Baptism of the Holy Ghost

John the Baptist was the first New Testament minister to introduce the world to the Holy Ghost as a baptism. He said, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire" (Matthew 3:11). In reference to the Holy Ghost, the prophet Ezekiel wrote many hundred of years before "...I will put my spirit within you..." (Ezekiel 36:27). Christ, in speaking of the Holy Ghost, told His followers, "...for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you" (John 14:17). He was to come to dwell in the sanctified believers (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17). Also, He was to come after Christ ascended back to Heaven (John 16:7).

The Biblical Evidence of Baptism 

Speaking in tongues is the Biblical evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. When Jesus was instructing His disciples about the promised coming of the Holy Ghost, He told them, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify [speak] of me" (John 15:26). His followers received this promise of the Day of Pentecost. Acts 2:4 specifically states, "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

When the Gospel message was first preached to the Gentiles by Simon Peter, they received the message given them, and they spoke with tongues (Acts 10).

The Apostle Paul found "certain disciples" of John the Baptist in the city of Ephesus, and he asked them if they had received the Holy Ghost since they had believed. They responded by saying they had not even heard if there be any Holy Ghost. Paul laid his hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost and spoke with tongues (Acts 19:1-7).

From these scriptural accounts we can see: (1) that the Holy Ghost was promised by Christ; (2) that when the Holy Ghost came, He would testify of Christ; (3) that the initial outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost was accompanied by the evidence of speaking in tongues; (4) that when the Gentiles received the Gospel message and accepted the baptism of the Holy Ghost, they spoke with tongues; and (5) that people under the ministry of Paul spoke with tongues.

The Apostle Peter emphasized the prophecy of Joel by stating that "...the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call" (Acts 2:39). When He comes in, He will testify for Himself by using your speech apparatus, speaking through you. He will give you holy boldness and a special joy that no one can adequately describe.

The Office Work of the Holy Ghost

When the Holy Ghost comes into the believer's temple to abide, He performs many functions which are commonly referred to as His "office work." These functions include the following:

He is a Comforter: "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever...But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name..." (John 14:16, 26). "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth front he Father, he shall testify of me" (John 15:26). He comforts the believer in times of personal loss or stress. The original Greek for "Comforter" means "one called alongside to help."

He is a Teacher: "...he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (John 14:26). "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come,... he will whew you things to come" (John 16:13). "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth..." (1 Corinthians 2:13). It is the Spirit Himself who teaches us the Word of God. He is the author of the Word, and is the only One qualified to interpret or rightly divide the Word of Truth. He will also show us things to come and will bring all things to our remembrance.

He is a Guide: "...he will guide you into all truth..." (John 16:13). He will guide us into all truth, and into deeper and fuller truths of the Word when we are spiritually mature enough to receive them. He also guides us through crises in our personal lives.

He is the Revealer of Truth: "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:9-16). "Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men,, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;" (Ephesians 3:4, 5). In God's own time, the Holy Ghost reveals things which were formerly secret. "The deep things of God" which are hidden from "the wise and the prudent" are revealed at His will "unto babes."

He is a Reprover: "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged" (John 16:8-11). He came to reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. This reproving of the Spirit, or conviction, draws sinners to God and keeps the Christian on the right track by convicting him when tempted by Satan.

He is our indwelling Intercessor: "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (Romans 8:26, 27). He pleads our cause before the Father in heaven, and He directs us in our prayer life.

He is a Gift of God and the Giver of Spiritual Gifts: Though the Holy Ghost is Himself a gift of God (Acts 2:38), He also administers, operates, and manifests "spiritual gifts" through individuals whom God uses at His will. These gifts include the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, divers kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. (See 1 Corinthians 12 for more information about the spiritual gifts of the Holy Ghost.)

Conclusion

The Holy Ghost is many things to the Spirit-baptized believer. The baptism of the Holy Ghost, which is subsequent to the new birth and sanctification, is available to any saint who has been made ready for His indwelling. Receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost is as simple as receiving any other spiritual blessing: "Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:" (Matthew 7:7). To be filled with the Spirit is a command of Christ: "...Receive ye the Holy Ghost:" (John 20:22), and Christ has made a way for each individual to receive Him.