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BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

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. (Acts 1:8)

The Bible speaks of four different baptisms:

The baptism of suffering experienced by Jesus.

The water baptism performed by John the Baptist.

Christian baptism in water.

Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

DEFINITION

The word "baptize" means to completely immerse or submerge in something.

PROMISE OF THE BAPTISM

After the resurrection and prior to His return to Heaven, Jesus gave important instructions
to His followers:

And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:49)

The promise to which Jesus referred was the Holy Spirit:

And I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless. (John 14:16-18)

This was not a new promise. The gift of the Holy Spirit had been promised since Old Testament times:

...for with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people. To whom He said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest, and this is the refreshing...(Isaiah 28:11-12)

I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh...(Joel 2:28)

THE EVIDENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit has many purposes in the lives of believers. One of the main purposes of the Holy Spirit, however, is to make the Christian a powerful witness for the Gospel:

But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me...to the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

The true evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was visible immediately in the life of the Apostle Peter. Before the Day of Pentecost he had fearfully denied that he knew Jesus. After his baptism in the Holy Spirit, Peter stood and gave a powerful witness to the Gospel that resulted in the salvation of 3,000 people.

It was the power of the Holy Spirit in the early church that resulted in the spread of the Gospel throughout the world. The book of Acts is a record of this powerful witness which was evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit.

BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

There are seven passages in the New Testament where the word "baptize" is used in relation to the Holy Spirit. Four of these are the words of John the Baptist recorded in the Gospels:

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. (Matthew 3:11)

I indeed have baptized you with water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. (Mark 1:8)

John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose; He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire. (Luke 3:16)

And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. (John 1:33)

Jesus also spoke of the baptism of the Holy Ghost:

For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. (Acts 1:5)

When Peter spoke of events which took place in the home of Cornelius he quoted the words of Jesus:

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. (Acts 11:16)

Paul also used the word "baptize" in relation to the Holy Spirit:

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (I Corinthians 12:13)

Use of the phrase "to baptize into" the Holy Spirit is the same as used to describe Christian baptism in water. In both cases baptism is an outward confirmation of an inward spiritual experience.

The Holy Spirit was given during a time of Jewish observance called the feast of Pentecost. For this reason, baptism in the Holy Spirit is often called a "Pentecostal experience" and the time of the giving of the Spirit called "the day of Pentecost.” The Holy Spirit came down from Heaven and completely immersed [baptized] believers assembled in the upper room of a house in Jerusalem. They had been waiting or "tarrying" for His coming as they had been commanded to do by Jesus. Peter said this experience was the fulfillment of God's promise,"In the last days...I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.” This promise was given by the prophet Joel:

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. (Joel 2:28-29)

Male and female, young and old were to be included in this outpouring of the Holy Spirit. They were to prophesy, dream dreams, and see visions. God's Spirit was to empower both servants [men] and handmaidens [women]. On the day the Holy Spirit was given, Peter said:

Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (Acts 2:38-39)

Peter's words revealed that the promise of the Holy Spirit was:

- A national promise: "Unto you" [the Jewish people].
-A family promise: "Your children.”
-A universal promise: "To all that are afar off.”

THE PHYSICAL SIGN

The Holy Spirit is invisible to the natural eye. He was compared by Jesus to the wind:

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John 3:8)

Although the wind is invisible, the effects it produces can be seen and heard. When the wind blows the dust rises from the ground, the trees all bend in one direction, leaves rustle, the waves of the sea roar, and clouds move across the sky. These are all physical signs of the wind. So it is with the Holy Spirit. Even though He is invisible, the effects which the Holy Spirit produces can be seen and heard.

There are three places in the New Testament where we are told what happened when people were baptized in the Holy Spirit:

DAY OF PENTECOST:

Acts 2:2-4 is the record of what happened on the day of Pentecost:

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:2-4)

HOUSE OF CORNELIUS:

Acts 10:44-46 is the record of what happened when Peter preached the Gospel to a man named Cornelius and his family:

While Peter yet spoke these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 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. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God... (Acts 10:44-46)

CONVERTS AT EPHESUS:

Acts 19:6 describes what happened to the first group of converts at Ephesus:

And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues and prophesied. (Acts 19:6)

A COMMON SIGN: THE TONGUES

As we compare these passages there is one physical sign which is common to all three:

Those who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit spoke with other tongues. Other supernatural signs of the Holy Spirit are mentioned, but none of these were evident on all three occasions.

