The crowd that surged around Peter and the apostles on the day of Pentecost, being convicted of sin had one question to ask the apostles ” Men and brethren, what shall we do?” The reply of Peter is very revealing -” repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts2:37,38).
Baptism is a response to the gospel.
· Acts 2:38, shows that baptism is a command to be obeyed. It is not an option, but every one who is delivered from the bondage of sin must obey God in this. Symbolically this is seen in the Old Testament, where all Israel, every one who was delivered from the bondage of Egypt had to pass through the Red sea. Even in the tabernacle, every offering that had to be taken into the Holy place or the Most Holy Place had to be washed at the laver!
· Only believers are baptized. Acts 8:1 and many other references in Acts point to this fact. Baptism is not a sign of maturity but it is an elementary step that every born again believer has to take. (Philip baptized Simon the sorcerer, yet we see him latter offering money to purchase the gift of the Holy Ghost!) Baptism cannot make a man perfect.
· Those desiring to be disciples are baptized and not infants. “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized” (Acts2:41) (Mathew 28:19). The scripture is very clear that only those who receive the word and repent are to be baptized. This eliminates child baptism or infant baptism. Infants are not to be baptized. Some refer to the portion where the house hold of the Philippian jailer is said to have been baptized, claiming household includes children. This supposition is contrary to the Word of God which claims the need to listen and be able to comprehend, acknowledge one’s sinful state and believe and repent!
· Baptism is an identification with the death, burial and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
· A person should not partake of the Lord’s supper if he has not repented and identified himself with the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord in baptism. For in partaking of the Lord’s table he is declaring these very same things – all that Christ has done.
The relationship to Jesus is confessed in baptism.
“And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord…”(Acts10:48)
“…They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5)
“…Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost”(Matthew28:19)
· To be baptized in His name means to be brought into the service and ownership of the Lord Jesus Christ.
· The name of the Lord Jesus is called over the person being baptized. Thus showing the claims of Jesus upon his life as the Lord.
· Baptism is also the declaration to the world that a believer is joined in and with the Lord.
The condition before God implied in baptism.
· Baptism first of all relates to the forgiveness of sin to good conscience. It relates to the whole experience of a sinner being saved by God’s grace through the attorney.
· Secondly, baptism is related to burial, burial of the old self. “Buried with him in baptism “(Col 2:12).
· Thirdly, baptism also relates to our resurrection. ” You were buried with Him in baptism, IN WHICH YOU WERE ALSO RAISED WITH HIM…(Col2:12)
· The water has no special power to wash our sins, what happens in water baptism is that the wholehearted obedience to the word God has spoken brings a change, a newness of life. Naaman was healed by his obedience to the words of the man of God and not through a healing power in the water. So is baptism.
Consequences for faith revealed in baptism.
· “Faith baptism” saves us from this perverse generation. This was the exhortation of Peter in Acts 2:40 – “and exhort saying save yourself from this untoward generation”. It is a separation from the worldly values and life styles and committing oneself to the life and truth of the kingdom of God.
· “Faith baptism” marks our entry into the community of faith which is the church of Jesus Christ. ” then they that gladly received his word were baptized and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand” (Acts2:41).
· “Faith Baptism” commits us to the authority teaching and fellowship and life style of the Body of Christ. “And they continued steadfastly in the Apostles doctrine and fellowship and breaking of bread and prayer”
· “Faith Baptism” in normal New Testament circumstances is clearly linked to the receiving of the Holy Spirit Baptism.
Spurgeon comments on his own baptism in River Lark.
“I felt as if heavens and earth and hell might gaze upon me for I was not ashamed there and them to own myself as a follower of the Lamb. My timidity was washed away , it floated down the river into the sea and must have been devoured by the fishes, for I never felt anything of the binding sins. Baptism loosed my tongue and from then it had never been quite. I lost a thousand fears in the river lark and found that in keeping His commands there is a great reward.
Holy Spirit Baptism
Many phrases are used in the Bible about Baptism of the Holy Spirit: phrases such as
a. Baptism in the Holy Spirit
b. Baptism of the Holy Spirit
c. Baptism by the Holy Spirit
d. Infilling of the Holy Spirit
e. Unction of the Holy Spirit.
However, it all talks about one experience with the Lord. Holy Spirit Baptism is not the fulness of the Spirit but it is the earnest of the Spirit (Ephesians 1:13,14). It certainly leads us into the fulness of the Spirit. While talking to the Samaritan woman, the Lord Jesus spoke of ‘springs of water’ but there is also the ‘rivers of living water’.
Sincere differences of views among the evangelical Christians.
a. Traditional Evangelical Teaching holds that regeneration and baptism in the Spirit are identical or perhaps two sides of the same experience. According to this view the Holy Spirit is fully and automatically given at the time of conversion.
b. Second blessing teaching links infilling of the Spirit with holiness as experienced subsequent to regeneration so that usually the two experiences are distinct in nature and normally this is observed by the Welsleys’ and mainline Pentecostalism.
c. Charismatic viewpoint : General consensus says while every born again believer has the Spirit within him (Romans 8:9), but not every believer has the infilling of the Holy Spirit so that at some point after conversion many receive by faith a further definite conscious experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Thus regeneration and baptism in the Spirit are distinct phases of the Spirit’s work which ought not and need not be separated by much time but they are not automatically given altogether.
The last viewpoint is preferable for the following reasons:
a. It has valid New Testament basis
b. It explains current experiences
c. It produces New Testament results for the individual believer and for the Church.
