John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Luke 3:16 ESV)
I remember when I saw my first major accident on the highway. I was driving down the highway and a truck clipped the back of a car causing it to roll four times before ending in the ditch. The sheer force of the impact dramatically changed the direction of the car. It was a violent thing to watch, but it illustrated a very powerful truth to me about God’s power.
The power of that truck changed the car it impacted just as God’s power changes a person when they are impacted. God sent John the Baptist into the wilderness calling people to repentance. Some questioned if he was the Messiah, and he told them that there was one coming with another baptism of the power of the Holy Spirit. When someone is impacted by the power of God through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they are never the same. The Holy Spirit changes our desires, dreams and direction. The Holy Spirit changes our entire life.
We can a glimpse of the Holy Spirit’s power with the last word of the verse above: fire. Fire is one of the most powerful things on our planet. Fire can destroy a forest within hours; purify minerals in minutes, and heat a house in the dead of winter. Fire is powerful. And the Holy Spirit comes upon the sinner with this type of power. As people cannot control fire, we also cannot control the Holy Spirit. John 3:8, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a gift from God. We do not know He will come and where He will go, but we do know that when He comes, it will be in power.
One of the best evidences for the existence of God is the changed life of a sinner. People can explain away a lot of things, but they cannot explain away the power of a changed life by the Holy Spirit. Let us pray for the power of the Holy Spirit in our own lives, the life of our church, and to impact the lost of the world. I end with one of my favorite benedictions, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)
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