There are all kind of teachings in the world today concerning salvation. And certain scriptures always seem to be more appealing than others to certain people. Some believe it is possible to be born again without the Holy Ghost, while others believe you must have the Holy Spirit in order to be born again. Still, others believe you must have the Holy Ghost plus the baptism of fire while others say, if you will only believe, then you are saved. And on and on the endless record of beliefs go. In the windup you are about as confused as when you started. The Bible has the answer but the important thing is, we must examine the word in its correct setting.
LEARNING TWO THINGS
In this study we desire to learn two things: (1) What the Holy Ghost is in relation to the new birth, (2) What it is in relation to placing you in the body of Christ, and for what purpose. Seeing the Bible does not confuse these things as every scripture must have its proper place in God’s great plan of salvation, we will also see what it is to be born again, converted or saved. We will see whether being born again, converted and saved is one and the self same work or is it separate operations in God’s plan.
Practically from the very beginning of Christ’s ministry it has only been the apostle John who gives us a clear recording of these things of which Christ spoke concerning the new birth. Having spent approximately the first six months of his ministry around the Sea of Galilee, in the upper Galilee area teaching in their synagogues, Chapter 2:13 records Christ goes to Jerusalem for the spring passover season where he meets Nicodemus, a Jewish ruler. (John 3:1-2)
PART 1 – CHRIST, HOLY GHOST BAPTIZER; JOHN, THE SPIRIT OF ELIJAH
Timewise it has been approximately six months since Christ turned 30 and was baptized by John the Baptist in the fall of the year. John never spoke in great detail of this baptismal experience other than to mention when Israel first began going out to John at the Jordan, certain individuals inquired of him if he was Elias, to which he answered, NO! Art thou the Christ! Again his reply was NO! They further questioned, Art thou that prophet? And for the third time his answer was emphatically NO! Yet some may inquire, did not John lie when he denied being Elias seeing Luke 1:17 declared he came in the spirit and power of Elias? NO, John did not lie because they were questioning him concerning himself. Are you Elias? In the personal sense, NO, although the spirit of Elias did rest upon him. Hence he never lied. Because when asked, who are you, his answer was, I AM THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD, ETC. That remark pertained to his person because John definitely was the individual prophet to fulfill Isaiah 40:3-4, concerning that voice crying in the wilderness. No one suspected in that hour, any more than they do today, that the spirit of Elijah could possibly rest upon an individual person without that person being the actual Old Testament Elijah himself. There is one coming after me, John says, whose shoe laces I am not worthy to loose. When he comes (referring to Christ) he will baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire, Matthew 3:11. No, this is not two separate baptisms because the Holy Ghost is also the fire of God and Jesus is the baptizer of this baptism!
That is all the Apostle John commented on concerning John’s baptism, but in chapter 2, John shows how Christ came up to Jerusalem for His first spring passover during His ministry wherein He cleansed the temple and performed certain unnamed miracles. His fame as a miracle worker over the past six months had rapidly spread throughout Israel creating great interest, and many Jews were attracted to Christ as is clearly apparent from the night visit by a Sanhedrin court member named Nicodemus, one of Israel’s great elders in Jerusalem.
CHRIST’S CONVERSATION WITH NICODEMUS
Nicodemus, the Jewish ruler in John 3, came to Jesus by night mainly because he did not want to be identified. His visit was by night in order not to endanger nor smear his reputation. Nicodemus was much like a certain element of religious people today who knows there has been something definitely gong on and now they are out investigating what is going on. As you allow that statement to soak in, may we say Nicodemus was all disturbed while the others were not. He had a question while the others did not. He was interested and felt that somewhere deep inside him there could possibly be a need in his life and he wanted to find out what the need could be met with. Therefore, in order not to injure nor damage his reputation, he came to Jesus by night.
Think of it, the very one who was mutilated and suffered shame on Calvary was unashamed to die such a death for us, yet how often do we find ourselves, although we have no name worth mentioning or any position worth discussing, often ashamed to be identified with him! If our name isn’t written in the Lamb’s Book of Life; if our image or reputation isn’t recognized by the grace of God, then it is only here today and gone tomorrow and soon passed into forgetfulness. On the other hand, if you are in the plan of God you are one destined for eternity.
KNOWING ALL MEN
Nicodemus’ visit by night was because there was a serious question in his heart. However, since Jesus knew everything concerning all men (John 2:24-25) knowing their thoughts, their questions, their background as well as their needs before they even spoke, scripture declared He never committed Himself unto anyone. He needed no one to inform Him concerning others because John 2:25 declares He already knew what was in man. And remember, only God alone can look upon a man and know everything concerning him. Nicodemus stood before a man (God in the flesh) who knew all things! Deep inside his heart lays a question and Nicodemus comes investigating what’s going on.
FIRST MAN TO HEAR OF NEW BIRTH
Nicodemus began his conversation by attempting to bestow great honor and flattery upon Jesus declaring, Rabbi, we know thou art a teacher come from God for no man (the Greek says) can keep on doing these miracles (never once missing) that thou doest except God be with him. Wouldn’t such language delight most preachers! Yet it never impressed Christ in the least! Listen in verse 3 how Christ answers Nicodemus, “Verily, Verily say unto thee except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” What a strange answer to such flattery! What a contrast! And believe me Nicodemus was not prepared to hear it. Perhaps had Jesus just briefly commented upon his flattery remarks Nicodemus may have been set more at ease, instead to suddenly hear such words blurted out completely threw him off balance! Nicodemus answered, can a man be born when he is old? Born again is merely a term Jesus threw at him. He could have easily said except ye be saved or as he once said to Peter, when you are converted strengthen the brethren (Luke 22:32). Why didn’t Christ use any of these terms on Nicodemus, seeing they all mean one and the selfsame thing! Instead, to him Christ says, ye must be born again!
FORMULA FOR NEW BIRTH
Using the word BORN carries with it a natural thought to birth. We see Nicodemus trying to grasp the meaning of the word BORN, attempting to give it a natural application. How can an old man be born again? Is it possible he could, the second time, enter his mother’s womb and be born! Listen to Jesus as he presents the formula to this special birth He calls the new birth. Except a man be born of water and spirit, Jesus says, he can’t have that new birth nor can he enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:4-5)! That which is born (from the mother’s womb or) of the flesh is flesh (verse 6). In other words, Nicodemus, I am not discussing anything concerning your flesh being born again because your flesh person can only be born once, I am giving you the formula whereby your inner man may be born again! Because as this natural life, which man is, has come from God through the sexual reproduction route of the mother’s womb, that life took upon itself the form of flesh as well as all the inherited, sinful, fallen nature and the punishment of death that was imputed upon Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Since the fall, imputed sin and the death penalty has reigned in the flesh of man because Adam passed this death penalty and imputed sin through the blood stream down to every offspring born by natural birth. Thus, being born again for a second time carries no reference whatsoever to the flesh person being born again! But through this new birth mentioned by Christ is God’s way of getting to the fallen, depraved spirit of man which needs to be regenerated. Therefore, speaking of the two different births, natural as well as spiritual, Jesus continues by saying (verse 6) “That which is born of the flesh; is flesh (one birth) and that which is born of spirit is spirit (second birth). (7) Marvel not (don’t be confused, don’t allow your mind to become overwhelmed trying to carnally understand what I am saying) that I say unto you, Ye must be born again.”
EXPLAINING END RESULTS OF NEW BIRTH
This statement in John 3 is only the beginning of many statements spoken by Christ which definitely will later lead up to this new birth, which could not be consummated or actually happen until some three years later in Acts 2. Nevertheless, in John 3 Christ goes ahead and informs Nicodemus what the end results to this new birth would be like once it had happened. Verse 8 declares, “The wind bloweth where it listeth (wants to) and thou heareth the sound thereof, but cannot tell whence it cometh or whether it goeth; so is everyone born of the Spirit.” The birth of the Spirit is like that, you can’t see the wind but you can feel it. You can’t say the wind started blowing over here at this old house because you don’t know where the wind started blowing, you only hear it! In exactly the same manner Christ refers to the Spirit of God as it too shows its effect upon man’s life. As you see the effects of what wind does, likewise you are able to see the effects of what the Spirit of God can do in the life of an individual. You can see its end results. Take for instance a drunkard, up until the Spirit of God takes hold of that person, drunkenness has continually, day in and day out, been his way of life. However, one day God took hold of him and began working in his life. People looked upon him and began saying, something has certainly happened to that fellow to change him. Yet, like the wind no one can tell where that something that took hold of him came from, you can only see the effects of it. See why Christ referred to the spirit in that manner? The spirit you cannot see, though you are able to feel it, and furthermore you may see its effect but you are unable to tell where it came from.
Here in John’s gospel is recorded the first word ever uttered by Christ concerning being born again (by the spirit). Bear in mind these personal statements of his are only word terms as he is slowly beginning to build up this great thought that a man must absolutely be born again! From the time Christ began speaking those words in John 3 until his final closing remark concluding his earthly ministry (Acts 1:8), he never once deviated from that one continuous thought. Instead he continually added still more word terms of all which pointed to one and the self-same experience for the benefit of man’s soul, the new birth.
WORD REMOVES DOUBT
The world is filled with voices informing people how to be saved and what they must do in order to receive the Holy Ghost, yet through it all it has left a multitude of unanswered questions. I am thankful God’s word is so Holy Ghost inspiredly written that if God’s children could only see God’s will through His inspired revelated truth, it would show that the revelated word had been God’s way of leaving His child something to remove all this doubt and confusion from his mind. Nothing is sadder than confused souls not knowing what to believe or do.
BABYLONIAN TEACHINGS RESPONSIBLE FOR CONFUSION
Most of this confusion stems from our Babylonian background of various denominational teachings. That is why, beloved, in these last days shortly before his coming, God could not reach down and take a people out of all this Babylonian confusion calling that His bride church without first having done something in their behalf in order to call them out of all that confusion, not into another denomination, but into a spiritual fellowship with Himself whereby His word might now have full pre-eminence in their lives as the Holy Ghost takes that revealed word and seeks to teach them every word of truth in order to wash out all confusion, doubt and unbelief fulfilling Paul’s statement in Ephesians 5:26-27, showing how Christ presents Himself a glorious church, having neither spot, wrinkle nor blemish having once washed her by the washing of water by the word.
