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The Purpose of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
By Hans Waldvogel

hat is the baptism of the Holy Spirit? It is the coming of the kingdom of God. It is Christ taking over in a life. No more do I live unto myself—that is over with! There was a time when I lived for myself. I had my own plans, my own desires, my own inclinations. I wanted a comfortable life. But now, thank God, according to His eternal purpose, He has taken over. 

It means something to follow Jesus Christ fully. It means that you forget the things that are behind. It means that you "come out from among them and be separate." You do not touch the unclean thing. Little by little and day by day, you discover the narrowness of the way and the will of God for your life. As you take steps of obedience, Jesus Christ comes into His own and fills you more and more—and that is the wonderful thing about this life in the Holy Ghost. I remember a high school girl, Anna, who had been in my Sunday school class in the Baptist church. When I was put out of the church, she came to see me and wanted to know what had happened. And when I told her of my experience of the baptism of the Spirit, immediately she became hungry for the same experience and came to the Pentecostal mission where I was ministering in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Her mother forbade her absolutely, under threat of a beating, to come to meetings. So what did she do? She asked me for a key to the mission so she could seek the Lord. Many times I found her there before she went to high school, spending an hour calling on God and waiting on the Lord. It was an example to me to see how that girl sought God with all her heart. One day she came to me and said, "Please pray that this persecution shall stop." I said, "No, I'm going to pray that it will continue. It's good for you." Then she said, "Now my mother is sending me away so that I can't get to the mission to pray." Her mother sent her to Chicago. One day I held a meeting in Bethel Temple in Chicago, and Anna came with her friends. That night she received the baptism—a wonderful baptism in the Holy Ghost.

Oh, it is wonderful when you get the baptism according to Acts 2:4, but it is more wonderful when you get the baptism according to John 7:38. You know what Jesus says there: "He that believeth on me . . . out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." Is that what the baptism in the Holy Ghost means to you? It was such a good thing for Anna to have to face that persecution. Her own mother and father were against her. Her pastor was against her. It was healthy for her to make her choice to suffer and to follow Jesus all the way. And it has been good for all who have had to fight such a fight.

Some people seem to get the baptism very easily. They call speaking in tongues the baptism. I think that is too bad. One, two, three they speak with tongues. The next day they play poker again. But when you have to pay a price, there's a difference. A different work is done in you when God says, "Wait a minute—let's clean that temple first and take the idols out"; when God declares war on everything that is worldly and fleshly and devilish, and says, "Come on. Get down, humble yourself under My mighty hand, and I will exalt you in due time." When you take Scripture seriously and follow on seeking God earnestly, you discover how "blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

The Bible says, "Repent, and be baptized . . . and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Repentance is first. But most people don't have to repent today to speak with tongues! That is why they have such shallow experiences, and why the world, the flesh, and the devil move into Pentecostal assemblies. Everywhere there is that complaint; but when you pay the price, not because you want to speak in tongues but because you want the King and His kingdom, and because you are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, that is real Pentecost. "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." That's Pentecost. Everything else is unsatisfactory. Anna got her baptism that way, and so did many others.

The wonderful thing is that from that glorious baptismal experience, God leads you each day to new experiences. You are more greatly filled, and come more and more under the control of the Holy Ghost. How is it today? Are you seeking with all your heart to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh? If you are, you have a wonderful Companion. You have the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost in your life; you are growing, and your growth is evident. Rivers of living water flow from within you. That is the baptism in the Holy Ghost.

Speaking in tongues is not meant to be a climactic experience; it is very wonderful, but it is a beginning. God means to take us on and He tells us how. What is the climax? "That ye might be filled with all the fullness of God." What an experience-to be filled with all the fullness of God here on earth! That is the climax. That is the goal that is set before us.

Paul said, "I have not yet attained." Thank God, as long as we are on this earth, there is always that wonderful goal before us. Every man that has this hope in him purifies himself; the hope comes alive, and God gives us the earnest of our inheritance. I shall be like Him!

Most people don't care enough about being like Jesus; so they fail to get a full picture of Jesus. The New Testament is given that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. As He was in the world, so we should walk. As He walked in newness of life by the glory of the Father, we also should walk in newness of life. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is the flow of a mighty river of God. You begin, like Ezekiel tells, by dipping your toes into the river of life. You start to feel good. And then you get your knees into it. The Holy Spirit drives you to your knees. He becomes the spirit of prayer within you, and prayer becomes a passion in your life. You can't help it! The Spirit of God drives you to prayer, and as you walk in the Spirit and look into the Bible, you recognize how far you are from the goal.

Paul speaks of many who have made a start and calls them "enemies of the cross of Christ." Instead of being crucified with Christ and living no more unto themselves, they are living for themselves and minding earthly things. He says, "Their end is destruction." What does God say? If you live in the flesh, you shall die.

