A power source, that has capabilities beyond human comprehension, has been made available to all who have accepted Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. When it is properly understood and utilized, it has limitless capability and power. This power source is the Holy Spirit that was promised in numerous scriptures and actually given to us in Acts 2:1-3 “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven like a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.”
The very next verse begins the controversy that has sadly resulted in a large number of believers turning their back on the Holy Spirit’s manifestation gifts and the power that goes with them. Acts 2:4 “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Please bear with me and look beyond the issue of “tongues” for a moment. My belief is that the scripture shows us that, like water baptism, there is an additional step that follows our salvation that is optional and acquired through our own volition. Just like water baptism is an optional act of obedience to our Lord, seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit is also optional and is acquired by choice. Neither water baptism or the baptism of the Holy Spirit have any bearing on our salvation which is by faith and not of works.
The Holy Spirit baptizes us into the body of Christ (the Church) when we accept Christ as Lord and Savior. John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” If this act caused the disciples to receive the Holy Ghost, then what was the day of Pentecost for? This act, performed by Jesus Himself, was the baptism INTO the body of Christ. Since Christ’s ascension, it occurs simultaneously with our act of repentance and acceptance of Christ — unlike prior to Christ’s ascension, where we read, in John 7:39, “But this spake 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.”
Another Scripture that discusses the indwelling of the Spirit upon salvation is Romans 8:9 “But ye 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. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
These same disciples, along with another hundred or so individuals, received another and very different baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The baptism that was promised by Jesus in Acts 1:4 “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”
The importance of waiting for this next step is also conveyed in Luke 24:49, “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.”
The purpose of this baptism is also detailed in Acts 1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
What evidence do we have that there was power endued with the baptism of the Spirit that occurred on the day of Pentecost? The first documented miracle that was performed by a disciple occurred after the baptism of the Holy Spirit when Peter healed the lame man in Acts 3:6-7 “Then Peter said Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up; and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.”
Once we have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, there are innumerable opportunities for us to pray with power, in the Spirit, using prayer language. I once belonged to a church denomination whose doctrine summarily rejected prayer language or “speaking in tongues.” That same church denomination also preached, ineffectively, to me for a number of years but never managed to lead me to salvation. I knew everything there was to know about being born again, but had never really come to know the Lord. Consequently, my life never changed. I praise God that, not only did He reach me through another denomination, changing my life forever, but I have been endued with a power that gives me boldness and a mighty arsenal of Spiritual gifts that make me effective in carrying out the great commission.
How do you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit? The first step is acknowledging that the baptism is real. Once you have passed that hurdle, it is simply a matter of asking the Lord to give it to you. The scripture shows that the baptism can be received by prayer and the laying on of hands, or in other cases, through simple prayer as in Acts 10:44 “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.” As for the evidence of receiving the Spirit being proven by the ability to speak in tongues, there is much opportunity for discussion. One thing that I consider very important is the way the Lord works in and speaks to His children. Pentecostal denominations (of which I am a member) tend to create the expectation that the Lord is going to seize control of your tongue and that you may not be able to stop speaking in this strange language even though you may want to. Not necessarily! I found that the new words of my prayer language were given to me in a manner very similar to the small still voice that orders my steps when I am smart enough to listen to it.
I had been seeking the baptism of the Spirit, unsuccessfully, for some time. Even though I had experienced increased boldness, evangelical ability and other changes in my Christian life after the very first prayer for me, I felt rejected and thought I had not received because I had never spoken in “tongues.” One day, however, while driving home and praying out loud, I realized that strange words and syllables were silently popping into my head in a manner very similar to the small still voice of the Lord. For some reason, I just started trying to say them and the next thing I knew, it had flourished into a loud, clear language. As I continued to speak the words, I felt a warm sensation start in my belly that spread over my entire body. I was able to start and stop speaking in the language at will.
Now there are times when I will be praying in English and a word, or group of words, will creep in that is part of my prayer language. There are also times when I willingly release control to the Holy Spirit in intercession and the language rolls out continuously. I find that I can speak it with loud music playing even though I can’t hear a word that I’m saying.
There is a need for the body of Christ to be fully powered and ready for the enemy. There are desperate needs that must be met, but the body of Christ isn’t running under full power. Just for a moment, please consider that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is something that is required in order to maximize the potential for all believers — just as it was for the disciples. Also consider that the scripture clearly shows that the disciples received the Holy Spirit when Christ gave it to them in John 20:19, then He then told them to wait in Jerusalem for the coming baptism of the Holy Spirit which would provide them with the power they needed.
Please pray this prayer.
Father, I know that you promised to give us the power that we need to be bold and to do your work. I know that power comes through the baptism of the Holy Spirit and I ask you for that gift now, in the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. I thank you for this gift and for the blessings that you have provided. In Jesus’ precious and holy name, Amen.