THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT - Robert Fitts
More and more people are hearing about the the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Many would like to receive it, but have never been instructed as to what it is and how to receive it.
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a definite experience in which the Holy Spirit, who is already dwelling within the believer is released to overflow and empower him. This baptism is administered by Jesus and is received by faith.
Jesus himself is our pattern and our example in this matter. He was born of the Spirit at birth but was not baptized in the Spirit until he received water baptism in the Jordan River at the age of thirty when the Holy Spirit "came upon him." (John 1:29-34)
It is the same transforming event the disciples experienced on the day of Pentecost. it is followed by evidences of the gifts of the Spirit such as supernatural praise, prophecy, and speaking in unknown tongues. (I Cor. 12 and 14)
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is given for the purpose of exalting Jesus Christ in the life and service of the believer. In order to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit it is important to understand the following:
o IT IS PROMISED TO EVERY BELIEVER.
"For the promise is unto you and to your children and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." (Acts 2:38)
"The promise" refers to the outpouring of the Spirit. This experience is not just for missionaries, evangelists and pastors, but for every believer.
o IT IS A GIFT.
We do not have to beg for it. We cannot work for it. We cannot make ourselves good enough to receive it. We must receive it like we would receive any gift. We just take it by simple faith and then express our thanks to God for hearing and answering our prayer. After we receive it by faith we will begin to experience it.
o IT IS ADMINISTERED BY JESUS
"John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose; he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." (Luke 3:16)
There is a baptism in water administered by men; (Mt.28:19) there is a baptism into the body of Christ administered by the Holy Spirit; (I Cor. 12:13) and there is a baptism in the holy Spirit administered by Jesus. (John 1:33)
Baptism in water
Throughout the New Testament water baptism always happened on the same day (or night) that someone received Jesus. It is a physical baptism in literal water of which every believer is responsible to receive in obedience to the command of Jesus.
Baptism into Christ's Body
Baptism into the body of Christ happens instantly when we take Jesus as our Lord and Savior. It is done in the Spirit and we have no physical experience of it. It simply means that God has joined us to the spiritual body of the saints worldwide and there is no feeling necessary or expected. It is to be received by faith as a revelation from God. All believers are baptized into the body of Christ the moment they receive Christ. There are no exceptions.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is administered by Jesus and there may or may not be a physical experience of it the moment it is received. There will be an empowering which sooner or later will become evident in the life of the one who receives it. Jesus said,
"You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes on you and you shall be witnesses unto me . . . " (Acts 1:8)
In Acts 1:4 Jesus emphasized the importance of being baptized in the Holy Spirit:
"And being assembled together with them, Jesus commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem but wait for the promise of the Father which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence."
Ten days later they all received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
"When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:1-4)
Receiving the Holy Spirit when we are born again and being baptized in the Holy Spirit are two separate events. The disciples had received the Holy Spirit on the day of Jesus' Resurrection.
"And when he had said this, he breathed on them and saith unto them, 'Receive ye the Holy Spirit.'" (John 20:22) I am fully confident that they did receive the Holy Spirit when Jesus breathed on them that day. Fifty days later they received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
We read in Acts eight that the Samaritans had been baptized in water after having believed in Jesus and yet they did not receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit until Peter and John laid their hands on them and prayed for them to receive it.
Saul of Tarsus received Jesus on the road to Damascus. He always referred to his Damascus Road experience as the day he received Jesus into his life. However, he did not receive the filling of the Holy Spirit until three days later when Ananias laid his hands on him and said,
"Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus . . . hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight and be filled with the Holy Ghost." (Acts 9:17).
We know that if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ in him he does not belong to Christ. He is not saved. He is not a Christian. But Paul was a Christian for at least three days before he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. But he received the indwelling of the Spirit on the road to Damascus the moment he believed in Jesus.
Also in Acts 19:1-7 the disciples in Ephesus had not received the baptism in the Holy Spirit although they were "believers" and were called "disciples." It would have been pointless for Paul to ask "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" if we automatically receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit the moment we believe. When Paul found that they were ignorant of the Holy Ghost and his ministry, "He laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they all spoke with tongues and prophesied."
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not the same as the born-again experience. It is another experience altogether.
o IT IS THE WILL OF GOD THAT YOU RECEIVE IT.
God commands all believers to be filled with the Spirit: "Be not drunk with wine . . . but be filled with the Spirit." (Eph. 5:18)
When you pray for the baptism in the Holy Spirit you are asking according to the will of God. Therefore you can know that God will answer your prayer because of the following promise:
"And this is the confidence we have in Him that , if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us; and if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know we have the petitions that we desired of him. (IJohn 5:14-15)
It is not enough to pray for the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Many pray for years for this blessing and yet they do not receive it. Why not? Because they do not lay claim to it and thank God for it by simple, child-like faith. They ask for it. They beg for it, but they do not claim it by faith and thank God for it before they experience it. Put your faith out in front of your feelings and your will receive it. By faith pray the following prayer and you will receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit immediately:
Jesus, I do acknowledge you as my Lord and Savior. I thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. You said that if I ask anything within your will you will hear and answer. Lord you command me to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so I ask you to baptize me in the Holy Spirit right now. I Thank you for hearing my prayer and for granting my request and that I now have the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Thank you, Jesus! Amen
The Bible says "The just shall live by faith" so do not seek to have an emotional experience. Claim the baptism in the Holy Spirit by faith and walk in the reality of it by faith.
Feelings will come, but leave that in the hands of God. Your part is to believe, embrace, confess, and act like the work is done. The results will follow. You will begin to experience supernatural gifts and manifestations of the power and presence of God that you never had before.
