ACCOMPLISHED BY THE SPIRIT
How may this be accomplished? First, we must see how it was accomplished in Christ. We are told that He was born of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18, 20). After that, not much is said of Him until He was thirty years of age, but we believe that during those early years He must have been filled with the Holy Spirit. He was born of the Holy Spirit and He was filled with the Holy Spirit; yet, when He started His work for God, He came to John the Baptist to be baptized. The meaning of baptism is to be put to an end by death and burial. Brothers and sisters, this is a deep experience. We have been born of the Holy Spirit and perhaps have some experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit, yet we must learn this lesson: if we are going to be used by God to fulfill His purpose in this age, we must once more hand ourselves over to the Lord that He might bring us to an end. We must be put to death and buried. Even if we are just as spiritual as the Lord Jesus at thirty years of age, we must once more hand ourselves over to be buried. It was after the Lord was baptized that the Holy Spirit descended upon Him (Matt. 3:16) and He received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
This is an example of the experiential workings of the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus Christ had been born of the Holy Spirit and filled inwardly with the Holy Spirit; yet He still needed more of the Holy Spirit to equip and strengthen Him for fulfilling God’s purpose in this age. He needed the Holy Spirit to come down upon Him. From this example we see that there are three steps in the working of the Holy Spirit: (1) begetting, (2) filling, and (3) clothing or baptizing. Inwardly, we must have the life of God in us through the Spirit of life and we must be filled with this Spirit of life. Outwardly, we must be clothed and baptized with the Holy Spirit. This is our equipment, our qualification for fulfilling the purpose of God in this age.
We need to go to the Lord and consider before Him the experiences He has had of the Holy Spirit. We too need such experiences. Inwardly, we need to be born of the Holy Spirit and filled with Him; we need Him as our life. Outwardly, we need to be baptized in Him and clothed upon with Him so that we will be equipped with power for the work of God. All this depends on one thing: we must continually learn the lesson of denying ourselves, of giving up ourselves and contacting the Lord all the time. If we would have a life mingled with God Himself and be in the way of fulfilling His purpose, we must be in the Spirit. Only then will we be able to realize a life and a work which are well-pleasing to God.
Pray much about this matter. Let us seek the real experiences of the working of the Holy Spirit, the inward filling and the outward clothing.
(The Four Major Steps of Christ, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)