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Elementary Doctrines-Baptism of the Spirit
Baptism of the Spirit
Baptism of the Spirit - Part 1
In the book of Hebrews, the 6th chapter, the writer tells us that there is a time to leave the elementary doctrines and go on unto perfection-or to maturity. Many believers know that there is "more" than what they are experiencing-more to the way of life in the Lord than they have been living-but in the normal church culture even the elementary doctrines have not been taught. In the 6th chapter of Hebrews, as we said, the list of what constitutes the elementary doctrines is noted-there are six of them; here they are: repentance from acts that lead to death, faith toward God, baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment-six. (Inserted - actual verse-"Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment." - Hebrews 6:1,2)
We have so far discussed repentance from acts that lead to death and faith toward God and now we are going to speak of the doctrine of baptisms. At this juncture it is common for people to think, "This is too archaic, this is just too old-fashioned. Who wants to know about baptisms? We were baptized as infants or we were baptized later on in life when we were adults. That's just something you had to do. Why visit baptisms?" Well, first note that he says "baptisms"-plural. So it means that there are a number of baptisms. Baptism is death and resurrection. quite literally, baptism is the immersion of a "thing" in "another" so that the thing immersed is changed by the thing in which it is immersed. So baptism is meant to result in change, it's not just something you "do" like going under the water, coming up out of the water. Baptism is meant to impart to you a foundation of change. Now here are some of the baptisms that we must speak of: first I'd like for us to speak about baptism "of" the Spirit, second I'd like for us to speak about baptism "by" the Spirit. The two words-"of" and "by"-are very different references and have totally different meanings.baptism "of" the Spirit, baptism "by" the Spirit. Then I wish for us to speak about the baptism of fire and then fourth, baptism in water.
Now as I have said, all of these doctrines of baptism are meant to result in a certain particular change. Here at the beginning I would like to summarize what change each of these baptisms is supposed to impart to you. First, baptism "of" the Spirit-when you are baptized by the Spirit-that is meant to result in a change from your being powerless to your being powerful. It's also meant to relate to a change from you being "outside" and lost and sinful to your being confirmed as a child of God.
Baptism "by" the Spirit is supposed to result in a change from you being your own person, living your own life the way you want to, to your being placed in your place in the body of Christ so that you may pick up your destiny and live it out to the fullness thereof. Because, you see, before you were born God had a plan in mind for you and His intent was to cause you, at some point in your life to change from running your life the way you've been running it-even if you're saved-to your life being available to God for Him to live in you and for Him to live through you. So the baptism "by" the Spirit represents a change of location-from your government of yourself to your being governed by the Lord, from your being outside of the "body corporate", of the person of Christ-to your being placed in the "body corporate", of the person of Christ.
Baptism of fire is meant to relate to a change in you that realizes the dominance of the soul giving way to the dominance of the Spirit-your soul governing you to having your soul "saved"-the soul is saved through the baptism of fire and we'll get into that. These are just summaries at this point. And finally, the fourth of the baptisms I wish to present is baptism in water. Baptism in water is meant to convey to you that Adam no longer rules and your identity is no longer that of a sinner. that that person will die and give way to a new person who is raised with Christ and, indeed, who becomes a new creature-even a new creation in Christ. Death and resurrection then are the results of the teaching on baptism in water.
Now needless to say the doctrine then of baptisms is not just "old-school stuff". What is astonishing to me is that so many of the older people who were taught "baptism" have only been taught either water baptism or baptism in the Spirit and they choose between water baptism and baptism in the Spirit. There is a whole generation of people, many of whom are under the age of 30, who have never been taught anything about baptisms and so the changes that are foundational, elementary-elemental to your process-that guarantees a certain platform on which you can stand with certainty, with security; that foundation-not being laid-people are wishy-washy, they are wobbling and that's why, when for the time many ought to be teachers, they are still battling with foundational, elementary things and are not sure. (Inserted - actual verse-"In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!" - Hebrews 5:12)
Sometimes there are people who have been in the Lord-they've been saved for twenty and thirty years-and if you press them, they are still not even sure they were saved. How does God put a foundation under you that establishes this truth in you and from which there is no going back? The answer is: through the doctrine of baptisms. So, for the purposes of this series on baptisms we will begin with the baptism "of" the Spirit. Baptism "of" the Spirit, I will point out, is the baptism of Jesus; it is the baptism with which Jesus baptizes. I'd like for us to turn to the book of Acts, the first chapter, and here is what Jesus himself says in the very first part of the book of Acts, in Acts 1:4, this is just before Jesus was taken up into heaven, "On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: 'Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' So when they met together, they asked him, 'Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?' He said to them: 'It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'" (Inserted - Acts 1:4-8)
Now you will note that the sign of the baptism "of" the Holy Spirit is what? "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you." Now the coming "on you" of the Holy Spirit has been previously described in the verse just above where we read in these terms: "John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." (Inserted - Acts 1:5) Now let's move further into this discussion. In the book of Luke, the third chapter, John makes this declaration: (In Luke 3, John the Baptist is baptizing and Jesus comes to him and this is what Luke says about this subject) John the Baptist is speaking and he says (Luke 3:7), "John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, 'You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.'"
And then John said (this is verse 15), "The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ." So at that point then, John gives this answer (verse 16), "John answered them all, 'I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." This is what John said: John said that the one who was coming after him would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. I submit to you then that the baptism of Jesus Christ-that is when Jesus baptizes you-He is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. Is that not what John said? "I baptize with water but there is one who is coming after me." (and he was referring to Jesus) ".when He comes, He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
You know, I lived a number of years thinking that the baptism of Jesus was water baptism. How foolish. No, the baptism of Jesus-the baptism with which Jesus baptizes you-is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That's the clearest of evidence in Scripture: "I baptize you with water (John says) but one is coming after me whose shoes I am not worthy to untie. When He comes (and he was referring to Jesus) when Jesus comes, Jesus will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." But in the course of His life on the earth there was no one whom Jesus baptized in the Spirit and it is Jesus who is now saying in Acts 1 (it's in red letter) it's the passages we read, Acts 1:5, "For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
Now who are the ones with whom Jesus was speaking? It says, "He appeared unto them." (Inserted - actual verse-"After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God." - Acts 1:3) The "them" [that he appeared to] were those the Holy Spirit gave instructions to-the apostles, the twelve disciples were the ones particularly spoken of here-but we know that there were 120 of them who were baptized in the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. At this point Jesus is saying to His disciples-to the twelve in particular-"Not many days from now you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." (Inserted - actual verse-"On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: 'Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'" - Acts 1:4,5)
It means that He had not baptized them with the Holy Spirit while He was alive, with them on the earth. What happens between Acts 1 where we've just read and Acts 2-where the Holy Spirit comes on them and baptizes them-what happens is that Jesus goes back to heaven, "While they beheld"-Acts, chapter 1, verse 11-"while they beheld, He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight." (Inserted - actual verse-"After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 'Men of Galilee,' they said, 'why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.'" - Acts 1:9-11)
Now here is the point: the last thing that Jesus promised them was that not many days from the moment He spoke that promise-not many days from then-He would baptize them with the Holy Spirit and we know that He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight and it was not until 10 days later, on the day of Pentecost, that the Holy Spirit came to them and baptized them. The point is conclusively then that Jesus baptized no one with the Holy Spirit while He was still on the earth. He baptized no one. Everyone who has ever been baptized in the Spirit has been baptized in the Spirit from heaven: that's the clarity of the point. Jesus has baptized no one from the earth with His Spirit.
