If you have your Bible handy, let's look at I Corinthians 12 for our study this morning. I'll preface our study of this passage with a couple of thoughts. Messages from week to week and service to service are greatly varied because the Scripture varies in its style. Some messages are by nature very practical, some are very theological. Some are more exciting to listen to than others, simply by virtue of what you do know or don't know. There are some things you'll hear and say, "Oh, I already know that," and it's kind of hard to tune in. There are other things where you'll say, "Wow! I never knew that!" and really tune in.
What we're going to study this morning, just to help you put it in the context that I've mentioned, is a very, very theological statement by the Apostle Paul. He does not get into interpolating it into practical areas; he simply makes a very straightforward theological statement in I Corinthians 12:12-13. It is an important statement and it is one which we must understand. It is not my intention, this morning, to carry you into all of the particulars of its significance or its application, but to leave that to the Holy Spirit to accomplish in your heart both now and in the days to come, as He builds on what you'll learn this morning, or have refreshed.
The subject that we come to in our continuing study of I Corinthians is the baptizing by the Holy Spirit that occurs in verses 12-13. It goes without saying that it is a misunderstood subject today, and a very controversial one. Now, in any controversy, you have to take a side, you have to have an opinion. And it had better be that your opinion is defensible biblically.
So, our approach to this Scripture, as always to every Scripture, is to look at it, to read it, and to determine what it means by what it says, theologically. What is God saying here? I trust that you will understand that what I am saying is not an attack on any individuals, but simply an attempt to honestly and with as much integrity as we can have ,to understand what the Spirit of God is saying here and what it means by what it says. From there, we can then apply it.
I'm sure you are aware that I Corinthians 12, 13, and 14 deal with the spiritual gifts; the ministry of the body of Christ through gifts of the spirit. We have talked about them in some detail; we have covered the first 11 verses already; we have discussed the Corinthians' abuse, misuse, misbehavior, and disobedience relative to many areas. We have seen how they had sinned on many counts. In fact, the whole letter of I Corinthians is like a doctor's diagnosis of spiritual disease, followed by a series of prescriptions to remedy the problems.
One of the parts of the disease that had manifested itself among the Corinthians was that they were involved in misuse, abuse, misunderstanding, and disobedience relative to the spiritual gifts. They had mixed up the spiritual gifts with the things that were occurring in their own ecstatic, pagan worship (as we have seen) and much confusion had resulted from it, much dissension, much spiritual pride. All kinds of problems were going on and Paul has to spend three chapters pinpointing some of these and offering some solutions.
As he lays this thing out, there are some theological statements that he makes basic to an understanding of this whole operation. Those are made through the first part of the chapter we're in right now, chapter 12. Keep in mind that Paul's theme throughout I Corinthians 12-14 is to try to help them deal with carnality as it manifested itself in the area of spiritual gifts, or ministries. We're looking now at two verses that become the very core of Paul's argument. What he is saying is this, up to now. I Corinthians 12:1-3 says, "I don't want you to be ignorant about spiritual gifts." They were, and they were to cease being ignorant.
There are two basic things that you must understand. Number one, you must understand the diversity of gifts. The Spirit of God does not want everyone to do the same thing in the same way. There is a tremendous and beautiful diversity. That is his message in verses 4-11. In fact, we have learned that every believer is unique and possesses a unique combination of divine enablements so that he is a spiritual snowflake, if you will. There isn't any other like him. In that uniqueness and individuality of giftedness that God has given to every believer, there is a marvelous ability to minister to the body which is so unique that no one else can take it if you leave it off. That is why it is critical that you minister in the energy of the Holy Spirit, because you are irreplaceable. So he has discussed, at great length, diversity in verses 4-11.
Now, as he comes to verses 12-13, he moves to talk about the other side of this dichotomy, and that is the unity of the church. The church is not only diverse, but it is one. There is a basic unity that we must be committed to. It is fine to have diverse gifts, but we must always remember that there is a oneness that has to be maintained in practice because it exists in position.
