Being Baptized in the Holy Spirit
taken from the May/June 2003 issue
When we talk about praying for healing, we also need to go back and speak about the power that enables us to pray for healing. This is the power that came upon the early church on Pentecost. Those 120 in the upper room were already Christian and were indwelt by the Holy Spirit — Peter with the Apostles and Disciples — but Jesus had still told them to wait in Jerusalem until they were filled with power by the Holy Spirit. So it’s important for us, too, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, as they were in the early church. If you are not sure that you have had your experience of Pentecost (it happened to me in 1967 in Maryville, Tennessee), I encourage you to read the Gospel of John 14–17 and the second chapter of Acts, and then read one of Dennis Bennett’s books.
In the last Healing Line I celebrated the life and death of our friend Tommy Tyson, so I thought you might like to hear how the Spirit came upon Tommy. At the time he was a young Methodist pastor and it was very early in the charismatic renewal in the early 1950’s, when he didn’t know any other pastors with whom he could talk. So here’s the story about how Tommy took that then risky step (it’s an excerpt from a talk he gave in 1968 to a group of Roman Catholic priests).
How I Was Baptized in the Spirit
By Rev. Tommy Tyson
Every time I would question Rufus Moseley about this special presence of Jesus, he would talk about the baptism with the Holy Spirit as a means of coming into union with Jesus. God began creating a great hunger in my heart. I did not know, however, how to go about preparing myself for this baptism by the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, the Lord slipped in on me.
It happened in the men’s Bible class at the church I pastored. The lesson that day was on Pentecost (in the Second Chapter of Acts). The teacher didn’t know any more about it experientially than I did. When he finished with the lesson, he turned to me and said, "Pastor, do you have something you’d like to add to this lesson?" I thought to myself, "I have something I’d like to say, but I’d better not let them know it." I wanted to get up and tell these men how desperately I’d been seeking for the experience that the lesson dealt with. But, when this idea came to my mind, I thought I’d best not speak it, because, if these men, who made up the official body of the church, discovered how inadequate I was, they would lose their respect for me. Then I would no longer have a ministry!
But then, this question came to my mind very forcibly: "Do you want a ministry of your own making, or do you want to be filled with the Spirit of God?" Impulsively, I came up to the lectern and gripped it. It was the most difficult step I have ever had to take: I was willing to make a fool of myself in the eyes of those who had accepted me as their pastor. They loved me very much, and I loved them, so I felt I was sacrificing the most precious thing God had ever given me, and that was the pastorate of this church. In fact, it was so difficult, it has made every other step since then relatively easy.
Nevertheless, I told these men how empty I was, how much I really desired and needed what that lesson had dealt with.
While I was making a real mess of the whole explanation, God came to my rescue. While I stood before these men, telling them about my need and desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit, God began to fill me. I didn’t know what was happening. It was as if wave on wave of power that I had never thought possible began to wash through my heart and mind — my inner being. The first thing of which I became conscious was that I was no longer nearly so concerned about what these men might think about me as I was of a desire to bless them.
This breaking of my fear of public opinion was my first awareness of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This whole experience came to a climax one evening in the parsonage as I was sharing what had happened to me with my friend Wayne McClain. As we shared together — again, without my knowing what really took place or how it happened — suddenly, from within, without any kind of outward manifestation, there came a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself — from within me. And, in that moment, the Scripture came to my mind and flowed through my lips, "God has made Him to be unto me wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption."
I realized that life is a Person, and His Name is Jesus; that wisdom is a Person and His Name is Jesus; that sanctification is not just gritting your teeth and trying to do it, but it’s a person, and His Name is Jesus.
As I understand it, this is what is happening to me in my own life: Jesus being revealed from within.