Once we have been baptized in the Spirit—when we have received power, place, and equipping—what happens?
Jesus told His disciples, “You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). So, first of all, the baptism in the Spirit will make us witnesses. This does not mean we will automatically be sent to distribute gospel tracts. Being a witness is more than that. Our lives will become a witness. We will become the testimony that Jesus is indeed risen and living today.
We Will Be A Witness
When you meet people who are baptized with the Spirit, you don’t need a lot of persuading that there is a God. Many times, when a person has been powerfully saved, and as sometimes happens, baptized in the Spirit simultaneously, people say, “This is amazing. This person is completely different.” When Jesus said, “You shall be witnesses to Me,” He meant that His disciples’ lives would be visibly, obviously transformed.
We Will Want To Serve
A second result of the baptism is that we will begin to serve. We find this throughout Scripture. In the Old Testament, we see a recurring pattern when God’s servants and their service to Him are mentioned. The phrase, And the Spirit of Lord came upon them, is usually closely followed by, And they did … There was a link between the Spirit coming upon believers and the works of service that those believers did. In the Old Testament, this empowering for service was limited to just a few people, but the promise from Joel that Peter quoted in his sermon (see Acts 2:16–21) states that this empowering would now be experienced by all of God’s people.
Take the disciples. These men had been with Jesus, been taught by Him, even been sent on several missions during their three years with Him. But when Jesus left them, He told them to wait for the Holy Spirit because they were not yet empowered to take the gospel throughout the world. After the Spirit of God came upon them, Peter—who had been afraid to admit to a young girl that he was a follower of Jesus—stood up in the midst of a hostile crowd and boldly preached the gospel. And that day, three thousand were added to the church. When the people said, What’s going on here? Peter told them, “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh’” (Acts 2:16–17).
Empowered For Service
Even Jesus experienced this empowering for service. When Jesus came up out of the water after His physical baptism, the Spirit of God descended upon Him in the form of a dove (see Matthew 3:13–17). That was the baptism of the Spirit. Immediately after that, Jesus’ public ministry began. He went into the synagogue in the city of Nazareth, opened the scroll to Isaiah, stood up, and said, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me because He has anointed Me” (Luke 4:18).
We Will Be Fruitful
Third, the baptism of the Spirit makes us fruitful. Let’s look again at Paul’s arrival in Ephesus. When Paul came to that city of about 400,000, he found twelve believers. This was likely the extent of the church in Ephesus at that time. These Christians were isolated, hidden from the public eye, seemingly powerless to effect change in their community. But Paul—having received the baptism of the Spirit and recognizing that the people were missing something—laid hands on these twelve and prayed for them. And amazingly, a dynamic church, with potentially thousands of believers, were established in the city.
It’s true that Paul started the church in Ephesus and was largely responsible for its growth and development, but the work wasn’t a one-man operation. These twelve who had been baptized in the Spirit certainly reached out to their families, their neighbors, their colleagues—and they were fruitful. After a vibrant church developed in Ephesus, the entire province of Asia heard the gospel (see Acts 19:10). Multitudes came to Christ. The Ephesian believers took their books on magic arts and the occult and burned them (19:19). All these things resulted from this great work of the Spirit in the lives of simple believers, and I believe God wants to do this same amazing work among us today!