The Baptism in the Holy Ghost (Sermon)
By John G. Lake
Beloved friends, it is indeed a grief to me today that I am unable to address you in Dutch, knowing that I must consume more time in using an interpreter. A disappointment that came recently was the discovery on looking into my son's schoolwork to find they were not studying, as a specialty, the Dutch language. Upon inquiry, I found they had been advised not to do so. In a country like this where such a great amount of the people use Dutch, I feel this policy in an educational institution is a great mistake.
The baptism of the Holy Ghost is a most difficult subject to discuss with any degree of intelligence, for though we may not care to admit it, the fact remains that the density of ignorance among people and the ministry on this subject is appalling. To view this subject with any degree of intelligence we must view it from the standpoint of progressive revelation. Like Christian baptism, the operation of the Holy Ghost must be seen in its various stages of revelation. Otherwise, we shall be unable to distinguish between the operation of the Spirit in the Old Testament dispensations and the baptism of the Holy Ghost in the New Testament.
As we approach even the threshold of this subject it seems as if the Spirit of God comes close to us. A certain awe of God comes over the soul. And it is my earnest wish that no levity, satire, or sarcasm be permitted to enter into this discussion, as such things would be grieving to the tender Spirit of God.
As this morning, when we viewed the evolution of baptism through its various stages of development, so this afternoon we must view the revelation of God to man.
In the beginning of this revelation, after the deluge, it seems as if God was approaching man from a great distance, so far had sin removed man from his original union with God at the time of his creation.
God seems to reveal Himself to man as rapidly as man, by progressive stages of development, is prepared to receive the revelation. Consequently, we see that, as baptism was a further revelation of God's purpose in purifying the heart from sin than was the original ceremony of circumcision. So the baptism of the Holy Ghost is a greater revelation of God than was the manifestations of the Spirit in the Patriarchal or Mosaic dispensations.
Three distinct dispensations of God are clearly seen. Each with an ever-deepening manifestation of God to man. A following dispensation of God never destroys a foregoing one. On the contrary, it conserves its spirit and broadens its scope in a deeper revelation of God. This is plainly seen in looking at the Patriarchal, Mosaic, and Christian dispensations.
In the Patriarchal dispensation we see God appearing to man at long intervals. Abraham furnishes the best example, for to him, God appeared at long intervals of twenty and forty years apart, so with the other Patriarchs.
Under the Mosaic dispensation there is a deeper and clearer manifestation of God. God was ever present in the pillar of cloud and in the pillar of fire. He was present also in the tabernacle where the Shekinah of glory overshadowed the mercy seat. This is a continuous, abiding revelation of God. It was God with man, not to man as was the Patriarchal dispensation, but with man - leading, guiding, directing, forgiving, sanctifying, abiding with man.
But the revelation of God under the Christian dispensation is a much deeper and thicker revelation of God than this. It is God in man, for the baptism of the Holy Ghost is the actual incoming of the real Spirit of God to live in man. This, then, brings us to where we can see the purpose of God in revealing Himself to man by progressive stages of revelation of Himself, as man, by progressive stages through repentance and faith, is purified, not alone forgiven for his transgressions, but cleansed from the nature of sin within that causes him to transgress.
This cleansing from inbred sin - the nature of sin, the carnal mind, the old man, the man of sin, etc. - is the actual taking out of our breast the desire for sin. All correspondence with sin in us is severed, and the carnal life is laid a sacrifice on the altar of Christ in glad surrender by us. This inner heart-cleansing that John and the disciples of Jesus demanded before they would baptize a man is the necessary preparation for baptism of the Holy Ghost. A holy God must have a holy dwelling place. O! wondrous salvation, wondrous Christ, wondrous atonement. Man born in sin, shapen in iniquity, forgiven, cleansed, purified outside and inside by the blood of Jesus, and made the habitation (dwelling place) of God.
It was that man, once created in the likeness of God, should again become the dwelling place of God, that the atonement of the blood of Christ was provided.
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. - Galatians 3:13-14
This reveals to us God's purpose in our salvation. We must be prepared by the blood of Jesus Christ to become the habitation of God. "In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2: 22).
