Posted by: pastortomvabeach | June 23, 2015

Thought For The Week June 28, 2015

The next of our foundational beliefs from Scripture is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. This is also one of what the Assemblies of God calls “cardinal doctrines” or core beliefs since the are essential to the church’s core mission of reaching the world for Christ.

The baptism in the Holy Spirit was first mentioned in Scripture by John the Baptist. He said that God had told him that, Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. (John 1:33). He said this when he was pointing out Jesus as the Lamb of God. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all recorded John making the same statement about Jesus.

Just prior to ascending to heaven, Jesus also told the disciples that they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5). He said this even though He had earlier given them the Holy Spirit; Jesus said to them, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” When He had said this, He breathed on them, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21-22). This helps us understand the difference between receiving the Holy Spirit when we are saved and the experience of being baptized or immersed in the Holy Spirit which Jesus called “the promise of the Father” and being “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

The Bible is clear that the Holy Spirit comes to reside in the heart of everyone who believes in Jesus Christ the moment one believes. In fact, Paul says, if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. (Romans 8:9). The disciples were believers in Jesus when He rose from the dead and they received the Holy Spirit when Jesus breathed on them. Yet they were instructed to wait for something different, something more, power from on high.

On the day of Pentecost, in a spectacular manifestation of God’s power, the Spirit was poured out accompanied by wind and visible tongues of fire (Acts 2:2-4). The result of this event was that Peter and the other disciples preached the good news of Jesus Christ so powerfully that over 3,000 people became believers that day. The power of the Holy Spirit continued to direct and oversee all of the ministry of the early church.

This is why we hold this truth as so important. Jesus said, you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8). He had instructed the disciples to wait to begin to spread the news of His coming until they had received this power because without the Holy Spirit’s overflow, we really can’t fulfill His command to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.

As we read the book of Acts, it becomes apparent that the baptism in the Holy Spirit was the normal experience of all the believers in the early church. Peter told the crowd on the day of Pentecost that this promise was for everyone who believe (Acts 2:38-29). All who believe are entitled to receive this baptism and should expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father.

With the baptism in the Holy Spirit comes the power to which Jesus referred, power to live a holy life, power to be His witnesses, and power for service in the kingdom. The New Testament lists several specific spiritual gifts that accompany the overflow of the Holy Spirit in our lives (I Corinthians 12:4-11). We encourage everyone to actively seek the baptism in the Holy Spirit, not for the gifts He gives but for His overflowing fullness in our lives.

There are Christian groups that suggest those who hold the baptism in the Holy Spirit as vital (Pentecostals) stress this truth and the work of the Holy Spirit too much and neglect the other members of the Trinity (God the Father and Jesus Christ) and other vital doctrines of Christianity such as salvation and sanctification. This is difficult to imagine since salvation comes prior to the baptism in the Holy Spirit, so we must and do teach this with fervency and sanctification is actually part of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We believe that a balance is important if we’re to live as Jesus intends and to spread the news that whoever will can be saved.

It is the baptism in the Holy Spirit that outfits every Christian to be Jesus’ ambassadors in the world. Have you experienced this gift?

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