WAIT UNTIL YOU RECEIVE HIS POWER!
A Call to an Awakening We Desperately Need
By Tom Snyder
Churches who believe and celebrate growing in holiness, delivering people from demon oppression, rapid planting of churches, working of miracles, signs and wonders, and operating in the 9 gifts of the Spirit are reported to be the fastest growing churches in the world.
Why have many of the denominations in the USA changed the understanding and practice we learn about from The Acts? Listen to Peter, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39 NKJV).
Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a gift. If I said here is a check for $100,000. It’s a gift. If you don’t make the effort to receive it and use it, you do without. Gifts must be received and developed or they do not experientially become ours in effect. Every leader should consider this action a high priority. Jesus operated in Holy Spirit manifestations as did His many disciples—not only his apostles.
Yet so many modern day disciples are never instructed to actively receive this awesome gift from Father God. And so it becomes a disciples potential but is only that in effect. Does the Spirit live inside all true believers. Yes, of course. There are two ways we receive Holy Spirit. The first is at the time when we partake of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. He then comes to live in us because we have actively received cleansing of the shed blood of Jesus.
This is illustrated with the 12 after His triumphal resurrection in John 20:22, “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.” Then He spoke of a second impartation in Acts 2 which was not primarily to establish the Holy Spirit’s presence in them as it was with the first. The second impartation was to immerse them into the same dunamis (Greek for miracle power) that Jesus operated in. Why? To evangelize and bless the crowds, to build faith in them. He demonstrated the love of God which is the foundation of His Kingdom.
Have we discovered a better way than what Jesus prescribed? Not likely. For a reason that I have yet to discover in scripture, men have rationalized the absence of power in the church. How do I know that? I can see it in the results of the two approaches; one understanding results in multitudes of believers operating in the power of God, the other is near powerlessness.
Can we judge a teaching by the fruit it produces? Do not use the church in the USA to do that, but go to nations where they have never been taught “you got it all when you were born of the Spirit.” Happily they do what the early church did and thus earned the name “Christian,” meaning little Christs. Such signs, wonders and miracles eventually will be done away with, but “that which is perfect” (1 Corinthians 13:10) has not come yet!
What must we do to be saved from this mess? Repent, change our minds, and a refreshing will come from the Lord. Will the teaching to congregations of why and how to receive this gift cause problems? Yes. It is the good kind of trouble that comes from preaching the truth. But moving outside of traditions will be much less traumatic to present day leaders than when Luther published his thesis in 1517.
For those leaders who have cried out to God to help them do the correct things to cause their pew-sitters and judges to have the Holy Spirit fire in their belly, this time will bring great rejoicing and evangelism. “If my people, who are called by my name….” We all believe the church is God’s best and only answer to the awful condition of our nation. God will save us by pouring out His Spirit on all, as He did in earlier great awakenings.
If you haven’t yet done this, I suggest that the first step to make in this direction is that you as a leader/pastor make it very sure you have done four vital things; Read all 28 chapters of Acts, then ask Father to empower you to help Him to produce chapter 29. Then ask Him, and if necessary keep on asking Him, to fulfill His promise to immerse you in His Spirit. Then begin to expect the power of God to start showing up in all parts of your life.
Are you convinced all this can be yours? Not yet? I suggest you read the book “There is More,” or our pamphlets, “This Present Outpouring” and “Those Who Believe Shall.” You just have to ask for these and I will provide them for you.
The Baptism in the Holy Spirit
“The promise of the Father”
Brief Summary and Introduction
When we meet Jesus, Messiah, realize our sin condition, change our mind about Him and put our trust in Him, asking Him to become Lord of our whole life, we are “born again” (John 3:3) and we receive the Holy Spirit into our hearts. This is the most important decision we will ever make. This happened to the disciples of Jesus in John 20:22, which says: “[Jesus] breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit'” and so we believe they did.
