by Dr. Ray Self
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Sometimes the best way to understand what something is to understand what it is not. In order to dispel some traditional teachings that are not scripturally accurate consider the following concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is not the second work of grace. Although it comes by grace this is not an accurate name for it. It is alsonot the second blessing. This expression is not used in scripture. The out pouring of the Holy Spirit is not referred to as the second blessing in scripture. It is a blessing, but that is not the best name for the experience. It is not sanctification. It is not holiness. Sanctification and holiness are empowered by the Holy Spirit, but they alone cannot be defined as the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It also is not the new birth or regeneration.
There is a needless controversy concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Some believe it automatically occurs at the moment of salvation, but is this what scripture actually teaches? At ICM we insist that all of our teaching be backed up clearly in scripture and the Bible is very clear on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There is a clear distinction between salvation and being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Let's explore some biblical evidence concerning the distinction between salvation and the baptism with the Holy Spirit:
The disciples were converted under the ministry of Jesus. Luke 10:20 says,"Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." But later Jesus commanded His disciples to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit yet to come. They had definitely experienced all of the elements of salvation previously. They had confessed with their mouths and believed in their hearts that Jesus was Lord. They were eye witnesses of the crucifixion and the resurrection, but they still needed something else as Jesus commanded to them, "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" (Luke 24:49). The Lord Jesus had given them a prophetic word concerning the baptism to come. Please note that this is a perfectly clear message written to believers’ who had already experienced salvation. This is important because so many Christians today have stopped short of all that they could have from the Lord.
Now understand that salvation is the greatest gift of all. Without salvation nothing else matters, but there is more for the believer as Jesus promises in Acts 1:5-8:"For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, 'Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?' And He said unto them, 'It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. 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.'" These were the last words that Jesus spoke before He ascended. I believe that these words are imperative for the body of Christ.
Let’s look at some biblical examples of what Jesus was talking about:
Look at the simple facts of scripture concerning Philip's ministry in Acts 8:5-8, 12: The gospel was preached: "Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them" (Acts 8:5). The people received the message of Christ:"And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did" (Acts 8:6). They were saved and baptized: "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women" (Acts 8:12).
This is the point were many Christians are taught that at the point of salvation you have the baptism of the Holy Spirit and it is automatic for all who are saved. Scripture does not teach us that nor does the experiences of millions of Christian who have been baptized with the Holy Spirit after they were saved.
As world famous commentator, Paul Harvey, would say, "Now for the rest of the story." "Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: ho, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet He was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost" (Acts 8:14-17).
Many Christians today believe the gospel and have been baptized in the name of Jesus. This is wonderful and the result is definitely salvation. This happened to the Christians at Samaria also, but there was more that God had for them. There was the promise that Jesus had prophesied. They were to receive the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands. Christians today have the same promise.
Are there more examples in scripture that believers' were being baptized with the Holy Spirit at a later time, after their salvation? The answer is yes! Consider Paul on the road to Damascus. He was converted through a personal experience with Jesus. It wasn’t until three days later that he was baptized with the Holy Spirit when Ananias came to him. "And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him (Paul) said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost'" (Acts 9:17).
Let's look at the believers at Ephesus. "He (Paul) said unto them, 'Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?' And they said unto him, 'We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost'" (Acts 19:2). These were believers in Christ who had never been taught about the Holy Spirit. It has always been true that, "People perish for a lack of knowledge." These believers had not been taught about the Holy Spirit. This lack of teaching and knowledge persists today. I personally was never taught about the baptism of the Holy Spirit until almost twenty-five years after my salvation. Then I experienced what I am teaching you now. Because of this, I have often identified with the believers at Ephesus.
Read on as the story unfolds at Ephesus: "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied" (Acts 19:6). They had been saved prior to Paul’s arrival, and then when he came and laid hands on them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
There are churches that teach that the outpouring on the day of Pentecost was the outpouring on the body of Christ and we have had this automatically at salvation ever since. The Bible does not demonstrate this at all. It is unfortunate that erroneous teaching gets into the church and is passed on from generation to generation. Millions believe this incorrect teaching because this is what their churches have taught them. I believe that we should always check out any doctrine with scripture and not simply take a traditional stand point. Think about it, if the Holy Spirit was only poured out at Pentecost then the 120 present in the upper room at Pentecost were the only ones to receive the Holy Spirit because He cannot be passed down genetically.
The Holy Spirit is a promise - "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" (Luke 24:49). And Acts 1:8 tells us, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." God always fulfill His promises.
He is a gift - "And ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38). The Spirit is a free gift from God. He is not received by your works or as reward
We are commanded to be filled with Him - "And behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49 Revised Standard). And Ephesians 5:18 says, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." Failure to be baptized or filled with the Holy Spirit constitutes disobedience to God.
The Holy Spirit gives power for Christian service - "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me" (Acts 1:8). The correct order is power first then witness second. Jesus is our model and even Jesus was anointed for service before He ever began His ministry. Jesus was well aware of the necessity of the filling and anointing of the Holy Spirit. Luke 4:18 records Him saying, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor." Acts 10:38 tells, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him."
The Holy Spirit gives power for spiritual warfare - We are in a spiritual war against Satan and his demons. This is a reality for all of mankind, even for those who do not realize it. We need power to defeat our enemy. The Spirit of God is this power, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh" (II Corinthians 10:3). "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12). We must learn to fight in the spirit realm because this is where the battle is. We cannot defeat the devil and his schemes against us and our loved ones through natural means.
The Holy Spirit gives power for overflow - The Spirit should overflow in us and onto those around us. We can touch many lives with the Holy Spirit when He flows through us and to others. He is more than we can contain and that is good news to those around us. "Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" (Ephesians 3:20).
The Holy Spirit is power for ability - The power of the Holy Spirit is the ability to carry out God-given commissions. He gives the ability to follow guidance, to love, to exalt Jesus, to heal, deliver, preach, and do the ministry of Christ the way that He did it. God has a purpose for each of us. We are not an accident. We need God’s ability to accomplish God’s plans for us. The Holy Spirit gives us this power.
I suggest this prayer for the reader who is now convicted and wants to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. God answers sincere prayers.
Lord, I believe that Jesus is Your Son. I believe that You sent Him to die for my sins. I believe that He rose on the third day. I have confessed Him as Lord. I have invited Him into my heart. I know that I am saved. I thank You Lord. Heavenly Father I am asking you to baptize me now with the Holy Spirit just as You did with the believers at Samaria and the believers at Ephesus. I want to have all that You have promised. I want to be filled with Your Spirit now. I am asking for You to send Him to fall on me now. I am asking to be completely baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit so I can be Your witness. I praise You Lord. I am opening my heart now, to receive the Holy Spirit. Thank You, Jesus.
Now just relax and be still and believe. The Lord will honor your prayer. You may feel warmth, love, power, peace, joy, or even a strange language in your mouth. Just allow the Lord to finish what He is doing now. Wait on Him.
What next? Find a church that is mature and Spirit-filled that can feed and teach you. Do not let the devil tell you that what you have experienced is not real. (He will probably try.)
You may notice some wonderful differences. The Bible may seem more alive to you than ever before. You will see and understand things in the Word that you have never seen or understood before. You will be drawn deeper into worship and prayer. God will seem more real to you than ever before. You will begin to see the manifestation of gifts begin to flow as described in I Corinthians 12. God is limitless, and no one really knows all that He has for you. You can be sure that it is going to be good! Amen.
Chapter Eight Review – The Holy Spirit - Lesson 8
Chapter Review is for Study Purposes Only - It is not Necessary to Submit Your Review Answers