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“Now may the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Tonight I’m going to go on with the series that I’ve been following. This morning I spoke about immersion in water or baptism in water. This evening I’m going to go on to immersion in the Holy Spirit. I pointed out that the word baptize that we use in the English Bible is not an English word; it’s a transliteration of a Greek word. And the meaning of the Greek word is absolutely beyond question, it means to immerse. And so, I’m using the word immersion.
This morning I spoke about immersion in water, this evening I’m going to talk about immersion in the Holy Spirit. You see, there are two ways of being immersed. There’s the swimming pool way where you go down into the water, go under the water and come up out of the water. That’s water baptism. But then there’s the Niagara Falls way. I remember the first time I stood and watched Niagara Falls; I said to myself, You couldn’t be under that fall one second without being totally drenched. That’s the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Every place that it’s described it indicates in one way or another the Holy Spirit came down over them from above.
So, we’re talking about two immersions. Immersion in water: you go down into it, you go under it, you come up out of it. Immersion in the Holy Spirit: you just go under it and it comes down over you. But in either case you’re totally immersed, not just partially immersed; not sprinkled but totally immersed.
Now it’s very interesting that the introduction to each of the four gospels specifically states that Jesus Christ will baptize in the Holy Spirit. I think far too little attention has been given to this. I want to read the four passages in each of the gospels. Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist says:
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. But he who is coming after me [that’s the Messiah] is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
And then in Mark 1:8 we get the introduction there. John the Baptist is speaking, he says:
“I indeed baptize you with water but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
And then in Luke 3:16 the version that’s given in Luke’s gospel. John the Baptist says:
“John answered and saying to them, ‘I indeed baptize you with water but one mightier than I is coming whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.’”
And then in John’s gospel, chapter 1, verse 33. This is part of the official introduction of Jesus by His forerunner, John the Baptist. In every one of the introductions, in every one of the four gospels, it’s specifically stated that Jesus will baptize His people with the Holy Spirit. In John’s gospel the introduction is a little fuller. Beginning at chapter 1, verse 29:
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.’”
And then he went on to say in verse 33:
“I did not know Him but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit [the Holy Spirit] descending and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ I’ve seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”
So John there says three things. This is the Lamb of God, this is the Son of God and this is He who baptizes in the Holy Spirit. We are all so wonderfully familiar with the statement that Jesus is the Lamb of God but it’s only stated in one gospel, whereas in all four gospels it’s specifically stated that Jesus is the baptizer in the Holy Spirit.
In other words, it’s one of the most important things that we need to know about Him. It’s wonderful to know Him as Savior, to know Him as Lamb of God. But, that’s not the end. It’s also very, very important that we come to know Him individually and personally as the baptizer in the Holy Spirit.
Now after His earthly ministry was completed, after His resurrection, in Acts 1:4–5 Jesus repeats this promise. It’s really hard to overemphasize how frequently this promise is given in the gospels. In Acts 1:4–5 it says of Jesus:
“Being assembled together with them [His disciples] He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the Father which He 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.’”
So Jesus was careful to repeat the promise with which John the Baptist had introduced Him, that He would be the baptizer in the Holy Spirit.
Now, almost all commentators on the Bible agree that the fulfillment of this promise of Jesus is recorded in Acts 2:1–4, the Day of Pentecost. So I want to read what the Bible says there and then briefly consider exactly what is implied. Acts 2, beginning at verse 1:
“Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues as of fire and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues [or other languages] as the Spirit gave them utterance [or as the Spirit gave them to speak].”
So there are three successive phases of that experience. First of all, it was a baptism. The Holy Spirit came from above and immersed them. It filled the whole place where they were sitting, they were immersed from above.
Secondly, each one of them was individually filled with the Holy Spirit. It was not just a collective experience but it was an experience in which each individual had his personal share.
And thirdly, there was an overflow, a supernatural outflow from the infilling. This is in line with a principle that’s stated in Matthew 12:34, just the latter part of the verse. Jesus is saying:
“...for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
I represent that by saying when your heart is filled it overflows through the mouth in speech. There are a number of passages in the New Testament where it speaks about people being filled with the Holy Spirit. I’ve looked at each passage and in every case the next thing that happened was that person spoke, prophesied, spoke in tongues, whatever it might be. This is a universal principle. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. When the heart is filled to overflowing then the overflow takes place through the mouth in speech. And that’s what happened on the Day of Pentecost. When they had been filled, then they all began to speak with other languages as the Spirit gave them utterance, or as the Spirit gave them to speak. It’s very important to understand that this is a matter in which God and man have to cooperate. God filled them but they began to speak. The Holy Spirit didn’t do the speaking; they did the speaking, the Holy Spirit gave them the language.
I’ve met so many—and my background for many years has been in the Pentecostal movement—who said, “Brother Prince, I want God to do it all.” I met a man who said, “I’ve been tarrying twenty-five years.” He said, “I’m waiting for God to do it all.” I said, “You’ll tarry for the rest of your life, because it’s not scriptural.” God will do His part; you have to do your part. You do the speaking, God gives the language. But, God will not do the speaking. They all began to speak as the Holy Spirit gave them to speak.
And let me say it’s true, they tarried or waited until the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost. After that there’s no record that anyone ever tarried for the Holy Spirit. He had been given and after that when they prayed and met the conditions they immediately received the Holy Spirit.
