Christ The Baptiser With The Holy Spirit

John 1:33

This morning, I want us to consider for a title, Christ The Baptiser With The Holy Spirit. In the sermon,  we will attempt to find out Who The Holy Spirit Is?  What does Baptism with the Holy Spirit Mean?  and The work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life. The topic about the Holy Spirit I must admit is a subject  we may come to over and over in our life as a church. It is also a subject fraught with many misconceptions and controversies. But I intend to be guided by the texts and not what controversies exist out there.

There is something that happens in Ghana a lot. Maybe it’s worldwide, but I am just narrating what I have seen in Ghana. A house or home that has not received any form of maintenance for ages suddenly gets a face lift by painting immediately someone dies in that house. Reason: visitors would be coming home to mourn with the family.

For many of us, when we know we are receiving a visitor or visitors, we may prepare by perhaps firstly putting our sitting area in order. What we popularly call hall in Ghana. The preparation is for us to receive our guests. 

Now John’s ministry was a ministry of preparation to prepare Israel to meet the promised Saviour. He clearly stated this as his purpose:  “but for this purpose I came baptising with water, that he might be revealed to Israel” (v.31). You will notice that, all this while since we started the series in John, we have been talking about Jesus Christ. Everything that has transpired so far is John the apostle and John the Baptist’s witnesses of who Jesus is (vv 1; 6-10;14-15;29). So this chapter is all about Jesus.

John the Baptist has earlier introduced us to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ in taking the sins of the world away(v.29). After this, he again introduces us to another work of Jesus Christ: He will baptise with the Holy Spirit (v.33).  John has therefore introduced another personality into the picture: The Holy Spirit. (vv 32;33). Three times the Spirit is mentioned and the third time he is qualified: The Holy Spirit.

The way John puts it clearly tells us his audience knew who the Holy Spirit is. Concerning the promises of God to the Jews about deliverance, there was also a promise of the Holy Spirit: “And it shall come to pass afterward,  that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams,  and your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28).  Jesus speaking about the Holy Spirit to his disciples called him “The Promise of the Father” (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5). So in the promise of a Redeemer was also the promise of the Holy Spirit.

And Jesus we are told will baptise with the Holy Spirit.

Who Is The Holy Spirit? 

As Christians, we believe in a Triune God, that is to say, we believe in the Trinity. One God exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If you look closely at the texts we read, you will see this. You will not see the word Trinity(of course you can’t find the word Trinity in the Bible but the concept is clearly taught. One God in three persons). vv. 29; 32; 33…We see Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit in these texts. Notice that we have already pointed out how Jesus is God in v.1. You will notice also we are told of the origin of the Holy Spirit: “The Spirit descended from heaven.” (v.32).

Further more about the Trinity, there is the most common Scripture we share as Benediction or The grace. Paul says: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Corinthians 13:14). When Jesus sent his disciples out with the charge of the great commission, he charged them “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). We see clearly here then that the Bible speaks of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And these three are one. The Holy Spirit then is the third person of the Trinity. We usually say God the Father, God The Son and God The Holy Spirit. The Bible clearly points out the Holy Spirit to us as a divine person. He is not a force or some kind of power, but he is God. And there are Scriptures that plainly points this out to us. 

In the book of Acts, we see two persons accused of lying to the Holy Spirit. 

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.( Acts 5:3-4).

Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit, and this lie was a lie to God. The Holy Spirit can also be grieved (Ephesians 4:30). 

[The Spirit] is spoken of as a person. The personal [demonstrative] pronoun ‘he’ (ἐκεινος) is used with reference to him (John 15:26; 16:13–14); he is called ‘Paraclete’ (παρακλητος, John 15:26; cf. 1 John 2:1); ‘another Paraclete’ (John 14:16), who speaks of himself in the first person (Acts 13:2). All kinds of personal capacities and activities are attributed to him: searching (1 Cor. 2:10–11), judging (Acts 15:28), hearing (John 16:13), speaking (Acts 13:2; Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22; 14:13; 22:17), willing (1 Cor. 12:11), teaching (John 14:26), interceding (Rom. 8:27), witnessing (John 15:26), and so on. He is coordinated with the Father and the Son (Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 12:4–6; 2 Cor. 13:13; Rev. 1:4). None of this is possible, we think, unless the Spirit, too, is truly God (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatcis)

This plainly tells us the Holy Spirit can be related with, prayer to and rightly worshipped as God. Indeed the Bible uses certain symbolisms in identifying the Holy Spirit, but these are just symbolic based on the work of the Holy Spirit: dove (v.32, Matthew 3:16; Luke 3:22; ), fire, wind, water and oil  (John 3:5-8, Acts 2:1-3). 

Baptism With The Holy Spirit

This is a very controversial subject. Controversial because all kinds of errors have been associated with the subject of “Baptism With The Holy Spirit.” Based on the account of Acts Chapter 2, our Pentecostal friends have developed a theology of a waiting period, where one is firstly saved, then one will have to wait for a period to seek the Holy Spirit. Further, it is said that the evidence that one has been baptised with the Holy Spirit is tongues speaking. But all these are a misunderstanding of the term baptism with the Holy Spirit. Now the events in Acts 2, where the disciples had to wait for a period to receive the Holy Spirit was because Jesus had clearly told them that if he doesn’t leave, the Holy Spirit will not come. 

