One of the more controversial subjects in the Christian media and the body of Christ is the Baptism in the Holy Ghost. It is just one of the doctrines and subjects that really polarizes people.
It’s hard not to get an animated response when you say to a Christian, “So, tell me about the Baptism in the Holy Ghost…”
You will get all kinds of responses.
- Many will say they believe in it whole-heartedly and have received it
- Some will say they believe in it whole-heartedly but only believe it is for special people.
- Some will deny that God still does it.
- Most will ask you to define your definition of the Baptism in the Holy Ghost.
- Some will break into tongues and begin to dance.
- Some will say they have never heard of it.
People will speak from their experience or lack thereof. They will use their pastor’s, parents’, spouse’s and others’ words in their response. Some will be fact, some will be opinion and some will be cliché
The most important thing anyone has to consider is “What does the Bible say?” Not an opinion of what the Bible says, or an “Orthodox or Denominational” interpretation of what the Bible says. For our doctrines to be correct they must be formed from the Word of God. We cannot form our doctrines and then go to the Bible to find supporting verses. You could find a verse to support just about anything.
So, open your Bible, open your mind and open your heart and let’s take a look.
Jesus was filled with the Holy Ghost.
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:29-34)
“And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” (Luke 4:17-21)
“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,” (Luke 4:1)
“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.” (Luke 4:14)
“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.” (Acts 10:38)
It is extremely important to understand that Jesus is the God-Man, fully God and fully man. His ministry on the earth was conducted as the Son of Man operating in the power of the Holy Ghost at the leading of God the Father. As a result of His submission to the will of God and His baptism in the Spirit He established the model for Christianity. We are to operate on this earth as God-People. We are to be recreated and regenerated people who are indwelt and anointed by the Holy Ghost who fulfill the will of God the Father.
Please do not read what I did not write. We do not become Jesus, we are to become like Him. He is the “first begotten of the dead” (Revelation 1:5) and the “first-born among many brethren” (Romans 8:29); yet He is still the “fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3)
Jesus is the baptizer in the Holy Ghost
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:11-12)
“I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” (Mark 1:8)
“John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:” (Luke 3:16)
“And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.” (John 1:33)
“For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” (Acts 1:5)
“Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 11:16)
The Old Covenant provided a way for the lost to temporarily approach to the Father through a system of sacrifice that required sacrifice for each offense. God dwelt among His people over the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant that was hid behind the veil of the Holy of Holies. He anointed select men and women who spoke His word and performed His acts; establishing the offices of prophet, priest and king. The New Covenant destroyed the veil and transformed the believer into the Ark of the Covenant; allowing God to reside in a “building not made with hands” (Hebrew 9:11). “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
The Bible commands Christians to be filled with the Holy Ghost
“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 be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Ephesians 5:18)
The Greek word for “filled” plēroō (πληρόω) is best defined at be continuously filled. God wants His Spirit constantly overflow our lives. “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14)
The Baptism in the Holy Ghost is the power of God to evangelize the world
“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.” (Acts 1:8)
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” (Mark 16:15-20)
Jesus was baptized in both water and the Holy Ghost. As believers He is our baptizer in the Holy Ghost. See, Jesus is a Baptist.
“And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He 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. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve.” (Acts 19:1-7)
Most Christians who have never been taught about the baptism in the Holy Ghost react much like these believers. They were sincere, confessing their ignorance and embracing the gift of God. When we repent of our sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we are to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)
This verse is from the very first Christian sermon given on the birthday of the church. Let’s back up in the narrative and read the events that caused this sermon to be preached.
“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 as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4)
The same experience was repeated in the book of Acts for Jewish and Gentile believers.
“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31)
“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.” (Acts 10:44-48)
It is God’s desire to endue you with His life and His power.
“For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.” (Acts 2:39)
The Holy Ghost is God’s down-payment on salvation. It is His stamp of ownership upon your life.
“It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, 22 and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
The baptism in the Holy Ghost is in the Bible and it is for the Christian. Many doctrines and dogmas have come to de-emphasize or over-emphasize the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The Bible has remained the same.
- It is the Holy Ghost who regenerates us when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
- It was the Holy Ghost that convicted us of sin.
- It was the Holy Ghost that convinced you of the truth of the gospel.
- It is the Holy Ghost who leads you in your walk with Christ.
- It is the Holy Ghost who prays with you and through you.
- It is the Holy Ghost who anoints your words and your actions.
- It is His power that convicts the sinner when the Gospel is preached.
- It is His power that heals the sick when hands are laid upon them.
- It is His words that are spoken through the gifts of the Spirit.
- The Holy Ghost is the active member of the Godhead in the life of the believer and the ministry of the church.
- Nothing can be done without Him.
Our opinions change our preaching and affect our behavior, but they do not change the Word of God. Do not let your opinion of the Baptism in the Holy Ghost keep you from receiving what God has for you.
The sign of Christianity is not a cross, but a tongue of fire
“For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29)
“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” (Colossians 1:25-27)
“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.” (Romans 8:9-11)
“And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)
God’s New Covenant required that He occupy the believer. The ultimate sign of new birth is the Spirit of God dwelling in you and working through you.
Unfortunately much of the church has halted somewhere between Calvary and Pentecost. The manifestation of the Holy Ghost in our lives and in our services is frowned upon. The designations of Full Gospel, Pentecostal and Charismatic have come to refer more to the culture and practices of a church than they do the power of God in their lives.
“Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
If the message of the cross and resurrection are the same today as they were on Pentecost than the message of the Baptism in the Holy Ghost and fire are the same as well. Our fear of man and man’s opinions has led many churches and believers to attempt impossible tasks.
- We try to live the Christian life in the arm of the flesh
- We try to fulfill the Great Commission through the arm of the flesh.
“This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Galatians 3:2-5)
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Christianity is impossible for us humans. It is the “poor in spirit” who recognize the utter dependence upon God. We needed Him prior to regeneration and we need Him even more after we have been regenerated.
Power from on high is the supreme need of the day. The church doesn’t need better programs, preachers or praise, we need God. The world will not come running to the Savior because of our new seats, our illustrated sermons or our super-powered lighting and sound systems; “For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me…” (John 6:44).
The purpose of the ministry of the Christian believer is to multiply the message and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are here to represent Him. He has multiplied Himself in us millions of times over. As it has been said many times, we are His hands and His feet.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” (John 14:12-14)
- Challenge your satisfaction with the status quo of your Christian existence
- Challenge your church’s manifestation of the gospel against the New Testament
- Ask, seek and knock for the gifts that God began pouring out to His believers on the day of Pentecost.
“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people 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.” (Luke 11:9-13)
Inside of your spirit resides the Spirit of the Living God. He wants to lead you and guide you. He wants to speak through you and to you. He wants to work through and manifest Himself to a lost and dying world through your life.
Get filled and stay full of the Holy Ghost.