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Baptism of the Holy Spirit

          

 

The baptism and fullness of the Holy Spirit is necessary for spiritual work. What does the Bible say about it, and how is this important gift received?

 

 

Foreword

 

In the next pages, we are going to study teachings on the baptism of the Holy Spirit, to which the next verses, among others, refer. In the Bible it is also called by other names, such as filling with the Holy Spirit, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the promise of the Father, power from on high, and so on, but we will use the baptism of the Holy Spirit in this text.

 

 - (Matt 3:11) I indeed baptize you with water to repentance. but he that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire

 

- (Acts 1:4-5) And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, you have heard of me.

5 For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

 

- (Acts 11:15-17) And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.

16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

17 For as much then as God gave them the like gift as he did to us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

 

The Bible does not talk much about this, but it was very important in the life of the disciples: Without it, their ministry would have remained very limited. They needed this experience to carry out the task God had planned for them. Jesus said that they should not leave Jerusalem before they had this experience (see above: Acts 1:4-5).

  Niilo Yli-Vainio, a famous Finnish preacher in the 1970s and 1980s, also referred to this. He wrote about the meaning of this in his own life:

 

   "Even if all the treasures of the world were offered to me and I could still be a believer if I only gave up the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I would not even think about it. There is nothing in this world that could replace this gift. I thank, honor, and praise God for having sent his Holy Spirit and for the fact that I have also gotten my share of Him by grace. You can also receive this blessing – as a gift." (1)

 

  

 


1. Is the baptism of the Holy Spirit necessary?
2. When can we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
3. Receiving the gift
 

1. Is the baptism of the Holy Spirit necessary?

 

When wondering whether the baptism of the Holy Spirit is necessary, we can actually answer this question in one way only.

   It must be necessary, because the Apostles, even though having spent three years with Jesus getting the best teaching and seeing miracles with their own eyes, were not ready, even after experiencing all of that. No, they were not ready because of their training: they first had to wait to be clothed with power from high. They could not leave Jerusalem before that because otherwise their ministry would have remained rather infertile.

   So if the Apostles needed this gift, even though they had such a background, present-day people are not likely to be much better than them – actually, quite the contrary. If they needed this experience, the same certainly goes to us:

 

- (Luke 24:49) And, behold, I send the promise of my Father on you: but tarry you in the city of Jerusalem, until you be endued with power from on high.

 

- (Acts 1:6-8) When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

7 And he said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power.

8 But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.

 

The second example is Jesus. It was important that when he was on the Earth, he also received the anointment of the Holy Spirit for His mission. He did not act according to His Divinity, even though He would have been able to, but was just like the rest of the humans and needed the anointment of the Holy Spirit. If He needed this gift when He was on the Earth, how much more do we need it:

 

 - (Phil 2:5-7) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7 But made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men

 

When Jesus began His ministry when He was about thirty years old, this anointment came to His life:

 

 - (Luke 3:21-23) Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,

22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove on him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, You are my beloved Son; in you I am well pleased.

23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,

 

- (Luke 4:14,17-19) And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.

17 And there was delivered to him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

 

- (Acts 10:38) How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

 

 

2. When can we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

 

Before studying how we can receive the baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we should first clarify some general views that appear in teachings regarding this issue. Especially two points often come up. If people are not clear with these, it can prevent them from receiving this gift. These are:

 

1. Is baptism of the Holy Spirit the same as being saved?

2. Is baptism of the Holy Spirit always received in water baptism?

 

1. IS THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT THE SAME AS BEING SAVED? Occasionally, people claim that salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit are always simultaneous events. It has been thought that when a person finds salvation, he also always automatically receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit. (Of course, this would be ideal and this occurred, for example, in the case of Cornelius; Acts 10:44-48)

   But is this view correct? If we look at the Bible, we can find many problems and difficulties connected to this issue. They are, among other things, the next points:

 

It is connected with ministry and witnessing. Firstly, we must note that the Scriptures indicate that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is always connected with ministry and witnessing, not with being saved. The baptism of the Holy Spirit cannot mean the same as being saved. It is a question of us getting power for the ministry God has called us to do – whether it is being a preacher or a missionary or, for instance, doing charity work. R. A. Torrey has described this very well:

 

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is always in connection with testifying and serving others. If we carefully study each Bible passage concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we will see that it is in connection with serving and testifying and that it is given because of this. (2)

 

 Being born of the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit

 

- (John 3:7-8) Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born again.

