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Fostering a Setting for People To Receive
By Scott Erickson
There is work to be done to reach as many people with the gospel as possible before they go into eternity. This work can only be done effectively in the power of the Holy Spirit. I pray that as we consider these very important matters we would see the urgency of everyone in our churches experiencing the Baptism. Ministering the baptism in the Holy Spirit effectively involves several things including the right attitude, an appropriate atmosphere, and the anticipation that people will receive the gift. All of these things can help create an environment that welcomes the work of the Holy Spirit.
The attitude of the person God will use to minister the Baptism is certainly one of enthusiasm — a person who is confident in the Word and in God’s willingness to do what He promised. I am drawn to John 7:37,38 where Jesus teaches about the overflow and the fullness of the Spirit in a person’s life.
If we think about that word “enthusiasm,” we see it is built on the Greek, en theos, which means “in God.” The mark of the truly enthused person is that God is in him or her. The picture in John 7 is of a person being so full of God that his or her behavior is dominated by the Spirit. Such a person inspires others to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The enthusiastic, Spirit-filled Christian is dynamically alive and has something other people look at and say, “I really think that what you have is what I want.”
Jesus spoke of these streams of living water during the Feast of the Tabernacles. Jesus called to everyone to come and enjoy the Spirit’s fullness. He didn’t speak of a little trickle of water. He said “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:37,38). That deepened, fulfilling lifestyle comes from a life of the Spirit’s overflow.
The attitude of a person who is ministering — whether it be a Sunday School teacher, pastor, or altar worker — must be assured God has a river of blessing He wants to pour out on people.
We must be fully persuaded in our attitude to know that God is in the business of filling people with His Spirit and that the Spirit wants to abide in people in power. We must be persuaded that what the Bible says is true. There is no room for a vacillating presentation of Pentecost. We must be affirming, we must understand what to say and how to say it, we must be fully confident in what the Word says and what Jesus said about the Spirit.
Our attitude should be one of enthusiasm and also obedience. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is Christ’s command to us, not a suggestion or an option. In Acts 1:4, Jesus “commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised” (NASB). We need to focus on the word “commanded,” and realize it is very strong language. We must be fully persuaded that what God said in His Word is exactly what He meant.
We must also remember the role faith plays for the believer who is seeking the Baptism, and the importance of having an attitude of faith. If someone comes to the altar to receive the Holy Spirit while harboring doubt in their mind, Satan can use that doubt to prevent them from receiving the Holy Spirit. The believer must reject these doubts and claim what God has promised. A person who yields to the Spirit will see God do great things in his or her life.
I was ministering to a number of pastors in another country who were conducting Spirit-filled meetings but had not yet received the Holy Spirit themselves. I asked them, “Would you just receive this gift by faith?”
They said, “Well, we’ve been seeking this for a long time. We don’t know why the Lord hasn’t filled us.”
I explained to them that the gift has already been given, and it’s just a matter of receiving it by faith. We shook hands, and then I prayed for them that they would receive the Spirit. There was no immediate sign and nothing physically occurred at that moment. But, after 5 or 6 years of seeking the Lord in this matter — its an incredible thing — one pastor was baptized in the Spirit while he was preaching in his pulpit the next day!
Another man once came to me and said, “I’ve been seeking the Baptism for 55 years and I’ve been all over the country and had all kinds of people pray for me.” He then talked to me about his faithful tithing and about all the works he had done. The Baptism has nothing to do with works; it has to do with faith.
“Can we just agree,” I asked, “before I pray for you, that you’re going to receive right now, and that you’re not going to walk away from here and say, ‘God didn’t fill me,’ but you would say, ‘Today is the day I receive’?”
“Well, that’s pretty direct,” he said.
“It certainly is,” I said.
I prayed for that man, and instantly he was speaking in other tongues. He looked like he had swallowed a light bulb! He was so filled with glory. To this day, although he is in his eighties, he is still enjoying a day-to-day Spirit-filled life. Attitude makes a difference.
Scott Erickson, senior pastor, the Peoples Church, Salem, Oregon.
This article was excerpted from Helping Others Receive the Gift, compiled and edited by Tim Enloe. To purchase this book, click here.