In a few previous letters I have written on the Holy Spirit. I felt lead in this letter to expound on this subject and what is meant by being baptized in the Holy Spirit and with fire. John the Baptist said, in Luke 3:16 (NLT) “I baptize with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I am not even worthy to be his slave. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
This figure of Baptism was referred to six times in the New Testament in regards to an additional experience. In the first four verses, John the Baptist is speaking of Jesus and predicting that he will baptize people in (or with) the Holy Spirit:
- Matthew 3:11: “I baptize you with water for 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 with fire.”
- Mark 1:8: “I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
- Luke 3:16: “I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
- John 1:33: “He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”
The next two passages refer directly to Pentecost:
- Acts 1:5: [Here Jesus says,] “John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
- Acts 11:16: [Here Peter refers back to the same words of Jesus that were quoted in the previous verse. He says,] “I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” These two passages show us that whatever we may understand baptism in the Holy Spirit to be, it certainly happened at the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit fell in great power on the disciples and those with them, and they spoke in other tongues, and about three thousand people were converted (Acts 2:14).
The only remaining reference in the New Testament is in:
- 1 Corinthians 12:13 (NIV): “For we were all baptized in one Spirit into one body—”
Just as one that is baptized into water and is immerse completely dripping and drenched with the element in which he is baptized so is the same for the one who is baptized in the Holy Spirit. There must be complete relaxation and surrender into the control of the individual who is baptizing.
Jesus is the minister who officiates at this baptism of the Holy Spirit as we present our whole body, soul and spirit; our mind, emotions and will. In other words, yielding our all and all. We are indicating surrender ship to the Holy Spirit when we yield our soul, spirit and body, our tongue to the Lord which is the most unruly part of our bodies.
By doing this we are submerged into the Holy Spirit. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not complete until every part of one’s spirit is saturated and filled with this precious Holy Spirit; the unction, the anointing, the power of the Almighty God. None of self, all surrendered to the Holy Spirit.
Yes, we receive the Holy Spirit when we accept Jesus as our Savior, but there is a deeper walk that we need and must have to help maintain our relationship with God, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. If you have yet not received this infilling of the Holy Spirit, begin to desire this gift. It is for all and to all whom desires to grow closer to God and be directed by the Holy Spirit into all truth. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit will flow from the vessel saturated, consumed with His Spirit. The gifts come from God but is distributed by the Holy Spirit to whom desires and when He desires.
Simply put, it is of the same Spirit of God but you might say another experience. As stated above, we are indicating surrender ship to the Holy Spirit when we yield our body; soul, spirit, heart – (mind, emotions, will) and our tongue to the Lord which is the most unruly part of our bodies. By doing this we are submerged into the Holy Spirit and generally with evidence of speaking in tongues, which is our heaven language to God through the Holy Spirit.
Symbols of the Holy Spirit in the Bible:
• an anointing/oil – Luke 4:18,Psalm 133:2
• to be sealed – 2 Cor. 1:22, Eph. 1:13, Eph. 4:30. 1 Thess. 5:23, John 6:27, 2 Tim. 2:19
• an earnest of our inheritance – 1 Cor. 1:22, 5:5, and Eph. 1:14
Characteristics or Fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22 – 23 (NLT) But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.
Other characteristics of the Holy Spirit:
• Fire; Ex. 13:21-22, Matt. 3:11-12, Luke 3:16-17, Acts 2:3, Heb. 12:29 A fire that burns out all dross and impurities by His purging presence.
• Wind; John 3:8, John 20:22 The Holy Spirit comes as a violent flow of air and fills waiting believers.
• Water; John 4:14, 24, John 7:37-39, Isa. 44:3 The Holy Spirit is River of Life now to thirsty souls
• Rain and Dew; Ps. 72:6, Ps. 133:3, Hosea 6:3, Hosea 14:5, Isa. 28:11-12. How refreshing as He descends upon the soul, and how life-giving is His coming.
• Dove; John 1:32, tender, gentle, pure, and harmless, like a Dove, the Holy Spirit is easily frightened or grieved. As the dove is a universal symbol of peace, so the Holy Spirit is God’s agent to bring peace to the Human heart. What is the nature and importance of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?
As the Spirit of Christ He comes in at conversion reveling and imparting Christ-likeness. At baptism He Himself fills the waiting believer. There may be times at salvation (conversation) one may receive both the born-again experience and the baptism of the Holy Spirit; when the person has totally surrendered to the Holy Spirit. But, normally it takes a growing process or an understanding for the purpose of the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
This Baptism in the Spirit is the fulfillment of a promise spoke of by the Father in Luke 24:49 which empowers men from on high. This power is spoken of in Acts 1:8. The very “Power to witness”. There is a need today for men to be endued with this power before they ever go out to preach and witness.
The Holy Spirit is the one that directs, guides, and leads the believer into the very plan of God for one’s life and for the Father’s will to be accomplished in one’s life.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is important because:
- God has provided it.
- Jesus Himself received it before He started His ministry at age thirty.
- He commanded His disciples not to proceed without it.
- All His disciples did receive it, as well as His mother and His brethren.
- It effected the conversion of 3000 on the day of Pentecost.
- It enabled the apostles to fill Jerusalem with their doctrine.
- It enabled them to perform supernatural signs and wonders.
- It enabled them to carry the Gospel to every creature of their generation. Colossians 1:23
- They were careful to lead their converts into the same place of power. Acts 8:14-15
- Christ commands all believers to be filled with the Spirit. Matt. 28:20; Ephesians 5:18
For the above reasons, no Christian should neglect to receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, yes the infilling of the Holy Spirit, the very thing that Jesus said He and the Father would send to us when He left over 2000 years ago. The same experience that the church of ACTS experienced is for each of us, today.
Begin to desire, yield and totally surrender your mind, body and spirit to the working of God in us, through the Holy Spirit.
Love in Christ Jesus,