As we have looked over the doctrine of baptisms, we have learned the definition of the word "baptize" and studied three of the four baptisms mentioned in the New Testament. We learned about the baptism of suffering experienced by Jesus, the baptism of John the Baptist, and Christian baptism in water.
When I started writing this sermon I realized I may have bitten off a little more than I could chew; so we are going to have our work cut out for us as we tackle the fourth baptism spoken of in the New Testament which is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Because there is just soooo much to cover regarding this baptism I am going to break it into two parts. Today we will look at what the baptism of the Holy Spirit is, and next time we will look at the fruits of this baptism; the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
This is only an introduction to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. I hope to do a series of sermons detailing what Scripture tells us of the Holy Spirit later on this year.
After the resurrection and prior to His return to Heaven, Jesus gave important instructions to His followers. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49) The promise to which Jesus referred was the Holy Spirit. Jesus had spoken of this previously to His followers.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever--the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:16-18) One of the main purposes of the Holy Spirit is given in this passage, “to comfort believers.” But the Bible gives many other purposes for the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.
The Holy Spirit is to fill and baptize him, (Acts 2:4) Dwell in him, (I Corinthians 6:19) Unite him in one spirit with God and other believers, (I Corinthians 6:17) Pray for him, (Romans 8:26) Guide him, (John 16:13) Show the love of Christ to him and through him, (Romans 5:5) Conform him to the image of Christ, (II Corinthians 3:18), Reveal Biblical truth to him, (I Corinthians 2:10), Teach him, (John 14:26) Inspire him to true worship, (John 4:24) Strengthen him, (Ephesians 3:16) Quicken him, (Romans 8:11) Sanctify him, (II Thessalonians 2:13-14) Change him, (Titus 3:5) Convict him when he does wrong, (John 16:8-11) Give assurance of salvation, (Romans 8:16) Give him liberty, (Romans 8:2) Speak through him, (Mark 13:11) Demonstrate God's power, (I Corinthians 2:4) Give him power to witness, (Acts 1:8) and Inspire him to worship, (John 4:24).
The Holy Spirit has many purposes in the lives of believers, but the main purpose and true evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit is to make the Christian a powerful witness for the Gospel. 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. (Acts 1:8)
The evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was present immediately in the life of the Apostle Peter. Before the Day of Pentecost he had fearfully denied that he knew Jesus. After his baptism in the Holy Spirit, Peter stood and gave a powerful witness to the Gospel that resulted in the salvation of 3,000 people. It was the power of the Holy Spirit in the early church that resulted in the spread of the Gospel throughout the world. The book of Acts is a record of this powerful witness which was evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit.
A number of denominations do not acknowledge this baptism, and if this sermon conflicts with your personal belief then please except my apologies. There are however, seven passages in the New Testament where the word "baptize" is used in relation to the Holy Spirit. Four of these are the words of John the Baptist recorded in the Gospels for example in John 1:33.
I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' (John 1:33)
Jesus himself also spoke of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:5) When Peter spoke of events which took place in the home of Cornelius, he quoted the words of Jesus. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' (Acts 11:16) Paul also used the word "baptize" in relation to the Holy Spirit. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. (I Corinthians 12:13)
The Holy Spirit came down from Heaven on the disciples on the day of Pentecost and completely immersed [or baptized] them in the Holy Spirit. Peter said this experience was the fulfillment of God's promise: "In the last days...I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh." This promise was given in Joel 2:28. In all forms, baptism is an outward confirmation of an inward spiritual condition.
One of the most common objections is that every Christian receives the Holy Spirit when he is converted and does not need any further experience to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But consider the examples of people in the New Testament who were true believers. The apostles had repented of their sins and believed Jesus was the Messiah. They had witnessed personally and accepted as true the facts of His death, burial, and resurrection; yet Jesus told His followers, I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49) For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:5)
The promised experience of being baptized in the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:4)
The people of Samaria had heard the Gospel preached. They had believed and been baptized. But they had not received the Holy Spirit. 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 8:14-17)
In Acts 19:1-6 Paul describes how he went to Ephesus and met people described as "disciples.” The first question Paul asked was, "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" If people received the baptism of the Holy Spirit when they received salvation it would be foolish of Paul to ask this question. The fact that he asked it makes it clear people become believers in Christ without receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Even if a person receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the same time he is converted, it is a separate experience from salvation.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit has been operative throughout eternity. The Old Testament speaks of the Holy Spirit coming on Israel's spiritual leaders. The Holy Spirit is also operative in the life of a sinner to bring him to Christ. But this is different than being filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus made that clear when He said: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever-- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17) The Holy Spirit was with the disciples at that time, but not yet in them. They were filled [baptized] with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
The Holy Spirit is WITH the sinner to draw him to Jesus Christ. But this is not the same as being IN the believer. The Holy Spirit was with the spiritual leaders of Old Testament times. But He was not yet in them. This is the difference between the Old and New Testament ministries of the Holy Spirit.
Some believers do not seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit because they are afraid they will receive an experience that is not of God. But the Bible says: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11)
If a believer seeks God for a gift, just like a good earthly Father, God will not let him receive anything that will harm him. Conversion frees man's emotions from the control of sin. It redirects these emotions to worship of God. In Acts 13:52 we read that "the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Spirit."
Some people react with great emotion to the joy which comes with the baptism of the Holy Spirit because they are naturally more emotional than others. No matter how one reacts emotionally to the joy this experience brings, we should not criticize those who have joyful emotional reactions to the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells of emotional reactions by those who had a powerful experience with God. People trembled, fell prostrate on the ground, shouted, rejoiced, and danced before God.
The Psalmist David presents a picture of joyful, loud, emotional worship of God.
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. (Psalms 95:1-3)
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD. (Psalms 150:3-6)
You do not have to fear that the baptism in the Holy Spirit will cause you to do something improper or lose control of yourself.
The Bible says: The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. (I Corinthians 14:32)
This means that any gift God gives is subject to the wise control of the user.
God does nothing improper.
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people. (I Corinthians 14:33)
Next time we will be concluding our VERY brief look at the baptism of the Holy Spirit with a glance at the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
I know we have spent 4 sermons covering this subject but trust me when I say we are only scratching the surface when it comes to the Holy Spirit.
In seminary they have whole courses dedicated to this and even have a special term for the study of the Holy Ghost: “Pneumatology,” which comes from the Greek word pneumatos, which can mean Spirit, air, breath or wind.
For today let us end with this prayer.
Lord, guide us in the study of Your word. Give us peace in our hearts and open us to the gift that is Your presence. Thank You Abba Father for this time together and the continued blessing and fulfillment it brings. Amen.