Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Infilling of the Holy Spirit

“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.” Acts 1:8

Christ's followers were told by Him to wait in Jerusalem until they had been clothed with power from on high. Jesus said that in a few days they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Then Jesus ascended into heaven. On the day of Pentecost, the 120 believers, who had been waiting in prayer for the arrival of the Holy Spirit, received a mighty visitation from God. The Holy Spirit came, like a mighty wind, and filled them to overflowing. Tongues of fire visibly appeared above each of their heads and they began to speak in other languages (tongues). They spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance. There were various ethnic groups visiting Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost. The empowered believers were enabled by the Holy Spirit to speak in such a way that these different national groups understood them, yet the disciples did not know how to speak in these different languages. It was a miracle! The believers were filled with boldness and Peter, who was among them, preached a sermon so persuasive that about three thousand were added to their number.

What is this baptism in the Holy Spirit? What is this empowering? What is it for? Let me first explain that in many places within the book of Acts we see examples of born again believers receiving this gift. It is described as an experience separate from salvation (See Acts 18:24-28 and Acts 19:1-6). Now I believe that the Holy Spirit lives in every born again believer. When we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us, but this is not the same as being baptized by the Holy Spirit or as being clothed with His power. To baptize means to immerse and to be filled with the Holy Spirit means to be controlled by Him. When a person is filled with the Holy Spirit he or she is immersed in and controlled by the Holy Spirit. When Jesus does this to His followers, He equips them to be more effective witnesses for Him – that is the reason why He does it.

A person controlled by the Spirit in this way is more sensitive to His leadings. 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 discuss the gifts of the Spirit. There are nine manifestations of the Holy Spirit, such as prophesy and speaking in tongues. When a person receives the infilling of the Holy Spirit, they are able to flow in these nine gifts as the Spirit leads them. Many times when an individual receives the empowering of the Spirit, they speak in tongues. Tongues is a heavenly or human language given to the individual for the purpose of prayer. The Bible says that when a person prays in tongues they become stronger spiritually or they are edified. This function of the Holy Spirit is meant to be private for the most part – between us and God. Scripture also says that when we pray in tongues, we pray the perfect will of God, because He is giving us the words to say. It is not my intention here to discuss all the different gifts of the Holy Spirit, but it would be good to read about them in the Bible if you haven't already.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is available to anyone who is a follower of Christ. We are commanded in Ephesians 5:18 not to get drunk on wine but to be filled with the Holy Spirit. God desires for each of us to receive this infilling but we have a choice. We can either choose to obey and reap the benefits or disobey and dishonor God. The question is not whether you will go to heaven or not, it is whether you will please the Lord in this matter.

Let me also explain that this is not an experience reserved for “super saints”. It is available to all who believe and to all who will ask. Luke 11:9-12 says, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” It is plain from this scripture that God desires to give us His infilling of the Holy Spirit. It is also just as evident that He will give it to us if we only ask in faith. If you would like to receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit, please pray this prayer from your heart.

Prayer for receiving Salvation and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit...

Dear Father God,

Thank you for sending Jesus to die for me and to save me. I ask You to forgive me from all of my sins, and I choose to turn my back on any behavior that displeases You. I realize that I cannot earn my way into heaven but I believe that You sent Jesus to pay the price for my sin and rebellion. I realize that it is only by Your grace that I can be saved. Dear Father, thank you for sending Jesus to die for me and to save me. I now ask you to save me and to fill me with Your Holy Spirit.

Come Holy Spirit and take control of my life. Fill me with your power and love. Use me to win a world that is dying without You. Enable me to flow in Your wonderful gifts. I thank you and receive this experience by faith. From this day forth, I declare that I am filled with the Holy Spirit. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

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