What Makes Us Different

A few years ago I was asked by someone what makes our church different from other churches.

I gave the wrong answer.

I said that it was our music that made us different.  Now, it was true, at that time, that we were the only church in town that routinely used guitars, drums, and percussion, along with a keyboard or piano, but that really isn’t the most important difference.

The most important difference is our view towards the work of the Holy Spirit in the world today.

Now, all Christians recognize that the Holy Spirit plays an important role in the church.  This message is not an in-depth study of the role of the Holy Spirit, that would take far more time than what we have today.  This message is about one of the cardinal doctrines of the Assemblies of God.  This message is about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

I.  The Promise of the Father: Acts 1:4-8

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

A.  Receive the Spirit: John 20:22

 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

A person is not a Christian unless he has been born again. (John 3)  A person is born again when the Spirit of Christ, or the Holy Spirit, comes into our heart as a result of our faith in Christ.  Here in John, the Holy Spirit is first given to the disciples.  It is what makes us a part of the kingdom of God.

B.  Baptized in the Spirit: The Holy Spirit was already a part of their lives as we saw in John.  This baptism in the Holy Spirit is something different.  It is a new event.

C.  The Purpose of the Power:  The baptism of the Holy Spirit will provide power to be witnesses.

II.  The Promise is Fulfilled:  Acts 2:1-4

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

In this initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit there was a sound of a rushing mighty wind, tongues of fire that appeared and they spoke in tongues.  Today when we talk about the initial physical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, we only speak about speaking in tongues.  That is because in the two other incidents in Acts where the Holy Spirit is poured out, the wind and the tongues of fire do not appear.

A.  Acts 10:44-46

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.

B.  Acts 19:6

 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

The Assemblies of God was started by people who had been asked to leave their churches after experiencing for themselves this particular manifestation of the Holy Spirit.  They became known as Pentecostals because of their emphasis on this particular experience.

Today  most Christian denominations acknowledge the authenticity of this experience, but they are not necessarily comfortable with it, or able to provide guidance to a person who may be seeking to experience this for themselves.

III.  The Promise is for All:  Acts 2:37-39

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Here we are, almost two thousand years later, and thousands of miles away.  Clearly we fall under the category of ‘all who are afar off’.

Some people say that this gift was only for the apostolic age, but we believe that it is still for today.  We still need the power of the Holy Spirit to be witnesses to the world.

A.  Prayer:  Romans 8:26

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

There are different forms of speaking in tongues, but by far the most common is for individual prayer.  A person who prays in tongues is being guided by the Holy Spirit in what is prayed.  It is a powerful experience.

B.  A Good Gift:  Luke 11:11-13

If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Some people believe that speaking in tongues is a demonic manifestation.  However, it is clearly listed as a Biblical experience.  When a Christian asks God for the Holy Spirit, I do not believe that God will allow a demon to come into His children when they are asking for the Holy Spirit.

C.  Use the Gift:  I Corinthians 14:14-15

 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.

This gift from God is meant to be used.  It is not a one-time experience.  We are to use it as a regular part of our devotional life.  We should pray in tongues regularly.

Singing in the spirit is also a wonderful gift.  If you have never sung in the spirit, I can assure you that it is a powerful experience.

So what sets us apart?  There may be several things, but clearly the most important is our belief that the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues is available today.  At this church, at any service you could request prayer to experience this for yourself.

The power of the Holy Spirit is available today to all who call upon the name of the Lord.

These are the sermon notes from 5/7/17.  All quotes are from the New King James version.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

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