But before Jesus ascended to heaven He told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until the “promise of the Father” had come (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4, 2:33). He told them that if they would wait there they would be “clothed with power from on high.” In Acts 1:8 Jesus told His followers that they would receive “power” to be His witnesses. Power is the Greek word dunamis, look it up and see how big that word is. It means the power Jesus had that enable Him to do signs wonders and miracles.
So the disciples waited in Jerusalem for seven weeks praying for the promise. On the day of Pentecost something amazing happened. The Holy Spirit was poured out on that early church as described in Acts 2:1-4. The Bible says that when the Spirit came, the disciples were filled or immersed, another word is “baptized” with/in the Spirit. This shows us that there are two separate experiences we can have with Holy Spirit. One is salvation, in which we receive God’s amazing forgiveness and a new nature instead of our old sinful nature. The Holy Spirit comes to live inside us to be our Teacher, Comforter, and Helper.
The second experience is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, in which the Holy Spirit who is already in us overflows. “Baptized in the Spirit” means “completely immersed in the Spirit.” Jesus never wanted us to rely on our own ability to do the work of ministry. He wants to do it through us. So He immerses us in Holy Spirit in order to empower us with His ability. When we have this experience, the Holy Spirit’s power flows out to all around us (John 7:38). Also when we are baptized in the Spirit, supernatural, unusual “gifts of the Holy Spirit”-which are listed in I Corinthians 2:8-10 begin to be manifested in our lives.
These are tools to demonstrate Father’s love for all people. They are also very effective evangelism and ministry instruments. We begin to experience His supernatural power in everyday situations. These gifts include gifts of faith, words of knowledge, words of wisdom, prophecy, discerning of spirits, miracles, healing and speaking in and interpretation of supernatural languages.
When people were baptized in the Holy Spirit in the New Testament church, the Bible says they all spoke in tongues (see Acts 2:1-4, Acts 4:31, Acts 10:44-48 and Acts 19:1-7). A lot of people get hung up on speaking in tongues because it seems like a weird thing. It’s actually not strange at all. It is a very special form of perfect prayer that any Christian can utilize at any time. When we pray in our heavenly prayer language, we are praising God and also strengthening ourselves spiritually. Speaking in tongues helps us become effective and mighty in the Spirit. The apostle Paul, truly a giant in the New Testament church, told the Corinthian believers: “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than you all.” Much misunderstanding occurs when someone tries to use his rational mind to understand that which is supernatural.
Being baptized in the Holy Spirit is not something you have to qualify for. Any Christian can ask, and Jesus is ready to do it. You can pray by yourself or you can ask someone else to pray for you. Here are the simple steps you can take to be filled with the Holy Spirit:
1. Prepare your heart. The Holy Spirit is holy. He is referred to as a fire (see Matthew 3:11), which means He purifies us from sin habits and helps us remove that which is not Christ-like in our lives. It is best to confess any sin if God may bring to any to your mind but be careful that you do not allow The Accuser to become part of getting ready for God’s infilling. Here is how you can tell the difference between the Lord’s conviction of a sin or the enemy’s accusing voice: God’s voice brings you peace and love, the enemy’s voice makes you feel dirty and unloveable.
2. Ask Jesus to baptize you in the Spirit. You do not need to jump through hoops to get God’s attention. He is eager to answer your request. Jesus is the one who baptizes us in the Spirit, so ask Him—and expect Him to answer.
3. Receive the immersion. Begin to thank Him for this miracle. The Holy Spirit’s power is filling your life. If you feel your mind is clouded with doubts, just praise the Lord. Focus your mind on Him and not on yourself.
