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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Spirit Baptism - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Spirit Baptism - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Spirit Baptism - Part 2
TOPICS: Holy Spirit, Baptism

So I want to take the balance of our time, and we have a bit, and talk a bit about the why, why does Spirit baptism matter. Because if you understand that, I think it will perhaps give you a willingness to consider it for yourself far beyond my opinion 'cause my opinion is relatively insignificant. Then I'll start with the point that we've already begun to establish that is Jesus is the baptizer and he gave the direction. In Acts 1, we've already read it, verse 4 and 5 says, "On one occasion, while Jesus was eating with the disciples, he gave them this command: 'Do not leave Jerusalem. Wait for the gift my Father promised, which you've heard me speak about. John baptized with water.'"

I don't think it's accidental that Jesus uses John and his water baptism in connection because in each of the Gospels, we just read it, it's John, the one who baptized in water for repentance, who identified Jesus as the one who would baptize us with the Holy Spirit. And when Jesus commands his closest friends to wait for Spirit baptism, he said, "John baptized with water, but in a few days you'll be baptized with the Holy Spirit". Now, every one of them later identifies Jesus as the one who'll baptize them in the Spirit. So when we talk about why, this is the first reason in my list because after this reason everything else is secondary. Jesus is the baptizer, and he gave the direction. So however you're going to process it, whatever interpretation you're going to give to it, however you're going to embrace it, Jesus gave the command.

Get in line. I'm quite convinced the disciples didn't fully understand the scope of the mission that Jesus was giving them any more than you and I fully understand the scope of the assignment he gives to us. Amen? I signed up to serve a little church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. There were a handful of people. I did not know you were coming, and if I had thought it was a possibility, it would have terrified me. I would have never accepted the original assignment. So we stand with the disciples in the fact that we have somewhat limited imaginations of what God can do, and it's unfortunate that we imagine that we are stronger on our own than we are when we are empowered by the Spirit of God. The only way we could live with such a childish imagination is we haven't understood that verse from 1 Corinthians 12, "About spiritual things I don't want you to be ignorant".

Our ignorance about spiritual things is so great that we have imagined we are stronger with less of the Spirit of God, apart from the Spirit of God. Folks, what is in front of us will require being empowered by the Spirit of God. Now, it will require our intellect and our efforts and our resources and all of those things. I'm not denying that. But we are going to need a power beyond ourselves. The good news is it's available to us. In Romans chapter 8, the Holy Spirit is presented to us as an intercessor. An intercessor is someone who speaks on your behalf, who takes up your cause and makes a presentation on your behalf in a way that exceeds the one you could make for yourself. I would submit to you that in the court of God it's beyond value to have an intercessor. Romans 8, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. We don't know what we ought to pray for".

How many of you know that's true? Let me say that a different way. Paul says in Romans that we don't know what we ought to pray for. Have you ever prayed for something and you made a very specific request for an answer, and as your story unfolded you were very grateful God didn't answer your prayer? Right? Many of you would have been married eight or ten times and you've lived long enough to know that God at his mercy didn't answer any one of those prayers. Or you've prayed for an opportunity, and then you saw it wasn't a...right? The truth is on so many occasions we don't know how to pray. This one is very personal to me because I pray for you on a regular basis and I'm conscious that I don't fully know how to pray for you, that if I knew that the first three things I were to ask would be answered, I would mess it up. I'd pray that you get a new refrigerator. You don't need a new refrigerator, you need a microwave. Or I would, you know, my prayer would be I'm not clever enough.

I don't understand the scope of the picture well enough. I don't know how to pray, but I have this tremendous confidence that I can allow the Spirit of God to pray through me. It'll bypass my intellect 'cause I'm praying in a language I don't understand. I understand some languages. I've studied a half a dozen. I'm certainly not fluent in them, but I know just enough to get in trouble. But if I'll allow the Spirit of God to intercede through me and then I'll pray, if you come to my mind, then I'll pray everything I know to pray for you and I let the Spirit of God direct my prayers that way. So what Paul is saying is he said, "We don't know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will".

Now, if that's the only verse we had maybe we'd think that's something that God does irrespective of us, but the pray, the gospel isn't going to be preached in the whole world irrespective of us. God sent us. Look in John 14. John 14, 15, and 16 Jesus is getting his disciples ready for his departure, and they are having a very, very difficult time. They feel like Jesus has changed the contract. That's my language, not theirs. When Jesus recruited them, he said, "Follow me and I'll make you fishers of men". And they reoriented their lives. They walked away from businesses. They lost friends. They became outcasts. They stand apart from the power structure. They identify with somebody, and the identification is clear enough and strong enough that they're hiding when he is executed because they're afraid they're going to be executed as well.

