PART 3: THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISMS
(Part 3 of a series examining the Foundational doctrines of Christ in Hebrews 6)
Heb 6: 1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms,
BAPTIZE = Grk BAPTISO which means to immerse,
submerge or to fully wet. Therefore, whenever we talk about Baptism, we
understand it to be referring to Baptism with Water and this is generally true
concerning Scripture. However, there are many places in the Bible where the word
Baptism is used in a different way to refer to Baptism of a different kind.
In the Old Testament, Baptism never existed. Gentiles who converted to Judaism were ceremonially washed or “baptized” according to the Mosaic Law. When John the Baptist came to prepare the way for the Messiah, he baptized unto repentance. It is important to note that the baptism practiced by John and the disciples prior to our Lord’s crucifixion was unto repentance, for the forgiveness of sins. Until then, the New Testament Covenant did not exist. John’s baptism bound its subjects to repentance, but not to faith in Christ. It was not administered in the name of the Trinity and those disciples who John baptized, were rebaptized by Paul (Acts 18:24; 19:1).
Mark 1: 4John baptized in the wilderness, and preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
· There are 3 ASPECTS OF GOD –
Jesus speaking to the disciples, defined Baptism in Matt 28: 19Go therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:
· There are 3 ASPECTS OF FAITH/SALVATION –
· There are 3 ASPECTS OF BAPTISM –
· Blood Baptism,
· Water Baptism
· Baptism of the Holy Spirit/Fire.
Jesus came by Water and by blood and it is the Spirit who testifies.
John 5: 6This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that testifies, because the Spirit is truth. 7For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one. 8And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he has testified of his Son.
There are 3 that bear record in Heaven – Father, Son and Spirit.
Eph 4:5 5One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
ONE Lord, ONE Faith, ONE Baptism.
There are 3 that bear witness on earth –Blood, Water and Spirit.
Yet there are 3 aspects and all agree in ONE.
We are not complete until all 3 aspects bear witness in our lives.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF BAPTISM?
DEAD, BURIED AND RISEN WITH CHRIST
Romans 6: 3 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 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. 5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 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— 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We are Dead WITH Him, Buried WITH Him, and Resurrected WITH Him in a NEW LIFE.
OTHER ASPECTS OF BAPTISM
We become clothed with Christ once we are baptized.
Gal 3: 26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Through death CHRIST defeats the Devil.
Heb 2: 14Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
The unsaved live in dread of death. Christians are altogether different in that we have already died, we have already had our funeral – when we were buried with Him in Baptism.
Christians are born twice but die only once! Unbelievers are born once and die twice!
BY going DOWN in the water – we are buried, when we come UP again, we are resurrected.
Again, Romans 6: 3
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized
into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into
death: that just as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the
Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
We are Baptized INTO Jesus Christ, baptized into His death, so that we may be resurrected in NEWNESS of Life. We are already living part of our eternal life by being resurrected with Him through our Baptism.
The Foundation of Baptism is REPENTANCE. One cannot be baptized until you have been born again – (dead, buried and reborn).
Acts 2: 39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
Only once we gladly receive the Word of God and we come to belief in Jesus Christ, can we repent. By doing so, we are ‘baptized’ in JESUS’ BLOOD. This “Inner change” is confirmed outwardly with Water Baptism.
Acts 1: 8
But you shall receive power when the Holy
Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem and in
all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth
By being born of God, (born again), we are given great power – is this power the power to become "King's kids", to claim the victory now, to bind the devil, to claim dominion on earth or power to become an Apostle??
1 John 5:
whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory
that overcomes the world, even our faith. 5Who is he that overcomes
the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
So what is this power? What is this victory?
We are given power to overcome the world and that means we have the power to ….
So, when we are Born again – we become dead, buried and
resurrected by partaking in the Cup that Jesus had to drink - we are Baptized
with JESUS’ BLOOD. But Scripture tells us to still be baptized (Matt 28:19).
Once you believe, there are still 2 more aspects to complete. They may happen in
In Acts 10:44 These were Spirit baptized before being water baptized, emphasizing that Spirit and Water Baptism can happen in any order.
Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of
Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the
Acts 8:36And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what stops me from being baptized? 37And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Interestingly, this important verse 37 is left out of the NIV Bible!)
