As for me, I baptize you with
water for repentance,
but He who is coming after me
is mightier than I, and I am
not fit to remove His sandals;
He will baptize you
with the Holy Spirit and fire
--Mathew 3:11

we have discussed true repentance and baptism in water. We come now to our next truth, the gift of the Holy Spirit, power from on High.

On the day of Pentecost, we find Peter in possession of the keys to the kingdom of heaven (or the kingdom of God), which Jesus had promised to give him. When many of the Jews realized that Jesus was the Messiah, they cried out, "Brothers, what must we do?" Peter said, "Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:36).

We know that to the repentant thief on the cross Jesus told him, "Today you will be with me in Paradise." He obviously did not have a chance to be baptized in water or to receive the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit had not yet been given.  A dying, repentant sinner as well as any person who repents from sin and turns to his life over to Jesus will be saved by the shed blood of Christ alone.

However, having said that, if you know and obey the truth, the truth will make you free. If you want to enter into the fulness of all that Jesus provided for you through His life, death, and resurrection, you must obey the teaching of the scripture. Peter gave the three foundations of New Testament Christian experience that will open the door to all God's fullness and abundant life here and now.

The "Kingdom of heaven" or "the Kingdom of God" is a term that Jesus used interchangeably. Although heaven is the destination of the righteous, Jesus announced when He began to preach that the Kingdom of God had arrived. After His resurrection, He spent 40 days on earth explaining to His disciples everything about the kingdom of God and later spent three years with Paul after his conversion explaining these things.Paul tells that he received the gospel that he preached directly from the Lord.

The New Testament reveals the message. You can enter into the experience now of heaven on earth. You can know intimate fellowship with Jesus and realize His purpose for you. Jesus told his disciples "the kingdom of God " is within you.

Here are the three keys given to Peter. As we study the early church in the book of Acts we find that they followed this pattern.

Key 1 -Repent of your sins and turn to God.

Key 2 -Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

Key 3 -Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Salvation and eternal life in heaven is the promise of God to all those who have turned from their sins and trusted in the shed blood of Christ alone for their forgiveness and redemption. Many believers have died and havev not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and have gained heaven, just as the great saints of the Old Covenant. However, the blessing of the Baptism is the Holy Spirit was what Jesus came to impart, and it can be yours today for the asking.

Key 3 - Receiving "The Gift of the Holy Spirit"

After Jesus had risen from the dead, He found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, hiding for fear of the Jews. They had just learned the news that Jesus had been seen alive. Suddenly, He appeared in the room and showed them His hands and His feet and His pierced side.

He opened the scripture and explained everything to them and He told them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:47-49).

For the next 40 days Jesus appeared to His disciples and those who followed Him and explained things to them about the kingdom of God. During this time Jesus appeared to over 500 people at the same time (1 C0r. 15:5-8).

Wait for the Power

Just before He ascended into heaven, He gathered His disciples together and told them again "not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,' He said, ‘you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth'"(Acts 1:4-5,8).

The disciples had seen Jesus crucified, dead and buried. They had walked and talked with the resurrected Christ. They had watched Jesus ascend into heaven and talked to the angels who attended Him. Who wouldn't want to go and tell everyone the good news?

However, Jesus told them not to go and preach, but to wait. It was important for them to first be "baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire" so they would have "power to be a witness." If the Apostles and all the others who walked and talked with Jesus and had seen the risen Christ needed power to be a witness, how much more important is it for us today!

The New Covenant--Better Promises

Paul explains that while the Old Covenant was glorious, it was exceeded in glory by the New Covenant which is based on better promises than the Old (Heb.8:6). Looking at Jesus, John the Baptist proclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." Jesus came not only to forgive sin, He came to take away sin. He has "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Heb. 9:26).

But there was more that Jesus came to do. Speaking of the Christ, John the Baptist said, "As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire"(Matt. 3:11)

Living Water--the Promise of the Holy Spirit

Jesus continually talked about this Baptism of the Holy Spirit that He would give to all who would ask Him. The first person Jesus spoke to about the Holy Spirit of Promise was a Samaritan woman He met at a well.

As she approached the well for water, Jesus asked her for a drink, then said, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."

As the woman questioned Jesus about this water, Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this well-water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life" (John 4:10, 13-14).

The Feast of Tabernacles

At another time, Jesus was in Jerusalem for the feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles was spectacular as it celebrated Israel's wanderings through the wilderness and the end of their journey and God's provision.

The priests had sacrificed 70 bullocks for the then 70 nations of the world, signifying the day when the nations would be redeemed and worship the God of Israel (Isa. 2:1-4). The last day of the feast was the Day of the Great Hosannah. The crowds who had gathered sang the Psalms, shouted Hosannah, and waved palm branches.

Suddenly, the trumpet began to blow as the designated priests entered though the Water Gate carrying large jars of water. As they walked up to the altar laidened with the burning sacrifice, they tipped over the jars of water and poured them out at the base of altar mingled with wine. The water mingled with wine began to flow out of the temple into the Court of the Gentiles and down the steps of the temple, a symbol of the outpouring of God's Spirit on all nations foretold of by the prophets (Joel 2:28-29).

