Jesus’ View of Sin and Hell


Sin and repentance. Sin is the basic problem of humanity, not ‘brokenness’. And the remedy is repentance and forgiveness.

Matthew 5:29–30

9 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Matthew 5:27–28

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Matthew 5:21–22

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

Matthew 7:11

11If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him.

Matthew 26:26-28

26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Mark 2:3–12 (Matthew 9:2–7, Luke 5:20–25)

3And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7”Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” – he said to the paralytic – 11”I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this

Mark 2:17 (Matthew 9:12–13)

17And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Mark 7:20–22 (Matthew 15:18–20)

20 “And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Mark 9:42–48 (Matthew 18:5–9)

42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’”

Luke 5:29–32

29And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. 30And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Luke 13:1–5

1 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Luke 15:7

7 “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

Luke 15:10

10 “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Luke 17:1–4 (Matthew 18:5–9)

1 And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. 3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

Luke 18:9–14

9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Eternal Punishment (Hell)

Matthew 5:29–30

29 “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”

Matthew 7:21–23

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Matthew 8:10–12

10When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. 11I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Matthew 10:28

28And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 11:20–24

20 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”

Matthew 12:41–42

41 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.

Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43

24He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

36Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

Matthew 13:47–50

47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 49So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Matthew 18:8–9

8 And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

Matthew 23:33

33 “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?”

Matthew 25:31–46

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life

Mark 8:36 (Matthew 16:26)

36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

Mark 9:42–48

42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48’where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’

Luke 9:25–26

25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Luke 10:13–15

13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 15And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.”

Luke 11:31–32

31 “The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.”

Luke 12:4–5

4 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!

Luke 13:22–28

22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Luke 16:19–31

19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house – 28 for I have five brothers – so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”


Written 2003     

This Bible study came to be, not through my forcing it, but rather through God forcing it, almost against my will.  For more than a year, I have taught interested people on the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and for more than a year I have been told I should type everything down.  It wasn’t until I had taught this to students at Hope College, however, that I felt it necessary.  

     My personal story with the baptism in the Holy Spirit goes as follows:  Sometime in October of my junior year of high school, Jesus became real to me.  No longer was it my parents’ faith, and no longer was church a building, but I realized that the past, present, and future all seem to have a gaping hole that only Jesus fits.  He was the only thing that made perfect sense.  I started sharing Jesus with friends, and argued His existence although I knew almost zero facts.  I strongly believe God honored this faith as I was sent to the “wilderness”, so to speak, for about a year, just studying anything about Jesus, so that I could come back and show my friends that He is the Truth.  After studying more and more and more, I realized this was something bigger than I had any idea I was getting into.  I knew without a doubt that Jesus is the living God, but I still felt like something was incomplete with this picture.  If Jesus truly resurrected, and was living inside of me, it seemed like there would be at least something a little more powerful in my life, than before I realized He is the Truth.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, my character turned 180-degrees, and people could see that difference, and I knew it was God, but God was so much more powerful and bigger in my mind than He seemed to be acting in my life.

It wasn’t until early in my senior year of High School, that I realized what that missing thing was.  Sitting at Big John’s Steak House with the man who discipled me a lot during this “wilderness” time of preparation, he started telling me about miracles and powerful things that he has seen or even done.  The whole time I was listening, I was thinking, “this is it…this is what I knew should be there”.  After he had gone through a lot of his stories, I wanted to get that stuff right there, although God had different plans.

     About 4 months later, I finally did receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.  When it happened, God spoke in tongues, prophesied, and healed through me, but the biggest change was my witness for Christ.  After less than a month, I went from being someone who only wanted to talk to a small group of people, to not being able to shut up to anyone regarding Jesus Christ.  In my classes at the public High School I attended, I spoke with boldness about the reality of Christ, and within that half a year, people were becoming believers, and many others in the school started thinking seriously about Jesus.  

         The great British preacher, Steven Olford, relays an experience he shared with Billy Graham concerning the filling of the Holy Spirit, as he writes: “I gave him [Graham] my testimony of how God completely turned my life inside out, an experience of the Holy Spirit in His fullness and anointing.  As I talked, and I can see him now, those marvelous eyes glistened with tears, and he said, ‘Steven I see it, that’s what I want, that’s what I need in my life.’”  Olford suggested that they pray this through, and both men fell to their knees [Pastor Don Williams’s words].  “I can still hear Billy pouring out his heart in a prayer of total dedication to the Lord…Finally he said, ‘my heart is so flooded with the Holy Spirit,’ and we went from praying to praising.  We were laughing and praising God and he was walking back and forth across the room crying out, ‘I have it, I’m filled.  This is the turning point in my life.’  And he was a new man.” 

     I urge everyone to “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).  Pray to God for His truth and wisdom when going over this Bible study, and also talk to parents and pastors for more advice.  Above all, may you use the Bible as the final authority on everything!

—  Brian Holda (2003)


“…He [Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit…” – John the Baptist (Matt. 3:11, see also Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33)

“…wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He [Jesus] said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” – Jesus (Acts 1:4,5)

1.  What does the Father give? The Father gives you natural abilities.  Just as non-believers can be talented at singing, dancing, sports, etc., God the Father gives natural abilities to believers and non-believers alike (1 Corinthians 12:6).

2.  What does Jesus give you? John 3:5; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 12:3; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Galatians 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14; 1 John 3:24; 4:2, 13 make it clear that you receive the Holy Spirit of promise when you believe on Christ.  This gift is only available to those who come to Jesus.

3.  What does this do to you? Belief in Christ gives you the ministry gifts of Ephesians 4:11, yields the fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22, and above all, promises your salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14).  “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.  But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14)

4.  What does the Holy Spirit give you? Although you receive the Holy Spirit upon belief in Jesus, there are still more gifts available to those who want them (or are willing to receive them).  1 Corinthians 12:8-10 lists these gifts.  (also, 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 give a microcosm of the different gifts from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).  “’He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’  But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:38, 39)

5.  Can you prove that these gifts of power given by the Holy Spirit are separate from what happens when you receive the Holy Spirit upon conversion?

  •     Matthew 1:18, 23 show that Jesus was the Son of God the moment He was conceived (more than 30 years before his baptism) and was conceived by the Holy Spirit, therefore, He had the Holy Spirit in Him also when He was conceived.

However, Matthew 3:13-15 shows that Jesus still needed to be baptized in water, although He was already the Son of God.

Beyond that, Matthew 3:16, 17 shows that the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus after His baptism.  First He became God Incarnate at conception and had the Holy Spirit, then He was baptized, then He received the filling of the Holy Spirit.  Do we find this order of 3 events elsewhere in Scripture…?

  • Yes we do!  Acts 2:38 records Peter’s admonition to all those believers of what they should do after believing (see v. 37) paralleling exactly with Jesus’ order of events: “(1) Repent (Since Jesus was without sin, this first act is being born the Son of God) (2) and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; (3) and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  The Greek word used for receive is lambano which suggests taking.  It is not a passive verb; receiving is an action one must take.
  • Even more so, 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 gives another type of the 3-part actions Christians should follow.  First, verses 6 and 11 clearly tell us that the events in the passage are an example for us.  Do we see the 3-part system here?  Yes!  The Hebrews left Egypt [symbolizing sin: Rev. 11:8] by the blood of the Passover lamb [symbolizing Jesus’ atoning blood].  As verses 6 and 11 tell us, “these things became our examples”, and so this clearly is the act of repentance.  Later, they [the Israelites] passed through the sea, being baptized into Moses in the sea (verses 1 and 2).  This symbolizes a water baptism.  Before this, they were baptized in the cloud (verses 1 and 2).  Does the cloud mentioned represent the Holy Spirit?  

The Hebrew word used for Spirit is ruah and the Greek word is pneuma.  It properly means wind or breath, and would be visualized perfectly by a cloud.  Exodus 13:21, 22 shows that God was the cloud…1 John 5:7 says: “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the HOLY SPIRIT; AND THESE THREE ARE ONE.”  Exodus 13:17-21 (specifically v. 21) shows that the cloud led Israel into the wilderness…Luke 4:1 says: “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit…was led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (also, Rom. 8:14 shows that all believers are led by the Holy Spirit).  Exodus 14:17-20 (specifically v. 20) shows that the cloud brought darkness to the Egyptians and light to the Israelites…John 3:17-21; 12:44-46 records Jesus as saying that those who believe on Him (and consequently receive the Holy Spirit) will have light, but those who do not believe (and don’t have the Holy Spirit) are in the darkness.  Exodus 16:10, 11; 19:9; 24:16 show that God spoke through the cloud…John 16:13 says: “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come,” and Acts 10:19; 11:12 show the Holy Spirit as speaking to believers.  Exodus 19:9 shows that the cloud was for people to believe Moses (1 Cor. 10:2 shows that Moses was a type for Christ)…John 15:26 says: “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me,” thus, the Holy Spirit came to testify of Jesus (it was a sign for people to believe Jesus!).  Exodus 33:10 shows that the Israelites saw the cloud and worshiped…John 4:23, 24 says: “ But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is SPIRIT, and those who WORSHIP HIM must worship in spirit and truth.” Therefore, we are to worship the Holy Spirit (who is God).  Exodus 34:5 (see also Ex. 33:19) shows that the Lord’s name was proclaimed by the cloud…1 Cor. 12:3 says: “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can SAY THAT JESUS IS LORD EXCEPT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.”  Exodus 40:34, 35 shows that the cloud covered the tabernacle and God’s glory filled the tabernacle…1 Cor. 6:19 shows that believer’s bodies are temples and we are filled with the Holy Spirit.  Exodus 40:36, 37 shows that Israel was only to go where the cloud dwells…2 Cor. 6:14-18 shows that believers should only fellowship and dwell with other believers (where the Holy Spirit dwells): “And what communion has light with darkness?…Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?”.  Leviticus 16:2 shows that the cloud appeared above the mercy seat…Rom. 3:24-26 shows that Jesus is our mercy seat (the Greek word used in Rom. 3:25 is hilasterion which is the same word the Septuagint uses for the Hebrew word used for mercy seat), and Acts 10:38 shows that Jesus was anointed (or covered) with the Holy Spirit.    Comparing the characteristics of the cloud to the Holy Spirit makes it very clear that the cloud mentioned in 1 Cor. 10:1, 2 must be the Holy Spirit.  Thus, the third action [receiving a filling of the Holy Spirit] finds a type in the Old Testament.  Carefully note 1 Cor. 10:2: “all were baptized into Moses in the cloud AND in the sea.”  There are 2 separate baptisms mentioned, 1 from the Holy Spirit and 1 from water.

  • 1 Corinthians 14:1 says: “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” And 1 Corinthians 12:31 says: “But earnestly desire the best gifts…”  These verses tell us that we are to desire spiritual gifts.  The Greek word used for “desire” in both verses is zeloo and literally means “to be zealous for, to burn with desire, to pursue ardently, to desire eagerly or intensely”, thus, we are to want and ask for His spiritual gifts – God wants us to covet the things of Him, not the things of men.  If these gifts were given upon conversion without us having to ask for them, Paul’s statements to “desire spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy,” and “earnestly desire the best gifts” would be false advice.  Why would we be told to desire something that has been given to us already?  And…how are we supposed to ask for a specific spiritual gift (prophecy) if we’re given the gifts upon conversion without asking for them?
  • Acts 19:2 says: “he [Paul] said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’…”  “It is plain that Paul had been given the impression that these people were disciples of Christ.  Obviously, if they were not Christians at all, there could have been no question of their having received the Holy Spirit, since this is received only through faith in Christ.” (Derek Prince, SFBH).  This one question Paul asks could alone sufficiently prove that there must be some filling of the Holy Spirit that does not automatically happen upon conversion.  As has already been pointed out, we do receive the Holy Spirit when we believe, so why would Paul ask if they’ve received the Holy Spirit when they believed if there is not some separate filling or receiving of the Holy Spirit apart from faith in Jesus.
  • Luke 11:13 says: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” and Matthew 7:11 says: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!”  Both of these verses recount the same story, but the only difference is Luke’s version says “Holy Spirit” and Matthew’s says “good gifts”, this shows that these two words can be used interchangeably, and so, for the gifts of the Holy Spirit (charismata) you have to ask your Father.  Notice: Jesus is talking about a believer who is praying to the Father (he wouldn’t be praying if he wasn’t a believer), showing that we still must ask for the gifts/baptism in the Holy Spirit even if we are believers, and already have the Holy Spirit.

6.  Are there Bible examples of someone receiving the baptism (or filling) in the Holy Spirit after they were a believer, and already had the Holy Spirit dwelling within them?

  • In John 20:22, it says Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit on the disciples, yet in Luke 24:49 He says to tarry in the city of Jerusalem until He sends the Promise of the Father so that the disciples may be endued with power from on high.  Acts 1:4-8 shows that this Promise is the Holy Spirit.  Is this a contradiction by the gospel writers?  Of course not.  The disciples did have the Holy Spirit, just as we receive it upon conversion; however, they were not “cloaked with the power” or “baptized with the Holy Spirit”.  In Acts 2, it shows that Jesus was no liar, and the promise of the power of the Holy Spirit came down upon the disciples at Pentecost in Jerusalem.  
  • Acts 4:23-31 shows a company of believers praying for boldness.  V. 31 says: “…and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”  We can see that these people were believers before they prayed – a prayer for boldness, healing, and signs and wonders through the name of Jesus – and therefore had the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of them, but it wasn’t until after they prayed that they “were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (it is debatable whether or not these believers had already been previously baptized in the Holy Spirit, but either way, it is clear that they were filled [or refilled] as a separate act from believing).
  • Acts 8:4-25 gives another example.  Verses 4-8 show Philip as someone proclaiming Christ.  Verses 9-11 show Simon as a sorcerer who was thought to have Godly power (although he was not a Christian).  Verses 12 and 13 show Simon and the other Samaritans becoming believers after hearing Philip, and then being baptized.  However, verses 14-19 show that the believers in Samaria had not received the baptizing in the Holy Spirit.  The key lies in verse 16, which reads: “For as yet He [the Holy Spirit] had fallen upon none of them.  They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”  The next verse shows that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given (the laying on of hands is not a command for filling someone with the Holy Spirit, although it is a very common practice throughout Scriptures).  Although verse 13 says Simon was a believer in Christ and saw miracles and signs, verses 18 and 19 tell us that Simon offered money only after seeing the power given by the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
  • Acts 9:1-19 gives us a fourth example.  Verses 1-9 record Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus.  It was clear that he had become a believer during these verses, as he calls Jesus “Lord” and obeys Him.  However, in v. 17, Ananias is recorded as laying hands upon Saul to fill him with the Holy Spirit.  Acts 22:16 is the parallel of this account, and also shows Ananias as telling Saul to be baptized in water.  Once again, Saul was a believer and had the Holy Spirit 3 days (v. 9) before he had hands laid on him to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • A fifth example can be found in Acts 19:1-20.  Verse 2 records Paul asking the Ephesians if they received the Holy Spirit when they believed (as stated earlier, this question alone proves that a baptism or filling with the Holy Spirit must be a separate act from believing).  The key text lies in verses 3-6.  In verse 3, the disciples at Ephesus tell Paul that they have only had John’s baptism in water.  Verse 5, however, shows them being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  And verse 6 hammers the point: “And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them….”  Verses 4-6 show us the 3-step action Peter gave.  1.  Repent (v. 4).  2.  Baptize in Jesus’ name (v.5).  3.  Receive the Holy Spirit (v. 6).
  • Another example can be inferred from 2 Timothy 1:6, which says: “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”  No one could say that it was by the laying on of hands that Timothy became a believer (since believing is something of the mind and heart of the individual alone), yet, it was through the laying on of hands (a separate act from believing) that Timothy received a gift (Greek: charisma) of God.  
  • Although not a biblical example, one must ask themselves if the baptism in the Holy Spirit is for believers of today (see #7), and you get it upon conversion, why is it that full churches aren’t having one member operate in any of the gifts?  If it is true, as the Bible seems to indicate, that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a separate act, this would make perfect sense.
  • The problem in America today is that the true gospel message has been skewed by Satan.  The only thing taught is that all you need is Jesus (which is true in terms of eternal life and salvation), but many are not teaching further than this (for instance, many preachers omit that Jesus himself says you need repentance for true belief…Luke 13:3), and Peter’s 3-step plan of what to do after receiving the gospel in Acts 2:38 is ignored.  The believers in Acts 2:37 ask Peter, “What shall we do [next]?”  Too many Christians in America recognize Jesus as the “door” in John 10:9 (“I am the door.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved…”), but do not realize there is more (“…and will go in and out and find pasture.”).  It is true that Jesus is the “door”, but there is lush pasture if we walk even further past the doorway.  The difference between America’s mindset and countries overseas is obvious.  When people overseas see the “Jesus” movie, they do not think of Jesus’ power as a historical thing only occurring 2,000 years ago, but rather think of it as something that could have happened last week, and ask for the power immediately when they believe on Jesus.  In these countries, people are walking on water, the dead are being resurrected, the lame are walking, the deaf are hearing, the mute are speaking, etc., etc., simply because they are asking for more of the things of God.  Believing on Jesus is the greatest thing in the universe, and is all that is necessary for the gifts of eternity, but there truly is even more that God wants to give through belief in His Son (see Luke 11:13).   

7.  Alright, I can see that the filling of the Holy Spirit was a separate act from becoming a believer for the believers of the New Testament, but can you seriously say that it is still available today?

  • Yes!  Acts 2:39 records Peter saying: “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”  Verses 37 and 38 show that Peter, at least in part, is referring to the filling of the Holy Spirit as the “promise” (because v. 37 shows that the men believed), and Acts 1:4 and 5 confirm this.  The specific “promise” Peter talks about, may also encompass people receiving the Holy Spirit when they believe on Jesus.
  • As all of the Old Testament feasts were types for eternal things to come (Passover = Jesus’ crucifixion: 1 Cor. 5:7; Firstfruits = resurrection: 1 Cor. 15:20; etc.), this outpouring of the Holy Spirit was the fulfillment of the feast of Pentecost (Acts 1:5; 2:1, 4).  Leviticus 23:21 says that the feast of Pentecost “shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations”.  The only possibility for it to continue forever is if it is referring to the New Testament fulfillment, and since the New Testament fulfillment is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, this gift could not have ceased.  
  • 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 gives us another Scriptural proof that the gifts are still available today.  V. 8 says: “Love never fails.  But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.”  And then, verses 9 and 10 tell us these gifts will cease “when that which is perfect has come”.  Now, some Bible expositors will say that “that which is perfect” is referring to when the New Testament canon is completed, but this ignores v. 12.  In v. 12, it says, “NOW we see in a mirror, dimly, BUT THEN face to face.  NOW I know in part, BUT THEN I shall know just as I also am known [The knowledge talked about in v.8 must be the Holy Spirit gift of knowledge, because v. 12 shows that when the gifts pass away, we will know fully.  If v.8 was referring to natural knowledge, how could we “know just as I also am known” when knowledge is mentioned in v.8 as passing away?].”  We still see in a mirror dimly and know in part today!  Clearly, “that which is perfect” can only mean when we leave this world or Christ returns, and therefore, the gifts will not cease until that time (if we know in full now, there could be no disagreement on what this passage means!).  Also, James 1:23-25 tells us that the mirror symbolizes the Bible, therefore we still “see in a mirror dimly [read the Bible without full comprehension]”.
  • Along with 1 Corinthians 13:8-12, 1 Corinthians 1:4-8 also reveals these spiritual gifts to be for believers of any age.  “Paul here thanks God on behalf of the Christians at Corinth because they are enriched by God in all spiritual gifts.  In particular Paul specifies the gifts of utterance and of knowledge…Furthermore, Paul indicates that it is the revealed purpose of God that these spiritual gifts continue to operate in the Christian church right up to the return of Christ.” (Prince, SFBH).  Notice vv. 7-8 say: “so that you come short in no gift [charisma], eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  “Both these phrases [vv. 7-8] indicate plainly that the church of Christ at the end of this age will not be considered by God to be complete or blameless unless she is fully equipped with all the supernatural spiritual gifts.” (Prince, SFBH).  1 Cor. 1:7 tells us that we should not come short in any gift while “eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ”.  One must ask why God would include this verse if He later intended on ceasing the nine spiritual gifts.      
  • Romans 6:23 says: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  The Greek word for “gift” is charisma in Rom. 6:23.  This is the same word used for the gifts of the baptism in the Holy Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12.  If the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and the gifts it entails, has ceased, then the gift used in this passage must have ceased also.  Even though this is the only logical conclusion, no one would be foolish enough to say the gift of eternal life has ceased, so why do they say the other gifts have ceased?  
  • As we’ve seen earlier, 1 Corinthians 14:1 tells us: “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”  No one could argue that we are no longer to pursue love, yet those who say the gifts have ceased will unfairly dissect this passage and tell us that we are no longer to ask for spiritual gifts, even though there is nothing in Scripture even relatively close to rescinding the “marching orders” of 1 Cor. 14:1.  There seems to be no justification in saying only part of this advice of Paul’s should be followed today, but not all of it.
  • With chapter after chapter of the New Testament speaking on the gifts of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, how can someone say it was only written for the time?  There are ZERO passages indicating that this was only for the time period; in light of the amount of Scripture regarding this subject, an absence of any indicator that the gifts have ceased must speak very loudly that they have not!  Here’s the test for true Biblical exegesis: if someone living in a distant universe were to read the Bible without knowing anything about our universe, what would they say?  Clearly, they would have no reason for thinking the gifts have ceased, and therefore, we must use this same honest exegesis for ourselves.
  • Personal experiences.  Although the authority of the Bible must come before experience, we still cannot ignore experience.  People have spoken in tongues before they even knew it was in the Bible, people are being miraculously healed, people are resurrecting, demons are being cast out, prophecies are fulfilled, etc., etc.  All of the above cannot be cast away as psychosomatic.

