The Pentecostal Difference
June 13th, 1965 @ 8:15 AM
THE PENTECOSTAL DIFFERENCE
Dr. W. A. Criswell
6-13-65 8:15 a.m.
On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. Now the sermon this morning concerns something that I have wanted to know about all my life, and it is just now that I have found an answer that means anything to me. The title of the sermon is The Pentecostal Difference, what difference Pentecost made.
The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, and then the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, how is it any different today than it was in the days of the Old Covenant? What change did Pentecost make? What is the difference between our life in this dispensation of grace, and mercy, and of the presence of the Holy Spirit? What is the difference in our life today as we live it before God and the life of an Old Testament saint? What difference did Pentecost make? Well, I have never known, I have just wondered, but this morning I have an answer from God’s Book.
Now to begin with, I know that I know that there was a difference to be made in the coming of the Holy Spirit. I know it for one thing from the words of our Lord, from the promise of our Savior. In the fourteenth chapter of John, the Lord says, “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another paraklete, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth…for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” [John 14:16-17]. That’s something in the future the Lord has promised.
Now again in the fourteenth chapter of John, “But the Comforter, the paraklete, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things” [John 14:26]. Now I turn to the [fifteenth] chapter, and the Lord repeats the same promise. “But when the Comforter is come, when He comes, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me” [John 15:26].
Now in the next chapter, the sixteenth chapter of John, “I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the paraklete will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you” [John 16:7]. Now the thirteenth verse:
When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth
. . . and He will show you things to come.
He shall glorify Me: He shall receive of Mine, and show it unto you.
Now that was so extensively and emphatically spoken of by our Lord, the last verses in the Gospel of Luke, when the Lord is on Mt. Olivet, before His ascension into heaven: “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” [Luke 24:49]. There is something coming. There is some tremendous event toward which the Lord is pointing.
Now in the first chapter of the Book of Acts, He says the same thing: “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of Me” [Acts 1:4]. And we certainly have, for the Lord has repeated it again and again. There is a promise of an outpouring from God. Wait for it. “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized by the Holy Spirit not many days hence” [Acts 1:5].
Now in the interpretation of John the apostle, he says the same thing, in the seventh chapter of the Book of John, verses 38 and 39. Now he quotes from the Lord. The Lord said, “He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his body shall flow rivers of living water” [John 7:38]. Now listen to the interpretation of John. John, the sainted apostle, writes an interpretation of that in verse 39, “This spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified” [John 7:39].
Now when John interprets that Word of our Lord that any man that believes on Jesus, out of his soul and heart shall flow rivers of living water [John 7:38], then John interprets it. “The Lord was speaking,” he says, “of the Holy Spirit, that we should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given” [John 7:39]. Jesus had not yet died. This is an event, a colossal event that is yet to come. It is promised.
Now I have another word about it. It is also prophesied. In the Book of Joel, the prophecy of Joel, in the second chapter, verses 28, 29, Joel the prophet says:
And it shall come to pass . . . that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
And upon the servants and upon the handmaidens in those days will I pour out My Spirit.
It’s just woven in the very warp and woof of the Word of God. There is a great day coming. There is a marvelous visitation from heaven.
Now in this last passage that I read, there is a reference here to Israel at the great consummation of the age [Joel 2:29]. But there is also a reference in that prophecy to some marvelous event that is written in heaven that is known to God [Joel 2:28-29], just as definitely and just as certainly set as when Jesus was born [Matthew 1:20-25]—that was set before the foundation of the world, when the Lord was born. When He was crucified [Matthew 27:32-50], was set in heaven before the world was made; when He was to die. When He was raised from the dead [Matthew 28:1-7], was a date that was set in heaven. God knew it and planned it from the creation. And this also is something that God has set in the councils of glory: this marvelous visitation and outpouring, what we call Pentecost [Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:1-47].
Now I have a second thing to discuss; and that is this, what is the difference, what is the difference that the Holy Spirit is to make? “For the Holy Spirit,” John says, “was not yet given” [John 7:39]. Well, in what sense was the Holy Spirit “not yet given”? For the Holy Spirit has been here since the creation of the world [Genesis 1:1-2]. There never was a time when the Holy Spirit was not here, nor was there ever a time in the Old Testament when the Holy Spirit did not work the mighty presence and power of God. Now we’re going to discuss in what sense the Holy Spirit was not yet given [John 7:39]. Now let’s look at the Old Testament and see the Holy Spirit back there in the Old Testament.
