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THE BOOK OF GOD'S PROMISES

Baptism of the Spirit

By J. Steven Lang

CBN.com -- Baptism is done with water, but the Bible talks about another baptism, much more important that the water ritual. This is the baptism of the Spirit, a teaching that was neglected for many years but has been given a renewed emphasis in many churches. This renewed interest in the Spirit's work is something to rejoice over. Christians of past times knew that without the Spirit there is only the lifeless, mechanical performance of religious duties.

"Then after I have poured out my rains again, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions. In those days, I will pour out my Spirit even on servants, men and women alike."

Joel 2:28-29

Matthew 3:11

Jesus replied, "The truth is, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit."

John 3:5

Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into Christ's body by one Spirit, and we have all received the same Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:13

He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit.

Titus 3:5

You cannot talk about the Spirit without speaking of spiritual gifts. While the Spirit himself is the gift to Christians, the Bible also promises that each of us is given a gift through the Spirit.

God verified the message by signs and wonders and various miracles and by giving gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose to do so.

Hebrews 2:4

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work through all of us. God manifests the Spirit through each person for the good of the entire church.

To one person the Spirit gives a word of special wisdom; to another he gives the gift of special knowledge. The Spirit gives special faith to another, and to someone else he gives the power to heal the sick. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and to another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to distinguish between spirits. Still another person is given the ability to speak in different kinds of tongues, and another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the same and only Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.

The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into Christ's body by one Spirit, and we have all received the same Spirit.

Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, "I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand," that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, "I am not part of the body because I am only an ear and not an eye," would that make it any less a part of the body? Suppose the whole body were an eye -- then how would you hear? Or if your whole body were just one big ear, how could you smell anything?

But God made our bodies with many parts, and he has put each part just where he wants it. What a strange thing a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, "I don't need you." The head can't say to the feet, "I don't need you."

In fact, some of the parts that seem weakest and least important are really the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect from the eyes of others those parts that should not be seen, while other parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together in such a way that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other equally. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.

Now all of you together are Christ's body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. Here is a list of some of the members that God has placed in the body of Christ:

first are apostles,

second are prophets,

third are teachers,

then those who do miracles,

those who have the gift of healing,

those who can help others,

those who can get others to work together,

those who speak in different kinds of tongues.

Is everyone an apostle? Of course not. Is everyone a prophet? No. Are all teachers? Does everyone have the power to do miracles? Does everyone have the gift of healing? Of course not. Does God give all of us the ability to speak in tongues? Can everyone interpret tongues? No! And in any event, you should desire the most helpful gifts.

1 Corinthians 12:4-31

See also The Holy Spirit.

The Book of God's Promises -- Copyright, 1999 by J. Stephen Lang. All rights reserved, used with permission.

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