Last week we started talking about the baptism with the Holy Spirit how it is separate and distinct from salvation and water baptism. We looked at Acts 19:1-6 and I’m going to pick it up from there.
Jesus didn’t require salvation nor baptism but He went and was baptised by John the Baptist. That was His baptism with water, then when He came up from the water the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and rested on Him (John 1:32-33 and Luke 3:21-22, Matthew 3:16). Jesus did not commence His ministry until the moment when the Holy Spirit came and remained (kathizō). I think that is important to know as it shows us how much more we, as believers in Christ, need the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
I was raised a Christian, went to church on Sundays, went to Sunday school and the like. Knew Bible verses, knew about Jesus. Then one day in High school when I was in a connect group style meeting, I was prayed over by a visiting pastor, he laid hands on me and I was filled with the Holy Spirit.
I remember being slain in the Spirit, which looks a lot like passing out but its not. It is spiritual, no one really understands it and the Bible does not really talk about it. There are a lot of things, spiritual things, that God may do that we will not understand on this side of heaven. We don’t chase after them because we cannot orchestrate these things as they are a demonstration of God’s power, but we do not shut them down simply because we do not understand. All we know in those moments is that God is at work.
Anyway, as soon as I hit the floor (which didn’t hurt by the way, felt like I landed on something soft and cosy) I immediately began speaking in tongues. I couldn’t stop it, every time I opened my mouth to speak this other language was coming out and I would laugh and do it again and laugh and do it again, I was having such an encounter with God in that moment, one that marked me for life.
From that day on, I could hear the voice of God clear as day. I would have conversations with Him. He would tell me things, I would talk to Him about things. So, my prayer life changed instantly. I entered into a deeper level of intimacy with God. One that I never knew existed but one that I craved all along. Baptism with the Holy Spirit helps us to hear from God and discern His voice more clearly.
See, there is a part of us that craves that intimacy with God. Everyone’s experience will be different, some are more dramatic than others some simple and elegant. God is very personal. However which way it happens, is up to God. But as believers we should never settle for less than what God is willing to give us. You can be saved and going to heaven but without the power of the Holy Spirit some things are just harder to do. It’s one thing to have the Holy Spirit influence you from the outside in and it’s another to have Him make you His home and speak, live and breathe from deep within you.
The way I can think to explain it is this, say you are having a conversation with someone, if you are not filled with the Holy Spirit He can speak to you and let you know what He wants to say, if you pick it up you can process it and then say it to the person you are speaking to. When He fills you, He can do the same thing, or sometimes I find there is an “override button” where things fall out of your mouth and you were not even thinking about it. That’s my favourite. When God just takes over the conversation and says what He needs to say through you (because He is in you) and you can feel the power and authority that comes with the words that yep, this is not me speaking.
There is power that is released through us when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. That’s why Jesus did not start His ministry until the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. That is also why Jesus told the disciples not to leave Jerusalem until they had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5, Luke 24:49). What I love is that since Pentecost, there is always evidence of the baptism with the Holy Spirit, which is speaking in tongues. There is an empowering that happens which comes from the Holy Spirit and all we need to do is yield to Him.
Love and blessings,