The Holy Spirit
A message from the author
This Bible study
is the third in a series
designed to teach you the basics of the New Testament. It is our
prayer that it will accomplish its purpose.
conclusions reached in this study are
- The Holy
Spirit is adequately represented by Jesus Christ.
- The baptism
with the Holy Spirit occurred only twice - once to begin the church,
and once to extend salvation to the Gentiles. It consisted of:
- A sound
like a mighty rushing wind
- Speaking in
indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is given at an
individual’s immersion into Christ.
- The gifts of
the Holy Spirit were given through the laying on of the
apostles’ hands, and were necessary for the early church to
function in the absence of the written New Testament. With the death of
the apostles, the presence of the gifts of the Holy Spirit on earth
- There were
some special evidences of the Holy Spirit at critical points very early
in the development of the New Testament church.
We want to
stress that it is important that we
let God define in the New Testament what He means when He gives a
name to a certain manifestation of the Spirit, and that He
provides these manifestations through means very clearly and
undeviatingly - laid out in the Bible.
We want to
remind the reader that the author of
this booklet is an uninspired human being, subject to error and
ignorance. You must go to the Bible itself for answers.
The New American
Standard Version of the Bible
was used in preparation of this study, and is quoted throughout.
Bible only ...
makes Christians only..."
Jesus said, "And
I will ask the Father,
and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you
forever, that is the Spirit of truth..." (John
that He would send the Holy
Spirit for Christians. How does the Spirit come to the
individual? What does He do after He comes? Because of all the
controversy concerning the Holy Spirit, we want definite Bible
answers to our questions - we don’t want mere speculation.
In the few short
years that I have been
preaching and teaching, I have come to realize that the most
important question is the question that Paul asked some men from
Ephesus: "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you
The reason why
this is the most important question is also given by Paul:
"But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does
not belong to Him" (Romans
It is important
that each of us have confidence
in our salvation: "And now, little children, abide in Him,
so that when He appears, we may have confidence, and not shrink
away from Him in shame at His coming" (I
Unless we are
confident, and our confidence is based on what the Bible
definitely says, we shall shrink away from Him in shame at His
There is only
one way to have that confidence.
That way is to be able to prove, to yourself and others, what the
Bible teaches about the Holy Spirit. All the pep talks and
enthusiasm builders of this world will not give you the deep-down
assurance that you have received the Holy Spirit. Only faith in,
and obedience to, what the Bible very clearly says will provide
The purpose of
this study is to help you be
able to say with the apostle Paul, "For God has not given us
a spirit of being timid, but of power and love and
The second point
in this introduction concerns
the whereabouts of teaching in the Bible regarding the Holy
Spirit. Jesus said, "When the Helper comes…He will bear
witness of Me…" (John
shall glorify Me..." (John
The Holy Spirit
was not coming to talk about Himself; He was coming to bear
witness of Jesus, and to glorify Jesus.
So how do we
find out about the Holy Spirit? In
much the same way as we find out things about a mathematics
teacher. His purpose is to teach arithmetic and algebra, but
occasionally he will mention something about himself by way of
example…that he has three children, or likes to fish. As the
Holy Spirit teaches us about Jesus, we occasionally learn
something about the Spirit Himself.
There is no
section of scripture devoted
exclusively to the Holy Spirit. What we learn about Him, we learn
from a piece of information here, a scrap there, and another
chunk over here. So in this study, we are going to be gathering
scripture from all ends of the Bible, particularly the New
Testament, in order to draw our conclusions.
In this study,
we will discuss these five
- Who is the
- The baptism
with the Holy Spirit.
indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
- The gifts of
the Holy Spirit.
filling with the Spirit.
THE HOLY SPIRIT?
Most people have
only a vague idea of who the
Holy Spirit is. They usually picture Him as some inanimate force
that puts a subtle pressure on people to do God’s will. How
does the Bible picture Him?
told the apostles to immerse
disciples they had made "into the name
of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit are linked together as a unit, and Christ’s
followers are immersed into their common name. This unit is
sometimes called the Trinity; more scripturally the Godhead or
Way back in the
beginning, God said, "Let
Us make man in Our image, according to Our
What kind of
God would say that man should be made in "Our"
We know that the
Son was present in the
beginning, and that all things were
made through Him (John
We also know that
the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters in
the beginning (Genesis
It was the
Father speaking to the Son and Spirit who said, "Let Us make
man in Our likeness."
Since God is
man also must be a
spirit being in the likeness of God. The "Us"
apparently have one likeness!
The unity of
"Us" is spoken of by Paul as
he preached in Athens: "Being then the offspring of God, we
ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver
or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man" (Acts
"Us" have one Divine Nature, sometimes spoken of as the
The Holy Spirit
is one of the
"Godhead," a co-member with the Father and Son.
Revelation of God
understanding an infinite God. I remember as a child thinking
about God existing forever, and that He had always existed. For
some reason I visualized Him as sitting in one of my
mother’s tin measuring cups, and floating off into space
forever. But my mind got boggled thinking about it, so I gave up.
I have a hard
time identifying with a God who
knows how many black and white hairs I have - and not only me,
but everyone else as well! I can’t identify with a God who
merely speaks and light comes into existence; I have to labor so
hard to make something simple.
understands my difficulty. So He took
the form of a man, that I might identify with someone like me,
who has human needs and desires.
