Baptized With the Holy Spirit
In Mathew 3, verse 11, and in Luke 3 verse 16, John the baptist, told the Jews who had come to him to be baptized in the river Jordan; “I baptize you with water, for repentance; But after me, will come One more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire.” Both verses say basically the same thing.
And of course John was referring to Jesus, as the One who would come after him. But I’d like you to consider these two questions; What did John mean, when he said that Jesus would baptize you with the Holy Spirit; And also, what did he mean, when he said Jesus would baptize you with fire?
Now let me point out that Mark also gives an account of this same thing, but he leaves out the part abut being baptized with fire. What Mark says, in Mark 1, verse 8, is; “I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” And even the book of John makes mention of the same thing. Here’s what the apostle John, tells us that John the baptist says about it, from John 1, verse 33; “..He upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.”
And let me read one more verse; It’s 1 Corinthians 12, verse 13; “For with one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” I think you can see that the phrase “to drink of one Spirit” isn’t literal. No one literally “drinks” the Holy Spirit. It’s a figurative expression, which means “to partake” of the one Spirit of God. And so in that verse, to be “baptized with the Holy Spirit”, is to “drink” of the Holy Spirit, and be a “partaker” of the Holy Spirit. And it really means that the Holy Spirit fills us, and overwhelms us, to the point that the Holy Spirit is living within us.
Ephesians 5:19 tells us to be “filled with the Spirit”. That’s not much different from telling us to be overwhelmed with the Spirit; In other words, “be baptized with the Holy Spirit”. And Colossians 3:16 tells us to “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom..” When the word of Christ dwells in us, the Holy Spirit dwells in us. And of course the Spirit should dwell in us to such an extent, that we are indeed, overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit. You might say that the Holy Spirit should control us. We should be utterly “baptized” with the Holy Spirit.
And so when John the baptist said that Jesus Christ will baptize you with the Holy Spirit, is that what he meant? That through Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit would “overwhelmingly” dwell in us? Or maybe could it mean that through Jesus Christ, we should be overwhelmed with the blessings of the Holy Spirit? That actually sounds pretty rational to me. Through our faith in Jesus Christ, and through His sacrifice, Christians would be “baptized” with spiritual life, through the Holy Spirit. Jesus did say in John 6:63; “It is the Spirit who gives life, the flesh profits nothing.” Overwhelmed by Jesus Christ, with spiritual life, through the Holy Spirit of God.
Now I’m simply giving you something to think about here. But I hope that you will think about it.
Now there’s a couple of other passages which also use those same words “baptized with the Holy Spirit”, but in these passages, that phrase definitely has reference to the Holy Spirit overwhelming someone, and giving them the ability to speak in “tongues”, which simply means.. other languages. So here’s a different meaning, to the very same phrase.
For example; Let me go ahead and read what Jesus said to His apostles, in Acts 1, verses 4 thru 8; The scripture says; “And while they were gathered together, He commanded them: Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift the Father promised, which you have heard Me discuss. For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit, not many days from now. So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them; It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But you will receive power, when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
So then obviously, in this passage, when Jesus said; “You will be baptized with the Holy Spirit”, it meant that the apostles would be “overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit”, (that’s one of the meanings of the word “baptize”.. to be overwhelmed) and they would be given miraculous power, from the Holy Spirit. And specifically on that occasion, the power that the apostles received, was the ability to speak in tongues.
And then as another example, let me read from Acts 11. The very same analogy, of being “baptized with the Holy Spirit” is used here in reference to the household of Cornelius, when they received the ability to speak in tongues, just like the apostles had received. Acts 11:15 & 6 says; “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, just as He had fallen upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, as He used to say; John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
So we can see that in these two passages, the phrase “baptized with the Holy Spirit” clearly refers to being “overwhelmed” and being given a miraculous gift from the Spirit. Specifically in these two cases, the gift of tongues.
But now, let’s go back to the examples of Mathew 3:11, and Luke 3:16, and I think we’ll see an entirely different meaning, from these last two examples form the book of Acts. Let’s just listen to what the text says.
