I enjoyed this sermon about the baptism of the Holy Spirit so much that I just had to include it here. It is very clearly presented and you can listen to it or read the transcription below…
What is it that lets us think that we should be allowed to explain this big book (the Bible).
There’s a lot of people reckon they can explain this big book called the Bible and we like to hope that we can explain it too. I don’t think we can explain all of it, that’s for sure.
But we hope that because of this particular experience that I want to talk about today that our eyes have been open to be able to explain what’s most important.
Whether we can explain all of the answers to all of the many, many subjects and many details that are in here that are more than one person’s lifetimes research. That’s another matter.
But the Lord has given us plenty for us to enjoy ourselves with whatever sort of interest we might have the answer will be in here for the greater thing, the more important things of life.
But this particular subject of the baptism of the Spirit is just so pivotal to understanding anything about what Jesus Christ did.
Without it, we’re really looking sort of like me looking at the clock on the back wall. It sort of just all seems so far away and so hard to grab ahold of, so I just want to pick up here.
And this is very familiar to many of us here today, and maybe there’s some who are reading this for the first time.
The Acts Of The Apostles Is The Beginning Of The Church…
It’s where it all starts. This is after Jesus has been sacrificed and after he’s risen from the dead and for all that it was the greatest sacrifice ever given it still didn’t trigger the beginning of the church.
Some people would have us believe that it did. That it was all done at the cross. It should have exploded from there.
Or it was all done when he was raised from the dead. It should have exploded from there, but it didn’t. Nothing happened then to convert people.
I think they were amazed. Many of them did believe in the things that they saw, but they were still confused.
And so this particular chapter here Acts chapter 1… gives us a bit of a highlight as to how it’s going to now explode. This revival, that was always intended, and so we read here in verse 4.
- And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. (Acts 1:4)
So this is a very key statement. I just want you to stay in Jerusalem and this great promise that has been around for so so long is now going to happen.
What Promises Is That?
That’s not the promise of Jesus dying. That’s not the promise of Jesus being raised from the dead. Those things have already been fulfilled.
So what’s the promise that is being mentioned here?
Let’s go to John 14 and look at the Last Supper, where Jesus is saying some of the most important things to his disciples at this key moment before his crucifixion.
- And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (John 14:16)
That’s a pretty big thing, so I’m going to ask of the father that he may abide with you forever.
Now, going way back in the Old Testament in Ezekiel 36… This is hundreds of years before and there are many prophecies in the Old Testament of Jesus dying, of his resurrection, and of all the things that were going to happen to him.
But There’s This Promise As Well…
- A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (Ez 36:26-27)
So… because people could not live under his perfect law He allowed all Israel to be taken captive. But he wrote to them in their captivity. And he said… This is the thing that I have ahead in the future.
Now, this doesn’t mention Jesus here. There are other verses that mention Jesus. This just mentions the fact that he’s going to put his Spirit in us.
It’s all part of the same plan, but all the little hints are back in the Old Testament and pick him up here and there when you have your finger in 20 different places and you just find one thing after another that he prophesied would happen.
So let’s go back to John 14 and verse 16 – it says that he’ll give another comforter, that he may abide with you forever
- Even the spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it sees him, not neither, knows him. But you know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. (John 14:17-20)
A Very Special Experience…
There is a very special experience here that Jesus is Speaking of when the Holy Spirit is to come…
And if we just go over to Chapter 16
- Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (John 16:7)
Now that’s quite a statement in itself. Jesus is saying it’s actually better for you that I’m not here. Now, who could understand that?
Here he was the great miracle worker, the one that was going to give his life. But he says there’s something better to come for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you. But if I depart, I will send him to you.
- And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (John 16:8)
And the next three verses he describes it, he says of Sin because they believe not on me.
So he says they haven’t heard me. No matter what I’ve said, and no matter what I’ve done, they haven’t heard me. He said but when I go and the Holy Spirit comes, he will start his work.
So in the Old Testament, we had God the Father talking to Abraham and so on all the way through, and then we get Jesus comes himself the son.