To begin with, He was present in creation. We’re introduced to Him from the beginning: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God,” that’s the second verse in the Bible, “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” [Genesis 1:1-2]. Or you could say, “brooded over the face of the deep.” Yet John says, “For the Spirit was not yet given” [John 7:39]. But I’m introduced to the Spirit of God in the second verse, in the great marvelous creative agent by which this world was brought out of chaos into the beautiful order that we see today [Genesis 1:2].
All right, another thing about the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament; all of the revelation and all of the inspiration of the Old Testament is by the Holy Spirit of God [2 Timothy 3:16]. Now I want to make a distinction there, and you ought to keep it in your mind always. Revelation refers to content, and inspiration refers to writing it down. By inspiration they inerrantly write down the Holy Scriptures [2 Timothy 3:16]. But revelation refers to what the man is writing, the content of it [2 Peter 1:21].
Nobody was there when God made the world. How would you know how God made the world? We weren’t there. We weren’t even born. Adam wasn’t made until the sixth day [Genesis 1:27]. All of that has to come by revelation. You’d never know except God revealed it [Genesis 1:26-28]. Now revelation is by the Holy Spirit of God in the Old Testament.
In 2 Peter 1:21, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” So He is back there in the Old Testament, revealing these great and tremendous truths to the prophets back there [2 Peter 1:21]. Now He is also inspiring the prophets [2 Timothy 3:16]. Not only is He revealing but He is inspiring those prophets, and He is guiding them to write inerrantly these Holy Scriptures; 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is theopneustos, all Scripture is inspired of God.” “All Scripture is God-breathed,” all of it. So the Holy Spirit is back there in the Old Testament just as He is present in the New Testament.
Now I have one other thing to point to you about the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. Not only does He reveal the truth of God [2 Peter 1:21], and not only does He inspire the written Word of the Lord [2 Timothy 3:16], and not only was God the Holy Spirit active in creation and all through the Old Testament, but He is the restrainer of sin [Genesis 1:1-2]. All through the ages, were it not for the restraining of sin [Genesis 6:3; Isaiah 59:19], this world would be enmeshed and buried in the most terrible flood of iniquity that mind could imagine.
For example, in the sixth chapter of the Book of Genesis and the third verse, before the Flood the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man: a hundred twenty years will I give him to repent, and if he does not repent, I am going to destroy this world”; “My Spirit,” striving against sin [Genesis 6:3]. You have that same thing here in the fifty-ninth chapter of the Book of Isaiah. The prophet refers to the same thing again, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him” [Isaiah 59:19].
It’s just like this. You look at the world and you would think, why, the whole world is going to become a cesspool of corruption and iniquity. There’s no stopping the flood of it, and the avalanche of it, and the sweep of it. Now sometimes you have that persuasion, but don’t you forget this. Whenever you go down to the seashore, you have a beach there, and the Word of God says that by the word of the Lord those waves come just so far, and they do not ever rise any higher or beyond it [Job 38:11].
Do you ever look at a globe and look at the Pacific? There is a way that you can put that globe that all you see is just that ocean. In the entire globe there’s not anything seen but that Pacific Ocean. And you go down to the coast, say of California, and look at that little thread, that little thread there. Why, that gigantic Pacific, you would think some wind or some gravitational force might, might pull that thing up. And sometimes the difference it seems to me is no higher than that, and that ocean out there, thousands, and thousands, and thousands of miles of water, and a little restraining wall no higher than that it looks as if; and why doesn’t that ocean come up and nearly bury this continent? Because God says, “Thus far shalt thou come, and no further” [Job 38:11].
Now that’s the identical thing with iniquity and sin in this world. When you see sin and corruption like a flood overtaking the world, God says, the Spirit of God says, “Thus far and no further.” That’s true with Hitler. That’s true with Stalin. That’s true with Tojo. That’s true with Napoleon. That’s true with Genghis Khan. That’s true with Tamerlane, and that’s true with the next one and the next one. As long as time shall last, the Holy Spirit of God says, “Thus far and no further.” The restraining power of evil, against evil, and that’s what Paul is talking about in the second chapter of the Book of Thessalonians, when he says, “At the time of the great tribulation, He that prevents is going to be taken away” [2 Thessalonians 2:7]. And the only time in this world that iniquity is rampant without a restrainer is in the great and last and final tribulation when God removes the Holy Spirit out of the way of the march of sin and transgression in the world. So, all of this is in the Old Testament as well as in the New.
