For the past three weeks, we’ve been looking at the baptism of the Spirit, what it is, why we need it, and how it affects our lives. It’s a wonderful topic to study, but it’s a far more important principle to apply. The Spirit is a Person, and He wants to be active in our daily lives.
So, ask yourself these questions: Do you have the power of God upon your life? Do you know the place God has given you in His body? Do you know the gifts He has instilled within you? Are you a witness? Are you serving? Are you bearing fruit? Remember, the New Testament knows nothing of spectators.
The church is the body of Christ. Every member is to do his or her part, to be involved somehow in the advancement of the kingdom of God. That doesn’t mean we all quit and huddle up in our local church ministry, but when we are baptized in the Spirit, God’s power will extend to our families, our neighborhoods, our communities, our workplaces, and wherever else we go.
Have You Received the Baptism in the Spirit?
Have you received the baptism in the Spirit? Do you know the power of God operating in your life? If you are not sure, then perhaps you have not been baptized in the Spirit. Or maybe you received the baptism at one point, but through sin, disobedience, or neglect, you’ve grieved or quenched the Spirit (see 1 Thessalonians 5:19). In that case, there is a need for repentance, cleansing, and a fresh filling.
Perhaps you are bored with your Christian life. If so, we can safely assume you’re not filled with the Spirit.
Not being baptized in the Spirit is not necessarily a sin; it’s possible to simply be ignorant of the experience, as the people in Ephesus were (see Acts 19). But to neglect this gift after we have been instructed about the availability and necessity of such an experience would certainly be foolish. The baptism of the Spirit is something God has for each of us to enable us to do our part and be His witnesses.
How Do You Receive?
To receive the empowering of the Spirit, Jesus told us that we are to ask for the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). The words literally mean to keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. Jesus went on to say, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).
But there is one other thing that we see in many places in Scripture: the laying on of hands. We find this many times in the book of Acts as well as in the epistles. In Acts 8, there was a group of Samaritans who had been baptized in the name of Jesus, but the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon them. The disciples came down from Jerusalem and laid hands on them, and they received the Spirit (see Acts 8:14–17). In Acts 9, we read of the apostle Paul, known then as Saul of Tarsus, after he had been converted. Ananias laid hands on him and said, Receive the Holy Spirit (see Acts 9:17). From that point on, Saul began to testify that Jesus is the Christ. Paul, writing many years later to Timothy, said, “Stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1:6).
Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? If not, you can receive Him today. Ask and you will receive.
Let God Fill You!
The Christian life, more than anything, is a grand and glorious adventure. It’s the most exciting thing in the world. If you lack excitement, if you lack that dynamic, if you feel powerless as a Christian, the baptism or filling with the Spirit is what you need. When that happens, you never know what the Lord will do. He will stir you up. He will open doors. He will send you out and things will get exciting!
In Ephesus, nothing much was going on while those twelve believers were huddled together. They might have had a little Bible study and times of prayer—but without the power of the Spirit, nothing much was changing. Paul came to town and laid hands on them, they were filled with the Spirit, and it was a whole new work! God will do that with you. You might even end up in some other part of the world, thrilled and excited to be serving Him. But I can tell you this—it won’t happen apart from that empowering of the Spirit. Keep on asking, seeking, and knocking, and as Jesus said, your heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to you!