On the day of Pentecost there was the sound of a rushing wind and visible tongues of fire were seen. These were not recorded on the other two occasions. At Ephesus the new converts prophesied. This is not mentioned as having occurred on the day of Pentecost or in the house of Cornelius.

The one outward sign which the apostles observed in the experience of Cornelius and his household was that they spoke with tongues. This physical sign was proof to the disciples that this family had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. From these Biblical records we conclude that the physical sign of speaking in tongues through the power of the Holy Spirit confirms that a person has been baptized in the Holy Spirit.

The sign of "tongues" can be languages known to man. This is what happened on the day of Pentecost:

...And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? (Acts 2:7-8)

Tongues can also be a language not known to man. This is called an unknown tongue:

For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. (I Corinthians 14:2)

PURPOSES FOR TONGUES

The sign of tongues received through baptism in the Holy Spirit has many purposes in the lives of believers. Turn to I Corinthians 14 in your Bible. These are some purposes of tongues:

-Prayer to God: Verse 2
-Self-edification: Building up yourself and increasing spiritual knowledge. Verse 4
-When interpreted they edify the church: Verses 12-13
-Intercession: Verse 14 (See also Romans 8:26-27)
-Sign to unbelievers: Verse 22
-Fulfillment of prophecy: Verse 21 (See also Isaiah 28:11-12)
-Praise: Verses 15,17

OBJECTIONS TO TONGUES

Some people object to speaking in tongues. These are some of the objections they raise:

EVERY CHRISTIAN HAS THE HOLY SPIRIT:

 

One of the most common objections is that every Christian receives the Holy Spirit when he is converted...He does not need any further experience to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But consider the examples of people in the New Testament who were true believers. The apostles had repented of their sins and believed Jesus was the Messiah. They had witnessed personally and accepted as true the facts of His death, burial, a resurrection. Jesus told His followers:

And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:49)

He also said:

For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. (Acts 1:5)

The promised experience of being baptized in the Holy Ghost came on the day of

Pentecost:

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4)

Although the apostles were already Christians it was not until the day of Pentecost that they were filled with [baptized in] the Holy Spirit.

The people of Samaria heard the Gospel preached. They believed and were baptized in water, but they had not received the Holy Spirit:

Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus). Then laid they their hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost. (Acts 8:14-17)

The people of Samaria received salvation through the ministry of Philip. They received the Holy Spirit through the ministry of Peter and John. Receiving the Holy Spirit was a separate experience from receiving salvation.

Acts 19:1-6 describes how Paul went to the city of Ephesus and met people described as "disciples.” The first question Paul asked was, "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?"

If people received the Holy Ghost when they received salvation it would be foolish for Paul to ask this question. The fact that he asked it makes it clear that people become believers without receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Even if a person receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the same time he is converted, it is still a separate experience from salvation.

The ministry of the Holy Spirit can be observed from the very creation of the world. The Old Testament speaks of the Holy Spirit coming on Israel's spiritual leaders. The Holy Spirit is also operative in the life of a sinner to bring him to Christ.

But these ministries of the Holy Spirit are different from being baptized with the Holy Spirit. Jesus made that clear when He said:

Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know Him: for He dwelleth with you [presently], and shall be in you [in the future]. (John 14:17)

The Holy Spirit was with the disciples at that time, but not yet in them. They were filled [baptized] with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.

The Holy Spirit is WITH the sinner to draw him to Jesus Christ. But this is not the same as being IN Him.

In Old Testament times the power of the Holy Spirit came upon spiritual leaders at special times. In the New Testament this power was given permanently to believers. The Holy Spirit was WITH the spiritual leaders of Old Testament times. But He was not yet IN them. This is the difference between the Old and New Testament ministries of the Holy Spirit.

DO ALL SPEAK WITH TONGUES?

Another objection to tongues has come through misunderstanding of a question of the Apostle Paul. In I Corinthians 12:30 he asks, "Do all speak with tongues?" The answer to his question is "No, all do not speak with tongues." But Paul is not speaking here of the experience of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. The discussion concerns gifts of the Holy Spirit which can be used by the believer.

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. (I Corinthians 12:27-28)

Paul is speaking of gifts which may be used by Believers. One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is "diversities of tongues.” It is an ability to give special messages in tongues through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Although everyone experiences the sign of tongues when baptized in the Holy Spirit, not everyone receives the special gift of diversities of tongues.

