BORN OF THE SPIRIT OR BAPTIZED WITH THE SPIRIT?
by Rev. Ernest O'Neill
Loved ones, the situation I found in my life was that the Holy Spirit seemed to come into the darkness of my own heart like a little candle. Until He came into my heart, I didn't even know the heart was very dark. I said to God, "Lord, I want that candle to burn in my heart, I want to let it burn." I received an assurance from God that He was pleased with me, that He had forgiven my sins and that He would receive me into heaven. Then that candle started to burn brighter.
I think many of you are in that situation. The Holy Spirit is in you. That's how you have been born of God. That's why you're even here this morning. He is in you. Now the flame is beginning to burn brighter and you're beginning to see some of the darkness in the corners of your heart (which you couldn't see until the Holy Spirit came in). Then loved ones, there came a time in my life when God said, "Now are we going to deal with those dark corners or are you going to try to keep this candle alight in your heart and maintain the darkness there?"
In other words, "Are you willing to let me take this candle and take it into every corner of your life until your whole life is filled with this light?" That's why this Book (the Bible) often talks about the baptism of the Holy Spirit as being filled with the Spirit. Loved ones, that's the difference. That's the difference between a person who is baptized with the Spirit and a person who is born of the Spirit.
A person who is baptized with the Spirit is filled with the Holy Spirit inside and therefore anointed with the Holy Spirit outside so that they have the fruit of the Spirit in their life and they have the gifts of the Spirit available for ministry. Those are power-filled lives. Those lives begin to walk in the power of the apostles. Those lives begin to be used by Jesus to transform the places where they work to bring people to Jesus week-by-week, month-by-month. Those lives, loved ones, are the lives of abundant livers. Those are the lives that God has planned for us. Loved ones, that's what we're called to and that's what you're called to.
It's a life where you are filled with the Holy Spirit. It's not a life where the Holy Spirit is someone whom you control. You must admit, isn't that a tendency of many of us here in this room? We know the presence of the Holy Spirit in us. Even those of us who may not be Christians, may not be children of God this morning, even we know the working of the Holy Spirit within us. But we hold Him within a box. We keep Him contained. We keep Him limited. But we do not let Him become the Lord of our lives. That's why many of us here will testify to Jesus being our Savior and will testify to being saved "in" our sins.
We'll testify to having been forgiven of our sins but we're not saved "from" our sins. And we don't know Jesus as our Lord. Because of course Jesus is not Lord at all unless He is Lord of all. You know that so well, don't you? We knew it as children in class at school. If we were willing to obey the teacher just on certain issues but there were even two issues that we would not obey him, then he was not really master of that classroom. He wasn't. It didn't matter. When it came to those two issues, we would do what we wanted. So he wasn't master. We were just letting him play master.
Do you see it's the same with Jesus? We're just letting Him play Lord until He is Lord of all in our lives.