Share This Episode
Wisdom for the Heart Dr. Stephen Davey Logo

Baptism: Past, Present and Future

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
July 19, 2023 12:00 am

Baptism: Past, Present and Future

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1177 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

July 19, 2023 12:00 am

Access the full-length version of this message, or read Stephen's manuscript here:

Much of the confusion in Christianity today comes from a desire to get holy in a hurry. People would rather have a short-lived experience than a long-lived obedience. But there is no shortcut to sanctification. Dive into the second part of the Holy Confusion sermon series, exploring the challenges and misconceptions surrounding the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Gain insights into the transitional nature of the Book of Acts and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Discover how God speaks to us today through His Word and the inner peace of Christ. Uncover the significance of different baptisms mentioned in Scripture and the eternal consequences they entail. Join us as we seek clarity in an era of confusion and pursue a deeper understanding of God's plan for our lives.


The baptism of the Spirit is a past act. 1 Corinthians 12, 13 says, You were all baptized into one body, whether Jew or Greek, whether slave or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

When did that happen? At conversion, when you accepted Christ. So that he could write to the Corinthians and say, now here's what you ought to pray for.

Here's what you ought to be working toward. Try to live a pure life. He was writing, by the way, to one of the most carnal churches in first century Christianity. And he tells all of them who placed their faith in Christ, you were all baptized by the Spirit. It is not a feeling.

It is a fact. If you're a Christian, God has given you the gift of the Holy Spirit. At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit entered you. This is the universal reality of every truly saved person. The Bible sometimes refers to that as baptism of the Holy Spirit. Now, this is often a confusing topic, and it seems that many churches have wrong views regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Have you heard any? Today on Wisdom for the Heart, Stephen Davey will teach you clearly from God's word and help you understand this topic. This message is called Baptism, Past, Present, and Future. Around the year 157 AD, in the Roman province of Asia Minor, this is where Paul spent most of his ministry, of course, a professing Christian named Montanus began to prophesy ecstatically, claiming the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He was soon joined by two prophetesses, Maximilia and Priscilla, who claimed to be in the last of the succession of prophets. Maximilia was the leading prophet spokesman. She said they were called to summon all believers to righteous preparation for the heavenly descent of the New Jerusalem. By 170 AD, this, quote, new prophecy movement, as it was known, spread. One convert to Montanism wrote these words of Maximilia, quote, we have now amongst us a sister whose lot it has been to be favored with gifts of revelation, which she experiences in the Spirit by ecstatic visions.

She converses with angels and sometimes even with the Lord, end quote. Eventually, church leaders began to speak out, this article records. They were troubled by several things. One of them, of course, was that the word of God was seen as less important as the Montanists' revelations. They were also personally embarrassed by the prophetesses, quote, dyed hair, painted eyelids, and love of adornment. They were also troubled by the Montanists' lack of financial accountability. Eventually, Montanists came to be referred to as that, quote, lying organization, even though their churches ring with the noises of the new prophecy. While Montanists claimed direct revelation from God and teaching from God's Spirit that was, quote, fresh truth for these last days.

That sound familiar? Eventually, the movement died out. However, it took 300 years before the movement eventually died out completely.

The primary reason, the prophecies of Maximilia didn't come true. We are living in a day that I think mirrors this. In fact, it reveals that holy confusion has been a threat to the New Testament believers since the establishment of the church. We're really never dealing with anything new. In fact, the things we talk about today about the third wave is not even new.

It goes all the way back to Montanism. Much of the defense of such a pursuit of these evidences and proofs and miracles and fresh revelations and visions and dreams goes back to a handling of Scripture, primarily the Scripture found in the book of Acts. And so our challenge as believers is to not avoid truth because it is confrontational. Our challenge is to study the Word and by God's Spirit carefully interpret it.

Now, since the book of Acts introduces us to the Holy Spirit, it is within this book that basically you find all the proof texts for the third wave, or at least most of them, especially as the book of Acts relates to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Differing interpretations of Scripture related to the baptism and ministry of the Spirit have created different expectations of the believers for what we're supposed to pursue, what we're supposed to experience. What do we expect from God? How do we manifest spirituality?

What is our wish list? How do we determine spiritual growth? These are critical issues that come out of your understanding of what the Bible teaches about the baptism of the Spirit. So since the book of Acts introduces the person of the Holy Spirit, let's review a little bit of what we did last Sunday by taking a look at the book of Acts itself. We need to understand that the book of Acts is a transitional book.

