Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Posted by Ben Erlichman on July 7, 2011
I hope you all had a relaxing, fun Fourth of July weekend. I spent my time wandering between my parents’ house, my condo, my church, and local parks for a variety of events ranging from swordfighting to watching fireworks. Ate some tasty food, too.
Last night at youth group we talked about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Keep in mind, I work with the junior high section of the youth group, and this is a pretty heavy subject. All in all, they handled it really well and seemed to understand how important the baptism of the Holy Spirit is.
Before I go any further, let’s get the tension out of the air: I’m not trying to assert that there is any right way to view/experience/or even believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Having said that, I’m writing from primarily an Assembly of God (A/G) background with some recent Vineyard theology mixed in as well. For me, that means that I believe the initial physical evidence (IPE) of speaking in tongues is exactly that: it’s the first physical evidence that someone has been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Since the IPE is not the purpose of this post, I’m not going to get into the scriptural basis for that, but instead I’m going to focus on the purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Some of you may be familiar with the baptism, some may not. A common misconception among lots of people, both Christians and non-Christians, young people and old, etc., is that receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is about being able to speak in tongues. It’s not. Tongues are more of a symptom, a manifestation of the baptism than the end goal. If folks would just read their Bibles a bit more, they’d realize this.
Let’s take a look at Acts 1:4-8, where Jesus flat out tells the disciples what the baptism of the Holy Spirit is for:
“On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized withthe Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 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.”
Did you see it? The purpose? It’s in the last verse: to receive power to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
The baptism is not about speaking in tongues. It’s about receiving power to tell others about Jesus and what he’s done for you. It’s about having the gumption to walk up to a perfect stranger and tell them Jesus loves them when you feel an impression stirring inside of you. It’s about standing in front of a crowd of thousands of people and boldly proclaiming salvation through Jesus Christ even though it will ultimately cost you your life to do so (Peter does this in Acts 2 and eventually ends up getting crucified upside down).
Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit? Have you ever wanted to be baptized? I’ll be the first to admit that it’s weird. Speaking in tongues is wacky, unnatural, and crazy, but can we trust that God knows what he’s doing? Having grown up in the A/G, I’m not frightened or befuddled by tongues, and it takes a lot to freak me out in general (except zombies–they freak me out easily). So when I received the baptism for the first time, it was weird, but very, very cool at the same time.
So back to my question: have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit? Do you want to be baptized? Here’s a trick I learned: don’t seek the baptism, seek the Baptizer. Seek Jesus. I got baptized when I was praying and worshiping Jesus.
If you want authority to witness to people, seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit. What are your thoughts? Please share with us.
This entry was posted on July 7, 2011 at 11:59 AM and is filed under Authors, Encouragment, Happiness, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Writing. Tagged: Assembly of God, Baptism, Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Ben Erlichman, Bible, Christianity, church, faith, fire, God, Holy Spirit, In the Fray, Initial Physical Evidence, Jesus, Jesus Christ, life experiences, Living our faith out loud, pastor, prayer, Vineyard, witnessing, worship, youth group, zombies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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