Wed Pm Worship
Text: Psalms:23 1 -6 (King James Version)
"Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."
The Fields are white and the laborers are
2. C.H. Spurgeon said, "If God does not save a man by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival;
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
One of the least understood principles of scripture is the infilling and baptism of the Holy Spirit. Many miss the greater blessing of experiencing God because they believe that salvation is the baptism and what you get is all there is. This is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible does teach that we receive the Holy Spirit at the moment we surrender our hearts to Christ (1 John 3:9, Romans 8:9-10, 1 Corinthians 6:19). God puts His Spirit within us and we are born as a child of God. However, this is not the end, but the beginning. Let me explain what I mean by digging in to this topic in scripture. Begin by looking at John 20:
20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
21 So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."
22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."
This scene took place after Jesus rose from the dead. The disciples were gathered in a hiding place out of fear of being persecuted. They have heard rumors that Jesus was alive and some were claiming to have seen Jesus. Jesus suddenly appeared bodily before them and gave His disciples were indwelled by the Holy Spirit. It is without question that this passage clearly says that they received the Holy Spirit, but the real power was to come later.
It would not be until the day of Pentecost that the
power of the Holy Spirit fell upon them and these fearful disciples would turn
the world upside down for Christ. They believed on Jesus, received the gift of
salvation and were sealed by the Holy Spirit, but the baptism of the Spirit
would not come until 40 days later while they prayed in the upper room. Then,
suddenly these fearful men hiding from their persecutors came out proclaiming
the gospel of Jesus Christ before the very people they feared moments before. They received the gift of the Holy Spirit
right here in John 20, but Jesus also said, "you shall be baptized with the Holy
Spirit not many days from now" (Acts 1:5).
It is because people do not understand that there is a difference between these two events that they do not seek the greater power of God that will completely transform their lives and ministries.
What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Like all the things of God, satan tries to counterfeit to draw us away from the truth. There is a false baptism' and the true baptism of the Holy Spirit. Every person who truly repents and invites Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior receives the Holy Spirit. 1 John 3 calls this God's seed and teaches that this is when we are born of God, His seed remains in us. However, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a completely separate event. When someone becomes a Christian, there should be a change because we have a new focus and a new life. When we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, it is equally if not more life-changing because we are receive the power of God for His service. A false baptism will not yield fruit. Many claim to be filled weekly, but if there is no desire to serve God and there is no fruit, is this from God? If we are truly receiving the power from the Holy Spirit, it will point us to service and truth. Look at these two passages from John:
John 4:24 "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
13 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
14 "He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
To worship God, we must be focused on the spiritual
things of God and it must be founded upon truth. God will never allow you to worship Him
and compromise the unchanging truth of His word. It ain't happening ! But there are people who gladly compromise
the truth to get a worshipful experience'. If you have to let go of truth, you
are not embracing God, but the spirit of deception. There is no way around it.
You can't worship God outside of the truth He has revealed in
When Jesus foretold of the power of the Holy Spirit, He also gave important truths as to what we can expect. The Spirit is the Spirit of truth. The Spirit will guide you into truth. The Spirit will point you to Christ. The Spirit will glorify Christ. There may be a lot of emotions, but my will and my fulfillment is not the purpose of the power of the Holy Spirit. The purpose is to glorify Jesus Christ and to testify to His truth and His authority. My call to service is to glorify Christ and proclaim the truth of God's holy word. If you look at any example in the Bible, you see an immediate focus on outreach and proclaiming the Word of God. When someone is filled by the Spirit, they will recognize that this blessing is not for them alone, but to equip and empower them to do God's will. The apostles were filled and immediately had the power to preach and the boldness to stand before their enemies and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
A false filling is nothing more than a counterfeit. It may have some resemblance to the real thing, but falls short when examined in the light of scripture. Satan's deception looks good from a distance but is worthless in reality. Because a counterfeit is easily identified when compared to the true original. Therefore, satan does not want any focus to be put on truth. Satan is enraged when someone compares what he is doing to the word of God, therefore, those under the deception will reject those who try to compare the false baptism to the scripture. If someone gets angry when the light of the scriptures reveal the counterfeit, they are not being led by the Spirit of God, but are blinded by the spirit of deception. An emotional high is not the baptism of the Holy Spirit. God's Spirit within us may create a lot of emotions, but feelings are never the real focus. The focus is always on God's will and His will always produces fruit. If a person is not producing fruit, they are not filled. Don't leave here tonight saying pastor Vaughn said I was not saved! I am simply imparting scripture stating not all is Filled! When God is in control of our lives, we will always desire to do His will. Each time we see the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the Bible, the immediate response is to go out and do.
