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THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER
"As they met and ate meals together, He told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but 'must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. John baptised you in water; you will be baptised in the Holy Spirit. And soon.'" Acts 1:4-5 (The Message).
Finally, at last, here it comes! The promise of the Father is on the brink of fulfilment. With these words, Jesus linked Himself and His ministry to the ministry of His forerunner, John the Baptist. "John answered them all.’I baptise you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.'" Luke 3:16 (NIV).
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was crucial to the existence of the church because He is the key to the completion of Jesus' ministry on earth. Everything Jesus accomplished in His life, death and resurrection would end right there had the Holy Spirit not been given to apply what He did in the hearts of believers.
Some branches of the church claim the baptism of the Holy Spirit as special to their persuasion and others react by shying away from Him and relegating Him to a doctrine. The truth is that He was given, not for an experience or for a doctrine, but for the very life of Jesus in us without which we are mere empty shells.
It is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin and draws us to the Saviour. "'Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go I will send Him to you. When He comes He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin...'" John 16:6b-8a (NIV).
It is the Holy Spirit who brings our dead spirits back to life in response to our faith in Jesus. "'Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit...'" John 3:5 (NIV).
It is the Holy Spirit who reproduces the life of Jesus in us, "So I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the deeds of the sinful nature...But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:16, 22 (NIV).
It is the Holy Spirit who gives us the gifts that are necessary for the life of the Body. "Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good...All these is the work of one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines." 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11 (NIV).
It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to bear witness to the life-changing power of Jesus at work in and through us. "'But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses...'" Acts 1:8a (NIV).
The coming of the Holy Spirit would complete the reversal of the disaster that came on the human race and on the earth when Adam decided to go it alone. Jesus made it possible for God's rebellious sons to return to the Father's house, to be reconciled to the Father and to be reinstated as His beloved sons. The Holy Spirit makes it all happen by His working within the spirit of man.
No wonder then that Jesus ordered them to wait in Jerusalem for His coming which had to take place on a specific day to fulfil the Feast of Pentecost and without which any effort on their part to carry out the mandate of Jesus would only be futile and disastrous.
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