Baptism with the Holy Spirit
I want to share a topic with you that I feel is necessary for us all to have a working understanding about. The topic is the baptism with the Holy Spirit. It is an experience that is reserved only for followers of Christ. Religion will get in the way of our understanding of this subject. I have found that people must be taught not to believe that it is a valid experience for the Church today. If we read the Bible with a desire to learn, the Holy Spirit will lead us to truth. Please join me on our journey as search the scriptures to see what God’s Word says about this subject.
The Bible says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear”. This is referring to having an open mind to what the Spirit of God is saying to us through the Word. Scripture also says the natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God. Some things in the Bible will only make spiritual sense to us. We cannot let our unrenewed mind talk us out of spiritual truth.
This topic is very important to me personally in my relationship with the Lord. All Christians believe that it did happen way back when, but some do not believe it is Biblical to have this experience today. I do believe it is for today, and tomorrow also. We will need this gift until Jesus comes back for His Church. I also want to note that the Holy Spirit is a person and not a force. He is the 3rd Person of the Trinity. He needs to be honored accordingly.
Jesus told the apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Spirit.
Acts 1:4–5 (NASB95)
4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
The promise was the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Something to keep in mind is that the apostles had already received the Holy Spirit which is recorded in the book of John.
John 20:22 (NASB95)
22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
Why would they need to be baptized with the Holy Spirit if they already had received the Holy Spirit? The word baptize means to immerse or to dip like a ladle. When we are saved, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us. That is when we are baptized into the Body of Christ. Because we are baptized into the Body of Christ doesn’t mean we are baptized with the Holy Spirit. After salvation, there is also another spiritual experience the Lord has made available to us. It is to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. An illustration may be that when we are saved it is like drinking a glass of water and the Holy Spirit is in us like the water is. When we are baptized with the Holy Spirit, it is like being immersed in the water, for example being submerged in an ocean. You don’t have to be baptized with the Holy Spirit to be saved. You can be a Christian and never receive the experience. When you are saved the Holy Spirit helps us to manifest the fruit of the Spirit. The baptism with the Holy Spirit on the other hand opens up the supernatural to us. It takes our prayer life to a new level. We will discuss these benefits of being baptized with the Holy Spirit later in this article.
Some resist the Baptism because they think the devil can somehow give you something false.
Luke 11:11–13 (NASB95)
11 “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12 “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 13 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
If you ask God for the Holy Spirit, God will not give you something false. He will not allow the devil to intervene in this area of your life. When a child of God is talking to their Father, it is a direct line. Later in Luke 11, the Pharisees are reprimanded for accusing Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan rather than by the power of God. Only religion teaches against the power of the Holy Spirit coming to the aid of God’s people.
Acts 7:51 (NASB95)
51 “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.
I have witnessed this first hand in some people’s lives. Religion has taught them against the baptism and they are very stubborn and set in their ways. We all need the power of God working in our lives today just as much now as in the early days of the Church. Jesus also warns us not to use blasphemy towards the Holy Spirit in both Matthew 12 and Mark 3. He said, “It is an unpardonable sin”. We need to be very careful about criticizing what we do not understand especially when it comes to the work of the Holy Spirit.
The first purpose of the baptism with the Holy Spirit is that He will give us power to be a better witness as we see here in Acts 1:8.
Acts 1:8 (NASB95)
8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
We can see what it did for Peter in his life. He went from being a spineless follower that denied the Lord, to a bold dynamo who preached powerful messages where many were saved.
In Acts 2, it is recorded when the apostles and others received the experience.
Acts 2:1–4 (NASB95)
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
When they were filled with the Spirit, they started to speak in tongues. They spoke in known languages, unknown to them but known to the hearers. (Many were in Jerusalem from other countries at this time) This is where some misunderstand the gift because they think tongues is only known languages. We will see later that there are tongues of angels mentioned in scripture. If we let scripture interpret scripture we will be able to see the whole picture.
God promised to pour out His Spirit on all mankind. He said so in the book of Joel and Peter quoted it here in Acts 2:16-21 after He had received the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:16–21 (NASB95)
16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams; 18 Even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit And they shall prophesy. 19 ‘And I will grant wonders in the sky above And signs on the earth below, Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. 20 ‘The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood, Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come. 21 ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
We need to expect God to pour out His Spirit on us. We need the Holy Spirit to minister to us and work through us. The Book of Acts is filled with passages talking about the Holy Spirit being poured out. We will look at a few.
Acts 8:14–19 (NASB95)
14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
Here people were saved and baptized in the name of Jesus in water but had not received the Baptism with the Holy Spirit yet. Apostles came and laid hands on them. This passage does not mention speaking in tongues like other passages, but something supernatural must have happened. Simon offered money to be able to bestow this gift. He was immediately commanded to repent because his heart was not right. The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is not about showing off but doing works to glorify the Lord.
Acts 10:44–48 (NASB95)
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.
Peter was preaching to Gentiles and the Holy Spirit fell upon them and they started to speak in tongues. Note they were not baptized in water yet. Jews were amazed that God was reaching out to the non-Jews.
Acts 19:1–7 (NASB95)
1 It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. 7 There were in all about twelve men.
Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit back in Acts 9, when an ordinary believer (not an apostle) named Ananias laid hands on him. Here Paul did the same and 12 men spoke in tongues and started prophesying. People here were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit at the same instance. No mention in the last two passages about speaking in known languages. Tongues is also spoken in unknown languages meaning angelic language. We will be looking at those scriptures now.
