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- The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and the person of God, who empowers our salvation and our everyday experience of knowing him.
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- At the heart of Christianity is the belief in the Trinity, that there is one God, who exists as three identical persons within each other.
- Romans 8:9: But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (All citations KJV unless indicated)
- John 14:16: And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.
- The persons of the deity take on different functions in regard to our salvation, with God as the planner, Jesus Christ initiating the legal requirements, and the Holy Spirit bringing the work to completion.
- I Peter 1:2: Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ….
- [Note: for a complete review of how Scripture sets forth God as both three and one, see What Is The Trinity?]
- The Holy Spirit is not an influence or a force, but Scripture clearly portrays him as a person and as God.
- Scripture describes the Spirit in very personal terms.
- John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13: …he shall teach you all things…he shall testify of me…He will guide you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself; whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
- Romans 8:26,27: In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with
groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. (NIV)
- I Corinthians 12:11: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to everyman severally as he will.
- Scripture refers very explicitly to the Holy Spirit as God.
- II Samuel 23:2,3: The spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just….
- I Corinthians 12:4–6: Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
- Acts 5:3,4: But Peter said, Ananias, why hast Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost …thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God, cf. Hebrews 3:7–9, compared with Psalm 95:7–11. (The KJV uses the phrase Holy Ghost according to 17th century English).
- And Scripture represents the Holy Spirit as having the attributes of God.
- He is eternal; Hebrews 9:14: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God….
- He is all powerful; Psalm 104:30: Thou sendeth forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou reneweth the face of the earth.
- He is all present; Psalm 139:7,8: Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
- He is all knowing; John 14:26:…the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things….
- Only by the work of the Holy Spirit does the believer come to accept salvation through Christ.
- I Corinthians 2:12,14: Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we may know the things that are freely given to us of God…But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
- Luke 8:10:…Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
- Acts 16:14: And a certain woman named Lydia…heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul, cf. I Thessalonians 1:5; Romans 10:17.
- When we come to salvation, then our lives are transformed by experiencing God through the power of the Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit literally dwells within the believer.
- I Corinthians 6:19: What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God….
- John 7:38,39: He that believeth on me …out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (But this spake he of the Spirit…, cf. John 14:16; Galatians 2:20.
- The Holy Spirit operates as an inner force in the believer, creating a new person in the image of Christ. [See What Is Holiness?].
- Romans 8:13,14:…if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God, cf. Romans 8:26 (quoted at I. B. 1. b., page 26).
- John 14:26; 16:13:…he shall teach you all things…he will guide you into all truth….
- Proverbs 3:5,6:…lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.
- Romans 8:28,29: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed
to the image of his son….
- Galatians 5:22,23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, Meekness, temperance….
- The believer is introduced to the uniqueness of the Holy Spirit from a general review of Scripture.
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- The Spirit is portrayed through many symbols, each of which conveys something about his presence and nature:
- dove — signifying peace, beauty, grace, gentleness, Matthew 3:16;
- fire — an awesome power, beautiful, glorious, and majestic, Matthew 3:11; Acts 2:3,4;
- water/rain — abundant, life giving, cleansing, Psalms 72:6; Isaiah 44:3,4; John 4:14; 7:38,39;
- wind/breath — mysterious, invisible, but real and mighty, Job 33:4; 37:21; Ezekiel 37:9; John 3:8;
- oil — soothing, penetrating, healing, regenerating, Exodus 29:7; Psalms 23:5; 104:15; Hebrews 1:9;
- wine — intoxicating, relaxing, Isaiah 55:1; Matthew 9:17; Acts 2:13; Ephesians 5:18–20.