Jesus’ arrest, He
with the apostles. In answer to Thomas’ question about where
Jesus was going, Jesus explained, "If you had known Me you
would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and
have seen Him" (John
said, "Show us the Father and
it is enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been
so long with you and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He
who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say ‘Show us
Jesus is the
Father in the flesh! When you know
Jesus, then you know the Father. The only way to know God is to
know Jesus, for He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and
the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me" (John
And the only way
to know Jesus is through the
Some people have
trouble comprehending that
Jesus is the Father, and yet is Himself. The question in their
minds is this: If Jesus is the Father, then how could Jesus say,
"Father forgive them, for they know not what they do"?
It is clear that
Jesus ascribed all power and
glory to God the Father: "If you loved Me, you would have
rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater
than I" (John
This is evidently
for our example, for Jesus, "although He was a Son, He
learned obedience through the things He suffered" (Hebrews
And the meaning
is clear to the
unjaundiced eye: "For a Child will be born to us, a Son will
be given to us; and the government will rest upon His shoulders;
and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."
The child who
was born is the Eternal Father!
There is no way
logically to comprehend the
fact that the Father and the Son are the same, but also
different. So we just have to accept God’s statement that
this is the way it is. To refuse to accept this is a denial of
the Deity of Christ, and a rejection of God’s word. Jesus is
the revelation of God.
Revelation of the Holy Spirit
people accept the fact that
Jesus is the Father revealed - it
is usually not questioned in the Christian world that the way to
know the Father is to know Jesus. But who is the Holy Spirit? How
do we come to know Him? Paul informs us: "For in Him
(Christ) the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Colossians
When Jesus was
in the flesh, not only was He
the revelation of the Father, but He also was the revelation of
the Holy Spirit! In Him dwelt the fullness - not just of the
Father - of the whole Deity, the whole Godhead.
to the words of Jesus in John
14:16,17: "And I
will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He
may be with you forever; that is, the Spirit of truth, whom the
world cannot receive because it does not behold Him or know Him,
but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in
already knew the coming Helper,
because He was living with them! The only possible explanation is
that Jesus was the revelation of the Helper who would later live
translated Helper (or
Comforter, or Counselor) is the Greek word
"Paracletos," which means "a person called
alongside to help." The "Paracletos" is the Holy
and He is a
person, not an "it."
But in I
specifically called Paracletos - our Advocate or Counselor with
the Father. The relationship between Jesus and the Holy Spirit is
so close as for them to be identical.
To summarize the
discussion up to this point:
the Holy Spirit is a personality - just as Jesus and the Father
are personalities - and that personality is adequately
represented by the person of Jesus Christ.
"It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go
away, the Helper will not come to you..." Why would it be to
the apostles’ advantage that Jesus go away?
ask another question: When Jesus was
here in the flesh, how many places could He be at one time? The
answer is - one! When He was in Galilee, He was not in Jerusalem;
when He was in Jerusalem, He was not in Galilee. When He lived in
His fleshly body, He was limited by it.
But, if He were
to come back in the Spirit
form, how many places could He be at one time? He could be
everywhere! So the apostles could split up and go their eleven
separate ways, and in the Spirit, Jesus could still be with each
one of them. It was to their advantage that He go away.
And it was not
only to the apostles’
advantage, but is to ours also, for He promised, "If anyone
loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and
We will come to him, and make Our abode with him" (John
Through the Holy
Spirit, Father and Son dwell in every Christian.
Names for the Spirit
close relationship among the
Father, Son and Holy Spirit is
illustrated by the names given to the Spirit. For example, in
just three verses, the Holy Spirit is called (Romans
The Spirit of God
The Spirit of Christ
Christ in you
- Who Is The Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit
is one of the three persons of
the Godhead. If you want to know who the Holy Spirit is, find out
who Jesus is. The Holy Spirit is Jesus ministering in the Spirit,
rather than being physically present to minister to our needs.
BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
today claim to have received what
they call the "baptism of the Holy Ghost (or Holy
The Bible never
speaks of a baptism of the
Holy Spirit, but a baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Just as in the
case of repentance or Christian
immersion, there are many definitions of the baptism with the
Holy Spirit. Some individuals believe that a person is baptized
with the Holy Spirit when he "accepts Jesus into his
heart;" others believe that the baptism with the Holy Spirit
is a "second work of grace," coming after a person is
"saved," and evidenced by "speaking in
Our question is:
What is God’s definition
of the baptism with the Holy Spirit?
Baptism with the Holy Spirit Promised
(and in each of the
other Gospels as well), John
the Immerser is quoted,
"I immersed you in water; but He (who is coming after me -
Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
that Jesus would baptize
"you" with the Holy Spirit, but did not define who the
"you" is. (See the special study in the back on The Baptism With Fire).
promised the baptism with the
Holy Spirit. In these verses, Luke
(the words "first account" in Acts 1:1 refer back to
Luke’s gospel) records some very significant facts - facts
which absolutely must be understood in order to be able to define
what the baptism with the Holy Spirit is.
appeared to the apostles over a period of 40 days. The events in these
11 verses occur on that 40th day from Jesus’ resurrection
from the dead.
gathered the apostles together on that day. There is a big difference
between apostles and disciples. Jesus
had many disciples - He had thousands who had followed and learned from
Him - and even after His resurrection there were hundreds of disciples
who still believed in Him. But from His many disciples, Jesus chose 12
to be His apostles. The twelve consisted of those such as Peter and
Andrew, and James and John.