All right, now we have come to this answer. How is it that the Holy Spirit is going to be a difference in this world? How is it that He was not given in the Old Testament but He is given today? [John 7:39]. And what is the Pentecostal difference? What difference has Pentecost made? [Acts 2:1-47]. What is this marvelous thing that Joel prophesied [Joe 2:24], and this incomparably glorious thing that the Lord has promised? [Luke 24:49]. What is it?
All right, in the Bible, as we look at it and study it, it becomes marvelously apparent. First: the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is going to have a new house, and a new home, and a new temple, and a new tabernacle. The Holy Spirit is going to indwell in a new and a different and a glorious place [John 14:17].
Now you look at it. In the Old Testament, Moses made the tabernacle according to the heavenly pattern. “And the Lord said to Moses, Now Moses, you make this exactly according to the pattern I have showed thee from heaven” [Hebrews 8:5; Exodus 25:9, 40]. So Moses made the tabernacle exactly as he saw the pattern that God showed him from heaven. And everything was prepared. Everything was prepared, just like Caldwell over here in his architectural work for these churches makes everything just so.
Here are the foundations, and the stones, and the sanctuary, if we could call it that, and the pulpit, and the altar, if we could call it that, and all the other things. He makes it out and lays it just right. And along comes a contractor and he builds it just exactly according to the pattern that he has showed the architect. Now that’s what Moses did.
And so the tabernacle is all set. It is made. It is raised. But, but, it is just still another tent. It is empty, empty, empty. That is, it is empty until something and here in the Bible it says:
And a cloud covered the tent of the congregation,
and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
And Moses was not able to come into the tent of the congregation, because the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
The glory of the tabernacle was not those gorgeous tapestries and those marvelous coverings of gold and silver and all the other things. The glory of the tabernacle was when the Lord came and filled it and dwelt in it! [Exodus 40:34-35].
And that was His place; in the center of the congregation, there God dwelt. And you call it the shekinah glory, the shekinah glory. It looked like a pillar of fire by night. It looked like a pillar of cloud by day [Exodus 13:21]; and it burned above the holy altar of the covenant of the mercy seat [Leviticus 16:2]. It was a marvelous thing. It was the infilling, the indwelling; it was the presence of God in the tabernacle [Exodus 40:35].
Now the same thing happened over here in the Book of Kings, and in the dedication of the temple. Solomon made a glorious temple, oh, the most marvelous building the world has ever seen! You know they estimate it takes several billion dollars to make that temple today. Oh, how beautiful, how beautiful, and how glorious, how marvelous! But it was still just a heap of stone, and a heap of masonry, and just a pile of the workmanship of men until something happened:
And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the Holy Place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord
[1 Kings 8:10-11]
Oh, what a marvelous thing. After Solomon had built it, and after the outlaying was all finished, then God came down, and the Lord filled the temple with His presence and with His glory [1 Kings 8:10-11].
All right, something is going to happen now, the Lord says. No longer is the shekinah glory; no longer is the presence of the Spirit of God to be found in some tent made out of skins and tapestries. And no longer is the presence of the shekinah glory of God to be sought in some place of masonry, even though it is overlaid with pure gold [1 Kings 8:10-11]. But the house of the Lord is going to be, first, His church, His people, His congregation [1 Corinthians 3:16].
The Holy Spirit is going to move into a new home, into a new house: the household of faith; into a new congregation, the people of the Lord. And again and again do you find that idea presented in the New Testament, that the Lord has come down to indwell His people. And we are the temple of God now [1 Corinthians 6:19].
Simon Peter says that the Lord is making this temple out of living stones [1 Peter 2:5]; not out of those cut out of the ground, dead and inert, but out of living stones. And we—now look at Paul as he says, “Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone; and we are all the building, fitly framed together into an holy temple of God: in whom also ye are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” [Ephesians 2:20-22].
We are the temple of God, for a habitation of the Holy Spirit of God [Ephesians 2:22]. And that idea is so frequently presented here in the Bible. “Know ye not that ye,” talking to the church at Corinth, “ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” [1 Corinthians 3:16]. No longer a tabernacle with the shekinah glory of God [Exodus 40:35], no longer a marvelous Solomonic temple with the shekinah glory of God [2 Chronicles 5:13-14], but the Holy Spirit of God has moved into a new temple; the congregation of the Lord, the household of the saints [1 Corinthians 3:16]. This is the presence of God among His people. We are that holy temple of the Lord [1 Corinthians 3:16].
