Understanding the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Speaking in Tongues. Part 1
(Ver 1.5) Today’s lesson is Part 1 in a brand new Bible study series about “Understanding the Subjects of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Speaking in Tongues”. This will be a very different lesson today for I will change my approach in how I teach in this lesson to give you some new additional information that I have never gone into before in any depth. While teaching you this subject I will simultaneously teach you how I studied this subject in the Bible. You will learn about many of my basic Bible study methods and tools. I think this will really help some people to learn how they can improve what they are finding in the Bible. Have you ever thought or felt like you do not have enough power or ability to do what God has called you to do? Have you ever thought or felt like you lack the ability to be a witness for Jesus to lead people to the saving grace of Christ? Do you struggle with your Christian walk and feel frustrated when you read the Bible not understanding what the words are saying? If you ever have felt like any of those then it is very possible that what you lack is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I pray that you will read this lesson in its entirety before you write it off as a matter not from God. I will warn you up front that this will be a long lesson, simply because I need to cover a lot of information.
I often ask myself, do I want to be popular with everyone on the internet or do I want to tell people the truth no matter what it costs me? Today’s advanced spiritual lesson will either enlighten you or highly offend you. I am about to find out very fast how spiritual you are and how hungry you are to know more about God, His Spirit and His Truth. I could also learn how carnal you are to know more about Satan and his lies by you unsubscribing from my lessons. Nevertheless we will find out for sure one way or the other. I will either loose many carnal readers and subscribers today, or I could also help you to learn something new about the greatest single thing that has happened to me and helped me more than anything else since I was saved and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord many years ago. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the only reason that I am even able to do this Bible study website for you today. Without the awesome gift of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit I would be void of any of the knowledge of God, I would be lacking the teaching anointing of God to share His word and I would be completely unable to understand anything spiritual found in the Bible. Therefore, I am totally dependent upon God’s gift of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and His anointing for anything that I accomplish that brings a blessing to you on this website. I hope and pray that you can see my sincerity in giving the Spirit of God any and all of the credit and all of the glory for everything that I teach you, because it is not about ME!
INTRODUCTION TO THE TONGUE
This subject today has divided many churches while creating many other new ones. I have never directly addressed this subject because I knew it was so controversial and offensive to so many people. I personally never want to offend anyone and I could have sent this Bible study to the one person that asked me a question on the subject in private. But, I know when one person asks me a question there are many others with the same question, but not the bravery to ask. Therefore, since I received the brave question directly on this subject, I will be bold and brave enough to attempt to answer it for anyone else that wants to learn about it from the Bible spiritual perspective. My reader sent me this question “where in the Bible does it say that tongues come from the Baptism of the Holy Spirit”. From this question we need to first ask “what is speaking in tongues”, “where does it come from” and then ask “what is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit”. Finally we need to determine if speaking in tongues is related to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. So in this lesson series I will attempt to answer these very difficult, complex and controversial questions to help you to understand that God has something greater for you if you have never been baptized in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. Let’s begin by looking up the word “tongues” and find the definition found in the Strong’s Concordance for this Greek word:
G1100 – γλῶσσα glōssa
Of uncertain affinity; the tongue; by implication a language (specifically one naturally unacquired): – tongue.
This Greek word that is translated in the N.T. as “tongue(s)” is defined literally as a “tongue”. It is very difficult to miss that from what was written in the definition. However, the definition is brave enough to extend the literal definition to also include a figurative meaning that is much deeper. The reference is given to us in this definition that a tongue refers to a spoken language and further goes into more depth to break it down into a naturally acquired language versus an implied antithesis supernatural gift of language. But, we are not ready to go there yet, just remember what Strong’s just said to you. Let’s get a dictionary definition of the literal definition of the word “tongue” to see what that reveals to us:
Anatomy. the usually movable organ in the floor of the mouth in humans and most vertebrates, functioning in eating, in tasting, and, in humans, in speaking
You can observe by the definition that this word “tongue” refers to the human organ found in the lower part of the mouth of humans and vertebrates. As you can also read, this mouth organ called a tongue is one of the central components necessary for human speech and thus providing the reason why it was figuratively used to imply a language spoken as we read from the Strong’s definition. Therefore either definition is a possible application depending upon the Greek word’s usage and the context found in the surrounding Bible verses. This Greek word G1100, occurs 50 times in the N.T. in 47 verses. Therefore, “tongues” is a definite subject found in the Bible. However, 47 verses is not a great number of occurrences for any dominant subject of the New Testament that includes 7959 verses. 47 verses is less than one percent of the New Testament and all this teaches me is that this is not a dominant subject of the New Testament. However, some of the least mentioned subjects in the Bible are the most important ones for you to know, like the virgin birth. You cannot find but a very small number of scriptures that describe this virgin birth, yet this single event is the foundation for the rest of your salvation. Without the virgin birth of Jesus you are not saved and Jesus was just a man like any other man. Take the Greek word translated as “resurrection”. This word only occurs 40 times in the New Testament, so “tongues” occurs more frequently than the word “resurrection”. Therefore, do not ever judge by the number of occurrences in the Bible of a subject to try to determine if it is a subject that is important or not. There are just too many Bible subject exceptions found to try to make the frequency of occurrence the factor for the dominance of a subject.
Let’s analyze the usage of the word G1100 in the New Testament. This Greek word G1100 is used in both the plural sense and the singular sense again based upon the context. In some verses this Greek word is clearly used as a reference to the literal human mouth organ (Mark 7:33, Luke 16:24) and in many other verses it is clearly used as a reference to a single spoken language (John 5:2, Acts 26:14). Finally the Greek word is also used to describe a group of languages that many people speak using this organ (Rev 10:11, Rev 17:15). I have just given you 3 examples of English word variance from a single Greek word and any of them are potential correct interpretations depending on the context and usage. Therefore, this means we need to use a certain level of deductive reasoning and logic to understand what is being communicated in each verse where this word is found. We of course must also use the guidance of the Holy Spirit every time we study the Bible (John 16:13). Never omit God from your Bible study and always allow Him to guide and direct you into all truth.
The exact English term “speaking in tongues” is not found in the Bible. However there are several variations of this phrase that are directly found in several scriptures (Mk 16:17, Acts 2:4, Acts 10:46, Acts 19:6). These verses also give us a fourth usage of the word “tongues” in the Bible. The implied meaning in these verses is that people can speak in many different languages and not just the dominant one that they were taught when they grew up as a child. As we can clearly see, “speaking in tongues” is definitely a subject found in the Bible. To attempt to preach that speaking in tongues is not found in the Bible would clearly be a fallacy or fantasy approach to the Bible based upon the scriptural evidence that I have just presented to you.
From our definitions found in the dictionary and the Strong’s Concordance we should be able to understand that the term “speaking in tongues” can also be transferred or interchanged with a synonymous phrase “speaking in languages”. A spoken language will be an important aspect to consider when studying this subject of tongues. If I ramble, stutter or stammer out sounds that are not recognizable words to anyone, there is no way that you can call my sounds a language. Any viable language must incorporate grammatical rules of structure and understandable recognition by a hearer. Do you understand what a language is? A spoken language always requires someone to listen and to understand or it cannot be defined as a language. It goes back to what an old proverbs says about “if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound if no one is present to hear it”. I know people can talk to themselves, but even in talking to yourself, you must understand the words that you just spoke for it to be a known and valid language. The reason I am introducing this concept to you is because the Bible presents us with a new concept when people speak known verses unknown languages. I guess that is not a rocket science statement that I just made. If I don’t know Spanish and you and your friend are speaking in Spanish, then I know that you two understand it, but I do not. Therefore Spanish might be just an unknown language to me, but not to you.
The Greek word translated as “tongues” is a noun and it can be and often is further qualified with restrictive or limiting adjectives such as “known” or “unknown” to describe a type of language that can either be understood or not understood respectively by the hearer. I hope that you understand the usage of adjectives in the grammatical syntax. An adjective is used to describe a noun and how it is related to a specific type of the noun. The net result of this adjective usage is the elimination of all other types of the noun that are not being included or mentioned in the statement. There are actually many verses that have adjective modifiers before the noun “tongues” and these are all very important to note because they convey descriptive qualities that limit the broad scoped definition. You will observe God’s use of adjectives in several verses of the Bible. For example, the known Hebrew tongue (language) is referenced directly in 6 different verses in the New Testament in John 5:2, Acts 21:40, Acts 22:2, Acts 26:14, Rev 9:11 and Rev 16:16. But, also note this fact in the Bible, that some adjective qualifiers were added by the translators and are not found in the original text and these should be considered more carefully before your acceptance. For example, the translators added the word “unknown” before the noun “tongues” in 1 Corinthians 14:2, 14:4, 14:13, 14:14 and 14:27, because they believed that this was the implied meaning of the Greek word context and I would have tended to agree with them if we were only viewing the statement from the human perspective. Clearly what is being stated in 1 Corinthians 14 is about people speaking in unknown human languages and we will learn this when we get to them later in this series. However just because someone speaks in a tongue that is unknown to men does not mean that it is unknown to God. This is exactly why God could not put the adjective word “unknown” in front of the word “tongues” in these 6 verses. We need to begin to learn to see the Bible from the author’s perspective and leave the human perspective as of secondary importance. I just went though some very basic information that will become the foundation to the rest of this lesson series. I hope you are grasping the basics, because this subject only gets more complex from here. For example, let me introduce another new concept to you in the next section.
GUARD THE GATE OF MY MOUTH
Psa 141:3 Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.
