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Water baptism was to manifest Christ to Israel. John 1:31. Signs were to put Christ on display to Israel. Acts 2:22.
John performed no miracles, but baptized. Christ performed miracles but did not baptize. The Twelve Apostles and the Apostle Paul did both. Signs were for the same reason in the ministry of the twelve apostles. Hebrews 2:2-5. Paul’s signs were the signs of an apostle. 2 Corinthians 12:12. The Apostle Paul thanked God that he spoke with tongues more than others, but he thanked God that he did NOT baptize many believers. 1 Corinthians 14:18. 1 Corinthians 1:15-18. And let us not forget that in the matter of speaking with tongues in the assembly he said, "Let your women keep silent in the churches." 1 Corinthians 14:34. That’s right. In the matter of speaking with tongues in the assembly, the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul said, "Let your women keep silent in the churches."
HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT SINCE YE BELIEVED? ACTS 19:1-12
Now let’s really get into the “meat” of this. This is a very interesting question to consider. Before we consider it, let’s note some statements in Acts 19:5-8, "They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve, And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months."
These twelve men had received John's baptism. "John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe; on Christ Jesus." Acts 19:4. John's baptism was for Israel, that Christ might be made manifest unto Israel. Acts 13:24 and John 1:31. Therefore, these twelve men were Jews. It is thought that they had, been instructed by Apollos, "knowing only the baptism of John." Acts 18:25.
But the ORDER in this nineteenth chapter is of great interest to the student of the Scriptures for several reasons. One reason is that this is the last Scripture to record the baptism of ANYONE by water. The order was: baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus, the imposition of the apostolic hands, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, their speaking with tongues. This is the order that is generally taught and practiced in the Pentecostal assemblies.
Very much the same order is found in the eighth chapter of Acts. Read Acts 8:5-15. Note the order. First, Philip, the deacon and evangelist, preached The LORD Jesus Christ in the city of Samaria, but Acts 11:19 would indicate that he preached to none but Jews in that city. Philip performed many miracles while he was preaching. The sick and the lame were healed. They believed Philip and they were baptized both men and women. Acts 11:12. But the Holy Spirit did NOT fall upon them when they believed and were baptized. Some days later Peter and John went from Jerusalem to Samaria and prayed for the baptized believers in Samaria that they might receive the Holy Spirit. They did when Peter and John laid hands on them. Acts 8:14-17.
Now, AFTER the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior breathed on the twelve apostles and said unto them, "Receive ye the holy Spirit." John 20:22. At least three years BEFORE they received the Holy Spirit they had received John's water baptism. Then, BEFORE Pentecost, the RESURRECTED Christ said unto them, "John the Baptist truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence." Acts 1:5.
When THIS took place Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said, “THIS is That which was spoken by the prophet Joel." Acts 2:16. After this experience it is recorded in Acts 4:8 that Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then in Acts 4:31 it is recorded that all of the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit. Note the Apostle Paul's words to the saints, "Be filled with the Spirit." Ephesians 5:18. These saints had already been baptized into the Body of Christ. And in Ephesians 4:4-5 is recorded the fact of One Spirit and One Baptism and One Body.
John the Baptist spoke very definitely of three baptisms...one with water, one with the Holy Spirit, and then another with fire. Matthew 3:11. Luke 3:16-17. Then in Luke 12:50 Christ declared that He would be baptized, referring to His death on the cross. THEN in Matthew 28:19-20, He spoke of "Baptizing them into or unto the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." So in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we find SEVERAL baptisms, but in Ephesians 4:4-5 there is ONE baptism.
In Mark 16:14-18 is recorded the commission of the LORD to the eleven, “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," "and these signs shall follow." Christ, did NOT instruct them to preach, "he that believeth and is saved should be baptized as a witness to the world, and there are to be NO signs following faith". Servants of the LORD who proclaim this CHANGED message certainly are NOT working under the commission of Mark 16:14-18. Philip DID in Samaria. The Twelve DID on the day of Pentecost. Note carefully AGAIN the order, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
No servant of The LORD Jesus Christ has any Scriptural authority to change this order to force it to agree with some denomination's creed and program...as many ARE doing. Here is an example of how they change Acts 2:38, "Repent and believe the gospel of the grace of God, be saved and receive the Holy Spirit to witness that you are saved and then witness your salvation to the world by being immersed in water." This truly is handling the Word of God deceitfully.
