What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
It is the immersion of a Christian in the full power of the Holy Spirit, empowering that person for mission. In this pamphlet the Baptism of the Holy Spirit refers to any time of empowerment by the Holy Spirit and should not be a singular event in a believer's life.
How does one receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
At the time of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4) the disciples were together in one place waiting and praying. In later instances in the New Testament church, the Holy Spirit was received when the apostles prayed for people and laid hands on them. In Acts 10, however, there is no indication that Peter laid hands on the people he prayed for. It appears that those in the audience received the gift of the Holy Spirit while Peter was speaking.
Some examples of receiving the Holy Spirit are: John 20:22, Acts 2, Acts 8:4-25, Acts 10, and Acts 19:1-7.
What is the purpose of the gift of the Holy Spirit?
The gift of the Holy Spirit is given to enable and empower God's people for mission and ministry. The basic pattern is found in Acts 2. The Spirit is given (verses 1-4) and then powerful ministry follows (verses 5 and following).
Trying to get the Holy Spirit in the wrong way, such as by buying the gift, or for the wrong purpose can be extremely dangerous. (See Acts 8:4-25).
"But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us." - 1 Corinthians 12:11
How can I know whether I have received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
The reception of one or more of the gifts of the Holy Spirit makes the internal, spiritual work of the Holy Spirit apparent in the life of the believer.
Try to identify at least one gift of the Holy Spirit that you are using for service. Sometimes a brother or sister in Christ can help you identify your gifts.
Is speaking in tongues the only sure sign of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
In the New Testament the gift of tongues almost always accompanies those cases in which the baptism is explicitly described. In many, even most, cases, the gift of tongues will accompany the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
But in describing the gifts and how they are given, Paul indicates that not everyone will receive any specific gift (1 Corinthians 12:30) and that the Holy Spirit gives out the gifts as He decides (1 Corinthians 12:11).
The best indication that one is filled with the Holy Spirit is that one acts to carry out the gospel commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
Can someone be saved without receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Yes. Salvation is a result of the action of the Holy Spirit, and one receives the Holy Spirit, but one can always receive a new empowerment.
Paul told the jailer at Philippi: "Have faith in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved!" (Acts 16:31). But to be obedient to the Lord, one must also engage in ministry. Why would one refuse the power God offers to engage in ministry?
Do not pressure people to receive the Holy Spirit, but always encourage them to take hold of everything that God offers them to aid in their Christian life.
What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit?
Paul lists the gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 and 12: 28-31 as:
In addition, God has called various members of the body to different offices in service. The gifts and the offices are different, even when they relate to the same activity. A gift equips for a ministry; an office is that ministry in the church. For example, one can have the gift of prophecy while not exercising the office of prophet in the church.
Is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit a one-time event? Is it possible to receive more of the Holy Spirit?
The Christian life is a journey. Paul says: "I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize." (Philippians 3:12) This applies to all aspects of the Christian life.
We can always come closer to God and receive more of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
What is the relationship between holiness and the gifts of the Spirit?
The book of Hebrews describes the requirements for the priests to approach God and then calls for us to approach God boldly through Jesus Christ. "So let's come near God with pure hearts and a confidence that comes from having faith. Let's keep our hearts pure, and our consciences free from evil, and our bodies washed with clean water." (Hebrews 10:22)
When we experience the Holy Spirit we experience the presence of God. Jesus told his disciples that this was even better than his physical presence (John 16:7).
Other materials on the gifts available from Energion Publications:
From Energion Publications: Identifying Your Gifts and Service