Date: November 8, 2018 (Training)
Bible Text: | Betty Swann
Series: Pillar Four
Are you baptized in the Holy Spirit? Are you filled with the Holy Spirit? How is it going with you and Jesus? Do you feel like your Christian life is exciting and unusual? Are wonderful things happening? Do you see the Lord using your life? Or, do you say, “Betty, I have been a Christian a long time and it has kind of been boring. I have just kind of showed up for church and listened and did what I was supposed to do. I tried to live the right way, but I would not say it is exciting.” I am here today to tell you it can be. Your last days can be better than your first days. In fact, that is a prophetic word for someone watching right now. You are watching this show and you served the Lord for 50, 60 or maybe 70 years. You think, “I am just going to sit here until Jesus comes or takes me out.” He is saying “Listen to me. I want to give you power. I want to do things through you, even in this latter part of your life. Open up and I will, do it.”
What am I talking about? There are two schools of thought on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. You have the mainline denominational views that say, “You get all of the Holy Spirit you can get when you are saved, when you receive Christ into your life.” There is another group of people, Pentecostals and Charismatics, that say “You get it when you are saved, but He wants to do more than that. He wants to baptize you in the Spirit. He wants to come on you and give you the power.” A lot of people argue about. It drives me crazy. I do not think it is right and I do not like it. I bet you do not like it either, do you? I know the Lord does not like it. Instead, He wants us to say, “Lord whatever You have, everything You have, I want. I don’t care what it is called. I don’t care anything about it. I just want all of You, Lord.” I was saved when I was nine years old. I have been in church since the cradle roll. I have always been in church. I am grateful for it and I am grateful for my parents taking me to church all of the time. It is a wonderful thing when parents do that. It is very important. A child’s spiritual beliefs are pretty much decided by the time they are three years old. Does that shock you? They hear you talking, even before they can talk very well they can hear you. Do you talk about the Lord in your home? Is He a part of your home? Is He as much a member of your family as anyone else in your family? He is when you are filled with the Holy Spirit because you are so in love with him. I grew up going to a denominational church and they were wonderful people. They were very sweet people and working hard for Jesus. Yet, there was something missing. I did not know it. I just thought it was kind of boring, but if this is it okay. Then I met some people who were so turned on to Jesus that I could not get enough of being around them. There was something different about them. I looked at my life and said, “I am a Christian and they are Christian, but they are different from me. What do they have that I don’t have?” I began to ask them questions about it. They said, “Jesus is so real. He is answering our prayers. We talk to Him and He talks to us.” I just kept trying to figure out what was the difference. Today we are going to study what the difference was.
My job is not to convince you of anything. You have your own set of beliefs. My job is to tell you what I believe the Bible says. Open up your head and your heart. Look at this in a different way. First, when does the Holy Spirit come into a person’s life? (Look at this picture of this person. They have their hands lifted up to heaven. They are full of something aren’t they? Is it when they are surrendering their life for salvation? Is it when they are surrendering their whole life for the filling of the Holy Spirit? I will let you decide.)
In Ezekiel God is talking in the Old Testament, and He says, “And I will put My spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” This second Scripture in Romans says “You, however, are not controlled by the sinful nature but by the Spirit if the Spirit lives in you, and if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” In Ephesians 1:13 it says, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.” There it tells you that God puts His spirit in you from the minute you begin to believe and everything that there is to believe about Jesus, following God and keeping the laws of God. It is the promised Holy Spirit. Jesus promised He was coming. In fact, the disciples did not want Jesus to go away. They loved being with Him. They had never been around anything like it in their life. Jesus said, “I am going away. It is part of the plan and I am going. I can’t stay. This is why I came and now I am going.” They said, “Jesus, please don’t leave us, please.” He told them He had to go away because “If I don’t, the Comforter can’t come.” Who is the Comforter? The Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, is. He is sent to us to teach us, to guide us, and to remind us of what the Bible says.
I want you to look up these Scriptures: John 14:26, John 16:7-8, and John 12:15. These are talking about the Holy Spirit. Does the Bible tell us that supernatural manifestations are a sign that someone has been saved? No, it really does not. The New Testament tells us other things to look for. If you do those things, yes. But, you know the devil can imitate almost anything. He cannot imitate salvation though.
Let’s look at some passages that first of all tell you to recognize a true disciple of Christ. You can be a believer in Christ and not be a disciple, because the Bible says that even the demons believe. To be a disciple is a different thing. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and make disciples.” What is that? That is people who follow His laws and live His ways. In John 13:35 He says, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples if you love one another.” Loving one another is really important. I want to share some other verses that talk about how to recognize a true believer or a true disciple. John 15:7 says “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you.” That is how you get your prayers answered. How about John 15:8? It says, “This is My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be My disciples.” The true disciples of the Lord bear much fruit. What is fruit? It is how your life affects other people. You might not have a very big ministry; you might have a little ministry in your eyes. If it is the one that God said is the one for you, then it is the best one you could have and you are bearing fruit. Sometimes people compare themselves and say, “Well I’m not on TV, I’m not going around the world. I’m stuck in a wheelchair. I am in a prison.” Some of you are in prison watching this show, and you think “I have messed up my life so badly that there is no hope.” Yes there is. Even in prison, Paul was so effective . Peter and Silas were so effective in prison. In the worst possible conditions, you can bear fruit. You can say “Lord, I want to bring you glory. I want to do this Father. I want to bear a lot of fruit.” He will give you places to do it.
