The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
June 26th, 1983 @ 8:15 AM
THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Dr. W. A. Criswell
6-26-83 8:15 a.m.
It is a joy to welcome the multitudes of you who are sharing this hour with us on radio. This is the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas delivering the message entitled The Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The message arises out of the endlessness with which I see people deceived into an understanding and a persuasion of the Holy Spirit of God. I run into it all the time, and I am overwhelmed by the unscriptural presentation that I hear from the pulpit, in the press, and from the people. Basically, the unscriptural position is this: that there is a work of grace in our hearts when we are saved, when we are regenerated: God in the Holy Spirit born us into the kingdom of heaven, that is one blessing. Then at a later time there is a second work of grace, sometimes they call it "the second blessing," and this is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And if you have not received this "second blessing," this second work of grace, then you are a second-class Christian. That doctrine is universal. I meet it everywhere. It was furthered in these many years past by two of the greatest Christian men in the gospel ministry: by Dwight L. Moody, and by R. A. Torrey. Even R. A. Torrey’s son pled with is father about the nomenclature he was using, but his father steadfastly refused to listen, and used his words of description to the end of his life.
In my own life, for the years and the years, I followed that unscriptural doctrine. I remember there were two brethren who came here to Dallas from Louisiana; they had heard me preach over there at an evangelistic conference on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They made a special journey over here to Dallas to talk to me, and after I had listened to them, I still did not understand. I remember preaching through a conference at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and I announced this subject, and the men who lead that great school came to my room at the hotel and talked to me about it. The institute was faced with excesses in certain groups.
Well, I gave myself to a study of the Holy Spirit in holy Scripture for years, and finally wrote two books concerning it – one of them a long book. Then as I faced this hour, I did it with great difficulty. How do I speak in one sermon, in thirty minutes, what I have written about in two books? How do I do it?
Well, as I wrestled with it – I have come into a habit in these latter years of studying late at night, and having studied late at night, and poring over the Scriptures, I went to bed. And in the middle of the night I awakened, and this entire sermon lay before me; one of the most unusual providences I can ever remember. The whole sermon from beginning to end was there before me, all of its points. And some of it I had never thought of before, had never seen before, some of the things in that sermon that just lay before me.
I’m not saying I’ve had a special visitation from heaven; maybe the mind works – the psychologists say so – maybe your mind works when you’re asleep. However it was, whether from an angel from heaven or the organization of the message in my mind when I was asleep, when I awakened in the middle of the night, this whole sermon that you’re going to hear this morning was laid before me. And the main points of the sermon that we shall speak of are these: the baptism of the Holy Spirit is, one, an historical, prophetic event; second, it is an historical, heavenly event; third, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an historical, ecclesiastical event, a church event; fourth, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an historical, never to be repeated, eternal event; and then the last, we are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit continuously and continually. Now let’s begin.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is an historical, prophetic event. It is prophesied again and again and again in the Scriptures, pointing toward one specific, great event in the life of God’s revelation to us in the earth. Just as the birth of Christ is a prophesied, specific event, just as the crucifixion of our Lord is a prophesied, designated event, just as the resurrection of our Lord is a specific, prophesied event, and just as the second coming, the return of our Lord, is a specified, prophesied event, so the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an historical, specified, prophesied event.
Now, you started off this message in the passage of Scripture that you read, Joel 2, Joel the prophet in chapter 2 says, "There is coming a day when the Lord God will pour out His Spirit upon the whole earth, upon all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions" [Joel 2:28]. It’s a day coming, says Joel. In the third chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, John the Baptist says in verse 11, "There is a great day coming: I indeed baptize you with water: but He that cometh after me, mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire." It’s a day coming, a special day coming.
In the midst of the ministry of our Lord, in the seventh chapter of the Gospel of John, verse 39, "This spake Jesus of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit, was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified." That’s the way Paul speaks of the crucifixion of our Lord, His glorification. In the midst of the great earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus, this great day was still future: "For the Holy Spirit was not yet given"; it was a day yet to come. In the first chapter of the Book of Acts, after the Lord had lived His life, after He had died His atoning death, after He was buried and raised from the dead, and just before He is ascending into heaven, He says to them, "Wait for the Promise of the Father. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence" [Acts1:4-5]. It is still yet to come; at the conclusion of the ministry of our Lord, this great prophetic event is yet to come. "But," said the Lord, "it will be soon, not many days hence."