And now Jesus says in a sense they haven’t heard the Father and they haven’t heard the son, but I’m going to send the Spirit and when the Spirit comes, he will get through and he will change their hearts which is that prophecy just we read in Ezekiel that our hearts going to be changed
And in verse 10 it says of righteousness because I go to my father and you see me no more.. so my turn is finished. You see me no more.
So it will be the Holy Spirit that comes to convict of sin and of righteousness, in other words, to make us understand what is wrong and to make us understand what is right.
Now That’s Got To Be A New Heart…
That all of a sudden right and wrong gets re-calibrated… reset.
And in verse 11 of judgment, because the Prince of this world is judged, and it will become so much clearer to us when the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes to us.
When the comforter comes, when our heart is changed, that we will see the evil of the world, that we were caught up in.
And judgment then becomes clear. Not our judgment, but his judgment.
- I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when he, the spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear that shall he speak, and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. (Jn 16:12-15)
So how do we get to be in as good a position as the disciples who saw the cross? Or the disciples who saw the resurrection from the dead? How do we get to be in as good a position?
When The Holy Spirit Comes, We Will Get Jesus…
We will comprehend it. We will understand it as though we were at the cross, as though we were where the stone was rolled away. It’s meant to be that good.
I guess the whole of 2000 years people of all nations couldn’t have been gathered at the cross.
But this is God’s way of in a sense, taking us all to the cross, taking us all to the grave is through the Holy Spirit, and that’s what he’s saying here is that Jesus will be glorified through the Holy Ghost.
So let’s go back to Acts chapter one.
We will read it again in verse four… and being assembled together with them, he commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem.
This wasn’t a hint, this was a command.
- But wait for the promise of the father, which you have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence. (Acts 1:5)
So This Is The Promise…
The promise of the Father is the Holy Ghost and he says you wait for this promise.
This is not just some extra. This is the experience that will open your eyes!
Now, I just want to quote something that somebody gave to me.
It’s a lot harder these days to find out what some groups actually believe. Somebody was having a look at it the other day. One of our brothers and he said that often people don’t on their website anymore put what they believe.
They just put a lot of nice pictures and what have you and so he had to sort of search a bit to find out what their beliefs were and he got ahold of some of them and they’re all very similar, and these are sort of local groups that are Pentecostal, by their definition.
And while there are many people in that organizational style and belief, who probably are spirit-filled. Who has received the baptism of the Spirit. There are also many who are not and don’t know how important it is.
And so just to sort of give you a little quote here to show where it maybe is softened in importance. Here’s their belief about salvation from one of the groups. As I said, there’s three here, but they’re all very similar.
Salvation is solely by grace and is received through genuine repentance towards God and wholehearted trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now that’s true in itself, but whether it’s complete or not is another thing.
So it’s Grace receives through repentance and trust.
It is also known as the new birth.
Now that’s an interesting comment because that’s not the way the Bible describes new birth for any of us that are Bible readers. It’s about something which we’ll look at in a moment.
The new birth is being born again. Maybe I’ll just say it now…
Many of us know that it is to be born of water and of spirit. It’s to be baptized in water is to receive the Holy Spirit as the first disciples did.
But that’s not what it’s saying here. They’re just saying that this is a new birth and it is an instantaneous and complete operation of the Holy Spirit.
Whereupon the believing sinner is justified, regenerated, sanctified, given eternal life. Adopted into the family of God and becomes a new creation in Jesus Christ.
Now, on the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which they’ve got us another topic.
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is distinct from the new birth and is accompanied by speaking in other tongues as the initial evidence.
Now. We agreed that it’s accompanied by speaking in tongues, but…
- Is it distinct from the new birth?
- Is it a separate experience?
…or are these two things one?
And this is what is taught in so much of Protestant belief now that by grace you are saved, you sort of quietly receive the Holy Spirit, and you are now born again. You are now changed, regenerated, and so on.
But there is an option of getting the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That’s the general teaching that is out there.
This Is Not Just A Matter Of Having An Argument…
It’s so easy to have arguments with people about the Bible. It’s not just a matter of saying well, we’re right and you’re wrong.
