THE BAPTISM BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
Dr. W. A. Criswell
2-6-66 10:50 a.m.
On the radio and on television you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the message entitled The Baptism by the Holy Spirit. These messages have been the results of long and protracted hours of study, and the result of their studying, examination has been more surprising to me than it could be to anyone who listens. I have come to see that so many of the words of description, of nomenclature, that I have used regarding the outpouring of the Holy Spirit have been wrong. They have been incorrect. I have come to see that many ideas that I have had concerning the presence of the Holy Spirit in this earth have also been wrong and incorrect.
The study has been an overwhelming experience to me. And as I have continued in it, and still continue through these days and now years, of poring over this subject, I have come to the place where I can easily see how interpreters who are reaching toward a preconceived end will twist Scripture in order to arrive at a certain preconceived, predetermined conclusion. And that is why I cannot find for the great mass of people any final answer, because they are helpless before these twistings of the Scripture. I do not see how ever it is humanly possible for people who have not given their very lives to a study of these theological matters could ever come to any right understanding. They are helpless before it. And because of that helplessness, the whole Christian world is filled with a misunderstanding and confusion.
Now, I want to illustrate this to you. Last Sunday, one of the dear members of our church brought to me a finely written and presented little booklet, the one I hold in my hand. It is entitled “From Jordan to Pentecost” [Derek Prince Ministries International, 1966]. And it is part of a foundation series in a far-flung radio program. And the inscription is “The whole truth to the whole church.” And the author is preparing a foundation, page after page after page, he is preparing a foundation for a conclusion that he is going to reach in these last pages. So in preparing the foundation, getting ready to come to a conclusion that he thinks is the truth of God, he will write this paragraph. Now I read it. “Finally,” he says,
in 1 Corinthians chapter 12, and verse 13, Paul says, For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, Here, the King James Version uses the preposition by: by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body. However, (alone) he writes,
the preposition used in the original Greek text is the preposition in, i-n, he says, In one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.
Whatever in the world that would that mean? You just try to figure out that sentence: “In one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.” Then he continues:
Unfortunately, the accident that the King James translators used the phrase “by one Spirit” in this particular passage has given rise to some strange doctrines. Had the authors of these doctrines paused long enough to consult the original Greek text, they would have found no basis or suggestion there for their teaching that the King James Version is right in saying “by one Spirit are we all baptized.” In fact the whole teaching of the entire New Testament in this connection agrees in this fact clearly and emphatically stated: Jesus Christ Himself alone, and no other, is the one who baptizes in the Holy Ghost.
So you read that, and what recourse do you have, and what can you say? For this man who writes and who speaks is saying to you—and the people who understand and study New Testament Greek are in such an inconsequential, insignificant minority as to be practically nonexistent. The great body of people in the church are not versed in the Greek New Testament.
So the author writes that had the authors of these doctrines paused long enough to consult the original Greek text, they would have seen that the Greek preposition is i-n, and that alone. So the translation here, he says, in 1 Corinthians 12:13, the King James Version, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,” he says that the Greek preposition is i-n, means i-n, and that alone. And that is what he writes here. The preposition used in the original Greek text is the preposition i-n, in.
Well, I took Thayer’s lexicon of the Greek New Testament off of my shelf, and I counted forty-four different uses of the Greek preposition en, which he says means alone i-n, in. I counted forty-four different usages of the Greek preposition en, beside page after page after page of shades of meaning. Yet the author says that, had we consulted the Greek text, we would have seen that the preposition used in the original Greek text is the preposition i-n. Well, let’s just look at it. Let’s see if in the original Greek text e-n means i-n. Thayer’s says, to begin with, that it has forty-four different meanings.