- It was the
eleven remaining apostles that Jesus told to go into Jerusalem and to
wait for that which the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you
heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be
baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
The promise in Acts 1 was given only to the apostles - not to the 120
promised the apostles that they would be baptized
with the Holy Spirit within several days.
- In Acts
the two men (apparently angels) called the eleven remaining apostles "Men
There were two major groups of Jews. The Judeans were from the area
around Jerusalem, in the southern part of Palestine. The Galileans were
from the area near the Sea of Galilee, some 40 miles to the north.
gathering of 120 disciples in
an upper room is described. Among the 120 were the apostles of Jesus,
His family, and some which Luke - in a clear reference back to his
"first account," the gospel of Luke - lists as the "women." The women
included Mary and Martha as well as others. What is significant about
Mary and Martha is that they were from Bethany, which was about two
miles from Jerusalem (John
in Judea! The 120 consisted of Judeans as well as
In understanding the baptism with the Spirit, it is important to
understand that the apostles were all Galileans.
Baptism with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost
The baptism with
the Holy Spirit and the events
surrounding its occurrence are recorded in Acts
want to focus on the earlier verses of the chapter, Acts
Once again, we
need to point out the significant things on the Day of Pentecost.
- In Acts
"And when the Day of Pentecost
had come, they were all together in one place." What was the Day of
Pentecost, and where is the "one place"?
The Day of Pentecost was the Jewish feast day originally called the
"Feast of Weeks" commemorating the beginning of the harvest (Exodus
23:14-17). The feast
of the harvest began 50 days after the
feast of Passover and hence came to be known as Pentecost. Jesus was
killed during Passover week, arose from the dead on the first day of
the following week, and ascended into heaven on the 40th day following
His resurrection. The Day of Pentecost was, therefore, just 10 days
after His gathering the apostles together and His ascension.
On the Day of Pentecost, according to Old Testament Law, the Hebrew
males were required to present themselves to the Lord - first at the
Tabernacle, and later in Jerusalem at the Temple. In 30 A.D, the "one
place" of Acts
is the Temple - it is not the upper room of Acts
- Then in Acts
that a tremendously powerful
sign came from heaven. Three things occurred:
- There was a
sound like a mighty wind - not a mighty wind, but
a sound like one.
- There were
tongues like fire which came down and sat on the
heads of each of them.
- They were
speaking in other languages as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
- We recall
that Jesus had promised just ten days earlier that the apostles would
be baptized with the Holy Spirit, "not many days from now." We conclude
at this point that the baptism with the Holy Spirit consists of the
three components listed in the previous paragraph and that only the
apostles were baptized with the Spirit.
What is the evidence for our conclusion?
First, considering the evidence that the baptism with the Spirit
consists of: 1) The sound like a mighty rushing wind; 2) The tongues
like fire coming on the heads of each; 3) Speaking in other languages.
promised that the apostles would be baptized with the Holy Spirit "not
many days from now." The events on the Day of Pentecost are the only
ones that fit this time frame.
- John the
Baptist had promised that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit.
Peter, speaking on this Day of Pentecost says that Jesus "poured forth
this which you both see and hear" (Acts
The baptism with the Holy Spirit, sent from Jesus, was both visible and
considering the evidence that only the apostles were baptized with the
Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
- It was only
to the apostles that Jesus promised the baptism with the Spirit "not
many days from now."
- All of
those who spoke in other
tongues were Galileans (Acts
Many of the 120 (Acts
disciples were Judeans (including Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, for
example). Only the eleven remaining apostles were all Galileans (Acts
- Those who
spoke in other languages were accused by some of being drunk (Acts
Peter defended the eleven, NOT the 120 (Acts
- As we have
already shown, the events on the Day of Pentecost occurred in the
Temple, not in the upper room (Acts
Many of the 120 were women, and would not have been presenting
themselves at the temple as the men were required to do.
There are a
number of groups today which
believe that they have received the "baptism with the Holy
Spirit." They believe that the evidence that a person is
baptized with the Spirit is that he "speaks in
tongues;" and they also believe that the 120 of Acts 1 were
all baptized with the Spirit.
When we let God
define what He means by the
"baptism with the Holy Spirit," it is obvious that it
includes not only "speaking in other languages," but
also tongues like fire, and a sound like a mighty rushing wind.
No one has been baptized with the Spirit unless all three are
It is also clear
that only the apostles were
baptized with the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. And when we
understand the purpose of the baptism with the Spirit, it will be
clear why God only baptized the apostles with the Spirit.
Baptism With The Holy Spirit - The Household of Cornelius
The baptism with
the Holy Spirit is referred to
only once more in the Bible. A Roman soldier named Cornelius and
his family and friends were baptized with the Spirit in an
As we turn to Acts
we want to
- It had been
at least ten to thirteen years since the Day of Pentecost until the
events of Acts 10 and 11 occurred.
- During these
years, salvation was only for the Jews and their half-breed relatives,
- There was no
salvation for the Gentiles. Earlier, in Acts
the Lord had chosen an apostle to the Gentiles - Saul of Tarsus (later
known as the great apostle Paul). But as yet, God had not opened the
door of salvation to the Gentiles.