I once did a Bible lesson about spoken words and their relationship to human gates and spiritual guards. If you have not read this series of lessons about spoken words I would highly recommend it. You see, the human body was designed by God as a physically structured unit of limitations which keeps your spirit hidden on the inside while keeping other things on the outside. The body is like a walled barrier but it also has portal openings that I call gates that allow access into and out of this natural world. Without these God given gates we (our spirits) would not be able to survive or live on this physical planet. In this verse in Psalm 131:3, God refers to one of these gates as being your lips. If your lips are closed nothing exits and nothing enters. The Hebrew word in this verse translated as door literally means a swinging gate with hinges. Depending on how you count the human gates you will find that most bodies normally have between 6 and 10 gates. The number varies depending on how you count or combine the gates and if you are a male or a female. Females always have one gate that males do not possess. Where the variation of count comes from is how we count our ears as either being one sound receiving gate or as two separate gates that provides us with stereo reception. The eyes are also a stereo gate concept that produces a three dimensional image and could be counted as two eye gates, but both eyes could also be labeled as our vision and counted solely as one gate. The nose also has two openings but they merge internally into a single air passage and these two units could be called the human smell organ. Therefore the number of human gates will vary depending upon your perspective. Do you understand my introduction to human walls and gates? If you do, then you should be able to define what a gate is now.
A gate is an opening in a structure like a building, a wall, a fence, that allows something or someone entrance or exit depending on the type of gate and the design of the gate. For example, when I crossed the border into Mexico from San Diego, I passed through a one-way gate that would not allow me to re-enter back into the USA through the same opening. Therefore this gate was purely one way only and I could only pass from the USA to Mexico through this gate. That is exactly what I am teaching you about the gates in the human body. Some of the gates of the human body are entrance gates, some gates are exit gates and still other gates are both. The human body gates are either one way or two way openings by God’s designed pattern. This means certain human body gates allow entry only like the eyes and the ears, while other body gates allow exit only like the body parts that eliminate human waste and still other human gates permit two way accesses for the entrance of something and the exit of something else that is usually different. For example let’s take the mouth. The mouth is definitely one of these two-way types of gates found in the human body that some things enter in and other things exit out. We can breathe oxygen in through our mouths but, then exhale carbon dioxide out also from the same mouth gate. What entered in is not exactly what came out. We can also drink in water through the mouth as well as take in food to our stomachs through our mouth gate which is supposed to be a one way path to our stomach. However, there is one more very important thing that exits from the mouth and these are your words that you speak. Where do spoken words come from? That is something you may not understand fully and that is another part of this lesson that you need to grasp immediately. Let’s find out from Jesus where your spoken words come from:
Mat 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
I pray that you can receive what Jesus is teaching you. Your spoken words come from your inner being and Jesus called this your heart, but that is just another concealed term for your spirit. The Greek and Hebrew words translated as “spirit” can also be defined as “wind” or “breath”. Both wind and breath are moving air particles. How do we speak? We breathe air in and then this air moves out from our lungs to produce vocal sounds. Therefore, moving voiced air and spirits are clearly connected together. Keep that in mind as we continue our study. The heart cannot be a reference to your blood pump organ since words do not originate from there directly. Therefore, the term heart must be more a reference to the “center” or “core” of your being. It would be like me saying the heart of an apple, the heart of a tree or the heart of a watermelon. It is the spirit that makes you a human and very different than any animal on the planet. What am I trying to teach with this part of the lesson? My point is to tell you that your spoken words exiting out of your mouth gate are an external expression point for your internal unseen spirit. That is an extremely important concept found in this subject on speaking in tongues. Spoken words will always come from your spirit no matter what the words are. Where then do you think the words that are spoken came from if someone spoke in tongues right now and you could hear them? If you said their spirit, you would be exactly correct, but also don’t forget a person’s spirit is joined to God’s Spirit and He dwells in them if they are born again. Uh oh? Now where do you think these words could potentially come from if I speak in tongues? I think I’m shaking you up to change your perspective on things, if you can see what I am saying. We will eventually get to this in our study, but we must wait to learn a few more things first.
We should be able to see now that God created the human mouth as a multi-purpose gate. One of the primary purposes for the existence of our mouth is to allow what’s on the inside in our spirit to come to the outside in the natural realm. I just gave you the foundation for why speaking in tongues, is so important and why Satan does not want you to do this under any circumstance. This is why Satan fights speaking in tongues and even uses deceived Christians to do it. Let’ talk briefly how Satan fights against tongues in the church next.
INTRODUCTION TO FALSE TEACHINGS ON TONGUES
I’m not going to go into any great depth on the myriad numbers of false teachings surrounding this subject of “speaking in tongues”. There are just too many of them and their doctrinal backing in the scriptures is just too weak for me even to mention them as being legitimate. However I will briefly mention a couple of prominent erroneous teachings found today. There are a few modern carnal churches that teach an erroneous doctrine that speaking in tongues occurred in the Bible, but it has since ceased after the end of the initial church age. Therefore, in this doctrine of tongues no one today should be speaking in tongues for any reason. I honestly do not have a clue what they base their beliefs upon but that is what I heard them say. Of course there are other churches that teach speaking in tongues is a gift from God given to only a select few people to communicate with the people in other countries like a missionary traveling to Africa and they like to quote verses, out of context found in Acts 2 to help verify this doctrine. Therefore, in this group only certain Christians need this gift and this explains why they don’t have it or want it. Finally, there are other churches that take the whole subject of “speaking in tongues” to another extreme level and try to say that this only comes from the devil and only people full of the devil will ever speak in tongues. That is one of the stupidest beliefs that I have ever heard taught in a church. Clearly they do not know God nor understand their enemy the devil. To ignore parts of the Bible to believe something else entirely not found in the Bible is very foolish. You cannot find one scripture that says Satan causes people to speak in tongues. Therefore throw this belief away quickly.
In all of these false teaching the net result is the elimination of tongues from the believer. I personally do not care what these false teachers teach because I know differently from the Word of God and from my own personal experiences with my God that “speaking in tongues” is very real and it is for me today. You of course can do whatever you like and believe anything else you like. As I stated earlier I’m not going to go through any verses that these people try to take and explain them in this lesson. If you believe in one of these false doctrines and you want to tell me why, I probably will not even read your comment because I know the truth. When you know the truth, the lies are made extremely obvious.
I guess I will address one more false teaching that is prevalently taught in some churches today. Some churches that do not understand the Baptism of the Holy Spirit teach that when you are saved you receive the Spirit of God into your spirit and this is all of the Spirit of God that there is. Therefore they stop seeking for anything else from God after salvation. This is actually one of the greatest deceptions taught by a church. This teaching keeps people from the greatest event from God since their salvation and it will keep them in a state of Christian wilderness existence that does not allow them access into the Promised Land. Using the O.T. typology of the children of Israel coming out of Egypt as a pattern of our salvation of Jesus saving us from the world, we can observe many truths in this story. Just as Moses led the children of Israel out of natural slavery, Jesus saved us from the spiritual slavery of Satan. However, being saved from Egypt, Satan and the world did not end the story, did it? Unless you learn to fight to enter into the Promised Land you will be destined to die in your salvation wilderness not achieving the victory that God had already given to you. Where were the children of Israel for 40 years? They were in the wilderness lacking water. What is baptism? Does it not involve water? Do you see any connections here? Was there any lack of water in the Promised Land? Are you seeing what I am saying in making this comparison? This is exactly why the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the next step after your salvation from Egypt. Do you want to be victorious? If not, stop reading now, leave my website and go find some other Bible teachers to scratch your itching ears.
HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE AND THE SUBJECT OF TONGUES
People need to first realize that there is no single verse in the Bible that states any of God’s most important spiritual truths plainly, clearly and obviously. If you want one single Bible verse that says speaking in tongues is the baptism of the Spirit of God and this comes after your salvation you will be very disappointed that this is not in the Bible. However that does not mean that the truth is not found in the Bible in multiple verses and that is why many fail to find the truth because they do not search for all of the occurrences of a given subject being studied in the Bible. Reading the Bible is NOT studying the Bible, but studying the Bible does involve you reading. Spiritual truths are certainly found in the Bible, but they are all cleverly concealed from the natural viewpoint of the human mind by God’ design (1 Cor 2:14). If God and the Bible presented every spiritual truth in a plain self-evident text book format with bullet points and itemized lists of prioritized information, man would have no choice but to believe the truth of God. However, God created man to have freewill and since man was created with this predominant feature, no spiritual proof or written evidence in the Bible was clearly given about God’s existence or any other truth that would override this human right of choice. If you do not understand that God conceals things for us to find in the Bible I would recommend that you go and read Proverbs 25:2 to start with and then go find all the other verses that confirm this truth.
Every spiritual truth given to us by God is concealed in multiple layers of natural word verses and historical information in the Bible that must be searched, found, assembled together correctly and understood spiritually. I just described Bible study to be a known process with steps. Do you know what Bible study is like? Bible study is exactly like putting a complex natural jigsaw puzzle together. If you have ever put a complicated natural puzzle together, you should be able to transfer these skills, this basic knowledge and this puzzle experience to your personal spiritual experience of how you should be studying the Bible. If not, go and buy yourself a complex puzzle of at least 1000 pieces and see how long it takes you to solve. If you want the jigsaw puzzle to be more like the Bible, make the puzzle at least 5000 pieces with different front and back pictures. If you can learn to solve natural puzzles you can learn to study the Bible. The same concepts and challenges presented in puzzle solving are incorporated by God in a written word format puzzle. God gives us many spiritual facts randomly in some very isolated distributed verses in the Bible and these are the individual puzzle pieces needed in solving the bigger mysteries.
