Baptism of

The Holy Spirit

March 2016

Original Photo by Ben White on Unsplash (edited)

1. What is Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

The word "baptised" means to be "wholly immersed" (just as, for example, wool is immersed in a coloured dye). To be baptised in water is to be wholly immersed in water. Similarly therefore, to be baptised in the Holy Spirit is to be wholly immersed in the Holy Spirit.

2. Is it a Physical event or a Spiritual event?

It is a spiritual event, but usually with some physical manifestations. Just as on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-3), those who witnessed the baptism/infilling of the Holy Spirit both saw and heard the evidence of the Spirit's presence in Jesus' disciples. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire above their heads, they heard the wind of the Holy Spirit, and they also heard the disciples speaking in tongues.

3. Is it a Pentecostal (denomination) thing?

No, it is not. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit has been experienced by many people from different Christian denominations (not just Pentecostals); denominations such as: Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Charismatics, Salvation Army, Lutheran, Congregationalist, to name a few, including the Roman Catholics.

It is only Pentecostal in so far as its first occurrence happened on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-11).

4. Is it an event that occurs at the moment of conversion?

  • It is often a separate event to conversion (conversion being a genuine heart acceptance of Christ and the confession of such).

  • Conversion re-positions us in Christ, the baptism/infilling of the Holy Spirit empowers us to live like Him. Position proceeds Power.

  • At the moment of conversion (repentance & belief in Jesus (primarily), also water baptism), you become a child of God and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but it is not until you undergo the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that you are empowered to do Kingdom works.

Jesus' disciples received (were indwelt by) the Holy Spirit before Jesus' ascension (John 20:22) -- but they were not clothed with power on high until they were baptised (filled) with the Holy Spirit, which occurred after Jesus's ascension (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4,7; Acts 2:1-11).

5. Should I be afraid of it?

No, you should not be afraid of it. It is the most wonderful, wonderful, wonderful thing that can happen to you on earth!

6. Should I want the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

Absolutely! You actually need it!

7. Who conducts the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

Jesus does it. Only Jesus can. (Matt 3:11, Mark 1:7-8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33)

Someone may pray on your behalf for it to happen to you, or you may even pray to Jesus yourself to ask for it, but ultimately it is Jesus who conducts it.

8. Is Baptism of the Holy Spirit for every Christian?

Yes, most definitely! Jesus wants to baptise all Christian believers in His Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39).

9. Is it necessary for a Christian to have the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

The New Testament has always been very clear that a believer should undergo 2 baptisms:

    • Baptism of repentance (in water)

    • Baptism of the Holy Spirit

John the Baptist mentioned these 2 baptisms (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:26, 33) and so did Jesus Himself (Acts 1:4-5). There were also instances where believers who had been baptised in water (for repentance) had not yet been baptised in the Holy Spirit, and needed to be so (Acts 8:12,14-17; Acts 19:1-6). These 2 baptisms should ideally occur close together one after another (as was the case with Jesus), however due to a lack of knowledge of those ministering in the church, these 2 baptisms can occur years apart for many Christians; and with some unfortunately never receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit altogether.

    • The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a vital aspect of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, essential to advancing the Kingdom of God.

10. Why should I want it / need it?

There are many reasons why you should want it or need it. Here are some of those reasons:

    • It is part of the New Covenant of Jesus Christ. (Acts 1:4-5)

    • It is an encounter with God, both in your spiritual and physical being. It is experiencing God for real!

    • It is for your own spiritual growth. Without the Holy Spirit it is impossible to keep Jesus' love commandments, it is hard to love people and to love God. It will also help you to grow the Fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25)

    • It is the empowerment for all Kingdom work (for the good of others) by operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit (such as healing, prophesying, discerning and casting out evil spirits, wisdom, word of knowledge, etc. -- see 1 Corinthians 12:1-11).

Once you have experienced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, you will never be the same, your Christianity and your being will come alive like never before! And you would want it for everyone else too.

11. Why are not all Christians baptised in the Holy Spirit?

The reason(s) some Christians are not baptised in the Holy Spirit could be because:

    • Some have not asked for it.

    • Some do not want it.

    • Some do not even know that they need it, or that they should ask for it, or that they even should want it.

    • Some who asked, asked with wrong motives.

    • Some are afraid of the Holy Spirit's manifestations, or too ashamed, or too embarrassed by them.

Those who know they should have it, need it, want it, are happy with the manifestations, and have even asked for it with the right motives, but have not yet received it, should continue to ask for it, all the while asking the Lord to reveal any blockages that may be preventing it from happening. Jesus said to ask for it and to keep on asking (Luke 11:13).

