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IN WHAT THEN WERE YOU BAPTIZED? (Acts 19:2)


"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Matthew 3:11)

When we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, comes and resides within us. Water baptism is testimonial to this experience and personal repentance. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit coming 'upon' a believer, not within, but 'upon' (Acts 1:8). The work of the Holy Spirit 'within' a believer is distinctly different from the action and work of the Holy Spirit 'upon' a believer.

The first is to enable the believer to live their Christian life and personal sanctification. The second experience enables or empowers the believer to do the works of Jesus (Gospel of John 14:12). One empowers you to 'be'. The other empowers you to 'do'.

There is an initial infilling of the Holy Spirit when we receive the Lord as our Savior in which many become satisfied. They fail to continue seeking further in their experience with Christ, or they are ignorant to this further purpose.

In Acts 19:2 Paul said, "Have your received the Holy Ghost since you believed? And they said to him. We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said to them., "Into what then were you baptized? And they said, unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe in Him which should come after him, that is, unto Jesus Christ. When they hear this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Ghost came upon them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied."

Notice it says "the Holy Ghost came upon them". Receiving the Lord Jesus Christ invites the Holy Spirit 'WITHIN', and receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit brings the power of the Holy Spirit 'UPON'. It is important to receive this New Testament experience by which it should become a lifestyle. Acts 1:8 says that we shall receive power. We must have power in our lives in order to live in the destiny the Lord has purposed for us.

"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I... He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Matthew 3:11)

After one receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit there is the 'Holy Spirit Fire' with its subsequent purging of impurities that brings forth the nature of Christ as the impurities are burned away by this supernatural fire. If we are to overcome the challenges of our day, we must go beyond the gifts and the blessings, and into the experience of the refining fire (Malachi 3:2).. This fire results from entering into His Presence. This is called the 'Shekinah Fire'. We are enlightened and quickened by this spiritual flame. Through this experience, the Lord is able to change us from glory to glory on into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18).

The Lord is faithful to those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). This goes much further than the experience we have had and heard from others. Beware of those who tell you the deeper experience and power of God were in the days past. In 1 Corinthians 13:8 it states that love never fails. But where there are prophesies, they will fail; where there is tongues, they will cease; where there is knowledge, it will vanish away, but when that which is perfect comes, then that which is in part will be done away with.

The belief that the age of miracles is past is commonly called Cessation theology. It claims that God has tried various expedients with man, each one having been completely abandoned before the next one was attempted so that divine working in one age does not apply to the next. This is a false teaching that has raised nothing but havoc with the faith of many Christians, seducing them into believing that the supernatural power of God is not available today unless He decides to touch us on a blue moon evening.

This belief has gained support not because it can be backed up by Scripture, but because it seemed to offer a great excuse for many to sit down and wait for some by and by time in the sky when Christ returns. It is far easier to claim that the age of miracles is past than to admit that the miraculous power of God is still available today within believers. The Church has lacked the devotion and faith necessary to bring them into the manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

Paul says the imperfect will pass away. But when?? The Scripture makes clear that the coming of the perfect was to be the return of Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth when he (and we) would see Christ 'face to face' (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Paul also states in 1 Timothy 4:20 that he left Trophimus ill at Miletus. This Scripture is proof that not all people are healed at the time of laying on of hands. Did that mean the days of miracles were over for the apostles?

The fact is, people who don't receive healing is no more an indication that the miraculous of God has been withdrawn, than those who hear the message of salvation and don't receive Christ is an indication that God has withdrawn His power to save.

The truth is, multitudes have been saved, and multitudes have been healed and raised from the dead, filled with the Holy Ghost and are today experiencing the supernatural manifestations of God. Sorry, too much has happened in my life regarding the supernatural to ever listen to those who have had none.

"These signs shall follow them that believe; in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak in new tongues… They will lay hands on the sick; and they will recover." (Mark 16:17)

Gary and I have done and do many exorcisms, speak in tongues, have been used to heal the sick and raise the dead. We, and others like us have experienced the Resurrection Power of Christ in and through our being.

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).

Cessation theology has eliminated the miracle working power of God from most Christians. No matter that healing is fully consistent with the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament; "…the devil is doing it." Even our Lord Himself was accused of doing the works of the devil in Matthew, Chapter 12, "…Its only by Beelzebub the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons." Unbelief is still the greatest hindrance to the manifestation of God's power. The Lord could do no mighty works in his own home town due to those who knew Him (Matthew 13:57,58).

