Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Who's Afraid of the Holy Ghost? (the Baptism in the Holy Spirit)

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:4 NKJV


But 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 NKJV

 Today, I'd like to begin a new study on the Holy Spirit by asking a question. Who's afraid of the Holy Spirit? Often the mere mention of the Holy Ghost conjures up much controversy. Why? 

 For one, there isn't much taught about the Spirit. Most ministries simply ignore much of the Spirit's power and supernatural working. Therefore because of ignorance or lack of knowledge on the Person of the Holy Spirit fear can arise. That is when one encounters the Spirit it can make some people uncomfortable. 

 Lastly, religious tradition tries to give a response to the lack of information and actually reinforces the fears many have about the Spirit and His work. Before I go further I would like to dispel myths and answer the objections concerning the Spirit's power, His gifts, and His fullness. You can find objections to the Baptism in the Spirit here, and the objections to tongues or prayer language here

 The enemy has a subtle scheme. Sowing seeds of distrust and discomfort his insidious scheme is to make the Comforter, seemingly uncomfortable to God's people. Some people hear people praying in another tongue and it can make them have reservations about the things of the Spirit.

 Why? Because they don't understand the work of the Spirit or they have fears that are sown by the enemy in their thinking or the traditions of men have become a stronghold in their mind. God has never given anything bad to His Church. God gave these gifts to empower us and strengthen and refresh us.

 Let's hear the words of God through Paul to begin.

 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Acts 19:2a NKJV

 Why did Paul ask this question to these believers in Ephesus if we get it all at salvation? Why did Paul ask this question? Didn't he know we get all there is at the point of conversion? 

 All one has to do is look through their Bible in the Epistles and see that Paul affirmed that when we are first saved we have the Spirit within. The Spirit baptizes us into the Body of Christ. He seals us for eternity, we are God's, no longer our own, eternally secure. When we first believed we got all there is to be complete in Christ. That is complete in our identity.


 What Paul is referencing is not the Spirit within. Paul wasn't suggesting that these men weren't complete in Christ. Paul was referencing the Spirit upon. Paul was referencing the empowerment of the Spirit we receive after being born again. Look closely at the entire event in Scripture here.

 Paul made sure these men were believers. He baptized them in water upon their belief, their profession of Faith in Christ. At this point, these men were born again, they were saved. This point is essential. Because next, we see Paul lay hands on them. 

 Paul's act of laying hands on them wasn't something needed for them to be saved. This wasn't Paul completing their salvation. We don't need an Apostle to lay hands upon us to be saved. That's not what is occurring here. Paul is laying hands upon them to receive the empowerment of the Spirit after they've been saved. 

 What happens immediately as they receive? They begin to speak with tongues and move in the Gifts of the Spirit. When we receive the Spirit there is always a manifestation of the Spirit. 

This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.” 2 Corinthians 13:1 NKJV

 We have three witnesses stating specifically that when people are filled with the Spirit they will speak in tongues. They will experience a manifestation of the Spirit. You can see Acts 2 here, Acts 10 here and of course, Acts 19 which we just mentioned. 

 The Spirit within speaks of our identity in Christ. He shows us we are Christ's, and no longer our own. He shows us we are Righteous, born again, a brand new creation, totally forgiven once for all time and complete in Christ. He is our seal, the earnest of our inheritance, the proof we are eternally redeemed, saved, and secure. 

 The Spirit upon reveals to us our empowerment in Christ. We are filled to the overflow with the power of the Spirit. We have the Spirit working through us ministering life to others. Whereas the Spirit within is to strengthen ourselves the Spirit upon not only builds us up and empowers us, it also allows us to be a greater blessing to the world around us. He bestows a heavenly language with which we can pray out the will of God and receive strength, wisdom, refreshing and rest as we do so. 

 The Baptism in the Spirit is not about maturity. It isn't about being better than someone else. It doesn't mean one is spiritually superior to another. It's about the empowering of the Spirit. It's the Spirit upon for works of service.

 In summation, don't be afraid of the Holy Ghost. God would never give us something offensive, or scary or bad. If you want to receive the Baptism in the Spirit, simply ask. If you've placed your trust in Christ all you need do is ask and receive. 
 You can simply pray a simple prayer "Father, I have put my trust in you. I know I am a child of God and forever forgiven and eternally loved. As your own, I ask for the empowering of the Spirit. Jesus, I ask you to baptize me into the Holy Ghost, and I believe I receive it right now. I praise you and thank you for this empowerment. I now praise you in my native tongue and I praise you in the Spirit, my personal prayer language, in Jesus' name."

 Just speak out those words the Spirit is speaking. Don't try to understand it intellectually. Just receive it and speak, let that Holy Ghost melody flow out of your belly as you lift up the name of Jesus. God is with you and for you, rejoice. 

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