"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
Shortly after my salvation experience I begin to hear about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and I began to seek out information about it and to study the Bible to see if it even existed. Being in a Southern Baptist church didn't make it any easier to find out about it because they did not believe it was real or was for today. Finally after much research I visited a revival in Indiana started by the Holy Spirit Himself and the second night I was there I was filled, and my life from that point onward was never the same.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is only for those who have been born again and washed in the blood of Jesus and truly want to follow Him with all of their heart. Many today just want another experience or spiritual gift to play with because to them Christianity is a game or hobby, not a passionate pursuit of Jesus that will cost them their life. Obedience to the gospel requires a sell out, a giving of oneself to the Lord Jesus Christ to follow Him wherever He leads and the filling of the Spirit is necessary to be able to accomplish the mission that has been given to us.
"I indeed baptize you with water unto 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 fire." Matthew 3: 11
Many want the outpouring, but few want the fire, because the fire is what burns out the impurities in our life making us more like Jesus. The Spirit not only empowers but burns away the dross of our lives and cleanses us all the way down to the bottom of our soul. In a previous message I wrote about a silversmith that said when the silver that he heats is ready he can see his image in it and that's exactly what the Baptism of the Holy Spirit produces, a purified vessel useful to the Master.
Jesus said, ''In the last days there would be many false prophets." and that is the reason that in everything we are to follow His example. Jesus was baptized in water at the beginning of His ministry and as He ascended from the water the Spirit of God descended upon Him like a dove filling Him and empowering Him to fulfill the mission His father had given Him.
Upon receiving the Holy Spirit Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil for forty days thus fulfilling the scriptures that stated that He would be tempted in all things. Following Jesus involves much spiritual warfare and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit enables us to fight the enemy with the same power that our Lord had, without it we would be blown away.
Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. Luke 4: 1, 2
RECEIVING THE SPIRIT BY THE LAYING ON OF HANDS
In most cases the Holy Spirit was received by the apostles laying hands on those that had just been saved, as in the case where Samaria had received the word and Peter and John went down to pray for them. They had only been baptized in water and when they laid hands on them they received the Holy Spirit.
When the apostle Paul met Jesus on the Damascus road he acknowledged Him as Lord and was saved, then three days later Ananias laid hands on him and he was healed of his blindness and filled with the Holy Spirit. Although this is the norm it is not the only way and it is possible to receive without the laying on of hands. When Peter went to a gentile named Cornelius after receiving a vision from God as he was still preaching Jesus, the Spirit fell on the entire household and they were all filled.
Paul asked a group of disciples at Ephesus if they had received the Holy Spirit when they believed and they told him that they were not sure there was a Holy Spirit. He then proceeded to ask how they were baptized and they said, into John's baptism. Paul then baptized them in Jesus name and laid hands on them and they were filled with the Spirit.
And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Acts 19: 6
When the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost the believers became empowered by the Great Apostle, Jesus, and then by the laying on of hands transferred the Holy Spirit to every one that they encountered who had been saved. This was a pattern and an example that Jesus gave the church to insure that the Holy Spirit would continue to be given to allow the body to operate properly. Sadly today because of false teachers and false doctrine many have been scared away by excesses that they have experienced or seen performed by ignorant people.
The evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not just speaking in tongues, some prophecy, some receive special gifts of healing or discernment and some, the gift of miracles. Don't ever be deceived by someone wanting you to speak in tongues when that is not the only evidence. God wants to fill His people with His very presence and power so that they can fulfill His mission in the earth, to make disciples of all nations, not to make a circus of His church.
RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT BY FAITH
We are saved by faith and we in turn receive the Holy Spirit by faith. Everything in God's kingdom is received by faith and without it, it is impossible to please Him. When you feel that you are prepared to receive the Spirit, cleanse your heart of anything that would separate you from God or man and then begin to ask God to baptize you with His Holy Spirit. If you feel that you want the elders of your church, or maybe someone that you trust to lay hands on you then that is good too. Just make sure they believe and are sound in their teaching. This is not something you have to work up, its not emotionalism or a show for others to watch, its the very empowerment of God's Spirit filling an honest and innocent heart.
The Bible says that if you seek Him with all of your heart He will allow you to find Him and if you ask Him anything it will be done for you. God is truly a loving Father and the Holy Spirit is a gentleman, so don't be afraid because of the excesses that you have seen and heard about. Trust Him with all of your heart and receive by faith the power and unfathomable love of God available to all who seek Him.
PRAYER TO RECEIVE
Heavenly Father, I come to You today seeking the Baptism of Your precious Holy Spirit, please forgive me and wash me of sin and unbelief, and unforgiveness, and cleanse me with the blood of Jesus. I believe by faith trusting in Your word for the promise of the Holy Spirit to fill me and release in me the gifts that you have given me. In Jesus name fill me now with power from on high, and I will in turn give you all of my heart.
If you prayed that prayer sit quietly and just receive all that God has for you. If you need more information or teaching please let me know and I will be glad to help you in any way that I can.
"And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. Joel 2: 28, 29
May the Lord open the eyes of your understanding and bless you with wisdom,
Your servant in Christ, Tim Laughlin
Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever, Amen. Hebrews 13: 20,21