Assemblies of God 16 Fundamental Truths
#7: The Baptism in the Holy Spirit
All believers are entitled to, should ardently expect, and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is an important aspect of the Christian faith. Rev Dr Lau elaborates.
1. Jesus taught about the person of the Holy Spirit
Jesus took time to teach the disciples about the person of the Holy Spirit. He wanted them to be acquainted with the Holy Spirit so that when He descended upon them, they would be able to recognize Him and have no doubt about His presence. The Holy Spirit would come to abide with them forever, as well as lead them into the supernatural and in the working of miracles.
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:25-26)
“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—He will testify about me.” (John 15:26)
“I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to Him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that He will receive what He will make known to you.” (John 16:4-14).
2. Jesus commanded the disciples to wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit
Before He ascended, Jesus’ specific command to the disciples was to wait for the promise of the Father—the Holy Spirit. Jesus realized the eagerness of the disciples to go out and tell the world about Him, but He knew that they were not ready. They were still confused over what had happened to Him. They had just recovered from the great shock of His arrest, death and body being ‘stolen’. They needed power to go forth to preach the Gospel of Jesus.
“Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’
When He had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, He lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up into heaven.” (Luke 24:45-51)
This command was repeated in the Book of Acts:
“In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day He was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen. After His suffering, He presented Himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the Kingdom of God. On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
Then they gathered around Him and asked Him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ After He said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight.” (Acts 1:1-9)
The baptism of the Holy Spirit was of utmost importance—so much so that Jesus refused to answer their question about the restoration of Israel, reminding them that their main focus was the provision of power.
3.Fulfillment of the promise
The promise was first fulfilled when the disciples gathered together to wait for the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus had promised and commanded them to do. This was the first outpouring.
“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)
4. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is for anyone who believes in Jesus as their personal savior
On the day of Pentecost, after Peter and the disciples were baptized by the Holy Spirit, he spoke to the multitude and declared to them that the Holy Spirit baptism was for all.
“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’
Peter replied, ‘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 and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.’” (Acts 2:37-39)
5.Throughout the Book of Acts, the baptism of the Holy Spirit was repeated to many groups at different occasions
“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 Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.” (Acts 10:44-46)
The Samaria believers
“When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might 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.” (Acts 8:14-17)
The Ephesus believers
“While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’
They answered, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’
So Paul asked, ‘Then what baptism did you receive?’
‘John’s baptism,’ they replied.
Paul said, ‘John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.” (Acts 19:1-7)
Based on these biblical facts, the Assemblies of God worldwide, including Singapore, firmly believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a second experience after salvation. We further believe that the initial physical evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the ability to speak in tongues. It is a prayer and worship language given by the Holy Spirit.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not equivalent to the experience of salvation. It does not mean that if you do not receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit you cannot go to Heaven. The only way to Heaven is through Jesus. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is to give power for Christian living.
The initial physical evidence of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit helps to utter does not make the Spirit-filled tongues-speaking believer more superior than others. It simply means he has another tool to help him in his spiritual warfare and worship unto God. The whole purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the power or boldness to be witnesses for Jesus. It is for us to evangelize more effectively to bring more souls into the Kingdom.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
About Rev Dr Patrick Lau
Rev Dr Patrick Lau Kim Thiam served as General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God of Singapore for 31 years and as Senior Pastor of Calvary Assembly for 42 years. He is presently the Founder/Pioneer/Senior Pastor of Faith Fellowship International.