Monday, December 18, 2006

How to be Baptized in the Holy Spirit (Part 2)

If you knew the gift of God (John 4:10)

The first prerequisite to receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is to know that such a baptism exists. Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well that there was a gift from God and it was available to her. So what is the gift of God that Jesus spoke of?

When Peter went to Cornelius house, as he was explaining the Gospel to them, those listening were suddenly baptized in the Holy Spirit. This surprised Peter and those who accompanied him. “All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.” (Acts 10:45) Later, after returning to Jerusalem, Peter was called into account to explain why he went to the gentiles and offered them salvation in Jesus Christ. Peter explained that it wasn’t his fault but God’s. “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?” (Acts 11:15-17) In these scriptures, and others in the book of Acts, Peter clearly equates the Baptism in the Holy Spirit with the Gift of God.

One of the main reason many Christians today have not received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is because they do not know that it exists and that it is the “promise of the Father.” (Acts 1:4 NKJV) This was the case for the believers at Ephesus. The believers at Ephesus had been disciple by Apollos, but when Paul passed through, he noticed that something was missing in their experience with the Lord. “Paul said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said to him, ‘No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.’ And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.” (Acts 19:2, 6) They had not received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit because they did not even know that there was a Holy Spirit. Many Christians today are living an incomplete Christian life because of a simple lack of knowledge and understanding.

Knowing about something, however, is not the same as believing in something. Many Christians today know about the Holy Spirit but, because of fear, misunderstanding, or even bad teaching, they believe that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not for them. Many people have been taught that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was for a time past and not for today, but is this really the case? When Peter stood up on the day of Pentecost to address the gathered crowd, he said this about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.’” (Acts 2:38-39) Peter said that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was for everyone whom the Lord would call to Himself, and this includes both you and me. Peter also quoted the book of Joel, “It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28-29) The clear implication is that the Holy Spirit would be poured out on all believers, not just a select few in the first century. By the testimony of the scriptures we can believe that God wants to give us what He promised, He wants to baptize even us in His Holy Spirit.

More to come… David Robison

1 comment:

  1. David, Merry Christmas my brother in Christ. Merry Christmas to you and yours.