Let us now note
the important points as God
opens salvation for the Gentiles:
- God began by
choosing a good man. The man
He selected was a Roman centurion named Cornelius who had helped the
Jews in many ways, who prayed to God, and who gave alms to the poor. An
angel appeared to Cornelius (Acts
and told him to send down the seacoast to the city of Joppa. In Joppa
was Simon Peter, who would preach the gospel to them. Cornelius then
dispatched soldiers to get Peter.
- In the
the Lord prepares Peter for the events that are shortly to follow.
Peter is up on the rooftop praying just before lunchtime, and he has a
vision of a great sheet being let down from heaven. On the sheet are
all sorts of unclean animals that a Jew should not eat (Jews could eat
only mammals that both chewed the cud and had cloven hooves. Pigs had
cloven hooves, but did not chew the cud, and were unclean - see
Leviticus 11). As Peter views the sheet being let down to him, a voice
says to him, "Arise, Peter, kill and eat." But Peter says, "By no
means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy or unclean." And
again the voice comes a second time, "What God has cleansed, no longer
consider unholy." This happened three times for Peter’s
benefit, then the whole thing was taken back up into heaven. As Peter
was thinking about these things, the Holy Spirit spoke to him, telling
him that there were certain men outside and that Peter was to go with
them without doubting anything, for the Holy Spirit said, "I have sent
them Myself." So the next day Peter and six brethren went with these
men to Caesarea where Cornelius was waiting for them.
- As Peter and
the Jewish Christian brethren
arrived, Cornelius met them and fell down to worship at
Peter’s feet. Peter stood him up and told Cornelius not to
worship him, for he was just a man. Then in Acts
Peter apologized for being there, explaining that it was not lawful for
a Jew to go to the house of a Gentile or to eat with him, and yet the
Lord told Peter and his brothers in Christ to come.
- Cornelius had
his family and friends assembled to hear what Peter had to say, so
Peter began preaching to them. He testified that Jesus had been
resurrected from the dead, and that in this way God proved Him to be
- As Peter came
to the close of his message, a
very strange thing happened (Acts
10:44-48). While Peter
was still speaking, the Holy Spirit
fell upon the Gentiles who were there and the Jewish Christians were amazed
because the gift of the Holy Spirit had
been poured out upon the Gentiles also. They were hearing them speaking
in tongues and glorifying God.
- As a result
of all this, Peter’s reaction was that no one could forbid
water for these to be immersed who had "received the Holy Spirit just
as we did." And he ordered them to be immersed in the name of Jesus.
What is it that
happened to these Gentiles?
Something very amazing concerning the Holy Spirit occurred - that
much is certain. But there is not enough information in Acts
to give us the
complete picture. However, the story is retold in Acts
and there we find
enough facts to help us put everything into focus.
- In Acts
Peter went back to Jerusalem,
the Jewish Christians there took him to task for having gone to the
house of Gentiles and having eaten with them. For almost 1500 years God
had been impressing upon the minds of the Jews that they were a special
people, a separate people, and that they were not to touch or eat with
Gentiles - they were unclean. This was so strongly impressed upon their
minds that these early Christians did not understand that the gospel
was to be for all nations and for all peoples (John
So it became necessary for Peter to explain what happened at the house
of Cornelius the Gentile.
- He recounted
how the angel had appeared to
Cornelius, telling him to send to Joppa to find Peter, who would tell
him "Words by which you will be saved." He pointed out how he (Peter)
had seen the vision of the great sheet being let down. He described
what then had happened in Caesarea, how as he was preaching, the Holy
Spirit "fell on them, just as He did upon us at the beginning" (Acts
is a key verse in
understanding the baptism with
the Spirit. There are three main thoughts to consider:
- Peter said
that the Holy Spirit fell upon them as on "us at the beginning." When
was the "beginning"? The "beginning" is the Day of Pentecost, 30 A.D.
On that day the apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirit, and the
church - the bride and body of Christ - had its beginning.
- Peter also
points out that something happened to "them" just as on "us at the
beginning." The "us" is very clearly, from the record of Acts 1
& 2, the apostles.
further points out that the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles "just" as
He did on "us at the beginning." When someone uses the word "just" in
this context, it means "in exactly the same way." On the Day of
Pentecost we recall that three things happened to the apostles:
- There was
a sound like a mighty rushing wind, which filled the house where they
were tongues like fire coming down on the heads of each of them.
spoke in other tongues as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
says that it "fell on them just as on us at the beginning," we know
that all three of the above were present, although the record in Acts
10 does not specify all the details.
- In Acs
defines what happened: "And I
remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John
baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy
Spirit.’" Peter in this way tells that the household of
Cornelius was baptized with the Holy Spirit - and that the baptism with
the Spirit once again consisted of the three parts listed above.
We now understand what Peter meant in Acts
- God had baptized Cornelius and his household with the Spirit just as
He had baptized "we" (the apostles on the Day of Pentecost).
then explains in Acts
that "God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us, after believing
in the Lord Jesus Christ. Who was I that I could stand in
God’s way?" Peter, as a result of this sign, understood that
he couldn’t stand in God’s way - that God was going
to make the way of salvation open to Gentiles regardless of what Peter
wanted, and that he was not to call "unclean" (Gentiles) what the Lord
was now calling cleansed.
