Volume 41

INSIGHTS INTO GOD’S WORD
E. Michal Gayer
Volume 41

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I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring.”
(Isaiah 44:3)


“Introduction to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Devotional TeachingsNot too long ago we had the opportunity to minister in a large church for two Sunday morning services. The whole morning was supercharged by the Holy Spirit from start to finish. The praise and worship was awesome, our teaching was powerful and at the end of the services no less than 2,000 people came into the prayer lines to experience the laying on of hands as ordained by Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit swept over those receiving prayer and many visible signs of people responding to God were evident. Many trembled before the Lord. Some fell under the “spiritual heaviness of the anointing” and others wept openly. Lives were touched and changed.

Although these services were powerful in many respects, for me the most outstanding moments came during both services when I invited people to come forward to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. About eighty believers came to the altar. I remember standing on the platform watching as one by one they walked to the altar to meet with the Holy Spirit in a very special way. Every face had etched upon it the somber reality that God was about to do something very powerful for them.

As I always do when ministering the baptism in the Holy Spirit, I gave some simple preliminary instructions about what this experience was all about according to the Word of God. I encouraged each of them to relinquish themselves to the Holy Spirit to pray in tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. After assuring them that I am not the baptizer but that Jesus is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit, I prayed a simple prayer. Even before I spoke the “Amen,” every single person had begun to speak forth in their prayer language of praying in tongues. Tears flowed abundantly as the Holy Spirit moved gently over the entire congregation. Loud applause to God, intermingled with shouts of praise, broke forth. It was a stunning moment that few will ever forget. Our God is such a wonderful God and His blessings always overflow upon us all of the time. Now while we savor that truth, let me make a few specific comments about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

For most Christians their experience of being born again is followed immediately or soon thereafter with water baptism. Baptism in water involves the application of water to the body of the person indicating their desire to publicly proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In general, baptism in water is an outward expression on the part of the believer of the inward change that has taken place when they were born again. In Biblical days the person being baptized was fully immersed in water. The act signified their identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:18-20 that believers were to be baptized, therefore, most Christian churches practice some form of water baptism for the believers.

The born again individual receives much fulfillment and strength because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, whom He received when he was born again. He chooses to demonstrate his new spiritual cleansing and restoration in the act of water baptism. This regeneration, or being born again, is the single most important experience a person can have and it does equip that person to live a Godly life. But, in addition to being regenerated and receiving water baptism, there is a special baptism proclaimed in Scripture. This special baptism, most commonly called the baptism with the Holy Spirit, is a different experience from being born again and has far reaching value.

The baptism with the Holy Spirit also referred to as the baptism in the Holy Spirit or the Holy Spirit Baptism, powerfully takes us further in our walk with God. It is a special encounter with God that empowers the individual for service. It is interesting to note that a person can be born again and baptized in water but still not have received this special baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Although the baptism with the Holy Spirit can occur at the time of the New Birth or at water baptism, most modern day Christians do not receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit at either of these points in their life. For many, some form of alerting or instruction about the availability of this vital experience with God needs to come first.

 

We could say that being born again or regenerated constituted one encounter with God and the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a second important encounter that is available for every born again believer. In this second encounter, it is Jesus Himself who is the one who baptizes the Christian in the Holy Spirit. This experience enables the person to enter into a deeper relationship with Christ and with the Holy Spirit of God. This Spirit baptism moves the individual into the supernatural position where the Holy Spirit is able to release spiritual gifts to the individual, as the Spirit wills, and also provide the power necessary for that person to utilize these gifts.

Although the average Christian who has not received the Holy Spirit baptism is saved and has received Jesus Christ as Lord, he is still mostly living by his own strength, making his own decisions and controlling his own life. When a person receives the baptism with the Holy Spirit, he begins to experience the working of spiritual gifts given by the Holy Spirit and he may become more deeply aware of being led supernaturally by the Spirit of God. He may have a greater and deeper security in his salvation and the Scriptures have personal meaning for him unlike any they had before.