About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

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THIS BOOK IS IN THE PROCESS OF BEING
REWRITTEN

 

Revisiting The Baptism
 In The Holy Spirit

 

"What the Bible says about the
Pentecostal experience" 

 

 

Table Of Contents

 

 

1    Historical Setting

2    My Beginning Days

3    After The Meeting

4    Back Home

5    It Began To Happen
6    The Traditional Explanation

7    The Old Testament

8    The Holy Spirit And Jesus

9     John 20

10   The Phrase The Baptism In The Holy Spirit

11   Acts 2

12   Acts 8

13   Acts 9

14   Acts 10

15   Acts 19

16   Let's Recap

17   Second Work Of Grace In Terms Of Believing

18   Revisiting My Experience

19   What Really Happened In 1971?

20   Your Experience

21   Another Way To Understand Your Experience

22   Romans 8:9

23   Genuine Faith Acts 2:38

24   In Conclusions

 

 

1 - Historical Setting

I will begin this account by saying that I am Pentecostal or Charismatic by experience but not necessarily by doctrine.  When saying this I'm inevitably asked, "What does that mean?"  My answer to this question will be found in the following pages, but first, here is a bit of church history that is relevant to our topic at hand.  

 

The term Baptism in the Holy Spirit means different
things to different people.  It has divided the Evangelical Church for decades, although the divide seems to have narrowed in recent years.  This is partly due to the influence of the 1960's and 1970's Charismatic Movement on the church, not the least of which is music and worship.  Pentecostals themselves are divided over how to understand the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and it has been that way since the inception of the modern day Pentecostal Movement. 

 

The Azusa Street Revival of 1906 in Los Angeles, California, is well known among Pentecostals, but the movement actually finds its roots in the late 1800's.  What is not so well known is that what we call modern day Pentecostalism was born in what has been called the Holiness Movement that finds its roots in the 1700's.  Men like John Wesley (born 1703 - died 1791) were instrumental in bringing a fresh awareness of Jesus into a Protestantism that had grown cold, stale, and encumbered by tradition. 

 

The fact that modern day Pentecostalism was born in the Holiness Movement is important.  John Wesley and others taught what has been termed "Entire Sanctification."  This teaching asserts that one becomes a Christian, at what I call "initial salvation," by faith in the grace of God as seen in the cross of Christ.  Then, at some subsequent point in time to initial salvation one receives Jesus, not as Christ, but as Lord.  That is to say, by God's grace he becomes totally set apart, or sanctified, to Jesus his Lord.  Wesley and others claimed that Entire Sanctification is a second work of God's grace, second to initial salvation.  By the late 1800's the concept of a second work of grace was a mainstream doctrine in all Holiness Movement churches, which is where many Evangelical denominations today find their roots.             

 

In the late 1800's and early 1900's when some Holiness Movement believers began to experience the outpouring of the Spirit as seen in Acts 2 they called their experience the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.  They formulated their doctrine to match their experience, and this is where the Pentecostal Movement encountered its first division. 

 

For many Holiness Movement folk the Baptism in the Spirit became a third work of grace, following initial salvation and Entire Sanctification.  The concept of a third work of grace did not sit well with some Pentecostals so they dropped Entire Sanctification as a second work of grace and replaced it with the Baptism in the Spirit.  This split the Pentecostal camp in two.  Other Pentecostals began to view the Baptism in the Spirit as part of initial salvation, creating yet another division.  From these segments of Pentecostalism smaller doctrinal differences emerged. 

 

You can see by this brief history that what is commonly called the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is understood differently by different people.  The Latter Rain Movement of the late 1940's and the Charismatic Movement of the 1960's and 1970's added more variations to the Pentecostal mix, and now there is me.  I'll present you with my thinking on the subject which many non-Pentecostal Evangelicals would embrace.    

 

For a well written and exhaustive study on the modern day Pentecostal Movement throughout the 20th century I highly recommend Vinson Synan's book entitled "The Century Of The Holy Spirit."            

 

My understanding of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit began to be formulated in March, 1971, when I was first introduced to it.  After hearing about this experience and seeing it in action, I eagerly and with great vigor searched for it.  So, what you will read in the following pages is both my personal testimony concerning the Pentecostal experience and my Biblical position on the subject.  I hope you carefully consider what you will read.  I have tried to set forth my position in a logical and systematic way so it can be easily understood.  What I have not done is to redefine my doctrine to match my experience, something I have seen many Pentecostals and Charismatics do over the years.  I have redefined my experience to match what I believe the Bible teaches, as should be the case with everything we experience as Christians.  So here we go.  I will begin this account with my testimony.  It all began for me as a youth in the Free Methodist Church, a church that is rooted in the Holiness Movement and the teachings of John Wesley and Entire Sanctification.   

