Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Duane Vander Klok
Many Christians are not aware that receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a separate faith experience from salvation. Consequently, they are missing out on a blessing God desires for them and every other believer.
We all need the Holy Spirit operating in our lives, empowering us to be victorious, unshakeable Christians through whom He can pour out His love, power and blessings to a lost and dying world.
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not a new doctrine. In fact, in the Old Testament, the prophet Joel prophesied of God pouring out His Spirit in the last days saying: “…I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29).
In the New Testament, we first read about the baptism in the Holy Spirit when John the Baptist said: “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11).
Later, Jesus Himself commanded His disciples: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4-5). Being baptized in the Holy Spirit was so important that Jesus did not even want them to leave the city limits without it!
Purpose of the Baptism
Jesus explained the important purpose of the baptism in the Holy Spirit just before He ascended into heaven. He said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The primary purpose then and now is to empower us to be witnesses wherever God sends us.
Acts 2:1-4 tells us what happened when the Holy Spirit came upon them: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
Shortly after this, a crowd gathered and Peter began to preach. Think about this: Peter and the other disciples had been in the upper room for ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven. They had prayed and sought God, but it wasn’t until after they were baptized in the Holy Spirit that Peter preached – and when he did, Acts 2:41 tells us that 3,000 people were saved!
The power they received transformed them into dynamic witnesses. You need that same power – and it is available to you!
What Peter told them – and what Acts 2:38-39 says – is still true for us today: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
The baptism in the Holy Spirit was not only for first century believers. Peter said it was for them, their children and “for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.” That includes every person who will ever be saved. It includes you and me.
It Is Not Automatic
Some people say, “I received everything God has for me when I got saved.” While it is true that all of God’s promises automatically become available to us at salvation, it does not necessarily mean they are automatically activated in our lives.
Whenever someone surrenders their life to Christ and puts their trust in Him, they are born again. The Holy Spirit comes to live inside them, becoming their comforter, helper and teacher. That is what happened to the disciples in John 20:22 when Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
At that time, did the disciples receive the Holy Spirit? Absolutely. But later, as we read in Acts 2:1-4, they were baptized in the Holy Spirit. This second experience empowered them to be bold witnesses and preach with power.
Living with Power
Not only does God want us to be able to witness with power, but He also wants us to be able to live with power. Jude wrote: “But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20).
Throughout the book of Acts, when believers were baptized in the Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues (see also Acts 4:31, Acts 10:44-48 and Acts 19:1-7). When you pray in tongues (a heavenly prayer language), you strengthen yourself spiritually as 1 Corinthians 14:4 tells us, “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself.”
This word, “edify,” means to build up. In some ways, our spirits are like car batteries. They must be charged to operate correctly. If your battery has been drained, you need someone with jumper cables to charge or edify it.
Praying in tongues charges or edifies your spirit. When you are edified, you are built up and stronger on the inside, which helps you overcome the difficulties and trials everyone faces.
Praying in the Spirit also provides direct communication with God: “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit” (1 Corinthians 14:2). When you pray in the Spirit, your spirit by the Holy Spirit is praying directly to God with no outside interferences.
This kind of prayer is a powerful weapon. It is kind of like speaking in a divine code to God. During World War II, after Americans broke the Japanese code, they knew everything the Japanese were going to do before they did it. This helped America win the war. Likewise, speaking in tongues is a prayer language Satan cannot decode – so he cannot win the battle!
Receiving this Baptism
Any Christian can – and should – ask to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. You pray to receive it by faith just like you pray to receive any other thing from the Lord.
Here is a prayer you can pray:
Heavenly Father, I come before you with an open heart to receive all you have for me. You say in your Word that the Holy Spirit is a good gift and that if I ask, I will be filled to overflowing with the Spirit. Lord Jesus, please baptize me now in the Holy Spirit. Thank you for filling me, for empowering me to live a victorious life and be a witness for you. I receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the ability to speak with other tongues as you give me utterance. In Jesus’ name, amen.
The moment you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the ability to speak in tongues is activated. You may sense something bubbling up inside of you or hear sounds in your mind. Open your mouth and begin to speak, trusting the Lord to give you this new, supernatural language. God will not make you speak in tongues, but just as in Acts 2:4, you can begin to speak as the Spirit enables you.
“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20).
(Scriptures are from the New International Version of the Bible unless noted otherwise.)