As we continue to move toward Pentecost Sunday on May 31, I feel as though we should continue to study about the Holy Spirit and being Spirit filled. This week we’re going to be considering, “Why is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit so important?”
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience. It’s a gift that
God desires for every believer to have. Consider some of the following
observations regarding the infilling or Baptism of the Holy Spirit: 1. It
is not all we talk about in Pentecostal churches. We preach a balance. But the
Holy Spirit is a very important Biblical truth that must be taught and sought
after regularly. 2. It is not unbiblical or outdated. The fact of the matter is
that most scholars (who do not believe tongues are for today) do recognize that
they were operative and functional in the Early Church.
Typically, people who do say that tongues have ceased today use
this passage as their justification: 1 Corinthians 13:8–10 “Love never
fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are
tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For
we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness
comes, what is in part disappears” NIV. These people
would say that “the perfection” that Paul is talking about is the Word of God.
That we have the complete canon of Scripture now and therefore we don’t need
prophecies: we don’t need the gifts of the Spirit or the baptism in the Spirit
today. They’re not for today because we have the Bible.
Is that what Paul is talking about when Christ is talking about perfection? The Bible? Let’s read on. 1 Corinthians 13:11–12 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” NIV. The perfection that Paul is talking about is that moment when you and I see Jesus face to face and are fully known. The exciting truth is that there is coming a day when we will see Jesus!
Let’s now take a look at 1 John 3:2: “Dear friends, now we are
children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know
that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” It
is in this moment that we will know. So Paul is not talking about the Bible as
the standard of perfection, but rather Jesus. When He appears, we will know
even as we are known.
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not some transcendental
experience. To speak in tongues is not to resign control of your body, neither does it mean your emotions carry you
away. The exercise of a spiritual language involves a conscious choice on your
part to allow God’s assistance in helping you to speak, pray, in a language you
do not know. It is simply God working through you.
Furthermore, it is not a status symbol. If you’ve not been filled
with the Holy Spirit, you’re not a second-class Christian. And it is not a
substitute for spiritual growth. Spiritual growth requires reading
the Bible, spending time in God’s presence – through prayer & worship, and
fellowshipping with other believers. These are the ways to grow
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a command! It concerns me
greatly that in Pentecostal churches we have presented the Holy Spirit as
though He is an option – “Take Him if you want to.” Look at Ephesians 5:17–18 “Therefore
do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s Will is. 18 Do not
get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the
Spirit” NIV. And Jesus told His disciples to wait (Acts
1:4). The truth is that God’s heart for all of us is for every one
of us to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Speaking in tongues is the initial (first) evidence of being
baptized in the Holy Spirit. When someone is filled with the Holy
Spirit, he or she will speak in a language (a heavenly language) they haven’t
been taught. Some might say, “Pastor, I feel like I’m filled with
the Holy Spirit and I don’t speak in tongues.” We must be careful,
friends. We cannot formulate doctrine solely on our personal experience, otherwise,e
we may be misled and manipulated.
We will take the rest of our time this week and consider three things: What is the baptism in the Holy Spirit? What are the benefits of being baptized in the Holy Spirit? And: What are the barriers that keep people from being baptized in the Holy Spirit?