Feelings are beautiful and good, but we do wrong when we seek to create an emotion ourselves. God will give you overwhelming emotional experiences, but let him do it. Your part is to TRUST HIS WORD OF PROMISE.
Now that you have prayed and by faith received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, as an expression of your faith that God has heard and answered your prayer, just begin to praise God, but not in your own language. The experience of the apostles on the day of Pentecost can be your experience, too. Simply open your mouth and begin to praise God and trust him to give you words in a language unknown to you, a spiritual language of the Spirit.
o You are offering perfect praise to God in the Spirit.
o You are doing what the apostle Paul did when he said "I will pray with my spirit and I will pray with my understanding also. I will sing with my spirit and I will sing with my understanding also." It is not a matter of emotion. It is a matter of the will. You can will to pray in your own language and you can will to pray in your heavenly language. Paul went on to say to the Christians in Corinth: The spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet, therefore let all things be done decently and in order." You can start and you can stop. You are in control.
o The baptism in the Holy Spirit will bring many wonderful changes into your life:
o Jesus will become more real and personal to you than ever before.
o As you read the Bible, God will speak to you more clearly. You will find its truths more meaningful. You will have a greater desire to read it.
o You will feel love for others flowing through your life such as you have never experienced before.
o You will begin to experience miracles day by day as you walk in the Spirit.
o You will have a desire to minister to others in the power of the Spirit.
o It will be easier for you to share your faith in Jesus with those who do not know him. You will have a new power in witnessing for him.
o As you open up your life more fully to the ministry of the Holy Spirit you will be used in spiritual gifts such as healing, miracles, prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, etc. (see I Cor. 12,14, and Rom. 12)
Now that you have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, it is important to walk in the Spirit by faith moment by moment. Ephesians 5:18 in the original Greek says, "Keep on being filled with the Spirit." We are not to rely on a one-time experience but we are to daily experience fresh fillings of the Spirit.
To live a consistent Spirit-filled life, observe the following:
o Walk by faith! Do not depend on your feelings. "We walk by faith and not by sight." (II Cor. 5:7) Claim the filling of the Holy Spirit by faith whether you feel spiritual or not. Put your faith out in front. Your feelings will line up with you faith.
o Repent of sin instantly!
The blood of Jesus Christ keeps on cleansing us from sin, but sin persisted in will bring you into bondage and will bring down the wrath of God on your life. The Lord knows how to discipline his children. It is a fearful thing to come under the rod of his chastisement. (Read the 12th chapter of Hebrews)
o Be a doer of the Word!
Act on your faith. Step out and attempt the impossible if you know God is leading you. Be bold! We will never know the resources of God until we reach beyond our grasp. Pray for the sick and believe for miracles of healing. Say "yes" to opportunities to serve others. Remember that faith without works is dead. (James 1:22)
o Confess God's Word, not your doubts.
Satan is the author of doubt and fear. Fill your heart with the word of God. Jesus defeated satan by quoting God's word. You can do the same. Resist the devil and he will run from you.
o Make it a habit to praise God for all things and in all things. (I Thess. 5:18 and Eph. 5:20) Thank God for your problems as well as for your blessings. He will use your praise to turn bad thing into good things.
o Have a daily quiet time. "Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." (Luke 5:16)
Jesus left us an example to follow. Time alone with him is not wasted time. It is the most important and fruitful time of your day. The most powerful people on earth are those who pray.
o From time to time, spend a day in fasting and prayer.
There is a spiritual synergism that takes place when we mix these three things: Praying, fasting, and reading the Bible. If you come to a time of spiritual "doldrums", set aside a day for the Word, fasting, and prayer. It will bring you out into the dynamite of God.
My Experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit
I first received the baptism in the Holy Spirit in 1959 at the age of 25. I had sought it for over five years before I finally received it. I was waiting for God to come on the scene give me and over whelming experience so that I would know that I had received it. Then one day I understood that I could take it by faith just like I had received Jesus by faith. I went aside and prayed and received it by stark, naked faith. And it worked! Two days after I took it by faith a wonderful spiritual explosion occurred.
I began to see supernatural things happen and I was excited. However I was a Baptist at the time and had no desire to become a pentecostal. So I only sought the power of the Holy Spirit to make me a better preacher, teacher, speaker and pastor. I wanted the power without the problems. of charismatic things. As I look back now I am certain I was quenching and grieving the Spirit by my hesitation to enter into a ministy like that of Jesus, Paul and the early church.
This went on for several years and I experienced a measure of God's power and anointing, but I was not satisfied. As I prayed for more of God's presence and power in my life and ministry God brought into my life certain people and influences that began to take me into a deeper experience of the baptism in the Spirit.
The years have passed since the baptism in the Holy Spirit invaded our family. I am more persuaded than ever that this is just the touch from the Lord that the church needs in our day.
We are hearing obout revival in many places and it is simply and only the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. For those who have already been filled there is a new anointing and for those who have not yet received it, there is a river flowing all over the earth.
I encourage you to seek this blessing and do not give up till you have a satisfying portion. It is a gift and it is for you! Just as Jesus told the disciples not to leave Jerusalem before they had been clothed upon with power from on high, so his word is to you today. "Do not go on any longer without this mantle of power upon you." It is for you, but even more it is for those whose lives you will touch in the days ahead. People need deliverance. They need to be delivered from demons of lust, of disease, of fear and confusion, and from inner turmoil and darkness.
They need to hear the good news of the love of God in Christ Jesus given in the power of the Holy Spirit. They need the touch of love and power and the word of wisdom and knowledge that you could give to them if you were anointed with the Holy Spirit and power.
Will you receive it? Will you receive it NOW? May God bless you as you reach out by faith and take this gift from the hand of God!