Sabbath, August 19, 2017
“The gospel is to be presented, not as a lifeless theory, but as a living force to change the life. God desires that the receivers of His grace shall be witnesses to its power. Those whose course has been most offensive to Him He freely accepts; when they repent, He imparts to them His divine Spirit, places them in the highest positions of trust, and sends them forth into the camp of the disloyal to proclaim His boundless mercy. He would have His servants bear testimony to the fact that through His grace men may possess Christlikeness of character, and may rejoice in the assurance of His great love. He would have us bear testimony to the fact that He cannot be satisfied until the human race are reclaimed and reinstated in their holy privileges as His sons and daughters.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 826.
Promise of a special baptism
1. According to John the Baptist, what great gift was Jesus going to give to His followers?
Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.
Luke 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.
“What we need is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Without this, we are no more fitted to go forth to the world than were the disciples after the crucifixion of their Lord. Jesus knew their destitution, and told them to tarry in Jerusalem until they should be endowed with power from on high. Every teacher must be a learner, that his eyes may be anointed to see the evidences of the advancing truth of God. The beams of the Sun of Righteousness must shine into his own heart if he would impart light to others.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 411.
2. What marvelous promise did Jesus give the disciples before His death and resurrection? But what had to happen before the Comforter could come?
John 14:16, 17; 16:7 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you…. 16:7Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
“God does not ask us to do in our own strength the work before us. He has provided divine assistance for all the emergencies to which our human resources are unequal. He gives the Holy Spirit to help in every strait, to strengthen our hope and assurance, to illuminate our minds and purify our hearts.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 19.
“We need the holy unction from on high. However intelligent, however learned a man may be, he is not qualified to teach unless he has a firm hold on the God of Israel…. If divine power does not combine with human effort, I would not give a straw for all that the greatest man could do. The Holy Spirit is wanting in our work. Nothing frightens me more than to see the spirit of variance manifested by our brethren. We are on dangerous ground when we cannot meet together like Christians, and courteously examine controverted points. I feel like fleeing from the place lest I receive the mold of those who cannot candidly investigate the doctrines of the Bible.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 411.
A special gift for a special purpose
3. What was the purpose for which the Lord was going to give the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Luke 24:48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
John 15:27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
“It seems strange that Christ should direct the disciples to begin their work in Jerusalem, the very place where the spirit of Satan had been most manifest in opposition and enmity to the Prince of life. It was there that he had been hunted, persecuted, denied, and betrayed.” –Review and Herald, April 19, 1892.
“The gospel commission is the great missionary charter of Christ’s kingdom. The disciples were to work earnestly for souls, giving to all the invitation of mercy. They were not to wait for the people to come to them; they were to go to the people with their message.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 28.
“As the disciples went forth to proclaim the gospel, filled with the power of the Spirit, so God’s servants are to go forth today. All around us are fields white unto the harvest. These fields are to be reaped. We are to take up the work, filled with an unselfish desire to give the message of mercy to those who are in the darkness of error and unbelief. God will move on the hearts of believers to carry forward His work to the regions beyond.” –That I May Know Him, p. 344.
4. What signs would accompany the faithful believers as they proclaimed the message of salvation? How should this motivate every church to advance the missionary outreach?
Mark 16:15, 17, 18 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature…. 17And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
“Through the gift of the Holy Spirit the disciples were to receive a marvelous power. Their testimony was to be confirmed by signs and wonders. Miracles would be wrought, not only by the apostles, but by those who received their message.
“The promise is as far-reaching as the commission. Not that all the gifts are imparted to each believer. The Spirit divides ‘to every man severally as He will.’ 1 Corinthians 12:11. But the gifts of the Spirit are promised to every believer according to his need for the Lord’s work. The promise is just as strong and trustworthy now as in the days of the apostles. ‘These signs shall follow them that believe.’ This is the privilege of God’s children, and faith should lay hold on all that it is possible to have as an endorsement of faith.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 821, 823.
Unity and harmony
5. In view of this special baptism, what command did Jesus give the disciples after His resurrection?
Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
Acts 1:4, 5 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
“The talents that Christ entrusts to His church represent especially the gifts and blessings imparted by the Holy Spirit…. All men do not receive the same gifts, but to every servant of the Master some gift of the Spirit is promised.
“… But not until after the ascension was the gift received in its fullness. Not until through faith and prayer the disciples had surrendered themselves fully for His working was the outpouring of the Spirit received. Then in a special sense the goods of heaven were committed to the followers of Christ. ‘When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.’ Ephesians 4:8…. The gifts are already ours in Christ, but their actual possession depends upon our reception of the Spirit of God.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 327.
6. In accordance with Jesus’ words, where did the disciples await the baptism of the Holy Spirit? How did they spend the days of preparation?
Acts 1:12-14; 2:1 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. 13And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. 14These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren…. 2:1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
“The first disciples went forth preaching the word. They revealed Christ in their lives. And the Lord worked with them, ‘confirming the word with signs following.’ Mark 16:20. These disciples prepared themselves for their work. Before the day of Pentecost they met together, and put away all differences. They were of one accord. They believed Christ’s promise that the blessing would be given, and they prayed in faith. They did not ask for a blessing for themselves merely; they were weighted with the burden for the salvation of souls. The gospel was to be carried to the uttermost parts of the earth, and they claimed the endowment of power that Christ had promised. Then it was that the Holy Spirit was poured out, and thousands were converted in a day.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 827.
Fulfillment and great results
7. When did the baptism of the Holy Spirit take place? What miraculous results were seen as the disciples preached the gospel message?
Acts 2:2, 14, 41 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting…. 14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:… 41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
“The apostles spoke by the power of the Holy Ghost; and their words could not be controverted, for they were confirmed by mighty miracles, wrought by them through the outpouring of the Spirit of God. The disciples were themselves astonished at the results of this visitation, and the quick and abundant harvest of souls. All the people were filled with amazement.” –The Story of Redemption, p. 245.
“It is in doing Christ’s work that the church has the promise of His presence… The very life of the church depends upon her faithfulness in fulfilling the Lord’s commission. To neglect this work is surely to invite spiritual feebleness and decay. Where there is no active labor for others, love wanes, and faith grows dim.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 825.
“These scenes are to be repeated, and with greater power. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the former rain, but the latter rain will be more abundant. The Spirit awaits our demand and reception. Christ is again to be revealed in His fulness by the Holy Spirit’s power.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 121.
For additional study
“So it may be now. Instead of man’s speculations, let the word of God be preached. Let Christians put away their dissensions, and give themselves to God for the saving of the lost. Let them in faith ask for the blessing, and it will come. The outpouring of the Spirit in apostolic days was the ‘former rain,’ and glorious was the result. But the ‘latter rain’ will be more abundant. Joel 2:23.
“All who consecrate soul, body, and spirit to God will be constantly receiving a new endowment of physical and mental power. The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their command. Christ gives them the breath of His own spirit, the life of His own life. The Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies to work in heart and mind. The grace of God enlarges and multiplies their faculties, and every perfection of the divine nature comes to their assistance in the work of saving souls. Through cooperation with Christ they are complete in Him, and in their human weakness they are enabled to do the deeds of Omnipotence.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 827.