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How to Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

The first principle of receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is to wait, preparing your heart in anticipation of what God will do in your life and removing any known hindrances to the moving of the Holy Spirit. When the time of waiting was completed, they had also prepared for the second principle of receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit:


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The period of waiting had prepared them for what would happen next. Acts 2:1 opens the chapter in a note of anticipation. As Horton explains that here, the intent of Pentecost was being completed and the Old Testament prophecies, especially Joel 2:28, were about to be fulfilled (Horton, Acts, p. 29). The upper room in which they met cannot be positively identified, but it may well have been in the temple. The apostles were known to go there to pray (Acts 3:1) and the temple area was large enough to accommodate the crowd that gathered in response to the Spirit’s outpouring.

The sound of the wind and the flames of fire accompanied the Holy Spirit. They may have occurred here as an indication to the disciples that the Holy Spirit arrived. The root words for Holy Spirit in both the Hebrew and Greek referred to “breath” or “wind.” It may be that the sound of wind, though no wind actually occurred, was intended as a sign of the Spirit’s arrival, something they would understand. In the Old Testament, fire was often a sign of the power of God, and it may be here that the presence of the fire was intended to convey to the disciples that the power of God had arrived. However, these signs were not a part of the Baptism itself and were not repeated elsewhere in the book of Acts, suggesting that we should not expect them today. Speaking in tongues, however, is another matter. Speaking in tongues was specifically equated with the Baptism in the Holy Spirit as also mentioned in Acts 10: 39-48; 11:15-18; and 19:1-6. This suggests that Luke is intending to teach us that the early church considered speaking in tongues to be the normal evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. A complete defense of this teaching is well beyond our scope here. In my opinion, others have dealt with it so brilliantly (i.e. Donald Johns, “Some New Directions”), that it is sufficient to say here that there is no reason to expect otherwise today.

Having been taught that the gifts died with the apostles, I needed a little time to accept that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and the corresponding gifts are for today. I needed time to realize that these gifts would only pass away when that which is perfect comes, which is no doubt a reference to the Second Coming rather than the completion of the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). When I was convinced that the gifts were for today, the next step was to convince me that I needed the Baptism personally. Once the Lord accomplished that, I began to earnestly seek, and when I sought, I found.

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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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