Understanding Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

 

Understanding Baptism of the Holy Spirit
2/9/14, Pastor Chuck

Briefly, Chuck shared that over the next few weeks he will be speaking on “hearing and sharing the voice of God.” Since God is all about communication it’s no wonder that when we spend intimate time with Him, we become open to the various ways that He connects with us. When we learn to listen to the voice of God we are able to speak life into others which edifies Him, and we become carriers of His presence.

Before heading into that series, Chuck was prompted to speak to us on Sunday about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is a topic that can bring controversy in the church, often times scaring pastors into avoidance.  It is because of this avoidance that a doctrinal view was taken on scripture, excluding experience with the Holy Spirit, and creating a theological view of explaining away the experience. Many of us go through life with just theological knowledge without experience.

Luke 3:15-16: “The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John (the Baptist) might possibly be the Messiah.  John answered them all, “I baptize you with water.  But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

-          John the Baptist explains that when Jesus and the Holy Spirit come things will be different.

Acts 1:4-8:  “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

-          This was the fulfillment of the prophecy John spoke about.

Acts 2:1-4:  “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

-          The disciples had been praying and experiencing intimacy with God BEFORE the power of God showed up through the Holy Spirit.

If you know God and you experience Him, you receive the Holy Spirit. Have you ever noticed how zealous brand new Christians are about Christ? They have great expectations of getting more of God. They are hungry.  I love spending time with those who newly discover the love of Christ because it creates a yearning in me. Their enthusiasm for the things of God inspires me to pursue more of Him.

Most likely your religious background has influenced your perception of what being baptized in the Holy Spirit is in Christianity. For years my perception of being baptized in the Holy Spirit was synonymous with speaking in tongues. This is not truth. The gift of tongues is only one of the many gifts the Holy Spirit gives to us, and Paul says that it is not the most important of the gifts. In the scripture referenced in Acts 2 it’s important to recognize what happened to the disciples after they were baptized in the Holy Spirit:

  • After this experience they were different
  • They became bold and courageous
  • They learned that the message of the Good News and baptism of the Holy Spirit wasn’t just for them, but for all Believers

When we have a love encounter with Christ for the first time it begins in intimacy. There is a process.

Conviction – of the Holy Spirit (The Father draws us to Him.)

Redemption – God forgives when we repent – we are justified and declared righteous

Regeneration – We are given a new heart which is made alive

Given Access to the power of God – Unfortunately, some don’t walk in the access

Water Baptism – Baptism is a picture of what has been done in the previous four steps…it is the marriage ceremony. Baptism does not add to salvation.


We all have arrived at Journey from different backgrounds. Chuck explained the beliefs of various denominations regarding the Holy Spirit.  Some believe that the Holy Spirit is received at infant baptism and becomes reality later as a teenager and adult. Several denominations believe that we always receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit at conversion. There are those who believe that there is a second blessing, or another work of the Holy Spirit.  Still others believe that the Holy Spirit comes after salvation. In the west, we try to figure out the order of things; however, God is big and doesn’t always do things the same way. God’s order doesn’t always look like our order. Throughout Acts we see the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in various ways.

The point is this: It will happen when God wants it to happen through our intimate relationship with Him. It will be evident in our love for Him and others, the amount of joy in our lives, and our being clothed in His power. We mustn’t place too much emphasis on the “when.”

There are three steps that can be helpful in seeking more of God. We cannot compare our experiences.

1.)    Recognize how much we need Him because without Him we are powerless. If we don’t experience the movement of God then there will be no transformation in our lives.

2.)    We must hunger for more of Him. This is a gift. He gives a longing for His presence and secret place with Him.

3.)    We seek to be used by God for His glory and power.

Billy Graham says, “You don’t ask for power you don’t intend to use.”

Chuck advised us at Journey to refrain from asking people if they’ve received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Instead, the question should be about their intimacy with God.  He also said that we should be focused on current relationships, and to remember that the presence of God brings freedom. We are worthy because we are in Christ.

 


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