4. Release your prayer language. The moment you are filled with the Spirit, you will receive the ability to function in all of the nine manifestations of the Spirit. The easiest and often the first gift people manifest is that of speaking in a heavenly language, meaning one they have not learned. You may feel the words bubbling up inside of you. You may begin to hear the words in your mind. Open your mouth and began to speak, trusting the Lord to give you this new, supernatural language for prayer and worship. Begin to make sounds and in no time it will turn into words. Some folks only receive a few words in their new language. Keep on using those words as a praise and worship knowing they are provided by the Holy Spirit and in a short while you will find you have become very fluent. For me it happened on my way to work one morning. I was nearly “drunk” when I got there and without even thinking it over, I witnessed to many fellow workers. Many of them also became Spirit-filled not long after.
Some people ask, “Do I have to speak in tongues?” Certainly God will not force you to do it, and it has nothing to do with salvation. But He offers this gift to anyone who wants it, just as with any gift. Some uninformed folks consider speaking a supernatural language the least of the nine gifts—but it serves as a doorway to the supernatural realm and helps usher you into the deeper things of God. Very often we do not know how to pray for a person in need. But we know for sure Someone does know exactly what to pray for that one. Remember in 1 John 5:14-15 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (15) And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
So when the Holy Spirit gives the words to pray we are sure that Father hears us and will grant our request. In this way we know we will see good results of our prayers because we have prayed the perfect, on target prayer. By functioning in the gifts of 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 disciples learn to let the Spirit do his wonderful work through them.
5. Step out in boldness. After you have been immersed in Holy Spirit, one of the first things you will notice is a new boldness. The Holy Spirit does not like to hide. He wants you to speak about the love of Jesus and demonstrate that love to those around you—and He will give you surprising courage as you see his power defeating the works of satan though you.
Going deeper—There seems to be a missing person: The Holy Spirit
Many people may have had an experience like that of the little girl who heard the Holy Ghost (as the Holy Spirit is sometimes called) mentioned in church from time to time, but so vaguely and infrequently she could only guess what sort of ghost this might be. So one day, when she ventured down into the dark furnace room in the church’s cellar, she decided with a child’s firm logic that this spooky place must be where the Holy Ghost lurked.
The fact is, adult believers often act as if the Holy Spirit really is hiding in the church cellar. They may know something about the Holy Spirit, but they don’t know Him personally or realize that He is God in the same way the Son and the Father are God. When they read the Bible, many people are surprised to find that the Holy Spirit was at the very dawn of time: “The Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters” (Genesis1:2), and many are amazed to find out there are approximately 100 references to the Holy Spirit throughout the Old and New Testaments.
Nevertheless, the Spirit’s role is fundamental both to creation and the life of the believer. When a person comes to Jesus Christ, he receives Christ into his heart. The Spirit of God comes and joins with the spirit of the believer. This “indwelling Spirit” reproduces the life of Jesus in the believer’s life (1 Corinthians 6:17).
What is The Baptism In The Holy Spirit?
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an empowering for sanctification (separation from loving the world system and the things in that system) and it is God’s empowering to do the works that Jesus did including miracles and healings. (Acts 1:5, 8). In it we are immersed in the Spirit’s life and power.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. (John 14:12)
To illustrate, if we drank water from a glass, then the water would be inside us. However, if we went to the beach and stepped into the ocean, then we would be in the water. We receive, as it were, a drink of the Holy Spirit when we are saved as He comes to abide in us. But when we are baptized in the Spirit, it is as if that initial drink becomes an ocean that completely surrounds and empowers us.
Just as the indwelling Spirit that Christians receive when they are saved reproduces the life of Jesus, so the outpoured, or baptizing, Spirit reproduces the ministry of Jesus,.
Why Do We Need The Baptism In The Holy Spirit?
We need the same power He evidenced plus the revelation of the kingdom He taught about constantly. The Good news is the combination of these two aspects of the Kingdom that He brought to earth and is the message he commissioned us to teach and demonstrate.
