In the beginning of the book of 1st Corinthians, chapter 1 verse 18, Our Father, through Paul, states that He has chosen the “foolish things” to confound the wise. The cross is the ultimate foolishness. It is absurd to think Jesus’ sacrifice and the cross can save us. Yet we know that this is a fact. Another foolishness found in the New Testament is to have the Spirit of God come upon us and empower us to do the miraculous. Tongues are foolish too. How can speaking what sounds like gibberish or not understandable words build me up in the nature of Christ (1st Corinthians 14:4)?
It is the Word, yet it is foolish and ridiculous. Question, is the Word of God true or not (2 Timothy 3:15-17)? Are we to accept only what we understand or what we want to? Or, do we accept all of the Word, whether we understand it or not, whether we like it or not? If we are to be a real witness to the world then we must be who and what we are supposed to be, a peculiar people of faith and naturally supernatural.
The Holy Spirit is sent from the Father through His Son Jesus. (John 14:25) His duty is to Glorify God (John 16:14-15), edify believers (I Corinthians 14:4), and to empower the church (Acts 1:8). The baptism of the Spirit is part of the foolishness of God (I Corinthians 1:27-29). The Gospel is supposed to be the demonstration of the Spirit and power, according to Paul (I Corinthians 2:4-5). Jesus says in the gospel of John that we are to do what He has done and more (John 14:12). We also see the Apostles doing powerful miracles after they get “baptized in the Spirit” at Pentecost just like Jesus did after the Spirit settled upon Him when He was baptized in water. It would seem to be suggested by scripture that we need this “power of the Spirit upon us” to really present the Gospel in a way that will show that we are truly presenting the Gospel of Christ. If Jesus did not begin His ministry before the Spirit came upon Him and told the disciples to wait for the Spirit to come upon them before they could be effective witnesses, then who are we to think we can present this gospel without the same type of experience or help? All through the Bible the truth of God is confirmed by what He does through miracles of the Spirit when He came upon people. It seems that these miracles were always a confirmation of God’s presence and His speaking. The Spirit came upon the prophets of the Old Testament or the apostles and believers of the New.
Jesus told His disciples to wait for the Spirit of Power to come upon them (Act 1:4-8). In fact, John the Baptist said, when talking of Jesus, that I baptize with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire (Luke 3:16). Do we go without it? Does the Gospel change or loose it’s power now in the last of this age, or is Jesus and all the Word still the same? Jesus says in John 16:7 that it was good for Him to leave so he could send the Helper (the Holy Spirit). If He commanded the disciples to wait for it and afterward we see others walking in it, wouldn’t that suggest that we should do the same? Can we do without it? Why wouldn’t we want the power of God on us to walk this walk? Why do we argue about something that is only meant to empower us? It is a matter of obedience and trust. It becomes a matter of submission and desire for all God has.
In this matter of the Spirit coming upon the believers, it won’t get us to heaven, only Jesus can do that, BUT it will change our walk on earth if we are willing to obey. Jesus says in Acts 1:8 that when the Spirit comes upon us we shall receive Power. Like Jesus, Paul says that the Gospel is not about words but is a demonstration of the Spirit and Power. Some people confuse the Holy Spirit coming upon people with the “gift of tongues” found in 1 Corinthians 12 and make a big thing out of tongues, but Paul says that not all will speak with tongues. It is not that God chooses “special people” and leaves others out, it’s because some just cannot surrender all control and give up to the Spirit’s complete control of their tongue for whatever reason. May the Lord guide you as you study this out and make an objective decision. This study is meant to simply show the scriptural basis for the “baptism of the Spirit” and to let you see how the pattern flows from Jesus to the disciples and then to us now.
Matthew 3:11 and Luke 3:22 show us that Jesus has the Spirit descend upon Him. Jesus is already the Son of God but He still needed the Spirit upon Him in order to start His ministry.
Acts 1:4-8 states that the disciples are told they need this Spirit upon them to receive power.
In John 20:21 Jesus is resurrected, and salvation is a fact. The Holy Spirit comes inside every believer. The word “receive”, according to all the Bible dictionaries I’ve looked in means, to take in (like to drink or inhale), to take inside of you (salvation). Also see John 14:15-16. When the disciples were walking with Jesus and sent in power (Luke 9 and 10) it was the Holy Spirit with or upon them, not in them.
Acts 1:4-8 and Luke 24:46-49 suggests that even though the disciples were saved now, Jesus tells them to wait till the “baptism of the Spirit” comes upon them, because when it happens, they will receive power and will then be His witnesses. Jesus wants us to represent the divine presence and this takes the naturally supernatural power of the Spirit.