So it's very clear from the text that they imagined once they began 'cause most of them were probably not much more than late teens, maybe early 20s when Jesus recruited them. They thought they had made a lifetime commitment to follow this itinerant Jewish rabbi, and now in the middle of John's Gospel Jesus sits with them and he says, "I'm going away and where I'm going you can't come". And I'm telling you they lose their minds. They say to him, "Tell us where you're going. We'll come. We'll follow you anywhere. We've climbed the mountains with you. We've been in the Golan Heights with you. We've come to Jerusalem with you when they're hunting you. You just tell", Jesus said, "No, you can't come with me this time". And he says, it's such a...maybe we'll look at it over the weekend, but he said to them, "I have so much more I need to say to you, but you can't hear it right now. You're on emotional overload".

The compassion of Jesus. Watch what he says. It's John 14. "I'll ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper". "We don't want another helper. We're with you. We signed up for you. We trust you. We admit we weren't so trusting at the beginning, but now we're better. We're making some progress here. We're not arguing about bread anymore. We're on board. Let's go". "He'll give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him".

We're talking about spiritual things. Remember that's our topic? One of the ways I can tell you that the church is too far in the world is we're reluctant to acknowledge the reality of spiritual things because our friends are so worldly that they would think we've lost our ever-loving minds, and Jesus tells us in the plainest of language that this Spirit of truth, the world doesn't see him or know him. They're completely oblivious to his existence so they're not going to understand your words or your decisions or your willingness to behave in a certain way. You'll be distinct from the world because of your relationship with the Spirit of God, not because of the building you sit in on Sunday morning, not because of your wardrobe. "But you know Him because He abides with you and he will be in you".

It's future tense. This is John 14. We get to John 20, he breathes on them. He says, "Receive the Holy Spirit," but in John 14 he said, "He will be in you". John 16, "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth". "We would rather you do that. Tell us some more parables". I mean, you can feel it radiating out of the room, and Jesus said, "No, this is better for you". "He'll not speak on his own; he'll speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He'll bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you". The Spirit of truth. You see, I want to open my heart and my life to the Spirit of God as fully as I know how. That's why when I find an invitation or a promise I'm like, "Yeah, I'm in. Let's go. What's that look like? I'm in".

I need that Spirit of truth. You see, what will make me distinctive from the world is not my moral code, not my self-determination towards holiness. And I believe in a moral code and I'm all for self-discipline, but it's my cooperation with the Spirit of God that will ultimately bring the true distinction because he's the one that brings the transformation from the inside out. We've had enough of superficial Christianity. How long are we going to quibble about worship styles or translations? Come on, church. Do we raise our hands, or do we applaud, or do we have a kneeler, or do we take communion with purple juice or red juice or fermented? Come on, church. We've had such a superficial faith because we haven't really had the intent of embracing the Spirit of God. We've brought our rules and our perceptions and we have had such an inert Christianity so powerless, so shallow that we're divided by offenses. "Did you see how they looked at me"? Or the wounds. Instead of overcoming evil, we're sidelined by it. We haven't listened to what Jesus said.

There's a beautiful passage in Isaiah. It's not in your notes, but it is in Isaiah. I know it's a shock, but there's actually some parts of the Bible that are not in your notes. Where he describes the outcome of truth being diminished. I want to read it to you. You can check me later. It's Isaiah 59 beginning in verse 13. It seems to me to have been taken from our headlines. If you had to describe contemporary American culture, Isaiah did it in chapter 59. "Rebellion and treachery against the LORD, turning our backs on our God, fomenting oppression and revolt, uttering lies that our hearts have conceived. So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice".

I'll give you my opinion. We have not allowed the Spirit of God to lead us as fully as we might have and the result in which we find ourselves, the resulting condition, is a diminished truth. God's people, forget the world. God's people have not welcomed the Spirit of truth. Let's change that. Let's change that. It's as if we've read it and just not paid attention. Let's move on. I got to wrap this up. In Jude 1, it's actually just Jude, but, in verse 20, there's only one chapter in Jude. If somebody reads to you from Jude 3, don't pay very much attention. Says, "You, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit".