Did you solve the puzzle yet? If not why are you still reading my Bible lesson? I’m serious you need to stop and solve a natural puzzle before you continue reading my Bible study. To begin solving a natural puzzle you should usually lay out all of the pieces face up or picture side viewable. Of course if both sides are printed with different pictures then this further complicates the solution process. A double sided puzzle is more like the Bible since the Bible contains both natural truths and spiritual truths using the same words. I will liken this initial step of taking out the puzzle pieces and laying them on the table to be like you reading the Bible without studying it. Most new Christians only read the Bible and that is the entire effort that they extend with understanding it and that is why they are greatly confused and easily deceived. One of the next steps in puzzle solving could be to study the big picture on the box to learn it intimately the best that you can from memory. The more you can remember the more the Holy Spirit can bring certain verses up to you when you are reading other verses in the Bible to show you how they are related pieces of the puzzle. Only by understanding the big picture can you begin to try to understand the finer detailed pieces of the puzzle and where they fit. I believe seeing the big picture in puzzle solving is like the part of Bible study where you learn and list all of the known central basic themes of the Bible. For example, one of the greatest central themes of the entire Bible is God and Jesus and therefore the entire Bible must relay or convey this information in some way. Another central theme of the Bible is love and there are many reasons why I say that. Another central theme found in the Bible is faith and again there are many reasons why I say that. You see if you don’t even know all of the main themes in the Bible, how can you learn to solve the details like “speaking in tongues”? The next logical part of puzzle solving can be to begin to sort or organize all of the pieces. This is the beginning of the time consuming work part of Bible study. It is definitely a detailed oriented step and it is not always fun, but the benefits are very great when you understand why are you doing it.
As you then begin to sort through each of the 5000 pieces of the puzzle this is like you searching for related verses in the over 31,000 verses of the Bible that contain the subject that you are studying. In puzzle solving you might look for the shape of the piece to be a straight edge or not a straight edge piece as your first basic sort. After finding all of the straight edged pieces then you could look for non-straight edge pieces that have similar colors or patterns and begin to further organize these pieces into smaller groups of categories together. In Bible study sorting verses is a word based effort and not picture, shape or color based. You will discover related verses if God uses the same Greek or Hebrew word in both verses. Notice that I did not say the same English words. There are just too many translation problems for you to use the words of human translators to relate verses together. This is why we look up the Greek words and the original Hebrew Words to see where they are used by God. God selected and designed the original text, the translated text is man’s ideas of what they thought God said and many times they got it wrong.
You can also find related subject verses if God quotes the Old Testament verse in the New Testament. The repetition of the same words is one of the dominate ways that God links subject verses together. Also note that where the New Testament quotes an Old Testament verse, it many times will explain what the Old Testament meant and this is always very important information. Here is another secret that I will let you in on. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament was written in Greek. Why did God do this and how do we find related subjects that cross between the Old and New Testaments? This is where you must find a verse in the New that quotes a verse in the Old. Now using this quote you can legitimately tie Hebrew words directly to Greek words using a one for one correlation. We now can see everywhere a subject is repeated in both predominant sections of the Bible using this technique to link them.
But, God is also very tricky and He can use a totally different word to describe the same subject. For example, God uses approximately 6 different names for the sun in the Bible. The sun is a concealed reference to Jesus in the Bible and He is a well hidden subject using word titles like “day star”, “the greater light”, “dayspring”, “morning star”, “Sun of Righteousness” and “the true light”. This is how you must study the Bible and if you do not study the Bible this way you are probably very lost in what you know. Learn and understand that every piece of information given to us by God only fits correctly together in one way to give us the correct big picture solution. Many preachers have tried to take and force unrelated Bible facts and pieces of information together but their big picture doctrine will always fail the truth test. Preachers that try to make two unrelated topics fit together by forcing them are never going to produce the correct harmonious big God TRUTH picture of what God was attempting to say to us. I pray you are learning something about Bible study and God.
What I am doing today in this lesson is an attempt to help you by giving you some clear clues in how to study this subject in the Bible. I have been doing this from the beginning of the lesson without mentioning all of the steps, but now I am trying to teach you using a step by step approach to Bible study in order to tell you what we are doing so that you can learn to look for some of these new methods that might help you to see God’s Word more clearly in your personal studies. So I have two goals in this single Bible lesson. I want to first teach you how I study the Bible and learn a new subject and then I want to teach you what God reveals on this subject of tongues and baptism in the Bible. In other words I’m going to teach you how to fish first rather than doing all of your fishing for you and feeding you the fish that I have caught on the subject of what to look for in the Bible on “Speaking in Tongues” and the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit”. Let me help you correlate the Bible to be a very complex puzzle by giving you some more known facts. Remember what I said earlier, that a very complex natural jigsaw puzzle will have at least 1000 pieces or more and one more like the Bible will have at least 5000 pieces. The more pieces the larger the puzzle and the more potentially complicated it will be to solve. I think if you own a Bible, you can understand that it is not a small book with limited information. But, let’s review some of the known facts about the KJV Bible that you need to consider in your future Bible studies:
BIBLE STATISTICS (King James Authorized):
- Number of books in the Bible: 66
- Chapters: 1,189
- Verses: 31,102
- Words: 783,137
- Letters: 3,116,480
- Different Hebrew Words: 8,674
- Different Greek Words: 5,624
- Different English Words: 12, 143
Reviewing the facts of the Bible reveals this is definitely way beyond the level of an extremely complex puzzle based upon the numbers alone. Searching in over 31,000 verses that contain over 700,000 words for related words and subjects is going to take you a lot of time. I believe that each verse is like one piece of a puzzle. But how do these 31,000 verses fit correctly together and what do they mean individually or by combining them correctly does that ever change the invidivual understanding of the single piece? Now we must also understand that there are more levels of complexity than the sheer numbers of words and verses involved in the search. These other complexity factors are also not as easily calculated or recognized. For example, there is God’s use of riddles, parables, symbolism, allegory, typology, shadows and I could go on and on. The complexity found in the Bible is by far over the heads of many readers and it can be as overwhelming as you trying to solve a 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle without ever solving a puzzle before in your life.
CONTINUING OUR BIBLE STUDY
How would you begin to study this subject in the Bible? Has your approach changed since I introduced you to the puzzle solving approach? There are probably more approaches to Bible study than there are to anything else in the church and thus the main reason for the confusion that exists in the church with the existence of thousands of denominations. Rarely can you find people teaching this subject of how to study the Bible correctly; therefore everyone is forced into learning by a trial and error approach. This is actually a great mistake; it is like learning how to parent as your kids are growing up. Trial and error is never a great approach to doing anything and we all do it because we are forced to by our ignorance. The wiser approach to Bible study is to learn from someone that you can see has achieved a level of sound methodology from what they teach. By them being led by the Spirit of God and through many years of trial and error study they can quickly teach you the mistakes to avoid and the secret things that will help you not to repeat them and waste your time. If what I teach appeals to your spirit, then the way that I study my Bible might also appeal to you. You are the judge of what I teach and how I arrived at what I teach, if anything I say fits you then use it, if not no harm done.
When I do any Bible study now, I always do it using my computer exclusively. Before PC’s were invented and became cheap, I previously studied using my leather bound paper Bible book and a very large heavy book concordance, but now I have learned that computers are the most efficient study tool available to man. The digital power of the computer allows us to do things that were not possible using paper books only. A Bible program can contain 12 or more different translations and present them all to you for you to read and compare. Every good Bible software program uses a database format to store the information and every word is indexed and can be searched and referenced immediately. You can search the digital copies of the Bible using specific key words, phrases, Greek words, Hebrew words, definitions, synonyms and combinations of any of the above. If you don’t have a Bible program on your computer, get one now because many of them are FREE! I recommend one called eSword and you can find it easily if you Google it. Downloading it and installing it is not that difficult. Just do it!
Beginning any Bible study I always list the subject key words that I am attempting to study. The primary key words in this Bible lesson might be “tongue”, “tongues”, “speaking”, “speak”, “baptism” and “Holy Spirit” to name a few of the obvious words. Of course Bible study is way more complicated than this and beginning your study correctly only comes from repeated experience and being led by the Spirit of God. I have also learned from God that He uses multiple names, titles, descriptions, symbols and even many indirect references for the same subject in the Bible. This technique makes finding every reference considerably more difficult. For example, let’s analyze the subject of the human tongue. As we have already learned this literal word for the human tongue organ can also be used by God as an implied language or even multiple languages. So right there we need to expand our Bible search to include that additional subject and all the possible synonyms. Do you know what a synonym is? This is like God using 6 different names for the sun with them all being correct simultaneously. Synonyms are interchangeable words that have very similar meanings. Finding all of the possible synonyms for a subject is one of your greatest challenges.
There are also other parts of Bible study that make learning God’s truth an extended effort of deep research because of the hidden intelligence and complexity of our God. Depending upon God’s desire to hide the spiritual information the wording of certain subjects in the Bible can be easily missed reading the surface text only by the use of indirection. Indirection is the lack of specific straightforwardness when speaking words. I am describing to you that God wrote many indirect hidden references to many subjects found in the Bible. For example, what produces sound from the human body? You can come up with many names or descriptions for this sound producer and we could call it a mouth, a tongue, your lips, your voice, your speech, your vocal chords and probably several other terms that you have not even thought of yet. These would all be examples of direct references using synonymous terms. However, God can also hide information in the Bible using indirect or implied statements that do not have any of these direct keywords that you are searching for in the Bible about the mouth but the verse can still be about this subject. How do you search for scriptures on “tongues” when it does not mention tongues directly? That is just one more of the challenges presented to us in the Bible for us to overcome. Let me give you a quick example of a verse with indirection that you could read over and over and never see what God is saying and how it is related to the subject of “speaking in tongues”:
Joh 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Do you believe on Him? According to Jesus in this verse, you should be speaking in tongues if you are a believer. Oh, I know you don’t see it, but that is what this verse is about. This verse is simply a hidden indirect reference to the subject of speaking in tongues and because you do not understand what it says you miss it. Jesus said out of your belly or the inward part of your physical being, which is another hidden reference to your spirit, will flow rivers of living water. What exactly do you think that God is talking about in this verse? It is impossible to take this verse as being a literal statement from God. Therefore, it must be a symbolic statement from our God with concealed information presented in it. As a general rule of Bible interpretation you always take the Bible literally except when you cannot, like in this verse. Jesus was not saying that you are going to throw up your dinner or your beverage even though this is where those substances go after being swallowed. However, Jesus was definitely saying that something will come up and out from your mouth that will produce life. Words and air are the only two substantive things that can legally exit from the human mouth by God’s design. Anything else that exits or comes out of the mouth was not by God’s design. Therefore, these “rivers of life” that exit must be related to our spoken words. Since my mouth is connected to my belly this verse must be about my words that I speak, but not just any words will qualify, these words must produce life. I could try to explain this verse, but I really do not have the time in this lesson. Just try to understand for now that this verse is a hidden indirect reference about you speaking in tongues and when you finally receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit you will finally know by your own experience what God was saying to you in this verse. Until then you are not going to have a real clue about it and you will have to either reject what I just said or believe it by faith.
