I am most delighted to be writing about the Holy Spirit and fire, on this Pentecost Sunday. In the history of my walk with the Lord, I have never been as conscious of the Pentecost season as I was this year. I believe this is applicable to many believers, who took time to prepare their hearts for the infilling of the Spirit. I believe that such consciousness and preparation is not a mere coincidence. Undoubtedly, the Church has spiritually entered into a new era of God’s glory!
The promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit is an inheritance for God’s children in the New Covenant. The Holy Spirit is not “good to have”; He is “must have” for every believer. The believers today have been born again in the era of the New Covenant where the indwelling of the Spirit of God is available to all who ask of Him. The Spirit is a prayer away and the Father promises to give Him to us when we ask (Luke 11:11-13).
However, there is an inherent danger of taking the Spirit’s indwelling for granted, considering that He is freely given and available to them who ask. Remember that Christ had to pay the penalty for our sin through death on a cross, for mankind’s reconciliation to God and empowerment for victorious living through the Holy Spirit. Please note that the blessings available to you as a believer, were costly! They costed God pain, grief and separation from His Only Begotten Son! Please note that the men of Old looked into this blessing from a far. The Fathers of Faith longed for the blessings that are now our inheritance. Though they were spiritually enlightened to see and understand the glorious riches of God’s inheritance for His children, they did not have the privilege to experience, while alive, Christ’s salvation nor the indwelling of the Spirit.
Hebrews 11:39-40 These [fathers of faith] were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God used to come upon men and women temporarily, in particular occasions. For example, the Spirit of God would come upon men like King Saul and the prophets, and they would prophecy. The Spirit of God would rest upon King David to play his accordion under great Anointing and this caused demons to flee from King Saul. The Spirit of God filled men like Bezalel and Oholiab and endowed them with skill, ability and knowledge in all kind of crafts, for the building of the Tabernacle. However, the measure of the Spirit’s release was constrained and the manner inferior to the New Testament Spirit outpouring. The prophets saw the coming blessedness, and they prophesied about it.
Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour out water on the thirsty ground; and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
Ezekiel 39:29 I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.
Joel 2:28-29 And afterwards, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
When the time for fulfillment of prophecy had fully come, God sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for Christ. His message was REPENTANCE. Repentance prepares the way for Christ to enter our hearts and be Lord. During John’s ministry, he baptized with water those who confessed their sins. However, he was particular about the confession. It had to be genuine, from an earnest heart that desired God, and not a mere religious exercise. The evidence of true repentance being their spiritual fruit: love, peace, joy, kindness, meekness, gentleness, faithfulness, patience and self-control.
John’s baptism with water was a public declaration of those who confessed that they were choosing to die to sin and to resurrect to a new life in Christ. Now, more excitedly, John repeatedly wet his followers’ appetite to what was coming thereafter: the baptism of the Spirit and fire! Jesus Christ’s ministry was to actualize this blessing. In fact, when some disciples of John started to follow Jesus, John was excited and reminded his followers, “I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him. … He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:28-30).
Have you ever wondered why the glorified Christ had to depart from the earth? Why couldn’t He stay with us and continue serving as our Advocate and Great High Priest? The glorified Christ was not subject to physical death, so why would he leave us to go to His Father? Couldn’t He have chosen to make earth His dwelling place? Scripture is clear that Christ went away for our good: what a loving Saviour! He went away so that His disciples may receive the indwelling of the Spirit.
Christ departed so that you and I (believers), may live in the blessing of the Spirit’s indwelling. He was releasing God’s people from an Old Covenant where the Spirit dwelt with men and into a New Covenant where the Spirit dwelt in men.
John 14:17b But you know him [the Spirit], for he lives with you and will be in you.
The precious blessing of the Holy Spirit is allotted to all believers (Acts 8:39) but we must do something to possess it: ASK! God requires us to ask, which is consistent with His Nature when dealing with man. God does not force His blessings on man or His children. He gives the blessings and then gives His children a choice to either take hold of that which He has given or not to take a hold of it. For example, throughout Scripture, He has given promises that we must take possession of through obedience and faith. To the Children of Israel, He promised Canaan and allotted land to the twelve tribes of Israel, but they had to TAKE POSSESSION of their promise.
