Summary: What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and how is it different than being indwelled by the Holy Spirit? This study looks at how God transforms lives and ministries when we allow Him to pour His power into our lives.
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
One of the least understood principles of scripture is the infilling and baptism of the Holy Spirit. Many miss the greater blessing of experiencing God because they believe that salvation is the baptism and what you get is all there is. This is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible does teach that we receive the Holy Spirit at the moment we surrender our hearts to Christ (1 John 3:9, Romans 8:9-10, 1 Corinthians 6:19). God puts His Spirit within us and we are born as a child of God. However, this is not the end, but the beginning. Let me explain what I mean by digging in to this topic in scripture. Begin by looking at John 20:
20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
21 So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."
22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."
This scene took place after Jesus rose from the dead. The disciples were gathered in a hiding place out of fear of being persecuted. They have heard rumors that Jesus was alive and some were claiming to have seen Jesus. Jesus suddenly appeared bodily before them and gave His disciples were indwelled by the Holy Spirit. It is without question that this passage clearly says that they received the Holy Spirit, but the real power was to come later. It would not be until the day of Pentecost that the power of the Holy Spirit fell upon them and these fearful disciples would turn the world upside down for Christ. They believed on Jesus, received the gift of salvation and were sealed by the Holy Spirit, but the baptism of the Spirit would not come until 40 days later while they prayed in the upper room. Then, suddenly these fearful men hiding from their persecutors came out proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ before the very people they feared moments before. They received the gift of the Holy Spirit right here in John 20, but Jesus also said, “you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5).
It is because people do not understand that there is a difference between these two events that they do not seek the greater power of God that will completely transform their lives and ministries.
What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Like all the things of God, satan tries to counterfeit to draw us away from the truth. There is a false ‘baptism’ and the true baptism of the Holy Spirit. Every person who truly repents and invites Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior receives the Holy Spirit. 1 John 3 calls this God’s seed and teaches that this is when we are born of God, His seed remains in us. However, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a completely separate event. When someone becomes a Christian, there should be a change because we have a new focus and a new life. When we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, it is equally if not more life-changing because we are receive the power of God for His service. A false baptism will not yield fruit. Many claim to be filled weekly, but if there is no desire to serve God and there is no fruit, is this from God? If we are truly receiving the power from the Holy Spirit, it will point us to service and truth. Look at these two passages from John:
John 4:24 "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
13 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
14 "He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
To worship God, we must be focused on the spiritual things of God and it must be founded upon truth. God will never allow you to worship Him and compromise the unchanging truth of His word. Yet there are people who gladly compromise the truth to get a ‘worshipful experience’. If you have to let go of truth, you are not embracing God, but the spirit of deception. There is no way around it. You can’t worship God outside of the truth He has revealed in scripture.
When Jesus foretold of the power of the Holy Spirit, He also gave important truths as to what we can expect. The Spirit is the Spirit of truth. The Spirit will guide you into truth. The Spirit will point you to Christ. The Spirit will glorify Christ. There may be a lot of emotions, but my will and my fulfillment is not the purpose of the power of the Holy Spirit. The purpose is to glorify Jesus Christ and to testify to His truth and His authority. My call to service is to glorify Christ and proclaim the truth of God’s holy word. If you look at any example in the Bible, you see an immediate focus on outreach and proclaiming the Word of God. When someone is filled by the Spirit, they will recognize that this blessing is not for them alone, but to equip and empower them to do God’s will. The apostles were filled and immediately had the power to preach and the boldness to stand before their enemies and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.