OceanSide church of Christ
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THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Victor M. Eskew
A. It was John the Baptist who taught the Jews about the baptism of the Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16).
I indeed baptized you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.
B. Just prior to His ascension to the Father, Jesus spoke of the baptism of the Holy Ghost to His apostles (Acts 1:4-5).
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. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
C. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is again mentioned when the household of Cornelius was being converted to Christ (Acts 11:15-16).
And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 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.
D. In a study of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, there are three main questions that need to be addressed.
1. What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
2. Did Cornelius’ household receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
3. Is Holy Spirit baptism available today?
I. THE CONCEPT OF BAPTISM
1. Strong (907): to make whelmed (that is, fully wet)
2. Thayer: …to immerse, submerge,…to overwhelm
B. Immersion can be literal.
1. Baptism in water is literal. A person goes into the water and is submerged therein (Acts 8:36-39).
2. Baptism in suffering can be literal (Matt. 20:22-23). Jesus was overwhelmed with suffering from His head to His feet.
C. Immersion can be figurative.
1. One can be baptized with questions. This means that one is overwhelmed with many questions.
2. One can be baptized with debt. One’s financial circumstances are over-taken with debt.
3. Baptism in suffering can be figurative. The suffering can be emotional and yet the person is completely overwhelmed.
D. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is figurative.
1. The Holy Spirit is a being, a person. Thus, it is not possible to be literally baptized “with” or “in” the Holy Spirit.
2. “So with respect to the ‘baptism’ of the Holy Spirit, it is a figurative term as applied to the Holy Spirit…We should understand that literally there is no such thing as a ‘pouring forth’ of the Holy Spirit, or a ‘drinking’ of the Spirit, or a ‘baptism’ in the Holy Spirit; these are all figures designed by the resemblances that suggest, to present to the mind in various aspects and various points of view the most lively and correct ideas of a fact” (Boles, 150-151).
3. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was a complete overwhelming of the individual with the power of the Holy Spirit.
II. HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM WAS A PROMISE
A. Acts 1:5
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
B. “So the baptism of the Holy Spirit was definitely a promise, and not a command; no one was ever commanded to be baptized in the Holy Ghost” (Boles, 151).
III. CHRIST IS THE ADMINISTRATOR OF HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM
A. John 1:33
And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom that shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
B. It was Jesus upon whom John saw the Holy Ghost descending (Matt. 3:16).
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.
C. NOTE: Man cannot administer the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
IV. WHO RECEIVED THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST?
A. The apostles received it on the day of Pentecost.
1. Jesus had promised it to the apostles, saying: …but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence (Acts 1:5).
2. The fulfillment came on the morning of Pentecost following our Lord’s ascension to heaven (Acts 2:1-4).
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
B. The apostle Paul received it. He said that he was not “a whit behind” the other apostles (II Cor. 11:5).
For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.
C. The household of Cornelius received it.
1. The reception (Acts 10:44)
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
2. Peter’s recollection (Acts 11:15-16)
And as I began to speak the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 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.
a. This was a direct reception of the Holy Spirit just like that received on Pentecost Day.
b. It was an overwhelming of the Spirit’s power as evidenced in those in Cornelius’ household speaking in tongues (Acts 10:46a).
For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.
c. It served as a sign just as the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost served as a sign.
d. Peter was reminded of the Lord’s words about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. If this was not the baptism of the Holy Spirit why would he be reminded of words about the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
e. NOTE: Peter did not go back to a recent conversion account to make a parallel. He went all the way back to “the beginning” (Acts 11:15). If this had been a regular occurrence, he would not have had to go back to Pentecost. There were several years between Pentecost and the conversion of Cornelius.
f. Others had received the Holy Spirit, but it was received in a different manner than the baptism of the Holy Spirit (i.e., the Samarians, Acts 8:14-17).
Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (for as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
D. These are the only individuals who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It was a special baptism given to certain individuals for a special purpose.
V. THE EFFECTS OF HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM
A. Holy Spirit baptism served as a sign.
1. It was a sign to the Jews in Jerusalem that the apostles were authorized by God to speak the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:33).
Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
2. It was a sign to Peter and the Jews who were with him that the Gentiles could be accepted into the New Covenant of Jesus Christ (Acts 10:47; 11:17; 15:7-9).
And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
B. Holy Spirit baptism empowered the apostles to do the work which God had commissioned them to do.
1. To preach the gospel unto the lost.
2. To confirm the message with signs following (Mark 16:15-20).
C. NOTE: The baptism of the Holy Ghost was never given to make a person a Christian.
A. Holy Spirit baptism is not available to man today. It was a miraculous occurrence involving being overwhelmed in the power of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. The age of miracles has come to an end (I Cor. 13:8-13).
B. Twenty years after the events of the household of Cornelius, Paul wrote: There is “one baptism” (Eph. 4:5). Only water baptism of the Great Commission continues today.