I want to say to each of you here tonight if you meet the conditions, and I’ll go into them later, and you’re thirsty, you can be filled with the Holy Spirit here tonight. If you’ve never received it, this can be your night. We’ll come to that later.
Now I want to say a little bit about the way the apostle Paul describes this. In 2 Corinthians 1:22 he says, well, we’ll read verse 21 as well:
“Now he who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, is God, who has also sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a deposit.”
So Paul says two things. The Holy Spirit is a seal and it’s a deposit. In Ephesians 1:14 he uses similar language. Ephesians 1:14. He says, verse 13:
“In whom also [that’s Jesus], having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchase possession.”
And in the margin it says for guarantee, “down payment.”
So, the Holy Spirit, the baptism, which is visible, which is audible, which is not merely something that happens inside you and cannot be seen by others, it’s something that can be seen and heard. Paul says it’s two things. It’s a seal and a down payment.
First of all, it’s a seal. You already belong to Jesus but this publicly identifies you as belonging to Him. He sets His public seal upon you.
I don’t know whether any of you can remember the days when we used to send registered mail and you had to seal it with hot wax. Can you remember those days? And then you had to put an imprint on it. That’s exactly what the Holy Spirit is. It’s a seal, it’s hot wax. And then Jesus puts His imprint on it and it sets you apart. And you know registered mail is treated in a special way. It’s much more carefully looked after. And when you’ve been baptized in the Holy Spirit you’re registered mail, you get special attention from heaven’s post office.
Now the second word is a down payment or a deposit. And this—it happens that I’m very interested in languages, this happens to be very interesting. In Hebrew the word is arbon. In Arabic it’s arbone (phonetic). In Swahili it’s arabooni (phonetic). In other words, the same word goes all the way through. I used to speak Arabic when I lived in Jerusalem years ago with my first wife and I always remember a scene in 1947, we just moved into a new house in Jerusalem and we needed to buy material for the curtains. So we went to the Old City and we found a man who was selling curtain material and we saw what we wanted and these figures are not exact, they’re just to give you an idea. We needed twenty yards and the price, let’s say, was five dollars a yard. The total price was one hundred dollars. We said to the man, “Now listen, we don’t have all the money with us but we’ll give you one fifth, twenty dollars, as a down payment.” Do you know what he called that in Arabic? Arbon. And we said, “Now, when we’ve given you the down payment you’ve got to remember two things. It belongs to us, you’ve got to set it apart for us, you can’t sell it to anybody else because it’s for us. Second, our down payment is our guarantee that we’ll come back with the rest of the money and take the material.
And that’s what the baptism in the Holy Spirit is. Jesus puts a down payment on you and sets you apart for Himself. After that you’re not for sale to any other customer.
Secondly, it’s His guarantee “I’m coming back to take you. And when I come back I’ll come back with the rest of the payment and then you’ll be mine forever.” It’s such a brilliant, vivid picture of what the baptism in the Holy Spirit is.
Now what is the seal? This is a question that people might dispute. I want to say that as far as I’m concerned, the New Testament only indicates one seal and that is speaking with other tongues as the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, gives you to speak. I’m aware, and probably some of you are, there are movements—the Rastafarians in Jamaica is one—where people who are in other cults speak in tongues. This frightens some people, they say, “How do I know I’m going to get the right thing?” Well, Jesus said if you’re a child of God, please note that, and if you ask your heavenly Father for a piece of bread He will not give you a snake. Okay? In other words, if you ask for the right thing you have a written guarantee from God you’ll get the right thing. You don’t need be afraid. Now, if you’re not a child of God that promise doesn’t apply. You have to be a child of God. Jesus said if you ask your heavenly Father for the Holy Spirit, He will give it to you. So the seal is something visible, something audible, something public. A seal cannot be secret, otherwise it doesn’t accomplish its purpose. The seal is, as in Acts 2, they all began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them to speak.
I want to say four things about that. First of all, that was the seal the apostles themselves received in their own experience. Jesus said wait in Jerusalem until you receive the Father’s promise. So they waited for ten days. When the Holy Spirit came and they spoke with tongues they never waited any more. It was the seal they had received in their own experience.
Secondly, it was the seal which they accepted in others. And we’ll look at one remarkable case in a few moments.
Thirdly, they never asked for any other seal. Let me repeat that because it’s very important. See, I’ve met so many people over the years who said, “Brother Prince, how do I know if I’ve been baptized in the Holy Spirit? I’ve had this or that experience, I’ve really been praying and seeking God, but how can I know?” My answer is you can know when you receive the seal. When you first begin to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gives you to speak, you’ve got it. I’ll go further to say you have Him because it’s not just an it, it’s a person you’ve received.
So, let me say those three things again.
It was the seal the apostles received.
It was the seal which they accepted in others.
And they never asked for any other seal.
Furthermore, the New Testament does not offer us any other seal. There’s no alternative offered in the New Testament.
Let’s look at what Jesus said in Luke 24:52–53, after His resurrection when He was taking farewell of His disciples, He said (Luke 24:52–53). This is another thought that I want to bring out. A lot of people have said, “Well, I got so happy, I’m filled with joy, I was praising the Lord all the time. Isn’t that the seal?” Not according to the New Testament. It’s wonderful to be filled with joy, it’s wonderful to be praising the Lord, but it isn’t the New Testament seal. I’ll tell you how I know, because after the resurrection of Jesus it says right at the end of Luke’s gospel:
“When He had been taken up into heaven they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God.”
