Posts Tagged 'Baptism in the Holy Spirit'

VIdeo Sermon: Pentecost Sunday

Good morning. It’s Pentecost Sunday, the Sunday we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Church. In today’s VIDEO SERMON, we’ll discover that the Lord wants even 21st century Christians to experience their own Pentecost. Click the LINK to watch!

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Reflections on Pentecost

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“Pentecost” is more than just “speaking in tongues,” although you would think that’s all it’s about these days. “Pentecost” is actually a Jewish feast observed exactly 50 days after Passover, marking the anniversary of God’s giving the Law to Moses. Devout Jews will stay up all night to review the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) in commemoration of this great Feast.

It’s not surprising, then, given the fact that the early Church was made up almost exclusively of Jews, that the new Church appropriated this Jewish Feast and “Christianized” it. To them, it became associated with that great day when the promised Holy Spirit was poured out upon that infant church as they gathered in the now-famous Upper Room during the Jewish Feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem.

But is this “Spirit-filled” life a New Testament thing? Did the Holy Spirit have anything to do with people in the Old Testament? One thing is certain, the phenomenon of the Holy Spirit is not just a historical fact. His work in believers transcends history. Let’s take a look.

Filled with the Spirit, Numbers 11:24-29; Acts 2:1-4, 16-17

The Elders, Numbers 11:24-29

Moses had just lead his people out of Egypt; he was their deliverer, and had now become their leader. The burden of this kind of leadership must have been overwhelming and Moses needed all the help he could get. The people faced the grim prospect of having to walk across the desert to reach their destination; they had few provisions and they did what hungry people do: they complained. A lot.

Moses vented to God out of frustration.

Moses said to the Lord, “Why pick on me, to give me the burden of a people like this? Are they my children? Am I their father? Is that why you have given me the job of nursing them along like babies until we get to the land you promised their ancestors?” (Numbers 11:11, 12 TLB)

God always has a plan even though we rarely see it. He shared His plan with Moses:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Summon before me seventy of the leaders of Israel; bring them to the Tabernacle, to stand there with you. I will come down and talk with you there, and I will take of the Spirit which is on you and will put it upon them also; they shall bear the burden of the people along with you, so that you will not have the task alone. (Numbers 11:16, 17 TLB)

When Moses obeyed God’s instructions, an amazing thing happened:

And the Lord came down in the Cloud and talked with Moses, and the Lord took of the Spirit that was upon Moses and put it upon the seventy elders; and when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied for some time. (Numbers 11:25 TLB)

God gave the 70 elders His Holy Spirit, as He had with Moses before, and they began to “sound forth the praises of God and declaring His will,” according to the Amplified Old Testament. What the elders did was not unlike the witnessing done by a similar group on the Day of Pentecost. The elders probably went throughout the Hebrew encampment proclaiming the faithfulness of God so far in their journey out of bondage. Essentially these men built up the morale of the people.

Two of the elders, Eldad and Medad by name, for some reason never showed up at the meeting of the elders. In spite of that, we read this:

But two of the seventy—Eldad and Medad—were still in the camp, and when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied there. (Numbers 11:6 TLB)

Not everybody was excited about these two elders prophesying. They hadn’t bothered showing up at the Tent of Meeting, so what gave them the right to run around prophesying like the others? Joshua was positively exorcised about it and insisted to Moses that they be stopped. Moses’ answer is epic:

But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I only wish that all of the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them all!” (Exodus 11:29 TLB)

What a great lesson for Christians of every age: Not all who are serving God effectively are called in the same way nor do we all exercise our gifts the same way. A similar thing happened to Jesus:

His disciple John came to him and said, “Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons. And we told him not to. After all, he isn’t in our group.” But Jesus said, “You shouldn’t have done that! For anyone who is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:49, 50 TLB)

“He isn’t in our group.” Yes, the dying words of any church. It’s a mature believer who understands the wisdom of Warren Wiersbe’s words:

We do not use the Holy Spirit, He uses us.