In order to help us understand this statement of unity, which he will go on about and which he will relate to diversity in verses 14-27 (we'll get into that later; we're just looking at the one statement of unity today), in order to help us understand it, Paul gives an illustration. The illustration is in verse 12 and the statement of reality is in verse 13. We'll simply take those two points: point one, the illustration, and point two, the reality. Let's look at the illustration, then, of unity.
Verse 12. "For as the body is one," and he's talking here of the physical body, the plain, old physiology of the human body, "The body is one," that is, it is a unit. It exists in a cohesive unit. It is not disconnected; if anything gets disconnected from it, it ceases to function. It is one. "And hath many members," so in its unity, there is a diversity, a plurality. "And all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ."
Now here is Paul's simple statement: the body is one, but it has many parts. The many parts function diversely and yet they are one. Now, every organism, every organic whole, supposes in it diversity and unity. In the body there is diversity, diversity of the members, diversity of the functions. But there exists one whole body and one life energy that makes the body an organic unit.
This is a common designation on the part of the Apostle Paul. If you'll remember, back in I Corinthians 10:17, he referred to us as one body. In Romans 12:4-5, where he also discusses the theme of spiritual gifts, he says, "We have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and yet members one of another." If you were to study Ephesians 1:23, you'd find that he uses the same terminology there, "Which is his body," referring to the church. Ephesians 2:16, again says, "One body." Ephesians 4:4, 12, 16, Colossians 1:18 and 22, I think, the same concepts. With Paul, the single most clear illustration of the unity of the believer with Christ is to see it as a body with Christ as its head, the source of its life.
There are many other metaphors of the church; it is called the flock with one shepherd, the kingdom with one king, the family with one father, the vine and branches with Christ being the vine. So there are other designations of the church. But the best use, or the best metaphor, for the church is as a body, because it is an organic whole, an organic unit. It has a common single life principle. It exists as a whole with one life principle, and yet there is diversity. We're going to see this thing worked out in the weeks to come. We'll see him work out his point that he's making here, but for now, we're just going to help him to make the point so that we'll understand it.
Paul looks at the human body, which is and amazing thing; it is surely the most amazing organic creation of God. It is the highest of His creation. It is the pinnacle of His creation. It is something that is sublime, beautiful, valuable beyond understanding. It is an incredible thing, not in its components.
In fact, Dr. Craig was lecturing some years ago to the Medical Association of Chicago and he said this. "Consider the average 150-pound body of a man from its chemical aspect and this is what you have. It contains enough lime to whitewash a fair-sized chicken coop, sugar enough to fill a small shaker, iron enough to make a 10-penny nail, plus water." You put it all together and it doesn't amount to a whole lot of value. But when God put it all together, it became almost beyond value; almost so valuable, it has no price. In fact, Jesus even said, "What will a man give in exchange for his soul?" That life principle that makes up a man has tremendous value beyond what could be measured. The body is much more than the sum of its parts; it is a fantastic creation of God that manifests diversity and unity.
You may not think about this, but even your duplicated parts are unique and function differently. You have two feet, but when you try on shoes, you often find that they are not the same size. You may also find that if you are right-footed, you can do certain things better with your right than your left foot. You have two arms and hands, but you are either right-handed or left-handed. There is a diversity even in duplicated members.
I have glasses and even my eyes are different; one has a certain problem and the other has another problem; they can't even agree. There is a diversity in my eyes. I noticed that my ears are different sizes. Now, that shot it for the rest of the sermon, you'll be trying to check them out. But anyway, so are yours. Just check the person in front of you; that will suffice. Even those members that are duplicated are diverse and have unique functions.
Yet there is one organic whole that makes up the body. It is the most perfect illustration of diversity and unity in perfect combination and function. You can see it in anyone who does something with any dexterity, anyone whose body is used to doing something athletic or anything that takes amazing dexterity,or the artist who has a beautiful touch with a brush or chisel. There is an organic unity; there is a common life principle hooking all this diversity together so that it becomes a whole, a unit. The church is no different. Basically, intrinsically, bottom line, in defining the church, it is one organic whole, a plurality of members with a common life principle.
