Summary: It all started in a small 2nd story room in Jerusalem on the Jewish feast of Pentecost. “They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues.” In those few words, we find the unique emphasis of our church.
The Empowering Experience of the Spirit
Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, writes;
“mention the power of the Holy Spirit and most people think of miraculous demonstrations and intense emotions. Most of the time the power of the Holy Spirit is released in your life in quiet, unassuming ways... nudges and gentle whispers. Christlikeness is not produced by imitation, but by inhabitation!”
The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren, 2002, Zondervan
It is being INHABITED by God - being filled with the Holy Spirit- that is what I want to talk about this morning,
As He was preparing to leave the disciples, Jesus said this.
TEXT: Acts 1:8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Our Scripture text this morning brings us to one of the New Testament’s exciting stories, the birth of the Church and the power experience that transformed those first Believers.
Acts 2. read vv. 1-4.
If you are familiar with the rest of the book of Acts, you know that these men and women did amazing things - in a hostile world, with very little in the way of resources. In one generation, the message of Christ’s salvation had spread from Jerusalem to the whole Roman Empire! Within 300 years, the Gospel had changed the world!
How did they do it?
They were empowered by the Spirit.
It all started in a small 2nd story room in Jerusalem on the Jewish feast of Pentecost. “They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues.” In those few words, we find the unique emphasis of our church. Our understanding of this passage is what makes us different from Baptists, Presbyterians, or the Alliance church. This church is a local congregation of the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal fellowship. What does that description - PENTECOSTAL - mean?
The nickname - “Pentecostal” – comes from the day on which those first Believers experienced that empowering by the Spirit. It was the Jewish feast of Pentecost, so named because it came 50 days after Passover. We are called “Pentecostal” because we believe that the Filling of the Spirit that those first Christians in Jerusalem experienced on that Day is an experience of transformation that God still gives to Believers today!
Jesus promised, (READ 1:5)
“In a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” They were and the world has never been the same!
So what is the Baptism in the Spirit?
By choosing the terminology of baptism, Jesus gave us an image, a way of understanding, what happens to us when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Most of you have witnessed a conversion baptism. A person who has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord makes that decision a public testimony by submitting to baptism.
Going into the water, he or she is plunged fully under the surface, coming up soaking wet, dripping water, and sometimes sputtering. There is a visible difference before and after baptism. Jesus says that He will plunge us into the Presence of the Holy Spirit saturating our beings: body, soul, and spirit, with the Divine and radically changing us in the process!
Some Christians will ask? “But didn’t I receive the Holy Spirit when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior?” Yes, you did. If you had not received the Spirit of God, you would not have spiritual life or eternal salvation. The Holy Spirit is the agent the bringer of life to our spirits once deadened by sin and disobedience.
Titus 3:5-7 assures us that
“He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
The Baptism with the Spirit is not about whether you have the Spirit; but rather about how much the Spirit owns you!
There is a second spiritual experience for every Believer that involves our full embrace of His presence. This happens when we become hungry for more of God, for a life that is more consistently holy, for spiritual power in our lives. Our desire for God causes us to press in near to the heart of God, to long intensely for more of Him, and to give ourselves fully to the Spirit.
Through history churches and teachers have called this deepening and empowering experience by many names:
∙ the second blessing,
∙ the second work of grace.
Why not just use the Bible’s term?
The Scripture calls this moment of surrender when the Holy Spirit takes full control of an individual: the Baptism with the Holy Spirit.