Moses’ answer to Joshua isn’t really a prophecy, but in it he sort of foreshadows what the prophet Joel would utter centuries later:

After I have poured out my rains again, I will pour out my Spirit upon all of you! Your sons and daughters will prophesy; your old men will dream dreams, and your young men see visions. (Joel 2:28 TLB)

The Obedient, Acts 2:1-4

Flash forward to the Day of Pentecost, when The Lord poured out His Spirit on the believers gathered in that small, crowded Upper Room. This time, the miracle happened on a Jewish festival which was celebrated on the “day after the seventh Sabbath,” or 50 days after Passover. Originally it was the festival of the firstfruits of the grain harvest, and it was called the Feast of Weeks because it came after a duration of seven weeks of harvesting that began with the offering of the first sheaf of barley and ended with the wheat harvest. It wasn’t until much later in Judaism that it was considered the anniversary of the the giving of the Law at Sinai.

Just before His ascension, Jesus gave His followers some specific instructions:

And now I will send the Holy Spirit upon you, just as my Father promised. Don’t begin telling others yet—stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven. (Luke 24:49 TLB)

In all, 120 of Christ’s followers obeyed this instruction to the letter, and like Moses’ 70 elders, each one was individually filled with the Holy Spirit accompanied by both audible and visual signs. The Spirit enabled them to speak in all kinds of languages they had never learned so that their listeners could understand their words.

And we all hear these men telling in our own languages about the mighty miracles of God! (Acts 2:11 TLB)

What an amazing day of miracles this was!

Fulfillment of Prophecy, Acts 2:16, 17

The great crowd gathered in Jerusalem for Passover had come from all over the known world and they were witnessing something truly extraordinary. They needed answers, and it was up to Peter to explain it to everybody.

No! What you see this morning was predicted centuries ago by the prophet Joel—‘In the last days,’ God said, ‘I will pour out my Holy Spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men dream dreams.’

It wasn’t a “new thing” at all. Joel had prophesied it. Moses had experienced it. God calls people to do His work and in His providence, He empowers them to get the job done.

Spirit-filled living, unity, and service

Fellowship, Acts 2:41-47

The early church was born, and in very short order it numbered into the thousands. Yet for their size, they had no building or buildings and no formal leadership structure. They did, however, have each other – the bond of community.

They worshiped together regularly at the Temple each day, met in small groups in homes for Communion, and shared their meals with great joy and thankfulness… (Acts 2:46 TLB)

The fellowship of the early church revolved around worshiping God at the Jewish temple. It’s true that they met in “small groups,” probably in each other’s homes and they shared meals together, but notice neither their worship nor their fellowship was done “in private,” out of public view. While they didn’t have their own church building (yet), they did make use of the temple grounds for their times together.

All this fellowship led to some astounding spiritual results. The church grew at a phenomenal rate; more and more people were accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior and were becoming part of this new church. These new members were not shunned or turned away, but embraced and made part of this new community of faith. The upbeat, positive attitude and behavior of the church, combined with the excitement and joy of the Lord, impacted the community at large.

Worship, Ephesians 5:18-21

Don’t drink too much wine, for many evils lie along that path; be filled instead with the Holy Spirit and controlled by him. Talk with each other much about the Lord, quoting psalms and hymns and singing sacred songs, making music in your hearts to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:18, 19 TLB)

Paul was combatting some strange religions in his day; religions that threatened to split and destroy some of his churches. Often these religions involved drunken orgies and mind-altering experiences. Paul’s bone of contention was that drunkenness is merely the gateway to excess, hence his admonitions like this one: don’t use wine in hopes of having a spiritual experience, instead, let the Holy Spirit lead you. Christians should be “filled” with the Spirit. That’s a present imperative; an ongoing and important experience. Ralph Earle observed:

This is not to be a transitory experience, but an abiding one.

Far from a once-in-a-lifetime experience, believers should be filled with the Holy Spirit continually, on moment-by-moment basis. It’s the indwelling of the Spirit that forms the foundation of our fellowship as believers. Of note here is that our fellowship should involve things of a spiritual nature. That’s not to say that Christians should never get together and talk about the weather or sports, but we ought to recognize that the only reason for our fellowship – the only reason for our being together – is the presence of the Lord in our lives.

A fruitful community, Galatians 5:22-25

This group of verses describes how Spirit-filled Christians should live by describing certain attributes or character traits that should be common in our lives. These are known as the “fruit of the Spirit,” and also represent a kind of test – a proof that one is truly filled with the Spirit.

