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The Baptism in the Holy Spirit


CBN.comThe baptism in the Holy Spirit is the empowering for service that takes place in the life of the Christian. It can take place at the moment of faith in Christ as in the case of the first Gentile convert, Cornelius; but traditionally and experientially it follows repentance, saving faith, and baptism (see Hebrews 6:1-2).

It enables a believer to witness to the Lord's salvation and to demonstrate one or more of the nine gifts, or manifestations, of the Holy Spirit (see I Corinthians 12:7-10). Just as the indwelling Spirit reproduces the life of Jesus, the outpoured, or baptizing, Spirit reproduces the ministry of Jesus.

To illustrate, if I had a glass of water and took a swallow, then the water would be inside me. If, on the other hand, I went down to the beach and stepped into the ocean, then I would be in the water. We receive, as it were, a drink of the Spirit when we are saved, but when we are baptized in the Spirit, it is as if that initial drink becomes an ocean that completely surrounds us.

When we give ourselves to Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us. The Holy Spirit places us into Jesus. In turn Jesus immerses us in the power of the Holy Spirit, and from the experience comes the ability to reproduce the works of Jesus, including miracles and healings (see John 14:12-16, Acts 1:5,8).

Just as there are nine attributes of the fruit of the Spirit, there are nine gifts of the Spirit. Before He ascended into heaven, Jesus said, "John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1:5). He also said, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you: And you shall be witnesses to Me" (Acts 1:8). When the day of Pentecost came, Jesus' apostles were all together in the same house. There was the sound of a mighty wind, and then tongues of fire sat upon them. They "began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4).

In subsequent instances, when this experience came upon the people, it seemed as if the Spirit of God activated their speech. First of all, this showed that they had been empowered to witness for the Lord. Second, their higher speech centers had been brought under the control of Jesus Christ. As James said, "If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man" (James 3:2). The tongues of these people had been brought under the Lord's control.

Finally, by the words they spoke, they were able to do miracles. That is because the spoken word brings about healings, miracles, and the works of power that Jesus did. All of this is encompassed in the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

How Do I Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

You need to do a number of things in order to receive this blessing.

First, you need to be born again. The person who is going to be filled with the Spirit must have the indwelling Spirit and must belong to Jesus.

The second thing you have to do is to ask. The Bible says, "Ask, and it will be given to you" (Luke 11:9).

The third thing you have to do is surrender. The apostle Paul made this need clear in the book of Romans when he said, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice." (Romans 12:1)

Fourth, you must be willing to obey the Spirit. God does not give this power to someone and then say, "You can take the part you like and leave the part you do not like." If you want to be immersed in the Spirit, you need to be prepared to obey the Spirit.

Fifth, you need to believe. The apostle Paul, speaking to the Galatians, said, "Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith" (Galatians 3:2)? The answer, obviously, is faith. You have to believe that if you ask, you will receive.

Finally, you have to exercise what God has given you.

Having asked, having received, having been willing to obey, and having believed, you need to respond in a biblical fashion. The Bible says those baptized with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost "began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4). This means they spoke the words that the Spirit gave them. The Holy Spirit gave the words, but the apostles and disciples voluntarily responded.

There was action based on faith, not merely passive acceptance of the blessing.

For example, suppose someone came to me and asked, "Could you let me have a dollar?" and I said, "Certainly." Then I reached into my pocket and handed him a dollar. What if he just looked at me and said, "You don't understand. I'm terribly desperate. May I please have a dollar?" I would offer the dollar again and say, "Here's the dollar." But what if, instead of taking it, he said, "Oh, please, don't you see I'm starving? Let me have a dollar." We could keep that up forever! The person would go without, and my arm would grow tired of handing him the dollar. He would never receive it, and I would never give it.

But the minute he said, "Thank you," took the dollar, and put it in his pocket, that would be the moment the blessing was received.

That is the way it is with God. God is offering the baptism in the Holy Spirit to people who need only to reach out and take it and then enjoy the blessing.

Would you like to receive the power of the Holy Spirit in your life? Call our 24-hour Prayer line at 1-800-759-0700 and a caring friend will pray with you and send you some literature to help you better understand this wonderful gift of God.

Learn more about the Holy Spirit

Dr. J. Rodman Williams on the Holy Spirit

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