“I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’” John 1:33
So before I say anything at all, I want to make something clear from scripture. Jesus is the one who baptizes people in the Holy Spirit.
So what is the baptism of the Holy Spirit? A lot of people are freaked out, because they just think it’s a bunch of people in a room speaking in tongues. What is it? Is it tongues? What’s the point then if it’s tongues? I think a lot of people probably do think it’s just tongues. Speaking in other tongues ends up being thought of as a negative, or useless. I want to take you through the word and show you that not only are tongues very important, but also that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is much more than tongues. Don’t throw out the good of what God does, just because people have abused it.
“I already have the Holy Spirit”
It’s been said a lot by people “but I already have the Holy Spirit.” It is true that the Holy Spirit lives in every believer, but he doesn’t rest upon every believer. “So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
If Jesus said “Receive the Holy Spirit”, did they receive him? Of course they did! This was right after His resurrection, so this was their born-again experience. They received Holy Spirit and became new creations. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Then Jesus says to them in Acts 1; (which is right before He ascends to the Father) “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”” Acts 1:4-5
As you can see, Jesus is mentioning two different experiences. He further clarifies what he is talking about and why it is important in the next few verses. “Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”” Acts 1:6-8
So it’s clear in scripture that these are two distinctly different experiences. (I personally believe they should happen close together.) The Lord Jesus showed us that this baptism is given for power, to be a witness. This is how we’re going to change the world. I was excited about Jesus before I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but it got a whole lot more intense after I received it. I began to walk in more boldness and in faith. Faith scares people. I’m not talking about “the Faith” here, as it says in the word. I’m talking about the attitude of faith. The position to believe God for crazy things. Taking him at his word. It makes people who are in unbelief so uncomfortable.
If you stand next to a fire you only have two options:
Get uncomfortable and run away,
Or stand next to the fire long enough to be set on fire yourself.
“Unbelief has to do everything it can to get belief out of the room to feel better about being unbelief.” –Todd White
I want to have an insatiable appetite for God. I want to be in love with Him every day. This baptism of the Holy Spirit was so important to Jesus, He didn’t even start His ministry without it! Now, if Jesus needed it before He started His ministry, what makes us think we can go without it?
Tongues for everyone
I’m going to start this part off by making a controversial statement;
Speaking in other tongues is foundational for all of the other gifts of the Spirit.
It is true that you can walk in any of the gifts without speaking in tongues, but it is one of the most useful ways to “stir yourself up”. Fanning into flame the gift inside of you. “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” 2 Timothy 1:6
When I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, along with tongues, the other gifts came alive after praying in the Spirit often. I began to see more healings, I received words of knowledge, and had an increase in the gift of faith. I began to hear God’s voice more clearly, I began to walk more closely in His presence. This is not super Christianity, it’s normal Christianity.
When most Christians think of tongues, they think of the crazy people. They think of the ones who all speak in tongues during a service and think “what is going on, why did I come here? These people are nuts!” Then they read 1 Corinthians 14 and conclude that those people are not from God because there’s no interpreter, and too many of them are speaking in tongues at once. Paul never said the Corinthians weren’t from God. Actually, he affirmed that they were, in the first section of his letter. “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Corinthians 1:4-7
He affirms that God is working in their lives. Then he later states, when he rebukes them for using the gifts disorderly; “God is not the author of confusion”. He was reminding them that if they know that God does not author confusion, they will use the gifts in a sensible way. Ok, does that mean you shouldn’t speak in tongues? Or only when there is an interpreter? No! Obviously you don’t just run around speaking in tongues so loud that everyone can hear, but you should be doing it all the time! “I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.” 1 Corinthians 14:5
Paul says it right here! Two things you should notice. First, he said “I wish you all spoke with tongues”. Tongues are a great gift! You edify your spirit! But he also stated that it would be better if you had an interpreter for the purpose of edifying the church. So what is the purpose of tongues? Edification! Building yourself, and everyone around you, up! It’s not to sound cool, it’s not to seem more spiritual. Tongues are for edification.
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,”
I have been really nervous to pray for someone before, and I remember this gift. I very quietly speak in tongues to myself and then proceed to pray for the person. I find it really helps you focus on God and not the problem.
“How do I receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit?”
There are two primary ways that God gives the baptism of the Holy Spirit in scripture.
“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!”” Luke 11:13
Ask God to give it to you, pray and wait until you feel it rise in you, and speak. He doesn’t control your tongue. Remember what it says in Acts 2; “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:4
Notice how it states that they spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance. He doesn’t control your mouth! Yes he gives you the words, but you will speak. Remember, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not for tongues, tongues are the sign that shows you have received it. Have people received it without speaking in tongues? Yes, but the Bible way always has the accompanying sign of tongues.
2. Laying on of hands
“And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”
Get someone you know and trust who has the baptism of the Holy Spirit to pray for you to receive it. Receive with an open heart. If you know me, contact me. I’d love to pray for you.
Following Jesus, not our experience
This is all Jesus’s idea. We are following Him. We are not following a doctrine, or a denomination. We are following Jesus. Let’s do this with an open and humble heart. Realizing that we don’t know it all. We are only scratching the surface.