And when the Lord moved into the tabernacle, it was a glorious thing, and you could see it. And when the Lord moved into the temple of Solomon, it was a glorious thing, and you could look upon it; the glory of God [2 Chronicles 5:13-14]. And when the Lord moved into His church, it was a glorious thing, and you could see it. You could hear it, sounded like a rushing of a mighty wind [Acts 2:1-2]. You could see it. It looked like cloven flames of fire: there came down from heaven a great burning, and it parted, it was cloven, it split; it parted, and the lambent flame burned upon the head of each one [Acts 2:3]. As it was gloriously seen in the tabernacle, as it was gloriously seen in the temple [2 Chronicles 5:13-14], so it was gloriously seen when it happened, and the Holy Spirit moved into the new home, and into the new house, and into the new tabernacle, and into the new temple, the churches of the Lord [Acts 2:1-4].
All right, another thing; not only has the Lord found a new home in the temple of the congregation [1 Corinthians 3:16], but the Lord has also moved into the temple of the individual believer. “What?” says Paul, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? For ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price” [1 Corinthians 6:19-20]. And the temple of the Holy Spirit is not only the corporeal body of Christ, the assembled members of the Lord [1 Corinthians 3:16], but He also individually dwells in our hearts. And this now is also, this body of ours is also the temple of the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 6:19-20].
Now what is the difference between this now and as it was in the Old Testament? All right, this is the difference. In the Old Testament, God visited at times a select few, and set them aside for special services. The Spirit of God was in Joseph. The king, the Pharaoh said, “Why, the spirit of the holy gods is in him”; and they chose him to be over Egypt; Joseph [Genesis 41:38-43]. The Spirit of God was found in Moses, and upon the seventy, for the administration of the government of the Lord [Exodus 24:9-11]. The Spirit of God came upon Gideon when he blew the trumpet [Judges 6:34]. And the Spirit of God came upon Daniel when he prophesied [Daniel 5:14].
Of only one is it said in the Bible that the Spirit of the Lord was with him from the day it came upon him and henceforth, and that was David; the only one [1 Samuel 16:13]. The Spirit of the Lord came upon a select few for special service. Sometimes for skills, the Spirit of God came upon the artisans who made the garments for Aaron [Exodus 31:6-10]. The Spirit of God came upon Bezaleel and Aholiab, when they constructed the tabernacle [Exodus 31:1-6, 35:31-35].
But the Spirit of God came upon just these select individuals in the Old Testament for distinct purposes. But the Spirit of the Lord comes upon all of us when we are saved [Romans 8:16], and He makes His temple, He makes His indwelling in our souls and in our lives, all of us who trust in Jesus [1 Corinthians 6:19]. Not just to Daniel, not just to Gideon, not just to Joseph, not just to Moses, not just to Bezaleel, not just to Aholiab, but all of us, every believer today has the presence of the Spirit of God in his soul, every one who has trusted in Jesus.
All right, one other thing. In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God could be temporary and withdrawn, and that comprises some of the saddest passages you’ll find in the Old Testament story. You look. “And the Spirit of God came upon Samson at times in the camp at Dan” [Judges 13:25]. And then again, “And the Spirit of God came upon Samson, and he tore that lion with his hands as though it had been a kid” [Judges 14:5-6] . . . and the Spirit of God came upon Samson, and he slew those Philistines [Judges 15:14-16].
It says that in the Book, in the Book of Judges. And it also says, “And Samson, when his locks were shaved,” he was a Nazarite, dedicated to the Lord, “and when his locks were shaved, he stood up and shook himself, and said, As at other times I shall go out and slay my enemies. But he wist not that God had departed from him” [Judges 16:20].
All right, another one: “And the Spirit of God came upon Saul, and God gave him a new heart; and under the power and presence of the Spirit of God, Saul prophesied. Wherefore it was a saying among the people, Is Saul also among the prophets?” [1 Samuel 10:9-12]. Then when he disobeyed God, the Book says and I quote it exactly, “And the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him” [1 Samuel 16:14]. The Spirit of God left him.
And that is why, in the fifty-first Psalm, David cries in the presence of the Lord God, “O God,” 51:11, “O God, cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me” [Psalm 51:11]. He had seen Saul. He had seen the Spirit of God leave Saul [1 Samuel 16:14]. He had seen an evil spirit from the Lord trouble Saul [1 Samuel 16:14]. And David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, had taken his harp and played in the presence of Saul to soothe his troubled spirit, for God had left him [1 Samuel 16:23]. And David cries before God, “O God, take not Thy Holy Spirit from me” [Psalm 51:11]. “O God, do not let it happen, do not let it happen.”
