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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 17

The Advent Part 9

The sixth passage concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit, a passage that is interconnected with the fifth passage is when Peter defends his ministry to the gentiles, and reminds the apostles and brethren in Judea who contended with him for having visited the uncircumcised and eaten with them, that it was God who had baptized the gentiles with the Holy Spirit, there was no way he could have withstood God.

Acts 11:15-17, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”

Peter was explaining himself, and his reasoning for having entered the house of a gentile, trying to get the brethren to see that it was not something he had intended but rather something God had mandated. What never ceases to amaze me is that the apostles and the brethren who were in Judea, simply lashed out at Peter upon hearing that the gentiles had also received the word of God. They were not excited, enthused, thankful, or joyous, they did not inquire as to the supernatural event that took place wherein the gentiles were baptized with the Holy Spirit, they simply pointed the finger at Peter and said, ‘you went and ate with gentiles!’

‘The Holy Spirit fell upon them? They started speaking in tongues? God gave them the same gift as He has given us? Nope, none of that matters, irrelevant, beside the point, what’s really important brother Peter, is that you went and ate with gentiles! You entered the house of the uncircumcised! Explain yourself sir before we have you excommunicated!’

Thankfully after Peter explained everything the brethren came to their senses, but it just goes to show that human nature hasn’t changed much throughout the centuries, and we hold as violently to our pet doctrines today as the brethren of Judea did two thousand years ago.

Acts 11:18, “When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, ‘then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”

Oh that we would glorify God for the wonderful works He does; Oh that we would glorify God for granting repentance to life even to those whom in our pride and arrogance we deemed unworthy of Christ; Oh that we would glorify God when He pours out His Holy Spirit and not try to douse the fire with our doubts and preconceived doctrinal beliefs. Oh that we would learn to be humble, and meek, and obedient, and once in a while even silent, that we might understand the work of God is greater than the limitations we’ve placed upon Him, and that His will, will be done if not with us, then in spite of us.

The seventh passage concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit, teaches us what it means to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free – and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”

By one Spirit we were baptized into one body, regardless of nationality, skin color, gender, or age. We are baptized into one body by one Spirit.

So in six of the seven scriptures that we’ve gone through the advent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost is highlighted, and in the seventh we are shown what the Holy Spirit does in the inner part of a man, and that we were all baptized into one body upon being baptized in the Spirit.

The unity of the Body of Christ is brought about by the Holy Spirit, and not by the plans and machinations of men. We can have all the interdenominational breakfasts we can stomach, we can have interdenominational pastoral retreats, we can attend services and become aware of the differences of other denominations, but unless the Holy Spirit is present, unless we have been baptized into one body, all our efforts will be for naught, all our efforts will do nothing to facilitate the much sought after unity. There is one Spirit, and there is one body, and all who are baptized into this one body, have been made to drink into one Spirit.

Biblically, there is a difference between water baptism, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Water baptism is the symbol, or the confession of one’s faith, while the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the reality thereof. These two together, water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit constitute the true baptism, the one baptism that Paul speaks about in his epistle to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 4:4-6, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

Water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit are like two sides of the same coin. They are individual, and unique, yet only when they are together do they constitute the whole. Although water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit are two separate events, they constitute one baptism. It is when we have been baptized in water, and with the Holy Spirit that we have been baptized into Christ Jesus, and walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:3-4, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

2 comments:

Barbara said...

How do you feel about water baptism? Do you feel that there is a difference between the sprinkling baptism of an infant agaisnt its will, and the adult confession of sin and underwater baptism?

Some people say that the sprinkling baptism without public repentance is an inadequate baptism. What do you feel about this?

I think if the intention to baptise is there and the water is there, it shouldn't make a difference. I've been told I'm wrong.

Michael Boldea Jr. said...

I don't believe in infant baptism for the elementary reason that a baby cannot choose to repent. Baptism in its most basic form is the outwardly expresssion of an inward transformation, one that took place after true repentance brought the soul to the foot of the cross wherein he found forgiveness for his past and a hope for his future.
As John the Baptist so eloquently put it, 'Repent and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus.'
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.