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How to Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit


Many questions have been asked about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Is it truly God’s promise to every believer for today? If so, Is there any reason why all Christians should not receive it? What are the practical steps we need to take in order to receive this baptism? Can some things hinder us in receiving? How do we know if we’ve received the baptism in the Holy Spirit? What will the result be? Do we really need this baptism in the Holy Spirit, or is it optional?

Since experiences must be based on the Word of God, rather than creating theology from our experience, let’s begin with a small attempt to provide a sound theological foundation. The Bible’s primary text on the baptism in the Holy Spirit is the first and second chapters of Acts, with some reference to Luke’s first volume, the gospel of Luke.

In Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:4, Jesus said that he would send what the Father had promised. It is not likely that he repeated his promise in two different settings, but rather that Luke is recording the same instance twice to show the relationship between the end of Luke and the beginning of Acts, which Luke intended to be two volumes of the same work. What must not escape our notice here is that the fulfillment of this promise was imminent. This was something for which they were to prepare now. In Acts 1:5, Jesus made reference to the prophecy of John the Baptist that he would baptize them in the Holy Spirit. While he did not tell them how to prepare for the outpouring or what to expect as evidence when it happened, his message is quite clear that it was about to happen and the implication is clear that they needed to be prepared.

The Bible commands us to be filled with the Spirit.

Terminology here is very important. Note that Jesus referred to what was about to happen to them, which is recorded in Acts 2:1-4, as the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Peter, in his speech to the church leadership about what occurred at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10), also used this same terminology (Acts 11:16). The conclusion is inescapable that what happened to the disciples on the Day of Pentecost, as well as to countless others since that time, is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

In looking at the example of the apostle’s experience in the book of Acts, several principles of how to receive the Holy Spirit can be noted.


They Waited

In Acts 1:4, Jesus commanded them to “wait for the gift the Father promised” (NIV). No specific time frame was given, although Jesus had promised that it would not be long. The importance of the time of waiting cannot be overstated. It was a time for prayer and soul searching, a waiting to be released for the work that God had called them to do. Stanley Horton notes that their task was “… no human enterprise. They were not to use their own ingenuity to figure out ways to spread the gospel. They were to be led by the Spirit. He would be in charge.” (Horton, What the Bible Says, p. 139). For the Holy Spirit to take charge, they would need to wait for this fullness.

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Category: Spirit, Winter 2000

About the Author: Dave Johnson, M.Div., D.Miss. (Asia Graduate School of Theology, Philippines), is an Assemblies of God missionary to the Philippines. Dave and his wife Debbie have been involved in evangelism, church planting, and Bible school and mission leadership. Dave is the Managing Editor of Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies, the director of APTS Press in Baguio City, Philippines and coordinator for the Asian Pentecostal Theological Seminary's Master of Theology Program. Facebook Twitter

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