 

 

2 My Beginning Days

 

If you are a true blue old time Pentecostal Evangelical you may struggle, not with my experience, but with my theology.  If you are a true blue long time non-Pentecostal Evangelical you may struggle, not with my theology but with my experience.  As with many theological issues I am not aligned with one specific denominational system.  Whatever your doctrine or experience may be, here is how it all began for me.   

 

While growing up in the Free Methodist Church I took many trips to the altar.  Almost every Sunday night after an emotional plea you'd find me on my knees at the altar in search of forgiveness of sins.  In my thinking there seemed to be so many rules that needed to be obeyed in order to maintain my salvation that I was never sure if I was really saved.  Feelings associated with guilt plagued me.  They followed me everywhere.  Hell's fire seemed to be flickering around every corner.  One slip off the straight and narrow would burn me to a crisp, or so I thought, and thus my frequent trips to the altar.  

 

It was in February, 1970, after watching Billy Graham on television I knelt, not at an altar, but beside my bed.  In an unemotional five seconds I prayed.  "Lord Jesus, if I'm not forgiven please forgive me now."  It was short, simple, but to the point.  Although I didn't realize it at the time, that prayer would change the direction of my life forever, and that's not an enthusiastic Christian exaggeration.

 

The next day I woke to a surprise.  No longer did I read the Bible and pray for the purpose of ridding myself of feelings associated with guilt.  I wanted to read the Bible.  I wanted to pray.  I wanted to be a witness for Jesus.  I wanted to live for Jesus out of pure motives.  I was transformed, and it only took a five second prayer, and of course, the grace of God applied to me by the Holy Spirit.

 

As a youth it seemed to me that getting saved was a matter of faith but staying saved was a matter of doing good works, and, if you slipped up on the works, you could easily lose your salvation.  That's why my feelings associated with guilt persisted.  Once praying that five second prayer, things began to happen quickly.  

 

The first time I was in what you'd call a Charismatic meeting was in a large old two story school that was converted into a Christian outreach centre in Lexington, Kentucky.  It was during the height of the Jesus People Movement, March, 1971, when it was standing room only in one of the school's classrooms.  There were people sitting in window sills, on the floor, or wherever they could squeeze themselves into.  The number of people squeezed into that room was impressive, but more impressive was who was in the room.  There were seniors, teenagers, and everyone in between.  There were all shapes, sizes, and skin colours.  I was used to church being segregated into babies, children, youth, young adults, middle aged, and seniors. To see everyone together in one accord was surprising and refreshing.    

 

After singing songs of worship and adoration to Jesus there was a few moments of silence.  Then it began.  A few people started singing quietly in tongues.  Others soon joined in until this spontaneous song grew in strength, until it died down into another reverent silence.  I had never seen or heard anything like this.  I was blown away.  Then came a message in tongues followed by an interpretation, something else I had never seen. 

 

Another thing I had never seen before was the time of prayer.  People prayed for one another by laying their hands on each other in expectant prayer.  I had only seen pastors praying for people like that.  It was all brand new for me. I knew Jesus was in that gathering.  I knew that I did not have what these people had and after seeing what they had, I wanted it.  The following few months proved to be an interesting search for what I was told I needed in my life, that being the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.   

 

 

3 After The Meeting

 

Upon arriving home from Kentucky in March, 1971, I began my search for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.  I had accepted the Pentecostal view explained to me in Kentucky.

 

My search began at the end of that Tuesday night meeting in Kentucky.  I asked for prayer to receive "the Baptism" as they called it.  I told those who prayed for me that I was a bit nervous.  One brother in the Lord said that a bride always feels a bit nervous before meeting her groom on her wedding day.  "Jesus would sooth my anxiety," he said.  I would later spend some time rethinking that comment.  I'll come back to that later.  

