The Holy Spirit
The Feast of Pentecost is the time when the Holy Spirit came as tongues of fire upon the 120 who tarried in prayer waiting in Jerusalem for His coming. Yeshua (Jesus) tells His disciples that they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit and to wait for His coming; for when He comes, they would receive power to be His witnesses in Jerusalem and throughout the world. The tradition is that this was the beginning of the church. We see Peter addresses the crowd (Acts 2:17-21, 41) and begins to tell the people that this was the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy that the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon all people in the last days: "And it shall be that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." So then, those who had received his words were baptized and that day, there were added about three thousand souls. So what is the baptism in the Holy Spirit? Let's take a closer look.
The Holy Spirit
To understand the baptism in the Holy Spirit, we must understand the role and work of the Spirit. John 14 and John 16 tell us about the role of the Holy Spirit. Yeshua tells us that the Spirit is our Helper and He is the Spirit of truth that the world cannot receive because it does not know Him. The Spirit will abide with us and will be in us and He will teach us all things and He will bring truth to our memories so we will be able to walk in all truth. He will convict us of sin and lead us in righteousness and speak of judgement to those who sin from unbelief. So we see that the Holy Spirit helps us in our walk with God, leading us and guiding us, "Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts" (Zechariah 4:6). According to the Word of God, He is our Companion.
Galatians 5:16-18 speaks to us about our walk in the Spirit. We are to walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh, for the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for they are in opposition to one another so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now, this is not saying that we are not under the commandments of God, but simply that we do not obey or serve God for our salvation, but out of love. The Spirit plants His seeds in our hearts and when we walk by the Spirit and not the flesh, then these seeds grow in our lives. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. So, how do we start to live by the Spirit? Well, first you must be born of the Spirit.
Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel, came to Yeshua (Jesus) at night to inquire of Him and the Kingdom. Yeshua tells Him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." In John 3:3, Yeshua tells him, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Nicodemus was taken aback by Yeshua's response, for he could not understand how one could be physically born again. You see, Nicodemus did not understand spiritual things, so Yeshua tells him, "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit." Yeshua tells Nicodemus how to be born again. Yeshua tells Him, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). John 1:12-13 tells us, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man but of God."
Now this is not about just saying a little prayer, but it is repenting of our sins and making a complete turn around to God. When we make a heartfelt, conscious response and effort to live by God's Spirit accepting Yeshua and living according to God's Word, then we become born again, born of the Spirit. Now, the Bible tells us that we are new creatures; the old has passed away and now all things have been made new (2 Corinthians 5:17). We must now become living sacrifices pleasing to God by no longer being conformed to this world's way of thinking but now we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2).
When we accept Yeshua, He gives us gifts so we may take on the yoke of the kingdom and do His work. Romans 12:6-8 speaks of those gifts: prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, and showing mercy. Ephesians 4:11 continues the list with apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers all for the equipping of the saints for the work of the Lord. Without being born again, one can not use these gifts properly and to their full potential, and that leads us to the next step in the believer's life.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Before Yeshua ascends back to the Father, He tells His disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit was going to baptize them in fire and the power of God was going to come upon them. It is this power that gives the believer His full potential, because now he has been endowed with the power of God. He now has the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The prophet Joel prophesied this would happen in His day, and the fulfillment came on the day of Pentecost. Many people and many denominations believe that this was just for in the days of the apostles, and when they died, this gift of God died with them. But this is not what Joel prophesied. This is not what the Bible tells us. The work of the Lord goes on, and His people still need to have the power of God. And the only way to receive this power is to be baptized in the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Now, I will agree that the manner in which the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost has never been the same, even to the three thousand that received Peter's message; but His coming upon the people of God who ask in faith, believing, is still happening today. It is as real as it was on the day of Pentecost. So you may ask, "How do I get this outpouring in my life?" If you are a believer, a born again believer, you may receive the outpouring by asking God in faith for it, for it is a free gift of God (Acts 2:38). You may want to pray with other believers to join you in your prayer and laying their hands on you (Acts 8:15-17, Acts 9:17). Peter was just speaking the gospel to Cornelius and his family when the Holy Spirit fell upon them because of their faith and hunger for it (Acts 10:44-47). We see the same thing in Ephesus in Acts 19:1-6 that when Paul laid his hands on them and prayed, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they began speaking in tongues. Now, the speaking in tongues is the sign of the Holy Spirit. Many people say that they have this gift, but do not speak in tongues. We can only go by the Scripture, and the Scripture tells us clearly that this is the sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4, 10:46, 19:6).
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is all about the spiritual realm; it is not like fortune tellers or mediums: these are done through Spirits of darkness. God tells us to see through our spiritual eyes and hear with our spiritual ears what the Spirit is saying. So too with tongues, which is a heavenly language. It is nothing to be afraid of, nor is it something to take lightly. When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you may feel like you want to speak gibberish or sounds or words that are not familiar to you. You may think it sounds foolish. We must all become a little foolish to shame the wisdom of man. Don't be afraid to speak out what you feel the Holy Spirit is prompting you to say. Give in to your tongue and speak it out. You may ask, "How do I know that this is from God and not me?" If you have asked in faith, with a sincere heart, God will be faithful. After you have spoken out, then trust the Spirit of truth to lead you in all truth.
Now, some people do not get this immediately; but I tell you, when the Spirit is poured out upon you, you will have no doubt. Keep praying and keep repeating what God has given you, praising His name. You will grow as you walk in the Spirit and let Him lead you. Stay in the Word and prayer, praising His name and speaking in your heavenly language. Yeshua (Jesus) tells us that "An hour is coming, and now is, when true worshipers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth" (John 4:23). When you receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, God also gives you gifts of the Holy Spirit like prophecy for edification, exhortation, and consolation, apostles, teachers, miracles, healings, helps, administrations, and various kinds of tongues. Some of these I have mentioned earlier, but they are all from the Spirit, for the church, and all done in love (1 Corinthians 12-14). We will go through each of these gifts at another time.
Paul exhorts the Ephesians to be filled with the Spirit. Do you need a little power in your walk with God, or maybe in your ministry? Do you need a little help in your witness to others, or maybe to fight that spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:18)? Then I say like Paul did to the Ephesians, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit?" If not, then why not today?
For it's not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of Hosts.