In Mark 9:23, Jesus said, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” According to this and other verses in the Bible, what you believe determines what you receive from the Lord. In other words, your believing affects your receiving.
Notice I said that your believing affects your receiving. Your receiving isn’t based on another person’s faith; it’s based on your faith. And just hearing someone else preach the Word won’t give you faith to receive unless you get into the Word for yourself.
Years ago, I preached at a small Full Gospel church in Kansas. The pastor told me that more than half of his congregation had not received the baptism in the Holy Ghost. They were good Christian people, but they hadn’t received this Bible experience. So at the pastor’s request, I spent several evenings teaching on the baptism in the Holy Ghost and how to be filled with the Spirit. Each night, I encouraged the people to bring their own Bible to the services so they could read along with me and not just take my word for what I was teaching. You see, I wanted them to see it in the Word for themselves.
One of the members of the church was a leading businessman in the city. Unfortunately, this gentleman came to church straight from work each evening, and he never brought his Bible. He came every night to hear me preach, but he never read the scriptures for himself.
As we neared the end of the meetings, everyone in the church except this businessman, had received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Although he’d heard the same teaching everyone else heard, he still hadn’t received.
I finally said to the man personally, “Bring your Bible to church,” and the man brought his Bible with him to the next service. He sat there and followed along with me, reading for himself what the Bible said on the subject of being filled with the Holy Ghost.
As I was nearing the end of the service, this man stood up, closed his Bible, and said, “I can’t wait! I can’t wait! Lay hands on me right now. I’ll be filled now!” By the time he got down to the altar and I barely touched his forehead, he had both hands up and was talking in tongues fluently!
Now why didn’t he get filled previously? Hadn’t I preached the same message? Hadn’t I used the same scriptures? Yes! But he didn’t have faith for himself all those other nights. He heard my faith, but he couldn’t see it for himself. And without light—without seeing it for himself and having revelation and understanding on the subject—he had no faith to receive. But when the light came, and faith rose up in his own heart, he received!
Afterward, this man told me he’d been brought up in a Full Gospel church and had been a member for more than 30 years. He said, “I can see why you wanted me to bring my Bible and read for myself. You quoted those scriptures in the previous services, but when you read them then, I interpreted them according to what I already thought they said. I’ve been in Sunday school and church all my life, so I assumed I already knew what those verses meant.
“But when I had my Bible right there in front of me, and as I read those scriptures, I began to see that they didn’t say what I thought they said. You weren’t even finished with your lesson when—suddenly—it registered! Faith rose up in me, and I just couldn’t wait. I had to be filled immediately! And I was!”
This man finally had faith because he had light. He saw the truth of God’s Word for himself, and when it registered on the inside of him, faith came. And his faith enabled him to receive what he desired. He didn’t have to wait. He received immediately!
Some people quote the same scriptures they’ve heard a preacher quote and wonder why they don’t get results. They’ll say, “I’m standing in faith that it will happen sometime.” But they never receive. Why? Because if light hasn’t come—if the truth hasn’t dawned on their heart—faith is not there. But when the light comes, faith is present! And when faith is there, people aren’t waiting for “sometime.” They believe they receive right now (Mark 11:24)!
I received the New Birth by faith. And I was healed, raised up from the deathbed, by faith.
I also received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and spoke with other tongues by faith. Where did I get the faith to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit? From reading the Word of God. Speaking of the gift of the Holy Spirit, Peter said in Acts 2:39, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.’’ That includes me!
Acts 2:4 says, “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” I received the same New Birth they did in the Book of Acts. So I expected to receive the same enduement of power they received. The light of God’s Word on the subject had come, so by faith, I received the Holy Ghost and spoke with other tongues.
I had read all those verses from Acts chapter 2 before, and I had quoted them. But the light didn’t come the first time I read them. That’s why you need to get in the Word for yourself and stay in the Word—so the light of the truth of the Word can dawn on your spirit. You need to keep meditating on the Word concerning healing or the baptism in the Holy Ghost—or whatever it is you need to receive from God. Sooner or later, if you’ll continue to meditate on it and speak it, the truth will register in your spirit. The light will be there, and you will receive whatever it is you want or need from God.
Just as the New Birth is not a mental experience or a physical experience, healing and the baptism in the Holy Spirit are not mental or physical experiences (although it is manifested on the outside, divine healing is spiritual—it starts on the inside, in your spirit). You receive healing or the baptism in the Holy Spirit the same way you receive the New Birth. You receive revelation and understanding in your spirit first. And just as sure as you receive it in your spirit, it won’t be long before what you are believing shows up on the outside. But the manifestation doesn’t always show up instantly.
Sometimes people have to contend—stand their ground—in faith until the manifestation comes, especially in the area of healing. But I think we often make a mistake by talking so much about standing and not as much about receiving. For example, it would sound ridiculous to hear someone say, “I went to the altar and asked Jesus to come into my heart. I cried and prayed, asking God to forgive me and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Now I’m waiting for the manifestation of my salvation. I’m just standing in faith for the answer.” No, Jesus died for your salvation. He bought it and paid for it in full. You can receive it now!
I want you to understand this: Salvation, healing, and the baptism in the Holy Ghost are all gifts that you receive now! And you receive salvation, healing, and the baptism in the Holy Ghost in your spirit, or your heart. The Bible says, “With the heart man believes” (Rom. 10:10).
Faith is of the heart. How does faith come? By hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). So when ministering on the baptism in the Holy Spirit, for example, I show people what the Word of God says about the experience.
From Acts chapter 2 through Acts chapter 19, almost every time it is recorded that folks received the Holy Ghost, it says or infers that they spoke with tongues (Acts 2:1–4; Acts 8:14–18; Acts 10:44–46; Acts 19:1–6). So when I minister to people, I make sure they expect to receive the baptism in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues. I say, “I’m going to lay my hands on you. The Holy Ghost will come upon you. Your tongue will want to say something that isn’t English; just speak it out.”
When I lay hands on people who are in faith, expecting to receive, they instantly start speaking with tongues. How do they get that kind of faith? By hearing the Word of God concerning the baptism in the Holy Spirit—by believing and accepting the Word of God for themselves. Their believing affects their receiving.
You can receive from the Lord in the same way! Whether you need salvation, healing, the baptism in the Holy Ghost, or some other gift God has provided, you can receive by faith in God’s Word. Your believing affects your receiving!