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The Purpose of the Holy Spirit Baptism: Part 1

The Purpose of the Holy Spirit Baptism: Part 1.

Before reading this article you should read "When were the Disciples saved?" for background information to better understand this article.

A lot of people do not properly understand Acts 1:8:
He SAID "Ye shall receive power when the Holy Ghost has come upon you!"

Some people think that the church started at this point. This is impossible! Everyone in the upper room were Jews who believed in Jesus as the Messiah and in His resurrection and therefore already met the requirements to be saved under the new covenant. The church had already started as we explained in another article before the Book of Acts even occurred.

Well, the Holy Spirit is involved in our conversion by convicting us of our sins. When we repent and believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our spirit during the conversion process where we are made a new creation. This is the salvation process [Romans 8:9; 8:15; John 3:5; 1 Corinthians 6:11].

In the sanctification process [the process of us getting more like Jesus by getting rid of bad habits and developing the fruits of the spirit] the Holy Spirit is involved once again [Romans 8:13; Galatians 3:3; 1 Peter 1:22; etc.].

And of course, the Holy Spirit will be involved when Jesus comes again for the Bride of Christ at the rapture and resurrection of the dead in Christ [Romans 1:4; 8:11].

So most people don't realize that the Holy Spirit is involved from the point of us being drawn to Jesus even before our salvation, all during our life, and to the return of Jesus for His Bride. But with that short background we shall concentrate in this article on the purpose of the Holy Spirit in those Christians who are alive today. In the book of Acts we find that the Holy Spirit is involved again, but for a special purpose. So what is the purpose of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

Here the Holy Spirit is ready to give us POWER to better enable us for our Christian walk and as a witness to the world. This power includes all the potential gifts [or manifestations] of the spirit. God expects us to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit just like Jesus did [Luke 4:14; John 1:33; John 3:34; Romans 8:26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 12:7-8; 11; Matthew 12:28; Romans 15:19; 1 Corinthians 14:14].

As Don Basham says in his book "A Handbook on Holy Spirit Baptism" p. 62, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a doorway leading from a natural realm into a supernatural realm of life and experience. Some people think that only Jesus is allowed to have this power, that if other people had this power it would somehow detract from who Jesus was. We won't cover this false teaching here, but will in another article.

So what is this power and how do we know that we have it? The power of the Holy Spirit consists of all the manifestations of the Spirit described in 1 Corinthians 12-14. Each person who is baptized in the Holy Spirit has the potential to manifest all the gifts of the spirit as the Holy Spirit determines [1 Corinthians 12:11].

The only Biblical evidence for the baptism of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. All the other gifts of the spirit had occurred in the Old Testament from time to time, but never speaking in tongues. This is something new in the New Testament era [Acts 2:4]. This is even predicted in the Old Testament: Isaiah 28:11 with 1 Corinthians 14:21; and Joel 2:28-29 with Acts 2:16-18.

The book of Acts lists 5 instances where the baptism of the Holy Spirit is mentioned: Acts 2:4; Acts 8:14-17; Acts 9:17; Acts 10:44-47; and Acts 19:6.

In Acts 9:17 Paul was baptized in the Holy Spirit but tongues were not specifically mentioned. But Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:18 that he spoke in tongues more than all the others. So that means he did speak in tongues in Acts 9:17 even though it was not mentioned there specifically.

In Acts 8:14-17 tongues are also not mentioned specifically but Simon the magician saw some visible evidence that they had the baptism and wanted to buy this ability. Most theologians agree that what Simon saw must have included speaking in tongues. The other three instances speak specifically of tongues being the evidence of having the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It seems conclusive to me. Speaking in tongues is the evidence.

Some people say that they can have the power without the tongues. This includes some charismatics and most of the third-wave charismatics. If we earnestly desire the baptism of the Holy Spirit and ask for it in prayer, the Father will give it to you. This means that all the gifts of the Spirit are now available to you as the Spirit wills.

The Holy Spirit always wills that one should speak in private devotional tongues since that is the evidence of having the baptism of the Holy Spirit. However, for a number of reasons, a person may not or may not know how to yield his tongue to the Holy Spirit initially. The tongues are always available as soon as the person accepts it.

This is what happened to me. I got the power of the Holy Spirit initially and later as I learned how to yield to the Holy Spirit the tongues came. If you can't accept the tongues yet, at least ask for the baptism of the Holy Spirit after you are saved. This is the foundation for working in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Tongues are very important as we shall see in the next article. A person is missing part of what Jesus has for us without tongues. There was a reason that Paul the intellectual said that he spoke in tongues more that all the others [1 Corinthians 14:18]. And that is saying something with the Corinthians being so excessive in exercising their gifts. We will go into why this is so in the next article. That article will be very important to read.

In reality, the entire first century church was pentecostal. I believe that there is a message here for us if we can accept it. We also will need to examine the subject of faith in order to properly operate in the power of the Holy Spirit. We will cover that topic in several other articles.

A Handbook on Holy Spirit Baptism by Don Basham, 1973, Whitaker House. This is one of the best books that I have read on this subject.