...We looked at Biblical evidence for why Spirit-filled churches and Christians don’t focus on the Spirit but on Jesus in John 16: 5 – 16.
That of course doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit is any less important than any other person of the Trinity... it just means they have different roles and the Holy Spirit’s role is to testify about Jesus and bring glory to Jesus.
...I want to look at a controversial issue relating to the Holy Spirit that divides the church and that is “The Baptism in/of the Holy Spirit”.
It is important to recapture the Biblical view on this... obviously because we want to have a Biblical view on it and also because incorrect views on this creates a kind of apartheid in the church... where there are the “haves” and the “have-nots”... where there is a superior class of Christian based on an apparent major extra experience of the Holy Spirit.
The main point that I would like to make this morning from the Bible is this: The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is what happens when we become Christians. And we get all we need to live a life that glorifies God then.
It is a view that has really only been held from the beginning of the 1900s.
Baptism of (in) the Holy Spirit is a term used to describe a movement of the Spirit upon and/or within a believer usually sometime after the person is saved. CARM
Almost all who hold this view would say that the first real evidence of being baptised in the Spirit is the ability to speak in tongues like in Acts... and then beyond that an empowering to live a godly life and serve God, usually including miracles and healings.
Biblically they believe the following:
- In all four gospels John the Baptiser is quoted as saying that while he baptised with water, Jesus would come and baptise with the Holy Spirit.
- In John 20: 22 after Jesus’ death and resurrection Jesus breathes on his disciples and says to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit”.
- And then just before His ascension Jesus meets with the disciples (those He had already given the Holy Spirit to by breathing on them) and says in Acts 1: 5, “For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.”
- Acts 2: 4, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
- To illustrate, if we drank water from a glass, then the water would be inside us. However, if we went to the beach and stepped into the ocean, then we would be in the water. We receive, as it were, a drink of the Holy Spirit when we are saved, but when we are baptized in the Spirit, it is as if that initial drink becomes an ocean that completely surrounds us. CBN
It is very clear that they believe you can be a Christian without being baptised in the Holy Spirit but just a powerless one... or at best a Christian with limited power.
- Certainly John the Baptiser did say that while he baptised with water, Jesus would come and baptise with the Holy Spirit.
- But in John 20: 22 after Jesus’ death and resurrection I don’t believe that Jesus actually gives them the Holy Spirit.
John 20: 19 – 23. Unpack and...
- “on them” not in original. It literally says: and this saying he-exhales and is-saying to-them be ye getting the spirit holy. It was symbolic (breath of God symbolising the Holy Spirit). He was talking about would happen when the promised Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and they would be empowered to tell the Gospel.
- Also interesting that John is the only one who records this event. If the others saw it as more than a symbolic thing surely they would have? Luke doesn’t and is happy with the actual event he records in Acts.
- So when Jesus meets with the disciples and says in Acts 1: 5, “For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit”...
- He is not talking about a second event after salvation... He is talking about what would happen at Pentecost when the disciples received the Holy Spirit (would be baptised in the Spirit) for the first time.
- NB to note unique situation of apostles – they are Jesus followers then get Holy Spirit... but that because when they are living... Jesus comes and then goes and then only does the Holy Spirit come in fulfilment of the OT.
- Ok, someone says, I get that, but look at what happened to some people in Acts 8: 12 – 17. Context... still a unique time... what God is doing with the salvation of people He has placed under the authority of the apostles (Jesus had given them unique authority)... so while it is the apostles there is no separate event of Holy Spirit baptism... but when it is someone else (like Philip and especially Samaria – issues of authority) apostles have to come and lay hands on for Holy Spirit. Unique time. So Acts 8: 12 – 17 and then 10: 44 – 48 and 11: 15 – 18.
- On the issues of tongues a sign of Baptism in the Holy Spirit (assuming only one event), just not true. In Acts 8 it didn’t happen in Acts 10 it did happen (perhaps language issue like Pentecost?).
- To illustrate, if we drank water from a glass, then the water would be inside us. However, if we went to the beach and stepped into the ocean, then we would be in the water. We receive, as it were, a drink of the Holy Spirit when we are saved, but when we are baptized in the Spirit, it is as if that initial drink becomes an ocean that completely surrounds us. CBN... sounds good but actually it is poor if that is not the experience explained in the Bible. And it only reinforces the apartheid... so now you have glass Christians and ocean Christians!
- The baptism of/in the Holy Spirit is when a believer is born again and united with Jesus and other believers into the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12: 12 – 13 “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” Romans 6: 1 – 4 basically says the same thing.
- Nowhere in the Bible are believers told to be baptized with, in or by the Spirit, or in any sense to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is something that is assumed to have happened to all believers.
- Ephesians 4: 4 – 6. Seems to refer to Spirit baptism. If this is the case, one Spirit baptism is the reality for every believer, just as “one faith” and “one Father” are. Irony, Spirit baptism supposed to be a unifying element of our faith and because people change the meaning of Bible passages to justify some experiences about a century ago, it has ended up dividing the church.
Live and stand up for the unity of the church (refer to Ephesians again)...
There are people who claim to be Christians but aren’t (can see – no power of the Spirit working to testify, love and serve)... but all who are Christians, are equal and all baptised in the Spirit with all they need to love and serve... and must discipline themselves to access the power of the Spirit!