HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM
Many converted, water baptised people have good intentions but no power. You receive the Holy Spirit when you are converted but you can’t overcome strong temptation without the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Here is the proven cure for sins of addiction that hold back professing Christians.
Do not resist the Holy Spirit. Respond to His still small voice and confess all known sin openly to God, naming each one by its right name. Include all secret sin. Hold nothing back.
Believe God has forgiven you in full and has truly cleansed you. When doubts come and go in your mind, believe your beliefs and doubt your doubts. Believe God’s promise irrespective of intellectual objections.
Now ask specifically for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, to be overwhelmed by the Spirit. State your reasons: to overcome sin, to develop a hatred for sin, to gain a love for righteousness, to gain a love for people you dislike, to glorify God, to empower your Christian witness, to regain your first love for Jesus. Persevere in this sort of prayer with heartfelt intensity. Tears may flow. Strong emotions may emerge. If these don't occur, don’t be concerned, but it would be surprising if some emotion doesn't show when confessing all known sin to God in this way. Don’t do this in a rush. Allow plenty of time. You may do this in 30 minutes or repeat sessions of 30 minutes over a period of days. But it shouldn't take more than a few days. Perseverance is evidence that you really mean it and it isn’t just a rush job.
Believe that Jesus is more willing to give you His Holy Spirit than you are willing to receive it. You don't have to force God to give you His Holy Spirit. "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)
Believing you have received it, start praising God out loud. This will shift the focus away from you (and your sins) towards God. For some people the experience is immediate. For others there is a delayed reaction (like a roach-bomb) where the effects emerge gradually in an escalating way over some days.
EVIDENCE OF HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM
The evidence of Holy Spirit baptism is more moral than miraculous. It isn't about theater or public display. Genuine Holy Spirit baptism produces these:
- A strong sense of love.
- A powerful sense of peace and calm.
- Absence of self-consciousness or embarrassment.
- Assurance you have received it - there is no doubt.
- A desire to apologise to people you have wronged.
- A desire to forgive people who have wronged you.
- A boldness to witness to others that you didn’t have before.
- A deeper hatred for sin.
- A strong desire for righteousness.
- Deep joy.
- The tug of temptation has lessened.
This phenomena increases in strength and power over time. Don't try to rely on yesterday’s experience to see you through the rest of your days. You must drink, drink and drink again! Paul said "I die daily." (1 Corinthians 15:31)
You will find your witness will now be more effective on others, because the Holy Spirit is now speaking through you.
The devil fears Holy Spirit baptism because he is powerless against it.
On the day of Pentecost there was a supernatural outflowing from the person as a result of the infilling of the person. Their hearts had been filled full. It's from the abundance of whatever is in our heart that we speak. (Matthew 12:34-35)
When our hearts are filled by the Holy Spirit, it overflows through the mouth in speech. On all occasions in the New Testament when a person was filled with the Spirit, the person immediately spoke. On the day of Pentecost all 120 there physically spoke. (Acts 2:4)
The primary purpose of Holy Spirit baptism is highly effective service and Spirit-powered ministry. This explains why physical speech is the immediate aftermath of the baptism. We can't remain silent. Holy Spirit baptism may happen in our secret prayer closet, but we won't be able to keep it secret. Evidence of the baptism is our choice of words, tone and inflection. We become effective soul winners because of this baptism.
Holy Spirit baptism is a gift - not a fruit. God gifts it to anyone who asks. (Luke 11:13). A gift is received in a single transaction. Fruit comes by a slow process of growth. The fruit is the automatic result of the gift.
When justification is coupled with Holy Spirit baptism it spontaneously triggers sanctification. It requires no strenuous effort on our part because we have allowed God to work in us, to will and to do. Handing over our will to the Holy Spirit is all that's required. That's harder than slavishly following a bunch of rules.
In the New Testament the word 'holy' and 'sanctify' are the same word (hagio). Holy Spirit in Greek is 'pneumati hagio'. To be truly sanctified we must be baptised in the Holy Spirit.
Some Christians unwisely try to demand sanctification from others, but that's as futile as hammering open a rose bud to make it blossom. Justification declares us righteous but Holy Spirit baptism makes us righteous.
Holy Spirit baptism fits us for service because we become what we expect our listeners to be. People hear well when they see well.
EXPLOSIVE SPIRITUAL POWER
Jesus' last recorded words on earth are "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses ... to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
The word for "power" in that text is "dounamin" - from which we get the word "dynamite".
The power Jesus offers us is explosive power. Not even the resurrection of Jesus empowered the disciples, because it had occurred 40 days before Pentecost - and few people knew about it. It was the explosive power of Holy Spirit baptism that quickly spread the gospel far and wide.
Jesus' birth, life, death and resurrection are supernatural. The gospel is a supernatural message. It needs supernatural power to have communicate it as God intends. Supernatural power commands attention.
Evangelism based on theological argument turns people into arguers. The supernatural is the only realm in which the gospel can be effectively proclaimed. (Hebrews 2:3-4). The unbelieving world expects that.
We live below the will of God when we only present an intellectual message.
God's way is that we ensure His gospel is accompanied with supernatural power.
That's why Jesus' last words on earth were "You shall receive power ... and you shall be witnesses".
That's why the final explosive gospel proclamation before Jesus returns is described as an angel coming down with great power. (Revelation 18:1)