 

Four brothers in the Lord laid their hands on me and began to pray. I can't remember what they prayed, but I do remember what happened, and that was nothing. That's right.  Absolutely nothing happened, at least nothing that I was aware of.  I was extremely disappointed.  One helpful brother told me to receive the Baptism by faith.  I would rethink that concept through at a future date as well.  Receiving or accepting things by faith in this instant meant that even though I didn't think anything happened, I should believe and act as if something did happen, but, I figured that if I and Jesus had met together, I'd know about it.  So I was told to do some kind of mental gymnastics they called "accepting by faith."  I was to trick my brain into believing something happened when apparently nothing did happen.     

When I began to think things through for myself I understood what happened that Tuesday night in Kentucky.  Those brothers tried to introduce me to the Bridegroom.  That was problematic because I had already been introduced to Jesus.  I was a Christian, so how could I be reintroduced to Jesus as if I had never met Him?  The whole situation was confusing, and maybe that was the will of the Lord.  It got me searching my way through the Bible for myself to see what this was all about.      

 

4 Back Home

 

Upon arriving home from Kentucky in March, 1971, my eagerness for the Baptism in the Spirit intensified.  What spurred my desire was that while I was away a couple of my friends claimed to have received the Baptism along with tongues.  I recall asking one of my friends how a slow learner like me could pray in tongues.  I begged him and begged him for an answer.  He finally caved into my pestering pleas and clued me in on the secret of tongues.  It was quite simple.  All I needed to do was to say the word "hallelujah" ten times real fast and my tongue would flip over and tongues would fly off my lips.  Of course my friend was joking, but the TV preacher I recently saw wasn't joking.  "Faster, faster," he said.  "Come on, you can go faster than that.  If you had a gun pointed to your head you would speak in tongues faster than that."     

 

Then there was one Sunday evening while at an altar in search of the Baptism I overheard a Pentecostal preacher encourage a fellow tongues seeker kneeling beside me.  The preacher told the man to copy his tongues.  Slowly and methodically, one word at a time, the poor guy imitated the preacher's tongues.                  

   

Another well meaning man told me to just invent my own tongues as an act of faith.  All I needed to do was to step out in faith, and utter any sounds that came to mind.  It didn't matter what it sounded like, eventually Jesus would honour my faith by giving me the real thing. 

 

To be clear, I tried none of the above suggestions.  I knew better.  How wonderfully wacky some Pentecostals and Charismatics are.  Doesn't it make you smile, and if not smile, maybe cry?         

 

 

5 It Began To Happen

 

It was a month after my visit to Kentucky when I was in a small prayer meeting with my tongues praying friends.  We were huddled around each other on the floor in our local Youth for Christ coffee house.  We later learned that praying in tongues in the coffee house was not appreciated by the non-Pentecostal YFC board of directors.  Nevertheless, while basking in the presence of the Lord it started to happen, or so I thought.  While praying in English an unfamiliar word slipped off my tongue.  I couldn't help but wonder if this was tongues, but how could one unrecognizable word be considered the miracle of tongues?  Maybe it was the herd mentality.  I just wanted to fit in.  Maybe it was a product of my overactive tongues consumed imagination.  One word did seem to defy common sense, something I thought I possessed.  Was I going off the deep end?  Was I about to fall into the abyss with other demon possessed tongue speakers?  "Tongues are demonic," one Free Methodist Church man told me.

 

A week later in another prayer meeting a second unknown word escaped from my mouth.  Apparently I now had two words in tongues, but again, how could two unrecognizable words constitute valid Biblical tongues?  Was I losing my sanity?  Was my search for the Baptism getting out of control?   

 

Two weeks later in yet another of many prayer meetings I attended I quietly prayed my two unknown words.  I'm sure you can guess what transpired next.  Yes, believe it or not, another little word snuck out into the open air.  I was now up to three whole words in tongues, or so I hoped. 

 

After a long summer's drought of new words I gave up on glossolalia.  That was a popular big word for tongues back in my Charismatic Movement days.  I decided to leave tongues to the full fledged Pentecostals, which apparently I would never be.  If there was ever a half-breed Pentecostal, with three words of tongues, it was me.  My friends could pray in tongues all they wanted.  I'd stick with English.  Maybe the Free Methodist Church was right after-all.  I should be seeking the Giver of the gifts, not the gifts, but I struggled with that one.  1 Corinthians 14:1 says we should eagerly desire the gifts of the Spirit.  That's what I was attempting to do, but with little success.  I would later learn the Greek word "zeloo" that the NIV translates as "eagerly desire" can be translated as "covet."  Covet is a pretty powerful motivation.  My Free Methodist friends must have missed that one.  Whatever the case, I figured if Jesus was handing out gifts, there should be no problem with me standing in line and asking Him for one.         