CHEAP AND EASY WAY
We are living in an hour when the religious world hates the very thing Christ will use to wash His church, the word, and you are instructed today how to receive the Holy Ghost in the cheapest and easiest terms! Strange, isn’t it, and certainly noteworthy that when the Holy Ghost moved in the opening of the 20th Century upon honest hearted denominational people who were earnestly seeking Him, there was no easy method of instruction whereby you could receive the Holy Ghost! Every person seeking the baptism of the Holy Ghost was told to forsake all and surrender your will to God, be willing to die out to self and pray and from that moment on it was strictly between you and God.
LEARNING GLOSSOLALIA PHRASES
However, note today you are told it doesn’t matter how you look or dress because it now all lays in the ability to be able to recite certain words or phrases. HOGWASH! They even have it worked down so simple today that they write the necessary words on a blackboard in order to teach you how to talk in tongues! Or if that isn’t perverted enough, they will send you a record with instructions to repeat these words! Strange, isn’t it, how one generation had to cry and travail before God, enduring great sacrifices in seeking God for an experience with Him, an experience which brought them only persecution and ridicule and now for it to be reversed! Suddenly the next generation can go around looking and acting like the world and talk in tongues also! Something somewhere is drastically wrong and it certainly isn’t with God, it is strictly something man has hatched up to deceive and blind hearts! Beloved, God hasn’t changed His word nor His methods. True, He has always had a variety of method as we will see, but He does not make it easy for one and difficult for another although it may at times seem that way.
HOLY GHOST COMPLETES NEW BIRTH
Leaving Nicodemus, who was told he had to be born of the water and spirit, we continue to examine still more words of Jesus concerning this experience called the new birth of the spirit. May we say that Nicodemus was not at this time born again, although he did become a sympathetic believer behind the scene. Concerning the Holy Ghost one must have in order to complete the new birth, we hear Jesus in John 7:37 still speaking of the spirit saying in the last day of the feast, if any man thirst let him come unto me and drink! Here Christ is still speaking of the spirit of God, only this time in another term. He is not speaking of the spirit in relation to the new birth itself as he did to Nicodemus. Instead, here in verse 38 he speaks of the spirit in relation to thirst, He that believeth on me as the scripture hath said… In other words, if you are going to be born again you must first of all believe something which is more than just a mere mental head knowledge belief. Christ is showing here it must be a scriptural belief that actually motivates you, something that can become a part of your inner makeup because it is vital to your spiritual inner man.
Verse 38, “He that believeth on me, AS THE SCRIPTURE HATH SAID, out of his innermost being (belly) shall (continually) flow rivers (and springs) of living water. (39) But this spake he of the spirit (John said around 90 A.D.) which they who had believed scripturally on Him would receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; (Spirit given at Pentecost 33 A.D.) because Jesus was not yet glorified.” But they were believing, someone says. True, they were believing potentially unto eternal life. The Bible can’t contradict itself, it doesn’t give one formula for one person and another formula for one person and another formula for another person. We must understand what the Bible is speaking of when it uses all these various terms to see what they all add up to. It is man who is guilty of taking these word terms out of the scriptures and applying them to his own doctrines leading men astray. Although six months before Calvary no one had received the Holy Ghost when this statement was made, John 7:38-39, nevertheless, it was the plan of God that these disciples who were predestinated, elected and chosen to be the body of disciples, not only would believe on him but remain loyal unto him until the Holy Ghost was given.
LEANING ON FLESHLY COMFORTER
Therefore, seeing Jesus had not been glorified in John 7, the way had not yet been opened up for the Holy Ghost to come into the hearts of people. Moreover, from here on out we are going to see something else, that is exactly how the disciples will begin more and more to lean upon the flesh of Jesus for a comforter or crutch. And Jesus being fully aware of this in John 14, an event only hours away from Calvary, now begins to take the Spirit of God and once again apply it still in another term, this time calling it, another Comforter. We shall see why he did!
We are all human and humans become attracted to one special person as a friend. Ofttimes this human can become a crutch or something to lean upon. By the hour of John 14, this is exactly what his flesh had become, a crutch unto his disciples. And he being fully aware of this knows that when his flesh is taken from the scene his disciples are truly going to up against it (will become discouraged) unless something else comes (say another comforter) to take his place or take the place of what he had, in the flesh, become to all of them.
COMFORTER NEEDED TODAY
Many are that way today. As long as the prophet to the age was alive and they were able to sit at his feet, hearing the word of God and seeing all the miracles – everything was fine. However, God knowing in the last days this same group of people must have something within themselves to lean upon and make them stand on their own two feet whereby they could actually say it is only Christ inside me, my hope of glory. It is no longer the flesh they lean upon but strictly the revelation of truth that has been brought which will stimulate their souls and encourage their hearts, placing something inside causing them to press onward, realizing no matter what happens there is something inside them leading them on into higher heights and deeper depths.
SPIRIT TO BE COMFORTER
Knowing all this (how they are leaning upon him for everything), Jesus now begins to speak concerning this same Spirit He referred to earlier as the new birth in John 3. Now in John 14:16, using still another term Jesus calls it the Comforter. John 14:16 is that part of his speech delivered while on their way to the Garden of Gethsemane, only hours before the crucifixion. Knowing that in a few short hours His disciples would be looking upon the flesh of their Comforter (the one they have come to lean on as a crutch) hanging on that cross with blood dripping from his side, fulfilling the scripture, smite the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered. Speaking to His disciples concerning that same spirit called the Holy Ghost, the new birth and the water of life, He now speaks of the spirit in a new term in John 14:16, “I will pray the Father, and he will give you another comforter.”
Why did Christ refer to the Spirit as another Comforter? Because up until that hour HE had been their comforter. And seeing the hour rapidly approaching when He would be taken from them as they witnessed the most horrible scene of their life, told them this other Comforter would abide with them forever. I realize speaking of what the Father will send in verse 16 always stimulates the Trinitarians but please notice in verse 26, Christ said the Father will send the spirit in my name (Jesus) who shall teach you all things! Isn’t it peculiar in this great charismatic revival which claims the Holy Ghost is moving in such a mighty outpouring of the Spirit that it doesn’t teach them one thing about holy living, only teaches them how to talk in another language.
I do not deny in the overall structure of this movement, which is destined to lead the Pentecostals to Rome, there are those lone individuals whom God has placed His hand upon and because of where they have been religiously God will bring them right down through that avenue of teaching, straight into the truth of His revelated word! And because of that God will truly give that individual the Holy Ghost but remember He will keep right on leading them to the truth of the word! When that Holy Ghost comes into anyone’s heart it always opens up something inside the individual placing a deep hunger inside them for spiritual truth! Remember a person born of the flesh, as they grow they always have a hunger to consume food. Not only do they have an appetite for food they also have a thirst for water because it is the water that quenches the thirst. No wonder Jesus said, if any man thirst let him come to me and drink. The Spirit is what Christ gives to satisfy that spiritual thirst for spiritual things you must be alive or born again. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, Jesus says, they shall be filled!
PROMISE OF FATHER TEACHES ALL THINGS
Here are some of the closing remarks in Christ’s earthly ministry. The Comforter which is the Holy Ghost whom the Father will send in my name (Jesus) shall teach you all things! No, not just a few things, but ALL THINGS! But I don’t understand all things, someone says. Wait a little while and you will because it is the Holy Ghost’s business to teach and instruct you into all things. If you open your heart, allowing God to work His will in you, in His own time He will teach you all things.
PROMISE OF THE FATHER
Moreover we note this Comforter called the Holy Ghost is also referred to as being “the promise of the Father.” Where and why would it be referred to as “the promise of the Father.” In the Old Testament (Jeremiah 31:33-34) Jehovah speaks through the prophet declaring, a new covenant will I make with the House of Israel after these days. In that time they will know the Lord’s way. I will come down and write my laws in their minds and plant them in their hearts. See, it is the Holy Ghost coming into the individual’s life with a revelation of what the law was pointing to. The law definitely pointed to the new birth. When the Holy Ghost came this was the fulfillment of what the law spoke thus fulfilling the promise of the Father.
HOLY GHOST STILL MAIN CONCERN
John 20:19 shows Christ after His resurrection, appearing unto those troubled, doubting, confused disciples somewhere over in the territory of Galilee. And note once again how the Holy Ghost is still His main point of conversation once He convinced them He is alive in the flesh. Verse 19, “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled (in Galilee) for fear of the Jews.” Had not Christ shortly before His crucifixion warned His disciples they would soon be scattered, filled with doubt and fear, falling into disillusionment?
MEETING PLACE – GALILEE
Having left Jerusalem doubtful and confused, where, I ask you, had the two disciples on the road to Emmaus headed? They had headed home to Emmaus! But remember Jesus had not instructed His disciples He would meet them in Emmaus of Judaea or even Jerusalem after His resurrection. No, He informed them earlier He would meet them in Galilee and these two confused, dejected ones were traveling in the wrong direction from Galilee! The wife of Cleophas was none other than the sister of Mary. Pertaining to the flesh, this man was part of Christ’s relation and he was going after them!
SCRIPTURE BROUGHT JOY
By the time we reach the setting in John 20:19 somewhere in Galilee, not in Judaea or somewhere else, Christ enters this room through closed doors and appears unto very skeptical followers. Finally getting them over into the right meeting place in Galilee, Matthew, Mark and Luke records how much in doubt they all were following the resurrection. Throughout the day they had constantly heard all kind of reports. Earlier Peter and John had found the tomb empty. Mary and other women testified of having seen Him. The two men on the road to Emmaus give their exciting report of His appearance. Nevertheless, on a whole the disciples were still most skeptical. Entering the room Jesus sees His disciples still need more convincing that it is truly He in the flesh. Standing in their midst, saying peace be unto you, verse 20 declares, He showed them his hands and feet and even asked for something to eat (Luke 24:41). When that didn’t completely convince them, Luke says he had something that would! Taking the scriptures he opened their understanding. When your world has become topsy-turvy there is nothing like an understanding of the scriptures to stabilize you. Why? Because the scriptures are ordained to stabilize you in the midst of all kind of scorn! Expounding the scriptures and opening their understanding caused the real joy to come. John, not like Matthew, Mark and Luke who went into elaborate details concerning this event, cuts his portion short by saying, then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord.
