One of the most exciting blessings of our salvation is the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which is God’s way of bringing us into the realm of His spiritual power. God wants us to enjoy the new life He has given us, and also to be effective messengers in transmitting the gospel to others.
The early Church described in the Acts of the Apostles was so powerful because they all received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Jesus had breathed on them (John 20:22) before He left the earth in order that they might receive Himself, and He sent them out as witnesses. Then they needed the Holy Spirit to come upon them to show Jesus’ power in the earth, Acts 2:1-4. An enabling to live the life of God on earth.
“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Acts 2:4.
“In the last days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people, your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” Acts 2:17.
Let us look at five questions which will help us to understand the Scriptures, and lead us into all the blessings of the fullness of God.
1. Who is to be baptised?
This blessing is not just for a select few, but for all believers.
“Paul…came to Ephesus. Finding some disciples he said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed on Jesus as the Christ?’ They said, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ He asked, ‘Into what baptism then were you baptised?’ They said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ Paul said, ‘John baptised into the baptism of repentance, continually telling the people that they should believe in the One who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus – having a conviction full of joyful trust that He is Christ, the Messiah, and being obedient to Him.’ On hearing this they were baptised again, this time in the name of the Lord Jesus. As Paul laid hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in foreign, unknown tongues (languages) and prophesied.” Acts 19:1-6 (AMP)
Peter and John also clearly spoke that God wanted to bless us not only with the gift of salvation but also with the gift of the Holy Spirit. “When they had come down (to Samaria) they prayed for them (the Samaritans) that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:14-17 (NKJ)
2. Why be baptised in the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit came first and foremost to point us towards Jesus. If you have any queries about a person, their teaching, or their ministry, check out if they are pointing you towards Jesus or towards themselves. You will also “know them by their fruit”, which is of the Spirit and shown in their life. Do not confuse fruit with gifts. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…..” Galatians 5:22-23.
Remember “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love………If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
* We are enabled to pray in the Spirit and sing praises in the Spirit, as distinct from normal prayer and praise expressed in our own language, Romans 8:26-27; 1 Corinthians 14:15.
* Through the baptism in the Holy Spirit we receive power (Acts 1:8) and ability, Acts 9:17-22.
* Our own spirit becomes more sensitive to the “voice of God’s Spirit”, Acts 13:2; Mark 13:11.
* We become available for the Gifts of the Spirit Acts 19:6. We also develop a deeper understanding of God’s power in our lives and the responsibility that goes with that, 1 Corinthians 14:1; 1 Corinthians 1:5-7; Acts 1:8.
* We begin to live our daily lives ‘in the Spirit’ and by His power, and can constantly be ‘being filled with the Spirit,’ Ephesians 5:18; Colossians 3:16.
3. How do we receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit?
Sometimes God baptises believers in the Spirit by a sovereign act. This is what happened to the disciples on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and to the household of Cornelius in Acts 10. At other times in the Scriptures, it is received by the laying on of hands, as in Samaria, Acts 8, and Acts 19:6.
Individually, however, we receive the baptism into the Holy Spirit in the same way we receive all the blessings of God ….ask by faith, believing. In Luke 11:13 Jesus says that if ordinary human parents know how to give good gifts to their children how much more does God the Father want to give the Holy Spirit to His children.
So we see that it is important that we ask Him for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Having prayed, and believing God has heard our prayer, we begin to praise God and worship Him with thanksgiving. This is a powerful means of drawing near to His presence to receive the Holy Spirit. “Come near to God and He will come near to you” James 4:8. As we become aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit there is a breaking within us and our spirit springs up to respond to the Spirit of God. At this point, an anointed servant of God may lay hands upon us to impart the Holy Spirit, just as Paul did in Acts 19:6, but this is not essential.
4. Must those who receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit ALWAYS speak in tongues?
In 1 Corinthians 14:5, Paul says, “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy.” What he is saying is that we should both speak in tongues and also prophesy. When you receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit you can speak in tongues, you should expect to speak in tongues, you will speak in tongues, provided you do not let prejudice or fear hinder the flow of the Holy Spirit.
According to James 3:8 the tongue is the hardest member of the body to tame, and God wants to demonstrate His mighty power in the toughest member first. So expect to speak in tongues when you are baptised in the Holy Spirit. Expect also to prophesy.
