Shortly after Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to His disciples who were hiding in a locked room, breathed on them, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). Here in John’s Gospel , the focus was on the saving work of the Spirit and what He would do when He came to live inside of us. Paul referred to this as a downpayment of resurrection life–“a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:22). This moment shortly after the resurrection is when the disciples received the indwelling Holy Spirit. They were “born again” and became new creations.
But weeks late, just before ascending into heaven, Jesus gave another instruction concerning the Spirit. In Luke 24:49, Jesus said, “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” This instruction was echoed in Acts 1:4-5, when Jesus said, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
So even though the disciples had received the Holy Spirit within them weeks earlier, Jesus still wanted them to hold off on the Great Commission until that same Spirit had clothed them with power.
This is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
My goal in teaching the baptism in the Holy Spirit is to show that it is both biblical and simple to receive. I have been humbled to enjoy the privilege of leading hundreds of people into the baptism in the Holy Spirit, as evidenced by their speaking in tongues.
One of the things I do is demystify speaking in tongues. I tell people that God is not going to take them over like a puppet. The Spirit gives us self-control (Galatians 5:22-23), so we hold the on/off switch. We can choose at any moment to begin by faith, and we can stop whenever we feel right to do so. It’s not words in your mind–Paul said when He prayed in tongues, his mind was “unfruitful” (1 Corinthians 14:14). Rather, it is a synergistic “dance” in which we do our part (vocalizing) while trusting the Holy Spirit to lead us in producing the sounds and syllables.
But the primary focus is not speaking in tongues. The primary focus is power for the sake of ministry. God wants to put His words in our mouths and supercharge our ministries so that we can join Him in making a maximum impact on the world around us. This is the purpose of our empowerment, and it is available to every believer.