CONFUSION OVER VERSE 22
Having said, Peace be unto you, As my Father hath sent me so send I you. Note carefully in verse 21 how not only in His last message before going to Calvary He discussed with them this Comforter, the Holy Ghost. We see also in his first words unto this same group of disciples in Galilee after His resurrection He is still on the same subject! Verse 22, John says and when he said this he breathed on them and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost! Certain people taking that one statement alone, separating it from all the other writer’s statements concerning what they had to say about this one event, declares, see here is where the disciples finally receive the Holy Ghost. And over on the day of Pentecost they were all baptized with the Holy Ghost, and on and on the argument goes.
DISCIPLES TO RECEIVE HOLY GHOST IN JERUSALEM
However, if we will only bring all our denominational beliefs to the Bible and make them fit the Bible instead of trying to make the Bible fit into all our scrawny denominational beliefs, we can remove all this confusion because note which district of Israel they were all in sitting in this room, they were not in Jerusalem but somewhere over in Galilee receiving a commission to go into all the world to preach the gospel among all nations, Luke 24:47 said, beginning in Jerusalem! Now keep in mind they are in Galilee and according to Luke 24:49 something else was suppose to happen before they leave Jerusalem before they can even begin preaching, and that is receive (future tense) the promise of the Father. Luke 24:49, which is the Holy Ghost! The point is, how can they receive the Holy Ghost in Galilee when they are suppose to receive it in Jerusalem?
NO EXPERIENCE RECEIVED
Jesus speaking in Galilee, according to John, said receive ye the Holy Ghost! Luke speaking of the same incident declared they would receive the promise of the Father (not in Galilee but) when they reached Jerusalem! According to Luke, who wrote both the Book of Acts and Luke, Jerusalem would be the designated spot the disciples would receive the Holy Ghost and Acts 2 shows they were at Jerusalem when they receive the Holy Ghost! Therefore, based on what Luke 24 records concerning this one incident, what actually, experience wise, did the disciples receive at that time? Experience-wise they received nothing! The experience of the Holy Ghost and new birth would come in Jerusalem! What then did they receive? First they had their understanding opened to the scriptural teaching of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Next they received a commission or commandment but with that commandment they were instructed not to do anything such as preach, not even to leave Jerusalem until they first received the Holy Ghost. And remember at this moment they are not in Jerusalem and won’t be for some time! They are somewhere in Galilee. It is the commission or an order to receive it!
From this point of conversation in Galilee it is still approximately 40 days until Christ will ascend to glory just outside Jerusalem on Mt. Olive, and remember, Christ never once changed His statement concerning the Holy Ghost to the disciples as to where they were suppose to be when they receive it! Had they received the Holy Ghost in John 20, are you aware Apostle Thomas was not even present! We will show in the next few verses that as far as an experience was concerned they had received nothing because they are still leaning heavily upon their Comforter and fleshly crutch! Many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples (John 20:30-31) which aren’t written in this book, declaring many things which Jesus did during that 40 day interval before His ascension are not written but in a moment we will look at one that was written. Verse 31 says “these (certain ones) are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name.” John 21 shows one such miracle he did by the Sea of Galilee or Tiberias.
CHAPTER 21 PROVES COMFORTER NOT COME
In order to furnish you with proof that the disciples had not as yet received the Holy Ghost this other Comforter, we see the disciples are still leaning heavily upon the flesh of Christ for a comfort and crutch! John 21 declares how Peter, Thomas, Andrew, James and John and two unidentified disciples having nothing to do, and certainly couldn’t preach anywhere until they had received the Holy Ghost, being restless as Christ had been out of their midst for several days, decided they would go fishing! It is during that forty day interval when Christ was openly showing Himself to His disciples while they are still in Galilee that we hear Peter say, I am going fishing. Remember, now they have already received their commission to preach, however they can’t preach anywhere because as yet they do not have the Holy Ghost! Note, in Acts 2 how the Holy Ghost preached through them once they were filled, 3000 were born again!
All these men going fishing remind you of someone returning to their same old trade. Peter and these men had not fished professionally in three years, nevertheless being restless, with nothing to do and as yet had not gone up to Jerusalem to receive the Holy Ghost and be born, again they now decided to go fishing. Christ had been out of their midst a few days, in other words, their comforter wasn’t around to be leaned on as a crutch. Seeing the other comforter had not arrived they surely needed someone to lean upon! Seven men fished all night and caught nothing! Good enough for them, they were not suppose to be back in the old fishing profession! Jesus took them out of that profession three years ago when He called them saying follow me, I will make you fishers of men. He never intended they return to the old trade. Already they had forsaken all to follow Jesus. In Matthew 19:27-30, Peter asked the Lord what would they receive as a reward seeing they had forsaken all to follow Him. Christ told them in the regeneration when He sat on the throne of his glory each one of them would sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel.
CHRIST’S FLESH, CENTER OF ATTRACTION
What a contrast! Already they have received their commission and gospel call yet not having Jesus around to lean upon and as yet not being able to go forth to preach the gospel, they decided to return to the old occupation of fishing! Next morning a stranger stood on the shore asking, children have you any meat? Not recognizing it was the Lord they shouted back, No! Cast your net on the right side of the ship was the reply and you will find. They did and such a multitude of fish was in the net they were unable to lift the net out of the sea! Peter knew that wasn’t a normal circumstance because normally fish at night come up out of the deep into the shallow water to catch their own food. And when the sun rises normally the fish go back to deep water. Remembering a similar instance a few years before when they couldn’t catch anything and was told by the Lord to cast their net on the right side and a similar thing happened, John says to Peter, it is the Lord! Old naked Peter forgetting all about the multitude of fish as well as the boat, quickly girded his fishing coat about him and jumped into the sea. Why? Because he couldn’t wait to get to his crutch! Remember, he was the one responsible for all of them being out there in the first place! Now he cared less what happened to the boat or fish because all he wanted to do was get to the feet of Jesus comforter and crutch. The other six disciples (John 21:8) brought the little ship and the net of fish to shore where Jesus had a fire prepared with fish laid thereon and bread. Again we see Jesus feeding with miracle bread and fish. Bring the fish you have caught, said Jesus. Simon drew the net to shore filled with 153 great fish. All that weight, and the net still did not break! Notice their comforter and crutch, the flesh of the Lord Jesus, is still the center attraction of their lives to lean upon! And when his presence wasn’t around they were most discouraged and their activity without Him was usually a flop!
Turn into Acts 1:1-12 to see what Christ has, continually through the years, been building up to using the statement (John 3:3), “Ye must be born again.” Luke, who recorded both the gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Holy Ghost through the life of the early church, picks up in chapter one where Christ concludes his 40 day interval following the resurrection. Note, here, briefly before the ascension, are recorded Christ’s final words concerning the Holy Ghost. Note, the first and the final day of this 40 day interval Christ refers to the Holy Ghost! Luke 24 tells while they were still in Galilee on that first evening following the resurrection how Christ informed them the Old Testament promise of the father would be given them while tarrying in Jerusalem before going forth to preach. Jeremiah testified how in the new dispensation the spirit of God would write His laws in people’s hearts and minds because the Spirit of God would be on the inside of them teaching them all things. Here Luke, (24:49) writing about that very promise of the Father, carries that same thought over into the Book of Acts to show how this great story consistently keeps building up as it goes off into the area of the church once the church is set in motion at Pentecost.
FINAL REFERENCE TO HOLY GHOST
Having mentioned it once again in Acts 1:4 Jesus commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem but wait there for the Old Testament promise of the Father which Christ said, you have heard of me. Going back and picking up a statement of his forerunner, John the Baptist, to show how John’s ministry was the introductory voice or originator of the idea that Christ would be the one who would baptize with the Holy Ghost, Christ says in verse 5, John truly baptized with water but you (all shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence!) (Luke 3:16-17, John 1:33). Note Christ added the phrase, not many days hence! Verse 6-7 plainly shows the disciples have not received any Holy Ghost as yet because they are still a bit confused concerning their soon baptism of the Holy Ghost, thinking perhaps this special event will perhaps be the long awaited hour when God would restore the kingdom to Israel! Therefore, seeing them in this frame of thinking, how could anyone think they had ever received the Holy Ghost before this point!
HOLY GHOST IS POWER
Christ answers their question saying, it is not for you to know the times and seasons which the father has placed in His own power but ye shall receive power (to witness for me everywhere) after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you. And to think some people would go so far as to declare you may have the Holy Ghost without the power, when the Holy Ghost is the power of God! The first thing the Holy Ghost does in your life is give you power to live the victorious and overcoming life for Jesus Christ! That is why this same John who recorded this great subject concerning the Holy Ghost and the new birth later says in I John 4:4, greater is he (Holy Spirit) that is in you than he that is in the world. For some reason this particular term of being born again always stuck with John, because again he remarks in I John 5:4, whosoever is born of God overcometh the world. Why? Because Christ gives him the power to do just that. Again we hear his phrase saying, whosoever is born of God doeth not (as the Greek says practice) sin. Neither can he (practice) sin for His (word) seed remaineth in him, etc. (I John 3:9).
HOLY GHOST IS COMPLETENESS OF NEW BIRTH
Here we see Christ’s final words before His ascension to glory in Acts 1:8 telling the disciples ye shall receive power. Power is the working term of the Holy Ghost in the believer’s life. First off, as a person, the spirit which you are is the life of your flesh. Secondly, the spirit which you are is also the spirit which teaches you as it learns taking in what it does through the five senses; sight, hearing, taste, feel, smell. Likewise, is the Holy Ghost or spirit of God also a teaching spirit once that Holy Spirit has given the new birth unto your inner man. Here Christ says you shall receive power after the Holy Ghost (or Comforter) has come upon you and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, all Judaea, Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Having finished this He was taken up in a cloud out of their sight and now more than ever they will need a comforter. Because as they stand gazing upon this fleshly body which they have seen do so many things, the one they have constantly leaned upon as a crutch, thinking they would always be with Him, is now ascending into glory, but not before instructing them not to leave Jerusalem until they first be endued with power from on high. Note, nowhere did Christ ever say, now you who want the Holy Ghost you be sure to remain at Jerusalem, and you who don’t want the Holy Ghost just go on your way! No, the Holy Ghost is the completeness of that new birth for every disciple! It is satan’s business to confuse people as to what the new birth is and what it is not, but the Bible puts it all together showing without the spirit of Christ in you (your hope of glory) you are none of his! (Romans 8:9, Colossians 1:27) Remember the new birth is not one thing while the baptism of the Holy Ghost is something else and then the baptism of fire still something separate.