Mark this: there are not, there never have been, and there never will be two different kinds of Christians, only one. Verse 13 says that we were all baptized into one body no matter who we are: Jew, Greek, bond, free. There are no Christians who are on the 'in' and none who are on the 'outs.' We are all in the body of Christ; we are all members of His body; we are all a part of the organic whole through which pulses the very lifeblood of Christ Himself; and we all have a common energy, and it is the energy of the living Christ who dwells in us. The body, then, is one organic whole. And it becomes the illustration that Paul uses to speak of the church. That becomes clear at the end of verse 12 in the little statement, "So also is Christ."
I want to kind of open your horizon a little bit on this thought. I would have expected Paul to say, "So also is the church." But when you think of the church, what do you think of? You normally think of a whole lot of disconnected people. The church; people. So Paul, in keeping with his metaphor, says, "So also is Christ." Listen to me: to say 'we are Christ' is the same as saying that 'we are the church.' Did you get that? That's a very, very deep, heavy, theological concept. Let me see if I can dig it up for you and let you get a look at it.
What does "so also is Christ" mean? Why doesn't he say, "So the church is one body?" Because the church is Christ, and this is what he wants to emphasize. He is emphasizing the fact that you and I, as believers, are one with the living Christ. We are one living organism through which pulses the eternal life of God by the Spirit of Christ living in us. You are not just someone with bios, the Greek word for biological life. That biological life simply means being alive as opposed to being dead. That means you are still working; you are still functioning. It means nothing more than that.
We are not just bios, that was one Greek word. They had another Greek word, zoe. Zoemeant not just that you are alive as opposed to being dead, but that you are really cooking, I mean living! Now, if I say to you, "This person is alive," that could mean one of two things. One, he is almost dead and is barely pulling through with tubes up his nose, and he's barely hanging on. But he's alive. But if I say to you, "This guy is alive!" I might mean, "This guy is really cranking! This guy is turned on!" The Greeks had the same concept, only they used two different words for it.
There is another step for us. We are not just biologically alive, we are not just turned on alive, we are eternally alive. Why? Because the life of God is in us. The one common denominator that all believers possess is the life of God in the soul of man. That is exactly what Jesus meant when He said, "Because I live, you shall live also." That is what John meant when he said, "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God is stuck with either biosor zoe," he might be biologically alive, and he may be kicking a little bit, but he doesn't know what it is to have real life.
We are Christ. I said before, the only Christ the world sees is us, right? Christ incarnated Himself once in a single body; He has incarnated Himself again in all of our bodies, and made the one body that is Christ in the world. We are Christ; that's his point. Paul is emphasizing the incarnation of Jesus in His church, in His body. It is a living incarnation. Christ is alive in me; He is alive in you. He is alive in every believer. That is what salvation means. All of us, you are all one in Christ Jesus.
I Corinthians 6:17 says, "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit," and thus one with every other person joined to the Lord. That is Paul's point. He is saying to the Corinthians, "I know there is to be diversity, but that doesn't mean you go on fracturing like you have been; there is also unity there." One life source, one personality pervades my body. I have one personality, one life source. So the church, the one body made up of all of us, is pervaded by one life source, one personality, and that is Christ. We are literally, simply flesh and bones to manifest the living Christ.
That is why it is so ridiculous and incongruous when we function in the area of exalting self, do you see? It would be no different than if Christ, in His incarnate body, had to fight someone else there. He should be freely manifested through us. When a spiritual gift operates and we minister, it is Christ ministering and manifesting His life. So we possess the common life of Christ; He lives in us.
Paul says, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Paul says, "For to me to live is Christ." The same is true for you. It is the life of Christ in you, God's eternal life. That is why when you die, you don't die. You already have eternal life. You are not going to get it, you have it! What you are now, you are going to be forever. I've told people this before, that when you die, it will be less of a change for you than your salvation. You already have eternal life; dying is just leaving the physical body so you can enjoy it to its hilt. So we have eternal life. Christ is alive in us.
Now, let me ask you this: do all Christians have this life? Yes. Do all Christians possess the life of Christ? Yes, that is what salvation is: to receive Jesus Christ, to have Him enter my life. That is Paul's illustration. Now, he goes on to explain something of the significance of this theologically in verse 13. We go now from the illustration to the reality. This is where people get confused, and I want to do what I can to help them not to be confused.