So they had great joy, they were continually praising and blessing God but they had not received the seal. They did not receive that until the Day of Pentecost. Jesus said tarry or wait until. They never waited any longer. After the Holy Spirit came and they spoke with tongues, that was the end of waiting.
Now I think there’s one particular case in the book of Acts which demonstrates this so vividly, I would like to turn there. It’s in Acts 10, right at the end of the chapter. You know the story, Peter had been supernaturally directed to the household of Cornelius. He really didn’t want to go there because it wasn’t correct for him as a Jew to enter the house of Gentiles and, much less to eat with them. But under pressure from God he went and he took with him six other Jewish believers. He wanted to have witnesses. And while Peter was speaking to them, talking to them about Jesus, in Acts 10:44 it says:
“While Peter was still speaking these words the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.”
It’s interesting how far he’d come in his sermon. The previous verse he says:
“To him [Jesus] all the prophets give witness that through His name whoever believes in Him will receive remission [or forgiveness] of sins.”
And those simple-minded people in the household of Cornelius believed it and received forgiveness of sins. Once they’d received forgiveness of sins the Holy Spirit was prepared to come upon them. See? It says:
“While Peter was still speaking these words the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed [that’s the Jewish believers] were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.”
Remember, they came there not believing that the gospel was for anybody but for Jews. They didn’t believe Gentiles could become Christians. But when they heard them speak with tongues they said, “This is it. We can’t argue.” Why did they believe? It says:
For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
They didn’t have any other evidence and they didn’t ask for any other evidence.
Now, some people today would say, “Well, they should have hung around and waited for about six weeks to see if they really brought forth the fruit.” But they didn’t. You see, we’re not talking about fruit, we’re talking about a gift. They are two different things, both of them very important. A gift is received in a single transaction. Fruit comes by a slow process of growth.
Some of you have just been celebrating Christmas and doubtless some of you had a Christmas tree. Is that right? And on the Christmas tree or under the Christmas tree you placed your gifts. And the people for whom the gifts were designed came, picked the gift out and received it. That’s all. A gift is received by a single transaction.
Fruit, on the other hand, grows on apple trees, it doesn’t grow on Christmas trees. That takes time, it’s a process.
Now please understand, fruit is extremely important, but don’t confuse fruit with a gift. What we’re talking about is the gift of the Holy Spirit, something that can be received in one simple transaction.
And so, then Peter answered about the people in the household of Cornelius:
“Can anyone forbid water that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we?”
In other words, he made no difference between these people and what happened on the Day of Pentecost.
Later on, reporting to his fellow Jews who were criticizing him and complaining that he shouldn’t have gone and spoken to Gentiles, Peter says in Acts 11:15:
“As I began to speak the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning.”
There’s no mention there in the household of Cornelius of a mighty wind or tongues of fire, but the one thing that identified the experience was they all began to speak with other tongues. So I say, and I believe it cannot be questioned, this was the seal the apostles received, this was the seal they accepted in others, they never asked for any other seal and I cannot find any other seal offered in the New Testament.
Now I know—I probably know better than most of you—that speaking in tongues is sometimes considered (I don’t know) strange, unorthodox, even some people call it demonic. I remember a time when there was a dear evangelical minister who would not walk on the same side of the street with me because he knew I spoke in tongues. See? I forgive him but I don’t endorse his opinions.
You see, God sometimes puts at the beginning of an experience something that’s a kind of stumbling block. If you’re not really in earnest you’ll be put off. People speaking a language they’ve never learned, and maybe getting very excited, to some people is offensive. I want to suggest to you that basically we from the Anglo-Saxon-European-American background have got a pretty false picture of what Christianity is really like. First of all, we think about it as very dignified. When you get in church you don’t speak in a loud voice, you stand or sit and sing the hymns but you wouldn’t really get excited about anything. That’s the picture of Christianity that I grew up with. I was going to church eight times a week for ten years so I’m not without experience. But it’s not the Biblical picture. You see, we suffer a lot, many of us, because we’re not really free to express what God is doing in us. You read about the people in the Bible: they cried, they shouted, the groaned, they clapped their hands, they danced, they sang, they got excited. They were enthusiastic.
I was a head of a college for training teachers in East Africa for a while and I had to hire the teachers. I learned that a teacher may have all the academic qualifications but not be much good as a teacher. And another teacher with far less academic qualifications may be a much more successful teacher because of one thing, he’s enthusiastic. See, I’ve come to the conclusion there’s no substitute for enthusiasm.
When Ruth and I were in Moscow a year ago, or just over a year ago, with 1,000 mainly new believers, I was overwhelmed by their enthusiasm. I thought to myself, God, I wish I could find this in other places, too. When they started to sing they would sing, “Jesus Christ is Lord of all,” they’d go on for ten minutes. Nobody had to work them up or conduct them, they just couldn’t stop. Ruth and I have a recording of that particular music and when we really need a lift in the spirit we just turn it on. It’s not a professional recording but what comes through? Excitement, enthusiasm.
You know, if you want other people to believe in what you believe, one of the best ways to convince them is to be enthusiastic. If you suffered from corns and you found a remedy for corns, which I believe there does exist—I’ve never suffered from corns. You would be so excited about it you’d want to tell everybody who has corns there’s a remedy.
Well, you’ve got a much more valuable remedy than that, you have a remedy for sin. And it’s unnatural if you don’t get excited and tell people about it. But the one who provides the excitement is the Holy Spirit. Remember what Ruth and I quoted at the beginning?
