[ Doctrine in Detail ]

Topic: V. God the Holy Spirit

Lesson: C. Baptism, Indwelling, and Filling of the Holy Spirit

It is important, this week, to keep this weeks teaching on the Baptism, Indwelling, and Filling of the Holy Spirit in the context of our previous lessons. For instance, we have studied the Doctrine of the Bible and understand that the Holy Spirit was the instrument by which the Bible was kept free from error, and that prophets gave scripture 'as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.' We should not be surprised, then, that the leading of the Holy Spirit will be in agreement with what Scripture teaches, and never oppose what Scripture teaches.

We have studied the Trinity, and the will of the Father, which is carried out by the Son and the Holy Spirit. We should remember, then, that the Holy Spirit would never lead us in disobedience to the Father. If we are out of fellowship with the Father and Son, we will also be out of fellowship with the Spirit. This lesson will look at what is called the Baptism, Indwelling, and Filling of the Holy Spirit. The fruit and gifts of the Spirit will be in the next lesson.

Objective: To properly understand the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and to understand the Filling of the Holy Spirit.

These objectives are deceptively simple. We want to understand the Baptism and Filling of the Holy Spirit. In one sense, I can just give you my definitions and be done in a few minutes. But because of the emphasis on this doctrine in this century, and many misunderstandings, it will take us a while. We want to understand what other churches and groups think, why they think it, and why we disagree. But in disagreeing, we should not loose sight of the need for the Holy Spirit in our lives, and if they misunderstand us, we cannot deny some reality to what they describe.

1. Baptism of the Holy Spirit

We will be talking about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, both what it is and what people say it is, the indwelling and the filling of the Holy Spirit. These terms are distinct, and we will be using them all quite a bit.

a. Ron's Understanding. Here is Ron's version of what the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is. We will then look at four other groups, then look at Scripture for all of these.

When a believer is 'born-again', he/she might not be aware of all that happens. Just like I may not understand that Jesus paid for all of my sins and I am guaranteed to make it to heaven (perseverance of the Saints), this event happened whether I have a proper understanding or not. There has been a reluctance to speak about the Holy Spirit, but I believe that everyone is baptized in/with the Holy Spirit at the moment they become born again. However, they may not know or sense this. So, if at some future time they learn of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and experience joy and fulfillment as they rededicate their lives to the Lord, that is understandable. But they were already baptized in the Holy Spirit at the moment of conversion, and may now be recommitting their lives or being filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit indwells ALL believers, even ones that are backsliding. This is not a matter of location, as God the Holy Spirit is everywhere. Rather, it is a spiritual indwelling that means that the Holy Spirit has a special interest and influence in our lives. Every believer is given at least one spiritual gift of service, to be used in building up the body of Christ. If you are born again, you have at least one, although you may not have looked for or discerned what that gift is.

Believers may grieve the Holy Spirit, by disobedience or sin. This will cause a break in fellowship with the entire Trinity, and confessing sins restores fellowship. All believers should voluntarily place themselves under the control of the Holy Spirit, which is the filling of the Holy Spirit.

b. Questions on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. What are the questions that separate Christianity over Holy Spirit issues?

Is the Baptism at the time we are born again or sometime later? The Bible Fellowship says we all receive this baptism at the time we are born again, some churches teach that it is a second experience.

Is this Baptism accompanied by the speaking in tongues. The Bible Fellowship says that no signs are necessary to show that the baptism happened, and it is not to be expected. Some others teach that tongues may happen, others say that if you did not speak in tongues then you did not receive the Spirit.

Finally, are all the Gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the New Testament for today, or have some ceased? For instance, prophecy in the sense of giving an infallible word from God for today, the Bible Fellowship says this gift has ceased, but other churches say it is still used today.