Again, in First Corinthians 6:19 we see Paul in astonishment says, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?" Let us now see where we are at and we will better understand how to go on.
0, the density of our ignorance on this subject. See, the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of God. His purpose is to dwell in man after man's perfect cleansing from sin through the blood of Jesus. His coming was definite, just as definite as was the advent of Christ. When Jesus was born, His birth was proclaimed by angel voices and chanted by a multitude of the heavenly host praising God. (See Luke 2:9,13-14.) Equally so was the Holy Spirit's advent attested by His bodily form as a dove (Luke 3:22). And by the sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind and by the cloven tongues of fire upon each of them (Acts 2:2-3).
Heavenly dove, tempest roar, and tongues of fire crowning the :eared and twenty were as convincing as the guiding star and midnight shout of angel hosts. The coming of the Holy Ghost upon the hundred and twenty is found in Acts 2. At the Last Supper, when Jesus is addressed the disciples He said to them,
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart,I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. - John 16:7-8
As the disciples were together at Jerusalem after the resurrection, when the two who had walked with Him to Emmaus were conversing with the eleven disciples, Jesus Himself stood in their midst and saith unto them, "Peace be unto you." They were affrighted, believing they had seen a spirit. Jesus addressed them and said unto them, “and, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. (See Luke 24:36-37,49.) Then in Acts, first chapter, we find the one hundred and twenty tarried in prayer in the upper room, thus ten days between the crucifixion of Jesus and Pentecost is fifty-three days.
There was a crucifixion day. It was necessary. And now we, the children of God, must be crucified with Christ and freed from sin. Our man nailed to the cross, we die to sin - a real act,a genuine experience. It's done so we are made partakers in Christ's death, but there was a resurrection day. He arose. He's a living Christ, not a dead one. He lives. He lives. And by our resurrection into our new life we leave the old sin life and the old man buried in baptism (Romans 6) and are made partakers of His new resurrection life. The life of power, the exercise of the power of God is made possible to us.
But Jesus having now elevated us into His own resurrection life by actual spiritual experience, there comes His ascension. It is just as necessary as the crucifixion or resurrection. Jesus ascends to heaven and sits triumphant at the right hand of the Father and, according to His promise, sends upon us the Holy Ghost. This experience is personal as well as dispensational, and it is by the Spirit of God. The Holy Ghost descending upon us, entering into us for the baptism of the Holy Ghost is the Holy God, the Spirit of Jesus, taking possession of our personality, living in us, moving us, controlling us. We become partakers in His glorified life, the life of Christ in glory. So with the hundred and twenty (see Acts 2:2-4).
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind. (Suppose we heard it now. What would this audience think?)
And it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Not as they liked, not when they liked. They spake as the Spirit gave them utterance. It was the Spirit that spoke in other tongues. What Spirit? The Holy Ghost who had come into them, who controlled them, who spoke through them. Listen! Speaking in tongues is the voice of God. Do you hear? God's voice. They spake as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now we have advanced to where we can understand God's manifestations. Not God witnessing to man, not God with man, but God in man. The Holy Ghost in man. They spake as the Spirit gave them utterance.
(Editor's note: At this point the Spirit of God fell on Brother Lake, causing him to speak in tongues in an unknown language. The audience was asked to bow their heads in silent prayer and pray for the interpretation of the words spoken in the tongue. As they prayed the interpretation was given as follows.)
Christ is at once the spotless descent of God into man, and the sinless ascent of man into God, and the Holy Spirit is the agent by which it is accomplished. Bless God. He is the Christ, the Son of God. His atonement is a real atonement. It cleanses from all sin. Man again becomes the dwelling place of God. Let us now see one of the most miraculous chapters in all the Word of God, Acts, chapter 10. A man, Cornelius, is praying. He is a Gentile centurion. An angel appears. The angel speaks to Cornelius. The angel says, "Send to Joppa for Peter."' Peter is a Jew. He don't like Gentiles. Salvation is only supposed by him to be for Jews. God has to teach him something. How does God do it?