If we can only comprehend how Jesus has instructed his disciples (on the first and 40th day) to wait at Jerusalem until they be endued with power from on high, which is the Old Testament promise of the Father, before going out to preach the gospel, we can sum it all up by saying, Christ knew since they had not yet received the Holy Ghost they had not as yet been born again! Recall, only hours before Calvary (Luke 22:32), Jesus reminded Peter, after you are converted strengthen the brethren! Beloved, if the new birth or being converted or being saved was anywhere applicable unto any disciples before the day of Pentecost, then all Christ ever said prior to Acts 1:4-8 had no real value! Remember, all Christ was saying prior to Pentecost was merely a buildup that as they continue to hear His words they should believe on Him through these things because it is definitely going to be through these things that these disciples would find their way into that new birth Holy Ghost experience!
PART 2 – NEW BIRTH IN ACTION NOT MANY DAYS HENCE
Knowing now that it will not be many days off until they are to receive the Holy Ghost before leaving Jerusalem, they depart the Mt. Of Olives to wait out the next ten days with all these many statements concerning the Holy Ghost still ringing in their ears. Some ten days they waited until that day on the Jewish calendar arrived which marked the day of festivity called Feast of Pentecost, whereupon this day the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, the power for service, the Holy Ghost fire which is absolutely the completeness of the new birth finally did come into their lives to fulfill the scripture where Christ said, I will not leave you comfortless, I will come unto you (John 14:16-18). Obedient to the word of God the disciples, no doubt feeling lonely and at times discouraged, waited in the upper room. However, when they departed that upper room, full of the Holy Ghost and fire, they were no longer discouraged, in doubt, or confused and certainly were not in need of a fleshly comforter seeing they now had the comforter on the inside! With the birth of life now dwelling inside them from that day on they knew exactly by the power of God what to do in order to please God, because now with the Holy Ghost inside them they were born again!
PENTECOST NOT HOLY GHOST
On the yearly Jewish feast day called Pentecost, 33 A.D., the disciples are seen having already tarried nine days in the upper room where the last supper was held before Calvary. Remember, the word Pentecost itself does not mean the receiving of the baptism of the Holy Ghost as some think. No, the event of Pentecost itself was a happy, joyous day full of festivity observed yearly by the Jews, rejoicing and celebrating the fact that God had again blessed Israel with a wonderful harvested barley crop. Pentecost, which had been observed yearly since Israel, under Joshua’s leadership, conquered the Promise land, was always observed 50 days counting from the day after the first Sabbath within the Jewish Passover.
FIRST FRUIT OF CROP & WHAT IT REPRESENTS
Each Jewish farmer, in accordance to Leviticus 23:9-11, would always go into his field before the Jewish passover began and gather out the first fruit or the first bundle of grain of his natural barley harvest, carry it to the temple where he always presented the first fruit of his crop to the high priest who would in turn on the days following the weekly Jewish Sabbath always wave that sheaf or bundle of grain before the Lord. We realize the waving of that bundle the day following the Sabbath represented the resurrection of Christ and the revelation which Paul received concerning Christ being the first fruits of them which sleep, awaiting, the resurrection stems from Leviticus 23:10-11, a yearly performance of bringing the first fruits of the crop to foreshadow and points to what God intended to do for his New Testament believers on that particular day called Pentecost in 33 A.D., 50 days after the resurrection of Christ!
WHAT PENTECOST FORESHADOWED
To commemorate this yearly feast day called Pentecost, according to Leviticus 23:15-17, held always on the 50th day following the waving of the sheaf offering, each Jewish family was required to bring two loaves of leavened bread made of meal taken from the recent harvested barley crop. The requirement was, the barley grain which make the two loaves of bread had to be taken from the same crop in which the Jewish farmer before the Passover cut out of his field his first fruits of the crop and carried it to the high priest for the wave offering held the morning following the Jewish Sabbath after the Passover.
BURNING BREAD AT PENTECOST
This yearly Jewish event of the sheaf offering or first fruits foreshadowed the exact day of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ who was the first fruits of God’s spiritual grain crop! Yes, 50 days after the wave offering each Jewish family always presented their two leavened loaves of bread (to the priest at Jerusalem) made from meal taken from the same grain crop wherein the first fruits had been earlier taken. Taking the two leavened loaves of bread to the priest, who in turn burned them on the day of Pentecost, also served as an offering unto the Lord. The day itself climaxed with a celebration of festivity, worship and singing praise unto God.
Christ’s disciples, having been told the first and 40th day before His ascension into glory they shall receive the Holy Ghost, are still waiting in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father when the day of Pentecost in 33 A.D. had arrived (Acts 2). Scripture doesn’t say ten days after the ascension they received the Holy Ghost but we realize if Pentecost in 33 A.D. came 50 days after Christ’s resurrection, foreshadowed by the wave offering of the first fruits on the day following the Sabbath in the Jewish Passover (Lev. 23:10-11), and Christ remained here 40 days before ascending and ten days later according to Acts 2 the day of Pentecost had fully come, made 50 days. As Pentecost arrived for the natural Jew to present his two leavened loaves of bread to the high priest, being a type of sin still in the believer or in mortal man, and the high priest as usual was preparing to burn and consume with fire this leavened bread, 120 disciples sat in the upper room still waiting for the promise of the father, the Comforter, the spirit of truth, waiting for the power to live right the power for service and the power to witness, to yet come. The Jerusalem streets filled to capacity as thousands of Jews everywhere in Canaan land and surrounding Mediterranean countries are shown flocking into Jerusalem and the temple bringing their two leavened loaves to the high priest to be burned and as always, expecting to climax the day with great festivity, celebration, dancing, etc., commemorating God’s blessing upon the natural harvest grain crop that year. All this was a yearly foreshadowing of what God intended to do very shortly in that small room only a little farther upon Mt. Zion from the temple itself.
God was using such a natural yearly event to set forth a beautiful picture or a shadow of His spiritual plan of redemption He intends to present to Israel. On the temple grounds that early morning a huge bonfire blazes away ready to consume its first loaves of barley bread mixed with leaven which is to be offered unto the Lord, while in the upper room for some ten days 120 have patiently waited for God’s promise, therefore as the leavened bread began to hit the flames on the temple grounds suddenly the wound of a rushing mighty wind of the Holy Ghost came into that upper room! Moreover, according to Acts 2:1-4, the 120 sitting around were totally unaware of what to expect other than they knew the promised comforter would come and in obedience to Christ’s word there they waited. Like the wind, referred to in John 3, they had no idea from which direction it would come. Christ never told them you will hear a wind and then see licks of fire appearing over your heads, No.! Their only instruction was to wait in Jerusalem, yet while waiting much time was spent in prayer and meditation, conditioning their minds and spirits. Suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a mighty rushing whirlwind. Not knowing what to expect, they now hear it as it first fills the entire room before it begins seeking out each one of them to fill them. Over each head to their surprise they now begin to see appearing little licks of burning fire (called tongues of fire). Here was your Holy Ghost fire John said Jesus would baptize with! Keep in mind what’s going on down on the temple ground! A fire is also consuming bread, but the licks of fire in the upper room over their heads was God’s signification that He was accepting them the same as the fire on the temple ground was receiving the leavened loaves of bread! They were the product from the very bread of life, the very word Christ who had ascended to glory!
SPEAKING IN TONGUES
While below, natural Jews were ready to feast, rejoice and dance once their bread offering was given to the flames, and these in the upper room now being born again of the spirit were so taken up, excited, enthused they were simply lost in this glorious born again experience! Whether they danced the scripture does not say, but when they saw those licks of fire settling over each head the scripture declares they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and (after being filled) began now to speak with other tongues or dialects of languages as the spirit gave them ability to speak.
JOEL PROPHESIED WHAT WOULD HAPPEN
Why today does modern Pentecost declare when the Bible no where declares that TONGUES IS THE INITIAL EVIDENCE OF THE HOLY GHOST! Beloved, when the Holy Ghost was first mentioned in the Old Testament by the prophet Joel concerning this day of grace when God would pour out of His spirit on all flesh (Joel 2:28-32) Joel saw exactly what God would do in the pouring out of the Holy Ghost for he said, “Your sons and daughters shall prophesy; your young men shall see visions; your old men shall dream dreams, and upon my servants and handmaidens will I pour out of my spirit.” Why, I ask, could not modern day Pentecost have just as easily chosen one of these signs of which Joel mentioned here as being an evidence of the Holy Ghost instead of choosing tongues as their initial evidence for the Holy Ghost! The evidence doctrine of tongues, as taught by modern day Pentecost, never came from Jesus nor any apostle. Where then did it originate?
ORIGINATED 20TH CENTURY
Beginning at the turn of the 20th Century, in answer to prayer, God suddenly began to take hungry hearted Methodist, Baptist, etc., who diligently sought Him and inspired them with the ability to speak in other languages and they in turn are the guilty ones who said, this is the same Holy Ghost tongue speaking episode which took place at Pentecost. And that idea of theirs spread throughout the modern world, becoming a doctrine and is still popular today! Now up to a certain point, yes, you can say it is what took place on the day of Pentecost, however beyond a certain point, absolutely not! Because watch carefully, in Acts 2:4-7 we see they absolutely did speak in languages, however as these disciples, leaving that upper room, going into the streets, filled with the Holy Ghost, were definitely empowered to speak other dialects who, without interpreters clearly testify (in other languages) the gospel of Christ before a Jewish people of better than 16 different nationalities throughout the Mediterranean world! By no means was it anything like what is seen among gentiles in these last days! These devout Jews, born in dispersion understood perfectly the gentile national language of their own countries, yet coming to Jerusalem for these special feast occasions, they all spoke the mother tongue Hebrew.