- The titles for the Holy Spirit found in Scripture also reveal his person:
- Spirit of the living God, II Corinthians 3:3;
- the eternal Spirit, Hebrews 9:14;
- spirit of grace and of supplications, Zechariah 12:10; Hebrews 9:14;
- spirit of glory, I Peter 4:14;
- Spirit of truth, John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13;
- Spirit of promise, Ephesians 1:13, cf. Luke 24:49;
- another Comforter, John 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7, (comforter also can be translated as advocate or exhorter);
- Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, Romans 8:2;
- Spirit of adoption, Romans 8:15;
- spirit of wisdom, Exodus 28:3; Isaiah 11:2; Ephesians 1:17;
- spirit of power, love, and a sound mind, II Timothy 1:7;
- spirit of judgment and spirit of burning, Isaiah 4:4.
- The Holy Spirit was the author of the Bible.
- Timothy 3:16: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
- II Peter 1:21: For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
- And, the Holy Spirit was the force behind the ministry and mission of Christ. The Holy Spirit —
- caused the pregnancy of Mary, Luke 1:35;
- descended on Christ at his baptism, Luke 3:21,22;
- compelled Christ to the wilderness temptation, Luke 4:1;
- then, led Christ back from the temptation, Luke 4:14;
- anointed him to preach, Luke 4:18;
- granted him miraculous power, Matthew 12:28;
- rested upon him without measure, John 3:34;
- gave him wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, Isaiah 11:2;
- enabled him to offer himself as a sacrifice, Hebrews 9:14.
- Presently, the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin and of unrighteousness. He does not focus on himself, but he glorifies Christ and receives people unto him.
- John 16:8–11: And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
- John 16:13,14: Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
- The Holy Spirit is the power of the church. As its creator and overseer, the Spirit graces members with diverse gifts for ministry and administration. (See item four of Bibliography below)
- Three passages in Scripture are particularly explicit, in referencing spiritual gifts given to all believers to make the church a dynamic body.
- I Corinthians 12:4–6, notes that believers may find themselves gifted by the Holy Spirit in operations and administrations. Verses 8–10, specify that in operations they may be blessed with the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, healing, the working of the miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues. Verse 28, indicates that believers may be placed in administration by the Holy Spirit as apostles, prophets, teachers, or those with miraculous power, healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
- Romans 12:6–8, sets forth the spiritual gifts of prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhorting, giving, ruling, and showing mercy.
- Ephesians 4:11, lists the gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers.
- As each of these passages name some of the same gifts and some different ones, it is clear they were not intended to convey the sum total of them all. It may be noted that I Corinthians 7:7,8, designates celibacy as the gift of God, as I Peter 4:9–11, refers to preaching and ministering as gifts, and I Timothy 2:7; II Timothy 1:11, stipulate the office of preacher as a gift.
- The gifts of the Holy Spirit function to make the church a dynamic, living organism.
- Each of the three main passages on gifts cited above are set against references to the human body, being compared to the body of Christ.
- Ephesians 4:4,12,13,16: There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling…For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the nature of the stature of the fullness of Christ…From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
- Believers find the Holy Spirit ministering to them within the church to bring them to maturity through the power of the gifts of the other members.
- Spiritual giftedness can be a source of immature rivalry within the church.
- The apostle Paul reviews spiritual gifts most thoroughly in I Corinthians, but the epistle in general addresses problems that arose in this church due to immaturity.
- Paul explains why he could not previously teach upon spiritual gifts when he was with the congregation in person.
- I Corinthians 3:1–3: And I, brethern, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bare it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
- Verse 2:14: But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolish unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
- I Corinthians, chp. 13, appears at the center of the epistle’s section on spiritual gifts, chps. 12–14, to emphasize that believers should not use them to show off how spiritual they are or to indicate their prestige in the church. All believers have the Spirit, and true spirituality is indicated by love, which includes being kind to others.
- I Corinthians 12:18–21: But
now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
- In Romans, the apostle Paul prefaces his teaching on spiritual gifts with this admonition, 12:3: For I say…to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
- In particular, the gift of tongues was a source of misunderstanding and immaturity at Corinth.
- Chapter 14, reviews how to put the gift of tongues in proper perspective. However, to correctly interpret this section, two distinctions must be held clearly in view.
- Tongues with interpretation is the equivalent of prophecy. Verse 5: I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.
