If you have your Bible handy there, let’s look at 1 Corinthians chapter 12 for our study this morning. Just preface our study of this passage with a couple of thoughts. Messages from week to week and service to service are greatly varied, and that’s because the Scripture varies. It varies in its style. Some messages are by nature very practical, some are very theological. Some are more exciting to listen to than others, just by virtue of what you do know or don’t know. There are some things that you’ll hear and you’ll say, “Oh, I already know that,” and it’s kind of hard to tune in. And there are other things, “Wow, I never knew that,” and it really gets you tuned in.
And 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 1 Corinthians 12:12 and 13. It is an important statement and it is one which we must understand. It is not our 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.
But the subject that we come to in our continuing study of 1 Corinthians is the baptizing by the Holy Spirit that occurs in verses 12 and 13. It goes without saying that that is a misunderstood subject today, is a very controversial one. Now in any controversy, you have to take a side. You have to have an opinion. And it better be that your opinion is defensible biblically. And so our approach this morning 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? And I trust that you will understand that what we are saying is not an attack on some individual or individuals, but what it is is an attempt, as 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. And then from there, we can then apply it.
I’m sure you are aware that 1 Corinthians chapter 12, 13, and 14 deals with the spiritual gifts, the ministry to 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 1 Corinthians is like a doctor’s diagnosis of spiritual disease, followed by a series of prescriptions to remedy the problems. And one of the parts of the disease that had manifested itself among the Corinthians was that they were involved in the 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.
But as he lays this thing out, there are some theological statements that he makes basic to an understanding of this whole operation. And those are made through the first part of the chapter we’re in right now, chapter 12. Now keep in mind that Paul’s theme throughout 12 to 14 is to try to help them to deal with carnality as it manifested itself in the area of spiritual gifts or ministries. And we’re looking now at two verses that become a very core of Paul’s argument. What he is saying is this – up to now – verses 1 to 3 of chapter 12 say, “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 you must understand. Number one, you must understand the diversity of gifts. The Spirit of God does not want everybody to do the same thing in the same way. There is a tremendous and beautiful diversity, and that’s his message in verses 4 thru 11. In fact we’ve learned that every believer is unique and every believer possesses a unique combination of divine enablements, so that he is a spiritual snowflake, if you will. There isn’t any other like him. And in that uniqueness and that 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 nobody else can take it when you leave it off. And that’s why it’s critical that you minister in the energy of the Holy Spirit, because you are irreplaceable. And so he has discussed at great length diversity in verses 4 to 11. But now as he comes to verse 12 and 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, and there is a basic unity that we must be committed to. Yes, it’s 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 thru 27, and we’ll get into that later. We’re just looking at the one statement of unity today. But in order to help us understand it, he gives an illustration. And his illustration is in verse 12 and the statement of reality is in verse 13. So we’ll simply take those two points: Point one, the illustration; 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. Your body and mine. Just talking about the plain ole physiology of the human body. The body is one. That is, it is a unit. The body 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 it has many members.” So in its unity, there is a diversity; there is a plurality. “And all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also Christ.” And we’ll stop there.
Now here is Paul’s simple statement: The body is one, but it has many parts. The parts are many, functioning 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 is that one whole body and that one life energy that makes that body an organic unit. This is a common designation on the part of the Apostle Paul. If you’ll remember, back in chapter 10 of 1 Corinthians, verse 17, he referred to us as one body. In Romans chapter 12, where he also discusses the same theme of spiritual gifts, he says, “We have many members in one body, and all members do 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, you would find that he uses the same terminology there in 23, “Which is His body,” referring to the church. Ephesians 2:16, again, “One body.” Ephesians 4:4, 4:12, 4:16. Colossians 1, I think in a couple of places, 18 and 22, again the same concepts. So with Paul, the single most clear illustration of the unity of the believer with Christ is to see it as a body and Christ is the head, the source of its life.
Now there are many other metaphors of the church. The church is called a flock with one shepherd. The church is called a kingdom with one King. The church is called a family with one Father. The church is called a vine and branches, 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. It is an organic unit. It has a common single life principle. It exists as a whole with one life principle, and yet there is diversity. So we’re going to see this thing worked out in the weeks to come after our Missions Conference. 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 an 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. An incredible thing, not in its components. In fact Dr. Craig, years ago, was lecturing 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.” So 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 function differently and are unique. You have two feet, but when you try to get shoes, you’ll find that they’re 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 my eyes are even 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 my ears are different sizes. Now that shot it for the rest of the sermon. You’re going to be trying to check them out. But anyway, so are yours. Just check the person in front of you, that’ll suffice. Anyway, even those members that are duplicated are diverse and have unique functions.