It's a bridge, as it were. It's a bridge between two eras, the era of Judaism, as it were, into the era of Christianity. You're moving from the old covenant into the new covenant. You're moving from the Sabbath to the Lord's Day.

You're even making changes in the way you dress and what you eat, your sacrificial system versus belief in one sacrifice. And the book of Acts is that record of a body of people who began to inaugurate all of these changes with supernatural signs. Now those in the third wave movement love to quote Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. He ought to be continuing through the epistles.

And so they're forgetting this transitional nature of the book of Acts, some unique things happened there that are not continuing forward. One of the ways to best understand He is the same yesterday, today, and forever is to simply recognize that that verse is talking about His nature, His deity, His essence. He is the second person of the God. Had He was before time, He is now and He will be after time. He is immutable. That means He is unchangeable in His nature. Jesus Christ is the same. But does He do the same things?

No. Let me review quickly then, for the sake of all of us, four changes. Number one, there's a change in Jesus' position. And I also mentioned along with that some of the changes in the appearances of Christ. For instance, in the Old Testament, He is the angel of the Lord. In the Gospels, He was the teaching Messiah, dying Messiah in Acts. He was the commissioning, ascending Son in the epistles.

He is the interceding Chief Shepherd. In Revelation, He will be the conquering, reigning King. Vast changes as it relates to the ministry and function of Christ. Second of all, there's a change in Jesus' commission. And this is always fascinating to me to consider, because of the way Jesus changed His own command to the apostles. We read in the book of Matthew that Jesus sent twelve forth and commanded them, saying, Do not go into the way of Gentiles and do not enter into any city of the Samaritans. But later on, Jesus says, You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in Al-Judeh in Samaria. What did He think? I left those guys out and I feel badly about it.

Now, okay, you can go to the Samaritans. No, the Gospel began, as He said it would, in Jerusalem to the Jew, and ultimately reaching into the Gentile regions. And so the apostles even had to change the way they went about and did their witnessing in evangelism. There was a change also in Jesus' revelation and instruction. Among those, the transitioning of Christ's revelation produces the following. In the Gospels, you receive a model of authentic Christianity. In the book of Acts, the Church observes an example of Christianity. In the epistles, the Church receives an explanation. Make sure you get to the explanation of Christianity.

In Revelation, the Church experiences the fulfillment. There's also a change in Jesus' activity. Is Jesus the same yesterday, today, and forever? As to His deity and His decree, His function, His nature, His attributes?

Absolutely, yes. But as to all these other things, there are tremendous changes as He progresses through His ministry, and then He gives revelation to those who call themselves followers of God to operate in certain ways. And I'll give you an illustration last Sunday, I'll give you an illustration of a different one today. God commanded Adam to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. That was a command to Adam. Now, along with that was the ability for Adam and Eve to do that. Is that the command for us today as well? Well, I've sat under a Bible teacher who held a seminar and thousands of people came and he basically explained, yes, that is. For us today. In fact, he said every Christian ought to try to follow the example, every Christian couple ought to try to follow the example of Jacob, the patriarch, and have at least 12 children.

I wanted to loan him my four for a few days. Well, I would agree that the Old Testament teaches this, and a sign of obedience to God is a fruitful wound, a full quiver. Baroness would be tantamount to God's judgment in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament, do we have the command?

We do not. If you have children, wonderful. They are in the New Testament considered a blessing, and we are trying to adapt our nurseries to keep up with the blessing. But in the New Testament, you are never given a command to reproduce physically. You are given a command to reproduce spiritually. And if we all went after reproductions spiritually, go and make disciples.

If we had the heart and desire to do that as well as we did to have children, we would reach the world. You say, well, Stephen, I agree with the thing about Adam and Jacob, but the apostles, now wait a second, we're in the New Testament here. Why can't I do everything they did? Well, the short answer is go ahead and try. And you will soon discover that you cannot raise the dead like Peter and Paul, and handkerchiefs from your body do not heal, they spread germs.

So there is a little bit of a difference, but you can try. The question related to Adam and Abraham and the apostles, as well as Elijah and Moses, is not why can't I do what they did? The question is why did they do what they did?

And if we understand the answer to that as to why did they do that, I think we can then understand whether it's for us or not. And there are then several principles that I want to give you to help along that way because we talk specifically about the apostles revealed in their experiences through the book of Acts. Number one, in the absence of the written word of God, supernatural signs confirmed the message of God. The apostles were given supernatural abilities as it was to prove that their gospel was indeed from God. Hebrews 2, how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?