The older translations say edify yourself. Praying in the Spirit will bring to you spiritual, emotional, and I believe even physical renewal. One of the things that we desperately need to learn is how to be refreshed in the Spirit. Most of you know the importance of sleep, or hydration, or proper nutrition for your physical well-being. Do you understand what is necessary to stay spiritually revitalized? You need to be. You need to know because we're living in the midst of conflict. There is spiritual tension. There is pressure. There are principalities and powers pushing against you that I don't believe were pushing against you in nearly the same way a decade ago and understanding how to be refreshed and renewed. Otherwise, you'll turn to the things that the ungodly turn to be renewed and refreshed. You'll think greater pleasure will renew you. Greater pleasure will not renew your spirit. More sleep will not renew your spirit. More accomplishment will not renew your spirit.

Jude tells us that praying in the Spirit will build us up. That's an important piece of component to have tucked away. James chapter 3 gives us one of the more awkward benefits. I don't know why God chose speaking in tongues. If I could have chosen, I would have said you'd be baptized in the Holy Spirit and your pocket will always be filled with chocolate. That would have been the way I would have drafted it. "You will know those Spirit-filled folks. They will have chocolate breath". I would have been really good with that. You know, I don't think there would even be much debate or discussion within the body of Christ if it weren't for the notion of speaking in a language that you didn't learn. And I don't know why that my best answer, and this was my opinion, but it's in James chapter 3. James is the most blunt book of the New Testament. Says, "We all stumble in many ways". Can I get an amen?

Maybe you don't, but you live with somebody who stumbles in many ways. Don't say anything at that point. It won't be good for you. "If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he's a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check". That's an amazing sentence to me, that if you are never at fault in what you say, you are perfect. You can keep your whole body together. Now, somewhere along the line I bet you know that. You know, earlier in my life if you pushed me, I'd push you harder. And if you pushed me back, I'd just hit you. I bounced really well. I would heal. It's more important to me to win the pushing contest. Anybody remember those days? I'm not nearly as likely to hit you anymore. I don't bounce so well. It takes longer to heal. I'll get an equalizer. I haven't withdrawn from the conflict, I've just chosen my spots a little better.

But I find that I still have to keep a very close guard on my words 'cause I will still shoot my mouth off. James said that if anyone is never at fault in what he says, he's a perfect man able to keep his whole body in check. And then he uses some examples. We put bits in the mouths of a horse to make them obey us, and we can turn the whole animal. I spent a great deal of time with horses. I was always amazed at their strength. A horse can pick you up off the ground with the muscles in their neck. They will toss you like a rag doll. There is no strength contest with a grown horse. You're no match for them.

Now, God's given you dominion over them and somewhere in that equation you have an authority over them and they will yield that great strength to you, but it is not a power contest. And James says you can put a little piece of metal in their mouth and turn that whole animal around, and he's using it to talk about us. "Or take a ship as an example. Although they're large and driven by strong winds, they're steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison".

James is not just talking about profanity. So if you ask me why God chose speaking in tongues as a part of Spirit baptism, I believe it requires us to yield the most unruly part of our person to the direction of the Spirit of God, and we all know how difficult that is. Why don't you stand with me for this prayer? I want to pray two things. I want to pray a prayer of repentance, and then I want to pray a prayer of invitation. I want to repent of all those times I've been stubborn and hardhearted and resistant, maybe when I've mocked people or made fun of things that I didn't understand. And then I want to invite the Spirit of God into my life. Without reservation, I'm very conscious that I need his help. I want outcomes for my life that are greater than Allen's IQ, and so should you. Amen?

Father, we thank you for your great love for us. I thank you that through the blood of Jesus we have been delivered out of the hand of the enemy, that through the blood of Jesus all our sins are forgiven. And we come tonight in humility to repent, Father. Forgive us for those times when we have stubbornly refused to believe. We have chosen the seat of the skeptic over the seat of truth. We've even made fun of or mocked or ridiculed or criticized. Father, forgive us. Give us understanding hearts. Give us new ears to hear and new eyes to see. Lord, we come tonight to open our hearts to you, to invite you in the fullest possible way into our lives. Holy Spirit, have your way in our lives. May we be more aware of you, more open to you, more willing to cooperate with you. Thank you for your help. Thank you for your guidance. Thank you for what you reveal to us. Thank you for the conviction that you bring to our lives, for the renewal that you bring to us. We are a people in need of renewal. We grow weary. We grow weary in our spirit. We grow weary in the struggle with darkness. We grow weary in the challenges of life. We invite you to bring life to us, your life to us. Bring your truth to us. Open our hearts to the Word of God as we've never known it before. We thank you for what you're doing and for what you will do. In Jesus's name, amen.

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