But I don't have to live in the flesh. Christ lives in me. Christ is the King. Christ controls my mind, my heart, my feelings, my body. Every part of me belongs to Jesus Christ. He has purchased it, and He has sent the fire of God down from heaven to make me a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God. I forget the things that are behind. I press toward that mark; and if I ever sought God for the baptism in the Holy Spirit, I am seeking Him more eagerly now because the Spirit of God has enlightened me. He has become in me the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. The eyes of my understanding have been enlightened that I might know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, the power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead. As Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also should walk in newness of life. But we don't if the baptism is a climax we forget or an experience of which we boast.

Beloved, the baptism is an open door into a life of fellowship with God Almighty. It is a life in the light—as He is in the light. And that is what makes it so interesting. How wonderful were those days after we had received the baptism in the Holy Ghost! For months, it seemed as though I was in a dream. I said, "Is it possible? Is it really so? Jesus walking with me, manifesting himself?" But it is more wonderful today than it was then.

God will not be satisfied until we are transformed into the image of His Son. That transformation takes place now, as we follow on like Caleb and Joshua. Oh, what a wonderful life—to keep in tune with heaven all the time no matter what others do, to follow the Lamb wherever He goes!

You will feel very lonesome many times. People will be against you. They won't understand. They can't understand! How can they understand if they don't walk that way? It's impossible. That's why Paul says, "I write unto you weeping. Do as I do. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our bodies and make them like His."

God, in His great mercy, allows us to live in a body of dust, and in this body He does His great work. This is the temple of the living God which God prepared for His habitation. And when Jesus comes, He comes to the bodies of His people. I hope you know the Bible well enough to know that. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the body shall be clothed upon with immortality. Then the whole world will see what the New Jerusalem is, shining with the light of God—sons of God without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. In the meantime, the Holy Ghost is performing a wonderful work of cleansing and purifying.

Don't be surprised if the world is sliding deeper into the mud all the time. It is so obvious that the whole world and even the nominal church is sliding into the pit of hell. But God has His chosen ones—and who are they? The people that choose Him. The Holy Spirit has come to unite me to Jesus and to unite Jesus Christ to me. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is Christ himself taking over. What an experience! The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus makes me alive. Oh, beloved, Jesus Christ is going to have a holy people, and He is making them today. We might be surprised if we knew how many there are. God has His crowd. He has! And you and I are among them, called, and chosen, and faithful, if we follow the Lamb.

At the close of this sermon, the following prophecy was given:

Beloved, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it; and that's what this baptism of the Holy Spirit means. It's an open door into the realm of the Holy Ghost. Long enough have you been living in the flesh and dominated by the flesh. Now I want to be the Master, I want to be the Lord; and if you'll lift up the gates on high, the King of glory shall come in; and when He comes in He wants to take over. He wants that throne of your heart to be dedicated to Him and to His reign entirely.

And when you allow Me to reign, I'll cause you to reign in life over all the things that have been harassing you and enslaving you. I'll make you more than conquerors because of My great love and by the power of My blood and My Spirit. There shall no enemy be able to stand before you. This has been My promise—laid down in the law of the everlasting covenant.

And I want you, children of Mine, to be more interested in the things that are freely given to you of God, for I have paid a very great price to make this salvation available to you, and I have paid that price in order to bring you into this wonderful realm—to this fellowship with the Father and with the Holy Ghost. And so I'm calling you again and pointing out to you the fact that I have set before you an open door that no man can shut, and by faith you can remain and abide in constant communion with Me. I have given you My promise, and all power is Mine in heaven and in earth. I will never fail you nor forsake you, but be with you always—unto the end.

I've also laid it down in My covenant that I who have begun a good work will work in you to will and to do according to My pleasure if you cooperate by faith. But this will require putting on the whole armor of God and never turning back to the beggarly elements of the world. I've called you out of the world according to the will of God my Father, and I have drawn you with cords of love unto myself and caused you to taste the powers of the world to come.

When I speak My Word, it ought to enter right into your heart. I desire every one of you to be a living epistle of Christ—to show forth My praises on this earth. People call the baptism a climax, but it's an open door that I've set before you, and I'm calling you out from all your environments that are earthly and fleshly and devilish. I'm calling you into this wonderful realm so that your conversation shall indeed be in heaven, and you shall walk in the light even as I am in the light.

All these things have been recorded in my New Testament. Why don't you get down before this wonderful Word and meditate in it day and night? Don't you know that this testament has been written to your name? Don't you know that this exceeding great inheritance is for you? And the reason I have given you the earnest of My inheritance is to get you ready for the fullness. If I find you to be faithful with the earnest-with the things that I have bestowed upon you and the blessings I give you day by day-the day will come when I'll commit to you the whole wonderful inheritance, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. Come, children!

For more information see Hans R. Waldvogel of Ridgewood Pentecostal Church, Brooklyn NY

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