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Luke 3:15-17 ESV

As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

The people were struggling under the oppressive yoke of Rome. They were hungry for freedom. They were hoping and anticipating their promised Messiah–an Anointed One that could break their chains.

Some thought John might be the Christ, but He said, “No. It is not me. Someone better is coming. I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the very Spirit of God.”

This prophecy is mentioned in all four gospels, and is repeated several times in the book of Acts. It is very obvious that the authors of the New Testament believed the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was a central component of the gospel.

When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, His Spirit comes and lives in us. This is true of all Christians, whether they receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit or not. So why receive the Baptism of the Spirit?

What is the difference between having the Spirit and being baptized in the Spirit?

Many would say that those who have been Baptized in the Spirit have a greater measure of the Spirit–more of God. I have said this in the past. However, as I meditate and ponder on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, I think there may be a better way to put it.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not about having more of God, it is about God having more of you.

Think about this. Why are we afraid to speak in tongues? Why do we feel odd about interpretation of tongues? Why are we afraid to prophesy? Why do we hesitate to pray for the sick to be healed, the possessed to be delivered, or for the dead to be raised?

Is it really because the Bible says that those things ended with the Apostolic age? The truth is it never suggests any such thing.

Is it because we saw some weirdo on TV? Jesus taught, And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover (Mark 16:17-18, ESV). If Jesus said believers would speak in tongues, pray for the sick, etc., we ought to do those things–if we say we believe. Notice He never said believers had to be weird or spooky, or continually beg for money.

The truth is we are afraid to do such things because we might look foolish to other people. We’re usually correct! But we ought to be more worried about what God thinks than what we or other people think.

Galatians 1:10 ESV

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

We need to be fully surrendered to God! We should heed John’s warning concerning the Messiah: His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.

Jesus Himself said, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me (Luke 9:23, ESV). We must decrease, and He must increase. We must be completely submitted to the Lord. If He was sent to baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire, and we fail to be baptized, in that area we are not surrendered to God. We are afraid of what people think.

We may have the Spirit, but the Spirit does not have us. We are content to be ‘saved’, but God wants to see us walk in the power of the Spirit. We want to do the bare minimum, but God wants us to walk in all the fullness of God.

Receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit; seek God with all your heart.

+Jared+

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