Ephesians 5:18 asks us not to be drunk on wine but to instead be filled with the Holy Spirit. In Acts1:4 Christ asked his disciples not to leave Jerusalem until the promised gift of the Holy Spirit came to them; this would be the one who would fill them with power that they needed to start ministry. The Holy Spirit is the mark of being prepared for ministry and speaking in tongues is what accompanies this in-filling. Christ left us with the command to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth, he promised us the infilling power that would accompany us in our walk as co-workers with Christ; that of the Holy Spirit.
Being saved is not enough on its own because the Gospel of Christ must go out to the whole world, as such, we workers must be prepared by the Holy Spirit for this great ministry. To this end are six things that you need to know about baptism by the Holy Spirit.
Firstly, it is a paradigm; that is a standard, or a prototype by which we operate henceforth. A ruler has twelve inches just like a kilometer defines a thousand meters. In the same way a born again Christian must be filled by the power of the Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 5:16 you are asked not to be drunk on wine which leads to debauchery but instead be filled with the Holy Spirit. No Christian should settle for any less than what Christ promised even to the disciples, that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came on them and then be his witnesses to the ends of the world. Do not therefore settle for half or a third of what was promised. If after water baptism you have not yet received the power of Holy Spirit, then you should yearn and pray for this. Christ is your standard, the paradigm of sound doctrine; such that when you are faced with a moral decision, ask yourself what Christ would do if he was in your situation.
Secondly, the baptism of the Holy Sprit is a prophesy. In Mathew 3:11 John the Baptist said that he only prepared the way and that he baptized with water only but the one who would come after him would do so with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Water baptism is an essential part of Christianity, but do not settle for it! In our walk with God, there are different levels of discipleship and we should yearn and seek for this experience of the Holy Spirit and as promised by our Savior Jesus Christ in order for us to grow.
Thirdly, it is personal. In John 7:37 Jesus said in a loud voice, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink'. This was a powerful and personal plea to the individual who yearns for God. No amount of preaching begging or imploring from you pastor will work. If you are dissatisfied with the form of godliness that you have, if what you need is not what you see, then you must take the step towards Christ and drink again from and of him. You must be willing to stop complaining and passionately cry out to him to 'do it again Lord'. Only you can seek him, your pastor cannot do that for you for he too has his own walk and faith to strengthen.
Fourthly, it is a priority. You may be busy with a whole lot of good things but there are always those that should be given first priority. Christ commissioned the disciples to go out and preach the Gospel. Through their connection with him, the disciples knew that they were destined to travel, to leave their comfort zones, to go far away. However before this, we see him on Acts 1:4-5 commanding them not to depart until the promised gift of the Father came to them. Similarly, God has commissioned us to go to nations for His honor and glory; Christ showed us through his conversation with the disciples, that it was a priority to first be filled with the Holy Spirit; the evidence of which was manifested in the speaking in tongues in Acts2:4. This speaks to you too, that before you go anywhere, get your credentials at the altar because you need more than water baptism to preach that which Christ has called you to do; you need the special anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Fifthly, it is a priviledge. People may not respond well to priorities but they certainly do to privilege. Christ spent about six weeks after his resurrection talking to the disciples about the kingdom of God but when they wanted to dig more, he basically asked them to mind their own business. Many of us spend time worrying about things that do not concern us yet in the book of 1Thesalonnians 4:11-12 is a caution by Paul to live a quiet life and mind our own business. The disciples were concerned about the Kingdom of Israel but Christ was concerned about the Kingdom that would have no end; the Kingdom of God. When we do not have the Holy Spirit, we have Christian godliness without power. The Holy Spirit is the priviledge we need in our Christianity for we are the salt and the light of the world. His power is what should concern us for our ministry.
Lastly, it is a principle. Ephesians 5:15-19 talks of a few of these tenets to adhere to; being careful, being wise not foolish, making the most of every opportunity but especially being filled with the Holy Spirit. If you are a Christian and are not filled with the Holy Spirit, then you are operating way below capacity and should seek this power.
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May these words (sermons), from various men and women of God be a blessing to all.
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