When Jesus gave the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), He knew that His disciples could not fulfill it in their own power. Therefore, He had a special gift in store for them: It was His plan to give them the same power that He had — the power of the Spirit of God. So, immediately after giving them the Great Commission, Jesus commanded his disciples not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father promised, “which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:4-5). He further promised: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
One hundred and twenty disciples waited in Jerusalem as Jesus had commanded, and one day when they were all together in an upper room (Acts 2:1-4) , “suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance” (Acts 2:3,4). Then Peter explained to the crowd that gathered that they were seeing the working of God’s Spirit and told them about Jesus. The Christian church began that day with the disciples and the three thousand people who joined them as a result of the day’s events.
We can undertake making disciples of all nations with some degree of success without the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but when we do, we are undertaking a supernatural task with limited power.
It is God’s will — it is His commandment — that we be filled with and immersed in Holy Spirit: “Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). The knowledge and reality of the empowering Spirit enables us to reproduce the works of Jesus.
When May I Receive The Baptism In The Holy Spirit?
It can take place at the moment you confess faith in Christ, as in the case of the first Gentile converts at Cornelius’ home (Acts 10:44-46; 11:15, 16); but often it occurs some time after the prayers of repentance and receiving of the new life in Jesus (Acts 8:12-17). We do not make rules as to how and when but only that reception is vital to becoming a powerful, effective disciple.
Is There Anything To Fear?
Some people fear that if they ask for the baptism in the Holy Spirit, what they experience won’t be the authentic working of the Spirit. But once they do ask for it, they are always glad they did. God doesn’t cause us to do anything we don’t want to, and all His gifts are good and perfect (James 1:17). Jesus said,
“Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:11-13)
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an even better gift than any material gift you could receive, and God wants you to have it because He loves you and wants the very best for you.
What Should I Do Before Asking?
The Bible says that a wise man counts the cost before he begins to build a tower (Luke 14:28). This beautiful experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a free gift, but you must be willing to submit fully to God to receive it.
Jesus will respond to a totally yielded vessel. He never asks anything of you that you are incapable of giving, nor does He ever fail to give you something greater in return when you do give your all to Him. The joy He gives through total obedience to Him far outweighs anything you could possibly give up.
There is one more important consideration: In Acts 8, a man named Simon, deeply involved in the occult, wanted to buy the gift of the Holy Spirit. Peter sharply rebuked Simon, commanding him to repent. Therefore, if you ever at any time had anything to do with the occult (Ouija boards, fortune tellers, séances, horoscopes, ESP, transcendental meditation, hypnotism, or other such practices), you must renounce and turn away from all such sinful participation, and you must ask for God’s forgiveness and cleansing. It is best for someone who has given themselves to demons in occult practices to undergo deliverance before we pray for the immersion in Holy Spirit.
How Do I Receive The Immersion (baptism) In Holy Spirit?
You only have to do two things. First, once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your own, personal Savior AND LORD you just have to ask Father to baptize you in the Holy Spirit. Jesus called this baptism “the promise of the Father”. The Bible says, “Ask, and it shall be given to you” (Luke 11:9-13). Second, as with receiving any gift from anyone at any time, you must then trust and believe you have in fact received this gift. Mark 11:24 helps us understand how to receive by faith:
“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you (Mark 11:24 NASB). And … we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7 NASB).
You have to believe that if you ask God for what God has promised, then you will receive at that time. So the reasonable thing to do is begin to thank Him for the gift of power (Greek, dunamis). Don’t look for proof of a supernatural event by using your five natural senses! If you do you may never receive much from Him.
Pray this prayer if you sincerely desire to receive the baptism in God’s Holy Spirit:
“Heavenly Father, at this moment I come to You and I thank You that Jesus saved me from judgment and punishment for my sins. I pray that the Holy Spirit’s power will now come upon me. Lord Jesus, baptize me now in the Holy Spirit. I receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit right now by faith in Your Word. May the anointing with the power of God come upon me and into my life right now. I want to be empowered to do the works you prescribe for me to do from this day forward. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for baptizing me in Your Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Now, having asked and received begin to practice the power of the Spirit. An ideal place to begin is where the first apostles did, praising God in a new language. To do this, begin praising God out loud in whatever words come to you. Tell Him how much you love Him. Thank Him, worship Him, and yield your voice to Him. Now let Him give you new words of praise you never heard before. As they come to you they will sound strange as they are a new language you probably have never heard. Praise Him with those words, too. You’ll find that this can be a very rewarding experience of communication with God that will be for you the perfect words to express your heart to Him and will build up your faith as you function under this wonderful gift of the Spirit. Continue to pray to God each day in the language that the Holy Spirit has given you. Unknown languages are a gift from God—very valuable!