8.  Yes, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is something for believers today, but why should I want it?

  • Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:8 describe the filling of the Holy Spirit as giving you power and Acts 4:31 says it gave the believers boldness.  The boldness with which Peter spoke at Acts 2 to a crowd of thousands, when just 53 days before he denied Jesus to a little girl, is evidence that a change had taken place.  In Acts 8, Simon was so astonished by the power that he saw was given by the baptism in the Holy Spirit that he offered money so that he could have that power also.  From experience, I went from never talking or wanting to talk to people outside my circle of friends, to not being able to shut up about Jesus to believers and non-believers alike.  This power and boldness is the base of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and certainly the reason Jesus gives for his disciples to wait for it.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 gives us a list of specific gifts given as a result of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

v. 8: “for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,”. The word of wisdom is the supernatural knowing of how to do something (i.e. Acts 13:9-12) and the word of knowledge is supernaturally knowing something in the present (Acts 8:29; 21:4).  An example of these would be if Brett knew that Elaine had cancer without anyone telling him, even though she didn’t even know this [word of knowledge], and then he knew that he was the one who was supposed to tell her and was able to tell her in a way that was comforting and encouraging, even though he usually is an idiot when it comes to telling people bad news [word of wisdom].

v. 9: “to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,”.  The gift of faith is supernaturally knowing that you can pray or believe on something that God will do (Acts 20:10).  The gift of healing is simply healing someone through God’s power (Acts 9:33-35; 28:8).  An example of the gift of faith is if Dan was outside when it was storming, and he knew he could pray to calm the storms, obviously he’s not going to pray every time it storms, which is why this instance is evidence of the gift of faith.  An example of the gift of healing would be if Marie prayed over Don for his cancer, and it went away.

v. 10: “to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.”  The gift of miracles is simply the ability to do miracles, those things that defy nature (Acts 9:40-42).  An example of this would be if one turkey fed 500 hungry people.  The gift of prophecy is the ability to allow God to speak through you, many times about future events (Acts 21:11), but more specifically C. Peter Wagner defines prophecy as “the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to receive and communicate an immediate message of God to His people through a divinely anointed utterance.”  1 Cor. 14:3 defines prophecy as something used for “edification and exhortation and comfort to men”.  Although, this definition could also be applied to preaching, it must be noted that the word used in this passage for one who prophesies in the Greek is propheteuo meaning: “to prophesy, to be a prophet, speak forth by divine inspirations, to predict”, and thus, 1 Cor. 14:3 is explicitly for prophecy, not preaching.  An example of prophecy would be if God spoke through Sam and said to Wayne, “My son, I am well pleased with you.  If you release the sin in your life I will bring thousands of people to listen to your teachings.”  The gift of discerning of spirits is the ability to either 1) see spiritual presences (angelic or demonic) or 2) sense whether someone or something is of God or not of God (Acts 16:18).  An example of discernment is if someone sees a demon in a room or if they just know/sense (without actually seeing) there is a demon in a room.  The gift of tongues is the ability to speak in a language without studying it – the language can be an existing language, dead language, or angelic language (1 Cor. 13:1).  An example of this would be if Josh spoke in fluent French without ever studying the language.  The gift of interpretation of tongues is the ability to interpret someone else’s (or your own) tongue into the language that people understand (it’s usually a roundabout way to prophesy, see 1 Cor. 14:13).  An example of this would be if Sandy heard Josh speaking in French, and also never studying the language, she is able to tell Josh what it means in English (for Josh speaks English).

  • All of the gifts mentioned above are given for the edification of the Body of Christ.  1 Cor. 12:12-20 shows that the “body is not one member but many.”  These gifts are given for building up your brothers and sisters.  1 Cor. 12:28 shows that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are appointed for the church (specifically it shows the gifts of miracles, healings, and tongues). 
  • The baptism in the Holy Spirit is used for witnessing.  Rom. 15:18-19 says that “by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit” the Gentiles were led to obey God.  1 Cor. 2:1-5 (specifically vv. 4-5) records Paul saying, “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”  Also, Hebrews 2:3-4 says: “how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will.”  This passage gives 3 reasons to heed the gospel message: 1) Jesus proclaimed it first, 2) Other eyewitnesses confirmed what Jesus proclaimed, 3) “Signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit” bear witness to the gospel.  All these passages show very plainly that the power and signs/miracles of the Holy Spirit are to be used for witnessing to others.   
  • The advantages to being filled with the Holy Spirit include a new boldness, power, nine supernatural gifts of power to build up the body of Christ through ministry (these can be seen throughout the book of Acts), and witnessing to others.  In no ways (as we saw earlier) do you need these gifts to be a believer, and also, Jesus tells us that these gifts do not promise your salvation.  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matt. 7:22-24).  A good analogy for the difference between being a Christian baptized in the Holy Spirit and being one who is not is this: If you were in a war, the Christian without the baptism in the Holy Spirit is equipped with a rifle, but the one with the baptism is equipped with a tank.  The endless capabilities of what an army can accomplish with the power of tanks, is obvious, although, this does prompt my next question…

9.  Alright, I can see definite advantages to having the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but there also seems potential for it to be dangerous.  Isn’t there a lot of power that humans could get carried away with, losing sight of the goal for receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit (that being to build up the Body of Christ)?

  • Yes there is a lot of power, and it has the potential for people to become greedy for their own personal excess, but  Paul realized this fully as he wrote 1 Cor. 13 (placing it between two chapters dealing specifically with the gifts of the Holy Spirit).

1 Cor. 13 is our blueprint for using the power of the Holy Spirit for God’s Glory!

1 Cor. 12:31 says: “But earnestly desire the best gifts.  And yet I show you a more excellent way.”

This leads to 1 Cor 13…

v. 1 shows that speaking in tongues without LOVE is comparable to a clanging cymbal.

v. 2 shows that someone having the gift of prophecy and faith to move mountains without LOVE is nothing.

v. 3 says that giving all your goods to feed the poor and giving your body to be burned are also meaningless without LOVE.

vv. 4-8 describes the definition of LOVE.  These verses are a good test for us to stay grounded with the gifts, making sure we are using them for God’s Glory.  If any use of the gifts contradicts the definition of LOVE given in these verses, we may assume that we are using the power selfishly.  

v. 8 shows that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are temporary, but LOVE does not fail.

vv. 9, 10 hammer the point that these gifts of the Holy Spirit are only for us while on earth.  

vv. 11-13 also show that these gifts, and the Christian’s life on earth, is nothing compared to our eternity promised where the only earthly concepts remaining are “faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (see also Luke 10:20)

  • Yes, God is willing to give us a lot of power, but our God is a good God, and He gives good gifts, never more than you can bear.  “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17).  “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13).  We must not lose our foundation and first love (Jesus) when using these gifts, and so, continuing with the army analogy, we can be equipped with mighty tanks for fighting the battle for Christ and not our own power.  

10.  Indeed, God does seem to give us a blueprint for successfully using the baptism in the Holy Spirit to further His Kingdom, and not get carried away with the power…but what are the other instructions for using the gifts?

  • In 1 Cor. 14, Paul addresses the problems with the church of Corinth in using the gifts and gives us a good example to follow.

1 Cor. 14:

v. 1 says: “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”  This verse shows what was seen earlier: love is the foundation for using these gifts and, also, we are to desire spiritual gifts.  Beyond proving that we are to ask for spiritual gifts, this verse places an emphasis on prophecy as a gift people should be asking for, because, as we will see, prophecy is a purely selfless gift.

vv. 2-4 shows the purpose of tongues and prophecy.  Verse 2 says that someone speaking in a tongue is speaking mysteries to God.  Verse 3 shows that prophecy is “edification, exhortation and comfort to men”.  Verse 4 puts the two gifts together saying, “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.”  Paul’s advice in verse one, therefore, makes perfect sense (especially when reading through 1 Cor. 12 about the gifts being used to help the body, or church), because, as verse 4 shows, prophecy helps other people, whereas tongues, without interpretation, are used primarily to edify or buildup oneself.

v. 5 is thrown in there to make sure people don’t confuse what Paul is saying.  He still views speaking in tongues as an incredible gift of God, and says, “I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied”.  Paul wishes everyone to speak in tongues, but he makes it clear that prophecy is greater than tongues alone, “unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification”.  This whole chapter emphasizes the reason for these gifts…the Corinthians were so caught up in the supernatural gift of tongues that they lost sight of God’s plan for the gifts.  Over and over Paul stresses that they seek to help others through these gifts.  When a tongue is interpreted, it is a powerful roundabout prophecy, and, as we’ve already seen, a prophecy is “edification and exhortation and comfort to men”.  

vv. 6-11 make it clear that the gifts should be used to help others, not for selfish reasons.  In these verses Paul shows that the gift of tongues can be pointless in helping others, comparable to a trumpet making an uncertain sound in preparation for battle.  How will the soldiers know when to prepare if they do not hear the tune of preparation clearly?  In the same way, how will Christians prepare for the battle of Christ if they are not helping each other out?  These verses simply tell us to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the ways they were intended.

v. 12 shows the theme of this chapter: “Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.”  

v. 13 is Paul merely saying that he does not forbid to speak in tongues, but he strongly urges tongues (along with the rest of the gifts) to be used for other people.  His advice: if you’re going to speak in tongues, ask God for an interpretation.

vv. 14, 15 show again that Paul is all for praying in tongues, but he’s also all for praying with understanding.  “What is the conclusion then?  I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding.  I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.”

vv. 16, 17 also shows Paul’s humor when he says, “if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say ‘Amen’…since he does not understand what you say?”  What good is your tongue in a prayer of agreement with someone else, if they do not understand what you are saying, even if “you indeed give thanks well”?  

vv. 18, 19 complete the thought: “I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all [Paul once again encourages speaking in tongues, knowing it is a gift from God]; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.”  Thank God you can speak in tongues, but if you want to help others in your speech, do it in a language they can understand – again, this is why Paul places prophecy ahead of tongues, and encourages asking God for an interpretation if someone wants to speak in tongues.  The Church of Corinth clearly got so wrapped up in these cool gifts, especially tongues, that they didn’t see the bigger picture.

vv. 20-22 are for our understanding, as God wants us to not be “children in understanding [of spiritual things]”, but rather “children in terms of evil”. V. 21 is a quote from Isaiah 28:11 and 12.  It shows that Isaiah prophesied 700 years before Christ that people would speak in tongues and it gives a reasoning for doing it as verse 22 says, “tongues are for a sign not to those who believe but to unbelievers.”  Although “prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.”  This is quite obvious when you consider it in a private setting (as v. 23 demands us to), because I have seen 2 times where an unbeliever was sitting in on a prayer session where I, or someone else, prayed in tongues.  Both times, the person was so overwhelmed and convicted by the powers of God, that they left the room within a minute after the prayer.  These same people, however, merely shrugged off prophecy as a fabrication of those who were doing it.  Prophecy does not have the same overt supernatural appearance as tongues to non-believers in such private settings (though, to believers, prophecy is much more powerful…for they already know God is capable of miracles).

Vv. 23-25 seem to contradict v. 22 with only a cursory reading, but a deeper reading shows the key difference.  V. 23 explicitly states: “Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place…”  No longer is it a private setting as can be inferred in v. 22, but it has become a corporate setting.  Going on, it says: “If the whole church comes together…and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?  But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all.  And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.”  If an unbeliever walks into a setting where everyone is speaking in tongues, it will appear as if they were out of their minds, and that person will walk away with no conviction.  However, if everyone is prophesying, that person’s soul will burn with God’s words spoken through His people…words he can understand, not language foreign to him.

Vv. 26-36 also appear contradictory upon the surface, but once again, a deeper study sheds light on Paul’s instruction.  Notice first the words Paul starts this section with: “How is it then, brethren?  Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation…”  He is introducing this section by reiterating what they were already doing.  When he had last heard from the church at Corinth, there were obvious mistakes that Paul needed to clear up.  The first part of chapter 14 shows his emphasis on helping others with the things God has given, and starting with v. 26, he is showing how their worshiping was not in agreement with his teachings.  Vv. 27-28 continue with Paul describing saying: “If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret.  But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.”  As we will see, 1 Cor. 14:39 seems to indicate that this practice of limiting tongues contradicts Paul’s instructions: “…do not forbid to speak in tongues” and also contradicts the experiences of the Christians in the New Testament (Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6).  Going on, vv. 29-31 say: “Let two or three prophets speak and let the others judge.  But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent.  For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.”  This practice of limiting prophecy also puts into question Paul’s instructions in 1 Cor. 14:39 (“…desire earnestly to prophesy…”), but also undermines God’s power, suggesting He wouldn’t know when to give someone a prophecy and when not to, and, once again, contradicts the examples we see in the Bible (Acts 19:6).  Vv. 32, 33 are the reasons Corinth must have given for putting these meaningless limitations on the Holy Spirit: “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.  For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”  Paul later shows that he agrees with these statements, but disagrees with the actions Corinth took regarding these statements.  A question to ask is if Corinth knew God is not the author of confusion but of peace, why did they feel that his Holy Spirit was moving in such a way that would have been confusing (giving unction to prophesy to many people at once, giving unction to speak in tongues to many people at once, etc.)?  V. 32 is also true when it says “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets”, because a simple test for people on whether God is controlling the situation or whether it is demonic, is if they are able to stop it if they wanted to.  If you cannot control yourself, this is demonic, for “The Holy Spirit is a Gentleman!”, He does not force anything on you, you will not be in a trance.  But, if the Holy Spirit is giving you unction to speak in tongues or prophesy, who are we to put human ordinances to limit it?  “Do not quench the Spirit.” (1 Thes. 5:19).  From Acts 10, we’ve already seen that there is no formula for the Holy Spirit…for “God is not the author of confusion”.  Vv. 34, 35 reveal another faulty practice of the Corinthians: “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says…”  First of all, nowhere in the Old Testament (which is the “law” that Paul would have been referring to) does it even come close to forbidding women to speak in church, and second, just earlier in this epistle (1 Cor. 11), Paul gives instructions on how women are to prophesy (by the way, nowhere in 1 Cor. 11 does it mention that women should wear veils, this is a common misinterpretation that can be cleared up when comparing 1 Cor. 11:3 and 1 Cor. 11:13, 14 on what “head covering” means) in the church.  Once again, the Corinthians practice runs against the Word of God.  Verse 36 reaffirms that the Corinthians must practice Biblical truths, not human inventions, where it says: “Or did the word of God come originally from you?  Or was it you only that it reached?”  Basically, Paul is asking a rhetorical question, telling the Corinthians to not invent their own “Word of God”.  (I am in the process of revising this section, as it seems that new light has been shed on this matter. – Brian Holda)

Vv. 37, 38 show that Paul wants them to know that what he writes is God-breathed, and there is no excuse for their ignorance after reading this.

Vv. 39, 40 show the commands of God, not Corinth: “Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.”  He gives them the final sentence so that they do not abuse God’s grace (as we know they were in the habit of doing), saying “[remember…] Let all things be done decently and in order.”

11.  Can you tell me more about tongues?

Today, speaking in tongues seems to be the most controversial of the gifts.  Some will say you have to speak in tongues to show that you have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, few (thankfully) will say you have to speak in tongues to be a believer, some will say you cannot speak in tongues in the church, some will say speaking in tongues is the least of the gifts and shouldn’t be sought after, etc…

  • 1 Cor. 12:8-10 lists the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Some interpret this listing to be the order of importance of the gifts, therefore, making tongues and the interpretation of tongues the least of the gifts – although this order is more likely due to the fact that the first 7 gifts were used in Old Testament times, and tongues and interpretation of tongues would have been added to this list.  
  • 1 Cor. 14:19 says: “I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.”  Again, this verse is used to say tongues is the least of the gifts…but even if it is true that tongues is the least of the gifts, I would definitely rather have the least of God’s gifts than the best of men’s gifts.  In fact, 1 Cor. 12:24 says: “God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it,” so if, indeed, tongues is the least of the gifts, praise God for the gift, because the parts which are lacking receive greater honor.
  • 1 Cor. 14:5 has Paul saying: “I wish you all spoke with tongues…” and v. 18: “I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all…”  These two passages would indicate that tongues surely should be coveted.  
  • 1 Cor. 12:28 lists appointed things in the church: “first apostles, second prophets…administrations, varieties of tongues.”  Then, verses 29 and 30 lists more ministries, with verse 30 including tongues again.  Also, 1 Cor. 14:39 says to not forbid to speak with tongues.  It cannot be doubted, therefore, that tongues is something for the church that should not be forbidden.
  • 1 Cor. 14 gives a clear warning to seek gifts for edification of others, but as shown earlier, Paul still encourages tongues.
  • Do all have to speak in tongues?…Although the Greek in 1 Cor. 12:29, 30 indicates a “no” behind all of the questions (“Do all have gifts of healings? [no]  Do all speak with tongues? [no], etc.), it must be understood that the context of this passage is referring to ministries of the gifts, not the gifts by themselves.  James 3:5, 6 tell us “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.  See how great a forest a little fire kindles!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.  The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is on fire by hell.”  It seems very logical and scriptural that God would want to get hold of our tongue first.  So, although I’m not sure I would go so far as to say tongues are received by everybody who is baptized in the Holy Spirit (as some do not even ask for this gift), Scripture and experience seem to indicate that it is for almost everybody.
  • What is the purpose of tongues?…Acts 2:11 says: “Cretans and Arabs – we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”  It is uncommon for tongues to be used for speaking to people who only know the language the tongue is spoken in (although I know of more than a few times this has happened), but it still is one purpose for tongues [Babel separated the people through language, Pentecost unites us through language], and this verse also shows that tongues speak of wonderful works of God.  Romans 8:26, 27 says: “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses.  For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints, according to the will of God.”  In our mind, we are incapable of saying perfect prayer, but with the Holy Spirit speaking through us, perfect prayer is obtained.  “I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding.” (1 Cor. 14:15, see also Eph. 6:18, and Jude 20).  Another purpose of tongues is when we know we have to pray for something (possibly, God reveals this to us), but do not know specifically what it is we are praying for, the Spirit can pray through us (1 Cor. 14:15).  1 Cor. 14:4 shows that tongues are used to edify one’s self.  1 Cor. 14:22 shows tongues to be used as a sign for unbelievers.  And, 1 Cor. 14:5, 13 show that tongues with an interpretation can edify others (v. 13 says that you yourself can interpret your tongue).  As an additional note, comparing Psalm 16:9 with Peter’s reciting this same psalm in Acts 2:26, shows that the word “glory” used by David is recited as “tongue” by Peter, showing these words to be synonymous in this instance, therefore, the tongue can be God’s glory.  On top of all this, all of the gifts are given to receive more of God’s mercy on earth.
  • How does speaking in tongues work?…Acts 2:4 shows very clearly that God fills and gives you the utterance to speak, but you still are the one doing the speaking:  “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4).

12.  How do I receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit?

  • A good word picture for those who may not completely understand what goes on when you receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit is this:  Since oil is a biblical symbol for the Holy Spirit (Exodus 30:25; Acts 10:38; James 5:14), a good picture for what happens is that your body is drenched with oil everywhere you go after receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit.  As many believers know, the power and presence of God and his Holy Spirit can be felt at different times by any believer, this could be viewed as entering a room where the power of the Holy Spirit is just awesome, and it is like the whole room is filled with oil…while you’re in there, you are swimming in the oil, but when you leave the oil is no longer drowning you.  However, the believer who receives the baptism in the Holy Spirit gets that drenching regardless of where they are.  
  • A good example to look at for how the Holy Spirit is received can be found in Acts 2:1-4.  These verses show that there are three phases for what happened at Pentecost:   1.  Baptized [immersed] from above. (v. 2)

  2.  Each individual was filled. (v.4)

  3.  There was a supernatural outflow (speaking in tongues). (v.4)

  • John 7:37-39 says: “…‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me [Jesus] and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’  But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”  This passage shows that one must 1) thirst for the Spirit then 2) come to Jesus and 3) drink.  This is also a great picture for what happens, you come thirsty, you leave with rivers of living water flowing from your heart.
  • Luke 11:13 says: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”  We’ve already seen that comparing this verse with Matthew 7:11 shows that “Holy Spirit” and “good gifts” can be used interchangeably, and so, for the gifts of the Holy Spirit (charismata) you simply have to ask your Father.  Asking the Father (along with coming to Jesus) is the only formula commanded by Scripture for receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit.  Also, it should be noted that this verse gives a promise and a condition.  The promise is that you WILL be given the precise thing that you ask for (the Holy Spirit, as opposed to something else) from God, but the condition (and this must be realized), is that you must be a child of God to ask and receive this gift.  
  • Although the laying on of hands is used for giving the baptism in the Holy Spirit throughout Scripture, it is never commanded, and in some places is not used.  God seems to use the laying on of hands so that His people are helping each other and blessing each other (even though there is no magic in our hands, but only God’s power transmitted).  If you want the baptism, the only thing commanded is to ask, so that is your only requirement for receiving it.  Laying on of hands, however, seems to be a recommended way of asking for, so that many can be blessed: “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established – that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” (Rom. 1:11, 12).
  • James 5:14 says: “…and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”  Another suggestion to follow is to have people put oil on their hands if they lay hands on you (or even dump a whole thing of oil on you: “And he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him, to consecrate him.” (Leviticus 8:12).  “It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments.” (Psalm 133:2)).
  • Ephesians 5:18 says: “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,”.  
  • Why wait?…It should be noted that although the disciples were told to wait for the filling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, there are absolutely no other instances where we see people waiting to receive the Holy Spirit.  In fact, we see an urgency among the early believers in receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and from Hebrews 6:1-2 it is seen that the “doctrine of baptisms” is foundational to your Christian walk.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

(John 14:12-14)

Bible Study Outline

(Taught on March 31, 2006)

  • Job of the Spirit: GLORIFY THE SON (John 16:14; 1 Corinthians 12:3)
  • Union of the Spirit and the Word:  John 6:63; Eph. 6:17
    • Creation – Gen. 1:2-3; Psalm 33:6 
    • Exodus – 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 (Matt. 4:4; John 7:37-39)
    • Christ – Matt. 17:1-8; John 14:6; 16:13; 17:17; cf. Colossians 1:16 with Genesis 1:2-3 
    • Two Witnesses – Revelation 11:1-3,6,10 (Moses and Elijah)
    • Spiritual weapons – Matt. 4:3-11; 2 Cor. 6:6-7; 10:3-4; Eph. 6:17-18
    • Holy Spirit will leads you into all TRUTH (John 14:25-26; 16:12-13)
  • “On ALL mankind” (Joel 2:28) – Joel 2:28-32 (cf. Acts 2:17); John 16:7-11

Spirit is Helper:

  1. Call on the Lord (Joel 2:32)
  2. Convict of SIN (John 16:9; Romans 14:23)
  3. Lead into RIGHTEOUSNESS (John 16:10)
  4. Convict of JUDGMENT (John 16:11; John 12:31)
    1. Satan is ruler of this world (2 Cor. 4:4; Gen. 3:14)
    2. “Baptism now saves you” (1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 16:16)
  • POWER of Holy Spirit – Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8; 1 Corinthians 2:4
  • Power to preach repentance and the Gospel (Luke 24:46-47)
  • Power to give witness (Luke 24:48)
  • Jesus’ life – John 14:12 – same works, greater works
    • Born with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18)
    • Receives Holy Spirit from heaven (Luke 3:21-22)
    • Filled with the Spirit, walking in power (Luke 4:1,14)
  • “from heaven” – Luke 3:22 (cf. John 3:27)
    • Examples: Acts 2:1-4; 8:14-18; 10:44-48; 19:6-7; 1 Cor. 10:1-2
    • “baptism of the Holy Spirit” – Hebrews 6:2
  • How to receive:

1)  MUST BE BELIEVER! (Exodus 30:32; 1 Corinthians 2:14)

2)  Willing heart (Acts 10)

3)  Prayer (Matt. 7:11; Luke 3:15; 11:13; Acts 1:14; 2:1)

4)  Laying hands (Acts 8:17; 9:17; Hebrews 6:2)

5)  Yield members (Psalm 81:10; Romans 6:13; James 3:1-12)