Well what about the fact that Jesus breathed on His disciples before He went back to heaven and said to his disciples, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." (Inserted - actual verse-"And with that he breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" - John 20:22) There is a distinction between receiving the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and receiving the baptism "of" the Spirit. What is the distinction? The distinction is that the indwelling of the Spirit-as a gift to the believer-is meant to confirm that you are born again of God. The baptism "of" the Spirit, however, is meant to impart power-two very different things. So when a person believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, according to Acts 2:38, where the promise was "to them and to their children and to even the Gentiles." Peter said, "If you repent and are baptized, you'll receive the gift of the Spirit." (Inserted - actual verse-"Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call.'" - Acts 2:38,39)
The same language is used when the Scriptures say, "Jesus breathed on them and said, 'Receive ye the Holy Ghost.'" So what Jesus was doing when He breathed on His disciples and said to them, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost"? He was confirming them as being born from above. He did not leave the earth without confirming His disciples as being born of God. His disciples were born again and they were born again by Jesus breathing on them and imparting the Holy Spirit to them to confirm-with their spirits-that they were the children of God (so says Romans 8:16). "For the Spirit himself testifies with out spirits." (Inserted - actual verse-"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.")
There is a mutuality of fellowship between the Holy Spirit and the human spirit and in that mutuality there is a seal-the imprint of the Holy Spirit. The seal of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is that you are born again of God and that God is your Father. But you know how many, many people there are in the churches who are not going to hell because they are the sons of God-they were saved-but they have no power. they have no power. And in fact, they've even come up with this "silly doctrine" that says, "You shouldn't seek God for power, you should seek God for himself." That's to create a dichotomy where there is no dichotomy.
You should seek God for himself but He also gives you power. And in fact the Scriptures make it very plain: Paul said to the Corinthians, in I Corinthians, chapter 12, "Earnestly desire spiritual gifts." (Inserted - actual verse-"But eagerly desire the greater gifts." - I Corinthians 12:31a) Spiritual gifts are the specific gifts of the power of Jesus Christ, delegated through the Holy Spirit, meant to be operational in the Church. Jesus did not make the mistake of sending His disciples out into the world to declare the message of the Kingdom-to the unsaved world-without empowering them. Why? Because there is an enemy who holds the world in captivity and if you go out into the world armed with no more than-what used to be the fad a few years back, which is a vinyl Bible cover with a picture of a sword cut out in the vinyl-if you go out into the world with no more than a vinyl Bible cover with a sword in it thinking that your religious knowledge of the Scriptures was going to defeat the enemy where you went. no wonder so many of our young people-full of enthusiasm and totally unprepared to operate in the power of the Spirit-charged out into the world to do battle with the enemy and came back bruised and beaten up and not even attending the meetings anymore.
Why? Because there is a very entrenched and skillful enemy who is waiting for the unwary and the unsuspecting and you come out into that realm without power and it's like taking a knife to a gunfight, as someone has said. You lost when you left the house. You find out that you lost when you are matched with a power vastly superior to anything you had the experience with. The reality is, then, the baptism of the Holy Spirit-as Jesus himself said-was meant to be a conveyance of His power to you in order to match the commission: "to go into all the world and to preach the Gospel to every creature." (Inserted - actual verse-" 'Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the end of the age.'" - Matthew 28:19,20)
What ridiculous thinking is it that we should think that Jesus would send us out into the world that is controlled by the demonic without empowering us to do successful battle against the demonic? What guarantee would there be except our failure? The baptism "of" the Spirit-when the Holy Spirit comes and fills you up-is meant to result in your receiving an impartation of the power and the authority that belongs to Jesus Christ, working now on your behalf and working through you. Now this requires a little bit more development, so what I want to do in the next broadcast is to talk to you about the power of the Lord Jesus Christ-and the Holy Spirit as His delegate-so that the Holy Spirit, who is the delegate of the Lord Jesus Christ may come and bring the authority of Christ to you. And when He supplies you with the power of the Lord Jesus Christ then you are sufficient to the tasks which involve your calling. Baptisms, then, are meant to result in change and the baptism "of" the Spirit is meant to result, specifically, in the change from being powerless to being powerful. All of the baptisms will result in some nature of change, so I hope that you will study the doctrine of baptisms with me. Continue to study the elementary doctrines with me. See Part 2 below
I Corinthians 12:31a
Baptism of Spirit- Part 2
This program represents a continuation of the teaching of baptisms and specifically addressing the baptism “of” the Spirit. It was necessary to explain that the baptism “of’ the Spirit conveys power and to delve a little bit more deeply into the nature of this power that the baptism “of” the Spirit conveys. So let’s begin with: whose power is it? Jesus made the statement, and it is recorded in Matthew 28:18, “All power has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” (Inserted – actual verse—“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” – Matthew 28:18-20)
Now, Jesus claims—as the settling authority of His kingdom—a grant of plenary, or total authority. And He claims that this authority has been given to Him. Where did He get this authority? Who gave it to Him? He further said, “All that the Father has is mine. That is why I say to you that the Holy Spirit will take of what is mine and make it known unto you.” (Inserted – actual verse—“All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” – John 16:15) So, Jesus claims that He has all authority in heaven and on earth, and this authority—vested in the Father before it was given to Jesus –and that authority was given from the Father (God) to the Lord Jesus Christ and this authority is described as: all authority—in heaven and on earth. (Inserted – Matthew 28:18) That is why it is referred to as plenary authority.
Well now that’s fine for Him to have all authority in heaven and on earth but He is in heaven and He is seated at the right hand of the Father—that’s where Steven saw Him, as Steven lifted up His eyes and saw heaven open. (Inserted – actual verse—“When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’” – Acts 7:54-56) How does the authority of Jesus get from heaven, where He is…seated on the throne, to earth, where we are and needing that authority in which to operate, pursuant to the Lord’s business?
Well the matter is simply one of delegation. Jesus sent us a delegate to bring His authority into the earth. Now who is that delegate? Jesus promised His disciples, in the 16th chapter of the book of John, that He was going away and that He would send the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, and these were the words used in connection with the Holy Spirit coming: “When He comes, He will not speak of himself but He will speak of Me. He will take of what belongs to Me and He will make it known or distribute it to you because all that the Father has is mine, that is why I say that the Holy Spirit will take of what is mine and will make it known unto you.” (Inserted – actual verse—“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” – John 16:13-16)
What the Father had was: all power—in heaven and on earth—and the Father gave this power to the Son—the Lord Jesus Christ—so He has all authority in heaven and on earth. And His kingdom moves forward pursuant to that authority. He now has taken this authority and delegated it—through the Holy Spirit, who is His sole and absolute delegate—delegated it to the earth, where we are, to empower us to pursue the things that God has called us to pursue. There is no other way to receive the power of Jesus Christ or to act in the power of Jesus Christ other than by a specific grant of authority to you through His delegate who is the Holy Spirit. That is why we call the gifts of the Spirit, “the gifts of the Spirit”. They are actually the gifts of Jesus’ authority, of which He has vested in the totality of all authority—heaven and on earth (that’s why we refer to that authority as plenary, because that’s the description of it) and the Holy Spirit now gives gifts of Jesus’ authority to men.
It’s even said in that regard, in the book of Ephesians, chapter 4, where it says that, “When Jesus ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” (Inserted – Ephesians 4:8b) Spiritual gifts, then, are specifically this: the authority of Jesus Christ, given to you by delegation, through the Holy Spirit—hence, gifts of the Spirit—to empower you to act pursuant to the Lord’s direction upon you life. That is the difference between the indwelling of the Spirit and the baptism “of” the Spirit. Someone may be saved and have the indwelling Holy Spirit as the confirmation of it; that one is saved and is born again of God, but be totally powerless because he or she—whether through ignorance or prejudice—has rejected the baptism “of” the Spirit.
There are many religious groups today, even people who are Christian groups who refuse to cross the threshold of the baptism “of” the Spirit and insist that by having the indwelling of the Spirit as a gift from God, that necessarily means, and it also means, that they have the baptism “of” the Spirit. There is a very simple way to check if that is so: are the gifts of the Spirit operating in that person’s life? If they are not, he has no power. Many people seem intent on denying the value of all of the gifts of the Spirit. Some would say, “You know, I could go for the gift of healing.” Or, “I could go for the gift of knowledge but I don’t want the gift of tongues.” That is an arrogance beyond measure.
