by Larry Sterling
In my meditation today, the Spirit asked me the question, “Which do you think is most important to me, Baptism in the Holy Spirit or Salvation of souls?” At, first I was perplexed at the question and this lead me into a lingering period of introspection of my personal motives for preaching a Pentecostal doctrine. Is Pentecostalism about ecstatic experiences of the gifts of the Spirit like speaking in tongues? The problem is that sometimes the answer to this question is, yes. Pentecostals, on many occasions emphasis the movement of and the supernatural expressions of the Holy Spirit that we tend to forget that, for God all of these are secondary to the salvation of souls. In fact, just to ask the question of which is more important to God, “Holy Spirit Baptism or Salvation” betrays the perversion of what Holy Spirit Baptism has become. Jesus baptizes people into His Holy Spirit to cover them with the supernatural power of God to accomplish one thing — To be a witness for Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8).
Therefore, Holy Spirit Baptism’s sole purpose is to help the individual reach more people for Christ, period. It’s not so that we may feel good about being in His presence. It’s not about being a super spiritual person. It’s not even about speaking in tongues – it’s about being empowered to the point that when one engages in evangelism, one may be able to use a supernatural gift so that others may believe, repent, and be saved from their sins, thus glorifying Christ. For without Him, and the power of His name, the supernatural gift will not and cannot come to pass, since the Holy Spirit always points to Christ, and not humanity. If, at any point, someone claims a supernatural spiritual gift, and it does not exalt the name of Christ, then it is a lie.
It’s time to redefine what it means to be Pentecostal. What we have become, is not worthy of the heritage and the name we have received. Let us be defined as this: True Pentecostals have one duty, with everything within us, with all our hearts’, minds’, souls’, and with all of our strength, we must exalt Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Pentecostals should always excel in praising God, not with songs and words in a chorus, but by our supernaturally empowered deeds. Pentecostals should always be instruments of His glory. It was the Lord, who gave me the words to say, not my wisdom. It was the Lord that healed the cancer, not me. It was, the Lord that delivered the captive out of addiction, not me. It was Jesus Christ that saved the sinner, not me. To Him be all glory and honor and praise, not me!