12. Is a Christian baptised in the Holy Spirit more superior than one who is not?

Absolutely not, because the Holy Spirit indwells all those who believe and have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour (Note however, that many have accepted Jesus as "Saviour", but not as "Lord" since they still live life their own way). However, by not having had the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (as yet), you are missing out on that "power from on high" that is necessary to witness with in order to advance the Kingdom of God. Jesus warned his disciples not to leave Jerusalem (where they were) until they received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). It is only after they have been Baptised in the Holy Spirit that they would receive power and be able to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

13. What could happen to me during the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

The common manifestation of the Holy Spirit Baptism is the outburst of a language unknown to the speaker, also known as "speaking in tongues". Unfortunately, the expression "speaking in tongues" was the result of a bad translation and caused many people to object to it and misunderstand it (see FAQs on Speaking in Tongues for more info).This specific manifestation of the Holy Spirit (speaking in tongues) occurred to the 120 disciples of Jesus on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13), and many others today who are baptised in the Holy Spirit experience the same.

There are also other manifestations that have been reported by individuals experiencing the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, such as:

    • Smelling the sweet scent of the Holy Spirit. (Psalm 45:8)

    • The shaking / trembling of some parts of the body, or even the whole body. (Jeremiah 23:9)

    • Looking / sounding drunk as if the person has had too much wine. (Acts 2:13-18, Ephesians 5:18-19)

    • Feeling heat or fire. (Matt 3:11, Luke 3:16, Acts 2:3, Hebrews 12:29, 1 Thessalonians 5:19, Jeremiah 20:9, 23:29)

    • Feeling the wind of the Holy Spirit. (John 3:8)

Other experiences of the Holy Spirit have also been reported such as: Prophesying, getting words of knowledge, having a heart for the salvation of the lost, experiencing healing, intense experience of love, immense peace, joy, a new dimension of faith, a heart of compassion, tears/crying/sobbing, oil appearing on the palm of a hand, and a burning urge to share the Gospel. Some of these are actually the Holy Spirit gifts manifesting (1 Corinthians 12:8-11).

"Falling down" has also been reported. This is, however, a reaction to some of the above Holy Spirit manifestations. For example, in the case of my baptism, as the Holy Spirit was being poured into me, I felt a warm tingling (pins and needles) sensation travelling from the soles of my feet and up my legs. When the tingling went past my knees, I started to fall as I couldn't feel my legs anymore.

14. Can I be baptised in the Holy Spirit without speaking in tongues?

The most common evidence of a Baptism of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. As the Spirit fills to overflow, the mouth speaks. However, if you do not ever wish to speak in tongues, and the Lord decides to baptise you in His Holy Spirit, He would respect your wish not to speak in tongues. You would, however, be missing out on one of the most powerful weapons for prayer, praise, and worship.

15. What can I expect to happen to me AFTER the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

  • The Holy Spirit will lead you straight into battle, just as He led Jesus. Straight after His water & Holy Spirit baptisms, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert to battle with the devil (Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:9-12, Luke 4:1-12). The Holy Spirit is known as "The Comforter". This is not as someone who comforts as such, but rather as someone who nudges you into battle, providing you with all the consolation and boldness you need for the battle. Thus, while you can expect to go into many battles, be rest assured that the Holy Spirit is with you. These battles (and their respective persecutions) are extremely important for your spiritual growth. Be warned also that these battles are often caused by those who do not understand the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and who are, hence, against you.

  • The Holy Spirit will also lead you into all truth! (John 14:26, John 16:13) He will teach you the Word of God as you read. You will gain additional understanding like you have never known or perceived before. The Holy Spirit will react to the things you read or listen to, and will tell you whether or not they are lies or truths.

  • The Holy Spirit will give you the power to operate in His gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-11), whether it be healing, casting out demons, prophesy, etc. -- all for the common good to build up the body of Christ (the church) and to lead the lost to Christ.

  • The Holy Spirit will give you the ability and strength to carry out Jesus' love commandments, especially through challenging times (John 14:23-26).

  • The Holy Spirit will give you the desire and aching heart to spend time alone with God.

  • You will start to grow the fruit of the Spirit (one fruit but with 9 flavours, Galatians 5:22-25). It will start as a little bud, but as you continue to walk in the Spirit, this will grow bigger.

16. How do I continue to walk in / be filled with the Holy Spirit?

  • Spend time with God alone daily and as much as you can by studying His Word, praying, giving thanks, praise and true worship; worshiping in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24; Ephesians 5:18-19). Also praying in tongues daily (Jude 1:20, Ephesians 6:18, Romans 8:26-27)

  • It is every bit possible (and has happened to some) that a re-filling of the Holy Spirit may occur during a heartfelt prayer and true worship, just as the case with the disciples/believers after Peter and John were released from prison (Acts 4:31).

  • Listen out for His soft, small voice in your heart and obey Him. Practice His presence (Galatians 5:13-26)

  • Do not grieve Him or grieve Him continuously (usually by breaking Jesus's love commandments) (Ephesians 4:21-32).

  • Seek to advance the Kingdom of God with love and compassion by sharing the gospel or laying hands on the sick, praying for them to be healed and/or delivered. Let the power of the Holy Spirit flow through you. His power must be used to build up His church and to lead the lost to Christ, it cannot remain stagnant in you (1 Corinthians 12:7, Mark 16:17-18, 20).

Further Resources:

© Elma Larsen. All rights reserved.