We get the term “baptism of the Holy Ghost (or Spirit)” from John’s words in Matthew 3:11-12 (KJV). “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: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

The fire is explained in Malachi 3:2b-3, “…for he [Jesus] is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.” Fuller’s soap is a strong laundry soap for cleaning and whitening cloth. The fan in his hand in Matthew 3: 12 was used to create wind (which is another comparison used for the Holy Spirit) to separate the chaff from the wheat. We have both in our lives and only by his light can we tell the difference. The sons of Levi were the priests who served in the temple. 1 Peter 2:5 calls us “an holy priesthood". That makes us the “sons of Levi” being purged and purified.

“…no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” 1 Corinthians 12:3b. If you believe in Jesus as your personal savior, you must have the Holy Spirit. But too many times we put him in a box and try to say what God will or will not do. If he is God, he must determine what will be. Not us. Just as Mary poured out the box of ointment on Jesus’ feet so that the fragrance filled the house, we must pour out the Holy Spirit so that his fragrance fills our lives.

Indeed, when Jesus came to John at the Jordan to be baptized, John refused saying, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” Matthew 3:14. John had the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb but in a measured amount for a specific purpose. When Jesus was baptized in water, being sinless, he did not need to repent. But he was setting an example of obedience for us. When he came up out of the water, God baptized him in the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove lighting on him. The Spirit immediately took him into the wilderness, and he was tempted in every area of life. Then his ministry began.

There are recorded in the Bible no miracles or sermons or other ministry until Jesus was baptized in the Holy Spirit. When he came to earth as a human baby, he laid aside his divinity and power in order to fulfill the requirements of God for a man to walk in righteousness. His only advantage over us was that he was born without the sin nature of Adam. When he received the Holy Spirit, he received the power to heal, perform miracles, and rise from the dead. HE ROSE!! He was not raised. This same power is available to us in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We are supposed to do the same things he did and even greater things through the power of the Holy Spirit (John 14:12).

In order for God’s wrath against sin to be poured out completely on him on the cross, the Holy Spirit left him, and Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46. When his work was complete, he yielded his life. The resurrection power of the Holy Spirit was so strong that many saints who had already died rose also and appeared to many in Jerusalem. (Matthew 27:52-53).

In his last appearance to his disciples before he ascended into heaven he said, “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on High.” Luke 24:49. Acts 1:4, 1:5, & 1:8 tell us what that power is. “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 [for repentance]; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost [for power] not many days hence… . But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me… .” We do not have the ability to be effective witnesses for Christ without the power of the Holy Ghost. Jesus commanded us to receive it. We cannot mature as Christians without it. It is not an option, but a dire necessity. We cannot possibly defeat Satan and overcome his wiles without the fullness of God’s power in us to enable us. Paul warned Timothy about men “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:5.

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for The remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 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 2:38-39. We were “afar off” when these words were spoken, but the promise is for us today.

We tend to use our own experience as the standard of reference. If something happens to us a certain way, we feel that is the way it should happen. If it has never happened to us, we feel it must not be real. Some people have a glorious salvation experience. But the experience did not save them. Some people simply and quietly believe. They are just as saved as those who had glorious experiences. It is a gift of faith from God that saves. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is likewise. Some people are filled gloriously with signs such as the sound of wind, fire, tongues, emotion, etc. Others are filled quietly, simply by hearing and believing with signs following some time later. Sometimes we have to cry out with the father in Mark 9:24, “Lord, I believe: help thou mine unbelief.”

The baptism of the Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my Name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 15:26. His divinity, his reality, and his love become clear to us. The Holy Spirit cleanses us by showing us our own sinfulness. As we see and are revolted by our sin, we cry out to God for deliverance from ourselves.

After the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost (Acts 2) persecution started against the timid, fearful people who had come out of hiding in their upper room, and had begun to preach with power and conviction. They returned to their homes telling people as they went of the glorious things that had happened to them, and daily people heard and believed. Even in Samaria. “Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” Acts 8:14-17.

There were many who had been saved and baptized in water for repentance who did not know about the power of the Holy Ghost (Acts 18:24-28 & 19:1-6). When they heard, they received him gladly and the power of the Holy Spirit began to be manifested– “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues; But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will… . For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 & 13. It is the Holy Spirit who has the wisdom, knowledge, power to heal, etc., that is needed. He will use whomever is available and open to his leading for whatever manifestation is needed in a given situation. He may use someone for one thing one time and something else another time. WE do not have the power to heal, etc. HE has us as conduits of his power to meet the need.

And the fruit of the Spirit began to grow in their lives. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8.

“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Romans 11:29.

“For I am the Lord, I change not;…” Malachi 3:6.

“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Numbers 23:19.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17.

Jesus still needs people who will take him at his word. Who will believe him and act on that belief. Who will reach out to others without fear of the results to themselves. Who will seek to be baptized by him in his Spirit and power.

The things you hold out from God are burdens that weigh you down and give you pain. The things you give up for God are transformed into joy, peace, and glory unspeakable. I speak as an eyewitness. I have tried it and found God to be faithful in every circumstance. But do not take my word for it. Seek him for yourself. Will you give him a chance? “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6.

As you study, ask the Holy Spirit to teach you, and to open your mind to understand. Never give up. When you fall and fail, and you will, get up and try again. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” Philippians 1:6. He is faithful! He will finish the work he has begun in you!

January 1986