These character traits are not native to human beings, which is why they are the fruit of “the Spirit.” Naturally, there are people who from time-to-time may exhibit some or all of these traits who may not be believers, but when one is controlled by the Spirit, the Spirit will live through him and there will be peace and harmony within the church. When Christians finally learn to let the Holy Spirit control them, the church will be all that God wants it to be. This kind of life is far beyond the ability and strength of man; it is made possible by the Holy Spirit. And yet, it is available to all people who are in Christ.

William Adams Brown, clergyman and academic, once noted:

The church exists to train its members through the practice of the presence of God to be servants of others, to the end that Christlikeness may become common property.

Just so. The more we allow the Holy Spirit access to and control of our lives, the more like Christ we will become. When we become truly Christlike, we will be able to accomplish great things for the Kingdom. Michelangelo’s great wish will find its fulfillment in us:

Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.

It’s possible!

The Holy Spirit and You, Part 6

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The Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Part 2

 

The New Testament teaches that there are three baptisms:

   baptism into Jesus Christ, which refers to our initial conversion

   baptism in water, which is a testimony to the world of our conversion

   baptism in the Holy Spirit, which refers to a heavenly blessing, from Jesus, whereby a believer experiences a fullness of the Spirit he never experienced before

The baptism in the Holy Spirit – this “subsequent baptism” – gives its recipient the potential of exhibiting various gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Even though every born again believer is filled with the Holy Spirit at the very moment of his conversion, the teaching of the New Testament definitely supports the idea of a “subsequent baptism,” an experience available to all believers; a glorious encounter with the Spirit, that adds a depth to his relationship with Christ.

When a Christian is baptized in the Spirit, something happens to him on the inside.  Somehow, that believer realizes his complete and utter helplessness and unworthiness as he feels the tangible presence of God in his heart.  He will become very conscious of God’s presence in his life; he will feel when God’s Spirit is grieved because he himself will be grieved.   The Word of God will take on a new, burning importance to him.  He will experience a strange, new enthusiasm for the “things of God,” things like Bible study and fellowship with other believers. 

It’s no exaggeration to say that a Christian baptized in the Holy Spirit has a power heretofore unknown to him, but it is a power to serve and glorify God, not a power to benefit his flesh in any way.  And this is the important point.  The Holy Spirit wasn’t given until Christ was glorified, and until we are prepared to glorify Him at any cost, we won’t experience the baptism in the Spirit.  This is probably why so many Christians have not experienced this blessing; they may love Jesus and they may serve Him, but He is not The Lord of their hearts.

When a believer is baptized in the Spirit, certain things will happen.  The Spirit always makes His presence known!

1.  Amazement

 “How can this be? they exclaimed. For these men are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking all the native languages of the lands where we were born! Here we areParthians, Medes, Elamites, men from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia Minor, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, the Cyrene language areas of Libya, visitors from Romeboth Jews and Jewish convertsCretans, and Arabians. And we all hear these men telling in our own languages about the mighty miracles of God!

They stood there amazed and perplexed. What can this mean?” they asked each other.  (Acts 2:7-12  TLB)

“What can this mean?”  All these people visiting Jerusalem for Passover celebrations saw and heard a lot more than they bargained for!  They experienced “second hand” the tremendous blessing the disciples received.  They saw and heard, but they didn’t understand it.  Why?  It’s because the natural mind cannot make sense of the things of the Spirit.  The unredeemed mind will always be blind to these things until it is set free by the Holy Spirit.

But the man who isnt a Christian cant understand and cant accept these thoughts from God, which the Holy Spirit teaches us. They sound foolish to him because only those who have the Holy Spirit within them can understand what the Holy Spirit means. Others just cant take it in. But the spiritual man has insight into everything, and that bothers and baffles the man of the world, who cant understand him at all. 16   (1 Corinthians 2:14, 15  TLB)

When a Christian has experienced the fullness of the Holy Spirit, his life will not be the same; his speech will not be the same; God’s thoughts become his thoughts.  When a preacher experiences this fullness of the Spirit, his sermons become more than just talks laced with man’s wisdom, they will demonstrate the power of Spirit because where the Spirit is, He will manifest His own presence.  Listeners will ask, “What does this mean?” and lives will be changed by the Word.

