DO CHRISTIANS NEED A SECOND BLESSING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?
WHAT ABOUT THE EXPERIENCES IN THE BOOK OF ACTS?
DOES THE SPIRIT COME AND GO FROM A BELIEVER?
What follows are the four occasions in the New Testament where the Spirit fell on new converts in a dramatic way: Acts 2, Acts 8, Acts 10, and Acts 19. People either spoke in tongues, prophesied, or exhibited some other dramatic gift. The question is why?
One view says that it’s because speaking in tongues is the normal experience or “sign” when people are baptized in the Spirit. Instead, I believe scripture is clear the reason why there was a dramatic expression of spiritual gifts (not just tongues) that accompanied these four specific occasions is because each situation was a new transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant when God’s Spirit would dwell in and upon the new people of God and through them create a new body on the earth. The body of Jesus Christ.
This was the first time the Jews had received the Spirit and were plunged into the body of Christ. Tongues of fire rested upon their heads. This signified that the 120 were the new temple of God. Fire fell on the old temple at its dedication. Babel was being reversed (see Gen.11). Instead of confusion, as at the tower of Babel when they spoke different languages and couldn’t understand one another, there was now unity. Instead of not understanding one another, they were magnifying God with different languages. And their tongues were understood by the people. So tongues in Acts 2 served as a dramatic sign that the 120 in Jerusalem were the new Israel, the new temple, the new body, and the reversal of Babel. The prophecy of Isaiah 28 that God will speak through other tongues was fulfilled. In addition, Acts 2:11 does not say that those who spoke in tongues shared the gospel with the Jews who were visiting from all over the Empire. Instead, it says that the visiting Jews heard them “speaking in our own tongues the great things of God.”This text possesses the language of praise which comports with the idea that tongues is a prayer language as Paul states in 1 Corinthians 14. They were praising God for His wonderful works in the languages of the people.
The Samaritans were half Jew, half Gentile. The Jews despised them. Peter and John laid hands on them to receive the Spirit and the Spirit fell on them in a dramatic way. (Tongues isn’t mentioned, but the Spirit was evidenced in some visible way as indicated by Acts 8:18.) Because the Spirit came on the Samaritans with the same drama that He had come upon the 120 Jews in Jerusalem, it erased all doubt of the reality of their incorporation into the body. It demonstrated clearly to the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem that God had made the Samaritans part of the same body that they were in.
In Cornelius’ house in Caesarea. This was a small group of Gentiles. The gospel was coming to the Gentiles for the first time in history. The Spirit fell on them while Peter preached (probably because Peter wouldn’t have laid his hands on them otherwise, as it was improper and unclean for a Jew to touch a Gentile). The Spirit fell on the Gentiles in the same dramatic way that He did at Pentecost. So it left no doubt to anyone that God had made the Gentiles part of the same body as the Jews. (See Acts 11 for Peter’s explanation to the other apostles where he makes this very point).
Paul met twelve men in Ephesus. They were disciples of John the Baptist. They knew the baptism of promise, but not the baptism of fulfillment (the baptism of Christ). When Paul asked them if they had received the Spirit since/when they believed, he was probably asking: “Were you baptized into Christ, which endows you with the Holy Spirit? Or were you baptized only in John’s baptism?” They answered that they had only been baptized with the baptism of John . . . which looks forward, but doesn’t impart anything. When Paul found this out, he baptized them in water in Jesus’ name, laid hands on them, and the Spirit fell on them. They spoke in tongues and prophesied. This dramatic sign made clear that the transition from the era of promise to the era of fulfillment . . . from John’s baptism to baptism into Christ . . . from the Old Covenant (symbolized by John the Baptist) to the New Covenant . . . was now complete. Again: these men were followers of John the Baptist who had taught about the baptism to come (Luke 3:16). They had been baptized under John in a baptism of anticipation (looking to the Messiah), not of fulfillment. So the Spirit falling on them served as a dramatic sign that the age of fulfillment that John prophesied had indeed come and now baptism into Christ was the point where one receives the Holy Spirit. The disciples of John the Baptist were constituted into the one body in Christ with the Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles. The transition was now complete.
