The Baptism in the Holy Spirit
teaching is from chapter
11 of Foundations by
Malcolm Webber, Ph.D.]
Speaking of the coming Messiah, John the
after me will come one who is more powerful
than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy
Spirit and with fire. (Matthew 3:11)
This was a promise
that Jesus would baptize His followers with the Holy Spirit. In this lesson, we
will consider this "baptism" in depth.
is the Holy Spirit?
1. The Holy Spirit is a personality; He is
not just an impersonal force, power or influence. This is seen by the following:
Personal pronouns are always used when speaking of Him. In other words, the pronouns
"He," "Him" or "Himself" are used and not "it."
The Holy Spirit is not a thing; He has personality.
b) The Holy Spirit possesses
attributes of personality such as wisdom and knowledge (Acts 15:28; 1 Corinthians
2:10-12). He has a "mind" or purpose (Romans 8:27). He "determines"
to do things (1 Corinthians 12:11). He can be "grieved" (Ephesians 4:30).
He teaches (John 14:26), and He convicts the world of sin (John 16:8). He appoints,
commissions and commands (Acts 13:2; 20:28). Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is said
to speak (John 16:13; Acts 1:16; 13:2; Revelation 3:22). All these qualities could
not be attributes of a mere impersonal force or power but only of a personality.
The Holy Spirit is God. He is equal with God and one with God.
Several triune Scriptures equate the Holy Spirit with God (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians
13:14; 1 Peter 1:2).
b) Several Scriptures call the Holy Spirit "God":
is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit
have not lied to men but to God. (Acts 5:3-4)
Don't you know
that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives
in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where
the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17; cf. 1 Corinthians
12:4-6; Ephesians 2:22)
c) The Holy Spirit possesses Divine attributes.
The Scriptures reveal the Holy Spirit as omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-10), omniscient
(1 Corinthians 2:10-11), and omnipotent (Genesis 1:2).
Need for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
In Acts 1:8 Jesus told
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit
comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and
Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
It is clear from
this Scripture that while a Christian can be saved without receiving the baptism
in the Holy Spirit, he cannot fully realize his calling to be a true witness for
Christ without the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in his life (cf. Luke
Life Application Question
you ever tried to live the Christian life without the indwelling Holy Spirit?
How successful were you?
message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration
of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but
on God's power. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)
He also wrote,
the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem
all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.
(Romans 15:19; cf. 1 Corinthians 4:20; 2 Corinthians 6:7; 10:3-4; 12:12; Ephesians
6:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:1-5)
are trying to preach the gospel and proclaim the kingdom of God, but they are
producing little real or lasting fruit. The reason for that is simply that they
are doing it in their own human strength and wisdom. God's way, however, is "'Not
by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty." (Zechariah
In Mark 16:15, Jesus gave His church the Great Commission, "Go
into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." However, that
is not all that Jesus said. He went on in verses 17-18 to describe the supernatural
signs that would accompany the preaching of the gospel:
these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons;
they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and
when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their
hands on sick people, and they will get well.
that Jesus said the signs would accompany "those who believe." He did
not say the signs would follow "the apostles only" or "the early
church only." Jesus said the signs would follow any believer (cf. John 14:12).
is it then that the signs Jesus spoke of in Mark 16 are not following many believers?
Is it because it is not God's will for us to experience the supernatural power
of God? Was that experience limited only to the early church? To answer those
questions consider 1 Corinthians 1:7 where Paul states that God's will is that
His church does
not lack any spiritual gift as you
eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.
Greek word translated "spiritual gift" here is charisma and refers
to the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. Obviously, God's will is that His
church experience the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit right up until Jesus'
Is the reason for the lack of power in many Christian churches perhaps
because the baptism in the Holy Spirit is not for everyone? The answer to that
question is clearly "No" because in Acts 2:38-39, Peter said that the
promise of the Holy Spirit
is for you and your children
and for all who are far off - for all whom the Lord our God will call. (Acts 2:39)
in Joel 2:28-29, it was predicted that in the latter days God would pour out His
Spirit upon "all people." Clearly then, the promise of the empowering
of the Holy Spirit was not limited by God to the early church or to some select
group of people, but it is promised to every believer in any period
of time right up until Jesus' return.
Life Application Question
Jesus command His church to do a task yet not give her the power to accomplish
Why then is there a lack of power in the lives
of many Christians? The answer is simply that while many Christians have truly
been born again and have received eternal life, they have not gone on to the second
experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. One reason for this is that Christians
are sometimes taught that they received the fullness of the Holy Spirit when they
were born again and that there is no additional experience. This teaching, however,
is unscriptural as we will now see.
of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
And you also
were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.
Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
The Holy Spirit was promised:
In the Old Testament prophecies:
And afterward, I will pour
out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men
will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both
men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. (Joel 2:28-29; cf. Acts
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on
the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on
your descendants. (Isaiah 44:3; cf. Zechariah 12:10; Isaiah 32:15; Ezekiel 39:29;
2. By the Lord Jesus:
am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you
have been clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49)
By this he
meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to
that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
(John 7:39; cf. 14:15-26; 16:7-15; Acts 1:4-8)
Subsequent Experience of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
teaches that there is an experience of being baptized in the Holy Spirit that
is subsequent to and separate from the new birth and salvation.
8:5-13, Philip preached the gospel at Samaria and many people received the Word
(v. 14), believed the Word (v. 12), and were baptized in water (v. 12). Quite
obviously they were born again! However, they did not receive the Holy Spirit
until later in verses 14-17, when Peter and John came down from Jerusalem to pray
for them. Clearly then, there are two distinct experiences: the new birth and
the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 19:1-6, Paul came across a group
of disciples at Ephesus. These men had already "believed" (verse 2)
and were saved. However, Paul asked them,
Have ye received
the Holy Spirit since ye believed?
(Acts 19:2, KJV)
men had not heard of the baptism in the Holy Spirit; they had only been baptized
in water into John's baptism. When Paul discovered this, he baptized them in water
again in the name of the Lord Jesus (v. 5; if they weren't saved before, they
certainly were now!) and then laid hands on them to receive the Holy Spirit. At
no point did Paul even address the subject of salvation because these men were
clearly already saved. So, from this incident, we see the example of a number
of men who were already saved but who went on to receive the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 6:4, we see that there are two distinct experiences of tasting "of
the heavenly gift" (salvation) and partaking "of the Holy Spirit"
(the baptism in the Holy Spirit).
Paul was born again in Acts 9:3-6 (cf.
26:13-18), but he received the Holy Spirit three days later (Acts 9:17). Jesus
never needed to be born again, and yet, He received an empowering of the Holy
Spirit in His water baptism in the Jordan River (Mark 1:9-11; Luke 4:18; John
1:32-33; Acts 10:38). Additionally, the 120 disciples who were already born again
received the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).
1:13, Paul says the "sealing" of the Holy Spirit of promise occurs after
in whom also after that ye believed, ye
were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, (Ephesians 1:13, KJV)
does not occur at the same time but is a subsequent experience.
4:6, Paul says it is because we are already sons of God that God gives us the
Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of
his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."
John 14:17, Jesus said, "the world (i.e., the unsaved) cannot receive"
(KJV) the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The world, however, can receive salvation!
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not for the world but for believers (John 7:37-39).
in Luke 11:11-13, we see that it is "children" (i.e., those who have
already been born again) who ask their "Father in heaven" for the Holy
In view of all these Scriptures, it is apparent that one does not
"receive it all" at salvation; There is a subsequent experience of the
baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Life Application Question
you received the baptism in the Holy Spirit since you believed?
The Purpose of the Baptism in the Holy
The Holy Spirit brings us into the realm of the supernatural
power of God (Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11); He also comes to be our Teacher
(John 14:26; 16:12-13; 1 Corinthians 2:9-10, 12; 1 John 2:27), the Announcer of
things to come (John 16:13), the Revealer of God (John 16:14-15), our Leader and
Guide (Romans 8:14), the Transformer of our lives and characters (2 Corinthians
3:18) and our Comforter and Helper (John 14:16; Romans 8:26).
Sign of Having Received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
sign that one has been filled with the Holy Spirit is not a feeling of love, joy
or peace, neither is it an emotion, or an anointing, or a feeling of being close
to God, but it is speaking in tongues (or in new languages).
tongues was predicted in the Old Testament (Isaiah 28:11-12 with 1 Corinthians
14:21-22). Furthermore, it was always the initial sign in the New Testament that
one had received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. We will now systematically look
at every recorded instance in the New Testament where someone was baptized in
the Holy Spirit:
1. On the Day of Pentecost, the 120 disciples were filled
with the Holy Spirit and all spoke in tongues.
All of them
were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit
enabled them. (Acts 2:4)
2. At Samaria, when the people
were baptized with the Holy Spirit, there is no mention of speaking in tongues.