And yet there is this one organic whole that makes up the body. It is the most perfect illustration of diversity and unity in perfect combination and function. And you can see it in anybody who does something with any dexterity, anybody whose body is used to do anything athletic or anything that takes amazing dexterity or the artist who has a beautiful touch with a brush or with a chisel or whatever it is. You see this 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 – and you have to think of this – basically, intrinsically, bottom line, in defining the church, it is one organic whole, a plurality of members with a common life principle.
Now mark this: There are not, there never have been, and there never will be two different kinds of Christians, only one. We were all, says verse 13, baptized into one body no matter who we are: Jew, Greek, bond, free. There are no Christians who are on the ‘in’ and others 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; 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. And that becomes clear at the end of verse 12. Look at that little statement, “So also Christ.”
No I want to just kind of open your horizon a little bit on this thought. I would have expected that Paul would have said, “So also is the church.” So also is the church. But when you think of the church, what do you think of? You think of a whole lot of disconnected people, normally. The church - people. And so wanting to stick with his metaphor, he says, “So also is Christ.” Now listen to me. To say “we are Christ” is the same as to say “we are the church.” Did you get that? Now 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 it mean, “So also is Christ”? 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. That we are one living organism through which pulses the eternal life of God by the Spirit of Christ living in us.
You’re not just somebody with bios. That’s the Greek word for life – biological life. Biological life just means being alive as opposed to being dead. That means you’re still working; you’re still functioning. It means nothing more than that. We are not just bios. That was one Greek word. They had another Greek word zōē. Zōē meant not just that you’re alive as opposed to being dead, but that you are really cooking. I mean, you’re living. And if I say to you, “So-and-so is alive,” now that could mean one of two things. That he was almost dead, and he’s barely pulling through and he’s got tubes up his nose but he’s hanging on. He’s alive. But if I say to you, “He is alive.” I might mean, “This guy is really cranking. This guy is turned on.” Well the Greeks had the same concept, only they used two different words for it.
But there’s another step for us. We aren’t just biologically alive, we aren’t 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. And that’s exactly what Jesus meant when He said, “Because I live” – what? – “you live also.” It’s what John meant when he said, “He that hath the Son hath” – what? – “ hath life. And he that hath not the Son of God is stuck with either bios or zōē.” He may 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. We’ve said before, the only Christ the world’s going to see – that’s 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. And he’s 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. Now that’s what salvation means. All of us – you are all one in Christ Jesus.
First Corinthians 6:17, “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit,” with the Lord and thus with every other person joined to the Lord. Now that’s Paul’s point. He’s saying to the Corinthians, “Look, I know there’s to be diversity, but that doesn’t mean you go on fracturing like you have been. There’s also unity there.” One life source, one personality pervades my body. I have one personality. I have one life source. And so the church, the one body made up of all of us, is pervaded by one life source, one personality, and that is Christ. And so we are literally, simply flesh and bones to manifest the living Christ. That is why it becomes so ridiculous and so 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 somebody else there. He should be freely manifested through us.
And when a spiritual gift operates and when we minister, it is Christ ministering. It is manifesting the life of Christ. And so we possess the common life of Christ; He lives in us. Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live” – what? – “yet not I but” – what? – “Christ lives in me.” Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ.” And the same is true for you. It is the life of Christ in you. It is God’s eternal life. That’s why when you die, you don’t die. You already have eternal life. You’re not going to get it. You’ve got it. What you are now, you’re going to be forever. And I’ve told people this before, you know, when you die, that will be less of a change for you than your salvation. You’ve already got 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’s what salvation is, to receive Jesus Christ, to have Him enter my life. Now that’s his illustration. Now he goes on to explain something of the significance of this theologically in verse 13, and we go from the illustration to the reality. And here’s 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’re 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.”
Now let’s look at this tremendous verse. And one that is unfortunately greatly and grossly misunderstood today. What does it mean to be baptized into one body by the Holy Spirit? Very important, very vital, and yet very much 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 were all baptized into one body;” the inner life at the end of the verse, “We have been all made to drink one Spirit.” The ‘into’ there was added by somebody, because it isn’t in the original. But those are the two thoughts, two unifying concepts. Remember now, 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’ve all been put into the body in the same way. We all possess the same inner life. Therein lies our unity; therein lies our oneness.