As Peter made these things clear to the Jewish Christians back in
Jerusalem, they also now understood, and said, as they glorified God,
"Well, then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that
leads to life" (Acts
Purpose of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit
the baptism with the Spirit,
it is important that we understand what its purpose was.
- On the Day of
Pentecost, recorded in Acts
we notice that the result of the Spirit being poured out on the
apostles was that all the Jews in the Temple "came together" (Acts
Peter then preached the first gospel sermon, explaining for the first
time the terms of pardon under the New Covenant. As a result of hearing
the message proclaimed that day, 3000 were immersed in the name of
Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts
and the church began with great power as Jesus had promised in Mark
On the Day of Pentecost, the purpose of the baptism with the Spirit was
to be a tremendous sign to the Jews - first, so that they would gather
to hear the good news proclaimed, and secondly, that they would believe
the good news when it was announced.
household was also baptized with the Spirit as a sign for those of
Jewish background. Because of Jewish prejudice against Gentiles, the
sign was first to remove Peter’s unwillingness to have the
Gentiles immersed in water. Secondly, the sign provided evidence to
Jewish Christians in other locations, such as Jerusalem
(Peter’s six brethren would provide important back-up
testimony) that Gentiles were acceptable to God.
In Cornelius’ case, the baptism with the Spirit was not for
the benefit of his household at all. It was strictly a sign for the
benefit of the Jewish Christians that Gentiles could now obey the
- Jesus had
promised Peter, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and
whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and
whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven" (Matthew
16:19). On the Day
of Pentecost Peter used the keys of
the kingdom to open the door of salvation to the Jews and Samaritans
after the sign - the baptism with the Spirit - had been given from
heaven! Again, Peter used the keys to open the door of salvation to the
Gentiles after the sign - the baptism with the Spirit - had been given
- The only
purpose of the baptism with the Spirit was to be a sign from heaven -
first to begin the church, and then to open salvation to the Gentiles.
In both cases the sign was for the benefit of Jews watching, and not
for the benefit of those baptized with the Spirit.
Evidence for our above contention is this:
promised the apostles power at the same
time as the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts
There is no evidence that Cornelius or his household had any power at
all following their being baptized with the Spirit.
- It was
necessary for Cornelius and his household to be immersed in water in
Jesus’ name (Acts
10:47,48) for the
forgiveness of sins (Acts
a full understanding of this, see the lesson on God’s Plan of
examine the next section in
this lesson dealing with the
indwelling presence of the Spirit.)
- There is
no evidence that Paul was ever baptized with the Spirit, but he had the
power of an apostle of Jesus Christ.
- There is
no record in the scripture of any other baptism with the Spirit (some
confuse the "gifts of the Spirit" with the "baptism with the Spirit").
If it were for the benefit of the receiver, we would expect the baptism
with the Spirit to be continually present in the inspired recorded of
the early church. If, however, it were merely a sign to begin the
church and open salvation to the Gentiles, we would not expect to find
it occurring again; and this is what we find.
The baptism with
the Holy Spirit was an
overwhelming sign from heaven consisting of three things:
- The sound
like a mighty rushing wind.
- Tongues like
- Speaking in
The sign was for
the benefit of the people of
Jewish background both instances it occurred. The first time, the
apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirit as a sign to Jews in
the Temple, in order that the church might begin with great
power. Roughly seven years later, the household of Cornelius was
baptized with the Spirit as a sign to Jewish Christians that
Gentiles could now be saved also.
The baptism with
the Spirit was not a
substitute for, and did not set aside the necessity of being
immersed in water in Jesus’ name for the forgiveness of
INDWELLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We know from Romans
Corinthians 6:19, and II
Timothy 1:14, and other
scriptures, that the Holy Spirit lives in Christians. Our
question is: At what point does the Holy Spirit enter into the
the apostle Peter
blames the Jews for the death of the Messiah (Acts
In response to
their question as to what they should do, Peter told them to
repent and be immersed in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness
of their sins, and they would receive the gift of the Holy
From this we
learn that, in connection with a
person’s repentance and his immersion in water for the
forgiveness of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit is given. What
that gift is, we don’t yet have enough information to know.
But it is certain that something connected with the Holy Spirit
is given at a person’s immersion in Christ’s name.
In Acts 19 the
apostle Paul came to the city of
Ephesus. Before he came to this large city, a man named Apollos
had been doing some powerful preaching about Jesus. But all
Apollos knew was the baptism of John the Baptist, even though
this was some 25 years after John died (Acts
- As Paul came
to the city, he found some disciples who had apparently been taught by
Apollos. Paul asked these men a very interesting question: "Did you
receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They gave an equally
interesting answer: "We have not even heard whether there is a Holy
- Paul then
asked the most critical question in understanding how a person receives
the Holy Spirit: "Into what then were you baptized?" He clearly
implies, by asking the question in this manner, that they should have
received the Holy Spirit by being baptized into something. What was the
something that they should have been baptized into?
3:27 make it clear
that a person is baptized into
Christ Jesus. There is no other way - anyone who tries to get into
Christ another way is a thief and a robber (John
In being immersed into Christ, a person is born again as he is buried
with Christ in baptism, and rises to walk in newness of life (Romans
Baptism is not merely a symbol of these things, nor is it a public
testimony of salvation which has already taken place - the plain
teaching of the scripture is that these things occur in
These men of Ephesus should have received the Holy Spirit upon being
immersed into Christ Jesus!
