The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is one of more fascinating subjects in the New Testament.
It was the first major experience that the disciples of Jesus received after He ascended into Heaven. Upon receiving this wonderful experience the New Testament Church was originated.
The disciples had gone forth in explosive power giving witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the preaching of the kingdom of God after they received this wonderful experience.
My purpose in this lesson is to allow the Scriptures to speak for themselves concerning this wonderful truth, which will show us the reality of how this experience was received by the early disciples and how God wants us as 21st century New Testament believers to receive this experience as well.
3.1 Different Baptisms
There are different baptisms mentioned in the Scripture. Which are John’s baptism (Acts 1:4), Christian baptism (Matthew 28:19), Baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12: 13), Baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5), baptism in the sea, baptism in the clouds (1 Corinthians 10:1-2), and baptism of suffering (Luke 12: 50). We should identify the difference between these baptisms. John’s baptism was baptism of repentance (Acts 19:4). Christian baptism is water baptism of a believer (Romans 6:3, 4). Baptisms in the sea and in the clouds prefigure the baptism of a believer in water and baptism in the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 10: 1-3). Baptism of suffering is mentioned by Jesus Christ, through which he indicated his suffering on the cross (Luke 12:50).
Some yet claim that there is another baptism known as “Baptism in Fire”. There are two references which direct us to think about this baptism. “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one more powerful than I … He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:11. “John answered them all, ‘I baptize with water … He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Luke 3: 15 – 16. These are the two references which speak of Baptism in fire. But in the Gospel of Mark 1: 8 we do not see about baptism of fire. When Jesus commands to the disciples about the baptism in the Holy Spirit, he does not refer about it, Acts 1: 4, 5. Even Peter reminds this same verse in Acts 11: 15, where he does not say anything of this baptism. When we go through the entire New Testament books we see any other references regarding this topic except in Mathew 3:11 and Luke 3:15, 16. If Baptism in fire is an imperative doctrine definitely it would have been explained in the Epistles by the Apostles. Since they are silent we have to analyze these verses profoundly.
Some regard these baptisms - Baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire - as two distinct baptisms, one for the believers and the other for the unbelievers. According to them Mathew 3:12 and Luke 3:17 are their supporting verses. When we read those verses we do not see any baptisms, but it speaks about the eternal judgement of the unbelievers. Here in this occasion, John the Baptist is not speaking to the unbelievers but to them who were baptized by him, Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16. “I baptize you with water for repentance.” This statement obviously refers to the believers who are baptized by him. To them he says that you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire. Hence this baptism is not for unbelievers but for the believers only.
Now our question is whether a believer has these two baptisms or not. As I have stated above, if this baptism in the fire is a distinct doctrine it would have been stated elsewhere in the Epistles. But the Epistles are silent in this regard. Some claim that these two experiences are received at the same time. They quote from Acts 2: 2 to support this view. At Pentecost when 120 received the baptism in the Holy Spirit “they saw what seemed to be tongues of fire”. But it does not say that that was fire but seemed to be fire; hence it cannot be taken as baptism of fire.
Then what does it refer? When we learn the Greek grammar we should understand the difference in the use of Noun and Adjective. The ending of both noun and adjective are the same in Greek. Let me state here an example in English. “Golden Cup” Here Cup is a noun and golden is an adjective. Adjective golden has ending ‘en’, which differentiates the noun Cup, which has no ending. But in Greek it would be as ‘Cup gold’. Both have the same ending. Due to this we may be confused that these both are nouns. Moreover in the original Manuscript there is no ‘and’ in between these nouns. It is simply as “Holy Spirit Fire” The conjunction ‘and’ is added later. So the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and Fire are not two different Baptisms. One is the adjective of the other. Fire here is used as the adjective, hence it is one baptism i.e. baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a different and distinct experience from baptism of the Holy Spirit or Salvation. Some are confused with these two. But the scripture makes it crystal clear that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a second blessing from Salvation. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is more than just being born again of the Holy Spirit. It is a total infilling of The Holy Spirit. The very word baptism means to be fully whelmed or immersed as in water baptism. In water baptism a person is fully immersed into water and in Spirit baptism a person is fully immersed into the Spirit of God.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a divine experience foretold in the Old Testament (Joel 2: 28, 29), prophesied by John the Baptist (Mark 1:8), commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 1:4, 5), fulfilled on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:33), existed in the early church (Acts 11:15) and is available this day to everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38, 39). When a believer comes under the total influence of the Holy Spirit first, that initial experience is known as baptism in the Holy Spirit. We accept the Lord as our Saviour by the work of the Holy Spirit, and at the same time Holy Spirit indwells in us. 1 Corinthians 12:3, “… and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” Though Holy Spirit indwells in him, He does not have any control in him. But when a believer is baptized in the Holy Spirit by the Lord Jesus Christ, he comes under the total control and influence of the Holy Spirit. This is a second blessing. It can be illustrated like this. If we fill a glass with water, water is there inside the glass, but the water has no influence or control in the glass. But when we immerse this glass and water in a very large pool, the glass looses it control, rather the water controls the glass. This is what takes place in a believer when he is baptized in the Holy Spirit.
