Sermon: Why does the Holy Spirit Baptism Matter?

Introduction

The Holy Spirit Baptism must not be confused with the initial regeneration work of the Holy Spirit, which takes place in a person that accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He can be regenerated and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but miss the actual baptism.

Unlike the process of regeneration, the Holy Spirit baptism is not a requirement for salvation. But it’s essential for our walk with Christ. This morning even as we are celebrating Pentecost Sunday, I am going to share with you three reasons why this is an experience you should seek after.

1. The Holy Spirit Baptism is Our Divine Privilege

In the Pre-Pentecostal era, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers was twofold. In the book of Judges, the indwelling was selective and temporary. The Holy Spirit “came upon” the various judges whom God raised to deliver Israel from their oppressors. God’s Spirit assisted them to fulfill a specific task, (Judges 3:10; 14:6; 15:14) and left once the job was complete. Then there were people like David and Saul who had God’s special favour on them. The Holy Spirit indwelled them yet departed if they sinned and fell short of divine favour, (1 Samuel 16:14; Psalm 51:11).

Many years later, the prophet Joel prophesied that God would pour out his Spirit on all flesh, (Joel 2:28-29). Upon young men and women, the old, men and women and all servants regardless of age or social standing. This prophecy reflects Moses’ hope (and prediction) in Numbers 11:29. The prophetic outpouring of the Holy Spirit no longer limits to a chosen group. This truth makes Spirit Baptism a divine privilege that we all must seek earnestly.

2. The Holy Spirit Baptism is Our Source of Power

Personal empowerment for service is the main goal intended by the Holy Spirit baptism (Acts 1:8). The Bible says that the Holy Spirit baptised Jesus at the same time he was baptised in water, right before he launched his public ministry. The disciples had to be clothed with the same power if they were to continue Jesus’ mission (Luke 24:49). This empowerment generates the three elements needed for Christian Ministry.

(A) The Holy Spirit Baptism generates Boldness

Read Acts 2:1-36

The disciples didn’t dare to appear in public even after the resurrection. Although the day of Pentecost is a day of celebration, the disciples were hiding in the same upper room in which they observed the Passover 50 days before. But they were transformed when the Holy Spirit came upon them. Peter, who feared the Jews, began to preach and confront the same Jews followed by the experience on the day of Pentecost, (Acts 2:22-24; Acts 3:12-16; Acts 4:8; Acts 4:20)

Boldness is an essential characteristic of any active ministry (Luke 13:32). There’s nothing much we can accomplish without it because, in the Christian Ministry, we have to deal with many risks. We cannot fake boldness. Holy Spirit baptism is the only way to achieve it.

(B) The Holy Spirit Baptism Generates Anointing

Peter preached under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and five thousand people converted to Christianity within a few days (Acts 2:40; Acts 4:4). The Bible says the Holy Spirit convicted them of their sinfulness after they listened to Peter, (Acts 2:37-40)

In Greek, the term “Pentecost” means fifty. It’s the fiftieth day after the Passover celebration. It is also the period the Jewish farmers harvest their crops. In pouring out the Holy Spirit on the same day, God implied preparing his disciples to harvest a spiritual crop (Luke 10:2).

We cannot harvest God’s spiritual crop without the anointing of the Holy Spirit, because words without the power of God cannot convict the sinner, (1 Corinthians 2:4). Manly attributes such as eloquence and charisma cannot open the spiritual eyes of sinful people. The anointing of the Holy Spirit is the only weapon capable of penetrating the hearts and souls of the lost.

(C) The Holy Spirit Baptism brings Divine Power

The Holy Spirit baptism generates anointing, and anointing creates power. This power is necessary for performing the miracles that must accompany the act of preaching. Miracles confirm the message we preach.

The healing of the lame beggar is the first miraculous healing recorded in the book of Acts (Acts 3:1-6). As Jews, the disciples prayed in the temple three times a day. Early in the morning, at the ninth hour of the day (approximately 3 p.m) and once again at the Sunset. The beggar had been in that spot for 40 years, and the disciples had not paid him any attention before.