All right, let’s take one now. In the twenty-third chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, Matthew writes that Jesus said in this denunciation, in this twenty-third chapter of Matthew, “Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear [e-n] the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear [e-n] by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! [Matthew 23:16]. And whosoever shall swear [e-n] the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth [e-n] the gift that is upon it, he is guilty [Matthew 28:18]. Whosoever therefore shall swear [e-n] the altar, sweareth [e-n] it, and [e-n] all things thereon. And whosoever shall swear [e-n] the temple, sweareth [e-n] it, and [e-n] Him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear [e-n] heaven, sweareth [e-n] the throne of God, and [e-n] Him that sitteth upon the throne” [Matthew 23:20-22].
Now you tell me: how would you translate that Greek preposition e-n? And what is its plain and obvious meaning? Why, you would translate it “by.” “Woe unto you, who say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold in the temple, he is a debtor [Matthew 23:16]. Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gift on the altar, it is something [Matthew 23:18]. For whosoever shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. And whosoever shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by Him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by Him that sitteth upon the throne” [Matthew 23:20-22].
Well, how would you know that? Because you have a purportedly learned man who is writing here the preposition used in the original Greek text is the preposition i-n. And, “had the authors of these doctrines paused long enough to consult the original Greek text, why, they would have found that these things he is writing is just so,” when the things that he is writing are just the opposite of being so.
Well, take just one other, and then we are taking too much time for it. The preposition e-n: Revelation 13:10; “He that killeth [e-n] the sword must be killed [e-n] the sword.” The instrumental use of the preposition is very rudimentary, very primary, very simple. Revelation 13:10: “He that killeth [e-n] the sword, he that killeth with the sword, using the sword as an instrument, shall be killed with the sword, the sword as an instrument.” It is an instrumental use of the word e-n. So, is it an instrumental use here in [1 Corinthians] 12:13: “For by one Spirit”—instrumental agent—“for by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.” Well, I’m just pointing out you’re not going to end the endless confusion regarding the baptism by the Holy Spirit. It cannot be ended. There is no way for it to be ended, for men take the holy Word of God, and they twist it in their interpretation to certain avowed, preconceived, predetermined ends. Wouldn’t it be unusual for us just to let the Word of God say what it says and mean what it means? That is what I tried to do when I started out on this study.
This baptizing work of the Holy Spirit, what is it? Just let God say what He says, and let the Word of the Lord mean what it means. I’ve already made my confession. There’s a great deal of nomenclature I’ve used in days past that I have learned is incorrect. There are a great many ideas that I have had in days previous that I can see now are not correct. So, I have rearranged myself. I have rearranged my soul, and my life, and my words, and my descriptions, and my ideas – I have rearranged them to conform to the Word of God.
Now, in the time that is left, let’s go through that. What is it God says?
First of all, it is an amazing thing that I find; an astonishing thing! John the Baptist, preaching on the banks of the Jordan River in the wilderness of Judea, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost”… [Matthew 3:11]. Isn’t that a tremendous announcement? Isn’t that a glorious declaration? So I turn the page to see about this baptizing with the Holy Ghost, and I think on every page I’d see that, and I’d hear about that, and I’d read about that. It is never referred to! It is never mentioned again in the Gospels, not once, not once! Turn the page, it is never referred to. And I’m astonished! After that glorious announcement of the Baptist, I would have thought the whole pages thereafter would have been filled with this glorious prophecy in its fulfillment. Never referred to, never mentioned.
Well, I finally get beyond the Gospels to the Book of Acts. I come to the Book of Acts, and there, in the first chapter of the Book of Acts, I hear and see that same prophecy of John the Baptist repeated. Acts 1:5: “For John”—the Lord speaking to His disciples—“For John baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” So, I take my Bible in my hand. And after the Lord Jesus has repeated that great prophecy of the Baptist, I turn the page to read about this baptism, and it is never referred to! It is never mentioned. The only exception to that is in Acts 11:16 Peter repeats the prophecy of John the Baptist. It is never referred to. It is never mentioned.
