Baptised by the Holy Spirit

Based on "The Wonderful Spirit-filled Life" by Charles Stanley

Reading: Acts 1:1-11
Text: Acts 1:4,5
“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”

Have you been baptized by the Holy Spirit?
Don’t answer too soon…
at least not before you’ve listened to this message first.

No ministry of the HS has been more misunderstood
than the baptism of the Spirit.
We often hear the baptism of the HS described
as an experience that takes place
some time after salvation.

When referring to the baptism of the HS, people sometimes speak of
“getting the baptism”
or “receiving the gift”…
It is important to get one thing straight:
We should always give priority
to what the Scriptures say
over what our experience seem to indicate.

We should not interpret Scriptures
through our experience.
To do so is dangerous.
It elevates us to the place of judge
over the Bible.

We need God
to conform our experience
to the truth of His Word.

Many believers have had a significant experience following their salvation…
which they attribute
to the baptism of the HS.

It is not my place to judge
whether or not something has happened
to these people.

But it is my place to warn them
against justifying or explaining their experience
at the expense of the integrity of God’s Word.

“Receiving the Gift”

As the forerunner of Christ,
John the Baptist had the responsibility
of preparing the people
for His arrival.

Four hundred years had passed
since the last legitimate prophet
had spoken to the Jewish nation.

People were suspicious.
John had a challenging mission.
He often spoke about the
“baptism of the Spirit”.

He continually emphasized
that once the Messiah arrived,
He would baptize His followers
with the HS.
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I… He will baptize you with the HS” ( Matthew 3:11).

Nobody knew exactly what John meant.
When Jesus shows up,
John recognizes Him
as the One who baptizes with the HS.

But for the next 3 years
nobody gets baptized with the HS,
or even mentions it.

Then, finally,
the day Jesus ascends back into heaven,
He brings it up again.
“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).

In these verses
Jesus links the baptism of the HS with
“what the Father had promised”
and that “which… you heard Me speak about.”
Think for a moment.
What is He referring to?
What had the Father promised?
What had they “heard” from Jesus about the HS?
During His ministry,
He never mentioned
the baptism of the HS specifically.

But now He is telling His followers
to wait in Jerusalem for the baptism
that apparently He told them about previously…
the one the Father had promised.
What is He referring to?
He is referring
to a series of conversations He had with His disciples
just before His arrest.
He promised
to send the HS after He had departed.
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16,17).

Jesus was describing the baptism of the HS.
He didn’t use the exact phrase.
But His comments in Acts 1:5
clearly links the 2 discussions.
He was not talking about 2 different events…
the coming of the HS (John 14:16,17))
and the baptism of the HS (Acts 1:5).
They are one and the same.

A few day later the HS arrived (Acts 2:1-4).
The Bible says they were all
“filled” with the HS…
not “baptized” (Acts 2:1-4).
Isn’t “baptism” what Jesus promised
and John the Baptist predicted?
It is and that’s what happened.
They were baptized, filled, indwelt, empowered.
There is no distinction.

Jesus and the Evangelists
all used these terms interchangeably
to describe
the initial coming of the HS
into the hearts of believers.

Long after the actual day of Pentecost,
Luke and Peter use 2 more figures of speech,
“falling” and “poured out”.
“ While Peter was still speaking these words, the HS came on all who heard the message… the gift of the HS had been poured out even on the Gentiles”(Acts 10:44,45).

Now we have the HS
“falling” and
“being poured out”.
Is this a new ministry of the HS?
No, these terms were just added
to the initial list.

We know this to be the case
from Peter’s interpretation of what happened.
Notice what he compares the incident to:
“And as I [Peter] began to speak, the HS fell upon them, just as He did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptised with water, but you shall be baptised with the HS.’ If God therefore gave them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” (Acts 11:15-17;15:8).

A group of Gentiles came to faith
and immediately,
with no begging, praying, pleading,
the HS fell on them.

According to Peter
it was the same thing that occurred in the Upper Room… and which John the Baptist predicted.

Take a look
at how the leaders in Jerusalem interpreted
what happened to those Gentiles.
“And when they heard this, they quieted down, and glorified God, saying, ‘Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” (Acts 11:18).

Why would they bring up repentance and life?
Because it goes together with
“filled with the HS” or
“baptism of the HS”.
The baptism of the Spirit signifies
that a person has put faith in Christ.
That’s why Paul could write
“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks…” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

Every believer has been baptized by the HS…
at the moment of conversion.

To be baptized into the body
is to be placed into the body…
which happens at the moment of salvation.

Source of Confusion

The confusion stems primarily
from the delay in the Book of Acts
between conversion (of eg the disciples)
and being filled with the HS.

The delay was necessary then,
because the HS could not come
until Jesus departed.

On the day of Pentecost,
the disciples were filled with the HS,
and those who gathered there
began asking,
“What does this mean?” (Acts 2:12).

Peter explained in detail what was going on
(Acts 2:14-36).
After his speech, they asked,
“Brethren, what shall we do?”
And Peter answered,
“Repent, and let each of you be baptised in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the HS.” (Acts 2:38).

According Peter
they didn’t need to wait to receive the HS,
or even to ask for the HS.
They needed to be saved.

“Do you or Don’t you”

People may have asked
whether you’ve been baptized by the HS.

I always answer
“Yes, but not in the way you are thinking.”

What is disturbing about that question
is that it sets up
a false split in the body of Christ.

The role of the HS is to unite the body of Christ.
The “Do you or Don’t you” mentality
works against the unity in the body.
Therefore it cannot be of the HS.

The Bible does not support the idea
that some believers has the “baptism with the HS”
and others not.

There are not 2 levels of believers…
gifted and not gifted,
baptized in the Spirit and not baptized in the Spirit.
Many sincere believers claim
that the “baptism of the Spirit”
dramatically improved their Christian experience…
their prayer lives are better,
they have more boldness
and their hunger for the Word of God has increased.
Question is,
why call it the “baptism of the HS?”
why call it, like some do, the “second baptism of the HS?”
Let’s rather celebrate our salvation again and again
in the same way
a married couple celebrate their marriage year after year…
with the realization that they love each other even more than before!

We cannot misuse the Word of God
to validate our experiences

If you have received, through faith,
the Spirit of the Risen Christ sent into your hearts by God (Galatians 4:6),
the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father",
then God has made you an heir,
and you “have the baptism”.
You have been indwelt by the HS… filled,
and therefore have everything you need
to experience the Spirit-filled life.

What you need is
To recognize the Holy Spirit as God who made your heart His home… forever!
To remain in Christ
To walk in the Spirit
To bear the fruit of the Spirit
To live under the control (submit to) of the Holy Spirit
To celebrate your salvation.
Now I can ask you the initial question again…
“Have you been baptized by the Holy Spirit?”

Amen

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