Now 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 – en pneumati – could be translated for by or with and some would translate it in. But I don’t feel that that’s a proper translation. Those Greek prepositions are translated differently depending upon the case endings that the word following them takes. And the safest translation here, 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 nowhere that you can find in the Bible where the Spirit does the baptizing. Now that may be a surprise, but if you look carefully at the verses involved, the Spirit does not do the baptizing.
Now let me show you what I mean. Look with me at Matthew chapter 3 verse 11. You could never use it in a possessive sense. For you Greek students, it’s not a genitive here. In Matthew 3:11, it says – and this is John the Baptist speaking, and he says, “I, indeed, baptize you with water unto repentance.” 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.” Listen – “He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Now I’ll as 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. And beloved, that is not the fire of Pentecost. No. That is not the fire of Pentecost. You say, what fire is it? you have to read verse 12, “His fan is in His hand, and He will purge the floor, and He’ll gather His wheat into the granary, and burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” It is the fire of hell, that’s what it is.
I’ll tell you one thing, folks, if you’re not baptized with the Holy Spirit, what is going to happen? You’re going to get baptized with – what? – with fire. And I would hasten to 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. Okay? That’s what it says. So you couldn’t be a Christian and not be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Right? That’s his point, and we’ll see that in 1 Corinthians 12. It’s alluded to there. I would even take you a step further. Look at Mark – just to make sure that this is clear – Mark 1:8, and again you have this similar situation. “There comes one mightier,” verse 7, “than I,” Mark 1:7, “The latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I, indeed, have baptized you with water. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” And 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; one mightier than I comes, 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 chapter 1 verse 33 and it’s the same again there. “And I know Him not. But He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said to me, ‘Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the same is He who baptizeth with the Holy Spirit.” “This is the Son of God,” verse 34 says. Now listen, who, then, is the baptizer? Has to be Christ. Christ is the baptizer. You say, well now, this is a very theological point. This is a fine point. Yes, it is. But it’ll help you, I think, to keep perspective as we go, so stick with it. Jesus is the baptizer, Acts 2:33 – 2:32 says this, “This Jesus has God raised up.” And 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 has shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” Who is it that shed forth the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost? It’s Christ in fulfillment of the prophecy that he gave, and we just read it to you out of the four gospels.
Now listen, 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 that means that the Holy Spirit does something to them. They will even go so far as to say, “Yes, we have been, as it were, 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 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.
Now I don’t expect you to fully understand that and have your brain say, “OH, that’s very clear. I got that one down pat.” That’s a very mystical concept, but we have to understand what the Bible is saying. Christ is the baptizer. He is the One that 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 this, 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? Born of the – 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.
Now I want to go a step further – verse 13. Just building on this thing, and I think you’ll understand what he’s saying here very clearly. “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 all baptized into one body.” Now you tell me, how many Christians have had the baptism by the Holy Spirit? All. Now 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.” And so has every other Christian. And that is Paul’s whole point, that we have all had it, and that is the basis of the fact that we all are the one body, possessing the one life source, indwelt by the one Christ. Listen to me, 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 got 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 you’re not a part of Christ? That makes no sense. It’s clear what he’s saying here. We were all baptized.
Now what does he mean by baptized? Well we could talk a lot about that. 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 is a dry one. Romans 6 is dry too. Some of those Pauline theology passages can’t be simplistically interpreted in terms of water. But, you know, there are some people who are sacramentalists, and they say – sacramental not Sacramento. Some of you kind of blinked, you know. But there are some people who say that when you are baptized in water, that is the baptism that imparts to you the Holy Spirit. No, my friends, 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. They were baptized as babies or some time along in their life. They don’t believe in Christ particularly. They don’t practice the Christian life. 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 word baptizō, baptō and baptizō, is used in the New Testament to refer to a spiritual immersing. And he 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? That’s a very clear word here. There isn’t any water here at all. Baptism here is a spiritual reality and 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’re 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. And 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, new oneness with Christ. And that’s the New Testament usage of it.
