In our very first lesson, we learned what it means to be a Christian. As followers of Christ, we are on our way to heaven. However, each of us should desire to be as effective in our service to Christ as possible. We should continually seek to be a powerful witness to others, and to resist every temptation to go back to our old way of life. This requires spiritual power. The good news is that God's Word, the Bible, promises us that power.
Now that you are a follower of Christ, and are living a sanctified life, you should ask Him to fill you with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal thing, or force, or an it. He is the third manifestation of the Godhead (Colossians 2:9; 1 John 5:7-8). He wants to come into your lite and live with you day by day, going with you and becoming your Helper wherever you may go John 16:13).
"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Do you know whose words these are? These words from the Bible are written in red, because they are the very words of Jesus himself, the Son of God! How reassuring to know that our Lord wants us to have sufficient power to succeed in our Christian service.
In Scripture, the apostle Peter is a good example of why we need the Holy Spirit to give us spiritual power. Peter was a chosen disciple of Christ. He had walked the earth with Jesus and participated in His earthly ministry. He was among the very first who went out preaching the gospel of Christ (Matthew 10:1-7). One of the greatest professions of faith in Christ that was ever recorded came from the lips of Peter, who exclaimed, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). Yet there were times when Peter showed great timidity and weakness, even to the point of openly denying any association with the Lord (Mark 14:67-71).
Before he was filled with the Spirit, Peter was timid and tentative n his faith. But after he was filled with the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1-2), he preached the Gospel with authority (Acts L14) and witnessed without fear (Acts 4:7-12).
Jesus wants you to have that same power, and it filled with the Spirit, often referred to as being baptized in the Holy Spirit. The term baptism is used with regard to being filled with the Spirit, because, just as in water baptism you are being immersed (covered completely, saturated, overwhelmed), so in being filled with the Spirit you are saturated or immersed in the Holy Spirit. Receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit (or filled with the Spirit) is often referred to as the "outpouring," the "gift," or the "infilling" of the Holy Spirit.
the promise of the baptism (or infilling of) the holy spirit
Before the coming of Christ to the earth, the Holy Spirit of primarily given to the prophets and spiritual leaders of Israel. One of the minor prophets, Joel, prophesied that in the last days (the beginning days of the end times) God would give the Holy Spirit to other people besides the prophets (Joel 2:28-29).
John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus, also promised this blessing of power (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8), as did Jesus himself (Acts 1:5) in His final moments on earth.
the fulfillment of the promise
As Jewish men and women were gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost (a Jewish festival), the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them (Acts 1:12-2:4). These Christian believers-both men and women-were filled with the Spirit and with spiritual boldness to share their faith. So excited were they about their faith in Jesus and about what had happened in their lives that they took to the streets, where unbelievers mocked them and accused them of
being drunk with some kind of intoxicating drink (Acts 2:12-15) However, Peter corrected any misconceptions by referring people to the promise of the prophet Joel found in Joel 2:28-29 (Acts 2:16-21). This was the promised outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
As part of your assignment, you have been reading the book of Acts. You have discovered that, throughout this book, men and women, soon after announcing their faith in Jesus, were then filled with the Holy Spirit just as these were on the Day of Pentecost. This infilling was God's will for each of them, and it is His will for each of us today.
I encourage you to pray this prayer or words similar to it on a regular basis. Once you have prayed this prayer, begin to formulate your own prayer, and then offer up words of praise to the Lord, both asking Him and thanking Him for filling you with His Spirit.
Heavenly Father, I am Your child, because I have accepted Your Son, Jesus Christ, as my personal Savior. I have opened my heart to You, and I have allowed the blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse me from all of my sins. I am sanctified and set apart unto You. I ask You now to confirm Your Word and fill me with the Holy Spirit. I yield my entire being-my heart, my mind, my personality, my lips, my tongue, everything about me-to You. Fill me now, O Lord, with Your Holy Spirit. Baptize me in spiritual power. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Please take time now to research the following questions, using your Bible to find and record your answers in the spaces provided. Take your time. The answer to each question is found in the Scripture references that are cited.
1. Upon whom did Joel prophecy that the Holy Spirit would be poured out? Joel 2:28-29, Acts 2:16-18)
2. What does the baptism in the Holy Spirit give one power to do? (Acts 1:8).
3. Of whom will the Holy Spirit testify when He fills the believer? (John 15:26)
4. In addition to empowering believers for service, what two other things does the Holy Spirit do for Christians? (John 14:26)
5. How does the Holy Spirit help believers in prayer? (Romans 8:26)
6. Who was the last person to speak about the baptism in the Holy Spirit before the outpouring came on the Day of Pentecost? (Acts 1:5)
7. In what city were the first believers filled with the Holy Spirit? (Acts 2:5).
8. On what special celebration day did God choose to pour out His Spirit? (Acts 2:1).
9. What did the believers immediately do when they were baptized in, or filled with, the Holy Spirit? (Acts 2:4)