But rather of trying to understand what is it that the word of God is trying to show us that God wants us to see that will work.
And so let’s have a look at what the word of God says.
Let’s go to Acts Chapter 10.
- There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always. (Acts 10:1-2)
I’m not going to read his story, but.
Cornelius was obviously a very God-fearing man but he’s not saved.
How Does He Get Saved?
So, Peter the Apostle comes to him and preaches the gospel to him of Jesus Christ and what Jesus did.
And in verse 44. We read what happens.
- While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. (Acts 10:44)
Which heard the word and we’re going to start seeing here what we call the work of the Holy Spirit.
Because we are now in the period of the Holy Spirit working as we were saying to help with sin and righteousness and judgment for us. To get to our conscience.
So while Peter is preaching and Cornelius’ family is listening. Something is getting stirred up inside of them as they’re listening.
And Jesus even said, we’re reading in John 14. He said the Holy Spirit is with you, but he will be in you.
So here they are sitting listening and the Holy Spirit is there and he’s working on their heart, but he’s not yet in them.
And then all of a sudden it says the Holy Spirit falls on them…
- And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 10:45)
How Did They Know?
- For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. (Acts 10:46-48)
So we got a very excited group of people here. Who all of a sudden their eyes are really open to what it’s all about.
But Peter has to go back now and explain why he’s been mixing with Gentiles (Non-Jewish people) which they didn’t think they were allowed to.
To explain why God now was trying to save not just Jews but everybody. So he goes back.
And in Chapter 11. He’s talking to the other disciples.
- And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. (Acts 11:15)
Isn’t it interesting? These two experiences, the day of Pentecost, and this particular experience here are 2 occasions where nobody laid hands on anybody.
These two occasions it was just the work of the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, the room was filled and all of a sudden 120 people receive the Holy Spirit. Spoke in tongues. No laying on of hands.
And here we are in another situation where Peter is speaking to people, he’s not sure whether he should be talking to them, but God is revealing to him that he can, so he doesn’t even lay hands.
It’s just the work of the Holy Spirit, Bang and confirms to Peter that actually this is alright.
- Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. (Acts 11:16)
It was just clear to Peter that as these people started to speak in tongues, he went this is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I’ve just had it confirmed to me again.
I’m sure there are people here too that have received the Holy Spirit without anybody laying hands on them anyway.
Lots. Lots, just us and God The work of the Holy Spirit on us. We’ve been convicted by things that we’ve heard and seen. And then all of a sudden we’re just dealing one on one with God.
I remember hearing a story from Brazil some years ago where they had an outreach in the market and the rain started to come down and they were thinking to get all the chairs and stack ’em up and finish the job for the day.
But they started to hear that there were people receiving the Holy Spirit in the crowd so they didn’t put any chairs away. Just bring it on. There was a different sort of rain that was happening that day.
- Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? (Acts 11:17)
What Was I That I Could Withstand God?
Sort of saying, not guilty. If you want to have a go at me, it wasn’t my fault, God did it.
- When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. (Acts 11:18)
Granted Repentance until life now.
Just a few little keywords here. In Chapter 10 and verse 47 it uses the phrase… received the Holy Ghost.
There are other ways that word could have been translated other than received.
It could be… caught. You caught it.
I think in PNG they say catch him? Catch him Holy Ghost, catch him.
Some people might know that in in in sporting terms, that you can receive a pass in some games, or you can catch it. Same sort of thing. So that’s one way here of describing the Holy Spirit experience.
Over in Chapter 11 and verse 16 explaining the same experience it says… Baptized with the Holy Ghost.
The word baptize means to be sort of whelmed or completely saturated by… like we are in water baptism, so it’s describing the same experience, but it’s just using a different word to say it.
A little bit like somebody has gone to a great event and somebody says I was rapt, someone says I was excited, and somebody said it was fantastic. There are all sorts of words that people might use.
