Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 16

The Advent Part 8

Other than the second chapter of the book of Acts, there are seven verses within the New Testament in which the baptism of the Holy Spirit is mentioned. Three of the passages center around John the Baptist’s prophetic foretelling of He who is to come after him, namely Christ Jesus, who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Matthew 3:11, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Mark 1:8, “I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Luke3:16, “John answered, saying to them all, ‘I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal straps I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

In the fourth of seven passages concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we find John testifying, concerning the person of Jesus, and that the way he knew Him, was because that which was foretold to him concerning the Christ, and that the Spirit would descend upon Him, came to pass.

John 1:30-34, “This is He of whom I said, ‘after me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me. I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.’ And John bore witness saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

John had been commissioned of God to baptize in water, but he was also told of God that one day a Man would come to him, a Man preferred before him for He was before him, and the way John would recognize this man would be that the Holy Spirit would descend upon Him, and remain on Him. This prophecy concerning the Christ came to pass as Jesus came to be baptized by John, and the Holy Spirit descended from heaven like a dove, and remained on Him.

There is no doubt in John’s testimony, there is not a shadow of turning in his witness, he knew who Jesus was because what he had been told would happen happened, and due to this, due to the fact that He saw the Holy Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, he testifies that this is the Son of God.

The fifth and sixth passages concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit are found in the book of Acts, and therein we also see gentiles being baptized in the Holy Spirit. So for those who continue to affirm that the Holy Spirit descended only on the hundred and twenty in the upper room, then returned to the Father, the Word of God contradicts you.

Acts 10:44-46, “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they had heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.”

So who were these gentiles that received the gift of the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues? They were the relatives and close friends of a centurion named Cornelius, in the opinion of many, the first gentile to be converted to the faith. Although the Word does not specify a number, due to the fact that it tells us Cornelius gathered both his relatives and close friends chances are there were more than a handful of people. It was upon these individuals that the Holy Spirit fell, uncircumcised gentiles, something that astonished those who had come with Peter.

Acts 10:34-35, “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘in truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.”

Before this particular event, Peter as well as those that had come with him has a well-established preconceived notion concerning gentiles, and those who were not circumcised. They believed that salvation was for the Jews alone, and that the gentiles could never attain that which they had attained. Yet God turned their entire doctrine on its ear by transforming Cornelius and his household, and likewise baptizing them with the Holy Spirit. Upon seeing this, Peter realized the fact that God shows no partiality and that in every nation, whoever fears God and works righteousness is accepted by God. Here was a man who was willing to let go of his preconceived notions, a man who realized that he didn’t know it all, that he hadn’t arrived, and that yes, he had been wrong concerning gentiles and their ability to be converted.

What if Peter would have been set in his ways as many believers of certain denominations are concerning certain doctrines? What would have happened if he didn’t have a teachable spirit, or the humility to admit that he was wrong?

‘Well, gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues just doesn’t fly, nope, can’t be, it must be of the devil. There is a consensus on this matter after all, the majority agrees, so even though there is no Biblical foundation for what we believe, the majority consensus proves that what these gentiles are experiencing is not of God.’

I submit to you that if Peter and those that had come with him were as set in their ways as some denominationalists are today, upon seeing Cornelius and his household receive the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues they would have attempted to rebuke the devil, denounce the entire thing as demonic, brand them all heretics, and wipe the dust of their feet on the way out.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.


Mary Lamoray said...

Concerning John and his 'not knowing' Christ... I often wonder about the fact that 1.they were cousins, 2.John was filled with the Spirit from his mothers womb, 3. Jesus grieved for John when he was beheaded ... How was it that John did not know who Jesus was as they were growing up? Or was this because they were living too far apart? I just wonder at this... What am I missing? The Word of God is always true, so any misunderstanding is with me...

Michael Boldea Jr. said...

All three of your points are valid, and true, yet John was still human, and the reality of who Jesus was, was a monumental one. Would you not have questions, perhaps even doubts if your cousin was said to be the Messiah, the Savior of the world, the Son of God come in the flesh?
It is difficult for the human mind to process such a monolithic truth, this is why John inquired and sent word to ask Jesus if He was the One, or if they were waiting for another.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Mary Lamoray said...

hmmm.... well, obviously John needed confirmation from the Holy Spirit just as we do. So the fact that he was filled with the Spirit, did not mean that he understood everything of the Spirit. And just as we falter at times and stumble... John also needed reassurance when he was in prison...even though he had seen the sign of the dove alighting on Jesus and heard the voice of God at the time when he baptized him. Being filled with the Spirit didn't make him perfect, he was still human, just as we are. we need confirmation on things and reassurance at times too... I think I understand now... am I correct??