Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Part Two
P. G. Mathew | Sunday, April 25, 1999
Copyright © 1999, P. G. Mathew
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."
So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?"
"John's baptism," they replied.
Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus." On hearing this, they were baptised into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.
On his third missionary journey, the apostle Paul visited the city of Ephesus in the province of Asia. There he met twelve disciples. At first Paul thought these people were believers in Jesus Christ, but then he noticed there was something lacking in their lives. He asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" and they said, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." In fact, these disciples had not yet become believers in Christ.
Paul preached the gospel to the disciples, who then believed and were baptized. Then Paul laid hands on them, and in verse 6 we read that "when Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied." This experience is called the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and it is the experience Paul was referring to when he asked the disciples if they had received the Holy Spirit when they believed.
Paul's question, then, did not refer to the work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation process, but to the work of the Holy Spirit after conversion. It has to do with what we call baptism in the Holy Spirit, an experience that gives a believer power to be an effective witness for Jesus Christ in the world.
The State of the Church Today
Why do you think much of the church is so weak and pathetic today? Because it has rejected the infinite personal God revealed in the Scriptures. First, the church fell under the influence of liberal theologians who rejected not only the authority of the Scripture but also God himself, the one who created the universe out of nothing. Then the church began to judge the Scriptures on the basis of fallen human reason, otherwise known as higher criticism or rationalism. Under the influence of such philosophies, the church rejected miracles.
When these things began to happen, especially in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, evangelicals within the church fought for an infinite, personal God and defended the miracles of the Scriptures against the philosophies of liberalism. But then the evangelicals went to the other extreme and began to deny the existence of miracles today. In the ivory towers of some seminaries, theologians began to churn out books, telling us that we cannot experience the baptism in the Holy Spirit the way we read about in the book of Acts. These evangelical theologians said that both the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit were for another time, not for now. They said these things were necessary until the canon of Scriptures was complete, but now we do not need to experience baptism in the Holy Spirit or the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The only problem with the assertion that baptism in the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit are not for today is that it came from men's heads, not from the Bible. These theologians imported their ideas into the Bible, rather than exegeting them from the Bible, even though we are not told anywhere in the Bible that these things have ceased. Thus, not only the liberal church but also the evangelical church has contributed to the miserable condition of the church today. Experimentally limited theologians tell experimentally limited people how to experience God while restricting that experience to stay within the confines of their own limited experiences. This is the blind leading the blind.
The Lord Jesus Christ realized that the church of his time needed power, and his solution was to give them the gift of the Holy Spirit. If the early church needed the power of the Holy Spirit, I would say the church of today does also. When we study the gifts of the Spirit as described in 1 Corinthians 12 through 14, we see that they are given by God for a very specific purpose: the edification of the church. So we must ask ourselves: Doesn't the modern church need some edification today? Or is it so much more powerful and strong than the early church that it doesn't need any more edification? Is there any less opposition to the church from the world today than there was before? Is the world of today any less of an enemy of the church than the world of the apostles? What about spiritual forces? Is the devil active today? Are his demons active today? Are there any temptations and trials today as there were in the early church?
When we think seriously about these questions, I think we must agree that the church of today needs the baptism in the Holy Spirit as much if not more than the church of the apostles.
Our Need for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
If we can honestly acknowledge the need of the modern church for the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit, then we have to reject certain interpretations of great theologians about these things. That is exactly what the greatest Reformed theologian and pastor of this century--Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones--did. Dr. Lloyd-Jones was not only a medical doctor, but he was also a great student of the Bible and a great student of church history. He was a giant among men--a genius--and as he studied and preached and reflected upon the condition of the world and the church, he came to realize that baptism in the Holy Spirit is a necessity for the church of today. He said the greatest need of the church today is revival, and then he defined revival as God pouring out his Spirit upon many people at the same time--in other words, God baptizing his people in the Holy Spirit.
Now, we must realize that Dr. Lloyd-Jones did not come to this conclusion when he was twenty-five years of age. No, he spoke and wrote about these things when he was sixty-five years of age! After a lifetime of serious study of the Scriptures, he gave a series of sermons in which he said the gifts of the Spirit--all of them--are for today. And he said if anyone says these experiences are not for the modern church, they are speaking nonsense. He disagrees with B. B. Warfield and others who say that the idea that all gifts will cease when the perfect comes and we see God face to face refers to the end of the apostolic age and the completion of the canon of Scripture. I agree with Dr. Lloyd-Jones. I think the gifts will cease only at the second coming of Jesus Christ, at which time even knowledge and prophecy will pass away for something better.
