SOME FACTS ABOUT The day of PENTECOST
THERE is always a danger of reading into the Old Testament and the four Gospels some of the facts that are only revealed in the Epistles. There is a danger of attributing to the disciples before the Day of Pentecost, much that is not true. Let me make this statement first and then we will prove it.
No one who walked with Jesus during His three and one-half years of public ministry was Born Again, was a New Creation, or had Eternal Life.No one under the First Covenant had Eternal Life until the Day of Pentecost. But someone says, didn’t the disciples believe in Jesus? Yes, but not as their Substitute, not as their Savior who was going to die and rise again from the dead. They believed in Him as the Son of God, as a Great Prophet, as the One who was going to redeem them from the Roman yoke and establish again a Jewish nation. They knew nothing of His Substitutionary work. In John 11:25-27 we read the story of Martha and Jesus’ conversation about the dead Lazarus.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I have believed that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, even he that cometh into the world.” She did not believe in Him as a Savior. She did not believe in His Redemption. They knew nothing of His Redemptive work. He could not make it clear to them. Paul tells us why in Cor. 2:14: “Now the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God ; for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually understood.”
They did not know that He was going to rise from the dead, and even after He arose they did not believe it. You remember in Luke 24:11 he said, “And these words appeared in their sight as idle talk ; and they disbelieved them. They knew nothing of the New Creation.
True, Jesus had told Nicodemus “Ye must be born again,” but he didn’t understand it. He said, “How can a man be born again when he is old?” They knew nothing about receiving Eternal Life and its effect upon man.True, Jesus said, “I am come that ye may have life, and have it abundantly.” And “He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life.” (John 5:24.) That was prophecy on the part of Jesus. They knew nothing about Righteousness, of the ability to stand in the Father’s presence without condemnation. They knew nothing of fellowship with the Father and with Jesus Christ.
They had never had fellowship with the Master, any more than an unsaved man today can have fellowship with a child of God. They knew nothing of Sonship or of the Family of God. They were Jews under Law; servants, nothing more. They knew nothing of the Father in Reality. He was just God to them. They knew nothing of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. They had heard Jesus’ teaching but they did not grasp it. They knew nothing of the new kind of Love that Jesus brought. It didn’t govern their lives or touch them and it could not until they were Recreated.
They didn’t understand what John the Baptist meant when he said, “There is one standing by the side of me, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. He shall baptize (immerse) you in the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matt. 3:11.) If you will compare that with 1 Cor. 12:13. you will know what being baptized in the Holy Spirit means. The term is used incorrectly by most all believers today. “For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit.”
This has reference to the New Birth, the New Creation. Jesus told them, “For John indeed baptized (immersed) with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days hence.” (Acts 1 :5.) You know that when one is baptized he is put into the water, he is not filled with the water. When he is baptized in the Holy Spirit, he is not filled with the Holy Spirit. Now read Acts 2:1-4, “When the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one place. “And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. “And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them.
“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” The Holy Spirit filled that upper room where they were sitting, and they were all immersed in the Holy Spirit. In other words, they were all Recreated, received Eternal Life. The second thing that happened-“there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder like as of fire, and sat upon each one of them.”
Those tongues of fire showed that the Gospel was going to be preached by men with tongues of fire, a message that could not be withstood. Stephen was the first man who paid the penalty of having a tongue of fire. They stoned him to death. The third thing that happened in that upper room-“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” You understand they could not receive the Holy spirit until they were Recreated. The third thing that happened on that wonderful day was the Spirit entering their bodies. “Jesus said He is with you, but He shall be in you.” They did not understand Him, but now the reality of the thing has come. They have been recreated. They have received the nature and the life of God. Now the Spirit is going to take them over.
He is going to use their vocal chords to speak His own message. Then the fourth amazing thing took place. “They began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” It is very important that we realize this: that the disciples are entering into things of which they had no conception whatever. You can understand now what is meant when Jesus said that they were to be baptized in the Spirit. That immersion had meant their receiving Eternal Life, their union with Deity. It meant that the body of Christ had been brought into being. The thing we call the Ecclesia, the Church, had now become areal thing in the world.
God’s sons and daughters were in that upper room where only servants had been a few hours before. The words, “Baptize in the Spirit,” were never used after the day of Pentecost in any place but in Acts 11 :15-18. This is the story of the Gentiles receiving Christ as Savior. Peter was down in Joppa. There a centurion sent for him to come and tell him about the Master. And while Peter was preaching, the Holy Spirit fell on them that heard the Word. It was almost identical with the thing that happened on The Day of Pentecost. Peter returned to Jerusalem and told the Apostles what had happened, and how that the Gentiles had had the same experience as they had in the upper room.”And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them even as on us at the beginning. And I remember the word of the Lord, how he said, `John indeed baptized in water, but you shall be bap¬tized in the Holy Spirit.”
“If then God gave unto them the like gift as He gave unto us when we (first) believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God.” You notice the word, “first,” in several of our best liberal translations. What does it mean? The Disciples never believed on Jesus until the Day of Pen¬tecost. What faith they had was simply sense knowledge faith. They could only believe in the things they could see and hear and feel. Now notice this fact : The expression, “Have you received your baptism?” is unscriptural when you are talking about the Holy Spirit, for in Acts 8:14-17 is the story of Samaria receiving Christ: of Philip baptizing them and then of the Apostles coming down from Jerusalem and laying hands upon them and they received the Holy Spirit.”
And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus, and found certain disciples: and he said unto them, `Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed?’ And they said unto him, `Nay, we did not so much as hear whether the Holy Spirit was given.'”And he said, `Into what then were ye baptized ?’ And they said, `Into John’s baptism.'”
And Paul said, `John baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on him that should come after him, that is, on Jesus.’ And when they heard this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. “And they were in all about twelve men.” (Acts 19:1-7.) Understand this fact, that nowhere in the Pauline Epistles is that expression used in the way it is used by Christians today.
We should never ask a person, “Have you received your bap¬tism ? “Have you received your experience according to Acts 2:1-4?” When we do, we betray our lack of knowledge of the Word. From the Book of Acts it is clear that a man receives Eternal Life before he can receive the Holy Spirit as an indwelling presence.
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