Water baptism always comes after salvation. It never precedes salvation. Scripture instructs us in many places to become Water Baptized. Jesus was baptized, the apostles and all the disciples were baptized. We need to be baptized. We must make what has happened to us on the inside (born again) experientially true. Water Baptism is the SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE of what is an OBJECTIVE TRUTH – it is the outward display of what is happening Spiritually (on the inside).
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. 13 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.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is for all believers adopted into the family of God, it is how one enters the body of Christ (also Gal. 3:26-28).
John the Baptizer said: Matt 3: 11 “I baptize you with water unto repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father has sent me, even so
send I you. 22And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and
said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
On this occasion, Jesus breathed on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
On the day of Pentecost, Jesus told them to wait for the Spirit to come in, when the Spirit would only then be outpoured. Only Jesus can Baptize with the Holy Spirit. Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit as He did when He baptized the Apostles. Extraordinary gifts of the Spirit are often conferred upon the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 1:5 “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus confers the Gift of the Holy
Spirit to them that ask him:
Lu. 11:13 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
John. 7: 37
On the last and greatest day
of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let
him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the
Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 39
By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were
later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had
not yet been glorified.
You not only have to ask for the Spirit, but you have to thirst for the Spirit to be given it.
SPIRIT BAPTISM is an essential part of the Christian walk. Without the Holy Spirit, we can do nothing, and are essentially ineffective and dead. Spirit Baptism very often leads to the promised Gifts of the Spirit, one of which is the Gift of tongues. In the Bible, speaking in Tongues was the most common manifestation of a person being Baptized by the Holy Spirit – and the same is true today.
Eph. 5:18 18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
This is an important verse – a more correct translation of “be filled” is to be continually filled. So it tells us to be continually filled with the Spirit, in other words give him control of our lives, it is a daily thing. How are we continually filled with the Spirit? By reading the Word of God, speaking and singing the Word in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs and by Praying in the Spirit, by praying in tongues. The Bible tells us that we build ourselves up by praying in tongues - we can be continually filled with the Spirit.
Jude 1:20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up by your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, eagerly awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to everlasting life.
1 Cor 14: 4 He that speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself. [builds himself up by praying in the Spirit].
v 14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, [ie: praying in the Spirit] but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
From this verse we learn that there are 2 types of prayer and 2 types of praise: -
1. Praying/Singing in the Spirit – tongues.
2. Praying/Singing with understanding – ordinary speech.
We’ve now had a look at the fundamentals of Baptism, including being baptized
in the Holy Spirit, but the Bible tells us that the Spirit Baptism brings with
it another aspect – that of being baptized with FIRE.
Matt 3: 11 “I baptize you with water unto repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
Spirit Baptism is compared to a Baptism of Fire - Those who are baptized with the Holy Spirit are baptized as with fire; and this has been likened to a Baptism of suffering.
In Rev. 4:5, we see the seven spirits of God appear as seven lamps of fire.
Figuratively, fire is a symbol of God’s presence, the Holy Spirit and the instrument of His power, as in Exodus 13: 21And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: 22He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
More specifically, FIRE in the Bible usually refers to either:
1. The Judgement or Wrath of God, or
2. A Testing or Purification by the Holy Spirit.
Matt 13: 40 As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
Zech 13: 8 In the whole land,” declares the LORD, “two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. 9 This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’
But let’s look at the verse again - Matt 3:11: 11 I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
It is clear in the verse that John is talking to believers, not unbelievers. Unbelievers would never be Baptized with the Holy Spirit. So we know then that the reference to FIRE in this Scripture cannot be one of Judgement, but rather one of Testing, Suffering and Purification. Mentioned in conjunction with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, we can therefore expect the Holy Spirit’s refinement of us by Fire. Eina!
Why would it be necessary for us to go through this Baptism with Fire?
1 Pet 1:7 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
It says in v6 we will have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials so that our faith is tested as genuine.
Christ said in Luke
“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and
how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism
to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!
Why did Christ use the words “I have a Baptism to undergo”? Hadn’t He already been baptized? –
remember the fundamentals of Baptism - we are dead, buried and …RISEN! Christ still had the Baptism of suffering to go through, before He would be resurrected.
We read in
Mark 10: 38 (also Matt. 20:23 ).
