Rejoice! Christ is risen, just as He said. Jesus has conquered the last enemy, and that enemy is death. Death has lost its sting, its pain. When Christ rose from the dead He demonstrated there is life after death. Jesus was the first to come to new life, and because He lives, we can live also. To us, Easter is not death but resurrection. If there is one message I want to give you today it is this: stop worrying about your problems, stop being miserable, rejoice!
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is essential if we are to be effective in our Christian witness. When I was a child, I prayed 3 months without receiving the Spirit. But I knew that without the power, the fire, the anointing of God, I could never see men's lives converted. At Easter we used to have three Pentecostal Conventions in London. I determined to go and not leave until I had received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit! The preaching was so long in the morning, there was no time to pray for people to receive the Holy Spirit! As a 13-year old I went up to those great men of God on the platform and said, "I only came to receive the fire, pray for me!" They took me to a small room, laid their hands on me, but their minds were on their lunch! I did not receive the Holy Spirit.
We need to relearn what the Baptism in the Holy Spirit actually is. My father, (a great man of God, converted in 1905 during the Welsh Revival, a great Bible teacher), taught me when I preached as a boy of 13 and no one repented, that Jesus said, "When the Holy Spirit is come, HE will convict the world of sin and righteousness and of judgment to come!" He said, "Son, you haven't received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit yet!" It was a lesson which changed my life, because what I needed was the fire and the power of the Holy Spirit to bring conviction, conversion and a changed life when I preach! I asked my father to lay hands on me. He did, but I didn't receive the Holy Spirit. As a result, I spent the next three months in an agony, 13 years old, crying out to God, fasting and praying that God would give me FIRE and POWER through the Holy Spirit. When finally, I received the Holy Ghost just days before my 14th birthday, it totally revoluntionised my life. From that moment God took control, things began to happen, people began to repent.
We need to prevail in prayer until God answers. In Numbers 14:20 God says to Moses, "I have pardoned, according to YOUR word". Moses 'made it happen'! Do you see what the intercessor has done? Moses as the intercessor has challenged God so that instead of turning His back on His people because of their weakness, because of their sin, because of their failure to evangelise and their failure to win the world, God says, "Because of the intercessor I will renew My Covenant, I will renew My Power, I will renew My Glory. I will send the Power of My Spirit on them, backslidden as they are, fallible as they are - because you have stood before Me!"