I. AN AREA OF UNNECESSARY CONTROVERSY.
A. The subject of the filling and the baptism in the Holy Spirit has been one of great controversy in the church.
1. People are divided into two sharply diverse camps.
a. Those who believe that it is a separate experience from salvation, and those who believe that you receive the baptism of the Spirit when you are saved. "Baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ," combined with one baptism of Ephesians 4
b. There are those who have gone so far as to say that unless you have spoken in unknown tongues, you are not saved.
c. On the other side, there are those who say that speaking in tongues is of the devil.
d. As is generally found, truth usually lies between two extremes.
2. So much of what people believe is dependent upon what they have experienced.
B. Much of the problem lies in how a person looks at the scriptures.
1. There are some who understand the scriptures in the light of their own experience.
2. We should not try to interpret the scriptures in the light of our own experience, but examine our experiences in the light of the scriptures.
3. A great danger always exists when our experiences go beyond the scriptures.
a. Those who have this tendency declare that God is not limited by His word, and that God is greater than His word.
b. Both statements are true, however, God has chosen to limit himself to His world, and the scriptures declare that He has given to us all that pertains to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him.
c. The minute that you except experience as the criteria for truth, you have opened Pandora's box, and the ultimate results will be mass confusion.
d. We need a final word of authority for our faith and practice, and the Bible is that final word.
4. When the Vineyard movement moved away from Calvary Chapel it was over this very issue.
a. The meeting at Twin Peaks.
b. Greg Laurie, Mike MacIntosh, Raul Reis, and Don McClure began to question John Wimber about certain stories that were coming out of his fellowship at Calvary Chapel of Yorba Linda.
c. It was there that John declared that they sought to be open to however the Spirit might want to manifest Himself.
d. The fellows brought up that many of the things that they heard were going on were not scriptural. It was then that John said that God was not limited to His word, and was greater than His word.
e. The argument was getting rather heated and I stepped in and suggested that John for the sake of not creating confusion change his name to Vineyard, and that we continue to fellowship.
f. I also warned John about the danger of going beyond the scriptures and drawing a crowd on the basis of the spectacular. People who are attracted to the spectacular are usually quite fickle and are always looking for something new, the latest manifestations. The phenomena that has drawn them soon becomes old hat and they begin to search for the latest religions fad.
g. When you draw people by spectacular manifestations you get into a trap, for to hold them you have to get constantly more spectacular, and when you run out of the legitimate, you eventually turn to the illegitimate.
h. We watched the movement as they went through the many different phases of Power Evangelism, training people on how to exercise the gift of healing, reading auras, delivering believers from demons, to prophetic utterances, finally to the barking like dogs, roaring like lions, staggering like drunks as they laughed uncontrollably, the latest fad is the supposed falling of gold dust.
5. The Vineyard movement is not the first to follow this pattern. It is typical for all who do not hold to the Word as the final authority for their faith and practice.
a. Some have gone so far as to say, "I do not care what the Bible says, I know it is true because I experienced it.
b. That is dangerous because you are putting your own experience above the Word of God.
6. There are others who put tradition over the scriptures.
a. This has been the Roman Catholic heresy.
b. The dogma of the assumption of Mary has absolutely no biblical authority, yet it is taught by the Catholic church.
7. Another danger exists and that is just the opposite of the first, and that is accommodating or interpreting the scriptures to our lack of experience.
a. When we come to the issue of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and the gifts of the Spirit, I am afraid that much of Christendom has fallen into this category.
b. Some are fearful of anything that has to do with the supernatural. They may be willing to acknowledge that God may at one time worked in a special way, but deny that God continues to do so.
c. They are guilty of forming their doctrine on their lack of experience, or their observance of those who have gone into fanaticism beyond the Word.
II. WHAT DOES THE SCRIPTURE TEACH ABOUT THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.
A. Note baptism in the Holy Spirit.
B. When John was baptizing at the Jordan River, he declared to the people, "There is one who is coming after me, Who is mightier than I, and He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
1. The difference between the baptism of John and the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
a. John was the baptizer, the water was the element, and repentance from sin was the issue.
b. With the baptism in the Holy Spirit, Jesus is the Baptizer, the Holy Spirit is the element, and power to witness is the issue.
2. Jesus had told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father that Had been speaking to them about, for John did indeed baptize with water unto repentance, but they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit in a few days, and they would receive power after the Holy Spirit had come upon them and would be witnesses unto Him both in Jerusalem, all Judea, and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.
3. This baptism was to be subsequent to their believing, for they already believed, and had been regenerated, for Jesus breathed on them earlier as John recorded and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit."
C. In the section that we have before us tonight, it is quite obvious that Samaritans had believed the gospel of Jesus Christ, and were baptized. We are told that in verse 12.
But when they believed the preaching of Philip concerning the things of the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
1. They however had not yet received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. For when the church in Jerusalem had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John, who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
D. The baptism of the Holy Spirit seems to be identified with this Greek preposition epi. You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon (epi) you. As yet the Holy Spirit had not come upon (epi). In chapter 10, at the house of Cornelius
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on (epi) all them which heard the word. Later in Ephesus.
And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on (epi) them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
1. I believe that the scriptures differentiate between the Holy Spirit dwelling in your life and the Holy Spirit flowing out of your life. And the sign often was their speaking in tongues.