4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. 5 John baptized with[b] water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4-5
On the day of Pentecost[a] all the believers were meeting together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages,[b] as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. Acts 2:1-4
7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:7-8
America is filled with many churches that look beautiful on the outside. They have the most updated technology and lighting system that you can have. It seems they have all that is needed to reach people for God’s kingdom. But they lack one very important thing. They lack the power and might of the Holy Spirit.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the promise of the Father. It is actually Jesus Himself who baptizes us in the Holy Spirit. The purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is power to accomplish the plans and purposes of God upon the earth. But in America we have rejected the baptism of the Holy Spirit because we live in a nation of comfort. People would rather be in control of all things instead of walking in obedience to the Holy Spirit. They would rather place their trust in the wisdom of man for building a church instead of the wisdom of God.
This last week I attended a local church in my area for Good Friday because my regular church did not have a service. This particular church does not believe in or teach the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In their doctrinal statements they don’t believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is for today. They don’t teach it and therefore people in the church are ignorant. Because they are ignorant of it they live the Christian life without it.
As I sat in the service and spent time praying in the Spirit the Lord showed me the church building with the Holy Spirit standing outside. His desire was to come in but He was not welcome. It amazes me that churches can speak of honoring Jesus Christ and asking God’ to bless their ministry but they dishonor the Holy Spirit. It is disgraceful the way the Holy Spirit has been treated all because people do things out of a desire to be comfortable and because they are afraid.
For a church to move in the power of the Holy Spirit people must be educated on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The church must be open to the operation of the public gifts of the Holy Spirit. This requires us to allow the Holy Spirit to have His way and be willing to work with people when they make mistakes. When people are learning to operate in the gifts of the Spirit there are many mistakes that will be made and as leaders we must be willing to allow people to make mistakes and then work with them, helping them to refine the gifts they have.
A church is suppose to be a dynamic organism that is continual changing and continually growing. When a church becomes stagnant it is because man has taken control and therefore is very limited in their wisdom. The Holy Spirit will only bless and anoint when things are done in disobedience. There are many churches that are run without the anointing of the Holy Spirit. They try to grow churches through entertainment and appealing to the nature of the flesh. In the end they resemble more a social club instead of a house of prayer.
The bottom line is a local church will either be a cruise ship or a war ship. A warship is one that understands the weapons available and takes ground for God’s kingdom. A warship is a place where hearts and lives are set free and people are trained to be mighty disciples for God’s kingdom. A cruise ship is simply a very comfortable place where people feel welcomed, are never challenged, and simply continue to live in bondage even though they claim to follow Jesus Christ.
The bottom line is that if we desire a church or ministry to walk in the power of God then we must honor the Holy Spirit. Jesus was only able to accomplish what He did upon the earth through the power of the Holy Spirit. Churches that reject the baptism and power of the Holy Spirit may be beautiful to look at and may have worship that is exciting and messages that are nice. But if the desire of our heart is to walk in the same power that the apostles walked in then we must open our hearts to the baptism of the Holy Spirit and return to the model of the first century church. It was simply a church built on prayer, truth, and the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a very simple formula and in man’s wisdom he has complicated it and moved away from it. God desires to move greatly in our day but it will require us to walk in obedience and return to the truth of His word and abandon the wisdom and tradition of man.