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.  And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged (John 16:7-11)

This then explains why the disciples had to wait. They were in a unique place in the history of the church. A clear biblical teaching is that anyone who gets saved or receives  Christ is baptised with the Holy Spirit immediately. There is no waiting period. Salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit, therefore no one who is saved will be devoid of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given on the day of salvation: “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” (Romans 8:9).

Concerning tongues speaking, let me indicate that the doctrinal position of this church is that tongues speaking doesn’t exist today. This is because we have a completed Bible and affirm that the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit has ceased. The Bible is all we need for salvation. So if you have been with us and been wondering why we don’t do some of the things done in other churches, that’s a brief explanation. We can discuss further if you need clarification.

Now even if you don’t believe what I have just said about tongues speaking, let’s examine what the Bible teaches about tongues speaking. By the Biblical teaching, it is a gift of the Spirit which is not given to everyone. Therefore, it is wrong to claim that the evidence of Holy Spirit Baptism is tongues speaking (1 Corinthians 12:29-30). It then simply means if a Christian doesn’t speak in tongues, then they do not have the Holy Spirit. We definitely cannot say that. Further, the tongues of the Bible were true human language. And  what we hear today is far from the biblical picture. The correct understanding therefore of Baptism With The Holy Spirit is an identification with Christ or a union with the body of Christ. Baptism with the Holy Spirit is placing the believer in the body of Christ.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13).

And this Baptism, is done by Jesus. It is Jesus who sent the Holy Spirit together with the Father on the day of Pentecost. It is Jesus who gives the right to be children of God (v.12-13).

The Work of The Holy Spirit

Salvation Is By The Holy Spirit

Without the Holy Spirit, nobody can be saved and nobody can know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Note carefully John’s statements in vv.32 and 33. One phrase is repeated twice: “I myself didn’t know him.” This is quiet revealing. John the Baptist didn’t know Jesus as the Lamb of God by himself. He lacked that ability to know Jesus by himself until God, through the Holy Spirit pointed Jesus to John as the Lamb of God. He may have known Jesus as a relative, we established that sometime in the series. But not as the One to take away sins until God through the Spirit revealed that to him.

Not only John the Baptist, but human beings generally by our sin are not in a position to know Jesus and be saved by ourselves. It takes the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to the truth. The unbeliever has eyes, but they cannot by themselves appreciate the beauty and need of salvation. In that sense, they are blind and need the Holy Spirit to see well and appreciate Christ.

If you interview all of us who wear glasses here, we will tell you of different problems we have. I don’t use my glasses for reading. I can read without it. In fact I can read very tiny things at close range. But I cannot see well from a long distance. My glasses therefore helps me to see things well from a distance. This in a way, paints a certain similar picture of the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation. He helps us to see well our sinful nature  and need of a Saviour. If you haven’t come to salvation yet or not believed in Jesus, it’s very possible, spiritually, you are not seeing well. You are blinded to the poor state of your soul and your sinfulness. And the only way you will be saved is if the Holy Spirit opens your eyes to the true state of your  soul.

The Holy Spirit Cleanses Us Of Our Sins

In John’s ministry, he baptised the people with water, to cleanse and prepare them to meet the saviour. Now John’s ministry took place under the old covenant. And in the Old Testament, there were cleansing rites instituted as a form of temporal cleansing from sin. In Exodus 19:1-11, before God gave the law, he gave certain instructions which can be considered as preparation to meet the Lord

the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people (Exodus 19:10-11).

The word consecrate, basically means to make something holy or set apart for holy use. This usually involves a ritual or process like what we read. They were to wash their garments. They were to clean themselves. This is a ceremonial cleaning which prepared them to meet God. John’s ministry took that form of ceremonial cleaning preparing the people to meet their redeemer. And notice how John puts his mission in comparison with Jesus’: “I  baptise with water… He who baptises with the Holy Spirit.” Baptism with water is symbolically an outward washing of sins. Baptism with the Spirit on the other hand is a spiritual inner cleansing. By the Holy Spirit, we are washed and cleansed of our sins, permanently.

according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you (1Peter 1:2)

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God (Hebrews 9:11-14).

The Spirit purges us. He consecrates us. He works on us to grow more and more in our walk with him. He produces in us the fruit of the Spirit which we saw when we studied Galatians: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…..

The Holy Spirit Seals Our Salvation

The Spirit remained on him. This is instructive. The Holy Spirit didn’t come on Christ temporarily. The Holy Spirit in the Christian then is not temporal. He doesn’t come and leave, to return later when needed. He doesn’t save a person and leaves him. He seals us. For the believer, He is the down payment for our salvation. You walk through some shops like furniture shops and you see goods with the tag sold. It means that a payment had been made for that good and the owner will come for it later. This is the same picture of the Holy Spirit. He secures our salvation (Ephesians 1:3, John 14:16).

It is Christ who baptises us with the Holy Spirit. That is to say, it is Christ who saves us

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