Peter goes up on the housetop to pray, and as he prays, he is in a trance. Think of it - a trance. He falls in a trance. Suppose I was to fall on the floor in a trance. Nine-tenths of this audience would be frightened to death. They would instantly declare that my opponent, Brother Du Toit, had hypnotized me. Why? Because of the ignorance among men of how the Spirit of God operates. But listen. Listen! As he lays on the roof in a trance, he sees a vision. A sheet let down from heaven caught by the four corners full of all manner of beasts and crawling things and a voice - what voice? - the Lord's voice, said, -Rise, Peter; kill, and eat."'
But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.'
That was the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Ghost, speaking. Peter obeyed. He went with the messengers and see the result: As he spake the Word, the Holy Ghost fell on all of them that heard the Word. And they of the circumcision that believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. How did they know? For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.' Then answereth Peter:
Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?' And so it all ended in a glorious baptism service in water of all who had already been baptized in the Holy Ghost.
Now let us see the twenty-second chapter of Acts. This again will teach us the manner in which the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, operates. Paul is in the hands of a mob. That wasn't dignified was it? He is standing on the stairs and the chief captain gives him the privilege of addressing the mob. He tells them who he is, where he was born, of his education, his religious training, etc. But above all, of his conversion from sin and his becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ.
A party of horsemen is riding to Damascus, officers of the law. Paul holds a commission to arrest all who call on the name of Jesus. Suddenly there shined round them a light from heaven above, like the brightness of the sun, and in Acts the twenty-sixth chapter he says, "When we were all fallen to the earth."' Think of it. The whole party fallen to the earth, and while he lay on the road, "And heard a voice saying unto me," and saying in the Hebrew tongue, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?"
Who is "me?" Who is speaking?
And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said..., I am Jesus of Nazareth whom thou persecutest. And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, (get up off the road) and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus."
In order to get the force of this scripture we must compare carefully the following chapters, for in each of them a portion of this wonderful incident is related. And only a careful study of all three will give us an understanding of the entire incident and the secret not only of Paul's conversion, but the secret of his wonderful ministry and of his knowledge of spiritual things. We must find out where he received his knowledge of the Gospel. Did he learn it from others? Was he taught it? How, then, did he get it? He got it by trances, by visions, by revelation from God. It was not communication to his brains. It was revealed to his heart. Compare now Acts 9:1-31 with Acts the twenty- second chapter and Acts the twenty-sixth chapter. Read also Galatians 11-12. In fact, read both the first and second chapters of Galatians.
Acts 22:12, Paul tells of Ananias coming to see him. But how did Anianias know Paul was there? See now Acts 9: 10-19:
And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus.
Now let us see that as we would say it today. The Lord said, "Ananias, go down into Straight Street to the home of Judas. Ask for a man named Saul of Tarsus, for behold he prayeth." And now the Spirit tells him what Paul had seen.
And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
And Ananias now talks with the Lord. Do you know anything of such communion or talks with God? If not, get the baptism of the Holy Ghost like the early Christians, and you will see as we do the operation of the Lord upon both saint and sinner by the Holy Ghost. Men say to us, "Where do you men get your insight into the Word of God?" We get it just where Paul and Peter got it, from God by the Holy Ghost. (Galatians 1:11-12.)
Beloved, don't read God's Word as I have asked you to do, but read t on your knees. Ask God by His Spirit to open it to your understanding. Read the Word, read it with open hearts. It is a lamp unto our feet, a light unto our path.' Ananias went as the Lord directed him and found Paul, and Paul was healed of his blindness and was - baptized in the Holy Ghost and also baptized in water and spoke in tongues more than ye all. (See 1 Corinthians 1:4-18.)
Now see again Acts 22:14. Ananias is speaking to Paul,
And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One. Did you notice that? "See that just One."
And shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thoushalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard."'
Say, what about the people who say, "Don't tell these things to anyone?"
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."You see, as with Peter at Cornelius' house, all this work of the Spirit, indeed in salvation and baptism, how God through Ananias promised Paul that thou shouldest know His will and see that Just One and hear the voice of His mouth. Now when did that come to pass? Why, three years after when Paul returned to Jerusalem. (See Galatians 1: 15-24.)