    • Matthew 7:21-23
    • Examples: Numbers 22:28; 1 Samuel 19:20-24
    • “shall not be poured on man’s flesh” (Ex. 30:32) – 2 Kings 4:4-5; Numbers 19:13-16
    • Exodus 28:31-35 – bells and fruit, signs of life!
    • Watchman Nee excerpt: “True Maturity”
    • 1 Cor. 12:4-11; Gal. 5:22-23
  • “be [continually] filled with the Spirit” – Eph. 5:18 (cf. Acts 19:1-7)
    • Acts 4:23-31
    • “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:8; 4:31; 13:9,52)…implies that they were not always filled with the Spirit
    • 1 Cor. 12:13 – see “Movement in the Body” excerpt
  • Tools vs. Toys:
    • Bible Examples – Acts 4:31; 8:29; 9:33-35,40-42; 13:9-12; 16:18; 20:10; 21:4,11; 28:8
    • Real life examples
  • “A BRIDE adorned” (Rev. 21:2)
    • Rebekah (Gen. 24:22)
    • Song of Songs 1:9-11
  • Laying on of hands
    • Hebrews 6:2 – follows baptism of Spirit
    • Unity of the Body – Psalm 133, anointing flows from the head
      • 1 Corinthians 1:10-14; 11:17-34
      • See “Movement in the Body” excerpt
  • See “Laying Hands” outline

Hebrews 11:3 – “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”

Visible changes in your world BEGIN with faith in the invisible things of the Word of God.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Written 2009

Only Seven (or Eight) Bible References to Baptism in the Holy Spirit:

  1. Matthew 3:11 – baptism of Spirit is given by Jesus; applies to people who have repented; presented alongside fire baptism
  2. Mark 1:8 – similar to #1
  3. Luke 3:16 – similar to #1
  4. John 1:33 – similar to #1
  5. Acts 1:5 – Jesus promised baptism of Spirit to his disciples.
    • Spoken to disciples, who already received a measure of the Holy Spirit from Jesus after His resurrection (John 20:21-22), and perhaps even during Jesus’ ministry (Matt. 16:17).
    • Baptism of Spirit = “when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8)
    • Gives God’s power (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8)
    • Is necessary for effective witness (Luke 24:48-49; Acts 1:8)
    • Acts 2: PENTECOST is fulfillment of this Baptism of Spirit
      • Acts 2:2 – Came from heaven
      • Acts 2:3 – Presented tongues of fire
        • 2:4 – “filled with the Holy Spirit…speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance”
        • 2:5-11 – spoke of God’s wonderful works in the languages of 16 different Jewish people groups
      • Acts 2:13 – they were confused as being drunk
      • Acts 2:16-21 – fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy: “in the last days…pour out of My Spirit on all flesh…shall prophesy…shall see visions…shall dream dreams…wonders in heaven…signs in the earth…before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD…whoever calls on the name of the LORD/ Shall be saved.” (see Joel 2:28-32)
      • Acts 2:14-40 – Peter preaches with new power
      • Acts 2:32-33 – After Jesus was exalted, the Father gave Him the Holy Spirit, and Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to the Church at Pentecost
      • Acts 2:36 – Their receiving the Holy Spirit is evidence that Jesus is Lord and Christ.
      • Acts 2:38 – Repent, be baptized, receive Holy Spirit
      • Acts 2:39 – Promise of Holy Spirit (compare Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:4-5,8) is available to as many as God calls
      • Acts 2:41 – the crowd received the word and were baptized
      • Acts 2:42 – they continued in studying Apostles’ teachings, fellowshiping, and prayer
      • Acts 2:43 – “wonders and signs were done through the apostles”
      • Acts 2:44-45 – unity and selflessness
      • Acts 2:46 – they continued to meet in temple and in houses, praising God and having favor with the world.  God added others daily.
    • Acts 3-28 – obedience, ministry, signs, wonders, and power followed the disciples throughout the book of Acts
      • There were consequent fillings of the Spirit – Acts 4:8; 4:31; 9:17; 13:9; 13:52
  6. Acts 11:16 – Peter compares the experience of Cornelius’ household with Pentecost, saying they both were “baptized with the Holy Spirit”
    • Acts 11:15 – “the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning”
      • Acts 10:44-48
        • 10:44 – “the Holy Spirit fell”
        • 10:45 – “gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also”
        • 10:46 – spoke in tongues, magnified God
        • 10:47 – “these…have received the Holy Spirit just as we”
      • Acts 11:17 – The condition to receive the Holy Spirit: “we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ”
  7. 1 Corinthians 12:13a – All members of Christ’s Body have been baptized “by one Spirit”
    • 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 – Variety of Spiritual gifts mentioned
      • 12:7 – “manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one”
      • 12:11 – “the same Spirit…distributing to each one individually as He wills”
    • 1 Corinthians 12:13b – all have been made to drink of the Spirit
    • 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 – the Spirit unifies and diversifies the Body of Christ
  8. Implied 8th Reference of Baptism of the Holy Spirit: 1 Corinthians 10:2 – “baptized into Moses in the cloud”
    • Cloud is symbolic of God’s Spirit – Hebrew word for Spirit means wind or breath; God was in the cloud (Exodus 13:21-22; 33:10); cloud brought light to Israel (Exodus 14:17-20); God spoke through the cloud (compare John 16:13 with Exodus 16:10,11; 19:9; 24:16); God used the cloud to proclaim his name (compare Acts 1:8 with Exodus 34:5); Israel was led by the cloud (compare Romans 8:14 with Exodus 40:36-37)
    • Exodus 14:19-20 – Israel was “baptized” by the cloud
      • Separated them from their oppressors
      • Preceded their “Red Sea baptism” (see 1 Corinthians 10:2)
    • Exodus 40:34 – cloud immersed tabernacle 

      Observations of the Scriptural References of Baptism of Spirit:

      • Accompanied by spiritual gifts and power
        • gift of tongues is prominent
      • Follows repentance and faith
      • Is necessary for effective witness (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4,8)

      Have All Christians Been Baptized by the Holy Spirit?

      Have all Christians been filled with the Spirit?

      • Acts 4:8 – Peter is “filled with the Holy Spirit,” even after Pentecost.  If all Christians are full of the Holy Spirit, it would make no sense to differentiate Peter as being “filled with the Holy Spirit” at this particular place and time.
      • Acts 4:31 – After prayer, the group of Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit.  This group included Peter and John who were already baptized in the Holy Spirit.
      • Acts 8:4-19 – those in Samaria believed Christ (8:12-13), and  were baptized in water (8:12-13), yet did not receive the Holy Spirit until Peter and John laid hands on them (8:14-17)
        • 8:18-19 – resulted in something powerful enough that someone offered to pay the apostles for this power
      • Acts 9:1-18 – Saul/Paul was confronted by Jesus and surrendered to Him, 3 days later he was filled with the Spirit (9:17) and baptized in water (9:18).
        • Acts 13:9 – Saul/Paul is said to be “filled with the Holy Spirit” later, which would be unnecessary to say if he was always filled with the Spirit.
      • Acts 19:1-7 – Disciples at Ephesus
        • 19:2 – “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” – this question was presented to disciples, and would be irrelevant to ask if all Christians received the Holy Spirit’s filling and power automatically upon belief
        • 19:5 – they were baptized in water
        • 19:6 – Holy Spirit came on them through laying on of hands
          • Resulted in speaking tongues and prophesying
      • Ephesians 5:18 – Ephesian Christians are commanded to “be filled with the Spirit,” even though they have already received Christ and perhaps even been filled with the Holy Spirit
        • Greek expression means “be continually filled”
      • 1 Corinthians 12:13 – though Christ’s body has been baptized with the Holy Spirit, members may not have drunk fully of the Holy Spirit (“all been made to drink into one Spirit”)

      Is This Gift/Power of the Holy Spirit Available to Modern Christians?

      • Acts 2:39 – Promise of Spirit baptism is for all God calls
      • 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 – spiritual gifts cease “when that which is perfect has come” (13:10), that is, when we are fully matured and see and know perfectly (see 1 Cor. 13:11-12).
        • Perfect in terms of ability to see and know clearly, not necessarily perfect in the sense of possessing all knowledge.

      How do Christians receive and become filled with the Holy Spirit?

      • Acts 2:38 – True REPENTANCE is an essential condition for receiving baptism of the Spirit and filling of the Spirit
        • Exodus 30:32 – the anointing oil was not poured on flesh, just as God’s Spirit will not be poured out on our sinfulness
        • 2 Kings 4:4-5 – as the door of their house needed to be shut out from the world in order for the oil to flow, so we must separate ourselves from the world if we expect God to fill us with his Spirit
      • Luke 11:13 (compared with Matthew 7:11) – We must ASK God for his Spirit
        • Luke 1:53 – To those who recognize their poverty, and come empty, they will receive the good things of God’s Spirit.
        • 2 Kings 4:4-6 – as the oil ceased being poured out when there was no empty vessel, so God needs us to come as empty vessels
      • Acts 8:14-19; cf. 9:12 with 9:17-18; 19:6; 2 Timothy 1:6 – LAYING HANDS frequently accompanies the filling of the Spirit (though not always, see Acts 4:31), and ushers in spiritual gifts

      Have All Christians Been Baptized with the Holy Spirit?

      Yes, in a Sense

      Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; and John 1:33 seem to refer to the baptism of the Holy Spirit as something that is true for all Christians.  There are three baptisms mentioned in Matthew and Luke’s account: (1) Repentance, (2) Holy Spirit, (3) Fire.  And after mentioning these baptisms he speaks of the fire that will condemn the wicked (see Matt. 3:12; Luke 3:17).  Since ALL Christians have repented, and ALL Christians will escape the condemnation of fire, it seems inconsistent to say that John believed only SOME Christians would be baptized by the Holy Spirit.

      Likewise, 1 Corinthians 12:13a says: “by one Spirit we were ALL baptized into one body,” (emphasis added).  In the sense of this verse, we are told that all who are part of the body of Christ have been baptized by the Holy Spirit.  Conversely, if you have not been baptized by the Spirit, you must not be part of the body of Christ.  This also agrees with the earlier context of 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 – “The manifestation of Spirit is given TO EACH ONE for the profit of all…one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing TO EACH ONE INDIVIDUALLY as He wills.” (emphasis added).  In these passages, “each one” seems to refer to each member of the body of Christ, as the apostle expounds on this subject by saying: “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.” (1 Cor. 12:12).  Therefore, he seems to be teaching that every member of the body of Christ has been baptized with the Spirit.

      And Yet… Maybe Not

      In the Scriptures, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is generally spoken in conjunction with Spiritual gifts, especially the gift of tongues:

      1. “you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now…When the Day of Pentecost had fully come…they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues” (Acts 1:5; 2:1-4) 
      2. “the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word…they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.” (Acts 10:44-46).  And Peter recounting this story says: “the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning.  Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'” (Acts 11:15-16) 
      3. “The manifestation of Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge…to another faith…to another gifts of healings…to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues…For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,” (1 Corinthians 12:7-13)

      This does not mean that spiritual gifts are the only reason, or main purpose, of the baptism of the Spirit (for instance, Christ focuses on the powerful witness and boldness people are given through the baptism of the Spirit [see Acts 1:4-8]), but it does show that spiritual gifts are associated with the baptism of the Spirit.

      With this connection in mind, we must note that the Scriptures provide several examples of people seeking and receiving more of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts AFTER and SUBSEQUENT to their receiving the gospel.

      Aside: This does not mean they did not receive the indwelling Holy Spirit immediately upon conversion, since the Scriptures clearly teach that all who come to Christ immediately receive the indwelling Spirit (Romans 8:9 and Ephesians 1:13, for example).  Instead, we are teaching that there are certain aspects or measures of the Spirit that are not always received upon conversion. 


      • John 20:22 – disciples received a measure of the Holy Spirit, which is seen in their new understanding of the Scriptures (Acts 1:20, for example) compared to their lack of understanding during Jesus’ earthly ministry.  However, they received the baptism of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:4-8; 2).
      • Acts 4:24-31: “they [various believers, including Peter and John] raised their voice to God with one accord and said: ‘…grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.’  And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”  Here, Christians (even those who had already been baptized in the Spirit at Pentecost, like John and Peter) prayed for gifts of healing, signs, wonders, and boldness (which were all things related to the baptism of the Spirit). 
      • Acts 8:12-19: “they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized…Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.  For as yet He had fallen upon none of them.  They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit…through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given,” 
      • Acts 9:17: “And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him [Paul] he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came [3 days earlier], has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.'” 
      • Acts 19:1-6: “some disciples…were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  And when Paul laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”  Also notice the question Paul originally asks them: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” (Acts 19:2).  This question itself indicates that belief in Christ does not prove you have received all of the Holy Spirit. 
      • 1 Corinthians 14:13: “let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.”  This was written about Christians who have already received the gift of tongues, telling them that they should pray for the gift of interpretation of tongues.
      • 2 Timothy 1:6: “…the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”

      Jesus further expounds on this issue when He says, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).  Here, He is referring to people who already are children of God, calling on their Father for the Holy Spirit.  And the parallel passage of this verse (Matthew 7:11) tells us that God will give “gifts” to his children who ask, instead of “the Holy Spirit” of Luke’s account.  Putting these two passages together, we could say that God will give the GIFT(S) OF HIS HOLY SPIRIT to believers who ask for this. 

      In a similar vein, Paul exhorts the Ephesian Christians to, “be filled with the Spirit,” (Ephesians 5:18).  Notice, it is a command, not a suggestion, and it is written to Christians.  This demonstrates that even Christians who have already been “sealed with the Holy Spirit,” (Ephesians 1:13), have more to receive of the Spirit.

      Finally, Jesus’ own life provides an example for us.  When He was born, it was a result of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18), showing that He had the Holy Spirit indwelling from birth.  However, when Jesus was 30 years old, and was baptized in water and prayed to God, we read that “the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him” (Luke 3:21-22).  In this example, the Holy Spirit falling on Him was subsequent to Him receiving the Holy Spirit at birth.  In like fashion, this example might be applied to Christians who receive more of the Holy Spirit after they have been born again by the same Spirit (see John 3:6-7).


      Scriptural patterns:

      • The Church is considered holy in God’s sight on the basis of Christ’s atonement and our being “in Christ” (see Colossians 1:21-22; Ephesians 5:25-27; Hebrews 3:1), yet God still commands us to “be holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16). 
      • The Church is considered crucified – past tense – with Christ (Romans 6:6-7; Galatians 2:20), yet we are still commanded to “put to death the deeds of the body” (Romans 8:13; see also Colossians 3:5). 
      • The Church is said to be “raised with Christ” (Colossians 2:12), yet we are told this new life has not been fully realized (Romans 8:11, for example).
      • Christians are said to be “kings” (Revelation 1:6; 5:10) in the present tense, yet we are told to endure that we may reign in the future (2 Timothy 2:12).

      And other similar patterns are frequent themes of the New Testament.  Our position “in Christ” makes us holy, crucified, resurrected, kings, etc. on the basis of Christ’s work, but it is “Christ in us,” that is, the Holy Spirit, that brings us to experience and realize this position.

      With this pattern in mind, it seems plausible to say that, though the Church has already been baptized with the Spirit, there may still be an act of realizing, receiving, and “drinking” of this Spirit baptism that did not happen at conversion.  In 1 Corinthians 12:13, after saying the Church has been baptized by the Spirit, Paul goes on to say that we were made to drink of this Spirit, not that we have already drunk (1 Corinthians 12:13).  Perhaps we could say that on God’s end He has baptized all Christians with the Spirit, but on our end, we still need to receive this.


      To help us understand this, let’s consider Biblical examples of similar principles:

      • Shortly after creation, in the Garden of Eden, we read, “a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.” (Genesis 2:6).  Though the mist immersed (“baptized,” if you will) the entire earth, the plants still had to “drink” and “receive” the water from this mist to survive.
      • In the story of Rebekah being chosen as a bride for Isaac, she gave water to Abraham’s servant and his camels (Genesis 24:16-20).  Though there was already an abundant supply of water in the well, it still had to be “received” via the empty vessels Rebekah brought: “she went down to the well, filled her pitcher, and came up.” (24:16). Therefore, though the water had already been given, Rebekah still had the responsibility of drawing this water out and supplying the empty vessel. 
      • In 2 Kings 4, the widow in need already had a jar of oil (2 Kings 4:2), yet she still needed to bring empty vessels to receive this oil (4:3).  Though the oil was there, it was not received until she brought empty vessels, and it only poured out where there were empty vessels (4:5-6).  Similarly, God’s Spirit has been given to His Church, but perhaps we have not received His Spirit in a fuller measure because we have not come as empty vessels to be filled. 
      • In the parable of the prodigal son, the older brother was upset because he was never given some of the “riches” of his father (Luke 15:29-30).  However, the father answers him by saying, “you are always with me, and all that I have is yours” (Luke 15:31).  Therefore, we can rightly say that the son already had his father’s riches on the basis of his position in the family, yet he lacked these same “riches” because he never asked and received them from his father.

        In all these pictures the supply was already provided, but it still had to be received.

      Possible Illustration?

      Perhaps the baptism of the Holy Spirit could be likened to filling a room that had an abundance of covered and uncovered cups with water (assuming the room was completely sealed off, so that the water would completely fill it).  From a broader perspective, it is clear that all those vessels have been immersed/”baptized” by the water that fills the room.  However, when inspecting the individual vessels, only the ones that were uncovered are filled with the water, while the covered ones remain empty.  Now, if the cover is removed, and the vessel is in a position to receive the water, that vessel would have an experience of being filled with water that “falls” into it.  In this analogy, the covered vessel was already immersed in water on account of its position within the room, but it still had the responsibility to receive this water by discarding its cover.

      Maybe that is a silly picture to think about, and I’m certain it is not a perfect analogy, but I wonder if it can help us make sense of the whole counsel of Scripture concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Like those covered and uncovered cups being immersed with water, all Christians are part of the body of Christ which has already been corporately baptized by the Holy Spirit.  Yet, we are still commanded to be filled with the Spirit, implying that our position within the body of Christ does not guarantee fullness of the Spirit.  Like those uncovered cups, Christians may still have to “open” themselves up to God for the filling of His Spirit (though the analogy breaks down when we consider that Christians must have an ongoing filling of the Spirit, not just “one [time] and done”).

      When understood in this context, is it accurate to say that individual Christians can be “baptized by the Spirit” after their initial conversion? 

      I don’t believe the Scriptures are conclusive enough to know if the wording, “baptized in the Spirit” would be accurate for those who are filled with the Spirit after conversion, but I do think it is clear that a filling and receiving of God’s Spirit can happen, and is meant to happen, throughout our Christian life and not just at the point of conversion.

      Brian Holda

      Water and Fire Baptism

      “…let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of…the doctrine of baptisms,” (Heb. 6:1-2):  

      There are 6 foundations laid out for Christians as are listed in Hebrews 6:1-2: “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”  The first 4 are for our Christian life on earth, and the last 2 bring us into eternity.  Out of all of these foundations, “the doctrine of baptisms” seems to be the most confusing for believers, however, as we will see, the Bible does mention and lay out three different baptisms (water, Holy Spirit, and fire).  

      • To understand what the word baptism literally means I am relying on someone who is a qualified philologist – Derek Prince. As someone else has pointed out: He [Derek] was educated in Britain as a scholar of Greek and Latin at Eton, and at King’s College, Cambridge. He held a Fellowship at Cambridge from 1940 to 1949 in Ancient and Modern Philosophy. He also studied Hebrew and Aramaic at Cambridge and at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Converted from philosophy to Christianity while serving in World War II, he has devoted his life to the study and teaching of the Bible. He has been, at various times, minister, educator and missionary in four continents —Europe, Asia, Africa and North America and is eminently qualified to help us at this point. The following quote is taken from his book entitled ‘From Jordan to Pentecost:
        • “Upon examination this word “baptize” proves to be a most unusual and interesting word. Actually it is not an English word at all. It is a pure Greek word, merely written in letters of the English alphabet. if we write out the original Greek word in English letters as accurately as it is possible to do, this gives us “baptizo”. Then, with the change of the final “o” to an “e,” we have the word in the form which has become familiar “baptize”. 
      • At this point someone may reasonably ask: “Why was this particular word never translated? Why was it simply written over from Greek to English letters? Was it because the correct meaning of the original Greek word was not known, and therefore the translators did not know by what English word to translate it?”

      No, this is definitely not the explanation. As we shall see in due course, the Greek  word “baptizo” has a perfectly definite and well-established meaning.

      In order to clear up the unusual circumstances connected with the use of this word “baptize,” it is necessary to glance for a moment at the historical background of Bible translation. By far the best known and the most influential of all the English translations of the Bible is that known as the “Authorised Version” – the version which was translated and published through the authority of King James, in the early years of the seventeenth century. It is through this translation that the word “baptize” has gained a place in the English language; and through this Authorised Version the word “baptize” has been carried over into the great majority of all subsequent English versions of the Bible, as well as into a great many translations of the Bible that have been made into the languages of many different tribes and peoples in various parts of the world. Yet this word “baptize,” both in its origin and in its form, is in fact completely alien to almost all those languages.

      We may ask then: How did this unusual and unnatural form first find its way into the Authorised Version of the Bible? The answer lies in the fact that King James, though holding political power as an absolute monarch, was answerable in matters of religion to the bishops of the established Church of England. Now the relationship between James and his bishops was not always too cordial, and James did not wish the new translation of the Bible, published in his name and with his authority, to make his relationship with his bishops any worse. For this reason, he allowed it to be understood that, so far as possible, nothing was to be introduced into the translation which would cause unnecessary offence to the bishops or which would be too obviously contrary to the practices of the established church. Hence, the Greek word “baptizo”, which could easily have become, in translation, a source of controversy, was never translated at all but was simply written over direct into the English language.

      In this connection it is interesting to remark that the very word “bishop” is another example of precisely the same influences at work. In actual fact the word “bishop” is no more an English word than the word “baptize.” “Bishop” is just another Greek word that has been taken over without translation, into the English language; but in this case it has come by a slightly less direct route, by way of Latin. If the Greek original of the word “bishop” had been translated, everywhere it occurs in the New Testament, by its natural and correct translation – which is “overseer” – the resulting version could have been interpreted as a challenge to the hierarchical order of government that existed in the established Church of England. Therefore, in various places, the translators avoided the issue, and simply left the Greek word to stand in its anglicised form – “bishop.”

      However, let us now return to the word with which we are directly concerned in this study – the Greek word “baptizo”, and its English equivalent “baptize.” This Greek verb “baptizo” is of a special, characteristic form of which there are a good many other examples in the Greek language. The characteristic feature of this verbal form is the insertion of the two letters “iz” into a more simple, basic root. Thus, the simple, basic root is – “bapto”. The insertion into this root of the two extra letters – “iz” – produces the compound form – “baptizo”. We find then that the simple, basic root is “bapto”. The compound form, produced from that root, is “baptizo”.