Well, how is it now? How is it today? My brother, let me tell you the most comforting and the most reassuring of all of the things that you will ever find in the Word of God; no Christian, no Christian need ever pray that prayer of David, “O God, take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.” For this is the final difference I point out between the Old Testament saint and the child of God today. The Holy Spirit, once He comes into your heart when you believe in Jesus [Ephesians 4:30], He never leaves, He never departs.
“I will give you another paraklete, that He may abide with you for ever,” John 14:16. “That He may abide with you for ever.” No matter what you do, no matter what you do, and you may grieve the Holy Spirit of God [Ephesians 4:30], and you may quench the Holy Spirit of God [1 Thessalonians 5:19], and you may hurt the Holy Spirit of God, and wound the Holy Spirit of God, and you may fall into all kinds of things that grieve the Spirit of God, but He won’t leave you. He will be with you and abide in you forever [John 14:16]. Whenever you trust in the Lord as your Savior [Acts 16:31], and whenever you give your heart to Jesus and the Holy Spirit regenerates your soul [John 3:7], the Holy Spirit will be with you and in you forever [John 14:16].
He is never withdrawn as He withdrew from Samson [Judges 16:20]. And He is never withdrawn as He withdrew from Saul [1 Samuel 16:14]. And you don’t have to pray the prayer of David, “O God, take not Thy Holy Spirit from me” [Psalm 51:11]. He will be with you as long as you live [John 14:16]. And isn’t that a comforting thing?
Would there be somebody stand up here today and say, “I am worthy as a temple of the Holy Spirit of God in my soul and life”? Would you? Is there one anywhere would stand up and say that? Wouldn’t every one of us stand up and say, “O Lord, if there ever was one unworthy, I’m that one. If there ever was one that fell short, I’m that one. If there ever was one that disobeyed and followed afar off, I’m that one””
Aren’t you glad that even though we fall short in a thousand ways, and have made immeasurably endless mistakes, and sins, and everything else that’s dark and unholy, yet the Lord continues to love us [Galatians 2:20], and the Holy Spirit continues to make His home in our hearts? [1 Corinthians 6:19]. And just insofar as we will yield ourselves to Him, the Holy Spirit of God will use us and will bless us [Galatians 5:16]. And He keeps us saved forever [John 14:16].
O Lord, how grateful I am that I live in this day, and in this dispensation, and in this abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. O God, how thankful I am that I don’t live in the day of Samson; that I don’t live in the day of Saul when the evil spirit from the Lord troubled him, and God left him [1 Samuel 16:14]. O Lord, how thankful I am that I live in a day of grace [Ephesians 2:8], and mercy [Titus 3:5], and the love and forgiveness of God [John 3:16]. O Lord, O bless His name. And help me to love Him more, follow closer to Him, give myself more absolutely and completely to His blessed name and in His precious service [Matthew 16:24].
We’re going to sing our song of appeal. And while we sing it, somebody today open his heart to the love and call of Jesus, come and stand by me. A couple you, a family you put your life in the presence of the church. However God shall say the word and lead in the way, come and stand by me. “Pastor, I give you my hand. I give my heart to Jesus” [Romans 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:8]. Or, “We’re putting our lives in the church today.” While we sing this song and make this appeal, come now, make it this morning, while we stand and while we sing.
15, 16, Acts 2:1-21
I. There must be a difference concerning
Spirit before our Lord and after
His own words; anticipating something new (John 14:16-17, 26, 15:26, 16:7,
12-13, Luke 24:, Acts 1:4-5)
The interpretation of John (John 7:38-39)
prophecy of Joel (Joel 2:28-29)
II. In what way was the Holy Spirit not
given? (John 7:39)
A. He was in Old
Testament from the beginning
B. Active in creation
C. Active in revelation
(2 Peter 1:21)
D. Active in
inspiration (2 Timothy 3:16)
E. Restrainer of sin
(Genesis 6:3, Isaiah 59:19, 2 Thessalonians 2:7)
III. The Pentecostal difference
A. Entrance into a new
2. Temple of
Solomon (1 Kings 8:10-11)
of the Lord (Ephesians 2:20-22, 1 Corinthians 3:16)
B. To indwell all
believers (1 Corinthians 6:19)
C. The gift a permanent
indwelling, never withdrawn
1. In the Old
Testament, it was temporary
a. Samson (Judges
13:25, 14:6, 15:14, 16:20
b. Saul (1 Samuel
c. David (Psalm 51:11)