Learn more about Pentecost and the Holy Spirit—for God's Glory!
The word “Pentecost” means 50th day, and it refers to the celebration of the Jewish feast which took place fifty days after the Passover Lamb was slain for the sins of the people. It was called “the Harvest Festival”—celebrating the gathering of the first fruits of grain which was presented to the Lord.
Prior to His sacrifice as the Passover Lamb (for the sins of the entire world), Jesus informed His disciples of His soon departure (Jn. 13:33; 14:28; 16:5,16, 28). This confused them and they desperately attempted to dissuade Him from His intention (Mt. 16:22, 23). The Lord tried to comfort them by promising to send them “Another Comforter” but they were not satisfied. They didn't want “another” comforter; they wanted only Him. They didn't understand what was happening.
The crucifixion and death of Jesus further plunged them into a dilemma. They were completely disillusioned and in despair. In fear, they fled from the scene and hid from the authorities, afraid of the heavy hand of the oppressors (Mt. 26:56). But on the third day after the crucifixion, the resurrection of Christ shocked and revitalized them. Now, the disciples remembered His promise that He would rise the third day.
Jesus spent forty days teaching and encouraging them to face the heavy task that was set before them. But before He ascended to the Father, He strictly commanded them: “Wait for the Promise of the Father…ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 1:4,5; Lk.24:).
They weren't exactly sure what He meant by this, but after a ten day wait in prayer, they received the Promise on the Day of Pentecost. They were baptized by Jesus in the Holy Spirit (Jn. 15:26). Oh, what a glorious change took place in their lives (Acts 2:1-4)!
There are those who teach that the baptism in the Holy Spirit and conversion to Christ is one and the same experience.
However, the Holy Spirit is involved in both experiences. In one, He is the Baptizer, in the other, Christ is the Baptizer.
1. At conversion, the Holy Spirit baptizes us into the Body of Christ. The Spirit is the Baptizer! (1 Cor. 12:13). It is the work of the Spirit to make us a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. At that time, He witnesses to our human spirit that we are now the children of God (Rom. 8:16). Without this witness we can't really claim to belong to Christ (Rom. 8:9). It is the work of the Spirit to produce the experience of the new birth in us (Jn. 3:58). But this is not the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
2. John the Baptist prophesied that Jesus is the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit. “He (Jesus) shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire“ (Mt. 3:11). Notice, that the Lord, (after His resurrection), breathed the breath of regeneration into the disciples, saying to them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (Jn. 20:22). This was not the baptism in the Spirit, for after this, they still had to wait in Jerusalem ten days (while in prayer and in unity one with another)—before the Lord baptized them in the Spirit. Then, on the Day of Pentecost they received the Promise of the Father—the Gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).
What was this for?
Jesus plainly stated, “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto Me” (Acts 1:8; Lk. 24:). As did they, so do we need the help of the Holy Spirit to successfully fulfill the Master's injunction to “Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel” (Mk.16:15).
God's pattern has not changed. The Spirit baptizes us into the Body of Christ at the time of our salvation. After that, Jesus baptizes us into the Spirit for an enduement of special power. We need the Spirit's power to become effective witnesses, and to prepare us to be the Bride of Christ to meet our soon coming Bridegroom. (Rev. 21:9; Eph.5:26,27)
The baptism in the Spirit is not an option!
We must seek to be continually filled with the Spirit. “Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph 5:18). As ministers, let us encourage our people to desire and to earnestly seek for the baptism in the Spirit according to the pattern of Acts 2:4. After that, seek to be constantly filled. If we expect to be used of the Lord, it will only be “By My Spirit, saith the Lord!”
The experience of Pentecost: receiving the Promise—the Gift of the Holy Spirit should be at the top of our list on our agenda. Bless you! Please let me hear the good reports that people in your congregation are receiving the Promise of the Father.
Translation of Fred's monthly "Epistle to the Ukrainians"