Summary: My goal in this sermon is to convince you from Scripture that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience for empowerment that is subsequent to salvation.
The Baptism in the Holy Spirit, pt. 1
Lighthouse Assembly of God
7/27/08 and 8/3/08
Pastor Greg Tabor
This week and next week we will be looking at the Doctrine of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and the Doctrine of the Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. We are a Pentecostal Church. We are at least associated with a Pentecostal fellowship of Churches called the Assemblies of God. If you and I attend what was started as a Pentecostal Church, and if our Church associates itself with a larger body of Pentecostal Churches, then it would be logical for us to understand what is meant by Pentecostal and to either grasp hold of this, or reject it and go our separate ways.
My goal is that you and I revisit (or for some for the first time visit) the doctrines that led to the founding of this fellowship of Churches called the Assemblies of God. Furthermore, my goal is that these doctrines are either reaffirmed in our hearts or that we are convinced that these doctrines are Biblical truth and that their application to our lives changes our lives forever as well as the lives of those we encounter.
Article VII in the Statement of Fundamental Truths sets out the Assemblies of God’s position on the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It begins by saying:
“All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Ghost and fire, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
If we are entitled to this and should ardently expect and earnestly seek this, then we must first be convinced that it is real and that our position on it is more than what some evangelicals state, merely part of the conversion experience.
To prove this doctrine is real and that it is for you today, I am going to divide my message up into three points each starting with the letter “P.” They are “Promise,” “Purpose,” “Perpetual.” Let’s begin with “Promise.”
Let’s first of all look at two Old Testament passages:
“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. 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. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezekiel 36:25-27 NIV
Anthony Palma writes, “The promise is clearly related to the New Testament concept of regeneration. Paul speaks about “the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5), echoing Jesus’ statement about the need to be “born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5). The transformation that takes place with the new birth results in an altered lifestyle, made possible by the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Spirit dwells within all believers (Rom. 8:9,14-16; 1 Cor. 6:19); therefore the idea of a believer without the Holy Spirit is a contradiction in terms.” (The Holy Spirit: A Pentecostal Perspective p.96).
Let’s stop here before we move on. We see a prophecy here concerning the indwelling Spirit. When someone becomes a Christian they are indwelt by the Spirit. Romans 8:9b NIV, “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” There is no way as a Pentecostal that I would ever say that someone professing Christ who has not been baptized with the Holy Spirit with the initial physical evidence of speaking in tongues does not have the Spirit already indwelling within them. You cannot be a Christian without the Holy Spirit having taken up residence within you.
But we need to contrast this passage in Ezekiel with another Old Testament prophecy that Luke records as being fulfilled in Acts 2. Acts 2:17-21 has Peter quoting Joel 2:28-32. Listen to what he says:
““‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (NIV)
Anthony Palma comments on this:
“Joel’s prophecy is quite different from Ezekiel’s. It does not talk about inner transformation, a changed lifestyle, or the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Instead, the Lord says, “’I will pour out my Spirit on all people’” (2:28). The result will be very dramatic – the recipients will prophesy, dream, and see visions.” (The Holy Spirit: A Pentecostal Perspective. p.97).