After three years Paul came to Jerusalem.
And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance.
- Acts 22:17
Think of it: The intellectual, wonderful Paul, the master theologian of the ages, the orator of orators, the logician of logicians - in a trance. Bless God for that trance. It was the fulfillment of what Ananias had said to him three years before.
And saw him (Jesus) saying unto me, Make haste, and get e quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me (Jesus).'
Now what is a trance? A trance is the Spirit taking predominance over the mind and body, and for the time being, the control of the individual is by the Spirit. But our ignorance of the operations of God is such that every minister of religion has been known to say it is the devil.
Now let us see where Paul got his commission to preach and instructions about what he was to preach and what was his condition and attitude when Jesus gave him his commission. (See Acts 26:16-18.) He was lying on the road on his way to Damascus. Now if we were to see someone lying on the road talking to an invisible somebody, no doubt in our ignorance we would send for an ambulance or for the police.
But this is where the glorified Christ spoke to Paul and gave definite instructions about what he should preach, and the purpose of his preaching was to be the salvation - not the entertainment- of others.
But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I (Jesus) have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee.- Acts 26:16(Jesus promises to appear to Paul again and that was fulfilled while he in a trance in the temple three years later.) Now are the objectives of his preaching:
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified (present experience) by faith that is in me (Jesus). Whereupon, 0 king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision. - Acts 26:18-19From this we see and are able to understand the operations of God by His Spirit. And now, beloved, is the Holy Ghost in the church today? Verily yes. But you say, "We do not see Him work in this way. Why?" It is because you say, "All these things were for the apostolic days." They were not. Take the Word of God and find for one place where the gifts of the Holy Ghost were withdrawn. You can't. But let me tell you. I have preached in four different countries and over and over in order to demonstrate the ignorance of people and ministers concerning the Word of God have said, "Name the nine gifts of the Holy Ghost." And I never found a minister who could, but one, and today you can imagine how pleased I was to hear Brother Du Toit read them. It shows people are beginning to read and think on these lines.
These nine gifts of the Holy Ghost are found in First Corinthians 12:8-19.
For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom (that's gift 1); to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit (that's gift 2); to another faith by the same Spirit, to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit (gift 3).... to another discerning of spirits (gift 4); to another divers (different) kinds of tongues (languages - not by acquirement, but by the Spirit).
0, I praise God for the discovery of the gifts of the Holy Ghost and especially the gift of healing. May we all learn to know Christ, not alone as our Savior, but as our Sanctifier and Healer too.
Now I will go over these gifts on my fingers. First, wisdom; second, knowledge; third, faith; fourth, healing; fifth, miracles; sixth, prophecy; seventh, discerning of spirits; eighth, divers kinds of tongues; ninth, the interpretation of tongues.
Beloved, we have seen that the Holy Ghost came into the Church at Pentecost and the gifts are in the Holy Ghost. Consequently, if the Holy Ghost is in the Church, the gifts are too. But for lack of faith we do not see them exercised in the ordinary church. Now, we stand for the obtaining of the Holy Ghost through our personal baptism in the Holy Ghost and the enduement of the Holy Ghost power as promised by Jesus, yea, commanded by Him. "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you" (Acts 1:8).
People ask, "What is tongues?" Tongues is the voice or operation of the Spirit of God. In Acts 2:4 they, the one hundred and twenty, spoke in tongues - the external evidence of the Spirit of God within. When the Holy Ghost came in, He spoke again in Acts 10:44-48. When the Holy Ghost fell on the Gentiles, Peter demanded the right to baptize them in water, saying, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
How did they know they had been baptized in the Holy Ghost? See verse forty-six: "For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God." Tongues was, then, the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost by which Peter claimed the right to baptize them in water. Again in Acts 19:1-7, Paul at Ephesus met twelve men whom John had baptized unto repentance, but now Paul rebaptized them by Christian baptism. And in verse five we read,
When they heard this, they were baptized (water baptism) in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied."
Tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not.
- 1 Corinthians 14:22
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