Monday, March 26, 2012

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Acts 2:1-13; 1 Cor. 12:13

The term “baptism of the Holy Spirit” refers to the activity of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the Christian life when he gives us new spiritual life (in regeneration) and cleanses us and gives us a clear break with the power and love of sin (sanctification). – Wayne Grudem

1. The Bible is clear and consistent in its explanation of the baptism of the Spirit.
2. We must interpret our experiences through the lens of Scripture. We must interpret our experiences through Scripture instead of interpreting Scripture through our experiences.


• Pentecost means “fiftieth,” held 50 days after the Feast of Firstfruits (Lev. 23:15-22)
• One of three annual feasts for which the nation returned to Jerusalem
• Firstfruits pictures Christ’s resurrection from the dead (1 Cor. 15:20-23)
• Celebrated the giving of the Law at Pentecost
• An offering of firstfruits is given (Lev. 23:20)
• The Spirit given as our firstfruits inheritance (2 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 1:11,14)
• The 3000 saved were the firstfruits of the harvest of all believers


John speaks about the baptism of the Spirit. He emphasized that once Messiah arrived, He would baptize His followers with the Spirit (Matt. 3:11; John 1:33; Matt. 3:16; Mk 1:8; Lk 3:16).

Jesus speaks of the baptism in John 14:16-17; John 15:26; Acts 1:4-5. Jesus’ comments in Acts 1:5 clearly link the two discussions (in Acts 1 and John 14/15). He was not talking about two different events – the coming of the Spirit (John 14) and the baptism of the Spirit (Acts 1:5). They are one and the same.


At this event, they are baptized, filled, indwelt, filled with rivers of living water (John 7:38-39), and empowered. There is no distinction. It’s all the same thing. Matthew, John, Mark, and Luke all used these terms interchangeably to describe the initial coming of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers. Long after the day of Pentecost, Luke and Peter added two more figures of speech to the list. They are more ways to describe the initial entry of the Holy Spirit into the heart of a believer. (Also see Acts 11:15-18; Acts 15:8)

The Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening. . . . And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out. (Acts 10:44-45)


In my own study of Scriptures through the years I have become convinced that there is only one baptism with the Holy Spirit in the life of every believer, and that takes place at the moment of conversion. – Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit


Those saved prior to Pentecost are baptized first. Then, the 3000 receive the Spirit. “There was this difference between them: the 120 were regenerate already and received the Baptism of the Spirit only after the waiting upon God for 10 days; the 3,000 on the other hand were unbelievers, received the forgiveness of sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit simultaneously, and it happened immediately. They repented and believed without any need to wait at all. This distinction between the two companies, the 120 and the 3,000, is of great importance for the norm for today must surely be the second group, the three thousand, and not as is often supposed, the first group. The fact that the experience of the 120 was in two distinct stages was due simply to historical circumstances; they could not have received the Pentecostal gift before Pentecost. But those historical circumstances have long since ceased to exist. We live after the event of Pentecost, like the 3,000 did. With us therefore, as with them, the forgiveness of sins and the gift or Baptism of the Spirit, are received together.” - John Stott, Baptism and Fullness

Acts shows us three progressive baptisms when God gives His stamp of favor on each race/group: the Jews in Acts 2, the Samaritans in Acts 8, and Gentiles in Acts 10. Then, in Acts 19 with the disciples of John, we see again (as with the 3000) that believing faith in Christ and the baptism of the Spirit are synonymous.

A better understanding of this event would be that God, in his providence, sovereignly waited to give the new covenant empowering of the Holy Spirit to the Samaritans directly through the hands of the apostles (Acts 8:14-17) so that it might be evident to the highest leadership in the Jerusalem church that the Samaritans were not second-class citizens but full members of the church. This was important because of the historical animosity between Jews and Samaritans. - Grudem

The new disciples in Ephesus (Acts 19) did not have a new covenant understanding or new covenant faith, and they certainly did not have a new covenant empowering of the Holy Spirit - they were "disciples" only in the sense of followers of John the Baptist who were still waiting for the Messiah. - Grudem

It seems therefore that there are no New Testament texts that encourage us to seek for a second experience of "baptism of the Holy Spirit" that comes after conversion. - Grudem

If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, you “have the baptism.” Not only that, you have been indwelt and filled and, therefore, have everything you need to experience the Spirit-filled life.
– Charles Stanley, The Wonderful, Spirit-Filled Life

Like our Lord’s death at Calvary, Pentecost was a once-for-all event that will not be repeated. The church may experience new fillings of the Spirit, and certainly patient prayer is an essential element to spiritual power, but we would not ask for another Pentecost any more than we would ask for another Calvary. – Warren Wiersbe

The baptism of the Spirit evokes thanksgiving in our hearts that while we were orphans, separated from God, He chose to baptized us into His family and place within us the deposit of His Spirit.

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