Summary: For too long many Christian churches have been powerless and ineffective. The baptism of the Holy Spirit can infuse heaven-sent power into those churches and equip them to impact their communities for Jesus Christ.
Acts 1:5, 8; 2:4, 37f ...you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.... (8) 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.... (2:4) All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.... (37) When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
•• Explanatory note: it is important to notice that being “baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5) and being “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4) are one and the same experience. These are two biblical ways of describing that great Pentecostal anointing upon those 120 disciples, which is also for you today. Likewise, the expressions "baptism in/with/of the Holy Spirit" all mean the same thing.
•• These classic verses on the baptism in the Holy Spirit give us the first two of our nine reasons why we need this biblical experience.
•• (1) To be witnesses with power. Think of what happened in Acts 2. The disciples were baptized/filled with the Spirit (1:5 with 2:4). Newly under the influence of this Holy Spirit anointing and power, the now-Spirit-filled apostle Peter stood and preached a message which brought many under conviction of sin (2:37). A multitude believed and repented, and 3,000 souls were saved and water baptized the same day (2:41).
•• (2) They spoke in other tongues. This brings edification to the one speaking.
• He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself (1 Corinthians 14:4).
• But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost (Jude 1:20, KJV).
Acts 4:29-33 ...enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders.... (31) And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.... (33) With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.
•• (3) Bold speaking of the word of God came as a result of their being “filled with the Holy Spirit” (vs. 31, the same experience as at Pentecost [Acts 1:5 and 2:4]).
•• (4) Great power, including healings, signs, and wonders, flowed from their being baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8:12-17 But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news ... they were baptized.... (17) Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
•• (5) The threefold apostolic command of Acts 2:38 is fulfilled — that is, “Repent ... be baptized ... receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
• Repentance and faith in Jesus Christ brings them into salvation.
• They are baptized in water.
• They are filled with the Holy Spirit, as the 120 were on the Day of Pentecost.
Acts 9:17-22 ... the Lord — Jesus...has sent me so that you [Saul of Tarsus] may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.".... (20) At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, "Isn't he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name?”
•• (6) Radical transformation of your life can follow your receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
• The example in the verse above is Saul of Tarsus. He had been viciously persecuting the Christian church (Acts 8:3; 9:1-2). Then Saul had an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Saul was powerfully saved, filled with the Spirit (9:17), and began to preach boldly about the same Jesus whom he had earlier been fighting against. Radical transformation! He was later known as the apostle Paul and wrote more than a dozen books of the New Testament!
• We saw the same astounding transformation with the apostle Peter. Out of fear, he had denied Jesus before Christ’s crucifixion. But after his personal Pentecost in Acts 2, Peter boldly preached Jesus to a crowd that included many who had only weeks before been crying out for Jesus to be crucified.
Acts 10:43-47; 11:18 (45) The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have."... [11:18] When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, "So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life."
•• (7) Our prejudices are overthrown. The Jewish Christians with Peter were astonished that the Gentiles received both salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues. That receiving of the Holy Spirit by the Gentiles was the event that broke down the Jewish Christians’ biases and religious prejudice against the Gentiles.
Acts 19:6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
•• (8) Spiritual gifts begin to flow in your life after you are baptized in the Holy Spirit. Notice here that, when this particular group was filled with the Spirit, they not only spoke in tongues, they also prophesied.
•• Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, did his first miracle after His own anointing by the Holy Spirit (John 1:32-34 with John 2:11). It was the Holy Spirit coming upon Jesus, at about age 30, that opened the door for Jesus’ first miracle and many, many more to follow.
• If it was the Holy Spirit anointing that brought forth the miracle ministry of Jesus, how much more must we mere mortals need that spiritual anointing to minister in the power of God!
1 Corinthians 14:26, 39f ...When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.... (39) Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
•• (9) The church is strengthened when various gifts of the Holy Spirit are manifested “in a fitting and orderly way”.
•• The apostle Paul is describing a New Testament church service. Notice that it had three key components:
• The Word of God — “a word of instruction”
• Worship of God — “a hymn”
• Gifts of the Spirit — “a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation”
• Too many churches in our day are content to focus only on the word and worship. But a biblically sound church will also have the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, as Paul wrote above.
Summary: Nine Reasons to Seek the Baptism with the Holy Spirit
1) To be witnesses for Christ with power
2) To speak in tongues as the Holy Spirit enables
3) To be enabled to speak God’s word boldly
4) To minister with Holy Ghost power, including divine healings, signs, and wonders
5) To fulfill the apostolic command — the triple witness of Acts 2:38
6) To see your life radically transformed by the Holy Spirit