- In answering
Paul’s question about what they were immersed into, the men
replied: "Into John’s baptism." Paul explained to them that
John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to
believe in Him who was coming later - Jesus.
What was the baptism of repentance? According to Mark
the baptism of repentance was for the forgiveness of sins, but that
only took care of their past. They needed something more.
- When Paul
explained these things to the men, they were then immersed in the name
We recall that Paul’s concern in the matter was whether these
men received the Holy Spirit. They had been baptized into
John’s baptism, which did not promise the Holy Spirit. When
Paul explained everything to them, they were now baptized in
Jesus’ name, which did promise the Holy Spirit! Since they
had received forgiveness of sins, it is clear that they were baptized
this second time to receive the Holy Spirit. As Paul said, "If anyone
does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him" (Romans
- Then Paul
laid hands on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. These are
gifts of the Spirit, and we will deal with this more completely in the
- In John 3, a
man named Nicodemus, who was one of the ranking Pharisees, came to
Jesus by night. Jesus explained to him that unless one was "born
again" he could not see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus wanted
to know what Jesus meant by "born again." Jesus
explained that unless a person was born "of water and Spirit," he could
not enter into the kingdom of God.
- What is the
kingdom of God? Without going into it too deeply at this point, the
kingdom of God is the church. (See
the study Christ’s Church, the section
dealing with the kingdom of God.) Colossians
1:13 makes it
clear that Christians are already in the
kingdom of Christ. A comparison of Matthew
16:28 and Mark 9:1
shows that the kingdom of God already exists, and
it is the church.
- Jesus points
out that entrance into the kingdom of God is conditional: a person must
be born of water and Spirit. We have already seen
that entrance into Christ is obtained through immersion in water (Romans
6:3; Galatians 3:27).
Entrance into Christ’s body (which is
the church - Ephesians
1:22,23), as one
would expect, is obtained in that same
entrance into the church is obtained through immersion in water, the
entrance into the kingdom of God is also obtained in that same
immersion. But Jesus makes it plain that one cannot enter the kingdom
without the Holy Spirit. Therefore, one must receive the Holy Spirit at
the exact moment of his immersion in water in Jesus’ name for
the forgiveness of sins.
Note that this
is consistent with the
conclusion that we came to in examining Acts
And this makes the
meaning of Acts
clear - a person is
given the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit upon being
immersed in Jesus’ name for the forgiveness of sins.
The Bible makes
it clear, from a couple of
different perspectives, that we receive the Holy Spirit at the
point of our immersion into Christ Jesus. This is a key point,
because there is no other way to receive the Holy Spirit, and
without Him we do not belong to Christ. There is no example in
the Bible of anyone receiving the Holy Spirit by "accepting
Jesus into their hearts," or in any other way that men might
devise. The Holy Spirit is given "to those who obey
by believing the
testimony of the Word of God, repenting, confessing the Lord
Jesus with the mouth, and being immersed into Jesus.
GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
people claim the gifts of the Holy
Spirit, including speaking in tongues. We have some questions for
which we want Bible answers.
Are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?
Corinthians 12:4-11 Paul
gives a list of the gifts, which includes faith, knowledge,
ability to work miracles, etc. Paul does say that the gifts were
distributed as the Holy Spirit willed, but nowhere in I
Corinthians are we told how the gifts were given by the Holy
the Gifts given in the Bible?
Spirit is the same today,
yesterday, and forever (Hebrews
and because the
Holy Spirit never operates in a manner contradictory to His
written word (John
the Holy Spirit
gives the gifts in the same way now as He did in the New
A man named
Philip (not Philip the apostle -
the apostles stayed behind in Jerusalem - Acts
who was one of the
seven men set apart for some special work in the Jerusalem church
went to Samaria to
preach the gospel. As Philip preached, he confirmed the word with
signs and wonders, and many Samaritans believed and were being
immersed in the name of Jesus.
apostles in Jerusalem heard that
Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John
"Who came down and prayed for them, that they might receive
the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they
had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they
began laying their hands on them and they were receiving the Holy
- The scripture
does not contradict itself.
- The baptism
with the Holy Spirit is not indicated here, for the baptism with the
Spirit was given by Jesus (not the apostles), and consisted of a sound
like a mighty wind, tongues like fire, and speaking in other tongues.
indwelling of the Spirit is not indicated here, for the indwelling was
given at baptism in Jesus’ name, and these people had all
been immersed in the name of Christ.
- Whatever it
was concerning the Spirit that was given in Samaria, it was given
through the laying on of the apostles’ hands.
guess that it was the gifts of the
Spirit which were given in this fashion - and let’s test our
guess by digging further into the scripture.
Corinthians 14 we find
two gifts in particular are mentioned - the gift of tongues and
the gift of prophecy. Paul gives some specific instructions
concerning these two gifts. If there was no interpreter, the use
of the gift of tongues was to keep silent in the church.
Similarly, the prophet was to stop speaking and let another talk,
if that other received a revelation while the first was
prophesying. The gift of prophecy was under the control of the
user, as Paul said in verse 30: "The spirits of the prophets
are subject to the prophets."
evident in the use of the
spiritual gifts is that the user of the gift is in control of his
own gift and can use it - or not use it - or misuse it - at his
Paul, an apostle
of Jesus Christ, tells Timothy
to "rekindle the gift of God that is in you by the laying on
of my hands." A gift that one is to rekindle or "fire
up" is a gift, which is under the control of the user.