First, is the gift of tongues a gift of the Spirit? And the answer is, unequivocally—according to the Scriptures—yes. Numerous references in the Scriptures; Paul even saying in I Corinthians 14, “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.” (Inserted – I Corinthians 14:18) And he describes tongues as the tongues of men and of angels. (Inserted – actual verse—“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” – I Corinthians 13:1) Now this is not a teaching on tongues; it is a teaching on the gifts of the Spirit and, specifically, the empowerment of the spirit that is the result of the baptism “of” the Spirit. But you have people today who—because reasonably, logically—they cannot understand how the gift of tongues works. They reject it as being unnecessary or remove it from consideration as being too problematic to be of any real value.
Listen: all that the Holy Spirit has come to do is faithfully represent the authority of Christ. Does Christ know that you need the gift of tongues? When He baptizes you with the Holy Spirit, by which to empower you, does He envision that you might have this need? It is somewhat like the church lady who said that she agrees with everything Jesus had to say except that she cannot understand why He would turn the water into wine because that religious group had this strong teaching against drinking any kind of strong drink. So she plans to take it up with Jesus about the wisdom of His turning the water into wine. That’s the sort of foolishness that characterizes religious prejudice against the gifts of the Spirit—all of the gifts of the Spirit.
You must assume that if the Holy Spirit gives you this as a gift there is a particular need for it because the Holy Spirit is not speaking of himself nor is the Holy Spirit presenting his own power. He is coming to equip the saints; part of His equipping is through the gifts of government, part of His equipping is through the pneumatic charismas—the enabling gifts that enable you to function in the way that God designed you to function. Final question in connection with the empowerment that results from the baptism “of” the Spirit: why do you need to be empowered at all? Why should you not be able to simply quote the Scriptures and convince people? Because after all, is this not about people who are intelligent hearing the Word and being convinced because the Word is reasonably and logically presented? That’s not even on the radar screen as a thing for which there is a need for power.
This is why there is a need for power: before you were in your mother’s womb, God knew you. Before you were born, God had a destiny already inscribed upon your spirit and He saves you to conform you to that destiny. (Inserted – actual verse—“The word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’” – Jeremiah 1:4,5) Now that destiny is simply this: He made you in the particular way in which He has made you so that He himself can live through you in that particular and unique fashion. So it is nothing that you are doing for God that is of any interest to God. The only thing that you have that God is interested in is your right to govern your flesh, your body… to use your life the way you want to.
Now if you say, “I will live this life the way I want to” then that life is not available to Christ in which for Him to come to live as himself. But if He were to come—if you were to present you body as a living sacrifice—then He would come and He would indwell you and He himself would live in you and He himself would live through you. He will never live in this world apart from His power to overcome the enemy because He knows that if He does it that way He will not overcome His enemy. So when you think you will not receive one of His gifts, you are deciding—unilaterally—to limit how He is free to use your body, what scope of use is permitted to Him by your voluntary choice. So if you ever hope to be a fully obedient servant of Jesus Christ, what that means is that you will have no prejudice against any of the gifts of the Spirit—whether or not you can understand the particular value of that gift. Your place is not to decide which of the gifts of the Spirit is useful to you. Jesus has empowered His Spirit to empower you so that His life being lived through you may be unhindered by the lack of power and your duty is to permit Him to live in you—fully—and He lives fully in His power in you, and He lives fully in His power through you. Therefore, the baptism “of” the Spirit is God’s gift to you of empowerment to enable you to function as God designed you to function.
Now, we said that there were four doctrines of baptisms that we wanted to consider and so far we’ve touched on the first. The first is the baptism “of” the Spirit but there is a second baptism that involves the Spirit and that is the baptism “by” the Spirit—different from the baptism “of” the Spirit. Just as the baptism “of” the Spirit—if you knew about it—you would have always known that you were born into a kingdom of power and you would have always known that you were born with a destiny that had to be empowered. And you would never have been reluctant to embrace the power of Christ working through you nor would you ever have thought that you are seeking Christ for His power. That’s absurd. When He comes, He comes with power.
The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk; it is a matter of the demonstration of power and when you unilaterally surrender power you make yourself both vulnerable to the enemy and you make yourself impotent in the face of your enemy. This is not a good strategy for war and you are wrestling, not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Inserted – actual verse—“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:12) It is necessary, therefore, to address him in power.
Now what I’d like to do is begin to set up the other baptism that involves the work of the Spirit and here it is in the book of I Corinthians, chapter 12, verse 12, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 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.” (Inserted – I Corinthians 12:12,13) Now, the baptism “by” the Spirit—by contrast to the baptism “of” the Spirit—is not one that results in power, it’s one that results in identity. If you were baptized “by” the Spirit, then baptism “by” the Spirit is that He places you into the body as that part of the body that God designed you to be and when you are assembled into the body of Christ, you are assembled as that part of the body that you were supposed to be.
Who knows what part of the body God designed you to be? Who would know that? In the book of I Corinthians, chapter 2, here is what is said, “The Spirit (this is from verse 10) searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” (Inserted – I Corinthians 2:10b-12) Now, so the Spirit knows you. Before you were in your mother’s womb, God designed a destiny for you to come here and for you to live out and God has known what that destiny is and that destiny is in the mind of God. Who knows that destiny? Well, of course, the Holy Spirit because just as a man’s spirit within him knows the thoughts of a man so it is the Spirit of God, in the person of the Most High, who knows the deep thoughts of God and the Spirit of God knows exactly what God designed you to be and to become.
When you are saved, God begins to assemble you as the body of Christ and you are a part of the whole body. Listen to this from I Corinthians 12 again: “Now the body (verse 14) is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.” (Inserted – I Corinthians 12:14-16) And then it goes on to say in verse 27, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” And furthermore, back just a little bit earlier it says that God put the parts in the body as He predetermined. (Inserted – actual verse—“But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them just as he wanted them to be.” – I Corinthians 12:18) So that’s why one part is this and another part is that;God made you to be that part of the body that you are. So, for example, if who you are in the body is operating in the gifts of helps, that’s why you want to help all of the time. If who you are is an administrator, that’s why you make lists. If who you are is an exhorter, that’s why you find people drawn to you and encouraged just because you are around; that’s the part of the body that you are.
In the book of Hebrews, the 10th chapter, the Scriptures say, “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is but exhorting one another—and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Inserted – actual verse—“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25) Now, not forsaking the assembling, that’s not the same as saying, “Do not forsake the ‘meeting times’ together.” No, he is speaking about an assembly that is going on in the body. The parts of the body are being assembled—epicoriago. In this “choreography” the parts of the body are being joined together—fitly assembled—and that’s the assembly that he says that you should not forsake. “Episunagoge” is the Biblical term—the Greek term. There is a synergy of that assembly; God is orchestrating that assembly. So he says, “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together.” It is, in fact, the part of the body that you are that is being fitted into the body as the part that you are. Everyone should remain within the calling with which he or she was called and you should not forsake that because there is a Day against which this “assembling” will be made complete. All the parts are meant to be assembled.
Now the parts of the body of Christ are not just on the earth, they are also in heaven. The whole body of Christ is both in heaven and on the earth and the assembling is, in part, with those who are gone and part with those who are yet here. Those who have gone do not function here anymore but they are waiting for those who are here to be finished with their race. The glory will come on them—those who are gone—and upon us at the same time, although now they know more fully than we know. They know all that we will know but the glory has not come on them yet, it is waiting on the time when the glory also comes on us. The body of Christ will cross the finish line at the same time—whether you are in heaven or whether you are on the earth. That’s why there is a great cloud of witnesses that is applauding and encouraging us to go on and finish the race. (Inserted – actual verse—“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” – Hebrews 12:1)
So the assembling of the body is not an occasional thing. The body has been assembled—is being assembled—and the assembly of it will be complete eventually and so we are admonished not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together because we are parts that are being fitted together to form the whole. And the whole will be one new man and when that new man rises up on the earth the whole earth will see the fullness of the glory of God. The whole earth will see that Jesus came from the Father—that He was indeed who He said He was—and the assembling of the body of Christ is that which God intends by which to demonstrate—to the heavens and to the earth—the fullness of this truth.
