My sister once asked a local pastor, who we eventually came to realize is immersed in the 21st Century Church of the Hip, Slick, and Cool (or something like that),“Will you be teaching on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?”
Without blinking an eye, he replied, “We’re pretty vanilla around here. We don’t get into all that. We’re just into loving Jesus.”
My sister was speechless.
While the darkness enveloping the world is almost palpable? Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East? The economy is ready to tank? (Not to mention daily challenges…)
Brothers and sisters in the Lord, as many of you know, but maybe not all, whereas loving Jesus is timeless, the time for “vanilla,” if ever there was one, is long past. We need “meat and potatoes,” strength, boldness, courage, faith, and the power of God as never before as we face what is to come before Jesus returns.
We need all the spiritual “nourishment,” if you will, the Holy Spirit longs to impart to us as manifested in gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracle-working, prophesying, discernment, speaking in other tongues and the interpretation of same (1 Corinthians 12), delivered because of Jesus’ love.
We need preachers and teachers willing to set aside pop programs for power, ditch personal or organizational agendas for the presence of God and His Word (and strength) for us TODAY.
Canned power points from Pastor C.E.O. of Big Business Church aren’t going to help when the true enemy of us (ancient, brilliant, and crafty) turns up the heat.
Peddling prosperity programs, squabbling over who’s in charge of whom, and playing Supernatural Man (trinkets and idols on sale in the vestibule) won’t intimidate the High Priest of Greed, Strife and (lying) Wonders, himself—Satan.
There is one thing and one alone that Satan knows will do him in: the “seed” prophesied at Eden’s east gate, One, Jesus Christ, Who dealt the Devil a doubly lethal blow that day on Calvary.
By His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus not only defeated Satan’s power (Colossians 3:15) He became the propitiation for the sins of all who choose to follow Him (Matthew 20:28) thereby redeeming us from the kind of destruction Satan craves for all.
And here’s where we circle back to the working of the Holy Spirit in believers, the teaching about which my sister asked the preacher back at H, S, and C.
You see, Jesus didn’t leave us alone when He ascended back to the Father; rather, He promised to send Another, a Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to teach us and remind us of what He said while on earth (John 14:26) and to give us power (gifts, noted above, apportioned to each “as He wills,” italics mine) so that we are able to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
Now there’s the real power point, or should I say, the point of the real power!
And spiritually speaking it is NOT vanilla!
In a reality where Satan wants us for lunch, we need the full (spiritual) meal deal, not just a few drops of Sunday morning sweetener, to recognize—and wisely maneuver within—the spiritual demands of the unique ministry field to which each has been called. And as Satan discerns his time shortening by the minute, this spiritual territory is no country for old—or young or weak or strong or any—believers without the comfort, protection, guidance, correction, and power-working presence of the One Jesus sent because He knew we would need Him.
Never heard of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?
Or maybe your church leadership has sifted and sorted through the teachings and has decided for whatever reason only some of the gifts are still operable in only a few people at certain times in certain places under certain conditions.
Yes, we are called to order as we are about our Father’s business (1 Corinthians 14:26-33), and some have not yet come into this full awareness. Indeed, we are all a work in progress.
Nevertheless, the Scriptures on the topic compel us to consideration.
These days? SERIOUS consideration! And more Christians are engaged in same.
Perhaps “for such a time (and need) as this” more and more believers are ditching the Church du jour for the Church dunamis wherein, thanks to our Savior, there is nourishment that not only saves but also but heals, delivers, and guides as well. Specifically. Today.
Want more information? Much has been written on the Baptism to which I offer yet another contribution.
One of the free downloads on my site is a compact explanation of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit developed by Claire Gumbs that can be downloaded and made into a tri-fold, if desired. I have also linked it below.
If you are curious, or if you’ve never heard of this teaching or its place in the Scriptures, I invite you to read through and check the accuracy of the Scriptural underpinnings, praying for guidance from the Holy Spirit.
Then power on!
UPDATE: I recommend this teaching series on the gifts of the Holy Spirit as taught by Andrew Wommack: http://www.awmi.net/tv/2001/week40