However, it is said,
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given
at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money and said, "Give
me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy
Spirit." (Acts 8:18-19)
Simon "saw" that
the people had received the Holy Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit is invisible, Simon
had to have seen some outward, physical manifestation which doubtless was the
people speaking in tongues. This was so dramatic that he offered the apostles
money to have the same power.
3. Paul received the Holy Spirit in Acts 9:17:
Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said,
"Brother Saul, the Lord - Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were
coming here - has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy
Again, there is no mention of speaking in
tongues in this verse, but 1 Corinthians 14:18 makes it quite clear that Paul
did, in fact, speak in tongues:
I thank God that I speak
in tongues more than all of you.
4. When the household
of Cornelius received the Holy Spirit in Acts 10, they all spoke with tongues:
Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the
message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that
the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they
heard them speaking in tongues and praising God
When Paul laid hands on the disciples at Ephesus, they all spoke with tongues
When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy
Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. (Acts 19:6)
Jesus' own words in Mark 16 are testimony to the fact that all believers who receive
the Holy Spirit will speak in tongues:
And these signs will
accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will
speak in new tongues; (Mark 16:17)
From these passages
we see that all believers who receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit can speak
in new tongues.
Life Application Question
you spoken in tongues since you received the baptism in the Holy Spirit?
How To Receive the Baptism in the Holy
You may receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit either
by the laying on of hands or through your own personal prayer of faith. You do
not need to beg or plead with God to receive the Holy Spirit. Neither do you need
to "tarry" or wait for the Holy Spirit inasmuch as He has already been
poured out upon the church. You need simply to ask God once to baptize you, and
The following are simple and effective steps to take to receive
the baptism in the Holy Spirit:
1. Believe that it is God's will to give
you the Holy Spirit on the basis of His promises in His Word:
you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how
much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one
of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you
will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children
and for all who are far off - for all whom the Lord our God will call." (Acts
2. Jesus said that God will give the Holy Spirit
to "those who ask Him" (Luke 11:13). The reason why so many Christians
do not have the baptism is simply because they have never asked in a definite
manner expecting to receive the Holy Spirit with the sign of new tongues. Therefore,
ask God for the Holy Spirit and believe Jesus' words when He said, "everyone
who asks receives" (Luke 11:9-13).
Life Application Point
do not necessarily need someone else to help you receive the Holy Spirit. If you
are alone, you can pray right now and ask Him to come and fill you.
3. Believe and acknowledge that you have received the Holy Spirit when
you pray (Mark 11:24; 1 John 5:14-15).
For example, pray: "Father,
in the name of Jesus, on the basis of your promise in your Word, I now ask you
to fill me with your Holy Spirit. And, I thank you that because I have asked,
I have right now received the Holy Spirit. I have been filled with the Holy Spirit,
and I can now speak in new tongues. In Jesus' name. Amen."
to speak in new tongues. Acts 2:4 says, "they
began to speak
with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (KJV). You
must begin to speak. Simply begin to speak, except do not speak in English (as
you cannot speak in two languages at once).
As you begin to speak, the Holy
Spirit will give you utterance in a new language. Do not be concerned about "what
to say," but simply begin to speak and the Holy Spirit will give you the
words. As you begin to speak, you will find that you are speaking in a new language.
do not always experience a great "feeling," "anointing," or
"emotion" when they receive the baptism. It does not matter whether
you do or not. Jesus said that your heavenly Father will give you the Holy Spirit
when you ask, and He cannot lie. Therefore, simply thank God that He has filled
you with the Holy Spirit and begin to speak in new tongues.
to pray in tongues daily.
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. (1 Corinthians 14:2, KJV)
who speaks in a tongue edifies himself
(1 Corinthians 14:4)
pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests
But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your
most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as
you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
(Jude 20-21; cf. 1 Corinthians 14:5, 14-15, 18, 39;Romans 8:26-27; Isaiah 28:11-12)
Jesus promised that His followers would receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force or power. He has personality.
The Holy Spirit is God. He is one with God and equal with God.
a Christian can be saved without receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit, he
cannot be a true witness for Christ without the power and presence of the Holy
Spirit in his life.
5. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience that
is offered to all believers until Jesus' return.
6. The baptism in the Holy
Spirit was promised by the Old Testament prophets as well as by Jesus.
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience that is subsequent to and distinct
from the new birth and salvation.
8. The scriptural sign of having received
the baptism in the Holy Spirit is speaking in new tongues or languages.