 

In September of that year, 1971, my friends and I moved into a farm house.  Christian communes were common place in the Jesus People Movement back then.  I was in my bedroom in that farm house when I pulled out my 1969 Gibson Southern Jumbo guitar, which I wish I still had.  I began to sing to Jesus and for some reason I sang my three long lost unknown words.  Then it happened.  Man, did it happen.  The Spirit of the Almighty God clobbered me with His presence.  He filled every fabric of my being.  Those three weird little words exploded into sentences and paragraphs.  I sang in tongues for close to an hour.

 

I did not repeat the word "hallelujah" ten times real fast.  I did not invent my own tongues.  I did not copy an over-zealous preacher's tongues.  They were real tongues and they came straight from the Giver of the gifts.  Thanks to Jesus I have prayed in tongues every day since.     

 

If you are a Pentecostal or a Charismatic Christian, you would conclude that I received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit in my bedroom that day, but did I?  That's the question I asked myself back then and that's the question I will address in the following chapters.      

 

6 - The Traditional Explanation

 

The most common understanding of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit among Pentecostals and Charismatics is that it is an experience subsequent to one's initial salvation.  That is to say, one receives the Holy Spirit when one gets saved and then at a later date he receives an outpouring of the Spirit that empowers him to be an effective witness for Jesus.  For this reason the Baptism in the Spirit is often called a "second work of grace;" the first work of grace being initial salvation.  Of course, as I've said in an earlier chapter, there are variations of this doctrine among Pentecostals and Charismatics.      

 

 

7 - The Old Testament

 

In Genesis 1:2 we read that the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.  It does not take long for the Bible to introduce us to the Holy Spirit.  From Genesis 1:2 and throughout Old Testament times we should realize that the Holy Spirit did not reside in people.  He did, however, come upon people, or anoint them, with His presence for a specific reason.  Ezekiel 11:5 is one of many examples of this.  There, the Holy Spirit came on Ezekiel so he could effectively speak the Word of the Lord.  I bring this to your attention to show that there is a definite difference between the Holy Spirit coming on someone and the Holy Spirit living in someone.  This distinction will be important when we see the work of the Holy Spirit in the believers as recorded in the book of Acts.       

 

8 - The Holy Spirit and Jesus

 

In Luke 1:34 Mary asked the angel Gabriel how she could conceive a child without having sexual relations with a man.  Gabriel answered by saying that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, producing a miraculous conception.  This is the first mention of the Holy Spirit coming upon a person in the New Testament. 

 

We must remember that Mary lived in Old Testament times.  The distinction between the Holy Spirit coming on a person and the Holy Spirit living in a person is important here.  There is nothing in the Biblical record that states Mary had the Holy Spirit living in her at this time in her life.  As in the case of Ezekiel that I mentioned in the last chapter, the Holy Spirit came on Mary, and He came on her for a specific reason.  When we work our way through the book of Acts we will see that when the Spirit comes on a person, it is not to provide the person with a pleasant experience.  It is to empower the person to do a specific task required of him by Jesus.        

 

One thing we learn from this brief exchange between Mary and the angel is that Jesus' father is God.  This Biblical truth speaks to what Christians call the "Deity of Christ."  That means from conception, Jesus was God in a human form.  Despite the teaching of some, Jesus did not become divine when the Holy Spirit came upon Him when He was water baptized by John the Baptist.   

 

John 1:32 tells us that the Spirit of God, like a dove, descended on Jesus.  Even though Jesus was God in human form, the Holy Spirit also called the Spirit of Jesus in Acts 16:7 and Philippians 1:19 came upon Jesus.  This tells me that there is more, even in Jesus' case, to the Holy Spirit than one human body can contain.      

 

In John 1:33 John the Baptist proceeded to say that in the same way he baptized people with water Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit.  This is the first mention of the Holy Spirit in connection with the word "baptize" in the chronology of the New Testament.

