Gifts of the Spirit
Missing Person: The Holy Spirit
Many people may have had an experience like that of the little
girl who heard the Holy Ghost (as the Holy Spirit is sometimes
called) mentioned in church from time to time, but so vaguely
and infrequently she could only guess what sort of ghost this
might be. So one day, when she venture down into the dark furnace
room in the church's cellar, she decided with a child's firm logic
that this spooky place must be where the Holy Ghost lurked.
The fact is, adult believers often act as if the Holy Spirit
really was hiding in the church cellar. They may know something
about the Holy Spirit, but they don't know Him personally or realize
that He is God in the same way the Son and the Father are God.
When they read the Bible, many people are surprised to find that
the Holy Spirit was at the very dawn of time: "The Spirit of God
was moving over the surface of the waters" (Genesis1:2), and many
are amazed to find out there are approximately 100 references
to the Holy Spirit throughout the Old and New Testaments.
Nevertheless, the Spirit's role is fundamental both to creation
and the life of the believer. When a person comes to Jesus Christ,
he receives Christ into his heart. The Spirit of God comes and
joins with the spirit of the believer. This "indwelling Spirit"
reproduces the life of Jesus in the believer's life.
What, Then, Is The Baptism In The Holy Spirit?
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an empowering for service that
takes place in the life of the Christian (Acts 1:5,8). In it we
are immersed in the Spirit's life and power.
To illustrate, if we drank water from a glass, then the water
would be inside us. However, if we went to the beach and stepped
into the ocean, then we would be in the water. We receive, as
it were, a drink of the Holy Spirit when we are saved, but when
we are baptized in the Spirit, it is as if that initial drink
becomes an ocean that completely surrounds us.
Just as the indwelling Spirit that Christians receive when they
are saved reproduces the life of Jesus, so the outpoured, or baptizing,
Spirit reproduces the ministry of Jesus, including miracles and
Why Do We Need The Baptism In The Holy Spirit?
We need a power beyond ourselves for service and ministry in
When Jesus gave the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), He knew
that His disciples could not fulfill it in their own power. Therefore,
He had a special gift in store for them: It was His plan to give
them the same power that He had -- the power of the Spirit of
God. So, immediately after giving them the Great Commission, Jesus
commanded his disciples not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for
what the Father promised, "which," He said, "you heard of from
Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with
the Holy Spirit not many days from now" (Acts 1:4-5). He further
promised: "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come
upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and
in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the
earth" (Acts 1:8).
The disciples waited in Jerusalem as Jesus had commanded, and
one day when they were all together, "suddenly there came from
heaven a noise like a violent, rushing winds, and it filled the
whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them
tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on
each one of them. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and
began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them
utterance" (Acts 2:3,4). Then Peter explained to the crowd that
gathered that they were seeing the working of God's Spirit and
told them about Jesus. The Christian church began that day with
the disciples and the three thousand people who joined them as
a result of the day's events.
We can undertake making disciples of all nations with some degree
of success without the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but when we
do, we are undertaking a supernatural task with limited power.
It is God's will -- it is His commandment -- that we be baptized,
or filled with, the Holy Spirit: "Be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians
5:18). The knowledge and reality of the empowering Spirit enables
us to reproduce the works of Jesus.
When May I Receive The Baptism In The Holy Spirit?
It can take place at the moment you confess faith in Christ,
as in the case of the first Gentile convert, Cornelius (Acts 10:44-46;
11:15, 16); but often it occurs some time after the salvation
experience (Acts 8:12-17).
Is There Anything To Fear?
Some people fear that if they ask for the baptism in the Holy
Spirit, what they experience won't be the authentic working of
the Spirit. But once they do ask for it, they are always glad
they did. God doesn't cause us to do anything we don't want to,
and all His gifts are good and perfect (James 1:17). Jesus said,
"Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish;
he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will be? Or if
he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will
he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your
children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy
Spirit to those who ask Him?" (Luke 11:11-13). The baptism in
the Holy Spirit is an even better gift than any material gift
you could receive, and God wants you to have it because He loves
you and wants the very best for you.
What Should I Do Before Asking?
