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Holy Spirit Baptism

holy spiritIn our © Growing Deep and Strong series Encounter One Weekend, we introduce the new believer to what the Bible says about being baptised in the Holy Spirit. The Bible makes it clear that repentance, faith toward God, water baptism and Holy Spirit baptism are all integral parts of the salvation package. Holy Spirit baptism is often misunderstood as an optional extra for some special Christians, or not even relevant today. But God wants all of His children to receive the total package and enjoy the new dimension of life that comes as a result.

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

In Acts 2, after Peter finished his address on the Day of Pentecost, his hearers were pricked to the heart and asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” To this question, Peter gave them a command, and a promise. “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised, … and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

So, there was a gift promised if they obeyed the command. No doubt Peter remembered what Jesus said as he taught His disciples, “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!” And so on the Day of Pentecost, Peter assured his hearers that there is the promise of a good gift as they obeyed the command.

A good gift

good giftGod is good, and He will never give His children anything that is not good. So when He promises the Holy Spirit, He promises a GOOD gift. Jesus said, “…how much MORE…!” God really wants to give us this good gift. Contrary to the fears of some about receiving this gift, the Bible assures us that it is a good gift. The Holy Spirit is not someone to be wary of or feared.

Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit is the Helper, someone who is called alongside as an advocate, or intercessor. The Greek word in general use means a barrister who goes to court to plead the case on another’s behalf. So here the Holy Spirit not only appears before the Father on our behalf, but also guides, and gives strength as we come against everything that the kingdom of darkness throws our way. So why decline such a good gift?

A different atmosphere

Baptism means the complete immersion of something. In that case, when someone is baptised in the Holy Spirit, they are completely immersed in Him. Now they live in a new atmosphere, spiritually breathing in the Holy Spirit, and being aware of His live-giving power every moment. That was my experience when I was baptised in the Holy Spirit.

New eyes to see the world through, and a new perspective on how to deal with the things that come from the kingdom of darkness, and a new realisation of the power available in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I found out for myself that being baptised in the Holy Spirit is indeed a GOOD gift. And when I have to resist the devil and his minions, I know that I am not alone. The Holy Spirit is right there with me, and I have experienced that in my life many times in the years since being baptised in the Holy Spirit.

A Normal Experience

So when Jesus was talking to His disciples just before His ascension into heaven, He promised them, “for John truly baptised with water, but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Jesus considered it to be a normal part of the disciples’ spiritual experience. So, they would not just have the Holy Spirit in them, but they would be immersed in the Holy Spirit.

And Peter, giving account before the apostles in Jerusalem of how the Gentiles in Caesarea had become Christians, remembered the words of Jesus about being baptised in the Holy Spirit. These Gentiles received the very same gift that the disciples had on the day of Pentecost and were also baptised in the Holy Spirit. This was the sign to Peter and his friends that these Gentiles had become genuine disciples of Jesus. As we look through the New Testament, we see that it takes for granted that every disciple who obeys Jesus and the Bible receives the baptism in the Holy Spirit. In the early Church, it was normal that everyone who heard and believed the Gospel was baptised in the Holy Spirit.

We have found often that new Christians, as they are baptised in water, rise out of the water and are baptised in the Holy Spirit as part of what God is doing at that point. That is an ideal time to receive that good gift, as Peter promised new believers on the Day of Pentecost. So today let’s expect to be baptised in the Holy Spirit as we are baptised in water.

Ps. David W Searle, co-author of the ©Growing Deep and Strong series

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