So the doctrine of the baptism “by” the Spirit is this: that if we were taught the doctrine of the baptism “by” the Spirit we would have alwaysknown that there is only one body, there can’t be any more—it’s just one. You would have also known that you have a unique placement in the body because you are a part of it. It is not the “Baptist hand”, the “Methodist foot”, the “Church of Christ knee” and so on. It is not groups of parts, it is individual parts. If we had received the baptism “by” the Spirit you would have been confident that who you are, God has made you to be and has assembled you into the body because the context of the body of Christ was always the context in which God envisioned that you would live out your destiny. The baptism “by” the Spirit is the confirmation that there is only one body and if you are baptized by the Spirit in this fashion you would have always known that there is only one body. See Part 3 below.
I Corinthians 14:18
I Corinthians 13:1
I Corinthians 12:12,13
I Corinthians 2:10b-12
I Corinthians 12:14-16
I Corinthians 12:27
I Corinthians 12:18
Baptism by the Spirit
In our discussion of the elementary doctrines we've concluded that one of the reasons people are not growing up today and becoming mature in Christ is because they don't know the elementary doctrines. Elementary doctrines do not mean that they are unimportant, much the same way that before you can read the newspaper you have to go to elementary school. Before you can figure out complicated mathematical formulas you have to become familiar with numbers. Elementary school is vitally important when you are a child because it brings you into contact with the most basic foundations of our educational system. In the same way, when you are young in the faith you must be brought into contact with the elementary things of our faith. Elementary then, does not mean simple or unimportant; it means those things that you must have in your foundation-if you have a foundation at all.
Presently the church culture is based largely on personalities. people follow leaders, and whatever the leader is "into" distinguishes one group from another. However, if you are ever going to grow up in the Lord there are some things you have to know and the writer of the book of Hebrews, in the 6th chapterhas set them out. They are: repentance from acts that lead to death, faith toward God, baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. These are found in the first few verses of the 6th chapter of the book of Hebrews. (Inserted - actual verse-"Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment." - Hebrews 6:1,2)
So far in our discussion we have examined "repentance from acts that lead to death". We've also considered-and looked at-"faith toward God" and we are discussing "baptisms". We saw that there were four of them: baptism "by" the Spirit, baptism "of" the Spirit, baptism in fire and baptism in water and for our purposes in this particular program it is our intention to pick up and discuss "baptism of fire". We're introduced to the concept of "baptism of fire" in the 3rd chapter of the book of Luke and it is John the Baptist who tells us about it. We have looked at this Scripture previously when we considered baptism "of" the Spirit-when we saw that baptism "of" the Spirit is the thing that Jesus does-the baptism of Jesus is the baptism "of" the Spirit.
But the second baptism that Jesus puts you through is the baptism of fire. Listen to this from Luke 3, verse 15-it says, "The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ." So then John disabuses them of that notion and this is what he says in verse 16, "John answered them all, 'I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." There are two baptisms that-if you walk with Jesus-He will administer to you, neither of which He administered while He was here on the earth.
We've examined already the baptism of the Spirit and saw that Jesus baptized no one in the Spirit while He was on the earth. He didn't baptize anyone else, also, with the baptism of fire while He was on the earth but you who pursue the Lord Jesus Christ, be sure of this: that throughout the course of your Christian life, by the hand of Jesus Christ himself, you will experience "fire". Now the assumption is that the baptism of fire was what happened when-on the day of Pentecost-cloven tongues, like as of fire sat on the heads of the apostles. (Inserted - actual verse-"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." - Acts 2:1-3)
However, what you begin to see is that the baptism of fire is described in the Scriptures as a baptism of suffering, where you become a partaker of the sufferings of Christ. The cloven tongues like as of fire were actually the sign of the Holy Spirit himself, like the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a dove on another occasion, He descended in the form of like cloven or split tongues of fire. (Inserted - actual verse-"As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. " - Matthew 3:16) But the baptism-walking through the fire-is part of your experience as a believer and if you have suffered nothing as a believer then the chances are that you have not acquired much maturity because God has a special place for suffering in the life of a believer.
In fact, it's referred to by Peter, here in the first book that Peter wrote-chapter 4, I Peter, verse 12, he says, "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." (Inserted - I Peter 4:12,13) And then he goes on to talk about what it is to participate in the sufferings of Christ and then in verse 19 he says, "So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good." (Inserted - I Peter 4:19)
What is the purpose of suffering as a believer and why is it considered the "baptism of suffering"? Literally, you'll walk under suffering in some part of your life. And why is it that it is Jesus himself, who administrates this suffering in your life? Well normally today, if someone suffers as a believer, it is common to come under the scrutiny of other believers and to come under the judgment that accompanies that scrutiny and that judgment typically is: "Well, you are suffering because you are doing something wrong." Or, "You are suffering because God is mad at you." I know that in my own turn as a believer, when suffering has attended me, I have sought through my life to try to find what it is that I've been doing wrong and to gladly to repent of it because when you are suffering the thing you want is relief. So, if you even think that you might have done something wrong you'll repent of it.
In times of suffering I've repented of things I even thought of doing, let alone the things that I've done and I've repented several times of the things I knew for sure that I had done but that didn't change my circumstance and I kept on being held in this place of suffering. And then you go through. your enemy makes a "pitch" and tells you, "Perhaps you didn't really repent." So you repent all over again and you repent as often as you think you need to because you think that the way to alleviate the suffering-the suffering, for example, that comes through uncertainty or suffering that comes by the uncomfortable nature of your situation, the lack of direction, the lack of a sense of purpose, the sense that every opportunity has escaped you, the sense that you are without the sufficiency of means-whether financial, health, that problems are going on in your life with your children or your jobs and so on and so on. And the thought is that if you could only find what the root of your suffering is, what you have done that caused this suffering to come to you-if you could only find that, repent of it and get on with your life-then everything should be fine.
So it becomes quite a point of consternation when you do all of what you think you should do and nothing changes. When that happens, you should understand something: the role of suffering in the life of a believer has very little to do with things that you are doing that's wrong. We keep the same tract of our lives and we stay on that tract unless and until something happens that causes us to examine whether or not it is time to change. You see, the human being has a spirit, he has a soul and he has a body. Here it is in the book of I Thessalonians, chapter 5, verse 23, and there is says, "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you (namely the Lord) is faithful and he will do it." (Inserted - I Thessalonians 5:23,24)
You have a spirit, you have a soul and you have a body and normally the soul "runs the show". Let me take one other moment and show you that in Jesus' case he also had a spirit, a soul and a body. In the 14th chapter of the gospel of Mark, beginning at verse 32, going through verse 38, Jesus says there, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful even unto death" (so he had soul). "My soul." and He says, "What shall I say, Father save me from this hour." Then He goes on to say, "For the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Inserted - actual verse-"They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, 'Sit here while I pray,' He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,' he said to them. 'Stay here and keep watch.' Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 'Abba, Father,' he said, 'everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.' Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. 'Simon,' he said to Peter, 'are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.'" - Mark 14:32-38)
So He has flesh, He has a spirit and He has a soul and in that case what we saw was that His spirit embraced the will of God but His soul fought against the oncoming crucifixion-but especially His soul fought against the oncoming requirement that He drink this cup that contained all of the sins of all mankind. His righteous soul could not stand the thought of being made sin-He who had no sin. Why would Jesus go through this suffering? Was it because of anything He had done? Clearly not. But it was the destiny to which He was born. He was born to be made sin so that everyone who was a sinner would find in Him the appropriate sacrifice-the exchange for their sins.