The Bible says that a wise man counts the cost before he begins
to build a tower (Luke 14:28). This beautiful experience of the
baptism in the Holy Spirit is a free gift, but you must be willing
to submit fully to God to receive it.
Jesus will respond to a totally yielded vessel. He never asks
anything of you that you are incapable of giving, nor does He
ever fail to give you something greater in return when you do
give your all. The joy He gives through total obedience to Him
far outweighs anything you could possibly give up.
There is one more important consideration: In Acts 8, a man named
Simon, deeply involved in the occult, wanted to buy the gift of
the Holy Spirit. Peter sharply rebuked Simon, commanding him to
repent. Therefore, if you ever at any time had anything to do
with the occult (Ouija boards, fortune tellers, seances, horoscopes,
ESP, transcendental mediation, hypnotism, or other such practices),
you must renounce and turn away from all such sinful participation,
and you must ask for God's forgiveness and cleansing.
How Do I Receive The Baptism In The Holy Spirit?
You only have to do two things.
First, once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord
and Savior you just have to ask God to baptize you in the Holy
Spirit. The Bible says, "Ask, and it shall be given to you" (Luke
Second, believe you have in fact received this gift from God.
The apostle Paul, writing to the Galatians, said, "Did you receive
the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing with faith?"
(Galatians 3:2). The answer, obviously, is faith. You have to
believe that if you ask, you will receive.
Pray this prayer if you sincerely desire to receive the baptism
in God's Holy Spirit:
"Heavenly Father, at this moment I come to You. I thank You
that Jesus saved me. I pray that the Holy Spirit might come upon
me. Lord Jesus, baptize me now in the Holy Spirit. I receive the
baptism in the Holy Spirit right now by faith in Your Word. May
the anointing, the glory, and the power of God come upon me and
into my life right now. May I be empowered for service from this
day forward. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for baptizing me in Your Holy
Now, having asked and received, begin to practice the power of
the Spirit. An ideal place to begin is where the first apostles
did, praising God in a new language. To do this, begin praising
God out loud in whatever words come to you. Tell Him how much
you love Him. Thank Him, worship Him, and yield your voice to
Him. Now let Him give you new words of praise you never heard
before. Praise Him with those words, too. You'll find that thiscan
be a very rewarding experience of communication with God that
will build up your faith. Continue to pray to God each day in
the language that the Holy Spirit has given you.
But this "prayer language" is just one of the gifts that God
wants to give you through the baptism in His Spirit.
The Gifts and Fruit of the Holy Spirit
The apostle Paul told the Corinthians that the Holy Spirit would
manifest Himself among them in special gifts, of which speaking
in tongues was only one: "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren,
I do not want you to be unaware....To one is give the word of
wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge
according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit,
and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another
the distinguishing of spirit, to another various kinds of tongues,
and to another the interpretation of tongues" (I Corinthians 12:1,8-10).
Paul also wrote that the Holy Spirit produces "fruit" in the
lives of believers. These are virtues that demonstrate Jesus'
righteousness in the lives of His disciples: "The fruit of the
Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22).
So, in asking for the baptism in the Holy Spirit you are availing
yourself of these gifts for advancing God's Kingdom and allowing
the Holy Spirit to further cultivate in your life the fruit of
righteousness -- two great helps in living a life God can use
mightily for His glory.
That's the way it is with God. God is offering the baptism in
the Holy Spirit to people who need only to reach out and receive
it in order to be on fire to fully serve Him.
Walking in the Spirit
By now you can see that the Holy Spirit is so much more than
a shadowy figure to pay lip-service to on Sunday morning. He can
be with you and in your to bring new life to your Christian walk.
Likewise, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is more than a single
experience. It is a continual dependence on the Spirit for guidance
and strength in all circumstances. "If we live by the Spirit,
let us also walk by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25).
The baptism in the Holy Spirit cannot be earned. You cannot become
"good enough" to receive it. It is a gift from God. It is not
a "cure-all" for your problems. But the same wonderful power that
enabled Jesus to open blind eyes, to command the elements of nature,
and to live a life pleasing to the Father during His ministry
on earth is also available to you. Ask, and it shall be given
about the Holy Spirit on Spiritual Life
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