The Biblical basis of this view is as follows:
i. Acts 10:37,38. Jesus himself though born of the Holy Spirit did not begin His public ministry as the Son of God until He was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power. (Acts 10:38; John 1:33,34). Can we as members of His Body do without a similar empowering. This power is just what Jesus told His disciples to expect – that is to receive it before they go out to witness.
ii. Disciples who were believers before Pentecost wait to receive this power. Various terms are used to express this experience such as, RECEIVE (Acts 8:15), FALLING (Acts 8:16), POURED OUT (Acts10:45).
iii. The believers in Samaria, though baptized in the water had to wait for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, which they received when the Apostles laid hands on them. They received the Holy Spirit with the evident features.
iv. On the road to Damascus the Apostle Paul met with the risen Christ. Later on he was baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts9:17; Acts 13:9; I Cor 14:18).
v. In the house of Cornelius they believed the gospel, they received the baptism of the Spirit and then they were baptized in water. (Acts 10:11,44)
vi. The Apostle Paul noticed that something was lacking in the lives of believers of Ephesus. Paul first of all laid a proper foundation of baptism and then laid hands on them and prayed that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
Q. When we accept the Lord Jesus, we received the Holy Spirit then why is there a need and a talk of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?
A. We can say that the born again experience is the WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT but not the Holy Spirit Baptism. The believers in Samaria were baptised in water, yet the Apostles felt it needful for them to be baptised by the Holy Spirit and they sent Peter and John to lay hands on them that they may receive the Holy Spirit.
Q. Is the gifts of the Holy Spirit important or is it the fruit of the Holy Spirit that is important?
A. Gift is fruit and fruit is not gift! Bearing of fruit takes time. As the plant grows it bears fruit. One who is above, a new born one in God’s household has so little of ‘fruit’ to show. He has the potential for bearing fruit but it will be the result of an inward work of the Holy Spirit in him over a period of time. Gifts can be received instantaneously but it is not so with ‘fruit’. IT IS VERY MUCH POSSIBLE THAT THE ONE WHO EXERCISES MANY GIFTS HAVE VERY LITTLE IN TERMS OF FRUIT IN HIS LIFE. Gifts are for power, but fruit is the sign of holiness. The believers in Corinthians manifested lots of gifts but they were ‘BABES IN CHRIST’!
Gifts are primarily for the edifying and building up of the Body of Christ.
Today’s Christendom is replete with foundational truths only. They know the Lord as the Saviour, Baptiser, Healer, King and they are keen to know the intricacies involved in the Lord’s second coming. Thus it has failed to manifest any signs of maturity. The teachers and leaders feed the flock with milk and churn out many byproducts of this milk to feed the flock! How very tragic!
A man continuing in Sin with spiritual gifts will ultimately end up being used by the evil one for the Kingdom of Darkness.
IS IT NECESSARY TO HAVE THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WITH THE EVIDENCE OF SPEAKING IN TONGUES?
· Some quote I Corinthians 13:8-10 to substantiate the claim that ‘tongues have ceased’, but we do know that the word ‘PERFECT’ mentioned in the verse is not pointing to the Word of God (the literal Bible).
· Some others say that ‘tongues’ are not for all believer and quote “do all speak in tongues?…” (I Corinthians 12:30). It is necessary to know the background of the chapter. The whole chapter deals with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They are given “to every man to profit withall” (vs 7), “dividing to every man severally as he will” (vs 11). So a gift is given for the common good and the profit of the Body and not for the individual. Among the gifts there is one gift called “diverse kinds of tongues”. Its purpose is to edify the Body when used with interpretation and not the individual. This gift is not given to all but to those the Holy Spirit chooses. This is the reason Paul says, “do all speak in tongues”, meaning do all speak in diverse kinds of tongues to edify the church? The answer is, no. However, I Corinthians 14:2-4 points out that speaking in tongues is
§ Not unto man
§ Unto himself and God
§ Speaking mysteries
§ Edifying himself.
· Paul tells emphatically that the usage of tongues here is to edify the individual. This has a different purpose than speaking in ‘diverse kinds of tongues’. This gift every individual shall receive when baptized in the Holy Spirit to build one self in the Lord.
· We read in the Old Testament that the High Priest is supposed to replenish the oil in the lamp that stands in the Holy Place. The lamp is never to go dry so that there is a perpetual light and clarity. However, today in the Pentecostal realm there is confusion and people fear to identify with them all because there is lack of oil in the lamps and the flame is dying and the wick is producing a lot of smoke! So less of light and so much of smoke!!
FEW REASONS WHY WE SHOULD SPEAK IN TONGUES.
· It is an initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. (Acts2:4; 10:44-46; 19:6)
· For the spiritual edification and building of oneself. (I Corinthians 14:4,14). We do not know the actual values of it. The Spirit is gentle. He leads but does not drive. Sheep’s are to be led, cattle are to driven. The Spirit will urge but never drive. He never condemns, but always convicts.
· It is the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling.
· It eliminates the possibility of selfishness entering into prayer. (Romans 8:26)
· It helps to learn and trust God more fully (Jude20). Praying in the Spirit stimulates faith
· Keeps us free from the influence and contamination of the ungodly and the profane. We can speak to ourselves and to God wherever we may be in our daily life.
· It provides ways for things to be prayed for.
· We are able to give thanks and bless the Lord well, much better than we can do with our understanding.
· Yielding our tongues to the Holy Spirit, it is a long step towards fully yielding all members of our body to God. If you can yield your tongue you can yield any member of your physical body to the Lord.