“You don’t know what you are asking,”
Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am
baptized with?” 39 “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You
will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized
Now we know that Jesus had already been water baptized and many of the Apostles that He was talking to had been too. This Baptism, therefore refers to a different kind of Baptism. Jesus "drank" the Cup filled with our sins. This was an expression of all the sins of the world put into one cup and poured out on Christ while He was on the Cross. God the Father judged our sins while they were on Christ. The "cup" being spoken of signifies God's wrath towards sin and the blood sacrifice of Christ in our place. Another symbolic reference of the “cup” is the cup taken in communion, where the wine represents His blood, which we drink in remembrance of His death. Christ identified with our sin and He bore them on the cross.
2 Cor.5: 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God., also in
1 Pet. 2: 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
In Matt. 26: 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping…….. 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
Jesus knew what He had to do to fulfil the Father’s will, and part of that will was to die a horrific death in our place, to go through torment and suffering. By believing in Jesus then, we know that we will have to drink the same cup that He drank and be baptized with the same Baptism that He went through, because… He said so. This Baptism with Fire can also be called a Baptism into Suffering, although the Bible never actually calls it that. This is a type of baptism that most people, even those confessing great faith in the Lord Jesus, do not like passing through, however, there are many scriptures that confirm that we, as Christians, must go through suffering:
1 Pet 4:12: 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
John 15: 18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates me hates my Father as well.
1 Cor. 3:
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert
builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how
he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one
already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this
foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13
his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.
It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s
work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.
15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved,
but only as one escaping through the flames.
This is a very interesting Scripture, in that it tells us that if the quality of our work for God is not good enough, we will not lose our salvation! We have the assurance that the price has been paid already, in full! But, it does say that we will lose rewards in heaven.
The Baptism with fire involves The Lord allowing his saints to pass through serious sufferings that, when bravely handled, glorifies and gives honour to the name of Jesus. This baptism of fire is only for true believers. Salvation does not mean that all is smooth. There are serious storms in the lives of the saints of God. The baptism of fire ushers the saints of God into tests, trials, temptations and other various forms of afflictions, to test their faith and their total dependency upon God. Baptism by fire brings about grace for a positive change in the life of believers towards God and enhances our spiritual maturity.
The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8: 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Even though the sufferings in this life may be severe, they are nothing when compared to the joys that we will experience when we arrive in heaven and are with the Father.
Hebrews 4: 7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
As long as the Christian’s foundation is the Word of God – by faith and obedience –we will always come out of the fire stronger, learning obedience just like Jesus did, in order that we can become more like Him. These hard times of fire baptism will also make the believer come out of the trials purified, just like gold is when it is passed through the fire. The sufferings should not be seen as a punishment from God, rather it brings about grace for a positive change towards God in our lives.
But beware, people…
Luke 22: 31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired you, that he may sift you as wheat.
When we have grown spiritually, received the Word gladly, overcome a trial or a test, this is what happens. When grain is shaken in a sieve, the grain remains in the sieve, and the chaff and dust falls through. The wheat is our faith, and Satan will place trials and temptations before us, to shake us; to see whether our faith remains, or whether it falls through as mere false professions.
Mark 4: 15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan comes immediately, and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.
Satan will come immediately to try steal our joy.
The Bible is full of men and women of God who went through this type of baptism – Job is probably the best known example of a man being tested by sufferings. The Prophets of God in the old testament, King David, Jesus, all the Apostles, and the persecutions of the disciples in the early Church are further examples.
In 2 Cor 11, Paul actually boasts about his sufferings. Please read it. What anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
We need to keep in mind that our heavenly Father is faithful, because as we undergo these sufferings he will not allow such strong suffering that we cannot bear it. Instead he gives us the spiritual strength to endure whatever he allows to come into our lives – in order that we are victorious to the glory of his name. It is written, 1 Corinthians 10: 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tested beyond what you can bear. But when you are tested, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
2 Tim 2: 8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 11 Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him.
Acts 9:17 PAUL was baptized.
Mark 16:16He that believes and is baptized shall be saved;
An unbaptized believer is incomplete and unconsummated. Jacob Prasch likens it to an unconsummated marriage.
JESUS was baptized. “It is proper for us to do
this to fulfill all righteousness”.
We must follow Jesus’ example on the basis of Scripture – It is His will for all of us.
1 Peter 3:
which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20Which
sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days
of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were
saved …by water.
21and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
Through the ARK, 8 people in all the world were saved. They were saved through water, which symbolizes the baptism that we are instructed to complete. It gives us the ability to face God with a clear conscience.
Exodus 13:21, 14:20 Is a perfect illustration of Baptism – the story of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt.