Look at 1 John 2:5, “But if anyone obeys His word, God’s love is truly made complete in him.” That is how we know we are in Him, by obeying God’s Word. There are a lot of people today who say they believe in God. Do they obey His word? “Well, kind of. Some of it I do and some of it I don’t.” The true disciples try so hard to obey God’s word. A teenager said to me, “You know, Betty, you can live right here on this line between the world and God as a Christian. You can ride the fence or you can move way over here where God is. That is where I want to live, as close to God as I can live.” In 1 John 2:6 it says, “Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” It is impossible to live the Christian life. Have you figured that out? I had a secretary say to me, “We go to church and we hear all of these sermons preached, and we read the Bible. But, it is pretty hard to live one sentence of the Bible.” It is hard. In fact, you cannot do it in your own strength. Maybe all of your life you have tried so hard to serve Jesus, but you have done it in your own strength. You have seen yourself fail time and time again and you feel like a defeated Christian. God does not want that for you. He has so much more for you. He has the life that everyone wishes they could live. Is that the baptism of the Holy Spirit? It really is. There is a difference between what we look around and see as normal Christians going to church and there is not much victory or power in their life, there is not much love for Jesus. You do not see signs and wonders happening through them. What makes the difference? Look back and think about the men that walked with Jesus. There were probably 72 that did. One time He sent out 72. He had the 12 that were in the inner circle. Peter, James and John were in the tiny inner circle. There were a lot of people following Jesus as disciples. How did they do what He told them to do? He said, “I want you to go out and heal the sick and raise the dead. I want you to have authority over demons, and I give you that authority.” They had to hook into that.
What is all of this about Pentecost and Pentecostals? In Acts 1:5, just a few days before Pentecost, Jesus told the disciples, “In a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” These were people that Jesus sent out and they were doing great things. So what is He talking about? He is talking about this tremendous infilling of the Holy Spirit that can come into your life and change you. It lasts forever. Do you have to be filled again, and again, and again? I have. I go along great and am doing fine. Then I get all out of sorts. I quench the Holy Spirit and what do I do? I have to say, “Lord I am so sorry. I know I did. I am sure I hurt your feelings and I am sure I grieved you. Dear God, fill me up again. I cannot do this unless I am filled with the Holy Spirit. I don’t have the power to do it. You are the power.” In Acts 1:5-8, “For John baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit and you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” You can have that precious infilling of the Holy Spirit. I cannot count the number of times that I have been speaking to someone or speaking in a group or praying with someone and I feel the Holy Spirit come on me. What does that feel like? It is kind of a quickening, an excited feeling, an inner knowing. “God’s here. Perk up, something is going on.”
Let’s look at Acts 2:1-4. There were 120 of them in the room so how many were filled with the Holy Spirit? “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and all of them began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” You have probably heard me talk tongues a lot. There are two things that frustrate me about it. One is people that do not believe in it. The other is people that do believe in it and do not use it. For me, as I read Ephesians 6, I understand it is one of the most powerful weapons you could ever have against the devil because he does not understand. Why does he not understand it? For the same reason that you and I do not. It is a language from above. It is the Holy Spirit’s language. It is Him talking through us and it is powerful. If we look at all of the examples in the Bible of when the Holy Spirit came on people, when they were filled with the Holy Spirit, tongues is in there. Do you have to speak in tongues? No you do not. I will be very honest with you. I was filled with the Holy Spirit for five years before I ever spoke in tongues. Why? Because I was told it was wrong. I was told it was emotionalism and that it was not for everyone. Yet, it is. It is for anyone that wants it. It is for anyone that feels like they need it. Before I prepare all of these lessons, I pray in the Spirit a great deal. In fact, I pray in the Spirit a lot every day. I read where Paul said, “I do it more than any of you and I wish you all did it.” I though, okay here I go.
Who were the people in the New Testament that had this experience? The first one besides Pentecost when those 120 had it were Gentiles. At Pentecost everyone was Jewish. When all of the people came and said, “We heard them speaking in our language.” Someone else said, “They are just drunk.” Peter said, “You don’t get drunk at 9:00 a.m.” What was going on? They heard them in their own language. It does not say those people were speaking in those languages. They did not know them. The Holy Spirit was doing a powerful thing. He was speaking and the people heard it in their own language. I have seen that happen in Russia. I heard a lady praying in tongues. She was Russian and did not speak English. I heard her say in English “Praise Jesus.” I though “She doesn’t speak English.” I got my Bible out and looked at that and it said, “We heard them.”
