The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
8“I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mk. 1:8)
- There are two baptisms spoken of in Scripture: baptism in water and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Both baptisms are an essential part of the new birth or what it means to be born again.
leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2of the
doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (Heb. 6:1-2)
- Both baptisms are more than religious rites or theological concepts, they are means by which we can experience
God’s grace (power), and are normative for all believers to experience.
- Baptizo: The word baptism or baptized that we use in English is a simple transliteration of the Greek word Baptizo. It is not a translation;
a translation of Baptizo would yield a word like dip, plunge, submerge, or immerse. This is critical in understanding both water and spirit baptism.
- John came baptizing with water, and introduced Jesus as the One who would baptize, or immerse, believers in the Holy Spirit (Mt. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Lk. 3:16; Jn. 1:33; Acts 1:4-5).
- The Holy Spirit is more than the power of God. The Holy Spirit is
God. He is the third person of the Trinity, co-existent and co-equal with the Father and the Son from all eternity.
16“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—17the Spirit of truth, whom
the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you
know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”
- He is the Spirit of Jesus. When Jesus ascended it was not a sad day in which Jesus left the earth for over two thousand years, but a glorious event in which He was preparing to draw even nearer to His people. Through
the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, God opened the way to dwell not simply with us but in us by His Spirit.
7“It is to
your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (Jn. 16:7)
- As a person, the Holy Spirit possesses personality and emotions. He can be
known. He has a will and a purpose (1 Cor. 12:11). He is humble, drawing attention only to Jesus. His chief end is to glorify Jesus (Jn. 15:26; 16:14). He possesses understanding (1 Cor. 2:11) and power, (Acts 1:8; Rom. 15:13)and is known as the Helper and
Comforter. He can be lied to (Acts 5:3-4, 9),resisted (Acts 7:51), quenched (1 Thes. 5:19),and grieved (Eph. 4:30).
- Under the Old Covenant, God’s Spirit rested upon individuals from time to time to empower them for certain tasks. The glorious
hope and promise of the New Covenant was that the Spirit would be poured out universally and would remain in the midst of God’s people.
- The New Covenant is so much greater than the Old Covenant (2 Cor. 3:7-11) because the Spirit
no longer simply rests upon or with God’s people, but lives in them (Jn. 7:38-39; 14:16).
John G. Lake commented: “When God baptizes you in the Holy Ghost, He gives you the biggest gift that
heaven or earth ever possessed. He gives you Himself. He joins you by one Spirit to Himself forever.”
- why do we need the holy spirit
- Jesus ministered in the power of the Spirit.
In His life Jesus modeled
for us a life lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. As a man, though never less than fully God, Jesus laid aside His glory and lived in absolute dependence on the Holy Spirit in His life and ministry (Phil. 2:5-7; Lk. 3:21-23; 4:1, 14, 18; Acts 10:38).
- Jesus told the apostles not to begin their mission until they had received the Holy Spirit.
4And being assembled together with them, He
commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5for John truly baptized
with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4-6)
- We are not fully “clothed” for life and ministry
without the Holy Spirit (Lk. 24:49). The full manifestation of the Holy Spirit includes the gifts, fruit, and wisdom of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church.
- He transforms and makes us holy: fruit of the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17-18; Gal.
- He teaches us the ways of God: wisdom of the Spirit (Lk. 12:11; Jn. 14:26; 1 Cor.
- He empowers us to do the works of Jesus: power of the Spirit (Acts 4:28-31; 1 Cor. 2:2-5; Acts 1:8).
- How do we receive THE Holy spirit?
- At the new birth, the Holy Spirit comes to live in our spirit as a real
Person. The new birth is much more than being forgiven; it emphasizes being born into a new reality of connectedness with the Spirit. The uncreated life of God dwelling in us is the core reality of the new birth (Rom. 8:9-10).
- There are four
key elements to the new birth: repentance, faith, water baptism, and baptism in the Holy Spirit. If any one of these elements is missing,
an individual may be technically “saved” but has not yet experienced the complete new birth.
38Then Peter said to them, “Repent,
and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the
Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
- The reception of the Holy Spirit may accompany initial faith in Christ (e.g., Acts 2:38; 10:44), but may also be delayed in time and space (e.g., Acts 2:4; 8:17; 19:5). In addition, the four elements
of the new birth need not necessarily follow a specific sequence. In some cases, for example, baptism in water precedes the reception of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 8:17; 19:5), while in others, baptism in the Spirit precedes baptism in water (Acts 10:47-48).