As the Holy Spirit rests upon us He stimulates us to praise the Lord. Our own words seem inadequate to praise God as we should and the Holy Spirit then leads and encourages us, but never forces us, to speak in tongues, enabling our organs of speech to form strange words and syllables as we yield to His prompting.
Once we begin we should expect the language to be spontaneous and fluent. We will not understand the words we are saying, nor should we expect to, “for anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands Him because He utters mysteries in the Spirit,” 1 Corinthians 14:2. There will then be no doubt, either to ourselves or others, as to whether or not we are filled with the Holy Spirit. As we pray, our minds should be focused either on the Word or listening to hear what the Father is saying. We can meditate or listen to a worship tape. All of this helps us to concentrate and stick at praying until such time as our spirits are so revived that nothing will stop us praying and praising.
5. Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?
Since it is within every believer’s power to cleanse their conscience before God and man, and to ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit, we believe that you should experience Holy Spirit baptism.
Some objections to the baptism in the Holy Spirit
Over the years, some scriptures have been used to discount the experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. By understanding them you will be able to help others overcome these hindrances. Remembering that baptism means, to immerse, will help you.
“I already have the Spirit”.
When you’re born again, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in you, so the question, “Would you like the Holy Spirit to dwell in you?” can be offensive to some, as they do already have Him, Romans 8:16. But that’s not the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It’s incorrect terminology.
Jesus said in John 14:16-17, the Holy Spirit will be given in a manner like never before to the believer and the world cannot experience it. The world can experience the new birth, that’s who it’s for!! So He’s talking about something for those who already believe.
“I’ve already received the Spirit’s baptism”
“For by one Spirit we were all baptised into one body” 1 Corinthians 12:13. This is referring to the new birth, when the Holy Spirit places the believer into the Body of Christ. But Jesus has come and baptises the believer with the Holy Spirit and fire, Matthew 3:11. The baptism of Jesus, after we have received Him, is into the Spirit.
So it’s an immersion in the Spirit (inside us and all over us) to do a work through us wherever we go. Your intellect won’t understand how. But we need to be totally immersed in the Holy Spirit so He can be involved in our life, and we can be involved in His Life.
“Do all speak in tongues?”
1 Corinthians 12:30, implies that the answer would be “NO, not all speak in tongues”. However, Paul is referring to the gifts that have been set in the church for the edifying of the Body. He has written two separate ‘lists’, comparing the difference between speaking in tongues and the gift of tongues. As we have covered, speaking and praying in tongues edifies the individual 1 Corinthians 14:4. In 1 Corinthians 14:5 if the gift of tongues is followed by the interpretation, it is the same as a prophecy for edifying the church (gathering).
When you receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, you receive the outflow of tongues for the building up of yourself. The gift with interpretation is as prophecy, and brings edification, exhortation and comfort to the whole Body of Christ. Everyone has the ability to speak in tongues from their baptism in the Spirit, but not everyone stands up and gives a message to the entire Body. It would edify you, but not the Body.
Remember, we must have a desire for others to have all that God has for them and also for ourselves we must be open to receive.
05 Living with Jesus – Challenge Questions
1 What do you feel is the greatest blessing of being a Christian?
2. Read the first two points in the Notes. Is baptism in the Holy Spirit something that you have always wanted?
3. Look up all the references on these two points about ‘Dynamic Power’ and write out any verse which is especially meaningful to you.
4. What do you think are the benefits of being baptised in the Holy Spirit?
5. Read points 3, 4, and 5 of the notes with references. As an individual what is the way to receive the Holy Spirit? (Galatians 3:13-14) When we receive Him where does He live?
6. When Paul visited the believers in Ephesus what had they not received and what happened when Paul laid his hands on them? What were the signs that followed? (Acts 19:1-7)
7. What part of the work of the Holy Spirit do you find most exciting?
8. When the disciples were baptised in the Holy Spirit they first spoke in tongues. What was the second thing that happened? (Acts 4:31)
9. Read Ezekiel 3:24-27. How was God able to show Ezekiel the future?
10. On reading the “objections”, how did it increase your understanding? Could you now help others?
Answer the following question with True or False. If you have a scripture from the study please add this.