There are people watching this show all over the world who are very good people. I just spent some time with a Muslim man in London. He was a very good man, a very good father who cared about his children. He was fasting for Ramadan. He loved God, but he did not know Jesus. He has to know Jesus. He was a gentile, too. Let’s look at Cornelius, a gentile who was such a godly man. He helped the poor, he cared about God. He was good to people. Peter was sent down to talk to them. Peter said “Lord they are gentiles.” Peter had had a vision, like a trance. What is a trance? It is a Holy Spirit powerful thing. You just move into a different dimension. Something is going on and you see something going on. Peter saw that sheep being lowered down and the Lord said “Eat Peter.” Peter said, “Oh no, Lord. These are unclean.” But God said, “Eat Peter. Do not call unclean what I have called clean.” God sent him to Cornelius. It said, “When Peter was speaking the words about Jesus, (here it is again) the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message, and the Jews that came with Peter were astonished.” The gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the gentiles. How do they know? They heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Peter said “Can anybody keep these people from being baptized. They have received the Holy Ghost just as we have.” So they were baptized. That is in Acts 10:44-48. In the New Testament it talks about this wonderful baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts 8:12-17. They were already believers because they had believed Phillip when he had preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ and they were baptized, both men and women. You remember the Samaritans in the Bible and how they did not want anything to do with them. God never cares about boundaries. He never cares what we believe. He is on the move and we can either go or not go. We can go where He is going, or not go. When the apostles heard that the Samaritans had accepted the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, it says “They prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit” because the Holy Spirit had not yet (here are those words again) come upon them. They had been baptized but the Holy Spirit had not come on them. They were sealed with the Holy Spirit but He had not come on them. Peter and John placed their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Just like this right now. I place my hands on you and say “Receive the Holy Spirit right now. You are hungry for it.” Just say, “Lord I receive it.” An amount of time had passed between when they were saved and when they received the Holy Spirit, when it came upon them. It is a separate experience that God has for everyone.
Another example is Ephesus. I think it was about 20 years after Pentecost. Never make the mistake of saying “That all happened at Pentecost and we all have all of the Holy Spirit we can get.” You can always look at your life and say, “Is there something about my life that is different from normal Christianity?” In Acts 19:1-6, “While Apollos, who was a preacher, 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?’” Everyone got it so that is not what he is talking about. We read the Scripture. You get sealed. He is talking about something else. “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? They answered, ‘No, we have not even heard there is a Holy Spirit.’” I just had that happen. Coming home from Africa, I was on a plane and I started talking to the flight attendant. I said to her “Are you born again?” She said, “What?” I asked, “Are you born again? Have you ever developed an intimate personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ?” She said, “No, I don’t go to church. My family had me christened when I was a baby, but I don’t even know why they did that. They don’t go to church; they have never gone to church. I don’t go to church.” I said, “Do you understand about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit?” She said, “No I don’t know about the Holy Spirit.” That is still going on today. “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, Jesus. On hearing this, they were baptized in 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.” In Acts 9:17-18, God sent a man named Ananias to lay his hands on Saul of Tarsus. He said, “God sent me that you might see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately he was. You do not have to wait around for it.
Listen to these, “The Holy Spirit came on,” “the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out,” “they received the Holy Spirit just as we have,” and “the Holy Spirit came on them” just as He came on us at the beginning. God gave them the same gift. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you have a power to serve God like you have never had. You have a power to be his witness. You have a joy. You cannot quit talking about Jesus, and you love the Bible. The woman you are looking at today is as excited and on fire for Jesus as I was 38 years ago when I found out about all of this. It has never changed. For 38 years, I have been on fire for the Lord. Have I gone through hard times? Absolutely. Have I had times where I could not hear God? Yes. Have I had times when I have missed God? Yes. But, God has continued to pour His Spirit through me because I am open, willing and I want it. Don’t you want it? Don’t you want everything God has? You can have it. He has it for you today. He is offering it to you today and He is saying, “There is spiritual power available to anyone that asks.”
Let me just ask you something. Are you born again? Have you ever asked Jesus into your life and turned your life over to Him? Do it right now. Just say “Come in Jesus, I believe.” Let me ask you another question. Have you had this wonderful second experience? It can come at any time in your Christian life; early, beginning or late. It does not matter. You can have it at any time. All you do is say, “Jesus, I give You all of me. I am going to put You first in my life, ahead of everything. I care about your kingdom and I care about your work. I need your power to do it, Lord. I cannot do it in my own strength. I am tired of trying. Come in Jesus and fill me with the Holy Spirit. I want it. I want your power. I want it all Lord.”
QUIET TIME QUESTIONS
1. What do you have when you are filled with the Holy Spirit?
2. What is the difference between the baptism of the Holy Spirit and salvation? Use Scripture to support your answer.
3. What Scripture(s) supports that the Holy Spirit comes upon you?
3. Are you born again?
4. Have you had the second experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit?
5. If you are open and willing to receive the Holy Spirit, ask Him now to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Topics: Holy Spirit Power