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 The Baptism in the Holy Spirit

And its Impact on the Believer

John Hoole November 16, 2008


Have you heard of Thomas Edward (T.E.) Lawrence. T. E. Lawrence was born on August 16, 1888 in Wales. This man is more commonly known as Lawrence of Arabia. He became famous for his exploits as a British Military liaison to the Arab Revolt during the First World War.

The desert raids of this British officer and his Arab rebels were able to bring havoc to the Turks using classic guerrilla warfare. Lawrence wrote his Arabian adventures in his book. In it he tells about the close friendships he had with many of the Sheiks of Arabia. After the war, he brought some of these Sheiks to England to show his appreciation for their support against the Turkish domination. They had a wonderful visit, appeared before the Joint House of Commons and Parliament. They even had an audience with the Queen.

On the last night of their visit, Lawrence offered them anything they wanted to take back with them to their desert homes. They led him to the bathroom in their hotel room, and pointed to the faucets. They said they wanted to take faucets with them that would provide running water in the desert. They didn't realize that the faucets were superficial. Behind the wall was the plumbing, a hot water heater, an energy source that heated the water, a city main that supplied the water, and before that a line to an outside source of water.

I relate this story to say this - "The magic is not in the faucet! It is what's behind the faucet that gives the water." There is no power in the faucet. The power comes from what is behind the faucet. The faucet may be made of 24-carat gold, but if it is not attached to a water supply, it is useless.

John 7:38-39 NKJV

38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water."
39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing* in Him would receive;...

God has called you and me to be faucets. Out of us is to flow "rivers of living water." The faucet is necessary to get the water to where it needs to be. But we cannot fulfill that role unless we are connected to a power source. As this Scripture say, we need the Holy Spirit.

I don't want to minimize the importance of a vessel. God needs faucets. God has always worked through human vessels. In fact, most of the time, God works through the most unlikely vessels.

Moses stuttered. David's armor didn't fit. John mark was rejected by Paul. Timothy had ulcers. Jacob was a liar. David had an affair. Abraham was too old. David was too young. Peter was afraid of death. Lazarus was dead. Naomi was a widow. Paul was a murderer. Jonah ran from God. Miriam was a gossip. Gideon and Thomas both doubted. Elijah was burned out. Martha was a worry-wart. Noah got drunk.

God can have all the plumbing in place, ready to pour out a blessing, but He needs us to be vessels. He needs a faucet. In many cases, the only thing that stops a move of God is the lack of a vessel.

On the Day of Pentecost, God poured out His Spirit upon all "flesh." He was filling vessels. Do you understand how important you are to the work of God. God usually will not move without a vessel into which He can pour Himself. God will not pour out His Spirit without a faucet for it to flow through. And you are that faucet. God wants to flow through you and me.

Even though God has chosen to use imperfect humans to flow through, we cannot afford to take any glory for what only God can do. If the power supply gets shut off, the faucet becomes useless. So, no matter how much God moves through us, remember it is God and not us.

You and I must always remember: No matter how smart I am, no matter how well I can teach, no matter how well I can organize, there is no power in me apart from being connected to a power source.

This is where the Baptism in the Holy Spirit becomes so important. I want to discuss three important aspects of this Baptism.

1. An immersion or a baptism

2. An infilling

3. An outflow.

I believe these three are a package deal. You can take away parts from it and still have something, but you won't have what the disciples experienced. And I believe the Baptism in the Spirit experienced by people today is to be the same experience the120 disciples received on the Day of Pentecost.

Firstly, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is an immersion

I did some research on the history of the word, "baptize." It can be traced at least back to the 5th century before Christ. If you look at its used from that time through the second century after Christ, its definition and use never changed. It always meant "to immerse."

Now, at Pentecost, we are not talking about baptism, or immersion, in water, but, rather, of the Holy Spirit coming down from God above, over the believer. I don't want too get to technical, but there are two kinds of immersion. To make it rather simple, let me use pictorial descriptors. Let me call the two kinds of immersion the swimming pool immersion, and the Niagara Falls immersion.

Water baptism is a going down into and a coming up out of process. That is the swimming pool immersion. The individual is placed into the water and then brought up out of the water. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the Niagara Falls immersion. Let me try to explain what I mean.

I have been to the Niagara Falls only once. I remember going to the Canadian side and taking an elevator down to a place behind the falls. The torrent of water cascaded over the cliff above. You wouldn't be under that water for half a second without being totally immersed. It comes down over from above. It envelops and surrounds.

Every place in the first 15 chapters of the book of Acts where it talks about the Holy Spirit coming on people, the language always implies a coming on them from above.

We read in the book of Acts 2:1-2:

1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

The whole atmosphere around these believers was filled. They were immersed from above in the supernatural power and presence of God. The Spirit of God came down from heaven over the followers of Jesus, and it filled the whole house where they were. And since the whole house was filled, every one of them was individually immersed in the presence of the Holy Spirit. They were enveloped completely with the Spirit's presence.

Yes, the first aspect of the infilling of the Holy Spirit is immersion from above. A moment ago, we read the first two verses of Acts 2, which speaks of this immersion. But, in verse 4, it continues by saying, "They were all filled."

The second aspect of the Baptism is that it is an "infilling."

The words, "They were all filled," means it did not merely surround and envelop them, but it also came into them. They were internally filled. Let me say that again. The baptism is not merely something that comes down over us, but it is also something that we receive into us.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:13 that we "have all been made to drink into one Spirit." To drink is to take internally. This ties in exactly with the words of Jesus in John's gospel.