Then in Acts 2:16, on the day of Pentecost, Simon Peter as the spokesman for our Lord and for the apostles, Simon Peter announces, "This is that which is spoken of by Joel the prophet." And in the tenth chapter he says, "This is that which was prophesied by John the Baptist" [Acts 10:37-38]. The great historical prophetic event has come to pass: the Holy Spirit has been poured out upon the earth. The baptism of the Holy Spirit has come to pass. It is an historical event, like the death of Christ, like the resurrection of Christ, like the return of our Lord. We are not expecting Jesus to be born again. We are not expecting Jesus to be crucified again. We’re not expecting Jesus to be raised from the dead again. We are not expecting Jesus to go through all of those sufferings again. Why is it we have it in our minds that there’s to be a second, or third, or fourth baptism of the Holy Spirit? It is an event prophesied, historical, and was fulfilled; the Bible says, on the day of Pentecost – one great historical event, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the flesh of the earth.
Number two: it is an historical, heavenly event. In the last chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Luke 24:, verse , the Lord says, just before His ascension, "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be clothed with the Holy Spirit from on high." And the Lord repeated that in the first chapter of the Book of Acts: "And, being assembled together with them, He 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]. The Lord refers to this baptism of the Holy Spirit, this outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the earth. He refers to it as "the Promise of the Father," the Promise of the Father.
Now, this is what I think that means. Back yonder before the foundation of the world, the Father said to the Son, "If You die for the sins of the people, and You pay the penalty for their justification, that they might be saved, that their sins might be washed away, that they might be forgiven" – "the wages of sin is death" [Romans 6:23]; somebody has to die – "if You die in the stead of the people, I promise You" – now you’re going to hear a Calvinistic persuasion of your preacher now – God said to the Son, "I promise You a people." That’s the doctrine of election. "If You die for the sins of the world, You will not die in vain," says the Lord God to His Son, "but I will give You a people. There will be some who will believe in You, and trust You, and love You, and serve You," the doctrine of election. "I promise You," said the Father to the Son, "if You die for the sins of the world, I promise You a people. There will be those who will love You, and accept You, and believe in You, and follow You." And then God said a second thing: "If You die for the sins of the world, I promise You that I will pour out the Spirit of God upon all flesh," the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is an heavenly event, an historical, heavenly event. It is something that God promised the Son before the foundation of the world.
Number three: it is an historical church event, an ecclesiastical event, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, the Lord said, "I am going to send you the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive,but ye know Him, for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you" [John 14:17]. It is an ecclesiastical event; the Holy Spirit is poured out upon His church. And He has a new residence: He now lives in the body of Christ in the earth. "He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." A wonderful thing happened at Pentecost. The residence of the Holy Spirit was changed from earth,from heaven to earth, down here in this body of Christ, in the church.
Heretofore, before Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon certain people at certain times. For example, the Bible says the Spirit of God came upon Samson [Judges 14:6]; says the Spirit of God came upon Saul [1 Samuel 11:6]; the Spirit of God came upon David [1 Samuel 16:13]; Spirit of God came upon Isaiah [Isaiah 11:2]. That was intermittent from here, there; it was adventitious; it was from time to time. But the residence of the Holy Spirit was in heaven, at the throne of God; and He just came in power upon different individuals at different times.
It’s like those theophanies, those Christophanies, those pre-manifestations of Christ. The Lord Christ was in heaven, the Logos was there with God in heaven [John 1:1]; but from time to time He appeared, He revealed Himself, such as to Abraham [Genesis 18:1], such as to Joshua [Joshua 5:13], such as to the elders of Israel [Exodus 24:10], such as to Daniel [Daniel 6:22]. He appeared from time to time, but He was there in heaven, His central residence was in heaven. Then, when He was born, He came to live for thirty-three years in the earth. Then, after thirty-three years, He went back to heaven; and that’s where He is now. Jesus is at the right hand of the throne of God in heaven [Hebrews 1:3].
Now, the Holy Spirit had His central abiding place and His residence in heaven; but at Pentecost, He changed His residence from heaven to earth, and He abides in the church. He is here; this is His home, this is His residence, He abides in the body of Christ. And as such, in 1 Corinthians 12:13, we are told that "by one Spirit are we all baptized into that one body." The Holy Spirit lives in the temple of our hearts, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians chapter 6 [verse 19]. He lives in our hearts, and we bring Him with us, the Spirit of God, when we assemble in the church. And in the church, the Holy Spirit in you, and in you, and in you, and in you, then doubly, triply, marvelously so does He move and does He speak to us in the assembly of God’s people in the body of Christ, in the church.
I was seated before a camera last week in an interview, a TV interview. And the man who was running the camera said to me, "You know, I think that I can worship God just as much, and just as easily, and just as well on a creek bank on a beautiful summer day as I can in any church." Well, I said, "I’m sure that’s true for you." But what he doesn’t realize is actually he’s worshiping himself; that’s his idea, that’s his program; it’s not God’s. God’s program is that the Holy Spirit brings us together in the body of Christ. And the Holy Spirit is here in our services, and He meets with us, and we bring Him with us; and when we’re all together, it’s a heavenly, and holy, and divine interposition, and presence, and blessing, and baptism from heaven. It’s a glorious thing.
