BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST
By Pastor Gary Anderson
If a man has not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His. Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God. These are statements of fact! New Life! New birth! A New Person! Forgiveness and new birth go together. This eternal life comes through the shedding of Christ’s blood on Calvary and His resurrection on the third day. His blood never runs dry and His Spirit is eternal (Heb 9:14). By His Spirit He draws us and invites us. We respond and we are saved and His Spirit takes up residence within us. A new life begins.
However John the Baptist when introducing Jesus in John Chapter 1 taught that there was even more on offer. Jesus was the Lamb of God who “taketh away the sin of the world”. And also He was the 'Baptiser with the Holy Ghost' (John 1:29-33). In other words just as John was immersing sincere people in water unto repentance, our Saviour would immerse sincere believers in the Holy Ghost.
Jesus then Himself promised this in John 7:37. When He attended the final procession of one of the major Jewish feasts from the Pool of Siloam to the temple precincts, the crowd followed a ceremonial golden pitcher filled with water. They would be singing “Spring up O well” (Num.21:17; Isaiah 12:3). Jesus shouted over the noise of the crowd about a different well – Himself. “Ho everyone that thirsteth…let him come unto Me and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly (Gk Koilia – womb) shall flow rivers of living water. But thus spake He of the Spirit which they that believe on Him should receive. For the Holy Ghost was not yet given because that Jesus was not yet glorified” (Isa.55:1; Jn.7:37-39). Jesus clearly spoke of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost starting at Pentecost’s upper room after Jesus had ascended to God’s right hand (Acts 2:33). “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted He has shed forth this which ye now see and hear”. Jesus had earlier conditioned His disciples to expect this wonderful baptism, although they were unclear as to what they were to expect. He had told them they would spread the gospel to the world but they would need empowerment – (Gk Dunamis = dynamite (Acts 1:8). He even mentioned new tongues – (Mark16:17).
This baptism in the Holy Spirit is just that. It is an immersion into power. Power to overcome! It is not so much you having the Spirit, but the Spirit having you! It is the same Holy Spirit but a different function. Your light socket gives light but your power plug gives power! Salvation says come! Baptism in the Holy Spirit says go! Salvation is Christ calling! – Baptism in the Holy Spirit is Christ sending!
The Baptism of the Spirit is an overflow normally initially evidenced with the circumstantial evidence of speaking with other tongues of prayer and praise. This is both clearly stated (Acts 2:4, Acts 10:46, Acts 19:6) or is implied (Acts 8:17-18). We should expect no less! Baptism in the Holy Ghost is a supernatural transforming experience which opens the sincere believer to a new reality of the presence and power of the Spirit of God and a dimension whereby anything is possible. No mountain is immovable and no river is uncrossable!
When John the Baptist introduced Jesus as the Lamb of God and the Baptizer in the Holy Ghost he consciously chose a certain setting as a location of great significance to the Jewish audience. The place was “Bethebara” – ‘The place of crossing’. Here was the very spot where God opened up the waters of the Jordan in time of overflow to enable Joshua lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. It was a miraculous event! (Joshua 3:15). It was the miraculous provision by God into a land of plenty but also a land of war and opposition on a gigantic scale. A land of conquest. The name Joshua in Hebrew means Saviour and is in Greek Jesus (Hebrews 4:8). Jesus is our Baptizer in the Holy Ghost and it is He who brings us into that new fullness of supernatural power.
Be hungry! Be thirsty! Be filled always! There is always more! Enter the glorious Land of the Holy Ghost – the Promised Land of Promises! The Promise of the Father!