This time instead of walking away, they looked straight at the beggar and said, “Look at us!” When they had the man’s attention, Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you.” In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk,” The Bible says, instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong when they took him by the right hand and helped him up. He jumped to his feet and began to walk.

Peter stated that he had no silver or gold, but would give the disabled beggar something much more valuable. Churches that possess a fair degree of material property should ponder these words of Peter. Many churches today can no longer say, “Silver and gold I do not have!” nor do they seem capable of saying, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!”

3. The Holy Spirit Baptism is the channel for Help from Above

The convicting work of the Holy Spirit is not limited to the unsaved. He operates in believers to teach, correct, and guide them into truth (Matthew 18:15; 1 Timothy 5:20; Revelation 3:19). He speaks concerning sin, the righteousness of Christ, and the judgment of evil. He transforms us into the likeness of Christ, and his standard of righteousness (2 Corinthians 3:18) Guides us into all truth and glorifies Christ (John 16:13; 14) working within us to reproduce Christ’s holy nature in our lives.

Conclusion

Now that you are aware of the importance of the Holy Spirit baptism and its spiritual rewards, your question should be, how can you have this gift.

(A) Every believer is a Candidate

All believers are candidates because baptism by the Holy Spirit is a gift from God. It’s called a gift because no one can expect to be baptized by the Holy Spirit, depending on his merit. It’s another gracious act of God. If the outpouring of the Holy Spirit depended on such conditions, even the most committed and genuine Christians should not qualify.

When Peter in the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:39 quoted the Spirit baptism from the book of Joel for the first time, used this same theme and stated that the promised gift is for you (Jews) and your children (their generation), and for all who are far away (Gentiles). Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:13-17 affirms the most appropriate interpretation for “all those who are far away” would be “gentiles” or us.

(B) Submission and Anticipation

In being a candidate, you must possess an appropriate attitude. You should be willing to submit to God’s authority and be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading. You cannot force the work of Spirit on yourself by speaking in a fake tongue. “Tongues” is the initial physical evidence of baptism by the Holy Spirit. You must work together with the Holy Spirit – The disciples’ experience on the day of Pentecost is of utmost importance here. Every one of them spoke in unknown tongues as the Spirit gave them the ability (Acts 2:4).

(C) Prayer with Praise and Worship

In the parable, Jesus used to teach God is more than willing to baptize us by the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13); he stressed the need for perseverance (Luke 11:9-10). The Septuagint renders these verbs in the present continuous tense (i.e., keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking). This action must not be confused with hopeless petitions, though. It is the actual foundation of the fourth beatitude (Matthew 5:6). Even the disciples were praying when the day of Pentecost came (Acts 1:14).

You must combine your prayers and petitions with praise and worship. Bible says that the disciples continued to remain in the temple and praised God (Luke 24:53). Later it was of great assistance to the prayer offered in the upper room. Praising God in your tongue provides a smooth transition to heavenly tongues. Besides, when the disciples spoke in tongues, they magnified God and his works in a language not known to them, (Acts 2:11; Acts 10:46). It’s even more impressive because the day of Pentecost is officially an occasion where people thanked God for his goodness and provision.

(D) Acknowledge that God is sovereign

Finally, God answers prayers. But his timing may not be parallel with your own, because of extraordinary reasons known only to him. Let’s not forget; however, unexpected outpourings of the Holy Spirit are evident in the book of Acts and through early church history.

Quoting from my personal experience, I once belonged to a group of youngsters that waited to experience the Spirit baptism for a considerable length of time. Then one day, all of us received the Holy Spirit Baptism, and my sister was the first to receive the experience. After a while, I also received the Holy Spirit baptism while I was remaining in my bedroom in an attitude of prayer and worship.

Photo by nega on Unsplash
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