Are You Baptized in the Spirit?

Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Jn. 3:5 CSB

Jesus told Nicodemus that a water baptism was required. It is a symbolic enactment of being born again. The immersion signifies burying your old sinful self, and the ascension from the water implies your new birth as a cleansed holy child of God by the cleansing blood of Christ. It does not sanctify you, but it is a public declaration of your discipleship to Jesus that God requires for you to enter His kingdom – baptized in the name of Jesus for remission of sins.

But what’s Jesus talking about when He refers to being ‘born of the Spirit?’ It is synonymous with being ‘baptized with the Holy Spirit’ or ‘filled with the Holy Spirit.’ We are first introduced to this concept by John the Baptist as he was baptizing, prior to the inauguration of Christ’s ministry:

“As for me, I baptize you with water because of [your] repentance [that is, because you are willing to change your inner self – your old way of thinking, regret your sin and live a changed life], but He (the Messiah) who is coming after me is mightier [more powerful, more noble] than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to remove [even as His slave]; He will baptize you [who truly repent] with the Holy Spirit and [you who remain unrepentant] with fire (judgment).” Mt. 3:11 AMP

Obviously, it includes the endowment of the Holy Spirit. The believer generally seeks this out after the water baptism, commonly facilitated by the prayers of a church elder. Some churches expect the receiver to begin talking in tongues. We’ll come back to that. Others are content to accept the prayers and claim their Holy Spirit baptism. However, the Bible suggests repeatedly that this Spirit baptism does involve a ‘certain ‘experience.’ It is also said to be the time when whatever gifts of the Spirit are conveyed upon the believer as an enhancement for their part in advancing the kingdom.

It is a volitional request to the Holy Spirit to dwell within in us and have free and total reign over our spirit. Jesus attested to the Holy Spirit baptism as an event of great change:

“I am sending the Promise of My Father [the Holy Spirit] upon you; but you are to remain in the city [of Jerusalem] until you are clothed (fully equipped) with power from on high.” Lk. 24:49 AMP

Indeed, the first time the Holy Spirit manifested upon the first church, all the recipients did speak in tongues – declaring the gospel in multiple languages in an environment filled with travelers from other nations. Thus, the church was advancing the kingdom.  

But, don’t get hung up on speaking in tongues. Everyone receives different gifts from the Holy Spirit:

Now there are [distinctive] varieties of spiritual gifts [special abilities given by the grace and extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit operating in believers}. And there are [distinctive] varieties of ministries and service, but it is the same Lord [who is served]. And there are [distinctive] ways of working [to accomplish things], but it is the same God who produces all things in all believers [inspiring, energizing, and empowering them]. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit [the spiritual illumination and enabling of the Holy Spirit] for the common good. 1 Cor. 12:4 – 7. AMP

It is the Holy Spirit who determines what gift(s) that you get. Be content with that:

But the one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. 1 Cor. 12:11 NASB

The most important thing to remember is that the Holy Spirit, who even know what God thinks (1 Cor 2:10, 11.), gives you the gift that best serves you in serving God:

“…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NASB

The Bible tells us that the apostle Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit on multiple occasions when he was advancing the kingdom. Some biblical scholars suggest then that we should pray for that filling before every use of our ‘gifts’ to do God’s work – not because He’s not there, it’s to petition His power:

Don’t neglect the spiritual gift within you, [that special endowment] which was intentionally bestowed upon you [by the Holy Spirit] through prophetic utterance when the elders laid their hands on you…Practice and work hard on these things; be absorbed in them… ! Tim. 4:14, 15. AMP

So now we’re ready. What must happen to receive this Holy Spirit baptism? Let’s go back to Peter again:

[This process is a paraphrase of a 1910 book entitled The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, by R. A. Torrey, that inspired this post and the two others before it. If you’re interested in an in-depth exposition, it is a FREE read online at The Project Gutenberg; (Gutenberg.org)].

“Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38 CSB

The framework within your repentance* and confession must rest then, is your faith in who Christ is, and the salvation He provided on the cross, which also positions you to receive the Holy Spirit. *And the repentance must be your best attempt to avoid allsins, for the Holy Spiritbaptism to take place. So, ask God to reveal any sin that you may be clinging to, so that you may walk in your best obedience, coming from your greatest effort to surrender to His will.

Next, you must have a sincere yearning for a Holy Spirit baptism, coming from your realization that you need it:

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, who those who believed in Him were to receive… Jn. 7:37 – 39. NASB

Yes, we do receive the Holy Spirit when we believe in Jesus, but the Holy Spirit baptism, as we have looked at, is an additional aspect, whereby the Spirit fills you with your spiritual gifts to forward the kingdom. For this to happen, you petition God in prayer:

When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God boldly. Acts 4:31 CSB

Lastly, (but concurrently through the whole process), we must apply our faith in the receiving of our prayerful appeal:

This is the [remarkable degree of] confidence which we [as believers are entitled to] have before Him: that if we ask anything according to His will, [that is, consistent with His plan and purpose] He hears us. And if we know [for a fact, as indeed we do] that He hears and listens to us in whatever we ask, we [also] know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted to us] the requests which we have asked from Him. 1 Jn. 5:14 – 15. AMP

You’ve met all the requirements. As with your faith in your salvation, even though you may not feel any different, so it may be with your Holy Spirit baptism. For myself, that was the case; and yet, within months afterwards, I began to discern that I was gaining a gift of ‘teaching’ the word of God, (Eph. 4:11-13), writing and coming back to re-read it, knowing that I couldn’t have written that by  myself. Your gift will manifest when it is time. No one has the exact same experience. You were promised your Spirit baptism, you will receive it…

Goodnight and God bless. 