Notice the parallel between the gift that was in Timothy and the
gifts of I Corinthians 14 - in both cases the user was the one
who controlled his gifts.
notice that Timothy’s gift
was in him by the laying on of an apostle’s hands.
the apostles laid
hands on seven men. In Acts
we find Stephen, one
of those seven, suddenly performing great signs and miracles -
after the apostles laid hands on him.
we find Philip,
another of the seven men of Acts
performing signs and
miracles - again after the apostles laid hands on
Paul immersed about
12 men in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and that
they might receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. In verse 6, Paul
laid hands on them; then they began to speak in
The gifts of the
Spirit, without exception, are
given in the New Testament by the laying on of the apostles’
hands. Since the Holy Spirit continues to operate in the same way
now as He did in the New Testament, and since there are no
apostles of Jesus Christ now, no one in our time can receive the
gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Was the Duration of the Gifts?
A cross-check on
our conclusion in the above
section is found in I
Corinthians 13:8-13. After
exhorting the Corinthians to use their gifts in love, Paul then
compares something that is "in part" with something
that is "perfect." He points out that the gifts of
prophecy, knowledge, and tongues are temporary - they are in
part. Then he compares them to something that is perfect.
translated "the perfect"
are the Greek words to telion - a something, not a
someone. The scripture here refers to something that is complete,
in contrast to something that is partial.
The only thing
which is "complete"
which can be contrasted with the "partial" is the New
Testament. The New Testament is now complete, but was only in the
making at the time that Paul was writing his Holy Spirit -
inspired letters to churches such as at Corinth. The gifts were
"partial" and were only in use until the
"complete" came. With the coming of the New Testament,
the gifts were phased out.
Even Paul only
"knew in part and
prophesied in part." But when the New Testament was
completed, these "childish things" were done away, and
now the mature church in the "man" stage could begin to
operate. Men then could see themselves incompletely, but with the
coming of the complete "word of God" which is able to
"judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews
now we can know
ourselves "fully" just as we have been "fully
known." So it is possible for a person who studies and
understands the Bible today to have a better comprehension of the
things of God than the apostle Paul had!
Once again, this
checks with the conclusion
which we reached from a different direction - that the gifts of
the Spirit died out when the apostles died, and could no longer
pass them on by the laying on of their hands. The New Testament
was completed when John the apostle wrote his last letters and
the book of Revelation sometime near 100 A.D. Most of the other
apostles had been dead for 30 or 40 years by this time.
Was the Purpose of the Gifts?
In the New
Testament church, before the New
Testament was completed, it would be very important for someone
to have the various gifts of the Spirit. To know that Jesus is
going to return soon, we have the book of Revelation - they
needed someone with the gift of prophecy. To know the
qualifications of elders, we have the text of I Timothy - they
had someone with the gift of knowledge. To know that Jesus was
raised from the dead in accordance with the Old Testament
scriptures, we have the great messages of the book of Acts - they
needed to confirm the word with "signs and miracles and by
gifts of the Holy Spirit" (Hebrews
Today we can say
the Bible says such and such
and quote the scripture, but how could they "test the
spirits?" It would be important that someone in the
congregation have the gift of "distinguishing of
spirits" to see whether the individual who said "Thus
says the Lord!" was telling the truth.
why it was necessary for Peter and
John, apostles of Jesus Christ, to come up to Samaria from
Jerusalem and lay hands on the Samaritans. Philip was about to
leave Samaria and there would be no one who could teach them
further about the kingdom of God. So these two apostles came up
and laid hands on them, and the Holy Spirit gave the gifts as He
willed, and the church in Samaria was established (see Romans
lacking any gift" (I
The gifts of the
Holy Spirit were given by the
laying on of the apostles’ hands. They consisted of about
ten different specialties and were necessary in the early church,
lasting until the writings of the New Testament were completed.
The user of the spiritual gift was in control at all times, and
was exhorted to use his gift in a spirit of love.
FILLING WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
with the Holy Spirit
occurred in Old Testament times and under the Old Covenant before
Jesus died on the cross (see Hebrews
9:16,17). In Luke
Baptist’s father was filled with the Holy Spirit and
prophesied. Peter pointed out that such men spoke when they were
"moved by the Holy Spirit" (II
with the Spirit was beyond the
control of the one so filled, and the individual did not even
understand the significance of what he said most of the time.
These men of old wanted to know from God "what person or
time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating" (I
was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves"
The filling with
the Holy Spirit under the Old
Testament dispensation is quite distinct from the New Testament
command to "be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians
"filling" requires conscious mental effort (see
study entitled The
New Creation) on the part of
the Christian - Old Testament "filling" was quite
beyond the control of the one so filled.
Filling with the Spirit in the Early Stages of the Church
Peter was filled
with the Holy Spirit while on trial before the Jewish High
Council, the Sanhedrin. This was in accordance with the promise
Jesus had given the apostles (and only the apostles - Mark
the disciples were
filled with the Holy Spirit. This was apparently a sign from
heaven at a critical time in the church’s development - when
they were under persecution for the first time. So God shook the
place where they were gathered and gave them the ability to speak
the word of God with boldness. Such a special sign was never
again evidenced even in the early church.
contrasted with normal New Testament "filling with the Holy
Spirit," was entirely beyond the control of the individual
filled. God did fill the apostles with the Spirit when they were
on trial, and He did manifest a special filling once when the
church faced its first persecution.
