The baptism in the Holy Spirit is what Pentecostal Christians frequently refer to as our distinctive doctrine. Notice I said distinctive, not better. Can someone go to heaven without being baptized in the Spirit? Yes! But I’ve found that living in this distinctive empowerment makes the journey to heaven so much more productive and joyful.
After the resurrection of Jesus, everything took on a whole new meaning, because the “light” had been turned on in the Old Testament palace. All of the practices that Jews had been observing for thousands of years suddenly had a new illumination in the New Testament.
Pentecost had always been a celebration 50 days following the Passover. In the Old Testament, the law was given from Sinai on the fiftieth day after the deliverance from Egypt, so in a sense, the appearance of God on Sinai was the birthday of the Jewish nation. In the New Testament, the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost after Jesus ascended to heaven was the birthday of the Christian nation for all people.
One of our foundational truths says: “All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian Church.”
And another foundational truth is a corollary: “The baptism of believers in the Holy Spirit is witnessed by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance.”
God has always confirmed His presence with signs and wonders. From the signs in Egypt to convince Pharaoh that Jehovah was greater than the Egyptian gods to the ministry of Jesus. In fact, Peter said that the signs and wonders done by Jesus were God’s authentication of His ministry (see Luke 5:17-26; Acts 2:22; Acts 10:38).
Jesus said this should characterize our ministry too (see Mark 16:15-20; Acts 1:5, 8).
R.A. Torrey noted, “The baptism of the Holy Spirit always imparts power for service…. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God falling upon the believer, taking possession of his faculties, imparting to him gifts not naturally his own, but which qualify him for the service to which God has called him.”
Check out this chart that walks us through the book of Acts to see how God authenticated the ministry of those who were baptized in the Holy Spirit by performing signs and wonders through them:
You may download this chart in a PDF format by clicking here → Chart of signs in Acts ←
When a Christian is baptized in the Holy Spirit there are two types of evidence:
- Initial evidence—typically speaking in a language that hasn’t been studied but has been supernaturally given by God.
- Ongoing evidence—I would sum this up in the word sanctification (or as I like to remember it by saying “saint-ification”). This is the lifestyle change, the empowered living, and even the miraculous that cannot be counterfeited by man’s efforts alone.
Let’s not try to put God in a box—telling Him when, where, how, and through whom He can work. Instead, let’s yield ourselves entirely to Him by letting the Holy Spirit empower us to be effective, unmistakable witnesses for Jesus Christ.
I will be relaunching our series called We Are: Pentecostal in two weeks. Please follow along with all of the messages in this series by clicking here for the details.
And if you would like to check out the other messages in our series looking at our foundational belief statements, you can find the full list by clicking here.