The Baptism of the Holy Spirit in the Church

Catherine Marshall’s books were really hitting home to me.  Chapter by chapter I was identifying with the problems she faced and solutions that the Lord was giving her.  I did not know what the outcome would be, but, I did know He was leading me down a path of discovery.

Her last book that I read did not disappoint.  It was revealed to her why her friends could sense the Spirits’ leading throughout the day, read the Word with greater understanding and ‘get a hold’ of God in so many areas of their lives.  Catherine Marshall needed the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the Lord was telling me I did too. 

When we are born again we inherit eternal life and receive the Holy Spirit-sealed within our spirit.

Ephesians 1:13  And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,

Many Pentecostal or Charismatic believers (traditional names for those who receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit) mistakenly say their non Pentecostal brothers do not have the Holy Spirit.  As the above scripture indicates nothing could be further from the truth.

What I did not have however as a Christian for 12 years was what the Bible calls the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Matt: 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

The scriptures indicate that there is a provision from God after salvation that is especially designed for believers.   The Father has a life changing experience for the lost-the cross of Christ.  He also has a life changing experience for believers-the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. We know the greatest gift He can give to the world is to share His presence and glory with others. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is  giving us the ability to receive Him in a greater realm.

Let’s look at some verses in His word that demonstrate Christians receiving this gift from God.

Acts 1:5-8 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”…..But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Jesus talking to His disciples 

Luke 24:49 I am going to send you to what my Father has promised, but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.

Acts: 8:14-17 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 that 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.

Acts 19:2-6 and (Paul) asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when 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. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”   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.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit brings a greater manifestation of God into our lives and to the congregation as a whole.  We can read our Bible with greater understanding and our prayers become more intense (see related articles, Prayer with the Holy Spirit and Baptism of the Holy Spirit-site map).  Everything from your counseling techniques to the way you worship in church will change.  His presence becomes greater, so there is more ‘break through power’ over sin and sickness.  Those needing emotional healing can now receive a touch from Him as never before.   He also enables us with His new spiritual gifts when we receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12, I Cor. 14).

Many Pentecostal brothers mistakenly say it is just about the extra gifts like tongues, healing etc.  While His Spirit filled gifts are an important part of this provision from God, like spokes in a bicycle wheel, these gifts are just one aspect the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. 

Personal Note:  As mentioned in other articles, for 12 years I spoke against the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. What I observed in most Charismatic churches was ‘Charisma’.  There was an incredible lack of maturity and self interest abounded.  These same churches in the media also emphasized the ‘prosperity message’, something that I knew was blown out of context in His Word.  I did not want what they demonstrated and tragically I believe the lost do not either. Gods’ love and order should always be present in church services, and sadly this was not the case. When they came into a local restaurant many exhibited a spirit that was brash and focused on self.  When I did finally receive  this provision from God, I discovered Paul had the exact same problem with Pentecostal brothers in Corinth.  The greatest chapter on love is ‘sandwiched’ between correcting charisma brothers on their walk and use of the His spiritual gifts.  (I Cor. 12-14)  See site map-Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

While Christians can tarnish their witness for Christ, they can never tarnish Christ.  He has given His bride a extremely important way to accomplish His purpose for the Kingdom of God, and we need to pursue it.
Jesus says

John 5:19 I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

 In very clear terms Jesus proclaims that the only way He can do the works of God is to have ‘spiritual’ revelation. How much more do we need Gods ‘gift of the Spirit’ that specifically brings Gods light, power and revelation to His church.   (see Praying with the Holy Spirit).

With Gods’ insight, Jesus supernaturally gave a ‘word of knowledge’ to the Samaritan women (one of the gifts of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit- 1 Cor.12:8).  He spoke of her life with  5 husbands and how she is now with a man who is not her husband.  He then showed loving acceptance and shared water from her cup (the Jews despised the Samaritans).  With this divine insight, many in that town came to the knowledge of the truth.  John. 4:7-42

 John 4:42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit and His supernatural gifts, we might have been ‘kind’ and shared our cup with the woman from Samaria.  Nice, but the results would not have eternally changed the lives of many in that town. 

There are numerous scriptures that tell us how the gifts of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit  changed thousands of lives.  Lets look at Gods Word and see how this will also change your life.

-Because believers used the gifts of tongues to foreigners in their native language(Acts 2:8), three thousand were converted to Christ (Acts 2:41).  See also Isaiah 28:11, Baptism of H.S.-Tongues in Scripture

-Jesus used miracles to proclaim the Spirits authenticity as the finger of God.  Whole towns believed (Luke 11:20, 19:37, John 10:25 & 38).  Miracles is one of the power gifts of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:10, also see Kenneth Hagan –Resource list). 

-All of Jerusalem was astonished by the miraculous healing of the cripple by the Apostles  Acts 14:16

Acts 5:12-16 The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Salomon’s Colonnade…more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.  As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.   Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.

When we read the above scripture it says ‘As a result’.  In other words,  Jerusalem was ‘awaken’  and all neighboring towns sought out God’s elect because of miraculous signs provided by the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  They not only received their miracle, but also heard the gospel of salvation by the apostles.  We have to ‘grab hold’ of  everything the Lord has for His church.

Note: We do not pursue miracles, we pursue God.  Miracles are a result of pursuing God and this Holy provision for believers.

