John the Baptist had an Epiphany moment. He saw something very important about his Cousin Jesus. This revelation was perhaps even more important than Jesus being the Messiah, the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world. John saw that repentance, water baptism and the taking away of personal sin was not the end but the means to an even greater end. Jesus sacrificial death created a new way for everyone to enter God's spiritual kingdom through belief in Jesus and baptism in the Holy Spirit.
1. Water baptism prepares us for Holy Spirit Baptism
The Holy Spirit cannot live in a personal spirit polluted by fear, anger, jealousy and materialism. Water baptism is a symbolic death to and washing away of past sin guilt. Jesus is the 'Lamb of God" the one who gives up an innocent life as a sacrifice to God for the sin guilt of others.
- · Many people have trouble understanding how this is possible and really believing this Good News
- · How can one man, even a good man, pay for the sin guilt of others?
- · Critical point is the divine nature of Jesus. Things work very legally in the spiritual dimension. Only a divine sacrifice (God Himself) could pay for the sin guilt of all men.
- · God Himself, in the form of the Holy Spirit, was the father of Jesus. Why the virgin birth is critical
- · Water baptism is more than washing, it is also an emotional death to specific sins - so we do at least 'die spiritually' to sin
- · Water baptism is also entry into a faith Covenant whereby God gives the Risen Jesus authority to forgive the sin guilt of those who believe in Him and ask in faith
- · Water baptism joins us personally in a spiritual love relationship with Jesus which makes it possible for us to go back in time and die with Jesus on the Cross for our sins
2. Holy Spirit Baptism gives us spiritual life
Our personal spirit communicates intuitively with the divine. Our spiritual life becomes more real when we have a tangible experience of the Holy Spirit. Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit when we are ready as a tangible sign of our inclusion in the Heavenly Kingdom
- Jesus respects our freedom of choice
- Holy Spirit must be invited to live in us
- Most people experience the Holy Spirit as a general feeling of love, joy, peace, patience
- Some people have a dramatic 'baptism' experience, others may just have a quiet inner peace
- Tongues, miracles and healing are more tangible signs
- Faith, prophecy and words of knowledge guide us in our spiritual life
- Holy Spirit also guides our self-examination, convicts us
3. Only Jesus Baptizes with the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is promised to ALL BELIEVERS as a sign that Jesus has included them in His spiritual body, the Church, and the Heavenly Kingdom. This is a matter of personal faith and belief in the Jesus of the Bible. Simplest test is do you really love Jesus?
· Do not earn the Holy Spirit without Jesus by being a good person - probably self-centered and steeped in pride
- · Religious people are often distracted by religious issues - "salvation by right doctrine' or "salvation by right practice" and not really aware of the Holy Spirit
- · Academics and intellectuals (i.e. clergy) have trouble understanding the invisible spiritual dimension in the Bible
- · Holy Spirit Baptism is unique to Christian believers - other manifestations of spiritual power are probably demonic
I believe in the Holy Spirit
This is a creedal statement of belief which grows more and more real
as our spiritual eyes are opened by experiences of the Holy Spirit. We call these experiences growing in our spiritual life in Christ.
- Our Christian life and our will are to be Holy Spirit led.
- Water Baptism is a preparation for Holy Spirit baptism
- Everyone who gets to know, believe in and love the Jesus of the Bible is promised baptism in the Holy Spirit as a sign of inclusion in the Kingdom of God
- Holy Spirit baptism opens our spiritual eyes as an Epiphany moment in understanding the spiritual dimension
- Our lives are to be Holy Spirit - not politically led
· Everyone who loves Jesus and asks for the gifts of the Holy Spirit will experience this baptism by receiving supernatural gifts - love, joy, peace and faith!