The Baptism by the Spirit


The Baptism by the Spirit

January 23rd, 1966 @ 10:50 AM

Matthew 3:11

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, and with fire:
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

Matthew 3:11

1-23-66    10:50 a.m.


You who are watching your television sets or listening on the radio are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the message entitled The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  To my own astonishment, I am just now delivering this message, after a year and a half.  It was my purpose, and it was the announced program of this preaching ministry a year and a half ago, fall, the first of the fall of last year, of year before last, that I would preach on this subject.  But I never, in all of my ministry put together, I never faced so perplexing and so difficult a subject.  And as I studied, and waited, and prayed, and asked God to give me wisdom and enlighten my mind and understanding, the days became weeks, and the weeks became months, and the months became a year and a half.

Mr. Zondervan of the Zondervan Publishing Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan, who was here a few weeks ago, brought down with him a brochure.  And in the middle of that brochure is a full page advertisement, and the advertisement says that this March, the middle of this spring, these sermons on the Holy Spirit will be published in a book entitled The Holy Spirit in Today’s World.  It is to be a companion volume with the book published last year, The Bible for Today’s World.  He was so sure that I would have the manuscript in his hand, these sermons on the Holy Spirit, that he announced it all over the world, wherever those religious books are published.  This announcement has gone out.  But the sermons are not even preached yet.  They are not even made yet.  And yet it is announced that they are going to be published in the next few weeks.  Well, the reason they have not been prepared, and the reason they have not been preached, and the reason that they are not being published now is I found myself staggering before the subject.  I fell into a thousand inexplicables, perplexities, unanswerables, and for a year and a half I have been studying and waiting and trying to find the mind of God as it is revealed in this blessed Book.

Now, just to share with you the perplexities that lie in the subject, I am going to mention five of them that were astonishing discoveries to me; amazing, unbelievable things that I found concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  All right, first: there is no such a thing as that in the Bible, in the Word of God.  The language, the nomenclature is not used.  There is no such thing as a baptism of the Holy Spirit mentioned or referred to in the Bible.  There is no such thing.

Second: to my astonishment and to my amazement, the only time a baptism by the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the Gospels is in the prophecy of John the Baptist [Matthew 3:11].  Then it is never referred to again, and it is never mentioned.  And the same thing is true in the Acts of the Apostles.  In the Book of Acts there is no mention and there is no reference to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, except in the prophecy of John the Baptist [Acts 1:5].  When you read of the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost [Acts 2:1-4, 16-33], and at Samaria [Acts 8:15-17], and in Caesarea [Acts 10:44-47], and in Ephesus [Acts 19:1-6], and in anywhere else, the word “baptism” is never used to refer to it, never.

All right, a fourth thing that astonished me: there is no such a thing as an exhortation, or an appeal, or a mandate, or a commandment in the Bible to be baptized by the Holy Spirit.  And what an astonishing and unbelievable thing that is; for all over this world, all over this earth, around this whole globe there are uncounted numbers of Christian disciples, believers in Jesus, who are praying God that they be baptized by the Holy Spirit.  They are persuaded that there is a special experience that God hath reserved for an elect few, and they are begging, and importuning, and asking, and praying, and interceding, and knocking at the throne of grace that that experience might be theirs and the baptism of the Spirit might come upon them.  And yet, not in the whole Word of God, nowhere in all the Scriptures is there anything like that, nothing like it.  There is no hint.  It is as alien from the Bible as the doctrines of Buddhism, or Krishna, or Mahavira.  There is nothing in the Word of God that even approaches a command or an appeal or an exhortation that we be baptized by the Holy Spirit.  It is not in the Bible.

Not only that, but there are those who build a whole system of theology and whole denominations upon a second work of grace.  And there is no such thing in the Bible, nor is it even approached, nor is it hinted at.  And yet there are those uncounted theologians, denominations, pastors, preachers, teachers who present two works of grace:  one when we’re regenerated and saved, second when we are sanctified and baptized by the Holy Spirit.

