Q: When an individual is seeking the baptism
in the Holy Spirit, can anything be done to prepare his/her life or
environment that will quicken the infilling?
A: The believer should seek the Baptizer rather
than the Baptism. A seeker should focus his/her attention on Jesus
rather than on an experience.
Also, (1) Understand that the baptism in the Holy
Spirit is a gift from God and should be received with thankfulness
to the Giver. It cannot be earned or merited; it can only be accepted.
(2) Be fully persuaded that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is both
biblically and doctrinally correct. (3) Confess any known sins and
resolve to live righteously with Gods help. (4) Begin to worship
the Lord with expressions of praise and adoration. (5) Express to
the Baptizer a desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit for His glory.
(6) Yield to any "welling up" within and allow that inner
surge to break through in expressions of worship, praise and adoration
in a language unknown to the individual but meaningful to God.
Q: Can a person be filled with the Holy Spirit
without speaking in tongues?
A: On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit fell
upon the assembled believers and "all of them were filled with
the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues" (Acts 2:4).
Later, as Peter was preaching at the house of Cornelius, "the
Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message" and they were
"speaking in tongues and praising God" (Acts 10:44,46).
Again, as the apostle Paul was ministering to the Ephesian disciples,
"the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and
prophesied" (Acts 19:6). Paul himself was filled with the Holy
Spirit (Acts 9:17) and spoke in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:18). These
Scriptures show that speaking in tongues is the initial physical evidence
of being baptized in the Holy Spirit.
The early believers were filled and spoke in tongues,
and the same is true today. Millions of believers worldwide share
the same testimony: When they initially were baptized in the Holy
Spirit they spoke in unknown tongues. The prophecy of Joel 2:28,29,
cited by Peter in Acts 2:16,17, links todays Spirit-filled believers
with those who were filled with the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
We teach these truths because they are based upon
the pattern in Gods Word. Speaking in tongues is not proof of
superior spirituality; it simply is a precious promise written in
Gods Word and fulfilled in our lives. To ignore it is to come
short of the New Testament pattern.
Q: Is tongues the only evidence of the infilling
of the Holy Spirit? Will there be significant changes in ones
attitudes and actions after being baptized in the Spirit?
A: The first physical sign of the infilling of
the Spirit is speaking in tongues. This is the one physical sign that
is consistent in its recurrence. However, the Baptism is not a goal
but a gateway a door to Spirit-filled living. It marks a beginning,
not an end. Speaking in tongues is but the initial evidence and is
to be followed by all the evidences of Christlikeness that mark a
consistent Spirit-filled life.
The apostle Paul described this life in the Spirit
in Galatians 5:22,23: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and
It is a life to be lived, not just an experience
to be remembered. Some have been satisfied to recall that wonderful
moment when the Holy Spirit came in His fullness and they magnified
the Lord in other tongues. Failure to progress beyond that point is
a tragedy. The question is not only, "Have you been filled?"
but "How have you lived since you were filled?" The apostle
Paul wrote, "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step
with the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25).
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is the introduction
to a victorious Christian life in the Spirit.
Q: Do Christians receive the Holy Spirit when
they are saved? If so, how is that experience different from the baptism
in the Holy Spirit?
A: Yes, when persons accept Christ, the Holy Spirit
begins a work in their lives. The Spirit convicts them of sin, convinces
them of righteousness and dwells within them (John 6:44; 14:17; Romans
8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13). No one becomes a Christian without this
gracious work of the Holy Spirit.
However, there is an additional and distinct ministry
of the Holy Spirit called the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The Baptism
is an empowering gift from God the Father that is promised to every
believer (Matthew 3:11; Luke 11:13; 24:49; Acts 2:33,38). It helps
the Christian to live a holy life and also brings a new devotional
attachment to Jesus Christ, making Him very real and precious. The
primary purpose of the Baptism is to give greater power for witnessing
(Acts 1:8). Other benefits include a greater joy in spiritual service
and a heightened sense of ones mission to the world.
Q:Can a person receive eternal life in heaven
without the baptism in the Holy Spirit? If so, why should we be baptized
in the Spirit?
A:Receiving eternal life does not depend on being
baptized in the Holy Spirit, for salvation is by grace through faith
alone (Habakkuk 2:4; John 6:28,29; Galatians 3:6; 5:6; Ephesians 2:8).
It is a gift purchased for us by Christ when He was crucified. All
we have to do is accept the gift. Just as the repentant thief on the
cross next to Jesus was assured of entering paradise that very day,
we too are assured a place in heaven with the Father if we believe
in Jesus Christ. It is most unfortunate that some have said, "Unless
you have spoken in tongues you will not go to heaven." This is
contrary to the Scriptures.
At the same time, the Bible does tell us that
Christ commanded His first followers to wait for the Holy Spirit to
come upon them (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8). The Bible commands us to "be
filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). This personal encounter
with the Holy Spirit should be sought and cherished by every believer.
With it come a new and fuller dimension of spiritual understanding
and a flow of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 2:9-13).
Q: Do we play a role as to whether or not tongues
and other gifts will operate in the church?
A:Human availability has always been an essential
part of the unfolding of Gods plan. Throughout Scripture there
is an obvious blending of Gods sovereign purposes and peoples
availability in implementing those purposes. While this interrelationship
is impossible to fully comprehend, it is consistently recorded in
Spiritual gifts operate only with human availability.
While the gifts are supernatural both in source and operation, they
require willing and obedient hearts through which they might find
expression. Jesus commanded His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until
they had been "clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49).
It was not until they had placed themselves at the Spirits disposal
that they were "filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak
in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them" (Acts 2:4).
This interrelationship between the Holy Spirit
and human availability can be expressed by the following progression:
The believer must (1) have a clear understanding of the biblical base
for promised gifts; (2) be touched in his/her heart with a desire
for the gifts to flow; (3) be willing to submit to the inner sense
that the Spirit is seeking expression; and (4) offer to the Holy Spirit
his/her heart, emotions, will and voice by which those gifts may operate.
The key is obedient availability coupled with a sincere desire to
Q: Who should be baptized in the Holy Spirit?
A: When the believers were praying on the Day
of Pentecost, "all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and
began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them" (Acts
2:4, NIV). It was not just the apostles who were filled, but all the
men and all the women in that company of 120 persons. Then the apostle
Peter told the onlookers that they should be filled: "The promise
is for you and your children and for all who are far off for
all whom the Lord our God will call" (Acts 2:39).
As Peter said, the baptism in the Holy Spirit
is for every believer in every generation.
All sidebars adapted from The A/G Our Distinctive
Doctrine ... The Baptism in the Holy Spirit, produced by the Office
of Public Relations of the Assemblies of God.