 

Grammar is important when studying the Bible.  John the Baptists said that Jesus "will baptize with the Spirit."  The words "will baptize" is a verb, not a noun.  This puts the emphasis on the action of baptizing, not on an experience called the Baptism in the Spirit, which is a noun phrase.  As a matter of fact, nowhere in the New Testament does it say believers receive an experience called the Baptism in the Spirit.  It says that believers will be baptized in the Spirit.  I realize I've lost some of you at this point.  You may think I'm making too big of a deal over this bit of grammar, but my point is simple.  The New Testament emphasis is not on receiving an experience we call the Baptism in the Spirit. Its emphasis is on receiving the Holy Spirit by the means of a baptism.  This distinction may sound confusing to you at the moment, but if you hang in it will become clearer when we work our way through the book of Acts.   

 

9 John 20

  

Many Pentecostal and Charismatic preachers begin their teaching on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, but not me.  A good hermeneutical approach to any Biblical subject demands we incorporate all relevant passages in their context.  So, before we look at Acts 2 we will backtrack to other passages where Jesus addressed the issue of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the believers.  

 

On one occasion after His resurrection Jesus appeared to His eleven apostles who were shut in behind closed doors (John 20:21 - 23).  "Peace be to you," Jesus said.  "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."  Jesus then breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit."  Without further thought you would think that these men received the Holy Spirit into their being at that moment, but did they?  How you answer this question will determine your view of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit as a second work of grace, especially how it applies to Acts 2. 

 

To understand what transpired in John 20 we must back up even farther to John 7:38 where Jesus said this.  "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within."  Understanding the word "believe" to mean "trust," Jesus said that those who were presently trusting their lives with Him would at some future day have streams of living water flowing out from within them. 

 

The Apostle John explained what Jesus meant.  "By this He (Jesus) meant the Spirit, whom those whom believed would later receive.  Up to that time the Spirit had not yet been given since Jesus had not yet been glorified."  John said that the streams that would flow from within the believer is the Holy Spirit whom the believer would receive after Jesus had been glorified.  If we can know when Jesus was glorified we can know when the first believers received the Spirit into their lives. 

 

Jesus told us when He would be glorified in His prayer found in John 17:5.  "Father glorify me with your own self, with the glory I had with you before the world was."  Jesus linked Him being glorified with the union He and His Father had prior to creation.  According to Jesus, He would be glorified when He returned to His Father as was the case at His ascension seen in Acts 1:10.    

 

Jesus also spoke about His return to heaven in John 16:7.  "Unless I go away, the Counselor (Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you."  Clearly, Jesus had to return to heaven before the Holy Spirit could come and live in the believers.  At this point we should know that the Holy Spirit would actually live in the believers as Jesus pointed out in John 14:17.  "He (Holy Spirit) now lives with you (disciples) but He will be in you."    

 

So, did the eleven men in the room in John 20 receive the Holy Spirit into their being when Jesus breathed on them?  The answer is "no."  They could not have received the Spirit then because Jesus had not yet returned to His Father to be glorified.  Furthermore, Jesus spoke this command to these men in Acts 1:4.  "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised."  The gift is the Holy Spirit according to Acts 2:38.  Obviously these men had not received the Spirit in John 20.   

 

Knowing the disciples did not receive the Holy Spirit in John 20 tells us that the reception of the Spirit into the lives of the believers in Acts 2 was not a second work of grace as it relates to the Holy Spirit in their lives.  Remember, the common view among Pentecostals is that one receives the Spirit at initial salvation and then at some future date he experiences the Baptism in the Spirit.  That was not what happened with the 120 people in the upper room in Acts 2.  In fact, as Ephesians 1:13 and 4:30 states, since the 120 believed, their salvation was "sealed" (sphragizo in Greek - secured) when they received the Holy Spirit into their lives.  If the 11 men had received the Spirit in John 20, then we have a problem.  What happened to the remaining 109 people in the upper room in Acts 2?  They weren't in the upper room with the eleven apostles.     

 

I'm not minimizing the importance of John 20.  I am sure that the 11 men felt the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit, but John 20 was not about them receiving the Spirit.  It was about them being commissioned to represent Jesus once He returned to heaven.  "As my Father has sent me; I am sending you" (John 20:21).  "If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven" (John 20:23).  Once receiving the Spirit as Jesus said in Acts 1:8 these men would have the power to effectively fulfill this commission.

 

Before we look at Acts 2 and other passages in Acts let us look further at the term "Baptism in the Spirit."   

 

10 - The Phrase Baptism In The Holy Spirit

 

In Acts 1:5 Jesus said this.  "John baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."  This verse, along with Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:16, and John 1:33, is where we derive the term "Baptism in the Holy Spirit."    

