Holy Spirit Baptism in the Bible
Let’s look at two biblical promises: first, John the Baptist said, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). Later, Jesus said, “For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit… You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:5, 8).
The Bible Illustrates clearly when you are baptized in the Holy Spirit, He gifts you with a supernatural language. This is the sure sign that you have received the promise of the Spirit.
Let’s look at this in Scripture:
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. (Acts 2:1-4) While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. (10:44-46)
The third verse in Acts illustrates a direct connection between tongues and Spirit baptism: “When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied” (19:6).
Other passages in the New Testament reveal the same truth, only indirectly. For example, in Acts 8, the apostles in Jerusalem had heard that there were disciples being made in Samaria. Keep in mind that these were new believers in Jesus who had only been water baptized. The apostles traveled to Samaria and prayed for the new believers to receive the Holy Spirit “because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit” (v 16-17). There had to have been some kind of evidence or sign to prove that they had received. The biblical account does not say directly that the new believers spoke in tongues, but something took place that was so obvious that Simon Maga offered the apostles money to give him the ability to lay hands on people to receive the Holy Spirit, too. Simon’s offer was met with a swift and stern rebuke by the apostle Peter, who said, “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!” (v. 8:20)
The apostle Paul powerfully converted to Christianity, having been confronted by Jesus Himself on the road to Damascus. What is interesting is he was not baptized with the Holy Spirit upon his dramatic conversion, but received it a few days later when Ananias visited him and laid hands on him specifically to be filled with the Holy Spirit (see Acts 9:17). Again, the biblical account does not directly say that Paul spoke in tongues upon his infilling, but we know he must have because later he gave testimony to the Corinthians, “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you” (1 Corinthians 14:18).
How to Receive Holy Spirit Baptism
“I really wanted to have a prayer language and tried so hard to sit in His presence and wait for it to happen. I was at a youth group one night as a teenager and watched nearly everyone else around me receive and speak in tongues, but not me. I remember feeling that I was doing something wrong or that I was not spiritual enough. Fast forward many years later, and I remember waking up in the night groaning in my sleep while praying for my separated marriage, which was later reconciled. I opened my mouth and out bubbled the most beautiful utterance of tongues! I’ve never struggled since.” -Tonya Almendarez
People receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit in different ways. Some receive spontaneously and sovereignly without trying, others have hands laid on them to receive, and then others press into the blessing on their own and receive that way. There is no right or wrong way or even a right or wrong place to receive your heavenly language, just the promise that you will.
If you, or someone you know, need to receive your supernatural language, here are some steps to help:
1. Believe in Jesus.
Sometimes people try to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but they have not yet given their life to Christ. They do not receive Him because they have not met the internal conditions to do so. You have to be born again to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but once you are, you do not have to wait to receive your prayer language either. You have the capacity right then and there to speak in other tongues.
2. Ask for it.
We see from the written word that we are encouraged to ask for the Holy Spirit. There is no qualifier for asking either, except that you be born again. You do not have to be perfect. You do not have to have your life cleaned up. As eager as you are to receive, He is even more excited to gift you with your spiritual language. As a son or daughter of God, you do not need to beg either. Simply ask in faith and be ready to receive His glorious promise.
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10
3. Know that you will not receive something evil on accident.
Some people resist seeking the baptism of the Spirit because they fear they might receive a demon instead of the Holy Spirit. I can understand how some might think this way not yet knowing what to expect if they open themselves up to a spiritual experience. I want to assure you, however, that if you ask for the promise of the Spirit, then you will only receive the Holy Spirit, according to Jesus’ words in Luke 11:11-13: “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or, if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
4. Speak in other tongues.
As I researched how other ministries teach on this subject, many propose that once you have asked for the Holy Spirit then you have automatically received the baptism and should be able to speak by faith in tongues right then and there in an almost robotic fashion. Their approach to receiving the promise of the Spirit is based more on our legal and covenantal rights with God while neglecting to mention the deeper relational components of the experience. Corey Russell, a senior leader at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, writes that speaking in tongues is a summons to experience the power of a Person – the Holy Spirit. And Jesus refers to it as the “promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4 KJV) because it is deeply based on His Sonship.
Stepping into a new spiritual experience that is firmly grounded in a relationship makes surrender much easier. When you ask the Father for the Holy Spirit, you then surrender your whole self, meaning your spirit man, your breath, your physical tongue, to allow Him to immerse you with His power until a glorious spirit language begins to flow from your innermost being.
Many people say their prayer language began with just one word or one syllable, and they spoke that out over and over until it developed into more sounds and even more words. Others have expressed that their spiritual language sounded like babbling at first, much like how a baby would sound, but it evolved over time into a more distinct language.
By the way, the Holy Spirit does not force you to speak in tongues. Instead, you give breath to the words that either bubble up or flow out from your spirit as you feel the infilling of His power. These are unpremeditated words that you speak out. They flow like a river from the inside of you, and once you have received your language, you do not lose it either.
As you engage in this gift daily and it develops in you, there emerges a beautiful communion of words sealed in heavenly mystery between you and the Spirit of glory. This togetherness of words becomes the gateway to His manifest presence being seen through signs and wonders, wonders that all communicate He has come to dwell with us.
Glory Carriers demonstrate the manifest presence of God with signs and wonders because they have cultivated over time an intimate friendship with the Spirit of God. Every friendship has a starting point, however, and I believe friendship with the Holy Spirit begins with the baptism in the Holy Spirit. We read in the Bible how this experience is necessary for us to walk in the power of the Spirit.
Jennifer Eivaz is a minister and international conference speaker with a heart to equip the church with the supernatural and for raising up passionate and effective prayer. She is a regular contributor to Charisma Online and The Elijah List, has been featured on several Christian television shows, hosts the popular podcast Take Ten With Jenn, and authored several bestselling books. Jennifer and her husband, Ron, co-pastor of Harvest Church now meeting in three locations – two campuses in Turlock, California, and one campus in Ripon, California – in addition to hosting a thriving online campus. They also have two wonderful children.
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