8 The wind blows where it wants, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell from where it comes, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

 

- (Acts 1:5 / 2:4) For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

2:4. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 

The second important issue is connected with being born and being filled by the Holy Spirit. It is a different thing to be born of the Spirit than to be filled with the Spirit. Everyone who has turned to Jesus and has been saved has the Holy Spirit in their heart. They have the life and nature of God in their heart. They are Temples of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit has made them part of the body of Christ. There is no exception among the children of God, this refers to all of them:

 

- (Rom 8:9) But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

 

- (Gal 4:6) And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

 

- (2 Cor 1:22) Who has also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

 

- (1 Cor 3:16) Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

 

- (1 Cor 12:13) For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

 

- (Eph 4:3-4) Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling

 

Then again, being filled with the Holy Spirit is different from having the Holy Spirit in our heart. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is not connected with salvation, but with our life and service here on the Earth.

   A good example of this is what Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians, and also in his other letters. Paul – who on several occasions spoke about the Spirit of adoption, and about how the Holy Spirit is a seal in us until the day of redemption – advised that we must be filled with the Holy Spirit. He made a difference between these two (the seal of the Holy Spirit and being filled with the Holy Spirit):

 

 - (Eph 1:13) In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

 

- (Eph 5:18) And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

 

The Apostles. If we look at the Apostles, we can very clearly see that also in their lives being saved and baptism of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost were separate, not simultaneous events. There are several indications that they were saved already before Pentecost:

 

Their names were already in the Books of Heaven:

 

 - (Luke 10:20) Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject to you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

 

They knew their sinfulness and followed Jesus:

 

 - (Luke 5:8-11) When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:

10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, Fear not; from now on you shall catch men.

11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

 

They were all clean before God, except Judas:

 

 - (John 15:3) Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you.

 

- (John 13:10-11) Jesus said to him, He that is washed needs not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and you are clean, but not all.

11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, You are not all clean.

 

They had received the words of Jesus:

 

- (John 17:8)  For I have given to them the words which you gave me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from you, and they have believed that you did send me.

 

God was their Father:

 

 - (John 20:16-17) Jesus said to her, Mary. She turned herself, and said to him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

17 Jesus said to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brothers, and say to them, I ascend to my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

 

They baptized people already before the Pentecost:

 

- (John 4:1-3) When therefore the LORD knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,

2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)

3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.

 

They preached repentance, drove out demons, and prayed healing for people already before the Pentecost:

 

- (Mark 6:12-13) And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

 

They joined together constantly in prayer for ten days. If they were not born again yet, they prayed more passionately than many believers these days:

 

- (Acts 1:14) These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

 

Samaria. One example of how salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit are not simultaneous events is the case of Samaria. In Samaria, people received the word of God preached by Philip, believed it, were saved, and were also baptized, but they did not receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the same time.

   Instead, they received it when Peter and John came to Samaria. They got it by the men placing hands on them:

 

- (Acts 8:5-8,12,14-17) Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ to them.

6 And the people with one accord gave heed to those things which Philip spoke, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.

8 And there was great joy in that city.

12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John:

15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

16 (For as yet he was fallen on none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

 

Paul. As far as Paul is concerned, he was also filled with the Holy Spirit after his conversion. When he on his journey to Damascus confessed Jesus to be his Lord, believed, and prayed to Jesus, he still had to wait three days before getting back his sight and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It took place when the disciple Ananias prayed for him:

 

- (Acts 9:3-6,10-11,17-18) And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why persecute you me?

5 And he said, Who are you, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you persecute: it is hard for you to kick against the pricks.

6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what will you have me to do? And the Lord said to him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told you what you must do.”

10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.

11 And the Lord said to him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prays,

17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared to you in the way as you came, has sent me, that you might receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight immediately, and arose, and was baptized.

