Meet the Authors.

Sarah Burlingame is passionate about Biblical truth. Her diverse church background has taken her through Mainline Methodist, Evangelical, Assemblies of God and Roman Catholic circles. Her calling as an intercessor led her to receive a certification in Advanced Spiritual Warfare from LMCI (Liberating Ministries for Christ International) . Sarah has served as a small group leader, worship planner, liturgical dance leader and online ministry coordinator. She holds a M.S. degree in Education and lives in northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and their youngest son. Her older sons reside in northeastern Pennsylvania and upstate New York. They attend North Rome Wesleyan Church.

Joanne Reinhart asked Jesus Christ into her heart at the age of nine in a Sunday school classroom in Maryland. Her journey with the Lord took her through various careers, colleges, and universities. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Art/Dance, Theology, and Education, and a M.S. degree in Educational Administration. Her passion for the Lord is evidenced through worship, dance, and teaching. She was liberated into her spiritual gifts and callings through the teaching resources of LMCI . Joanne has danced and taught at Christian conferences and various churches in PA and VA. She currently lives in Florida and attends church at Coastal Family Church in Flagler Beach, FL.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Baptized – Empowered!!

There are many differing opinions within the body of Christ regarding the act of baptism. Of course, we aren’t seeking opinions but rather the truth as revealed to us through the holy scriptures. So, what is baptism? First of all, baptism is not equal to salvation. We are saved or committed to eternity with Jesus when we confess (and believe in our hearts) Him as Lord and Savior. (Romans 10:9,10)
Baptism is twofold. It is an expression in which we declare to the world that we have chosen to accept Jesus as our Savior AND it is an indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us! This is where a lot of Christians get confused. When we are baptized, we receive power from the Holy Spirit. Sadly, many Christians don’t quite understand that the Holy Spirit actually dwells in them, so this “power” never manifests, even though it is available. The good news is, all we need to do is ask the Holy Spirit to work in us. God in all His glory (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is a gentleman and will not impose His will on us. We are free to accept or refuse His good gifts.
So, why would anyone want to be “baptized" in the Holy Spirit and empowered?

1 Corinthians 12:1 (AMP) Now about the spiritual gifts [the special endowments given by the Holy Spirit], brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.

The apostle Paul was very clear that we should want to be informed about the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Sadly, these gifts or manifestations are not taught in many Christian churches today.  The biblical truths about “baptism” are not clearly understood either.  Baptism occurs once, and the activation of the Holy Spirit often (but not always) occurs later.

Here is an example of a believer who attends a local Christian church:
Let’s say that Larry has decided he wants to be baptized. He has been a faithful follower of Jesus for several years and he has become active in the life of his church. He loves the worship, messages from his pastor and fellowship with other Christians. At some point, Larry feels something is missing from his walk with Christ. He comes to realize that his church is a bit lacking in what he has heard Christian friends outside of his church describe as a deeper intimacy with Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. That is what Larry wants in his life too! One evening Larry accepts an invitation by one of those friends to attend a praise and worship gathering at their church. While there, the speaker explains the gifts of the Holy Spirit and asks if anyone wants to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Larry longs to be closer to Jesus and he wants to receive all that He has to offer him but is stymied by the use of the phrase, “baptized in the Holy Spirit”. He was always taught that there is one baptism (Ephesians 4:5-6) so how can he be baptized again? He was confused but not hindered. He wanted to go deeper with his walk with Jesus, so Larry accepted the call. He was prayed over and because he earnestly desired for the Holy Spirit to be activated in him, he was not let down. Larry began to speak in a language that was unknown to him. He learned it was the language of the Holy Spirit which he could use to help his prayer life. Larry learned more as time went on. All he learned was confirmed to him through the holy bible. He stayed at his regular church and was still active, only now he had a new- found love for Jesus through the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in his life.

Jesus said that we would be “baptized and empowered and united with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:5, 8) He also said that the Holy Spirit would “teach us all things and bring to our remembrance all things that He said” (John 14:26) Jesus called this Helper, the “Holy Spirit of Truth” who testifies of Jesus.  This is the “baptism and empowerment” that we should all want to have available in our lives. 

Acts 1:5, 8 (AMP) “For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized and empowered and united with the Holy Spirit, not long from now.”
“But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.”

When Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit “came upon them” so that they would receive “power” they did just that! Power is the Greek word: dynamis which means power, ability, strength, might, workers of miracles.

Acts 2:2-4 (NASB) And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

Much later, during the apostle Paul’s journeys, he encountered disciples who hadn’t even heard about the Holy Spirit. When Paul explained the difference, they wanted to receive the Holy Spirit (and the manifestations of the Spirit of God).  He laid hands on them, they received the “baptism of faith” and spoke with tongues and prophesied.

Acts 19:2-6 (NKJV) [Paul] said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So, they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So, they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

There are many other scriptures that explain why we should want to receive this “baptism” and speak with other tongues and prophesy.   
1 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NKJV) But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:  for to one [profit] is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another [profit] the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,  to another [profit] faith by the same Spirit, to another [profit] gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another [profit] the working of miracles, to another [profit] prophecy, to another [profit] discerning of spirits, to another [profit] different kinds of tongues, to another [profit] the interpretation of tongues.

Ephesians 6:18 (ASV) with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints,

Jude 20 (NKJV) But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,

Praying “in the Spirit” is praying in tongues, which is also called our “prayer language.” It is often called “perfect prayer” because this language comes directly from the Holy Spirit.  We do not know what we are praying, because these prayers “by-pass” our own thoughts and words.

Romans 8:26 (TLB) And in the same way—by our faith—the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying. For we don’t even know what we should pray for nor how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words.

1 Corinthians 14:2-5 (NKJV) For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit, he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

There should be “no fear” involved in receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit into manifestation in our lives.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, who guides us and brings to us the words of our Lord Jesus.

John 16:13-15 (NKJV) However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.  He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.  All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore, I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

In conclusion, if you have been baptized in a church but would like a deeper intimacy with Jesus through the Holy Spirit, we urge you to ask the Lord for the power of the Holy Spirit to manifest in you. It’s that simple and, yes, many Christians call this baptism of the Holy Spirit even though there isn’t really a second baptism. Don’t let inaccurate or confusing wording stop you from all that Jesus has to offer. Holy Scriptures tell us that the Holy Spirit dwells in us and that He gives us power. Lay hold of that promise today!