Leading Believers into the Baptism in the Holy Spirit (Decade of Pentecost Resources Book 2)
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Romans is the simplest declaration of how anyone can be born again and thus become a Christian:. That is how much bigger the internal baptism is than the external one. Hebrews 18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 for the law made nothing perfect , and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
In regard to their outward behavior of keeping the commandments, the Pharisees looked good. They appeared to be very righteous, but their hearts were far from God. It was to make people realize their need for a Savior from the sin that dwells within them Rom. Hebrews talks about the High Priest entering the Holy of Holies once a year with a blood sacrifice for the sins of the people and himself, and that this pointed to a greater High Priest and a greater Holy Place.
Then come these monumentally significant verses:.
Hebrews 9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and the sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshipper. Look again at verse 10 above!!! When Jesus Christ made available an internal cleansing by his virgin birth, sinless life, death, resurrection, ascension, and giving of holy spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
Then comes this fabulous verse:. Hebrews How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Why do we want to have a cleansed conscience? Why do we want this internal cleansing? So that we may serve the living God. Then we read:.
In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism [an immersion] that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body [i. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ….
Note carefully that the Word of God very specifically says that the baptism that now saves you is not water baptism, but rather something that touches you on the inside, even your conscience. That was made possible by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and his subsequent ascension and exaltation as Lord, which made him the baptizer with holy spirit.
So, our immersion into Christ via holy spirit both killed the old man, figuratively speaking, and gave us new life. The book of Acts begins with Jesus talking to his disciples during this same period of time, just before his ascension, and reiterating to them some things about which he had instructed them just prior to his death.
As Jews, they were expecting this to be associated with the coming of the Millennial Kingdom.
Books by Denzil R. Miller
The following two verses could not be any plainer:. How many baptisms did Jesus mention in Acts ? One is the old and one is the new. One is water and one is holy spirit. So the question is which one is applicable to Christians? One of the following verses, which set off seven key doctrinal subjects about which the proper understanding is vital to Christian unity, leaves no doubt as to the answer.
Ephesians 4 There is one body and one Spirit [spirit]—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. If there is only one baptism applicable for the Church today, would it be the water baptism of John or the baptism with holy spirit? Surely the one baptism of Ephesians is baptism in that one spirit by the one Lord, which comes by the one faith and makes a person part of the one body of which God is the one Father, and which gives him the one hope.
If the one baptism for the Christian were water, then why did God specifically make the point that Apollos knew only the baptism of John Acts ? Given the choice between the two baptisms, water and holy spirit, is it not clear that the one baptism for the Christian Church is not the water that was used through the Old Testament, but the holy spirit that came when the Church started? Colossians 11 In him [Christ] you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with the circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
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In the same vein, consider the following verse, which in its context also shows that because of what each Christian has received in his new birth, he is no longer at the mercy of sin:. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit [spirit] of our God. The old water baptism was only a type and indicator of the greater baptism of holy spirit that was to come, the one baptism for the Church.
So which baptism do you want — water or holy spirit? Which has more power to change the heart of a man or woman? Which is more practically relevant to powerful Christian living? There can be little doubt that most Christians today are focusing more on water, which is sadly ironic, because each and every one has already been baptized with holy spirit, as the following verse, which has no direct relationship to water baptism, makes clear:.
It is the one baptism pertinent to the Church today, as per Ephesians , which we have already seen. Acts 1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Ever since the Day of Pentecost, Jesus Christ has continued to baptize in holy spirit his divine nature every person who has confessed him as Lord according to Romans and How sad that so many dear Christians are, in essence, arguing for something with far less potential and power because they have been taught that baptism connotes water.
Leading Believers into the Baptism in the Holy Spirit Miller.pdf
As God plainly spelled out in Hebrews 7, 9 and 10 and 1 Peter 3, water baptism cannot do anything for the heart or conscience of a person. Water only symbolized the awesome gift that Jesus Christ came to make available to all who choose to believe in him as Lord. Let us now go on to see more of what we have in Christ, relative to the subject of this booklet. Baptized Into What, or Rather Whom? Identification With Christ. It is critical to note that despite the fact that most Christian churches today practice water baptism, there is no command or requirement from God for Christians to do so.
For whom? For Jews and proselytes Gentiles who converted to Judaism —to be baptized in water.