Verse 13; here is the reality. "For by one Spirit," and here, he explains how it is that we are in Christ, how it is that He is in us, how it is that we can literally be called 'Christ.' "For by one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Greeks, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink one Spirit."
Let's look at this tremendous verse that is, unfortunately, greatly and grossly misunderstood today. What does it mean to be baptized into one body by the Holy Spirit? This is very important, vital, but very misunderstood. Paul takes it in two thoughts; notice them. The first one is the formation of the body and second one is the inner life. The formation of the body, "We are all baptized into one body," and the inner life at the end of the verse, "We have been all made to drink one Spirit." The word 'into' was added by someone, because it is not in the original. Those are the two thoughts, two unifying concepts.
Remember, unity is his point. There are two unifying concepts: the formation of the body on a unified basis and the inner life on a unified basis. We have all been put into the body in the same way and we all possess the same inner life. Therein lies our unity; therein lies our oneness. Let's begin by looking at the first one, the forming of the body.
"For by one Spirit." We'll stop there. Now, a lot of people are confused right here to begin with. The Greek enheispneumacould be translated 'for by, or with.' Some would translate it 'in,' but I don't feel that is a proper translation because those Greek prepositions are translated differently depending upon the case ending of the word following. The safest translation here, and most consistent here, the most consistent with the wide use of it and the most consistent in the context of the New Testament is to use the word 'by or with.' We are baptized by or with the Holy Spirit.
One thing that never could be used here is the word 'of.' So that the concept that you hear so often, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, appears nowhere in Scripture. That is not a scriptural term. There is no such statement anywhere in the Bible as the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In fact, I would go a step further and say there is no place in the Bible where you can find that the Spirit does the baptizing. That may be a surprise, but if you look carefully at the verses involved, the Spirit does not do the baptizing.
Look with me at Matthew 3:11. You could never us it in a possessive sense. For you Greek students, it's not a genitive here. In Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist is speaking. He says, "I, indeed, baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry; He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit." Let me ask you a simple question: who is the baptizer? Christ. That is simple. The One who is coming who is mightier than John the Baptist, the One whom he came to announce, is Christ. Christ will baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and later on with fire.
Beloved that is not the fire of Pentecost. You say, "What fire is it?" Verse 12 says, "Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the granary, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." It is the fire of hell, that's what it is.
I'll tell you one thing, if you are not baptized with the Holy Spirit, what is going to happen? You will be baptized with fire. I would add, then, that there are only two kinds of people in the world: the people baptized with the Holy Spirit and the people who go to hell. That's what it says. So you can't be a Christian and not be baptized with the Holy Spirit. That is his point, and we'll see that in I Corinthians 12. It's alluded to there. I would even take it a step further, just to make sure that this is clear.
In Mark 1:7-8, you have a similar situation. "There comes one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I, indeed, have baptized you with water, but He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit." Again, you have Christ the baptizer. Look at Luke 3:16. I want you to see how beautifully consistent the Word of God is. Luke 3:16. "John answered, saying unto them , I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to loose; He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." And he goes through that whole thing again on unquenchable fire and the burning fire that is indicated in verse 17.
I'll take you back to John 1:33, and it's the same there. "And I knew Him not; but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, 'Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit, this is the Son of God.'" Who, then, is the baptizer? Christ is the baptizer. You say, "This is a very theological point. It is a fine point." Yes, but I think it will help you to keep perspective as we go, so stick with it.
Jesus is the baptizer. Acts 2:32. "This Jesus hath God raised up," then 33 says, "Therefore, being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear." Who is it that shed forth the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost? It is Christ, in fulfillment of the prophecy that John the Baptist gave, and we just read it out of the four gospels.
The baptizer is Christ, the baptizer is not the Holy Spirit. People say, "We have had the baptism of the Holy Spirit," and think that the Holy Spirit does something to them. They even go so far as to say, "Yes, we have been baptized by Christ in conversion, but the baptism of the Spirit comes later." That is a misunderstanding of the Word of God.
