Baptism in the Spirit
(Luke 7:28, Luke 3:16, Ezek. 47:1-12)
John the Baptist is the greatest among the prophets. I can write this because Jesus Himself said it. Jesus said he is the greatest of men born of a woman. He did not stop there but continued saying that the least in the kingdom of God, the person in the lowest place before God, is greater than John. John pointed those of his day, those of Israel and those living in the land, to Jesus, declaring Him to be the Lamb of God. John baptized in water and it was described as a baptism of repentance. It was an outward act intended to represent a turning toward God. When the religious leaders came to John, he was rough with them. He called them snakes and said, “Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come.” Later in that same passage, John says that while he baptized in water, One who is mightier, greater, than I is coming and He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
So what is this baptism of the Holy Spirit? Many of us know it, and some think they know it. First, I ask, who does this baptizing? Jesus alone does this. No man can do it. The Lord does use men and women, prepared vessels, to impart this life to others. It is done by the Spirit of Christ working in and through His people. The passage in Ezekiel gives a picture of this baptism. In that picture, we see a progression. Many experience an instantaneous touch from God, an instant deposit of some spiritual gift. “Baptism” is from a Greek word that was used to describe the sinking of a ship. Think about that. The ship is immersed and filled up, thoroughly soaked in water. That is what Jesus does to those who are ready.
As we consider this, we should reread the record in Acts of the Spirit falling on people. It does include the apostle’s laying hands upon those in Samaria and them receiving the Spirit. When Peter went to Cornelius’ house, the Spirit fell as Peter said later, “As He fell on us at the first.” You go read it for yourself. Elsewhere, Paul writes to Timothy not to lay hands on anyone hastily. So I think the Lord can do it both ways as He chooses. It is for each us to receive it, and I know God will give the Spirit for Jesus said God will give the Spirit to them that ask Him.
So my point is the Spirit will overwhelm us and fill us. The result? The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. May we be always in a place of the Spirit bubbling up in us. Be being filled with the Spirit, singing, and praying, and making melody in our hearts to the Lord. And may we pursue love and earnestly desire the Spirit to show Himself through us to the glory of Christ. See 1 Corinthians 12-14. Read the entire passage in total. Ask your Father in heaven to grant you understanding and fill you up. He is glad to do it. Now I would direct us to the passage in Ezekiel. I have known progression in this baptism into the Spirit which is here seen as a river even to swim in. The Lord by messengers, heavenly and on the earth, leads individuals into that one river. If you have never read this, please do so. While I could take you through the passage, I want to mention something at the end. The river flows into brackish water and ends there. It cannot bring life there. What is that about? It represents the world, the swamp of evil that is the world. Read Jesus’ words in John 14:16-17 and He will speak for Himself. The world cannot receive the Spirit. People who want Jesus Christ receive the Spirit.