All right, a fifth amazing discovery to me, a fifth one: as in the Gospels, there is no revelation of the doctrine, the teaching and meaning of the baptism by the Spirit, except just referred to in the prophecy in John the Baptist [Matthew 3:11]; as in the Book of Acts there is no mention or no delineation, no discussion of the doctrine and meaning of the baptism by the Spirit, except in the prophecy of John the Baptist [Acts 1:5].  It was, in the providence of God and in the elective sovereign omniscience of God, it was reserved for the Epistles to explain the doctrine of the baptism by the Spirit; not in the Gospels, not in the Acts, but only in the Epistles, and that was a choice in the sovereign purpose of God.

Now these things that I have mentioned, and they’re just a few of a multitude of others––these things that I have mentioned immediately bring to any thinking mind and any scriptural-sensitive person a multitude of questions.  Then what is the baptism by the Holy Spirit?  And when does it occur?  And when did it occur?  And who is the baptizer?  And into what does He baptize?  And what are the results of such a baptism?  And what are its signs?

Now as we face an ocean like that, and as we face a sea of perplexities like that, and of doctrinal differences, and sometimes violent controversies, as we face it, let’s do it like this.  Let’s just plunge in the very middle of it.  Let’s get right in the center of it, of the center of the doctrine of the teaching; or of, somebody might say, the controversy.  Let’s get right in the middle of it, and then let’s work ourselves out both ways, both ends.  So we’re going to start in the middle of it.

Who is the baptizer?  The baptism, the Spirit baptism, who is the baptizer?  And into what does He, whoever He is, does He baptize?  What is this?  Now, from the prophecy of John the Baptist, Matthew 3:11, Jesus is plainly the baptizer.  Listen to John the Baptist as he preaches:  “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, and with fire” [Matthew 3:11].

Now there’s no exegesis in this earth that could take away the plain and simple announcement by John the Baptist, that Jesus, the Messiah, the coming One, will baptize with the Holy Ghost [Matthew 3:11].  That’s very plain.  I want to show you another very plain passage, however, in the Epistles. 1 Corinthians 12:13, Paul says, “We are all baptized by one Spirit into the body of Christ.”  And just as plainly as John the Baptist prophesied, “Jesus is going to baptize with the Holy Spirit” [Matthew 3:11], just that plainly does Paul avow in 1 Corinthians 12:13 that the Holy Spirit is the One who baptizes us into the body of Christ.

Therefore, therefore, there are exegetes without number who delight to avow that there are two baptisms, two Spirit baptisms.  There is one by Jesus Christ in the Spirit; the sphere into which Jesus baptizes us is the Spirit.  Like the sphere into which we baptize in water is in the water, so there are exegetes who say Jesus is the baptizer, and the sphere into which we are baptized is the Spirit.

Then of course these exegetes, who believe that, have to look at 1 Corinthians 12:13, so they say there is another baptism.  There are two Spirit baptisms, and this second Spirit baptism is—the baptizer, the agent, is the Holy Spirit, and the sphere, what He baptizes us into, is the body of Christ.  As it says, “We are all baptized by that one Spirit into the body of Christ” [1 Corinthians 12:13].  So they say there are two baptisms.

Now the only trouble with that is this: they are building two systems of doctrines on the same and identical Greek phrase and Greek preposition.  For whether you read the prophecy in John [Matthew 3:11], reiterated in the Book of Acts [Acts 1:5], or whether you read it here in 1 Corinthians 12:13, it is the same and identical Greek phrase:  en, e-n, “in,” pneuma, “Spirit”: “in the Spirit.”  Now, to start with, it’s rather precarious to build a whole system of doctrine in different explanations, two different systems of doctrines, on the same Greek phrase, and in interpretation of the same and identical Greek preposition, en, e-n.