Just at this moment, Jesus stood up in the midst of the congregation and cried out, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water'"(John 7:37-38).

John explained, "But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified" (v 39).

This promise of the infilling of the Spirit of God that quenches spiritual thirst and flows out as a river from the heart of the New Testament believer to bless the world has been made possible through the glorification of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament prophets foretold the event. Jesus fulfilled it.

Water from the Temple

Ezekiel had seen a vision of the outpouring of God's Spirit. He saw the temple in Jerusalem with a trickle of water flowing out of it which at first was ankle deep, then knee deep, then waist deep, and finally a river that could not be crossed-water enough to swim in.

Ezekiel explained: "Everything will live where the river goes. And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there. And trees will spring up beside the river whose leaves will be for healing" (Ezk. 47). This vision comes into focus with Jesus' words about rivers of living water flowing from those who believe when Paul tells the early Christians, "Don't you know that your body is the temple of God and the Holy Spirit dwells in you"(1Cor. 3:16).

The imagery of the river of the water of life surfaces again in Revelation. John writes, "He showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse" (Rev. 22:1-3). As Jesus is enthroned in your life as King and Lord of all, God intends that from the throne in the sanctuary of your heart the Holy Spirit will flow out as the river of life to reach the nations.

The Manifest Presence of God

The Old Testament saints were familiar with the Holy Spirit's Presence. God was believed to be everywhere present. However, God had promised Israel that He would dwell among them in a special way. As long as Israel kept His commandments and worshipped Him alone, first in the tabernacle and then in the temple, His manifest Presence would dwell in the midst of Israel in the Holy of Holies, above the Mercy Seat.

The Old Testament saints prophesied by the Holy Spirit, did miracles by the Holy Spirit, and experienced the Spirit's Presence in their personal lives. David remarked, "A day in your presence is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of My God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness" (Psalm 84:10). He prayed, "Do not cast me away from your Presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me" (Ps 51:11). They knew the Presence of the Holy Spirit as God's Spirit dwelt in their midst.
The Indwelling Spirit

When Jesus was born, God pitched His tent of human flesh-to tabernacle among men. Jesus was the Firstborn and the Father of the New Creation, the Second Adam, and came to bring forth many sons and daughters into His image.

Your Body is His Temple

Concerning the change that Jesus had come to make in things, Jesus told the disciples, "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper (or Comforter), that He may abide with you forever-the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him." Then Jesus made this spectacular promise, " for He dwells with you. But He will be in you!"(John 14:16-17)

Under the New Covenant, the focus changed from the center of worship at the temple in Jerusalem to the center of worship being the heart of the individual believer whose body is now the temple of the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit that dwelt in the tabernacle and in the temple in Jerusalem-so holy that the High Priest could only approach once a year bringing blood-takes up residence in our blood washed heart through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus explained this to the woman he met at the well who was asking about the best place to worship, "Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. But the time is coming-indeed it's here now-when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth."(John 4:22,24). The Holy Spirit is given to help us worship God.

The Blessings of the Holy Spirit

Jesus taught His disciples that many blessings would come as a result of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. He called the Holy Spirit the Helper. He said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter( Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby) that He may be with you forever-that is the Spirit of Truth"(John 14: 15-16 AMP).

Teacher and Revealer Truth

Jesus explained, "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come ( John 16:13).

Paul taught that no one can understand the things of God "unless God reveals them." He explained that God has stored up things for those who love Him above anything they could imagine and that those who have received the Holy Spirit "have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God" (1 Cor. 2: 9-11).

John wrote about the teaching of the Holy Spirit: "But you have received the Holy Spirit, and He lives within you, so you don't need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what He teaches is true-it is not a lie. So just as He has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ" (1 John 2:27).

The Holy Spirit, not only teaches us, Paul also tells us, that "the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us," and we are transformed into the "image" of Jesus "from glory to glory," by the Spirit of the Lord" (Rom 5:5, 2 Cor. 3:18).

Power to be a Witness

The Holy Spirit is to empower Christians to be a witness. Jesus said, "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, He will testify about Me. And you also will bear witness...You will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you (John 15:26-27, Matt. 10: 18-20).

It is with the power of the Holy Spirit that we are to speak of Jesus and tell others what He has done for us. This is how the Apostles and disciples spoke as they ministered in the beginning of the church. Five thousand people had accepted Jesus as their Messiah in a few short days. The high priests and rulers of the Jews were very worried that all the people were going to follow Jesus' apostles. Peter and John had just prayed for a lame man who was healed at the temple gate and Jerusalem was astir. They found Peter and John and demanded, "By what power or by what name have you done this?"

"Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said, ‘Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.

As Those with Authority

" Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus"(Acts 4: 1-13). Peter would later write in his letter to the churches, "Those who have preached the gospel to you" did this "by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven" (1 Peter 1:12).