Here are two words, the same experience… but the teaching that I’ve just been reading out that comes from other churches is that you can receive the Holy Spirit quietly when you believe. But you get baptized in the Spirit later on. So these are two completely different experiences.
But we’ve got it here as only one experience, they are not two experiences, there is only one experience of the Holy Spirit coming to us, and as we were reading in John 14, Jesus said at that day when the comforter comes to you, he said, you will know.
Not you will be told. You will know, and that’s what’s so special about it, because all of a sudden when the promise of God comes to us, we go…
I’m Dealing One On One With God…
I’m not dealing with the church, I’m not dealing with religion. I’m not dealing with a person, I’m actually dealing with God here.
That’s what’s so very special about it, and you know what happens then is that your heart changes.
Do we know that when we hear it in testimony, time and time again that when the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes to us that we lose the desire to drink, smoke, gamble, be immoral, etc, etc.
Who’s had that happen to them? Praise the Lord, that’s the new birth.
You’re giving your heart to Jesus and going to church. That’s not a new birth.
And so, so one of the issues we often have is sometimes we meet people who have even received the Holy Spirit… The baptism of the spirit… They’ve come in from another church, and they perhaps are still searching because they’ve never really learned about the work of the spirit.
They’ve gone I yeah I spoke in tongues but they see it as some optional extra. They don’t see it as the working of the Spirit in them that now is starting to change their heart and so often they have not started to deal with the problems in their life.
They might have spoken in tongues but haven’t dealt with the problems in their life and they come to us and say isn’t it OK to have a bit of a drink? Isn’t it OK to whatever?
Maybe when they received the Holy Spirit, they might have had some conscience start, but they’ve left it to sleep by not using the spirit on a regular basis.
This is not just to find fault. This is just to say…
What Is The Bible Trying To Teach Us?
- Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (2 Tim 1:6)
Stir it up.
If you see my wife in the kitchen and if something really needs to be mixed properly, she starts stirring and these days you have great little machines that beat it all up for you. It needs to be stirred. It needs to be mixed properly and there’s nothing worse than your food that is not mixed properly.
And here Paul is writing to Timothy. He says Timothy stir this thing up.
Because it’s the Holy Ghost that opens your eyes to Jesus. It’s the Holy Ghost that keeps your new heart. That keeps you seeing things the way that the Lord wants you to see it.
- For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)
And so often what we do when people are brand new in the Lord… is we encourage them to pray in the spirit.
We visit and we always want to make sure when we visit that we spend some time praying in the spirit because we want them to learn that praying in the spirit is more important than just listening to us.
Now you go around, you have a cuppa. You can be friendly and all that and we can give some explanation. But ultimately we want each individual to be going directly to God and to learn how to pray and to read the word.
You’ve got think, hang on… I’ve been given a new heart and a new mind. I’ve got the Holy Spirit. I can go direct and when we learn how to do that, what a great weapon that is.
So when people who come out of other churches and they haven’t learned about the work of the spirit, they might have been baptized in the spirit. But the first thing we start to do is say…
Are You In The Habit Of Praying In The Spirit?
Are you in the habit of using it and letting him teach you?
And I remember a great simple testimony once of a brother who was about to go into the hotel. He was young in the Lord. He was about to go to the hotel with a few of his friends.
What happened was that somebody was sort of trying to follow him up and rang him just before he went into the hotel and explained what he was doing.
And the established brother said to him, look before you go in there. He said… have some prayer. Just go and have some prayer in the spirit by yourself.
And he did, and the story he tells afterward is that he went into the hotel and he looked at everything, and he saw it differently. And he thought, What am I doing here?
Now, who told him that no one told him that?
That’s the work of the Holy Spirit. It gets at their conscience. It gets at their heart and keeps us in tune. It glorifies Jesus and says you’re different now you’re not the person who used to be.
And I guess the same thing happens. It was interesting listening to Rileys testing me there is before. His desire to have a strong testimony and he’s thrilled now because of the healing that he’s had over the anxiety that he’s had by the sounds of it, most of his life and.
But one of the interesting things was that he came to a point in his life where he decided he wanted to serve the Lord a bit more.