For example, Matthew 3:11, baptism unto repentance. What does that mean? It means you are immersed in a repentant heart or repentant attitude. Baptism into Moses, we saw in 1 Corinthians 10. That means that they left Pharaoh in the old land to become immersed and identified with a new leader and a new land. And 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 everybody else joined to Him, and we’re all one. Right? That’s all he’s saying here.
And I’ll never know why people want to come along and say you have to wait for a second experience for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It just isn’t so. And what they’re doing is tampering with the doctrine of salvation, and that’s why it’s 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 people use this Scripture to refer to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as they call it. And 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.” And that’s another step, to get the rivers of living water.
Well 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 Tabernacle ritual right here. Where a priest would come and take the pitcher and he would pour out water, and they would celebrate God giving water to the children of Israel at Meribah. And they would quote Isaiah, “Come and draw water out of the wells of salvation.” You know, and it was a great pouring ceremony. It was right at this point that Jesus said, “If any man thirst, let him come and drink.” If you’re really thirsty, it isn’t that water that’ll satisfy you, it is the water I give. Well look, anybody who’s thirsty. What’s that? What’s a thirsty man? Somebody who sees his need. Right? Let him come – come to Christ. And then what does he do? Drink. That’s salvation. You know you have a need, you go to the source, and you take what He has. That’s just salvation. That’s all he’s saying. It’s an invitation to get saved.
Now you say, then what happens? “He that believes on Me, as the Scripture says, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.” And what does that mean? Verse 39, “This spoke He of the Spirit, whom they that believe on Him should receive.” Now let me ask you this: Who receives the Holy Spirit? Somebody who does what? Who believes. And how much of the Holy Spirit? So that out of his being flows – what? – 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. Now whether the river is flowing out of me or not is dependent upon my obedience and submission. But listen, He 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 the 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 chapter 11 verse 16. Backing up to verse 15, Peter reporting about the Gentile conversion, which of course was a great shock to him. He began to speak – “And as I began to speak” – Peter was telling the people. Now he says, when I was with those Gentiles, “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 have. Gentiles. Can you believe it? How amazing. “Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water; but you 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” – what? – “believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Who gets the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Anybody who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. Now let me say something else. The baptism of 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, places you into the Son. That is the baptizing by the Holy Spirit.
In Galatians further, chapter 3 verse 26, just trying to help you to see what the Word 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; you have four with the last part of verse 26. You want me to 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 those 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.
And that’s why, and I hasten to add this, there is nowhere in the Scripture a command to be baptized with the Spirit. There is nowhere in the Scripture an exhortation to receive the Holy Spirit. Why? Because you already have. That is the whole point of our unity in Christ. And 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. And that isn’t so. We’re saved, but we don’t have all there is, but salvation is complete. And we saw that, didn’t we, in Colossians 2:10, “And you are complete in Him.”
And I want you to notice something else – get back to 1 Corinthians 12 for a second. He says, “For 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 just a fact. It is a union; it’s identification with the body; the life principle of Christ coming to live in you. But they say, “What about the book of Acts? People in chapter 2 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 in the temple had waited for the Messiah. 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 chapter 8 with the Samaritans getting saved and receiving the Spirit? Because they waited until – 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. Because God wanted them all to know the church was one. But it wasn’t something they sought. And the only people who ever waited for it were in that transition in the book of Acts. Some people say, “Well what about Acts 19? Those people came and they said, ‘Well, have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?’ And they said, ‘We don’t even know about the Holy Spirit.’” And they 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. And when they went ahead and told them 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 anybody tell you that there are some Christians who’ve never been baptized with the Holy Spirit. We have all been put in, and here is the beautiful thing about it. Whether we’re Jews or Greeks or bond or free, doesn’t matter who we are – religious background doesn’t matter, social strata doesn’t matter – one church. And God wanted it clear that everybody was a part. Now you may not like the fact that we’re all one, but we are. And I’m sure there are some kids that look at some old folks and say, “Boy, you mean we’re in the same thing they’re in?” There are some old folks that look at those kids and say, “It can’t be. It can’t be.” But we’re all there! You may have some people that kind of rub you the wrong way, and they’re all there. Might as well get used to them; you’re going to spend eternity with them. We’re all in the same body. That’s his point. “We all – we all – we all.” The universal gift to all Christians.