 

Some of you will think I'm getting too technical and splitting grammatical hairs but Jesus did not tell His disciples that they would receive an experience called the "Baptism in the Holy Spirit," which is a noun phrase.  He told them that they would "be baptized with the Holy Spirit," which is a verb phrase.  Many of us have turned Jesus' verb into a noun, which is not in the text.  This is significant because this makes the way in which one receives the Holy Spirit more important than the Holy Spirit Himself.  When we ask someone if he has received the Baptism in the Spirit, we are asking a question that is not found in the New Testament.  What question is found in the New Testament is found in Acts 19:2.  Paul asked, "Have you received the Spirit since you believed?"  This question is important because believing is the prerequisite to receiving the Holy Spirit into your life (Acts 2:38 - 39).     

 

The Bible is a book with paragraphs, sentences, and words and despite our postmodern grammatically illiterate culture, words matter.  If the Bible speaks of something in terms of a verb, so should we.  If it speaks of something in terms of a noun, we should too.  There is no need to turn a verb into a noun or a noun into a verb.  Let's just repeat what the Bible says.  If we don't, we may distort the meaning of the text, which I believe many of us do in regard to our subject at hand.  

 

As we work our way through the pertinent passages in the book of Acts I hope you will see the importance of this bit of grammar.  We'll take each passage in Acts that Pentecostals and Charismatics use to defend their position that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a second work of grace that is subsequent to receiving the Holy Spirit at initial salvation.  I hope to show that in each passage that is not the case.  

 

 

11 - Acts Two

 

In Acts 2 we see 120 disciples waiting in Jerusalem for the promised gift of the Father as Jesus commanded in Acts 1:4.  We know from Acts 2:38 and 39 that this gift is the Holy Spirit.  "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you ..."  So, when Jesus told these people that they would receive the "gift my Father promised," the gift is the Holy Spirit.  He had not yet been given to them.       

 

Acts 2:4 says that the 120 disciples "were all filled" with the Holy Spirit.  Picture it this way.  It was as if a big cup of Holy Spirit was poured out from heaven and into their empty lives.   This is what Jesus was getting at in Acts 1:5 when He said that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit.  The way in which the 120 received the Spirit into their being was by being filled, baptized, or immersed in the Holy Spirit from above. 

 

Even though the text does not specifically say these people received the Holy Spirit we know they did.  They received Him via a filling.  The passage has no need to say they received the Spirit because we know that Jesus said they would receive the gift from His Father which we know is the Spirit.    

 

In Acts 2:14 and following Peter defended what had happened to the 120 by quoting Joel 2:28 through 32.  Joel said that the day would come when the Lord would "pour out His Spirit on all flesh."  This was the beginning of that day, or period of time.  Joel used the words "pour out."  Luke, in Acts 2:4 used the words "were filled."  Both of these terms refer to the way in which the 120 received the Spirit.  We see both terms throughout the book of Acts.    

 

In Acts 2:33 Peter said this.  When Jesus had been exalted to the right hand of God "He had received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and had poured out what you see and hear."  We see the words "poured out" in reference to the disciples receiving the Holy Spirit, just as Joel predicted.  Again we see the gift of God is the Holy Spirit, not an experience called the Baptism in the Spirit.     

 

From Acts 2 we learn that the disciples received the gift of the Spirit the Father had promised.  The way in which they received Him was via a pouring out, a filling, or a baptism.  Was this a second work of grace for these people as it relates to the Holy Spirit?  Did the 120 previously receive the Spirit and now they received the Baptism in the Spirit?  The answer to both questions is an obvious "no."  We, therefore, cannot use Acts 2 to support the teaching that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a second work of grace, meaning, one receives the Spirit at initial salvation and then receives an experience called the Baptism in the Spirit some time later.    

 

Then what happened to these people in Acts 2?  Understanding that these people had already repented and trusted Jesus with their lives, they then received the Holy Spirit into their being.  The reception of the Spirit sealed, or secured their salvation, something the Apostle Paul wrote about in Ephesians 1:13 and 4:30.  In other words, their initial salvation was completed when they received the Spirit, because without the Holy Spirit in one's life, there is no salvation.  "He that does not have the Spirit of God does not belong to God" (Romans 8:9).

 

Acts 2 cannot be a defense for a second work of grace.  It should be thought of in terms of the process by which initial salvation is completed.  Let's now turn to Acts 8.           