Now those who do that explain the Scriptures like this.  In Acts 1:5, “John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized,” en pneumate, en pneumate, “not many days hence.  John baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.”  They make it locative.  We’re going to be baptized “in the Spirit.”  Then in the epistle, in 1 Corinthians 12:13, in the epistle, that same Greek preposition en becomes instrumental, “For all of us have been baptized by one Spirit into the body of Christ.”

So here it is plainly instrumental.  The Holy Spirit does the baptizing.  He is the agent and the instrument by which we are baptized into Christ.  So they make the same Greek preposition locative in Acts 1:5 and instrumental in 1 Corinthians 12:13, and build two different systems of doctrine upon it.

Now this is what I think about it.  I think they are all instrumental.  The e-n is instrumental always, always.  It is the Holy Spirit who does the baptizing, always, and it is the body of Christ into which we are immersed, into which we are joined and baptized [1 Corinthians 12:13].  “Well, preacher, what kind of a theologian are you?  For you just got through saying that, according to the prophecy of John in Matthew 3:11, Jesus is the baptizer.  And then after you have just avowed that, then you say in every instance the Holy Spirit is the baptizer, and He baptizes us into the body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:13].  Now you’re going to have to collect your own thoughts.  You’re going to have to get your own system going in the same direction.  Your ducks are flying in opposite poles.  Now what you going to do about that?”  All right, you listen to me.  You listen to me.  That’s why we’ve been a-studying, and a-waiting, and a-praying, and a-searching, and a-asking of God.  And I have one tremendous regret, and that is the sermon, the message this morning, is just a piece.  And in order for you to see the whole thing, we need to look at the whole canvas, the whole picture, and this morning it’ll just be a piece, because we haven’t time even to begin to present it all.  So it’s just a part.  If you live outside of the town, and you can’t listen to the remainder of the sermons, they’ll be published in a book.  And write me a note, and I’ll send them to you.  It’ll be worth reading.

“Now, what have you done, pastor?  You have just avowed that that en is instrumental, it’s the Holy Spirit that does the baptizing, by the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 12:13].  Yet John plainly avows that there is the coming of the Messiah, and He is going to baptize with the Holy Spirit” [Matthew 3:11].  Well, the answer is found in this––and you stay awake now and listen––the answer is found in this.  There must be some reason, wouldn’t you suppose, there must be some excuse, some reason why it is that this spiritual baptism is never referred to in the Gospels.

When I read that announcement of John the Baptist [Matthew 3:11], I would suppose, page after page after page, I would be reading of that Spirit baptism.  It’s never referred to.  And in turning to the Book of Acts, I would have supposed, page after page, there would have been a great explanation of that baptism of the Holy Spirit.  It’s never referred to.  Well then, why?  Why?  Why is that not seen or referred to or mentioned in the Gospels of the Son of God?  Why?

Well, the reason is very apparent, very apparent.  There is no Spirit baptism, no, there is no Spirit baptism until first there is the death [Matthew 27:32-50], and the burial [Matthew 27:57-60], and the resurrection [Matthew 28:1-7], and the ascension of Christ into glory at the right hand of the Father [Acts 1:9; Hebrews 10:12].  And the Spirit baptism, the outpouring of the Spirit, the coming of the Spirit is an ascension gift [Acts 1:4-5].  And not till the Lord is glorified, as John says [John 7:39], does the Spirit come into the earth to do His holy and assigned office work [1 Corinthians 12:13].

For example, John the apostle, in writing the life of our Lord, quoted something that Jesus said.  The Lord said, “Believe on Me, and as the Scriptures have avowed, out of your body shall flow rivers of water” [John 7:38].  Then John parenthesizes—you see, he struggled with this also—then John parenthesizes, the writer of the Gospel, parenthesis, “But this spake Jesus of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive:  for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified!” [John 7:39].