Paul also speaks of this empowering. He wrote, "My message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God (1 Cor. 2:5). Peter explains that this is the way Jesus ministered saying, " You have heard of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him (Acts 10:38).

When Jesus began His ministry, He read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,? for He has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.? He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,? that the blind will see,? that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord's favor has come" (Luke 4:18-19). This is the same Spirit of Promise that the disciples were waiting to receive on the Day of Pentecost.

Clothed with Power from on High

There were a total of 120 people including the eleven apostles, Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers who were in Jerusalem waiting to receive the promise of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:13-15). Although these people were staying in the upper room for lodging purposes, Luke tells us they were continually meeting in the temple praising and worshiping God (Luke 24:52-53). During this time, because of the Feast of Pentecost, devout Jews were present at Jerusalem and in the temple from every nation of the world (Acts 2:5).

Luke writes, "When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house (in Greek the same word also means temple) where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance" (Acts 2:1-4).

When this sound occurred, a great crowd of others who were also in the temple ran up to see what was happening and they all began to hear the praises of God in their own language (Acts 2:6). Peter preached to the crowd and 3000 were saved in one day.

Later, when the Gentiles gathered together at the house of Cornelius and heard Peter give the message of Jesus' life, death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit fell on those listening. The Jews present realized that this was not just a Jewish thing when they saw that the Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit "because they heard them speak with tongues and glorify God" (Acts 10:44-46).

When the believers at Samaria received the word of God, "the Apostles, laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:17). Everywhere the word of God was preached, the Holy Spirit was
given through the laying on of hands as people who received this heavenly gift spoke in tongues and prophesied (Acts 19:1-6).

Receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

This "gift" was not just for the early church, but is for you and for me today. Explaining about the "gift of the Holy Spirit," Peter said, "This promise is to you, and to your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself" (Acts 2:30).

Jesus told His followers that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit will be freely given, but we must ask for it. Jesus said, "You fathers-if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"(Luke 11:11-13)

If we have turned from sin to God in true repentance and by faith have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we too have been promised the baptism of the Holy Spirit. As Jesus said, all we have to do is ask.

Biblically the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is given in two ways. First, "the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of hands" by those who have already received it (Acts 8:18). The Holy Spirit can also fall upon you as it fell upon the 120 on the day of Pentecost and the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius without the laying on of hands (Acts 10:44-46).

Receiving your Heavenly Prayer Language

When you are baptized in the Holy Spirit you will have the great and awesome privilege of speaking in tongues. Remember the words of Jesus, ‘If you ask for a fish you are not going to receive a snake." You don't have to be afraid that you are going to receive something from the devil. Jesus promised His disciples, "These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover" (Mark16: 17-18).

The Father will give you what you ask for. The moment you are baptized in the Holy Spirit you will do what the believers did on that Day of Pentecost and what the early church did-you will begin speaking in tongues and glorifying God. From the moment you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you should expect to begin speaking in tongues.

When hands are laid on you to receive the Holy Spirit, or you step out in faith and ask the Father to baptize you in the Holy Spirit, immediately begin to open your mouth and praise and thank God for this indescribable gift.

Surrender your tongue to the operation of the Holy Spirit and when you do, a flow of worshipful communication in tongues will come forth. At the beginning you may have just a few words but as you continue in your worship, a wellspring of life will fill you. From this well-spring tongues will arise by the operation of the Holy Spirit. This heavenly prayer language will be yours to use for the rest of your life as your own prayer language and will wonderfully enable you to communicate with God and pray for the exact need or action required in any situation. Paul explained, "We don't always know what we should pray for, but the Spirit Himself will make intercession for us" (Rom 8:26).

Listen to your Heart

As you are speaking in tongues, don't listen to the sounds being formed by your mouth; listen instead to your heart where the Spirit is initiating what is being uttered. God searches hearts and knows what is on the Spirit's mind in His intercession for you, "because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God"(Rom. 8:27 ). As you listen to your heart as the Holy Spirit intercedes through you, you will start to become aware of how the Spirit is praying and direction will come to your own mind on how you should pray.

The exciting thing about initiating prayer in tongues and letting this flow into praying with your understanding is that you end up praying with your understanding following the leading of the Holy Spirit. Your prayer is therefore according to the will of God. The Bible declares,

If we ask any thing according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him (1 John 5:14-15). Prayers prayed according to the will of God is prayer that is always heard and answered.

The Invitation

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is the gateway into the life of the Spirit. In the last book and last chapter of the bible we are left with this invitation:

"Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life" (Rev. 22:17).

Copyright © Bob and Rose Weiner 2007, All Rights Reserved

peter wagnerf.jpg“Through many, many years Bob Weiner has been one of my heroes of the faith. I am amazed at his giftedness, his energy, his stamina, his vision, and his wisdom. Few people have raised up laborers for the harvest in the quantity and quality that Bob has. I am excited about his strategy to see one million young people entering God’s army full time! This will be a transforming force for our nation!”

--Dr. C. Peter Wagner, Chancellor - Wagner Leadership Institute

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