WHAT IS BAPTISM?
Let’s shift the focus and subject from tongues, language and spoken words to the subject of baptism. What is baptism? If you are a Baptist you know at least partially what it is because they teach a part of the baptism truth very strongly. Baptism is a New Testament revealed concept. There are some hidden references to it in the Old Testament but they are usually cloaked in symbolism, typology or allegory. Baptism was introduced for the first obvious time by John the Baptist in the Gospels. John was of course the prophesied forerunner of Christ that led the way to Christ. John would go into the river Jordan and take people with him and there he would fully submerge them under the water raising them back up again for the remission of their sins (Luke 3:3). I find it very interesting that the Holy Spirit led me to end the last section talking about rivers coming out from our mouth to now John standing in a river to baptize someone. Do you think this was a accident? Do you see a potential connection? This water baptism of John was an act of outward repentance of the sinner participant that was being baptized. In fact this statement about repentance is found repeatedly in the Gospels and “repentance” and “remission” are two new words that we might need to add to our complete study of this subject. The act of repentance will always be a forerunner to salvation. The act of remitting our sins was an accomplished work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ok, here is where we again need to come up with all of the related subjects and synonymous words to search for in the Bible. If baptism is one of the main subjects, what other related words are also important to include in the study? We must include “baptizer”, “baptize”, “baptized”, “baptizing”, “Baptist” and probably several other related words like “water”, “bath” and “washing”. By searching our Bible for these words, we will learn how they are used, where they are used and why they are used; expanding our knowledge of the complete subject. By doing this type of research we will potentially find many related clues to learn from God’s word, helping us to solve the greater puzzle. Every verse containing any subject content is a possible puzzle piece that you need to research to learn how and where they fit in the big picture. Keep this in mind as we continue. Since I have already done this research I will skip this part of searching the many verses and give you a few of the important ones that I found. If you don’t believe me, you should do the steps that I omitted and verify them. Try to see what God says about the subject baptism here in this verse:
Act 11:16 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 Ghost.
When I searched for the 5 Greek words that are related to baptism, I found approximately 100 verses with this subject in it. How did I find the 5 Greek words? I searched the Bible dictionary for a partial word “bapti” and told it to give me all of the Greek words that contain this partial word in the definition anywhere. Perhaps you did not know that you could do that, but that is the power of computers at work. The 5 Greek words that have “bapti” in the definition are G907, G908, G909, G910 and G3067. This search of the dictionary covered many of the words that I was looking for about “baptism”. I then took these 5 specific Greek words and searched the entire N.T. and said give me any verse that has any of these 5 words in it. I’m not going to go through each word and discuss them here; you can do that for yourself.
Out of the 100 verses that were returned with one of these Greek words being present, I found that over 50 of them are found in the Gospels and this makes sense to me because John first introduces us to this subject there. The next most popular book with this subject content is the book of Acts with 23 verses and then the rest of the verses are spread out in the letters written to the church. It is important to read them all, but it is also important to see what other information is given in each of these verses to help you to learn the more complete subject. For example, here in Acts 11:16 is found one of the most critically important verses about the entire subject of baptism that I found. This verse is located in one of the most unlikely places in the N.T. Hidden here in the middle of the book of Acts, God reveals and compares two separate variations of one named noun truth called “baptism”. If you had not searched your Bible for all of the variations of the word “baptism”, you might have easily bypassed this verse and missed one of the most important new revelations from God on the subject.
Here in this verse God is revealing that there is more than one kind of “baptism”. Did you know that? If you did not know this then you just learned something that will change you forever. One was called “John’s Baptism” and one is called the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit”. One baptism was done by the hands of human men and one is done only by the hands of almighty God. One is totally natural in water and the other is completely spiritual. This single truth alone changes almost every other place in the N.T. that speaks of “baptism” and forces us to rethink what we are seeing. Do you understand what I am saying? You see if there was only one kind of baptism in the whole Bible, then it is extremely simple for us to understand it. However, God just introduced us to a new type of baptism that is different, done differently, performed by different individuals and suddenly the complexity has more than doubled even if they are both called “baptism”. Are you learning anything yet? I am about to rock your Bible study world. God is revealing that there are two dimensions of truth. Wow, did you hear what I just said? Can you even wrap your mind around this concept? One truth realm is called the natural and this visible truth parallels but also reveals to us the other truth realm called the spiritual which is unseen by human eyes.
I had some people write me a comment a while back trying to tell me that people can’t be saved and go to heaven unless they are fully water baptized in the name of Jesus like the Bible clearly states. I told them NO that is not what the N.T. clearly teaches us and I based my statement upon my knowledge of verses like this one that they must be either unaware of or ignoring because it does not fit with their beliefs. I said the Bible says “We look not at the things that are seen, but the things that are unseen, for the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Cor 4:18). If you can see someone getting water baptized that is an external inferior temporary thing that God commands us NOT to even look at now. Why then do some Christians still want to look at this temporary external water baptism as being a requirement for their eternal salvation if it should not be viewed according to God? They love to look at the external things because they are carnal, naturally thinking individuals being people who are ignorant of God’s spiritual internal truths. God told the prophet Samuel “Look not on the outward appearance of the man, because the Lord does not see men as men see them, I look upon their heart” (1 Sam 16:7). I tried to argue with them and ask why are you looking at the outside to determine what is saved on the inside, are you God? Obviously they are not God, because God is only viewing the inside of the man to determine his salvation. But, I learned quickly that I was wasting my time arguing with an un-teachable brick wall type of Christian.
These temporary naturally seen things were created and given to us by God to teach us about the unseen eternal spiritual things, that we have never seen and can never prove exists. That is the absolute truth and there are no other hidden reasons for the natural to exist that are relative for this discussion. Therefore, quit looking at the natural realm and giving it your priority over God’s Spirit, what He does or has done and accomplished in the spiritual realm. Your natural water baptism is not ever going to save you and if you think it is you might be on your way to hell already. I know I just lost a bunch of readers with that blunt statement. But I would rather standalone telling you the truth than stand in your crowd on the way to hell with you. You see I know this because I have been baptized by the Spirit of God. Since my God did this for me and to me, I now completely understand that there is nothing that you can ever try to do with your natural water baptism that is greater than what He did for me with His Spirit. Again if you have not experienced this work of God you will not understand what I am saying and you can be happy with your natural water and miss the Spirit of God. Since the Bible commands us to establish every truth in the mouth of two or three witnesses, we technically need another verse that states there are two kinds of baptism that exist, so I’ll give you another verse found in the Bible spoken to us by the Lord Jesus Christ:
Act 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
I believe that you can read this verse and see that Jesus is again comparing what was coming in a few days to that which has already been in the past. Which one do you believe is greater? Which one do you believe is more important for your salvation? Why do you think Jesus did not tell them to wait to be baptized in water so that they could be saved after His resurrection? Which one did Jesus command them to wait for? I know probably all of the disciples were technically baptized before by John so they have already experienced the natural water type of baptism, but that still does not prove that the spiritual baptism of the Holy Spirit is dependent upon the natural occurring first. Since I have found no verses that reveal a dependent relationship between the two, it would be wrong to create a doctrine of baptism dependence without literally two or three verses stating this direct dependence. But, you can still believe whatever you like.
Also notice that what Jesus was describing in this verse to His disciples was a baptism that had not taken place for them or to them. Therefore I can legally call this a new baptism and that would be a completely truthful statement. Do you understand this point? The baptism that was about to happen in a few days later from this statement was not the baptism that had occurred in the past to them. However, since this new baptism is to be done by the Spirit of God, it is only understandable by us observing what was previously done externally in water. Being baptized by the Holy Spirit is clearly a spiritual experience and when Jesus spoke these words to His disciples it had never occurred before to them. These are very important points, and that is why I am repeating myself. I guess I should clarify that this spiritual baptism was one that Jesus had personally experienced before, but no one else in the Acts 1 and 2 had this experience that I have found. I know this truth from two facts found in the Gospels. First, when Jesus was water baptized by John in the river, immediately after coming up from the water, the Spirit of God descended from heaven upon Him in the form of a dove. Therefore, Jesus was baptized spiritually immediately after being baptized physically by water. Let me show you the verse:
Joh 1:32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
This verse is describing an Old Testament form of one of the spiritual baptisms from the Holy Spirit as it was being experienced by the Lord Jesus who is the future stated head of the church. The Spirit of God is clearly observed by John to be descending out of heaven and in this experience the Spirit of God appeared as the form of a dove which rests “upon” Jesus. This is actually very important information to take notice of. This is describing a spiritual baptism from the Holy Spirit upon a natural man and this is exactly a pattern of what Jesus was describing that would be happening to the disciples in Acts 1:5. Therefore, the disciples had already technically witnessed a spiritual baptism even though they did not fully understand it before they experienced it in Acts 2. I want you to pay attention that when the Spirit of God came upon Jesus that Jesus was not yet risen from the dead and thus no new birth had yet taken place. I believe that this proves a form of spiritual baptism existed in the Old Testament prior to it being introduced to the church in the New Testament. I will discuss this further in future lessons in this series. I also said that there were two references in the Gospels to Jesus being baptized with the coming baptism and here is the other verse that you need to read carefully:
Mat 20:23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.