- evidence of baptism in THE holy spirit
- Baptism in the Spirit is immersive, invasive, and evidential. It is an experiential and observable reality in the life of the believer.
- We don’t have to
doubt whether or not we have been baptized with the Holy Spirit. It is an experiential reality. The apostles on the day of Pentecost knew that they had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, not by faith alone, but by experience.
- Some have
removed the experiential element from teaching on the baptism of the Holy Spirit to such an extent that people sometimes claim to have been baptized in the Holy Spirit even though there is no evidence of the Spirit’s life and power in their lives.
- Being filled with the Spirit is not simply an internal, hidden reality that cannot be observed; there is an external manifestation in the fruit, gifts, and wisdom of the Spirit.
- From a cursory study of the Bible, it seems to be impossible to be
full of the Holy Spirit and not manifest His presence in some external, visible manner (Jn. 7:38-39; 15:5).
- Gifts of the Spirit are described as the manifestations of the Spirit in the life of the believer, or the specific ways in which Jesus
expresses his life through us (1 Cor. 12:7). In the Bible, it appears that fullness of the Spirit is often evidenced by the operation of the gifts of the Spirit in a believer’s life.
- This was the case in the Old Testament (Num. 11:25;
Judg. 14:6; Ezek. 11:5; Dan. 5:14), throughout the ministry of Jesus (Acts 10:38; Lk. 4:18), and in the New Testament ministry of the apostles (Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 6:10; 7:55; 15:19; 19:6).
- A once and For all experience?
- In the book of Acts
we read that the apostles were filled with the Spirit over and over again. It was not a “once for all” experience (e.g. Acts 4:8, 31).
- The Bible teaches that being filled with the Spirit is not a “once for all” experience.
We need and should continually seek fresh fillings of the Holy Spirit throughout our lives as modeled by the early church. Paul tells the church at Ephesus that it is the Lord’s will for them to “go on being filled” with the Holy Spirit.
17Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18And do not be drunk with wine [natural excess], in which is dissipation; but be filled [lit. go on being filled] with the Spirit. (Eph. 5:17-18)
- How do I stay full of the Spirit?
- The New Testament pattern is that prayer precedes fresh fillings of the Holy Spirit (Acts
1:14; 2:1-4; 4:31; 13:2). Jesus taught that the Father would give us the Spiritin response to our requests (Lk. 11:13). Praying “in the Spirit” is particularly highlighted by the Scripture as a means to access a greater measure of the Holy Spirit
in our lives (1 Cor. 12:4-5; Eph. 5:18-19).
- Jesus taught that fasting tenderizes and sensitizes the human heart to freely receive more of God and experience more of Him through the Holy Spirit. As we fast we become voluntarily
weak so He can become strong in us. Our weakness is God’s opportunity for His strength (Holy Spirit) to be perfected in us (2 Cor. 12:9). As we fast, we grow in our capacity to receive more of His Spirit and we are prepared to receive a greater measure
of the Holy Spirit more quickly (cf. Mt. 9:15-12).
- We make room for the Holy Spirit’s presence through prayer and fasting, but we also make room in our lives for more of His presence by separating ourselves (lit. making ourselves holy) from
the things of the world that defile, dull,and deplete our spirits. Holiness does not earn us more of God’s Spirit. The Spirit is a free gift, whose presence we receive purely
based on the righteousness of Jesus. But He is the Holy Spirit, and the extent to which we yield control of our mind, will, and emotions is the extent to which we make room for Him (Rom. 7:25; 8:6, 9).
In Power from
on High, A. B. Simpson says: “Born like Him of the Spirit, we, too, must be baptized of the Spirit, and then go forth to live His life and reproduce His work. He has left to us the same power which
He possessed. He has bequeathed to the church the very Holy Ghost that lived and wrought in Him. Let us accept this mighty gift. Let us believe in Him and His all-sufficiency. Let us receive Him and give Him room, and let us go forth to reproduce the life
and ministry of Jesus and perpetuate the divine miracles of our holy Christianity through the power of the blessed Comforter.”
The phrases “be filled with the Spirit” or be “baptized with the Spirit” mean different things to different people. Though the phrase “baptism in the Holy Spirit” is biblical and should be defended, I prefer to use the language
of “receiving” the Holy Spirit” (at conversion) and being “filled” with the Spirit thereafter, simply because there is much theological misunderstanding around the term “baptism in the Spirit.”
 David Pawson’s The Normal Christian Birth (Hodder, 1989) is an outstanding analysis of these four elements of the
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