The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

 

The Holy Spirit helps you enjoy the ‘divine advantage’ Jesus promised when the Holy Spirit came. You might say He helps you ‘draw water from the wells of salvation’ (John 4:13) – things that benefit you personally.

 

In this article we look at  what the Holy Spirit does through you for the benefit of others. His power now flows out of you like a river (John 7:38-39).

 

 

What He does Through You for the Benefit of Others

 

Acts 1:8

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

 

When Jesus commanded His disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit’s power before launching out into the world, He introduced what has come to be known as the ‘baptism’ or ‘immersion’ in the Holy Spirit.  John the Baptist pointed out that Jesus would be the baptizer in this baptism. He would baptize the believer with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matt 3: 11), giving them power to be His witnesses.

 

                                   

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

 

This baptism was promised in Acts 1:4-8, and fulfilled in Acts 2:1-4 after the disciples had spent ten days preparing their hearts to receive this outpouring on the Day of Pentecost. Although they had experienced miracles before, now they were to step through the gateway of baptism into a lifestyle characterized by the miraculous.

 

Acts 2:1-4

Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 

Note that they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, not just some only. From this scripture, and also Acts 8:14-17 / Acts 10:44, it is clear that God’s will is for all believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter in his Pentecost sermon boldly declared that the gift of the Holy Spirit’s power was to all generations in all places (Acts 2:39).

 

As on the Day of Pentecost, where the initial outward evidence was speaking in tongues, later recipients of the baptism also spoke in tongues. Although this may be controversial to some, it need not be, as the scripture is clear even down to Acts 19:6, that when a believer is truly baptized with the Holy Spirit, they will speak in tongues.

 

Acts 19:6-7

And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

 

The people Paul laid his hands on were already believers who previously had only been taught the baptism of John, a baptism of repentance. Paul thus took them further in their knowledge of God by introducing them to the Holy Spirit. This subsequent infilling empowered them for fruitful service and witness.

 

 

Devotional and Ministry Tongues

 

The Word teaches a difference between what may be called a ‘devotional tongue’ or ‘prayer language’ that is received when a person is baptized in the Holy Spirit, and the ‘ministry gift’ of speaking in tongues in a public setting for the edification of all.

 

1 Corinthians 14:4-5

He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

 

When you read around this passage you find that the context of Paul’s instruction to the Corinthian Church is how to properly conduct public meetings with regard to the use of the gifts. If a person speaks in tongues in a public setting, there ought to be an interpretation, and given for the purpose of edifying everyone else, not just themselves. In no way does he forbid speaking in tongues for personal edification (1 Corinthians 14:39. That practice of personal ‘devotional’ tongues is to be treasured, and exercised regularly for personal edification (Jude 20). However, when together in a public setting with ‘uninformed’ people present, when you speak in your ‘ministry gift’ tongue it ought to be interpreted, so that others can be edified. The public practice of tongues must conform to guidelines (two or three at a time) so that all things are done decently and in order.

 

Having said that, there times when believers get together in a meeting, and in unison ‘magnify’ God together by speaking and even singing in tongues at the same time. This is not out of order.

 

Personally, there have been many times when I and fellow believers have been mightily edified as we magnified God together by yielding to the Holy Spirit and making melody in our hearts by singing in tongues. On other occasions we have prayed or interceded for others in tongues when we did not know how to pray for them ‘as we ought’ according to Romans 8:26. The divine ‘helper’, the Holy Spirit was there for us in our ‘weakness’ or inability to pray properly as we ought. But, when a message in ‘ministry’ tongues was given, an interpretation was expected.

 

 

Jesus was Anointed

 

Acts 10:38

…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

 

The anointing or empowerment of the Holy Spirit was one key aspect that defined Jesus as the Messiah. Messiah literally means ‘anointed one.’ He was anointed for service at age 30 years after growing up in the Word all His life.

 

The Holy Spirit settled upon Him in the river Jordan when John the Baptist baptized Jesus in water to fulfill all righteousness. From that moment on, Jesus began to perform miracles (John 2:11). His miracle ministry began because He submitted to God’s will for empowerment.