The element of baptism is the Spirit; the baptizer is Christ. Just as John was the baptizer baptizing people into water, so Christ is the baptizer baptizing us, as it were, into the Spirit of God, or with the Spirit of God as the agency, which act places us in the body. I don't expect you to fully understand that and have your brain say, "That's very clear; I have it down." That is a very mystical concept, but we have to understand what the Bible is saying. Christ is the baptizer. He is the One who sends the Spirit. He is the One who had to go back to the Father to send the Spirit, and He is the One who baptizes us with the agency of the Spirit.
Could you say that we are saved by the Lord Jesus Christ? Is that fair to say? I think so; I was. Weren't you saved by the Lord Jesus Christ? But who was the agent of your salvation? You were born of the Spirit. Christ and the Spirit are involved, and so is the Father. So it is that, somehow, when you are saved, the Lord Jesus Christ, by the agency of the Spirit of God, places you into His body. He is the baptizer.
I want to go a step further. Verse 13 just builds on this thing, and I think you'll understand what he is saying here very clearly.
"For by one Spirit," how many Spirits are there? Same Spirit. "You may have the spirit of so-and-so, but I have my own spirit. Then you're out." One Spirit. "Were we baptized all into one body." You tell me, how many Christians have had the baptism by the Holy Spirit? All. I don't understand why people want to be confused here. I purposely didn't define anything; I just said, "How many?" and you had the right answer. It isn't really that tough.
When someone comes along and says, and I've had this said to me very frequently, "Have you had the baptism of the Holy Spirit?" my first answer is, "There is no such thing as the baptism of the Holy Spirit. If you mean the baptism by the Holy Spirit, yes." So has every other Christian. That is Paul's whole point: that we have all Christians had it, and that is the basis of the fact that we are all one body, possessing the one life source, indwelt by the one Christ.
Listen, if you take away the baptizing by Christ as the baptizer with the agency of the Holy Spirit, you destroy the doctrine of the unity of the body, because we then have some people who aren't in yet. Where are they? What kind of a limbo is it to be saved but not be a part of the body of Christ? You mean to say that you can be a Christian but not a part of Christ? That makes no sense. It is clear what he's saying here; we were all baptized.
What does Paul mean by 'baptized?' We could talk a lot about that. The first thing I would say is that verse 13 is dry, not wet. There is no water here. There are some wet verses in the New Testament that talk about water baptism, but this isn't one of them. Romans 6 is dry too. Some of those Pauline theology passages cannot be simplistically interpreted in terms of water. But there are some people who are sacramentalists, who say that when you are baptized in water, that is the baptism that imparts to you the Holy Spirit.
No, that can't be. There are gobs of people who have been baptized in water and haven't got the foggiest idea of what's going on. Perhaps they were baptized as babies, or at some point in their life, but they don't believe in Christ particularly, they don't practice the Christian life, and they know nothing of the changing power of Christ and the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God. Water isn't what he's talking about.
The Greek word baptizois used in the New Testament to refer to a spiritual immersing. Paul is saying that every believer has been taken by the same Spirit and immersed in the same unity with Christ that constitutes His body. You see? It is a very clear word here. There isn't any water here at all. The baptism Paul is referring to is a spiritual reality. It refers to bringing the believer into a vital union with Christ.
The word means 'to immerse,' and as somebody could be immersed in water, so somebody could be immersed in the body of Christ. In other words, you are in a new environment. You've seen people baptized; they're in the air, then they're in the water. It's a new environment. So it is with Christ. You used to be a part of this air, and now you're in the water. You're in a new environment, a new atmosphere, a new union, a new identification, a new oneness with Christ. That is the New Testament usage of the word.
For example, Matthew 3:11 mentions baptism unto repentance. What does that mean? It means you are immersed into a repentant heart, or a repentant attitude. Baptism into Moses is what we saw in 1 Corinthians 10:2. That means that they left Pharaoh and the old land of Egypt to become immersed and identified with a new leader and a new land. Baptism by the Holy Spirit is Christ placing you, by means of the Spirit's cooperation, into the unity of the body and giving you a common life principle. When you became a Christian you were joined to Christ, and when you were joined to Christ, you were connected up with everyone who is joined to Him. We are all one, right? That's all he's saying here.
