Getting Started in the Spirit

In the early part of 1975, I met Barbara, a Christian lady who would later become my wife. At the time I was a forty-three year old divorced guy who owned and operated a Seattle area Architectural and Engineering firm. I occasionally attended church, but I had no relationship with, nor understanding of a living God.About a year after we met, Barbara and I were married.

When we returned from our honeymoon, I noticed a book entitled Power and Praise, which had been left on our living room table by my new Methodist mother-in-law. The book was written by Merlin Carothers, a retired Lt. Colonel in the United States Army. Carothers had served with the famous 82nd Airborne during the Second World War; he was a master parachutist with over 90 jumps… He was my type of man. I thought Power in Praise was success motivation book. But as I read the first few paragraphs of the book I realized that Colonel Carothers was talking about God’s gift of eternal life, and three months later as a result of reading that book over and over, faith developed in my spirit and I asked Jesus Christ to become my lord and savior.

I continued to read, and reread Power in Praise for another seven months, I was particularly the interested in the third chapter of the book which was entitled “Power Unlimited.” In that chapter Carothers talked about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He explained that “The very first free gift God wants His new children to ask for is the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He said they needed it to grow.” He went on to share that Jesus had told His disciples that they would “receive the power when the Holy Spirit came upon them”. (Acts 1:8). One evening, seven months after I was born again, faith arose in my heart and I asked Jesus to baptize me in the Holy Spirit. A few words that I didn’t understand began to come up from with-in me, hesitantly at first, and then more boldly I spoke out those words, it was an experience that radically changed my life.

When I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God came upon me and empowered me for aservice. Praying quietly in other tongues while accomplishing routine everyday tasks such as driving, or watching television has become a routine way of life for me. It is a way of life that builds up my most holy faith. (Jude 20)

Several months later at my urging, my wife Barbara also asked for, and received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. At the time these changes were occurring in our lives, we were attending a mainline denominational church. Other than Merlin Carothers, the fellow who wrote the book, we knew of no one else who had received the Baptism in the Spirit.

But several weeks after Barbara was baptized in the Holy Spirit we heard about the “Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International”, a group of successful Christian business men who also believed in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We began attending their chapter meetings and found them to be exciting and alive. These men just shared what God was doing in their lives, not five years ago, not ten years ago, but just the previous week. They talked about a living God; some told how He had healed them, and others explained how their marriage had been changed, and others how God had blessed their business. Hearing how God was helping these men in their businesses got my attention; it had never occurred to me that God would help anyone be successful in business. I wanted to hear more; I could hardly wait until the next meeting!

In the next War Story I will share with you how just a few months after I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, God worked a significant miracle though me.

In this first “War Story For The Joshua Generation” I shared with you my experience of becoming “Born Again” and “Baptized in the Holy Spirit”. Now let’s look at what the scriptures say about these two separate experiences. When I was “Born Again” the Spirit of God came into me and began to change me. When I was Baptized in the Holy Spirit the Spirit of God came upon me and began to empower me for service.

In “Getting started in the Spirit” I shared with you my experience of being born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit. Now let’s look at what the Scriptures teach about these same two experiences. First let’s look at the four scriptures shown below.

John 14:17 NKJV – “The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”

Acts 1:8 NKJV – “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

John 4:14 NKJV – “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

John 7:37-39 NKJV – “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

As you read these scriptures you will notice that Jesus speaks of the Spirit within and the Spirit upon. When we are born again the Spirit of God comes into us to dwell with us (John 14:17). And when we are baptized in the Spirit of God comes upon us to empower us for service (Acts 1:8).

We also see the same two operations of “the Spirit within” and “the Spirit upon” in John chapter four and John chapter seven.

In John 4:14 Jesus, using water as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, says, “The water I shall give him shall become in him a fountain of waters springing up unto everlasting life.” The King James Version translates it a “well of water.” Here Jesus is describing the born again experience, which is the Spirit of God “within you.”

In John 7:37-39 Jesus again using water as a symbol of the Holy Spirit says, “out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Here Jesus is describing the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of God “upon us.”

In John 4:14 the Scripture describes an inward location of the waters, or the Spirit. Here Jesus is describing eternal life that the believer receives when he is born again. It is described as a well or fountain within the believer. Eternal life is given to bless and edify the believer.

But in John 7:37-39 Jesus is describing the power that flows forth from the believer when he is baptized in the Holy Spirit. In the baptism in the Holy Spirit the Spirit of God comes upon the believer for service to others. It is described as a river flowing out of the heart. “The baptism in the Holy Spirit is given to bless others.”

The Holy Spirit within Us

When the Holy Spirit comes “within us” there are nine fruit of the Spirit that should begin to manifest in our life. They are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). We refer to these as the fruit of the spirit, they grow in you.

The fruit of the Spirit is given to develop your character.

The Holy Spirit upon Us

When the Holy Spirit comes upon us, there are nine gifts of the Spirit that become available to the believer so that he can bless others. They are found in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11. They are: prophecy, divers’ kinds of tongues, the interpretation of tongues, the word of knowledge, the word of wisdom, discerning of spirits, special faith, gifts of healing, and working of miracles. 

These gifts of the Spirit are given so that believers can bless others.

The Holy Spirit within us is given to produce the fruit of the Spirit in the life of the believer. The Holy Spirit upon us is given to empower the believer to provide service to the lives of others.

In Jesus’ Name,

Robert W Bignold

National President

Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America