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Calling Down Fire

• Greg Boyd

The kingdom of God revolution is all about revealing God’s radical love and “good news” to the world. A central aspect to this kingdom is the Spirit of God operating within believers in empowerment and comfort. It is the first thing that John the Baptist mentions about Jesus and his ministry… “He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16). The Spirit of God is spoken of throughout the Bible and has been commonly referred to as the Holy Spirit, which is the third person in the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit).

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The kingdom of God revolution is all about revealing God’s radical love and “good news” to the world.  A central aspect to this kingdom is the Spirit of God operating within believers in empowerment and comfort.  It is the first thing that John the Baptist mentions about Jesus and his ministry… “He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16). The Spirit of God is spoken of throughout the Bible and has been commonly referred to as the Holy Spirit, which is the third person in the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit).

The Church began as a result of God’s Spirit and power being poured out and given to Christ’s disciples and apostles (see Acts 1:4-5, 8 and Acts 2:15-17). Through the Spirit’s empowerment, Christ’s followers were able to do works through which many came to know Christ.  A distinctive characteristic of God’s kingdom revolution continues to be seen today as believers are being filled with the Holy Spirit. However, many Christians either have never heard about the baptism of the Spirit or assume that it is the same as just “believing.”

It is important to know that every believer has the Holy Spirit living within him or her (I Corinthians 12:3). Our salvation in Christ has only been possible because of God’s Spirit working in our hearts.  Even though this is true, it is not the case that being a believer is the same thing as being “filled” with the Spirit. The difference is found in Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you shall be my witnesses…” The baptism of the Spirit is an infilling of God’s Spirit. It is an immersion in supernatural power that bears witness to God’s Spirit being present in our lives. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a one-time event; rather, it is an on-going lifestyle (Ephesians 5:18).

Everything that we do as believers is accomplished through the empowering of God’s Spirit dwelling inside of us. With this empowerment, our lives begin to truly reflect and give witness to God’s love. The power of God’s Spirit creates the space for life transformation, healing, and reconciliation to take place.

Receiving of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not accomplished by magic or through manipulation. Rather, it is found in the desire of the believer to be constantly filled with God’s Spirit. It is received by prayer (Acts 8:15) and given to those who ask God (Luke 11:13).

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Topics: Holy Spirit, Power


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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 3:15-22

    One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."
    He said to them, "When you pray, say:
    " 'Father,
    hallowed be your name,
    your kingdom come.

    Give us each day our daily bread.

    Forgive us our sins,
    for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
    And lead us not into temptation. "

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