 

Ephesus. One good example of how salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit are different events is the description of the congregation in Ephesus. They had already found salvation and were disciples (cf. Acts 9:10, 11:26, 13:52), but had not yet received the gift of the Holy Spirit. They got it through Paul who placed his hands on them:

 

 - (Acts 19:1-6) And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

2 He said to them, Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?  And they said to him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

3 And he said to them, To what then were you baptized? And they said, To John’s baptism.

4 Then said Paul, John truly baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied.

 

2. CAN WE ALWAYS RECEIVE THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN CONNECTION WITH WATER BAPTISM? The second issue needing clarifying is the question of whether water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit are always simultaneous events. Some people have really thought that they would always be simultaneous, so that whenever a person is baptized with water, he also immediately receives the gift of the Holy Spirit.

   But is this view correct? If we look at it in the light of the next examples, we will find them to go against it:

 

Different events. One indication of the events not being the same is that the Bible separates water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit from each other, making them different events:

 

 - (Mark 1:8) I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

 

- (John 1:33) And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said to me, On whom you shall see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizes with the Holy Ghost.

 

- (Acts 1:4-5) And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, you have heard of me.

5 For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

 

The Apostles are another example. They, too, were certainly baptized with water before the Pentecost, because they baptized other people already before it. There is no mention at all of their own water baptism in connection with the Pentecost.

   Instead, they had assembled together at Pentecost, certainly to pray, when they received the baptism and fullness of the Holy Spirit:

 

- (John 4:1-3) When therefore the LORD knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,

2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)

3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.

 

- (Acts 2:1-4) And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

3 And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat on each of them.

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 

In Samaria, the gift of the Holy Spirit was received only after people had found salvation by the sermon of Philip and they had been baptized (cf. Mark 16:16, He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.). They received the gift of the Holy Spirit only after Peter and John placed their hands on them:

 

- (Acts 8:12, 14-17) But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John:

15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

16 (For as yet he was fallen on none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

 

In the home of Cornelius, the baptism of the Holy Spirit and water baptism were also different events. People received the gift of the Holy Spirit through the sermon of Peter, but they were baptized after this:

 

 - (Acts 10:44- 48) While Peter yet spoke these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

 

In Ephesus, the believers did not receive the gift of the Holy Spirit through water baptism, but only after Paul placed his hands on them. Mere water baptism did not give them the gift of the Holy Spirit:

 

- (Acts 19:5-6) When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied.

 

 

3. Receiving the gift

   

On the previous pages, we dealt with some questions that can come into people’s minds regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The goal has been to prove that it does not mean the same as being saved, or the same as water baptism, but that it is a gift that is meant for spiritual ministry. In addition to this, we have also shown that Jesus and the Apostles did not begin their task before they had received this gift.

  Today, we can also receive this gift from God now. The next points that should be taken into consideration are connected with receiving the gift:

 

THE LOCKED DOORS

 

- (Acts 2:38) Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

 

Before we can receive anything from God, we must first open "the locked doors" of our heart, meaning that we must confess to God those sins that we have not yet given up. If we have sin and bitterness in our heart and do not want to give them up, we might not be able to experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when Peter preached at Pentecost, he first spoke about repentance and after that about the gift of the Holy Spirit – this is always the order.

   We cannot change our own nature ourselves, but we can repent our sins and our bad habits: bitterness, criticalness, and occultism, not giving our life completely to God, etc. When we confess these wrong attitudes to God, we will immediately be purified by the blood of Jesus:

 

 - (1 John 1:7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin.

 

Furthermore, it is important that we have the right motives for wanting the baptism of the Holy Spirit. If our purpose is to become happy, it certainly is the wrong motive. Also, if our purpose is to boast "about the enormous power", it is also the wrong motive. The Holy Spirit always only wants to bring glory to Christ, not to people and their proud minds:

 

- (John 16:14) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it to you.

 

- (Jam 4:6) But he gives more grace. Why he said, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

 

RECEIVING THROUGH GRACE. Just like being saved, receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is based on grace. As comes to grace, we can never be so good and perfect that we could earn it through our good deeds. It is not given to us after a long battle of sanctification but by grace alone, just like salvation. On the other hand, if we are in Christ, none of us can be so bad that he or she could not receive this gift. Our goodness and badness do not prevent us from receiving this gift:

 

 - (Acts 10:45) And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

 

- (Acts 11:15-17) And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.

