Jesus goes to the cross on a Friday, is resurrected on a Sunday and then spends forty days on the earth with convincing proofs that He is alive. He speaks to His disciples about the Kingdom of God.
Before He ascends into heaven, Jesus needs to determine just how His Kingdom work will continue to advance far beyond His stay on the earth.
After three years of crazy, amazing ministry, what is it that Jesus needs to say or do that will not only birth His church but perpetuate it until His return.
This is a huge strategic decision that the Lord needs to make and pass on to His disciples.
What exactly needs to be done?
I don’t know about you, but I would have considered things like instructing the disciples to pursue a greater education or hand them a well thought out strategic plan. Connect them with Rabbi’s who have secretly decided to follow Jesus. Purchase some land and build a building. Perhaps all the above!
With a multitude of options and considerations to choose from, Jesus chooses one. That’s right, one! It’s found here:
Acts 1:4-5 “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
His plan: Wait for a gift promised from my Father. You will receive power when you are baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Wait for a gift promised from my Father… You will receive power when you are baptized with the Holy Spirit.
That’s it. The grand plan! Being baptized in the Holy Spirit is heaven’s solution to birth the church, power the church, sustain the church and expand the church until the Lord’s return.
I mean, think about this for a second. Of all things, “baptized with the Holy Spirit?”
No Way The Disciples Build The Church Without The Baptism.
Truth is, Jesus knows that there is no way that the disciples are going to build His church without being endued with power. The power they needed is in the gift that is promised.
Jesus squarely puts the baptism in the Holy Spirit between fearful disciples and bold witnesses.
I think Jesus explained it to His disciples like this, “remember when John the Baptist was baptizing people in water for repentance? Well, do you remember what happened to me? After being baptized in water what took place? A dove came upon me and from that day on all of hell could not stop me. This is the baptism in the Holy Spirit and I am going to baptize you with it, so wait!”
Having Authority Without Power
Consider this. Wouldn’t you naturally think that being with Jesus for three years would be enough to launch His church?
The miracles, the teaching, the mentoring and personal impact from the God-man on earth is nothing less than staggering. Words fall short of what that must have been like.
In reality, the disciple’s sins were forgiven, they had been given authority but they lacked power. We are no different then they.
God In Them, God On Them
These disciples have God IN them but they need God ON them.
So Jesus pushes all his chips in the middle of the table. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is the central ingredient to build and empower His church.
What many consider optional, Jesus deems essential. In fact, Jesus “commanded” it (Acts 1:4).
No wonder some are still debating the baptism in the Holy Spirit some 2000 years later. Why wouldn’t the target be the very thing Jesus commands will empower us.
Let me assure you there is no debate in heaven on this matter and there should be no debate on earth.
Until we start treating the Baptism in the Holy Spirit as vital and necessary, we will continue to seek cultural relevancy without Kingdom power.
Personally, I am getting greater revelation about the fullness of this gift.
For too long I have considered praying in the Spirit as a last resort instead of the first step. Seldom have I had lengthy times just praying in tongues. This is changing.
Over the last month I have intentionally prayed 30-60 minutes at once in the Spirit and have felt a noticeable difference in my fervency in prayer not to mention being filled, strengthened and revived.
I would urge you to do the same and see what actually takes place in you.
I will post more on this as I continue to break into new territory.