When the Holy Spirit comes upon us, it is life changing
and ministry empowering. It is never centered around us, but is always centered
around Jesus Christ. The focus is always directed toward bringing people to
Christ. An emotional experience does
very little to create any lasting change in a person's life.
Throughout my ministry years I have seen hundreds if people have emotional experiences and never experience true change.
Share some alter experiences of people that experienced emotions!
I grew up without any knowledge of being filled with the
Holy Spirit. As an Ordained Baptist Minister I was taught that I was filled at
the moment of salvation and I assumed that this was true. I did not recognize that Jesus gave His
disciples the Holy Spirit and then promised that they would later be baptized by
the Holy Spirit. I also did not understand Jesus' words of Luke 11:13 "If
you then, being evil, 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!" In
error I believed that this passage meant salvation. I accepted Christ as my
Savior around the age of Thirty three and saw an immediate change in my life. I
was always going down the wrong path and getting involved with the wrong friends
but that changed as soon as I received Christ. I still had many things wrong in
my life, but there was a dramatic change. However, my life had no power. I thought
this was all I should expect.
A few years later, I had tried to keep the faith, but in frustration I all but gave up. I lost all hope of ever living a good Christian life'. I assumed that I just had to accept my faults. I allowed my flesh' to direct my life until one day realized that I hated what I was becoming. what I once thought was meaningful suddenly seemed worthless. I began to seek God like never before. I didn't plan it but for the next three days, I spent time in prayer and seeking for an answer from God. I was determined not to quit until God answered. I was clueless and didn't even know what to pray for or even what I wanted, but I continued to pray anyway. I spent the first two days sorting through the trash in my life and begging God to take control and change me. I knew that my control had brought me nothing but despair. I prayed, and prayed and prayed. It seemed like I was making no progress, but this hunger in my soul kept driving me to go back to pray for an answer. I didn't know how, but I was certain that God was the only real hope.
On the third day, God did answer. I was invited to a Pentecostal church in Dalton Ga. I will never accurately put into words what happened that day.
It was as if the floodgate of heaven opened up and
poured through me. The chains that bound my mind fell like shackles and I felt
like God filled every part of my mind and soul. It was as if scriptures
previously unknown raced through me and I felt as though they were now a part of
me. Share this
experience! When I went home, I looked up the scriptures that I
suddenly understood. I felt like I needed confirmation that all I experienced
was truly of God. If it were truly of God, it would be in His word. I found
every passage almost verbatim in the Bible even though I did not remember
studying these in the past. During this encounter with God, the entire world
disappeared, time stood still and all I could see and experience was the power
of God. I walked away a free man. Everything that haunted me now seemed like a
trophy of God's grace. For months my mind raced and I sought ways to communicate
the truth of God's word. I immediately prayed, "I know this is not for me alone.
Show me how to serve You. Just open the
door and I will preach Jesus." I was called to preach and I tried and failed
many times. After I was baptized with the Holy Spirit, my life and ministry was
transformed. God opened the door and gave my ministry power. I led one person to
Christ before this day and now I can't count the number of lives God has touched
through the ministries He has given me. I could not articulate a meaningful
sermon before that day. Now I see a mental picture of scripture and everything I
preach or write has the focus of fitting into that picture of God's complete
revelation in the Bible. Everything about me changed that day.
After my experience, I found that this is not entirely unique. Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, George Whitefield, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, John Flavel, Charles Simeon, Andrew Murray, D. L. Moody, R. A. Torrey, H. A. Gordon, Stephen Olford, Billy Graham and many other prominent men of the past have testified to similar experiences. I don't even come close to measuring up to any of these men. The point I hope to make from this is that every Christian has the open door. There is nothing special about these men. God transformed ordinary men into extraordinary icons of faith. The lack of power in the church today isn't because God's power is diminished, but because we no longer seek God with all our heart. Jeremiah 29:13 says, "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." Keep this passage in mind as I share a few of these men's testimonies about being baptized with the Holy Spirit.
D. L. Moody
D.L. Moody was a successful minister but by his own admission later, he lacked the power in his ministry. One day two women came up to him after a service. They said,
"We have been praying for you."
