Holy Spirit baptism isn't a reward for good behaviour
This year we are celebrating the centenary year of Elim Pentecostal Churches. The original and legal name is Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance which represents our four fundamental claims; Jesus Christ as the Saviour, Healer, Baptiser in the Holy Spirit, and Coming King.
I've chosen to explore Jesus as 'Baptiser in the Holy Spirit' as I believe it is essential to the follower of Christ. 25 years ago, when I first accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and saviour my life was transformed overnight. As powerful as that encounter was, things changed again when a few weeks later, a group of new 'Christian' friends prayed over me (in a strange language) and then I began to speak in the same strange language. Explained later to me from the book of Acts 8:17 as 'speak in tongues'.
I am no theologian and do not attempt to be, but my personal experience from that moment on was a deeper love for Jesus, a new easier understanding of His word, a greater compassion for people, a confident sense of dependency on Him, and a desire to abandon all my plans for His. I had experienced Baptism in the Holy Spirit!
But what if I'd never been Baptised in the Holy Spirit? I would still be a Christian, still go to church, still have a relationship with Jesus, and access to heaven, but I believe I would not be living in all the 'fullness' that God has intended. In other words, I would be missing out on receiving an empowering from the Holy Spirit that enables me to live beyond my natural abilities, strengths and resources.
One of the purposes for Aspire, Elim’s national Women’s ministry, is "to encourage women to become all that God has called us to be". To live lives that are enriched and empowered so that we are able to do what we normally could not do. In order to do that, every one of us needs the help of the supernatural power of the Holy Spirits.
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is that divine help that enables us to be effective witnesses and is essential in order to bring hope to a lost world.
In Acts 1:4-5 Jesus instructed His disciples to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit before they could launch the ministry that he commissioned them to do.
... he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
While obediently waiting for this empowerment those in the upper room were fearful, discouraged and in hiding behind the safety of closed doors. However after their Holy Spirit baptism (Acts 2:1-4) they became fearless, encouraged and went out into the streets to witness boldly. Peter, who had been so fearful as to deny Christ (Matt 26:74; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62), became so bold that his preaching led to 3000 being saved that day! (Acts 2:37-38).
Not bad for an uneducated fisherman to suddenly speak publicly to thousands, without much preparation and yet such amazing results! This was no mere human achievement. It was the Holy Spirit releasing the power and presence of God through a yielded servant of Jesus Christ.
Reflecting on the activity in the upper room, there was leadership lessons, prayer, fellowship, and bible study yet it was only when the promised Holy Spirit fell on them that they left the upper room to affect their world.
The Holy Spirit Baptism is not a reward for good behaviour, but the promise for all believers who receive Christ as their saviour (Acts 2:38). Jesus said 'ask, and you will receive!' (Matt 7:7). Why not ask God to give you this promise, or ask one of your leaders or someone you trust to pray with you to receive this extraordinary gift. A supernatural gift that will enable you to accomplish mighty things in your life and ministry.
“....how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).