Well, I think now, surely, surely, surely, having listened to the great sermons of the Baptist and that marvelous prophecy [Matthew 3:11], and now I’ve heard it reiterated by Jesus Himself [Acts 1:5], and by Simon Peter [Acts 11:16]; now I’m going to turn these pages, and I’m going to read exhortation after exhortation, and plea after plea, and mandate after mandate, and commandment after commandment for us to be baptized by the Holy Spirit. And I turn through the whole New Testament and finally get to the benedictory “Amen” [Revelation 22:21], and there is no syllable! There’s no approach to such a mandate! There is no breath that even reaches toward such an injunction. Well, you put your Bible down, and you say, “Lord, I’ve been clear to the end, and this is the strangest thing that I have ever come across in my life. I never saw anything like this. Now Master, I need to be taught. I need God to show me some answers. For answers, I pray for. Now Lord, what is this?” And the Lord answers, it’s in His Book, it’s in His Word, if you will just let God say what He wants to say, and don’t put words in His mouth, man’s words in God’s mouth; just let the Lord speak to us and reveal these marvelous wonders of His grace in the blessed Book.
So, here’s what I’ve found, and here’s what we learn when we turn over these holy pages. One: in the providence of God, in the sovereign wisdom of God, the Lord reserved the doctrine, the meaning of the baptism by the Holy Spirit for the epistles. Not in the Gospels; it is not mentioned. Not in the Acts; it is not mentioned, just a prophecy of John the Baptist [Matthew 3:11]. God reserved, in His infinite wisdom, the teaching of the doctrine of the meaning of the baptism by the Spirit for the epistles. And you’ll find it in such passages as these: in Romans 6:3-5; in 1 Corinthians 12:13; in Galatians 3:27; in Ephesians 4:5 and in Ephesians 5:18; and in Colossians 2:12. In passages like these, you’ll find the doctrine of the baptism by the Holy Spirit expounded. Not in Acts, not in the Gospels, but in the epistles did God reserve its disclosure for His people.
All right, a second thing that we understand as we pore over these Scriptures: the great ministry of the Holy Spirit of God in His baptizing work in this age is to bring to pass, to fruition, to creation the mustērion of God kept secret in the heart of the Almighty from the beginning of time; something God kept in His soul. The prophets never saw it. The patriarchs never saw it. The Old Covenant, the Old Bible, the Old Testament never revealed it—it was a secret, Paul says, in the third chapter of the Book of Ephesians, “kept secret in the heart of God” [Ephesians 3:3-9], the mustērion from the beginning of the world, and that was, there is to be a body, there is to be an assembly, there is to be a living organism, and Christ the Messiah is its head [Ephesians 1:22-23]. And into that body are to be joined, or as the Bible uses the word, are to be baptized into that body, or to be added, Jew and Gentile, male and female, bond and free, Greek and Scythian, Roman and Provincial, wise and unwise, old and young, learned and unlearned [Galatians 3:27-28]. There’s no distinction in the presence of God of estate, or background, or future, or accomplishment; all of us in that one body which is created by the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 27].
Then a third thing that we learn reading that Book: Jesus Christ is the great baptizer, in the sense only that all of it is the work of His gracious intercession. When He returned to heaven, He promised His disciples that He would send upon them an ascension gift, the Promise of the Father, He called it [Acts 1:4-5]. God apparently had said to Jesus, “You go down there in that world, and You die for the sins of the world, and the Spirit of God will raise You from the dead, and I will give You a name which is above every name, and I will exalt You above the heavens, and when You come back after Your death, burial, and resurrection, I will give to You an ascension gift, namely, the gift of the Holy Paraclete, the third Person of the Trinity, and You can pour Him out upon all flesh.” And when the Lord God died, buried, rose again, ascended into heaven [Matthew 27:1-28:7], He poured out that ascension gift upon the earth [Acts 2:1-4]. That says Jesus is the baptizer by the Holy Spirit [Matthew 3:11]. But since that ascension gift and since the coming of the Holy Spirit, it is the Holy Spirit who is the agent [John 14:16]. He is Christ in this world. He is Christ in our souls and hearts. He is Christ in this assembly of the believers. He is Christ doing God’s work in the earth. The Holy Spirit represents Christ. The Holy Spirit is the other Christ. However you say it, it is not quite correct. The Holy Spirit is the vice regent of Christ. He is Christ in this earth. He is God in this earth. He is God in our souls. There are not three Gods; there is one God. And we know God as Father God Creator, and we know God as Savior God who died for our sins, and we know God as Spirit Holy who lives in our souls and in our hearts. And since the ascension of our Lord into heaven, the great baptizer in this earth is the Holy Spirit of God. So Paul could write 1 Corinthians 12:13, “By that Holy Spirit of God are all of us baptized into the body of Christ.”