3.3 The time of Baptism in the Holy Spirit
It is an experience that is subsequent to the new birth. We find many solid evidences in the scriptures that the Holy Spirit baptism is a second blessing after the blessing of salvation. Following references will prove the fact.
1. Acts 1: 4, 5, “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John Baptized you with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” The disciples of Jesus were saved or their names were written in heaven (Luke 10:20); they were baptized (Acts 1:4, 5); they were clean, because they heard the word (John 15:3). Yet they had to wait for the promise of the Father, which is the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49). So Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a different experience from Salvation.
2. Acts 2:38, “Peter replied, repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. Here we see repentance, baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit as three distinct and subsequent experiences. Hence it is clear that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a second blessing after salvation.
3. Acts 8: 12- 17, “But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women … When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” From this verse it is clear that the Samarians believed Jesus Christ, accepted the word of God and they were baptized, but they did not receive the Holy Spirit. When the apostles from Jerusalem laid hands upon them and prayed they received the Holy Spirit. Hence it is clear that baptism in the Holy Spirit is a distinct experience from Salvation.
4. Acts 10: 44 – 48, “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even unto the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water?” The household of Cornelius heard the message means they accepted it. Then they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Afterwards they were baptised in water. Here we see accepting the word i.e. salvation, receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, and water baptism are three distinct experience. It is clear that receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit is subsequent experience from salvation.
5. Acts 19: 1 -4, “While Apollos was at Corinth; Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit after you believed?’ They answered, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ So Paul asked, ‘Then what baptism did you receive?’ ‘John’s baptism,’ they replied. Paul said, ‘John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance….On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.” Paul asked the believers at Ephesus whether they received the Holy Spirit after they believed. Paul rectifies that the reception of the Holy Spirit is only after believing the Lord Jesus Christ. Since they had received John’s Baptism they did not hear about the Holy Spirit. If it was Christian baptism definitely they might have heard the name of the Holy Spirit, hence Christian baptism is in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Later they were baptized in water and Paul placed his hands upon them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. From this incident it is clear that the Holy Spirit baptism is a subsequent experience from salvation.
6. Acts 9:5, 17-18, “Who are you Lord? Saul asked, I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” “Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, said ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here – has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again, He got up and was baptized.” Paul accepted Jesus as Lord on the way to Damascus. After three days Ananias came to him and placed hand on him to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Then he got up and was baptized. In this incident also we see Salvation, receiving the Holy Spirit and baptism in water are three distinct experiences and receiving the Holy Spirit is a subsequent experience from Salvation.
From these six legitimate evidences it is proved obviously that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a different and distinct experience from salvation.
3.4 The Evidence of Having Received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Now we come to the next never ending argument on the initial physical evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit. How do we recognize a person who is baptized in the Holy Spirit? Is there any tangible physical evidence to recognize one’s baptism in the Holy Spirit? Surely there will be some visible physical evidences to recognize one’s baptism in the Holy Spirit. It can be identified by a Tangible Supernatural Sign. God gives a tangible supernatural sign in our body. Your tongue will speak a language you have never learned. This is called "speaking in tongues". We shall see some of the solid Biblical references to prove that speaking in tongues is the universal, initial, physical evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.......