I guess that to me, people who what to 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, and that is serious. There is no second Pentecost. There is no some kind of supernatural, super-duper, 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 what’s already there. That’s all. That’s just you being obedient. 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 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 – you ready? – obey. That’s all. You walk in obedience to the Word of God, and man, the Spirit of God is energized in your life. That’s the principle of the New Testament. All right so, we see then the formation of the body by one Spirit placing everybody into one body. There is a basic unity. And as I said, if you don’t allow everybody to have the baptism by the Spirit, you’ve got some disconnected Christians floating around and you destroyed the whole concept of the church.
Now the second thing to emphasize our unity is at the end of verse 13, “We’ve all been made to drink one Spirit.” This is beautiful. Not only have we been placed into something, but we’ve had something placed into us - the Holy Spirit. And I suppose there are some people who think we didn’t get all of Him either. But I’ve always felt that He doesn’t come in doses. The Holy Spirit is given – Jesus said He gives not the Spirit by – what? – by measure, piece at a time. You have the Holy Spirit. Don’t you know your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which you have of God? Don’t you know God says in 2 Corinthians, He will dwell in you? God is in me; God is 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. So 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, totally. Listen, the Holy Spirit is yours the minute you believe. That’s what is 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’s absolutely clear. Nothing to wait for, folks. And yet I say that this has got to be the most confusing, misrepresented, misunderstood doctrine among Christians today. It’s a cause for continual controversy. People are – as we said last Sunday night, and we’ll be on it a little bit more tonight, too. People are continually intimidating Christians by saying, “You haven’t had something that God wants you to have. You got to go out and find it or seek it and here’s how you get it.”
What has always amazed me is, as I was reading this week, I read ten different writers who gave ten different ways to get the baptism of the Spirit. That’s incredible. I’ve read my Bible and I’ve read evangelical writers all over the place, and I never read any evangelical writers, who really were evangelical writers, who ever gave any 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 get baptized with the Spirit of God is because the Bible tells you you already have been.
Very important, I think, to make these distinctions. It doesn’t do any justice to the Holy Spirit to misconstrue His work. It 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. And it bothers me when you say to me that you 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 tell you, I believe that these people are Christian people, I just think we have to get back to the studying the Word of God.
You say, well where did this come from? Where did this idea come from? It’s not here. I mean, you can read yourself and see it isn’t here, that you get a second baptism later on. Well in the first place, it has its roots in Catholicism. You see, Catholicism teaches that when you were an infant you were baptized. You received salvation. And later on, when you were confirmed, you received the Holy Spirit. So, you see, that dichotomy is Roman Catholic. It also has its roots in John Wesley. Not only John Wesley but Finney and 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, and when he taught that – this was a later work – they have quoted him from one end of the pole to the other, because he was such a well-known evangelical, mainline theologian.
But take John Wesley, for example. John Wesley taught that you were saved, then later on, there was a second work of grace subsequent to salvation. And I think that this was a holdover, maybe, from the environment that he was in. Want to hear something interesting that I found out this week? His biographers say that John Wesley died never having attained that second work. Want to hear something interesting? He was a better man than his theology. You can read Finney. You can read Andrew Murray. You can read Watchman Nee. You can read a lot of people and you’ll find out about it. You can read some things on the Holiness Movement or Keswick Movement, and you’ll find this is where it all came from - this second level. And I think in 1901, in Topeka, Kansas, the modern Pentecostal movement was born and they fostered that and it came out of the Holiness and Wesleyan Movements.
And later on in 1906, in Los Angeles, it began here at Azusa Street. It developed into, most predominantly in our area, the Foursquare Church. And that ministry that grew – and then there were many, many other things that came out of it, denominations such as the Churches of God and the Foursquare Assemblies of God and then many United Pentecostal, Pentecostal Fire-Baptized Holiness churches, and many, many other denominations grew out of that. But that is the old, traditional viewpoint that you get something at conversion and something later. And it does injustice to the doctrine of salvation and it violates 1 Corinthians 12:13, which says you received the placing into the body when you were saved. That is the baptizing of the Spirit, and you received the fullness of the Spirit at the same time. We all – we all – we all have received it. I just want you to understand that you are not missing anything. Okay? Let’s pray.
Our Father, we know 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 would just pray that we would be gentle and loving in sharing with them what the Bible says. And that we would not allow their tradition or experience to overrule Scripture. And most of all, Lord – most of all, preserve us from feeling that our salvation is inadequate. Help us to know that there is everything there. It’s all ours. It’s all in us. And 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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