“Now, pastor, now pastor, if this baptizing work of the Spirit is the creation of the spiritual body of the Lord, the household of the faithful [1 Corinthians 12:27]; and if in His baptizing work, we are made members of the body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:12-13]; then preacher, tell us: what is it that happened at Pentecost? And in all of these other marvelous services that are described here in the Book of Acts, what is it? If that is not the baptizing of the Holy Spirit of God, then what is it?”
Well, it is the baptizing of the Holy Spirit of God, but the baptizing of the Spirit of God took these men and these women and these people and put them into the body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 27]. They were made spiritual members, living, breathing, organic, alive, quickened in the body of our Lord [1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 27]. But, when we read, let’s let God say what He says. Let’s don’t put words in His mouth. Let’s don’t make God say something He doesn’t say, for He never uses that word “baptize,” never. I just told you now that the doctrine and the teaching of the baptism was reserved for the epistles. They reveal to us the baptism which is our entrance into Christ [1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 27]. Well then, what does God say? What word does God use? If He doesn’t use the word “baptize,” and it never appears, what word does God use? Well, it is very simple, and repeated again and again and again.
So I read, “When the day of Pentecost was fully come, suddenly there came a sound from heaven, a sound as of a mighty wind, and it filled all that were in the house. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues of fire, and they were all filled, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” [Acts 2:1-4]. All right, I turn the page. The next time, “Then Peter, baptized with the Holy Spirit said unto them”? Never! “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said unto them [Acts 4:8].
I turn the page to Acts 4:31: “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together”; and they were all baptized with the Holy Spirit”? Never! “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and spake the word of God with boldness.”
And I turn the page to Acts 7:55, “And Stephen, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven and said.” Now, I’m going to turn the page again, over here in the eighth chapter [Acts 8:17]: “Then laid their hands on them, and they received,” now we’ve got a little different word there, “and they received the Holy Spirit,” but never baptized. Never!
I turn the page again to the ninth chapter, and let’s look at the seventeenth verse: “And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on Paul,” struck down on the way to Damascus,” said, Brother Saul, the Lord that appeared, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be baptized with the Holy Ghost”? “And be filled with the Holy Spirit”! [Acts 9:17].
I turn the page again. Look at the tenth chapter, and the forty-fourth verse, “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on them.” Baptized them? “…fell on them” [Acts 10:44]. We’ve got “filled” [Acts 4:31], almost always, then “receive” [Acts 8:17], then “fell” [Acts 10:44].
Now let’s go to the thirteenth chapter and the [third] verse: “And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away [Acts 13:3]. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, departed” [Acts 13:4]. “Then Saul,” verse 9, “filled with the Holy Spirit [Acts 13:8-9], set his eyes upon that Elymas sorcerer, and said.” “Saul, filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Now, turn the page to 19 and 6, 19:6, “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them [Acts 19:6],” and it goes on and on and on. There’s no exception to that the word baptize never used, it’s the filling. “They were filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Now what is the difference between baptizing by the Holy Spirit and being filled by the Holy Spirit? In the few minutes that remain, listen just as carefully as you can; because beyond this we are entering into a further world as we study God’s Word and teaching and mandates for His people.