2.  Glory to God

Be happy if you are cursed and insulted for being a Christian, for when that happens the Spirit of God will come upon you with great glory.  (1 Peter 4:14  TLB)

Not everybody appreciates the fact that you are a Christian and even within the ranks of the Church, not everybody will appreciate the fact that you have been baptized in the Spirit.  Brothers and sisters in the Lord may mock you, as surprising as that may seem.   It’s always that way, though.  The worldly mind has a hard time comprehending the things of God.  And, sadly, the church of Jesus Christ is awash in worldly minds today.  But, as Peter observed, consider it a blessing when you are “cursed and insulted for being a Christian.”  Consider it a badge of honor when your testimony confounds even a fellow believer because in those moments, God will be glorified!  God is always glorified when He anoints one of us.  God is always glorified when we are at last humbled and He becomes the One standing in our stead. 

When God is truly glorified IN us, He will be glorified THROUGH us.

3.  Ongoing fellowship

If you love me, obey me; and I will ask the Father and he will give you another Comforter, and he will never leave you.  (John 14:15, 16  TLB)

But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, in your hearts, so that you dont need anyone to teach you what is right. For he teaches you all things, and he is the Truth, and no liar; and so, just as he has said, you must live in Christ, never to depart from him.  (1 John 14:6  TLB)

Our continuing fellowship with God the Father is made possible ONLY if we remain in full communion with the Holy Spirit.  Now would be a good time to consider how much time you spend in active fellowship with the Holy Spirit over the past week.  Did you even give Him a passing thought?  You might want to reconsider the role He plays in your life!  He makes fellowship with God the Father and the Son possible. 

Yes, continual, ongoing fellowship is made possible by the Holy Spirit.  But when we neglect the Holy Spirit, either on purpose by ignoring Him or simply by honest neglect, we are literally cutting ourselves off from the kind of intimate fellowship God wants with us.

So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the olive oil he had brought and poured it upon Davids head; and the Spirit of Jehovah came upon him and gave him great power from that day onward. (1 Samuel 16:13  TLB)

“From that day onward.”  David, sins and all, had unbroken fellowship with God  every day because the Spirit was in him and, as we read in the Psalms, he acknowledged His presence.

4.  Holy boldness

The presence of the Holy Spirit in a believer will make that believer especially bold when it comes to sharing the Word of God.  Just consider these verses:

When the Council saw the boldness of Peter and John and could see that they were obviously uneducated non-professionals, they were amazed and realized what being with Jesus had done for them!  (Acts 4:13  TLB)

Teacher, these spies said, we know you tell the truth no matter what! You arent influenced by the opinions and desires of men, but sincerely teach the ways of God. Now tell us, is it right to pay taxes to Rome, or not?  (Mark 12:14  TLB)

The Holy Spirit will make you like Jesus.  Jesus courageously proclaimed the Word of God, and when you allow His Spirit to use you, so will you!  You will be like Jesus:  courageous.  Do you find it hard to share Jesus with other people?  You need to step out in faith, open your mouth, and let Him speak through you.  Think about Gideon:

Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet as a call to arms, and the men of Abiezer came to him.  (Judges 6:34  TLB)

Gideon was filled with a holy boldness when he blew that trumpet.  The fact is, when one is overflowing with the Holy Spirit, he can not help but blow that trumpet!  When you are overflowing with the Holy Spirit, you can not help but speak the Word of The Lord to those who need to hear it.

“We cannot stop telling about the wonderful things we saw Jesus do and heard him say.  (Acts 4:20  TLB)

5.  A powerful testimony

When you walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, you will be an effective witness for Christ.  This is all part of that “holy boldness” in that declaring the goodness of God will become natural to you.  Here is the Biblical precedent:

After this prayer, the building where they were meeting shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and boldly preached Gods message…And the apostles preached powerful sermons about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and there was warm fellowship among all the believers… (Acts 4:31, 33  TLB)

But we also see this precedent in the life and ministry of Micah, the Old Testament prophet, who wrote this:

But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, fearlessly announcing Gods punishment on Israel for her sins.  (Micah 3:8  TLB)

Micah was filled with the Holy Spirit and was consequently filled with His power for the purpose testifying!  When you are full to overflowing with the Holy Spirit, He will anoint you to share Jesus – to testify about Him – without holding anything back.  He will give you the right words to say and He will bring back to your memory the Word you have hidden in your heart.  In fact, the Holy Spirit is the Great Witness, and we are co-workers with Him.