The purpose of
this study was to understand the
operations of the Holy Spirit as explicitly spelled out in
God’s Word. The chart below provides the
summary of definitions and concepts that we have worked out
concerning the operations of the Holy Spirit since Christ’s
death on the cross.
Operations of the Holy Spirit Under the New Covenant
with the Spirit
Presence of the Holy Spirit
of the Spirit
- On the
apostles to begin the church
Cornelius' household to salvation to the gentiles
time, to make him "born again"
Christians in the early church, to enable them to function without the
apostles under trial
sign when the church faced its first persecution.
like a mighty rushing wind
like fire on the heads of those baptized.
in other tongues(languages)
Spirit coming to live inside the Christian and working within to make
him like Christ.
different specialties, such as prophecy, wisdom and distinguishing of
apostles knowing what to say when they were on trial.
building being shaken and Christians speaking the word of God with
by Jesus as a powerful sign for the benefit of those of Jewish
background who watched the sign occur.
by God when an individual is baptized by immersion in water for the
forgiveness of sins, provided he believes, is repentant and has
confessed Christ as Lord.
by the Holy Spirit when the apostles laid hands on a Christian.
by God to keep the early church functioning at critical times.
On the Day of
Pentecost, the apostle Peter
stood with the eleven and proclaimed for the first time the
gospel of salvation. Responding to the charges that the apostles
were drunk, he answered that they were baptized with the Holy
Spirit by quoting from the prophet Joel: "But this is what
was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall be in
the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour out My
Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy
and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall
dream dreams; even upon My bondslaves, both men and women, I will
in those days pour forth of My Spirit, and they shall
It is claimed by
many today that "we are
now in the last days. In these last days God’s Spirit is
working in all denominations to bring them together before He
comes again. He is pouring forth of His Spirit - Christians of
all denominations are having visions, and prophesying as He is
showing us by these things that we are now in the last
We will see that
such claims are no more than
sections we have seen that the
baptism with the Holy Spirit occurred only twice for special
purposes - to start the church and to spread salvation to the
Gentiles. It came with three manifestations: (1) A sound like a
mighty rushing wind; (2) Tongues like fire; (3) Speaking in other
languages. All three manifestations must be present in order for
a person to be baptized with the Holy Spirit - and no one today
We have also
seen that the various gifts of the
Spirit were given by the laying on of the apostles’ hands
and therefore (since there are now no apostles), no one today has
any such gift as prophecy or speaking in tongues.
So any claims to
the contrary are spurious at
best; outright lies at worst. So what is the meaning of Acts
Peter is quoting
from a prophecy some 800 years
old as he justifies, by this prophecy, that the sign which had
just fallen upon the apostles was in accordance with Old
Testament scripture. Joel had said, "And it shall be in
the last days."
What were the
"last days" from
Joel’s point of view? The writer of Hebrews explains:
"God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets
in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has
spoken to us in His Son ..." (Hebrews
In "the last
days" God would
"pour forth of My Spirit on all flesh." God first
poured forth His Spirit upon the apostles - Jews. Then 10-13
years later He poured forth His Spirit upon the household of
Cornelius - Gentiles (Acts
10 & 11). Thus
Spirit was poured forth upon "all flesh" in the baptism
with the Spirit.
He also spoke of
men and women, young and old,
seeing visions, etc. This occurred in the early stages of the
church as men and women were given gifts of the Spirit through
the laying on of the apostles’ hands.
In these two
ways this portion of Joel’s
prophecy was thus fulfilled. (For the study on the last part of
this prophecy quoted by Peter - Acts
- see the study on Christ’s
We have been in
the last days since Christ died
on the cross. Since Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled in the
early stages of the church, and since the means for receiving
miraculous measures of the Spirit have now passed away, no one
today exhibits the things Joel prophesied.
The Holy Spirit
today works through His word.
We have Moses and the prophets and the apostles. Hear them!
STUDY - THE BAPTISM WITH FIRE
flocked to hear John the Immerser,
and to be immersed with the immersion of repentance for the
forgiveness of sins (Luke
he told them,
"As for me, I baptize you in water for repentance, but He
who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not even fit
to remove His sandals; He Himself will baptize you with the Holy
Spirit and fire" (Matthew
We have already
seen how the apostles and the
household of Cornelius were baptized with the Holy Spirit. But
who was to be baptized with fire? The apostles? Cornelius? There
were tongues like fire which came as a part of the
with the Spirit, but since they were part of the Spirit baptism,
and since that is not an overwhelming immersion in fire, we are
forced to conclude that the baptism with fire is something
separate from the baptism with the Spirit.
to give information about the
coming One: "And His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He
will thoroughly clean His threshing floor; and He will gather His
wheat in the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with
unquenchable FIRE" (Matthew
The same One who
opened the door of salvation
to both Jew and Gentile by pouring forth the baptism with the
Spirit - the One who opens and no one can shut - will also pour
forth the baptism with fire on those who reject His word in the
day of the wrath of the Lamb of God. Jesus has been given
authority to execute judgment (John
and He will burn
the chaff on that Day with the baptism with fire.