      Now the insertion of the additional syllable, “iz,” into any Greek verb normally gives the compound verb thus formed a particular kind of meaning. The insertion of this extra syllable produces a verb that has a special, causative meaning. That is to say, the compound verb thus formed always has the sense of causing something to be, or to happen. The precise nature of that which is thus caused to be, or to happen, is decided by the meaning of the simple root verb, out of which the compound, causative form has been built up.

      With this in mind, we can now form a clear and accurate picture of the Greek verb “baptizo.” This is a compound, causative form, built up out of the simple, root form, “bapto”. Obviously, therefore, to get a proper understanding of the compound, causative form “baptizo?’, it is necessary first of all to find out the meaning of the simple root form “bapto”. Fortunately, there is no difficulty whatever in doing this. This simple root form “bapto” occurs three times in the Greek text of the New Testament which forms the basis of the English Authorised Version. In every one of these three instances the original Greek verb “bapto” is translated by the same English verb-and that is the English verb “to dip”.

      The three New Testament passages in which this word “bapto” occurs are as follows:

      First, Luke’s Gospel, chapter 16 verse 24. Here the rich man, in the torments of hell fire, cries out to Abraham; “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue . .

      Second, John’s Gospel, chapter 13, verse 26. Here, at the last supper, Jesus identifies the traitor, who is to betray Him, by giving His disciples a definite, distinguishing mark: “Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when 1 have dipped it.”

      Third, Revelation chapter 19, verse 13. Here John the Revelator describes the Lord Jesus Christ as he sees Him coming forth in glory, leading the avenging armies of heaven: “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood.”

      In all these three passages, both the English word used by the translators, and also the actual context of each passage, plainly show the meaning of the Greek verb “bapto”. In each case, it means “to dip something into a fluid, and then take it out again.”

      In that standard work of Biblical reference – Dr. Strong’s “Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible” Dr. Strong gives the following as the primary meaning of the verb “bapto”; “to cover wholly with fluid’ – hence, “to dip.” We also find in the New Testament a compound version of the verb “bapto,” formed by prefixing the Green preposition “en”or “em” – meaning “in”. This gives the compound form “embapto. This compound form, “embapto”, also occurs three times in the Greek text of the New Testament. The three passages are as follows: Matthew chapter 26, verse 23; Mark chapter 14, verse 20; and John chapter 13, verse 26 (the second half of the verse). Any student who cares to check for himself will quickly discover that in all these three passages this compound form “embapto” is translated, just like the simple form “bapto”, by the English verb “to dip”.

      We thus arrive at the following conclusion. The Greek verb “bapto” – either in its simple form, or with the prefix of the preposition ,”em” meaning “in’ – occurs six times in the Greek text of the New Testament, and in every instance in the Authorised Version it is translated “to dip”. In every instance, also, the context plainly indicates that the action described by this verb is that of dipping something into a fluid, and then taking it out again.

      Having thus arrived with absolute definiteness at the correct meaning of the simple verb “bapto”, there is no difficulty whatever in going on from there to discover, with equal definiteness, the correct meaning of the causative compound form “baptizo” means “to dip something into a fluid, and then take it out again,” then “baptizo” can have only one possible, literal meaning. Logically, it must mean “to cause something to be dipped into a fluid, and then taken out again.” More briefly, “baptizo” – from which we get the English word “baptize” – means’ “to cause something to be dipped.”

      This conclusion can be confirmed by tracing the word “baptizo” back into the earlier history of the Greek language. In the third century before the Christian era the extensive conquests of Alexander the Great had the effect of spreading the use of the Greek language far beyond the actual geographical confines of Greece herself, or even of the Greek cities and communities of Asia Minor. In this way, by the time of the New Testament, the Greek language had become the generally accepted medium of communication for most of the peoples in the lands bordering on the Mediterranean Sea. It is this form of the Greek language which is found in the New Testament and which traces its origin, linguistically, back to the purer form of classical Greek originally used by the Greek cities and states in the preceding centuries. Thus most of the words used in New Testament Greek trace their origin and their meaning back to the earlier forms of classical Greek.

      This is true of the word with which we are at present concerned -the verb “baptizo”. This word can be traced back into the earlier, classical form of the Greek language as far as the fifth century B.C. From then on it has a continuous history in the Greek language right down into the first and second centuries A.D. (that is, throughout this whole period of the New Testament writings). Throughout this period of six or seven centuries, the word retains one unchanging basic meaning: “to dip,” ‘,to plunge,” “to submerge.” In this sense, it may be used either literally or metaphorically.

      The following are some examples of its use throughout this period:

      In the fifth or fourth century B.C. “baptizo” is used by Plato of a young man being, “overwhelmed” by clever philosophical arguments.

      In the writings of Hippocrates (attributed to the fourth century B.C.) “baptizo” is used of people being “submerged” in water, and of sponges being “dipped” in water. In the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament attributed to the second or first century B.C.) “baptizo” is used to translate the passage in Second Kings chapter 5, verse 14, where Naaman went down and “dipped himself” seven times in Jordan. (In this passage “baptizo” is used in verse 14, but a different Greek word is used in verse 10, where the Authorised Version uses “wash.” In other words, “baptizo” means specifically to “dip oneself,” not merely to “wash,” without dipping). In the first century B.C. or A.D. “baptizo” is used by Strabo to describe people who cannot swim being “submerged” beneath the surface of water (in specific contrast to logs of wood which float on the surface). In the first century A.D. “baptizo” is used by Josephus, metaphorically, to describe a man “plunging” a sword into his own neck, and of the city of Jerusalem being ‘overwhelmed” or “plunged” to irremediable destruction by internal strife. It is obvious that such metaphorical uses as these would not be possible, unless the literal meaning of the word was already clearly established.

      In the first or second century A.D. “baptize” is used twice by Plutarch to describe either the body of a person or the figure of an idol, being immersed in the sea.

      From this brief linguistic study it will be seen that the Greek word “baptizo” has always had one clear, definite meaning, which has never changed. From Classical Greek right down into New Testament Greek it has always retained one and the same basic meaning: “to cause something to be dipped” – “to immerse something beneath the surface of water, or of some other fluid.” In most cases this act of immersion is temporary, not permanent.

      I venture to say that any honest person, with adequate linguistic qualifications, who will thoroughly investigate this whole question, can come to only one conclusion: the correct meaning of the word “baptizo” – “baptise” – both in the New Testament and elsewhere, is “to cause something to be dipped”.


      • John’s Baptism…Matt. 3:1-11 shows that John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance.  Something to be noted is vv. 7, 8 in which it says: “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, ‘Brood of vipers!  Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance,”.  John turned them away for not truly wanting to repent.
      • John’s Baptism of Jesus…Matt. 3:13-15 shows that when Jesus approached John to be baptized, John tried to prevent Him initially, because Jesus had no sins to repent of, so John’s baptism seemed to be useless.  But Jesus said, “Permit it [baptism] to be so now, for thus it is fitting for US TO FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS.”  Notice, Jesus used the plural “us” when answering.  Jesus, as our example, shows that His baptism was for “us to fulfill all righteousness”, and Acts 13:38-39 shows that through Jesus is preached forgiveness of sins, AND ALSO, “by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses.”  Baptism into Jesus’ name is what we physically DO to show the transformation and righteousness that we receive through Jesus.  
      • Jesus’ Baptism…Later, in John 4:1-2, we see that “Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples).”  In Jesus’ ministry on earth, He was first baptized by John, and then He made disciples and baptized them (to fulfill all righteousness).  In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus tells His believers at the Galilean mountain: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…”  We can see that Jesus wanted His believers to make disciples by baptizing them and teaching them.  And in Mark 16:15-16, Jesus tells the eleven disciples: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”  This shows that belief on Jesus is what saves you from condemnation, but it also shows that baptism is part of the action plan that Jesus wishes for believers after the gospel has been preached.  Game plan from Jesus, according to Mark’s gospel: 1.  Preach the gospel.  2.  If people don’t believe it, they will be condemned.  3.  If people do believe it, baptize them (to fulfill all righteousness).  Peter shows that baptism is to follow belief, and also repentance, as he tells the believers at Pentecost what to do [after believing the gospel], when he says: “’Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38).
      • Romans 6:3-11 shows what baptism means.  V. 3 shows that you are baptized into Jesus’ death (see also 1 Cor. 15:29).  V. 4 shows that when you are submerged in the water, you are buried with Jesus in His death.  And “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”  Baptism shows – through you physically doing the act – that you “walk in newness of life”.  V. 6 gives a description for what happens when you die with Christ: “our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”  Vv. 7-10 show that “he who has died has been freed from sin” (v. 7), and “if we died with Christ…we shall also live with Him” (v. 8).  These verses show that your old man has died once and for all, and baptism is the acknowledgement that he has been buried (hence the need for submersion).  As v. 11 shows, the believer rising out of the water has emerged “dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (see also 1 Cor. 15:29).
      • Along with Romans 6:3-11, 1 Cor. 10:1, 2, 6, and 11 give us the same picture of what baptism does.  Vv. 6 and 11 tell us that these things are our examples.  As 1 Cor. 15:46 tells us that first comes the natural, then the spiritual, we know that although all of the events in the Old Testament happened just as they were recorded, they also meant something spiritually.  So, just as the Israelites were called God’s chosen people in the Old Testament, it says that he who believes in Christ is the Israel of God in the New Testament (Gal. 6:16).  The Israelites left Egypt [symbolizing sin: Rev. 11:8] by the blood of the Passover lamb [symbolizing Jesus’s atoning blood: 1 Cor. 5:7].  This symbolizes Christians repenting by the blood of Jesus.  After they left Egypt, the Israelites passed through the Red Sea, but the Egyptians following them were covered by the sea after the Israelites passed through (Exodus 14:21-28).  We see in Hebrews 11:29 that: “By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.”  1 Cor. 10:1, 2, 6, 11 show us that the Israelites passing through the Red Sea is an example for Christians of baptism in water, and as we see in Hebrews 11:29, the Israelites could only pass through by faith, thus, it is clear that baptism only takes on meaning through faith (as we will see even more evidently later).  Just as the Egyptians (symbolizing sin) were completely covered and buried in the water, the believer’s sins are covered and buried in the water of their baptism.
      • Colossians 2:11-12 also show that baptism symbolizes the burial of your old man (or sinful nature) and resurrection through faith in God.  V. 11, however, adds another symbolism behind baptism.  Col. 2:11 says: “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,”.  Baptism, therefore, replaces the circumcision of the Old Testament.  Genesis 17:8-14 shows that circumcision is “a sign of the covenant between Me [God] and you [Israelites].” (v. 11).  As people in the Old Testament became Israelites at birth, believers on Jesus become spiritual Israelites when they are born again (Gal. 3:29; 6:16).  So, just like circumcision followed the birth of Israelites, baptism follows the spiritual birth of Christians (when they are born again, see John 3:3).  Also, Romans 2:25-29 shows that circumcision done without keeping the law is not true circumcision, and, therefore using the analogy of circumcision and baptism, we can conclude that baptism done to someone who doesn’t have faith (which is our replacement for the law) is not true baptism.  An example of this would be if we were to drag a non-believer into a lake…he will leave the lake as a wet non-believer, not a baptized Christian (or Israelite of God).  Like circumcision, baptism is a sign of the covenant between God and believers (as our next bullet expounds upon).
      • Galatians 3:26-29 (specifically v. 27) tells us that through baptism we put on Christ.  Baptism is the one thing believers do to outwardly show that they have put on Christ, and, consequently, 1 Cor. 12:13 tells us that baptism shows that you are a member of the body of Christ.
      • 1 Peter 3:18-21 (specifically v. 21) completes the picture of baptism.  As it shows that water saved the world in the time of Noah by destroying all of those who were committing abominable deeds (which was everyone except Noah and his family), and says that this foreshadowed the fact that water baptism – which is the believers’ actual doing of the death and resurrection of Jesus – saves the believers of today, through the resurrection of Jesus.  The parenthetical words of v. 21 show exactly what is required of baptism: “THE ANSWER OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE TOWARD GOD”. 
      • Objection: If Peter says that baptism is only done as an “answer of a good conscience toward God”, how come entire households were baptized by the believers in the New Testament…wouldn’t infants who could not have had a good conscience toward God have been included in these households?

      Answer: The four households mentioned in the New Testament that were baptized were Lydia’s household (Acts 16:15), the Philippian jailer’s household (Acts 16:33), Cornelius’s household (Acts 11:14), and Stephanas’ household (1 Cor. 1:16).  Upon closer examination of these instances, we will see that the households baptized were believers before they were baptized.  It shows in Acts 16:32, 34 that the entire household of the Philippian jailer had the word of the Lord spoken to them and believed it.  Acts 11:14, 15 shows that all of Cornelius’s household was saved and received the Holy Spirit before being baptized.  1 Cor. 16:15 tells us that the household of Stephanas “devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints”, and therefore, they were believers who were baptized.  After deeper study, there is only one household that doesn’t tell us what happened before they were baptized – Lydia’s household.  However, some commentators believe Lydia’s household were all the women present (Acts 16:13), or men servants as it mentions “brethren” at her house (Acts 16:40).  Also, the reluctance of Paul and Luke to stay at her house seems to indicate that she was the head of the house, and would not have had children (Acts 16:15).  On top of all of this, it shows that Lydia’s household was baptized in Philippi, and yet she lived in Thyatira, so anyone present would most likely be of an age that they could have made the journey, and not have need to be cared for (Acts 16:12, 14).  Regardless of whom Lydia’s household encompassed, it should at least be seen that the presumption that infants were baptized in the New Testament has little scriptural support, and therefore, there is no contradiction between what was practiced in the Bible with water baptism and what is taught in the Bible concerning water baptism.

      • Examples of water baptisms…Acts 8:26-40 is a very cool scriptural example of water baptism.  Vv. 26-35 show that Philip was evangelizing to a eunuch who was reading the book of Isaiah in his chariot.  V. 36 records the eunuch saying, “See, here is water.  What hinders me from being baptized?” when they came to some water while riding the chariot.  The key lies in v. 37, where it says: “Then Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’  And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’”  Philip would not baptize the eunuch until he knew that the eunuch believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God with all of his heart.  Vv. 38-39 show that they “went down into the water” and “came up out of the water” for the baptism.  This example tells us:  1. Laymen can baptize (as Philip was just someone evangelizing).  2. You must believe before you are baptized.  3.  Baptism is done by submerging.
      • Acts 10:44-48 shows Peter telling Cornelius’s household about God, and then the Holy Spirit fell on the household while Peter was talking.  In v. 48 we see that Peter “commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.”
      • Acts 19:1-5 show that Paul asked the people at Ephesus what baptism they were baptized into, and they told him that it was John’s baptism.  Paul then explained that John’s baptism was of repentance, but that John had said to believe on Jesus, and so the people at Ephesus were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus after hearing this.  This also shows that they did not just translate the baptism they received when they were not believers into their baptism that takes on meaning after the believed, but rather, they were baptized again – but this time as believers being baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus….What I mean by this statement is that these particular verses seem to indicate that it is not adequate for a non-believer to be dragged into a body of water, and then if he becomes a believer later in life, to claim that he had already been baptized.  As I said earlier, the only thing that would change about him is that he would become a wet non-believer.  So baptism only means baptism when done in faith (as Acts 19:1-5 and 1 Peter 3:21 show).
      • By what authority are we baptized?…It must be remembered that you are only baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).  It is not the baptism of Brian Holda, or Tim Brown, or anyone who is dunking you in the water, but it is through God that it takes on its true meaning.  Paul stresses this in 1 Cor. 1:13-17, where he asks, “were you baptized in the name of Paul?”, and later says, “I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name.”  Ephesians 4:5 tells us: “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”  This shows that there is only one God, and only one baptism that is a response to your faith in the Lord!  It is not who you are baptized by, but Who you are baptized into!
      • So what are people waiting for?…Many Christians will say that they don’t plan on getting baptized, because it is faith that saves them alone.  This position seems foolish to me because of the wealth of Bible verses that support baptism, and no scriptures supporting not getting baptized.  I strongly believe that 2 Kings 5:1-15 shows exactly why such a reluctance to baptism exists.  In these verses, it is seen that Naaman was a leper, and sought a prophet to heal him.  When he finally came to Elisha, Naaman was told to “wash in the Jordan seven times” and he would be healed.  Naaman, however, was upset that such a simple command was given to him, but his servants spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it?  How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean?’”  Naaman’s prescription to be healed was too easy for him, but it is pointed out that if he had received instructions that were more complicated and great, he would’ve gladly done them.  I think the same goes for baptism.  It is too simple for people, so they don’t feel it necessary to do, but if God had told them they should do some elaborate thing, then they would be eager to.      


      • Matt. 3:11 and Luke 3:16 show that Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit and FIRE.  
      • What does Jesus say about baptism in Fire?…Luke 12:49-53 tells us that Jesus came to send fire on earth, and that there would be division because of his name.  V. 50 says: “But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!”  In these verses it is seen that Jesus is distressed about the baptism He is about to be baptized with, and Jesus also says that believers are to expect hard times because of their faith.
      • Mark 10:38, 39 has Jesus saying, “You do not know what you ask.  Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?…You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized;”.  This shows that the baptism Jesus is referring to is not something that is easy, but is something that will be painful, and is something that believers should expect.
      • What does the Bible say about tribulation and persecution?…Acts 14:22 tells us that “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”
      • Romans 8:16-17 says: “if indeed we suffer with Him [Christ], that we may also be glorified together.”  As Christians, we will be persecuted and suffer for the sake of Christ, but it is somewhat comforting to know that we have been warned ahead of time, and our suffering is in fact one of the foundations of our faith (see Hebrews 6:2).
      • Philippians 1:29 says that it has been granted to us to suffer for the sake of Christ.
      • 2 Tim. 3:12: “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
      • What is the purpose of baptism in Fire?…Isaiah 48:10-11 gives a clear and concise answer to the purpose of this baptism, as it reads: “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.  For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it: For how should My name be profaned?  And I will not give My glory to another.”  The fire baptism is to refine us, to burn the crud in our life through the “furnace of affliction”.  God says that He does this, “For My [His] own sake”, to give us His glory (“I will not give My glory to another.”).  Just as silver is refined through fire until the one doing the refining can see his face in it, God does the same with us…He refines us in fire, so that His face can be more clearly reflected in us.
      • One of the 3 baptisms mentioned in the Bible is the baptism in fire.  Jesus says that the baptism that He was to endure, believers will also endure, and we’ve seen that it is through persecution/tribulation that we enter the kingdom of God and are refined.  The baptism in fire is suffering for the sake of Jesus (martyrs endure this baptism), and is something God uses to reflect His face (glory) more clearly in us.


      Hebrews 6:1-2 – Six Foundations:

      1. Repentance from dead works
      2. Faith toward God
      3. Doctrine of baptisms
      4. Laying on of hands
      5. Resurrection of the dead
      6. Eternal Judgment

      “…the doctrine of baptisms” (Hebrews 6:2) – Baptisms

      What does baptism mean?

      • Baptism = to dip; immerse
      • Root word – bapto – “to dip” (used in Luke 16:24; John 13:26; Revelation 19:13) (Prince 176-177)                                                               .
      • bapto – “cover wholly with a fluid…dip” (Strong 16)    
      • Matthew 3:16 – “baptized…came up immediately from the water”
      • Acts 8:38-39 – “went down into the water…baptized…came up out of the water” 

      Doctrine of Baptisms/Immersions – Singular Doctrine, Plural Baptisms (Hebrews 6:2)

      1. John’s baptism (Mark 1:4; Acts 19:4)
      2. Christian Water baptism (Matthew 28:19; Acts 10:47-48)
      3. Fire baptism (Luke 3:16-17)
      • Baptism of distress/suffering (Luke 12:49-53; Mark 10:38-39) – perhaps describing baptism of fire.
      1. Holy Spirit baptism (Luke 3:16; Acts 1:5)

      1.  John’s Baptism

      • Luke 3:1-20 – baptism of true repentance

      2.  Water Baptism

      Note: When baptism is mentioned on its own, it probably refers to water baptism (for instance, see Acts 8:36-39 and 10:47-48)

      A new baptism initiated.

      • Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus fulfills all righteousness in being baptized by John
      • John 4:1-2 – Jesus’ disciples baptized followers at the same time John was baptizing.
      • Matthew 28:19-20 – Jesus initiated a distinctly Christian water baptism
      • Mark 16:15-16 – this baptism is THE deed that accompanies faith and salvation
      • Acts 2:37-38; 8:12,36-39; 9:17-18; 10:47-48; 16:11-15,31-33; 18:8; 19:1-5; Hebrews 6:2 – the early church emphasized baptism as a necessary and immediate response to faith in Christ 
      • Acts 19:1-5 – Christian water baptism is distinct and separate from John’s baptism 

      What is the meaning of water baptism?

      • 1 Peter 3:21 – NOT outward cleansing, but response of inner conviction
      • Hebrews 9:14; 10:22 – a good/clear conscience that comes through faith in Christ
      • Romans 6:1-6 – baptism = burial of old, dead flesh
      • Colossians 2:11-12 – relates to the cutting off of flesh; which is the killing of our old sin nature.  Circumcision and baptism are closely connected (see chart below).
      Is the cutting off of the flesh (Genesis 17:11)Is the cutting off and burial of our fleshly/sinful nature that was crucified upon faith in gospel (Colossians 2:11 and Galatians 2:20)
      A sign of one’s covenant with God (Gen. 17:11)A sign of one’s covenant with God (Matt. 28:19)
      Done AFTER someone was born an Israelite (Gen. 17:12)Done AFTER someone is born again (John 3:7) into the “Israel of God” – which happens upon believing the gospel (Galatians 3:26,29; 6:16).
      Done when an infant is 8 days old (Gen. 17:12)8 is a number that represents a new beginning – there were 8 people who began the new earth after the flood, the priests began their ministry the 8th day (Leviticus 9:1), the 8th day is the beginning of a new week, circumcision was done the 8th day, King David was the 8th son, etc.  Thus, baptism is also done after the “new beginning” that comes with faith in Christ.
      Contingent upon obedience (Romans 2:25)Contingent upon faith/obedience in Christ (just as John’s baptism of repentance could not be received by those who didn’t evidence repentance in their life, see Luke 3:8)
      Circumcision and Baptism Compared

      Old Testament pictures of water baptism.

      • Exodus 14:15-31; 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 – Red Sea is a symbol/type for baptism
      • Israel leaving Egypt by blood of Passover Lamb = Christians leaving the oppression of sin by the blood of Christ (Revelation 11:8; 1 Corinthians 5:7)
      • Israel walking under and out of a wall of water = Christian baptism.
      • Egyptians being covered by the water = sins being covered by water
      • Hebrews 11:29 – faith was necessary for their crossing the Red Sea, just as faith is necessary for baptism (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21).
      • Genesis 6-8; 1 Peter 3:20-21 – Flood of Noah is symbol/type for baptism
      • Ark brought salvation, having only one door = Jesus as the only way to salvation.
      • Sins of world covered by water = our sins covered by water of baptism
      • Ark resting after waters subside on 17th day of 7th month (Gen. 8:4) = the end of death over sin (Jesus was resurrected the exact same day!                                                               ).
      • 8 people on boat = beginning of new life
      • Dove finding olive tree after flood = Holy Spirit initiating our new life (Luke 3:22; Romans 11:17)

      What is required to be baptized in water?

