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of Power

And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY GHOST not many days hence.

But ye shall receive power, AFTER THAT THE HOLY GHOST IS COME UPON YOU: and ye shall be WITNESSES unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

                                                                                                                                                                                       -  Acts 1:4-5, 8

1  And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it FILLED all the house were they were sitting.

3  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat UPON each of them.

And they were all FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  -  Acts 2:1-4

The Word of God has much to say about the subject of baptism.  As a matter of fact, Hebrews 6:1-2 speaks of the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, which are the foundations of the Church. One of those foundations is the doctrine of baptisms.  No, I didn't make a mistake.  It is listed as plural in verse two. That's because there are eight different baptisms spoken of in the Word of God.  We don't have time and space to get into that, neither is it our subject.  Right now we are only focusing on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

       Notice in our opening text that Jesus exhorts His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of God that they would receive the Baptism with the Holy Spirit.  He also goes on to tell them that after they were baptized with the Holy Spirit they would receive power.  I referred to this particular lesson as "The Baptism of Power", because that's exactly what the baptism with the Holy Spirit is: a baptism of power!  The Early Church was a church of power because they did not confuse salvation with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is of utmost importance that you understand the principle of the Holy Spirit within,  and the Holy Spirit upon.  Jesus prepared the disciples for both Calvary and Pentecost.  First came Calvary,  then Pentecost; that's the divine order.

      Every true Christian has received the person of the Holy Spirit as a result of the new birth, however, every Christian has not received the power of the Holy Spirit, because every Christian has not been baptized with the Holy Spirit.  The new birth represents the Holy Spirit within.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit represents the Holy Spirit upon.  There are those who would argue by saying "How can we receive the person of the Holy Spirit at the new birth, and not His power? You cannot receive more or less of the Holy Spirit since He is a Person. You either receive all of Him or you don't."  The fact is, if we cannot receive more or less of the Holy Spirit since He is a Person, than why does the Bible speak of being filled with the Holy Spirit?  If one needs to be filled with the Holy Spirit, then he/she must not have received His fullness to begin with at the new birth because the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a subsequent experience to the new birth.

      All true Christians have been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ, but not all Christians have been baptized by Christ with the Holy Spirit.  Failure to see this important distinction is the reason there is a lack of power in the Church today. Jesus made it clear in His high priestly prayer that the disciples were believers (John 17). Nevertheless, He still commanded them to wait in Jerusalem until they were endowed with power from on high (Acts 1:8). Our second opening text in Acts chapter two up above describes that experience.  Likewise, after Pentecost, the believers in Samaria were converted under the ministry of Philip the Evangelist, but they did not receive "the Holy Spirit" in the sense of the full blessing of Pentecost until Peter and John came down, prayed for them, and laid hands on them.

      Although Saul was converted on the road to Damascus, it wasn't until three days later that he was filled with the Holy Spirit when a little known disciple named Ananias came and ministered to him and laid hands on him. The believers at Ephesus were called disciples because they had been converted under the ministry of Apollos.  Nevertheless, they had not yet received the baptism with the Holy Spirit.  As a matter of fact, when the Apostle Paul caught up with them he asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit since they believed, and they replied by saying that they didn't even know that there was a Holy Spirit!  Paul then laid his hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied (Acts 19:1-6).  We see then that the Word of God clearly shows us that the baptism with the Holy Spirit follows the born again experience.  It should not be confused with regeneration, because it is a part of the sanctification process.

      Let me explain that when one receives the power of the Holy Spirit it is an endowment. The endowment is an empowerment.  We are empowered for works of service.  No one is qualified to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ until he is baptized with the Holy Spirit.  Organized religion has in these last days usurped the authority of the Holy Spirit and become nothing more than hierarchies dominated by human opinions and traditions of men.  There is no revelation knowledge, therefore, there is no power.  In order to perform the will of God in the earth today, the Church must again become the custodian of the power of God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

     We must become fully yielded to the will of God, which includes the prerequisite of the infilling of the Holy Spirit for endowment of power in ministry.  Jesus was our greatest example.  He was the model.  He never once preached a sermon or performed a miracle until He received the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it begs the question "Who are we to think that we can minister in the power of the Spirit without the baptism of the Holy Ghost?"  If Jesus had to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, then so do we.

      My friend, I want to encourage you to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit today. If you have never been filled with the Holy Spirit and want to receive it right now, pray this prayer:  Father God, I thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit.  I know that it is Your will for me to be baptized with the Holy Spirit in order to receive power to be a witness for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I yield myself to you right now, and by faith I receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking with other tongues.  Fill me now to overflowing in the name of Jesus, amen!

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