After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, apostles that is. God also bearing witness with them both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit. Now does this mean that God didn't miraculously heal?

He sure does. In fact, we can pray. Paul is an example of that the epistles praying that God would remove the thorn from his flesh and God chose not to that his grace would be manifest through the ministry of Paul. God still heals miraculously. Does this mean that God doesn't exercise control over the demonizing influence of people held in bondage? At the moment of their conversion, they're set free.

Of course they are. That still happens. But there's a vast difference in believing in miraculous healing and believing in miracle healers.

Vast difference. As the written word came to its completion, the miraculous witness of the apostles diminished. As those epistles get older and older, those are written later and later. You find that even the healing ministry of Paul seems to diminish. So much so that you have Timothy that he suggests medicinal advice to. You have Epaphroditus, his coworker who almost dies. Paul, you know, why not heal him?

You have the ability. Finally, Trothimus, he leaves sick behind as well. Principle number three. We're to follow the teaching of the apostles, not teach the experiences of the apostles. Now we look briefly at Acts chapter 8 and 10 and 19.

We won't take the time to put those passages back up there. But you remember those were the three instances of the Holy Spirit manifesting himself in a supernatural unique way to believers and at the hands of the apostles. Those passages, by the way, are also the primary proof texts for the third wave movement to prove or try to prove that the baptism of the Holy Spirit happens after salvation. That is, you get saved but you need a second blessing. You get saved but later on you need an experience.

You need something to happen whereby you can have this amazing experience that you can qualify as a baptized believer. Well, we put the pieces together a little bit last time and we noticed how all three of those illustrations were different. In fact, to try to follow the example of those three illustrations to receive the Holy Spirit, you're really going to be confused because all three were different. And I created several questions that didn't clarify but instead confused. But you could write down Acts 2, Acts 8, Acts 10, and Acts 19.

And you just read through those but I've created some questions by studying them myself. All right, for a person to be baptized by the Spirit, do we need an apostle present as they did in all four instances? Well, right there we have a problem because if that's the model, we don't have any apostles living to come from Jerusalem to our church in Cary and see that it's done.

Do we need the laying on of hands as they did? In Acts chapter 8 they did that but they didn't in Acts chapter 10. Are we to expect a new convert who's been baptized by the Spirit to speak in tongues? In chapter 2 and 10 and 19 they did but not in chapter 8. Do we expect them to prophesy after the baptism? They did in chapter 19 but not in chapter 8 or chapter 10. What if they prophesy but don't speak in tongues as they did in chapter 2 and 8 and 10?

So what's the model? The reason for so much confusion is that the Bible did not intend to provide an ongoing model. These were unique experiences during the transitional period when God miraculously showed his power in the creation of this New Testament church. So just what can we understand to be the reason for a dependency by these body of believers upon the apostles and this delay in the manifestation of the Holy Spirit after they believe? What happened to them? What did it mean to them?

Why did they do that? Let me try to provide three answers. These unique instances provide an illustration of unity for the New Testament church by means of apostolic authority. They all look back to the teaching of the apostles.

By the way, where do we look to today? The teaching of the apostles. And so God was allowing these apostles to have the authority in these believers. There were believers in Jerusalem, there were believers in Caesarea, there were Jewish believers and there were Gentile believers and yet they all looked to the apostles for the manifestation of the Spirit of God.

They looked to them for their authority. Second, the authority of Paul is revealed in Acts 19 as equal to that of Peter and Peter was the one to listen to. But God would have Paul become the apostle to the who? And so God would allow those Gentiles to have to wait for the apostle Paul to come to manifest the Spirit of God in their lives to provide a living illustration that Paul was to be listened to just as they had listened to Peter. The sign gifts furthermore of tongues, the sign gift of tongues was expressed by both Jew and Gentile. This is important too because God didn't allow just the Jewish believers to experience that.

He allowed it to happen with the Gentiles as well. So we can view Pentecost in this way by this diagram. The Spirit of God came down, supernatural manifestations occurred to reveal the third person of the Godhead had arrived. In fulfillment of the second person of the Godhead's promise that as he ascended the Spirit would descend. Then the Spirit was manifested in these three unique illustrations.

