There are two baptisms that should be taking place within the church: the baptism of repentance and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Taking a look at Matthew 3:11, John the baptist explains that his practice of baptism by water is an outward expression of one’s repentance of sins. However, Jesus will come and baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. By being baptized by water, the individual is agreeing to turn from their sins and to start living a new, righteous life; but when Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit dwells within us and we begin to live life in a way that embraces God’s gifts for us. As we all know, Jesus came to serve and his service to the church didn’t end at the cross. He extended his service by sending us the Holy Spirit to prepare and equip the church to make disciples of all nations. In fact, in both Matthew 7 (verses 15-20) and John 15 (verse 8), Jesus explains that we will know his disciples by the fruit they bear. Acts 1:8 says that we will receive power with the Holy Spirit and will become witnesses to the ends of the earth. When we get baptized by the Holy Spirit, our life changes entirely.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit comes with a wide variety of gifts that God has to offer. In my experience, among the most common are the gifts of speaking in tongues and of healing. However, there are far more than I could even list. In fact, in John 14:12, Jesus states that we are capable of performing all the same works as He did and even greater ones. Of course, these gifts are possible only with the help of the Holy Spirit. As demonstrated throughout the Bible, including Acts 19: 1-6, we read of the works of the Holy Spirit. Once filled with the Holy Spirit, we should desire more of God and His affection; we will start to speak/create/resurrect life. We are called to do more! Acts 2 illustrates another Holy Spirit encounter: Pentecost. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, tongues of flames like fire rested on each of them and they began to speak different languages (speaking in tongues). We must be willing to embrace the gifts of the Holy Spirit, wholly, not just ask for those we want at that time. No one ever asks for only $200,000 of a $1 million gift, why should this gift be any different? Unfortunately, not all of us accept the gifts the Holy Spirit has to offer because we are still holding on to something else.
Acts 8:14-17 describes a situation in which Peter and John prayed over the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit since they had received the baptism of repentance prior. Although the Holy Spirit dwells within us from the day of our acceptance, there are many reasons we may not be feeling His presence in our lives. Of course, the reason we don’t feel the Holy Spirit’s presence is because of sin. 1 Corinthians 18-20 explains one such example: sexual immorality. Our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit to dwell in and we are supposed to behave in such a way that demonstrates this. Therefore, the more sin we have in our lives, the less the Holy Spirit is able to work within us. Any time we submit to sin, we are submitting to Satan and therefore are turning our backs on God. But, we don’t have to submit to sin! God will not allow us to be tempted without also providing us at least one way out. We have free will, but free will can also get us kicked out of God’s presence. In Revelation 2:4-5, Jesus tells us that we have forgotten our first love and to repent and return to our first love, God. Everything we give up for God and everything we do for God, will be rewarded in Heaven. That is why in Jude 1:20-25 we are told to build ourselves up in faith and prayer, and to save others by snatching them from the fire. We are equipped and prepared to save others from the fire; we just have to accept the calling.