1 Corinthians 13:1 (NASB95)
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
1 Corinthians 14:2 (NASB95)
2 For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.
Romans 8:26 (NASB95)
26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;
Jude 20 (NASB95)
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,
These four passages explain that there is a language that can be spoken that man does not understand. When it is spoken, it is speaking directly to God with a spiritual language. With our mind, we speak in known languages. With our spirit, we can speak in a spiritual language. We are not chanting to the devil but praying and speaking with a direct line to God. Sometimes we do not how to pray as we should as Romans 8:26 says. The Holy Spirit knows what to pray and wants to pray through us. Praying in tongues really helps our prayer life. There is a difference between speaking in a tongue and praying in tongues. We will go into this point later in this article.
The main passage people use to try and dismiss the need for the baptism with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues is found in 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 13:8–12 (NASB95)
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
They base their thinking on two main points.
- Tongues will cease
- When the perfect comes the partial will be done away
Right after it said tongues will cease, it mentions knowledge will be done away. I don’t think knowledge has been done away with yet. Can’t get rid of one without the other. They also believe “the perfect” is talking about the Bible. So, when the Bible was written, tongues are no longer needed. I believe the Bible is perfect and we should never add or take away from it. Truth is, the purpose of the baptism with the Holy Spirit was not to help with writing the Bible. Old Testament people wrote scripture without it. People were used by God to write scripture because they were an instrument of God and anointed to do so. The “perfect” referred to here is talking about when we see Jesus face to face. When we see Jesus face to face, we will be in our glorified body and not have the limitations of the flesh like we do now. At that time, we will no longer need tongues or knowledge because we will be in glory and have full understanding.
What are the benefits of the baptism with the Holy Spirit?
The Baptism helps us to reach the lost by being a bolder witness like we discussed in Acts 1:8. It also strengthens our prayer like discussed in Romans 8:26. Now we will see how tongues are for edification. The baptism with the Holy Spirit helps to build or edify the Church. It will also edify the believer and build us up.
1 Corinthians 12:1–3 (NASB95)
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. 2 You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
The Lord wants us to understand spiritual gifts and how they work in our lives. So many are unaware of the things of the Spirit, and that God is wanting to reveal them to us. Some pull back because they try and figure it out in their head. While we don’t unplug our brain, things of the spirit are matters of the spirit. Remember, no one speaking by the Spirit can speak against Jesus our Lord. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth.
1 Corinthians 12:7–11 (NASB95)
7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
There nine gifts mentioned here are referred to as the Charismatic Gifts or the Gifts of the Spirit. Notice it is the Holy Spirit that gives these gifts out as He wills. We don’t initiate them. They are for building up the Body and reaching the lost. We can’t pick and choose which ones we agree with. Who are we to say that some are not for today? The gift of tongues mentioned in this passage, is a gift given by the Holy Spirit that would require the gift of interpretation of tongues to be in operation when used in a local assembly. These two gifts when used together equal the gift of prophecy. They are referred to as the speaking gifts. I will not be discussing all the gifts in this writing but dealing with the issue of speaking in tongues.
1 Corinthians 12:30–31 (NASB95)
30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.
This should help us to understand when the scripture says not all will speak in tongues. Not everyone will speak in a tongue that needs interpreted. Just like all may not operate in the gift of healings. Some will. Some will not. The Holy Spirit makes that determination when the gifts are to be used. Paul went on to talk about a more excellent way – love. The Corinthian Church was a little out of balance. They were zealous about the gifts of the Spirit but were not as big on love. Paul was not speaking against the gifts but trying to restore proper balance to the Body.
Even though not everyone will speak in a tongue, we can all pray in tongues.
1 Corinthians 14:12–19 (NASB95)
12 So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church. 13 Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. 16 Otherwise if you bless in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not edified. 18 I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; 19 however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Paul talked about his spirit praying. We are said to be a three part being in 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Spirit, soul, and body. Paul said he would pray with his spirit and with his mind. One he would understand and one he may not. I personally have prayed in tongues every day since 1984. It is something that is important to me in my daily walk with the Lord. Praying in tongues edifies us and builds us up in our holy faith like it says in Jude 20. Praying in tongues is different than speaking in a tongue because it does not need interpreted. You may pray in tongues but never be given the gift of speaking in tongues which would need to be interpreted in a service for the building up of the Body. This passage in 1 Corinthians also mentions singing in the spirit and with your mind. So, to clarify again, praying in tongues builds you up, and speaking in a tongue that would be interpreted builds up the Church or group of assembled believers. Paul went on to explain in chapter 14 that only two or three should speak in a tongue in a service that would need interpreted. Remember he was correcting an out of balance church that was overly zealous about the gifts.
1 Corinthians 14:39–40 (NASB95)
39 Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. 40 But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.
Paul was looking to restore order to the church and explain how things should be done. In closing, Paul said do not forbid to speak in tongues but let all things be done in an orderly manner.
The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is an experience that is available to every believer today. It will remain available until Jesus comes for His Church. I encourage you to open your hearts to this revelation that can only be given to those who are seeking. If Paul thought praying in tongues was important in his life, I hope you to feel the same way in yours. Praying in tongues will not make you better than other people. It will help to make you the best you can be. When it comes to this topic, I live by a simple rule. I will not judge or criticize those that choose not to believe in speaking in tongues. I ask that people not judge or criticize those of us that do. We can choose to disagree without being disagreeable. God’s Blessings. Pastor Brad