There is no Spirit baptism, there is no outpouring until first Jesus has died, He has been buried, He has been raised from the dead [Matthew 27:32-28:7], He has ascended into heaven, and He has been glorified at the right hand of the Father above [Acts 1:9; Hebrews 10:12].  For baptism, wherever that word “baptism” is used, baptism in the Scriptures means one thing and one thing only:  death, burial, and resurrection [Romans 6:3-5].  It is that in water baptism, which is a symbol of the real and actual baptism [1 Peter 3:21].  Baptism is a burying with the Lord, dying with the Lord; baptism is a resurrection with the Lord, a raising with the Lord; and baptism is a glorifying with Christ, a living in Christ in His resurrected and victorious and glorious life.  Why, I haven’t time even to mention these things.  Romans 6:3-5:

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?

Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death:  that like as He was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should be raised up to walk in the glorified, resurrected life of our Lord.

Or as Paul writes again in the letter to the churches in Colosse, “Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are raised with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead” [Colossians 2:12].  Therefore, there could be no presentation of the Spirit baptism in the life of our Lord and in the Gospels because there is no such thing until the Lord has died, the Lord has been raised from the dead, the Lord has ascended back to glory and has sent the Holy Spirit in His work as an ascension gift [Acts 1:4-5].  “For He hath ascended on high,” said Paul, “and taken captivity captive, and given gifts unto men” [Ephesians 4:8], after His ascension in glory.

Where there is no death, no burial, no resurrection [Matthew 27:32-28:7], no ascension [Acts 1:9], no glorification [John 7:39], there is no baptism possible.  So it is not mentioned.  It is not referred to in the Gospels because it is non-existent.  It is not until first the Lord ascends into glory [Acts 1:9].  “But if I go away,” said our Lord, “and it is expedient for you that I go away, if I go away I will send Him unto you” [John 16:7].  This is the gift of our Savior from glory, and this is the sense, and the only sense, in which Jesus is the baptizer [Matthew 3:11; Acts 1:4-5].  There is no other sense in which He baptizes in, by, with the Holy Spirit.  This prophecy of John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11 is this:  that our Lord in heaven will send upon this earth the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God.

It is a gift from His gracious hands.  It is something Christ does for His people.  The Lord sends, according to the promise of the Father made to Jesus in eternity, the Lord sends to us the Holy Spirit of God; and only in that sense is Jesus the baptizer [Matthew 3:11; Acts 1:4-5].  He is the primary agent; but the Holy Spirit having been sent, it is now He and He only that baptizes [1 Corinthians 12:13].

Now may I say it again?  The only sense in which Jesus is the baptizer is this, that He gave the ascension gift to us in the earth [Matthew 3:11; Acts 1:4-5].  Through His gracious hands He poured out the Holy Spirit without measure into the earth.  But since the pouring out, since the ascension gift has been bestowed [John 7:39], it is only the Holy Spirit that baptizes; He alone, He alone, He alone [1 Corinthians 12:13].

Jesus is the primary agent in the sense that He poured out the Holy Spirit [John 16:7].  The Spirit of God is the immediate agent.  And since the glorification of our Lord, it is only the Holy Spirit of God who baptizes, according to the teaching of the apostle Paul: “For we all have been baptized by one Holy Spirit into the body of Christ” [1 Corinthians 12:13].  That’s why I have avowed to you just now that anywhere that word e-n, that Greek preposition e-n is used, it refers to one baptism, the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 12:13].

He baptizes.  He is Jesus in our hearts.  He is Jesus in this earth.  He has taken the place of the living presence of our Lord as He walked among men.  The presence of Jesus in this earth is the Holy Spirit in our hearts [1 Corinthians 6:19-20], in our church, among God’s people [1 Corinthians 3:16-17].  And it is He, the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit alone, who baptizes.  There is one Spirit baptism, just one, and that one is by the Holy Spirit of God [1 Corinthians 12:13].

Now, we have time for one other brief part.  When did it happen?  And when does it happen, this baptism by the Spirit?  When?  When I turn to the Holy Book, Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist says it is something beyond him, beyond him.  John the Baptist never saw it, never experienced it, never looked upon it.

