INTRODUCTION – Importance of faith and expectation – –
Heb. 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
The risen, but not yet ascended Lord of Lords and King of kings – Jesus Christ had promised His disciples that if they would gather in Jerusalem and seek Him and wait upon Him in prayer together – they would receive power from on high. Listen to Luke’s account of this from Acts 1:4,5, “Gathering them together, he commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Later in vs. 8 Jesus further defines for them what they can expect when the Holy Spirit falls on them, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you….”
It was not an experience, but the power of God that was promised, and thus it is the power of God that should be sought. But when the power of God via the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples in the early church, there was always a visible manifestation of that; there were always some visible experiences of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power.
Last week Joshua explained to us what that looked like at Pentecost with the apostles and the tongues of fire, and the impact that made on the surrounding crowds. (Acts 2:1-13)
So the question I want to rather quickly answer this morning is: Should we expect further experiences of the Holy Spirit’s filling, baptizing, enabling work in our lives (subsequent to our salvation/being born again)?
I want to deal with this because there are teachers out there who will tell you that what you received when you were born again is all you get and all you need. And that we should not look for or expect anything else. We just need to believe that we received everything we need when we were born again. If you have a Ryrie, Schofield, or John MacArthur study bible, you will encounter notes to this end. If you love to listen to or read old J.Vernon MGee sermons – you will encounter this thinking. If you listen to certain Calvary Chapel teachers – you will encounter this kind of teaching. And the list goes on. And my point is not to put those teachers down. They have made significant contributions to the body of Christ over the years in other areas. My objective this morning – before we go any further in our series in the book of Acts is to make sure you know – that for us to accomplish our mission – often called the Great Commission – – we must develop a hunger and expectation for more of the Holy Spirit’s power – – and therefore if you have been taught otherwise – – you are going to have to come to terms with that, and turn from this false teaching.
It is a sad reality (and there are exceptions to it), but in general – the longer a man or woman confines themselves to their theological studies, libraries, and classrooms – – and thus cut themselves off from the mission Jesus has given us to accomplish – – the more they are going to be tempted to twist the scriptures to justify their lack of Spirit empowered fruitfulness and experience.; On the other hand – – In my experience, the more men and women get involved with Jesus in seeking to fulfill the great commission, the more they see their need for more and more of His power – and thus – the more the book of Acts becomes a handbook instead of merely a history book.
Watchman Nee – the great late Chinese pastor and teacher said, “The spiritualizing away of divine things is the desperate expedient of people who do not possess reality.” There is nothing wrong with not possessing some of the reality we see in the book of Acts – – as long as we do not seek to justify that lack. When Jesus Christ said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” or a little later, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.” He was giving us permission to admit our lack. He was even saying that lack is a golden opportunity for us to be filled – – depending on how we handle and view our lack.
So as we look at how the Holy Spirit poured out on these disciples and what it resulted in not just in Acts chapter two, but also in the chapters following with other new converts and disciples, and as we wrestle with whether we should expect this to happen to us – – One question we need to answer this morning is when were the disciples born again, and did they receive the Holy Spirit at that point?
I. The Disciples Salvation and Receiving of Holy Spirit –
Before Jesus’s resurrection – they had walked with Him for 3 ½ yrs. During that time they left their businesses and families and reputations behind to follow Jesus, ….. they healed the sick and cast out demons when He sent them out to do so; despite their failures – when pressed – they were able to embrace and proclaim who Jesus was,….. though Thomas doubted until he touched with his own hands Jesus’s wounds from His crucifixion; they worshipped Him at various points to some degree, and they participated with Jesus in miraculously feeding large crowds with little bits of food.
I think we can safely say the 12 and some of the others who were following Jesus along with the 12 (minus Judas) were getting ever closer to the kingdom, but most likely were not yet fully in it up to Jesus’s resurrection.
Keep in mind as we ponder this – that there will be some at the end of time – who will remind Jesus that they healed the sick, prophesied, and cast out demons in His name, and He will respond to His angels– take them to hell for I never knew them.
Then we come to John 20:19-22 (turn to it and read it)
I want to read to you the great Greek Scholar – Charles Ellicot’s commentary on this passage:
“The [Greek] word rendered “breathed” occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, but was familiar from its use in the Greek [LXX] of Genesis 2:7, (which says “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being”). St. John uses to describe this act of the risen Lord the striking word which had been used to describe the act by which God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life. He [John the Apostle] writes as one who remembered how the influence of that moment on their future lives was a new spiritual creation, by which they were called, as it were, out of death unto life (Charles John Ellicott, D.D., Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Zondervan Publishing House, 1954 edition, Volume VI, pp. 543-544; note on John 20:22).
Now we know this happened pretty early in the 40 days that Jesus Christ spent with His disciples after His resurrection – before His ascension. After that they had up to as many as 39 more days of focused time with Him on and off – wherein they received more hands on training, and were able to gaze upon the resurrected Christ with their eyes fully opened; but after all of this – they still needed to wait for His promise of a greater enduement of power via the Holy Spirit – to accomplish their mission.
II. What about Paul’s statement about our being baptized in I Cor. 12:13 (read vs. 12,13) “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”?
Key word here is “one” – – it occurs 2 x’s in vs. 12 & 3 x’s in verse 13. When Paul discusses our being baptized by the Spirit in this passage he is speaking of the divine placement in the body of Christ and the unity we all have in the body because we were all supernaturally placed in this body by His Spirit. There is no discussion in this passage about power or enablement to fufiill His mission at all. Paul’s concern or fear is that their diversity would cause disunity because of their immaturity. Thus he tries to help them understand the oneness they have because of how the Holy Spirit has supernaturally placed them in the body. Thus Paul’s discussion of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is on a whole different plane and has a whole different purpose than Luke’s or Jesus’s does.
So has everyone in this building been baptized by the Holy Spirit? Well everyone in this room who has been born again, has been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. But it is very likely that not everyone in here has been baptized by the Holy Spirit of God with divine power and enablement to fulfill their role in seeing the great commission fulfilled.
III. Readings about 6 non charismatic men who experienced both baptisms:
– D.L. Moody – was an American evangelist and publisher who founded the Moody Church, Northfield School and Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts, the Moody Bible Institute and Moody Publishers.
– R.A. Torrey – 1856-1928) was an American evangelist, pastor, educator, and author.
– Charles G. Finney – Charles Grandison Finney was a leader in the Second Great Awakening. He has been called The Father of Modern Revivalism
– George Whitefield – was an English Anglican preacher who helped spread the Great Awakening in Britain, and especially in the British North American colonies.
– John Wesley – was an Anglican cleric and Christian theologian. Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, as founding the Methodist movement which began when he took to open-air …
D. Martyn Lloyd Jones – – was a Welsh Protestant minister, preacher and medical doctor who was influential in the Reformed wing of the British evangelical movement in the 20th century. For almost 30 years, he was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London
“Here is the first principle … I am asserting that you can be a believer, that you can have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, and still not be baptized with the Holy Spirit … The baptism of the Holy Spirit is something that is done by the Lord Jesus Christ not by the Holy Spirit … Our being baptized into the body of Christ is the work of the Spirit [that’s the point of 1 Cor. 12:13], as regeneration is his work, but this is something entirely different; this is Christ’s baptizing us with the Holy Spirit. And I am suggesting that this is something which is therefore obviously distinct from and separate fro becoming a Christian, being regenerate, having the Holy Spirit dwelling within you (see note 18).
– Those people who say that [baptism with the Holy Spirit] happens to everybody at regeneration seem to me not only to be denying the New Testament but to be definitely quenching the Spirit” (see note 20).