-The Holy Spirit will aid you in your prayers, taking your request before the throne of God. I Cor. 14

-The Holy Spirit will also move in your services to supernaturally convict the lost and encourage the believers (I Cor. 14Baptism of H.S.-Tongues in Scripture).

The most important directives in the Word were taught by the Lord before He ascended to His Father.  He told His disciples to preach the Gospel to all creation and theses signs will validate the Gospel.  Speaking in new Tongues, driving out demons, healing the sick by laying on the hands and general signs (miracles) will confirm you are from me. Mark 16:15-20

  These are all gifts of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit I Cor. 12: 7-11.  It is time to put our teachings aside and let the Lord dictate what is important. 

Final Note:

Many of you may share some of the preconceived ideas I had about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

1) It was for the early church only.  I was talking with a brother a while ago that thought this way.  He had excellent scriptural recall.  I prayed, Lord-I have met my match-You will have to give me the verses and knowledge to defend your truth.  He did not waste time.  With a determination that bordered on a righteous anger-He proclaimed His truth.  He said ‘tell –by name- that the gifts of the Spirit will finish when I say they finish, and not before. He then gave me these verses.  In 1 Cor. 13:1-9, Paul discussed the spiritual gifts in light of our walk in love…also mentioned is how the gifts  will ‘pass away’.  In verse 10 he says ‘but when perfection comes (our abode in heaven), the imperfect disappears’ (the gifts of the Spirit on earth)… 12 (this will happen when) we shall see Him face to face.

The gifts cease when we are face to face with the Lord , when all gifts (eternal life) radiate through His glory.  On earth however, the ‘Spirit filled’ gifts are a Holy manifestation of God.  When Jesus used the gift of miracles (one of the power gifts of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit 1 Cor 12:10) He was saying it validated His calling from God (John. 15:24).  The Lord loves His children, but speaking against Gods Holy manifestation is a hazardous occupation (John. 15:24,  John. 10:25 & 38,  Matt: 11:20) .  I would not want to stand before the Lord and be found guilty that I taught this great provision for His bride ceased before it’s appointed time.

2) The Pentecostal churches in America are not that much different anyway.    Friends-I cannot argue.  You are right.  When I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, I wanted to attend Pentecostal churches that brought down the Fear of the Lord-and all the miracles with them. 

Until we fear His name and pursue the Kingdom of God – His purpose for the church, we will be stuck in neutral.  (see site map-Kingdom of God).

I also have to look at myself honestly.  He shows me my weakness and areas of needed improvement- more than I would like to mention.  The most important part of our life however is do what is right at this moment, and pursue truth.  Without the Baptism of fire, my life would seem empty and void.  Let’s please the Father and receive this truth to accomplish His task for a desperate world!

3)  It does not make that much difference.  This thinking cannot be further from Gods’ truth. 

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit can be summarized by bringing His holy presence down to earth.  As all the above scripture teaches us, this will cause the lost to be saved and the righteous to receive the greatest gifts of the universe-more of Him. (see Tongues in Scripture-site map)

We are Gods ‘doctors’ to the lost.  It is a serious issue to withhold the Lords medicine. This provision will aid His children and gets the attention of the lost.  I would never attempt to deal with drug addiction or any serious emotional problems without giving the ‘wounded’ this needed provision from God.
Note:  I personally needed this Gift from God to overcome problems from childhood. Counselors are great, but His touch is mightier than all!

As the above scriptures indicate, giving the gospel in His power and light (by the Baptism of the Holy Spirit) will give a greater harvest for lost souls and increase His presence within the church. We all have a God given right to view these scriptures as we think best, however, not humbly crying out to Him for His truth is allowing ‘self’ to withhold life giving light.

One example-

Like many of you reading this article, we wanted to find a church where the Spirit of God moved without the Charisma (emotionalism) that has plagued many Pentecostal services.  In our quest, we visited a church that did not apply the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Leadership obviously did not know how to bring in the presence of God.  If this was a Christian service in a Muslim country, there would be a possibility that the problem was a sincere ignorance.  In the US however, we have to ‘work’ at avoiding this provision from God.  In other words, a pastor in our country has to deal with the ‘Pentecostal’ issue almost on a weekly basis.  Quite simply, we will be exposed to this by the Christian media, or people will ask why these gifts are not in your service.  Not providing the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in America takes effort. 

To say this saddened me is an understatement.  This Pastor probably never considered the seriousness of his great error.  The Word says no one can come to the Jesus unless the Spirit draws him. ( John 6:44).  Instead of the presence of God doing what only God can do, we had more of the presence of man-and this is tragic.  Yes, we can get saved at a bar.  The word teaches us though that the greater the manifestation of the Spirit  in our lives and services, the greater are the works of God.  The Spirit was limited to human efforts-instead of being able to touch us with His Holy presence.  To change lives-the lives of our loved ones-we need more of divine presence, not mans   (2 Cor. 4:4-6).

 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [5]  For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. [6]  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Almost all Christians that are praying before the Lord are sensing that the church needs more of Him now!  Later may be too late.  Now is the time to forsake our old traditions and follow Him in a new realm.  It is never too late to reach out to Him. 

God bless you as you pursue this truth.

Note:  Please see related article on receiving His Gift-site map-Baptism of the Holy Spirit

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