FULFILLING JOEL AND ISAIAH’S PROPHECY
Standing in the crowded streets and understanding these gentile languages of the 16 nationalities represented, and knowing also the Hebrew language which all Jews spoke were also this 120 Galilean Jews from the province of Galilee who were never in the dispersion and could therefore speak only the mother tongue, Hebrew. This particular day will fulfill scripture such as the prophecy of Joel as well as Isaiah 28:8-9, where Isaiah also saw when the Holy Ghost would be poured out. Not only that, Isaiah also saw Israel’s religious polluted condition concerning all her rituals, even down into the first advent of Christ! For instance, what did Isaiah mean in Isaiah 28:8 when he said, all of Israel’s religious tables are full of vomit and filthiness so that there is no place clean? As far as any of the ritual ceremony themselves doing any service to God, they could not! It had reached a point Israel had absolutely polluted all her Old Testament rituals. Not only were they seen by Malachi as offering polluted bread on the altar and such, they also polluted the temple with moneychangers, etc. Thus, we see all their ceremonial tables described by the Holy Ghost as tables filled with vomit and filthiness. Tables that were suppose to have been consecrated and sanctified unto the Lord in order to render a holy divine service to God, now all polluted! Israel had so materialized or polluted it by offering crippled animals, polluted bread, etc., that God now looked upon the entire ritual itself as a mere program of man’s political corruption and likened the entire thing as tables being full of vomit. Whom shall we teach knowledge, verse 9 says, and whom shall he make to understand doctrine – a statement which can well apply to our day seeing religious leaders declare it is no longer doctrine we need, all we need is the love of God! Again there is two ways to look at this. Naturally, much knowledge puffeth up, Paul says, especially if it isn’t examined correctly. Yet on the other hand, how can you be filled with God’s love without somewhere being willing to open your heart and say Lord teach me your doctrine. If we love God we must love His word, else as the scripture says, how dwelleth the love of God in him.
Who are we to teach knowledge and understand doctrine! Isaiah 28:9 says, those who are weaned from all these primary rituals if they are ever to go on into deeper things. For precept must be upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little. Now note especially verse 11 which pertains to what is happening at Pentecost in 33 A.D.! Isaiah 28:11, “For with stammering lips and other tongues will he speak to this (Jewish) people. And in all this, they will still not hear.”
TESTIFYING IN LANGUAGES
No, verse 11 wouldn’t happen in Isaiah’s day, but on the day of Pentecost, because here God is going to speak and will demand a Jewish race to listen. Speak, How? Through stammering lips (lips like a drunk man) and in other languages, etc. Now back to Acts 2:6-7, because that is exactly how 120 Galilean Jews are talking and acting. As these devout orthodox Jews from those other nations listen to the Galilean Jews from the upper room. They are actually to their astonishment hearing God speak unto them through 120 Galilean Jews speaking in different languages, languages by no means could the 120 who spoke strictly Hebrew possibly know anything about! God was personally speaking to their hearts. For instance, here stood a few dozen Jews from Rome listening to certain Galilean Jews who know no other tongue than the Hebrew tongue, speaking fluently to them in their own native Italian language! Not all the Galilean Jews were speaking Latin because all these visiting Jews outside Israel were hearing certain of these Galilean Jews speaking in their own national tongue also! Naturally such a phenomena causes questions to be asked in this most excited atmosphere. In the midst of this excited atmosphere as it began to build to a peak, the home Jews of Israel, understanding Hebrew only, had to try and pass this off. To them it sounded exactly like drunk people trying to talk. When Peter heard disciples being accused of being drunk on some new wine it ignited his soul. Addressing everyone now in the Hebrew tongue, which all Jews can understand, he shouts out, Men of Judaea and you that dwell at Jerusalem, we are not drunk as you think. It is only nine o’clock in the morning, but this is that which Joel prophesied about. And Peter proceeded to quote from Joel 2:28-32 telling how in the last days God would pour out his spirit and your sons and daughters would prophesy, etc.
USING NEW BIRTH FORMULA
Remember the multitude was only hearing one of the many manifestations of the Holy Ghost and the reason they were hearing this one manifestation of foreign languages was in order to fulfill Isaiah 28:8-9. God was using Isaiah 28:11 to launch Joel 2! Finishing his brief sermon, 3000 more orthodox Jews are now ready for the new birth. As Peter and the other brethren are asked by the 3000 what must they do, note Peter uses the formula for the new birth exactly as Jesus declared in John 3. “Except a man be bon of the water and the spirit he can’t enter the kingdom of God!”
3000 BORN AGAIN
Speaking strictly to that disturbed orthodox Jewish element from various nationals, Peter says, repent everyone of you (Acknowledge that from your natural birth you are a sinner). And already having softened this 3000 up by a tongue’s manifestation of the Holy Ghost in their own language wherein they were all born (2:8) it didn’t take this 3000 long to accept Christ as their Messiah and Lord. Finishing his sermon, he had already sowed enough word seed that 3000 Jews were ready for the new birth. Repent everyone of you and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (or the gift of life) for the promise (of the father) is to you, to your children and as many as ye are afar off, even as many as the Lord God shall call. Peter at this point had no idea nor ever dreamed the full impact in later years the gospel reach would have once he had taken this same gospel unto the gentiles! Peter thought it was strictly for Jews only!
SAMARIA RECEIVES NEW BIRTH
Bear in mind we are now building up our thought around the new birth to see it in action. No, we aren’t teaching it from an evangelistic standpoint, but merely from a scriptural study to see it in action. Acts 2:38 is the new birth formula which links perfectly with what Christ said in John 3:5. Thus 3000 souls were taken out and baptized in water, it doesn’t say how many spoke in tongues, how many prophesied or how many later had visions, it simply said 3000 were added to them (Acts 2:41). And a few days later with the help of the first miracle in Acts 3, Peter preaches his second sermon and 5000 more are born again and added to the church. In Acts 8:12-17, several years later again see this same new birth formula used in Samaria as the Samaritans believed on Christ and were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ under Phillip’s preaching, and received the Holy Ghost through the prayer and laying on of hands of Peter and John.
HOLY GHOST GIVEN TO GENTILES
Years now move on until Acts 10:44-48 enters the gospel picture. Here the Holy Ghost is ready to send Peter to Caesarea with the gospel whereby the gentiles may enter into the grace of God. As I said earlier, when Peter preached at Pentecost he had no idea gentiles would ever be brought into salvation. He never dreamed years later he would go the gentiles carrying this same gospel message of the new birth and that gentiles also would receive the Holy Ghost or the gift of life in exactly the same manner the Jews did years before on the day of Pentecost! No, the gentiles did not receive the Holy Ghost in the same manner the 120 did on the day of Pentecost in order to establish or confirm an evidence doctrine as some might think, but Peter, being a Jew and having the kind of feelings toward the gentiles that he had, would certainly require the same manifestation given to the Jews to ever convince his stubborn old Jewish nature that a gentile could actually receive anything!
Therefore, to clarify this let us examine more closely the setting to see how the gentiles in Acts 10 did receive the gift of life and were baptized in water in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, it required exactly the same operation of the Holy Ghost manifestation upon the gentiles as it had upon the Jew on the day of Pentecost because the scripture shows (in Acts 10:10-16) how dubious Peter was concerning gentiles before he went to Caesarea.
WORD OF SALVATION
Peter has been brought down to Joppa where we see him on a housetop in prayer and the Holy Ghost having already, several days before, given Cornelius at Caesarea, some 40 miles away, a visitation by an angel to send for Peter who would give him words whereby he might be saved (Acts 10:5-6, 11:13-18). Therefore, in order to prepare Peter’s stubborn Jewish nature for his unexpected gentile visitation God visits him in a peculiar vision. At the moment Peter was very hungry and God showed him a gigantic sheet filled with all kind of unclean animals, crawling reptiles, etc. God was using Peter’s own Jewish feeling and disposition toward gentiles to launch something. This sheet was lowered three times before Peter as the voice of God said, Rise up Peter, kill and eat. No sir Lord, nothing common or unclean has ever touched my lips, I am Jew, I have kept the law concerning unclean pork, etc.
PREPARING PETER FOR GENTILE VISIT
Amazing as it may sound, all these creatures, lowered three times in the sheet before Peter were all unclean creatures which the law plainly forbids Jews to touch. Peter says, I have never touched anything unclean. What I have cleansed, God says, call thou not common or unclean! Failing to understand that God had signified such a vision to represent the gentiles upon whom the Jews looked as unclean, Peter had no idea the vision was representing what the Holy Ghost was about to lead him off into. Coming out of his vision Acts 10:17-22 says, Peter hears voices below inquiring if a man named Simon Peter was there. Recall, a few days earlier the Holy Ghost had spoken Peter’s name to an unsaved Gentile 40 miles away in prayer. Cornelius will be the first gentile to hear and receive the gospel of Christ. Knowing Peter’s Jewish disposition, the Holy Ghost tells him to go with them doubting nothing.
As Peter walking into Cornelius’ home where he had already gathered a listening audience awaiting Peter’s arrival, Cornelius knells before Peter. Quickly jerking him up Peter says we are men like you, why have you sent for me? Relating his experience, Cornelius puts Peter on the spot and Peter knows nothing to do but preach Jesus, even to gentiles. Tell me dear soul, what could Peter do to make these people speak in tongues? In the first place his own disposition concerning all this is completely negative! He is skeptical of getting too close to unclean gentiles. Completely unaware that God had already spoken in the Old Testament of just such an event (the gospel going to the gentiles) up to this hour Peter had always felt this wonderful gospel was for Jews only, never once aware he was the man God chose to carry the gospel to the gentiles.
Suppose after Cornelius related his personal testimony of how Peter was to give him words whereby he might be saved he would have said, Peter, I want the Holy Ghost, give it to me! What else could Peter do but preach Jesus once he saw Cornelius had already gathered his family and relatives in to hear him. No, he didn’t bring any special charts or books, nor did he write certain words (glossolalia phrases) on the wall for them to repeat in order to receive something, because I want you to know Peter himself had no idea what was going to happen! The scripture plainly shows Peter and the six other Jews were dumbfounded and taken by surprise over what happened. I am glad Peter didn’t know because this makes it so much easier for God to do something himself.