When I turn to Acts 1:5, our Lord has been raised from the dead, and He is teaching His disciples; but it is still beyond Him, even though He is raised from the dead.  For He says, “John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized en pneuma te, by the Holy Spirit not many days hence” [Acts 1:5].  So I know it is soon coming.

When I turn to the eleventh chapter of the Book of Acts, and read from the defense of Simon Peter at Jerusalem, he says, concerning the thing that happened at Caesarea, “Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that He said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit” [Acts 11:16].  So I know it took place between Acts 1:5 and Acts 11:15.  I know that it took place, therefore, at Pentecost.  It is something that God has done in this age of grace, in the days of the church.  It happened at Pentecost and thereafter [Acts 2:1-4].

Now how did it happen at Pentecost?  It happened not in regard to man’s merit or worth.  It happened not with regard to a man’s praying.  It happened not by anything that a man could do.  It is an ascension gift, and if it is a gift, then you don’t buy it, and you don’t work for it, and you don’t trade for it.  If a thing is a gift, it is gratis, it is free.  We don’t exchange anything for it, if it is a gift.

The Holy Spirit outpouring is a gift of God [John 14:16-17].  It is an ascension present from our Lord to His people [Acts 1:4-5].  And it came at a definite place, at a definite date in the sovereign mind and purpose of the Lord God Almighty.  Now you listen to the Lord as He says to His disciples, talking to them after He was raised from the dead:  “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you” [Luke 24:49], the ascension gift.  God said to Jesus, “You die for the sins of the people, You be buried, the Holy Spirit raise You from the dead; and when You come back up into glory, I will give You a gift to pour out upon those who trust in Thee,” the ascension gift of the Holy Spirit, called the Promise of the Father.  “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued, until ye be clothed with power from on high” [Luke 24:49].  Look at this: “but kathizete, kathizete, in Jerusalem.”  What is kathizete?  Well, it’s an imperative.  It is a mandate from God, the risen Lord.  And it comes from kathizō, kathizō, “sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down,” kathizō.  And it is imperative there, kathizete, “Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down.”  “Oh, but pastor, you don’t understand.  We must agonize, and we must pray, and we must intercede.  Oh, we must afflict ourselves, flagellations!”  Ah.  He said, “Sit down.  Sit down.”

“But didn’t they pray?” [Acts 1:14]. Their praying had nothing to do with the coming of the Holy Spirit.  “But didn’t they elect an apostle in those days?” [Acts 1:21-26].  Yes.  It had nothing to do with the coming of the Holy Spirit.  “Well, didn’t they talk about Judas [Acts 1:16-20], and read the Bible and find that prophesied?”  Had nothing to do with it.  “And didn’t they have fine fellowship together? [Acts 1:14] Yes, unity of heart and spirit, it had nothing to do with the coming of the Holy Spirit of God, nothing.  “You sit down, kathizete, sit down.”  And you have it “tarry,” translated here in the King James Bible [Luke 24:49].  You could have it “remain,” you could have it “wait.”  The Greek word is “sit down, sit down.”

The Holy Spirit of God, the ascension gift, was to come at a divinely chosen time.  And it was to come at a divinely chosen place in Jerusalem! [Luke 24:49]. Had they been in any other place, the blessing would not have come upon them.  According to the prophecy of Joel in the second chapter:

It shall come to pass in those days, I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, and your old men dream dreams.  And it shall come to pass that the Lord shall deliver, for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be that outpouring.

[Joel 2:28, 32]

And had they been in Galilee, and had they been in Samaria, and had they been in any other place in this earth, they would have missed the blessing.

It came at a divinely ordained time, it came at a divinely ordained place [Luke 24:49], and it came in a divinely ordained type [Joel 2:28, 32].  Now I haven’t time to follow this.  In the twenty-third chapter of the Book of Leviticus, pentekostas, “Seven Sabbaths shall ye compile, seven Sabbaths, seven times seven, forty-nine; and then on the morrow after that seventh Sabbath, that is the day, pentekostas, fiftieth” [Leviticus 23:15-16].  Now what does this mean for us?  And I must conclude.

