Baptism of the Holy SpiritMany people may have had an experience like that of the little girl who heard the Holy Ghost (as the Holy Spirit is sometimes called) mentioned in church from time to time, but so vaguely and infrequently she could only guess what sort of ghost this might be.
So one day, when she venture down into the dark furnace room in the church's cellar, she decided with a child's firm logic that this spooky place must be where the Holy Ghost lurked.
The fact is, adult believers often act as if the Holy Spirit really was hiding in the church cellar.
They may know something about the Holy Spirit, but they don't know Him personally or realize that He is God in the same way the Son and the Father are God.
When they read the Bible, many people are surprised to find that the Holy Spirit was at the very dawn of time: "The Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters" (Genesis1:2), and many are amazed to find out there are approximately 100 references to the Holy Spirit throughout the Old and New Testaments.
Nevertheless, the Spirit's role is fundamental both to creation and the life of the believer. When a person comes to Jesus Christ, he receives Christ into his heart. The Spirit of God comes and joins with the spirit of the believer.
This "indwelling Spirit" reproduces the life of Jesus in the believer's life.
What, Then, Is The Baptism In The Holy Spirit?The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an empowering for service that takes place in the life of the Christian (Acts 1:5,8). In it we are immersed in the Spirit's life and power.
To illustrate, if we drank water from a glass, then the water would be inside us. However, if we went to the beach and stepped into the ocean, then we would be in the water.
We receive, as it were, a drink of the Holy Spirit when we are saved, but when we are baptized in the Spirit, it is as if that initial drink becomes an ocean that completely surrounds us.
Just as the indwelling Spirit that Christians receive when they are saved reproduces the life of Jesus, so the outpoured, or baptizing, Spirit reproduces the ministry of Jesus, including miracles and healings.
Why Do We Need The Baptism In The Holy Spirit?We need a power beyond ourselves for service and ministry in Christ's Kingdom. When Jesus gave the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20),
Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV) “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
He knew that His disciples could not fulfill it in their own power.
Therefore, He had a special gift in store for them: It was His plan to give them the same power that He had -- the power of the Spirit of God.
So, immediately after giving them the Great Commission, Jesus commanded his disciples not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father promised, "which," He said, "you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now".
Acts 1:4-5 (KJV) “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”
He further promised: "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth".
Acts 1:8 (KJV) “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
The disciples waited in Jerusalem as Jesus had commanded, and one day when they were all together, "suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing winds, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.
And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance".
Acts 2:3-4 (KJV) “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Then Peter explained to the crowd that gathered that they were seeing the working of God's Spirit and told them about Jesus.
The Christian church began that day with the disciples and the three thousand people who joined them as a result of the day's events.
We can undertake making disciples of all nations with some degree of success without the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but when we do, we are undertaking a supernatural task with limited power.
It is God's will -- it is His commandment -- that we be baptized, or filled with the Holy Spirit: "Be filled with the Spirit" . Ephesians 5:18 (KJV) “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;”
The knowledge and reality of the empowering Spirit enables us to reproduce the works of Jesus.
When May I Receive The Baptism In The Holy Spirit?It can take place at the moment you confess faith in Christ, as in the case of the first Gentile convert, Cornelius; Acts 10:44-46 (KJV) “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Acts 11:15-16 (KJV) “And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. “
but often it occurs some time after the salvation experience. Acts 8:12-17 (KJV) “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. 14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.”
What Should I Do Before Asking?The Bible says that a wise man counts the cost before he begins to build a tower.
Luke 14:28 (KJV) “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?”
This beautiful experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a free gift, but you must be willing to submit fully to God to receive it.
Jesus will respond to a totally yielded vessel.
He never asks anything of you that you are incapable of giving, nor does He ever fail to give you something greater in return when you do give your all.
The joy He gives through total obedience to Him far outweighs anything you could possibly give up.
There is one more important consideration: In Acts 8, a man named Simon, deeply involved in the occult, wanted to buy the gift of the Holy Spirit. Peter sharply rebuked Simon, commanding him to repent.
Therefore, if you ever at any time had anything to do with the occult (Ouija boards, fortune tellers, séances, horoscopes, ESP, transcendental mediation, hypnotism, or other such practices), you must renounce and turn away from all such sinful participation, and you must ask for God's forgiveness and cleansing.
How Do I Receive The Baptism In The Holy Spirit?You only have to do two things.
First, once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior you just have to ask God to baptize you in the Holy Spirit.
The Bible says, "Ask, and it shall be given to you". Luke 11:9 (KJV) “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
Second, believe you have in fact received this gift from God.
The apostle Paul, writing to the Galatians, said, "Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing with faith?". Galatians 3:2 (KJV) “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
The answer, obviously, is faith.
You have to believe that if you ask, you will receive.
The Gifts and Fruit of the Holy Spirit
The apostle Paul told the Corinthians that the Holy Spirit would manifest Himself among them in special gifts, of which speaking in tongues was only one: "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware....To one is give the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the distinguishing of spirit, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues" (I Corinthians 12:1,8-10).
Paul also wrote that the Holy Spirit produces "fruit" in the lives of believers.
These are virtues that demonstrate Jesus' righteousness in the lives of His disciples: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22).
Galatians 5:22 (Amp) “But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,”
Thus so, in asking for the baptism in the Holy Spirit you are availing yourself of these gifts for advancing God's Kingdom and allowing the Holy Spirit to further cultivate in your life the fruit of righteousness -- two great helps in living a life God can use mightily for His glory.
That's the way it is with God. God is offering the baptism in the Holy Spirit to people who need only to reach out and receive it in order to be on fire to fully serve Him.
Walking in the Spirit
The Holy Spirit is so much more than a shadowy figure to pay lip-service to on Sunday morning.
He can be with you and in your to bring new life to your Christian walk.
Likewise, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is more than a single experience.
It is a continual dependence on the Spirit for guidance and strength in all circumstances. "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25).
The baptism in the Holy Spirit cannot be earned.
You cannot become "good enough" to receive it.
It is a gift from God.
It is not a "cure-all" for your problems.
But the same wonderful power that enabled Jesus to open blind eyes, to command the elements of nature, and to live a life pleasing to the Father during His ministry on earth is also available to you.
Adapted, edited, and expanded for this paper
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