And how any man who has the Holy Spirit in his heart wants to be out there on the Lord’s Day on a creek bank – what he says, worshiping God by catching a fish – it’s a different idea; it’s alien to the mind of God and the purpose of the Lord. This is where we are; and by one Spirit are we all baptized into the body of Christ, ebaptisthemen, that’s an aorist indicative passive: one time. In the English language we have tenses; you can’t speak without tense. You’re talking in the present or the past or the future. But in the Greek, it was no such thing as a tense; it’s kinds of action. You’re going to see that later, in just a moment: kinds of action. An aorist tense in the Greek is one point: "By one Spirit were we all baptized," passive, something the Spirit does for us [1 Corinthians 12:13]. We’re baptized into the body of Christ; the Spirit of God places us in the Spirit, in the body of Christ. That is the baptism of the Holy Spirit as we experience it today. It’s like the Lord God, it’s something He does for us: He writes our names in the Book of Life [Luke 10:20], God does that; I can’t do that. In that Lamb’s Book of Life, He writes my name. And the Holy Spirit today takes me when I am saved, and He adds me to the body of Christ; that’s the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit baptized His church at Pentecost [Acts 2:4]. And the Holy Spirit lives in His church; He abides with us in the church, and He is here in divine presence.
We have a prayer meeting, as you know, before the service; and almost always, when I pray, I’ll pray like this: "Lord, Lord, may Thy presence precede us into that service, and may the Holy Spirit move in the congregation and have liberty in all that we do or say, in our singing, in our praying, in our preaching, in our reading of the Bible, in the appeal we make for the lost; may the Spirit have freedom." That’s God’s way. The Holy Spirit of God lives in the body of Christ. He will be in you, and He will dwell in you.
This last: the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an historical, never to be repeated, eternal event. His home is in the church, in His people. Our Lord said, in John 14 [verse 16], "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever, forever; that He may abide with you forever." And I want you to look at that, what that means for us. In the second chapter of the second Thessalonian letter, verses 6 and 7, Paul writes to the Thessalonians, "Now ye know what witholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming." Now when you read that it sounds kind of like a conglomerate. What in the world is he talking about? But when you study it, it is very plain. "This is something that I told you Thessalonians," says the apostle Paul, "that there is coming a time when the man of sin, the wicked one, the Antichrist, will be revealed. But he’s not going to be revealed until He that restraineth is taken out of the way." Now in the sixth [verse], it’s translated "He that withholdeth," the One that withholdeth. In the seventh verse, it’s translated "He that letteth." The word is katecho; kata means "down," and echo means "to hold": the one that restrains, the one that holds down. That’s why the Antichrist is not already revealed.
Could I parenthesize to say I think Satan always in every generation has his antichrist ready, always? Way back yonder it was Hitler, then it was Stalin, today he’s got another one somewhere. "And when He that restrains is taken out of the way," then immediately we’re going into that ho thlipsis ho megala, "the tribulation the great," that’s what John called it. There is in the world a Restrainer that holds down iniquity; and when He is taken out of the way, then the whole thing, the flood of evil, will overcome the earth. And you call that ho thlipsis ho megala, "the tribulation the great."
Now, who is this One that he’s speaking of, that restrainer, that holder-downer, that One that intervenes? Who is that? He’s talking about the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit of God. Well, when would the Holy Spirit of God be moved out of the earth? When the church is raptured – and I’m going to preach about that tonight, the rapture of the church; I hope you’re here, it’ll bless your heart – the rapture of the church, when the church is raptured, when the church is caught away, when the church is taken up to meet Jesus in the air. The Holy Spirit of Pentecost is in us, He is with us, He dwells in us, and the Holy Spirit of God is taken out of this earth in His Pentecostal presence and power. Then it’ll be just as it was in the beginning: the Holy Spirit is omnipresent, the Holy Spirit is everywhere. The Holy Spirit was at the creation; He presided over the order that came out of chaos [Genesis 1:2]. But the Pentecostal presence and power of the Holy Spirit will be taken out of the earth when the church is rapture, because the abiding place, the home, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit is in the church; and when the church is raptured away, the Holy Spirit in Pentecostal grace and power is taken away also.
Then it will be, as Jesus says, as it was in the days of Noah, and as it was in the days of Lot [Luke 17:26-30], there will be violence and bloodshed in the earth such as we’ve never known! [Matthew 24:21]. And it ends, the Revelation says, in the awesome battle of Armageddon. Now that’s the Holy Spirit. Forever, His eternal abiding place is in the church: now, and when the church is raptured, the Holy Spirit in Pentecostal grace and power is also taken out of the earth, and the earth is left as it was in the days of Noah, and Lot, and Sodom and Gomorrah.
