The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is vital for every believer. Regardless of how comfortable you may be without this baptism, or how uncomfortable you may be with the idea, it is scriptural and for the believer’s benefit (John 16:7.) The Holy Spirit brings power and instruction needed to mature as a Christian, operate effectively in the church and receive ministries (Ephesians 4:11-13, 1 Corinthians 12:28), gifts (1 Corinthians 12:8-10) and fruit (Galatians 5:22.) This baptism and gift edify the believer, build faith, communicate directly with God, makes possible perfect prayers without any wrong motives, enables the believer to pray and intercede for things or people of which they have no earthly knowledge, enables constant prayer and awareness of the Holy Spirit and facilitates perfect worship. This is the unity Jesus prayed all His future disciples would obtain (John 17:20:23, Luke 11:10-13.)
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is frequently manifested vocally, and this should be no surprise since the ability to speak with faith and authority is the defining characteristic of God the creator in whose ‘image’ we are created. It is with our mouth that we confess unto salvation (Romans 10:10), that we overcome Satan (Revelation 12:11), that we choose life and prosperity or death and destruction (Deuteronomy 30:14-15, Proverbs 18:21.) It is also with our mouth that we give voice to the Holy Spirit’s unity with our spirit to commune with the Father.
Just as in the physical word, the newborn cries and then learns to speak correctly, so it is with the spiritual birth of the born again child of God and with the Holy Spirit’s indwelling—a vocal response occurs. The power of the spoken word (God’s and humans’) is throughout the Bible (Numbers 14:28, 11:1; Matthew 17:20, 21:21, Mark 11:23, Luke 17:6; Isaiah 44:26, 55:11; Numbers 23:19; Daniel 10:2, Genesis 27:33, James 3:6.) We are called to imitate God, who speaks in faith and ‘calls into existence the things that were not’ (Ephesians 5:1, Romans 4:17.) It is our mouth that reveals what is in our heart (Matthew 12:34, Luke 6:45), so it makes perfect sense that the baptism and infilling of a believer’s heart with the Holy Spirit would result in a new type of verbal response as Jesus foretold in Mark 16:17 and as recorded in Acts 2:4, Acts 8:17, Acts 9:18-19 (1 Corinthians 14:18), Acts 10:46, Acts 19:6. This is consistent with the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament as well (Numbers 11:25-26, 1 Samuel 10:6&10, 19:20-24, Luke 1:67.) There is always a physical response to the Holy Spirit.
Controlling the tongue in the natural realm is even more important in the spiritual realm. Blessing and cursing should not both becoming out of the same mouth (James 3:10.) The Bible repeatedly states the importance of taking great care over what comes out of your mouth (Psalm 17:3, 39:1, 59:12, 141:3, Proverbs 10:19, 13:3, 21:23, Ecclesiastes 5:6, Job 31:30 et al) and Jesus had strong admonitions about what we speak (Matthew 12:36-37, 15:11,17-18, Mark 7:20, Luke 19:22) and in Revelation, John repeatedly describes the Lord with a double-edged sword coming out of His mouth (Revelation 1:16, 2:16, 19:15, 19:21.) This corresponds to the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God in Ephesians 6:17.) The texts and imagery of the power of the tongue is consistent throughout the scriptures.
God takes His own word very seriously as well. His word birthed all of creation; the Word became flesh; He sent His Word to heal mankind; His word will not return without accomplishing it’s intended purpose (Genesis 1, John 1:1-5,14, Psalm 107:20, Isaiah 55:11.) His words are eternal (Matthew 24:25, Mark 13:31) and He stands behinds them (Numbers 23:19.) God expects humans to live “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” and Jesus confirmed this (Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4.)
Jesus spoke about the coming baptism of the Holy Spirit as did the prophets (John 7:38, Isaiah 28:11-12, Joel 2:28-29.) He instructed His followers to get the infilling of Holy Spirit before they started evangelizing and being Jesus’ witnesses (Acts 1:8.) He instructed His followers to seek the Holy Spirit persistently (Luke 11:10-13.) Do not neglect this! It is imperative to your prayer life—praying in tongues is direct, unfiltered communion with Father God! (1 Corinthians 14:1-5) Praying in tongues also edifies—builds up and strengthens—the believer. This is the ‘gateway’ gift and evidence of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence and it should not be neglected; on the contrary, it should be exercised at every available opportunity privately and publicly within the guidelines of 1 Corinthians 14. The speaker with any gift—tongues, prophecy, interpretation, word of knowledge or word of wisdom—always has control of their tongue and must exercise that control to ensure orderly services and the appropriate witness to unbelievers (1 Corinthians 14:22-25, 32-33, 39-40.)
This is a point of confusion, many times people think the Holy Spirit will overtake them and they will have no control over their speech, so they wait. But this is incorrect. It is a willing and active participation, a cooperative interaction. Like anything else received from the Father, it is received and acted on by faith; the mind is unfruitful, without understanding (1 Corinthians 14:14-15) so the mind must be uninvolved in the process. It is the Word that has the power to separate the mind and the spirit of man, and this separation provides the Holy Spirit and the human spirit the ability to connect without interference from the rational human mind (Hebrews 4:12, Proverbs 20:27, John 17:21-23.)
It is entirely possible to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit alone, in a group setting or by the laying on of hands. If you are struggling with this, there are many excellent resources to help you past the typical obstacles of unbelief or double-mindedness, resistance to the Holy Spirit and fear of what others might think or looking foolish. I recommend Kenneth E. Hagin’s Tongues: Beyond the Upper Room or contact us through this website. You cannot afford to be without this precious unity that Jesus shed His blood to make available to us.