Posted by: pastortomvabeach | July 3, 2012

Thought for the Week July 8, 2012

Last week’s post ended by asking you to look at the places where the words “baptism in the Holy Spirit” are recorded and study out how Jesus presented this idea to His disciples so you might hear from the Lord. I have to confess, I made an error. Did you catch it? If you tried to find the words, “baptism in the Holy Spirit” in the Bible, you did not, because they are not there. John the Baptist and Jesus used the verb form of baptism, “baptize”, and we have called that experience the baptism (noun form) to describe the event they foretold.

The concept and promise, however, are very evident in the New Testament. The Baptist indicates that an authenticating mark of the Messiah would be that He is the one who “baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” This tells us who does the baptizing – Jesus.

So just what is this baptism in the Holy Spirit? Well, Peter answered that question on the Day of Pentecost. He said, first of all, it is the fulfillment of prophecy. Joel had foretold of a day when God’s Spirit would be poured out on “all flesh”, when sons, daughters, servants, and handmaidens would prophesy. When young men would see visions and old men dream dreams (see Acts 2:17-18).

One of the marks seen in the Old Testament when the Holy Spirit came upon someone was divinely inspired speech (prophesying). In Numbers 11, God instructed Moses to call 70 elders, who would assist him with leadership saying He would put the Spirit that was on Moses on them. Here is what occurred, when the spirit rested upon them they prophesied, and did not cease (11:25). There were even two of the 70, who failed to come out of the camp, yet the Spirit came upon them right where they were and they also prophesied. When Saul was anointed to be king of Israel, the Spirit of the Lord came on him and he also prophesied (I Samuel 10:10).

When the two elders who stayed in the camp began prophesying, Joshua was disturbed because they hadn’t come out with the 70 and asked Moses to tell them to stop but Moses replied, Oh, that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them! (Numbers 11:29). God’s intention for centuries was that all of His people would eventually be filled with the Holy Spirit. In Old Testament times the Spirit came upon specific individuals usually for a specific purpose and a specific time frame but not on all God’s people.

On the Day of Pentecost, Peter says, “the time has come, God is finally keeping His promise.” In fact, he says this in happening “in the last days”, a phrase considered by most commentators to mean, “in the days of the Messiah” which includes the time frame from His first appearance to His second coming at the end of the age. There could have been no baptism in the Holy Spirit unless Jesus first came and prepared the way by giving His life so we could be forgiven and made holy temples for His residence. He truly is the baptizer in the Holy Spirit.

So the “baptism in the Holy Spirit” is God’s promise, made long before Jesus and fulfilled beginning on the Day of Pentecost and continuing even to our day. Remember, Jesus called it the “promise of the Father” (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4). Peter also calls this God’s promise, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call. (Acts 2:38-39).

This promise is given to believers in Jesus Christ to empower them in many ways. The Holy Spirit teaches us all we need to understand about Jesus, He illuminates the Word of God so we can correctly interpret and apply it in our lives, He applies the transforming work of His grace in our hearts to change us day by day into the image of Christ, as by the Spirit of the Lord (II Corinthians 3:18). Most importantly, He gives us the power we need to be Jesus’ witnesses to the world around us that doesn’t know Him (Acts 1:8).

We need to ask ourselves, “Do I need to have a unique experience of being ‘baptized in the Holy Spirit’? Isn’t salvation enough? Is this experience and it’s accompanying manifestations for today?” If Peter said the promise was to all who the Lord would call, does that include you and me? If not, why not? If so, how do I receive this promise?

I want you to mull this one over this week. Again, read whatever you can in the Bible about the coming of the Holy Spirit on believers and what His presence brings to our lives. Pray as you read for illumination into God’s Word. What would this do for you? Just a thought.

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