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Baptism in the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is God. Like the Father and the Son, He is to be worshipped and glorified. A lot of Christians have no problem in addressing the Father or addressing Jesus in prayer. But when it comes to the Holy Spirit, many Christians have a problem, they think that the Holy Spirit is a dove, but I want to tell you that the Holy Spirit is not a dove. We Christians do not worship doves. Then where did this idea of dove come into Christianity. When John the Baptist was baptizing Jesus in the river Jordan he said in Jn 1:32 ”I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven and it remained on Him.” What John meant here was, he saw the Holy Spirit come upon Jesus just as a dove comes. He did not mean that the Holy Spirit came in the form of a dove. Some artist who has read this passage conceived the idea that Holy Spirit was a dove and he painted the Holy Spirit as a dove. We Christians worship the Holy Spirit who is a person. He is not less than the Father, or the Son, but equal to the Father and the Son. He is God. Now Jesus died on the cross, rose on the third day and ascended into Heaven after forty days. But before He ascended, He told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem and pray, for the promise of the Father. He was, in fact, speaking about the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:4-5 And while staying with them He charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, He said, "you heard from Me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

Jn 16:7,8,13, 14 Nevertheless I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And when He comes, He will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for He will take what is mine and declare it to you.

The Gk word used for Counselor is “Paracletos.” Different versions of the Bible translate this word differently. The KJV and TLB translate it as “Comforter”, NAS as “Helper”, NIV and RSV as “Counselor.” The NAB uses the original word “Paraclete.” The word Paracletos means Comforter, Helper, Counselor, Advocate and Intercessor. This is what the Holy Spirit is.

What is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

The word Baptism means to be immersed. Baptism in the Holy Spirit means to be immersed in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit in you and the Holy Spirit around you. Do I mean to say that you are going to receive the Holy Spirit for the first time? No. You already have the Holy Spirit. Then what do I mean by Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Let me give you an example. Now my friend John comes to my office and I pour some coffee in a cup, I put some sugar and with a spoon I offer it to my friend. My friend hurriedly takes the cup from my hand and starts sipping the coffee, and makes a bitter face, I ask my friend, “What is the matter and he replies, ‘the coffee is bitter.’” I tell John, “I have put the sugar and kept the spoon for you.” Then I take the cup of coffee from John’s hand and stir it and give it to John a second time. This time John sips the cup of coffee and gives a smile and says “the coffee is very sweet.” Now what made the difference in the coffee? Why was it bitter first and sweet later? The stirring made all the difference. When I stirred the coffee, the sugar which was at the bottom of the cup came up and mixed with the whole coffee and made the coffee sweet. Similarly, if you have given importance to other things in your life for e.g. career, entertainment, family and Jesus is outside your life or right at the bottom, then the Holy Spirit is put at the bottom of your life and life seems boring, going to Church seems boring, sitting for prayer seems boring, just as the coffee was boring to drink the first time, when the sugar was at the bottom. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is the stirring that will take place when you make Jesus the centre of your life. John the Baptist says in the following verse that “Jesus is the baptizer in the Holy Spirit.”

Mt 3:11 "I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.“

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is also called, “the Baptism of fire.” Have you seen the picture of the Pentecost, where the 120 disciples were praying in the upper room? The Holy Spirit came upon them like tongues of fire and rested on the heads of each one of the 120 disciples. What does fire do? It burns. The Holy Spirit will burn every evil in us. He will cleanse us.

How to receive the Holy Spirit?

Step 1 Repent and Renounce your sins.

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

We need to search our hearts and repent for our sins and renounce them. If there is any involvement in the occult, then you must put it away from your life. For this is the condition that God puts to us in receiving the Holy Spirit.

Jn 14:15-16 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever.”

Step 2 Be honest, admit with humility that you need God’s help and ask for the Holy Spirit.

Lk 11:9-13 And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks, finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"

We all need the Holy Spirit, whoever you may be, rich or poor, educated or illiterate, beautiful or not. You need to open your mouth and ask for God’s help inorder to receive the Holy Spirit.

Jn 7:37-38 "If any one thirst, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the scripture has said, 'Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.' “

Just as we received Jesus by faith, even though we cannot see Him, we receive the Holy Spirit by faith too.

Gal 3:2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?

14 That in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

According to the command of Jesus, the disciples stayed in Jerusalem and prayed in the Upper Room. They were 120 in number and on the day of Pentecost, God sent the Holy Spirit upon them all. This day is the birthday of the Church. This was the day on which the Church was born. The year was 33 A.D.

Acts 2:1-4 “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

The Bible says that they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, which means Mary, Peter, James, John and all the Apostles present including the other disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.

What is the gift of Tongues and how do you receive it?