Sometimes in a church gathering, tongues were spoken as a prophetic utterance that required interpretation. This is a different use of tongues which is usually used in worship or intercession (1 Corinthians 13:6-19).
But keep in mind, this “prayer language” is just one of the gifts that God wants to give you through the baptism in His Spirit.
The Gifts and Fruit of the Holy Spirit
The apostle Paul told the Corinthians that the Holy Spirit would manifest Himself among them in special gifts:
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware….To one is give the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the distinguishing of spirit, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues” (I Corinthians 12:1,8-10).
In part 2 of this series you will learn all about the 9 manifestations/gifts. So now we will turn to those effects of the Spirit’s presence that will produce the maturity of living the life of Christ on a daily basis.
Paul wrote that the Holy Spirit produces His “fruit” in the lives of believers. These are character strengths that demonstrate the love and holiness of Jesus’ presence in the lives of His disciples:
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22). We begin to have this fruit in our lives when we are born-again. But when we become more aware of His voice after being immersed in Holy Spirit He can influence us even more to act and speak under His guidance, thus we increase in bearing His fruit.
So, in asking for the baptism in the Holy Spirit you are availing yourself of these gifts and character strengths for advancing God’s Kingdom and allowing the Holy Spirit to further cultivate in your life more of the fruit of righteousness. Truly these are two great helps in living a life that God can use mightily for His glory.
That’s the way it is with God. God is offering an immersion into His Holy Spirit to people who need only to reach out and receive it and release His ability through us in order to be on fire to fully serve Him.
Walking in the Spirit
By now you can see that the Holy Spirit is so much more than a shadowy figure to pay lip-service to on Sunday morning. He can be with you and in you to bring more evidence of Christ’s nature in your daily Christian walk. Likewise, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is more than a single experience. It is a continual dependence on the Spirit for guidance and strength in all circumstances. “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).
The baptism in the Holy Spirit cannot be earned. You cannot become “good enough” to receive it. It is a gift from God. It is not a “cure-all” for your natural problems. It is however the enablement to find solutions to your natural problems. The same wonderful power that enabled Jesus to open blind eyes, to command the elements of nature, and to live a life pleasing to the Father during His ministry on earth is also available to you. Ask, and it shall be given to you.
Just one word of caution; The purpose of receiving the miracle power that worked so abundantly in Jesus and his disciples of the first century was for them to “do the works that I do and more” because He was going to heaven. I dare to say had the church done exactly that for the past 19 hundred years our nation, and perhaps the world, would not be in the mess it is in now. The purpose of Holy Spirit power is for us to “do the stuff” Christ-followers are privileged to do. It is NOT to think more highly of ourselves than we should—some revel in the fact that they have something others do not have. That is pure human, ugly, pride. Truly it is humbling that Our Lord lets us partner with Him to do his works. That is pure, unmerited favor. In taking risks (faith) our relationship with Him grows deeper and deeper as we walk out life in the Spirit.
When we surrender all to Him He gives us His all. That is the abundant life He promised.
Go ahead. Don’t take a passive approach to this. Receive the immersion into the Holy Spirit NOW! Father wants you to have that, but He won’t force it upon you. “All who seek will find.”
Next step: Study and learn about how to function in the 9 manifestations listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. As you do that the Spirit will be able to allow you to do more and more of His works.
We have another booklet on this topic. Just ask for it.