16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

17 For as much then as God gave them the like gift as he did to us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

 

GLORIFIED SAVIOR. Receiving salvation is always based on what Jesus has first done for us. It is based on the fact that He carried our sins on the cross and reconciled us with God so that we no longer have to try to earn salvation.

   Receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit is also based on what Jesus has done. According to the Bible, pouring out the Holy Spirit depended specifically on Jesus first being glorified and exalted to the right side of the Father. The purpose was basically to indicate that Jesus is the Lord and has gone to sit at the right side of the Father.

   So, as Jesus has already been glorified and the Holy Spirit poured out 2,000 years ago at Pentecost, we no longer need to wait: we can simply receive this gift. It has nothing to do with our merits or good deeds, it is based only on the merits of Christ and His gift to the congregation:

 

 - (John 7:37-39) In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink.

38 He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

39 (But this spoke he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

 

- (Acts 2:33-36) Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he has shed forth this, which you now see and hear.

34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he said himself, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit you on my right hand,

35 Until I make your foes your footstool.

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made the same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

 

- (Heb. 1:3) Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:

 

- (John 15:26) But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me

 

- (John 16:7) Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you.

 

Watchman Nee has written very well about how Jesus has already been glorified and the Holy Spirit poured out because of it. What we need to do is only to receive this gift that has already been given to us:

 

The divine facts are the basis of all spiritual experiences. The Holy Spirit is not received by one's own efforts, but by resting in faith, on what the Lord has done.

   If we have not yet experienced this, let us pray that God would show us that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the gift of a glorified Lord to His congregation. That is where our own efforts end, and pleading will change into praising. The vision of what the Lord had done for the whole world made an end to our own efforts to receive the forgiveness of our sins, and having seen what the Lord has done for His congregation will stop our efforts to receive the Holy Spirit. We are doing so much only because we have not seen the works of Christ. When we see them, faith will be created in our hearts and be followed by experiences of it.

   Some time ago, a young man who had been a believer only for five weeks, being a strong opponent of the Gospel before that, came to a meeting in which these issues were preached. When he went home, he prayed from his heart, "I have now seen that You have been glorified, and I ask that I could experience the power of the Holy Spirit.” But he soon corrected it like this, "Lord, that was all wrong. We are partners, and the Father has promised two things to us – glory to You and the Spirit to me. Because You already have glory, it is clear that I also have the Spirit. I praise You for having already received the glory and given me the Spirit.” From that day onwards, the man knew that the Spirit lived in him. (3)

 

THERE IS NO NEED TO WAIT. As the Holy Spirit has already been given as a gift to the congregation, we do not need to wait for Him anymore. Some people have thought that just like the Apostles had to wait a certain time in Jerusalem, they also have to wait.

   However, the disciples had to wait because "for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified" (John 7:39). They had to wait for a certain historical moment, the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came on the Earth according to the promise of Jesus:

 

- (John 16:7) Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you.

 

- (Acts 2:1) And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

 

The Holy Spirit has already come to the Earth -- we no longer need to wait for Him. After the Pentecost, the people received the gift of the Holy Spirit immediately after someone prayed for them. This took place in Samaria (Acts 8), in the life of Paul (Acts 9), and for believers in Ephesus (Acts 19) – they immediately received the Holy Spirit without having to wait. In addition, in the home of Cornelius people were also saved and received the gift of the Holy Spirit without waiting (Acts 10).

   So, as comes to salvation and baptism of the Holy Spirit, we do not need to wait for them anymore, they can be received. We must receive the first and the second Comforter: Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit:

 

 - (1 John 2:1) My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not.  And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous

 

- (John 14:16) And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever

 

Therefore, when a person receives Christ, he or she will become the child of God and will be saved. And when he or she receives the Holy Spirit, s/he will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is the baptism of the Holy Spirit:

 

 - (John 1:12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name

 

- (Acts 19:2) He said to them, Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?  And they said to him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

 

RECEIVING THE GIFT. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a gift, just like salvation is a gift. And because it is a gift, receiving this gift does not depend on our goodness or badness. Nor do we need to ask or pray for this gift thousands of times, we can only receive it or reject it.

