The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is for us today.

Some say that the Baptism with the Holy Spirit was only for the beginning of the church. However when we look at Acts 2:39 it states, “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” This is echoed by R.A. Torrey, prominent Bible teacher of old who stated, “The baptism with the Holy Spirit is for every child of God in every age of the Church’s history. If it is not ours in experimental possession, it is because we have not taken what God has provided for us in our exalted Savior . . . .” [1]

When we bypass the empowerment of the Holy Spirit we rely on our own “persuasive words of human wisdom.” Instead we should seek the Spirit’s empowerment so that we can serve our Lord appropriately “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Cor.2:4). That is the pattern laid down by the apostle Paul in scripture.

But how can we obtain this baptism with the Holy Spirit? In his book The Baptism with the Holy Spirit, R.A. Torrey puts forth seven steps to help us receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit. He bases these steps primarily on Acts 2:38 where it states, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  Torrey points out that the force of the word “receive” here is to take. [2] The baptism with the Holy Spirit is there for the taking. But there is a sequence, a chronology to follow. Torrey’s steps first take the person separated from God by sin to salvation. Then second, he takes us to the fullness of the Spirit’s empowerment.  
First, repent changing your mind about Christ. The context shows people were “cut to the heart” and convicted about their role in crucifying Jesus. The first step is to change from a Christ-crucifying attitude to a Christ-accepting attitude. We are seeing more and more of a Christ-crucifying attitude in the world today. Sinners need to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. You must be born again (Jn. 3:1-7) and regenerated (Titus 3:4-7) by the Spirit before or concurrent with (Acts 10:44-45) the baptism with the Holy Spirit. The first step is that Jesus must be received as Savior and Lord (Rom. 10:9-10; Gal. 2:16).

 Second, repent renouncing all sin. There must be a change of mind about sin. A person must go from a sin-loving or sin-indulging attitude to a sin-hating, sin-renouncing attitude (1 John 2:1-6; 3:6-9).  Ask God to do a deep search of your heart (Psalm 139:23-24). Don’t be quick to think there is no sin in you (1 Jn. 1:8, 10).Get alone with the Lord and ask Him to search your heart. If He doesn’t bring anything to mind, move on (Rom. 8:1-2). That which is not from faith is sin (Rom. 14:23; cf. also Ps. 66:18; Is. 59:2; Hab. 1:13).  

Third, openly confess your renunciation of sin. “Baptism” is a symbol of humility and open confession of our sin and renouncing of it (1 Jn. 1:9). We are not saved by baptism. Salvation is a gift of God’s grace received through faith in Christ (Eph. 2:8-9). We can be saved without being baptized like the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43). But baptism is an outward expression of an inward work of God in us. We are buried with Christ in baptism dying to the old sinful life. We are raised to newness of life (Rom. 6:1-4). God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (Ps. 51:17; 1 Pet. 5:6). Baptism is a statement of humility. Jesus was baptized though He was free of sin (Mat. 3:16-17). If sinless Jesus was baptized, how much more should we be baptized?

Fourth, obey. In Acts 5:32 it states the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey. Obedience means total surrender to the will of God. Obedience is an attitude of the will. Torrey suggests praying: “Heavenly Father, here I am and all I have. You have bought me with a price and I acknowledge Your absolute ownership. Take me and all I have, and do with me whatsoever You will. Send me where You want; [keep me where You want]; use me as You will. I surrender myself and all I possess absolutely, unconditionally, forever to Your control and use.” E.g. like a burnt offering – Lev. 9:24; compare with Rom. 12:1-2). [3] Don’t hold back from total surrender due to fear of what God will do with you. God loves us and will only do what is best for us (Ps. 84:11; Rom. 8:31-32). Manifestation by the Spirit is according to the Spirit’s will and for the profit of all (1 Cor. 12:6-7). There is no better place to be than in God’s hands.

 Fifth, have a sincere intense desire; “thirst.” You must have a heartfelt thirst for the Baptism with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13; e.g. Thirst – Is. 44:3). Have pure motives. Don’t seek to build yourself up or bring attention to yourself or serve your own purposes. Seek only to glorify God even if it means you serve in obscurity. (E.g. Acts 8:18-24).
Sixth, ask in prayer. We need to do “definitely asking for a definite blessing”[4] (Luke 11:13). God has promised to give the Holy Spirit to the one who asks for Him. Ask in prayer.

Seventh, “Believe that you receive.” We need to ask in faith without wavering (Mark 11:24; James 1:5-6; Heb. 4:6; 11:6). When we purchase property we gain the property in two steps. First you sign the papers; then you actually step on the property. Similarly, we pray for the baptism with the Holy Spirit and receive it by faith. But the manifestation and power may not be evident until we step out in faith and serve. If we know and believe that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is God’s will, then we can ask confidently and receive in faith (1 John 5:14-15).

 There is no reason to wait to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. You will have to wait only if you have not met one of the above steps. If you have met the steps you won’t have to wait. Pentecost is the only time anyone waited for the Baptism with the Holy Spirit in order to fulfill the purpose of the Feast of Pentecost. There is ample proof that waiting is not necessary (e.g. Acts 4:31; 8:15, 17; 9:17, 20; 10:44-46; 19:6). And if we don’t need to wait, why not take time to pray the prayer of faith and ask the Father for His promise of the Spirit right now?  

[1] R.A. Torrey, The Baptism with the Holy Spirit (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Pub. 1972). Pg. 34
[2] R.A. Torrey, Ibid. pg. 34
[3] R.A. Torrey, The Baptism with the Holy Spirit (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Pub. 1972). Pg. 44
[4] R.A. Torrey, The Baptism with the Holy Spirit (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Pub. 1972). Pg. 51

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