He who had no sin became the sinner so that everyone who is sinful-and indeed ".All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Inserted -Romans 3:23)-might find in Him that very large word-the propitiation, the offer of satisfaction and fulfillment for their sins. That being so, we see that the baptism of suffering is not often related to things that you are doing that need to be corrected. Often however, the baptism of suffering has to do with this: that you have a destiny in the Lord and as you become more and more mature your soul needs to give way to the priorities established by the Holy Spirit to which your spirit is in agreement. It is the soul that is in conflict with the spirit-it is the human soul that is in conflict with the human spirit, which is also in fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of God in fellowship with your spirit, reveals the mind of the Lord, but when that mind is revealed the human soul realizes that it loses its dominance and its pre-eminence and it does not like that. At some point what it will do is that it will fight against the Spirit of God, in fellowship with your spirit, so that it can retain its dominance. The reason that the soul likes to retain its dominance is because the soul can more or less figure out what's going on and the soul knows the patterns of your life. The soul knows how to remain in control so it doesn't want to give up that control. Instead it wants to reduce the things of God to what it can control and make subject to the preferences of the human being.
When you do that then religion becomes the religion of works. You think up of what God would like and you give to God what you think God would like. That's fine if it worked, but inherently the human being does not know what the will of God is. God has to reveal His will for your life to you. You cannot figure it out and it is not some generic "good works" that you are called to do in order to meet the approval of God. God has a plan, known from the foundations of the world, for you. (Inserted - actual verse-"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." - Ephesians 1:4-6) It's how He specifically intends to live in you and how He specifically intends to live through you. You see, God prepared your person in such a unique way as He did because He wanted to come and live in you and then work through you when you gave your life to Him. He already knows what He wants to do through you and the only issue is whether or not you will allow yourself to become subject to His rule.
When you say to the Lord, "Lord, here's my life, You take it and You do with it what You want" we may think that's some great offering to God. But the fact is that God prepared a way of life that He intends to live through you when you will give the life that you have to Him and invite Him to take control. So it's not like He saves you and then gives the life back to you. He saves you for Himself and He takes that life that you have offered and He now intends to live through it but your soul doesn't like it-your soul wants a different outcome. So what the soul does is that it fights against the spirit.
Now suffering-in the life of the believer-is what focuses attention upon the way the soul is and brings the believer into conformity with how God designed them to live-indeed, what God intended to do in the person. So the conflict within the human being-between the soul and the spirit-is that conflict between whether the human will run the show or whether he will truly submit to God and the Spirit of God will direct his life. That's the conflict. Suffering is the way that the soul is saved. When you come to Jesus, He immediately saves your spirit. The Spirit of God comes in, takes residence and confirms that you are born again of God. This is what Romans 8:11 and following says, "For the Spirit himself testifies with our spirits." (Inserted - actual verse-"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." - Romans 8:16)
So salvation occurs when the Holy Spirit comes in and fellowships with the human spirit and establishes the seal that you are born of God. The soul however, is saved progressively and that's when the soul is brought to the place where it is required to give up its will, its direction, its control over the human life and to yield that to the human spirit in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. The human spirit in fellowship with the Holy Spirit understands the mind of God and understands the purpose for which the human being was created and within that context then, a reformation occurs. The nature of the human being is transformed from being governed by his soul to being able and available to God for God to dwell in.
By the Spirit of God in fellowship with the human spirit, a whole different life is lived and it is the life that God envisioned for you before you were born, before you came into the world. The Lord said to Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 1:4, "Before you were in your mother's womb I knew you. before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you a prophet to the nations." (Inserted - actual verse-"The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.'") And Paul, speaking of the same concept of destiny said that a grace was given to him "from his mother's womb to preach the good news to the Gentiles." (Inserted - actual verse-"But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man," - Galatians 1:15,16)
Now with that being so, you came into the world with the specific intent of being useful to the Lord, for Him to live in you and for Him to live through you. Jesus said the very same thing in the gospel of John, the 5th chapter, where He says, "The Son can do nothing of himself, only what the Father does, that's what the Son does." (Inserted - actual verse-"Jesus gave them this answer: 'I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.'" - John 5:19) He said to Philip, "Don't you know me, Philip, after I've been with you for such a long time?" He said, "It's the Father, living in me, who is doing His work." (Inserted - actual verse-"Jesus answered: 'Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work." - John 14:9,10)
Suffering transforms you from what you think you can do for God. which is nothing, and useless. in fact, it's characterized as works of iniquity when you are running the show and you are doing what you think is what God wants. You are transformed from that to submission to the Spirit of God. And by submission to the Spirit of God, He then directs your entire life beyond that point because the life beyond that point, you see, is the life that God created you to live. And He created you as a vessel to which He could come, in which He could live and out of which people could see God's own goodness in your face. It is not normal for the human being to submit himself to God in this way because before you give your life to God your soul rules the show-you are governed by your emotions, you are governed by your own thoughts, you are governed by your own perspectives.
The fiery trials that you must go through are those things that God has designed to shift your perspective from this idea of what you can do for God to making you available to God so He can live in you and He can live through you. Suffering disabuses you of any notion of your own perfection and you only change incrementally when-by reason of suffering-you recognize that you must give up some area of control in your life that you've always had. When you give up that control, God comes and He takes it and in that place where you rule, He expands your capacity to receive new revelation, new understanding, new insights into the nature of God.
Unless you suffer, as a believer, your soul will always remain in control and when your soul is in control your view of God will always be what humans can come up with about God. When suffering works its work, your soul will be put down and your spirit, elevated and your spirit then is able to receive, from the Holy Spirit, the fresh impulses as to the nature of God. It is Jesus who holds the steady hand upon this baptism of suffering. He is the one who can be trusted to bring suffering into your life when He wants to and how He wants to. The baptism of suffering therefore, is one of the two baptisms that Jesus is qualified to administer in your life and He does it faithfully to bring about the necessary changes. We will continue to study the baptisms and we'll conclude this section on baptism. We will talk about Water Baptism in the next hub below.
I Peter 4:12,13
I Peter 4:19
I Thessalonians 5:23,24
In our discussion of “Baptisms” we reaffirmed this fact that the elementary doctrines are not without importance, they are not insignificant. The very term “elementary” tends to put you off from believing that these are some things you have to “get”. I told the story once, on an occasion when I was having a Bible study and I was going around the room asking people to read and this older fellow, when we came to him, he said, “Well, I don’t have my glasses.” And so we just skipped over and went to the next person. Well later he came up to me and he said, “You know, I have to confess that really what was going on was not that I had forgotten my glasses.” He said, “I can’t read.” And then he told me the story of how, as a child, he couldn’t go to school because he had to work, and because of that—not having gone to elementary school—he never learned to read. In many respects we are finding God’s people, who have grown older in terms of numerical age, but have no strength, no understanding in the things of God because they were never taught, as new converts, the basic things.
Now it is a mistake to think that the only ones involved with our process—from the time we are saved to the time we die—is ourselves, and other human beings. Watching us, with very close scrutiny, is an entire array of enemies—not physical enemies and not visible enemies—but there is an entire counsel of the demonic that watches us. And they are looking for every opportunity that they could possibly have to exploit the weaknesses in our condition. The demonic, you see, opposes God and man and their opposition is both personal and systemic—it means that they would oppose you personally and they have an entire governmental order that opposes you and is set to entrap you in every way that they can with every scheme, every trick, and they’ve been at it for 6,000 years.
Listen to just a small piece of the Scriptures on the subject of the array that is against you. In the 6th chapter of the book of Ephesians, Paul says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Inserted – actual verse—“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” –Ephesians 6:12 KJV) The NIV puts it this way, it says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but it is against rulers, authorities, and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Inserted – actual verse— “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:12)
Now what does that sound like to you? If you have rulers who have authority, power and armed forces—that sounds like a governmental order. You have rulers, so they are the leaders; they have power and authority which means they have both the strength to do the thing and they have the authority to do it, and they have “armed forces”—spiritual forces of evil, attending them to carry out their wishes. With that being so, we must understand, as believers, that our struggle is far more complicated—the mind behind it, far more intense; the purpose behind it, far more devious than any of us normally considers on your average day. What has God done to prepare us for these kinds of struggles? Well you see, what God does in relationship to the realm of the demonic is to hold them accountable. Humans do not hold the demonic accountable because we cannot. We didn’t create them and we have no authority over themof our own. They are, in fact, a superior creature to us in many aspects of their being, compared to ours. For example, they are invisible. When an invisible creature operates in the visible realm, that creature enjoys enormous advantages.
