Baptized with Fire 3
In 1923 Aimee Semple McPherson, the founder of the Foursquare Movement, published a book titled “This is That” as an explanation for the fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit that was happening worldwide in the early 20th century.
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh Acts 2:16,17 (KJV)
Sister Aimee, as she preferred to be called, was a Holy Spirit filled evangelist who traveled from coast to coast and held revival meetings that brought many thousands of people to Christ. This was on the heels of the great Azusa street revival that started in Los Angeles California when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the house church services being held by a preacher named William Seymour, the son of former slaves. The services quickly outgrew his home and then filled a nearby warehouse to overflowing–every night.
If you think God can only use the educated and socially approved people in gilded buildings to accomplish his mission— remember that. That God used a black man and a woman, a divorced woman at that, in a day when both groups were still largely denied the right to vote in this country, who had little say in anything of importance, to spark a movement that shook the world for the Kingdom of God that continues today.
God is no respecter of persons.
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: Acts 10:34
God uses those who say yes.
From those meetings on Azusa Street that were always busting at the seams as people came from all around to hear the word preached in power, to see and be healed of all manner of infirmities, and even to see the Shakina Glory of God move about the room, many other ministries and movements were birthed and the Spirit continued to be poured out as people picked up the mantle of ministry and power to continue spreading the message, Christ working with them.
This was that which had been spoken by the prophet Joel. And it continues today, for we are certainly in the last days. We are in the last days that started at Pentecost as the stage was being set for all to know and receive Jesus Christ as Lord, to come to the Father through his Son and to receive his life giving Spirit.
And his Spirit was poured out to accomplish that mission through us as we continue to await the return of our King.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time defending the Holy Spirit, He can do that Himself—and he does it quite well. And to any of you who have followed me here for any length of time this is nothing earth shattering—“The Baptism of the Holy Spirit?— Whaat!?”
Sadly there is much of the church who does not believe that the Baptism and the subsequent outpouring and empowerment is for today. That that was only for what they call the Apostolic age.
If that’s the case then there are a whole lot of believers in Jesus Christ, including myself, who have been born again of the Spirit, baptized in water and washed in the blood of Christ who are operating in the gifts of the Spirit that was released in them when they sought out the baptism of the Holy Spirit that was promised to them by the scripture in numerous places, that are doing a great job of pretending.
Seriously? It is as obvious as the nose on my face to any who are paying attention that the Holy Spirit is alive and well and still being poured out as God’s holy fire continues to set hearts ablaze with zeal for his word and his mission to take the healing and life giving message to the world accompanied by healings and deliverances.
As Peter proclaimed in the opening words of the first sermon ever preached by a born again, Spirit filled believer in Christ—”this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days
‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.” Acts 2:16-18
The last days…Either we are in the last days or we are not. To say that the empowerment, the gifts, the baptism of the Holy Spirit was only available in the day of the Apostles is to say that the last days are over—unless Joel and then Peter are false prophets. And no one would argue that–would you?
Because they declared the outpouring that happens in Jerusalem on the first post resurrection Pentecost experience as being a last days happening. So again—either we are in the last days or we are not—there cannot be more days after the last days. Otherwise they would be called the next to last days. And that’s just silly.
If anything, as we see the days progress, and things seem to be heating up, prophecies continuing to be fulfilled and the last days apparently nearing their end as the day of the Lord approaches, the outpouring of the Spirit seems to be getting more intense, more available and more necessary as the darkness ramps up their efforts to destroy all things good and Godly while he still has a chance.
We must strive for and receive all that we can from our God so that we are victors in these last day battles and not victims.
The baptism of the Spirit is so much more than just tongues. It is speaking for God, representing God in this earth where darkness so often prevails through those who find their voice through the evil one.
It is speaking words and creating beautiful things that point to his glory as you are inspired by visions, dreams—words, pictures and ideas that the Holy Spirit puts in your head, in your mouth, in your hands, in your song—it is an overflow of his power—his love and glory that must find it’s expression in us, that wants to find it’s its expression in us, and advance the Kingdom of Heaven through us.
Something the angels of heaven only wish they could do. We have the creativity of our creator God inspired by his Holy Spirit. And only beautiful things can come of that arrangement, so long as you don’t quench the Spirit.
But that’s a sermon for a different day.