Have you ever wished your efforts for God could be more effective? Have you longed to be a powerful witness of the Gospel, always ready to enlighten others with the Word of God? The Lord has promised the baptism of the Holy Ghost so that the Holy Spirit can be a part of you and assist in these needs.
Power for service
The baptism of the Holy Ghost is the experience of the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, coming into a person’s life to give power for God’s service.
A measure of the Holy Spirit is given at every step a person makes toward God. It is the Holy Spirit who convinces men of sin, drawing them to repentance. The Holy Spirit witnesses to a person’s salvation, letting him know he is a child of God. The Holy Spirit shows the need for more of God and draws the converted person to sanctification, the experience that purifies the heart. But it is in receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost that the Holy Spirit comes to live in the sanctified heart.
The primary purpose of this experience is to give Christians power. Jesus told His disciples, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me” (Acts 1:8). Jesus commanded them to wait in Jerusalem until they received this promised gift. One hundred twenty of the disciples obeyed and were baptized on the Day of Pentecost. The results of this experience were manifested in the lives of the disciples. They were bold to preach the Gospel, and thousands were converted.
The Holy Ghost as a comforter
Jesus also promised that the Holy Ghost would be a comforter (John 14:16), that He would guide into truth (John 16:13), and that He would bring to remembrance Jesus’ words (John 14:26).
The baptism of the Holy Ghost was spoken of by Joel the Prophet: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit” (Joel 2:28,29).
John the Baptist prophesied that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Ghost. He said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Matthew 3:11).
The witness of the infilling
When the Holy Ghost is given, the witness is that the person speaks in a language unknown to him. On the Day of Pentecost, “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). Those from other nations who heard them said, “We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God” (Acts 2:11).
In the years after Pentecost, the gift of the Holy Ghost continued. This gift was given about eight years later in Caesarea (Acts 10), and after twenty-three years in Ephesus (Acts 19:6). All received the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues.
Since then, many people have received the experience of the baptism of the Holy Ghost with this same witness of speaking in a language unknown to them. The gift, however, is not the speaking in tongues, but the infilling of the Holy Ghost, of which speaking in tongues is the God-given evidence.
God baptizes today with the Holy Ghost just as He did on the Day of Pentecost. Peter said, “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 2:39).
Essential steps in receiving
In order to be filled with the Holy Ghost, essential steps must be taken. A person must first be born again, justified by faith. A second step, sanctification, occurs when the saved person goes deeper in consecration and God purges the heart. Then the heart is ready for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Although the disciples had been definitely promised the gift of the Holy Ghost, they had to wait and pray ten days before the power was given to them. Prayer and consecration are still necessary to receive this gift. God requires a complete submission of soul, mind, body, and spirit. He wants to control every thought and plan. Sometimes it takes fervent prayer to let Him completely direct every area of life. However, God has the experience of the baptism of the Holy Ghost for every person who will meet His requirements. He is no respecter of persons.
A necessity, not an option
It was not optional with the disciples whether or not to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus commanded them to wait for the promised power. And the baptism of the Holy Ghost is not an option today either. This experience is a necessity for every person who wants his life to be used and blessed by God.
If you have been saved and sanctified, seek for the baptism of the Holy Ghost. God will give it to you, and then out of you will “flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). The thrill of the Third Person of the Trinity living in your heart cannot be explained. But He is worth seeking for until He is received.