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Baptism of the Holy Ghost

I am confused. I want to do things right...How do you lead someone into receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Are we suppose to what we call (tarry) with them?

The things you bring up require much more teaching than I can do in a short post, so please be patient if I do not tie up all the loose ends. The Baptism of the Holy Ghost is a much confused doctrine. Many have used it to teach their own version of what it should be. But please consider these points.

We are never commanded to seek the baptism of the Holy Ghost.  After the resurrection of Christ, the disciples were told to "wait for the promise of the Father." This does refer to the baptism with the Holy Ghost. However, common Christians since that time have never been told to seek this baptism.

Every true believer has the Holy Ghost dwelling them.  They cannot get more of Him. Romans 8:9 states, "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." That is, if you have Christ, you have His Spirit. If you do not have the Spirit, you do not have Christ.

However, before the book of Acts, this was not so. Believers did not automatically have the indwelling Spirit of God. Consider these verses:

  • John 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
  • John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

You see, the Spirit of God was with them, but He had not began to dwell in them. That would come to pass after Christ was glorified--that is, resurrected and ascended into heaven with His glorified body.

The baptism of the Holy Ghost refers to the time on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when the Holy Ghost came on all of them that were gathered.  It was never meant to be an individual gift. Rather, it was a mass submersion into the Holy Ghost for the purpose of giving them power to be witnesses for God (see Acts 1:8). The baptism with the Holy Ghost has never occurred on an individual basis but always with a group of people. Also, it is historical and there is no command anywhere in scripture telling us to seek another Pentecost. That is the teaching of man.

Speaking in tongues was a special gift for a special time. It was used to spread the gospel and to prove that the spoken word of the disciples was indeed from God. Though it came on the day of Pentecost, it has never been required for any proof of spirituality of any kind. Paul himself asked, "do all speak with tongues?" (1 Corinthians 12:30). He meant that all did not speak with tongues. In 1 Corinthians 14, he refers to speaking in tongues as a lesser gift, not nearly as important as showing love or preaching the word. How could this be a requirement for receiving the Holy Ghost? It is not.

What we are commanded to seek after salvation is the filling of the Holy Ghost; not the baptism with the Holy Ghost (an event in Acts); not the baptism by the Spirit (an invisible event occurring at the time of salvation); not the indwelling of the Spirit (a gift given to every saved person).  The filling of the Spirit does not give us any more of the Spirit. In fact, a Christian cannot have any more of the Spirit than he or she already has. But the Holy Spirit can have more of us. That is the filling of the Holy Ghost.

Consider your life as a house with many rooms. When you got saved, the Holy Spirit came to dwell in your house and He will never leave you. You can never have more of Him than you do now. However, you can lock up certain rooms of your life and keep the Holy Ghost out of them. In Ephesians 5:18, we are commanded, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." Just as a drunkard surrenders himself to the influence of alcohol (he is said to be "under the influence"), so we are to surrender ourselves entirely to the influence of the Spirit of God. We are to be under His influence. We are to open every room of our life to Him and let Him have full control of our lives. This is what we are to seek from the Lord--not the baptism with the Holy Ghost.  There is still much more to be said.