The benefits of the Spirit’s outpouring are as follows:
I. Benefits discussed in John 14:15-31
Counsel God’s people and teach them truth
Companion to believers; His presence is an assurance of the hope in which we have believed; The Deity of God through the Holy Spirit makes a home in us.
Giver of life, thus making us well springs of life in a dry and weary land
Reveals God the Father and the Son to believers
II. Benefits discussed in John 16:7-14
Conviction of the world of sin, righteousness and judgement
Guide believers into all truth
Reveal to believers what is to come
Revelation of the glorious riches of the inheritance of the saints
III. Benefits discussed in the book of Acts
Make believers effective witnesses of Jesus in Jerusalem (immediate locality), Judea (province, county), Samaria (neighbouring provinces) and to the ends of the earth.
Endow on believers the gifts of the Spirit- Acts 2:4; 3:6-7; 19:6
Enable believers to speak God’s word with boldness e.g. in large crowds like during Peter’s sermon in Acts 2; before persecuting authorities; amidst opposition and suffering etc. Acts 4:13 & 31; 5:29; 14:3.
Enable true fellowship amongst believers as evidence in Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-33.
Confirm God’s word and bring forth a holy fear for God- Acts 5:11-13
Make believers unstoppable dynamites for advancement of the Kingdom- Acts 5:38-42; 6:8-15
To give joy unspeakable- Acts 5:41; 13:52; 21:12-13
To be the Comforter to believers, as they go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God- Acts 14:22
To give guidance in ministry- Acts 16:9-10; 23:11
IV. Benefits discussed in 1 Corinthians 2:9-16
Giver of God’s secret wisdom and understanding
Bear the mind of Christ to judge all things and not be subject to man’s judgment
The above list is far from exhaustive, but is provided to help us realize the blessedness that the Spirit avails to God’s children. In the past week, I have been introspectively assessing my self with regard to how much I have been walking in the blessedness of the Spirit’s indwelling. How is my reliance on Him as a Counselor, Teacher, Guide, Revelator, Empoweror, Convictor etc. In my reflection, I realized that I had hardly scratched the surface with regard to the Spirit’s blessings.
Join me in making this prayer:
Dear God, I ask for a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit upon me and that I may walk in the full blessing of the Spirit’s indwelling. I am in need today for a new infilling, for this End-Time era in which I live. I desire to be drunk with the Spirit today. Privilege me with such a plenty measure of your Spirit, that my cup may overflow. Amen.
Jesus Christ, was not just to baptize us with the Holy Spirit. He was also to baptize us with fire. The last Old Testament prophet, Malachi, had a revelation of the baptism with fire. He foretold of Christ being like a refiner’s fire. This fire is necessary for refining; for SANCTIFICATION. God does not just want empowered saints, He also wants REFINED saints that reflect His glory by their inward nature and offer sacrifices that are a sweet smelling aroma before Him.
Malachi 3:2b- 3 For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness.
Christ is a refiner’s fire! The Apostle John in the book of Revelation describes Christ’s eyes as “blazing fire”. To the Church of Thyatira, Christ reminded them that He was “the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire”. As the fire of God burns, it EXPOSES DARKNESS and BURNS AWAY CHAFF. It permeates our most inner being and causes all worldly lusts and bloodline faults hidden therein to be extinguished. The more we behold Christ, the Word of God, the more we are refined into His likeness.
This fire not only works in us, but also works through us for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. As the fire of God burns within, it also burns without to consume works of darkness and to disarm principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual hosts of wickedness. When we allow God to refine us by His fire, He also MAKES US FLAMES OF FIRE!
Psalms 104:4 He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants.
Hebrews 1:7 He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.
Join me in making this prayer:
Dear God, baptize me with your fire. Sanctify me through and through, that my life may be a reflection of the image of God. Make me a flame of fire, so that I shall expose darkness whenever I be and stop the works of darkness from prevailing. Use me in the End-Time Revival to preach the gospel and harvest souls for you; to set captives free; and to minister healing to the sick. As I burn for you, I pray that many will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.