Acts 2 tells of the Spirit of the Lord descending upon them and they began to prophesy. Some thought they were drunk even though it was only 9 o’clock in the morning. This was because they were physically full of the Holy Spirit. It was evident to all that something had happened to these men. Thousands were added to the church that day and many thousands more daily. Something had ignited the Church and that something was the promised Holy Spirit.
Sometime later (Acts 19) the disciples happened upon some believers and they asked them if they had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit when they believed. They responded that they had not even heard that there was a Holy Spirit. The disciples laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. These were believers who had not yet received the baptism of the Spirit. This shows that this is an event separate from salvation.
Of course, at salvation, the fullness of the Godhead dwells within you. This includes the Holy Spirit. However, there is an actualization of the gifts of the Spirit that occurs with the Baptism. Upon being filled with the Spirit one is empowered to carry out the Lord’s work. It was important enough that Jesus had his disciples wait for this to happen before they began to minister.
How is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit enacted?
Usually, it is by a person who has been baptized praying and laying hands on the person who is receiving. The person doesn’t have to be a leader or minister in the church. It can be anyone who is filled with the Spirit. Or you can simply pray and ask God to baptize you in the Spirit.
How do you know you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit?
There is usually some sign of it either at that time such as feeling the presence of God on you, speaking in tongues, etc. However, sometimes the evidence comes later. Sometimes you may not feel anything or experience anything at that moment, but later you will find the gifts of the Spirit becoming active in your life in some manner. We can grow in these gifts in time by spending time with Jesus and using the gifts. In the Kingdom, you give away what you want to keep. If prophecy, prophesy. If interpretation, interpret. If healing, heal. Walk it out and you will grow in the gifts of the Spirit. All that is in Christ is available to all who are in Christ. We all have the same Spirit working through us and we can all be empowered to serve in the Kingdom of God.