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God Calls You to Further His Kingdom

I don’t know how He’s going to do that for you, or what part God will want you to play; but call you He will…

Way back in antiquity, the earthly reflection of God’s kingdom was in tatters:

The Lord saw that the wickedness (depravity) of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination or intent of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually. Gn. 6:5 AMP

God’s initial thought was to wipe the earth clean of His wayward creations, and have a do-over. Yet God loved them so much that He decided to scan the planet to see if He could find anyone who might help Him further His kingdom. He still does this today:

God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. Ps. 53:2 NKJV

Fortuitously for us, He found one:

Noah was a righteous man [one who was just and had right standing with God], blameless in his [evil] generation; Noah walked (lived) [in habitual fellowship] with God. Gn. 6:9 AMP

This would infer that it helps us to be prepared for and active in our walk with God to be available for advancing His kingdom. Thank God, that Noah was available, giving God a vehicle (through Noah’s obedience) to give mankind a second chance to populate that same kingdom.

God called on Noah to build an ark to house him, his wife, his three sons and their wives, and a male and female of every living species of animal. Why? Because God said He’s going to flood the earth – an event that wouldn’t happen for another 120 years!

The inhabitants of the earth at that time had never witnessed such a phenomenon. Can you imagine the ridicule Noah and his family must have had thrust upon them by anyone who had met them during this construction period? In explaining their actions, they would have responded by effectively preaching the word of God – even if the hearers rejected it. How did Noah respond?

By faith [with confidence in God and His word] Noah, being warned by God about events not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his family. By this [act of obedience] he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which comes by faith. Heb. 11:7 AMP

So, we also see that having faith in God, is necessary for us to be candidates for furthering His kingdom. The fact that you and I are here, is testimony of Noah’s right preparation and actions in advancing God’s purpose.

Ten generations after Noah, God called upon Abraham to enlarge His kingdom:

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing…and in you all of the families will be blessed.” Gn. 12:1 – 3. ESV

This is an enormous test of faith. God is telling Abraham to take his wife, his nephew and a few of his servants, and leave all that he’s ever known – to make a 1500-mile trek to Canaan, a land that he’s never seen, to be part of God’s seminal nation, to propagate it. Mind you, he and his wife were in their 70’s, but Abraham takes God at His word, i.e. exercising more of that kingdom-advancing faith.

Abraham, who is considered the biblical paragon of faith, did waiver in his faith a few times, but he always got back on track. This should give us encouragement, knowing that God will strengthen our faith (if we ask Him to) so that we can transcend our shortcomings.

There was also the matter of Abraham’s promised child. He waited 25 years for that promise to be fulfilled. Like Abraham, we too need to keep faith in that God is using our efforts to promote His plan, knowing that we have no idea when we will see the fruits of our labor.

Now, let’s consider Moses. He had escaped Egypt to flee the wrath of Pharaoh, settling into a new life as a sheepherder in what is now modern-day Saudi Arabia.  As you know, one day Moses is out tending his sheep when God manifests Himself to him as a burning bush; and He charges him with the task of freeing His children from the Pharaoh’s oppression and leading them to the Promised Land.

Moses immediately lets fear lead him to resist God’s imperative. He wails about what He should do if the people don’t believe that he is representing God. God in turn displays miracles for Moses to convince him of His power, as a demonstration of what He will do through Moses, to convince His children.

Unconvinced, Moses pleads with God to send someone else because he is not a good public speaker. God tells Moses that He will teach him how to be. Moses still doubts, and God grants him a slight concession by sending Moses’ older brother Aaron to speak for Him.

What is God doing? He is equipping Moses with the skills and power to accomplish His purpose. God takes this frightened sheepherder and transforms him into a leader, who, through God, frees His children, performs a plethora of miracles while leading them to the Promised Land, and Holy Spirit-inspires Moses to write the first five books of the Bible.

God worked all of this through someone who was deathly afraid of answering God’s call. There are several other examples of this in the Bible, but I believe we have a good picture by now. The question is, ‘Will you answer God when He calls?’

We’ve seen that God can use anyone, at any age, with whatever fears they may have, to accomplish His kingdom purposes. One reason that is possible is that God has already equipped us to do so:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Eph. 2:10 NKJV

We are all part of God’s plan. He makes sure that we are up to whatever task He assigns to us. Still, to best serve God, we must prepare our awareness, so that we can hear His summons. We do that by becoming intimately related with Him through His word:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Tim. 3:16, 17. NKJV

God would never ask you to walk a path (your part in His plan) that you could not traverse to attain His end goal. He will supply the faith that you need through His Son (Heb. 12:2); and through Christ, He will give you every skill and power to make it happen. (Phil. 4:13).

God will call each and every one of us. It may be at a time or in such a way as we never would have guessed; it may be a task that seems overwhelming, or what appears to be simple yet vital for the completion of the kingdom of God. And if we keep our spiritual eyes and ears open, we can be ready when He calls…

“Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther. 4:14 NKJV

Goodnight and God bless.