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Who among us has not felt a sense of inadequacy when it comes to the work of God?  When I approach the pulpit on Sunday morning I feel the weight of speaking on God’s behalf and I know that something beyond natural communication skills is required of me.  You may have sensed your own need when you think about the life God desires you to live and see the gap that exists between what you profess to believe and your daily actions. If you are doing any real service for God, you will soon realize the limitations of your own planning and preparation.  Do we have to live with frustration, knowing we should or could do better?  Is the Christian life something we only manage to live on our best days?

The answer is a resounding NO!  Jesus promises a blessing that will make our lives completely different. In the opening chapter of his Gospel, John says this to us. “Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’” (John 1:32-33, NIV)  He will baptize with the Spirit!  John, the Baptist, was preaching change: “Turn to God,” he told those who came to hear him. He led them into the Jordan River where they were dipped under the water, a symbolic cleansing from old ways.  But, that baptism was remarkably different from the one that Jesus would offer.  John’s baptism was temporary. Jesus would offer a permanent life change when He gave the Spirit.

The contrast between those two baptisms is nowhere clearer than in this story. “While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.” (Acts 19:1-6, NIV)

The full experience of the Christ-life is impossible apart from an experience of the Spirit. We may be convinced of truths. We may work at aligning ourselves with God’s ways. We may aspire to be better people. All those things are good, but a new life is based on the coming of the Spirit.  Without Him, we are attempting the impossible.  With Him, everything is different.  As surely as a living tree produces fruit, a Christian who is filled with the Spirit will be characterized by “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

The Baptism of the Spirit is not just for a spiritual elite, not just for mystics.  He will fill you.  It is apt that the imagery of baptism is used. When we baptize a new believer, we go into the water. There that person ‘surrenders’ himself to the one baptizing and is plunged under the water, coming up dripping, saturated.  In the same way, if we would be baptized in the Spirit, we will give control to Christ, allowing Him to saturate us with the Holy Spirit, marking us as transforming persons!

The disciples were told ‘wait’ for the Spirit before they set out to tell the world about the Resurrected Christ. Acts 2 describes the wind, fire, and tongues that came over them with the Spirit’s arrival. We tend to get fixated with those phenomena forgetting that the greater effect was the power they found in Him that day. They went out – changed and ‘changers.’  That experience, which we call “Pentecost” after the Jewish festival during which the Spirit came, was not unique to that time and place. There is a Pentecost for you and me.  Are you baptized in the Spirit?  Is there an intimacy with God, an empowering experience, a marked difference in you?  That is what He does!

While there is no formula for receiving that empowering experience, there is a pattern. Desire Him. Wait for Him. Surrender to Him. Pray, and faithfully receive Him.

I pray that the word from the Word will stir that desire in you to know a new kind of empowered Christian life. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, NLT)  “On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place.” (Acts 2:1, NLT) “And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.” (Acts 2:4, NLT) “In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants—men and women alike— and they will prophesy.” (Acts 2:18, NLT)

Holy Spirit  Worship with this link

 There’s nothing worth more that will ever come close
No thing can compare You’re our living hope
Your Presence 

I’ve tasted and seen of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free and my shame is undone
In Your Presence Lord

 Holy Spirit You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your Presence Lord

 Your Presence Lord
Your Presence
Oh God how we love Your Presence Lord

 Let us become more aware of Your Presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness (Lord)

Bryan Torwalt | Katie Torwalt © 2011 Capitol CMG Genesis (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Jesus Culture Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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