmj1 | July 8, 2011

Just how powerful is the Gift of the Holy Ghost?

Last week I had the opportunity to teach the Gospel Doctrine class in church. I’ll admit, as a 20 year old missionary, it was a little intimidating teaching the adult Sunday School class to people much older and wiser than I. However, the topic was on John 16 and 17. Since Sunday my mind has been stuck on a few things I shared during my lesson.

The first thing is this verse: John 16:7

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

Jesus Christ teaching His Apostles
Jesus Christ teaching His Apostles

This is Christ teaching the Apostles. And what is He teaching them? It helps if you know a little about the ancient texts. The Greek word for expedient can also be translated beneficial, profitable, advantageous. In that context, the Savior is really teaching the Apostles that it is BETTER for them that He leaves their presence rather than if he stays. Because after His resurrection He will give them the Gift of the Holy Ghost. With that in mind, i’m sure most of us long for the day when we can be taught at Christ’s feet. However, there are ways now, that we will benefit much more from the Holy Ghost’s instructions. Ponder this quote:

Elder Keith B. McMulling taught, The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead, sent forth by God toreveal all needful things. He teaches and testifies with divine power and clarity. His witness may go unheard or unheeded, forsaken or denied, but it is never misunderstood. “The Holy Ghost is a revelator” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 328).

That which is received of him has a more powerful effect upon the soul than anything else received in any other way. A millennium of experience through sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, and all the powers of the universe combined cannot approach the sublime and complete experience of one brief moment under the influence of the Holy Ghost.  (“Ye May Know”, Ensign, May 1996, 8)

That is why the Savior left the Apostles. The Holy Ghost would accomplish what He couldn’t. The very nature of the Holy Ghost allows Him to be everywhere. To touch everyone and to direct us along true paths. He gives to us divine revelation. The Bible Dictionary shares a lot about just how important revelation really is.

The English word revelation is translated from a Greek word apocalypse, meaning to make known or uncover… Divine revelation is one of the grandest concepts and principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for without it, man could not know of the things of God and could not be saved with any degree of salvation in the eternities. Continuous revelation from God to his saints, through the Holy Ghost or by other means, such as vision, dreams, or visitations, makes possible daily guidance along true paths and leads the faithful soul to complete and eternal salvation...The principle of gaining knowledge by revelation is the principle of salvation. It is the making known of divine truth by communication with the heavens, and consists not only of revelation of the plan of salvation to the Lord’s prophets, but also a confirmation in the hearts of the believers that the revelation to the prophets is true. It also consists of individual guidance for every person who seeks for it and follows the prescribed course of faith, repentance, and obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ.Without revelation, all would be guesswork, darkness, and confusion.

Often times, we forget just how powerful the gift of the Holy Ghost can be. President Wilford Woodruff said,

“Now, if you have the Holy Ghost with you – and everyone ought to have – I can say unto you that there is no greater gift, there is no greater blessing, there is no greater testimony given to any man on earth.  You may have the administration of angels, you may see many miracles; you may see many wonders in the earth; but I claim that the gift of the Holy Ghost is the greatest gift that can be bestowed upon men”.

However, there is a distinct difference between a “manifestation” of the Holy Ghost and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Elder Dallin H. Oaks said:

“Manifestations of the Holy Ghost are given to lead sincere seekers to gospel truths that will persuade them to repentance and baptism. The gift of the Holy Ghost is more comprehensive. … [It] includes the right to constant companionship, that we may ‘always have his Spirit to be with [us]’ (D&C 20:77).

Ponder the conversion of Cornelius. The Prophet Joseph Smith said:

“There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized, which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the Gospel, but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after he was baptized. Had he not taken this sign or ordinance upon him, the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God, would have left him. [See Acts 10:1–48.]”

And Elder Dallin H. Oaks related the following story:

“A newly baptized member told me what she felt when she received that gift. This was a faithful Christian woman who had spent her life in service to others. She knew and loved the Lord, and she had felt the manifestations of His Spirit. When she received the added light of the restored gospel, she was baptized and the elders placed their hands upon her head and gave her the gift of the Holy Ghost. She recalled, ‘I felt the influence of the Holy Ghost settle upon me with greater intensity than I had ever felt before. He was like an old friend who had guided me in the past but now had come to stay’” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1996, 80; or Ensign, Nov. 1996, 60).

This process of receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost is best illustrated in Acts Chapter 8.

12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.

14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:

15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,

19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.

20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.

As we can plainly see here, the Gift of the Holy Ghost can only be given through the laying on of hands, by those in Authority.

I testify, that the Holy Ghost is real. It leads and guides us to truth. And we are entitled to that great gift as we follow the example of the Savior, Jesus Christ. It is the greatest gift given to men on Earth. I testify that it’s only in and through the Holy Ghost that we can truly come to “know God the Father, and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent”…it is the only way to Eternal Life.

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