I will never understand why people want to say that you have to wait for a second experience for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It just isn't so! What they are doing is tampering with the doctrine of salvation, and that is why it is so serious. They are saying, "Salvation doesn't really give you everything you think it gives you." I don't like to hear that about salvation, do you? Spirit baptism unites you to Jesus Christ, and that means that all that He is and all that is His is yours.
You say, "You mean it all becomes ours?" Yes. Look at John 7:37. I've heard some people use this passage to refer to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as they call it. It just doesn't make it. They say, "Well, you may be saved and you may possess the Holy Spirit, but you don't have the rivers of living water flowing out of you." They claim that there is another step needed to receive the rivers of living water. Let me show you something about the rivers.
Verse 37. "In the last day, that great day of the feast," this is the Feast of Tabernacles. In this ritual, a priest came, and would take a pitcher and pour out water. They would celebrate God giving water to the children of Israel at Meribah. They would quote Isaiah 12:3, "Come and draw water out of the wells of salvation." It was a great pouring ceremony. It was right at this point that Jesus said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink." In other words, "If you are really thirsty, it isn't that water that will satisfy you, it is the water I give."
Look, "Anyone who is thirsty." What is that? What is a thirsty man? Someone who sees his need, right? Let him come to Christ. Then what does he do? Drink; that is salvation. You know you have a need, you go to the source, and you take what He has. That is salvation, that's what he's saying. This is just an invitation to get saved.
Now you say, "Then what happens?" Verses 38, "He that believes on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water." What does that mean? Verse 39. "This spoke He of the Spirit, whom they that believe on Him should receive." Let me ask you this: who receives the Holy Spirit? Someone who believes. And how much of the Holy Spirit? So much that out of his being flows rivers of living water. Are there any lacks there? I've heard people say, "You may only have a trickle. Wouldn't you like to have a river?" Brother, I don't have a trickle; I have a river. Whether or not the river is flowing out of me is dependent upon my obedience and submission.
Jesus says, "Come and drink, and you will have the rivers of living water." There isn't any other condition. There is always, and every and only and continually, throughout Scripture, one single condition for the fullness of the Spirit of God in your life, one single condition for the rivers of living water, one single condition for the baptizing with the Holy Spirit. One single condition, and that is to believe. That's all, saving faith.
In case you're still confused about that, look at Acts 11:15. Peter is reporting about the Gentile conversion, which, of course, was a great shock to him. "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as on us at the beginning. It was incredible! They had the same Holy Spirit that we had - Gentiles! Can you believe it? How amazing. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how He said, 'John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'" Who? Who was going to be baptized with the Holy Spirit? "Forasmuch, then, as God gave them the same gift as He did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ." Who gets the baptism with the Holy Spirit? Anyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let me say something else. The baptism by the Holy Spirit is not an experience. Did you get that? It is not an experience, it is a fact that occurs at your salvation. It is the fact that when you believe God, by the Spirit, He places you into the Son. That is the baptizing by the Holy Spirit.
I'm just trying to help you to see what the Word says. In Galatians 3:26, it says, "For you are all the sons of God." How do you get to be a son of God? "By faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ," now notice that. You have three parallel statements, and four with the last part of 26. I'll give you four definitions of a Christian. A Christian is a son of God. A Christian is somebody who has put his faith in Christ Jesus. A Christian is somebody baptized into Christ. A Christian is somebody who has put on Christ. All of those are synonyms, all of them define the same thing. "As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ," and are the sons of God. It's all by faith, saving faith.
That is why there is no command in Scripture to be baptized with the Spirit. There is nowhere an exhortation to receive the Holy Spirit. Why? Because you already have. That is the whole point of our unity in Christ. If you take that away, you have destroyed a part of the doctrine of salvation because we're saved, but we're hanging loose somewhere, we never got connected. That isn't so. We're saved, but we don't have all there is, but salvation is complete. We saw that in Colossians 2:10. "And ye are complete in Him."
