Gods plan for disciples has never been to simply save them. Of course everything begins at the cross and empty tomb of Jesus Christ. Without the new birth a person is separated from God and unable to comprehend even the simplest spiritual matter (Jn 3:3). But with that said, God wants to take us beyond birth into the maturity of Spirit-empowered service. After all, His goal for each generation is to save as many as possible, and to accomplish that He relies on Spirit-led and Spirit-empowered people. His main method of touching lives isnt through a few highly-gifted individuals or media broadcasts, as helpful as these may be. Though the reports from some of these ministries are very exciting, by far and away the most effective plan for winning the world is still the equipping of each believer to minister Christ to others. This and this alone allows for rapid transformation of whole families, neighborhoods, businesses and cultures. This is the only way many unbelievers can be reached. So we shouldnt be surprised when we hear Jesus talk so much about the Holy Spirit, nor when we hear Him command us as disciples to receive the Spirit.
1. What is the purpose of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit?
Throughout His ministry Jesus pointed forward to a moment when His disciples would receive the Holy Spirit as He had. He said that when this happened they would minister just as He did (Jn 14:12). In Acts 1:5 He described this moment as a baptism with the Holy Spirit.
a) It is an encounter with God which imparts to us the ability to minister as Jesus ministered.
b) It initiates a new understanding of how to draw near to God and thus how to walk in the Spirit
c) It releases new spiritual capacities in us but unless these are exercised they will dwindle.
2. How does the BWHS change us?
Each person receives the BWHS in their own unique encounter but when it has taken place certain predictable changes occur:
a) Changed thinking: God is personal; God is internal
b) Changed communication: Gods voice is perceived; the gifts of the Spirit increase (1Co 12:8-10); supernatural prayer and praise is released
c) Changed ministry: Reliance on Gods presence; boldness; supernatural fruitfulness
3. What can hold us back?
The process of seeking this encounter may expose things hidden in our hearts and confront us with new steps of obedience. This is why we may need to tarry (take time to hear and pray through these matters) before we can receive.
a) The process may expose:
- Confusion (hostile teaching or misleading past experiences)
- Spiritual bondage (demonic ties)
- Lack of new birth (trust in Christs righteousness or full surrender is missing)
- False expectations (waiting for a certain experience)
- Shame, weak grip or grace (Im not worthy . . .)
- Bitterness (a dry spirit)
- Wrong motives (pride, power . . . )
b) The process requires:
- Humility (rational to intuitive) - Spiritual thirst (longing for more of God, not just salvation)
- Vulnerability (yielding control of my speech and thoughts) - The desire to serve God
- Confidence (Christs work has made me holy)
4. How do I receive this BWHS?
a) New birth: automatic: God gives His Spirit to me.
b) BWHS: deliberate (sometimes automatic): I receive and yield myself to His Spirit.
c) A model: John 7:37, 38
- Feast of Tabernacles (Lv 23:33-44)
- Rephidim (Ex 17:1-7; Nu 20:1-13)
- Rivers of water (Nu 20:8)
- Thirst: longing for closeness to God; aware of my own ineffectiveness in serving Him, overwhelmed by human need.
- Come: draw near (worship, prayer, laying on of hands . . .)
- Drink: Receive His presence, put aside fear and shame and let the Spirit be released within you (. . . out of your inner most being/belly/guts)
- Believe: reach out and take from His hand and take that for which you are asking. Actively, aggressively trust in the promises of Scripture. Step out in faith (speak out).
5. How do I Walk in the Spirit (Ro 8:4; Ga 5:16)?
The BWHS is what we call the first transforming experience with the Holy Spirit but believers must learn to regularly repeat this process in order to walk in the Spirit on a daily basis.
1) Reread 3(a). Did any of these obstacles hold you back in the past or do they still hold you back in the present?
2) How do you regularly drink of the Spirit so that you can daily walk in the Spirit?
3) Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit? If not, or not sure, would you like to be? Ask your MiniChurch to pray for you.