Moreover, it is certainly handling the Word of God IGNORANTLY to teach that water baptism before Pentecost was a kingdom ordinance, or that “Christian” baptism began with the day of Pentecost, where these twisters of the Word of God say the ceremony took on a new meaning; namely, a witness to the world...that the Christian had been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the death of Christ, had been buried with Him by baptism and had been raised to walk in newness or life.
Those who in this way corrupt the plain Word of God admit that none of the twelve apostles and not one of the one hundred and twenty disciples received “Christian” baptism. They also, conveniently, prefer to give no explanation of the Apostle Paul's experience as related by him in Acts 23:16. The risen Christ said to him, "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins." Paul obeyed and straightway went into the synagogue to TELL ISRAEL that Jesus was their Messiah. That is why John the Baptist went out baptizing. To make Christ manifest to ISRAEL...That is why Paul was baptized. But the Apostle Paul's own words are found in 1 Corinthians 1:15-18. The Apostle Paul had labored for more than eighteen months in a very large city where many Corinthians believed and were baptized and then they spoke with tongues or exercised the gifts of healing, performed miracles,
or prophesied, or were able to discern spirits. Acts 18:8, and 1 Corinthians 12:8-11. But Paul could not remember more than a VERY FEW that he had baptized. For this fact, he said, "I thank God." Think this over. The Apostle Paul was almost willing to be accursed to get people saved, he travailed in birth until Christ was formed in some, he became all things to all men that he might save some; and still he THANKED God that he had baptized fewer than ten people out of all of the many believers in Corinth.
THIS is the death blow to water regeneration, water baptism, in the Gospel of Grace. Of course at the time he was preaching to the Corinthians he did NOT know that he was going to write a letter to them later on rebuking them for their carnal divisions. But, that was not the reason he did not baptize them. "Christ sent me NOT to baptize" 1 Corinthians 1:17. Regardless of the interpretation and mode of water baptism preached and practiced by any Christian, or group of Christians, all Christians should acknowledge that Christ sent the twelve to baptize, but NOT Paul. Did Paul say, "I thank God that I did not perform the ceremony that would have been their witness to the world?" He knew, and we should know, it was no such thing. Then of course comes the question, why did Paul baptize those twelve Jews in Acts 19, or Lydia, or the Philippian jailer?
Right after Paul baptized the twelve Jews we read that he healed many people by using handkerchiefs and aprons. We read that when Lydia was baptized they had been assembled on the Jewish Sabbath. When the Philippian jailer was baptized there was a miraculous earthquake. On the day of Pentecost there were supernatural demonstrations, the mighty wind and tongues. We have already observed that when Philip was baptizing in Samaria he was performing miracles. We have NOTED that in the commission of Mark 16:14-18 the LORD's order was, Faith, baptism, salvation, signs. Now again note the order in Acts 19:4-7, water baptism, imposition of hands, Holy Spirit baptism, speaking with tongues.
Thus we see that we find in the Scriptures: signs, sign gifts, supernatural visitations, and manifestations, angels and miracles are linked with water baptism. Any exegesis that will eliminate the miraculous signs will ALSO eliminate the water ceremony.
So, AGAIN, Water baptism was to manifest Christ to Israel. John 1:31. Signs were to put Christ on display to Israel. Acts 2:22. John performed no miracles, but baptized. Christ performed miracles but did not baptize. The Twelve Apostles and the Apostle Paul did both. Signs were for the same reason in the ministry of the twelve apostles. Hebrews 2:2-5. Paul’s signs were the signs of an apostle. 2 Corinthians 12:12. The Apostle Paul thanked God that he spoke with tongues more than others, but he thanked God that he did NOT baptize many believers. 1 Corinthians 14:18. 1 Corinthians 1:15-18.
And let us not forget that in the matter of speaking with tongues in the assembly he said, "Let your women keep silent in the churches." 1 Corinthians 14:34. That’s right. In the matter of speaking with tongues in the assembly, the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul said, "Let your women keep silent in the churches."
In Ephesians 1:13 the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul declares that men are saved and sealed by hearing and BELIEVING the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation. Therefore, here, now, is declared unto you the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation: "that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. BELIEVE today. The time is short.
So There You Have it!
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Grace be to you and peace, from God: our Father, and The LORD Jesus Christ.
In The LORD Jesus Christ,
The Lion and Lamb Ministry
Pastor David Picos, D.D.
Minister and Ambassador for Christ in the Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20)