But I will send you the Comforterthe Holy Spirit, the source of all truth. He will come to you from the Father and will tell you all about me.  And you also must tell everyone about me because you have been with me from the beginning.  (John 15:26, 27  TLB)

And we are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to all who obey him.  (Acts 5:32  TLB)

So the Holy Spirit will give us the power to talk about the greatness of God.  But, that power will only be in direct proportion to how willingly we work with Him.  If you want to experience the power of the Holy Spirit, then step out in faith and open your mouth.

6.  Might works

Those who have experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit and who continue to walk in the fullness of the Spirit will be able to not only talk about the greatness of God, but they will be able to DO great things for God.  Think about Samson:

At that moment the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him and since he had no weapon, he ripped the lions jaws apart and did it as easily as though it were a young goat!  (Judges 14:6  TLB)

Samson ended up a failure, but that’s not the fault of the Holy Spirit.  We can see multiple examples in his life of how the Spirit gave this man supernatural strength.  He can do that for you too.  The “lion difficulties” of your life, which threaten to derail your faith, will become as feeble as a “young goat” when you walk in the fullness of the Spirit.

Jesus promised:

In solemn truth I tell you, anyone believing in me shall do the same miracles I have done, and even greater ones, because I am going to be with the Father.  (John 14:12  TLB)

This promise was fulfilled because Jesus left and sent us the Advocate, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.  The baptism in the Holy Spirit opens up new avenues of service because we are given gifts to do work for Christ.  So many Christians – genuine believers – are fearful of this experience, and yet there is no need to fear any blessing from Christ!  The Holy Spirit’s business is NOT to embarrass you, making you do crazy things you would otherwise never do.  He is not a feeling or an emotion or a foreign language.   The Holy Spirit is already in you, waiting to do even more through you.  Let Him engulf your whole being and you will be amazed at He will do.

The Holy Spirit and You, Part 5

 

The-Baptism-of-the-Holy-Spirit

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Part One

 

There are all kinds of ideas floating around out there in the church world about what the baptism in or of the Holy Spirit is.   Pentecostal and charismatic churches will say that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience subsequent to salvation.  This is not incorrect.  Some will teach that speaking in tongues is “proof” that one has received the baptism.  This is open to debate.  It’s best that we consult the Bible, however, to get the facts straight about this wonderful experience.  That sounds like an easy task, but it’s get a little complicated with verses like this one:

For us there is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism…  (Ephesians 4:5  TLB)

Actually, the New Testament teaches clearly that there are three baptisms, not one:

   A baptism in water, Acts 8:38.

   A baptism in the Holy Spirit, Matthew 3:11.

   A baptism into Jesus Christ, Romans 6:3

So, just what was Paul getting at when he wrote to the Ephesian church, telling them that there was only one baptism?  In truth, the first two would be nothing without the last one.  The ONE baptism must surely refer to the baptism into Jesus Christ, with the other two flowing from this one.

For now we are all children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, and we who have been baptized into union with Christ are enveloped by him. (Galatians 3:26, 27  TLB)

So why all these baptisms when only one is the significant one?  Water baptism is the earthly witness and Spirit baptism is the heavenly witness that a person has been baptized into Christ.  By these two witnesses – human and divine – our union with Jesus Christ is positively established on earth and in heaven.  By the Spirit we are baptized into Christ and then by Christ we are baptized in the Spirit.

Water baptism is pretty easy to  understand.  Whether you are a sprinkler, pourer, or dunker, you can see with your eyes a baptism and hear with your ears the explanation about what’s going on.  But before we move on to look deeply into Spirit baptism, let’s consider all that is involved in being baptized into Christ.

1.      Baptism into Jesus Christ

The very first thing of note is that being baptized into Christ suggests death

For sins power over us was broken when we became Christians and were baptized to become a part of Jesus Christ; through his death the power of your sinful nature was shattered.   (Romans 6:3  TLB)

Some Christians have a hard time taking this verse literally, but Paul meant what he wrote.   Upon accepting Jesus as our Lord and savior, were were baptized into Him – baptized into His death – so that our sinful nature would no long have control over us. 

For now we are all children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, and we who have been baptized into union with Christ are enveloped by him.  (Galatians 3:26, 27  TLB)

Remember, to be “baptized” properly means “to be immersed.”  The Greek baptizo is a very descriptive word.  Imagine, being born again is like being immersed in Jesus Christ!  That’s the idea Paul is conveying; a Christian should be so immersed or enveloped in Christ, it is as though his old sinful  nature has gone a way.  Now, experience teaches us that it is still very much a part of our lives.  Our obligation being “in Christ” is to consciously avoid paying attention to it.  It should be as though we are dead to it. 

I have been crucified with Christ: and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  (Galatians 2:20a  TLB)

The second thing baptism into Christ implies is burial

Your old sin-loving nature was buried with him by baptism when he died; and when God the Father, with glorious power, brought him back to life again, you were given his wonderful new life to enjoy.  (Romans 6:4  TLB)

If we have been “enveloped” by or “immersed” in Christ, then we have been completely identified with Him in every way, including His burial.  How can we be raised to a new life if we haven’t first been buried?  Romans 6 is full of powerful language that gives rise to profound ideas and startling images.  For Paul, we have been entombed with Christ so that like Christ we may be raised to a new life. 

This leads right into the third point.  Our baptism into Christ suggests resurrection.  Colossians 2:12 says,

For in baptism you see how your old, evil nature died with him and was buried with him; and then you came up out of death with him into a new life because you trusted the Word of the mighty God who raised Christ from the dead. 

Our “resurrection” is just a figure of speech Paul’s employs to describe how Christians have been delivered from their old life of sin into their new life of salvation.  We have moved from our old life to our new life by way of a spiritual resurrection. 

Baptism into Christ also involves unity, the fourth point.  Obviously when we are baptized into Christ, we become one with Him.  We become so identified with Him we can’t be separated from Him.  But there is another kind of unity at work here.  Consider–

We are no longer Jews or Greeks or slaves or free men or even merely men or women, but we are all the samewe are Christians; we are one in Christ Jesus.  (Galatians 4:28  TLB)

Talk about unity!  We are all one in Christ Jesus.  This kind of unity is only possible IN Christ.

2.  The second baptism

So far, we have been talking about “the first baptism,” the baptism into Christ.  We can also call this “conversion.”  The “subsequent baptism” is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  When it comes to how we found Christ, our conversion experiences are all different.  No two people can say they experienced Christ the first time same way.  The same thing is true of Spirit baptism.  This is why there is so much confusion surrounding this “event.”  To some, the baptism in the Holy Spirit comes on them so powerfully and so obviously they can remember the day, time, and even what they were wearing when it happened.  Others receive this baptism quietly, sometimes by themselves, with no fanfare. 

Let’s consider Spirit baptism

(a)  The baptizer. 

With water I baptize those who repent of their sins; but someone else is coming, far greater than I am, so great that I am not worthy to carry his shoes! He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.   (Matthew 3:11  TLB)

 

It might surprise some reading this, but it is back in Matthew, not Acts, that we first read about this “subsequent baptism.”  John the Baptist is talking about Jesus; Jesus is the One who baptizes a believer in the Holy Spirit.  This great gift – this moving experience – is Christ’s blessing to us.  It is something He personally does in us and for us.  Of course, it is to His advantage; that is, it is to the advantage of the whole Body of Christ that believers receive this Spirit baptism.  It is meant to strengthen the believer and ultimately these strengthened believers will result in a stronger Body.  It is for His glory that Jesus is as ready and willing to baptize the saint as He is to save the sinner.

(b)  The promise.

That Jesus will baptize His followers is a promise He has made. 

John baptized you with water, he reminded them, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit in just a few days.  (Acts 1:5  TLB)

And Peter replied, Each one of you must turn from sin, return to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; then you also shall receive this gift, the Holy Spirit.  For Christ promised him to each one of you who has been called by the Lord our God, and to your children and even to those in distant lands!  (Acts 2:38, 39  TLB)

Take note of the promise!  The promise to baptize in the Spirit is just as real and just as much a promise as the promise of salvation!  If that’s true, why are unbelievers encouraged to “get saved” yet Christians, unless they attend Pentecostal or Charismatic churches, are seldom encouraged to seek Spirit baptism?  Think about it.  Pastors and church leaders are so ignorant of this great BIBLICAL doctrine, they are literally hindering members of their congregation from receiving an experience every bit as real as their conversion.  The really sad thing is that this “subsequent baptism” is just the second part of or a continuation of their salvation experience.