"Why don't you pray for the people?" he asked.
"Because you need the power of the Spirit," they said.
"I need the power! Why," said Mr. Moody, in relating the incident years after, "I thought I had power. I had the largest congregations in Chicago, and there were many conversions."
Moody also said that in a sense, he was satisfied. He was in a comfort zone. But these two praying women rocked the boat. They told him that they were praying for an anointing by the Holy Spirit for D.L. to have a special service to God. He could not get this off his mind and he said, "There came a great hunger in my soul. I did not know what it was and I began to cry out to God as never before. I felt I did not want to live if I could not have this power for service".
After the great fire of Chicago, DL was working to raise money to rebuild a tabernacle. He said his heart was not into it because he kept crying out to God to fill him. He withdrew and prayed during a visit to New York to raise money and he cried that God would fill him with His Spirit. DL describes it this way:
"Well, one day, in the city of New York -- oh, what a day! -- I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand. I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different; I did not present any new truths, and yet hundreds were converted. I would not now be placed back where I was before that blessed experience if you should give me all the world -- it would be as the small dust of the balance."
R. A. Torrey
R.A. Torrey gives his testimony:
The address of this afternoon, and the addresses of the days immediately to follow, are the outcome of an experience, and that experience was the outcome of a study of the Word of God. After I had been a Christian for some years, and after I had been in the ministry for some years, my attention was strongly attracted to certain phrases found in the Gospels and in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the Epistles, such as "baptized with the Holy Spirit," "filled with the Spirit," "the Holy Spirit fell upon them," "the gift of the Holy Spirit," "endued with power from on high," and other closely allied phrases.
As I studied these various phrases in their context, it
became clear to me that they all stood for essentially the same experience; and
it also became clear to me that God has provided for each child of His in this
present dispensation that they should be thus "baptized with the Spirit," or,
"filled with the Spirit."
As I studied the subject still further, I became convinced that they described an experience which I did not myself possess, and I went to work to secure for myself the experience thus described. I sought earnestly that I might "be baptized with the Holy Spirit." I went at it very ignorantly. I have often wondered if anyone ever went at it any more ignorantly than I did. But while I was ignorant, I was thoroughly sincere and in earnest, and God met me, as He always meets the sincere and earnest soul, no matter how ignorant he may be; and God gave me what I sought, I was "baptized with the Holy Spirit." And the result was a transformed Christian life and a transformed ministry.
Charles G. Finney
I was powerfully converted on the morning of the month of October, 1822. In the evening of the same day I received overwhelming baptisms of the Holy Ghost, that went through me, as it seemed to me, body and soul. I immediately found myself endued with such power from on high that a few words dropped here and there to individuals were the means of their immediate conversion. My words seemed to fasten like barbed arrows in the souls of men. They cut like a sword. They broke the heart like a hammer. Multitudes can attest to this. Oftentimes a word dropped without my remembering it would fasten conviction, and often result in almost immediate conversion. Sometimes I would find myself, in a great measure, empty of this power. I would go and visit, and find that I made no saving impression. I would exhort and pray, with the same result. I would then set apart a day for private fasting and prayer, fearing that this power had departed from me, and would inquire anxiously after the reason of this apparent emptiness. After humbling myself, and crying out for help, the power would return upon me with all its freshness. This has been the experience of my life.
Stephen Olford gives a similar testimony as he checked into a motel and committed to stay and pray until he was baptized by the Holy Spirit so God could empower him for service. God answered and gave him a powerful ministry reaching the world through radio during the golden radio years and he continues his ministry by teaching ministers. Billy Graham said that Stephen Olford had a powerful influence over his life.
Stephen prayed with Billy until he was baptized and then
God exploded Billy Graham's evangelistic ministry.
I have included some of the testimonies of some of the greatest theologians and evangelists in history. Why have we missed this important truth about the gospel? This truth is overshadowed by counterfeits and sensationalism which directs us away from the true power God desires for every believer. Also notice that none of these men reported speaking in tongues. It is a misguided belief that tongues is a required sign as proof of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. By their testimonies and writings, none of these men ever spoke in tongues, yet when they were baptized by the Holy Spirit, it transformed their lives and empowered them for God's service. The baptism of the Holy Spirit immediately shifted their focus from their ministry to God's purpose. The purpose of speaking in tongues is not important to this study. What is important is that God's power is like God's grace. He offers it equally to all.