Acts 2:3-4. The Spirit sets upon each of them and they are filled, so the Spirit comes upon them and this leads to their being called “filled”. This word upon is always external like with Jesus the Spirit came upon Him. It is like jumping into a pool of water and being immersed in the water not just drinking it or having it inside of you. It is upon you.
If you look back at Luke where Jesus receives the Spirit, you will note that after the Spirit came on him (v. 3:22), He begins His Ministry (v.23), then, in Luke 4:1 He is considered filled with the Spirit, and then in Luke 4:14 He is said to be “in the power of the Spirit” (see Luke 4:18). Now look at Acts 2:3, the Spirit “sat” on the disciples, v.4 they were considered “filled” and afterwards they walked in the power of the Spirit. Amazing similarities!
We will now go on through the book of Acts and note the Spirit coming upon believers, or them being “filled with the Spirit” as it is expressed.
Ch. 4:8 shows Peter filled with the Spirit, in v.13 as a result they are considered bold.
Ch.6:5 reveals Stephen is considered full of the Spirit, in v.8 he did great signs and wonders
Ch.6:5 also shows Philip is considered full of the Spirit. In ch. 8:5-7 he exhibits power. In v.12 people become believers, time passes. In v.14 the apostles hear of Philip’s teaching, send Peter and John, and in v.15-16 they pray for them to receive the Spirit as He had not “fallen upon” any of them yet. In v.18 Simon saw something as a result of what the apostles had done when the Spirit came upon the new believers.
Ch. 9:4-6 gives us Paul receiving Jesus (v.6 he surrenders to Jesus), v.8 he is blinded and led to Damascus, v.10 Ananias is sent to Paul three days later, and in v.17 he lays his hands on Paul so he can be healed and “be filled” with the Holy Spirit. Later in I Cor. 14:18 Paul express that He prays in tongues more than anyone.
Ch.10:22 shows Peter being called to Cornelius’ house, in v.38 he speaks of Jesus being anointed (literally-smeared with oil, external, upon) with the Holy Ghost and power, in v.44 the Holy Spirit falls on these who “heard” the word, and in v.45 Jewish believers were astonished because the Spirit was poured out “on” the gentiles also (v.46) for they heard them speak with tongues and glorify God.
Ch.11:2 Peter is telling the brethren in Jerusalem of this incident. In v.15 he says that as he spoke the Spirit fell “upon” them as “upon” us, and he remembers the Word of the Lord that Jesus had said “He would baptize with the Holy Spirit.” Did it stop with the book of Acts or does Jesus still baptize in the Holy Ghost?
Ch.18:24 is where Apollos, eloquent and mighty in the scriptures is preaching at Ephesus, v.25 he was fervent and boldly taught accurately of the Lord, in v.26 Aquilla and Piscilla teach Him more accurately the things of God, (they were trained up by Paul), v.28 he showed from scripture that Jesus is the Christ. Now in Ch.19:1 Paul shows up in Ephesus, v.2 he asks if the believers from Apollos’ preaching had received the Holy Spirit.
They knew nothing about the Spirit, and in v.3 he asks what they had received and they say John’s baptism. Starting in v.4 Paul explains that John taught people to repent and receive Jesus (salvation message), in v.5 they are baptized, and then in v.6 Paul laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit “upon” them and spoke with tongues and prophesied. These are just believers not apostles.
Now let’s look at the scriptures in the book of 1st Corinthians chapters 14. In chapter 12 the emphasis is on the gifts of ministry provided by the Holy Spirit. These gifts are given for ministry and should not be confused with the baptism of the Spirit although they are connected. In chapter 14 Paul is talking about both the baptism of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit and how they should be used together in a church service and in our personal walk. These teachings are mixed together and you have to really sort them out as you read.
Since I am talking about the baptism of the Spirit I am going to concentrate on the scriptures dealing with this issue and not the gifts of ministry, even though, like I have stated, both of these are connected together in the Holy Ghost.
Let’s start with 1 Corinthians 14:2. In v. 2 we see that when we speak in tongues (as a result of the baptism of the Spirit) we are speaking to God and not man. This bothers some and they want it different, they want to be able to understand what they are saying.(Remember 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, God chose foolish things to confound the wise.)
This is where we must choose to accept what is written in the Word, and not what we want to be written in it.
