Select Wisdom Brand

Click the image to watch the video.
Scroll down for more options.



The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Acts 2:1–13

The coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost assures us that the indwelling, empowering presence of the Spirit is the possession of every believer in Jesus Christ today. And if we truly embrace this grand truth, it will affect our words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes.


Several million people have jammed into the streets and alleyways of Jerusalem. They have come from around the world to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. Pentecost was a celebration of the end of the harvest. It also celebrated Moses’ receiving the law on Mount Sinai, where there was fire and thunder.

The Greek word pentecost means “fiftieth,” and it was celebrated fifty days after Passover. Unknown to that world, this Pentecost would be the dawning of a new dispensation—marked by the harvest of the church.

Acts 2 is the account of the Holy Spirit’s arrival and the creation of the New Testament church; and there is going to be some fire and thunder.

Keep in mind that in Old Testament dispensations, the Holy Spirit would come upon people to empower them for specific tasks. Samson is a good example.

But Jesus promised His disciples back in John 14:16-17 that the Holy Spirit would come to dwell with them and be in them. This was a brand-new concept—the Spirit would enable believers from within, not just for amazing tasks, but for every task in life.

So, what is happening here on this day of Pentecost? Well, we know that Jesus died at Passover; He was “our Passover lamb,” dying as the sacrificial payment for our sin (1 Corinthians 5:7). Then Jesus’ resurrection on the third day coincided with the Feast of Firstfruits, celebrating the firstfruits of the harvest. None of this is coincidental. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:20, “Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” In other words, just as this feast celebrated the firstfruits of the harvest, with more to come, Jesus’ resurrection points to more to come—a future resurrection of believers.

Acts 2 describes the arrival of the Holy Spirit, accompanied by three supernatural signs. And I want this to be clear, beloved, because there is so much confusion today regarding the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is often mistakenly tied to an experience or blessing for faithful believers. We are about to learn that the Holy Spirit is God’s gift to every believer.  

As the Spirit descends here on the day of Pentecost, the first sign is something audible. Verse 2 says, “Suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.”

This was not a wind but a noise that sounded like a violent wind, similar to a tornado or a hurricane. Several years ago, we had a tornado touch down in our neighborhood and literally go through our backyard. My wife said it sounded like a train thundering as it passed us by. Frankly, I didn’t hear a thing because I slept through the entire event. When I go to sleep, I am pretty committed. From what she described to me later, I can imagine this was the same thundering sound the believers heard here in Jerusalem.

The second sign is something visible—verse 3: “Divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.” This is not literal fire—it has the appearance of fire.

I believe what is happening here is something the nation of Israel understood because fire was a symbol of God’s presence. This is the fire of the burning bush Moses saw; this is the pillar of fire that led the Israelites. God is authenticating His messengers with the sign of His presence.

Something audible happens; something visible happens; and now something verbal happens. Verse 4 says, “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

The Greek word translated “tongues” is glossa, which gives us our word glossary. Another biblical word used to describe this experience is the Greek word dialektos, translated “language” in verse 6. It gives us our word dialect. This is not gibberish. This is not a few strange-sounding phrases. This is the preaching of God’s word in a language these men had never learned.

These supernatural signs point to the incredible significance of the Spirit’s arrival. This is the start of a new era, or dispensation, and a new organism called the church—a universal body of believers that functions and serves and gathers together in local assemblies.

Then we are given the responses of all these people who have packed into Jerusalem. The first response is amazement:

At this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?(verses 6-7)

How are all these uneducated Galileans speaking fluently in all the languages represented among the crowd? The various peoples from around the Roman Empire are listed in verses 9 to 11. They speak everything from African languages to Aramaic to Hebrew to Latin to Greek to Italian dialects. The gospel is being preached in all these languages.

The second response here is bewilderment. Verse 12 says they are all “perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’” It must have been quite a sight!

There is a third response recorded in verse 13: mocking and ridicule. Some were saying, “They are filled with new wine.” That is, “They are drunk.” Well, I have heard drunk people try to put one sentence together, and they can’t. They can’t even stand up. So how are drunk men standing up here, speaking fluently in a variety of languages?

Beloved, this is a picture of the new church age, as the power of the Holy Spirit through believers reaches every tongue, tribe, and nation.

And keep in mind that this is a unique event. The Bible teaches us that today every believer, upon conversion, is immediately baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:13, “In one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.” You were baptized. This is a past-tense event. It took place at the moment of your conversion whether you felt anything or not.

Spirit baptism is not some special privilege for spiritual people. Paul writes in Romans 8:9, “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” You cannot be a Christian without the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Here is something else to keep in mind: the apostle Paul writes that speaking in tongues is not a gift for every believer (1 Corinthians 12:30). There are many people today trying to speak in tongues to prove they have the Holy Spirit. You already have Him. You did not get just an arm or a leg, so to speak—you got all of Him. The question is, “Does He have all of you?” Paul writes in Ephesians 5:18, “Be filled with the Spirit”—meaning, be under the control of, or under the influence of, the Holy Spirit every day.

So, every believer might not be controlled by the Spirit, but every believer has been baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that, as a believer, “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.”

When my children were young, sometimes I would tell them, “If you behave your mother today and you don’t drive her to the brink of insanity, I’ll take you out for ice cream tonight after supper.” Now parenting experts say you are not supposed to bribe your children. I am not bribing them; I am encouraging them. I think parenting experts need to learn the power of ice cream.

But here is the good news, beloved. God does not do that with His Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not something you get if you have been good today. You already have Him. The challenge is to live today in a way that demonstrates He has all of you.

Add a Comment

We hope this resource blessed you. Our ministry is EMPOWERED by your prayer and ENABLED by your financial support.