Saturday, April 17, 2010

Purpose of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

I was having a conversation yesterday with a friend of mine. Not odd in itself. We were talking about what some people mean by revival, by an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It seemed to him that if all that was expected was a lot of commotion and stuff going on for 6 months then the purpose of the whole thing was not fulfilled; that purpose was a life of love lived in the power of the Spirit.

He wondered why moves of the Spirit only seemed to last for a short time. My response was that to my way of thinking they stopped or slowed because people would grieve or quench the Spirit by refusing to live life according to the nature of the Holy Spirit. Instead of living a life of love they would be jealous, angry, divided, controlling, fearful, dishonest, thieves, liars, and the like.

I told him the story of how, when the Spirit was outpoured at Asuza street the very early 1900's, a guy named William Seymore was then the pastor. He was a poor guy of African heritage and had experienced the segregation common to the era. It was at this church where the move of the Spirit began that many of today's Pentecostal denominations find their roots. Seymore used to say that even though many people experienced the supernatural power of the Spirit manifesting in the gifts of the Spirit, the greatest manifestation of the Spirit he saw was that white and black people, rich and poor, men and women, would sit on the same pews together, work in the ministry together, and generally behave like they loved one another. This to him was the point of it all.

But, like I said, it didn't last. The Assembly of God were the white folks, the Church of God in Christ were the black folks, and they parted ways. This had to have grieved the Holy Spirit. This was just one division, there were others. Like 1Corinthians 13 says, without love we are nothing.

So when I say I want to see people baptized in the Holy Spirit and experience the power of the Spirit, it is for this end: that we Christians would find the power and presence of the Spirit of Christ filling our hearts with love like the scripture speaks. I am looking for a loving and powerful Christianity; first of all in me then in those I know. This is the kind of Christian that will be a true witness with a true testimony of our risen Lord.

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