Today, in the church, psychology has taken over and so our doctrines, our practices, the things we are learning about, are all teaching us how to “manage” and how to “get by”. But we are not understanding that the principle troubles of the believers come because we have a serious array of enemies against us and these enemies enjoy great advantages and, in the main, are vastly superior to us. They are restrained—not by anything that we say or do that originates with us—they are restrained by what is actually true because God says these things are true, and God restrains them, based upon what God declares to be the truth. One such great truth which restrains the enemy is baptism in water—the final of the four baptisms that we are studying in the Elementary Doctrine series, and that part of it entitled “Baptisms”. Baptism in water is the fourth.
We’ve looked at “Baptism ‘of’ the Spirit”, and we know that if we were properly taught “Baptism ‘of’ the Spirit”, we would have always been taught that we were born again into a kingdom of power. “Baptism ‘by’ the Spirit”, if we were taught that, we would always have been taught, and would have always known that we have a purpose and a destiny in God and we are assembled properly into only one body, so we would have also known there was only one body. “Baptism of Fire”, if we were properly taught the “Baptism of Fire”, we would have always known that suffering was part of the deal, and it is suffering under the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ to expand our capacity to receive new and fresh insights from God, but also to take on greater incidences of our place and our purpose in the Kingdom. And now: “Baptism in water”. If we were properly taught “Baptism in water”, we would have always known that the old creature died and the new creature has been given life and because of that—because of that truth—the enemy’s ability to harass us as frequently and as systematically as he does would have been dramatically curtailed because all of the accusations that our enemy has against us, he has against the “old” creature—the way we used to be. He has no right to accuse us when we stand in the reality of being a new creation. That’s a fact.
Now let’s look at “Baptism in water” and see how it plays into this. See, the enemy is restrained by what is true; what God has said is true restrains the enemy because, you see, when God says that something is true and we assert that as the truth, the enemy is obligated to pay attention to God because it is the word of God that restrains the enemy. Now what is the word of God concerning water baptism? Water baptism has been variously taught by different groups as being a variety of things. Some groups teach water baptism as being necessary for salvation. Other groups teach water baptism as being necessary for church membership. Other groups teach that it is “an outward sign of an inward grace.” Others teach that it is something that is not necessary and if you ever get around to doing it—that’s great—but if you don’t, that’s fine too. Up and down the spectrum, water baptism has either been exalted as a condition precedent to salvation—requiring baptism as a condition to be saved—and from there to the other extreme which is: it is not necessary at all for any particular purpose. If you want to, fine and if you don’t, fine.
When you come against that wide array of potential answers, it is a good idea to go back and look at what the Bible says. What does the Bible say? Here is what the Bible says about water baptism: this is from the 6th chapter of the book of Romans. Beginning at verse 1, this is a fairly lengthy reading, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” (Inserted – Romans 6:1-7)
Now there are some who teach that water baptism is a death, a burial and a resurrection and they analogize to the way baptism takes place, that is: you are put under the water—and by the way, baptism is by immersion, in fact that is the very meaning of the word in the Greek. “Baptizo” is to immerse one thing into another. The idea is that if you put somebody under the water, it’s like they are being buried and if you take them back up, it’s like they are being resurrected—a very good reason for you to take them back up because if you didn’t they would actually die. Baptism itself is a symbol; it’s a symbol of burial because it recognizes death has occurred and, to a person who has died, you must bury them. Resurrection, however, is a whole different matter. Romans 8:11, and following, speaks of the nature of our resurrection and it says, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you,” now, “he who gave Christ life from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies by his Spirit who dwells within you.” (Inserted – actual verse—“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” – Romans 8:11)
So baptism is not a death, burial and resurrection; baptism is only a burial. Death has occurred when repentance took place and burial is by baptism; resurrection is by the Holy Spirit. That’s the clear meaning of Scripture. So baptism is not a death, burial and resurrection; it’s a burial. Resurrection is by the Spirit; death is your voluntary will, expressed through repentance. Now what is this saying? This is saying that before you come to Christ there is the requirement that you die. Why? The process of our salvation includes adoption—namely that we are adopted into the family of God. Under the law of adoption, as long as someone has natural parents, that person is not available for adoption.
As long as we are found in Adam we are not available for adoption as the sons of God so to cure the condition of our parentage in Adam, God has ordained that we be brought to death. Death is the decision that we make to cease and desist from governing our lives by our own will. The sign that we have made that decision is that we are willing to be baptized in water. When you do that you are signaling to the heavenlies—to the entire rank and realm of the demonic that you no longer live, that you have made a decision, as an exercise of your will to repent from the way that you have been all of your life. Now it’s in that way that you’ve been, that the demonic finds its greatest opportunities against you. For example, if you’ve lived indulging in pornography the enemy will accuse you based on that. The spirit of lust will have its place with you. If you’ve lived in anger—the spirit of anger. If you’ve lived in fear, if you’ve been abandoned, if you’ve been rejected, the enemy will always come and remind you of those things. Now as long as the old creature is alive the enemy can come and bring an accusation against you. And if you respond out of the knowledge that this is in fact, you—not the one who used to be but who has died—but if you respond by recognizing the old person, then you have empowered your enemy against you all over again.
Earlier on in this series when we spoke of repentance from acts that lead to death, we spoke of what happens after you are a believer and you find yourself again, caught in patterns of sin. You simply repent and it breaks the hold of the enemy over you and the right of the enemy to oppress you with that. But this is speaking about something even more basic than that. When you find yourself, having done nothing wrong, or you are not living the life that you used to live before but you cannot get over the hump with the problems and the accusations that go on in your head—one of the things that you ought to look at is whether or not you’ve been baptized in water. Because what baptism in water establishes is this fact: that even though you now have a life and you have a memory of things you used to do, because you were baptized in water you signaled to all of the heavenly realms that are watching—the realms of God and the realms of the demonic alike—that are watching you, that you made a decision to die to the government of yourself the way you used to be. And when you make that decision—and that decision is called repentance—when you make that decision, God establishes the matter as being factual.
So when the enemy has a person that he can accuse, but that person has died and no longer therefore lives, then the accusation has no right against you. This is what Romans 8 says, Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” Period… that’s what it means. (Inserted – actual verse—“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” – Romans 8:1,2) Now here is how it works: you have an advocate before the Father. If you imagine yourself being accused by Satan of things you used to do when you were the old creature and imagine yourself in something of a law court. The accusation is brought by the prosecuting attorney—Ha-satan, it’s actually his role. The judge is the Living God who judges the living and the dead and your lawyer, your advocate, is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now all of these are things that are clearly established within Scripture. “If any man sins,” the Scriptures say, “he has an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous.” (Inserted – actual verse—“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” – I John 2:1) It’s your lawyer… Jesus is your lawyer. Now, that being the case, here is the trial: the accuser of the brethren brings an accusation against you, [he] charges you with something you used to be before you were a believer. Jesus, your advocate gets up and responds to the charge, and he says to the Father, “Father, I have offered full and complete satisfaction for this sin when I died on the cross and you, as the judge have already accepted my offer of satisfaction and you have considered it a sufficient offer. You have accepted it; it is complete. Everything he has done—when he used to be this old creature—I paid for and you have accepted my payment. Now therefore the only verdict that is possible in this case is this: even though he is guilty, he cannot be condemned… even though he is guilty, he cannot be condemned.”
