Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg

with Tom Fuller

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The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Acts 2

1. Introduction

Read kids and the Bible. I love kids at that age - they listen to others around them say things - then when they try to make sense of them, they end up getting it just a little bit wrong - and the results are humorous.

Today we are going to talk about one of the most exciting and yet controversial subjects in the Bible - the "baptism of" or "filling with" the Holy Spirit.

The people who first saw this happen heard things they didn't understand, then tried to interpret it in light of what they knew - and they got it wrong. That still happens today. Hopefully we can cut through and discern the truth.

The text is from Acts chapter 2 - which is in many ways the birthday of the church.

2. Acts 2

If you remember from our study a couple of weeks ago - Jesus told His disciples to "wait for the gift My father promised ? in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

A. The Day of Pentecost (vs 1)

o The disciples obeyed the Lord and were all together in one place.
o Pentecost is a Jewish feast - one of three great feasts during the year.
o The word "pentekoste" pentaycostay means "50th". It happened on the 50th day after the first ripe barely was waved before the Lord.
o It was called "the feast of weeks"
o The general character was of a "harvest home" type of festival
o Every male was to present himself at the sanctuary to give thanks.
o It was a time of good cheer and joy
o The fact that the Spirit came on this day is significant as it relates to the purpose of the Spirit - that of harvesting souls for the kingdom of God.

B. The event (vs 2 - 4)

1. Imagine the surprise of the disciples when the sound of a gale force wind filled the house. It doesn't say there actually was a wind - but just the sound of it.

It reminds me of John 3:8
"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

One of the things that keeps me up at night is the sound of the wind. You hear the sound but you don't know what its going to do -knock down trees, knock out the power. The Spirit of God moves in unusual ways but has great effect.

2. First they heard, then they saw - tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.

As if the wind wasn't frightening enough - now there is fire. John the Baptist prophesied this when he said Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.

3. After the fire settled on each of them, they were filled, and then began to speak - so first they heard, then they saw, then they were filled, then they spoke.

Filled: means to accomplish, fill, or furnish.

Other tongues - means they literally spoke in other languages - dialects they did not know - but were known to others around them.

This was the first sign after the filling of the Holy Spirit - but certainly not the last.

C. The Result (vs 5-13)

1. The sound could be heard throughout the area - perhaps it was the sound of the wind that drew them - but it was the sound of men speaking that bewildered them.

There is a list of all the countries - we won't go into it - but it was the perfect time for the Spirit to be given - as there were Jews and Jewish converts from all over the known world present - men and women who would return to spread the gospel in their lands.

2. The response was that they were "put out of their wits" (amazed) and "marvel, admire, wonder" (marvelled)

Their accent probably gave them away as Galilaeans.

The only explanation the crowd could come up with is that they were drunk.

D. The Response (vs 14-21)

1. Peter says they are not drunk since it was only 9:00am. Instead what they were seeing was a fulfillment of a prophecy given by Joel. God will "pour out" His Spirit - that's how it starts - and it ends very significantly as well "And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
2. Peter then preaches an incredible sermon - Peter said "repent, be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." At the end 3,000 people responded to the gospel - and the church grew on its birthday from 120 to 3,120.

The result of the disciples waiting was a new dynamic and a new energy - Peter, and the church, were never the same again.

3. The Baptism

o Its been called in this passage (ch 1 & 2) a "gift" a "baptism" and a "filling".

So what is it? On one extreme you have people manifesting all sorts of strange behavior in the name of the Spirit. On the other you have people who claim the Baptism of the Spirit is false doctrine and anyone who speaks in tongues or believes in the baptism is a heretic.

o Two somewhat contradictory positions:

1. The Holy Spirit comes "into" a believer after he/she is "saved", then comes "upon" the same believer in a separate experience, bestowing power and gifts available even today (Pentecostal).

2. The Holy Spirit comes both "in" and "on" the believer when he/she receives Christ as savior. The gifts of the Spirit were temporary and used only for the establishment of the church. (non-pentecostal)

o What issues do we need to decide?

- Is there a Baptism in the Holy Spirit?
- Is the baptism separate from salvation?
- What happens to the believer?
- Are the gifts given still in operation today?
- What are the purposes of the gifts and the baptism of the Spirit?
- What are they not?


- Is there a Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is the 3rd person of the Trinity - separate in personality but of one essence with God.

In the Old Testament we read of several instances of the Holy Spirit coming "upon" someone - Othniel, for instance, in Judges 3:9-10. He was empowered by the Spirit for a specific purpose - to rescue Israel from its enemies.

