4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had (a)promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be (b)baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
v.4 (a)The promise of the Father was the gift of the Holy Spirit which comes thru the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Because Jesus reconciled man to the Father, the gift of the Spirit can now be freely given to all who believe. Hebrews 11 is the great “hall of faith”, men who laid down their life for God, but because man had not been reconciled with the Father yet, none of these great men of faith received the promise of the Holy Spirit, Heb 11:39. This promise was made to the disciples and all believers just before Jesus was crucified, Jn 14. It was also foretold to John the Baptist, “He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remain upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit,” Jn 1:33. Now that Jesus accomplished reconciliation for His people, and because Jesus conquered sin and death and all power is now been given to Him in Heaven, the earth and under the earth, the Spirit is now able to move freely on the earth and dwell in all those who believe in the name of Jesus.
Receiving the Holy Spirit is done in two parts:
The first is to be baptized in the name of Jesus. This is different than the baptism that John preached. John proclaimed baptism of repentance to make ready the way of the Lord to the forgiveness of sins. This baptism is an outward expression of ones willingness to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This baptism by water is a symbol of Christ’s death for us. Those that were baptized by John or according to his teachings, were only preparing themselves for the Messiah, Mk 1:3-4. This baptism by water alone does not forgive sins. It must follow with the baptism of Jesus, the acceptance of Jesus Christ into your heart, the receiving the Holy Spirit to be born again. This is the act of accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. At this moment, your old spirit is made new with the Holy Spirit and you are made a new creation. From this point forward your spirit is now made perfect and sinless, washed by the blood of Jesus, Rom 10:9-10, Acts 19:5. We see another example of this when Ananias healed Paul of his blindness. Ananias told Paul to be baptized and his sins would be washed away by calling on His name, Acts 22:16. This is the baptism in the name of Jesus.
v.5(b)The second step is to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. This is when the power of the Spirit will come upon you, Acts 1:8. Your spirit is already re-born and made new, now is the point you are endowed with the power of the Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. From this point on, you are led by the Spirit of God and can now walk in the power and the gifts of the Spirit, Rom 8:1, Gal 5:25.
It is Jesus who baptizes us in the Spirit. What does it mean to be baptized, since Jesus isn’t physically here to do the baptizing? Jesus promised that He would ask the Father to give us the Comforter; that the Spirit would be with us forever, Jn 14:16. Jesus is at work in both steps. The first step, to be baptized in His name, you are washed by the blood of Jesus and all your sins are forgiven. Your spirit is made perfect and you are reconciled with the Father. The second step, to be baptized in the Spirit, you receive the power of the Spirit given to us by Jesus and His covenant with the Father. This enables you to perform His will in you. Being filled with the Spirit makes it possible for us to have a relationship with the Father. Once you are baptized in the power of the Spirit, it is the Spirit of God that bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, Rom 8:14-17.
The word baptized means to be engulfed by something whether literal or figurative.
By receiving and being baptized in the name of Jesus, we are engulfed and washed by the blood of Jesus and our spirit is replaced and made new by the Holy Spirit living within us. This is what it means to be born again. Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new, 2Cor 5:17. After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples for the first time that Sunday night; He breathed on them and said “Receive the Holy Spirit,” Jn 20:22. Right then is when they were born again and made new. Jesus breathed on them the breath of life eternal and they were made a new creation.
Fifty days later on the day of Pentecost, they received the power of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues by being baptized in the Spirit. This is different than being born again and made new. At Pentecost, they were endowed with the power of the Spirit to be effective witnesses for Jesus.
We see this two-step process in Samaria. The apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, but the Holy Spirit had not yet fallen on them, Acts 8:14-17. They had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Were these Samaritans born again? Yes, of course, they believed in the Lord Jesus, but they had not received the power of the Holy Spirit yet. Peter and John hear of this and travel to Samaria to lay hands on them to receive the power of the Spirit.
An example of all three baptisms:
Paul came to Ephesus on his third missionary journey and found some disciples that had been taught by Apollos. Now these disciples were baptized into the baptism of John and nothing more. Paul explains to them that the baptism of John was only for the baptism of repentance; telling people to believe in Him who was coming after Him. This baptism of repentance just prepares the way of the Lord into your heart, it doesn’t actually remove sin. When the disciples heard this they were baptized in the name of Jesus. This is now the point that their hearts are changed and they became a new creation. Then after this, Paul laid his hands on them and the Holy Spirit came upon them and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. This was the endowment of the power of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, Acts 19:1-6.
Now that Jesus has come, the baptism of Jesus is usually the first step, and then baptism with water of repentance follows. The baptism into water by John the Baptist was something done to prepare the way of the Lord. It prepared the hearts of those expecting the Messiah. This submersion into water was a prophetic act of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Now that the Lord has come, this baptism is now done after we accept the Lord Jesus into our hearts. It becomes an outward expression of our belief in what has been accomplished in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. We see this example with the Ethiopian. Phillip preached Jesus to him, the Ethiopian confessed Jesus as the Son of God, and then was baptized into water as an expression of his faith and a symbolism of Jesus’ death for us, Acts 8:35-38, Rom 6:3.