All right, first of all, just a summary of the difference between the baptizing and the filling. First, there is never a commandment to be baptized by the Holy Spirit. Never an injunction. Never a plea. Never an exhortation. Never. It is not in the Word of God. But there is injunction that we be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18, “But be filled with the Spirit.” And that word filled is indicative, imperative, a mandate from God. It is present-tense, linear action repeated again and again and again.
All right, a second difference. The baptizing by the Holy Spirit is an once-for-all occurrence in which we are placed into the body of Christ. It is never repeated. The verb is in the Greek aorist-tense: “By one Spirit have all of us been baptized into one body” [1 Corinthians 12:13]. One time and only one, but the filling is again and again, present tense, linear active, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit” [Ephesians 5:18], and keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit. A man never gets to a plateau in his spiritual life where he can say, “God has nothing more for me.”
My brother, if you were filled one time and had a great experience with God, you can have another great experience with God and be filled again. And if you’ve had two marvelous experiences with God and been filled with the Holy Spirit, you can have a third one. And there is no limit to God’s outpouring of His Spirit upon His people. Now, may I speak of that contrast just for a moment. If you could be baptized again and again and again, it would mean that you would have been placed into the body of Christ, then you had been taken out, then by baptism put in again, and then taken out again, and taken in again. And such an idea of that is foreign and fanciful to the revelation of the Word of God. When a man is once saved, he is forever, and forever, and forever saved, saved, saved! That’s what He promised. “And I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish” [John 10:28].
When a man is placed in the body of Christ, he is there forever, and ever, and ever! And Paul uses that body as an illustration of that eternal mandate, and promise, and security of the believer [1 Corinthians 12:12-26]. For, says Paul, we’re like hands to the body of Christ, and like feet to the body of Christ, and like eyes to the body of Christ, and yet some people believe you could cut off that hand, and then put another one back on; cut off that foot, and grow another one back on; tear out this heart and put another heart back in, grow another heart; tear out these eyes and grow other eyes. You don’t do that. You don’t do that. That hand is a part of the body of Christ, and if it’s ever cut off, it will never grow back again. And that foot is a part of the body of Christ, and if it’s cut off, it will never grow back again. And these eyes are a part of the body of Christ, and if they were taken out, they would never grow back again. You can substitute plastic arteries and eyes out of other bodies and on and on, but these don’t ever grow back.
That’s the same way in the body of Christ. When God puts a foot on the body of Christ, that foot stays there. And when God puts a hand on the body of Christ, that hand stays there. And when a man is born into the family of God, he is never taken away! He may be an unworthy son and she may be an unworthy daughter, but he’s never disowned, never, never, ever.
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I’ll never, no never desert to its foes,
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.
[“How Firm a Foundation,” John Rippon]
Now the filling is again, and again, and again. God has for His child many, many marvelous experiences, but one birth, just one. One time you’re born again [John 3:3]. One time you’re baptized into the body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 27]. One time you’re made a child of God, and thereafter you are a child of God forever, and ever, and ever, and ever [Romans 8:16]. Amen. Hallelujah!
Aren’t you glad, aren’t you glad you’re salvation to heaven doesn’t depend on you? Man, we wouldn’t make it. It’s like that little grandson of mine going down the street here. He says, “Daddy, let me take your hand.” You know, crossing the street, “Let me take your hand.” “Oh, no son. No sir, I’m going to take your hand,” because he holding to my hand might see a little ball roll down the street or might see something, and he forget and turn loose of my hand, and a car strike him. Just like that. But I’m not going to turn him loose. I’m going to see him across the street if I have to drag him. I’ve got his hand in mine.
That’s the same way with the Lord God. If I get to heaven because I’m holding onto the Lord, why, five minutes before I die, I might turn loose and drop into hell. But you see, it doesn’t depend on me. It’s in the grace of God, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy does God save us [Titus 3:5]. And God holds us in His unmovable, everlastingly able and adequate and sufficient hand.
