'...having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise' (Ephesians 1:13)
So many people have this dream of a rich uncle somewhere leaving them an inheritance. But I want to talk about reality not dreams. The Bible describes what God wants to give us as like an inheritance, and it comes only one way. Just like any inheritance we receive from our parents, the inheritance we receive from God comes when somebody died. There are many reasons why Jesus died upon a cross, but what I want you to understand today is the inheritance you received upon His death: love, joy, peace, forgiveness, redemption, healing, and so much more besides. - These are your inheritance!
Through the prophet Joel, God says, 'I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh...' He goes on to talk about the first and the latter rain. I believe that the first rain fell 2000 years ago on the Day of Pentecost, and that today we are living in the days of the latter rain. As a young man I was determined I would have an experience with God that was incorruptible, that could not be destroyed, that would last until the appearing of Christ! In the late 1950s, I heard that the first World Pentecostal Conference in Jerusalem would be held on the Day of Pentecost, in May 1961. - I was determined to be there to receive a new baptism of fire! My Bible says that the church of God began in fire on the Day of Pentecost, and the church will end in fire when Christ returns! At the time I thought I hadn't received what I was looking for, but forty years later, I realised God had completely changed my life!
We need to be changed and transformed by the Holy Spirit. When I first travelled to Ukraine they used to get their milk delivered not in a carton, but in a large container on the back of a carriage. When the housewives saw the man in the street with the milk, they didn't take the first jug they saw in the kitchen which was half full of dirty water, no, they took out a clean empty jug. It is the same principle with the Holy Spirit. We need to be emptied of ourselves so that we can be filled with the Holy Spirit! Our prayer needs to be: 'Lord change me now, not in part but the whole, Jesus touch me once again, as Your Spirit flows over me.'
How many of you want the fire and power of God in your life? I am going to pray that God will fill you afresh: 'Father, look at these people. Satisfy the desire of their heart for more of You. Fall afresh on their lives. Fill them with the fire of the Holy Spirit, and let that fire spread from their lives into the lives of their churches, communities and nations. I speak over you new life, new hope, new power, new fire. Oh God, send the Holy Spirit now! In Jesus Name, Amen.'
Everyone wants the anointing, we all sit in prayer meetings, but few will make the sacrifice of a life devoted to God. There is a price to pay in service to God. The Apostle Paul describes this sacrifice as 'reasonable' (Romans 12:1). Once God fills you with fire, it's your responsibility to keep the fire burning! The older I get, the more power I have, the more fire I have! I'm more on fire now than when I was first baptised in the Holy Spirit. That's how it should be! The fire shouldn't go out, it should burn brighter! How do we keep the fire burning? Sacrifice. The more sacrifice you put on God's altar the greater the fire of God in your life.
Why do we need the Holy Spirit? Jesus said it is the Spirit who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment to come (John 16:8). - It is not the preacher who convicts of sin, it is the Holy Spirit! Without this 'Baptism' we are powerless and ineffective. The whole purpose of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is to fill us with power so that we can win the lost! The 'Baptism' is not so that we can sit at ease in church in a 'holy huddle', but to preach the Gospel with power and authority! What was the first thing Peter did when he was baptised in the Spirit? He won 3000 for the Kingdom! What did you do when you first received the Holy Spirit?!
We've got to be changed, transformed, by the fire and the power of the Holy Spirit! If you want to be filled with the Holy Spirit, if you want to be filled with the power of God, you have got to be emptied first; only then can God fill you with all His power, fire and glory! God baptised me with the Holy Ghost and fire! And I want to tell you that the fire and power is stronger now than it was 70 years ago! I often say that God gets more wonderful every day - but no, He doesn't change, I do! The reason God gets more wonderful and powerful is because each day He reveals Himself to me more and more - and every revelation shows the reality of who He is!
God is calling on you to pray for this nation! 'If My people will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven...' God is talking to you and me, not to the sinner: God is wanting His people to repent! When we pray, God says, 'I will answer!' - That is the Covenant we have with Him. When Solomon based his prayer upon the Covenant, what happened? - 'When Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven... (2 Chronicles 7:1). God will heal and restore because you prayed!