The last article that I wrote on the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I taught on the three main works of the Holy Spirit: re-birth, sanctification and endowment with power from on high.
I am now going to look into more detail on the endowment with power, “baptism of the Holy Spirit”. If you recall what I said last time was, when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, we do not receive more of the Holy Spirit, but we receive more of the Holy Spirit’s power.
Let us look at several examples in the Bible where people received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and see what we can learn from them.
The first reference to the coming of the Holy Spirit and the immediate following of the Holy Spirit is in Acts 2:3-4 – “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
Take note that ALL who were waiting on the coming promise of the Holy Spirit received Him. It wasn’t only a few, but ALL. Not only did they all receive the Holy Spirit, but they ALL spoke in other tongues.
The second place we see people baptized in the Holy Spirit is Acts 8:12-19.
Here we see a group of Christians who have already been baptized in water and then the apostles send Peter and John to pray for them and lay hands on them that they might receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Now in the passage it does not say that they put their hands on them to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but to receive the Holy Spirit. Yet, we know the apostles did not lay their hands on them to receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit because they were already born again believers, and the Scripture clearly teaches that one cannot be born again without the Holy Spirit’s indwelling. Also, the Scripture does not teach that someone needs to lay hands on you receive the Holy Spirit in the conversion experience. Also, there is no teaching in the Word that says we are to ask the Holy Spirit to come live inside of us. Therefore, it is clear that the apostles did not leave Jerusalem and go to the Samariten believers that they might receive the indwelling of the Spirit, but that they might receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
It is important to note that Simon sees an immediate and visible evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Scripture does not tell us what evidence it was, but we can be sure that it was the evidence of speaking in tongues. We know this because it was an immediate sign and this is what took place on the day of Pentecost. The apostles would not have expected or accepted any other sign because this was the only sign they knew. This is what they had experienced. Take note again, there was a considerable lapse of time between the believers water baptism and being baptized in the Holy Spirit.
The third place we see people baptized in the Holy Spirit is in Acts 10:44-46.
Here we see that they receive Christ and the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the same moment, and that everyone in Cornelius’ household received it. In Acts 11:15-18, Peter testifies that it is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We see as evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit that they spoke in tongues even as they did on the day of Pentecost. Here we see that the baptism of the Holy Spirit can come on the same day as salvation. It was after they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit that they were baptized in water. This shows us that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a progressive thing as sanctification, and that you don’t have to have a level of spiritual maturity or holiness to receive it.
The fourth place we see the baptism of the Holy Spirit is in Acts 19:1-6.
We see here that Paul laid his hands on the Christians that they might receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We see speaking in tongues and prophecy as evidence of their baptism experience. There are some who might question if they were even believers before Paul arrived. Yes, without a doubt, because the Bible says, Paul found disciples, and understood they already believed in the Messiah, Christ. The Bible would not have used the term disciples or believers in this context if they were not genuinely saved. Despite being saved, they had received no teaching on the Holy Spirit because they were saved under Apollos teaching. (Acts 18:18-25) Yet, though Apollos was a zealous evangelist at the time and was preaching the Gospel in Ephesus, he did not have a full understanding of the work of the Gospel; therefore, he was taken aside by Aquila and Priscilla to be taught more thoroughly on the way of Christ.
What is most important to see is that in three out of four stories of the saints being baptized in the Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues and in one case prophesied. The one case where it is not stated, we can be assured that this happened. Therefore, it is clear in God’s Word that the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues which normally takes place at the moment of the Spirit’s baptism. The evidence that is seen over the long term is one of the 9 spiritual gifts found in I Corinthians 12:7-10, and the working power of God in the person’s life to bring spiritual change in others.
Finally, why are some not baptized in the Holy Spirit if this is the plan of God for all to be baptized in His Spirit, which I believe the Bible teaches?
There are five basic reasons. First, the person does not believe in a third work of the Holy Spirit which the Bible calls the baptism of the Holy Spirit or baptism of power. Secondly, they don’t believe God intends to baptize all in the Spirit. Thirdly, the person may lack faith that it is for them. Fourthly, the person may not see its great importance or have a great desire to receive it. Fifthly, the person may fear it and be afraid to give the Spirit control of their body.
My prayer for you is that God stirs up a desire and belief in you for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Don’t be discouraged if you have sought it and have not yet received it. You must continue to seek it and believe it is for you.