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Life Mission Group

Introduction: make sure to finish this session thirty minutes earlier than normal in order to have time and space to pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This could potentially be an extremely exciting time, so pray much before leading this lesson, asking the Spirit to help you diligently sidestep distractions, as well as to carefully explain the issues.

session 5
the baptism of the holy spirit

The Concept of Spirit-Baptism

"Baptism" of the Spirit comes from Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; and John 1:34. Jesus repeats and emphasizes the baptism to His followers before He ascended to heaven, in Acts 1:5. "you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit." In Acts 11:16, Peter quotes Jesus words in Acts 1:5, relating it to the conversion and subsequent manifestations of Cornelius and his family. The word means to be "immersed" either BY the Holy Spirit or WITH the Holy Spirit. He is either the instrument of our baptism, or He is the sphere into which we are baptized. Baptism is initiation language. It represents the method by which one is brought into community with God's people. The separation of the powerful manifestations from the conversion of people at least in one or more occurrences, would indicate perhaps another concept of baptism, therefore an initiation into power. Acts 1:5 leads to Acts 1:8, which clearly connects this baptism with the Holy Spirit WITH power which is given FOR the mission. Other occurrences like the one with Cornelius can be found in Acts 2, 8, 10, and 19.

Read Acts 1:1-8 Together You can’t explain the kingdom advance and activity in Acts without 1:8. How could a group of cowards who all denied Jesus establish the church and take the gospel to the nations without receiving the power and presence of the Holy Spirit?

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Four common views about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit:
1. Who’s the Holy Spirit? This may be the most common view in the Bible-Belt regions of the United States. Also can be seen in poorly taught Christians, like the ones in Ephesus (See Acts 19:1-6). 2. You’ve got it already. When you were saved, you received everything – as you grow in character you will know more of God and gifts may be ‘released’ at a later time. 3. Grow up and get more later. When we ‘fully’ surrender to God he will give us his Spirit, the more we surrender and empty ourselves, the more of the Spirit we’ll receive. 4. Wait and see. Pentecostal experience of ‘tarrying’. The traditional proof of having been filled is when you speak in tongues. Is there another way to see the experience of the disciples and early believers? The first disciples are a bit different to us because they lived through pre/post resurrection. However, we can look at the experience of many other believers throughout the book of Acts who believed after the resurrection just like us. Stories teach us about truth and experience of the early church: Some would teach that you can’t get doctrine from historical narrative (like Acts or much of the Old Testament) but this is contrary to what Scripture teaches (See 1 Tim 3:16 & 1 Cor 10:6,11) and only an attempt to discredit and distract people from the reality of the spiritual life portrayed in Acts. Stories are instructive! The Epistles don’t explicitly teach Spirit and water baptism because they assume it had happened according to the pattern of Acts. Prophetic and Historical Background to Baptism in the Spirit: John the Baptist introduced Jesus as one who would baptize in the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:7-8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33). John said that Jesus was the Lamb of God who will take away your sin, and the One who will baptize you with fire/Spirit (See John 1:29-34). The prophets, Joel (2:28, 29), Ezekiel (36:26-27; 39:29), Isaiah (Isaiah 44:3-5; 32:1, 15-17), Zechariah (12:10), etc, saw this pouring out of the Spirit.

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Having been introduced this way, Jesus doesn’t go on to say much about the Spirit during his life. He does, however, say a lot about being the Lamb. This is because he needed to first undergo being the Lamb of God so he could become the baptizer of God! The Gospels tell the first part of the story while Acts outlines the second part.

The Focus in Baptism is Holy Spirit + Power = Mission
The table of contents for the book of Acts is found in 1:8. Jesus told the disciples that they would “receive power.” The power had two significant features about it.   First, if would come only from the Holy Spirit. Second, it was for the mission Jesus had sent them on.

Acts follows the flow of Jesus’ mandate.    Acts 2-7 is about the mission to Judea. Acts 8 is about the mission to Samaria. Acts 9-28 is about the mission to the uttermost parts of the earth, specifically through the missionary efforts of the Apostle Paul.

