GOD’S STORY Part 7 Baptism of Holy Spirit…. He is necessary for growth beyond our sinful nature
Tongues of Fire “sat upon each of them” in the upper room as recorded in Acts 2:3
What does that indicate? And why haven’t we witnessed tongues of fire as they did?
Here at Preparing the Bride, I’m telling GOD’S STORY. Presumptuous?! Not when simply looking at scripture, because scripture is the unfolding of God’s story to us who read it.
How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? We learn GOD’s Story. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked.
So, I proceed on a deeper look at Holy Spirit, the person of GOD:
The key for our character growth is not how Holy Spirit manifests but why we need Him. For salvation, when we receive Jesus, the Holy Spirit is as a seal upon that prayer commitment. So, one could say for salvation, you only need the seal, not the baptism. But what if you want to walk beyond your sinful nature. What if you desire to “be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” as Jesus suggests in Matthew 5:48?
We work out our own salvation with fear and trembling… We come before the LORD in humility with repentant hearts. Jesus offers us complete freedom from sin through salvation through faith in Him (Ephesians 2:8-9) but also from sinfulness, from our very propensity to rebel, to sin, to walk in our own will. How is this changed? How are we transformed?
Our transformation is by Holy Spirit
Have you ever wondered why Jesus sent the comforter? Have you ever wondered why He needs to dwell within us? His seal, our salvation, is just the first step.
Have you ever wondered why the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) are listed as of the Spirit?
Our character is in Christ at the moment of our commitment to Him. BUT for our character to be transformed into His likeness by GOD’s sweet grace, He’s provided us with the Holy Spirit. Jesus left earth after His resurrection in order for this “Helper” to come. And how does He help us where Jesus did not?
Jesus is the role model. But Holy Spirit enables us to fulfil the role.
I will say this another way: Jesus, son of GOD, son of man, came to earth that He could take on our sin in our stead. He was and is perfect. But we are not. Even at the point of our salvation, though GOD no longer sees our sin, we still wrestle within ourselves. Anxiety, fear, control, wilfulness, rebellion, impatience, misery, negative thought, jealousy, insecurity… these are just some of the human traits we wrestle against. Holy Spirit teaches us how to rid ourselves of them and He helps us to retrain our thinking and our action toward the love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, patience, faith and self control …. the grace… which He moulds in our character.
Then we model Jesus with our own unique personality.
How to live without baptism of Holy Spirit… Why live with baptism of Holy Spirit
Apollos was a minister mentioned several times in Acts and in Paul’s letters. Originally, he’d only been baptised in the name of John, until Priscilla and Aquila taught him “more accurately”. (Acts 18)
Apollos moved from having little knowledge to a fuller understanding. Likely he originally knew little of the Spirt having only been baptised in the name of John. Gaining fuller and deeper understanding from Priscilla and Aquila, his ministry must have grown for Paul to refer to him with the respect he showed. (1 Corinthians 3)
Like Apollos in his early days with Jesus, some Believers are walking in partial experience of GOD’s salvation. We all need Jesus, and the seal of the Spirit evidences our salvation. But also we all need Holy Spirit baptism in our journey toward heaven, so that our character can be more effective on earth and I daresay, we live more peace-filled lives. This surely is a delight to the LORD.
Are we saved without baptism of Holy Spirit. Well, of course it isn’t up to me, but I believe so, yes. Is a person without baptism of Holy Spirit equal with those with? I can only witness my own journey…
My testimony of life before and after Baptism of Holy Spirit
I gave my life to the LORD at age 24. At age 31 I was a committed Christian who swore, was anxious and controlling, lacked inner peace. At age 32 I was challenged by a fellow-believer to seek water baptism.
At first, I contested. I had been christened as a child. Surely that was the same thing. But that night, before I went to bed, I wondered, “Why was I so argumentative about baptism?” I felt convicted, ‘Because I need to be baptised’ was the answer that fed back to me.
Some days later, that same friend suggested I ask GOD for the gift of tongues. That bedtime on my own, I asked and the LORD bubbled within me, and as I opened my mouth, I began to speak in tongues.
It was shortly thereafter that I was able to find an opportunity to be water baptised. On that evening I testified, “I gave my life to Jesus for myself. But now, I get baptised in order to walk for others’ sake.”
At the point of re-emerging from the water, I felt Joy! ‘Ah’, I thought, ‘so this is what Joy is!?’ I had never felt it before.
From that moment maturity came upon me more and more quickly. I found it easier to yield my will to His. I stopped swearing virtually overnight. Early on, I felt like a part of me was dying and of course it was… the part or at least some of the part of me that very much needed to die: the carnal, fleshly part of me.
I’m still on that journey. But my understanding of the Word became much more clear and is acute now, in huge part because of Holy Spirit.
Why some say Holy Spirit gifts are passed
Holy Spirit gifts and power often need to be expected in order to be received. Faith and hope rise up in expectation of what GOD can do.
In the Dark Ages, people believed GOD but Catholicism had taken root in Europe. As a European descendent I know little other historical theology. Where Christianity flourished it was largely either Catholic or Orthodox. And during the Dark Ages, the Medieval times, there was — as far as I understand — little power evidence of Holy Spirit. Perhaps that is where the idea was birthed that such things as miracles had ceased. There are Biblical scriptures namely 1 Corinthians 13 that are taken to mean the gifts end but the saving grace and love of Jesus continue. But that is a stretch of scripture, as far as I can see.
There are forces against faith in Holy Spirit just as there are forces against faith in Jesus. And so, those saved but not walking in the Baptism of Holy Spirit have limited experience of the power and presence of GOD. Perhaps some have tremendous faith in Jesus but if taught not to expect anything more, they don’t seek and they don’t receive.
Further, some may fear manifestations which are reported as Holy Spirit by some but others contest. To that I bring you to scripture:
Luke 11:11 says,
“If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?”
GOD will not give us something that is unholy or unhealthy. We need to trust Him.
Matthew 7:7-12 says,
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?”
What is the manifestation of Holy Spirit
Ultimately, the litmus test regarding the Holy Spirit is the transformation of our character.
Discernment and experience will tell us whether something is “of GOD” or is “not of GOD”.
Our discernment will be spiritual and not of our opinion. We need to learn the difference.
Yes, there are forces of darkness and the devil is prowling around. But GOD is sovereign, GOD is bigger, GOD’s angels outnumber satan’s demons 2-1.
The manifestation of the Spirit of GOD will draw us closer to Him and will grow our character into that which more resembles His.
Sometimes we might seem undignified. If the LORD is removing some influence from us, we might have to physically break free as well as mentally or spiritually. David danced and his wife mocked him. Who was the loser of the two?
“So David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the Lord. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honour.” Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.” (2 Samuel 6:21-23)
Will you seek Holy Spirt and share His Truth
The reality is that the world is getting darker and we who are in Christ are shining more brightly. But we need more of GOD (and less of ourselves) as offered through the Holy Spirit in order to witness and to stand in these times.
Will you trust GOD more, will you surrender more of yourself to Him, will you receive all He offers, when He offers, in the way that He offers? Will you yield your life 100% to Him? I believe He’s asking us all. Who will say, “Yes and Amen”?