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Lesson 5: The Baptism and Filling of the Holy Spirit *

Introduction: What does it mean to be "baptized" with the Holy Spirit? When I was baptized, the pastor said "I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." Does that accomplish the task? What makes me wonder about this is that a lot of people are baptized with the same words, yet they don't seem very Spirit-filled in their religious experience. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and find out more!

  1. Baptized Without the Holy Spirit

    1. Read Luke 1:41-44. Elizabeth is the mother of John the Baptist. Mary is the mother of Jesus. What does this say about Elizabeth and the Holy Spirit? (The Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth, and seems to have filled the unborn John the Baptist because he "leaped for joy" at the sound of the voice of Jesus' mother.)

    2. Read Mark 1:4-8. Why did John the Baptist not baptize with the Holy Spirit? His mother was filled with the Holy Spirit, and it seems so was John even before he was born.

      1. Who did John the Baptist say would baptize people with the Holy Spirit? (Jesus.)

      2. Look again at Mark 1:8. Could John have baptized with water and the Holy Spirit at the same time?

    3. Read John 4:1-2. Did Jesus baptize people in the Holy Spirit? (This suggests that Jesus did not directly baptize anyone. But, more importantly, it says nothing about the disciples, under Jesus' direction, baptizing in the name of the Holy Spirit.)

    4. Read Acts 1:4-5. What does this teach us about the disciples baptizing in the Holy Spirit or having been baptized in the Holy Spirit? (This text plainly says that the disciples were not yet baptized with the Holy Spirit. Since Jesus refers to a future event, it seems clear that neither the disciples nor those they baptized were baptized with the Holy Spirit.)

      1. Is John the Baptist a false prophet on this point? Or, is John referring to something else when he says that Jesus "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit" ( Mark 1:8)?

      2. Read Luke 24:49. When Jesus promises His disciples in Acts 1:4-5 that He will "send" the baptism of the Holy Spirit, did that fulfill the prophecy of John the Baptist?

      3. Now the important point for us today - what does this say about whether baptism with water is also baptism with the Holy Spirit? (It tells us that they are not necessarily the same. They apparently were not during Jesus' life here on earth.)

    5. We don't actually know the words used by Jesus' disciples to baptize when Jesus was here on earth. If they used the words "in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit," then it would be crystal clear that was something different than being baptized in the Holy Spirit. Let's read John 3:3-8. Was Jesus aware, during the time of His ministry, that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was necessary? (Yes!)

      1. If Jesus thought that, would it be logical that He would instruct His disciples to baptize in the name of the Holy Spirit while He was still here on earth?

    6. Read Matthew 28:18-20. Study these verses carefully. What do they suggest about whether Jesus' disciples had been previously baptizing in the name of the Holy Spirit? (Jesus' statement, made after His resurrection, is very persuasive on this point. Jesus' says that "all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Me, therefore go." It was not until Jesus had won the battle over sin that He was able to claim "all authority." The use of the phrase, "therefore go" suggests that it was only from this point in time that baptism in the name of the Holy Spirit was authorized. This shows that John the Baptist accurately predicted this event, and it shows that baptism in the Holy Spirit did not begin until after Jesus left for heaven. This, of course, helps us understand Acts 1:4-5.)

      1. Is there any logic to this timing? (Read Romans 6:3-4. Baptism did not fulfill its true meaning until Jesus died and was resurrected. When we are baptized in water, we participate in the death and resurrection of Jesus. We die with Him for our sins. This lays the groundwork for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. See Romans 8:3-4. This is part of the "authority" which Jesus was given after His resurrection!)

  2. Philip and Baptism in the Holy Spirit

    1. Read Acts 8:5-8. Is Philip filled with the power of the Holy Spirit?

    2. Let's move down a few verses. Read Acts 8:12-13. What do you think: are the people baptized with the Holy Spirit by Philip?

    3. Read Acts 8:14-17. How do you explain this? Philip is obviously filled with the Holy Spirit, yet he does not baptize in the name of the Holy Spirit?

      1. How were these people "baptized" with the Holy Spirit? (It was not a baptism at all. Instead, Peter and John first "prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit" and then placed their "hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.")

    4. Let's revisit the nature of the problem. Re-read Acts 8:15-16. What does this suggest did not go right? (The way the problem is stated makes it appear that baptism with the Holy Spirit should take place at the same time as water baptism. That is the ideal.)

      1. Notice that the crowd could tell that the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon them at the time of baptism. How could they tell? When you see a baptism today, can you tell?

  3. Evidence of Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

    1. Read Ephesians 5:17-20. Doesn't it strike you as odd that Paul would compare being drunk with being filled with the Holy Spirit? Why not compare, murder, envy, adultery, or theft with being filled with the Holy Spirit?

    2. Read Acts 2:14-17. Why is Peter explaining at Pentecost that the disciples are not drunk? Why this consistent comparison with being drunk and being filled with the Holy Spirit?

      1. How do you know when a person is drunk? (It affects their speech and all of their actions. The same is true with being filled with the Holy Spirit!)

    3. Read Acts 19:1-4. Here is a parallel story. Is the nature of their baptism clear? (Yes. It is John the Baptist's baptism of repentance. They do not even know about the Holy Spirit.)

    4. Read Acts 19:5-7. Were these men re-baptized, or did Paul simply place his hands on them?

      1. What proof do we have that they were filled with the Holy Spirit? (They "spoke in tongues and prophesied.")

    5. Read Acts 7:55, Luke 1:67, Acts 2:4, Acts 4:31 and Acts 13:52. What proof of being filled with the Holy Spirit do we find in these texts? (We find a vision, a prophecy, speaking in foreign tongues, sharing the gospel with boldness, and being filled with joy.)

    6. Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-7. What is given for the "common good?" ("The manifestation of the Holy Spirit.)

      1. Is "manifesting" the Holy Spirit the same as being "filled" with the Holy Spirit? (I think so. If it is not exactly the same, it seems close enough. If you are "filled" you should "manifest" it.)

    7. Read 1 Corinthians 12:8-11. How can we know that we have been properly baptized with the Holy Spirit? How can we know that we are filled with the Holy Spirit? (We will manifest one or more of these spiritual gifts.)

      1. I won't have you read the texts right now, but there is an argument based on New Testament texts that proof of being filled with the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. Tongues is listed among the gifts we just read. What does 1 Corinthians 12:11 teach us about this argument? (It says that spiritual gifts, such as the gift of tongues, are given by the Holy Spirit, "just as He determines." That means we are not all going to have the same gift.)

      2. Now the tough question: have you manifested any of these spiritual gifts? Consider the list carefully before you answer.

    8. Friend, if you are not certain that you are filled with the Holy Spirit, why not ask a Spirit-filled person to lay hands on you to cure the problem? If you are not yet baptized, why not ask that you be baptized in the name of the "Father, Son and Holy Spirit?"

  4. Next week: The Holy Spirit and Living a Holy Life.
* Copr. 2017, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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