The Tongues Issue in Spirit Baptism The references to the Holy Spirit’s coming, filling, or reception, including speaking in tongues, is directly parallel with these three missions.    It occurs in Acts 2 in conjunction with the mission to Judea. It occurs in Acts 8 in conjunction with the mission to Samaria. It occurs in Acts 10 and 19 in conjunction with the mission to the ends of the earth.

This cannot be missed. To do is to miss a primary function of tongues as a manifestation of God’s power to the nations for the fulfillment of the mission. Yet while some denominations teach that speaking in tongues is a requirement in order to be saved, join their church, and/or to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, we believe simply that it is part of the package of power that the Holy Spirit gives to Christians for the mission. We encourage believers to put aside internal fears and speak out in faith from this baptism of power. But we also understand this is a work of the Holy Spirit which cannot be fostered or sponsored by man.

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The fact that the occurrences of tongues-speaking are repeated + the fact that they are repeated for three different people groups + the fact that these occurrences are not negated, revised, or changed elsewhere seems to = a normal practice and pattern for the people of God today, no matter what people group they are, no matter what part of the world they live in. They are all included in the mission which is accomplished by power which comes from the Holy Spirit.

Read Acts 2 Together – The Story of Pentecost The history Luke records here is the final fulfillment of the longtime promised Holy Spirit. He was poured out in fulfillment of all the New Covenant promises, and specifically as described in Joel 2:28-29. His coming produced signs and wonders, including tongues. However, those who spoke in tongues were already believers, and had been followers of Jesus for many days, weeks, months, and even years. We would not have expected them to be filled with the Spirit before, since He had not been poured out in fulfillment of prophecy. However, this is the first in a series of stories about the Holy Spirit in which baptism with power follows conversion. Read Acts 8:4-24 Together – The Story of the Samaritans Through the evangelistic ministry of Phillip, many Samaritans got saved and were baptized in water. However, they had not been filled with the Spirit. When hands were laid upon them by John and Peter, they received the Holy Spirit. They were already Christians, but had not yet been filled. Their testimony would have been ‘saved one week, filled the next’. Read Acts 9:3-17 Together – The Story of Saul Turned Apostle Paul Paul’s conversion happened on the Damascus Road – everyone would agree to that throughout church history. This can be further seen as Ananias addressed Paul as ‘brother’ before he was filled. Three days after his conversion Ananias laid hands upon him and he was healed and received the Spirit. There’s no mention of him speaking in tongues or prophesying. However, he does speak of these things as his experience later (1 Corinthians 14:18). Read Acts 10:23-48 – The Story of the Gentiles Beginning with Cornelius and Family Peter went to the home of Cornelius, a gentile, who Jews would never have mixed with at all. While he was still speaking about Jesus, the Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message – they spoke in tongues and praised God. They were then baptized in water in the

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name of Jesus. Believers here were saved, filled and baptized at the same time. Luke retells this whole story in chapter 11 to highlight the importance of this story. Read Acts 19:1-6 – The Story of the Gentiles Continuing with the Ephesians Upon finding a group of disciples in Ephesus, Paul asked them: “Did you receive the Spirit when/since you believed?” Paul recognized that they were disciples, but also saw that something was missing. They were disciples of John the Baptist – they had repented in the hope of the coming messiah. When they heard that Jesus had come and accomplished salvation for them, they were baptized in the name of Jesus. Then the Spirit came upon them when Paul laid his hands upon them. Their story would be, ‘Prepared by John, later saved by Jesus and filled with the Spirit’.

Observations and Questions:
1. Laying on of hands sometimes was and sometimes was not a part of being filled. 2. Spiritual gifts sometimes were and sometimes were not present as a result of being filled. 3. Questions: How would the four views mentioned earlier stand up to these five stories?

How would the early believers have reacted to these views? 