FEAR:

Some believers do not seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit because they are afraid they will receive an experience that is not of God. But the Bible says:

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him? (Matthew 7:7-11)

If a believer asks God for something, just like a good earthly Father, God will not let him receive anything that will harm him.

EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Another objection to tongues is that it is an emotional experience. Many believers who receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit emphasize their own emotional reactions to the experience.

Man is an emotional creature. Conversion to Jesus Christ does not eliminate a man's emotions. He will still experience joy and sorrow. Conversion frees man's emotions from the control of sin. It redirects these emotions to worship of God.

The word "joy" in Scripture is closely associated with the Holy Spirit. In Acts 13:52 we read that "the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost." Some people react with great emotion to the joy which comes with the baptism of the Holy Spirit because they are naturally more emotional than others. They may shout, laugh, or experience sensations in their physical bodies.

But these emotional reactions are not the sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit. The confirming sign is speaking in tongues. The evidence is power. It is not necessary to show great emotion such as laughing, shouting, dancing, etc., to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. How one reacts emotionally to the joy this experience brings is often related to his individual emotions.

But you should not criticize those who have joyful, emotional reactions to the Holy Spirit.

The Bible records emotional reactions of those who had a powerful experience with God. People trembled, fell prostrate on the ground, shouted, rejoiced, and danced before God. It is interesting to observe the emotional reaction of people to various athletic events. They will yell, laugh, jump up and down, and express much excitement over a sports game. How much more excited we should be over a gift like the Holy Spirit which accomplishes so many purposes in our lives, brings great joy, and equips us with power to reach the world with the Gospel.

The Psalmist David agreed. He presents a picture of joyful, loud, emotional worship of God:

O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. (Psalms 95:1-3)

Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; praise Him with the psaltery and harp. Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; praise Him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise Him upon the loud cymbals; praise Him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. (Psalms 150:3-6)

You do not have to fear that the baptism in the Holy Spirit will cause you to do something improper or lose control of yourself.

Paul said there were times to "keep silent" and "hold your peace" in regards to speaking in tongues (I Corinthians 14). He would not make these statements if the Holy Spirit caused people to be out of control. The Bible says:

And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. (I Corinthians 14:32)

This means that any gift God gives is subject to or under the control of the user. God does nothing improper for...

...God is not the author of confusion, but of peace...(I Corinthians 14:33)

RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT

The following are guidelines for receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED:

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)

BELIEVE IT IS FOR YOU:

For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (Acts 2:39)

DESIRE IT:

...Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (but this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believed on Him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37-39)

ACCEPT IT AS A GIFT:

The Holy Spirit has already been given. It was given to the Church on the Day of Pentecost. Because it is a gift, you can do nothing to earn it:

...the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)

This only would I learn of you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? He therefore that ministereth to you in the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles; through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:2,5,14)

Begin to praise and thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

YIELD TO GOD:

Yield your tongue to God in praise and worship. As you praise Him audibly you may first experience stammering lips. As you continue to yield your tongue to the Holy Spirit and He will speak through you words foreign to your understanding. This is the confirming physical sign of Holy Spirit baptism:

For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. (Isaiah 28:11)

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4)

REQUEST THE PRAYERS OF OTHER BELIEVERS:

The Holy Spirit can be received through the laying on of hands (Acts 8,9,19) or without the laying on of hands (Acts 2,4,10). Spirit-filled believers can help you experience baptism in the Holy Spirit.

IMPORTANCE OF THE EXPERIENCE

Baptism in the Holy Spirit is important because it enables you to become a powerful witness of the Gospel message:

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. (Acts 1:8)

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17-18)

The Holy Spirit also gives special spiritual gifts and develops spiritual fruit in your life.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

The Holy Spirit is mentioned 85 times in the Old Testament. As you read the Old Testament circle each mention of the Holy Spirit.

The gift of the Holy Spirit was given as a fulfillment of promises which dated back to Old Testament times. Study these promises of the Holy Spirit:

Old Testament:

Isaiah 28:11-12

Joel 2:28-29

Isaiah 44:3

New Testament:

John 7:38-39; 14:16-18; 15:26; 16:7-11

Acts 1:4,5,8; 2:38-39

Galatians 3:14

Luke 24:49

Have you experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit? If not, follow the guidelines given to receive it.

Review the purposes for tongues discussed in this chapter. Which of these purposes have you witnessed in the use of other tongues?

Review the objections to speaking in tongues which were discussed. Think about how you will respond the next time you hear one of these objections raised.