In Matthew 3, John the Baptist prophesied that he would baptize the people with water, but that someone mightier would come to baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire (Mt. 3:11-13). After Jesus’ resurrection, He recalled the prophecy and said,
“John Baptized with water, but in a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5).
There are six foundational doctrines about Christ; they are the basic teachings of God. In the time of the first Apostles, the Church did not embrace these teachings. They were unable to be put into practice because they were not exercising the basic elements of Christ. These six doctrines are found in Hebrews:
“Therefore, let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance…and of faith in God, instructions about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgement” (Heb. 6:1-2).
Take note that the third doctrine is about baptisms. The types of baptism mentioned in scripture are baptism in water, in the Holy Spirit, in fire and through His suffering. Together, they form one baptism of being totally immersed in Christ. Some Christians do not welcome the gift of the Holy Spirit, so they miss the promise and blessing sent from their Heavenly Father.
The Man Was a Mennonite
Once we accept that we need the Holy Spirit, we won’t want to be left out. There is a difference between Christians who receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and those who haven’t. It usually shows in one’s ability to hear God’s voice, find anointing, and exercise supernatural gifts of power.
I remember a great man of God who was in our church years ago. He was a Mennonite, and as such, displayed impeccable godly character. He was the very definition of responsibility and kindness, but he lacked one thing; the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
His conservative upbringing and heritage gave him a disposition that resisted the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit. He knew he lacked anointing for supernatural power, so he regularly came for prayer in our church. After a year of praying over him, he finally broke through. He was like a stone that became flesh. He wept, and was changed forever.
Everything Is Not Automatic
When we say the sinner’s prayer and give our lives to Christ, we do not immediately receive all that is promised to us. We should receive the Holy Spirit once we believe, but many do not. This is illustrated in the scriptures. Paul said to the disciples in Ephesus,
“‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ They answered, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit’.” (Acts 19:2)
We read on,
“When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.” (Acts 19:6)
When Philip went to Samaria, he saw that the people were baptized in water, but they still needed the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
“Philip went down to Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there… With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many and many paralytics and cripples were healed… But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized… When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received God’s word, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them: they had only been baptized in the name of Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8:5-17)
In both of these cases, we discover that people believed in God and were baptized in water, but still needed baptism in the Holy Spirit. When Peter preached to Cornelius and his friends in Caesarea, the gentiles received the Holy Spirit, as well. Tongues and prophecy were the telltale signs that confirmed to the apostles someone received the Holy Spirit.
“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The 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.” (Acts 10:44-46)
Both Jews and gentiles spoke in tongues when they received the Holy Spirit. This is the gift of God; it is the Father’s promise for all his children.
The United Arab Emirates
A couple of years ago, Joy and I were ministering in the UAE. A wonderful Chinese disciple named Shin, and her eleven-year-old-son lived there.
After the sermon, many came forward for prayer. She asked if her son could receive baptism in the Holy Spirit. I laid hands on him, and immediately he burst into speaking tongues. An hour later, after I had finished ministering to the crowd, the young man was still speaking in tongues.
He was baptized in the Holy Spirit, and he was having the time of his life.
Baptism Is For Everyone
On the day of Pentecost, one hundred and twenty disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. They began to minister to the people in Jerusalem.
Peter stood up and said, “This is what was spoken by the Prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ… And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’. Those who accepted his message were baptized and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” (Acts 2:16-41)
That was the first revival. The church was born. Revival is always connected with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
The Church in Newmarket
Years ago, I was pastoring in Newmarket, Canada, where we planted a church. I, along with several others, made a two hour trip to hold services, and preach there every Sunday for two years. We began our meetings with a small congregation of 25 people, and I remember our very first convert. He was a man named Barry.
Barry was an older teen and a friend of my nephew, John. He came to the meetings, but was not a believer. One Sunday morning, I spontaneously asked everyone to come onto the platform and sing together.
Barry joined in, and the Holy Spirit fell on all of us. The anointing was so strong, Barry’s heart was opened and he started to cry. That day, he received Christ and was filled with the Holy Spirit.
We need baptism in the Holy Spirit today, so I ask you this; Will you receive the promise of the Father and be baptized?