Oh, we’ve got so much more, let’s hurry. The baptism and the filling: the baptism is positional. By that, I mean it is something God does for us in glory, like writing your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life —God does that up there [Luke 10:20; Revelation 20:12, 15, 21:27]. It is positional. I don’t see that. I’ve never seen an angel at all, much less one writing the Book of Life. I haven’t seen the Book of Life, but God says my name’s up there in the Book of Life [Luke 10:20]. It is a positional thing. Baptizing by the Holy Spirit is positional. It defines our relationship to Christ and to my brethren who are saved [1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 27]. But the filling of the Spirit is experiential. It has to do with my service, and my soul, and my heart, and my ministry. It’s down here where the filling is, just as you read it here in the Bible [Romans 8:16].
Now, we must hasten. The baptism by the Holy Spirit enables us to be placed in a position where we can receive power, but it gives no power in itself, none at all. None at all. Never. Never. These people here, to whom Paul writes 1 Corinthians 12:13, “All of you,” he says, “have been baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ,” and yet they are the most carnal people that you read of. They were feuding and fussing and fighting about every doctrine and every practice and every discipline that you can think of, and some of them were actually living in incest. There is a fellow there in that church that had his father’s wife [1 Corinthians 5:1], yet Paul says they all have been baptized by the Spirit [1 Corinthians 12:13]. They were carnal Christians.
Now he says the same thing about the churches of Galatia. He says that they are in Christ and have been baptized by the Spirit of God [Galatians 5:13-26], but those Galatians were in the actual process of apostasizing [Galatians 5:4]. The baptism by the Spirit does not endow us with power. The baptism by the Spirit places us in a position to receive the endowment of power and glory from above. Now it is the filling that brings to us that endowment [Ephesians 5:18]. It is the filling that covers us with glory and the presence of God and the power of the Lord Christ. Simon Peter quailed before a little girl who said, “You are one of them? Your speech betrays you.” He says, “My speech? Listen to this,” and he cursed and swore that he did not know anything about the Lord, warming himself at that devil’s-fire [Maqrk 14:66-72]. But in the day of Pentecost, when he was filled with the Holy Spirit, he was bold like a lion, and said to those that crucified Jesus, “Ye, with wicked hands, have taken and crucified the Prince of Life!” [Acts 2:23]. What an amazing thing! That’s the filling.
Or, those deacons, in the Book of Acts, it says, “Now, you seek out seven men, full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom” [Acts 6:3], and the next verse says, “And Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” [Acts 6:5]. Oh, what mighty men of God deacons can be, like Stephen, like Philip named there. You turn the page, and it speaks of Barnabas [Acts 9:27]. Evidently, Barnabas was dead when Luke wrote the eleventh chapter of the Book of Acts, for he says, “For he was a good man,” see, past tense, “for he was a good man full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” [Acts 11:24]. Full of the Holy Spirit and of faith, and much people were added of the Lord. And the apostle Paul, on that first missionary journey, “And Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit” [Acts 13:9]. It’s the Holy Spirit that gives us power for service and in ministry and to overcome and be victorious and to know conquest for God.
