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Defining It...

Let us now try to define what is baptism in the Spirit.

Our basic text is Acts 1:8, "you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth". According to Luke, these are the very last words of Jesus, and it is after saying this that Jesus ascends into heaven (Acts 1:9). The very important last words. The very final instructions. The very key to bringing about what Jesus had come into the world for the salvation of the world.

What is baptism in the Holy Spirit? It is an infilling of the Holy Spirit by which a person is empowered to be a living witness to Jesus for the purpose of global evangelization. By infilling, Catholics would understand this to mean a fuller outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which was already conferred in Baptism. Pentecostals would understand it to be a second infilling, apart from the imparting of the Spirit at water baptism. For us, what is important is that there is a renewed outpouring of the Spirit in one's life.

What is the purpose of the infilling? There are three important elements: "power", "witness". and "the ends of the earth". Go to top

Power for mission

Prior to his ascension, Jesus told the disciples that they would be his witnesses, to preach repentance in his name to all the nations (Lk 24:4748). However, they were to stay in the city and not move out as yet, until they were clothed with power from on high (Lk 24:49). The task of global evangelization had already been fully expounded upon by Jesus, but it could only be accomplished with supernatural power from God. So Jesus told them to wait, and would be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days (Acts l:5).

Their baptism in the Spirit came on Pentecost, when "they were all filled with the Holy Spint" (Acts 2:4). With the filling came the empowerment. Peter preached the good news at Pentecost and won 3,000 converts (Acts 2:41). Paul preached in Damascus and astounded his listeners, while confounding his opponents (Acts 9:2022). The forceful witness of the early Christians ultimately converted the whole Roman empire.

This power of the Holy Spirit enables us to become effective witnesses. The power of the Holy Spirit is imparted not just to enable us to live the Christian life, but to enable us to do vibrant and effiective ministry. It is power for mission. Go to top


The Scriptural Citation...

Is baptism in the Spirit different from water baptism?

How about the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation (for Catholics)?

The Experiential Factor...

Importance vs necessity

Defining It...

Power for mission

Power To Witness...

All Fired Up...

The Global Dimension...

Pentecost Power Today...