As I said, Dr. Lloyd-Jones came to this conclusion after studying the Scriptures as well as after observing the miserable state of the church today. He concluded that the church is in dire need of the edification that comes only from the baptism in the Holy Spirit. So I ask you: Are you satisfied with your spiritual condition, or could you use some revival in your soul? Now, you may not feel any great spiritual need if you are looking to the world, because the stock market has been doing well for a long time now. I am sure many people are feeling very happy and satisfied with their lives at this point in history (PGM). But whenever our economic situation is flourishing, we must remember what C.H. Spurgeon said in the nineteenth century about the state of a man's soul and riches. Spurgeon said a man may be rich/poor, he is a a poor Christian but one who loves God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength, or poor/rich, meaning a man who has a lot of money and power, but is poor toward God.
Therefore, I ask again: How is your Christianity? Is it strong and vital? How is your prayer life? How is your daily reading of the Scriptures? How successful are you in resisting temptation? How do you deal with the trials and sufferings of the world? How are you dealing with a world that opposes Jesus Christ?
When we honestly consider what our spiritual state is in relation to all these factors, I think many of us may find ourselves poor/rich--poor toward God and rich toward the world. Thus, I think the question Paul asked the disciples of Ephesus, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" is still very relevant for us today. That is why we must pay careful attention as we study the subject of the baptism of the Holy Spirit as recorded in the book of Acts.
Learning from the Book of Acts
I must make one more point before we start our study, that Luke's account of the activities of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers was written as much for our instruction and practice as any other part of the Bible. There is a certain understanding among modern theologians that the book of Acts is useful only as a historical account, not as a book in which we can find any doctrinal teaching. These theologians would tell us to look to the epistles if we want to study doctrine.
We can argue this point with the theologians. When Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:16 that all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, he was speaking about the Old Testament, which includes a lot of history. And now that the canon of Scripture has been completed, we can also apply 2 Timothy 3:16 to all the books of the New Testament, which includes the four gospel accounts as well as the book of Acts. If we say that all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for doctrine, then we must conclude the book of Acts is included in this. After all, Paul did not say every epistle is God-breathed; he said all Scripture.
Dr. Lloyd-Jones said in his book, Joy Unspeakable1, that we cannot understand the epistles without the book of Acts because the epistles rest upon the events of the book of Acts. If we want to understand the epistles, we must study the book of Acts and acknowledge that it, like all other Scripture, is profitable for doctrine.
The Holy Spirit's Role in Salvation
The first question we must ask when we study baptism in the Holy Spirit is whether it is the same as regeneration, and the answer to that question is no. The Holy Spirit does play a role in the salvation process, but that is not the same as baptism in the Holy Spirit.
In the salvation process we see God the Father planning our redemption and Jesus Christ accomplishing that redemption on the cross by his life and death and resurrection. What is the role of the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit applies this redemption to us in the following ways:
1. The Holy Spirit enlightens us so that we can understand the gospel.
Man cannot naturally understand the gospel because, according to the Bible, he is blind to the things of God, dead in trespasses and sins. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 2:14 we read, "The man without the Spirit cannot receive the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them."
The Holy Spirit must work in us so that we can understand the gospel. In 1 Corinthians 2:12 Paul writes, "We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us." The Spirit of God causes us to understand the gospel by illuminating our minds.
2. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin beyond the shadow of doubt.
A sinner who is convicted by the Spirit will readily confess, "I am a sinner. O God, have mercy upon me, a sinner!" There will be no "if" or "but" about it, because he will feel the conviction of the Spirit of the living God. Such a person will not justify or try to conceal his sin, but will quickly and willingly confess and forsake it. Such conviction of sin is due to the work of the Holy Spirit.
3. The Holy Spirit regenerates us.
When we were dead in trespasses and sins, God made us alive, meaning the Holy Spirit made us conscious toward God. He planted the seed of life in us so that now we think about God, speak about God, praise God, and are sensitive to spiritual things. The Holy Spirit opened heaven to us so that we could see that this world is not all there is. The Holy Spirit enabled us to see beyond this world to the God of this world--the infinite, personal God, who created the whole universe by the word of his power out of nothing, and who governs and maintains it.
4. The Holy Spirit enables us to repent and believe.
He enables us to hate our sin enough to forsake it and he gives us faith in Jesus Christ--a faith that is a once-for-all trust in and commitment to Jesus Christ forever. If we are regenerated, then God will give us the gift of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, as we read in Ephesians 2:8 and Philippians 1:29.
5. The Holy Spirit unites us to the body of Christ.
Didn't Jesus say, "I am the vine; you are the branches"? The Spirit of God creates this vital union between each one of us with the Lord Jesus Christ.
6. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us.
Now, sanctification is not an automatic process. We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit. A part of the salvation process, sanctification is the work of the Spirit of the living God in us.
Baptism in the Spirit Is Not Regeneration
Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not regeneration, no matter how many theologians say it is. If baptism in the Holy Spirit is regeneration, then we would have to say that the twelve apostles and 120 other believers were not regenerate before the day of Pentecost when the Lord Jesus Christ poured out the Holy Spirit upon them all.
That is just not true. The apostles and disciples were regenerate before the day of Pentecost. They confessed who Christ was. They knew him and were made clean by his word. Jesus himself said the world did not know him, but they knew him. He said they were not of this world. He said they had received his teachings. He said, "I am the vine; you are the branches," to these people. He said, "Rejoice not because spirits are subject to you but rejoice that your names are written in the book of life." Can you tell me the apostles and disciples were not regenerate when he said these things to them?
What about the disciples Philip preached to in Samaria? In Acts 8:12 we read that they believed and were baptized when Philip preached the gospel to them. Does that mean they were not born again until John and Peter came to lay hands on them and pray for them to receive the Holy Spirit? Oh, no. They were regenerate. When John and Peter came, they were baptized in the Holy Spirit.
There is a key tenet of Reformed Christianity we all should know: Regeneration precedes faith. If you are not Reformed, you might say that faith precedes regeneration, but this is not what the Bible teaches. Regeneration precedes faith, which means that faith and repentance are the result of regeneration, not the cause of it. God raises us from the dead before he grants us the gifts of repentance and faith so that we can repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Did the apostles believe in the Messiah before the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Yes. Therefore, baptism in the Holy Spirit is not to be identified with regeneration. It is a post-regeneration experience.
The Purpose for Holy Spirit Baptism
What, then, is the baptism in the Holy Spirit? It is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon believers which gives them power to bear witness to Jesus Christ in the world. Baptism in the Holy Spirit causes God's people--sons and daughters, old and young, menservants and maidservants--to become prophets, as Joel said in Joel 2:28-29 and which Peter quoted in Acts 2.
In Luke 11:13 Jesus said, "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" Baptism in the Holy Spirit is for children, not for unbelievers. It gives God's children power for service to God.
Even Jesus Christ, the Holy One, the eternal Son of God, was baptized in the Holy Spirit before he started his public ministry. After John the Baptist baptized Jesus in water, Jesus was praying, and the Holy Spirit came and rested on him in the form of a dove. This was an anointing by God at the inception of Jesus' public ministry.
The apostle Peter makes reference to the baptism of Christ in Acts 10:37-38: "You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached--how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him." And in Luke 4 we read that after his baptism, Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit, led by the Holy Spirit and that he came to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, in the synagogue at Nazareth Jesus stood up and said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me," meaning, "God has anointed me. Before you sits the Messiah Isaiah spoke about. Before you sits the one who is your Savior and Redeemer." Thus, before Jesus entered into his public Messianic ministry as Prophet, Priest and King, God anointed him, baptized him, with the Holy Spirit and power without measure.
In the same way, believers in Christ are to be baptized in, or anointed by, the Holy Spirit. Why? So that we might bear witness for Jesus Christ in this world.
Power to Witness
In Luke 24:46-49 we find the resurrected Christ speaking to his disciples. First, he told them "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all the nations." This is God's great and grand purpose. God has loved the world, and salvation is possible only through the declaration and the proclamation of the gospel by the church that people may repent and receive forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus Christ.
Then Jesus continued, "You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised"--that is, the Holy Spirit--"but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." Jesus was telling his disciples that just as God had poured out the Holy Spirit on him at his baptism, so also he would pour out the Holy Spirit upon them so that they would have power to witness to Christ before the world. Jesus repeated this promise in Acts 1:5 when he told his disciples, "For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit," and in Acts 1:8 when he said, "But 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."
The baptism in the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus--this experience in which the Holy Spirit comes upon someone and that person begins to prophesy and speak forth the wonders of God--is for all believers, not just the apostles. In Numbers 11:29 we read the tremendous desire expressed by Moses: "I wish that all the Lord's people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!" Moses did not see the fulfillment of this wish in his lifetime, but in Acts 2:16-18 when Peter was explaining what was happening on the day of Pentecost, he said, "This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 'In the last days, God says I will pour out my Spirit on all people . . . and they will prophesy.'"