      5 households baptized in Scriptures, comprised of believers:

      1. Cornelius’s (Acts 10:48) – All of the household is said to be saved and filled with the Holy Spirit BEFORE they were baptized (11:14-15)
      2. Lydia’s (Acts 16:15) – We are not told the status of this household when they were baptized.  However, the distance of their journey would seem to suggest that infants could not have been present (Acts 16:12,14).
      3. Philippian jailer’s (Acts 16:33) – All of this household believed the word of the Lord BEFORE they were baptized (Acts 16:31-34)
      4. Stephanas’s (1 Corinthians 1:16) – All of this household is called the “firstfruits,” and those who devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints (1 Cor. 16:15).  Thus, they were all believers and ministers of the gospel at the time Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, which makes it highly probable that they were believers before Paul baptized them.
      • Repentance and faith come before baptism in the Scriptures – Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38,41; 8:12,37; 10:44-48 (compared with Acts 11:14-15); 16:14-15; 16:31-33; 19:4-5; Hebrews 6:1-2
      • Heb. 11:29 – in the passing of the Red Sea, which is a type for water baptism (see 1 Cor. 10:2), faith was required
      • 1 Peter 3:21 – baptism is defined as “the answer of a good conscience toward God”.  Therefore, it is necessary that those who are baptized have a good conscience toward God.

      3.  Fire Baptism

      • Only mentioned twice explicitly in Scriptures (Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16)

      What is fire baptism? – 3 popular theories:

      1. Baptism of Fire = Baptism of Spirit
        • Matt. 3:11; Luke 3:16 – John introduces them together
        • Acts 2:3-4; Revelation 4:5
      2. Baptism of Fire = Condemnation of non-believers
        • Matt. 3:11-12; Luke 3:16-17 – after introducing baptism of fire, John speaks of judgment by fire toward unbelievers
        • 2 Peter 3:10-12 – This earth will be burned up with fire when Jesus returns
        • Isaiah 66:24; Luke 16:24; Revelation 20:14-15 – Those who reject Christ will suffer fire for eternity
      3. Baptism of Fire = trials and tribulations that refine Christians
        • Mark 10:38-39; Luke 12:49-53 – Jesus’ disciples will be baptized with suffering, compared to fire
        • Isaiah 48:10; Zechariah 13:9; Malachi 3:2-3; 1 Peter 1:7 – God refines us through fire

      What is the nature of fire?

      • Zechariah 13:8; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 – Fire refines and reveals
      • Proverbs 25:4-5 (see also Matt. 13:43) – fire destroys the impure so that the pure is refined and revealed, pleasing to God.
      • Happens corporately: non-believers are destroyed by fire and believers are preserved (Matt. 3:12; 13:36-43)
      • Happens individually: personal impurities are destroyed so that believers can be refined for God (e.g. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

      Conclusion on fire baptism:

      • What we know: Fire baptism is introduced with Holy Spirit baptism.  Both of these baptisms are introduced as the evidence that Christ’s ministry will go beyond John’s ministry, and these baptisms – Holy Spirit and fire – will go beyond John’s baptism of repentance.  Also, when addressing these baptisms of fire and Holy Spirit, John is speaking to those who have received his baptism of repentance, saying, “He will baptize you [that is, you who already went through John’s baptism of repentance] with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16), therefore, it can be assumed that this baptism pertains to all who have repented.
      • Inference: I believe the baptism of fire speaks of the refining and revealing that happens to those who have God’s Holy Spirit (i.e. Christians). 
      • Luke 3:16-17; Matt. 13:24-30,36-43 – Baptism of fire is the immersion of God’s fire that will destroy the unrighteous, but reveal the righteous: “The Son of Man…will gather…all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire…Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matt. 13:41-43)
      • O.T. Picture      : Daniel 3:26-27 – God’s servants untouched by fire that immerses (“baptizes”) them, revealing them to be of God, while their antagonists were burned by this same fire (3:22).
      • 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 – Fire will also refine and reveal the life of Christians, destroying any works that are not eternal.  Perhaps, the baptism of fire would include this aspect.
      • Matthew 13:41-42 – “things that offend” are gathered and burned alongside “those who practice lawlessness” 
      • Analogy: A fire sweeps through a neighborhood.  1 house in the neighborhood is made exclusively of wood (analogous to non-believers).  1 house is built mostly of gold, including its foundation, but has a wood porch (analogous to believers who still practice some non-eternal works).  This fire completely destroys the wood house (the judgment of the unrighteous), but only destroys the porch of the gold house (the judgment of unrighteous works done by those who are under Christ’s righteousness). 

      4.  Baptism of Suffering

      • Mark 10:38-39; Luke 12:49-53 – Christ’s disciples will be baptized/immersed with suffering, just as Christ endured the cross
      • Note: Some have seen this baptism of suffering as synonymous with the baptism of fire.  Though it is true that suffering is a great refiner of Christians, and is even compared with fire that refines (1 Pet. 1:7), it is problematic to say with certainty that these two baptisms are interchangeable      .  What we can say, however, is that Christians will be immersed with sufferings, just as their Lord was immersed with suffering, whether this be labeled “fire baptism” or a different baptism.
      • Acts 14:22; Romans 8:16-17; 2 Timothy 3:12 – suffering is not a choice for Christians
      • Acts 5:41; Philippians 1:29 – it is granted as a gift to Christians
      • John 15:2; 2 Corinthians 4:10 – Suffering is necessary for spiritual life and fruit to grow, the same as pruning is necessary for physical fruit to grow to its fullest potential.
      • Exodus 1:12; Leviticus 24:2; Mark 6:38-44; cf. Mark 14:3 with John 12:3; Acts 9:15-16; 2 Corinthians 13:4 – Pattern: brokenness and hardships precede light, life, and fruitfulness.

      5.  Holy Spirit Baptism

      Repentance and Faith Reinforced – Transcription

      Taught 2009

      We’re going to start in Ezra 3. Some of you may know that Ezra was written when the Jews were rebuilding the temple so it’s kind of important for us to study. What happened was that they had a temple that was destroyed and now they’re rebuilding it. Well, does anyone remember what the temple is called in the New Testament? Who is the temple? Answer: Jesus. Jesus is, he says he will destroy the temple in 3 days. It also says his body’s a temple. Guess what, who’s Jesus’ body? Who is the temple also? Answer: Us, the church. The church as well. In the New Testament it uses this temple metaphor to explain how the church is coming together and how it’s working. So I think it’s really instructive for us to look, for instance, at the book of Ezra and look at how the temple was rebuilt to understand God’s heart for building us up and for building up the temple. So let’s read Ezra 3: 10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the ordinance of David king of Israel. 11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord: “For he is good, For his mercy endures forever toward Israel”. Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praise the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. Ok, they’re so excited, they’re singing- why? Answer: The foundation is laid. The foundation of the temple was laid. It’s important I think for our studies because we’ve been talking about the foundations for Christians. In Hebrews 6 it actually says these are the foundations; repentance, faith, and we’ve been working our way through this. I want to show you that there should be rejoicing if we have been truly laying the foundation here. Believe me, a lot of people maybe only think they’re laying the foundation and I hope and pray that it’s not true of me. If we’ve truly been laying down the foundation, there should be rejoicing, I think the Lord rejoices.

      However, if you go over to Ezra 4: 1 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the descendants of the captivity were building the temple of the LORD God of Israel, 2 they came to Zerubbabel and the heads of the fathers’ houses, and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we seek your God as you do; and we have sacrificed to Him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here.” 3 But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of the fathers’ houses of Israel said to them, “You may do nothing with us to build a house for our God; but we alone will build to the LORD God of Israel, as King Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.” 4 Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building, 5 and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. Ok, they hired counselors to frustrate their purpose. What was their purpose? Answer: To build the temple. To build the temple and specifically to lay the foundations and they wanted to keep moving on from the foundations. What happened was all of a sudden the adversaries arose and they wanted to do anything they could to frustrate the purpose. Why do I say this here? If we are truly building the temple, according to God’s dimensions and God’s heart, the scriptures are very clear that we should expect attacks. I’m not saying this in a fearful way. I’m not afraid of the enemy because the Lord’s hand is so much stronger than him. I’m saying just so you are aware and you know what to expect. You have all these different things that the enemy will try to do if the temple is truly being built. I’m showing this because it is a principle in Ezra that happened and I believe it’s true today too. So if you’re having certain things happening in your life, understand that that should be expected, that there will be opposition. I will say that always, if we are truly pleasing in the sight of the Lord, it will get the attention of the enemy and you should expect that. That’s what I’m saying. I wanted to bring that up for prayer purposes. We were talking earlier that it’s been on our hearts to pray. As we’re praying for the study tonight, and for other nights, and just in general, let’s recognize this. It says the Lord’s hand is mighty; so much more might than the enemies. Sometimes he just wants us to ask, like we were talking about in Zechariah 10:1. He says, “Isn’t it the time? It’s in the spring, the time of rain, so ask of me for rain”. The Lord’s hand is stronger than the enemy right? Yes. The Lord wants his purpose to prevail, right? Yeah. But he says, for whatever reason, “Ask of me”. He will wait until we ask. Someone said this; the Lord’s will is like a mighty train but he needs the tracks sometimes that are our prayers. For whatever reason, he decides to wait sometimes on our prayers. I want to bring that up so that we can go into a time of prayer for tonight, for other things, for whatever the Spirit speaks to you. Maybe it will just be a time of the Spirit kind of stirring silently, I don’t know, but I want to open it up to just pray in this regard if we are building the temple. Let’s pray about that.

      Brian: Lord, you are the wisest builder. It says you are the wisest builder, Lord God. You are the one who lays the foundations. I know the Proverbs do say that there is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death, so I ask that if we are just going in a way that seems right to us but is not leading to life, may you convince and convict our hearts, Lord God, that we would go and truly please you. And if we are pleasing you, I ask of the God who is mighty and loving towards his people, that your hand would stretch down, by your mercy, that you would humble yourself in such a way by your mercy from heaven, that you would stretch forth your hand to remove any attacks of the enemy in the individual lives here and corporately in this bible study and other things. Please, may your hand be manifest and may your face be manifest to us tonight. You give such a blessing to Aaron that you say, “speak to the Israelites and say that my face would shine upon you as the blessing to give them”. I ask now, oh God of heaven, may that same blessing be ours tonight, that we could say that we have seen more of your face, that we’ve understood more of your face, that we’ve understood more, Lord God, of your blood, of your sacrifice, and that we’ve grown in your life. Please hear our prayers God.

      Marcus: Father, I ask that we would not be afraid Lord, because we know that these things come and these attacks come, Lord. But Father I pray that we would not be deceived, that you would not let us be deceived, God, but that we would know the assurance that we have in Christ Jesus and that we know, Lord, what you have given us in Christ Jesus. Lord I pray, please do not let me, or anyone else here, walk forward deceived and in fear of the enemy, Lord. Please just let us see what you have mercifully given to us in Christ Jesus and what we have in the name of Jesus Christ. Lord, I pray against this deception. I’m reminded of your verse that says that when anyone turns to Christ, the veil is taken away. And Lord I ask that by your grace, we may turn to you with all our hearts Lord and that as you’ve said in your Word, so it will be, that you will take the veil away. So Lord, I pray that you would take any veil away and any deception.

      Chris: God, I pray tonight that all the seeds would go into good soil, in Jesus name, that none would be scattered on the road for the enemy to pick off and take away. I pray they would all fall on good soil, and in Jesus name, that you would prepare our hearts and till the ground in each of us to be ready to receive the seed, which is the Word of God. God, you say that we can overcome the Devil by the blood of the lamb. So God, may we know the power of your blood and if we don’t know it, may you reveal it to us in Jesus’ name. May we continue to testify to your wonders and your works and your power and your grace and may we continue to resist the devil. You say to resist the devil and he will flee.

      Ok, with these studies, as you guys know, we’ve been looking over the foundational teachings of Hebrews 6. Understand that this is very much on my heart and Neal, who some of you met last week, he’s teaching this to 3 different bible studies during the week and has been looking at it and praying about it. Other times this teaching is going forth at Hope but it’s really been on my heart that it is a teaching that helps you guys to walk on your own and not become more dependent, in any way, on me. Does that make sense? It’s something that will hopefully help you guys get your own legs to stand firm in Christ and that you would look to him always as your head and definitely not me. So I hope and I pray, and if you guys think about it, pray for this too, that we’re leaning more on the Lord through these studies. The first week, which was 2 weeks ago, we studied the doctrine of repentance. The second foundation was faith. Third foundation? Answer: Doctrine of baptisms. Fourth one? Answer: Laying on hands. Yes, and then it goes on to resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. Hebrews 6:1-2 talks about that. So, we’ve done repentance, we’ve done faith, it would seem like tonight we’d go on to baptisms. Not quite actually. I’ll tell you why. Go to Exodus 26. On Saturday this just compelled me in such a way, it was like the Lord spoke it, and so I want to be faithful to it. In Exodus 26 it’s talking about building up the tabernacle. Remember the tabernacle is what they had in the wilderness. It’s built with the cedars but they had to make sure it was strong enough that it wouldn’t collapse and that it would be able to be sustained in the wilderness. So here’s what God says. God himself, in his wisdom, speaks this about building the tabernacle. 23 And you shall make two frames for corners of the tabernacle in the rear; 24 they shall be separate beneath, but joined at the top, at the first ring. Thus shall it be with both of them; they shall form the two corners. Ok, we won’t read through this but he just got done saying “Build this wall this way and this wall this way”. But do you see what he said here now, in God’s wisdom? Did you guys catch what he’s teaching now after building all those walls? Ted, you’re a builder, it basically means that there are certain reinforcements you have to make sometimes. That’s exactly what the Lord is teaching here. He says, “We need to make sure there’s a reinforcement on those corners because those corners especially can get unstable”. So God, in his wisdom, said, “we need to make sure that this is a stable building”. In such a way, I really feel compelled that God was putting this on my heart and saying you need to make sure of repentance and faith. We’re going to look at a little different and a more mature faith this week. We’re going to build on last week; it’s going to be new stuff. Repentance and faith are like the corners, they are so necessary and if we don’t have a firm understanding of these doctrines then the temple will be built incorrectly.

      That’s enough intro. So, God commanded reinforcements, right? So to be a wise, responsible builder, Paul says we must reinforce critical foundations such as repentance and faith. As a builder, you would not be wise and responsible if you didn’t reinforce certain things. We have to, to make sure it’s going to be sturdy and that it’s going to endure the seasons that are going to come. Like we just read in Ezra, you are going to have times of very difficult trials and we have to make sure that what we’re building is solid enough to withstand those different trials. So, to briefly recap, I want to show a verse here. Everybody go to Luke 15. This is probably familiar to everyone here: the prodigal son story. We looked at it a couple weeks ago. Really, if you want to just see what repentance is, you’ll find it if you look at verses 18-20. It gives the best picture that I think you’re ever going to find on what repentance is. This is the prodigal son speaking: 18 “I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’”20 So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Ok, great. So we recognize that the father is back here and the son is walking away from the father. The first thing he does is make a decision in his mind and say, “This is not right, I have to turn around”. But that’s not enough. I can say, “I have to turn around” and then just keep walking. He makes the decision and then he turns around after he’s walked far enough. Then look, he doesn’t have to retrace all his steps; what does the father do? Answer: Runs after him. The father goes running after him. What a picture of our God! In heaven he sees that we have walked away from him. When we decide that we have to go back to him, we turn around and God meets us! No god is like that. Every religion except for Christianity says how you can work your way up to heaven. Christianity says how heaven came down here to us. It’s a huge difference, all the difference in the world. So we have this picture of repentance; we come, change our mind, change our action, and the Father comes and runs to meet us.

      I wrote here that repentance is a change of our mind and action. It’s an exchange of lords. I think that’s an accurate way to say it. We reject us being the lord of our life and we turn and say God is now our Lord. Another thing about repentance; John 6: 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. Jesus is speaking this and look at what it says; repentance is initiated by God. God is the one who grants and draws repentance. And we saw in Luke 15:20 where he initiates it and he also aids it. We make the initial turn and he says “Ok I’ll help you out here”. We talked about the bride in the Song of Songs; she said “Draw me away” and then the husband came and drew her away. Not only that, let’s look at something else about repentance Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” It’s the first thing recorded of Jesus’ words in the gospel of Mark. His very first command is “Repent and Believe”. Notice what I say here, repentance and faith must work in cooperation. Here’s what I say; you cannot know Jesus as Savior unless you know him as Lord. We talked about this a couple weeks ago. People always say, “Do you know Jesus as Savior?” No, he has to be Lord and Savior. We’ll talk about that a little more later. And here, out of Jesus’ own mouth, I want you to hear these words carefully; John 14: 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. So, “if anyone loves me, he’ll have these nice, good feelings toward me”? No, that’s not what he says. What does he say? He says, “If anyone loves me…” and he doesn’t even talk about feelings. Jesus here, this is your Lord, what does he say? If anyone loves me? Answer: they will keep my word. There will be an obedience. Do you see that? To love God, to serve him, to know him as savior, there is also a lordship that happens, according to Jesus’ own testimony. So repentance demands that we change from us being the lord, or maybe it’s not us, maybe our parents or our friends are the lord of our life. Whatever is the Lord of your life, it’s changing it over to say, now God is the Lord, which means what he says goes. So this is a picture of repentance.

      Now, repentance, as we saw, is when the son walks away from the father over here and he decides to turn around. That’s repentance, the turning around, but there’s something else that happens here. We’re moving on to faith. If you’re still in the story here of the prodigal son read verses 21-23. 21 The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. Ok, “bring out the best robe, a ring, sandals, a fattened calf.” The father had all these things to give. Look at here, repentance put the son in a position to face the father but he still had to receive his father. There still had to be an embrace and he had to receive the abundant life, he had to put on the robe, he had to receive the sandals, he had to receive all of this stuff. I think that receiving, although it’s not said explicitly in this parable, indicates what faith is for us. Repentance puts us in a position where we are facing the Lord but faith receives from him. Remember in Hebrews 11 it says that it is impossible to do what? Does anyone remember? Answer: To please God. It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who comes to him must believe two things. Does anyone remember? Answer: That he exists. That he is. So you must believe in who he is. And? Answer: That he rewards those who seek him. That he rewards those who diligently seek him. That’s in Hebrews 11:6. So you believe who he is and what he does. It says this is the faith the pleases God. Guess what? If the scriptures are true, it is impossible to please him without a true understanding and a true faith in who he is, according to the word, and what he’s done. So faith that is truly recognized by God, we looked at a little last week. I think it’s important enough to look at again. Go to Romans 10:9-10. Here’s the faith that God recognizes. 9 Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified. Ok, with what one believes? Answer: with the heart. It has to be there, according to scripture, it has to be in the heart where faith is deposited. It’s like the parable of the sower. He sowed all these seeds and it was in the heart. If you receive it in the mind, according to the Lord, he never even talks about that. He doesn’t talk about faith in the mind, he doesn’t even recognize that in his word. There are things in the mind he recognizes: understanding, hope, salvation, and all these things. But faith that pleases God has to be in the heart. So it begins in the heart, God puts it there in the heart, and as we said, it’s faith in who he is and what he’s done. Jesus’ first words in the gospel of Mark are “Repent and believe…” what? Does anyone remember? Answer: The good news. Repent and believe the good news or the gospel.

      Now here’s the million-dollar question, which we should all know from last week. What is the gospel? There are so many debates on this. I don’t know why. It seems like it’s so simple. Answer: That Jesus has come and that he’s died for our sins and that he’s made a way for us to become with God. Ok, how do you know that? You can’t just go by your opinion. The Lord doesn’t necessarily respect that. I mean, our opinions are fine, but he says, “My word is what has to be in your heart”. Answer: 1 Corinthians 15. Ok let’s go there. Gabe, you’re leading now. Comment: Would it be worth mentioning to that in that verse we read in Romans it says that you confess that he is Lord first and then he becomes savior. Oh, that’s good, confessing that he is Lord. No, that’s definitely true, I think so. We don’t have to edit that out. That’s great. That you recognize him as Lord, and as savior, is coupled in that verse. They have to go together. Ok, 1 Corinthians 15: 1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. Beautiful. Ok so he says, “I delivered to you the gospels” and look what he says in verse 3. “Here’s the gospel, here’s what I delivered to you, these facts; Christ died for your sins”. But it doesn’t just say that alone it says according to what? Answer: The scriptures. It has to be according to what the Word teaches on it, not some opinion on it. He died for your sins according to the scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day. Now we have in a very clear and concise language Paul telling us exactly what saves you, exactly what the gospel is.

      So faith, we already said, is belief that starts in you heart and it’s faith in who God is and what he’s done and it’s faith specifically in the gospel. Now, when you have that kind of faith God says he gives you something too. Does anyone remember what it says in the scriptures that he gives you when you have this kind of faith? It’s not just that you believe and then you’re on your own to try to work it out yourself. No, he gives you something when you believe the gospel. Ephesians 1: 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, (ok so you’ve heard what’s true. What is it?) the gospel of your salvation (Ok, so it’s the gospel. We just saw what that was); in whom also (that means in Christ. So you heard the gospel and also, in Christ), having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. The Holy Spirit came into your life. You have God’s life in you and you’ve believed and accepted the gospel in your heart. Ok, like God says, it begins with a seed. You could go outside and look at the trees and everything and know that they all began with a single seed. It’s grown and you can tell that it’s been a good seed. You can tell what kind of seed it is based on the fruit it produces. Well guess what, it’s the same with us. That’s why the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians, love, joy, peace, patience, all those things, will be evident and they should be growing in you if you truly have the seed in your heart of the gospel. So it kind of moves in this progression.

      Alright, so that’s what we’ve looked at the last couple weeks. Now, I had to go into 2.2 here and I call it the mature faith. Here’s why I say this, go to Romans 1. What we’ve looked at previously is a faith that saves you, a faith that begins your walk, a faith where the Lord works in you and there is repentance and true belief. He says that this is what you need, this is what saves you. However, I want you to notice something here. We’re looking at Romans. I don’t know how familiar you guys are with it, I think Hope for the nations has been going through Romans so maybe some of you have been hearing those teachings. Some of you may know this, I talked to Linda about it yesterday. Has anyone heard of the Romans Road? Linda why don’t you explain it do us just very briefly. It’s a set of Bible verses that are all in Romans and you take someone through it and it’s essentially the steps in the plan of salvation. How to become saved. I’m all for that, its’ great and wonderful, but here’s the thing. Look at Romans 1: 5 Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. 6 And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints. This tells you who Paul is writing this to. Who’s he writing it to? All in Rome, we see that. But the people in Rome who’ve done what? Answer: Who are loved by God and called to be saved. Yes, they’ve believed, they’re Christians already. Ok, so Romans wasn’t written to unbelievers. It was written to people who had a basic understanding, a basic faith. But Romans explains it, it gives a more mature faith, a more mature understanding. It’s kind of like the armor of God. You have to wear the whole armor so that there are no attacks from the enemy that you are going to come under. What’s part of the armor? What goes on over the head? Answer: Salvation. The helmet of salvation. Think about it, that covers the mind. I’ve thought about this before. You have to understand your salvation. We were saved and we kind of get that I think, but the enemy is able to work in stronger ways than we realize if we don’t truly understand our salvation. Romans spells it out a lot better. What does it mean that you’re saved? What is the power of your position now that you’re saved? With that in mind, as I say here, though our faith starts with a seed it must grow to a fuller understanding of the gospel. It must if you are talking about becoming mature. That’s what we’re hoping, by the Lord’s blessing, that these studies are to bring us into maturity. We have to have a fuller understanding of what the gospel is.

