Baptism in the Spirit

by | Articles, Featured

Ask the group the questions in black.

Words in italics are written to help give some guidance and ideas.

Read out loud the text in blue.

Have someone read out the Scripture passages.

Introduction

If God guaranteed you an answer to any question, what question would you ask?

Gather thoughts. Ask why? This is not the time to answer those questions, but just to get people thinking.

People are curious about many things, but when it comes down to it, two of the most basic questions of life are: Who am I and why am I here?

Can you answer those questions with total confidence?

Who am I?

The question “Who am I” is a question of identity. Your identity is simply who you think you are.

When you think about your life, what influences have shaped your identity (who you think you are)?

This could be parents, teachers, sports coaches, pastors, friends, the world etc.

Share something about who you think you are.

Let people share at whatever level they are willing. Simply listen.

We all begin creating our sense of identity from birth, mainly based on our interactions with other people. The things we believe about ourselves can be both positive and negative.

So for now, we know that the “who am I” question is about identity. Over the coming weeks, we are going to explore this more.

Why am I Here?

The second question “Why am I here?” deals with our sense of purpose.

Think about things that people have created and their purpose? What comes to mind?

Share ideas. Choose any examples such as toasters, cars, lightbulbs, roads, houses etc.

Can you think of anything that has no purpose at all?

There is nothing that has been created that has no purpose. Things like space junk may seem to have no purpose now, but they did once have a purpose.

We have been created, so what is our purpose?

Gather thoughts. Ask, “what makes you think that?”

Does something that is created have the ability to determine its own purpose?

Use an example from above to pose the question. Can a toaster decide to be a jug instead?

Design

We can only come to a true sense of identity and purpose when we first understand our design. Think about a lion.

What is a lion designed to do?

To hunt animals. No healthy lion defies its design to become a vegetarian! It never happens.

What gives a lion the ability to be a hunter?

Its whole body is designed to hunt from tooth to claw. The lion’s identity as a hunter comes from its design.

In the same way, our sense of identity and purpose is connected to our design.

Do we begin life with an understanding of our design?

No, newborn babies have no knowledge or understanding of purpose or design.

How do babies learn about their physical design?

Babies and infants learn their physical design by watching people around them. In fact, studies have shown that if an infant does not hear someone talking, they will not learn to talk. If they do not see a person walking, they will not learn to walk.

The same is true spiritually. When we first begin to follow Jesus and are born again, we are like spiritual infants, and we learn our design by looking at people who we consider “spiritual.”

In our spiritual infancy, how can we be sure that the people around us are or were actually living in their spiritual design?

We really can’t be sure. Babies do not have the capacity to question their design. Because they are so vulnerable, there is a great responsibility to protect babies and nurture them in truth.

What if we have not truly learned our design? Imagine that you discover an object you’ve never seen before and you don’t know what it is designed to do.

How could you find out?

You would ask the person who made it!

Read these Bible verses together:

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:26-27
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Who is the Creator of the universe and of us?

God.

As our Creator, we owe our existence to God. We are not random products of chance. We have been wonderfully created by a God who has a clear design for our lives. And as our Creator, He alone holds the answers to those questions “who am I and why am I here?” The only way we can discover our design is to ask the One who designed us.

So, how does God reveal our design to us?

Gather thoughts.

Our Mirror

Look up the following passage in James.

James 1:22-24

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.

What is the purpose of a mirror in the natural realm?

To see what you physically look like.

So, if you want to see a spiritual reflection of yourself, what is the spiritual mirror that you look into?

The word of God.

The Word is a spiritual mirror that shows us our natural face. The word “natural” used in this verse is the Greek word “genesis” meaning “source, origin or birth”. You could say that when we look into the mirror of the Word, we see our genesis face. We see our true identity and purpose as God originally designed it.

Summary

There are two questions we need to answer: Who am I? and Why am I here? These are questions of identity and purpose. Only our Creator has the right to determine who we are and why we are here, our design. So, over the coming studies, we are going to look into the mirror of the Word to find out how God answers these questions.

Questions for Further Discussion

Has there ever been a time in your life when you consciously asked yourself Who am I? or Why am I here?

Do you have any early memories of believing that God is Creator?

What do you think spiritual infants need most?

 

1 In the Beginning—Homework

Reflect

Read these verses from Psalm 139 and reflect on the questions below.

Psalm 139:13-14

For You formed my inmost being;

You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I will praise You,

for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

What do these verses reveal about the value of your life?

What does it mean for you to be a unique creation?

Is it important for you to know “who am I” and “why am I here?” Why or why not?

Do you spend time looking into the mirror of the Word? Is this a focus for you?

Pray

As you begin these studies, ask God to reveal your identity and your purpose/design in life to you in a fresh and deeper way. Share with Him your desires for your own spiritual growth.

When we first enter into relationship with Jesus we are given an awesome inheritance in Him. To lead us into the depths of our inheritance, God reveals what He is doing and creates faith in our hearts, so that through faith we will enter the reality of what He has prepared for us. As He leads us into different aspects of our inheritance in Christ we will come to a place of being offered the gift of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Mark 1:4-8
John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. I baptized you with water; but He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus came to baptise us with the Holy Spirit. But what is the baptism in the Spirit? To understand the nature of baptism we need to look into the meaning of the Greek word baptizo.

To baptise: baptizo
1) to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk)
2) to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one’s self, bathe
3) to overwhelm

The Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon clearly describes the difference between dipping and immersion in baptism:

The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo (as opposed to bapto) is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 BC. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped’ (bapto) into boiling water and then ‘baptised’ (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change.

This difference is also used of dying garments. A garment can be dipped in dye, but it is only baptised when the dye has saturated the garment and the dye is no longer separable from the material. All that remains is the united product: a dyed garment.

In this way, baptism means saturation, a total immersion such that every part of the object is overwhelmed with the medium. The same principle applies to the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Through baptism in the Spirit we become immersed in God. It is not just a one-off event, but a continual, ongoing soaking in His presence and life to the point where we become saturated and overwhelmed in Him. This is when every part of who we are is infused with Him and we become inseparable from God’s Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit…

In this passage, Paul uses the present continual tense to call us to ‘be [continually] filled with the Spirit’. This is a call to stay immersed in the Spirit. A pickle is not dipped in vinegar every Sunday and then taken out. Likewise, when we are dipped in the Spirit, we need to stay immersed in the Spirit. Baptism does not end with receiving a single filling of the Spirit, but rather it is a continual way of life. Only by constantly saturating ourselves in Him do we really begin to live and walk in the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:17
But the one who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

The ultimate goal of being baptised in the Spirit is to become one spirit with Jesus. In Scripture, the word heart is used as a metaphor for the spirit. The spirit within us is our inner life, the heart and character of who we are. Thus to be one spirit with Jesus is to share His heart. It is to be united with Him in nature and life. It is to be so immersed in the Spirit of God that we become one with Him.

One God

It is important to note that being immersed in God does not mean that we become God. As with the garment and the dye, the garment simply soaks in the dye. It does not become dye. In itself, the garment cannot claim to be vibrant and colourful for these qualities come solely from the dye. Yet by being immersed in the dye, the garment is changed. It now radiates the colour of the dye. Through baptism the garment is transformed.

The same is true of our baptism in the Spirit. Being immersed in God does not make us God; it simply means that we have begun to soak in His presence and life. And like the garment, by soaking in God we will be transformed. His presence and life will soak into every part of us. Then we will begin to radiate His nature: His love, life, joy, character, and power. In this way, we will find that the more we soak in Him, the more we are conformed to His image.

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