  

12 - Acts Eight

 

In Acts 8 we see Philip preaching the Word of God to some Samaritans.  According to Acts 8:12 these people believed the Word of God and were water baptized.  Philip must have understood the faith of these Samaritans to be genuine or else I doubt if he would have baptized them.  The legitimacy of one's faith is important because repentance and faith are the prerequisites to receiving the Holy Spirit into one's life.         

 

In Acts 8:14 and 15 we note that when James heard that the Samaritans had received the Word of God but not the Spirit he sent Peter and John to pray for them to receive the Holy Spirit.  "Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:17).   

 

From Acts 8 we learn that certain Samaritans believed the Word of God and in a demonstration of repentance were baptized in water.  It was not until some time later, and we don't know when, that these people received the Holy Spirit into their lives.   

 

Was the reception of the Holy Spirit into these people's lives a second work of grace as it relates to the Holy Spirit?  Did the Samaritans previously receive the Spirit and now they received the Baptism in the Spirit as the most common view of the Baptism in the Spirit states?  The answer to both questions is an obvious "no."  These people believed, were water baptized, and then they received the Holy Spirit for the first time in their lives. We, therefore, cannot use Acts 8 to support the teaching that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a second work of grace, meaning, one receives the Spirit at initial salvation and then receives an experience called the Baptism in the Spirit some time later.  That was not the case with these people.     

 

Like those in Acts 2 the reception of the Holy Spirit into the lives of these people sealed, or secured their salvation, something the Apostle Paul wrote about in Ephesians 1:13 and 4:30.  In other words, their initial salvation was completed when they received the Spirit, because without the Holy Spirit in one's life there is no salvation.  "He that does not have the Spirit of God does not belong to God" (Romans 8:9).  It was for this reason James sent Peter and John to minister to these people.

 

Let's now turn to Acts 9.        

 

13 - Acts 9

 

Acts 9 details the conversion of the Apostle Paul, or Saul as he was known then.  Paul met Jesus in a very dramatic fashion.  It left him blind and so he spent the next three days in prayer.  It wasn't until Ananias came to pray for Paul that his blindness was healed.

 

In Acts 9:17 Ananias told Paul this.  "Brother Saul, the Lord - Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here - has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit."  Here again we see someone being filled with the Holy Spirit who previously had not had the Spirit in his life.  Just what the reception of the Spirit looked like in Paul's case is unknown.  The text says nothing about that.  One thing we know is this.  If Jesus told Ananias to pray for Paul to be filled with the Spirit, you can be sure Paul was filled with the Spirit.          

 

Once Paul's eyes were healed and he was filled with the Spirit, or received the Holy Spirit into his life, he was water baptized (Acts 9:17).  Note that the sequence of initial salvation events in Paul's situation differed from the Samaritans' in Acts 8.  Paul was water baptized after receiving the Spirit while the Samaritans were water baptized before receiving the Spirit.  This suggests that there is no set formula when it comes to these matters.       

 

Was the reception of the Spirit into Paul's life a second work of grace as it relates to the Holy Spirit?  Did he previously receive the Spirit and now he received the Baptism in the Spirit?  The answer to both questions is an obvious "no."  Paul did not have the Spirit prior to Acts 9, but once believing he then received the Holy Spirit.  We, therefore, cannot use Acts 9 to support the teaching that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a second work of grace, meaning, one receives the Spirit at initial salvation and then receives an experience called the Baptism in the Spirit some time later.  That was not the case with Paul.    

 

Like those in Acts 2 and Acts 8 the reception of the Holy Spirit into the Paul's life sealed, or secured his salvation, something he wrote about in Ephesians 1:13 and 4:30.  In other words, Paul's initial salvation was completed when he received the Spirit, because as he said in Romans 8:9; "He who does not have the Spirit of God does not belong to God."

 

Let's now turn to Acts 10.

 

 

14 - Acts 10

 

  

 

15 - Acts 19

 

  

 

16 Let's Recap

 

 

 

17 - A Second Work of Grace In Terms Of Believing

 

   

 

18 Revisiting My Experience

 

 

 

19 - What Really Happened In September 1971?

 

 

 

20 Your Experience

 

  

 

 

21 Another Way To Understand Your Experience

 

  

 

22 Romans 8:9

 

 

 

23 Genuine Faith Acts 2:38

 

 

 

In Conclusion

 

 

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