But, as Jesus told the disciples, that command was going to be, and now has been, superseded by the greater baptism in holy spirit. It is absolutely true that many first-century Christians did practice water baptism as a way for new converts to express their faith. Verses like Acts , 41; ff; ; show that water baptism was a custom of the early Christian Church.
Not because Jesus had commanded them to do so. It was a custom for several other reasons. First, nearly all of the first Christians from the Day of Pentecost on had formerly been Jews, in whose minds the tradition of water baptism was very deeply ingrained. Jewish tradition, based largely upon circumcision and water baptism, did not readily give way to the new program for the Church, a program not of fleshly ordinances but of a quickening life-giving spirit.
The second reason why water baptism was a custom in the early Church was due to the fact that the New Testament epistles of Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Hebrews, which make it clear that water baptism was only a shadow of the coming baptism in holy spirit, were not written for nearly a generation after the Church began.
It was about 21 years after the Day of Pentecost before the first Church Epistle was penned circa 49 A. During that time, there was no definitive revelation from God contradicting the Jewish custom of water baptism. Sad to say that the same holds true to this day.
In regard to the persistence of Jewish tradition, think about what else Jesus told the disciples in Acts 1 at the same time he said that water baptism was on the way out. He told them to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature which includes the Gentiles. Did they? No, not for a long time. Historians say that it took about ten years before even one Gentile was accepted into the faith Acts 10 , and that 25 years after the start of the Church, Paul was still fiercely battling his Judaizing opponents, as evidenced by what he wrote in his letter to the Galatians.
In fact, Galatians reveals that even Peter, who the Lord originally sent to the Gentiles Acts 10 , was still so deeply influenced by his Jewish roots that Paul had to have a face-to-face confrontation with him in order to keep him walking in the greater revelation he had been given years earlier Gal. Old habits truly do die hard. The progressive unfolding of these truths in the Church Epistles finally made significant inroads into the Church and many people realized that such Jewish rituals as circumcision and water baptism were no longer required.
The fact that the first Christians were very steeped in their former Judaistic traditions explains why they continued baptizing new converts in water. In Acts 8, for example, Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch at his request. After hearing and believing what Philip taught him about Jesus Christ, he asked to be baptized in the river, and Philip was glad to comply, in accordance with his previous Jewish background dictating that proselytes were to be baptized.
How hard was it for someone who had been a Jew all his life, until the Day of Pentecost when he suddenly became a Christian, to jettison his Jewish mindset and accept the truth of a greater, internal baptism? Peter is a perfect example. There Peter found out that the new birth and the corresponding gift of holy spirit was for Gentiles too, something he should have known from what Jesus taught the disciples in Acts 1.
Unless you have ever been steeped in unmitigated prejudice toward a particular group of people, you probably cannot begin to identify with what an incredible shock this was for Peter and the other Jews who were there with him. The Jews considered the Gentiles in the same category as dogs, which is how they referred to them. Think about it: how disconcerting would it be for you to be teaching the Bible at your home fellowship and have your pet beagle suddenly begin speaking in tongues, evidencing the fact that it was born again?!
And I believe Peter got flustered:. They have received the holy spirit [no article] just as we have.
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Most Christians read these verses and assume that Cornelius and his cohorts were then submerged. But there is another way to look at this. First of all, the Bible does not say that they were baptized in water—it says Peter ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, which I believe implies water as per his previously Jewish mindset. But was that command carried out? Not necessarily. Paul also fought his own mental and emotional battle against the Jewish traditionalism for which he had been as zealous as he later became for the Lord Jesus Christ.
He succeeded in overcoming his traditional mindset, and pioneered the preaching of the truth that he ultimately compiled in Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians—the heart of the Word for the Christian Church.
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Let us look at what he said regarding water baptism as he addressed divisions regarding it and other things among the Corinthian believers:. Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? Paul does admit that he baptized a few people in water according to the old tradition, and we can only speculate as to why. Based upon his epistles, it is unlikely that Paul was still zealous for the Law like many other ex-Jewish Christians.
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A more plausible explanation is that the people he baptized were desirous to keep this custom, and he decided to accede to their wishes, much like in Acts 8 when Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch who asked him to do so. Paul makes it very clear, however, that water baptism was an insignificant part of his ministry. Christ did command us to go into the world and make disciples and baptize them, but it is Church tradition, not the Bible, that says this baptism means in water. We have already seen that we are now to be baptized, fully immersed, in holy spirit.