Question: Did they receive everything when they believed? o NO. In Acts 19, when first asked if they’d received the Spirit they said, “no.” If asked later in the day, they would have said YES! It was a definitive experience.

Question: Did they grow/mature into an experience? o NO. That would be like a general saying to his men, ‘Go and fight! And if you do well, next time you can have guns.” Participating successfully in the mission is impossible without the power that comes from the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Question: Did they receive as they surrendered in maturity to God? o NO. We are instantaneously justified by faith through the work of the Holy Spirit in making us believe the work of Jesus Christ. The baptism of the Holy

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Spirit has nothing to do with you. It is part of the New Covenant promise included in the work of Jesus Christ FOR you!  Question: Did they have to wait and tarry for God to come through for them? o NO. After the day of Pentecost, no one is ever told to wait for the Spirit. Believers were never instructed after Pentecost to go off somewhere, find an ‘upper room’, and wait for the Spirit.

Final Thoughts & Conclusions
1. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is for believers today. Those who believe that Spirit-baptism is NOT for today, generally argue that the events in the four key chapters in Acts were to initiate the people groups in Acts 1:8 into the body of Christ through the filling of the Holy Spirit. The events, power, signs and wonders were all simply part of a sign of authentication on the message of the gospel. After that initial event, however, the power, signs, and wonders were no longer necessary since the people group had been initiated into the New Covenant of Christ. However, we would respond that what we read in the book of Acts did not only signify the initiation of these people groups into the body of Christ. Rather, the general design of the coming and the power of the Holy Spirit was always to accompany and authenticate the message and mission of the gospel. In other words, what we see in Acts 2, 8, 10, and 19 is an initiation into something that forms a pattern since the mission and the Spirit go together. We are still carrying out Jesus’ Great Commission to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, that is, to all people groups. There are thousands of people groups who have not yet heard the gospel. Since the baptism of the Spirit is a baptism into power for the mission Jesus started way back in Acts, and since that mission isn’t yet completed, we still stand in need of the same baptism of the Spirit into power in order to accomplish the same mission.

2. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit does NOT lessen the work of the Holy Spirit at conversion. The biggest and most significant question and concern that some have expressed before is that if this Spirit-baptism is in fact for today, it would seem to lessen or minimize the work of the Holy Spirit at conversion. Some argue that this view of a second work of the Holy Spirit through a baptism in power magnifies this work more than the first work. Here are two simple responses:  First, we would say that the baptism of the Spirit no more lessens the work of the Spirit at conversion today than it did in the days of the early church when it first happened.

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Second, we would say that there are many works of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The fact that the Holy Spirit seals a person at conversion, and then fills one with power in no way lessens any of His works. Because He is God, no particular work He performs is any greater or lesser than any of the other works He performs. It is we who often put the emphasis or magnification on the power, signs, and wonders over His regeneration and sealing work at conversion. Both are supernatural acts. Both are true. Both must be equally emphasized.

3. What separates the Spirit’s work at conversion from His work of Spirit-baptism? A normal question we must ask is what differentiates the receiving of the Holy Spirit at conversion for every Christian, from the filling or receiving of the Holy Spirit with power at Spirit-baptism? The answer is simple: a missional manifestation.  When the Holy Spirit comes in regeneration and sealing, He comes in… o A personal way, uniting us to the Savior Himself. o A corporate way, uniting us to His body, the church.  When the Holy Spirit comes in baptism with power, He comes in a missional way that is… o Personal. We experience power in our pursuit of holiness and conformity to the image of Christ, which his God’s mission in us, according to Romans 8:29-30. o Global. We experience power in our pursuit of the Great Commission, which is the mission Jesus put to us, according to Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47-48; and Acts 1:8.

4. The Holy Spirit always brings power!    Power is always needed for the mission. The pattern about Spirit-baptism in Acts is focused on the mission…not on tongues. However, the advancement of the mission always involved tongues as a display of God’s power.