Jesus told His disciples that they would soon be baptized with the same baptism that He had experienced. Wow, that is an awesome statement from God. This is one of those Bible references that can only be interpreted correctly using the new knowledge that there are two different kinds of baptism described in the Bible and Jesus had already experienced both of them, but no else could until Jesus was raised from the dead. In this verse I believe that Jesus was speaking about the coming spiritual baptism of the Holy Spirit, since everyone else present had already been water baptized at this point in time. Do you see it? Logically speaking, it is impossible for Jesus to be speaking about the natural water baptism, because it would not make any sense.
OK let’s recap again what we have just learned about baptism from all of these verses in Acts, Matthew and John. We have observed two references in the book of Acts where God describes two separate kinds of baptism. These are completely unique and distinct types of the same named action but being clearly a different kind of experience for each involvement or participation. The first baptism was one being entirely natural in water and the other coming baptism was one being totally spiritual done by God without getting physically wet. We just saw that Jesus experienced both of these, but no one else living in the church had this second experience until a few days after Acts chapter 1. This further reveals to us that what John did with water was not what God was going to do to the coming church even though they are both called baptism. The entrance of this information brings us knowledge about a new spiritual baptism that supersedes the old natural baptism. From the knowledge of these new facts, that means whenever we read a verse about baptism, baptizing, being baptized or any variations of these words we need to understand which experience God is describing. If God says it is “John’s baptism” then you will immediately understand it was the natural baptism done with water and the hands of men. If God says the baptism of the Holy Ghost, then we can also know with great confidence that this verse is about a spiritual experience done by our God. If the verse says only “baptism” without qualification, it could be either type of baptism being described or referenced especially if there is no mention of water. This part of the Bible study might have been some of the most important information that you have learned so far in this lesson, so hang on to it and don’t let it go. Let me show you one verse example that people like to quote proving we must be water baptized.
Act 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Do you see any problems with this verse now that you know that there are two kinds of baptism? If you back up in the chapter you will discover these men were previously baptized by John in water for the repentance of their sins. Why then would it be necessary for them to go back into the water again? Of course we can clearly see that it says that we need to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus and this is why many people have reasoned the need for another water baptism that is necessary for their salvation to become valid to be done in the name of Jesus. But notice that no natural water is mentioned here in Acts 19:5, there is no mention of getting wet, there is no human man called to be the baptizer in this verse, and there is no qualification given to us of this being a type of “John’s” baptism; therefore to try to make this verse say that they were water baptized again in Jesus’ name is ridiculously creative human reasoning. That would clearly be adding to the verse and making it say what it does not say. Reading the context in the very next verse it says that Paul laid his hands on them and they spoke in tongues. Could that possibly be the baptism that they were given in Jesus’ name? I don’t have time to prove every scripture. Just read them and then notice what they say and more specifically what they don’t say. Don’t add your own definitions or interpretations to them; just see if there is any direct mention of water being present and then ask if it could be a spiritual baptism that was done by God. If you immediately see that they are speaking in tongues it cannot be anything but the baptism of the Spirit of God. Change your perspective and quit being so single threaded and narrow minded that there is only one kind of baptism mentioned in the Bible. We have clearly learned that there is not one but at least two types of baptism mentioned in the Bible.
ARE YOU SPEAKING IN A NEW TONGUE?
Let’s go back to the subject of “tongues” again since that is where my discussion of baptism ended. Let’s do a search again for this Greek word G1100 in the N.T. I will tell you that there are at least 5 Greek words that have something to do with the word “tongue” in the definition, but I am for now not going to address any of these other words. If you do the search for G1100, you will remember that this word only appears in 47 verses in the N.T. and that is not that many. This makes it much easier to go and read every verse to see what they are saying. If the subject of tongues appeared in 500 verses, that would be too many to read them all and remember what they said. One of the key verses that might stand out to you in your search is this one found in the book of Mark. Let’s read it carefully and notice what Jesus said to the church:
Mar 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
Many have tried to take this verse and remove it from the Bible. However, I know for sure that it is an excellent statement from God and that it should be there. Jesus said we would speak with “new tongues” and this is definitely not us learning to speak a new language that we can understand as in going to language school. Therefore, we need to ask when does this occur and how does this occur? Before we go there, let’s examine two other Greek words found in this verse. The first Greek word is translated as “speak” and it means to utter words, talk, to preach or to say. This of course is the human mouth vocalization skill with articulated audible words. Speaking involves us producing sound waves that can be heard by those that are nearby. Therefore, the word “speak” introduces us to a new concept that involves producing sound and that is a whole new very important subject to put in your vocabulary. I believe that we need to include the keyword “sound” in our Bible study to see what clues are given to us by God on this subject. Does God link sound to our study anywhere? We could do a search and find out what God says or we can just remember that word and keep it in our mind as we go forward looking for links.
We have already looked up the noun “tongues” in this verse and it literally means “tongues” so I will not repeat that part of the introduction. But, notice the noun qualifier adjective that precedes this word “tongues” in this verse. This reference to spoken tongues in Mark 16:17 is restricted to or limited by the adjective “new”. “New” is the stated opposite or antithesis of something being “old”. This verse is not saying that we will get a physical tongue transplant; God is saying by the inclusion of the word “new” that we will begin to speak in new languages that we have not ever heard of or learned to speak before. The Greek word translated as “new” literally means a “fresh” language. This clearly distinguishes this language from any of the old languages that we might already know and speak right now. It would be like me saying I bought a new car today. A new car means it is not my old car that was sitting in my driveway yesterday. If you speak English today that means this new language that you will speak cannot be English. Do you understand what I am saying? Do you believe in Jesus? If you do, then Jesus said you should be speaking languages that you never spoke before, right now! So how do you do this? Are we supposed to go out and buy a new language course and start studying something new, learning to speak it? No that is not what God is saying at all. That would be the works of your flesh and not the works of the Spirit of God. But that is exactly how many carnal Christians try to interpret it. Let’s go find out how they did this in the early church and this should reveal how we do it today since we are in the same body and the church as they were. We can only find this information by continuing to search in the Bible for the keyword “tongues” or “G1100” and see where else it is mentioned in the N.T. and I found these verses almost immediately:
Act 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Act 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
Act 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Let me recap quickly the context of these verses and why this is so important. In chapter 1 we already saw one verse where Jesus said the baptism of the Holy Spirit will be coming to you in a few days. Jesus actually commands His disciples in chapter 1 of Acts to wait in Jerusalem until they are endued with power from on high. This is actually more important than you know and probably why you do not have the power of God working in your life right now. After Jesus tells the disciples this, He ascends into heaven and there He remains until He comes to take His church out of this world. However, in chapter 2 of Acts this is the few days later that Jesus was describing. The early church was being obedient to Jesus and they had gathered together in an upper room in Jerusalem waiting for this supernatural spiritual baptism that was promised by God. We should now understand the context of these verses in Acts 2 and we should know that these people that were present in the upper room represent the entire church body at this period of time on the earth. Do you understand that? There were no other saved church members on the earth that were not present in Acts 2. Technically there are already saved church members in heaven during this event, but I do not have time to explain that. Just understand that everyone else in the world not present in the upper room represent the lost unbelievers that need to be added to the church and that would include you and me in future terms since we were not yet born during this event.
Reading these verses very carefully in Acts 2 you should be able to notice some things that I have already introduced you to. First,notice that this event was described as a “sound” that came from heaven in verse 2. This information gives us “sound” as a direct keyword link to what we learned about speaking audibly in tongues earlier in Mark 16:17. The location of heaven connects us to where this sound originated from and that is also very critical to understand the source as being from God. What we see is the mention of heaven just like the baptism of Jesus in Matthew that we read when the Spirit of God descended like a dove. So these verses have immediate relevance based upon our keyword association and our previous knowledge that God is in heaven. If a sound came from heaven what was the result of this sound after it entered into the earth’s atmosphere? What we begin to observe in these verses is another repeated pattern found in the Bible in more than one place. For example, in Genesis 1, you can see that God was speaking repeatedly and then something in the natural realm came into manifestation. For example, God saw darkness and said “Light Be” and then light was in the natural. This is exactly what is happening in Acts 2 whether you understand it or not.
God is revealing that being Baptized with the Spirit of God started with God sending a sound from heaven from the spiritual realm and this spiritual sound that was sent resulted in an external sound manifestation being heard in this natural realm. While this does not say that God spoke directly, I believe exactly that this is what occurred in Acts 2. Where do sounds from God come from? Perhaps it is time for a new Bible verse:
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Here we have a verse spoken by Jesus revealing that God has a mouth and that He speaks words audibly. These words according to Jesus produce life in us. What did I quote earlier that Jesus said? Remember I said “Out of your belly shall flow rivers of life”. Uh oh? I think we are finding more puzzle pieces that are falling together in harmony. This river that comes out of our mouth that produces life has to be the Words that were spoken by God. I mean what else is there that creates life? So does this mean we memorize the Bible and speak these words to produce this life? That is certainly one interpretation or possibility, but not the whole truth either. How else can we speak God’s words? We’ll that is where speaking in tongues comes in and we will get there eventually.
Did you understand what I just said? Do you know that this is practically how everything from God works? God is a Spirit and what He speaks in the spirit realm will cause things in the natural realm to vibrate. Uh, oh? I really do not want to get too technical here but sound waves are the root fundamental substance to everything that exists in our world. If you can see it, touch it, taste, hear it or smell it, it has the root of being a sound wave created by God’s words. Sorry that was another side trip; but I believe that it was an interesting point to consider. What we are observing here in Acts is that a sound came from heaven and then something happened in the natural realm that was externally evident!