First of all to the Jew and then to the mixed Jew and Gentile and then to the national Gentile to show that this is one church, neither Jew nor Gentile. They had the same experience, they looked at the same apostles and teachings and they claimed the same baptism. The Spirit then descended once. We're not praying today for Pentecost by the way. These are one-time events and when you trust Christ by faith you enter into all of the blessings of that historical event of Christ being crucified on the cross. So that Paul said I am crucified with Christ. You can say I've been crucified with Christ spiritually. So when you trust Christ by faith you also immediately benefit from Pentecost. You are baptized by the Spirit at that moment and you receive all the benefits from the fact that the second or the third person of the Godhead has descended.

The Spirit dwells within. Let me show you a couple of reasons why I think there is so much confusion today and try to summarize it this way as it relates to the baptism. First of all the third wave movement has misunderstood the transitional nature of the book of Acts.

And by the way there's great frustration in that movement because there are people who are trying to duplicate the miraculous nature of foundational past tense events. Because eventually you cannot experience what occurred in the book of Acts to its full degree. Second of all the third wave movement confuses the baptism of the Spirit with the filling of the Spirit. And by the way what you believe about these activities have long term effect.

Let me diagram the differences for you this way. The baptism of the Spirit is a past act. 1 Corinthians 12 13 says you were all baptized into one body whether Jew or Greek, whether slave or free and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. When did that happen? At conversion. When you accepted Christ. So that he could write to the Corinthians and say now here's what you ought to pray for.

Here's what you ought to be working toward. Try to get the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Try to live a pure life.

He was writing by the way to one of the most carnal churches in first century Christianity and he tells all of them who placed their faith in Christ you were all baptized by the Spirit. It's a past act. It is not a feeling.

It is a fact. And it happened invisibly at the moment you came to faith in Christ. Domination however, filling of the Spirit is a present ongoing experience. Paul says be filled or don't be filled with wine which means don't be under the influence of it but be filled instead by the Holy Spirit. That is be under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

That's an ongoing present tense command. By the way in the original Greek language you could have written if you translated it correctly in English you'd write an exclamation point after that particular verse of scripture. Be ye filled with the Spirit. Furthermore, baptism of the Spirit means that you are immersed into the body of Christ. Romans 6.

One author writes it this way. The spiritual baptism is what connects us with all other believers in Christ and makes us part of Christ's own body. In fact Paul said in Romans chapter 9 that you can't be saved without having experienced this. He writes, but if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ he does not belong to him.

Period. If anybody asks you, have you been baptized? Oh yeah, let me tell you when I was saved because that's when it occurred. To be dominated by the Spirit means to be in cooperation with the will of Christ.

That's an ongoing process. What do you not know? Because your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which you have of God. You're not your own. The problem is that you didn't get all of the Holy Spirit.

The problem is he didn't get all of you. And so the process we call sanctification is an ongoing lifetime pursuit with great persistence to allow the Spirit of God to work in us so that we cooperate with the will of Christ. Most of the confusion, by the way, I think is on this hand.

Because in our nature we desire something quick, something fast. Can you get me to the spiritual mountaintop? Are you really suggesting, Stephen, that the New Testament epistles teach this long haul?

Yes. And read the Apostle Paul as he journeys through it and struggles with it who fails and then succeeds and then fails and succeeds again. This is a long-lived obedience. One healing evangelist, by the way, in Oklahoma plays a reading of the entire New Testament on a cassette. It's produced in such a way that it is played at rapid speed so that you have the whole New Testament on one cassette.

You don't understand anything. It's like that, but it's all there. And a brochure promises, quote, that positive suggestions are being stored in your belief system at the rate of 100,000 suggestions per hour. Now that's great, because now what that means is you can absorb Scripture without ever having to pay attention to it. It also suggests that you play this at night when you're sleeping.

Put on the headphones and you can become holy now while you sleep. I like that idea. I mean, that would advance us years.

I mean, that's the whole problem. You do not find in the New Testament a shortcut to the image of Christ. See, we're done away with fervent devotion. We're done away with a disciplined prayer life. We're done away with study. We can now get it subliminally by ordering a few tapes.

There's no shortcut. The fruit of baptism reveals several things. Anointing, somebody says, hey, have you been anointed by the Spirit?

You say, I sure have. It happened invisibly at the moment of salvation, instruction, sealing, and dwelling the fruit of the Spirit. However, the domination of the Spirit is joy, love, peace, patience, and all of those things that we strive toward. I want to give you this quote. When the divine owner takes possession of a property, he has a twofold objective, intense cultivation and abounding fruitfulness.

