Monday, September 7, 2015

Power From On High Part 2--baptism of the Holy Spirit

This week, we continued our series on the Holy Spirit.  This week we started in Acts 1:8.  There are many questions about receiving the Holy Spirit that we addressed that are critical.

Who is it for?  We looked at Acts 2:17.  The gift of the Holy Spirit is for all people.  Just like salvation, we have to choose to receive the gift to have it, but anyone who believes can have it.

When is it for?  Some believe that the Holy Spirit was only for a certain time in history, but Joel says it is for "all flesh" in the "last days," which is the time after Jesus until He comes again. 

What is it for?  It's to empower us to achieve our God-given purpose.  We have provision to walk out our purpose for each day, no matter how big or how small it may be.  Some days our purpose may be just living for God in what may seem to be small ways, and others bigger, but all of them can be huge when done with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  God's power to do all those things is available to us through the Holy Spirit.

Didn't I get the Holy Spirit when I got saved? Why is there this other thing I am to receive?  John 20 says yes, the Spirit is "in us" at salvation, but the baptism of the Spirit is the Spirit "upon us," which is God's power on us.  Jesus breathed on them here to signify the Holy Spirit in them.  The word here is the same word used elsewhere for the soul that God put within us that makes us different than other creatures.  This was restoring the life and relationship with God Adam and Eve had in the garden.  Then Jesus tells them to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit to come.  We also looked at Luke 4:18, which shows that the Spirit "upon us" empowers us to fulfill our God-given purpose.  In the Old Testament, the power of the Spirit came upon people for specific purposes (Samson is one example).  Back then, it wasn't always available, but only in certain situations.  Since we now have the Spirit in us, we can have that all the time!  We also looked at John 14:16 and following.  Jesus adds to the Holy Spirit in and upon us, "with us."  We could also call it "among us."  This is when believers come together in unity and connects us to each other and to Him, like in worship, where we can even "feel" His presence.

Why do we call it the baptism of the Holy Spirit?  If it is in, with, and upon us, we are immersed completely in it. 

How do I receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit?  Many times we as Christians have made it difficult to receive this by putting rules on how and when we can receive the gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but it really is as available to us as salvation is to anyone who believes.

Do I have to pray in tongues to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit?  Tongues is one evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but not the only one; however, it is still an important part of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  We looked at Genesis 11:1, where the people were unified with one language, and God said nothing would be impossible for them.  Praying in tongues gives us one language, God's language, to pray in.  It may not sound the same, but we are praying God's words, and that unifies us toward His purpose.