Before I go to the next point, let’s notice that this sound sent from heaven filled the physical place where the entire early church was assembled and that it “sat” upon “each” and “everyone” of them in verse 3. Isn’t this exactly what the dove did to Jesus in the Gospels? Learning this fact alone proves that whatever happened to all of them should be what happens to everyone else that comes into the church later since God did not omit anyone or selectively give this gift only to a few of them. Do you see that and can you agree? Are you in the church? Do you speak in tongues? This is why I called the church teaching of selective tongues to only missionaries a very false doctrine. If you do not speak in tongues now then you are missing what God gave to the whole church in Acts 2. If the entire church was supposed to speak in tongues in Acts 2, then the entire church is still supposed to speak in tongues in Acts 29. Oh maybe you did not understand what I just said, there is no Acts chapter 29 in the Bible; we are the church writing Acts 29 right now. Nowhere in Acts is it stated that speaking in tongues ceased or was terminated, so do not believe that it has or you will miss it.
This is really not complicated, but it is an easily missed truth and one truth that is widely ignored by many Christians. Then notice that this sound that fell from heaven is also described to us using some new descriptive phrasing called “tongues of fire” in Acts 2:3. Why, is fire so important and why is this word even included in these verses or even mentioned at all with the same Greek word G1100 tongues? Here is another secret clue that God is trying to teach you. “Fire” is directly linked to “tongues” in this verse and that produces a new “keyword” to search for in our Bibles for us to learn a totally new subject and see some more puzzle pieces and how they fit together. Are you learning how to study the Bible? It is much more complicated than you thought isn’t it? When I searched the N.T. for “fire” I found something that is definitely important and completely related to our subject discussion. Here is the reason that “fire” is so important to see and why God included it here in this chapter of Acts:
Mat 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:
Here we have another hidden key to what is happening to the church in Acts 2. John the Baptist says “I baptize you with water, but He that comes after me, He will baptize you with the Holy Ghost fire”. Here again we have an additional confirmation to the existence of two different types of baptism. Since John is speaking in this verse we can clearly understand that one was his baptism that was done with water. The other future prophesied baptism was one that would be done by Jesus and this is not done with natural water but with spiritual fire from the Spirit of God. Fire and water are natural opposites but yet we can be baptized with either and they are called the same type of act. God directly connects the Holy Ghost baptism with the events that are happening to the early church in Acts 2 with the key word “fire”. Now we can see that was happening to the early church was the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that Jesus told them to wait for in Jerusalem to receive. Since Jesus went back to heaven and sent this fire from heaven we can know that this was the prophesied baptism just spoken of by John the baptist. John was clearly pointing people to the coming baptism as being greater than what he was doing. This is exactly how you must study the Bible and every subject in the Bible looking for clues to connect together.
Why has God been comparing or contrasting between John’s water baptism and the spiritual baptism of fire that we just read about in Acts 2 that came from the Spirit of God? It is because the external water baptism teaches us what God was about to do in the internal part of us with His Spirit. We can only understand the internal by observing the external. Is this too complicated? Just understand that the fire being referred to in Acts 2:3-4 is the Baptism that was spoken of by John in this verse in Matthew 3:11. Now let’s go back to Acts and learn another confirmation for this truth by what God says to us.
Did you notice in Acts 2:3 that the Spirit of God sent from heaven as a sound and a fire did not enter into them, but rather “sat upon” each of them? This is actually a very relative distinction to observe. It is the stated difference as if I poured a cup of water on your head as opposed to giving you a cup of water for you to drink internally. Which cup of water experience is more representative of water baptism? Normally the water that you wash with is not the same water as what you drink? They both are clearly water, but one is for external use and one is for internal use. Both of these participations of water are two completely different experiences of the same substance. This is exactly what is being taught in this lesson about God’s Spirit. Being born of the Spirit of God internally is not the same event as being baptized with the Spirit of God and if you think it is you are deceived. This reference found in Acts 2:3 cannot be the New Birth when the Spirit of God entered into the man’s spirit to abide forever and I can prove that using the scriptures. Go back to the book of John and reread the events after the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus appeared to the disciples and He said and did this to them all:
Joh 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
You still have a lot to learn if you do not understand that what comes out of the mouth of God is from the Spirit of God. When Jesus breathed on these disciples He tells each of them to receive His Spirit into them. This is when they were born again and this occurs only a few days after the resurrection of Jesus and over 40 days before the day of Pentecost that occurs in Acts 2. Why if Jesus gave them the Spirit of God in John 20 do they still need to wait in Jerusalem for more of the Spirit of God in Acts 2? You really need to ask God some very specific questions when you read these little details in the Bible or you are going to miss out on the most important thing that could happen to you since being born again. What we are observing are two experiences of the same Spirit. One is a spiritual birth and the other is a spiritual baptism. Don’t confuse them and don’t mix them up in reverse order.
Acts 2:3-4 is clearly describing to us that the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues is the same event but it is also not the indwelling of the Holy Spirit internally because it was an external spiritual emersion poured out upon them from heaven. The Spirit upon you is not the same as the Spirit within you even though He is the exact same Spirit in both experiences. This is no different than us washing with water or drinking the water, both are different water experiences of the same substance. One is for our external benefits and the other is for our internal benefits. Technically we can survive wihtout the external, but we will not survive without the internal. However without the external expierence, we will be stinky and smelly Christians. Therefore, God left nothing out and gave us both. I’ll end my current Acts 2 part of the discussion pointing out this fact. Did you notice that in Acts 2:4 that God used the exact same two Greek words that we just looked at earlier when Jesus was speaking to us in Mark 16:17? These two words were “speak” and “tongues”. God’s usage of the same two exact Greek words again connects this event to the other verse in Mark 16 directly. God does this on purpose to provide you with more solid clues for you to see and learn the truth. In Mark 16 Jesus said you will speak with “NEW” tongues meaning this was not any of the previous “OLD” tongues that you already possessed, knew or even understood. The term “NEW” means something not in your previous possession or it would not be new to you. That is exactly what happened in Acts 2. Here in Acts 2 God uses the adjective “other” tongues and that makes them different than previous tongues using a different but similar word statment. Jesus said it would happen before it happened and then it happened. Sound like God doesn’t it?
I really think I have gone long enough in this lesson even though there is so much more that I could teach you on this subject. I covered a lot of new information in this lesson. We certainly learned that spiritual things and natural things exist in unison, but the natural always precedes the spiritual so that we will be able to understand the spiritual. I also changed my approach in this lesson to include more study methods for searching the Bible to find God’s distributed clues. If you can learn how God has written the Bible it will greatly help you in all of your future study efforts. I hope that you understood how I linked God’s spiritual baptism to speaking in tongues. This event was actually the first thing that God did for the church in Acts 2. This heavenly baptism is why everything else in the book of Acts occurs. Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit and them speaking in tongues in chapter 2 no other chapters would have been written. I hope you understand how the Power of God was necessary for what is written. Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for this power and we are also required to receive this power from God to accomplish what He needs us to do. Peter went from denying Jesus 50 days before to preaching to 5000 to get them saved. That was the result of the power of God being received by Peter. This same power will still do that for you also.
I will do another lesson in this series eventually, but first I want to see what the reaction to this one is to find out if it was really worth all of my time and effort that I spent on it. If everyone has been offended by this lesson and leaves, I am not sure if it was worth me teaching it. I do hope that you at least benefited with the parts of the lesson that dealt with my Bible study techniques and methods. If you have any questions or comments you are welcome to leave them and I will attempt to respond either in public or in private. Thank you for your time in reading and studying the Bible today, God will richly reward you for your effort. God Bless!
If you would like to continue to read in this series on the Holy Spirit baptism please go to “Part 2“.
Posted on June 10, 2012, in Bible Study, Spirituality, Understanding and tagged Bible, Christianity, Church, God, Holy Spirit, Religion, Spirituality, Tongues, Truth, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.
Thnx for the teaching bro ron. U have inspired us to love and study the word. How can one start speaking in tongues i saw i some church they teach members to speak in tongues by praying in tongues and the members will pray after them is this allowed? Thnks God bless
Thank you brother for this wonderful teaching.
Does it then mean that even if we believe in God through Jesus, we’re still not qualified for salvation? Acts 16:31 says that “believe and you shall be saved… then where do we stand if we’re earnestly seeking God and yet not able to speak in tongues.
Thank you for the wonderfull and Holy Spirit inspired bible lessons.Could you please explain the meaning of ” broken spririt” according to the word of God.
I apologize if I do not understand your question. Are you referring to Luke 4:18 where Jesus proclaimed that he was here to heal the broken hearted?
God bless you for teaching this. I have been ignorant for quite a long time. I thank God for finding this blog. Thank you!
Thank you for your comment. GOD bless you.
This was a FANTASTIC read in so many ways. Depth…I believe each person/generation is responsible for digging their own wells (Example of the two realms: natural and spiritual).
In reading this first part, I have gained a knowledge of connecting Gods word-rightly dividing. That just hit me while typing…haven’t “studied” that for myself.
I have a hunger to study God’s Word more precisely. Wow! I want to prove myself acceptable unto the Lord.
Thank you for sharing and challenging your readers.
Am so blessed by your teachings i read from my cell mostly. God bless you sir
Mercy from thika kenya
God Bless you and keep you in His loving arms. Stay in the Word of God as much as you can.
God is good all the time. Thank you for your exposition. Because the church is so divided by Satan you would have oppositions on this topic. It is when the Word and The Spirit become one that you have an explosion of Power or Manifestation. The flesh profit nothing: it is the spirit that gives life. My question is: Scripturally only a few people had the power to baptise in the Holy Ghost but nowadays all manner of people would put you through the sinners prayer and afterwards baptise you in the Holy Ghost with a few prayers asking to say whatsoever comes out of your mouth. Please clarify on this process. God bless. Thank you.
