The Gateway Church

in and around Kings Lynn, West Norfolk

Baptism in the Spirit

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This month’s sermon series is on the power of the Spirit. We need the power of the Spirit. We are a charismatic church – not just nice songs – we want the manifestation of the presence of God as we gather.We need the power of the Spirit in daily life tooJust like Bazalel in the Old Testament – who was filled with the Spirit to do his job of craftsmanship.

And to manifest the fruit of the Spirit to those we encounter – kindness is empowered by the Spirit
This morning we will kick off the series by laying a  scriptural foundation for being baptised in the Spirit.
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”

There’s a great Old Testament background to the Spirit coming upon people  – not many , around 150 people, but the difference is it is now for all not just a few.

  • Moses 70 elders Numbers 11:25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied—but did not do so again.
  • David 1 Sam 16:13So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.
  • Even Saul 1 Sam 10v6 The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.
  • John the Baptists introduces Jesus as the one who will baptise in Spirit in Luke 3:16

The Spirit coming on is noticeable – there’s a manifestation and change occurs.Lots of different church backgrounds and even none here at the Gateway, so you may have been taught one these

4 common views in the past

  1. Conservative Evangelical – you get it at conversion, not noticeable
  2. Second blessing (Keswick convention) – it’s reaching a state of holiness
  3. Pentecostals – tarry or wait for he Spirit to fall – emphasising Acts 1
  4. Release of the Spirit – Wimber and Alpha – like a time bomb, essentially have the Spirit at conversion, but manifest later.

Check with the Bible – always the best place to start.None of the letters command us to be baptised in the Spirit – they assume it has already happened just like baptism in water. Taken for granted – written to churches where people became Christ followers in the Gospels and Acts.

Difficult to build our understanding from the Gospels, which are the story of events leading up to the cross, before Jesus has died for us, risen again and ascended so the Spirit can come (John 16 Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”)
Best place is the book of Acts where we see people getting baptised in the Spirit.

Promise for all – Acts 2:38 Peter’s sermon at Pentecost where the first 3,000 become Christians, get baptised and receive the Spirit.Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”The promise of the Spirit is for all who God calls, not just that first generation. You!

Next we have some converts who have not yet received the SpiritIt took a while for the Gospel to spread further than Jerusalem. In fact it took an outbreak of persecution, for people to go! So in Acts 8 we see the gospel has got to Samaria. Hearing the news, Peter and John are sent to check out what the Lord has been doing! Acts 8:14-17 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Paul get saved and receives the Spirit three days laterActs 9v5-7 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.When Ananias comes three days later, he gets baptised in the Spirit and then in waterThen Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

While Peter is preaching, the Spirit falls on the hearersActs 10:44-46 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.Have you ever been in a long sermon and silently prayed for God to do that again?!

Did you receive the Spirit when you believed?In Acts 19 Paul meets with a group he thinks are believers in Ephesus.There he found some disciples  and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”Turns out whoever evangelised them missed most of the Gospel out  – they are not even saved, so Paul leads the, to Christ, baptises them in water than lays hands on them to receive the Spirit.

So if we think about 4 common ways you may have been taught about the baptism in the Spirit.

  1. You get it all at conversion – clearly Paul doesn’t think that in Acts 19 and it would make Acts 8 odd too.
  2. Get it as a holiness thing later on – not the 3,000 new believers at Pentecost, Cornelius, or Paul or anyone else in the passages we read
  3. Tarrying – Acts 1 they were told to wait or tarry, but after that the Spirit comes on people when they get prayed for.
  4. Release like a time bomb – I get it. The spirit is the one Jesus told us lead to Christ, and the passages shows that baptism in Spirit is nearly always a separate experience of having hands laid on in prayer. But the Bible doesn’t use the language release – more like came on.

What then?Jesus says come to him if you are thirsty. Don’t need to wait!John 7:37-39 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.Forget I’m not holy, I’m not worthy  are you thirsty? Because then you can receive the power of the Spirit who will make you holy!

Normally the Spirit comes upon us when someone lays hands on us to prayExcept for the 120 at Pentecost, because it was the first time. And Cornelius because the Jews wouldn’t touch a Gentile, so God did it!There’s an impartation that comes by laying on of hands.


Many of my Pentecostal friends would say that speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of being filled with the Spirit. I wouldn’t be so dogmatic. For Paul the initial evidence was scales coming off his eyes – he became a tongues speaker later.I do think that it is usual though.Gift of tongues is a wonderful prayer language – direct communication from your spirit to God through the Spirit.

Because 1 Cor 14 tells us it is a gift to edify you – I do think it is a gift everyone can have.It builds us up.

Ram Babu – 5hrs a day – the bigger the building the bigger the anointing!On a more realistic note Jacqui Pullinger wrote of her transformation in ministry when she started to us the gift of tongues. “By the clock I prayed 15mins a day in the language of the Spirit and still felt nothing as I asked the Spirit to help me intercede for those I wanted to reach. After about six weeks of this I began to lead people to Jesus without trying. Gangsters fell to their knees sobbing in the streets, women were healed, heroin addicts were miraculously set free and I knew it had nothing to do with me”.

Tongues can be like a groaning or a joy you can take advantage of.Receiving – it’s by faith. You are speaking and God is giving the words. So don’t go passive.When you receive tongues – go for it! Don’t just mumble a few words and stop. Don’t hold back! Paul said he spoke in tongues more than anyone. The Old Methodists used to shout!Repeated fillings are there in the book of Acts. Some of the Acts 2 crowd and definitely the 120 would have been filled with the Spirit again in Acts 4 at the end of the prayer meeting!



Andy planted the Gateway Church in Sept 2007. He and Janet love to gather different nations together to grow in Christ while eating good food! He also helps to shape and serve a couple of Relational Mission's church plants in mainland Europe. Andy and Janet run regularly, largely to offset the hospitality eating! He also runs a popular WordPress plugin Church Admin