When’s the last sermon you’ve heard on the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Can’t remember the last time? Why is it that the church is so ill-equipped with this precious and powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit? Have our doctrines become iron gates so as to occlude our entering in to the secret place where divinely inestimable treasures are kept?
These treasures are for us – for our employment and our enjoyment.
Martin Lloyd-Jones described himself as a Calvinistic-Methodist, influenced both by the unadulterated exposition of Whitefield and Wesley’s ministry of the burning heart. He preached a subsequent work of the Holy Spirit for any of God’s children who ask (see Luke 11:11-13), which may or may not be accompanied by phenomenon we see in Acts. For the record, I am in his tribe.
Here is how the venerable Lloyd-Jones describes this amazing love-gift from God:
Alluding to the teaching of Puritan Thomas Goodwin, Lloyd-Jones said,
A father is walking down the road with his son’s hand in his own and the child is enjoying the presence of his father and knows that he is loved. Then, without the child doing anything special, moved only by the father’s love, the father reaches down and scoops his son off his feet and up into his arms. He hugs the child tightly, showers him with kisses, tells him he loves him more than life itself and sets him down again. The child already knew his father loved him, there was no doubt. But oh the added measure of assurance, the joy of knowing that love is not based on anything you have done but simply flows out of the heart of the father. That is what it means to have God near.
John Piper, citing this reference, said,
I think this is basically what happened at Pentecost. And has happened again and again in the life of the church.
— John Piper: You Shall Receive Power, 1990
Are we so afraid that our people can’t handle this added measure of love from God?
This is criminal, if you ask me. During the Middle Ages, Catholicism deemed it illegal for the common person to have access to Bibles. Catholic apologists say it was to stem the tide of heresy, but their own practices were heretical! Wittenberg Door, anyone? So committed to their laws were they that the scriptures were actually chained to the pulpits!
Is this like that?
I am grateful for this subsequent work of the Spirit for life and ministry. For the life of me, I don’t know where I would be without His sweet bathings. Let’s not memorialize Pentecost as if it was a one-time event never to be reproduced, when the truth is, there have been many fillings and (oh, let’s just say it) baptisms, with many yet to come!
D.L. Moody said of his own experience,
I was crying all the time that God would fill me with His Spirit. Well, one day, in the city of New York — oh, what a day! — I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand.
Are you hungry?
Ask – with a pure heart, yes – but do ask.
And get ready to be swept up in the arms of grace.
*Joy Unspeakable, David Martyn-Lloyd Jones