The desire of Moses received its fulfillment on the day of Pentecost: All the Lord's people--men and women, old and young--prophesied because the Spirit of God had been poured out on them by the ascended Christ, and those in Jerusalem could see and hear the disciples speaking of the wonders of God in many languages.
The Pentecostal Outpouring
Some modern theologians say that baptism in the Holy Spirit is a non-experimental baptism which is to be received by faith by a believer, but that is not what we observe in the Bible. When the disciples were baptized in the Holy Spirit, they began to witness boldly in many languages, which was easily observed by all in Jerusalem.
Let us, then, examine the great Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2:1-4 we read of a great prayer meeting: One hundred and twenty people were praying together in one place. Then something happened. In verse 4 we read, "All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." This was the experimental baptism in the Holy Spirit. The apostles did not become regenerate at that time. We don't see them repenting and believing in Jesus Christ, do we? No! As we have said before, baptism in the Holy Spirit is not regeneration. These people who were already believers had gathered in one accord to pray to the risen Lord, and on the day of Pentecost the Lord Jesus Christ received the Holy Spirit from the Father and poured down the Holy Spirit upon them like a mighty torrent. They were drenched in the Spirit and began to speak wonderful things of God.
As a result of this Pentecostal outpouring, people came to see what had happened. They saw the disciples speaking in other tongues, telling of the wonders of God, and they wanted to know what was going on. Some said, "We are hearing wonderful things in our own language, but these are all Galileans. How can they do this?" Others said, "These people are all drunk."
Peter stood up and declared, in essence, "This is that what was prophesied by Joel. God has just poured out his Holy Spirit on his people and they are becoming prophets." Then he preached the gospel, telling the crowd that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, the Son of God, who was killed, but God raised him from the dead. He said that this Lord Jesus Christ received the Holy Spirit from God the Father and was now pouring the Holy Spirit upon his people. This was Peter's explanation for the things the crowd was observing.
When Peter finished speaking, the people in the crowd were pricked in their hearts. They realized their great sin in calling for the death of Jesus Christ. "What must we do to be saved?" they cried out. "We are murderers of this Christ. What is going to happen to us?" Such conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation process, as we said before.
In Acts 2:38 Peter answered, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins." In Luke 24 Jesus had told his disciples to go and preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name, and that is what Peter was doing. First he explained that the sights and sounds the crowd was observing was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but then he told the crowd about repentance, faith, and water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.
What did Peter say would happen if people repented, believed and were baptized? In the latter part of verse 38 we read, "And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Notice, then, the condition for receiving baptism in the Holy Spirit is regeneration, repentance, faith, conviction of sin, and trust in Christ. If we do these things, we shall receive the Holy Spirit.
Examples of People Baptized in the Holy Spirit
Moses prayed that all the Lord's people would prophesy, and we find several examples of people who were baptized in the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts. This power for witnessing is not only for apostles; it is also for non-apostles, like Philip and Stephen, who became bold witnesses as well. Additionally, it is for ordinary human beings who have put their faith in Christ.
In Acts 11:19-20, we read of some people who were "scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen." These ordinary human beings were set on fire by the baptism of fire, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and they became witnesses wherever they went. The Scriptures do not give us the names of these people, but they founded the great missionary church of Antioch in Syria by daring to declare the gospel to the Gentiles.
In Acts 8:4 we read of some other disciples who were driven out of Jerusalem because of persecution who "preached the word wherever they went." Wherever these people went, they were prophesying about God. "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks," and these people's hearts were filled with God. Some people looked down on Jesus, saying he was a blasphemer and that is why he was crucified, but these were not ashamed of the crucified Christ. Without shame they proclaimed, "No, he is not a blasphemer. He is Christ. He is God. He is the Savior. He is the Lord!" How could they be so bold? They were baptized in the Spirit.
In Acts 8 we also read of the Samaritan disciples. In verse 5 we read that Philip "went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said." And in verse 14 we read, "When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them." And in verse 17 we read, "Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit."
Philip went to Samaria and preached the gospel, the people believed in Christ, and Philip baptized them in water. Were the Samaritans regenerate or unregenerate? Regeneration precedes faith, so we know that they had become children of God. They were saved. But they had not yet received this baptism in the Holy Spirit, so when Peter and John came from Jerusalem, they laid hands on them and we are told they received the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 10 we read that Peter was sent by God to preach the gospel in the house of Cornelius, a Gentile. Initially Peter hesitated to go, but God commanded him to go and so he went. In verse 42 Peter told those who had assembled at the house, "[The Lord Jesus Christ] commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead." Then Peter said, "All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." Peter was using the hermeneutic style of Jesus Christ himself, as recorded in Luke 24, when Jesus said the whole Old Testament spoke about him.
