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The Baptism of the Holy Spirit by Bryan Craig

June 18, 2024


And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John's baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.  Acts 19:1-6

Many of you know that I’m seeking MORE understanding of the Holy Spirit, more fullness, more power, more communion, and I know this is found in Abiding with Him.  I’m thinking of Rocky’s subtitle to his book, Journey to the Inner Chamber, which is, “Discovering the Treasure of the Universe.”  In the beginning, when I started learning about Abiding, Rocky described it as a treasure hunt, using this passage:

“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:1-5 ESV

The treasure, the “feast in the Inner Chamber”, is Christ Himself, a truth manifested to us in a way we can understand through The Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Christ. (see Romans 8:9)

In our Journey groups, we learn there is a progression in our spiritual development and enablement of the Holy Spirit.  It goes like this:

  • A person believes in Jesus Christ, repents from their sins, and places their trust in Him. They receive Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  This is Salvation.


  • Then, a process of Sanctification begins, as there is a holy unsettling in our souls. Our sins are forgiven, but there is much deeper heart work to be done by the Holy Spirit.  We begin to be aware of habitual sins, or of hindrances which must be addressed.  We have a choice whether we will submit to the Lord’s discipline and pruning and Abide with Him or whether we will continue to serve the world.


  • If we submit to the Lord’s work, the Holy Spirit begins to manifest Himself, bearing the fruit of Spirit, the Lord’s characteristics, in our life.


  • Then, the Gifts of the Spirit are enabled and empowered. God starts using us in His work through the Gifts He’s given through The Spirit.


So, where does “Baptism of the Spirit” fit into this.  The verse in Acts 19 above talks about “believers” who were baptized for repentance of sins, but not in Jesus Christ.  It’s interesting because it says they did not know who The Holy Spirit was.  Paul baptized them in the “Name of Jesus” and suddenly the Holy Spirit was manifested within them as Spiritual gifts started showing up.  It doesn’t say Paul dipped them into water.  It says he laid his hands on them and prayed for them.

This helps us see that Baptism is more than water.  The water Baptism, whether it is dipping in a tank or river or sprinkled on top of a head, is a wonderful representation of cleansing of sins, public proclamation of faith, our old identity being put to death, an act of obedience.  And Jesus, who was sinless, even showed us the importance of being baptized as he submitted Himself to this. But some believers stop there, much like the believers Paul encountered in Acts 19.

And Jesus said there is MORE…

 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”  Acts 1:4-5 ESV

John the Baptist also explained this:

John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”  Luke 3:16 ESV

I think what helps is to understand that the word, “baptism” means “immersion”.  So, we can be immersed in water, but far greater is to be immersed in the Holy Spirit.  So, how do we become immersed in the Holy Spirit?  It is by Abiding.  It is through Prayer.  It is through Seeking the Treasure, Who wants to be found.

Oswald Chamber talks about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit:

“An undisturbed relationship between God and the saint.  Just as Jesus stood unsullied in the presence of the Holy Ghost, so by the mighty efficacy of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, we can be lifted into that relationship.  The union is so complete and absolute.  Our Lord does not mean that life will be free from external perplexities, but that just as He knew the Father’s heart and mind, so by the baptism of the Holy Ghost He can lift us up into the heavenly places where He can reveal the counsels of God to us.”

Oswald is speaking of the truth found in 1 Corinthians 2 and how the Spirit reveals to us the deeper things of God:

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.  The spiritual person judges all things but is himself to be judged by no one.  “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.  1 Corinthians 2:14-16

As I have sought the Lord and learned to Abide in Him, I am discovering the Spirit-led life.  It is an immersion in God the Father, by way of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  It has been a Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  I don’t think it is a one-time event.  The Holy Spirit was at work in my life, even before I believed, calling me to Himself.  Then, when I received Christ, I was more aware of His presence.  And the more I abide, the more I surrender, the more I am obedient, the more I die to myself, the more immersed I become in the Holy Spirit. 

This is the life Jesus promised, even the abundant life, and I believe it is the life believers are finding through Journey groups as they Abide and see the Holy Spirit, inviting them into His Living Water.  If you know Jesus, but you are not sure you know the Holy Spirit, ask God the Father to baptize you with His Holy Spirit, and you will realize He’s been there all along, but wants to give you so much MORE.