Posted by: pastortomvabeach | July 16, 2012

Thought for the Week July 15, 2012

We are discussing the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Our last writing showed that this “baptism” was interpreted by Peter as being the fulfillment of God’s oft-stated promise to fill all of His people with His Spirit with accompanying evidence of His divine power such as prophesying. We briefly touched on Jesus’ indication that the Holy Spirit would be our power source for Christian life and gospel witness. Let’s take that a bit further.

In His last great sermon recorded in John’s gospel (John 14-16), Jesus said that after He went away those who followed Him will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12) How would we be able to accomplish the kinds of things Jesus accomplished given that He was the Son of God? He explains that a few sentences later, I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)

These verses give us indications as to the identity of the “Helper” and to the nature of the baptism we are promised. Jesus says He is the Spirit of truth who dwells “with you”. The Holy Spirit was dwelling with the disciples throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry because Jesus was “baptized” in the Holy Spirit, so to speak. The Spirit guided, directed, and empowered Jesus’ ministry. Jesus could say that we would do “the works I do; and greater” because the Holy Spirit would be “in” us just like He was “in” Jesus. So He can do the same things in and through us but on a much larger scale since Jesus was one person and we are multiplied many more!

I believe we also get an indication of the nature of the baptism in the Holy Spirit when Jesus says that this will happen after He has gone away. This is something Jesus, Himself, will perform from His position at the right hand of the Father. Though He gave the Holy Spirit to the disciples while He was with them (Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. John 20:21-22), He also said there was an outpouring that would follow later, after He departed into heaven. This was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost.

Jesus further explained the work of the Holy Spirit in us. He is the one who will teach us all we need to know about Jesus and life as His followers, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26); when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth…He will glorify me. (John 16:13-14) The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to present Jesus Christ powerfully in us and then through us to the world around us. He does not magnify Himself, He magnifies Jesus, the Spirit of truth…will bear witness about me…and you also will bear witness. (John 15:26-27)

With the witness which the Holy Spirit empowers through us, He powerfully convinces hearers that the gospel is true and influences them to turn their lives over the Christ, if I go, I will send Him to you. And when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. (John 16:7-8) This gives us great freedom as witnesses because we are not responsible for the hearers’ response, the Holy Spirit does that! On the day of Pentecost, Peter didn’t cause those listening to his preaching to be convicted. It was the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:37 says, When they heard this (Peter’s gospel message) they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” How did Peter go from being frightened, denying Jesus, and hiding out for fear of the religious leaders into preaching so powerfully that thousands responded to the gospel? That was the power of the Holy Spirit which was imparted through the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

OK, I think we’re getting the idea that this experience Jesus talked about and the disciples experienced is more than “nice to have”. It appears to me that Jesus was saying that if we wanted to be the best Christians and witnesses for Him, it was necessary to be filled, immersed, baptized in His Holy Spirit. Every Christian needs this empowering experience. How do we make it as Jesus’ followers without it? Just a thought.

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