The Church celebrated its birth this Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2020, and we have great expectations that God is going to do another great thing just as on the original Day of Pentecost in the Upper Room. John the Baptist declared that he baptized people in water, but the coming One would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Luke 3:16.
What does that look like? Acts 2:2 tells us that when the Day of Pentecost had fully come…, there came a sound from heaven like the sound of a mighty rushing or violent wind and filled the house where they were sitting…
Today we don’t have to call for the Holy Spirit to come down, He is already here. He came on the Day of Pentecost and He remains here, we just need to allow Him access. I believe the fiery passionate love of God came on the Day of Pentecost to re-present Jesus the Christ, the Anointed One on the earth. The scripture says that cloven tongues of fire sat on each one of them. We most often see depictions of these little Bic Lighter flames hovering over the heads of the people, but I know God does things in a big way, just to prove He is the One doing the doing. I see each one of the 120 in the Upper Room clothed in the fire of God from head to toe.
There was an instant transformation! They were all changed from that moment on. Peter who denied Christ three times and who had a history of impulsiveness and putting his foot in his mouth, preached a sermon that caused 3000 people to give their hearts to God. There was a spiritual transformation, visible, distinct, and tangible evidence that there had been a change.
Later in the Book of Acts, Paul asked the Ephesians if they had received the Holy Spirit since they believed? Somehow he could tell they had not. And Cornelius and his family received the Holy Spirit while Peter was preaching. I mention these because after they all received the Holy Spirit, there was visible evidence. The believers who came with Peter to Cornelius’ home saw… (Acts 10: 44-45) So why am I bringing this up? I am because I want to experience for myself and to see other people experience this Gift from the Father in its fullness.
From the point of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, these people were changed, empowered and they turned the world upside down. The Church is not doing that today. Somehow, somewhere along the way, the message and the power of the Spirit has gotten watered down until we are a mere shadow of who we are supposed to be. How can we convince people to take our God as the true and living God while we are living a defeated life. How can that provoke them to jealousy?
If you have never read the Book of Acts, do yourself a favor and read it. Study it, asking the Holy Spirit to open your spiritual eyes to see how we as His Church should be taking the world by the fire of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in Acts 1 that we would receive power, after the Holy Spirit came upon us to be His witnesses, His testimony, if you will. And, that power would be to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out the devil.
There should be a change! A transformation! If you have ‘received’ the baptism in the Holy Spirit and still struggle with your temper…, can’t quite quit watching porn…, have a hard time loving people…; that is an oxymoron. You cannot be filled with God and these other things have power in your life. Baptism into the Spirit means full of God. God does not live in a duplex. James 3:11 says can both sweet water and bitter water come from the same fountain?
This gift of the Father is free, but it costs everything. Sounds contradictory, but it is true. God does not casually drop the power of the Holy Spirit on someone. The first recipients spent days in one place, in one accord, giving themselves to prayer, and waiting for the promise of the Father.
I am reading a book by Andrew Murray, ‘The Full Blessing of Pentecost’, and in it he says we must be willing to give up everything to secure the fullness of the Spirit. We really have to pursue, not old-time tarrying, but waiting in faith as we surrender to God all things that keep us from having that fullness. And, it is a matter of waiting in faith, knowing that you have asked, and that He is faithful to give the gift, in His time. Luke 11:13 …how much more will your Father in heaven give you the Holy Spirit…We ask, knowing that He is faithful, Who promised.
We are not to live powerless lives, holding on until Jesus comes. He gave us a job to do. How many of you have ever had your mom or dad give you a task to complete by the time they get home and upon their return, you were sitting there wide-eyed without doing what you were asked to do? Were they happy with you? Did they give you a reward? I think not!
Here is a scenario: You are in church – the pastor or someone in leadership brings a need to the attention of the body. After a discourse on the matter at hand, you are instructed to pray in the spirit. The whole church goes to praying in tongues. All these people may be praying in some language, but not all are praying in the spirit. Here is an example of what I mean. How many of us truly internalize the words of the Lord’s Prayer or reflect on the Pledge of Allegiance when we speak? We have memorized some things and repeat by rote, with no true conscious thought of what we are saying.
Ladies, and men, have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who is preoccupied, not tuned in to you? Other things are vying for their attention; or yours for that matter. Sometimes as someone is talking to you, you might be on your own wandering mental journey; you snap back, to see the other person looking at you with this ‘did you hear me or are you listening to me?’ expression. You were there, but not present in the conversation.
A dear sister in the Lord, Lynn Hammond, in her newsletter says, when we are in the spirit, we are more conscious of God than anything else – all inclusive.
If you are asked to pray in the spirit and you haven’t fine tuned your spirit to tap into the Holy Spirit, you won’t be able to instantly reach that place of communion with Him. In the same way, in a life threatening emergency, you must have some knowledge of life saving procedures or have some training to be able to perform in that moment. We are to be constantly in living contact with God, so that when He speaks, we respond and when we speak, He responds. That is called intimacy. A measure of the fullness of the blessing of Pentecost.