I read maybe a 1/4 of this post and had to stop, i felt a heavy burden on my heart by your introduction. I have learnt so much from your posts but this one threw me for a sixer. I don’t believe everyone is given the gift to speak in tongues, just like everyone hasn’t been given the gift to prophesy and so on.
I don’t think speaking in tongues is the assurance of receiving the Holy Spirit like some charismatic churches teach. Speaking in tongues is another language or in prayer.
I do believe the Holy Spirit does intercede for us in prayer.
I think this post contradicts another one of your posts on “being born of water and of the spirit.”
I need to reshuffle my thoughts on this, i just can’t wrap my head around your introduction.
Dear Sir, I am a bit confused about the extern baptism of water. I know that John the Baptist was the fore runner to Jesus and his baptism was for repentance. Before the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, He baptized people in the Jordan. Was his baptism at this time same as John’s? I mean he baptized for repentance? Thank you so much. Carlos
Thank you so much for your teachings. I have been seeking a long time for someone who could share the truth in a straightforward, easy and meaningful way. I found your website and have not been able to stop studying the information presented by you. In the past, I felt that there was something missing from all the studies I found. I have finally been fortunate to come upon your teachings. Thank you so much. Carlos
have you done any teaching on Fasting if yes please let me know
120(disciples) times 50(day after jesus resurrection) is 6000 not 2000, how we justify that biblical.
Sir thank you for every word here as I am yet to go over it I don’t own PC by choice but on my cell phone I found this article searching “KJV Pearly Gates” and found awesome photos and reed that will not go old …may I ask please what do I do if God gifted me to communicating with Him in tongues…but I am NOT able to understand it what I am saying I’m positive that our God knows but with my question to you sir is would I ever be able to translate some sentences or words to myself…thank you for the article I’m yet to study it Thank you so kindly God bless you and yours.
So are you saying if we do not speak in tounges we aren’t saved?
No, I did not say that nor did I imply it!
That’s what I thought, I’m sorry, this isn’t your fault Im just very bad at putting all this together so i was just asking for clarification 🙂 could you answer me this, what do you think of people who think it is wrong to worship God with musical instruments?
Not a problem at all. To those that do not permit music in their churches, I simply ask them to read the Bible and give me a verse where God does not permit it. What I have found is the opposite, for example:
1Sa 10:5 After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy:
1Sa 16:23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.
Psa 33:2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.
Psa 43:4 Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.
I think that is enough to prove that God accepts praise even on musical instruments. I do believe that the praise of our lips is greater but I do not believe the instruments and the music can be anointed by God to bring a blessing to God and to us that hear it.
Keep up the good work!!!!!
Thank you Frankie for the encouraging words, you are a major blessing.
, for by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yoesvulres, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should boast. This says that you are saved by grace through faith NOT works. Baptism, The Lord’s Table, Church Membership, & Confession are all works and can save no one. Jesus Christ did all that is required for salvation. If we say that Baptism is required for salvation, we in effect say that Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice for our sins is insufficient to remove our sin and more atonement is needed on our part (namely baptism). To make matters worse, we believe that our acts/deeds can earn favor with God, when God describes our best deeds as filthy minstrel rags (Isaiah 64:6). As for the verses you’ve cited, a good hermeneutical principle for you to begin using is never reading one scripture in isolation. Context is King. When i was taught not to do that it changed my life! You always want to let scripture interpret scripture. In the following, i’ve given you a few verses to examine on the doctrine of justification by faith alone (not works) along with an interpretation of 1 Peter by John Piper. I hope this helps your journey.Blessings,MattVERSES THAT JUSTIFY FAITH ALONE W/OUT BAPTISMLuke 23:42-And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. The thief on the cross who cried out to Jesus to save him was promised salvation at that moment, he DID NOT have to be baptized, nor did he have the ability to be, so people who cry out to Christ to save them on their deathbed, but don’t have a chance to be baptized, are saved and will go to heaven at their dying hour, PERIOD. In John 6:37, Jesus says that all that come to him he will never cast away, and how do lost souls come to the savior? By the Holy Spirit’s ministry, as seen in John 6:44.John 3:16-Whoever shall believe in him shall have eternal life. John 14:6-I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Jesus Christ is the only way to the Kingdom of Heaven, he doesn’t say that anything else is, he ALONE is the way to salvation.Acts 10:43-47-To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? As you can see, the Holy Spirit came down as the message was being preached, they, by faith, were baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ and therefore were saved, as speaking in tongues was evidence of having received the Holy Spirit. As a result of them being saved (and we can tie this into 1 Peter 3:21), Peter instructs them to be baptized to show that they have ALREADY BEEN SAVED.Acts 15:7-9-And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. In verse 7, Peter talks about hearing the gospel and believing it, in verse 8, God gives the Holy Spirit to those who accept the gospel message, and in verse 9, begins the purification and transformation, ENTIRELY BY FAITH.Acts 16:30-31-Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. So they were already saved, and then later on in verse 33, as a result of believing/being saved, they were baptized.Romans 2:29-But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. So we see that the circumcision of heart is accomplished by God’s Spirit, which enters into us BY FAITH.Romans 3:24-Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. That’s correct, that passage says FREELY, to insist that we have to be baptized in addition to grace is a serious error.Romans 4:5-But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Faith alone justifies us and nothing else.Romans 5:1, 9, 18-Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:In verse 1, Paul notes that we have peace with God through faith in Christ, Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.In verse 9, we see that we are justified by his blood (think of the song Nothing But the Blood, “What can wash away my sins? NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. Note how in verse 18, it says that salvation is a FREE GIFT. Think of it as a present in wrapping paper with a tag on it that reads (To: [insert name here] From: God), it’s a gift, NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO EARN IT, you either accept or (very foolishly) reject it.Romans 6:23-For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. We see what the wages of sin are, and what the gift of God is, a gift is something you receive, it is given to you, you DO NOT earn it.Romans 10:9-10-That if thou shalt confess the with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. This passage pretty much speaks for itself.Ephesians 2:8-9-For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yoesvulres: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Faith in Christ, as stated before, is a gift from God. 1 Peter 3:18-22For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21 And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.Controversy is Essential and DeadlyLet me begin today with a brief introductory word about controversy. The main thing I want to say is that doctrinal controversy is essential and deadly. And the attitude toward controversy in various groups of Christians depends largely on which of these two they feel most strongly. Is it essential or is it deadly? My plea is that at Bethlehem we believe and feel both of these. Controversy is essential where precious truth is rejected or distorted. And controversy is deadly where disputation about truth dominates exultation in truth.The reason controversy is essential in the face of rejection and distortion is that God has ordained that the truth be maintained in the world partly by human defense. For example, Paul says in Philippians 1:7 that he is in prison for the defense and confirmation of the gospel. And Jude 3 says that we should contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. And Acts 17:2-3 says that Paul’s custom in the synagogue was to reason from the Scriptures and explain and give evidence that Jesus was the Christ. So the preservation and transmission of precious truth from person to person and generation and generation may require controversy where truth is rejected or distorted.But controversy is also deadly because it feels threatening and so it tends to stir up defensiveness and anger. It’s deadly also because it focuses on the reasons for truth rather than the reality behind truth, and so tends to replace exultation in the truth with disputation about the truth. This is deadly because thinking rightly about truth is not an end in itself; it’s a means toward the goal of love and worship. Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:5 that the goal of our instruction is love. And he prayed in Philippians 1:9-11 that our love . . . abound in knowledge . . . unto the glory and praise of God. Controversy tends to threaten both love and praise. It’s hard to revel in a love poem while arguing with someone about whether or not your sweetheart wrote it.John Owen on ControversySo controversy is essential in this fallen world, and controversy is deadly in a fallen world. We must do it and we must tremble to do it. A wise counselor for us in this is John Owen, the Puritan pastor from 340 years ago. He was involved in many controversies in his day theological and denominational and political. But he never ceased to be a deep lover of God and a faithful pastor of a flock. He counsels us like this concerning doctrinal controversy:When the heart is cast indeed into the mould of the doctrine that the mind embraceth when the evidence and necessity of the truth abides in us when not the sense of the words only is in our heads, but the sense of the thing abides in our hearts when we have communion with God in the doctrine we contend for then shall we be garrisoned by the grace of God against all the assaults of men.