- Speaking in tongues without interpretation is a very personal matter between an individual and God, and not for church meetings. Verse 2: For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto man, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
- However, the apostle Paul does not refer to believers receiving messages from God, as matters to be placed on the same level as Scripture, in designating the word of wisdom and knowledge, prophecy, or tongues as gifts from the Holy Spirit, I Corinthians 12:8,10.
- Messages arising from the gifts of the Spirit are for guidance and encouragement in the individual lives of the body of Christ.
- I Corinthians 14:3: But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
- [Note: the special revelation of Scripture from Jewish prophets and the apostles sets forth God's overall plan for history, and these messages were confirmed by the herald’s ability to predict the future and to perform miracles, Deuteronomy 13:1–3; 18:18–22].
- Tongues alone spoken in public are only for those who will not believe. I Corinthians 14:21:…With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me…, cf. verse 23.
- However, tongues with interpretation brings people to believe in God. Verses 24,25: But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face, he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth, cf. Acts 2:4–18, 37–41.
- Practicing the gift of tongues requires maturity. I Corinthians 14:20: Brethern, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men, cf. 3:1,2. (Note III. C., pages 30,31).
- Maturity requires keeping silent when there is no interpreter. Verse 14:28: But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
- Tongues should be done with order. Verse 26: How is it then, brethren? When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying, cf. verses 27–33.
- But, speaking with tongues should not be forbidden. Verses 39,40: Wherefore, brethern, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.
- Any message received by prophecy or tongues should be tested against the Word of God. I Thessalonians 5:19–21: Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
- We can test prophecy by combining common sense with general principles from Scripture. (See Bibliography below)
- Messages from God usually cause the believer to be more surrendered, more Christ-like, more aware of the beauty of holiness or the ugliness of sin. They are based on simplicity but overpower the human spirit unto true humility. They
transform the inner nature of the believer, while maintaining a balanced mind. They confirm and enhance what Scripture has always taught. If the message contains a call to action, it leads to someone’s salvation or spiritual well-being, and it is affirmed by the arrangement of the believer’s life.
- False impressions from the imagination or evil spirits strengthen worldly inclinations, self-righteousness, legalistic observances, and a more holy than you attitude. These delusions set forth unique messages omitted from the Bible, which lack any objective basis or deeper spiritual insight. They promise something wonderful and attempt to raise up the recipients as the most prominent saints, who often believe they have the power of the Holy Spirit at their disposal, and who delight in the message itself rather than God.
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- The most unique and actual experience of God comes through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
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- The Old Testament foreshadowed a time when the Holy Spirit would be poured out on humanity.
- Numbers 11:24,25,28,29: And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the Lord, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people…And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders; and it came to pass, that, when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease…And Joshua…said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!
- Isaiah 32:13,15: Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers…Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field ….
- Joel 2:28: And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.
- The ministry of Christ also promised a deeper experience with God through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
- Luke 3:16: John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.
- John 7:37–39:…Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his
belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this he spake of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
- John 14:16,26: And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever…But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things….
- John 16:7–9: Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment…John 16:13,14: Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
- On the date of the Pentecost (the Old Testament feast of the harvest, Leviticus 23:10–22), the Baptism of the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples, and immediately the power to witness unto Christ began.
- Acts 2:2–4: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Acts 2:37,38,41: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost…and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
- After the day of Pentecost, new believers continued to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as the word of Christ was spread.
- In Samaria, Acts 8:14–17: Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they recieved the Holy Ghost.
- In Caesarea, Acts 10:44–47: While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
- In Ephesus, Acts 19:1,2,6,7:…Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost…And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve.
- But, what is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
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- Actually, Scripture refers to Spirit baptism in many ways:
- the promise of the Father, Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4; cf. Joel 2:28–30;
- the gift of the Holy Ghost, Acts 2:38; 10:45;
- the pouring out of the Spirit, Acts 2:17; 2:33; 10:45;
- being filled with the Holy Ghost, Acts 2:4; 9:17;
- the falling upon of the Holy Ghost, Acts 8:16; 10:44;
- the coming upon of the Holy Ghost, Acts 1:8; 19:6;
- receiving the Holy Ghost, Acts 8:17; 10:47;
- endued with power from on high, Luke 24:49.
