BAPTISM OF THE
Many people may have had an experience like that of the little girl who heard the Holy Ghost (as the Holy Spirit is sometimes called) mentioned in church from time to time, but so vaguely and infrequently she could only guess what sort of ghost this might be. So one day, when she ventured down into the dark furnace room in the church's cellar, she decided with a child's firm logic that this spooky place must be where the Holy Ghost lurked.
The fact is, adult believers often act as if the Holy Spirit really was hiding in the church cellar. They may know something about the Holy Spirit, but they don't know Him personally or realize that He is God in the same way the Son and the Father are God. When they read the Bible, many people are surprised to find that the Holy Spirit was at the very dawn of time: "The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." (Genesis 1:2), and many are amazed to find out there are approximately 100 references to the Holy Spirit throughout the Old and New Testaments.
Nevertheless, the Spirit's role is fundamental both to creation and the life of the believer. When a person comes to Jesus Christ, he or she receives Christ into their heart. The Spirit of God comes and joins with the spirit of the believer. This "indwelling Spirit" reproduces the life of Jesus in the believer's life. More on the "indwelling Spirit" here.
WHAT THEN IS THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT?
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an empowering for service that takes place in the life of the Christian (Acts 1:5-8). In it we are immersed in the Spirit's life and power.
To illustrate, if we drank water from a glass, then the water would be inside us. However, if we went to the beach and stepped into the ocean, then we would be in the water. We receive, as it were, a drink of the Holy Spirit when we are saved, but when we are baptized in the Spirit, it is as if that initial drink becomes an ocean that completely surrounds us.
Just as the indwelling Spirit that Christians receive when they are saved reproduces the life of Jesus, so the outpoured, or baptizing Spirit reproduces the ministry of Jesus, including miracles and healing's.
WHY DO WE NEED THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
We need a power beyond ourselves for service and ministry in Christ's Kingdom.
When Jesus gave the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), He knew that His disciples could not fulfill it in their own power. Therefore, He had a special gift in store for them: It was His plan to give them the same power that He had -- the power of the Spirit of God. So, immediately after giving them the Great Commission, Jesus commanded his disciples not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father promised, which, He said, " For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5).
"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 disciples waited in Jerusalem as Jesus had commanded, and one day when they were all together, "They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them" (Acts 2:3-4). Then Peter explained to the crowd that gathered that they were seeing the working of God's Spirit and told them about Jesus. The Christian church began that day with the disciples and the 3,000 people who joined them as a result of the day's events.
We can undertake making disciples of all nations with some degree of success without the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but when we do, we are undertaking a supernatural task with limited power.
It is God's will - it is His commandment - that we be baptized, or filled with the Holy Spirit: "Be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). The knowledge and reality of the empowering Spirit enables us to reproduce the works of Jesus.
WHEN MAY I RECEIVE THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?
Many think that because they are born again, they are automatically also baptized in the Holy Spirit. At the new birth we receive the Holy Spirit inside us yes. (Ezekiel 36:26-27), but the baptism is an additional empowerment, scripture is clear on that. (Acts 8:14-17). They can occur at the same time and also separately. In Acts 19:1-5 we see disciples who weren't yet baptized in the Holy Spirit and Paul had to teach them about it and baptized them. They were like many of today's Christians, born again & water baptized but not baptized in the Holy Spirit. But when they were taught by Paul they received the Holy Spirit fully as in Acts 19:1-6.
IS THERE ANYTHING TO FEAR?
Some people fear that if they ask for the baptism in the Holy Spirit, what they experience won't be the authentic working of the Spirit. But once they do ask for it, they are always glad they did. God doesn't cause us to do anything we don't want to, and all His gifts are good and perfect (James 1:17). The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an even better gift than any material gift you could receive, and God wants you to have it because He loves you and wants the very best for you.
WHAT SHOULD I DO BEFORE ASKING?
The Bible says that a wise man counts the cost before he begins to build a tower (Luke 14:28). This beautiful experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a free gift, but you must be willing to submit fully to God to receive it.
Jesus will respond to a totally yielded vessel. He never asks anything of you that you are incapable of giving, nor does He ever fail to give you something greater in return when you do give your all. The joy He gives through total obedience to Him far outweighs anything you could possibly give up.
EVIDENCES OF THE BAPTISM
In the Bible when believers were Baptized in the Holy Spirit something happened, people saw something, there was clear evidence. These include: Power, Speaking in Tongues, Prophecy, and Boldness. Thus they didn’t just hope they received but clearly knew they had.
Acts 1:8 “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 10:44-46 “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 on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God."
Acts 4:31 “and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God boldly.”
RECEIVING THE GIFT
First, once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior you just have to ask God to baptize you in the Holy Spirit. The Bible says, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Luke 11:9).
Pray and worship, seek His face, see the importance, read the Book of Acts to see it clearer and difference between the believers of those days and today’s. Desire it greatly and pursue Him until you are filled.
Firstly, it is recommended that you prepare yourself sufficiently on the above issues regarding knowing clearly what the word of God says, avoiding the hindrances, repenting, surrendering and desiring.
Secondly, it is correct and biblical to have another Christian lay hands on a believer to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. But it is also not essential you can receive by faith on your own. If not still pray by faith by yourself.
Consider praying this prayer of faith:
"Heavenly Father, at this moment I come to You. I thank You that Jesus saved me. I pray that the Holy Spirit might come upon me. Lord Jesus, baptize me now in the Holy Spirit. I believe and receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit right now by faith in Your Word. May the anointing, the glory, and the power of God come upon me and into my life right now. May I be empowered for service from this day forward. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for baptizing me in Your Holy Spirit. Amen."
Now, having asked and received, begin to practice the power of the Spirit. An ideal place to begin is where the first apostles did, praising God in a new language. To do this, begin praising God out loud in whatever words come to you. Tell Him how much you love Him. Thank Him, worship Him, and yield your voice to Him. Now let Him give you new words of praise you never heard before. Praise Him with those words, too. You'll find that this can be a very rewarding experience of communication with God that will build up your faith. Continue to pray to God each day in the language that the Holy Spirit has given you.
Lift up your hands and receive His presence and power in-filling you, continue to receive and act on your faith by thanking Him, worshipping, and upon his leading whether to speak forth in tongues or prophecy or other gifts. Relax and receive, and ensure to focus on Him, not just on the experience.
I have kept this prayer short in words because that’s all it needs to be for those who have prepared themselves to receive. But persist longer in prayer enjoying His presence and fellowship.
If you feel you have not received anything, go back to the word of God and read Book of Acts and continue to study the issue to build your knowledge and faith and desire, and check through all the points above. Don’t give up but persist with faith and patience and receive the promise.
But this "prayer language" is just one of the gifts that God wants to give you through the baptism in His Spirit.
Over the years I have heard and seen wonderful unique testimonies of people receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. To encourage others, my personal testimony is after I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, I had prayed and had folks pray for me to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Looking back I was focusing in on so much receiving, that I forgot the real reason for asking.
Then about an year later all alone by myself one night, I was praying, worshipping and praising our Lord. I forgot about everything else and just got lost in worshipping and loving God and was not thinking of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That is when I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit when my human words were not enough to glorify what Jesus has done for me. That night will always be special to me.
That experience was over 45 years ago and it still continues today and I would highly recommend having your heart right before God and get lost in His Love first. Everyone's experience is different but ultimately the focus should be on Jesus and His love for you and your love for Him, not just receiving the baptism Holy Spirit.
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