Was the Baptism by the Holy Spirit just for the Disciples?

It’s clear from simply reading the New Testament that baptism by the Holy Spirit is not just for the apostles (Jesus’ first disciples). To see this, we only need to go to the most famous verse in the whole Bible, and read it in context. It is, of course, John 3:16. It’s important to read the whole section in John 3.

Here’s the situation: Nicodemus was a Pharisee, and a member of the Jewish ruling council. Nicodemus was not an apostle. He asked Jesus how someone can be born again (v4). Jesus answered this way:

Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

Jesus was explaining how anyone could be born again, which is a requirement for being part of God’s kingdom. That’s all the evidence we need, but that’s not all we have. We can also look at 1 Corinthians 12:13: For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Clearly, not everyone in the church at Corinth was an apostle…right?

We can also go to Mark 1:8 and see this, spoken by John the Baptist: After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. Clearly, John was not addressing only the apostles…right?

No, baptism in the Holy Spirit IS what makes one a “new creature” in Christ. We must be born again, which is a spiritual thing…performed by the Holy Spirit on everyone who believes the gospel and places their trust in God. Have you decided to trust God with your life yet?

Thanks for the question, Billy.

Could this be the Holy Spirit?

What is the Holy Spirit? Is the Holy Spirit a person? Is the Holy Spirit Jesus? How can I get the Holy Spirit? Does God live in me?

I am not baptized but I am a Christian. I had a strange occurrence where I was consumed with love and happiness that made me light headed and trembly. I also could not hold back the tears of joy. Could this be the Holy Spirit? And what does this mean for me moving forward?

Kelly

Whether they realize it or not, every Christian has interacted with the Holy Spirit. Here’s what Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth:

Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)

That’s not the only place it says that, of course…there are several. The Holy Spirit dwells in every believer, so He’s been with you since you first trusted God with your life. This is true whether you have been baptized or not. Some people believe that any interaction with the Holy Spirit involves speaking in tongues, or prophesying, or something out of the ordinary. While those things may happen, it’s much more common to experience the kinds of things you’ve described to me. The Holy Spirit is directly involved with us in all kinds of ways, and the Bible talks about some of them. He convicts us of sin, for example (John 16:8). He helps us understand spiritual things…we couldn’t understand them without Him (1 Corinthians 2:14). He guides us into all truth (John 16:13). He leads us, empowers us to serve God, and a whole bunch of other things.

I’ve experienced what you’ve described. Sometimes it seems that my heart is wide open toward God, and that my spirit is communing with His Spirit. In those times, I’m not actually trying to do anything specific, or thinking anything in particular…my soul is simply crying out to Him. Yesterday, it happened twice, which isn’t a usual occurrence. Once was while I was singing (this happens fairly regularly), and the other was while my pastor was reading a passage from Matthew 23 (this had never happened before). I would expect that, as you grow in your walk with Jesus, you will experience this a number of times. While it’s a mistake to chase this kind of experience rather than chasing God Himself, it’s certainly not a mistake to put yourself into the right circumstances to connect with God. That’s why Christians, throughout history, have spent time in prayer, studying the Bible, singing, sitting in contemplation, being alone with God, and so on. Again…it’s not the feeling we should be looking to reproduce, but we should look for opportunities to be in direct communication with God all the time. Sometimes it will an amazing emotional experience, sometimes it will be a learning experience, and sometimes it will be God teaching you to rely on Him more completely.