Posted by: Veroni Kruger | July 17, 2011

Is There Such a Thing as Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

What, then, is the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit?

According to the words of Jesus in Acts 1.8, the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit, is the presence of the power of God in the life of the believer. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” is a promise, not a command, as some would interpret it. This is clear primarily from the language used. The grammatical form is a simple future, such as is normally used in talking about the future, in predictions or promises. The nature of the power also makes it impossible to see this as a command. If it were a command, the supposition would be that we could somehow become powerful of our own accord. No, we can only wait to receive the power of God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

The power that Jesus speaks of, is the power of God, given through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This immediately distinguishes this experience from that of John 20.

How is this manifested?

The manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the Spirit-filled believers encompassed witnessing, boldness, the gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit. The first of these was the empowerment of the disciples to become witnesses. This was in accordance with the promise Jesus gave them in Acts 1.8.

Every one of the disciples was immediately used by God as a powerful witness of the great deeds of God. In a very dramatic way, this witnessing took place in the languages of all the bystanders! In this one event, there was the embryonic fulfillment of the promise of Jesus, that they will be witnesses to a much wider group of people than just those who live in Jerusalem. Rome, Asia, Egypt, Libya – to the disciples these regions were the “ends of the earth.”

The power to witness, together with the desire to do it to as many people as possible, endures to this day as an indication of the presence of the power of God. For the church to attempt to curtail any one of these two or both, amounts to “quenching the Spirit.” Rather than being signs of spiritual immaturity, the desire to witness is a direct outcome of the baptism with the Spirit.

The events at Pentecost also indicate the Holy Spirit’s eagerness to reach all people and all peoples with the message. The phenomenon of the disciples speaking the languages of all those present was the reverse of the events at Babel. At Babel God used language to confound the plans of the people who were intent on proving their own prowess. At Pentecost God used language once again to show clearly that He is the God of the whole world, who desires that “all should be saved.”

This missionary motivation is one of the most powerful signs of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. John Stott has been described by some as the theological leader of world evangelicalism, and Billy Graham called him “the most respected clergyman in the world today”. Stott referred to vision as “holy discontent with the status quo.” The Holy Spirit works a holy dissatisfaction with the fact of unreached people groups and other aspects of the unfinished work of world evangelization in the heart of everyone who is baptized with Him.

Where God’s Spirit is at work, witnessing is done with boldness. Peter, who not so long before had squirmed when a servant girl wondered aloud if he might belong to the group who followed Jesus, now speaks with great boldness. And as he speaks, his boldness increases: “Fellow Jews and all you who live in Jerusalem” is how he begins (Acts 2.14). With “Men of Israel” (verse 22) he focuses more on the particular group that he addresses with a climactic statement in verse 36: “Therefore, let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

This statement is dramatic, in rhetoric as well as content. Rhetorically, it represents the seal on the entire argument Peter has presented. In its content, it is an accusation that the leaders of Israel are accountable for the crucifixion of Jesus, and that He is, indeed the Messiah.

Peter’s boldness on the Day of Pentecost continues (and continues to grow). It rings forth in his address to the “rulers and elders of the people” in Acts 4.8; in his and John’s reply to the prohibition to speak imposed on them by the group of leaders; and in the reply of the apostles to the accusation by the high priest before the Sanhedrin (the full assembly of the elders of Israel): “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood” (Acts 5.28). To this Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5.29). Peter must have realized what the reaction of the Sanhedrin would be – “they were furious and wanted to put them to death” (Acts 5.33).

The fisherman from Galilee with no formal training in theology, and who had proved his own weaknesses repeatedly, had been transformed into a mighty orator and one who was able, moreover, to put the events surrounding Jesus into theological and historical perspective! No wonder the leaders were astonished “when they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized they were unschooled, ordinary men” (Acts 4.13). They “took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4.13). The three years they had spent with Jesus had been, of course, the core of their preparation. However, it was only after they were baptized in the Holy Spirit that they were able to act as they were now doing.

In the colorful history of Pentecostalism, there are many accounts of the same kind of instantaneous transformation of people that enabled them to become ministers of the Gospel. It has often been expressed as: “Saved tonight, preaching tomorrow!” Conservative Christians have often wondered about this. Friends and family have sometimes reacted negatively (“Who are you to preach to me?”). Less wise church leaders have often ridiculed the Pentecostal Movement for this. People who have experienced it first hand will acquiesce that it was the direct result of being baptized in the Holy Spirit.

God has respect for human beings. Moreover, He has created each one with his/her own personality. Boldness in witnessing will therefore manifest itself in varying degrees and forms that will be consistent with each person’s particular personality traits.

The account in Acts 4 relating the events following the release of Peter and John, once again includes the two elements of witnessing and boldness. The prayer of the people was to be enabled “to speak your word with great boldness” (Acts 4.29). Their prayers were answered: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4.31).

A link you might check out (Afrikaans):
http://www.ngwitrivier.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=188:pinkster-2010-ds-gerrie-doyer-woensdagaand-19-mei-&catid=41:preke&Itemid=188

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