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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fundamental Teachings Part 16

Although we can go further, and point out where the primary church believed that the Holy Spirit was for all believers, and where Peter testifies the same thing, I think we can take the words of Jesus as truth, as fact, as unshakable, and move on to the next question, which I must warn you is a tough one.

If we have Biblically established that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is still for today, if we have Biblically established that it is a necessary component in the life of every believer, why is it that so many deny this baptism, and some vehemently so?

Quite frankly, so many deny the baptism of the Holy Spirit because it comes with conditions that God requires of us in order to receive, and whether due to their doctrinal upbringing or outright indifference, an alarming number are simply unwilling to meet God’s requirements.

So what are God’s requirements? First and foremost is repentance. We return to Peter and the large crowd he was speaking to, and the first requirement that Peter laid out, the first thing he told them they must do is repent.

The second requirement that God has for receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit is that we be born again.

Galatians 4:6, “And because you are sons, God has sent for the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, Abba, Father!”

The fourth requirement that God has for receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit is that we have faith. We must accept by faith that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, and we must also by faith believe that we are beneficiaries of this blessed promise.

Mark 11:24, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”

The next requirement that God has for receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit or the baptism of the Holy Spirit is that we be baptized. There are two notable exceptions to this requirement in the Bible, the first being Paul, who first received the Holy Spirit then was baptized, and the Second being Cornelius.

The fifth requirement is that we have desire, that we hunger after this gift, that we thirst after this baptism, that we desire it and ask it of God. Our desire must also be accompanied by prayer, and a believer absent of a prayer life must first obtain a prayer life before he can hope to receive this gift. The Disciples of Christ understood the hardships they would be facing in ministry, and so they dedicated themselves in their entirety to it. It was then, while they were in prayer that the power from above came, proving that only those willing to abandon all else, will obtain this priceless gift of God.

Since we are quickly running out of time, I want to discuss, if only briefly the ways in which the baptism of the Holy Spirit can be received. The first way in which the baptism of the Holy Spirit is received is by doing what those in the upper room did, praying and waiting on the Lord. The Bible however, also tells us that some received the Holy Spirit instantly and without much preparation as the Word tells us in the tenth chapter in Acts, wherein while Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.

We are also told by way of Scripture that some received the power of the Holy Spirit by prayer, and laying on of hands, as was the case of the Samaritans when Peter and John laid hands on them.

Since we discussed the ways in which the baptism of the Holy Spirit can be received Biblically, it is only fair that we discuss the obstacles that stand in the way of receiving this gift.

For many today, the greatest obstacle is that of preconceived notions. Jesus did not explain to His disciples how they would receive the Holy Spirit, and His disciples did not ask, they simply waited in Jerusalem until it came. Some have already made up their mind concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and their preconceived opinions on this baptism, keeps them from receiving it.

The second obstacle is that of discouragement, and discouragement can come about if the experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is delayed. Yes, sometimes God tests our patience, and all we can do is persevere and wait on the Lord until He pours out His blessing.

The third obstacle is doubt, and many today doubt the very existence of this promise, as well as the possibility of coming into possession of it. Listed in the top tier of obstacles that stand in the way of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is also lack of consecration, as well as refusal to confess one’s sin. If the baptism of the Holy Spirit is seen as merely an alternative, then problems will surely arise, because it must be seen as a necessity, and this is why a complete and total dedication as well as a hunger and desire for this baptism are paramount.

More could be said concerning the obstacles that stand in the way of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but since time is pressing I want to discuss the evidence and the result of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is comprised of two elements. First is the receiving of a special power from the Holy Spirit, and second is the physical initial sign of the presence of this baptism which is manifested by speaking in tongues.

Yes, speaking in tongues is biblical, and it is the immediate evidence of having received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Speaking in tongues is a supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit, through which the believer speaks in another tongue, a tongue that he has never studied or learned. Tongues can either be known languages of the earth, but they can also be unknown tongues.

Speaking in tongues can be received as a sign that one has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, or as a gift, meaning one of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit. When speaking in tongue is the sign that one has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of the believer and the Holy Spirit unite and praise and verbally prophecy. Tongues are not provoked by the mind of man, but they work in concert with our mental faculties.

1 Corinthians 13:14, “What is the result then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.”

Nowhere in scripture does it say that the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues but that we speak in tongues. Paul declares as such when he says, ‘for if I pray in another tongue, my spirit prays.’

The baptism of the Holy Spirit took place in Jerusalem, Samaria, Damascus, Caesarea, and Ephesus as the book of Acts tells us, and in three of the five cases, the sign of this experience was clearly defined. Although there exists a variety in the way we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, whether by prayer, instantaneously or by laying on of hands, speaking in tongues was and is an integral part of it in every case. The first, as well as the last mention of the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the book of acts, also includes the mention speaking in tongues.

The Church was born on resurrection day, when Christ breathed on His disciples and said, ‘take Holy Spirit’, and it was equipped with power on the day of Pentecost that it may preach the gospel of the kingdom of God with authority. So the baptism of the Holy Spirit is what equips the saints to walk the narrow path of faith, and absent the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we are ill equipped to fight the battles that we know we must fight along the way.

Before we go there is one last thing that we must understand, and it is crucial, speaking in tongues is not a power, but it is the proof that there is a power in us. Tongues are the proof that we have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but once we have received it we must continue to grow in the grace and gifts of God. For many speaking in tongues is a purpose in and of itself, however it ought not to be so. There is more to the baptism of the Holy Spirit than the initial evidence of speaking in tongues, and once we perceive the power and authority that comes with this anointing we will be able to do great exploits for God.

I realize there are still many aspects of the baptism of the Holy Spirit that I did not cover, but the person of the Holy Spirit is a deep and wide topic, thus the reason for the forthcoming series on the Holy Spirit. Yes, I rushed through a lot in a very short time, but there is only so much time we can spend together, and I want them to be packed with the truth, wisdom and knowledge of the Word of God. My prayer is that you now have a general knowledge of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, its benefits, its necessity, its present availability, and the fact that Jesus promised it to all those who believe, who humble themselves in repentance, and who cry out to Him in faith.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great teaching! If what I believe does not line up with God's Word, then it is my belief that must change and submit to His authority.

Carole S. said...

Thank you, Michael, for your teaching. Be encouraged and stand strong in the Lord. Appreciate you.