- Scripture represents Spirit baptism as a new experience for believers, to be distinguished from an Old Testament sense of the presence of the Spirit.
- As noted at IV. A., B. (pages 33,34), the Old Testament prophets and Christ promised a new experience of the Holy Spirit — for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified, John 7:39.
- Everyone who believes in Christ experiences the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in coming to salvation.
- Romans 8:9: But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
- II Corinthians 6:16:…for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them….
- Scripture is clear that it is not possible to understand God except by receiving the Spirit of God, Deuteronomy 29:4; I Corinthians 2:12–14; 12:3.
- Old Testament believers also experienced this indwelling.
- Genesis 41:38: And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the spirit of God is?
- Psalm 51:11: Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me, cf. Numbers 3:3; 27:18; Proverbs 1:23; Daniel 6:3.
- However, the Baptism is a complete immersion in the Spirit, an overwhelming experience of his presence, that is available to everyone. The Spirit is poured out, and believers are filled and immersed. The difference with the new experience of the Spirit is sheer abundance.
- Thus, the Baptism occurred on the day of Pentecost, the celebration of the greater harvest. By Leviticus 23:10, the Israelites were to offer a small sacrifice from the first fruits of the harvest. Then, 50 days later, they were to offer a larger sacrifice for a more abundant harvest, according to verses 15–21.
- Thus, when the Baptism came, the disciples did not just have the Holy Spirit: they were drunk on the Spirit. Acts 2:13–17: Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter…lifted up his voice, and said…For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh….
- [Note: the Old Testament indicates some instances of the Holy Spirit coming upon, filling, or resting on a limited number of individuals to temporarily empower them with specific skills or for certain tasks, Exodus 31:2,3; Deuteronomy 34:9; Judges 11:29; I Samuel 16:13. However, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is available for all people during the entire course of their lives].
- What role does the Baptism of the Holy Spirit have in the believer’s life?
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- Christ associated the Baptism with power for witnessing unto him.
- Acts 1:8: But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
- Matthew 28:18,19: And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
- After receiving the Baptism, the disciples proclaimed the Gospel with power.
- Acts 4:33: And with great power gave the apsotles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
- Acts 5:12,15: And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people…Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.
- Acts 6:8: And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
- Acts 19:11,12: And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
- However, the entire spiritual life of the believer becomes more intense by experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Hebrews 6:4,5: For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come.
- The Baptism is our introduction to the supernatural power we shall know in the age to come.
- Ephesians 1:13,14: In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession…, cf. II Corinthians 1:22.
- Indeed, Scripture refers to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as the baptism of fire. Matthew 3:11:…he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire, cf. Acts 2:3,4.
- John 14:12: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father, cf. John 16:7.
- The abundance of God’s power through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit carries over into all aspects of the believer’s spiritual life:
- in magnifying God, John 16:14; Acts 2:11; 10:46;
- in Christ-likeness, Romans 8:10–14; II Corinthians 3:18;
- in prayer, Romans 8:26,27; I Thessalonians 5:17-19; Ephesians 6:18;
- in learning truth, John 14:26;16:13;
- in Christian unity, I Corinthians 12:13;
- in love, II Timothy 1:7;
- in assurance, Romans 8:16; II Corinthians 1:22;
- in freedom, John 8:32; II Corinthians 3:17;
- in usefulness, I Corinthians 12:7;
- in health, II Corinthians 4:10-11; 12:9;
- in speaking boldly, Acts 4:8–14;
- in miracles, Romans 15:19.
- How does the believer come to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
- Scripture encourages all believers to seek Spirit baptism.
- Luke 11:9,13:…Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you…If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? — cf. Acts 2:39.
- [Note: verses 11,12, serve as assurance to believers that they will not be deceived by evil in seeking the Spirit. If a son ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?].
