After salvation, the Lord says to join with him through water baptism (a sign of repentance). We encourage you to be baptized in water as a sign of your salvation. Hebrews 6:2 talks about baptisms (plural) being an elementary teaching. We receive a water baptism, where we go under the water and die to self (flesh) and come out of the water and rise to new life in Christ. We are Born Again! However, this appendix addresses the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is different from water baptism. These baptisms can be done in any order.
It is clear from scripture and evidenced in real lives today that there is a separate baptism commonly called Baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is with this baptism that we receive power from the Holy Spirit to do the works of God, such as those listed in Mark 16 (healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons, etc.).
God tells us to do amazing things that are possible only through His power. He wants us to go and preach the gospel. He wants us to heal the sick and raise the dead. He wants us to cleanse the lepers and cast out demons. He wants us to give to the poor and visit those in prison.
He wants us to baptize in the name of Jesus for salvation and for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. In order to do all of this, we need His Spirit.
We see the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:1-4: When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Peter describes what happened in Acts 2:17-18.
“In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.” (Joel 2:28-32)
And continuing in Acts 2:33 – Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
The Holy Spirit came to the believers at Pentecost and then it was passed on through the laying on of hands and/or prayer, generally. This is how God usually works within the church, although you don’t need someone to lay hands on you for this baptism. Ultimately, it is Jesus who baptizes us in His Spirit. Matthew 3:11 says, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” And Acts 1:5 reads, “For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Water and Spirit baptism are two different things as indicated here.
Jesus tells His followers in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
While it’s true that we all receive the Spirit guaranteeing our inheritance when we believe (Ephesians 1:13-14), we need the baptism of the Holy Spirit to work the works of God, so we’re not just seeing the Kingdom, but entering in. It’s the baptism of the Holy Spirit that brings fullness, and we need the baptism of the Holy Spirit for the supernatural gifts of the Spirit, for the edification of the body, and as a sign to unbelievers.
Read this example in Acts 6:3-5.
“Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
The prerequisite for a deacon was to be filled with the Spirit and wisdom. “Among you” means believers (saved). These seven men were chosen out of the body of believers and what distinguished them was the fullness of the Spirit and wisdom. If all had equal filling of the Holy Spirit, there would be no point to saying “full of the Spirit and wisdom.”
Of course without the baptism of the Holy Spirit we can still do good for the Kingdom, but we will be limited by ourselves. Apollos is an example of this in Acts 18:24-25.
Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.
Here we see that Apollos taught about Jesus, even accurately, but He did not have the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the disciples that he made for Christ also did not have the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Paul recognizes this when he goes to the place Apollos was teaching at. Read Acts 19:1-6.
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.
These believers were the ones that Apollos had converted. Obviously, if they are questioned about Holy Spirit baptism, it is important. There is an obvious contrast between water (repentance) baptism and Holy Spirit baptism. These men were believers. They were saved, but they needed the baptism of the Holy Spirit for empowerment. Once again the Spirit comes and gives tongues as evidence.
If you would like to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you can ask a spirit-filled believer to lay hands on you and pray for you to receive it. Or, you can pray the following prayer and receive it on your own. Remember to pray in faith. Without faith we can expect nothing (James 1:6-8), so believe you will receive and you will! God gives good gifts to those who ask, believing!
I come before you and ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit. I want to operate in the gifts and do the works you’ve prepared for me to do. Fill me now, I pray, and let me operate in the gifts of Your Spirit. Amen.
Congratulations! God says the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church!