We can assume without any problem that as Peter preached about Jesus Christ and forgiveness of sins through him, the people gathered at Cornelius' house believed in Christ and were saved. And in verse 44 we read, "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message." This is another place where we see regeneration first and then baptism in the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 11:17, 18; 15:7,9).
In Acts 19 we find Paul on his third missionary journey. When he reached the city of Ephesus, he met twelve disciples whom he initially thought were Christians. They were believers in the Messiah, but there was something wrong with them, which was perceived by the apostle.
"Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" Paul asked them. What did they say? "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." "What baptism did you receive?" Paul asked. "John's baptism," they answered. "Oh," Paul told them, in essence, "John's baptism was unto repentance. He was trying to tell you that you should believe in the one who is coming. He was simply the preparer of the way. The Messiah is the one who is coming. He said, 'I am not the Messiah. He is coming after me.' He said, 'He must increase; I must decrease.'" Then he spoke to them about Jesus Christ: Jesus of history, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, the one who appeared to Paul himself on the road to Damascus, the one who died, the one who was raised, the one who ascended, the Lord of the universe. At the end of his gospel presentation I am sure Paul told the Ephesians the same thing Peter had said on the day of Pentecost: "You have to repent and believe on him for forgiveness of sins," and they did.
Acts 19:5 tells us the Ephesian disciples were baptized, which indicates that they had been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. But then Paul laid hands upon them, and the Holy Spirit came upon them. That is baptism in the Holy Spirit. These disciples had become Christians, but now they received baptism in the Holy Spirit. And what happened next? They began to speak in other tongues and prophesy.
In Acts 9 we find the story of Paul. Now Paul had heard the gospel from Stephen, but Paul did not receive it at that time. In fact, he became angry and began persecuting Christians, breathing out slaughter and threatenings against them. He hated Jesus and his disciples. But then Jesus apprehended him on the road to Damascus, causing him to fall to the ground. "Who are you, Lord?" Paul asked. And the answer came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."
At this time Paul understood who Jesus Christ was and he believed in him. He went blinded into the city of Damascus and God sent a disciple named Ananias to him. Ananias went to the house where Saul was staying and laid hands on him. Then what did he say? "Brother Saul, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved"? No. No one can tell me that Paul's encounter with Jesus Christ did not result in regeneration and faith in Jesus Christ. In Acts 9:17 we read that Ananias said to Saul, "Brother Saul, the Lord--Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here--has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Saul was regenerate but now he was receiving baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Timothy was a young disciple of Paul from the city of Lystra who accompanied Paul on several missionary journeys. When Paul was arrested and imprisoned at the end of his life, Timothy began to shrink back. Life was getting harder and Timothy was feeling miserable, pressured, ashamed, and afraid.
In 2 Timothy 1:6-7 Paul wrote to Timothy, "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." Paul was encouraging Timothy by reminding him how Paul had laid hands on him at one point in his life and how Timothy had received the Holy Spirit.
Timothy was a young man who did not like his circumstances. But Paul told him, "Fan into flame the gift you have received when I laid hands upon you." This was baptism in the Holy Spirit, which gives us, not a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline so that we may boldly live for God and proclaim the gospel.
Have You Received the Gift of the Holy Spirit?
What about you? Have you received the gift of the Holy Spirit since you believed? As we said in the beginning of this study, we live in a terrible world, filled with demons and the devil who masquerades as an angel of light. Signs and wonders are being performed by evil powers, and the Bible tells us they are only going to increase in an attempt to deceive many, even the elect, if that were possible. At a time like this, how can we say there is no Holy Spirit power available to counteract the power of Satan?
The power of the Holy Spirit is available for his people today! Therefore, may we seek the baptism in the Holy Spirit. May we continue to study his word that we may understand more about this baptism in the Holy Spirit. May God give us such a hunger and thirst for his Holy Spirit that our miserable and weak condition will be altered, and we will experience a revival, a panting after God "as the hart panteth after water brooks." May we fan into flame the gift of God that is given to us--the Holy Spirit. May we pray for and witness a revival, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon many people at the same time in the same place. And when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon us, may we bear witness to Christ in this world without fear, that others may hear and be saved. Amen.
1 D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Joy Unspeakable: Power and Renewal in the Holy Spirit, edited by Christopher Catherwood, Wheaton, IL: Harold Shaw, 1984
Note: Joy Unspeakable and a companion volume, The Sovereign Spirit, have now been published together as The Baptism and Gifts of the Spirit, by Baker Books, 1996.
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Copyright © 1999, P. G. Mathew
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