18. Baptism in Spirit and Power – The promise to the reborn. (Part 7 of the born again series.)

‘On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” (Acts 1:4-5)  It was just a few days before this that Jesus breathed on them and said, “Re (once again) ceive (get) the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22) Having said that, men can ‘once again get’ the Holy Spirit to dwell in them, just as it had dwelt in Adam, prior to his fall.  This is the whole essence of rebirth and evidently, the disciples were born again the very moment they received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The disciples might have thought that’s all there was to it, but to their pleasant surprise, Jesus instructed them to tarry in Jerusalem for yet another supernatural experience! Obviously it was not to receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which they had already received but to receive something which they hadn’t received; which is the infilling in the Holy Spirit. Speaking of the infilling, Jesus said: “For John baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” The reason Jesus drew this parallel between the two was to show that they will be baptized into another substance, just as John baptized his disciples into water. Here the reference was not about the person of Holy Spirit who was to come on the day of Pentecost or about the presence of the Holy Spirit, which they had already received, but it was about the substance into which they were to be baptized; the Spirit that flows from within God. It is also referred to as the ‘living waters’, which can quench our spiritual thirst.  “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14) “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.’ (John 7:37-39) ‘For we were all given one Spirit to drink.’ (1 Corinthians 12:13)

What is interesting is the fact that  Jesus gave this instruction to tarry in Jerusalem, to those who were already born again, because the promise of the Spirit was originally meant for them. However, it was first made to Abraham, when he became the heir of the world by faith. ‘It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be the heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.’ (Romans 4:13) But how were the descendants of Abraham supposed to take possession of the whole earth, when they were limited by their geographical boundaries? The answer was in imparting the Holy Spirit even to the Gentiles who would believe in God. ‘The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith … He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. The promise were spoken to Abraham and to his seed, … meaning one person, who is Christ.’ (Galatians 3:8-16) Then when the seed to whom the promise referred had come, he said, “Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.”

When did the disciples hear him speak about the Promise? Jesus first mentioned about the Holy Spirit while introducing another Counselor. “And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him for he lives WITH YOU and will be IN YOU. (John 14:16-17) Here he mentions the two dimensions in which the Holy Spirit operates but later on, before his ascension, he spoke about the third dimensions in which the Holy Spirit would operate. “But you will receive Power when the Holy Spirit comes ON YOU and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) The Holy Spirit was ‘WITH US’  to SAVE US, is now ‘IN US’ to CHANGE US and will be ‘UPON US’ to USE US. There is no power without the Holy Spirit but when he comes upon us, we will receive Power. Power for what? To be witnesses! Witnesses of what? The resurrection of Jesus! Not only were they supposed to be witnesses of Christ with their words and with their  lives  but they were also supposed  to be witnesses of Christ with the power of resurrection, demonstrated through signs, wonders and miracles. “You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:48-49)

How could they wait in prayer and worship continually for ten days, without having the presence of the Holy Spirit within them? Infact receiving the baptism in the Spirit is the tangible proof of our rebirth, because no one can receive it without being born again. Therefore Peter said of those gathered at  Cornelius’ house: “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” (Acts 10:47) Here are a group of people who were not baptized in water, yet received the baptism of the Holy Spirit! Undoubtedly, they were born again! ‘So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.’ (Vs 48) How did they receive the baptism in the Spirit without being baptized in water? The only prerequisite before receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit and Power, is the rebirth experience. Hence, the only question that we need to ask ourselves is: “Am I born again?” If you answer is “yes”, then tarry for the promise, but if you are not sure of this spiritual experience, then ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into it. Amen. (I suppose it would be helpful for you, if you would go back and read from Part 1 of this series, to know more about this spiritual experience. God bless you.)

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