      Ok, the first thing I say is faith in the power of the blood. Go to Romans 3: 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. Ok, we looked at this last week. Paul says that everyone is born with this sin nature, as long as you have the seed of Adam in you, basically is what it says. Adam sinned and it’s passed down, we’ll look at this a little later maybe. But you have this sin nature. From your birth you’re the prodigal son. Guess what? You’re walking away form God from you birth. So what was happening in Rome was that people were coming to them and saying, “Well, here’s the Old Testament law. If you follow XYZ, ABC, 123, all these things, then God will recognize you as truly righteous. Paul repudiates this, he rejects it; he says it’s wrong. He says the law is true and it’s good, but do you know what it’s good for? Verse 20. What did the law bring? Answer: consciousness of sin. Yeah, knowledge of sin. Paul says what the law does is show you how sinful you are. The law reveals to you that you are not good, or not as good as you think. What is the famous C.S. Lewis quote? Answer: No one knows how evil he is until he tries to be good. That’s the case. We all think we’re so good until you have these standards put on you. We talked about last week imagining how graceful, wonderful Linda can sometimes be klutzy. You wouldn’t know it by looking at her but if we started making demands on her, if we start saying do this, do this, you would find out pretty soon. Linda: Walk across a smooth, stable surface? Haha, yeah. Those kind of demands, just like that. That’s what the law does. We are all sinners, you know this. Guess what? The more time you spend away form this Word, the greater you think you are. That’s always the case. I can see it.  If I start to think, “Man I’m really great”, then I think, “I haven’t really read the scriptures in a couple weeks”. You start to think, “I’m great compared to this guy or this guy” but then you read the word and you see God’s standards of holiness, God’s standards of greatness. When the law comes you think, “Oh my goodness, I’m not as great as I thought. I really fall short here, here, and here”. That’s what the law does.

      Now, verse 21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. He says there is a way to be righteous. He says, “Don’t get me wrong, don’t give up on me yet”. There is a way to be righteous, but it’s not in the law. Here’s the confusing part, it’s not in the law but the law talks about it. What’s this new way to be righteous? Go on to the next verse. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. He says that there is no one who can live by the law, but guess what? By faith in Jesus Christ, you’re covered with a new righteousness. 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Another translation of verse 25 is that he passed over the sins. So it says that when you accept Christ’s work on the cross, specifically his blood, all of a sudden God no longer sees your sins but he sees something else. He knew nothing but your sins but now there is something else that he sees. What does he see instead? Answer: The blood. The blood, I love Chris’ prayer when we were talking earlier that we would understand the blood more. We all need to understand the blood more and God knows how much that includes me as well. So we see that it comes through his blood that we can be called righteous in God’s eyes. Do you know what righteous means? It means in a right standing with God, that God and you can be friends again; you can be on the same page. It has to be by the blood. Go a couple chapters later to Romans 5: 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! Ok, we’re saved from the wrath, praise the Lord! And we’re justified by what? Answer: The Blood. His blood. Now, what does justified mean? It’s kind of like saying righteous, you’re in a right standing with God. Justified, in a legal sense, is just as if I’d never sinned. That’s a way to think about it in a legal sense. It doesn’t mean that God makes it so you’re sinless, that’s not what it is. In a legal sense, he can see the blood now and he says, “this covers it”. So you’re made right now with the judge of all the world. You’re made might with the holy judge because of the blood.

      Ok, so to have a more mature faith, we kind of talked about this last week, we really need to understand why this is like this, what the power of the blood really is. To understand this we have to go back to Genesis. Genesis 2: 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Ok, he’s talking to Adam and he says, “You’re free to eat all these trees”. I love the Lord. Of course, this is the way we are, He says, “everything that you can do, you can do all this” but we focus on the one thing we can’t do. So he says, “You can do all this but that one tree I really don’t want you to eat from. In fact it’s so serious to me that the day you eat of it…” What’s going to happen? Answer: You’ll die. You’ll die the day you eat of it. Now that brings up a good question; did they die? We’ll talk about that. Basically, God’s setting forth his standard. Notice something else in Genesis 2:  25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. Ok, that’s going to become important in a little bit. There was a nakedness but there was no shame. Recognize, there’s no sin in the picture yet.

      Now, go to Genesis 3: 6-9. I think we need to understand this, and by the Lord’s help we will be able to. We need to see what the blood has done.  6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” Here we have all the effects of what sin did, three things that it affected. The first thing it affected is in verse 9. God says, “Where are you?” Before they walked together. This is absolutely essential. The Lord no longer can have fellowship with them. Now, what did they do? Even before God called out and said, where are you, what did they do? Answer: They hid. So they hid form God. It’s kind of like the prodigal son, if you think about it. They had a relationship together and all of a sudden sin enters and they are ashamed, so they hide. But that’s not the end of the story. God also says, “Where are you?” God separates from them and they separate from God. I’ve heard it taught, and I believe this really offends the heart of God, that it’s only a psychological guilt. “God’s never left us or distanced from us. We just have this guilt in our consciousness”. According to this scripture, God has turned away and so have we turned away. The other thing with this picture is that not only has God moved from them and they have moved from God, but that they’ve joined now with the enemy. Ok so sin enters and the Lord separates himself from them and they separate from him and there’s a new component too. They were supposed to have dominion over all the animals but now the serpent has the upper hand. In fact, look at the curse of the serpent. 14 So the Lord God said to the serpent: “ Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust all the days of your life. The serpent has power over the dust. Well, where was Adam made from? Do you remember? Answer: From dust. He was made from dust. This is a new thing. The serpent was supposed to be under the man but now the serpent has power and consumes what is from the flesh, what is from Adam. In fact, they’ve changed their nature altogether. Here’s how I know. What’s the first thing they say when God confronts them? He says to Adam, “Did you eat of this?” Answer: He blames her. He accuses Eve. God says to Eve, “Did you eat of this?” What does Eve do? Answer: The devil made me do it! She accuses the serpent. Here’s the thing, they’ve taken on the role of their new father, according to Jesus. He says that if you do not know the Lord, do you know who your father is? Answer: Satan. You’re sons of Satan. That’s exactly what it says. Do you know what Satan means? Answer: The accuser. Accuser, you’re blaming. That’s what the enemy does. You can tell when sin is rampant in someone’s life; they’re always quick to blame someone else. When sin has taken control and the enemy has an upper hand, they point the finger and they blame someone else.

      So we have three components here that have all been undone by the work of sin: God separates from them, man separates from God, and now the serpent has got a new power. So, what do they try to do? They know they’re naked and what do they try to do? Answer: Cover themselves. With what? Answer: Fig leaves. Problem: fig leaves don’t last. To me, the fig leaves represent any way that you try to cleanse your conscious. All these different religions are fig leaves. It works for a little bit and you think “I don’t have to have guilt”. It works for a little bit but it doesn’t last. So the Lord has to come and cover them. Look at Genesis 3: 21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. The Lord had to clothe them now. The Lord needed to cover them with the life of another, presumably through shed blood, right from the beginning. Remember what it said before, they were naked and there was no shame. Now their nakedness is shameful because there’s sin in the picture. So their nakedness, their sinfulness had to be covered through the life of another. It had to be covered presumably through shed blood. So we see this picture unraveling about the power of the blood all of a sudden. God says there is a restored something here because the blood has been shed, because there’s a covering over you.

      This picture is, I believe, grown out even more if you go to Exodus 12. Most people know about this, it happens in the time of Moses. Anyone remember when Moses lived in relation to Christ? About 1,400 or 1,500 years before Christ this is instituted. Look at what happens. Remember, this is while they are in Egypt. They are being oppressed by the Egyptians and God gives a way out. 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. 7 And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. 8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Ok, remember I said that sin presented three problems. God has to separate himself, man separates himself from God, and the enemy enters and has a new power. So we are going to look at how the blood remedies all the affects of sin. Let’s look at the blood’s remedy in God’s eyes. Here you take the lamb and it had to be perfect, by the way, no blemish. You take it, you slaughter it, and then where do you put the blood? This is important, I believe. Answer: On the sides of the doorposts. So we would put the blood on the outside of the door. So you have the blood on the other side and meanwhile, what else are you supposed to do with that dead lamb? Answer: eat it. So the blood goes there and the death comes in you. We’ll talk about that a little more next week. Go on to verses 12-13. 12 ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. 13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. Ok, so he says who has to see the blood? Answer: God will. The Lord had to see the blood. Did they see that transaction at all? The Israelites. Question: Did they see the Lord seeing the blood? Yeah, were they even part of that transaction? No, they were all inside, right? God himself saw the blood on the outside and what does it say he did when he saw the blood? He passed over that household. What did it mean for him to pass over? Answer: The first born wouldn’t die. There was no death in the household. If you had the blood you have life. If you don’t have the blood you have death.

      Now it starts to get fun here. This is 1,500 years before Christ. But guess what it says in 1 Corinthians 5:7? It says Christ is our Passover lamb. He makes it very clear that this represents Christ, this lamb without blemish and no bones could be broken. Do you ever wonder why on the cross Christ’s bones couldn’t be broken? All these different things- Christ is this lamb. Do you remember when Christ was on the cross and it says that they wanted to hurry up to kill the other 2? Answer: break their knees. Why were they in such a hurry? Answer: It was Passover. It was Passover and they had to slaughter the Passover lambs. Do you realize that? The same day that Christ was slaughtered was the day that they slaughtered the Passover lambs. Pretty cool, it was the exact same date 1,400 years before Christ even came. God knew the very day of the year that he would die. But come midnight, Watchman Nee said, “Do you realize that every single household at midnight had death in it?” Every house. What do you have? Either a dead lamb or a dead son. Every house come midnight had to have death. I believe it’s the same way. Christ always talks about how the hour he returns will be like midnight. Same here with the Passover. It will be like midnight and you are either covered by the death of the Lord, and his blood or there will be death. Separation from God is death, he is life, and that’s what sin does. It has to be for God’s eyes first, that’s the blood.

      Another aspect of the blood, I love this, go to Leviticus 16. This is called the Day of Atonement. We’re not going to read the whole thing so I’m going to give you a very brief summary here. On the Day of Atonement, 3 animals are involved. Does anyone know it? Answers: Bull, Ram, and Goat. I think there’s 2 goats, I believe, that you have together. So you have the bull and the goat and then another goat. 3 animals. The bull was slaughtered for the priests sins; the greater animal for the priest’s household. The goat’s blood was slaughtered for the people’s sins. Does anyone remember what happens to the third animal? Answer: It’s the scapegoat. It’s called the scapegoat. In fact, that’s where we get the term. The scapegoat ran into the desert representing that all your sins are gone. Now, with that background, we’re going to look at some of the details of this offering called the Day of Atonement.  3 “This is how Aaron is to enter the sanctuary area: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. Ok, Aaron is who? What’s his position? Answer: High priest. Only Aaron could go there as the high priest and he had to come into this sanctuary area with something in his hands. What did he have to have? Answer: Blood. With the blood of a young bull. Alright, he had to have the blood if he was going to go forward. Question: Does your bible say the word blood? Ours doesn’t. Oh it doesn’t? Later on it actually says blood in everyone’s translation. Right here it just says young bull but you recognize later that he’s not bringing the whole bull in. He sacrifices the bull out there and then he brings the blood in. So when the high priest comes to the holy place he has to have the blood of the bull. Oh, I might have misspoke. I think there are actually 4 animals, 2 goats, the bull, and a ram. Anyway Leviticus 16: 6 Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. Ok so the bull’s blood speaks to who? What does it cover? Answer: The priest.  The high priest and his household.

      Now let’s move on past there. 7 Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 8 He is to cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat. 9 Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering. 10 But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat. Understand he’s got 2 animals in front of him. They cast lots to see which one they will slaughter, take the blood, and present it to God and which one will be the scapegoat. He’ll go free and represent that your sins are on him. So this is setting up the whole picture here for us to follow.  15 He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. 16 In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the Tent of Meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness. Ok, that’s good. So first he slaughters it publicly where everyone can see it. But then he takes the blood and where does he take it according to verse 15? Answer: Behind the Curtain. Yeah he takes the blood inside the veil. Who goes with him into that place? Answer: No one. No one goes with him. In fact, go to verse 17 No one is to be in the Tent of Meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel. Now what an interesting thing, don’t you think? It is slaughtered publicly where everyone can see it. Look at whos sins are being paid for; all of Israel but none of them are there to see it happen. None of them are there to see the transaction. Why? Because, like we said, the blood has to be for God’s eyes first. In fact, look at this connection in Hebrews 9:11-12. This is talking about Christ. 11When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. Ok, this tells us everything. It said he had to have blood to go forward. Ok first, the goat was slaughtered publicly. Christ? Publicly. Then, where did Christ present his blood after he was slaughtered according to that verse? Answer: The more perfect tabernacle. Yes, anyone know what that represents, what that means? Answer: Heaven. Heaven, yeah and the immediate presence of God. Were you there? No. Was anyone there? No. Just like the high priest, only he could go. Also, anything that says “Christ is one way but there’s all these multiple ways to The Lord” is wrong. There’s only one high priest who could go and offer the blood for sins. He was the only one who could. None of us saw it but he went.

      But what do the people have to do now? Verse 29 This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work—whether native-born or an alien living among you- 30 because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the LORD, you will be clean from all your sins. 31 It is a Sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. Ok, so the people were commanded to do what? To rest, to do nothing. Doesn’t that seem kind of unfair? The priest is doing all this great work. He has done everything, he presented the blood, and he did all these things on behalf of your sins. You are commanded to not work specifically. Do not work. Is it unfair? Yeah, that’s grace. This is the Lord’s story. That’s why in Romans 6 it says 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. Ok, the wages; do you know what wages mean? Answer: It’s what you deserve. What you deserve or what you’ve earned. So by all of our great works we’ve earned what? Answer: Death. That’s what we’ve earned by what we’ve done. But the gift is eternal life. The gift is something given, you didn’t work. Also, Ephesians 2: 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. It’s not your works, it’s a gift of God. Another thing, John 6: 28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” And what? And what? Answer: Nothing. Nothing else! Believe, that’s it. That is the work of God, to believe in the one he sent. Now, did Christ do a work? Absolutely. He went through all of that stuff. That’s why on the cross what are his last words? “It is finished”. The work is done. That’s why he has called our Sabbath. Do you realize this? He has called our Sabbath because he finished all the work. Do you know what the Sabbath is? It’s when you rest in his finished work. It’s done. You are commanded now to rest. I praise the Lord! This is the good news.

      While the Israelites are resting guess what’s happening here? Go to Leviticus 16: 20-22. 20 “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. 21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. So Aaron is supposed to do what? He’s supposed to lay both hands on the head of this goat, representing that all of Israel’s sins are on the goat. By the work that the high priest has done presenting the blood, all of the sins are there. Now we saw that Christ is that high priest who presented his own blood to God and none of us saw. Just like the Passover lamb, they didn’t see the blood in the transaction. We didn’t see the transaction so what is our work? To believe, that’s it. We believe that it’s done because you didn’t see it. We recognize by the word that the blood was offered and God accepted that sacrifice. Now all of our sins have been placed on Christ. Guess what? He is the head. Look at that specific part, he places it on the head of the goat. It says specifically “Lay your hands on the head” not the body or anywhere else but on the head. Christ is our head. We’ve talked about this before, how precise God is. On Christ’s very head he had two things that were affecting his head on the cross. What were the 2 things? In Gethsemane what do you remember happening on his head? Answer: Sweating Blood. Sweat, sweating blood. And then also? Answer: Crown of thorns. If you went back to the curse that was put on Adam for his sin, do you remember what God says? Answer: By the sweat of your brow…You’ll sweat and thorns will come up out of the earth. Those are the 2 things that are part of the curse of Adam, of his sin. Now think about that. All of the curse of Adam has been put literally and physically on his head and spiritually like on the goat. It runs away and it’s gone. This is what the Lord’s saying because as we read in Hebrews 9, that was Christ.

      Now, I want everyone to look at Hebrew 10 that relates to this and also moves on to something else. 1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Ok, so it shows a contrast of the Old Testament Law and the way that things were taken away. It says you would do it and year after year you’d have to keep working, working, working. Of course, it’s better now. There’s a better blood. What’s the better blood? Christ’s own blood. Look here a couple verses later. 11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. Look at verse 12. After he had done his work what does it say? The priests in the Old Testament after they had done their work, what did they do? After they slaughtered an animal do you know what they did? They got back up and slaughtered another. And they just keep working, working, working. What did Christ do after he finished his work? Answer: He sat down at the right hand of God. He sat down, there’s a contrast. They kept working, he sat down. Why was Christ able to sit down when they had to keep working?  Answer: Because it’s finished. It’s finished, it’s done. He is the perfect sacrifice, the blood has answered. So, look again at what it says in verse 2. If that sacrifice was perfect for them, they would have ceased to be offered for the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. What do some other translations say? Answer: They would no longer have felt guilty. They would no longer have guilt of their sins if what? Answer: If there was a perfect sacrifice. If there was a perfect sacrifice there would have been no more guilt for their sins.

      Wait a second; we are under the perfect sacrifice. Remember, the first thing we said was that the blood had to be for God’s eyes. But what else did Adam and Eve do? God said “Where are you?” but what else did they do? Answer: They hid. They hid because there was shame and guilt, rightfully so. They couldn’t be naked when their was sin in their flesh. And now, there’s no need for guilt. In fact, if you are under guilt, I don’t think you recognize the blood. There’s conviction of sin, don’t get me wrong in that. But the guiltiness of all that you’ve done is gone, if the work is finished. Now, here’s the good question. If you say, “Yeah, but I’ve still done this, this, and this”. The question is, what are the chances of Christ getting up from where he’s sitting? What are chances that he still has to complete the work? Answer: None. Zero, it’s done. So every time you say, “yeah… but what about this sin or this sin? What about this guilty feeling?” Every time you say that, I’m saying this strong but I’m saying what I believe the Scriptures teach on it, it is a slap in the face of the Lord’s work, if you think that you can add to his work. If you feel ashamed to come to God because you say, “I’ve done this, this, and this”. It’s because you don’t understand the entrance you have to God. It’s only by the blood. In fact, later in Hebrews 10: 19-22 it’s talking about this perfect sacrifice. 19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus. We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place. How do we have confidence? Answer: By the blood of Jesus. By the blood. You should not have confidence to enter any other way. There is confidence allotted for you because, guess what? You have fallen short and you have sinned. If you’re coming and saying, “I’ve been really righteous today. I came to this bible study. We read and sat it out in a couple hour bible study. Man, we really have a place to enter now with confidence in our prayers”, you’ve come by the wrong entrance. If you come and say, “Man, I’ve prayed so much. I don’t even remember the last time I sinned. That’s my confidence”, you’ve come by the wrong entrance. There’s only one place you can come but guess what? You can always have confidence. The way you can come in confidence to God is…? Answer: The blood of Jesus. So, is the blood good if you’ve sinned? Yes, it’s for your sins. The blood is always the access you have to God. As long as Christ’s work was done, you have an access to him, by the blood. Go on,  20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us draw near with what? Answer: A sincere heart. Isn’t it consistent? Earlier we looked at how it has to be faith in the heart. If you have faith in his work and in his blood, you now have an entrance to the Lord. He will not reject anyone who comes by his blood, that’s a promise. You come on the basis of his blood, not on the basis of your righteousness, because it’s really unrighteousness. Going by the fig leaves, would that work? Were they able to cover themselves? No, but if they went by God’s covering, they were able to have fellowship. Comment: It says their righteous acts were like filthy rags. Exactly, I think it’s the same. If you come and say, “I’ve done this so therefore I can come to God” it’s like fig leaves. You are deceiving yourself. That’s not God’s access to him. His access is only by the blood. He needs to see it, like with the Passover lamb and he says you need to come by it.

      So then in looks a little like this. Go to 1 John 1: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. It starts this way, if we walk in what? Verse 7. Answer: The light. Just like he’s light, we can have fellowship with one another, with each other and with God. What does light do? It exposes darkness. So being in God’s life is maybe not always the best thing if you don’t have his blood because it exposes your sinfulness. Then it says we can walk in the light and have pure fellowship because something cleanses us from every sin. What? Answer: The blood of Jesus. So you are able now to have fellowship with God who is light, who will expose your darkness. You are able because there is that bridge now; it’s his blood. Every sin means past, present, and future. Go on to Song of Songs 1. We looked at this a little for repentance. 4 Draw me after you, let us run. The king has brought me into his chambers. We will exult and rejoice in you;
 we will extol your love more than wine. Ok, she starts by saying “bring me away with you”. How was she brought to the chambers? Answer: She was taken. She was taken to his chambers, which is basically his bedroom, an intimate place. Here’s the thing, the king represents God, I think he does at least as a type, principle, or shadow. If you’re in close fellowship with light, what does that do? You see how filthy you are. The closer you get to God the more you see your filthiness. In fact, look at her first three words in verse 5: I am very dark. Look at what she notices because she’s in light, in a close fellowship. She notices that she’s dark. Yet, she’s able to say “But lovely”. We can say the same on the same basis; we’re dark but lovely by his blood.

      Ok, we’ve seen the first two aspects of the blood: that God recognizes the blood and can pass over our sins and that we, on the basis of the blood can come to God. The third thing is, what about the enemy? Do you realize? We’ve said this before. Satan means the accuser. He has every right, at least in the Old Testament, to point out faults. Remember he did it with Job? Here’s what could happen, let me just give you a picture. Especially before the power of the blood of Christ, it’s like the enemy could come to God and point to us and say, “What about Brian? He’s done this, this, and this”. And God would have to say, “Yeah, he has”. But now there’s an answer to the accusations of the enemy. Go to Revelations 12: 10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power of the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuse them before God day and night, has been hurled down. Ok, Satan is called the accuser who accuses them day and night. He does not give rest to his accusations. He’s been hurled down and look at how they defeated Satan. 11 They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony: they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. What’s the first weapon they use to overcome him? Answer: The blood of the lamb. The blood of the lamb answers all his accusations. So, before the enemy could say to God, “Brian’s done this and this” and point it out. But now there’s a covering for me. Like the animal skin covering, there’s a covering I have to come before a righteous God. Satan says, “He’s done this, this, and this”. And God says, “The blood is there”. There’s nowhere he can point where the blood has not covered. There’s a new covering. It reminds me of Zechariah 3 where you have Joshua the high priest and Satan is right there accusing him. It says, “The Lord rebuke you Satan, you have no right to accuse him”. Joshua had filthy garments on and guess what? It says God removed his filthy garments and gave him clean garments. That’s what the Lord has done if you have accepted his work, that he on his basis has made it so you were covered. Remember what the old problem was? That they were naked. Before sin they had no shame but after it nakedness shows their flesh. So, if you’re in the sight of God, the only way is if there’s a true covering over you.