   It is a bit like a person visiting his friends who offer him coffee. His hosts have been willing to give him coffee all the time, but he keeps on asking for it and yet refuses to receive it:

 

I remember an amusing story of a sister who waited for the fullness of the Spirit and always sighed, when God did not fill her. A preacher who prayed for people who wanted the baptism of the Holy Spirit, once visited her congregation. Again, the sister sighed and was left without fullness of the Spirit. Then she asked this preacher and a few friends over to her house for coffee. As she was making coffee the preacher said, "Oh, if only I could get a cup of coffee."

   The sister replied, "Just a moment, brother, this will soon be ready.”

   After a while, the preacher sighed again and said, "Oh, if only I could get a cup of coffee.”

   The sister tried to hurry, put the cups on the table, and poured coffee into the cups. People took their coffee and began to drink, but the preacher sighed deeply and said, "If only I could get a cup of coffee."

   At this point, the sister was already quite irritated and said, "The preacher is welcome to drink; the coffee is already in the cup."

   Then the brother said, "You, sister, you are just like this. The Lord has done everything for you; you only need to receive and the Lord will fill you with the Holy Spirit." This helped the sister; now she understood that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was a gift that can be received without sighing, simply by receiving the perfect gift. Praise the Lord! (4)

 

 FAITH AND FEELINGS

 

 - (Mark 11:24) Therefore I say to you, What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.

 

- (1 John 5:14-15) And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us:

15 And if we know that he hear us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

 

When we receive salvation, it always takes place through faith. We do not necessarily experience any special feelings at the moment we receive it. Nor do we get an assurance of salvation by observing our feelings and ourselves but by looking at the word. The feelings can, of course, follow in their own time.

   The same goes with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. When we have received it, we can be happy, depressed, or sad – our emotions do not matter. It is like having a thousand dollars in our pocket: you have it despite how you feel.

   In addition, when we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit from God, we can thank Him for the gift already in advance. Just like it is polite to thank one’s host for the served goodies at the coffee table, it is certainly also suitable to do so as comes to the gifts of God. One can also place one's own hands on himself and make a note of the exact time when he believed to have received the gift.

  R.A. Torrey told one example of receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit:

 

"Have you then received the baptism of the Holy Spirit?"

"I don't feel it."

"That wasn’t what I asked. Read those verses again!"

   The Bible was open at 1 John 5, and he read the verses 14 and 15, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

   "Wait a moment; was that prayer according to God's will?"

   "Undoubtedly it was.”

   "Did He hear it?”

   "Yes, He did.”

   "Read on.”

   "And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him."

   "So, what do we know?”

   "We know that we have what we asked of Him.”

   "For what have you asked?”

   "The baptism of the Holy Spirit.”

   "Do you have it?”

   "I don't feel it, but if God says so, I must have it.”

   A few days later, I met her again and asked her if she really had received what she had embraced in sincere faith.

   Her face beamed with happiness when she answered, "I have.” (5)

 

THE FEAR OF SOMETHING BEING WRONG. If we are hoping to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands, it is important that we do not allow unreliable persons to do this. (We should not, however, go to extremities in this. Many people think they are great "experts" and wrongly judge real servants of God.) The evil spirits can easily move from one person to another and cause suffering until the person is freed from them.

 

- (James 4:7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 

On the other hand, if one wants to be baptized by the Holy Spirit and has been saved and broken all bonds with, for example, occultism, and brought themselves under the blood of Jesus, there is no fear of any wrong spirits. Jesus Himself said:

 

- (Luke 11:11-13) If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?

12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

 

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PRAYER. When we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it is only the beginning of a new phase of life. It does not make anyone perfect, even though it can assist in spiritual life and ministry.

   On the other hand, when we have for the first time received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we can later be filled with the Holy Spirit even more perfectly. For example, Niilo Yli-Vainio, a famous Finnish preacher whom God used in bringing a revival, received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues for the first time in 1946, but was filled even more powerfully with the Holy Spirit later on, in 1977. One reason for this was that he continually asked and prayed God to give him more power so that people could be saved. God answered his prayers.