And last and hurriedly, the results of the Spirit baptism is our placing in Christ [1 Corinthians 12:13]. He takes us out of this old world of death and puts us in Jesus. He takes us out of this judgment of God, and He puts us where we are in a refuge, in a castle of safety. The baptism takes us out of the old Adam and puts us into the new Jesus, the second Adam [1 Corinthians 15:22]. Now, the results of the filling of the Holy Spirit, oh, there are so many here. When I turn to the Book of Acts, “And they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and then began to speak with other languages as the Spirit gave them utterance” [Acts 2:4]. And the Medes, and the Parthians, and the Elamites, and the Cappadocians, and the Mesopotamians, Idumean, and the Phrygian, and the Libyan, and the Putan, and Ethiopian, and the Arab, on and on and on —they all said, “Why what an amazing thing. Why, I’m listening to the gospel of the Son of God, listen to that, in my language! [Acts 2:1-11]. What an amazing thing when they were all filled with the Spirit,” then it says here, “wherein we hear the wondrous works of God” [Acts 2:11]. What were those men talking about in those other languages? They were praising the Lord God for His wonderful works. Then, I go down to verse next, “And Peter, standing up with the other eleven, lifted up his voice and said,” bold as a lion [Acts 2:14]. Now, Doctor, you’re talking about being timid and being hesitant about speaking words for Jesus? The reason is we’re not filled with the Spirit. We don’t have God in us.
You know, when I just started out to preach in my first church, I was in a home, and I said to that family at the dinner table, I said, “You know, I just don’t have the courage to talk to people about Jesus. It just scares me to death, and I’m afraid, I’m afraid.” And the man sitting there at the head of the table, said, “Young pastor, you know what’s the matter with you?” I said, “No, what’s the matter with me?” He said, “You don’t have God in you.” I said, “I don’t have God? Why, I pastor a church, and I’m in Baylor University, and I’m a ministerial student, and I’m studying,” and on and on and on, “and yet you say to me I don’t have God in me, and that’s the reason why I’m hesitant about talking to people about Jesus!” Why, I was never more insulted in my life, and it made me mad, and it took me forty years to get over it! It’s just now that I’m getting over that. Isn’t that something? Isn’t that something? Isn’t that a sight? But I have learned that man was telling me the truth. He was just honest with his young preacher.
The reason that you’re hesitant and the reason you’re afraid is you don’t have God in you; because if you had God in you, it would be the easiest thing in the world to talk to someone about Jesus. You don’t have to be obnoxious, and you don’t have to be anything else. Talk to an airline stewardess. I want you to read my Pastor’s Pen for this coming week, how it has changed me these days, how it changed me. I talk to an airline stewardess, and I can’t growl at her when they pour coffee down my neck, you know, spill it out. I’ve got to be nice and sweet because I’ve just talked to her about Jesus. Isn’t that something? Isn’t that something? And when I go to a restaurant, and I talk to a girl about Jesus, say a kind word about my Lord, I can’t be miserly and skimpy and leave a little old insulting tip. I’ve got to tip her nice. I have just talked to her about Jesus. Man, I’m a new pastor, you all don’t realize it, but I’m a new person. I’ve been changed these last few days, and I’m a whole lot better pastor and preacher and person than I used to be. That’s the filling of the Holy Spirit.
Oh, I’ve got to quit. It just goes on and on and on. All of these marvelous things that happen in the filling of the Holy Spirit, and it just goes on and on and on. And in the doctrine and their praising God, and the unselfishness of their soul, and eating their meat with gladness and singleness of heart and hallelujah everybody, everybody blessed in the assembly of the saints [Acts 2:46-47]. Oh, it’s a marvelous thing what God can do for His people, and it’s a marvelous thing what God is a-doing for me.
Now, Brother Lee Roy, we’ve got to sing. We’ve got to sing. On the first note of this first stanza, on the first note of this first stanza, somebody you confess his faith in Jesus; come and stand by me. A family you, putting your life in the fellowship of the church, come and stand by me. When you stand up in a moment, stand up coming. In the balcony round, on the lower floor, “Here I am, preacher, and I’m glad to do it. I’m not coming down that aisle like a slave driven to his galley seat; I’m doing this triumphantly and gloriously with a hallelujah in my soul. I’d rather be a Christian than anything in the world. I’d rather own the name of Jesus than to be a citizen of the greatest empire. I’m now a citizen of heaven, of the glory to come.” Do it; do it. If you haven’t been baptized, come. If you need to put your life in the church, come. How ever the Spirit shall press the appeal to your heart, make it now. Make it now, while we stand and while we sing.