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This seems to be directly related to a reversal of the language-confusion at the tower of Babel (Genesis 11). There, languages were a curse for a people in rebellion. Today, tongues are a blessing to a people in redemption.

5. Christians Should Seek the Baptism of the Holy Spirit If They’ve Not Already Experienced It.  It seems safe interpretively to say that as Christians we should pray for, ask for, seek for, and knock for the power of the Holy Spirit to come to us, as Jesus taught in Luke 11:5-13. 5 Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: "Suppose you went to a friend's house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, 6 'A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.' 7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, 'Don't bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can't help you.' 8 But I tell you this—though he won't do it for friendship's sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. 9 "And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 "You fathers—if your children ask* for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people 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."   Asking for it would include the focus on the mission, along with the expectation of the manifestation of that power in tongues. Paul teaches us in Ephesians 5:17 to “keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit.” This instructs us to continue asking, seeking, knocking for the power of the Holy Spirit we receive when converted, and with whom we are first empowered at the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It’s something we are to desire because we need it every single day…for the mission, both personally and globally.

Read John 7:37 Together This is one of the rare occasions when Jesus spoke about the Spirit. He is speaking here at the end of, or possibly right in the middle of the ‘libation’ ceremony. This was a ceremony which was celebrated during the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34-36). The Feast was concluded with the priest pouring out huge urns of water down the front steps of the temple to signify God’s provision for them and the prophetic promise that God’s presence would one day be
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poured out to the nations (see Ezekiel 47:1-12). It is believed that Jesus spoke the words of John 7:37 while the priest was pouring out the libation on the temple steps. Jesus began shouting out to the people that HE was the fulfillment of the celebration they were attending. Yet, the Spirit could not be given because he had not yet been glorified and ascended to the right hand of God to give the Spirit. However, we live in the dispensation of the Spirit. We live in the good of Acts 2:39 when Peter said the ‘promise is for you and your children, and for all who are for off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself.’

1. If anyone is thirsty. This is the only qualification for being filled (not holiness, giftedness, or any other quality). We should seek to clear away false expectations that are not seen in the scripture, such as being over-emotional, falling over, etc.

2. Come to Jesus. We do lay hands on one another, which is very biblical. But we remember that we are coming to Jesus, not a gifted individual or particular leader.

3. And drink. If you have been persuaded and believe, then drink. We need to actively receive from Him, just as if we were raising a glass to our lips. He is being poured out to you just like the libation offering was poured out on the temple steps.

4. He who believes in me. Praise God, speak out in tongues, prophesy in faith. You can’t earn this and you’ll never be ready or worthy enough so receive the Spirit as a free gift of faith.

What About Me Speaking in Tongues?
It is important to in the scripture that ‘they spoke in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them’ (See Acts 2:4). We speak in tongues, the Spirit doesn’t force us. He empowers and enables us. But we cannot be passive and huddle down to wait for something to happen to us. We must open our mouths and speak out of faith. There are two stories of faith in the Scripture that may be helpful at this point:

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Elisha and the widow (2 Kings 4:1-7). She collected the vessels and she poured it out. When what she had went over the lip of the vessel, it continued to flow out. The miracle was that when she began to pour it continued to fill all the other vessels. You need to speak out in tongues – breathe, speak, and breathe again…don’t stop speaking! Peter walking out on the water (Matt 14:22-29). Peter didn’t wait for the Spirit to move him out of the boat. He used his legs to walk into a dimension he’d never moved before. You must use your mouth to speak into a spiritual dimension you’ve never moved. The enemy will almost always challenge you and say that you are making it up. But stand in faith, believing it is a gift of the Spirit.

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Session Four Assignment:
Pray and think through what you’ve learned today about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Then answer the following questions, using the back of this page if you need more space. Answer honestly. Then pray through your answers, asking God to give you the power you need for the mission, whether personally, corporately, or globally. 1. In what areas of my personal life do I seem to lack power?

2. In what areas of my involvement with my church family do I seem to lack power?

3. In what areas of my involvement with global missions do I seem to lack power?

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