Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What is the Baptism in the Spirit?

As I move into teaching the book of Acts we are going to get an up close and personal look at the baptism in the Spirit. It's a fascinating topic AND confusing! There is so much bad teaching in the church about it. My guess is that many of us have been hurt by people insisting that we do this or that in order to be baptized in the Spirit. I think the baptism is much bigger and much more diverse than people make it out to be.

Baptism in the Spirit is not a new concept. John the Baptist talked about it.
  • I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Matthew 3:11,12

In the book of Luke Jesus talked about how he longed for the day he could send his Spirit.

  • I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! Luke 12:49

It's interesting that the metaphor both John and Jesus used for the baptism of his Spirit is fire. Fire cleanses. It burns up and eliminates what was - making way for what is to come. Think in terms of a forest fire that scorches the earth but is followed by new growth.

So the baptism isn't just power to do something for God. It's also closing the book on the past and opening a window into an entirely new era. Sounds like something we could use.

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