Born again – Part 26
Luke (in his Gospel and in Acts) emphasises that the Holy Spirit’s power included the authority to drive out evil spirits and anointing to heal the sick, as the two essential signs accompanying the proclamation of the Kingdom of God (e.g., Luke 4:14, 18, 36; 5:17; 6:19; 9:1-2); Acts 6:8; 8:4-8, 12-13; 10:38; 14:3; 19:8-12). The release of the power of the Holy Spirit in Acts in and through the believers’ lives cause them to witness “with all boldness” (4:29), cause them to witness “with all boldness” (4:290, “with great power” (4:33), with “many signs, wonders and miracles (2:43; 5:12-16; 6:8; 8:6-8; 14:3; 19:11-12), and with great results (4:4; 6:7; 8:8; 9:33-35; 11:21, 24; 12:24; 14:21; 16:5; 19:10, 20).
(2) Luke here does not relate the baptism in the Spirit to personal salvation and regeneration, but to the power within the believer to witness with great effect. (3) The Holy Spirit’s principal work in witnessing and proclamation concerns His coming upon believers for power and His testimony to Christ’s saving work and resurrection. (cf. 2:14-42). See next note for comments on how the Spirit witnesses and what that means in our personal lives.
You shall be witnesses. The baptism in the Holy Spirit not only imparts power to preach Jesus as Lord and Saviour (see previous note), but also increases the effectiveness of that witness because of a strengthening and deepening relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that comes from being filled with the Spirit (cf. John 14:26-27). (1) The Holy Spirit discloses and makes more real to us the personal presence of Jesus (john 14:16-18). Any witness to an intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ Himself will result in an ever-growing desire on our part to love, honor and please our Savior.
(2) The Holy Spirit witnesses to righteousness” and “truth,” which “glorify” Christ (John 16, 10, 13-14), not only with words, but also in deeds. Thus, we who have receive the witness of the Spirit to Christ’s redemptive work will necessarily manifest Christlikeness, love, truth and righteousness in our lives (cf. 1 Cor 13).
(3) The baptism in the Holy Spirit is the initiation point whereby Spirit-filled believers receive the enabling power of the Spirit to witness for Christ (often with subsequent power manifestations such as signs, wonders and miracles of sins to the lost so that they can be saved (cf. Acts 2:37-41; 16:25-34). (4) The baptism in the Holy Spirit can be given only to those whose hearts are turned toward God in repentance from their wicked ways (2:38; 3:26). It is maintained by the same sincere commitment to Christ (see 5:32, note). (5) The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a baptism into the spirit who is holy (cf. “Spirit of holiness,” Rom 1:4). Thus, if the Spirit is truly at work in us in all His fullness, we live in greater conformity to Christ’s holiness.
In light of these Scriptural truths, we who have been baptised in the Holy Spirit will have an intense desire to please Christ in whatever way we can; i.e., the fullness of the saving and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Those who claim the fullness of the Spirit, yet live a life contrary to the spirit of holiness are deceived and untruthful. Those who display spiritual gifts, miracles, spectacular signs or inspiring oratory, yet lack true faith, love and righteousness, are operating not by the Holy Spirit, but by an unholy spirit not from God (Mat 7:21-23; cf. Mat 24:24; 2 Cor 11:13-15).
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