That’s what happens when the old creature dies and the new creature has been raised. You come under the blood; you come under the provisions of salvation and even though you were guilty before, now you are not because the person to be accused no longer lives. When you pass through the baptism of water, you are declaring to the heavenlies that you have availed yourself of the redemption that has been made possible through the blood of the Lamb and you enlist the services of Jesus Christ on your behalf, as your advocate. That being so, even if you were guilty, the creature who lived and was guilty, no longer lives. Therefore, the one who is alive is a new creation and cannot be condemned. That’s what II Corinthians 5: 17 says, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ he is a new creation; the old has passed and the new has come.” (Inserted – actual verse—“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”) Whoever is in Christ cannot be condemned. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Inserted – Romans 8:1)
And the act of water baptism establishes two things: one, that you have died and two, because you have died, you cannot be accused of the things that were true of you at one time. Now the Spirit of God raises you from the dead and the very first cry that you cry out, upon being raised from the dead is, “Father, Father.” You have a different father. Sometimes you are filled with the Holy Spirit before you are baptized in water so you come to the reality of being the new creation, or the new creature, before you are baptized in water. If you find yourself in that place, you ought to go back now—now that you know—and be baptized in water. Now in the next broadcast I will talk about how to be baptized in the Spirit, how to baptized “of” the Spirit or “by” the Spirit, about the baptism of fire and about the baptism of water and we’ll look, intently, on how to facilitate these baptisms. But for you, if you have already received the Holy Spirit, the sign that you are saved, then my recommendation to you is that you… and especially if you are being troubled by thoughts of the way you used to be in the past—I recommend to you that you go back and look at being baptized in water. This will establish you. If you were baptized in water, you should have known that the old creature has died and the new creature has been made alive. That’s the purpose of water baptism and the general purposes of the “baptisms”. Baptisms are meant to result in great and significant changes. God bless you. Read the conclusion to this vast subject in the following hub below.
I John 2:1
II Corinthians 5:17
Baptism - Practical Application
We have concluded the substance of discussion on “baptisms” under the series of teachings entitled the Elementary Doctrines. Now what I would like to do is go back and take a look at how each of these baptisms occurs so that if there is a particular need that you may have for one of these baptisms and that this need should be met by an administration, that you will be able to avail yourself of that baptism. To recap, we said that there were four basic baptisms under the doctrine of baptism. First we talked about the Baptism “of” the Holy Spirit, secondly: the Baptism “by” the Spirit, third: the Baptism of Fire and fourth, Baptism in Water.
We mentioned that being baptized by the Holy Spirit and being baptized in fire were two administrations of Jesus Christ—that is, He himself baptizes you with the Holy Spirit and He baptizes you with fire. Baptism of the Spirit—when the Spirit does something to you—that's an automatic work. And then finally we talked about water baptism.
Now let’s—in an orderly fashion—look at how each of these baptisms occurs. For some, anything that has to do with the Holy Spirit, they believe has to be done spontaneously. Otherwise they do not believe that it is a true work of God. Now, baptism “by” the Spirit—when Jesus baptizes you with the Holy Spirit—that may occur spontaneously. In my case it did. I was traveling along a road one day, after I had preached for an entire week against the gifts of the Spirit, and suddenly my car was filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit and I experienced a transforming event, spontaneously. And I know that for a number of you it happens that way. But you see the thing about that is you cannot manufacture a spontaneous event. So what if you've been taught the need for the baptism of the Spirit, you desire the baptism of the Spirit, what do you do then? Since you cannot generate a spontaneous baptism how do you resolve the question? Well, thankfully God knew of that dilemma and has provided a specific way by which you might obtain baptism of the Spirit. And in some senses, we are moving ahead into another one of the elementary doctrines, which has to do with the doctrine of the laying on of hands. But there is more to it than what I am going to use it for now so we will study the doctrine of the laying on of hands independently.
Now in the book of Acts there are some brethren in Samaria, and this is from the 8th chapter of the book of Acts. I'd like for us to take a look, beginning inverse nine. Philip has gone to the city of Samaria and he's preaching the good news to them. There is a great revival that breaks out in that city. There were signs and wonders, miraculous things had occurred and demons were driven out, paralytics were healed, and so on and so forth, and there is great joy in the city. Now, it picks up with Simon the magician in verse nine of Acts 8. (Inserted - Actual Verse- “Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, ‘This man is the divine power known as the Great Power.’ They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.” – Acts 8:9-13) And he offers to buy the Holy Spirit for money. (Inserted – actual verse—“When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, ‘Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’” – Acts 8:18,19) He himself was a sorcerer but prior to his offer to buy the Holy Spirit—the gift of the Spirit—for money it says this in verse 13, it says, "Simon himself believed and was baptized and he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles which he had done."
Now, go back just a moment, just a verse or two, it says, verse 11, "the people followed Simon the magician because he was a great one and he amazed the people." But after they saw what Philip did in support of the preaching of the Kingdom, it says this, (vs. 12) "But when the people believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women" then it goes on to say (vs. 13) "Simon himself believed and was baptized." So everybody saw what Philip had done and was amazed at the great works of God. Now it's clear that they believed and they were baptized. Now what happened was that the word of this came to Jerusalem. When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When Peter and John arrived in Samaria, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them, they have simply believed in the name of Jesus. Verse 17 says a very, very important thing,"Then Peter and John placed their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit." Did you see that? The brethren in Jerusalem heard that in Samaria—as a result of the preaching of Philip—many of the people already believed and were baptized. But the Holy Spirit had not yet fallen on them. Now this is interesting because Acts 2:38 says "If you repent and are baptized you'll receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Inserted-Actual Verse—“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.")
Now you may recall, from an earlier study, we distinguished between the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We distinguished it by looking at the last chapter of the book of John, the 20th chapter, in which it was said, “Jesus breathed on his disciples and he said ‘receive ye the Holy Ghost.’” (Inserted-Actual Verse—“And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” – John 20:22)
Obviously at that point they received the Holy Ghost. But Jesus ascended to heaven and then he sent the Holy Spirit to baptize them. In fact, before He ascended to heaven and after He had breathed on them, He said to his disciples—this is recorded in Acts 1, "Go to Jerusalem and wait for the promise you have heard me speak about." "John indeed baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." (Inserted-Actual Verse—“On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” – Acts 1:4,5)
Clearly, while Jesus was on the earth he did not baptize his disciples with the Holy Spirit, nor did he baptize anyone else. He had breathed on his disciples to receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit—the gift of the Holy Spirit—but to these same disciples upon whom He had breathed, who had received the indwelling Holy Spirit as a gift from Jesus—a seal guaranteeing that they were children of God—to these very ones He had given now the instruction to go to Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the baptism of the Spirit. So from the time that Jesus breathed on his disciples to receive the indwelling Spirit, to the time they received
the baptism of the Spirit was quite a distance of time… at least 10 days, it may have been longer than that. So the baptism of the Spirit and the indwelling of the Spirit are two separate things. The indwelling confirms that you are a child of God; the baptism is for empowerment. And the indwelling may occur priorto the baptism.
Now in Acts 10 we come across another incident of the Holy Spirit baptizing people. There it's the house of Cornelius and what we observed was that before they received the indwelling they received the baptism, because Peter had not even gotten the invitation yet. In fact, Peter was there in the house of Cornelius pretty much by duress. When he showed up at Cornelius' house he said basically, “Look Cornelius, ordinarily a man like me would not come into your house because we Jews consider you Gentiles, dogs.” (Inserted-Actual Verse—“He said to them: ‘You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.’” – Acts 10:28,29)
Now, how would you like someone to approach you with the gospel that way? That was just how prejudiced Peter was. Yet he related to Cornelius the episode in which he was in the house of Simon the tanner in Joppa, when he saw the sheet come down out of heaven containing all manner of unclean things, and when he objected to the voice that said, "Rise Peter, kill and eat", the Holy Spirit said to him, "What I have cleansed, do not call common or unclean". (Inserted-actual verse—“About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’ ‘Surely not, Lord!’ Peter replied. ‘I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.’ The voice spoke to him a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’” – Acts 10:9-15) And he understood, after three times—this appearing, this thing that happened—after three times, Peter understood that this was a vision from God.