The Spirit is also spoken of as "with" people. God said His Spirit would not strive with man forever (Gen 6:3), David asked that God not take his Holy Spirit from him (Ps 51:1)

Jesus promised that another helper would come - the Spirit that is WITH you, but will be IN you (John 14:16-17).

Then Jesus promised, not just a Spirit infilling, but Spirit power -
Luke 24:49 "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."

3 Holy Spirit works:

"para" with (drawing to Christ - John 14:17)
"en" in (The Spirit comes to live inside the believer (Romans 8:9-11)
"epi" upon (The Spirit comes upon the believer in supernatural, miracle working power (Acts 1:8)

- Jesus had the Spirit from birth (Matthew 1:20), but did not minister until the Holy Spirit came "upon" Him after his water baptism. (Luke 3:22)

- He told His disciples after the resurrection, not to "go witness" but to "wait". They too did not minister until the power of the HS came upon them.

So when does this empowerment occur?

- Is the baptism separate from salvation?

Yes and no. There are three instances in the book of Acts that we find the experience of Spirit baptism separate from salvation.

- Acts 8 - Samaritans were saved, but not baptized in the Spirit until days later
- Acts 9 - Paul recognizes Jesus as Lord, but isn't "filled" with the Spirit till three days
- Acts 19 - Paul asks Ephesians "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" No

One argument against the separate baptism of the Spirit goes that when we are baptized with water we are also baptized with the Spirit.

- It is simply regeneration - the "inner" side of baptism - the salvation experience. This ignores Acts 2 and uses the common word baptism to nullify the experience of the Spirit.
- Salvation is an inner character changing event - Baptism in the Spirit is an outer world changing event.
- Note: The people who experienced Pentecost were already believers.

- How does a believer receive this baptism?

o By laying on of hands (Acts 8:17, Peter and John laid hands on some Samaritans)
o By prayer - asking God to fill you with His Holy Spirit

- What happens to the believer?

o Praise overflowing in tongues (2:4-13) - Giving of gifts, new dimension
o Witness to the gospel (2:14-36) - Urgency of evangelism
o Salvation of thousands (2:37-41) - Fruit of the Spirit
o Life of the first Christian community (2:42-47) - Desire for fellowship

o The Spirit bestows power and gifts into the believer
There can be supernatural manifestations such as tongues, interpretation of tongues, healing, knowledge, distinguishing of spirits, and spiritual power.

o The believers life is transformed - you enter a new dimension in your spiritual experience with God.

o "It is not a certain quality of existence but a way of life in which one is open to the Spirit's activity" (J. Rodman Williams PhD)

- Are the gifts given still in operation today?

One argument goes that the gifts of the Spirit terminated in the first century because all that we need to know was revealed by then. They reference 1 Corinthians 13:10 where in the King James it says "When that which is perfect comes, then that which is in part shall be done away." This is simply incorrect exegesis of the Word. It refers to our eternal state, not the canon of scripture.


- What are the purposes of the gifts and the baptism of the Spirit?

- Pours out of power to be a witness for Jesus (Acts 1:8)
- Enables us to do the works of Jesus (John 14:12)
- Releases the gifts of the Spirit (spiritual workings 1Cor 12:7-10)

- The Spirit indwells us to work in us, he comes upon us to work through us.
- The Spirit has you rather than you having the Spirit. Will and identity of the person remains
- We should continually ask to be filled with the Spirit and His power. Ephesians 5:18 could be stated: "be filled and keep on being filled continuously." In Acts 4:23 the disciples were filled afresh after prayer.

- What are they not for?

o A SHOW
We can easily become enamoured with the spectacle of the Spirit - it can be pretty amazing. But it is not designed to give us Holy Ghost goose bumps and can become very intoxicating and even addicting.

o Instant SANCTIFICATION
You don't become instantly holy when baptized with the Spirit. Remember - its not about you - but about using the Spirit's power to bring the gospel to the world, whether through praise or preaching or power.

o For the SELF (Acts 8:9)
Simon wanted the power - to wield it - without thought of the purpose. Phillip said he was captive to sin.

4. Summary

o There is a separate baptism of the Spirit, promised by Jesus, fulfilled on the day of Pentecost
o The Spirit comes upon the believer, bestowing supernatural gifts and power
o These gifts are to be used to make the believer a more dynamic witness for the Lord
o The gifts are not for show or for the selfish use of the believer

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