| BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
WHAT IS IT?
It's a second, definite work of grace that follows salvation and is a life-changing experience. Sadly, many denominations shun this experience as something evil and to be avoided at all costs. They happily consign the infilling of the Spirit to the early church and teach that it stopped there. They refuse to even consider that it might just conceivably be for our day.
Let's look at this, then, from a Biblical perspective and see for ourselves whether this view is correct.
WHO IS A CANDIDATE FOR THE BAPTISM?
Acts 2:39 clearly states For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all that are afar off. If the promised Holy Spirit is for all, then it surely includes those of all eras. But let's go on.
A favorite 'proof' that the baptism is not for today is I Cor. 13:8 Love never fails, but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away, whether there be tongues, they shall cease, whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
This, they say, is proof positive that tongues are not for today. I ask you, then, has knowledge vanished? In regard to the last days, Dan. 12:4 says, ...many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Needless to say, people are running to and fro throughout the earth as never before. There has been a knowledge explosion that boggles the mind. I'm told that knowledge completely doubles every two years.
In I Cor. 13:9,10 we learn that these things will cease when that which is perfect has come. 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. That which is perfect has not yet come!
Then it's safe to say that if you are a believer, you are a candidate for the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
What about those who claim to have received the baptism when they were saved? The Bible does indeed say in Rom. 8:9, If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Therefore, we know that every believer has the Holy Spirit. However, the baptism in the Spirit is another thing entirely.
Can we prove this? Indeed we can.
A SEPARATE EXPERIENCE;
John 7:38, 39: He that believeth on me, as the scriptures have said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water. But this spoke he of the Spirit, whom they that believe on him shall receive, for the Spirit was not yet given, for Jesus was not yet glorified.
This Scripture makes it abundantly clear that it was written to those who were already believers. In the 2nd chapter of the book of Acts, those in the upper room were believers. In Acts chapter 10, the Spirit fell upon believers at the house of Cornelius. In fact, in every instance when the baptism in the Spirit was given, it was to Christians.
WHY IS THE SPIRIT GIVEN?
Acts 1:8: You shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses...
I have had parents bring their young children (3-5 yrs old) for prayer to receive the baptism and I refused to ask God to fill them. What would little children do with this powerful experience? The baptism is a power for service.
Not only does it give us power to witness, it gives us power over Satan. Luke 10:19: Behold, I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
THE PRAYER LANGUAGE;
During the great outpouring of the Spirit in the 60s and 70s, tongues were tested to see whether or not they met the criteria for legitimate languages. In every case, they did.
I never realized the importance of the prayer language until one day when I was praying and saw Jesus rise and come to lean down and listen to me. I thought how wonderful it was that He would listen to me pray. Then He said, "I'm not listening to you, because you're not praying. The Holy Spirit is praying, and when He prays He commands the attention of all heaven."
Is this Biblical? According to I Co. 14:14, the Apostle Paul wrote, "If I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays but my understanding is unfruitful." In other words, God understood, Paul did not. I believe that when we pray in tongues, we bore a hole through the heavens and go right into the throne room of God.
Countless missionary, when in a perilous situation, have spoken in tongues to their enemies in their language and their lives have been spared as a result.
I heard the story of a missionary named Beulah that took place in China. Beulah had founded a girls' home and had given her life as a missionary to China. When the girls became teenagers, they were restless and rebellious and wanted to see what the other side of life was about.
Beulah was heartsick and told her girls, "I'm through. My work has been in vain and I'm going home."
"What?" the girls cried. "No mother, no home, no food?"
In despair, they cried out to the Lord in prayer. Beulah came into the room while they were praying and she heard a voice say loudly, in clear English, "Abide at thy post until I call you home. The work you have done is a great work, which shall redound to the glory of God through the countless ages of eternity!"
Beulah was astonished, for she knew that the girl didn't know a single word of English. Of course Beulah stayed in China and a great revival broke out in that home.
HOW TO RECEIVE;
Acts 8:17: Then laid they their hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost I have seen scores of people receive the baptism in this manner, including a Catholic priest and an Episcopal priest and his wife.
(Curiously, the Holy Spirit seems to delight in doing the unexpected. The Catholic priest was a boisterous sort of person, yet when he received the baptism he whispered. My mother, a Southern Baptist, and a very quiet individual, received the baptism at age 72 and shouted out the language.)
So the baptism is given through the laying on of hands; but the Spirit fell on those in Cornelius' home when they heard the preaching of the Word. The 120 in the Upper Room were praying when the Spirit fell.
Other times God moves sovereignly. A friend saw words in her mind and, in obedience, spoke them. She was alone. I was alone in my living room when I received.
A number of times I've seen people so drunk on the Spirit they had to be driven home. Some could hardly speak English the following day. Eph. 5:18: Be not drunk with wine...but be filled with the Spirit. Paraphrased, "Don't be drunk with wine, be drunk on the Spirit."
A WORD OF CAUTION;
I've heard people say, "Don't get mixed up with that; it's of the devil."
That is a most dangerous thing to say. I refer you to Mark 3:29, 30. He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost has never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. Because they said, he has an unclean spirit.
The scribes in Jesus' day said Jesus had a devil and that he cast out demons through the power of Beelzebub. The truth is, he cast out demons through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 10:38) Jesus was saying that the scribes were calling the Holy Spirit a demon. In ascribing the works of the Spirit to Satan was the unpardonable sin. Saying that the baptism in the Spirit is of the devil is extremely dangerous. (You can read the entire account in Mark 3.)
Thank you Betty for this great lesson. Betty has been an Evangelist and author of Biblical books as well as fiction novels for many years.
Betty Swinford went to be with the Lord Oct 24, 2007 at age 80. There are so many of us that loved and will miss her. CELEBRATION was written with her in mind.