Friday, April 1, 2011

Who Needs the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

A gentleman friend from Ireland - Raymond is his name - and I spoke at length regarding his concerns about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I shall include some of his questions and thoughts as FAQs to look at this sometimes controversial church doctrine. Like all teachings posted, this is just a portion of the lesson.

Since its inception, most people have been and remained unaware of the baptism of the Holy Spirit in general, and of its potential for us, in particular. In Acts 19:2, we read that the Apostle Paul found some disciples in Ephesus and asked them if they had received the Holy Ghost since they had believed (in Jesus as LORD), to which they replied that they had never even heard of Him! Are we any better informed now? Do we really know Who He is?

In a 2002 survey, Christian pollster The Barna Group wrote, "More than four out of five Americans claim to be Christian and half as many can be classified as born again Christians. Nine out of ten adults own a Bible. Most adults read the Bible during the year and a huge majority claims they know all of the basic teachings of the Bible. How, then, can most people say Satan does not exist, that the Holy Spirit is merely a symbol, that eternal peace with God can be earned through good works, and that truth can only be understood through the lens of reason and experience? How can a plurality of our citizens contend that Jesus committed sins and that the Bible, Koran, and Book of Mormon all teach the same truths?" (End of quote. Whew!) And, although I couldn't find anything specific about the Holy Spirit BAPTISM addressed by Barna per se, it's safe to assume most people are clueless about it since they think He, Himself, is just a symbol!

Jesus desired His disciples - as well as you and I - be baptized with the Holy Ghost. "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance," said John the Baptist, "but He" - Jesus! - "that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: HE WILL BAPTIZE YOU WITH THE HOLY GHOST, AND WITH FIRE" (Mt. 3:11). This same exact promise is recorded in Luke 3:16; then, in Mark 1:8 and John 1:33, the same promise is made with a slight variation in text.

That alone should tell us how important and wonderful the baptism of the Holy Spirit is: JESUS DOES IT! One would think it would be a customary experience among Christians. But it isn't. I believe that is because it is misunderstood because it is not understood.

Raymond wrote, "I have previously assumed that baptism in the Holy Spirit occurred the day that I became a believer and accepted Christ as my Savior. Am I to assume that baptism in the Holy Spirit is different to this?"

The applause meter is ringing; good question, Raymond! The very first thing we should determine is WHAT THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT IS. Forthwith, we shall put elements together as the Holy Spirit gives lead for I have prayed for His guide to teach what He desires us to know from the Scriptures He inspired!

Here is one look at the profound thoughts of one believer, Smith Wigglesworth, a renowned early 20th century evangelist who operated in the gifts of the Holy Spirit healing the sick and raising the dead in the name of Jesus. He wrote, "When I received the new birth at eight years of age, it was so precious and lovely. Since that time, I have never lost the knowledge of my acceptance with God. Then, brothers and sisters, God did a wonderful work in me when I waited for the baptism. I was in a strange position. For sixteen years, I had testified to having received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but I had really only received the anointing of the Spirit. In fact, I could not preach unless I had the anointing. My wife would come to me and say, 'They are waiting for you to come out and speak to the people.' I would say, 'I cannot and will not come without the anointing of the Spirit.' I can see now that I was calling the anointing the baptism. But when the Holy Spirit came into my body until I could not give satisfaction to the glory that was in me, God took this tongue, and I spoke as the Spirit gave utterance, which brought perfect satisfaction to me. When He comes in, He abides."

Through Wigglesworth's experiences - and possibly your own - you can see the logic behind Raymond's conclusion. Study of Scripture substantiates Wigglesworth's final conclusion, too: That baptism in the Holy Spirit is an event separate from all others. Now, some of Raymond's and others' misunderstandings may center round the fact that no person can receive Jesus as our LORD and Savior except by the Holy Spirit (1 Jn 4:15). "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you...?" (1 Cor 6:19).

So, what then ignites of constitutes the baptism of Him of which Jesus spoke?

Let's start here: Jesus breathed on His disciples and told them to receive the Holy Ghost (Jn 20:22) after His resurrection and prior to His ascension, but they still had to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high (Lu 24:29)...

Learn how to receive this important baptism today; who it is for; what is required of it; and, what it meant to Jesus and can mean to you.
    We, too, can do the works that Jesus did and great works as it is written in John 14:12 if we can believe and stay the course. We, too, can be born of the spirit and become sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ, but without the baptism of the Holy Spirit? JESUS REQUIRED THIS BAPTISM; WHO ARE WE TO DO WITHOUT IT?

    Thank You, Father God, LORD Jesus, and Holy Spirit of the Living God! Love and Amen in Jesus' name, Marylynn.

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