*I think that was the key to Owen’s life and ministry: he didn’t just contend for doctrine; he loved and fellowshipped with the God behind the doctrine. The key phrase is this one: When we have communion with God in the doctrine we contend for then shall we be garrisoned by the grace of God against all the assaults of men. In other words, we must not let disputation replace contemplation and exultation.I am keenly aware that this series of messages on baptism is more controversial than usual. I am also eager that this pulpit avoid two great errors: losing truth in the quest for exultation; and losing worship in the noise of disputation. So let us all pray that in our lives and in our church we walk the tightrope balanced by the necessity of controversy on the one side and the dangers of it on the other.The Bible itself is a great help in this because it teaches about baptism, for example, in contexts that are so rich with good news that it makes it relatively easy to exult as we deal with this practice of baptism. In fact, baptism itself is meant, like the Lord’s Supper, to point to realities that are so great and so wonderful that. over all the controversy, we must hear the music of God’s glorious goodness and grace.Exulting in Christ’s Substitution for usSo it is here in 1 Peter 3:18-22. Sandwiching the teaching on baptism in verses 19-21 there are the same great truths about Christ and his death and resurrection that we saw last week in Colossians 2. Let’s get these before us for the sake of exultation before we look between for the necessary disputation.Verse 18: Christ also died [literally: suffered] for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit. Now here is something worth exulting over. Put it in five parts.1. We are cut off from God.First, the greatest problem in the world, the greatest problem in your life and mine, is that we are cut off from God. We have no right to approach him. We are alienated from him. You see this behind the words of Peter when he says that the aim of Christ’s suffering was that he might bring us to God. Now if Christ had to die that we might be brought to God, it is clear that we are alienated from God without Christ. This is the big issue. Not floods, and not cancer, and not crime, and not war, and not our job or marriage or kids. The big issue is that we are cut off from God, our Maker. And if that problem does not get solved, then the anger of God will rest on us and our eternity will be miserable.2. It is sin that alienates us from God.Second, we see what the problem is that alienates us from God, namely, sin. Peter says, Christ suffered for our sins . . . that he might bring us to God. It’s our sins that cut us off from God. This is true legally and it’s true emotionally as we all know. Legally, God is a just judge and does not simply pronounce the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent. He is holy and does not relax in the living room with rebels. Every sin is serious and pushes him farther away. And emotionally, we know that as our consciences are defiled by sins we feel so dirty in the presence of God that we can’t lift our faces.3. God substituted his Son for us.Third, God has taken the initiative to overcome this alienation from him by offering Christ to suffer in our place. You see this great reality of substitution in the words, Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the just for the unjust. Here is the great ground of our hope, that we really can and will come home to God. O let us exult in this above all the works of God that he has substituted his just Son in our place. This is the great gospel. This is what holds us late at night and early in the morning when sin and Satan assail us with their accusations and say, you can’t pray to God, much less go to heaven. Look at you! You’re a sinner! To this we say, Yes, but my hope does not lie in not being a sinner. It lies in a substitution of the Just for the unjust. 4. The substitution was once for all.And to add to the glory of it, in the fourth place, Peter, just like the book of Hebrews (7:27; 9:12; 10:10), says that this substitution of the Just for the unjust was once for all once for all time. It need not be and cannot be repeated, because it was perfect and complete the first and only time it was done. The debt for all my sins past, present and future was paid in a single sacrifice for all time. O the glory of an objective, finished, once-for-all gospel performed by God in his Son outside of me apart from my psychological fickleness.5. God was satisfied with Christ’s substitution.And fifth, after he had offered himself once for all the Just for the unjust, God gave him life. Having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit. This means, at least, that God was satisfied with Christ’s substitution. Which means that if you will cherish it as the foundation of your life, God will be satisfied with you, in Christ. God gave Christ life in at least two senses: one is that God gave him life in the spirit during the three days while his body was in the grave. We know this because Jesus said to the repentant thief on the cross, Today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43). Today, not in three days, but today. The other way that God gave Christ life is that he raised his body from the dead, and transformed it into a spiritual body a new kind of body without the limitation of the old flesh a body suited for the spiritual realm that flesh and blood cannot inherit (1 Corinthians 15:50). So God gave a mighty YES to Christ’s substitution by raising him from the dead.That’s the top of the sandwich around the teaching of baptism: Christ has suffered for sins once for all the Just for the unjust that he might bring us to God. Welcome home, are the sweetest words in the world, when God speaks them to our soul.Exulting in the Subjection of Christ’s (and our) EnemiesThe bottom part of the sandwich is verse 22: Christ is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him. Here we see the other effect of the death and resurrection of Christ. First was a substitution for our sins, now we see a subjection of his enemies. First substitution, then subjection. (Kids, ask mom and dad at lunch today, What were the two words that started with s to describe the work of Christ?)Now don’t miss this: we saw the very same thing last week in Colossians 2:15. When Christ died and rose again, all the evil angels, and authorities and powers were subjected to him in a new way. From the beginning of creation he was sovereign over them. That’s not new. But now he has nullified the one thing that they could use to destroy us, our sin. It’s as if the demonic world had many weapons to harm us, but only one great tank of poison that could destroy the children of God. And when Christ went to the cross, he drank the entire tank.O there is much to contend for here, but for now, this morning, let us simply exult in this. Let us commune with our God in this. Let us revel in this reality. That the substitutionary death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ subjected angels and authorities and powers to him, meaning that in him the elect of God cannot be destroyed by these enemies. Our great enemies are subjected to the will of the one who died to save us, and he will save us. He will not let his work of substitution or subjection be done in vain.Does Baptism Save?Now sandwiched between these two great truths about Christ (substitution for sinners and subjection of enemies) are the words about baptism. I preached on this text September 25, 1994. So I send you to the file cabinet if you want more, but I only have time here to go straight to the point at issue, namely, the meaning of baptism. In verse 19, Peter reminds the readers that, in the spirit, Jesus had gone to preach to the people in Noah’s day, whose spirits are now in prison awaiting judgment. (I don’t take the position that verse 19 refers to Jesus’ preaching in hell between Good Friday and Easter.) But there was tremendous evil and hardness in Noah’s day and only eight people enter the ark for salvation from the judgment through water.Now Peter sees a comparison between the waters of the flood and the waters of baptism. Verse 21 is the key verse: And corresponding to that [the water of the flood], baptism now saves you not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now there are some denominations that love this verse because it seems at first to support the view called baptismal regeneration. That is, baptism does something to the candidate: it saves by bringing about new birth. So, for example, one of the baptismal liturgies for infants says, Seeing now, dearly beloved brethren, that this child is regenerate, and grafted into the body of Christ’s Church, let us give thanks. Now the problem with this is that Peter seems very aware that his words are open to dangerous misuse. This is why, as soon as they are out of his mouth, as it were, he qualifies them lest we take them the wrong way. In verse 21 he does say, Baptism now saves you that sounds like the water has a saving effect in and of itself apart from faith. He knows that is what it sounds like and so he adds immediately, Not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Or your version might have: the pledge of a good conscience toward God ).But the point seems to be this: When I speak of baptism saving, Peter says, I don’t mean that the water, immersing the body and cleansing the flesh, is of any saving effect; what I mean is that, insofar as baptism is an appeal to God for a good conscience, (or is a pledge of a good conscience toward God ), it saves. Paul said in Romans 10:13, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord everyone who appeals to the Lord will be saved. Paul does not mean that faith alone fails to save. He means that faith calls on God. That’s what faith does. Now Peter is saying, Baptism is the God-ordained, symbolic expression of that call to God. It is an appeal to God either in the form of repentance or in the form of commitment.What is Baptism?Now this is fundamentally important in our understanding of what baptism is in the New Testament. James Dunn is right I think when he says that 1 Peter 3:21 is the nearest approach to a definition of baptism that the New Testament affords (Baptism in the Holy Spirit, p. 219). What is baptism? Baptism is a symbolic expression of the heart’s appeal to God. Baptism is a calling on God. It is a way of saying to God with our whole body, I trust you to take me into Christ like Noah was taken into the ark, and to make Jesus the substitute for my sins and to bring me through these waters of death and judgment into new and everlasting life through the resurrection of Jesus my Lord. This is what God is calling you to do. You do not save yourself. God saves you through the work of Christ. But you receive that salvation through calling on the name of the Lord, by trusting him. And it is God’s will all over the world and in every culture no matter how simple or how sophisticated that this appeal to God be expressed in baptism. Lord, I am entering the ark of Christ! Save me as I pass through the waters of death! Amen.
Ryan i AGREE
Thank you, thank you, thank you…Both the lesson and the study methods are excellent. We are blessed
Thank you my friend you are a major blessing.
It is my belief (you must aawyls check out these things for yourself by asking the Holy Spirit to teach you and reading The Bible) that we as humans never stop sinning for several reasons. One we are in a mortal body with needs making it almost impossible sometimes not to sin, though God does promise us comfort and help in these situations and a way to avoid it also that the creation itself is fallen and not run by him but by powerful forces that humans are not able to overcome without close walking with God. So my answer is that since none of us is aawyls perfectly walking with God it stands to reason that we will carry on sinning but that over time of we seek him we will sin less and become more like him. It’s pretty impossible to stop sinning of our own doing apart from God so I suggest you recognize your sin repent then go all out to seek his revelations of himself through creation and other areas, and guidance and then you will have a change of heart and no longer desire to sin but to please him. Rather than try and fight the battle to stop sinning’ on your own.
Thank you! Jesus!
Thank you Ron for sharing again
Thank you sir for your kindness. Be blessed in the Lord always.
I have been searching in my spirit for the truth of God’s word. Eventhough I am the wife of a pastor, I was becoming anti whatever the preachers said. I started feeling this wasy because I read about the power of God in his word but I sure didn’t see it in our church. all I saw was just words and people living any kind of way. I stumbed on your blog one night while crying out to God to teach me his ways. I told him that I wanted the kind of faith that would please him. That night I began to study about real faith. I could not stop until I read it all. I got you new blog and read it. I know it is from God and I thank you. please pray for me as I wait to be endued with power from on high. I want to help young people come out of darkness but i need the power of God.
Agapegeek, you’re on a roll again!!! Thank for obeying the Holy Spirit in presenting this to us! I’m going to love this series as well. I have a question in Luke 1:15 it says this about John the Baptist: “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.” How could he have been filled with the Holy Spirit in the womb prior to Salvation? Looking for some clarity on this verse, this scripture has always intrigued me.
Thank you sir for your comment and question. That was actually a very excellent question and one that I should have anticipated. I actually had to reword some of my phrasing in this lesson to account for that truth. I will definintely address this question in the next lesson. Thank you so much for your contributions.
a positive reaction from this reader too. i await eagerly the next part
Thank you very much, I greatly appreciate your kind words.
Awesome!!! Yes, please do another lesson. We need this. Not offended at all, certainly learned lots of good stuff.
I like your techniques and study methods too. This is a big help.
Thank you for your encouragement I do so appreciate them. I will plan to do mopre soon.
You are really a blessing to this generation. I pray the Lord reveals more of himself to you. I have been reading from your website since morning. May the Lord bless you abundantly.