PETER REMITS SIN
Becoming anointed, the words began rolling from Peter’s mouth concerning Jesus. Everyone sat there drinking in every word, which to them was definitely words of eternal life. God watched the attitude of the gentiles toward the message, seeing their enthusiasm and thankfulness that God had seen fit to include an unclean gentile into this wonderful thing, no they were not doubting, picking to pieces what Peter said, they were eating every word, when suddenly the gentiles became so drunk on the Holy Ghost they began talking in another language as they did at Pentecost (Acts 11:15-18). Seeing the gentiles speaking in other languages greatly surprised Peter and the six other Jews as we hear Peter remark to the other dumbfounded Jews with him, “who, (of you) can forbid water for these to be baptized also seeing they too have received the gift of life in exactly the same manner we did at the beginning.” Peter is a man very much sold on converts being baptized for the remission of sins in order to fulfill Christ’s commission in John 20:23 where he said, whosoever sins ye remit they are remitted. No, sins are not remitted by someone confessing their sins to a priest, they are remitted in water baptism only as clearly shown in Acts 2:38.
WATER IN NATURAL BIRTH
Imagine one of these Jews being like gentiles today saying to Peter, you don’t have to baptize these people, after all it is not essential. Don’t say water baptism is not essential, it is the plan of God. Does not the natural birth illustrate the spiritual birth? Then I ask you how essential is water to the unborn baby in natural birth who is laying in a sack of water, being protected against germs, injury, etc. during a nine months period before birth! That, beloved, is how important water baptism is in the formula of God for the new birth. It wasn’t enough for the devil to pervert water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ into a trinity teaching (325 A.D.), he now wants to remove water baptism completely out of the plan (formula). You might as well remove the Holy Ghost also! Some declare it doesn’t matter how you are baptized but teach the importance of the Holy Ghost. Why teach the importance of one aspect of the gospel if you can’t put it all together! Paul taught in Ephesians 5:27 that in the last day God would have a church with neither spot, wrinkle or blemish concerning His word, but would instead wash out every carnal idea and carnal revelation and place within her these spiritual truths!
WHY THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST
These Jews, Acts 10:48, baptized everyone of these gentiles without apology, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for remember Jesus is both Lord and Christ, not baptizing them as people are today who merely have the phrase of Matthew 28:19 repeated over them! Matthew 28:19 says, baptize in the (singular) name, not names as it would have read had Father, Son and Holy Ghost been three separate names of three separate persons. No, instead it says baptize into the singular name of the father, son and Holy Ghost.
SINGULAR REDEMPTIVE NAME
If you know the singular name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, you will understand why every convert in the New Testament was baptized into the singular name or in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ which is the redemptive name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost on earth. Yet people without the revelation of what the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost is, are quick to defend their position by saying, but that is exactly what Jesus said! True, and the disciples who were given that commission to remit sin in John 20:23 through water baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Luke 24:24, were the first ones to ever carry out what Christ said (carried out in Acts 2:38). Because these men knew the meaning of what Jesus said when He said use the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost for baptism. It had already been revealed to them that the very one standing before them in flesh was none other than the Old Testament Spirit God who fulfilled Isaiah 9:6 saying a child would be born to Israel of a virgin. Get this, whose singular name is Jesus (Matthew 1:21) who could be called THE MIGHTY GOD AND EVERLASTING FATHER as well as Counselor, Wonderful and the Prince of Peace!
Jews never chopped God up in three separate pieces as did gentiles! Moreover in order to fulfill Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:14-18, Luke 24:46-49, John 20:19-23, all scriptures which pertain to one and the selfsame event when Christ presented His disciples the great commission, telling them that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His singular name the name of the Lord Jesus Christ into all the world beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:47).
SON AND HOLY GHOST CAME IN ONE NAME
Irregardless of what the gentile religious world has done to God’s truth in butchering the singular name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, we must realize that name is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ who, as a flesh man, was not only the Son of God but also both Lord and Christ! Bowing before him Thomas worshiped Jesus as Lord God Almighty, John 20:28. What is the name of the Son? JESUS! And always remember, the Spirit of Truth, which is the Holy Ghost, was emphatically twice proven in Matthew 1:18-21 to be none other than the father of the Christ child because that which was conceived in Mary was of the Holy Ghost! Moreover, Jesus told his disciples, the Spirit of Truth, who is the Father, the Comforter and the Holy Ghost, would come unto them (at Pentecost) in my name (Jesus). Earlier Jesus had informed the people that He as the Son had come in his Father’s name (John 5-43). Who is this mysterious Father of the Christ child? Matthew 1:18-21 emphatically declares, by an angel from heaven, the father to be is none other than the Holy Spirit who hundreds of years later was taught to be the third person of the Godhead!
JESUS – REDEMPTIVE NAME
But scripturally, what is the Father’s redemptive name on earth? It is none other than Jesus! You have only one name involved in the commission. Scripture declares Jesus came in the Father’s name and the Father, in order to take up His new office work at Pentecost as the Spirit of Truth in dwelling the believer, would come in the name of Jesus, the Son (John 14:26). Therefore, the redemptive name of the Lord God in flesh while on this earth was Jesus the Christ or anointed one!
The new birth came for the first time in Acts 10 to the gentiles. Turn now to Acts 19 wherein we will see even more of Joel’s prophecy in operation. Many years have passed and another man who also has received the Holy Ghost and carries the new birth within him is now on the scene, his name is Paul. He, too, had been baptized in water (Acts 22:16) in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to wash away his sins committed in his flesh. You can’t show one convert out of thousands in the Book of Acts who baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus who is the Christ for any other purpose. Shame on men who, in order to draw large crowds from a Trinitarian religious world, will stand on the borderline of truth saying, God never called me to preach doctrine, he called me to preach unity! Therefore, I will be happy to baptize you any way you want to. What nonsense! Where did Peter, Paul or any apostle ever produce such HOGWASH! Why don’t men junk all this foolishness and return to the true formula used in the Book of Acts which absolutely matches the formula Jesus laid down to Nicodemus in John 3:5! After all they claim to have the same Holy Ghost the disciples received in the Book of Acts! Then why not accept the same formula for water baptism used also in the Book of Acts. It is simple, that baptism brings persecution and they do not want to lose their crowd. But Paul never had a program, he only had a call of God to be fulfilled among the gentiles.
SAVED IS BORN AGAIN
Do you know to believe properly and correctly, as the scripture has said, on the Lord Jesus Christ is to have the new birth? How can you truly believe except you have been born again? Your belief in Jesus Christ is going to produce the new birth, therefore the same man who told the Philippian jailor in Acts 16 to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and he and his house should be saved, taking them to the water immediately, baptizing them, also said to the Ephesian church we are saved by grace through faith. Therefore, to be scripturally saved is to be born again. All of these terms mentioned earlier, are mere scriptural terms of the new birth. To be saved means to saved from sin. Saved from S-I-N (not sins) always refers to the SIN (or unbelief) of the old fallen nature which once controlled us (more on this later). In order to have eternal life we must have that new birth or Holy Spirit in our lives.
12 MEN RECEIVE NEW BIRTH
In Acts 19:1-5 Paul, having returned from Jerusalem back into Ephesus where before he had spoken once in the Jewish synagogue, finds 12 disciples who were converts of Apollos, a Jew who had come into Ephesus from Egypt knowing only the baptism of John or the baptism of repentance saying unto the people they were to believe on Christ who was to come. Aquila and Priscilla, whom Paul had left at Ephesus while he went to the Jewish Feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem, heard Apollos speak in Ephesus and realizing he did not have the full revelation took him aside and explained unto him the way of the Lord more perfectly (Acts 18:25-26). Now it is time for Apollos’ 12 converts to also understand the way of the Lord more perfectly. Paul, finding these 12 disciples still waiting for the benefits of the Messiah, the Christ, asked them had they received the Holy Ghost since they believed or as the Greek said, when you believed? Now isn’t it strange if the new birth is one thing and the Holy Ghost is entirely something else why didn’t Paul ask them had they been born again instead of asking them had they received the Holy Ghost when they believed? They answered in amazement, why we have not heard if there be any Holy Ghost. That is quite evident because until Aquila and Priscilla got hold of Apollos and explained to him the way of the Lord more perfectly, he didn’t know the Holy Ghost had come either. No, Apollos didn’t even know what the fulness was.
QUESTIONING THEIR BAPTISM
Paul says unto these 12, well, seeing you don’t know anything about the Holy Ghost (who has been filling people, about 20 years, since the day of Pentecost) tell me how were you baptized? What an odd expression to ask someone in order to discover why they did not know anything about the Holy Ghost! O, we were baptized unto John’s baptism, said the twelve.
Note if you will please, Paul knows all about the baptism of John as did every Christian know completely the role and ministry of John the Baptist who had come in the spirit and power of Elijah. Wouldn’t it have been something had Paul asked, WHO IS JOHN? But Paul knew John was the forerunner to the first advent, the interlinking prophet, the one who was the spirit of Elijah. The early church knew John’s important position in God’s program, but they didn’t preach John, they preached Christ. Paul says in verse 4, John verily baptized unto the baptism of repentance saying unto the people that they should believe on him which should come after him, that was, on Jesus Christ. Furthermore, remember how John, speaking of Christ, had referred to Him as the one who would baptize with the Holy Ghost and fire! In other words, John’s message was getting people’s hearts in the right condition and setting them up for the Holy Ghost, causing them to acknowledge they were sinners, telling them to wait for the benefits that is to come, waiting for the new birth! When will their new birth take place? When will anyone’s new birth take place? When they receive the Holy Ghost of course!
Recall, the Holy Ghost could not be given according to John 7:39 until first Christ had been glorified in dying on the cross as the ransomed price for sin, as His blood was freely shed for the sins of mankind, past, present, and future whereby the Holy Ghost, who was the life of Christ Jesus, had returned on the day of Pentecost to begin taking up His abode in the hearts of those disciples to be their comforter whereby they should no longer need to rely upon the physical man Christ to be the comforter, crutch or the one to lean upon.
Now they had him as the Holy Spirit inside them, guiding, leading, teaching, instructing and helping them all through every trial and test. Yes, the Holy Ghost, their new comforter who was spirit is now the one they lean upon.
