And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" So they said to him, "We have not so much heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." Acts 19:1,2
In our Saturday morning men's meeting for the last two weeks, questions have risen concerning the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Being a diverse group there were varied traditions and doctrines represented on the subject. There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding, and a lack of sound biblical teaching concerning the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ.
First of all, the Charismatics and Pentecostals have scared the daylights out of many by the manifestations, some of the Holy Spirit and some from demons in their services with the main focus being on tongues! Most of the main-line denominations have simply shut down and refuse to believe in the baptism in the Spirit and the modern day manifestations of His gifts, saying they passed away. So, what is the truth and how do we solve this dilemma? To eliminate speculation we must always resort to God's word, the final authority on the subject and see what He says in regards to His Holy Spirit. The biggest problem today in the church is the use of "Private interpretation" of the scriptures or receiving the doctrines and traditions of men and denominations which many times are incorrect!
The Bible is the inspired word of the living God, revealed to us by the Holy Spirit and is not, contrary to popular belief a buffet to choose what you like and refuse what you don't like, or choose to believe! In order to understand the scripture on this subject we must rely on Holy Spirit's ability to teach us and lead us in all truth!
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. II Peter 1:20,21
THE BAPTISM OF JOHN
"Into what then were you baptized?" So they said, "Into John's baptism." Then Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is on Christ Jesus." Acts 19:3,4
Paul asked the disciples of John, whom he had asked before if they had received the Holy Spirit when they believed and they told him they were baptized into John's baptism and didn't know if there was in fact a Holy Spirit. John the baptist was baptizing people with a baptism of repentance and exhorting them to believe in Jesus as their Savior and then told them that He would baptize them with the Holy Spirit and fire!
The disciples of John the baptist had only repented of their sins and believed on Jesus who was to come just as the 120 did at Pentecost when they believed as they walked with Jesus. That is why they had to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, a second experience apart from salvation. When I was saved 38 years ago I wandered into a typical Southern Baptist church who didn't believe in the baptism in the Holy Spirit or in His gifts, saying that it all passed away, being only for the disciples of Jesus.
Hearing about this miraculous second experience I started to seek it as I learned from those who had received it and six months later I too was baptized in His Spirit in a revival meeting and my life was changed forever! I didn't immediately speak in tongues but it wasn't long before I began to one night while praying. I personally believe everyone who is born again and filled with the Spirit can and should have a heavenly prayer language!
"If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? " Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? "If you then, being evil, 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 11:11-13
BAPTIZED WITH POWER
And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Acts 19:6
The disciples of John were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, receiving the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit and everyone of them spoke in tongues and prophesied as did the 120 at Pentecost. The gift of tongues and prophecy are signs of the baptism in the Spirit, but there are other signs as well.
Boldness is a sign that gives us the supernatural ability to witness, preach, teach and speak that which God gives us as well as God's word coming alive to us! I remember in speech class in high school, standing up in front to give a monologue and I couldn't hardly utter my name, but since I received the anointing of God's Spirit it has given me the ability to preach to thousands! The devil tries to trap us by illuminating tongues, signs, wonders and anything else contrary to the dead traditions of men, always trying to discredit God's gifts and he has successfully divided the body of Christ!
The church of Jesus Christ must be baptized with power from on high in order to effectively preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations. If you were in the military and trained to fight but weren't given any weapons to defeat your enemies it would be a very short war! If you have never been baptized in the Holy Spirit, cast off all restraint and fear and ask God for His power to fill you and don't be afraid of the gifts of His Spirit because He will not give you anything that would harm you!
"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Acts 1:8
Your servant in Christ, Timothy Laughlin
NOTE: For more information on the baptism in the Holy Spirit go to the message section of my website!