During the Sunday service, Pastor Richmond Leigh preached on the theme ‘Power from on high’. His main text was taken from the Book of Luke: “When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased”… “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high… (Lk 3:21, 22; Lk 24:49; NKJ).
He said that as a church, we are entering a new season, into a higher level of anointing. We need to be Baptized and Filled with the Holy Spirit. Nobody knows all the functions of the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. The major work of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ! He reveals Him to us; opens our eyes to His Majesty so that we can worship Him. The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth and helps us believe and understand the Word of God.
Pastor Richmond Leigh said that it is possible to be born again and not be baptized with the Holy Spirit. It is true that no one can be saved without the work of the Holy Spirit in his soul (Rom 8:9). One of the secret works of the Holy Spirit is that of convicting a man of his sins, of enlighten him about his spiritual state and his need for the Savior. The Holy Spirit does the work of regeneration; therefore, the sinner becomes born again. As you can see, salvation is always a miracle. Without this deep and secret work of the Holy Spirit, a man may become religious, he may go to church, but he is not saved. The Holy Spirit does not force anyone to be saved. He is a gentle but powerful influence on the soul. Thank God for the humility of the Holy Spirit, willing to do this secret work in the heart of man without apparently coercing him! Glory to God for our salvation!
This is a fact: a man can be born again and not be filled or baptized with the Holy Spirit. It is only a child of God that can be baptized with the Holy Spirit. The sinner must repent and come to Jesus, for salvation. This is the first step in God’s wonderful work called salvation! The natural man cannot receive the Holy Spirit, he cannot please God because his mind is enmity against God. For the unbeliever, the spiritual things are foolishness. He cannot understand or appreciate them. He cannot worship God! But to us, the children of God, we hunger and thirst for more of the Holy Spirit. We want to know the ‘deep things of God’ revealed thru the Holy Spirit!
One of the symbols of The Holy Spirit is the water. The effect of the water is that it wets you or it quenches your thirst. There are degrees of these effects. For example, the rain drizzling outside. A man goes in the rain. After some time, he will get wet. But if the rain is torrential, he will get wet faster. If a man drinks a cup of water, he will be filled (gets wet) in the inside. But if a man is dipped into the ocean, he will become ‘wet’ instantly both outside and inside. He will be overwhelmed by the water. All these illustrations, show degrees of ‘wetness’ from the same water. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is when a child of God is suddenly immersed in the ocean of the Holy Spirit by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit and fire! It is a unique, specific and powerful experience! Your life will never be the same again. You shall receive ‘power from on high’! You shall receive boldness to preach the Word of God, to witness for Jesus! You shall receive an unshakable assurance that you are saved forever! Once again, it is done by the resurrected Christ, the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit and fire!
These are vital questions we all must answer: ‘Are you born again? Are you baptized in water? Are you baptized with the Holy Spirit?’ As we are seeking to be baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit, the best example and perfect model we have is that of our Lord. The first thing we see is that He humbly submitted to the Baptism in water performed by John the Baptist. Jesus was sinless. He did not need to repent and be baptized but He said that ‘it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness’. He did it to identify with us, the sinners He came to save. During His baptism the voice of the Father confirmed His pleasure in His Son. The Holy Spirit came on Him in a bodily form as a dove. We see here the Trinity revealed on earth (Mt 3:15-17). After His water baptism, and filed with the Holy Spirit, the Lord was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He overcame all the temptations as a Man filled with the Holy Spirit. The devil failed to distract the Lord from God’s purpose for His life. He did it on our behalf that we may share in His victory. At the end of forty days He came out from the wilderness in the power of the Spirit (Lk 4:1-13).
Immediately after His victory over the devil’s temptation, The Lord Jesus Christ started His public ministry among men. He thought the Word of God in the synagogues. He preached the Gospel of salvation. He delivered the ones possessed by demons. He healed the sick. But what amazed everybody was His words! ‘All bore witness to Him and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth… they were astonished at His teaching for His word was with authority’ (Lk 4:22, 32). The people were amazed especially at the power, authority and boldness in His words. This power is surely the result of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is our Lord’s command: “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him” (Jn 6:27). This seal He is talking about is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Lord was baptized with the Holy Spirit so that He can baptize others who believe in Him!
Apostle Paul commands us to ‘walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh’ He said that the flesh fights against the filling of the Holy Spirit. The flesh does not want to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. We must mortify the deeds of the flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul says that ‘if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law’. In the presence of the Holy Spirit there is liberty, peace and fulness of joy (Psalm 16:11; Gal 5:16-18; 2Cor 3:17). Praise the Lord!
In the same way, we must seek to be baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit! The power of the Holy Spirit is necessary to do ministry. In fact, without the Holy Spirit ministry is not possible! Preaching is intimately connected with the Power of the Holy Spirit. ’Preaching’ without the Holy Spirit is called ‘lecturing’. It does not have the power to touch and change men’s hearts. More than money and happiness on earth, you need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will lead you to places you have never been before. He will give you favor among men! The Holy Spirit will embolden you to preach and teach the Word of God with authority. Your words will be like arrows piercing men’s consciences. They will not be able to forget your words. They will repent and be saved. The Holy Spirit will help you to walk in the plan and the purpose of God. You will be able to resist and overcome the devil’s temptations. The Holy Spirit will give you divine wisdom. You will walk in victory! You will grow from grace to grace and from strength to strength. May the Holy Spirit move you! Be filled with the Holy Spirit! Worship the Lord!