Verse 5, when they heard this the twelve men were re-baptized. This time into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins (plural). Often people coming out of denominational churches will remark, God saved me from my sins when I was in denominational religion. I know what God has done for me, He blessed my life. I was sprinkled or I was baptized in the trinity of titles as our church taught. Now please try to understand something, we are standing at the end shortly before the coming of Christ, and God has revealed truth that we may return back and line up our experiences according to scripture, therefore understand this message is not trying to un-christianize you, nor un-birth you nor, un-scripturalize you, however if you do have the new birth it is all because God is merciful to you. He still requires somewhere to bring your experience in line with scripture! You don’t have the experience that you have because you know anything or even because everything you know is correct. You have it simply because God loved you and He saw you were one of those predestinated children of His out there in Babylon wandering around. Therefore, God saved you in your ignorance as to what the real truth of the word is. No, He didn’t save you because you were right, but because He loved you. Therefore, somewhere along the line your testimony as well as your Christian experience may easily lack a lot of things, then again it may not! But to every honest hearted person may I say, if you want to get your birth scripturally oriented, that is, get all the saints out of it and bing it in line with the scriptures, you must do so because, beloved, we are living in days when certain things can easily spoil.
LINING UP EXPERIENCE WITH SCRIPTURE
Religion today is practically like everything else in the commercial world, it is so commercialized they can sell you about anything to make you believe you have eternal life, but I want you to know there is still only one true formula and though man changed, God never did and the formula remains as always, repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins and you will receive the gift of life (the Holy Ghost). So no matter what your experience has been or how long in this last day you have lived for God, we are now living in the day when God isn’t trying to straighten up Babylon and bring it in line with the scriptures. No, He is trying to straighten up you and I to bring your experience in line with the word of God, because soon the antichrist will take hold of the reins of every church, every political system, every union as well as the entire monetary system of the nations as this gentile world closes out. According to scripture He will put the clamps on everything. In that hour, beloved, you will have to have more in your souls than the mere fact I belong to this movement or that movement. You are going to have to be able to look into the face of Jesus Christ straight through His book and be able to say, I belong to Jesus, He is in my heart and I know He is there because I have obeyed His word!
To obey only a portion of scripture instead to later on let the cap off your experience and there you may see a great spoil as we are already seeing in your denominational world! That is why church people who at one time had such a strict code of what they thought Christian conduct and their personal appearance out in the world should be like, now more and more because everything is spoiling and their experience did not match up to the book (Bible) when the Holy Ghost brought them face to face with truth, you see them now looking more and more like the world teaching that all you should do is love each other, but how are you going to love God without loving His word! I remind you, loving the word is not loving three scriptures and blasting the other scriptures because they do not line up with your theory of Christianity – – – IT IS LOVING EVERY SCRIPTURE, because one scripture is only a stepping stone to the next one! On and on like that until truth has formed an entire picture. It is the entire revelation that lives within your soul and Christ lives in that because that is exactly what truth was brought forth for in the first place. Therefore, Paul says in Acts 19, alright there isn’t any need in trying to patch up what the denominations or any group is doing, let’s just go right back to the scriptural formula Christ left for us in John 3:5, except a man be born of water and of the spirit . . . God hasn’t changed one bit, that is the original formula! Paul takes all of these twelve men and rebaptizes them, only this time into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. And some today will say what a waste of time, but to Paul it wasn’t a waste to rebaptize these 12 men. To him it was very simple, it was simply part of the formula and he wasn’t going to step over one portion of it! After baptizing them he laid his hands upon them and they received the Holy Ghost and after receiving the Holy Ghost two gifts operated from the believer: tongues and prophecy.
God sent Phillip out into the desert in Acts 8:26-40 for one lone man to receive the new birth. After Phillip was invited into the chariot and they began riding along the road, he explained to the man all the scriptures pertaining to how to be born again. By the time he had finished his message they had reached a water hole and the man looked up and said, See, there is water what hinders me from being baptized? Phillip said, nothing if you believe. I do believe, he says, and down in the water hole went the man to be baptized for the remission of his sins done in the flesh. God was so pleased with Phillip’s obedience, instead of making him walk all the way back through the desert, He simply picked Phillip up and set him over in the place he wanted him to be.
SPIRIT GIVES GIFT WHICH PLEASES HIM
Paul took the twelve converts who had believed but were waiting for something good to happen, explained the formula unto them, rebaptized them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost came upon them and we see more of Joel’s prophecy in action. Nowhere in the Book of Acts wherever the Holy Ghost was preached and the new birth was explained, was any disciple ever told, now look if you fail to speak in tongues you just didn’t receive it! Whether you spoke in tongues or not was left entirely in the hand of God when he visited his disciples. God simply gave the Holy Ghost to those who obeyed him! According to I Corinthians 12, Jesus always gave the experience and Holy Ghost manifestation in the way and manner that it pleased Him not how it pleased the individual receiving it! The main purpose was for them to know that God had filled them with the holy Ghost and beyond any shadow of doubt that they had something they never had before! If they were a praying and seeking person, whatever manifestation or gift of the spirit that lay there in the structure of the Holy Ghost when the spirit entered their life, sooner or later that Holy Ghost is going to work and operate that very manifestation of gift He placed into their life when He entered. For as we shall see later in this study the spirit places the spiritual gift in the believer’s life which pleases only him! (I Corinthians 12:11). And as Paul says (I Corinthians 12:13) by this one spirit (Holy Ghost) have we all been baptized into one mystical body. Remember according to I Corinthians 12, the same Holy Spirit who came upon you to give you the new birth or eternal life is also the same spirit who at the moment of your new birth also placed you in the mystical body of Christ and whatever spiritual gift He desired you to have He placed that spiritual gift in your life at the moment of your new birth.
SPIRIT RESURRECTS BODY
Those who obey the formula, God is obligated to give the Holy Ghost, the spirit of life, the gift of God, the Comforter, the power for service, the Spirit of Truth which guides the born again into all truth showing them things to come! The Spirit is placed into your life as your teacher and comforter to lead you from the beginning of your experience in the new birth, down through your life and even into death. And according to Romans 8:11, will quicken your dead bodies and bring you out of the grave! According to Romans 8:11, the Holy Ghost seal will lay in that dead body though it be decayed, and one day that dead body will be quickened and brought out of the ground! The Holy Ghost is God’s seal, it is His way of showing He has accepted and placed His approval on the soul who has obeyed His formula of the new birth. Many will say, we are born by the blood of Jesus Christ. Yes, it is true we are redeemed unto God through the blood of Jesus Christ because the blood was the purchase price, however never forget, the formula of the new birth was plainly laid out by Jesus Himself who said, except a man be born of water and of spirit he can not enter into the kingdom of God! Others will declare, the new birth is merely accepting Jesus. In our age of the reformation as God has slowly, since the 16th Century, gone step by step into bringing the church back into still more light of the word, one could say it is all in accepting Jesus. But if we will be completely honest with ourselves, and being honest with oneself we must first be completely honest with God’s word. Always remember, any truth of God’s word expressed on this side of the reformation has absolutely been a working of the Holy Ghost to lead people into still greater light of truth whereby they may experience more and more of the fullness of Christ in their life.
PART 3 – HOLY GHOST OPERATING IN MYSTICAL BODY
Before closing let’s briefly examine I Corinthians 12, not from the standpoint of studying the nine gifts of the spirit, although we did see certain spiritual gifts in operation in Acts 19 when the new converts received their born again experience, but here we need to see the new birth in operation within the mystical body of Christ on earth. Paul, writing to the Corinthian church, a church he had earlier founded, seeks to correct certain situation which had developed in the local church primarily over the gifts of the spirit. Note the continuous spiritual phrase Paul uses for the church calling it a functional body, using as an illustration the human body with its many members.
HOLY GHOST OPERATION IN BODY
Paul declares three interesting things concerning the nine gifts of the spirit and their operation in the believer in I Corinthians 12:4-7. (1) There are diversities or different kind of gifts and all nine, which truly are different, are placed in the mystical body of Christ on earth by the one and selfsame spirit who divided them out among believers as He sees fit. Just as there are (2) differences of administrations of these gifts yet are all controlled by the same Holy Spirit or the same Lord, (3) there are diversities of operation of these gifts, but it is the same God who works in all in all – not three Gods, ONE GOD! God alone receives all honor out of this which is done and said by the manifestations, meaning the public display or outward showing of the spirit, is given to every born again person by the Holy Spirit and the particular gift the Holy Spirit sees fit to place into that individual’s life is the one he gets and it is given to profit withal (or the rest of the body).
Verses 8-10 names the nine different gifts or the things of Christ which are placed into the mystical body by this one spirit, and note how Paul continually declares one gift is given to one person, while another is given to something else!
GIVING GIFT THAT PLEASES HIM
Note verses 11-13 shows every born again person is placed into the mystical body of Christ as conversion by the same spirit who saw fit to give unto each believer the spiritual gift which pleases Him when He entered their life! That is the spiritual gift He intends for you to manifest in the body of Christ. Verse 7 and 11 both declare the manifestation or display of the particular spiritual gift you received when you received the Holy Ghost or the new birth is the particular gift out of the nine which pleases Him for you to receive, and the one He gives you is given to profit the rest of the body.
Based on that clear fact of scripture, verses 7 and 11, how can anyone say you are going to make the gift of tongues operate in every believer seeing every believer may not have the gift of tongues! Note, between verses 8-11 where Paul lists individually the nine gifts of the spirit how often he says, unto one person is given by the spirit the word of wisdom, unto another person also placed in the mystical body of Christ is given the word of knowledge by the same spirit who just presented someone else with the word of wisdom, to another person is given the gift of tongues and so forth. Eight times between verses 8 and 11 it is recorded “and to another” is given a certain thing, “and to another” is given something else by the same spirit! It is the Holy Ghost who divides the nine gifts to every person as He sees fit as He places them in the mystical body of Christ! And note, all these nine gifts in their fulness is what Christ was in the flesh! Now the Holy Ghost, as He fills every believer, takes what Christ was or the things of Christ or the nine gifts of the spirit and divides them up as He sees fit among the mystical body of Christ on earth!