I want you to notice something else in 1 Corinthians 12. It says that, "By one Spirit we all have been baptized," past tense. It happened already, folks. We've all already had that when we were saved. You don't experience it, it's a fact. It is a union and an identification with the body; the life principle of Christ coming to live in you.
People say, "What about the book of Acts? People in Acts 1 believed, but they had to wait." Yes, they had to wait because the Holy Spirit hadn't come yet. It wasn't the age yet for the Spirit. They had to wait until the Spirit came the first time. Just as some people had waited, like Anna had waited for the Messiah in the temple. Some people had waited for the Messiah, so some people who believed had to wait for the Spirit to get here. But that doesn't mean there are Pentecosts going on all the time any more than Jesus is born in Bethlehem every two weeks. He came once and did it. The Spirit came once and that was it.
You say, "But why was there a gap in Acts 8 with Samaritans getting saved but not receiving the Spirit?" Because God's design was to have them wait to receive the Spirit until the Jews and the apostles could see it, so that the Jews and the apostles would know the Samaritans and the Gentiles (in chapter 10) had received the same Holy Spirit they had. God wanted them all to know that the church was one. But it wasn't something they sought. The only people who ever waited for the Spirit were those in that transition in the book of Acts.
Some people say, "Well, what about Acts 19? Those people were asked, 'Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?' And they said, 'We don't even know about the Holy Spirit.'" And from that these people say, "There you have Christians without the Holy Spirit." No. They weren't even Christians. Don't you realize? Those people were disciples of John the Baptist. When they found out about Christ, they received Christ and the Spirit at the same time. But from then on, the statement of doctrine is clear: "For by one Spirit were we all baptized into one body." We have all been placed into the body. So, don't let anyone tell you that there are some Christians who have never been baptized with the Holy Spirit. We have all been put in.
Here is the beautiful thing about it, it's whether we're Jews or Greeks or we be bond or free. It doesn't matter who we are. Religious background doesn't matter; social strata doesn't matter. We are one church and God wanted it clear that everyone is a part. Now you may not like the fact that we are all one, but we are.
I am sure there are some young kids who look at some of the older folks and say, "You mean we are in the same body with them?" Then there are some older folks who look at those kids and say, "It can't be, it can't be!" We're all there! There may be some people who rub you the wrong way, but you might as well get used to them because you are going to spend eternity with them. We are all in the same body, that's his point. "We all, we all." This is the universal gift to all Christians.
I guess that, to me, people who say that my salvation does not give me everything that God wants for me the moment I take it, are tampering around with the doctrine of salvation. That is serious. There is no second Pentecost, there is no kind of super-duper, supernatural, ten-days-later shot. What's happening, I think, is that they confuse the baptizing (placing you into the body) with later, the filling of the Spirit of God (where the Spirit of God is released in your life to empower you for service). That is simply you yielding to the Spirit that is already there. That's all. You are simply being obedient.
Do you know how to be filled with the Spirit of God and see the energy of the Spirit in your life? You say, "Tarry." No, don't tarry. You say, "Get with a group of people who can teach you how to speak in tongues." No. You know how to do that? You know how to release the Spirit of God in your life? One little word: obey. When you walk in obedience to the Word of God, and man, the Spirit of God is energized in your life. That is the principle of the New Testament.
So, we have seen the formation of the body by one Spirit placing everyone into one body. There is a basic unity. As I've said, if you don't allow everyone to have the baptism of the Spirit, you've got disconnected Christians floating around and you've destroyed the whole concept of the church.
Now, the second thing to emphasize our unity is at the end of verse 13. "We have been all made to drink one Spirit." This is beautiful. Not only have we been placed into something, but we have had something placed into us - the Holy Spirit. I suppose there are some people who think we didn't receive all of Him either. But I've always felt that He doesn't come in doses. Jesus said He doesn't give the Holy Spirit "by measure," a piece at a time. You have the Holy Spirit. "Don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which you have of God?" God says in II Corinthians He will dwell in you. God is in me and alive in me. If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.