The temptation is to settle for methodology rather than contending for the truth and power of Christ's Resurrection. He is NO LONGER ON THE CROSS FOLKS - He is alive!

For those who have received Him, do you believe He lives within you? (Acts 7:48; 1 Corinthians 3:16,17; Colossians 1:27)

Why does He live within you? What is His purpose? Is it not so He may continue His great works in the earth? Is it not so He is able to brightly shine in, through, and upon you for the world to see? (Matthew 5:14-16)

(Acts 19:2)

"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I... He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Matthew 3:11)

When the baptism of fire comes into a believers life, there is a spiritual fire of purity. Jesus said in Luke chapter 12:49 that He came to bring fire on the earth… God’s nature is produced in His Spiritual Fire. His Fire is a symbol of His glory, and of His purifying and testing. Only that which can stand the test of His Word will survive (Psalms.105:19).

There are those who are willing and allowing the Lord to be a wall of fire around them and the glory in their midst as described in Zechariah Chapter 2:5. The Holy Living Word says that our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). This is the Glory of God… the Word of God describes over and again – God’s glory as Fire. Take a look yourself:

Turn your Bible to Daniel 7:9; Isaiah 33:14. (Notice verse 15 and 16 of Isaiah).

In 2 Kings chapter six, and Zechariah chapter two, we see Father’s glory as a fire of protection around His people. (Elisha and the young servant for Elisha…)

In Deut. 4:24; Heb. 12:29, and Psalm 79:5 we see His glory fire as jealousy; He is a consuming fire – a jealous God.

Our Father is the furnace – His nature is produced in the spiritual fire.

God's word speaks forth in power, glory and fire. In Jer.5:14, the Lord says that He will make His words fire in our mouth, and the people wood, and it shall consume them.

In Jer. 23:29, He says, “Is not My Word as fire blazing, as hewing axe breaking the rock in pieces”. There has been many times when we have seen a rock hard heart broken and softened as the Word of the Lord comes over them.

In (Acts 2:3) we see how the baptism of Holy Spirit upon us brings forth tongues of fire. With these tongues we are able to fill ourselves up in power of Holy Spirit, speak in other languages; when we don’t know what to pray or how during certain times we pray in tongues knowing Holy Spirit knows what and how to pray.

In Rev. chapter one, we see the Fire speaking of Christ in His glory.

In Rev. 21, His Fire speaks of heaven and its purity and glory (Rev 21:22-23),

His glory fire speaks of trial and suffering (Ps. 66:12; Isa 43:2; 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 4:12),

Rarely, if ever, do Christians associate fire with the creation process. We usually associate it with destruction.

Fire is from the Hebrew word ‘esh (ash) – it is translated in the King James as burning, fiery, flaming hot. In the Greek word, it is ‘pur (purity) which means “fire” literally or specifically – lightening.

Right now this very moment, there is a fire in Zion (the Church), and it has been, is and will continue to impact the lives in the followers of Christ.

There is a fire within you, upon you, and around you whether you see it, feel it, or sense it. Jesus is the one who is come and baptized you in Spirit Holy Fire.

Turn with me to 2 Peter 3:12, see where we will be on fire. We will be as fire (Joel 2:5); Fire has played one of the most significant roles in the advancement of civilization. Fire has been, is, and will continue to be used in breaking down and shaping materials of all sorts.

There is a transformation within this spiritual fire that must accompany the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Fire is applied in the refining process that purifies gold. It burns away the dross (refuse, impurities, waste or matter). Holy Spirit fire speaks of the manifestation of His presence.

When I was baptized in fire it was while in church. The Lord's presence came over me, and then through me. I became so hot that my hair, skin, and clothes were drenched with perspiration! That manifestation has remained me with off and on throughout the refining process. My heart cry was and it continues to be, "Lord Jesus, You are the Word (John 1:1-4). Pierce me through with Your Sword (the Word – Ephesians 6:17), Divide my soul and spirit, my joints and marrow (Hebrews 4:12). Discern my thought and the intent of my heart. Open my eyes and ears that I may comprehend and apprehend Your ways. I offer myself to You and surrender all to You – take me and make me what You will." - Amen!

When we seek the Lord with all of our heart, and receive sanctification by faith, we can be sure that our conscience is clear (2 Corinthians 1:12; Hebrews 13:18). How wonderful the grace of God is!

Traci Carson is a senior leader at Voice of the Trumpet International Ministries. www.voiceofthetrumpet.org


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