And we know amongst us that there are many young people who’ve grown up in this fellowship, some of whom have a testimony where they say, I received the Holy Spirit when I was 10 but my walk didn’t really start till I was 16 or 18.
Often they sort of have mentioned that and I wonder whether what has happened is that the safety of this assembly and of the lifestyle can allow us to cruise and to enjoy everything.
And while there is no hardship, that can be fine and you can feel like you’re actually OK. But when a test comes along. Then all of a sudden you gotta go. Hey, I gotta stir up this spirit within me.
And somebody says to you, have you or it all of a sudden it comes out in the talk or a testament in your go that’s what I should be doing, and it’s not like your walk hasn’t started. But you haven’t really allowed the work of the spirit to do what it needs to do.
And to discover because it doesn’t have to be problems that cause a close relationship with God. Once we’ve received the Holy Spirit, if we use it, God will give us such zeal and clarity to deal with the things in our lives and cause us to want to serve.
To want to serve others who have trouble. We may not have any trouble at all. Hallelujah, if we don’t, but if he puts in us the zeal to go and assist others who are in trouble then you’ll find you will grow by their victories.
By your advice to them, by your prayer with them, by their victories, you’ll go… That’s what my Bible says.
Look at that great story that’s happened there and that one that’s happened there and it all becomes part of your own weaponry in a sense that you know what God has done with your own eyes and in your moments you’ll have your own tests as well but you will be more ready.
There’s an importance here and what Paul is saying to Timothy.
Stir It Up…
Stir it up, make good use of it.
I believe the reason that many young people fall away and it’s not just young people. The reason many people fall away. Sometimes we get a bit more surprised with young people because we think what they’ve grown up this way, wouldn’t they always want to stay here? But you’re really only going to stay here by faith.
You’re not going to stay here by heritage. Your blood heritage will not keep you here. It might for awhile. Your friendships might keep you for a while, but it’s your faith that ultimately will keep you here.
If people don’t stir up the spirit in time, they will be gone because they don’t see Jesus anymore. They start to see faults, they start to see shortcomings, they start to see problems because they’re not seeing through the eyes of the Lord anymore, and that’s important for all of us.
- And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief. (Mt 13:54-58)
Now. Just consider the difficulty here of Jesus going to his own family, and at this particular point, they were not at all open to him, and at this stage, there was also no Holy Spirit given, so they’re just looking at him as a natural man.
No interest, but Jesus was consistent and he just kept on his mission that he had come for and maybe just a little thought here today. Most mums want their families altogether, don’t they?
That’s the happiest thing from mom. It’s also the saddest thing for a mom when it doesn’t happen.
And Jesus too here and I think Mary would have wanted them all together. All singing from the same song sheet, but there was a division here in the family. Jesus… He knew what he was about. The family had no idea.
I reckon Mary just from reading the Scriptures, Mary was ahead of the pack in the family.
She pondered things that were told to her before Jesus was born. She pondered things when he was 12 years old and saw him in action as a young man. And later, when he was on the cross, she was there pondering what was going on and wondering what his life was all about.
And on the day of Pentecost, let’s go there. Acts Chapter 1
So now we’ve got them all in the prayer room.
- These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. (Acts 1:14)
Now I don’t know if this word brethren here is only meant to be masculine because in some places in the Bible it means both. But we just read about his brothers and sisters, so some of his family were here.
Don’t know how many of them but in time, as he had remained consistent the Holy Spirit was working on them and we can pray for all sorts of things with their families. We can even maybe scheme things sometimes.
We can try this and try that to see how can we get him saved. But again…
It’s The Work Of The Holy Spirit…
When we are praying for people the Holy Ghost is working on them. The Lord will work in them through the spirit so that they will understand sin and righteousness and judgment right and wrong.
They will get a picture that their life has gone wrong. Not only that, it’s sometimes messy, but it’s actually wrong before God that there is a right and a wrong and that’s what we want to see happen.
If we today allow the Holy Spirit to do his work, he is the one who opens our eyes, and let’s just join in with what he’s doing and work together as a team.