“Now may the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
What makes us abound in hope? The power of the Holy Spirit. How many of you today—don’t respond openly—how many of you are really abounding in hope? How many of you are excited about Jesus? How many of you are just bubbling over, you can’t keep quiet? That’s how we should be. That’s how we should be. And all this staid, dignified solemnity really doesn’t have much to do with the New Testament. I’ll come to a few examples in a minute.
Let’s go on. Now, there are two ways that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is administered in the New Testament. One is direct from heaven, it just falls on people. That was on the Day of Pentecost, that was in the house of Cornelius. The other is by the laying on of hands. That is described in three places. In Acts 8:14–19, Acts 8:14–19, this is in Samaria:
“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 came down prayed for them that they might received the Holy Spirit.”
Now those people had heard the gospel preached by Philip. They believed and they had been baptized. That’s stated clearly earlier in that chapter. They were saved but they had not yet received the Holy Spirit. And the apostles were not satisfied, they didn’t rest content with the fact that these people had been wonderfully saved, they wanted more. It says in verse 16:
“For as yet he [the Holy Spirit] had fallen upon none of them...”
Notice it speaks about Him falling upon them.
“...they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. They [the apostles] laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.”
So in that instance the Holy Spirit was ministered through the laying on of hands by other believers.
And in the next chapter you’ll read how when Saul of Tarsus, who became Paul, was there in the city of Damascus, a disciple Ananias was sent to him, laid hands on him, prayed for him that he might be healed and receive the Holy Spirit. So Paul received through the laying on of hands by Ananias.
And in Acts 19, a passage that we looked at in another such situation, Paul at Ephesus found certain disciples. When he asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit when they believed, they hadn’t even heard of the Holy Spirit. So he knew they weren’t disciples of Jesus. He discovered they were disciples of John the Baptist. So then he said that was all right in those days but now you need to be baptized in faith in Jesus. So they were baptized in water and then it says:
“...and when Paul laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”
Let me suggest to you don’t just stop speaking with tongues. That’s wonderful but why not go on to prophesy? God isn’t jealous; He’ll let you experience that.
What are the purposes of the baptism in the Holy Spirit? The real primary purpose is to receive supernatural power from God. This is how Jesus expressed it in Acts 1:8, Jesus was about to leave them and this is almost the last thing He spoke to them. In fact, it is. These are the last recorded words of Jesus on earth. He said:
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you...”
The word for power there in Greek is dunamis from which we get the English word dynamite. And dynamite is what causes explosions. You’ll observe that when the Holy Spirit descended it caused an explosion.
A lot of people say they were empowered by the fact that Jesus had risen from the dead. But that isn’t accurate, because Jesus had risen from the dead fifty days earlier but no one in Jerusalem had heard about it. But when the Holy Spirit came, all Jerusalem heard about it in a few hours. That was dynamite, you see? It was an explosion. Some people don’t welcome explosions, they’re frightened. Well, if it’s the Holy Spirit I say let Him explode. Let Him do whatever He wants. I never have hung from the chandeliers, as some people say, but if that was what God wanted me to do I’d be happy to do it. I’ve found He hasn’t really led me in that direction!
What did they receive? Power to be witnesses.
“You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses...”
You see, the message of the gospel is supernatural. It’s not a record of natural events, it’s something totally supernatural. Jesus died, He was buried and rose again and ascended into heaven. That’s supernatural. If you’re going to testify to a supernatural event you need supernatural power. Just a little theology isn’t enough. You need to be empowered. And people are discerning. Sinners are sometimes more discerning than Christians and they know when it comes with real supernatural power, and they’ll listen. I’ve discovered this in many different cultures. Sinners can discern the presence of supernatural power. It does something for them. It commands their attention and that’s what Jesus said, “You shall receive power, then you shall be witnesses to me.”
And then in Romans 15:18–19 Paul is speaking about his own ministry and he says:
“I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient by mighty signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit of God.”
So Paul said the only things that are worth talking about in my ministry are the things which the Holy Spirit has done. I wouldn’t even mention anything else. He said the Holy Spirit by supernatural power, by signs and wonders, has made the Gentiles, the non-Jews, the unevangelized people, obedient.
I’ve dealt with Gentiles in many countries. I always think back to my five years in East Africa. I was principal of a college for training African teachers. At that time the ambition of every African was to get an education. So I was purveying something that they desperately wanted. They would come to the college as students and they would be very cooperative, very obedient, because they wanted their education. Whatever we missionaries said, basically they would do it. I remember one day calling the student body together and I said, “I want to tell you something. I want to thank you, you’re very obedient, you’re very cooperative. Whatever we want you to do, you do it because you want your education.” But I said, “In the minds of most of you there is a question that has not been answered.” And then I got their attention. I said, “I can’t tell you the answer to the question.” And then I really had their attention. I said, “The question is this, ‘Is the Bible really a book for Africans, that we can believe, or is it just a white man’s religion that doesn’t work for Africans?’” And that is exactly what their own elders were telling them. Then I said to them, “Listen, you’ll never know the answer to that question until you experience the supernatural power of God in your own life. When you do, you’ll know that it didn’t come from America, it didn’t come from Britain, it came from heaven.” I left them, continued to put the Word of God before them, but mainly I prayed. A few months later there was a sovereign, supernatural outpouring of the Holy Spirit on those students. Every student in the college was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Up to that time you had to urge them to pray. From then on it was difficult to stop them praying, they’d spend half the night in their dormitories praying because they’d received the supernatural seal, the supernatural enduement with power from on high. My fellow white missionaries used to have this attitude—I’m sorry to say this but it was true—”You can only lift Africans so high. They won’t go any higher.” I didn’t argue with them, I just spent my time with the Africans. But when the Holy Spirit fell, do you know what happened? The missionaries came down to see what was going on. They suddenly discovered that Africans could go higher.
So, this is just an illustration. Those young people, men and women, needed a supernatural experience on their own. It was not enough just to get a message from a person from another race and another culture.
And then in the next few months amongst those students, most of them under the age of twenty-five, we saw all nine gifts of the Holy Spirit in operation. In fact, we also saw two people raised from the dead. People say, “Did you ever see that?” My answer is definitely I have seen it. I don’t want to go into the details because we don’t have time. But believe me, when people are raised from the dead, people sit up and listen! Jesus said to His disciples, “As you go, preach the kingdom of heaven, heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, cleanse the lepers.” When does He ever retract that direction? Never. I’ve said to the Jewish people amongst whom we live, “We non-Jews like me, we really owe an apology to you Jewish people for ever asking you to believe a gospel that was not supernaturally attested. Because, your whole background in the Scripture tells you that whenever God sends a message through a special messenger, in some way or another He always gives supernatural attestation.” That’s really the purpose of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, it’s to bring us into the realm of the supernatural. Which is the only realm in which the gospel really can be effectively proclaimed.
Let’s look in Hebrews 2 for a moment. Hebrews 2, verses 3–4:
“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.”
The writer of Hebrews gives three reasons why we should attend to the gospel message. Number one, the first person who proclaimed it was Jesus. Secondly, it was confirmed by those who were personal eyewitnesses of Jesus. But the third reason is the Holy Spirit bears supernatural testimony to the message with signs, wonders and gifts of the Holy Spirit. The unbelieving world has a right to expect from the church that that’s what we’ll do. We’re living below the level of the will of God if we just present an intellectual message and quote a few Scriptures. Some people will get saved, it’s wonderful, but it’s not God’s best.
Now, I want to give you one further reason for the gift of the Holy Spirit, for the baptism. It’s stated in 1 Corinthians. First Corinthians 12:13. This is one of the most misunderstood verses in the whole of the New Testament. Actually, it’s mistranslated and it’s mistranslated because the translators had a preconception of what they thought Paul was trying to say. I have to say I’ve learned Greek since I was ten years old, I am totally confident of the correctness of what I’m saying. If I weren’t I wouldn’t say it. The text that I have, and most of the other translations read the same. 1 Corinthians 12:13:
“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and have all been made to drink from one Spirit.”
Now the wrong word there is “by,” because the Greek says in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. And there is no suggestion anywhere else in the New Testament that the Holy Spirit ever baptizes people. People are baptized in the Holy Spirit but the Holy Spirit doesn’t baptize. We are born again of the Holy Spirit, that’s what brings us into the body.
Now, the word emphasized there is the word one. What Paul is saying is the purpose of the baptism is to produce unity in the body. In one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, we’re all given to drink of one Spirit. Three times he uses the word one. You see, I pointed out to you before with regard to the use of the word baptize in and into, when you are baptized you’re baptized in something and baptized into something. But in both the other cases, John’s baptism and Christian baptism, in actual fact, the people were already in what they were baptized into. For instance, John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance but he wouldn’t baptize people who hadn’t repented. So, the baptism of John didn’t produce repentance, it was his acknowledgment that they had repented.
And then Christian baptism, baptism in water, we’re baptized into Christ. But when we are baptized we are already in Christ, otherwise we have no right to be baptized. So, being baptized in water doesn’t put us in Christ, it seals us as having been in Christ.
It’s the same with this. In one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, not that we weren’t in the body but this is the seal that we’re in the body. So in every case, baptize in, baptize into. In is the medium. With John’s baptism it is water, with Christian baptism it is water, with the Holy Spirit it was the Holy Spirit. What we’re baptized into is something that we’re already in but it marks us out as being in. In repentance, in Christ, in one body. But what we need to bear in mind, and this is one of the tragedies of recent church history, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is designed to produce unity in the body. But unfortunately we’ve been so carnal that instead of accepting unity we’ve often used it to produce division. And for that, all of us need to repent. So bear in mind the baptism of the Holy Spirit is designed to make you know that you’re part of one body and that every other true believer, no matter what denomination or what race or what culture, is a member of the same body. There’s only one Holy Spirit, there’s only one body.
That was God’s purpose and unfortunately like so many other things we’ve abused God’s purpose. For instance, the celebration of communion was designed for the same purpose, to emphasize the unity of the body. What has it done through our carnality? It’s divided us. But that’s not God’s fault, it’s our fault. All of us need to bear some responsibility. The non-Pentecostals, for being so critical; the Pentecostals, for being so arrogant. I mean, I’ve been a Pentecostal long enough, our famous slogan was “We’ve got it all.” When I looked at some of them I’ve thought, “Whatever you have, it isn’t much!” I remember being in a Danish Pentecostal church and there was this dear, old widow. She was poor, she was sick. She said in Danish, “We’ve got it all.” I looked at her I thought if that’s all, it isn’t much. But you see, that attitude has offended a lot of people. We’ve had this attitude, the Pentecostals have got it all. We’ve got the full gospel. We don’t have more than we have. We can have the baptism and speak in tongues and still be very short of God’s standard. It’s not a guarantee that you’re absolutely perfect. It’s not a seal of perfection, it’s a help to become perfect.
See, again a lot of Pentecostals have the attitude—I mean, I know it so well—you get saved, born again, baptized in water, speak in tongues and you’ve arrived. No, no, no, you’ve just started! It’s not a goal, it’s a gateway. But if you treat the gateway as the goal you’ll never get any further. Some of you Pentecostals need to give a little heed to that. If you are Pentecostal and you’re here, I love the Pentecostals, I owe my salvation to them. For a good many years I thought they were right about everything. And then I discovered they too had their weaknesses. But bear that in mind, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is to bring Christians into unity.
There’s one other thing we need to deal with which is physical manifestations. My opinion is most Christians are living what I call “bottled up lives.” They’re not free to express what God has put in them because we have this standard of dignity: you speak with a quiet voice, you don’t get too excited, you sit upright in your seat, you get up, you stand up, you sit down, you kneel down and you walk out of church. I mean, I was in it for years so don’t tell me that isn’t so. That has very little to do with New Testament Christianity. It’s got very little to do with the experience of people in the Bible. They got excited. You read the psalms of David. He roared, he cried, he wet his bed with tears. He was a man of strong emotion. Even Jesus, He groaned, He wept, He expressed His feelings.
See, I mean no one has got this background more than I. I was brought up at the very center of the old school tie tradition. If you know anything about Britain, I was educated in Eton and Cambridge. I was a bastion of the empire. But, one night God baptized me in the Holy Spirit. I didn’t know what it was, I didn’t go to church, it happened in an army barrack room. I was so ignorant I didn’t know you had to go to church either to get saved or get baptized in the Spirit. I got both of them in an army barrack room in the middle of the night. But then when I began to move in the church I discovered that people didn’t make room for God. Now, I’m not a super-emotional person. I think most of you who know a little bit about me will—
But the trouble is we quenched our emotions. We haven’t given free expression to what God has done in us. I’m going to speak on Sunday night about worship. If you’re going to be here, I’ll go a little further with that. But worship is not just saying words; worship is an attitude of the body. It’s bending down, it’s falling down, it’s clapping hands. That’s the scriptural picture of worship. We are far short of the standards of the Bible and one main reason among us Anglo-Saxons, and whatever else we might be, is we haven’t expressed what the Holy Spirit has put in us. We’ve quenched the Spirit, we’ve suppressed the Spirit. We’ve tried to be dignified, we’ve been afraid of being too emotional or too excited.
I am not a super-emotional person but I believe in yielding to the Holy Spirit. I believe in expressing what the Holy Spirit has put in me.
Let me give you just a little list of people, we have to keep going. Here’s some of the people who met God:
Abraham. The Lord appeared to him and what did Abraham do? He fell on his face. How many of you would do that? Some of you would. I always smile when I hear Christians singing that hymn, “Bring forth the royal diadem and crown Him Lord of all. Let angels prostrate fall.” I think those dear church members, it’s all right for angels to fall but not us. No, no, no. We are much too dignified for that.
And then there was Israel. When the Lord accepted their sacrifice with supernatural fire it says they all fell on their faces and shouted. They didn’t use . . . the Bible says, “Let us shout joyfully.” I want to tell you, shouting is not singing aloud. I don’t think I’ll lead you into this tonight; we might go there on Sunday night. But, shouting is shouting. Some of you I’m sure go to football matches. Don’t put your hand up, you might be embarrassed, but you do. And when the right side scores a goal, what do you do? You stand up and you shout! Why? Because you’re excited. If you can get excited about football, why not get excited about Jesus and the Holy Spirit?
And then Joshua. He met the Commander of the army of the Lord outside Jericho and there he was, flat on his face. In fact, I venture to tell you that most of the great men of the Bible have been on their face before God at least once. And then God said to him, “The Lord said to him, ‘Take your shoes off your feet, you’re standing on holy ground.’” Have you ever been in a place where you had to take your shoes off? We have. God moved in in a conference we were in at Jerusalem two years ago and without anybody being instructed the people just quietly began to slip their shoes off their feet because they knew they were in a holy place.
The priests, when the fire of God, the presence and glory of God came into the temple, it says they fell on their faces. They couldn’t stand.
I like to read Jeremiah because, after all, he was a respectable prophet. He wrote a lot of the Bible, I mean, almost more than anybody else. Jeremiah 23:9 says this:
“My heart within me is broken because of the prophets [the false prophets]. All my bones shake. I am like a drunken man and, like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the Lord and because of His holy words.”
That was Jeremiah’s reaction to the holiness of the Lord. He said, “All my bones shake.” You can’t have your bones shake without your body shaking, that’s impossible. He said, “I’m like a drunken man because of the holiness of the Lord.” Have you ever sensed the holiness of the Lord in such a way that impacts your physical body? See, we’re living on very low rations, most of us.
The apostles on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came and they were all very dignified. No. Just the opposite, they behaved in a very strange, undignified way. They were all speaking together in languages they hadn’t heard and do you know what the unbelievers said? They’re drunk. Have they ever said that about you when you walked out of church?
John the apostle encountered Jesus in a vision and he fell at His feet as one dead. There was a power that overwhelmed him.
I won’t go on to the others because I want to come to the vital part now, of this. Time is running out on me, as it usually does. Seven requirements for receiving, and I’m going to give them very briefly.
Number one, repent. Acts 2:38, “Repent, be baptized.”
Number two, be baptized. Be baptized and you’ll receive the Holy Spirit.
Number three, be thirsty. Jesus said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.”
Number four, you’ve got to come to Jesus. There’s only one baptizer in the Holy Spirit. If you want the baptism you have to come to the baptizer.
Number five, you have to ask. Jesus said, “If you, being evil, are to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” A lot of Christians say, “Well, if God wants me to have the Holy Spirit I guess He’ll give it to me. I don’t need to ask.” Well, Jesus said you do need to ask. He said your heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask.
And then you have to receive. Receiving is compared to drinking.
And finally, and this is the difficult thing for some people, you have to yield the unruly member of your body, the member which you cannot control, the tongue. The control of the tongue by the Holy Spirit is God’s evidence that He’s come in to take control. You know in the Bible the tongue is called “my glory.” This doesn’t come out in all translations but in Psalm 16 the psalmist said, “I will praise God with my glory.” Peter quoted that in Acts 2:26 and he said, “I will praise God with my tongue.”
Your tongue is your glory, did you know that? Do you know why? Do you know why you’ve been given a tongue? For one supreme purpose: to glorify God. Any use of the tongue that doesn’t glorify God is a misuse. But when the Holy Spirit comes and takes control of your tongue, everything you say and do will glorify God. That’s the first time you’ll really be using your tongue for the purpose for which God gave you a tongue in your mouth.
All right. Now, we’ve come to the end of my little explanation but there are some of you here, undoubtedly, who are thirsty. At least, I hope there are. If there are not, that’s a pity. I want to tell you very simply how you can receive this experience here tonight. I want to read the words of Jesus in John 7. He said:
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes on me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart [out of his belly, the Scripture says] will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spake concerning the Spirit who those believing on Him would receive, for the Holy Spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
It could not be given until Jesus was glorified. But when He was at the Father’s right hand, He poured out the Holy Spirit.
Now, these are the simple conditions. There are some conditions you should have met but you may not. You may not have been baptized, you may not have asked. I wasn’t baptized, I didn’t even know about being baptized. I didn’t ask but God filled me with the Holy Spirit. I had this strange sensation in my belly and I knew it was my belly. I thought, “What is this?” The phrase came to my mind “speaking with other tongues.” I thought, “What’s this got to do with speaking with other tongues?” Then I said out loud to God in an empty room, “God, if you want me to speak with tongues, I’m ready to do it.” And this thing moved up through my chest and into my throat and my tongue started to move. I wasn’t controlling it and the next thing I discovered, I was speaking a language like Chinese. I hadn’t asked and I hadn’t been baptized. Later, believe me, I was baptized in water.
But there are certain basic conditions. “If anyone thirst,” Jesus said, “let him come to me and drink.” And then “out of his belly will flow the rivers.” A marvelous transformation! You come as a thirsty person and you become a channel of rivers of water. What does that? The baptism in the Holy Spirit. What do you have to do? It’s very simple. You have to come to Jesus. There’s only one baptizer, come to the baptizer to receive the baptism. You have to drink.
This is where religious people have a problem, it’s too simple. No one ever drank with their mouth closed. No one ever received the baptism in the Holy Spirit with their mouth closed. You drink by opening your mouth and taking in something. You’re not taking in water; you’re taking in the supernatural power of God. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody do that and not receive. I can’t recall. I’ve seen as many as three thousand people receive in one experience but they drank. And after the drinking there’s the overflow. You remember, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” This is where you have to have faith because the Holy Spirit is not going to do the speaking for you. You have to speak as the Holy Spirit gives you words. This is a step of faith but without faith it’s impossible to please God.
I’m prepared to lead anybody here or any people here in a simple prayer here tonight if you want to receive this wonderful, supernatural experience. Remember we’re not asking you to leave a church or join a church, this is not what we’re after. We’re just suggesting to you that you need what the apostles needed, what the early church needed. So, if you would like to come forward and me to lead you in a prayer, I will do it. Without further delay, if you say, “Brother Prince, I’m really thirsty here tonight and I would like this experience,” just stand up where you are and walk down to the front and I will lead you in a prayer.
That’s wonderful. I wonder if somebody could move some of those chairs, could you? This is really wonderful. Move right forward because there’s a lot of people coming behind you. That is wonderful, isn’t it? Those of you that are already baptized, please be in prayer for these people. Be in prayer for me, too. Come a little further forward, don’t be afraid of me, I don’t bite. If you can’t get forward, just—I had no idea we’d have this many thirsty people. This is wonderful! This can make a real difference in New Zealand. If all you people get filled with the Holy Spirit, who knows what will happen in New Zealand? Amen. I’m just waiting because there’s more people coming. Well, I never believed we’d get so many people. This is exciting, I’m enjoying this.
You know, the Presbyterians are considered pretty stiff people. That’s not really true of all of them. But do you know what the Presbyterian statement of faith is? “The supreme duty of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” How many of you are enjoying God? God wants to be enjoyed. He helps us to enjoy Him. This will give you a new understanding of enjoying God.
Now, listen, you’ve come not to Brother Prince. I’m not the baptizer. You’ve come to Jesus. But I will give you a very simple prayer that you can pray by which you present yourself to Jesus as a candidate for the baptism. You come to Him, you ask and then you drink. This is the point where religion makes it difficult because you’ve got to do something simple and practical that looks silly. You’ve got to open your mouth and begin to drink in the Holy Spirit. It’s not water but it’s the Spirit of God that you’re drinking in. After a little while, and for some people it’s very quickly, that little mouthful that you take turns into a river and it starts to flow out through you, through your mouth. How does it come out? Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. When your mouth speaks from your heart, do you know what? Your heart is overflowing. You can’t see inside, you don’t know when it’s filled, but when you hear the overflow you know it must be full because it wouldn’t overflow.
So now let me say this and I’ll lead you in this prayer. Shut yourself in with God; don’t bother about people around you. If somebody gets a little excited don’t let that worry you. We’ve decided that excitement is not necessarily sinful. Remember this crucial step: you drink and then at a certain point you begin to speak, in faith. But remember, if you’re a child of God, and I want to emphasize that, if you ask for bread He’ll never give you a stone. If you ask for the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is what you’ll get.
I’m going to lead you in a prayer by which you come to Jesus. I’m going to lead you to confess your faith in Jesus as your Savior because if you’ve never been saved you can be saved right now as you do that. And then you qualify to receive the Holy Spirit. When you say amen at the end of this prayer, don’t pray any more. You don’t receive the Holy Spirit by praying; you receive the Holy Spirit by drinking. A lot of people have prayed themselves right out of it because while you’re speaking in your own language you cannot speak another language. You have to stop speaking English and begin to speak the new language.
So, I’ll lead you in this very simple prayer. Please remember you’re not praying to me. I’m just giving you the words with which you can come to Jesus. When you’ve said amen, what do you do next? You begin to drink. Okay? I’m sorry, you may be able to talk to me later but if we start with questions now we’ll never get any further. Just trust the Lord to answer your question. Okay? So, this is it now, I want you to say these words after me:
“Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that you are the Son of God and the only way to God, that you died on the cross for my sins and rose again from the dead. I confess any sins I’ve committed and I trust you to forgive me and to cleanse me in your precious blood. I thank you for doing this. Now, Lord Jesus, I come to you as my baptizer in the Holy Spirit. I open myself up to you and I begin to drink of your Spirit that you are already pouring out on me.”
I’ll say that again.
“I begin to drink of your Spirit that you are already pouring out on me. I trust you Lord to give me the overflow. In faith I thank you for this now, in the name of Jesus. Amen.”
Now begin to drink. Don’t look at me, I’m not the baptizer. Just yield your tongue, begin to speak. You don’t have to shout but you need to speak just clearly enough to know you’ve said it. That’s right, several of you are already speaking. Give it just a little voice. (Derek speaking in tongues.) Most of the people around me I think are already speaking. The man with the questions is speaking fluently. Just take time to enjoy the Lord. Forget your problems, forget your questions and just let yourself go. Release yourself to the Lord through this experience.
Thank you, Lord Jesus. Thank you, Lord Jesus. That’s right. If you get a little excited, we’ll understand. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Jesus. Now you are communicating with the Lord direct. Your Holy Spirit is praying direct to the Lord. He no longer has to go through the bottleneck of your narrow little mind. Your spirit is free to communicate with God. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you. That’s all right, relax. Thank you, Lord Jesus. (Derek speaking in tongues.) Okay. Hallelujah. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord. Amen.
(A woman breaks out in holy laughter.)
The Bible says the Lord will not cast away a perfect man until he fills your mouth with laughter, your lips with shouting for joy.
That’s all right, Sister, I’ve had that experience, it’s wonderful. Amen.
Now, how about all the other people who can speak in tongues? Stand to your feet where you are and let’s all worship the Lord together in other tongues. No English, just other tongues. Let’s fill this place with the worship of God.
(speaking in tongues)
Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus, we worship you. We worship you, Jesus. You are our Lord, you are our Savior, you are our God. We worship only you. (Lady continues in laughter.) I’m envious. I’m quite jealous. I’ve had that experience, there’s nothing like it. If you feel like laughing, help yourselves. It’s perfectly scriptural. God will not cast away a perfect man until He fills your lips with laughter and your tongue with shouting for joy. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Forget your dignity for just a little while. Get excited. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Hallelujah! Thank you, Lord Jesus.
Jesus didn’t say it would be a puddle, He said it would be rivers. So go on, let it flow, don’t cut it off. Get really free tonight, know for sure you’ve been praising the Lord in other tongues. Don’t walk out of this place without any doubt in your mind. (tongues) I mean, let’s fill this place with the praises of Jesus tonight. Let’s lift up our voices and give Him praise and thanks. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord Jesus. You are worthy. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive glory and honor and power and blessing. Hallelujah. We love you, Lord Jesus, tonight. We’re not ashamed to tell you, Jesus, we love you. We love you because you first loved us. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord. Thank you for what you’ve done here tonight, Lord. We want to give you all the glory and all the praise because it’s due to you alone.
Now, just to be sure you know you’ve got it I want each of you that has spoken in tongues to do it again, quietly, but just loud enough to hear yourself. And remember, you’re talking to the Lord, you’re not talking to me. So, that you go out of here knowing that you’ve spoken with an unknown tongue. Remember, if you asked for bread you didn’t get a stone. Amen. Just enjoy what God has given you. Thank you. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you. Thank you, Lord.
I think we’ll close the meeting now. You don’t have to go if you want to stay. Tomorrow we’ll be speaking about laying on of hands, the next of the foundation doctrines. God bless you, go home safely and just as well go to sleep speaking in tongues!