How to Receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
This is a follow up to the teaching I recently sent out on the Fivefold Ministry of the Holy Spirit. To summarize that teaching, the Holy Spirit is with us prior to conversion drawing us to Christ, He dwells in us for the purpose of regeneration, He fills us to produce character and fruit in our lives, He comes upon us empowering us for acts of service, and Jesus baptizes us with or in the Holy Spirit which opens us up to the gifts of the Spirit.
More accurately we should refer to these “gifts” as spirituals or the manifestations of the Spirit. A good outline for the gifts God gives His people would be as follows:
Motivational gifts (Roman 12:1-8). After conversion each believer is given a motivational gift to be used to strengthen, encourage and edify the body of Christ.
Ministers (Ephesians 4:11-16). This is often referred to as the Fivefold Ministry. These are men or women whom God has gifted and placed in one of these offices for the church. In actuality, the men or women themselves are gifts to the body of Christ. It would do God’s people good to understand that the person God has placed over them is a gift to that particular local body.
Manifestations (1Corinthians 12: 4-11). These are often referred to as the Gifts of the Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 12:1 Paul writes, “Now concerning spirituals brethern.” Gifts here is in italics which means it was not in the original. It wasn’t gifts but spirituals. In verse 7 he refers to them as the manifestations of the Spirit.
It clears up a lot of misunderstandings if we understand these as non abiding gifts. This does not mean the use of tongues in our private prayer life, which Paul said he used at will (1 Corinthians 14:15). It refers to their use in the local body. These are all to operate only as He, the Holy Spirit, wills (1 Corinthians 12:11) and not at our choosing. You may be used in one of the manifestations once or numerous times. They are to operate only as “He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:1).
I will get into this further when dealing with the gifts. I do feel that it is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that opens us up to the manifestations of the Spirit. In a practical sense, how many churches do we see these manifestations in operation at which do not believe in this experience? Very few I’d imagine. There are always exceptions to the rule which only proves the rule. Let me continue on how to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
There must be a hungering and thirsting for God. “They that hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled”(Matthew 5:6). If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scriptures say, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive” (John 7:37-9). We will be filled in direct proportion to our thirst for Him.
Ask and seek (Luke 11:9-13):
- Persistently seek until you receive (11:5-10). This is in the present continual sense. It means to ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking. Don’t give up until you get what you are seeking for.
- Pursue with confidence in the Father’s goodness, care and protection (11:11-13). Serpents and scorpions in the scriptures almost always are symbolic of demons or devils. Jesus is saying, you don’t have to worry about getting from the devil what you are asking the Father for. Many have suggested that it is the devil that is giving us the gift. Jesus is clearly saying our Heavenly Father will not allow that to happen. We can proceed in faith knowing it is the Father’s overwhelming desire to give this experience in the Holy Spirit to us.
Wait expectantly (Acts 1:4). Many groups have had what they refer to as tarrying meetings. They would gather together and wait and wait hoping to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. You would hear people praying over someone, “hold on, let go, fill him Lord, empty him.” The early church was to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit was given to or poured out on the church. On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was given to the church once and for all. We don’t have to wait any longer but merely receive what has already been given to the church.
Receive in faith (John 20:22). In this verse Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, “receive ye the Holy Ghost.” How many believe that if Jesus told them to receive they no doubt got it? Yet the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Day of Pentecost and they no doubt experienced the Holy Spirit in a different and unique way. Even so, we receive the Holy Spirit at conversion (Romans 8:9) yet there is this experience we can have in the Holy Spirit that is separate from and subsequent to that of salvation. We must receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit by faith knowing it is God’s will.
Exercise faith (Acts 2:4; James 2:17-19; Hebrews 4:2). Any thing we get from God is received by faith and faith must be exercised as well. It is something we choose to do. Someone might wonder, what if it is just me speaking? It is you. The Holy Spirit merely prompts our speech but it is we who speak. “They all spoke” (Acts 2:4). Paul said, “I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with my understanding, I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with my understanding also” (1 Corinthians 14:15). It may start with syllables forming in your mind that you don’t understand. You must in faith say what is given you. It begins with us speaking in faith and continuing to use and exercise our new found experience. Paul said he chose, as an act of his will, to continue to exercise what God had given him.
Prayer: Jesus, I ask you to baptize me in your precious Holy Spirit. I know it is something you desire for me. I receive it by faith right now. In Jesus name, amen.