- I Corinthians 12:31: But covet earnestly the best gifts….
- I Corinthians 14:5: I would that ye all spake with tongues…. (Speaking with other tongues is the evidence and sign of receiving the Baptism, Acts 2:2,3; 10:44–46; 19:6; compare also 9:17 with I Corinthians 14:18).
- Ephesians 5:18,19: And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spirituals songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is received by praying for it, Luke 11:9,13; Acts 8:15; 19:6; by emptying oneself of the ways of the world, I Corinthians 2:12,14; Philippians 3:7–10; and by thirsting for God, John 7:37–39; cf. Psalm 42:1,2.
- The Baptism may come with the laying on of hands during prayer from others, Acts 8:17; 9:17; 19:6; or in response to preaching the Word, Acts 10:44.
- The sign of tongues may be an earthly language, Acts 2;4–8, or a heavenly one, I Corinthians 13:1.
- Although the Baptism is received only once, the believer may experience many fillings; compare Acts 2:4, with 4:31; cf. 4:8; 6:8; 7:55. Note Psalm 92:10: But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.
- The power of the Holy Spirit that comes through the Baptism may occur in different degrees according to the believer’s measure of faith.
- II Kings 2:9,10: And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy Spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, if shall be so unto thee….
- John 3:34: For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
- Romans 12:3,6:…according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith…Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us….
- After receiving the Baptism, believers often find themselves in intensified spiritual warfare.
- Luke 4:1,2: And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil….
- After Paul admonishes believers to be filled with the Spirit at Ephesians 5:18,19, he notes at 6:10,11 — Finally, my brethern, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
The ministry of Jesus Christ, despite all its miraculous power and Spirit anointed activity, was opposed by the best educated theologians of the first century, who occupied the most prestigious positions within the people of God, the Pharisees. Throughout history, learned and prominent leaders within the church always have resisted any true movement of the Holy Spirit. (See Quenching the Spirit: Examining Centuries of Opposition to the Moving of the Holy Spirit, by William DeArteaga - Lake Mary: Creation House, 1992). When the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was rediscovered in the Azusa Street Revival of 1906, it was condemned for many decades by traditional Christian churches. This denunciation continues by a significant part of the body of Christ to the present day, by those who believe the miraculous power of God and speaking in tongues ceased after the church was initiated in history, the Cessationists.
These dignified people use many arguments in logic combined with selected passages of Scripture to justify the denial of the power of the Spirit in everyday life. They hold that the Pentecostal doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is almost completely dependent on the book of Acts, which is a historical narrative, and which cannot be used to formulate theological doctrine by normative principles of interpretation. However, as the above outline has demonstrated, Spirit baptism is referenced throughout Scripture, and further, II Timothy 3:16 notes — All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine….
Most commonly, Cessationists cite I Corinthians 12:13, to support a position that Spirit baptism is coincident with conversion, not a subsequent occurrence; and, they further maintain that the Baptism cannot be evidenced by tongues, which have ceased, as noted by verse 13:8. I Corinthians 12:13: For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. Verse 13:8: Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge,
it shall vanish away.
However, I Corinthians12:13, makes reference only to water baptism, the initiation rite into the church, which is accomplished by the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:38; 10:47. Note how Paul references water baptism in a parallel passage of I Corinthians, verses 10:1–5 — Moreover, brethern, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat this same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. If 12:13, refers to more than water baptism, then Moses and the Hebrews of the Exodus also had the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, although this promise was to be fulfilled only after the ascension of Christ, John 16:7.
The emphasis of I Corinthians 12:12–27, is on the unity of the body of Christ and the error of division. Note verse 25: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. Paul reminds us that after water baptism, the body can fall into error, just as the Hebrews in the time of Moses did after drinking of the Spirit. However, water baptism should remind us that we are one united body, as our salvation was wrought by one Spirit. Verse 27: Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
Verse 13:8, refers to the cessation of tongues after the second coming of Christ, when prophecy will no longer be necessary. Note verses 9,10: For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. Tongues presently have not ceased, as that which is perfect has not yet come.
