On Sunday the teaching in the “discipleship” series at Wildwood Church was on the need for the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gave me “The Time of Unlocking“ the previous Wednesday evening. It specifically mentions gifts and ministries, which of course can only come from the Holy Spirit. The whole sense of the message was that God was “unlocking” a new outpouring of His Holy Spirit, which would be evident in many ways.
Jake (Jacob) sent me the message about the escalator a few days beforehand, the day after I read a devotional about Jacob’s ladder. The escalator takes us up, in the power of God. What we receive in heavenly places we then bring down to earth. Jake’s escalator is Jacob’s ladder for the 21st century; Jacob’s ladder on steroids. It’s the Holy Spirit within us who takes us up the escalator and gives us what Jesus is asking us to bring to down to Earth. God’s words to me, to Jake, and through the message to Wildwood Church (and no doubt many other churches) on Sunday are all connected: we cannot be effective disciples without the power of the Holy Spirit, and we have to consciously ask Jesus for this baptism, or drenching, in the Holy Spirit, rather than just assume that we have received it. We need to press the button for the stairs to become an escalator. (See the escalator post.)
Three voices independently bringing messages that are connected is not a coincidence, it’s actually one voice: it’s the voice of the Lord. As we keep hearing through many prophetic voices, we are in a new season; and God wants His people equipped. We need to become familiar with the supernatural in our own lives. This isn’t just because revival cannot happen without it; it’s because the world is going to fail us increasingly, so unless we can tap into the supernatural resources of God’s Kingdom we will be struggling. Our Heavenly Father doesn’t want that for us.
If you don’t know whether or not you’ve been baptised in the Holy Spirit, then you probably haven’t been. You know if you’ve been baptised in water; you will know if you’ve been baptised in the Spirit. For many people it is evidenced by speaking in tongues, but for everyone the main thing is that it is experiential. The spiritual dimension becomes a personal reality. And as Paul wrote (Ephesians 5:18) – as if we haven’t heard it enough times already – having received it once we need to keep on being filled if we are to keep walking in a fresh experience of God.
So there are three distinct stages to becoming an effective disciple of Jesus Christ. One is repentance and turning to Christ – what used to be called “repentance unto faith.” The second is baptism in water. Again, this is not a “bolt-on” to our faith: it is foundational. Colossians 2:12 says we are “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead:” it’s hard to know the fulness of resurrection life without first passing through burial with Christ. And the third is baptism in the Holy Spirit. Sometimes they all happen together, but you know that they have all happened. All three are essential. All three are foundational to us being “filled up to all the fullness of God” (Eph 3:19) for which Jesus went to the cross. He did not die in anguish for us to receive anything less.
A couple of nights ago Jake had a dream which he has shared with me, which I am including here because I think it is also part of this message. Jake called the dream “Picky Eaters.” In the dream, God had served a generous meal to His people, but some of them were leaving food on the side of their plates. The Lord said “I have served this meal up to my people to make them strong in Me, but some of them are being picky eaters. They pick and choose what they want to eat, but the meal is the full gospel. They cannot discard part of it and still expect to grow strong.”
I want to emphasise again that this is the meal that was paid for on the cross. How can we be picky when such a great price was paid? But if you are uncertain about biblical foundations for the baptism in the Holy Spirit – whether or not it is actually on the plate – you can find more in the article The Name of the Father.