Immediately after the vision ceased, some men had arrived from Caesarea where Cornelius was, to Joppa, where Peter was, to invite him to come to the house of Cornelius. And Peter made the connection that the thing described as common and unclean and presented through the metaphor of the sheet from heaven containing all manner of unclean things, and Peter's reaction was meant to prepare Peter for the advent of the Gentiles into the Kingdom. But even then Peter was not a “happy camper”, so to speak. He was not a willing convert. He went reluctantly and he went under duress. He even took some Jewish brethren with him just in case. When he comes to the house of Cornelius, he says to Cornelius, “Ordinarily, a Jew like me would not come in to the house of a Gentile like you, because we think you are dogs.” (Inserted- actual verse—“Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them: ‘You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.’” – Acts 10:27,28)
But the Word says, Peter began to speak to Cornelius, and while Peter yet spoke these words, the Holy Spirit fell on the household of Cornelius, and Peter observed, “Of a truth, I perceive, that God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation he who fears God and works righteousness is accepted with Him". (Inserted – actual verse—“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, ‘Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.’” – Acts 10:44-47)
So when Peter goes back to Jerusalem to explain himself to the Jewish brethren in Jerusalem, this is what he said. He said, "When I saw that the Holy Spirit had fallen on them as on us in the beginning", so he refers back to the day of Pentecost. In Acts 11, when Peter is justifying his actions in Caesarea at Cornelius' house—justifying his actions among the Gentiles to the Jewish brethren in Jerusalem who were just as prejudiced as he was and confused about whether or not they should admit Gentiles into the Kingdom—when he gave his explanation he said "When I saw that the Holy Spirit had fallen on them as on us in the beginning, who was I to resist God." (Inserted – actual verse—“ ‘As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning.’” – Acts 11:15)—still admitting that he was not happy with the fact that Gentiles had come in, but he saw the hand of God. So, my point is: there are times when the indwelling of the Holy Spirit comes first. It happened that way with the house of Cornelius. It happened that way with the Jews on the day of Pentecost, and it happened that way also with the Jewish believers on the day of Pentecost. Happened among the 12 disciples first—first the indwelling and then the baptism. It happened to the first Jewish converts—not the 12 apostles and the others, the 160—but on the day of Pentecost when the multitude came together. First they also received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but also at the same time they received the baptism of the Spirit because they were properly taught. In the house of Cornelius, however, the order is reversed. Because Peter did not intend to admit the Gentiles into the Kingdom, so the Holy Spirit had to convince him in a manner that was so obvious that even Peter could not miss the point. The Holy Spirit fell on the household of Cornelius in the same manner in which he fell upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. When Peter saw that, he said, "Who was I to resist God?”
So, there is a distinction between the indwelling of the Spirit and the baptism of the Spirit. For the majority of people—and the reason I went through this distinction again, now putting in the Scriptural references—for the majority of the people in churches, and therefore the majority of the people who will be listening to this program, you may have received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and because of that, as a gift, because of that, you are a child of God. But if you have no power in your life then you need the baptism of the Spirit. They are two distinct things. They may happen spontaneously at the same time—the baptism and the indwelling—but sometimes, and what is more normal because of the doctrines of churches, what is normally the case is you are first introduced to salvation, taught about the indwelling, and many churches go no further and do not teach about the baptism of the Spirit. The baptism of the Spirit may be orderly administrated through the laying on of hands. And this brings us now to the full circle of what we've been saying.
In the city of Samaria, there were a number of brethren who had believed and were baptized in water. Because they did, they received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But the brethren in Jerusalem knew that they had not yet received the baptism of the Spirit, so they sent Peter and John to them to baptize them in the Spirit. When Peter and John arrived there, they proceeded to lay hands on them that they might receive the baptism of the Spirit. So what is the conclusion relative to how you might receive the baptism of the Spirit? First, if you are already a believer in Jesus Christ, you have the indwelling Holy Spirit—you are saved, you are going to heaven, you're a child of God, because the Holy Spirit is the seal guaranteeing your salvation and your status as a child of God. If you lack power, it is because you do not have the baptism of the Holy Spirit because the baptism of the Spirit, according to Jesus, is meant to result in power. He said in Acts 1, "For you shall receive power from on high when the Holy Spirit is come upon you" (Inserted – actual verse—“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." – Acts 1:8) And just a verse or two before that he spoke about not many days from then they would be baptized in the Spirit. (Inserted – actual verse—“On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” – Acts 1:4,5) So the coming of the Holy Spirit upon you is a reference to the baptism of the Spirit from the earlier verse.
So that being so, you may receive the baptism of the Spirit in one of two ways: first, by a spontaneous event. I received the baptism of the Spirit by a spontaneous event. The reason for that was because my heart was so opposed to anything of the Spirit at the time that I was not available in my condition for an orderly administration of the baptism of the Spirit through the laying on of hands, which is the other way that it occurs. As a result, the Holy Spirit chose to visit me supernaturally and I received a
supernatural baptism of the Holy Spirit. But, when you come to the ordinary conclusion that you need to be baptized in the Spirit, there is a regular way in which it might be administered. And that is what Acts 8 teaches us. The apostles in Jerusalem, knowing the need for the brethren in Samaria to be baptized in the Spirit sent Peter and John up. And when they came they were faithful to their mandate and they laid hands on them and they received the baptism of the Spirit, followed of course in the chapter by signs and wonders. (Inserted – actual verse—“When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 8:14-17)
What about the baptism “by” the Spirit, where the Holy Spirit places you into the body? Well, that is automatic. There is nothing you have to do about that. The Holy Spirit automatically puts you into the body of Christ once you are saved as that part of the body that you are. Now, if you don't know what part of the body you are—if you don't know who you are in the Lord—then ask the Holy Spirit and He will show you. Typically, He will show you what your gifts are and he will show you what your callings are. If He delays showing that to you then do not be upset or do not feel passed over. Do not feel frustrated by it because all that that means is that you are not ready yet to receive it because you might well be one of those kinds of people who—that if you know that God has made you to be something—you will run out and try to do it before he has prepared you to be able to sustain what it takes, to have what it takes to sustain what he has made you to be. So, if he doesn't show you yet who you are, then wait. He will show it to you, I promise you He will because I know that He is faithful. He is more interested in you being who you are—whom he has made you to be—than you could possibly be interested in knowing that. In other words, He has a greater interest in this being made known to you than you have an interest in having it made known to you.
So, baptism “by” the Spirit is simply an automatic operation of the Holy Spirit, fitting you into the body in the way that he made you to be. Similarly, baptism by fire is not something that you should run out and ask for. Trust me, the one who has arranged for you to be changed and transformed knows exactly what circumstances to arrange for you in order for that transformation to come about. Self-induced turmoil has no known redemptive value, so don't ask for the baptism of fire. It will visit you soon enough.
And finally, baptism in water. The word for baptism implies or means immersion because “baptizo” is to put something into another. When you put one thing in another then the thing that is immersed, is filled with the thing in which it is immersed and the changed nature results in that. So water baptism is baptism by immersion. Who may baptize you? Anyone who is strong enough to put you under the water and raise you up. The key is not the condition of the one who is baptizing you; the key is what's in your heart. What is your desire? Do you understand the need to be baptized in water? If you are baptized in water then immersion is the proper format of that, and the result will be that you declare to the heavenlies that the old creature, your old self that used to live, has died and a new creation has come up in it's place. And the enemy then is not able to oppress you by accusing you with the things that you used to be. So you should be baptized in water. And it's a simple matter of finding someone who believes in water baptism and understands that it should be done by immersion.
One quick question is what if you were sprinkled as an infant? Usually that is to confirm your membership in the particular church of your family’s membership. That doesn't count. At some point, you ought to decide for yourself. Again, this is not about being saved. This is about your declaring to the heavenlies that you are a new creation. You are still saved, even if you are not baptized in water. The benefit of baptism in water is that it makes this declaration to the heavenlies that the old creature has died and the new one is alive. This is the matter of baptisms. We will continue our studies in the elementary doctrines. God bless you.
Acts 8: 9-13