The gift of tongues is the basic gift of the Holy Spirit. It is like the babbling of the baby. It is the Holy Spirit in you, praying to God the Father. Everyone can receive the gift of tongues by co-operating with God, by giving our material, the sounds and God will turn it into the gift of tongues. Just as, when you want a vase, you give the material, clay, to the potter and he makes the clay into a beautiful vase. The gift of tongues is a powerful tool of intercession, a weapon against the devil. It is an extension of our praise, when we have no words to say or do not know what to say to God, then we pray in tongues. Praying in tongues is also called praying in the Spirit. When I pray in English or another known language, then I pray with the mind. But when I pray in tongues, then I pray in the Spirit. I need to pray with the mind and I also need to pray in the Spirit. The gift of tongues is one of the mysteries in the Christian faith. Some individuals want to analyse it; to understand before receiving it, but one cannot understand the gift of tongues, it has to be accepted in simple faith. The simple people receive it more easily.

I Cor 14:15 What am I to do? I will pray with the Spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the Spirit and I will sing with the mind also.

Rm 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.

I Cor 14:4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the Church.

I Cor 14:21-22 In the law it is written, "By men of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to Me, says the Lord." Thus, tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers; while prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

You have to speak the tongues (sounds) but the Spirit will give the utterance.

Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

During the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, you will receive the fullness of the Spirit and the spiritual gifts.

I Cor 12:8-10 To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

How to receive the spiritual gifts?

The Bible says that if you love God and love His people and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, you will receive them. The spiritual gifts are tools for building the Kingdom and not toys for our individual play. They are service gifts, to be used for another not for yourself. The word ‘charismata’ in the Gk means “gifts of the Spirit” from which comes the word charismatic which means gifted by the Holy Spirit. Just as, when you want to raise up a building you need carpenters, masons, plumbers, electricians, painters, etc. When you put all these people together, a beautiful building will be erected. God gives the spiritual gifts to His people to build the Church. He gives a different gift to each member. We need to put the gifts together and build God’s Church.

I Cor 14:1 Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.

During the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Jesus promises to give us power too.

Acts 1:8 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.

The word used for witness in the Gk is ‘Martus’ which is translated as ‘witness’ and ‘martyr’. A witness is one who speaks of what he has seen, heard and experienced. When you receive the power, you will speak of what you have seen, heard and experienced of Jesus; you will be a witness for Jesus, first in your home, then in your neighborhood, then further on, this is the Biblical principle. A martyr is one who dies for another. When you receive the power, you will be willing to die for Jesus. You need power to die for Jesus. Stephen, who was stoned to death for the sake of the Lord was the first martyr in the Church. He had the power to die for Jesus.

Acts 22:20 And when the blood of Stephen thy witness was shed, I also was standing by and approving, and keeping the garments of those who killed him.

There is a story of St. Lawrence which says that he was persecuted for being a Christian. His persecutors fried him as you fry a fish and St. Lawrence told his persecutors “I am fried on one side, please fry me on the other side.” How could St. Lawrence say such a thing to his persecutors? St. Lawrence had the power to be fried, to die for Jesus.

What are the blocks in receiving the Holy Spirit?

  • Fear, you need not fear for you are receiving the Spirit of God and not an evil spirit.
  • Feeling unworthy, if you have repented, God has forgiven you and so you are worthy to receive the Holy Spirit.
  • Fear of making a fool of yourself, I Cor 3:18 Let no one deceive himself. If any one among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.
  • Doubt, do not doubt for it is God’s word for you. Just believe and accept God’s gift, which is best for you.
  • Pride, all need the Holy Spirit without exception, whether you are rich or poor, good or bad.

Some of the things that will happen when you are baptized in the Spirit.

  • You become the son/daughter of God, Jn 1:12 But to all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God.
  • You come to know God by experience.
  • You can pray in a new way like never before.
  • Bible comes to life.
  • You receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit to serve God.
    I Cor 12:8-10 To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
    Rom 12:6-8 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
    Eph 4:11 And His gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers.
  • You will bear the fruit of the Spirit. Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
    gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.

Jn 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

If you are looking for a helper in your life who will help you in the ways of God, then say this prayer sincerely from your heart.

Father, I am a sinner, forgive me of all my sins even as I decide to forgive all my enemies, the living and the dead. I accept Jesus, whom you have sent and I surrender my life to you. Jesus, I believe that you died for me on the cross for my sins, sicknesses and problems. Father, I need your help, please give me the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, come into my life and fill me with yourself and your gifts now. Thank you Holy Spirit. AMEN.

Close your eyes now for a while, repent, forgive, surrender and receive the Holy Spirit and the gifts by faith and start praising God. GOD BLESS YOU.

[You will find a detailed teaching on the Gifts under the title Spiritual Gifts.]


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