First, there is one pentekostas.  There is one Pentecost [Acts 2:1-47], one, just one.  There will never be another in this sense, pentekostas, never, never; just as there will never be another incarnation [Matthew 1:20-25], never.  Oh, you could cry, and plead, and beg forever!  But God will never become flesh again, just one time in Jesus Christ.

There is one incarnation at a set time in a set place, “Thou Bethlehem, thou Bethlehem, in Bethlehem shall He be born, in Bethlehem shall He be incarnate, in Bethlehem” [Micah 5:2], at a set divinely chosen time in a set divinely chosen place.  So there is a pentekostas, an ascension gift poured out upon men at a set time, at Pentecost, and in a set place, at Jerusalem [Acts 2:1-4].  And thereafter, and thereafter, the Holy Spirit without measure is among us [John 3:34], with us, baptizing us, adding us to the body of Christ, and filling us, empowering us, just as ultimately as any one of us will allow Him and would let Him.

So, the Lord Jesus says as He speaks to His disciples in the Gospel of John, so the Lord says, first, “I will pray the Father, when I am glorified, there at the right hand, and He shall give you another Paraclete, another somebody Me, that He may abide with you forever, forever” [John 14:16].  We don’t need to fear of His being withdrawn from us.  We’re not like the Old Testament saint David who prayed, “O take not Thy Holy Spirit from me” [Psalm 51:11]; we never pray that prayer anymore.  “That He may abide with you forever” [John 14:6]; in my youth and old age, forever and ever.  The Lord is with us; “That He may abide with you forever” [John 14:16].

And second, “And here now, even the Spirit; whom the world cannot see, but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” [John 14:16-17].  No longer do we have to wait, kathizete, no longer do we have to sit and wait [Luke 24:49].  Not for ten days, not for ten minutes, not for ten seconds, not any longer, for the ascension gift is poured out, and He, God, is with us, in our souls and hearts, in our church, and in this work [John 14:16-17].

“Well then, preacher, will you kindly tell me why it is that we are so ineffective?  And why it is that we don’t have great power?  And why it is we can’t do mighty things for God?  We must pray for the Holy Spirit.”  No!  No, a thousand times, no, no, according to the Word of God!  The trouble is not there.  The trouble’s not there.  The trouble is here and here.

The Holy Spirit is now waiting for us, and He waits that He might have our minds, and our souls, and our hearts, and our lives, and our hands, and our visions, and our dreams, and our love, and our devotion, and our mouths, and our tongue, and our witness, and our testimony.  And these we deny Him! [Ephesians 4:30].  We are like wells clogged with debris.

The great prophet Isaiah preached and said, “Behold, behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that He cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that He cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear!” [Isaiah 59:1-2].  There’s no point, and there’s no Scripture, and there’s no mandate, or urgency, or call, or exhortation for God’s people to scour the face of the heavens, “O God, O God, the Holy Spirit of God, O God,” nay, not in the Book.  But our wrestling is with ourselves.

“O God, O God, this hard heart of mine; O God, this stubborn will of mine;  O God, these unbelieving thoughts of mine; O God, this sorry, unyielded, unsurrendered life of mine,” that’s the prayer.  That’s why we agonize, and that’s why we wrestle, and that’s why we contend.  That’s why we need a mourner’s bench.  That’s why we need all night prayers and fasts and intercessions. “O God, the Lord’s willing, and the Holy Spirit is here, and the presence of Jesus is in our midst, and all power is in His hands, and He has given it to us; but we, Lord, we’re not yielded, and our hearts are hard, and our lives are clogged with every iniquity and sin and doubt and compromise, and God can’t use us.”  That’s why we have to agonize.  Not because of Him.  He is willing and ready; because of us, because of me.