John 7:37-39 NKJV

37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water."
39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Let me make a couple of seemingly obvious statements. First of all, Jesus is not talking about physical water that would quench a physical thirst. John helps us in his writing to know what Jesus was referring to when He speaks of "living water." Jesus was referring to the gift of the Holy Spirit that would be available for those who believed in Him.

Secondly, Jesus says, "if anyone thirsts,..." That means it is for everyone - not just some elite super-spiritual group of people. It is literally for every believer - both back then and now.

Yes, Jesus was referring to the gift of the Holy Spirit. And He compared the receiving of the gift of the Holy Spirit to the act of drinking. He said, "If anyone thirsts…," which means, "If anyone has a deep longing in his heart." He then said to him or her, "...let them come to Me and drink."

I believe Jesus is describing how to receive the baptism. Jesus said, "If any man thirst..." The first requirement is to be thirsty. In other words, it is to feel you need more of God than you presently have.

You don't have to be a scholarly Bible student. You don't have to join a church. You don't have to quote Scripture or pay tithes. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is for those who are thirsty. If you are not thirsty, it is a waste of your time to seek it. But you don't have to be a theologian or expert in the Scriptures. You don't even have to be very spiritual. But you have to know you need more of God than you currently have.

I have discovered that when you are thirsty, you want only one thing, and that is to drink. You are not at that moment interested in food. You are not interested in pleasure. You are not interested in sleep. You want to drink. That's what it is to be thirsty.

A moment ago, we read from John 7:37. Jesus said, "Come unto me." That is very simple. There is only one Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, and it is the Lord Jesus Christ. That distinctive ministry belongs to Christ alone.

John 1:33 tells us it is Christ "who baptizes with the Holy Spirit." If you want the baptism, you have to come to the Baptizer. And Jesus also said, "The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out" (John 6:37). If you come, He will receive you.

But Jesus didn't just say, "Come unto me." He continued, "Come unto me and drink." This is where some people have trouble. "Drink" means that by a voluntary act, you receive the Spirit within you. You have all heard the old saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." Drinking only happens when a person, by their on volition, decides to drink. No one else can drink for you. And you also can't drink with your mouth closed. No one ever received the baptism in the Holy Spirit with their mouth closed. You have to open your mouth and drink in, not visible water, but the Spirit of God.

We have covered the first two aspects of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. First, we are immersed by the Holy Spirit coming from above - enveloping us. Secondly, we are to drink and receive the Holy Spirit internally. We are to be filled.

Acts 2:4 says that all who were in the Upper Room were filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, in John 7:37, that we are to come to him and drink. That requires thirst on our part. God doesn't force the Holy Spirit upon us. We have to want Him.

The third aspect of the Baptism is the outflow

Let me quickly give you several Scriptures regarding this aspect of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. We have looked at them already, but it is good to review them again.

Acts 2:1-4 NKJV

1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord* in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

This passage says that on the Day of Pentecost...:

o The Holy Spirit came upon them from Heaven above - Aspect #1

o Vs. 4 - "They were all filled with the Holy Spirit" - Aspect # 2

o Vs. 4 continues - "and they began to speak with other tongues. - Aspect #3

This is the third aspect. First, there is an immersion from above. Secondly, there was the infilling - the drinking in. Thirdly, the outflow - the began to speak.

The next Scripture for you and I to examine again is John 7:37-39. This passage speaks to aspect # 2 and #3.

John 7:37-39 NKJV

37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water."
39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

When Jesus speaks these word, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit had not yet happened. Verse 39 says the Holy Spirit was not yet given. The 120 in the Upper Room occurs later - after Jesus was glorified and returned to His Father in Heaven. But Jesus addresses what would happen when the Holy Spirit would fall upon them and us.

Aspect # 2 - We are to go to Jesus and drink. He emphasizes the requirement of thirst. It is those who are thirsty that will be filled.

Then comes aspect #3 - the outflow. Verse 38 tells us what happens to those who come and drink. "Out of his belly will flow rivers of living water." This verse says rivers will flow out, beginning in our belly. Other translations use the phrase, "from our innermost being."

When I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, there was one thing I was very conscious of. It was the fact that it started in my belly. It started from deep within me and came out my mouth. The torrent of other tongues came from deep inside me. Jesus said that is what would happen. Out of his belly will flow rivers of living water.

Here is where a marvelous miracle takes place. Here we have a person who thirsted for more internally. He comes to God and drinks. This previously thirsty person now becomes an outlet for rivers of living water. Instead of not having enough for himself, he becomes an overflowing channel to supply to many others. That is one of the primary purposes of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, in Acts 1:8, the Spirit is coming down from heaven to envelope and fill us so that we can have power be Christ's witnesses. We don't just take in - we also give out.

When the heart is so full that it can no longer hold its contents, where does if overflow? The overflow is through our mouth. Matthew 12:34 teaches, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." At Pentecost, the 120 were "all filled" with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak - it came out their mouth.

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a supernatural infilling, and it will result in a supernatural outflow. How do you know when a vessel is full? When it begins to overflow.

I cannot see inside your heart or your spirit, and you cannot see inside mine. But, when we see and hear the overflow, we know there has been an infilling. Literally, tens of thousands of people today are being baptized in the Holy Spirit in just the same manner as is depicted in the Bible on the Day of Pentecost. They are being enveloped by an outpouring from Heaven. They are drinking at God's fountain and are being filled. And when they are filled completely, out of their mouth comes the outflow.

   
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