So what is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Answer: I believe it is the act of the exalted Christ in which believers receive the Holy Spirit, where He comes in and upon them, affording them with His power and life, and incorporating them as members into the very body of Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:13 – For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Acts 2:32-33 – God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
John 7:38-39 – “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
John 14:17 – that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
Acts 1:5 – for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (See also Acts 11:16 and Luke 3:16)
Ephesians 2:17-18 – AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY [Gentiles], AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR [Jews]; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. Seek Christ . . . for all gifts, power, insight, virtue, and wisdom are in Him. In fact, He embodies all of these things
In other words, Every genuine believer has been baptized in the Spirit (He dwells in us). Romans 8:9
Do I need a second blessing of the Spirit?
In the New Testament the Holy Spirit is called:
The Spirit of God
The Spirit of Christ
The Spirit of the Father
The Spirit of the Lord
The Spirit of truth
The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
The Spirit of holiness
The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead
The Spirit of the living God
The Spirit of His Son
The Spirit of Jesus Christ
The Spirit of grace
The Spirit of glory
The Spirit of life
The Comforter (which means Advocate, Counselor, or Helper)
If you have been made alive In Christ..May the Lord deliver you from the need for tarrying for the Spirit. If you have put your trust in Jesus Christ, you already have Him. May the Lord deliver you from the need of a second blessing. “You have been given [past tense] all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”(Eph. 1:3). May the Lord deliver you from needing something else from what you’ve already been given in Christ. For all things are in Christ, and you are complete in Him (Col. 2:9-10). You have been given the privilege of all the riches that dwell in Him. May the Lord deliver you into a full and complete revelation of what is yours in Christ and into the full experience of it. Since that day on Pentecost Christians have gotten to enjoy and partake of the most amazing gift on earth…a continual, abiding presence and communion with the Holy Spirit who lives inside each one of us. In fact, Jesus said it would actually be better for us if He left so that we could partake of that amazing reality (John 16:7). Now I don’t believe God is someone who would give us this amazing gift, one better than having Jesus on earth in the ﬂesh, and then constantly have it coming and going from our lives unless we remember to say the “magic prayer” before a church meeting or a difficult math test. The Holy Spirit doesnʼt just show up in a pinch. He doesn't leave us when we sin. He is continually dwelling in us (1Tim. 1:14). We are the “temple” of the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 6:19).
We have access to the Holy Spirit before, during, and after an anointed worship service happens. Even if the songs are sung off key and the guitarist breaks a string and we don’t “welcome the Holy Spirit” into the meeting, He is just as much there in us as He is when everything goes differently and the worship leader sings our favorite songs on key and we can feel His presence stronger. The option is always there for us to feel and experience the presence of the Spirit who is in us. It is up to us to believe and agree with scriptures that He is always there. My desire with this writing and in my life is to see us celebrate the abiding reality of the Holy Spirit in our lives more and to stop focusing so much on getting Him to “show up”. There are implications to the prayers of “come Holy Spirit” and the like: they imply He is not here now, He needs to come, I will tell Him to come, and then He comes…good Holy Spirit!
We do all that instead of celebrating Him in our midst as the Apostles instructed and led us to do. We need to acknowledge the fact that we do not need to spend so much time focusing on and praying for something that is already a reality. The people who pray those prayers do so with the best of intentions. I just believe that God’s answer to those prayers is this:
“Iʼm already here.”
Rom 8:9 You are no longer ruled by your desires, but by God’s Spirit, who lives in you. People who don’t have the Spirit of Christ in them don’t belong to him.
In lots of places the Holy Spirit is treated like He is fuel. On Sundays people come to church to have their tanks filled up again for the week. By the next weekend their tanks are almost empty and by Sunday morning they can barely muster up the strength to drag their deprived bodies off to church again for a refill. We cannot have half of the Holy Spirit – He either lives in us or He doesn’t. Not once in the entire New Covenant do we find mention of the Holy Spirit forsaking a believer. A believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit at salvation:
Eph 1:13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit
1 Cor 3:16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
Speaking of Believers Jesus said the Holy Spirit abides with us and makes his home with us (John 14:16–17). By home he means home. You are not a motel room for the Lord. You are a walking, talking, living, breathing temple of the Holy Spirit. He is not going anywhere. Will you rest today on these truths..that is Gods will for you today!