1 Cor 10:1 1Moreover, brethren, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
· They went under the cloud – Holy Spirit Baptism
· They went through the sea – water baptism
· the Passover meal was the blood baptism (Baptism of Repentance)
As we have seen, a fundamental concept of salvation is belief in Jesus and REPENTANCE. We cannot baptize someone who doesn’t believe, we cannot baptize someone who cannot possibly repent, we cannot baptize someone who doesn't understand.
Therefore, there is NO SCRIPTURAL BASIS for infant baptism – babies cannot believe and so cannot be baptized.
Why is it so important to be sealed or baptized with the Holy Spirit?
2 Cor 3: 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Therefore, when we are baptized with the Spirit, the unbeliever’s veil is removed. Unbelievers cannot understand the Word of God. To understand we need divine assistance, and what better assistance than the author of the Book Himself! This is what Paul described in 1 Cor. 2:12: 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.
Diverse Spiritual Gifts
Once we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, the New Testament mentions many Gifts that are manifestations, or evidence, of the Power given us by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Rom. 12: 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is ministry, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is giving, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
1 Cor. 12: 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another spiritual discernment, to another speaking in tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
Notice – God works the gifts
in all men” (Not some men, but
all who believe).
Also, “to EACH one the …..manifestation of the Spirit is given”. We are each given at least one gift, which is the evidence of being baptized in the Holy Spirit, so that we can use these gifts for the “common good” of the Body of Christ. It is important to know what gifts you have been given. If you don’t know, then it is highly likely that you have not been baptized in the Holy Spirit!
There was the beginning of a good discussion last week on this issue, but unfortunately, we didn’t have time to complete. So to clear up some confusion, let’s look then at what the Bible says about speaking in tongues.
15 He said to them, “Go into all the
world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes
and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they
will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18
they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it
will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they
will get well.”
Jesus did not say that ALL these signs would accompany EVERY believer. He said that these signs would be found amongst the company of "those who believe". So every believer need not have all these gifts. The Holy Spirit sovereignly decides who will receive which gifts.
“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other
tongues, as the Spirit enabled them....... And the Jews from every nation
marvelled saying....`We hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty
deeds of God.”
The first time that believers were filled with the Holy Spirit, they ALL spoke in tongues. The "tongues" were actual languages that others understood immediately. So there was no need for interpretation.
They were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God.
Here, in the house of Cornelius, all who were in his house were baptized in the Holy Spirit, at the same moment as they were converted to Christ. They spoke in "tongues" exalting God (praising Him) – but not speaking to people in known languages, as was the case on the day of Pentecost.
When Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they
began speaking with tongues and prophesying.
The Holy Spirit came upon the believers in Ephesus, when Paul laid hands on them.
1 Cor. 12:
to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to
one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit....v10…
to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of
The gift of tongues is for "the common good" – for the edification of the body of Christ or for the church. NB: This was written 25 years after the day of Pentecost! And the gift of tongues was still being given at that time. This debunks the theory that the Gifts of the Spirit have ceased. 25 years after Jesus was resurrected, the Gifts were still being given. There is absolutely no Biblical reason then to say that the Gifts of the Spirit have now ceased.
Notice too, in verse 10, it says “to another
various kinds of tongues” – tongues are varied, from actual
languages, to the tongues of angels, to the mysteries of the Spirit.
But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one
individually just as He wills.
This is perhaps the clearest Scripture that teaches that the Holy Spirit sovereignly decides to whom to give each gift (including the gift of tongues). We cannot dictate to Him whom He should give any gift to.
1 Cor 12:
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of
it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles,
second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles,
also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others,
those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different
kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all
teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do
all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But eagerly covet the
The answer to these rhetorical questions is obviously NO.
It is God Who appointed the gift of tongues in the church - for a specific purpose. All believers do not speak in tongues, just like all believers do not have the gifts of healing or prophecy. Therefore, God does not feel that "tongues" is an essential gift for all believers - either for being holy or for being effective in His service. If it were, He would have given this gift to everyone. Having said that, He wants us to covet these gifts. To Covet? To yearn for them. Desire them. With a zealous passion.
It is also clear from this passage, that ALL believers are part of the Body of Christ, and EACH part of it has at least one of these gifts.
Notice too, the importance that God places on the Gift. Firstly, Apostles, then Prophets, then teachers, then miracle workers, healers, helpers, administrators and only then tongues.