 

If Jesus submitted to the empowerment of the Holy Spirit for service, how much more do we need to step through the gateway of Holy Spirit baptism into the miraculous? Signs and wonders should follow all believers.

 

 

How to Receive the Holy Spirit Baptism

 

Acts 8:14-15

 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit .

 

First, respect and reverence God’s desire to empower you through the Holy Spirit’s baptism by asking Him to fill you to overflowing.

 

Second, realize that speaking in tongues has three key benefits:

 

  • Speaking in tongues helps you magnify or exalt God in a special way that takes you beyond your regular devotion. (Acts 10:46 / John 4: 23-24).

 

  • Speaking in tongues edifies or strengthens you spiritually. It is as if your spiritual battery is being recharged. (Jude 20 / 1 Corinthians 14:4 / Eph 5:15-21).

 

  • Speaking or praying in tongues helps you intercede more effectively in matters not always clear to you. (Romans 8:26).

 

Third, recognize that receiving the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues is an act of your will that requires you to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:4 / 1 Corinthians 14: 15).

 

Prepare your heart through prayer and confession, ask the Lord to baptize you with His Spirit (either on your own, or with a minister who has experienced this baptism himself), and yield to the Holy Spirit by taking a breath and speaking out your new heavenly prayer language (tongues).

 

Remember that, like a good father, if you ask God for the Holy Spirit, you will receive the Holy Spirit and no other foreign spirit. Be comforted by this.

 

Luke 11:10-13

For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish , will he give him a serpent instead of a fish ? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

 

 

The Holy Spirit’s Power to Witness in Word and Deed

 

You might have noticed that in some Christian circles most of what is said about the Holy Spirit baptism revolves around speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues is no doubt a unique manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s power in the New Testament. Yet it is equally important to see the following examples of God’s manifest power that are still available to every believer. These are not for someone else in another place and time. They are for every believer empowered by the Holy Spirit to extend God’s kingdom.

 

  • Boldness in the face of intimidation: Acts 4:31

In this account the disciples were ‘refilled’ with the Holy Spirit – ‘topped up’ you might say, and began to speak God’s word with boldness.

 

  • Continued faithful witness under persecution: Acts 5:28-42

Here Peter and the apostles continued to faithfully teach and preach Jesus even after being unfairly beaten by the religious authorities.

 

  • Stephen’s Spirit-filled witness before he was stoned to death: Acts 6:8-7:60

Stephen was able to plead for their forgiveness with his dying breath by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

  • Phillip performed healing miracles and deliverances: Acts 8:5-8

God’s miracle working power brought great joy to Samaria.

 

  • Peter’s Spirit anointed preaching at Cornelius’ household: Acts 10:34-47

The Holy Spirit fell as Peter preached.

 

  • Paul casts out a demon spirit by the power of God: Acts 16:18

Then, He and Silas were then thrown in prison, yet were mightily comforted by the Holy Spirit throughout the night. Their praise invoked God’s miraculous deliverance at midnight!

 

I encourage you to seek God in prayer, for His power to play your part in the consummation of the great end time harvest that has already begun.

 

 

The Fruit and Gifts of the Spirit Work Together

 

Typically, some factions in Christendom emphasize the fruit whilst others the gifts. God does not want you not to get involved in arguing one against the other. Both are vital for a well rounded Christian witness.

 

Take the view that each compliments the other. The same way as character compliments charisma, the fruit compliments the gifts and vice versa.

 

Whereas fruit is developed over time through continued abiding in Christ, gifts on the other hand, are given or imparted at a particular time for miraculous service. That is why a ‘gifted’ believer who has simply received a gift may yet have to grow in Christ likeness, that is, develop fruit. They may act up carnally at times yet still operate in the gifts. This may be confusing to some, but not to God who gives gifts as He wills, not on the basis of maturity but on openness and desire. He continually works with all His children to bring them to spiritual maturity. Let Him be the judge. Your part is to that all believers grow in Christ like character.

 

Furthermore, fruit speaks of who we are created to be, whereas the gifts speak more to what we are to do in breaking spiritual yokes with God’s power or anointing.

 

 

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