By Dr Cecil Stewart OBE
Fifth study in the Basic Truth Series
THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Our heavenly father is the giver of the Holy Spirit, see John 14:16-18. I will always remember the night I received the Holy Spirit as a teenager in the Republic of Ireland. My life has never been the same, it was as if I was connected to a heavenly electric socket and the power surged through me from head to toe, joys filled my spirit as wave after wave of His power came through me; and I praised God in a heavenly language for many many days. Following my experience of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit I found a new love and compassion in my heart for the lost and a new courage and boldness to stand up and share the gospel. I found that supernatural power would flow through my hands as I prayed with people who were sick or needed guidance and help they would regard that same power and answers to their needs. Then I discovered a new deep hunger in my hearts to be in prayer meetings and listen to the word of God being explained. Now let me mention three important words that I believe will help you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and also minister to others who will seek to receive in the future.
Remember the Father is the giver and He only gives good gifts, see James 1:17. When I was a young Christian, I was told that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not for today but I discovered that Jesus said in John 14: 6 that the Holy Spirit abides with us forever. Everything we receive from God comes by faith and faith comes by hearing the Word, Romans 10:17; so we need to know what God has promised us so that we can have faith to receive it. John 14:26 promises that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things, and bring all things that Jesus said to our remembrance. So we should expect to be led into truth when we receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. In Luke 24:49-53, Jesus said “I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” Acts 2: 39 says: “For the promise is to you and to your children...”And in Acts 2:16-18, it says: “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel…” see Joel 2:21-32. Prophecy was being fulfilled then and it is still being fulfilled today as multitudes receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit all over the world. John 16:7-14: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:of sin, because they do not believe in Me;of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”
John the Baptist said that Jesus would baptise with the Holy Ghost and fire, Matthew 3:11. So His promise is plain to all who would open their hearts and receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit today. Paul asked believers in Acts 19:2:“He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?”(KJV) So the baptism is an experience following salvation. But there does not necessarily need to be a long time lapse between receiving salvation and the Holy Spirit. So we see that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is available to all born again believers today and if ever we needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit, it certainly is now, see Ephesians 5:18; Acts 1:8.
God never gives us anything without a purpose and the purpose of Him giving us the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is to enable us to do His will and continue the ministry which He began, read Mark 16:15-20. We have been called as believers to do a supernatural job and there is no way that we can accomplish this in natural wisdom and power. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to carry out the great commission today. Luke 4:18 shows us the ministry of Jesus and we are called to carry on the same ministry, so that those who are in bondage do not need to be in these circumstances any longer, but they can be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Acts 10:38 reminds us : “How God anointed Jesusof Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
Today, we are the body of Christ and Jesus expresses himself through His body in the power of the Holy Spirit. All four writers of the Gospel mentioned the baptism of the Holy Spirit, see Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16 and John 1:33. The purpose of the Holy Spirit is not that we might have spiritual luxury for ourselves but that we might be fully equipped to overcome the works of the devil and to carry on the same ministry as Jesus did.
God’s Holy Spirit brings new power into our lives and destroys fear of the devil, fear of circumstances; all kinds of fear have to leave when we receive the power of the Holy Spirit, see 2 Timothy 1:7. The Bible refers to the early apostles and shows how they were bold after receiving the Holy Spirit. Once they were timid and ashamed but having received the baptism, it changed them into courageous people with no fear whatsoever. In Acts 2:11, we see the picture of Peter speaking out, who once was denying the Lord: “Cretans and Arabs--we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God." We do not need another Pentecost, what happened at Pentecost still stands. In Acts 8: 14-17, we see how the new converts at Samaria heard about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and faith was developed in their hearts so that they could receive it. In Acts 10: 44-46, we see the power of God at the house of Condilius as the Word was ministered. God’s Word is full of power, it brings light and revelation, it shows us what our inheritance is and therefore creates faith so that we can claim what is ours.
1 Corinthians 14:4, the apostle Paul said: “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.” The Holy Spirit will lead us and guide us into all truths; he will reveal Jesus to us. So we need to continually stay filled with the power of the Holy Spirit by spending time daily in his presence.
The Holy Spirit directs, see Acts 10:19.
The Holy Spirit gives life, see John 6:63.
The Holy Spirit teaches, see John 14:26.
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