1 Cor. 13:1:
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have
become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
Speaking in tongues without having love in your heart is useless. Any pride or boasting by those who speak in tongues, or looking down on others who don't is because of a lack of love. Such unloving believers who speak in tongues are as annoying to God as a noisy gong is to us.
1 Cor. 13:8:
Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if
there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the
partial will be done away.
When perfection comes at Christ's return, there will be no more need for speaking in tongues.
In heaven, there will be no need for "tongues" - just like there will be no more need for Bible-knowledge or prophecy. So "tongues" is a temporary gift needed only under the imperfect conditions prevalent on earth.
1 Cor. 14:2:
One who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God; for no one
understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.
The gift of tongues mentioned here is obviously different from the one manifested on the day of Pentecost - for this gift is not to "speak to men but to God" and no-one can understand what the speaker is saying. This debunks the theory that all tongues are actual languages.
1 Cor. 14:4:
One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself.
The gift of tongues enables a believer to build himself up spiritually, and this is one of the most important uses of tongues – to be spiritually “renewed”. A means of being continually filled with the Spirit, as we learnt in last weeks study. This is confirmed in Jude 1: 20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.
This verse implies that the Gift of tongues is used at the users discretion. It is an instruction to us to use the gift of tongues (praying in the Spirit) whenever we need to be refreshed or built up. Therefore, we can pray in the Spirit as often as we want to. It is a GIFT, to be used as often as the user chooses to, through the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
1 Cor. 14:5:
I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and
greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he
interprets, so that the church may receive edifying. But now, brethren, if I
come to you speaking in tongues, what shall I profit you, unless I speak to you
either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching?
Paul wished that ALL spoke in tongues, indicating that not ALL believers do speak in tongues. However, he clearly saw that there were definite and clear benefits to speaking in tongues. But in the church, it is better to prophesy (to speak God's Word for the edification of the church - 1 Cor. 14:3). If however a 'tongue' is interpreted, then it is equal to prophecy.
1 Cor. 14:9,13:
Unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear (understandable), how will
it be known what is spoken?..........Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue
pray that he may interpret. If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but
my mind is unfruitful. What is the outcome then? I shall pray with the spirit
and I shall pray with the mind. I shall sing with the spirit and I shall sing
with the mind.
When praying in tongues, a person cannot understand what he is praying. But Paul still felt that he should pray and sing "with the spirit" (in tongues), as much as he did with his mind (in a known language). Again it infers that the user determines when he uses the Gift, under the guidance of the Spirit.
1 Cor. 14:18:
I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all.
However, in the church I desire to speak
five words with my mind, that I may instruct others also, rather than ten
thousand words in a tongue.
Paul was thankful to God for this gift. So it must have helped him. But in church, speaking in a known language is always the best.
1 Cor. 14:22:
Tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers. If
therefore the whole church should assemble together and all speak in tongues,
and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?
Tongues were also for a sign to unbelievers - as on the day of Pentecost.
1 Cor. 14:
What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn,
or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of
these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27 If anyone
speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and
someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the
speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.
If there is no interpreter, then we are instructed to remain silent in public. Tongues are therefore to be used in your own prayer closet.
If it were possible to summarize:
If you want the Gift of tongues, you have to thirst for it, you have
to ask for it and you have to covet it. If God gives you the gift
of tongues, receive it and exercise it as often as you are moved to. Speak forth
the syllables from your heart to God when you are alone with Him - anywhere -
and especially when you are under pressure, discouraged or overflowing with joy.
If you don't have the gift, don't worry about it, but be open to the Lord to
receive it, at all times. Don't be against it - God will give it to you, if He
wants you to have it.
At the same time, don't believe that everything you see and hear in Christianity is inspired by the Holy Spirit - Test everything. Use your God-given faculties of discernment. If you don't have the gift of tongues, don't consider yourself inferior to those who do have it. And if you do have the gift, don't imagine that it makes you more spiritual or superior to those who don't have it. (Paul and the Corinthian Christians both spoke in tongues. But Paul was a spiritual giant, while the Corinthians were carnal…).
MOST IMPORTANTLY, on the Gifts of the Spirit… In no gift, does the Holy Spirit take away freedom of choice from us. In fact, the fruit of the Spirit is "self-control" (Gal.5:23). One who is filled with the Spirit will have more control over himself than anyone else.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.
Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ
Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25
Since we live by the
Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Keeping that in mind, let’s go onto our next study….