Posted by: pastortomvabeach | June 25, 2012

Thought for the Week July 1, 2012

We are discussing the teaching about baptisms in the Scripture. Many Christians, regardless of spiritual maturity, think of only one thing when they hear the word, baptism. I’m sure that you know what that is. It’s water baptism, which we discussed last week. When they see the word in the Bible, they automatically assume that it is referring to the event of identifying with Christ by being submerged in the water. But, as we’ve shown, there are at least four different baptisms which are spoken of in the New Testament. I hope you have looked over the various references we have mentioned up to now and are seeing how the agent, the circumstance, and the purpose of each of these baptisms is different.

That being said, remember the word, baptism, means to immerse or cover completely with. That idea applies to all of the baptisms taught and is particularly significant with our subject for this week, the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Do you know that you are ahead of the game if you are reading these postings? We have been teaching through the “elementary principles” of the Christian faith on Sundays but these postings are coming out a week or two before we teach on each subject. That way you get a leg up and can prepare for each Sunday’s lessons.

In a couple of weeks we plan to share about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Let’s begin today by just getting some background information, then next week, I’ll go more into detail about what this baptism actually means and its purpose for us as followers of Christ.

Where did this idea come from? We can start with John the Baptist. In all four gospels the writers recorded John’s prophecy about Jesus. Many were coming to John, hearing his fiery preaching, being baptized as a sign of repentance from sin. The gospel writers tell us that many of those folks were wondering, even asking, whether John was really from God. Some even thought he might be the Messiah.

I think that John knew what they were wondering and his clear answer was this, I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33). Matthew and Luke include the reference to baptism in fire while Mark and John simply say baptize you with the Holy Spirit.

There are many instances where something that Jesus said or some other important spiritual teaching or principle was recorded by one, two, or three of the gospel writers. In fact, there are relatively few teachings that all chose to record. I believe that when they all wrote something like this that they all must have known (from the Holy Spirit, of course) that this was something that would be centrally and vitally important for Jesus’ followers to know and get right.

Jesus also confirmed what John said which Luke recorded in Acts 1:5. The occasion is right before Jesus is to ascend into heaven to await His return. He has gathered the apostles and other followers together and tells them they must remain in Jerusalem, apparently to hold off on any further ministry efforts, and wait for the promise of the Father, which He said, You have heard from me (Acts 1:4).

In the great Last Supper sermon recorded by John the Apostle, Jesus told the disciples that when He was gone, He would ask His Father to send them another Helper (or Comforter) who would be with them in much the same way that Jesus had been with them. He said When the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. (John 15:26)

Luke also records Jesus teaching them after the resurrection Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:49). Apparently this promise was more than something to make them feel good, but was intended to impart divine power so they could be about kingdom business.

So how does the promise relate to the baptism in the Holy Spirit? Go back to Acts 1. Right after Jesus said to wait for the promise of the Father, He defined it for them, For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. (Acts 1:5). There it is again. Jesus said there was a baptism coming that was different than anything they had experienced up to now. This baptism would be an immersion into the Holy Spirit in a way that would make supernatural, divine power available on a full-time, real-time basis. This was a baptism that they could not do without if they were to carry out the mission Jesus gave.

Now fast track to today and much Christian teaching says that this “baptism in the Holy Spirit” is none other than the Holy Spirit coming into our lives when we get saved. I believe the mistake is in reading I Corinthians 12:13 incorrectly. Paul says, by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, and it is easy to say he’s referring to the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I mean doesn’t he also say in Roman 8:9 that if we don’t have the Spirit we are not one of His (Jesus’ followers)? That is true. But if you follow the disciples’ history, you will see that they already had the Spirit when Jesus told them to wait for the promise of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

John records a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus where it says Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21-22) If Jesus already gave them the Holy Spirit, why did He later tell them to wait, unless there was a subsequent event which was necessary for them?

What I’d like you to do this week is to look at the gospels and Acts. Read where the words “baptism in the Holy Spirit” are recorded. Think of the way Jesus presented this to the disciples and see if you can listen to the Lord regarding this “promise” Jesus gave. Ask the Lord to show you whether this baptism is important for you and where it fits in your “elementary” application of your life with Christ. Is this promise for you? Just a thought.

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