      So this answers Satan’s accusations. Now he has nowhere to go. Now he can accuse, and he will accuse. I’m very serious about this; the enemy will do anything he can do to get your eyes away from Christ and his work. Anything. That includes getting you to focus on yourself. How many of you have had a hesitation or stumbling block in your faith because “I’ve done this sin or this sin” or something’s gone on? The enemy has you so focused on that that you’ve lost sight of the work of Christ. Probably everyone. You’ve forgotten that he says it’s all done, it is finished, and he’s sitting. The work is done and the blood has covered you. That’s the enemy’s scheme. He has no right to accuse you now. All he can do is get you to accuse yourself and not look at the blood. That is his work. If you have true eyes to see the blood of Christ and what its’ done, you have access to a holy God for the rest of your life. That is worth more than gold and silver, I promise you. You have access now to the Lord of lord, the King of kings, and the holy one. You have access, not by your righteous doing, but by his blood

      The last thing about the blood, I want to show with 2 verses. 1 Corinthians 6: 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. Ok, you’re not your own. You don’t belong to yourself any more. You were bought with a price. Well the question is; what’s that price? Well, go to Acts 20. Paul is speaking here to the Ephesians elders. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. So now it tells you exactly what you’re purchased with. In 1 Corinthians 6 all we see is that we’re purchased, you’re not your own anymore. And now it shows you, what was the price that he purchased you with? Answer: His blood. His blood was the price. So guess what? That’s why when you go the Old Testament it talks about slaves. Now people have really perverted that passage but I think it does show that there’s a principle that there is a certain price you buy a slave at and then he’s yours. Here’s the thing, that’s us. You’re not your own. If you are accepting Christ as your Savior, if you are accepting the blood, you have to accept him as your Lord too. The blood is a double edged sword in that way. You can’t say, “I’m saved from my sins. I’m great, I can do anything”. No, it also buys you. You are now his.

      What does it mean to be his? This is an example Watchman Nee uses in a book. He says there’s a guy he knows who was in a train car with 3 other guys and they say, “Let’s just gamble to pass the time. It will be kind of fun”. Well, this guy was a Christian. They say, “Come along, come along and gamble with us”. The guy said, “You know, I can’t actually gamble. I’d love to, but I really can’t”. They said, “Why not?” and he said, “I don’t have any hands to play with”. “What about the hands that are on you?” He said, “Oh, these aren’t mine actually, they belong to God. My choices belong to God”. See what I’m saying? That’s when you understand that you’re purchased at a price. You say, “I do have hands but they’re really not mine. Let me ask if the Lord’s ok with that”. That’s what it means to be purchased at a price. It’s the same way with a wife’s dowry, people manipulate this too. Do you know what a dowry is? Answer: For a bride. It’s the payment for a bride. I think the Lord’s showing us a principle. Do you know that you’re the bride of Christ? Do you know that you were bought for a dowry? The dowry is his blood. You are not your own anymore, you belong to another. So, I say this to point out and understand that the work of the blood and the cross is the most amazing thing I think. If you just a little more understand it because of tonight, I believe the forces of the enemy are destroyed in a major way with the more understanding you have of the work of Christ and the cross. But it’s also that he is our Lord and he has bought us at this very price.

      Let me pray. God, you said that you are the only good teacher, and that you are the one who opens blind eyes. I can go on, and on, and on and not open a single blind eye. But with one touch of your hand you could open every eye in this room. Paul prayed for the Ephesians that they would have a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that their eyes and their hearts would be opened up. God, I ask on the basis of your blood, Lord God, you have commanded us to come boldly on that basis, I ask God that you would help that all of our eyes would be opened up, by your mercy. I know it is 100% by your mercy, it is not something we deserve. By your mercy may you teach us and may you show us more of what your great work means, that we would celebrate like the did in Ezra. The foundations were being built and there was celebration because they knew “We’ve understood repentance, we’ve understood faith” and we can celebrate before the King of kings and Lord of lords. I know that the enemy is real and you are real so the enemy must be real because you speak of him. I pray though that the enemy would not mix the message here, would not mix seeds, but that you, the master gardener, would be protective and jealous over your bride here tonight. Lord, keep the enemy at bay for the sake of your great name as our husband and the one who has rightfully purchased us. Thank you so much, Lord God, you are the best master ever, ever, ever. May your blessing be upon us here. In your name, Amen

      Repentance and Faith Reinforced – Outline

      Written 2009

      • Hebrews 6:1-2 – foundations laid
      • Exodus 26:23-24 – God commanded reinforcements to be constructed with the tabernacle, ensuring it would stand firm
      • 1 Corinthians 3:10 – to be wise, responsible builders, we must reinforce critical foundations such as repentance and faith

      1. Repentance

      • Luke 15:18-20 – Repentance is a change of mind and action.  It is an exchange of Lords – we reject our lordship over our life, and turn to God’s lordship
      • John 6:44; Acts 5:31; 11:18 – Repentance is initiated by God.
      • Luke 15:20 – Repentance is aided by God when we surrender to Him.
      • Mark 1:15 – “Repent, and believe…” – Repentance and faith must work in cooperation.  You can’t know Jesus as Savior if you don’t know Him as Lord.
      • John 14:23 – the indicator of our faith and love toward Christ is our obedience.

      2.1 – Faith

      • Luke 15:22-23 – “Bring out the best robe…a ring…sandals…the fatted calf” – Repentance put the son in a position that faces his father, but he still had to receive his father and the abundant life his father offered.
      • Hebrews 11:6 – Faith is the receiving of God’s person and work, according to the Scriptures.
      • Faith that is recognized by God:
      • Romans 10:9-10 – begins in the heart
      • Luke 8:4-15 – through the seed of God’s Word    
      • 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 – must believe the gospel (“good news”)
      • Romans 6:23 – Bad news: We deserve death in the sight of a Holy God.  Good news: We can receive what we don’t deserve – i.e. life – by faith in gospel.
      • 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 – The gospel: The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ as a payment for our sins.
      • Ephesians 1:13 – faith in the gospel brings the life of God’s Holy Spirit
      • 1 Peter 1:23; Galatians 5:22-23 – As the seed of God’s Word and Spirit grow in our life, they produce eternal fruit and true change in our heart, words, and actions.

      2.2 – A Mature Faith

      • Romans 1:5-6 – the book of Romans, which explains in detail faith in the gospel, along with Paul’s other letters, were written to those who already repented and believed on Christ – “the called of Christ” (Romans 1:7). 
      • Though our faith starts as a seed, it must grow to a fuller understanding of the gospel.

      Faith in the Power of the Blood

      • Romans 3:20-26; 5:8-9 – the blood covers our “deeds” (3:20) and “sins that were previously committed” (3:25), saving us from God’s wrath (5:9)
      • Eden
      • Genesis 2:15-17; 3:6-19 – sin separates God from man, creates guilt in man, gives Satan (“the accuser”) ground to rightfully accuse
      • Genesis 3:21 – God needed to cover them with the life of another, presumably through shed blood 
      • Passover Feast
      • Exodus 12 – needed a lamb without blemish (compare 12:5 with 1 Peter 1:19) who had no bones broken (compare 12:46 with John 19:33), Israel received life when God saw the blood (compare 12:12-13 with Romans 3:25)
      • Day of Atonement
      • Leviticus 16 – sacrifice slaughtered publicly (compare 16:15 with Hebrews 13:11-12), blood offered to God in Holy of Holies (compare 16:14-15 with Hebrews 9:11-12), only High Priest could enter (compare 16:17 with Hebrews 9:7,11-12 and John 14:6), the blood covered the people’s sins (compare Leviticus 16:20-22 with Romans 5:8-9), and the people only had to rest while the High Priest did the work (compare 16:29-31 with John 6:28-29)
      • Hebrews 10:1-4,11-14 – the blood of Jesus puts an end to the guilt of sin
      • Approaching God
      • Ephesians 2:11-13; Hebrews 10:19-22 – we are able to draw near to God in boldness solely on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice.
      • Hebrews 4:16 – we are commanded to approach God in boldness
      • John 1:7-10; Song of Songs 1:4-6 – drawing near to God exposes our darkness, but the blood covers every sin
      • Answering Satan’s Accusations
      • Revelation 12:10-11 – Satan = Accuser, but the blood directly answers his accusations
      • Zechariah 3:1-5 – Satan was rebuked on the basis of God’s Word and the new covering God provided Joshua
      • Bought as a Slave
      • 1 Corinthians 6:20; Acts 20:28 – Christ’s blood purchased us for God.
      • Exodus 22:16-17; Ephesians 6:23 – the blood bought us as a bride for Christ
      • Leviticus 25:44; Romans 6:18 – the blood bought us as slaves of Christ and His righteousness


      Transcription from February 19, 2009

      Ok, Hebrews chapter 6. This is a repeated scripture for some of you. We’ve gone over it actually the last two weeks. We’ve been doing it with Hebrews chapter 5 to get the context but today I want to just cut straight to Hebrews 6: 1-3. The writer of Hebrews points out different foundational things and that’s what we’ve been talking about. So he starts out with 1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation and then he starts listing the foundations; repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. Now understand, the context here is saying. “We want to move on past the foundations. We’re ready to show you even more than the foundations”. But what we want to look at here, and what’s on my heart and Neal’s and others is that we want to be responsible builders before God. Alright, if you are contracted to build a house, you have to start with the foundations. But also think about this; if you only stay on the foundations, you’re not being responsible either. You have to start with the foundations but then there’s so much more after that. So, what compelled us to study these is this; this is God’s definition of what is foundational. And I’ve kind of sometimes argued or wondered about some of them. For instance, to be honest, if I was writing the foundations, I don’t know if I said 6 things that every Christian should start by knowing, I don’t know if I would put laying on of hands. But how can we argue with God’s wisdom? We have to say, “whether we see it or not. Lord, show us more of your wisdom. These are what you consider foundational”.

      So we’re kind of going through these bit-by-bit and last week we did repentance from dead works. The main thing we talked about with repentance- does anyone remember the definition we gave for repentance? Answer: To turn your mind and your action. You turn your mind and your action around from where you are going. So it’s clear that when everyone starts out their life they are rebellious toward God, we’ll look at that in a little bit, and they are walking this way. Repentance is not to be remorseful or to be sorry. If you are walking the wrong way, being sorry is like stopping. Repentance is actually stopping and moving around. Godly sorrow does lead to repentance but just because you are crying and you’re sad about something doesn’t mean it’s repentance. Judas was sorry but that wasn’t repentance. So we talked about how Godly repentance is when you make a decision: you want to turn around. Then, after you make that decision, God comes. If you remember the prodigal son- he made a decision to turn around and then God the Father (or in the parable of the prodigal son- his father) came and ran to the son and met him where he was. So that’s all God’s looking for. He grants it, he begins the process in all of our hearts. There are certain things he’ll show you, certain things that don’t please God. He’ll point them out, he’ll bring you to a point of willingness, according to Philippians, and then he comes to our aid and helps us to get out of those ruts, whatever they are. And that’s how it begins. As we saw, does it say, “believe and you’ll be saved”? No, it’s always “repent and believe. In fact, all the times I can think of repentance is put first, before belief, but they do go together.

      So, repentance is what we looked at last week, but now we’re moving on to, what is faith? To be honest, I think this is the toughest one, at least for me to teach because there’s so much. For anyone here who’s decently acquainted with the New Testament you know that almost all the letters of Paul focus on faith: faith in the blood, faith in the cross, faith in your position in Christ, faith in what he did, faith in what’ s going to happen. All these things are faith, faith, faith. So we’re just going to look at maybe the core things about faith here. God willing, it will help us all to see what is the faith that pleases God. In fact, since you’re in Hebrews, go to Hebrews 11. I think this is an important place for us to start. 6 And without faith it is impossible to pleas God, because anyone who comes tom him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Ok, this is huge, look at this; It is impossible to please God, if there’s no faith. Now this confronts many teachings today. I have heard even prominent churches and Christian leaders who really downplay the importance of faith. They say, “Well, as long as you’re doing all these wonderful things and helping the poor and helping the needy, it’s ok. You please God by what you do.” According to this, it is impossible to please God if you don’t have faith. We’ll talk about how works couple with that in a little bit. It is impossible if you don’t have faith. In what? There are two things mentioned here that you must have faith in. What’s the first thing? Answer: That he exists. You believe that he exists, so faith in who he is, faith in the person of God. What’s the next thing you have to faith in? Answer: He rewards those who earnestly seek him. You must believe not only who he is, but also here it’s talking about his action of rewarding you if you are seeking him. It’s really in a broader scale, belief in who he is and what he does. There has to be proper belief in who he is and what he does, otherwise you cannot please God and you have false beliefs in certain things. That’s why people talk about cults or say, “We are Muslims. It’s just another way of saying we serve God, right?” It is impossible to please him if you have false beliefs about who he is and what he does. So we have to talk about this issue of faith because I hope all of us here have a heart to say, “we want to please God. We really do want to please him.” That has to be in our heart first. If we say we do want to please him we need to know what faith is.

      So let’s look at a couple earlier verses in Hebrews 11. In Verse 1 he gives this statement that helps us to see a little bit about what faith is. 1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Ok, good, I like that translation. Faith is an assurance of what you hope for and a conviction even when you don’t see something. So what it shows you is that faith is basically being convinced about something. We’ll talk about what it is being convinced of but it is being convinced of something even if your eyesight might not agree with you. There has to be some type of conviction and a convincing going on in your heart. So the next question I ask is what basis of faith does God recognize? What does our faith have to be in? Is it just faith alone? I’ve heard this, and maybe you have too; you’ll share a testimony about how Jesus changed your life and people will say, “I’m so glad you had your faith to get you through it.” Has anyone heard that? I’ve heard people say it not only if you are a Christian, If you’re a Buddhist, if you’re Muslim. “I’m so glad you had your faith to get you through it/” Well, having faith is not enough; it’s what you have your faith in. Someone once related it this way, I was talking to Linda about this just a couple days ago. They said it’s like standing on ice. You may be very thin and usually the ice will hold you up but if the ice is so thin, it doesn’t matter how thin you are, it’s going to fall. If you have very, very thick ice, or a solid thing that you are standing on, you might be very heavy but the ice will hold you up. The question is not how much faith you bring to it sometimes, the question is what is your faith in? What is the basis of your faith? Is it the ice that’s thick and that’s actually going to hold you up or is it ice that’s fragile? So it’s not the same. Some people say, “Well, as long as I have faith in this or this, I’m fine”. No, having faith is not enough; you have to have faith in something that God honors. So what does God honor? What is faith that God recognizes? Well, we already saw that it’s not faith in what you see. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to see things that agree with it, I think you will. But if you base 100% of your faith on what you see, then that does not honor God because, according to this, faith is evidence of things not seen.

      So what should our faith be based in? Let’s look at Romans 10. Paul is talking here about preaching and how people come to the Lord and know him and he makes this statement here in verse 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Ok so faith comes from hearing this message of the word of Christ. Other translations like mine say, Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. So you see that true faith that God recognizes, according to the scriptures, begins with the word of God. In fact, go to Luke 8. Some of you might remember this famous parable, the parable of the Sower. He goes into all the different soils of the hearts and he plants this seed here and this seed there and he said some do this with it while some do this with it. It says he’s talking about the kingdom of God and he’s speaking in these parables. So he’s showing how the kingdom of God grows in your life and how you grow and it all begins with a seed. He says as soon as the seed is deposited then the life takes off, just like growth of anything, but there has to be that seed to start. So the question is, what is that seed that begins, basically, your life with God? What is the seed in the parable? Look at verse 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The seed is the Word of God. The only true way that you will have a life that is honored and is recognized by God is if it’s faith in his Word, what he has spoken. Some people say, “Well I was saved and no one showed me this, this, and this. They came and all they said was ‘Jesus loves you’”. Ok, well, if you believe that it’s good. But guess what? That comes from the Word. They may not have gone through it this way but ultimately your faith is resting in the Word. The Holy Spirit is bringing it and saying a true fact and the Word attests to that.

      To carry this a little further I think it’s good to go to 1 Peter 1. In essence, he says a similar thing but he gives us a little more of the picture here. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. Ok, so there are two kinds of seeds. What are the two kinds? What is the first one he mentions? Answer: Perishable. Yeah, perishable and imperishable. So understand that there are two seeds here. If people have faith in something that is not the Word of God it may look like it’s nice, it may even grow for a while, but it’s going to perish. It’s not going to be eternally recognized by an eternal God. There are two seeds. If you have the seed that began with the Word of God that’s the only thing that will give you lasting and eternal fruit. So we see that the faith that God recognizes has to begin, it has to begin with the Word of God. Any other thing, he says, is going to perish, it’s not going to last the flames ultimately. It’s not going to last when the earth is burned up as it says in I think 2 Peter. It’s going to be destroyed because it is perishable. Eternal fruit comes from the Word of God.

      Ok, so we see that it has to have its basis. Faith is a conviction about the Word of God. But what, specifically, do we have to believe? Faith in what? Let’s go to Mark 1. This is the beginning of Jesus’ ministry recorded by Mark. 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. Ok, so we talked about this last week. His first command to them is repent. The next thing he says is believe. Notice he doesn’t end there. He doesn’t just say repent and believe like so many people think. “As long as you have faith in something…” No, it has to be belief in something specific, what? Answer: The Gospel. There has to be a belief in the gospel. According to Jesus there is no other way to come into the kingdom of God and to know him. There has to be belief in the gospel, according to the Word, remember. So we know we have to have faith and the seed has to be the Word, but specifically we need to know things about the gospel. Well, the next question that maybe you guys have, that I have, and that a lot of people have is, what exactly is the gospel? Some of you know this or some of your translations may say. Does it say “good news”? Ok, I want you to understand this. When we say “good news”, good is a relative term. It only makes sense if there’s bad. If you have one weather and there’s no other weather to compare it to, you can’t call it good weather because it’s just the weather that you have. If you have two kinds of weather than you can say this is good weather and this is bad weather. So there has to be a comparison here when we talk about the good news. When I say that good news is a relative term I mean that it only makes sense in light of bad news. So to truly understand what the gospel, the good news, is, you have to understand what the bad news is. And by the way, I think you guys may see this, I hope you do; a lot of people are not receiving the gospel. They think it’s good news because they don’t understand the bad news. The bad news is not being taught. The truth is the Word is true all the way throughout, including the bad news so to speak. I’m using that term kind of loosely.

      So what am I talking about when I say the bad news? Go to Romans 1: 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. So, what is being brought down from heaven? Answer: The wrath. What? I thought heaven only had good things? What’s up with this? I didn’t think God had wrath. Well, no, the scripture’s clear- he does have wrath and it’s inline with his holiness. Alright, there is wrath of God that is brought down. Believe me, you may have seen the wrath of some people that can be pretty bad, but we are talking about the infinite God. The wrath of God is a big thing that we are talking about; it’s a serious thing. It’s against who or what? What does it say? Answer: Unrighteousness of men. The ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. So he says it’s against just people who sin basically, really bad people. So when you first read it you say, “Man, I’m glad I’m off the hook. I’m a pretty good person, right?” Ok, well let’s go on to Romans 3. Let’s see according to the bible who would fit this category that deserve the wrath of God. Who deserves the wrath of a holy God? 9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks are under the power of sin. So who’s under the power of sin? Answer: Jews and Greeks. Ok, so if you are a Jew or a Greek raise your hand. Comment: Everyone’s hand should be up. Yeah, Greek is in terms of gentiles. Basically, the Jews comprise a small faction and the gentile are everything else. This is everyone. Jew and Greek means all people. In fact, he goes on to explain it a little more. 10 As it is written (and he goes on to quote a litany of different verses in the Old Testament which I like)  “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” 13 “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”; 14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Well, that’s everybody! In fact, look at 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Who has sinned? Answer: All. All have sinned and all have fallen short of the glory of God.

      So, everyone meets the standards of Romans 1. All, in some way, have not been holy. That’s the thing. That’s a good question to ask people. They say, “Well, I’ve been good”. That’s not what God has asked. He talks about it but by his standard of good you haven’t been, by the way. He actually says something different, he says, “Have you been holy?” That’s the question I like to ask. I’ve had people say, “Man, it’s just doesn’t make sense. How can a loving god send people to hell”. Everyone here either has this question tonight of they’ve heard someone ask it. We have to all face that question. How in the world can this happen? I’ve had people ask me and I usually say, “Well, how can a holy God live with sin?” I remember this one guy who was definitely not a Christian and he was like, “Are you telling me that I’m going to go to hell if I don’t believe the scriptures?” I said, “Well, with all respect, I want to ask you, are you holy?’ He said “No.” Well, if God is holy he can’t actually live with sin; it’s against his character. Now that’s a deeper discussion for another time. You talk about the Holy of Holies in the Old Testament. Does anyone remember what this was? Answer: The inner courts. Yeah, the inner room. Remember in the tabernacle you have the outer court, which is fenced off, and then you have the actual building, the tabernacle. Then you have the sanctuary where some people could go. Then you have a room sectioned off from that, and that’s the Holy of Holies. In fact, only one person could go in there. Answer: The high priest once a year. Yeah, the high priest on the Day of Atonement. And does anyone remember what it says about the priest who goes in there? It says he has to make sure all these things are right here, here, and here lest what happens? Answer: He dies. He would die. What? A loving God? What’s the deal with that? Well, here’s the deal. Again, this is really tough to explain in our limited understanding and limited use of words. But God’s full presence is in that place. Understand, in the Old Testament doesn’t it say, “If I go to the heights of the mountains, if I go to the depths of the sea, God is with me”? Yeah, God’s presence is there, in a limited sense. That’s why it says in Matthew 5 that over the unrighteous there is rain. Doesn’t everyone have rain? When I wasn’t a believer I had rain for crops. I’m not a farming person but you know what I’m talking about. I had sun, I got food, I had all those things when I was a nonbeliever just like I get when I’m a believer, just like everyone in the world gets. That’s because God’s presence is in the world in a kind of limited sense. His immediate, concentrated presence we have no idea of. That’s what we’re talking about. Heaven is in his immediate, concentrated presence. That’s the holiness of God. So therefore a holy god cannot have one blemish, otherwise he ceases to be holy. In his immediate presence there is nothing that is not holy. So, looking at Romans 3 again, I’m talking about more or less the bad news. The bad news is that God, being a holy God, brings wrath on anything that’s not holy. That’s the bad news. The worse news is that that’s us, that’s every one of us.