Let me read the text from Mathew chapter 3, beginning with verse 1. Now remember, it was in Mathew 3, verse 11, that John the baptist said; “..But He who is coming after me, is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
So here we go with Mathew 3, verse 1; “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying; Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near. This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one calling in the wilderness; Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him. John wore a garment of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region around the Jordan. And confessing their sins, they were baptized by him, in the Jordan River.”
“But when John saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his place of baptism, he said to them; You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Therefore, bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not suppose that you can say to yourselves; We have Abraham for our father; For I say to you, that from these stones, God is able to raise up children to Abraham.”
In other words, don’t think that just because of your bloodline, that you’re automatically considered righteous, and accepted by God, and that you’re going to be saved. “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit, is cut down and thrown into the fire.” There’s judgment coming, and your ancestry alone, isn’t going to be enough to save you.
And here’s where verse 11 comes in; “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance; But He who is coming after me, is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Remember the previous verse; It was speaking about judgment; “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit, is cut down and thrown into the fire.” And now John says concerning Jesus; “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” The subject hasn’t changed; John is still talking about judgment.
And to show clearly that the subject hasn’t changed, listen to verse 12; “His winnowing fork is in His hand, to clear His threshing floor, and to gather His wheat into the barn; But He will burn up the chaff, with unquenchable fire.” That is Judgment !! As I’m sure you already know, at the judgment, there will be two outcomes; One outcome will be salvation, and the other outcome will be condemnation. Either the wheat will be gathered into the barn, or the chaff will be burned up with fire. You’ll either be baptized with the Holy Spirit, or you’ll be baptized with fire. You’ll either be saved, or you’ll be lost.
I’m going to read this once again, so we get it clear in our minds what is being spoken of..
“The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit, is cut down and thrown into the fire. As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance; But He who is coming after me, is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire! His winnowing fork is in His hand, to clear His threshing floor, and to gather His wheat into the barn; But He will burn up the chaff, with unquenchable fire.”
In these verses, John the baptist is NOT talking about anyone receiving any gifts of the Holy Spirit, like maybe the gift of tongues. I don’t see how that’s even a consideration in this passage. John clearly seems to be talking about a “baptism” of salvation, and a “baptism” of condemnation!
There’s several things that the bible speaks of as being a “baptism”. Our immersion in water, for the forgiveness of our sins, is called a “baptism”. Romans 6, verse 3 says; “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death?” That’s immersion in water, symbolizing a burial and a resurrection, and it’s called a “baptism”.
Ad then Jesus said to His apostles in Mathew 20, verse 22; “Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized, with the baptism that I am baptized with? ” The suffering, and the crucifixion that Christ was about to undergo, was called a “baptism” in that verse. It was going to be an “overwhelming” of suffering that Jesus would have to endure.
In 1 Corinthians 10, verses 1 & 2, the scripture says; “I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud, and that they all passed through the sea. And all were baptized into Moses, in the cloud and in the sea.” They were all “immersed” so to speak, into Moses, and they were all “overwhelmed”, in the pillar like cloud, and in the waters of the Red Sea. And the scriptures call that a “baptism”.
Therefore, we’ve got at least 7 “baptisms” that the bible tells us about. There’s the baptism of the Israelites in the wilderness. And there’s the baptism performed by John the baptist, telling people to repent, for the kingdom of God is near. And there’s the baptism into Christ, whereby our sins are washed away. And there’s the baptism of suffering that Jesus endured. And the baptism of the apostles, when they received power from on high. And then there’s the baptism spoke of, by John the baptist, saying that Jesus would baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire.
Seven different baptisms, with seven different meanings.
I want to close by once again reading 1 Corinthians 12, verse 13; “For with one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” When we are buried in baptized, in water, for the forgiveness of our sins, the scriptures tell us that we are then “added” to the church. (Acts 2:41, and verse 47) But the one being baptized, and the one doing the baptizing, ae not the only ones involved in this baptism, are they? No, the Holy Spirit is very much involved in that baptism.
Because as the scripture says; “For with one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body..” When we are baptized “into Christ”, and “into the body of Christ”, we are symbolizing a death, and a burial and a resurrection. But at the same time, I believe that the Holy Spirit, is overwhelming us with salvation, and is immersing us in spiritual life. “Baptized”, by the Holy Spirit, into life.
Think about it if you would. And with that, the lesson is yours.