I not only have been put into something, but something has been put into me. I am not only immersed into an environment of the life of God, but the life of God is in me. It's in me and around me. All of the resource is there, all that I need is there. I have received the promise of the Holy Spirit, fully and totally. The Holy Spirit is yours the minute you believe. That is what I Corinthians 12:13 says: we have all been made to drink one Spirit. This is the common life principle. If you haven't received the Holy Spirit, you don't have eternal life because He is that life living in you.
It is absolutely clear; there is nothing to wait for, folks. Yet I say this has to be one of the most confusing, misrepresented, misunderstood doctrines among Christians today. It is a cause for continual controversy. People continually intimidate Christians by saying, "You haven't had something that God wants you to have. You have to go out and find it, seek for it, and here is how you get it."
What has always amazed me is, this week, I read ten different writers who gave ten different ways to get the baptism of the Spirit. That's incredible! I have read my Bible and I have read evangelical writers all over the place, and I have never read a true evangelical writer who ever gave more than one way to get saved. If this is so important, how come we can't figure out what the key to it is? It's difficult because the Bible doesn't tell you. And the reason the Bible doesn't tell you how to be baptized with the Spirit of God is that the Bible tells you you already have been.
It is very important for us to make these distinctions. It doesn't do any justice to the Holy Spirit to misconstrue His work, it only dishonors Him. Let Him do what He did. It bothers me because it undermines the doctrine of salvation, and that hits at what Christ does. It bothers me when someone tells me that I don't have something of the Spirit because that tells me that the Spirit isn't what I thought He was. And He doesn't like that either. Now, I believe that these people are Christians, I just think that we have to get back to the study of the Word of God.
You say, "Where did the idea of the baptism of the Spirit come from?" It's not here. You can read yourself that it isn't here, that you get a second baptism later on. In the first place, it has its roots in Catholicism. You see, Catholicism teaches that when an infant is baptized, he receives salvation. Later on, when he is confirmed, he receives the Holy Spirit. So, this dichotomy is Roman Catholic.
It also has its roots in John Wesley. Not only Wesley, but Charles Finney, R.A. Torrey, and a lot of other guys. In fact, Torrey has been one of the greatest contributors to the modern Pentecostal movement because he wasn't a Pentecostal. When he taught that the baptism of the Spirit was a later work, they quoted him from one end of the pole to the other because he was such a well-known evangelical, mainline theologian.
Take John Wesley, for example. He taught that you were saved, then later on, there was a second work of grace subsequent to salvation. I think that this was a holdover from the environment that he was in. Something interesting that I found out this week was that John Wesley's biographers say that he died never having attained that second work. Want to hear something interesting? He was a better man than his theology.
You can read Finney, Andrew Murray, Watchman Nee, you can read a lot of people and find out a whole lot about it. You can read some things about the Holiness Movement and Keswick Movement and you'll find this is where it all came from - the second level.
In 1901 in Topeka, Kansas, the modern Pentecostal movement was born and they fostered that. The Pentecostal movement came out of the Holiness and Wesley movements. Later on, in 1906, in Los Angeles, it began here on Azusa Street. It developed, most predominantly in our area, into the Foursquare Church. That ministry grew, and there were many, many things that came out of it. Denominations such as the Churches of God, the Foursquare Assemblies of God, the many United Pentecostal, the Pentecostal Fire-Baptized Holiness churches, and many other denominations grew out of that. But that is the old, traditional viewpoint that you get something at conversion and something later.
It does injustice to the doctrine of salvation and it violates I Corinthians 12:13, which says you were placed into the body when you were saved. That is the baptizing by the Spirit, and you received the fullness of the Spirit at the same time. We all, we all have received it. I just want you to understand that you are not missing anything. Let's pray.
Our Father, we know that we have dealt very strongly with Your word, and we have tried, as clearly as we can, to teach it. We have no desire to be unkind or unloving to our brothers and sisters in Christ who don't see this this way, we just pray that we would be gentle and loving in sharing with them what the Bible says. That we would not let their tradition or experience to overrule Scripture. Most of all, Lord, preserve us from feeling that our salvation is inadequate. Help us to know that there is everything there; it is all ours, it's all in us, it's all available to shine through us to bless us and to bless others, if we obey Your truth. We pray in Christ's name, Amen.
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