Summary: The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not just for Pentecostals.
Church 101: A Beginners Guide to Church
Part 8 – The Holy Spirit and Church
The Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyers Journal printed the following questions actually asked of witnesses during trial lawyers:
· The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
· Was it you or your younger brother who was killed in the war?
· How far apart were the vehicles at the time of the collision?
· You were there until the time you left, is that true?
Some questions do not deserve an answer.
The questions about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, however, do deserve an answer.
Tonight, we are going to try to answer some of the tough questions surrounding this important subject.
This teaching has been abused by an unbalanced focus on tongues that sets up a sort of spiritual elitism—the have’s and the have nots.
-This too can cause many of us to miss all that God has for us.
A correct understanding of the Bible’s teaching on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is like aiming the gun at the target,
Experiencing God’s fullness and power is like pulling the trigger—which only the Spirit can do.
I. Does the Old Testament address Spirit Baptism?
The Old Testament may seem like a strange place to begin our discussion of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, but it provides some important background that will help settle some of the confusion.
In the Old Testament, there are two primary functions of the Holy Spirit:
The first function of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament is Power
While the Spirit’s empowering work is evident in the OT, it was limited to select individuals and in most cases “came upon” them for a relatively brief period of time for a specific purpose (prophesy, deliverance).
However, the Old Testament looks for to a new day when the Messiah, Jesus, would bring about an age when all of God’s people would receive this empowerment to do God’s work.
In Joel expresses that hope
Joel 2:28-32, “And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
30 I will show wonders in the heavens
and on the earth,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
31 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.
32 And everyone who calls
on the name of the LORD will be saved”
In contrast to the Old era, when the Spirit’s empowering work was limited to select individuals, the outpouring of the Spirit in this future age will extend to all God’s people and will be characterized by the Spirit’s empowering work.
The second function of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament is Purification.
The Old Testament looks ahead to the Spirit’s future inner-transforming or purifying work.
This is clearly seen in Ezekiel 36:25-27:
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
Ezekiel is describing a new age where God would transform the hearts of His people by God’s own Spirit taking up residence in each individual.
II. What is the baptism in the Holy Spirit?
It depends on who you ask. You need to understand that biblical writers sometimes use the same words and phrases in different ways.
(ILL) For example, what if I used this phrase, “John Smith is hot.”
-What does that phrase mean? (turn to your neighbor and tell them what it means—get feedback)
What if the context was that the phrase, “John Smith is hot” was on the cover of a sports page, then what would it mean?
-What if that phrase was on the cover of People magazine’s issue of “The sexiest man alive”—what would it mean?
-What if there was a picture of John Smith furiously yelling at someone, what would it mean?
-What if a nurse had just taken his temperature and was reporting to the family how he felt?
The same phrase used by different people in different circumstances can mean different things.
1. According to Paul
1 Corinthians 12:12-13, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”