It is a supernatural impartation of power, usually accompanied by the manifestation of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said in Acts 1:5 & 8, “for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” And in verse 8, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
MAC says we don't need this power to be a witness anymore, because we have the Bible instead. But in Acts 1:8 Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” That “power” transformed Peter from a “denier” to a mighty man of God. Who today is willing to boast that they don’t need that transforming power?
In Acts 2:38-39, Peter says, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” Peter clearly states that this baptism of the Holy Spirit is for everyone, not just for the Apostles or for the people who were hearing his words.
But for how long? In speaking of the Holy Spirit, Jesus said in John 14:16-17, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”
So we can clearly see that the Scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit was for ALL believers, for ALL time. But maybe God changed His Mind and took back the Holy Spirit and His Gifts. Not likely. Romans 11:29 says, “for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” If God makes a promise to everyone…forever…you can take that to the bank!
MAC contends that the Bible contains all truth, which is not true. Everything in the Bible is true, yes, but it does not tell me when Jesus will return. John said in John 21:25,”Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” The Bible does not tell me where to work or whom to marry. We get that guidance from the Holy Spirit. John 16:13 says, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”
It is no wonder that MAC comes to so many wrong conclusions, he denies the very guidance that would lead him to the Truth.
Hebrews 3:8 clearly states, "The Holy Spirit says, 'If you hear His Voice, do not harden your hearts."
Acts 19: 1- 6 says, “It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. 2He said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." 3And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" And they said, "Into John's baptism." 4Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus." 5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.”
MAC says if you do that today (have the Holy Spirit come upon you) it is demonic!
But Jesus said in Matthew 12:30-32, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters. Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”
So blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is…well…blasphemy. But what was Jesus referring to? What is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? The context of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 12 is clear. Jesus had just healed a paralyzed man, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Pharisees said it was by the power of the Devil. Jesus then responds with the scorching rebuke about blaspheming the Holy Spirit. So blasphemy of the Holy Spirit occurs whenever someone says that an act of the Holy Spirit is actually an act of the flesh or even the Devil.
In Acts 2, Peter quotes the prophet Joel:
"In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below."
That was 2000 years ago. Are we not even more in "the last days?"
So let us embrace whatever the Holy Spirit wants to give us. Will it be scriptural? Absolutely! People that bark like dogs and blame the Holy Spirit are mentally and spiritually ill. Could we pray for the Spirit and get something demonic instead? Jesus says "Absolutely not!" in Luke 11:11.
Could it effect our emotions? Of course, it should permeate every fiber of your being!
It says in II Samual 6:16, "Now as the ark of the Lord came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart." The Joy of the Lord may come upon you and you may leap or weep, but if it is from the Lord and for the Lord, then let it flow. Don't worry about what Michal...er...uh...MAC says!
There have been times that the Lord touched my heart with His Spirit, that I weeped uncontrollably, broken, humbled and shocked that He even recognizes my existance. But when He touches you and you sense Him saying, "I love you, you are mine," your response just might be a tad emotional. Anything less would be unnatural.
We must look to God's Word for Truth and Guidance, and not listen to some talking heads who prefer a Pharisee-like religion over a true relationship with our Father God.
Why do we need the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Being a Christian (a follower of Christ) is about being a good person, isn’t it? Fulfilling the Golden Rule: Do unto to others as you would have them do unto to you, right? Well, that’s part of it. But as you may have realized by now, that’s easier said than done. So there has to be more to it than that. The Scriptures don’t teach that we need to just ACT differently, we need to BE different. We need to become a New Person, not just act or think differently. Jesus said that we must die to ourselves and live to God. In other words, we must be “born again.” This process is supernatural, not the act or will of any human being.
In the first chapter of the Book of Acts, after Jesus’ resurrection (but before His Ascension) Luke records:
“On one occasion, while Jesus was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
So Jesus is clarifying three key things in those statements:
1) The REALITY of Holy Spirit baptism
Some today deny the reality of the baptism of the Holy Spirit…to their own demise, I might add. Many say, “That was then and this is now.” Ultra conservatives say, “We don’t need the Holy Spirit, we have the Bible.” Ultra liberals say, “We don’t need the Holy Spirit, we have our own human intellect.” Jesus says otherwise. But the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not only REAL, but mandatory.
2) The NEED of Holy Spirit baptism
Jesus said to wait until you were empowered by the Holy Spirit before you go out to fulfill your mission. What is our mission? Jesus tells us very clearly what our mission (our calling) is in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” So Jesus says we are to go out and share the Gospel with the whole world. But He knew there would be opposition. That opposition would be orchestrated by Satan, working mainly through ungodly human beings. But there are also the realities of daily life on planet Earth to contend with, too, such as money, health and family dynamics. Jesus recognizing those realities told His Disciples to WAIT. The world says, “Run! Don’t wait!” You may miss out on that sale or promotion, so “Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!” But Jesus said, “Wait.”
Was it because they were tired and needed rest? Was it because they needed to study first? Maybe take a few classes on homiletics? Were they to take a few days off to gather their thoughts and get their house in order before they started this great journey into the unknown? Maybe there was a human reason for the wait, but more than anything, Jesus was emphasizing the need of the empowerment. In essence, “Don’t go out to do my will until you have the wherewithal to do it.”
3) The REASON of Holy Spirit baptism
The reason for the baptism of the Holy Spirit was quite clear: You cannot do this on your own. Jesus said, “and you will be my witnesses.” The root word of “witness” in the Greek was “martyr.” So in reality, He was not just saying “go preach,” He was saying, “Go die for me.” Or at least be willing to die for Him. So that takes on a whole new meaning, a whole new level of commitment. One that will not be possible without divine intervention, and that intervention and empowerment was none other than the Holy Spirit.
Evidence? Is there any evidence of that “empowerment?” The actual act of the baptism occurred on the Day of Pentecost (or Shavout). Doctor Luke records the event in the second chapter of the Book of Acts:
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
So that was the event, but what is the evidence? Were those present actually “empowered” in some way? There is probably no better evidence than to look at the radical change brought about in the life of the Apostle Peter. You remember Peter. A few weeks before this event on Pentecost, Peter, out of fear of persecution denied that he even knew Jesus.
Now, after the baptism of the Holy Spirit, he gets up and preaches the Gospel to thousands of people and many believe and are saved. Later, this same Peter gets called before the ruling leaders of Israel as recorded in Acts 4 (this is a long quote but don‘t skip over any of this):
1 The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4 But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.
5 The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.
11 Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”
18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
“‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one.
27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
So we see this humble, poor, fearful, faithless old fisherman transformed before our eyes. What caused this meek doubter to become a mighty man of faith? The Baptism of the Holy Spirit! That supernatural empowerment from God Himself, changed Peter into the man that God had called him to be. Is our calling any less? Is our opposition any weaker today? Have all our duties and callings been fulfilled? Of course not! So obviously our need for the Baptism (empowerment) of the Holy Spirit has not diminished one iota.