Forty days after Easter we celebrate Ascension Day, the day when Jesus returned in glory to His Father.
Just before leaving His disciples, Jesus promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to empower them to be His witnesses (Acts 1:4,5,8).
On Pentecost, this promise was fulfilled, the Holy Spirit was poured out and the disciples were baptized with the Spirit.
Do you need to pray to be “Baptized with the Holy Spirit”?
Or do you need to pray to be “Filled with the Holy Spirit?”
Or are you just fine the way you are?
I know that when we ask this question we are stepping into a lot of controversy. But let’s get past that and understand what Jesus is really telling us.
In this short video Dr. Long defines the difference between these two controversial terms, “baptism” and “filled.”
He explains why it is critically important to you, the Church, and the world that Pentecost becomes a time of praying for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
Baptized or filled?
For others of us we need to be to pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
To see the difference, between “baptism” and “filling” we need to go back to the book of Acts, starting with Chapter 1:1-8.
After receiving their commission from Jesus to be His witnesses to the whole world, the first disciples were told to wait in Jerusalem, until they were “clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49, NIV)
Jesus is even more specific as to what will happen to them in Acts 1:5 “For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
This baptism with the Holy Spirit, when understood from the biblical perspective, means to be initiated into the empowering work of the Holy Spirit.
It does not have to do with coming to salvation, or being sanctified.
Rather it means to start having the Holy Spirit falling upon them for power and equipping.
This is made clear in Acts 1:8 where the Holy Spirit comes upon them to give them power to be witnesses to Jesus Christ.
This experience is just like the Spirit of Yahweh coming upon the Old Testament prophets, priest and kings in order to equip them for work.
After the disciples received this initial experience of empowerment on Pentecost in Acts 2, we read in the rest of the book of Acts that they were filled with the Holy Spirit again and again, as they were about the work of witnessing to Jesus Christ and building the Church. (Acts 4:8, 4:31, 9:17-20 and 13:9)
For those who have never been “initiated” or brought into this empowering dimension of the Holy Spirit, you need to pray for the baptism with the Holy Spirit to be able to fulfill the vision and mission God has given you.
My Personal Story of Pentecost
This is what happened to me years ago while a missionary in Korea.
I came up against my own inabilities and powerlessness to fulfill the calling that God had given me.
It was at that time that I asked for and was baptized with the Holy Spirit and I was opened up to this whole empowering, gift-giving dimension of the Holy Spirit’s work.
It has made all the difference and I am astonished at the fruit of what God has been birthing through me.
Please understand that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is promised to everyone who is called to follow Jesus Christ, not just to the great missionaries or pastors.
This promise is for you, no matter what your calling may be. Mothers and fathers raising their children need to be empowered in their roles.
Teachers working with students in a public school class room where you dare not pray need to be empowered. Where ever we are called, we need the Holy Spirit to empower us.
So I urge you to ask Jesus to initiate you into the empowering work of the Holy Spirit. He is eager to give you all you need to do what He is calling you to do.
Pray for the baptism with the Holy Spirit!