Right before He ascended to the Father, Jesus told the disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit who was coming soon. Without the power of the indwelling Spirit, the disciples would lack the confidence and the power to spread His message of love and grace.
— When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
—Acts 2:1-4 (NKJV)
Like a mighty rushing wind, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples and filled the house where they were waiting. Flames of fire appeared and settled on each of them. Everyone in the place was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues as the Holy Spirit gave them the ability.
“I baptize you with water for repentance,” John the Baptist had prophesied. “But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11, NIV).
“Do not leave Jerusalem,” Jesus had told the disciples, “but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1: 4-5, NIV).
What was this gift—this baptism of the Holy Spirit—the “fire” foretold by John the Baptist and the promise confirmed by Jesus? It was without question the coming of the Holy Spirit in power on the day of Pentecost.
Just as the disciples needed the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, so do we. Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we lack the confidence to spread God’s message of love and grace. Without Him living within us, we cannot see with His eyes or hear with His eyes and understand with His heart. Without the Holy Spirit, we have little confidence in who we are in Jesus. Peace comes and goes. Joy is circumstantial. We have no revelation of wisdom in our knowledge of God’s Truth. Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we just lack the power to be the New Testament church.
Especially poignant are Jesus’ words, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (Luke 11:13, NIV). “If you believe,” Jesus also said, “you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer" (Matthew 21:22, NIV). When you ask, you receive.
“Be filled with the Holy Spirit,” Paul wrote (Ephesians 5:18). This directive reveals an urgency and need for each believer to have the indwelling power of the Spirit. “Be filled” is in the present progressive tense which means it is something that is ongoing. Receiving the Holy Spirit does not just happen one time. It is continual—flowing into you and out of you like rivers of living water. At the same time “be filled” is in the passive voice. This shows that the subject of the verb—the believer—is not being filled by his own means, but is being filled by the means of another—the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit empowers the life of a believer that has little confidence in their identity in Christ. Only He fills that place where peace and joy are fleeting. Only He lives completely in you—in spirit, mind, and body—in depths that you never thought possible. Only He inspires greater faith that moves mountains.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit imparts the confident hope and power for which Paul prayed for believers to receive. “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 1:18-20, NLT).
God wants you to receive all that His Son died to give you. He is the one who sees you as the holy vessel He created—the one who rose from the dead so that you are a new creation—the one who redeems your past, your present, and your future—the one who imparts supernatural healing, peace, and joy—the one who pours into you His power to understand all Truth. Lay before Him every preconceived notion of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. You have nothing to fear in surrender but only incredible joy in receiving the spiritual gifts He has for you.
Praise the Lord that His salvation is your promise of heaven! But the baptism of the Holy Spirit is something more. It is your promise that you will have the power to live a full and rewarding life here on earth—the one that Jesus paid for you to have with His life.
Smith Wigglesworth, a British evangelist who lived from 1859 until 1947, said the following concerning the gift of tongues the Spirit gave him when he received the baptism:
“This evidence is too wonderful for me. I knew I had received the very evidence of the Spirit’s incoming that the Apostles received on the day of Pentecost…Now I knew I had the biblical baptism in the Spirit. It had the backing of Scriptures. “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto man but unto God: for no man understandeth him, howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.’ It goes on to say, ‘He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself.’”
“Oh, Hallelujah!” Wigglesworth continued. “Have you been there, beloved? I tell you, God wants to take you there…Enter into the promises of God. It is your inheritance. You will do more in one year if you are really filled with the Holy Ghost than you could do in fifty years apart from Him.”
“But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20, NKJV).
© 2021 Lynn Lacher