SPIRIT DIVIDING HIMSELF IN BODY
Beloved, it is not enough to assume you have the Holy Ghost or assume that you are born again, you either are or you are not! Speaking concerning those who had followed the apostles’ doctrine we hear the Apostle John say (I John 3:2) “Now we are the sons of God and it doeth not yet appear what we shall be but we know when he appears we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is.” If you are one of these called, chosen and seen by Almighty God before you were ever born to be complete in Jesus Christ, then He knows through His foreknowledge exactly what you are as well as what you have the ability to accept and to walk in once the Holy Spirit has placed you into the mystical body of Christ. Therefore I repeat, it is the Holy Ghost who divides the 9 gifts of the spirit or the things of Christ in verses 8-11 to every individual allowing them to have only what He sees fit to give them and whatever gift they are to receive, they will receive it with that measure of the Holy Ghost when He enters into their life, causing them to be a part of the mystical body of Christ on earth.
MANY MEMBERED BODY
People often ask, what part of the mystical body are we? Recognizing the fact the human body is composed of many members, some members seen and some hidden, Paul uses that expression to show the function of the entire mystical body of Christ on earth. In verse 12, referring first to that natural human body Paul says, for as the body is one and hath many members so also is the (mystical) body of Christ. Remember we are now dealing with the relationship of the new birth once we have been placed in the mystical body of Christ to become a part of the (called out) church. Paul always referred to the church of God or church of Christ as a mystical body. The same spirit which gave us our new birth also in the same operation makes us to become a part of the mystical body of Christ on earth. See, the entire operation is accomplished by the same spirit who lives in the entire mystical body. Even my spirit lives in my entire fleshly body. Were I to cut off my finger I would still live. Although the life of the finger is no longer present, that life merely backs up. However, try to remove some vital organs relating to the spirit of life in the human body such as the heart, lungs, liver or even blood and see how quick the life of the body will cease to be! Such things can be easily likened to certain fundamental basic truths in the scripture. You disassociate or remove them from the plan of God and see how long it will take the Holy Ghost, the life of God to be gone! Whatever then is accomplished in the realm of religion is strictly going to be a substitute because no life will be present at all!
Dealing with the fact that by one spirit we are all baptized into this one mystical body of Christ on earth, we need to examine two Pentecostal extremes. One extreme says the moment you accept Christ you are born again and the baptism of the Holy Ghost is only for power of service, referring to it as though the Holy Ghost is an added optional to the believer. No scripture indicates the Holy Ghost is an optional thing! No, beloved, it is the very life factor of your soul’s salvation! The other extremes says water baptism is for redemption. But water baptism does not constitute redemption!
HOW S-I-N–S ARE REMITTED
Redemption in its entire completeness is not until the Holy Ghost is present in your life! Water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ is strictly for the remission of sins, sins which you as a sinner committed in your flesh. Recall in John 20:23, after Jesus appeared unto His disciples giving the great commission unto them, breathed on them and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost He then said, whosoever sins (not SIN) ye remit they are remitted! What did He mean – REMIT SINS? How can anyone remit sins unless they have the authority to do so? Now understand Jesus was not giving the disciples authority to remit original sin because no man can ever remit original sin of the human nature, that can only be accomplished strictly through the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus alone remits the original sin of unbelief passed down into our human nature by Adam in the garden. Baptism in the name of Jesus Christ is for the remission of S-I-N–S (plural) which are only the sins which have been committed in the individual flesh of that person: drinking, smoking, adultery, lying, gambling, etc. It was only for the Remission of these S-I-N–S of the flesh that Jesus was giving His disciples permission or authority to remit in John 20:23 saying, whosoever S-I-N–S you remit they are remitted! Remember the only kind of sins an individual can ever remit, as spoken of in John 20:23, can only be accomplished or remitted through water baptism exactly as was accomplished in Acts 2:38.
Hebrews says, without the shedding of blood there is no remission of S-I-N. Note, here sin is singular and here the word remission carries no reference whatsoever to the S-I-N–S committed in the flesh which is taken care of through proper water baptism, but instead relates strictly to the S-I-N of unbelief produced by man’s fallen nature and can only be atoned for by the blood! That is why the animal blood sacrifice was ordained in the law because that sacrifice spoke in types and shadows of the atonement to be made for the sins of all mankind, that is, the sin of unbelief produced by man’s fallen human nature or soul.
So many people are looking for the most from God they can possibly receive for the very least they can give in return. That is why many people are spiritually starved to death, always looking for something easy, wanting it placed right in their hand never willing to pay the cost through prayer and sacrifice or giving any part of themselves. Every walk of faith is going to cost you something. No, that does not annul the fact God’s gift of life is a free gift. It simply means that when He reconciles us unto Himself, giving us the Holy Ghost, we can’t take that gift and spend it carelessly, worthlessly upon things to benefit our flesh or natural life, because sooner or later we will realize he that soweth to the flesh shall reap corruption, but he that soweth to the spirit or that seeketh after the spirit soweth unto everlasting life.
BAPTIZED INTO ONE BODY BY SPIRIT
We must accept the fact the Holy Ghost is an experience which is the completeness of our spiritual birth. It is also the spirit’s plan at the time of our new birth to then place us in His mystical body on earth. Therefore, I Corinthians 12:13 declares, for by this one spirit (irregardless to our nationality) we are all baptized into the one mystical body. When God saved the Jew He gave them the formula in which to walk, and when He turned to the gentiles He required out of them the same formula! When Peter left Joppa carrying this gospel to Cornelius’ house he never went there with charts and diagrams to explain how they could receive this wonderful gift! But thank God he did have a revelation whereby he could put this thing all together, and while he was preaching about it, once the beautiful picture was formed, he had no trouble getting people to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ or either receiving the gift of life. The same spirit who gives us the new birth also places us in the body of Christ and everyone in the body of Christ, irregardless to nationality, is made to drink into this one spirit! And today we hear Pentecostal movements saying, you must speak in tongues before you have the Holy Ghost. If that was true then everyone would have to speak in tongues before they could be born again and that would lead into quite a bit once we look into what is known as the charismatic or glossolalia move who teach you must speak in tongues I order to have this added blessing. Sure they tell you the Holy Ghost is for power to do miracles and the things of Jesus, however, for some reason they fail to recognize that the same Jesus who said these signs shall follow them that believe also said something just as important! I have yet many things to show you howbeit you are not able to understand them, but when the Holy Ghost, the Comforter is come into your life He will teach you all things! He will take all things whatsoever I have told you and bring them to your remembrance! You don’t understand what I am saying now, but later when the spirit is on the inside of you, you will! That is the purpose of His coming to show you things to come and teach you all things!
LEARNING TO WALK
Looking at the Holy Ghost in that light, we will begin to act like we have been born again, not simply waiting around to be born! No one cay say an unborn child is not life, it is life potential. But even after it is born and breathes on its own it can not live or exist without the help of someone! It grows daily in stature, knowledge and understanding and if we are born again into God’s family and in the body of Christ then the same Holy Spirit which gave us eternal life also placed us into the fellowship of His kingdom, for a while we too will walk like a baby. A baby, when learning, will often fall down but it doesn’t continually lay there and cry, it gets up and goes at it again! We as children of God must be much like that.
For the body is not one member only but many members. The foot cannot say, because it is not a hand I am not part of the body (verse 15). Such a statement as this Paul is showing certain psychological complexes which are often motivated from people’s flesh causing them to feel that they are nothing when irregardless where Christ has placed you in the body! Once you are born again, though we are motivated often by the psychological complexes, yet if you will permit the spirit to lead and teach you, somewhere along your Christian journey you will overcome that kind of complex. The Holy Ghost in your life, if allowed to lead you, will help you step over these great barriers, whereas you thought you were nothing and could do nothing, He helps you overcome. No you are not to make a public spectacle of yourself nor are you to hide yourself either. God wants us to be something wherein He may be glorified and the Holy Spirit will enable us to something that Christ can be glorified through.
BESTOWING MORE HONOR
Furthermore, Paul says within the human body, which he has likened to the mystical body of Christ, are certain members referred to as comely (lowly) parts and upon these comely parts we bestow more abundant honor. If we could only see what we are in Christ the Spirit could cause us to feel the strength of Christ within our lives. Because we fail to recognize the grace of God in our lives, Christians often live in fear. God hasn’t given us the new birth to make nothing out of us but instead to make SOMETHING out of us! Take that natural foot as a comely part for instance – – Nahum the prophet declared, how beautiful are the feet not beautiful from the standpoint of looking at an old boney foot, but instead God sees the beauty of obedience in those feet which carry the individual. Thus God attributes beauty to the obedience of the foot seeing it carries someone to preach the gospel. And if we place beautiful shoes upon our boney feet because they are so comely (lowly), I am certain that God having placed us in His mystical body, although we too may be in a lowly position, God will give us something to operate in the way of a gift of the Spirit. Potentially the gift was placed there in the believer’s life when the Spirit entered, however only as you dedicate yourself to prayer can this gift be brought out. Thus, no prayer life and no fellowship with God through His word you may rest assured whatever He gave you will never shine very brightly. We must be given completely into His hands that He may make something beautiful out of us.
WORSHIP IN THE BODY
Paul, in Ephesians 5:19-23, speaks of the body and the church being collectively the same thing showing that in the body or church is worship as we speak to ourselves in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in our hearts to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submitting ourselves one to another in the fear of God, which doesn’t mean we are continually afraid He will beat us with a big club, but instead we recognize He is our father and knows how to correct us. Verse 22-23 “Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord for the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church and is the saviour of the body.” I repeat, Paul never chops the church and the body up into being two separate things. When Paul refers to it as a church he speaks about it as a collective called out element of people who have been born again by God’s divine formula and placed into the mystical body. The church or called out ones are called out of sin and unbelief into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ. However, when Paul refers to it as a mystical body he refers to the born again as many people, once sinners now reconciled from a sinful way, purchased unto God as a people that he, in the form of the Holy Ghost, dwells within. Thus these many individuals make up one mystical body for the purpose of the indwelling of this one Holy Ghost. As He distributes Himself, divided Himself separately as He sees fit, to each individual giving that individual the potential working of Himself whereby the individual through the life and fellowship of God, seek His will and grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ allowing the grace of God to perfect that life and fulfill in that life His purpose and will for them.
No, God isn’t skimpy in what He gave them because whatever measure of His Spirit, along with the gift of the Spirit, will be strength and life to that soul as it journeys through this life into the next!