   Prayer after being baptized by the Holy Spirit is indeed significant. If one neglects prayer, one can become like a leaking sieve. But if he constantly remains in prayer, he can again be filled with the Holy Spirit, as also happened to the Apostles after the Pentecost:

 

 - (Acts 4:31) And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

 

CAUSE AND EFFECT. When looking for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it is important that we do not turn issues upside-down. Many people have tried to receive the gift of speaking in tongues or other such gifts by "pumping", not understanding that speaking in tongues is a result of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, not the cause. Nobody can speak in tongues God has given him until after the Holy Spirit brings new words to their mind (that is when we should have the courage to open our mouth).

   It is also possible that such speaking in tongues which has been obtained by "pumping" or "forcing it", is not at all a gift given by God but a psychical gift from which one should break away (if someone repeats the same words over and over again thousands of times and finally receives the gift in this manner, it is probably not a gift from God).

   On the other hand, we can question whether speaking in tongues is the only result of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Even though during the time of the Apostles it was the most common sign, and is still worth praying for, we cannot say that it always followed the baptism of the Holy Spirit:

 

 - (1 Cor 12:8,10,11) For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

11 But all these works that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

 

- (1 Cor 12:30) Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

 

R.A. Torrey, who wrote the book Pyhän Hengen kaste (The Baptism with the Holy Spirit), noted that in his time, in the 1800s, there were hardly any people speaking in tongues, even though many had experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He said:

 

When I examined the baptism of the Holy Spirit earlier I noticed that in many cases those who were baptized "spoke in tongues", which raised a question: "If a person has been baptized with the Holy Spirit, does he not then speak in tongues?” But I did not meet anyone who would have spoken in tongues, and so I often wondered if there is any such person these days who has really been baptized by the Holy Spirit. (6)

 

 

                                                             

REFERENCES:

 

1. Niilo Yli-Vainio: Sinä voit täyttyä Pyhällä Hengellä, back cover

2. R.A. Torrey: Pyhän Hengen kaste (The Baptism with the Holy Spirit)

3. Watchman Nee: Elämän rikkaus Kristuksessa (THE NORMAL CHRISTIAN LIFE), p.52

4. Niilo Yli-Vainio: Sinä voit täyttyä Pyhällä Hengellä, p.30

5. R.A. Torrey:  Pyhän Hengen kaste (The Baptism with the Holy Spirit), p.60,61

6. Same, p.16

 

  

More on this topic:

Be renewed in prayer! Prayer is the key to revival. All great revivals have come forth through enduring prayer. Read about this important topic and start praying

Weaknesses of the church. The church has many weaknesses, such as a small prayer, a small commitment to human relationships, or a lack of desire to advance the gospel.

ABC of missionary work. Eternity, hell, and heaven still exist. The goal of missionary work should be for people to be saved and to come in contact with God

Gifts studied. Spiritual gifts, or gifts of grace should be sought so that people get help. If a person does not feel his own weakness, he can be proud of the use of gifts

Deception number one. Separation of spirits or spiritual blindness? Learn how all believers may err in their judgments, even though they may consider themselves observant

How to react to different phenomena? Are the phenomena in the church of the Holy Spirit, of man himself, or of the devil? Internal change is one criterion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life

 

 

  

 

Grap to eternal life!

 

More on this topic:

Be renewed in prayer! Prayer is the key to revival. All great revivals have come forth through enduring prayer. Read about this important topic and start praying

Weaknesses of the church. The church has many weaknesses, such as a small prayer, a small commitment to human relationships, or a lack of desire to advance the gospel.

ABC of missionary work. Eternity, hell, and heaven still exist. The goal of missionary work should be for people to be saved and to come in contact with God

Gifts studied. Spiritual gifts, or gifts of grace should be sought so that people get help. If a person does not feel his own weakness, he can be proud of the use of gifts

Deception number one. Separation of spirits or spiritual blindness? Learn how all believers may err in their judgments, even though they may consider themselves observant

How to react to different phenomena? Are the phenomena in the church of the Holy Spirit, of man himself, or of the devil? Internal change is one criterion