Living Faith Fellowship
A People of His Presence

Living Faith Fellowship
Home | About Living Faith | What's Happening | Ministries | Contact Us
Ministry Opportunities | Resources | Photo Gallery | Books & Tapes

About Living
     Faith

Meetings
Structure
Legal


Our Purpose
Our History


Statement
     of Faith

Issues


Leaders
Members
Multi-
   Cultural
   & Multi-
   Generational

Cool
     Stories


The Baptism in the Holy Spirit

[This teaching is from chapter 11 of Foundations by Malcolm Webber, Ph.D.]


Speaking of the coming Messiah, John the Baptist said,

…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.


Who 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:

a) 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.

2. The Holy Spirit is God. He is equal with God and one with God.

a) 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":

…how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit…You 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).


The Need for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

In Acts 1:8 Jesus told His disciples,

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 24:48-49).

Life Application Question
?
Have you ever tried to live the Christian life without the indwelling Holy Spirit? How successful were you?

Paul said,

My 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,

by 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)

Many today 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 4:6).

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:

And 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.

Please notice 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).

Why 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.

The 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' return.

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)

Furthermore, 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
?
Would Jesus command His church to do a task yet not give her the power to accomplish it?

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.


The Promise 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, (Ephesians 1:13)

The Holy Spirit was promised:

1. 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 2:16ff)

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; Galatians 3:14)

2. By the Lord Jesus:

I 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)


The Subsequent Experience of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

The Bible 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.

In Acts 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)

These 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.

In 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).

In Ephesians 1:13, Paul says the "sealing" of the Holy Spirit of promise occurs after we believe:

…in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, (Ephesians 1:13, KJV)

It does not occur at the same time but is a subsequent experience.

In Galatians 4:6, Paul says it is because we are already sons of God that God gives us the Holy Spirit:

Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."

In 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).

Finally, 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 Spirit.

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
?
Have you received the baptism in the Holy Spirit since you believed?


The Purpose of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

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).


The Sign of Having Received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

The scriptural 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).

Speaking in 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:

Then 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 Spirit."

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:

While 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… (Acts 10:44-46)

5. When Paul laid hands on the disciples at Ephesus, they all spoke with tongues and prophesied:

When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. (Acts 19:6)

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
?
Have you spoken in tongues since you received the baptism in the Holy Spirit?


How To Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

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 He will.

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:

If 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! (Luke 11:13)

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 2:38-39)

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
!
You 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."

4. Begin 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.

People 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.

5. Continue 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)

He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself… (1 Corinthians 14:4)

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests… (Ephesians 6:18)

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)


Summary

1. Jesus promised that His followers would receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

2. The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force or power. He has personality.

3. The Holy Spirit is God. He is one with God and equal with God.

4. While 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.

7. 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.

top