It’s like Jacob at Peniel.  All night long he wrestled with the Angel of the Lord, all night long; stubborn, his own way, his own choice, his own plan, his own will, and all night long did God wrestle with him, and didn’t prevail.  And as the dawn began to break, the Angel of the Lord touched his thigh, and crippled him, and Jacob fell.  And when Jacob saw that his body was crushed, and he fell to the ground, he clung to the Angel of the Lord, and said, “Oh, don’t leave me like this.  Don’t leave me like this.  Don’t leave me until you bless me.”  And the Lord raised up Jacob from the dust of the ground, and said, “No longer now will thy name be Jacob, Deceiver, Supplanter, Schemer, Cheater; but thy name shall be Israel, for as a prince with God thou hast prevailed” [Genesis 32: 24-28].

And from then on Jacob was Israel, God’s servant [Genesis 32:28].  But from then on also, he limped [Genesis 32:25, 31].  And the mark of his surrender was found in his flesh and in his body.  God’s man, crushed; God’s man, hurt; God’s man, broken: but he limped.  But in his crushing, and in his defeat, and in his self-surrender, and in his heartache, God lifted him up and made him a prince [Genesis 32:28].  That’s it.  The trouble lies in our stubborn wills and in our hard hearts.  The Spirit is without measure given us [John 3:34].  It is but for us now to receive Him, and to possess Him, and to believe in Him, and to act in the name of His great and glorious and incomparable power.

And we’ll pick it up from there next Lord’s Day, as God shall speak to our minds and our souls.  Now, Lee Roy, let’s sing us a song.  Let’s sing us a song, and while we sing our song of appeal, you, somebody you, coming to Jesus, “Lord, I submit my life and soul and heart to Thee, and here I am, coming to Jesus.”  Or putting your life with us in the fellowship of this precious church, come, come, come.  A family, a couple, one somebody you, while we sing this appeal, on the first note of the first stanza, come.  When you stand up, stand up coming.  “I’ll trust God for the answers.  I’ll trust God for the way.  I’ll trust God for the strength, and here I am.  Here I come.”  Do it now.  In the balcony round, on this lower floor, into the aisle and down here to the front, “Here I am, preacher, and here I come.  I choose the Lord and give Him my life now, and here I am,” while we stand and while we sing.


Dr. W. A. Criswell

Matthew 3:7-12


I.          Astonishing

A.  The term “baptism of the Holy Spirit” is not in the Scriptures

B.  Only mentioned in the prophecies of John the

C.  The term “baptize” with reference to the Holy
Spirit is never mentioned at Pentecost, Samaria, Caesarea, Ephesus or anywhere

D.  We are never commanded to be baptized by
the Holy Spirit

E.  Doctrinal teaching of baptism by the
Holy Spirit not in the Gospels, the Acts, but in the Epistles; save in
reference to John’s prophecy

II.         Who is
the baptizer, and into what does He baptize?

A.  John the Baptist preached that Jesus is the baptizer (Matthew 3:11)

B.  Paul preached that the Holy Spirit is the baptizer (1 Corinthians 12:13)

C.  Two different baptisms?

D.  Scriptural baptism is death, burial and
resurrection; water baptism is a symbol of the real, actual baptism (Romans 6:3-5, Colossians 2:12)

E.  Jesus gives an ascension gift (Ephesians 4:8, John 16:7)

      1.  Jesus the primary agent in that He poured
out the Holy Spirit

      2.  Spirit of God is the immediate agent since
glorification of Jesus

III.        When
did and when does the baptism occur?

A.  John announced it as something beyond himself (Matthew 3:11)

      1.  Jesus spoke of it as a future event (John 14:16, 21, Acts 1:5)

B.  Clearly occurred at Pentecost and thereafter (Acts 11:15-16)

C.  It is an ascension gift

      1.  Came at a definite place and date (Luke 24:, Joel 2:28-32)

      2.  Came in a divinely ordained type (Leviticus 23:15-22)

3.  Here with us now and forever (John 14:16-17)

a. Our wrestling is with ourselves (Isaiah
59:1-2, Genesis 32:22-32)