      So now you have the bad news picture and now we can talk about the gospel and what the good news is. Staying in Romans 3, let’s read 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. Ok notice that the argument that some of the Jews were trying to mix in there before was “Yeah, you can have Christ, that’s great. But you’re not righteous. You have to follow the law to be righteous.” Paul is repudiating that. He’s saying, “Do you know what the law is there for?” According to this, why did the law come? What did the law bring? Answer: Sin. It didn’t bring sin, but what? Answer; The Knowledge of sin. Yeah, that’s a big difference because the law is holy and Paul makes that very clear that it brought the knowledge of sin. It’s like this. Watchman Nee says it this way- let’s imagine I’m a very clumsy person. I’m kind of clumsy but let’s say I’m really, really clumsy. Is that you, Linda? I was thinking of her actually. Ok so Linda. You wouldn’t know right? I mean, sweet, lovely Linda. She may be very clumsy and Ted’s very graceful but if they’re sitting there and there’s nothing imposed on them and there’s nothing asked of them to do then you don’t know who’s clumsy and who’s graceful. They’re just sitting and there’s nothing asked of them. But as soon as you start making demands on them and saying, “Can you do this? Show us how graceful you are”, you will immediately recognize the clumsiness once there’s a demand made. You see, that’s what the law did. They were sinful before the law came but the law all of a sudden brought demands. They saw it and they said, “Oh my goodness. We can’t live up to this, we need a savior”. See the law, it says in Galatians, is a tutor to bring you to Christ. So this wonderful law reveals that, “Oh my goodness. We have a long way to go”. The law comes and it shows us where sin is. This is more the bad news. We’re still in the bad news section I guess. The law shows us that we deserve death and hell. This is a good thing to think about- hell is defined as being the absence of God. So, it’s the antithesis or the exact opposite of what God is. I want to make a point here. Therefore, if God is a little bit kind, a little bit loving, a little bit gentle and merciful, a little bit of the time, then we could say that hell is a little bit unkind, a little bit unpleasant, a little bit not so nice, a little bit of the time. Do you hear what I’m saying here? If God is all loving, all kind, all wonderful, all the time, now you know what hell is. It’s the opposite, or antithesis of God because it’s withdrawing his presence and his grace. None of us can imagine this because even in this fallen nature there’s still a glimmering of God’s presence and his grace, which he gives us. So, we see that the law reveals that we deserve hell and we deserve death.

      However, I love this news. 21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. So it’s talking about he, Jesus, and his sacrifice. This is the good news. If you believe that then you have inherited substitutionary atonement. It’s a big word but maybe you’ve heard it before. It means that he took on what we deserve. In fact, in verse 25 some people’s translations might have the word propitiation. That is probably the most accurate word from what I’ve studied and I gave a little reference here. Propitiation is probably the most accurate word but the problem is that it’s one of those words that so few people know so it looses its weight. The actual definition of propitiation is the sacrifice that bears God’s wrath to the end and, in so doing, changes God’s wrath towards us into favor. Ultimately, propitiation means something or someone who appeases the wrath of God. This is why, when Jesus is on the cross, what happens? What’s the first thing he says? Answer: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Yes, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Think about the weight of that statement. Remember, he took on what we deserved. Remember what hell is? It’s the forsaking of God, its’ God being withdrawn. “You’re not in my presence”. Jesus knew that for his time on the cross, I think that’s the worst part, to say, “He’s gone, he’s left me. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And then all the misery that happened, of course, with Jesus. He took that on though.

      So this is an idea of what the gospel is. In fact, let’s go to 1 Corinthians 15 where Paul actually defines the gospel for us. Question: I have a question. It might be too lengthy of a discussion but it’s something I’ve been thinking about. If Jesus is God, and hell is removal of God’s presence, how could Jesus go there? Yeah, but he emptied himself…I tell you what, that’s a good question, for after though because it’s a little bit of a detailed answer. Moving on to 1 Corinthians 15- we need to have a definition. I really like this because so many people say “Yeah, I believe the gospel”. They do not believe the gospel! There is a clear definition of what the gospel is. So when someone says “Do you believe the gospel?” you know this is the gospel. He goes straight to it. 1 Corinthians 15: 1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you-unless you believed in vain. So here now, he’s getting ready, he’s going to tell us what the gospel is. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: (very, very clear language here) that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. Notice here what we have in the gospel; the death of Christ who is God and man, his burial, and his resurrection. And look at what it says, according to what? Answer: The Scriptures. See that? It has to start with the seed of the Word, like we said before. It has to be as it says in the scriptures. Because some people believe some, like Mormons. I think they would say that they believe that he died, and that he was buried, and that he was resurrected. Is that right Niki? Answer: Yeah, and he came to America. Yeah, but they would say that kind of stuff, but it’s not according to the scriptures. It’s not really that Jesus is God and who God is and us as man and sin. They redefine certain things and it’s not according to the scriptures. So, this is the good news; that you are saved just by belief in this. That is good news. Let me put it this way; if that has never hit you as good news or never been good news in your life, there’s a blindness. I’m going to be frank. There’s a blindness if that’s never struck you as good news. And I’m going to say this too; if it has struck you at one time and it’s kind of lingered off, there’s something else that needs to be said. This should be good news; this should be better news everyday of your life because you recognize more and more what it means. Alright, so maybe that should be part of our prayer- that God would show us and reveal more, what does this mean? I deserve God’s wrath, according to the scriptures, so everything I get now is a gift of grace.

      So this is the good news that we believe. And guess what? It gets better! The good news keeps getting better and better. Look at this! Not only is there belief in that you are saved. Some people say, and I was just talking to Dave about this, “Oh, this is great, I’m saved and now I can just live life how it is.” It’s so much better than that! Look at this, go to Ephesians 1. It’s talking about all these things of what Christ did. I love that it keeps saying “in him”. That’s the way the Lord looks at it because you are now included in him. Ephesians 1: 13 In him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Ok so you trusted, you heard, you believed. In whom also, having believed, you are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Now that’s where this gets from good news to amazing news. 14 Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.  Everyone who believes in the gospel receives God’s Holy Spirit, which is the means and person by which God transforms lives into conformity with his righteousness. I’m not saying you believe and then your life goes on as normal. You believe in the gospel and now you’re given his life. Understand, this is not an empty statement. How many people read through the gospels of Jesus and they say, “That’s a great role model”? Well, of course he is. They say, “It’s a great role model for me and I’ll try my best but of course I’ll never be like Jesus”. Yes, that’s kind of true, I mean it is true, but what we don’t realize, what we miss is that he says by the Holy Spirit he did all these things. His life, to conquer sin, to achieve righteousness, is given to every one of you if you truly believe in the gospel. It’s not just Brian trying to do this. I will fail. Didn’t we just read in Romans that we all will fail? If it’s you trying to do it, you all will fail. But when you believe you have, all of a sudden, a new life in you. And this new life is the life that conquered death, it’s the new life that did all those things that Jesus did. It’s in you if you truly believe.

      Oh, and it gets better than that! Go to Galatians 5: 19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. The acts of your flesh, or your sinful nature, will bring out all these things. Some of you could say, “Oh yeah, I used to that, that, and a little bit of that”. Or even some of you to today, let’s be frank, might say, “Oh, I still kind of do a little bit of that. I have a little bit of jealousy, some selfish ambition, some factions”. Factions is a huge thing, it’s right there in verse 20. He compares getting into your little factions with orgies, with drunkenness. I just fear that sometimes with denominations that’s what’s going on. He’s very serious about this, that this is not of the Spirit to have this kind of a group. If we ever say, “This is where God’s moving and not in those guys over there”, that’s of the flesh. So we see that’s the fruit of what it’s like. Like I said, we can all probably recognize either where we used to be or, God forbid but let’s be frank, where some of us are right now. Or, and this is a praise, if you received Christ at a very young age, this is where you would have been or seen it more if you had not come to the Lord so young.

      But go on. He contrasts this is verse 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Ok, I love this. What is this called here? It’s called the fruit of the Spirit. To get fruit, what do you need? Answer: A seed Ah, remember the seed? Back to what we started with. The seed has to start when you receive the seed of the word. Comment: And then it’s watered by the Holy Spirit! Yeah, you receive the seed of the gospel and then it’s watered by the Holy Spirit, and it grows in you, and it’s fruit. Think about fruit too. Understand these are the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Gifts of the Holy Spirit are different than fruits. If I give a gift it’s like it’s already made, everything’s done and it’s put in your hands. Fruit is something that kind of has to grow and develop. So, there is a contrast. It’s kind of interesting though; this is kind of a tangent. I don’t know why there’s nine of both mentioned but there is. So that’s something that I don’t know if it’s important. There are nine fruits and nine gifts mentioned here. Fruit is the test of character and maturity and I think that’s important to realize too. Sometimes you see people and you think, “Man, this guy just did miracles by his hand? This guy prophesied? They must be so mature”. That’s not according to the bible actually. In fact, if you read carefully it says that Jesus granted to the 12 to raise the dead, to cast out demons, to do this, this, and this. It names them off and it says “and Judas, who would betray him”. He was able to do all those gifts. Judas had those gifts, he didn’t have the fruit, the evidence of the Holy Spirit growing. I hope and I expect and it’s wonderful to have powerful gifts that God gives you. But if you are talking about someone who is mature in Christ, that’s not the test. The test of maturity, the test that you have grown up, the test that the Spirit is taking root and is living, is that these things are manifest. Notice it’s fruit singular; it’s all a package. It’s not like, “I got a lot of love that God gave me but not so much joy and peace.” No, you’ll see that those things will grow, I believe, together and you should be able to recognize.

      Now this is where it gets at the heart. Remember what we said? It starts with faith. Remember this whole doctrine that we’re talking about is faith toward God. Faith in the gospel, according to the scriptures, will bring the Holy Spirit. If you truly believe the gospel, if you believe in your heart, it will bring the Holy Spirit. That means if you truly believe, I don’t care what you’re saying or what you’re doing, you have God’s life in you. So if you see people who say, “I’ve been a Christian for 30 years” but there is none of this that has grown, I really, in all sincerity question that. Not to say that they are not, there are times when the Spirit can be grieved, it does talk about that. But, I’m sorry, if you have the life of God it should manifest. If you can’t look at a year or two or three ago and see a difference in your love, joy, peace, patience, and all these things, it may be time to start with the first foundation; repentance from dead works. It may be time when God’s prodding you and saying, “Woah, what’s going on? You’ve had my life this whole time.” Do you realize? He gave us the means to do Christianity. I get very concerned that a lot of us try to do Christianity out of our flesh, we try to do it out of programming things instead of out of the power of God, we try to do it out of our fleshly devices. If we try to do Christianity that way I get so concerned that God will say, “I died so that you may have my life to actually do Christianity. And yet you try to do it out of your own life”. We don’t recognize our own weakness, really. Ok, so see here that if you truly believe in the gospel, the fruit will be manifest

      Now I think and I hope this will make more sense if you go to James 2. This is a passage in scripture that I think has been misinterpreted a lot. So I pray to God that I have the right interpretation and if not God, may you show us. James 2: 14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action is dead.  Then he gives some more examples but go on down to verse 26, the kind of conclusion of the matter. 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. So he says this and some people say, “Ok, this makes sense. So, I have to have this. It’s kind of like I’ll take faith in my one hand and works in my other hand”. That’s kind of how they teach it and I don’t think that’s quite what it’s saying here. I think what he’s showing is that if you don’t have this then you really have a dead faith. It’s not a true faith in the gospel, in your heart; it’s a dead faith. It’s just like the first example he gave. If someone comes and says, “A brother needs to be warmed and filled” but they don’t do anything, do they really care that that person’s warm and filled? No, they may say it, but they don’t really care, it’s not authentic. This whole thing is showing, I think, if you have authentic faith or is it a professed faith that’s really not authentic at all. This is what he’s showing because when you see it that way you know that if you have true faith you cannot help but have the Holy Spirit. If you have the Holy Spirit you cannot help but live the way of God, you have his life. That’s why I also get concerned when I read Matthew 25; the sheep and the goats. I love that, Jesus taught it, we should talk about it. Do you remember what the sheep and the goats did? Answer: The goats went to the left and the sheep went to the right. Yeah, but do you remember what deeds that they did? The goats were basically cast away and the sheep were welcomed. And what did they do? Answer: Visiting people in prison. Visiting people in prison, clothing others, helping the sick, and so some people say, “We need to do this”. Absolutely we need to do this, but, guess what? Here’s the thing. First, in that scripture he says, “In what you’ve done to the least of these…” And he doesn’t end it there. What does he say? Answer: My brethren. Yeah, what you’ve done to the least of these my brethren you’ve done onto me.” So what’s he talking about? Who’s his brethren? Answer: He’s talking about those who are filled with the Holy Spirit. Yeah, and he’s talking about the people of God. So showing love, showing compassion to the people of God. So those who have shown compassion to the people of God will be welcomed back but those who haven’t will be thrown out. To me that sounds like that’s works, right?

      But I want you to look carefully at something. There’s two times in the entire bible where you’ll see the phrase “passing from death into life”. Remember that’s a famous phrase but it only happens two times in the entire bible. One shows you how you pass from death into life and the other shows you the evidence that you have actually passed from death into life. I think it’s important to look at this for this whole study. Go to John 5, this isn’t in the outline, it’s a bonus. 24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. Ok, her translation says crossed over, mine says passed from death into life. The question is, according to Jesus, how do you get there? What does he say? He says that there is something that you have to do and then you pass from death into life. Answer: Hear my Word and believe. There you go, they’ve heard the Word of God, and remember we said it all starts with the Word. You’ve heard, but you don’t just hear, you believe it, you receive it and then you’ve passed from death into life. That’s the first time. The second time the phrase is used it shows you the evidence, how you know. I don’t know, for instance, where Joel is. Ultimately the Lord knows his heart. So how do we see, in others and in ourselves, that this is legitimate, that this is true? Go to 1 John 3: 14. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. See it comes full circle. Do you see what this is saying? It’s saying your loving of the body, what Jesus showed in Matthew 25, is the evidence that you have truly believed. If you truly believe, you cannot help but love the brethren, you can not help but have his life because it’s in you. The Spirit is in you and that should be evidence. So if, for instance, you know that  if there is not a super natural love for the brethren, it’s not 100% of the time but I often question if you truly received the Lord. He says this is the evidence, it will happen. That’s why this is so much more refreshing to teach than saying, “you have to do this, you have to do this. Like Matthew 25 you have to do, do, do”. It should be happening, I think Christians should be doing it more than non Christians and they do because they have a super natural love. You can’t compete with the world that has a natural love; when you have a supernatural love it always beats a natural love. Yes Nick? Comment: For those who so rely on works, I’m one who has found myself many times caught up in what it is to do the work of God. If we go to the gospel of John we see many Pharisees come to Jesus and ask him “What must we do to do the work of God?” Jesus’ answer is this; “This is the work of God, that you believe in him who he has sent”. You want work? There’s the work. Done, good. This is the work; that you believe in the one he sent and it’s finished. Now, when you truly believe, works will follow. So again, if there are no works in your life my question is, do you truly believe? Works should follow because you have his life.

      Alright, to finish up, how do we receive this great faith that brings the Holy Spirit, that pleases God? Let’s go to Romans 10: 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Ok, where is the belief that you have to have? Answer: In the heart. It has to be in the heart, according to God. And your confession if from your mouth. It says when you do those two things together then you have faith that pleases God. Well, Nick brought up how the only work you need is faith. So then it says what, faith and confession? How does that work? Check this out, go to Matthew 12: 33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. Isn’t that what we’ve been talking about; the tree is recognized by the fruit. If there are works in your life it shows us what kind of tree and the tree shows what kind of seed you have planted. If you have the seed of the word you will produce eternal fruit. So we see that the fruit reveals the tree. Go on. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Ok, by your words, but look at what it says. From whatever you have in your heart, those are the words that you cannot help but speak. I will tell you this, maybe some of you have recognized this, all it takes is 20 minutes talking to someone and you know what’s in their heart. If you talk to someone you can tell exactly what’s in their heart by what they’re talking about.

      A good analogy that I often bring up because it’s kind of funny to me is this: Brian Hammer, some of us know him, he was talking to me and he said, “Brian, this isn’t negative towards you, it’s just something interesting; When people get together in social situations you seem to like to talk about religion and Jesus a lot, more than average. It’s fine, it’s just something I noticed”. I bet a lot of people have said this about some of you guys too. This is truth and I’m not saying it just for me, I bet a lot of you would say this. I said, “Wow, I never even noticed that. I guess I do kind of.” That was my reaction, I sat back and I said, “Yeah, I guess I do. You’re right”. And I think it should be like that. Not to say that I was perfect by far, but I think that’s what God wants to groom in us. Here’s another good analogy; you know that when you have people who are just in love with each other you can tell and they’re just talking all the time. What happens though when you have someone who just really loves someone else you know they cannot help but talk about them. You sometimes want to them to shut up, to be honest, because they just keep going on and on and on, but they don’t want to because they just love them so much and they cannot help but speak about them. Was it ever in their mind that they said, “I’m going to make sure I talk about this person 50% of our conversation”? No, that’s ridiculous. That’d be a sign of a bad relationship if you have to force yourself to talk about them. If they’re in your heart you cannot help but talk about them. Now, let’s turn it. What about with the Lord? He’s in your heart and you can’t help but talk about him. I guess I do get concerned, and I sometimes do this, when you have to force yourself and you say, “I should really talk about Jesus this percent of the time”. That’s maybe not a sign of a really healthy relationship, that’s just what I think. If he’s in your heart you can’t help it, you’re going to speak about whatever’s in your heart. So if you have this faith that’s been put in your heart, the confession is going to come out. Comment: An example would be that praise is most greatly appreciated when it is shared when another. The thing that we most love, we tend to most want to praise. Like if there’s an artwork that I’ve seen that is so beautiful or if there’s a cuisine that I’ve eaten and I’m so thankful for I will usually say something to the effect of, “Mmm this is so good”. It’s a figure of showing that “This is what I care so much about”. Yeah, exactly, you can’t help it. Sorry, none of you can hide here. You can try, to you can force yourself to say certain things or not say certain things but it’s just a matter of time. Everyone is going to know your heart by what you say, you can’t really hide it.

      The other thing I want to talk about is in the parable of the sower we said we had the seed which is the Word. It’s planted in the different soils but what does the soil represent? It’s the heart. That has to be where it is deposited. So, this last quote here, “Many people make a profession of faith in Christ and in the Bible but their faith is only the realm of the mind. It is an intellectual acceptance of certain facts and doctrines. This is not true scriptural faith and it does not produce any vital change in the lives of those who profess it. On the other hand, heart faith always produces a definite change in those who profess it”. Some of you may not know because maybe you were young when you came to the Lord but others may remember because it’s been more recent. You know when you came to the Lord I guarantee you did not make a check list and say, “All of a sudden I’m going to change this, this, and this”. You didn’t have to because it just changed. The Spirit did that. The unfortunate thing is that sometimes we forget about what it was just like and later on, years later we try to make a check list. That’s why it says in Galatians, “You foolish Galatians! You began with the Spirit but now you’re trying to work it all out by your own flesh.” We all have that problem. It’s like the Song of Songs where the bride had to return to where she was conceived. Guess what? That’s us. We have to return sometimes to where it first began when you knew the Spirit was just working in your life in such a way.

      To wrap all of this up, remember the doctrine we are focusing on is faith toward God. Repentance has to be there as part of the true gospel being received. Repentance is like you are walking one way and God is behind you; you have to turn around. Faith is like the hands to receive what God has to give. Even if you turn around in repentance, if you don’t have hands it’s just going to hit you and dribble down. If you turn around and have your hands out to receive, then you’ve taken hold of the gospel. You also can’t have your hands out and be turned the other way, you can’t catch it that way either. That’s why you need repentance and faith working together, simultaneously. Through those you receive the gospel message and that’s why we said this is good news. You are saved eternally, you are made righteous. Do you know what righteousness means? It means you are in right standing with God. You are put in a right standing where you never were before. I want you to think about how in Psalms and Proverbs it says, “God hears me”. Do you know how amazing those three words are? God hears me. The Lord who has every right to turn his face away from you, like he did to Jesus on the cross? If Jesus never went through that then we would be going through that; he would turn his face away and he would never hear you. He has every right to turn his face away. But through the death of his son, through what we went through we can now say, “God hears me”. Oh, I love God! That is why this is called the good news! And not only does he hear you, he gives you his life. Christianity can be done now. It could never be done without Jesus’ life. He’s the only one who’s a normal Christian guy, because he’s Christ. The only way you can do it is because you have his life. 

      Chris? Comment: Well, I was just reading last night Psalm 34 where it speaks of that very thing. It says, 15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. 17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. I love that.

      I think I have to say this, if you think I exhausted the topic and did a good job covering faith you’re wrong. I didn’t at all. There’s so much more. We didn’t even talk about the components of the blood of Christ. That’s fun stuff- what the blood does and how it covers you. We might get a chance to talk about the clothing. Neal and I were talking about how in the scriptures being naked is always considered sinful and God will reject you, ever since the fall. But being clothed is always considered something good if you are clothed in good things. It talks about being clothed in Christ and the blood and all these things. There’s so much that we could talk about in faith- faith in the cross and why we’re dead in sin. That’s why this is always such a tough thing. I get going and I want to teach 10 bible studies on faith alone. I’m not going to, at least not immediately. 

      I think next week, God willing, that we will go into baptisms. That’s also a tough thing because you have at least 4 different baptisms mentioned: water, fire, Holy Spirit, and John’s baptism. Also the baptism of suffering but that’s a different thing too. That will take a little more than one week probably to do the baptisms. Hopefully, God willing, this helped to kind of make sense of all of this. 

      I would like to pray, God, your gospel is such good news! It is such good news! Jesus Christ, I am so thankful. I hope that we all are. If we are not thankful, please God help all of us to see more of what it means, to see more of who we are without you, to see the bad news and to recognize how wonderful it is that you gave grace, and you gave mercy, and you gave love. I thank you so much for these things and that we can say here that we have confidence. I have confidence standing here that you have heard our prayer because I approach you on the blood of your son and you say pray in confidence and boldness on that basis. May you recognize this God, I know how weak and feeble my words are, but I ask that you would recognize the heart of the people here and that you would tend to it in your mercy and your care and that your Spirit would reveal the doctrine of faith to us more fully, that your Spirit would reveal the gospel more fully in us, that you would produce in all of us a jumping in our heart, that we would see it spill over into our mouths. May we recognize in each other, and, Lord God, may others recognize in us, that we are in love. If we are not, I ask God out of your graciousness, that you show us how wonderful you are, that you are ruddier and more handsome than 10,000 men, that’s what it says in the Song of Songs. May you show us how beautiful you are, may your face shine upon us, like the blessing you said to the Israelites of old. May you reveal your face, may you reveal your eyes to us, the eyes of fire. By your grace, may you recognize these prayers, Lord God. I thank you for life. I praise you God, Amen.