The Word says that in the Spirit we speak mysteries. Verse 4 tells us that when we pray in tongues that we are “edified” and that when we prophesy we “edify” the church. To edify means to “build up”. In Christian terms it would be “to build up in the nature of Christ”. So we find that the baptism of the Spirit and speaking in tongues builds the believer up in the nature of Christ. Prophesy, through the baptism of the Spirit, builds up the church (Acts 19:6). If a believer is built up individually (speaking in tongues) don’t you think that this will also build up the Church?
In v.5 Paul states that he wants all to pray in tongues and even more to prophesy. Why? So all can be edified individually and corporately. (To edify the church with tongues you must interpret what is spoken or else you should prophesy.) In Jude 20 the Word agrees with I Corinthians 14:4 stating that praying in the Holy Ghost, builds us up beyond our own ability.
Why did God choose something to build us up that seems so strange? Why couldn’t it be something that doesn’t require so much faith and so much surrender? I certainly wouldn’t choose it, but then I am not God either. (I Corinthians 1:27-29 the foolishness of God)
Let’s go now to Romans 8:26. Here we see that at times we don’t know how to pray because we don’t know what to pray. It states that the Spirit knows and intercedes with “groanings that can’t be uttered”. When looking into this statement with depth, you will find that it could be stated “with inarticulate words not understandable in your own language”. In other words, you are “muttering strange sounds” that you don’t understand. It could be with groans and or it could be tongues. Verse 27 states that the Spirit prays according to the will of God and that God understands Him. This goes along with 1 Corinthians 14:2, 4,14,15 and Jude 20.
In v. 21 of 1 Corinthians 14 we read a statement from Isaiah 28:11 which foretells of God speaking to His people with languages that they don’t understand and that the people would still not hear or listen. The thought here is that they won’t accept this as being from God. A lot of people won’t accept it now either, which just shows that God knows our hearts and still sends what we need in spite of our ways. Our refusal or acceptance of what God does and says will not change what God does or says. His word will stand!
In Mark 16:17 it says that the believers will speak with new tongues or in tongues. We can put this off as saying that our mouths will be cleaned up and no words will come from them but what is good for edification. We know this is not always true, so is this what it is talking about? Look at the scriptures we have already read and weigh this word against the whole of scripture, not just what we want it to say. Someone once said to me “you can read what you already believe or you can read and believe”. John 14:12 says that the things Jesus did we are to do and greater things than those even. Then in v.16 He says He will give the Comforter to us. In John 15:26 He states the Helper (the Holy Spirit) will testify of Jesus. In John 16:13 He says that the Spirit will guide us into all truth… and show us things to come. The Spirit is to glorify Christ and reach the world for Christ! The “baptism of the Spirit” is to empower us and equip us to be Christ-like. We get to choose what and who we become in Christ and how we witness for Christ, either in word or in “Spirit and Power”. Luke 11:13 tells us that if we ask, He will give the Holy Spirit. Why not ask, and ask with importunity, for our living in power for Christ does depend on it. Christ died and went to the Father so we could have salvation and this great gift of being baptized in the Holy Spirit now while on earth. He thought it very important and we should not take it lightly. This Holy Spirit upon us unites us with the Father and Jesus in a different, powerful way, and allows us to partake of the divine nature; the nature of Power and Love; Now. It clothes us with the might and wonder of God and reveals the nature of God the Father through us as it did through Jesus.
The idea of Christianity is not to get you to heaven but to get you to the Father. It is to reunite us with God as in the beginning with Adam. It is to restore the right relationship with God and to show forth His glory to the world. WE are to be SONS!! We are to be like Jesus in every sense of the Word.
Thank you Jesus for salvation and for the gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit! Let us reverence what you paid so dearly for. You said that if you didn’t go away you could not send the Spirit, the Comforter. Thank you for your death, burial, and resurrection that brings our salvation. Thank you also for entering the throne of grace to send the Holy Spirit to us, to live in us and come upon us, to empower and lift us above the enemy. You came to destroy the works of darkness and sent us to do the same. May we be about our Father’s business, naturally supernatural.
In Luke 4:18 Jesus says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to preach”. In verse 21 He says this is fulfilled today. In John 14:12 and 17:18 we see that we are sent as He was sent. He told the disciples to wait for the Spirit to come upon them. And we see through this study that the Spirit did the same things when He was upon the disciples as He did upon Jesus. We even see this Holy Spirit coming upon people other than the apostles in the scriptures, just plain believers. The Holy Spirit upon us should glorify God and Jesus and empower us against the enemy. It is not for play or a party, but for power and to witness for him
Again I say, “let us be about our Father’s business and let us be empowered by the Spirit to be true sons of God.” Let the Spirit come upon us not only be in us!