Lets look at the history of these movements in this century to understand the questions a little better.

c. Pentecostal Movement. A revival associated with the Holy Spirit in 1901 led to the formation of separate denominations, such as the Assembly of God. These churches stated that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit does NOT happen at the time a person is born again, but does happen later. For that reason, it is often called 'The Second Blessing'. Furthermore, they taught that this baptism is ALWAYS accompanied by the sign gift of speaking in tongues. So, if you and I have never spoken in tongues, this teaching would say that we never received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, which begins the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. (Of course, we disagree). Finally, the Pentecostals taught that ALL of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament are for us to use today (including infallible prophecy).

d. Charismatic Revival. In the 1960's and 70's, a different revival of the Holy Spirit occurred. Pat Robertson typifies the 'Charismatics'. By and large, these Charismatics did not form new churches or denominations, but stayed in existing denominations. We have Charismatics in the major Protestant churches such as the Methodists and also in the Roman Catholic Church. Unlike the earlier Pentecostals, Charismatics are not a unified movement. Some believer that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit comes at conversion, some believe it is a second experience. Some teach that tongues must accompany it, others do not. But the Charismatics do attempt to practice ALL the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament (including prophecy).

e. Third Wave Revivals.. Finally, we have the 'Third Wave' of Holy Spirit revivals that started in the 1990s and continue to today. Although John Wimber and others are part of this movement in the United States, it is most prevalent in the Third World and in the Mission Field. The major teaching is that ALL Believers are to use sign gifts, such as speaking in tongues. Gospel presentations are to be accompanied by signs and miracles, such as we hear of in so-called 'healing services'. They do believe that the Holy Spirit comes at conversion, not a second experience, and that all the New Testament gifts continue to today.

f. Second Blessing. Within these groups, those that say the Baptism of the Holy Spirit does not come at conversion refer to it as the Second Blessing. Where do they find this in Scripture? Lets look at the argument from their side of the table.

Jesus' disciples came to believing and saving faith before the day of Pentecost. Perhaps when Peter said that Jesus is the Son of God, or perhaps later, but certainly by the time of John 20:22 when Jesus breathed on them and said, "receive the Holy Spirit". At any rate, they were apparently 'saved' before the day of Pentecost in Acts 1:4,5, where they waited in Jerusalem for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. On Pentecost, they were baptized in the Holy Spirit and also spoke in tongues. These tongues were human languages, understood by the foreigners in Jerusalem for the feast. Interestingly, Peter spoke in one language when he gave the explanation and the gospel message on that day. Because of this, Pentecostals and Charismatics say that believers should pray for a second experience, similar to Pentecost, where the baptism of the Holy Spirit was shown by believers speaking in tongues.

They also point to three other places in Acts where believers later received the Holy Spirit (although in the case of Cornelius, they were saved and spoke in tongues at the same time). How do we non-Charismatics explain this? We believe that the sign of speaking in tongues was a visible evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit during a transitional time, going from when only Jews were part of the church to when Gentiles became part of the church. The sign demonstrated that the Samaritans (Acts 8:12-17) were to be part of the Church, and that Gentiles such as Cornelius (Acts 10) would be part of the church (without first becoming Jews). In Ephesus, believers who only heard of the Baptism of John, perhaps not even knowing of the significance of Jesus' death, received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19). Acts 15 gives a discussion of Gentiles becoming part of the church without becoming Jews by circumcision or obeying the dietary laws of Moses. Paul said that the Holy Spirit came on the Gentiles apart from obeying Moses.

g. Bible Fellowship Church. Article of Faith Number 5-2: "The Holy Spirit indwells all true believers, baptizing them into one body, of which Christ is the head. He, the divine Comforter, Intercessor, and Advocate, empowers the believer for service. " This article states that the Holy Spirit indwells ALL true believers. This includes believers who are not part of our church, and believers who have never spoken in tongues. The indwelling is what the Baptism begins - you are baptized in the Holy Spirit at conversion and forever after that He indwells the believer. It also states that it is the Holy Spirit who empowers the believer for service.

Here is my understanding of the Bible Fellowship Churches position. Note that Every Believer is given at least one gift of service. If we have 100 members, and one member does not know what his gift is and does not use it, all 100 of us suffer in some way, we are incomplete. It is like a human body without a toe or finger or eye. Every believer has a gift and is meant to serve within the body of Christ.

We do not believe that it is necessary to speak in tongues or display a sign gift to show that you have received (been baptized in) the Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches this, and that is enough. But some believers may not be taught or understand the role of the Spirit, and that is our responsibility as a church. Before the Pentecostals brought attention to the Holy Spirit, there was not much teaching on Him in protestant churches. For this, we must thank the Pentecostals, although we disagree with their understanding of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, we believe that submitting to the Holy Spirit to lead us in our lives, and to obedience to Christ, is necessary for growth in spiritual life. Some believers never grow, they are saved and pretty much go about their lives the same as they did. This grieves the Holy Spirit, who will continue to work to some degree in their lives, perhaps through discipline, to bring them back. Such believers still have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but they are not filled with (or controlled by) the Holy Spirit.

h. New Testament Usage. There are only seven references in the New Testament that talk specifically about a baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Four are in the Gospels, and are John the Baptist's testimony that while John baptized in water, Jesus would baptize in the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, and John 1:33) "..., but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit " (Mark 1:8)

Two references are to the day of Pentecost, the disciples were to wait until they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Pentecost (Acts 1:5, 11:16) "..., but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit "(Acts 1:5)

Finally, in 1 Corinthians 12:13 we are told that the Holy Spirit baptized us into one body. Also, we were all give the same one Spirit to drink. For me, this shows that the Holy Spirit baptized all members of the Body. " For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-- whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-- and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. " (1st Corinthians 12:13 )

However, some distinguish between baptism with or by the Spirit (these verses) and what they call baptism IN the Spirit, which begins the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The same word 'en' in Greek can be translated in or with. I do not see this distinction myself, and further, we were all given one Spirit to drink.

2. Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

Now lets distinguish some things. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit starts at the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is at conversion. The indwelling is the Spirit's influence and control. We might say that the indwelling is an influence and some control, but when we are 'full' we are under a stronger voluntary control. Just as we can be full of wine (drunk and influenced by wine) we can be full of the Spirit (under His direct control).

a. Holy Spirit Indwells All Believers. " You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. " (Romans 8:9) This verse shows who is in control - you are not controlled by the sinful nature but by the Spirit if the Spirit lives in (indwells) you. AND - if you do not have the Spirit of Christ you do no belong to Christ. So, if you do not have the Spirit of Christ, you are not saved at all!!!

Now I have equated the Spirit, the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ as being the Holy Spirit. This next verse may be convincing. " Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;" (1st Corinthians 6:19) Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you. (indwells you). Paul wrote this to all Christians, and it is true of ALL believers, whether they have had a second experience or spoken in tongues or not.

b. Explanations of Second Experience.We explain the instances of tongues and separate/second baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts by either believers who believed under the ministries of John the Baptist or before Pentecost OR in two cases where the Holy Spirit had to physically show proof of His baptism so that Samaritans and Gentiles would be accepted into the Church without becoming Jews first. In other words, these were special cases in the early church during the transition from a ministry to Jews only to the time when Gentiles and Jews together made up the church.

Second, we may perhaps have a Catholic friend, who was baptized as an infant (called Christening or 'made Christian'), and who never understood that repentance and being born again is necessary to be saved. He is told of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, repents of his sins, asks Jesus to guide him, and surrenders control of his life to the Holy Spirit. Of course, this is wonderful. He would say he received a 'second blessing'. I would say he was not really saved before, that he was saved and received the Holy Spirit at the same time.

Remember that Charismatics did not form separate churches as the Pentecostals did earlier. Most Charismatics remain as a small revival group within a larger denomination, often a church that does not preach salvation by grace, the need for repentance, or some do not even teach from the Bible at all. Within those churches, the first experience of saving faith is at this 'second blessing'. Further, even for believers who received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, it is not often taught. So new believer may never learn of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Whenever a believer commits his life anew, he comes into a deeper relationship with the Trinity and the Holy Spirit.

3. Filling of the Holy Spirit

a. Under Control of Holy Spirit.The believer grows in commitment and obedience, sometimes in large steps. We call this the Filling of the Holy Spirit, which means to be filled and led by the Holy Spirit. Lets look at Ephesians 5:18, Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. When we are filled or drunk on wine, we are controlled by it. In the same way, being filled by the Holy Spirit means to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.

b. Grieving the Holy Spirit.The opposite is to grieve the Holy Spirit. This grieving causes a split in fellowship with the Trinity, including the Holy Spirit. " And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, ... " ( Ephesians 4:30-31) To NOT grieve the Holy Spirit is to obey the commands of Christ (get rid of bitterness, rage, anger, and about three more verses).

4. In Context

a. Context of the Holy Spirit.The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity. If you are in step with the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, you will worship the Father and obey the Son. If you are out of fellowship with Jesus, you are out of fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in Revelation, "Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and sup with him and him with me." This was said to Christians, not unbelievers! We open the door to fellowship by confessing our sins (being forgiven) and inviting Jesus in. The same with the filling of the Holy Spirit, we come into fellowship and ask for His leading. This involves commitment to obey. If we want to be led by the Spirit, we will do what He says, which is what Christ said.

The Holy Spirit was the primary giver of Scripture, and is the one who helps us to interpret it. If we want to hear the Holy Spirit's voice and leading, we should look first to reading the Bible. Now I know that the Holy Spirit will whisper to me (so to speak) and point out a person I should be kind to, but the clearest voice of the Spirit is heard by considering the Bible.

Finally, we were baptized into one body, and the gifts of the Spirit (more on this next week) are for building up of the Body. If you want to be under the Spirit's control, expect to be serving the Body. This is not a church where we leave everything to our Pastor and Youth Director. No, every one of us has been given a serving gift by the Holy Spirit. If you don't know what it is, you may have to pray, ask others, and do some trial and error by trying to serve in different ways. But the Spirit will lead you to serve in a local body of Christ (a church) in some way.

b. Historic Position of the Church.Here are just a few words to consider from a hymn about 150 years old. It also shows that the idea of being gifted and filled and led by the Holy Spirit is part of the Historic Christian Faith, preceding even the 1901 Pentecostal Movement. While reading it, remember that it is a prayer addressed to the Holy Spirit (but parts speak to the Father and Son also).

Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart, George Croly

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,
And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

I ask no dream, no prophet ecstacies,
No sudden rending of the veil of clay,
No angel visitation, no opening skies;
But take the dimness of my soul away.

Hast Thou not bid me love Thee, God and King?
All, all Thine own - soul, heart, and strength, and mind,
I see Thy cross - there teach my heart to cling:
O let me seek Thee, and O let me find!

Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear,
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh;
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer,

Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame;
The kindling of the heaven descended Dove,
My heart and altar, and Thy love the flame,

c. Leadership of our Local Church.It is the desire of the hearts of the leadership of this church that every member would be led by the Holy Spirit and actively serve the body of Christ and the world with their particular spiritual gifts.


Written Assignment:

1. Are you sure that you have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?

2. Are you 'filled' with the Holy Spirit?

Reading Assignment:

Ryrie: Chapters 62-64,66


Key Verses:

"..., but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit" (Mark 1:8)

"You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." (Romans 8:9)

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;" (1st Corinthians 6:19)

"For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-- whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-- and we were all given the one Spirit to drink." (1st Corinthians 12:13)

Additional References:

"The Holy Spirit indwells all true believers, baptizing them into one body, of which Christ is the head. He, the divine Comforter, Intercessor, and Advocate, empowers the believer for service." ( Article of Faith Number 5-2 )

( Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart, George Croly )


All Bible quotations are from the New International Version (NIV), (C)Copyright 1984 by the International Bible Society, used by permission.
Doctrine in Detail (C)Copyright 2002 by Ronald Miller, All Rights Reserved

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