And by the way, the third wave, for the most part, is not advancing this thought. Intense cultivation and abounding fruitfulness. The fruit of the Spirit, all of those things we've just looked at. Since you are, Paul writes, since you live by the Spirit, see to it that you walk by the Spirit. How do you know if you're walking by the Spirit? If you evidence the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit puts us into sort of a situation where we are like the field of a farmer. A farmer's field never says, no, no, no, not that seed.

No, don't do that. Leave me alone. Well, the Bible tells us that we are the field of the Spirit and he wants to plant in us the spiritual orchard where we then produce spiritual fruit.

And what is that? Some kind of unusual experience? No, the Spirit of Christ, whom we follow as our model.

Here's another quote. The Holy Spirit was not given to us to provide an unusual experience, but to enable consistent obedience. You will receive the Holy Spirit so that you'll feel good, so that your self-image will all be fixed up, so that you have this unusual experience. No, you're going to receive the Spirit, he warned, and this follows through the entire New Testament, so that you shall be my witnesses. Well, how does God speak to us today?

Give me a few more minutes to tell you. Colossians 3.15 tells us that God communicates through the inworking peace of Christ. Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart. The word rule is a great word.

It literally means to be an umpire, to call the shots, to say, no, don't do that. Don't go there. Don't think that. Think this.

Do this. It's that indwelling peace. Now, granted, you can confuse your peace with the peace of Christ. I've talked to people who have told me, oh, I've got great peace, and they're involved in incredible sin, but I've got peace. I've got the peace of God. I'm walking with him.

Well, you need the other part of this dynamic. It is the peace of Christ that is manipulated and guarded by the next phrase in Ephesians 3, verse 16. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you. The word dwell, by the way, is a wonderful word. It means to take up residency.

It means to move into your heart and set up a home. Can I ask you a question? Let me give you two other baptisms, and then we're going to stop. The baptism of sin upon Christ at Calvary. Luke 12, Jesus referring to the cross says, but I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished.

You know what? As soon as I get my eyes on me and my experience and my fulfillment and my stuff, I take my eyes off the baptism of Christ and the fact that he died for my sin, for your sin. That drives me out of gratitude toward a holy life. But that's not the last baptism the Bible talks about. There is a final baptism. It's the baptism of God's wrath upon unbelievers. Matthew 3 reads this 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. Now, the third wave movement will apply the first baptism, literally baptized with the Holy Spirit, and they'll apply or interpret the second baptism metaphorically or figuratively and fire, and they'll refer that to the tongues of fire as at Pentecost. But I believe both of these baptisms are to be understood literally. In fact, all you have to do is read the next phrase of Scripture that we're going to put up here to tell you the proper context.

And his winnowing fork is in his hand. This is the very next verse in Matthew. And he will thoroughly clear his threshing floor, and he will gather his wheat into the barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

It's clear, isn't it? Compare that with Revelation, chapter 20 that reads, And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, a lake of fire, and if anyone's name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Ladies and gentlemen, Jesus Christ promised that the Holy Spirit would descend. The Epistles teach that he baptizes you into the body of Christ at conversion. But he also teaches there is coming another baptism. It is a baptism by means of fire. So you could say then that this age of grace, this church age which God has allowed you and me to live within can be categorized by two people, two kinds of people. Those who have been baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ, and those who will be baptized by fire forever in hell.

Into which category are you finding yourself today? I trust that God will allow us, those who have experienced the first baptism, to take our eyes off our own selfish desires and fulfillment for comfort and spiritual ease and quick roots to godliness and all of that stuff and simply submit to the Holy Spirit who seeks to turn us into a field where he can plant spiritual fruit and then ultimately fulfill his command as we focus outward, not inward. And we view a world that without the gospel of Jesus Christ is headed toward a baptism, a final baptism of fire. May we be faithful to the indwelling Holy Spirit.

He has work for us to do. The lesson you just heard is called baptism, past, present, and future. It comes from our vintage wisdom library series called The Harvest Begins. Stephen Davey first preached the series to the church he pastors back in 1996. If you haven't already, I encourage you to contact us to inquire about the study guide that goes along with this series. It's a great resource if you lead a group or a Sunday school class and would like to work through this material from the book of Acts. The study guide is called The Harvest Begins and you can learn more about it at Thanks for listening. Join us next time for more wisdom for the heart. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-19 01:37:48 / 2023-07-19 01:49:45 / 12

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime