Holy spirit

What exactly is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

Holy Spirit Fire

Not all Spirit-filled Christians view “the baptism of the Holy Spirit” in the same way. Some teach that believers must experience a “second blessing” to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, while others teach that every believer is baptized with the Holy Spirit upon conversion (1 Corinthians 12: 13).

George Verwer approaches this theological and practical question with profound insight. I heard Verwer speak decades ago at the Okoboji Bible Conference in Iowa. This spiritual dynamo came to the conference with many books to offer. The little paperback book I picked up that day was called, A revolution of love and balance.

In his book, Verwer identifies two fundamental schools of theology concerning the Holy Spirit.

“From both schools came great men of God: Jonathan Edwards, for example, leaned heavily towards Calvinism, while Charles Finney leaned more strongly towards Arminianism. George Whitefield leaned towards Calvinism, but John Wesley towards Arminianism. Hudson Taylor leaned towards Calvinism, while General William Booth towards Arminianism, and we could go on listing hundreds of names of men from both schools. All lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. We can see that if they believed in the “second blessing,” or if they believed in a continual infilling of the Spirit, the life of one group was as powerful as that of the other group. Now that’s a great thing!”

Verwer continues,

“We must constantly remember that the committed and dedicated lives of men in one school of theology are as powerful as the lives of committed men in the other school. I could name one man after another who never did the experience of a “special” baptism of the Spirit. , who never claimed a “second blessing”, and yet whose life was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, as he daily sought to live in the Spirit, surrendering to Him. I have experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I wish we could have some Wesleys now, or Whitefields. You could give me a Calvinist Whitefield or an Arminian Wesley with who to work with. I can work with any man, if only he has such a reality in his life.”

George Verwer was in high school in the 1950s when a neighbor gave him a Gospel of John. “Verwer became a Christian at a Billy Graham meeting in Madison Square Garden and engaged in worldwide missions and the spreading of God’s Word on a large scale.”
Verwer founded Operation Mobilization “to mobilize young people to live and share the gospel of Jesus. OM began in Mexico and spread to Europe and India in 1963.” Today, more than “5,000 workers, representing more than 100 nationalities… bring God’s unchanging truth to million people each year. Verwer is now 82 years old and has delivered millions of free Bibles, Gospel tracts, Christian books and humanitarian relief to people in need all over the world.

What motivated Verwer and those thousands of workers to go out into the world to lead others to Christ? Jesus told his disciples, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). And on the day of Pentecost, “all were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit permitted them” (Acts 2:4). When the disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit on this spectacular occasion, they received the power of God to boldly proclaim the gospel as witnesses of Christ.

Many Christians, like Verwer, have not only received a second blessing from the Holy Spirit, but also a third, fourth, and many other fillings. We can be filled with the Holy Spirit daily by meditating on the Word of God and following the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is also necessary to spend a lot of time in prayer if you want to live a Spirit-filled life.

Martin Luther said that if he didn’t spend the first 3 hours of his day in prayer, he wouldn’t have enough time to do his daily chores. Prayer gives us strength and enables us to do God’s will and focus properly on what is really needed. What if you and I had to spend at least 30 minutes in prayer each day? In my 2017 editorial, I explain that the more we pray, the more power we receive from God.

DL Moody said, “We are leaky vessels and need to be refilled every day.” The apostle Paul wrote to Christians, “Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). The tense of the verb indicates that believers are to “continue to be filled.” This is why some Christians use the phrase, “One baptism, many fillings.” I wrote about this in 2012.

RA Torrey said, “Every regenerated man has the Holy Spirit, but with many believers the Holy Spirit dwells in a hidden sanctuary outside of their conscious experience. So, just as it’s one thing to have a guest in your home living in a remote corner of the house where you barely know they’re even there, and quite another to have that guest taking complete possession of the House. The Holy Spirit wants to fill every room of our hearts and minds with His beautiful and powerful presence.

When this happens, Christ lives in and through us more fully, and we are empowered to help others encounter the Lord and grow in Christ.

Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 6:19 the physical body of every believer in Jesus is a “temple of the Holy Spirit”. Just as the Holy Spirit lives”in“every believer wants to fall too”on“God’s children every day. Acts 2:3 tells us that the fire of the Holy Spirit “stopped on each of them” on the day of Pentecost.

In Luke 11:13, Jesus said, “If, then, you are wicked and 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. Believers can walk in humility before God and man with a hunger and thirst for the Holy Spirit to fill us and fall upon us daily.

We must first be emptied before we can be filled. Therefore, confess your sins to God when you turn away from them. And then call on the Lord with a pure heart for more “power from on high” (Luke 24:49). As believers in Jesus, we have been given the privilege of “approaching the throne of grace with confidence” (Hebrews 4:16). So why not make the words of this song your persistent prayer: “Spirit of God alive, fall on me; Melt me, shape me, fill me, use me; Spirit of the living God, fall on me. me.”

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska.