Just hours prior to our Lord’s ascension, Jesus met with His disciples to give them instructions about what would happen in the future, not only for them, but for the Church in all generations. His vision was for them to win the lost by proclaiming the Gospel and bringing them to salvation and healing through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
Following the resurrection of Jesus when He was assembled together with them, He commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the gift His Father promised, which they had heard Him speak about. He reminded them that John baptized with water, but in a few days they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. He said to them: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NKJV).
On the first Sunday evening of the day of Jesus’ resurrection He appeared to His disciples who were meeting behind closed doors for fear of the Jews and said, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22, NKJV).
In this intimate moment, one they would never forget, Jesus got in the face of each His disciples and breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Whatever happened spiritually in each of these disciples no one seems to know. We do know they were not baptized with the Holy Spirit that day. They had to wait for the ascension of Jesus back to heaven and the gift He and the Father would give them on the day of Pentecost. Whatever it was, Jesus gave them an expectancy to receive this promised gift and prepared them for the wind of the Spirit that blew on the day of Pentecost. His peace and the power of the Holy Spirit would enable them to minister supernaturally.
Jesus instructed His disciples with these words, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter) will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:7-11, NKJV).
All four Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John record the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.
The beloved Apostle John gives this account of that experience as He announces that Jesus is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world, and that Jesus would be the One Who would baptize born again, sanctified believers in or with the Holy Spirit.
In Matthew’s Gospel he records that John the Baptist said this about Jesus, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He Who is coming after Me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11, NKJV).
It is important to know that Jesus is the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit. In the incarnate life and ministry of Jesus, He never baptized anyone in water. He delegated that ministry to His disciples. His mission was to baptize those who gave their hearts and lives to Him with the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, we must not confuse the ministry of Jesus Who baptizes with the Holy Spirit with the ministry of the Holy Spirit called the baptism of the Holy Spirt. They are not the same.
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, coined a phrase that is important for us to know about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit Who draws people to Jesus. Wesley called that ministry “the Prevenient Grace of God” --the grace that goes before saving faith.
The Apostle Paul wrote about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the baptism with the Holy Spirit that Jesus does in 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (KJV).
In the first phrase the Holy Spirit baptizes believers into the body of Christ. The Holy Spirt is the Agent, the blood of Jesus is the element, and the believer is the designated candidate.
In the second phrase Jesus is the implied Agent, we are the recipients, and the Holy Spirit the designated Element as we are made to drink into one Spirit.
In conversion which includes the forgiveness of sins and the pardon by God the Father, it is the Holy Spirit Who brings us to God by providing repentance toward God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the implied Agent, the blood of Jesus is the element, and we are the recipients.
The same is true in the definite experience of sanctification which is a definite act of grace as well as a lifelong process of growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the implied Agent, we are the candidates, and the blood of Jesus is the implied element.
However, when we speak about the Pentecostal experience, it is Jesus Who baptizes with or in the Holy Spirit.
The power to be a witness to Jesus Christ is the basic purpose of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. This baptism releases the inner power that becomes an outward manifestation to bring the living reality of Jesus Christ to others. In order to release this power, the Holy Spirit gives the believer a new tongue. Wherever the Spirit filled Christian goes he becomes a missionary to those he meets. The Spirit will give the words that are to be spoken and will awaken in the heart of that person to the claims of Jesus Christ Who alone can save them.
My Godly mother and the saints I knew as a child and a youth growing up in the Pentecostal Holiness Church prayed not only for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, but also for the unction of the Holy Spirit. That word unction captured my imagination and my desire to know what it meant. I finally looked it up in the dictionary and discovered that it means that God supernaturally gives a Christian filled with the Holy Spirit the right words for the right time for the right person or persons. That is my understanding of the unction of the Holy Spirit.
It is my prayer that this message about the Baptism with or in the Holy Spirit will strike a vital chord in your heart and mind to understand more fully what this Pentecostal blessing is all about. The baptism with or in the Holy Spirit is for us today. May the Holy Spirit fall on your congregation and the congregation where Melvine and I will worship today. No one has to tell you when the Holy Spirit is present in our worship. We want Him to be present and make Jesus real to every heart. May the gifts of the Holy Spirit be manifested as the Spirit directs this day.