Now I have to close; I’ve got one minute left. If the Holy Spirit baptism is an historical event, if the Holy Spirit came to live in the church at Pentecost, if that’s the baptism of the Holy Spirit, then what is this that happens to us again and again and again? The Scriptures are very plain: "Be not," Ephesians 5:18, "Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit, plerousthe." Pleroo is "to fill"; plerousthe is a present imperative passive. It’s an imperative; you are to be filled with the Spirit. That is a commandment. If you are dry and sterile in your Christian life, it’s an affront to God. You’re to be filled with the Spirit. It is not only an imperative, it is a present tense. Now remember what I told you while ago? In Greek they don’t have tenses, they have kinds of action. And what we call a present tense is a continuous going on. Plerousthe, we call it a present tense; don’t have any other nomenclature by which to describe the verb; it means a continuous action. We’re to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. At Pentecost, in the second chapter of the Book of Acts, "They were filled with the Spirit" [Acts 2:4]. In the fourth chapter it says, "And they were filled with the Spirit" [Acts 4:31]. In the seventh chapter it says, "Stephen was filled with the Spirit" [Acts 7:55]. In the ninth chapter, Ananias says to Saul of Tarsus, "God has sent me that you may receive your sight, and be filled with the Spirit" [Acts 9:17]. We’re to be filled with the Spirit again and again and again and again. We’re baptized one time when God puts us into the body of Christ where the Spirit dwells, but we’re to be filled with the Spirit continually and continuously.
Lord, Lord, grant that we be filled with the Spirit at 8:15. Grant that we be filled with the Spirit at 9:30. Grant, Lord, do it again at 10:50. And then Lord, do it again at 5:45. Then Lord, do it again tonight at seven o’clock when the pastor preaches on the rapture of the church. Fill us with the Spirit, Lord, fill us with the Spirit. Fill us, Lord, fill us, plerousthe.
And do you notice also that it’s passive? It’s something God acts upon us. "Be not drunk with wine." When a fellow is drunk with wine, he’s given his mind to something else, and there’s an outside something that controls him, and he acts different because he’s drunken. Now, in contrast to that, Paul writes here, "Give yourself to the Holy Spirit of God; let Him control you" [Ephesians 5:18], an outside great, creative, omnipotent power of God. "Give yourself to Him." Your heart, your mind, your hands, your visions, your dreams, everything in your life, your work, your play, your house, your home, your heart, give it all to the Lord Jesus, to the Spirit of God; passive voice, something that comes upon us from the outside.
Well, bless your heart. All we need is about five more lifetimes. It’s a wonderful thing to study the Scripture. It’s a wonderful thing to listen to the voice of the Lord. And He just opens God’s Word to us, if we will have the heart to listen.
Now, David, we’re going to stand and sing our hymn of appeal. And on the first note of this first stanza, "Pastor, the Holy Spirit has spoken to my heart, and we’re coming this morning." A family, gather your wife and children, gather them all together and come. A couple, or just one somebody you: "The Holy Spirit of God has spoken to me, and I’m answering with my life." On the first note of the first stanza, come. Make the decision now in your heart. If you’re in the balcony, there’s time and to spare, down one of these stairways; in the throng on this lower floor, down one of these aisles. God bless you and angels attend you as you come, while we stand and while we sing.
BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Then later a second work of grace, second blessing
Furthered by men like D. L. Moody, R. A. Torrey
My own unknowing, misunderstanding
Finally came to understanding of the truth of the Scriptures
II. Baptism of the Holy Spirit a
historical, prophetic event
take place at a specified, prophesied, fixed time in history
thing as concerning coming of the Lord
that point to outpouring of Holy Spirit upon human flesh(Joel 2:28, Matthew 3:11, John 7:39, Acts 1:4-5)
At Pentecost, the great prophetical event took place(Acts 2:16, 10:37)
III. Baptism of the Holy Spirit a
historical, heavenly event
Father to the Son – you die, suffer, pay penalty for sin
Promise an election, a people
Promise a fullness of the Spirit poured out
IV. Baptism of the Holy Spirit a historical,
Pentecost, Holy Spirit transferred his central place of abode from heaven to
earth, in the body of Christ(John 14:17)
together in assembly of God’s people (Hebrews
10:25, Psalm 122)
are a part of that Spirit baptism(1 Corinthians 6:19,
V. Baptism of the Holy Spirit a historical,
never to be repeated, eternal event
He comes, He will abide with us forever (John 14:16)
day and time when antichrist will be revealed
the church raptured, Pentecostal presence of Holy Spirit goes with it
VI. We are to be filled, again and again(Ephesians 5:18)
time God baptizes us into the body of Christ; then He fills us again and again
and again(Acts 2:4, 4:31, 6:15, 7:55-56, 9:17)