Cessationists also like to emphasize that Pentecostals associate the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as a condition for receiving entire sanctification, a state of holy perfection, a position easily refuted from Scripture as possible in this lifetime. Some Pentecostals do maintain that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit brings entire sanctification, an idea which actually arose from 19th century holiness teachings. People came out of the Azusa Street Revival from all Christian faiths, without any denomination dominant, but the holiness faction stressed that the Baptism was a sign of entire sanctification. The issue was debated extensively after the revival began, until the matter was resolved by the writings of William Durham, a Baptist preacher, who became an eminent leader in the worldwide Pentecostal movement. He emphasized that the Baptism did not relate in any way to the recipient’s state of holiness, but only endued power for witnessing and service. The majority of Pentecostals accepted this position, and the entire sanctification faction broke off to form their own churches, eventually becoming known as Holiness Pentecostals.
Cessationists also commonly maintain that Pentecostal power amounts to nothing more than excessive emotion conjured by highly excited services, which create general disorder and a delusion of spiritual power. There can be no doubt that an excessive degree of emotional excitement can cause delusions and exert control over the will. On the other hand, Scripture clearly indicates one must follow God with the entire heart, with intense emotion, Deuteronomy 11:13; Psalm 34:18; 37:4; 42:1,2; 139:21; Matthew 5:6,12; 9:36; Mark 3:5; John 2:17; Revelation 3:15–19. However, Scripture does not associate the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with emotion, but it even admonishes that tongues should be spoken with order, I Corinthians 14:26-33,39,40. The fact that some people confuse emotion with the Baptism does not mean that Pentecostals are emotional in general. However, Pentecostals recognize that neither can genuine, heart felt emotion for praising God be denied.
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1. The common sense method for testing prophecy set forth at III. D. 7. a., b. (pages 32,33), actually arose from this author’s impressions concerning Jonathan Edwards' review of valid religious emotion in The Religious Affections
—Grand Rapids: Sovereign Grace Publications, 1971. This work additionally presents an excellent argument from Scripture on the necessity of emotions in practicing religion, which is referenced as also being a Pentecostal position in the last paragraph of this outline’s addendum.
2. L. Thomas Holdcroft, The Holy Spirit: A Pentecostal Interpretation — Springfield: Gospel Publishing House, 1979.
3. R.A. Torrey, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit — Springdale: Whitaker House, 1996. 72–90.
4. Regarding Section III. A., B. (pages 29,30), of this outline, see C. Peter Wagner, Your Spiritual Gifts: Can Help Your Church Grow — Ventura: Regal Books, 1994, pp. 29–31,56.
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This outline constitutes a chapter from Only The Essentials: Clear and Simple Outlines on Complex Theology. Copyright 2001 by Montgomery Paul Webb. All rights reserved. However, permission is granted solely to private individuals to make ten copies of any disc containing this book, to include whatever other publications are available therein from the Church of the Love of Christ, for distribution to friends and acquaintances, on the conditions — 1. that the entirety of the contents of the disc is copied;— 2. and that absolutely no change, addition, or omission is made.
From printed material, photocopies only of any chapter can be made privately by individuals for distribution to friends and acquaintances, on the conditions — 1. that the entirety of the chapter is copied and distributed, including the pages of the chapter rendering the name The Church of the Love of Christ, the author’s name, and the copyright notice; — 2. and that absolutely nochange, addition, or omission is made.
Chapter outlines include — What Is the Bible? | Can God Be Known? | Who Is Jesus Christ? | Who Is the Holy Spirit? | What Is the Trinity? | What Is the Kingdom Of God? | What Is Faith? | What Is Holiness? and What Is the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus? | What Is the Church? | New Testament Giving and Prosperity. | What Is Spiritual Warfare? | Can Anyone Understand
Additional chapters include — A Second Call to Reform and the Philosophy of the Church of the Love of Christ. | The Constitution of the Church of the Love of Christ.
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