(b)  The fulfillment.

After that first handful of believers received Spirit baptism, Peter explained it to onlookers:

No! What you see this morning was predicted centuries ago by the prophet Joel…  (Acts 2:16  TLB)

This experience was not some kind of funky, self-induced state of hysteria experienced by a group of fringe Jews.  In fact, Spirit baptism was predicted generations before!  It was spelled out by the prophet Joel.  Lest anybody think the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was only for the disciples gathered in the upper room, Paul wrote about it–

But when the time came for the kindness and love of God our Savior to appear, then he saved usnot because we were good enough to be saved but because of his kindness and pityby washing away our sins and giving us the new joy of the indwelling Holy Spirit, whom he poured out upon us with wonderful fullnessand all because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did.  (Titus 3:4-6  TLB)

The very fact that you, as a Christian, are an ambassador for Christ, demands that you experience the fullness of the Spirit Paul wrote about.  You are supposed to be representing the One who sent you, Jesus Christ, and of Him, we read this–

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…  (Luke 4:18a  TLB)

This is Jesus quoting from Isaiah, and applying that quote to Himself!  If the Spirit rested on Jesus, He must surely rest on us, too!

(c)  The necessity.

Many, many Christians have never and will never experience the “subsequent baptism” because they’ve never learned about it or, worse than ignorance, they have no interest in it.  But the fact remains, being baptized in the Spirit in an absolute imperative.  At least the first leaders of the apostolic church thought so.

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through Turkey and arrived in Ephesus, where he found several disciples.  Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? he asked them.  (Acts 19:1, 2  TLB)

Paul and Apollos found a group of Christians (note that!) that had not yet received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Now, being Christians, members of this group were full of the Spirit, but they had not yet received the baptism.  Why?  Their problem was simply one of ignorance.  When the baptism of the Spirit was explained to them, they received it. 

(d)  The condition.

Ignorance can certainly keep Spirit baptism from a sincere believer.  But there are other conditions.

You love the right and hate the wrong.  And that is why God, your very own God, poured fragrant oil on your head, marking you out as king from among your dear companions.  (Psalm 45:7  KJV)

Loving the right and hating the wrong speaks to character and also to honesty before God.  Living right and thinking right, being a person of principle and upstanding character are conditions that have to be met if you want to receive the baptism, or the anointing, of the Holy Spirit.  In other words, your heart has to be right – not perfect, just right before God.

(e)  The evidence.

Some Pentecostal churches stubbornly teach that speaking in tongues is the evidence that a believer has received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.  Unfortunately for them, the Bible teaches something else.

In fact, in everything we do we try to show that we are true ministers of God.  We patiently endure suffering and hardship and trouble of every kind.  We have been beaten, put in jail, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, stayed awake through sleepless nights of watching, and gone without food.  We have proved ourselves to be what we claim by our wholesome lives and by our understanding of the Gospel and by our patience. We have been kind and truly loving and filled with the Holy Spirit.  (2 Corinthians 6:4-6, TLB)

Paul left being “filled with the Holy Spirit” to the end, but being filled with Spirit made all the things that came before it possible!  Patience, courage, strength to work and stay awake, fasting, living wholesome lives…all those things were possible because Paul and his friends were filled with Spirit and filled with His power.  Being able to things that don’t come naturally to a human being is surely proof one has been baptized with the Holy Spirit.

(f)  The result.

The presence of the Holy Spirit in the new life of the believer is a given.  At the moment of salvation he is filled with God’s precious Spirit.  After that, God wants that believer to experience even  more of His presence.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit is an experience made possible because of the work of the risen Christ in the life of His people.  Salvation is wonderful.  Salvation is what gets you into heaven.  But between then and now, we all have to live our lives in the here and now.  The baptism in the Holy Spirit makes life on earth a little more bearable and your work for God a little more effective.  Can a Christian get by without the baptism in the Holy Spirit?  Yes!  Of course he can.  But why would he want to?


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