While speaking at a conference recently, I made a statement that was an eye-opener to many in the auditorium. Here is the statement … with little effort, I can tell the importance placed in your church upon believers being baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. How? By looking at the sermon video archive on your churches’ website to see how many messages were preached on this subject ON A SUNDAY MORNING within the last 12 months. Why Sunday morning? Because that is when the largest number of people attend your church. Reality tells us that if your church has a Sunday night service, only about one half of the Sunday morning attendees are back that night. And, if your church has a Wednesday night service, only about half of those that attended Sunday night are there on Wednesday night. So, my conclusion would be, if it is a high priority that the greatest number of the members be baptized in the Holy Spirit, a pastor will provide the opportunity when the greatest numbers are at a service and do so often. Is that a fair assumption?
How important is it that we provide believers the opportunity to be Spirit-baptized? Well, let’s draw our answer from a biblical example found in Acts 8. You’ll recall that Philip went to Samaria and saw tremendous results from his ministry. Multitudes were born again and water baptized. Many received powerful healings. Demons were cast out. Great joy filled the church. And yet, in the midst of all of these incredible works of God, the apostles in Jerusalem sent Peter and John down to Samaria for the sole purpose of insuring that the believers were Spirit-baptized. They weren’t sent to take care of church problems or to launch a building campaign. They didn’t travel to Samaria to give Philip a needed break. According to Acts 8:14-17, the leadership of the church sent Peter and John because none of the believers had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. The apostles recognized that it wasn’t enough for just Pastor Philip to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The whole body of believers needed to be filled to overflowing!
While I recognize that there are many great things happening in today’s church, we can see from the example given in Acts 8, in the midst of all of these great happenings it must be a priority that every believer be given the opportunity to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. If this truly a priority and we want our entire church to be endued with power from on high, the message must be preached when the greatest numbers are present and it must be shared throughout the year. This can’t be just a once-a-year Pentecost Sunday message. It can’t be an annual mark it off the yearly to-do list event. And, it can’t be hidden on a Wednesday night crowd or a back room or small cell/home group. Our goal must to replicate what we read in Acts 2:4 “And they were all filled …”
Pastors, preach Pentecost. Children’s/youth pastors, preach Pentecost. And, preach it again and again and again so that we can send out people that are Spirit-baptized, Spirit-equipped, Spirit-empowered, and Spirit-led into a lost and dying world!