The apostles, to whom the Lord Jesus was speaking in these verses, were our spiritual fathers.
They were members of the first church,
They were commanded by the Lord to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father.
The Lord explained that that promise was of the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
We have the command that they were to be witnesses, just as we have the command to be witnesses.
And we have the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Would you answer: “Yes, the day I was saved I was baptized into the body of Christ by Spirit of the Lord”?
Would you say, “Yes, years ago I attended a little country church and was baptized by the Spirit, and I spoke in tongues”?
Would you say, “Yes, I am currently filled with the Spirit”?
Or would you say, “No, I’ve never been baptized by the Spirit, nor do I want to be or ever expect to be”?
What would you say?
This promise of the Father, as I’ve all ready told you, is explained by Peter as the prophesy of Joel.
Last Wednesday we read from Joel 2.
But this promise of the Spirit has been reiterated in other places.
For example Matthew 3 describes the ministry of John the Baptist.
And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
It is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of the Saviour.
Let it suffice to say, I believe that it refers to the judgment of God.
The baptism with fire is not the same thing as baptism of the Holy Ghost.
John came baptizing in water, but Christ would baptize with the Spirit and with judgment.
We certainly have no clear declaration of its fulfillment before Calvary.
In John 20:22, Jesus breathed on His disciples the Holy Spirit,
And there weren’t any of the spectacular effects that Joel described.
There must be a proper giver, receiver, purpose and procedure.
Only a scriptural New Testament church has the authority from God to baptize.
It can only be by immersion in water
And it is with the purpose of illustrating the new life that is in Christ Jesus.
Matthew 3:11 says that the Administrator of spiritual baptism is not Holy Spirit but Christ;
The Holy Spirit is the substance, the element, into which the candidate is immersed.
And “immersed” as the right word, because that is the meaning of the word “baptize.”
And that leaves us with the questions of “who” and “why.”
Of course, the day that Calvary Independent Baptist church baptizes a cuddly little baby, is the day that it will cease to be a New Testament church.
Only a person who rationally and actually receives Christ as Saviour is a proper subject for baptism.
Well, Spirit baptism is restricted as well.
Jesus said, “YE shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”
Who was He speaking to?
They were the group commanded to evangelize the world in verse 8.
They were the people who elected Mathias to succeed Judas Iscariot as one of the apostles.
They were included in the group to whom the Baptist spoke.
This is the church of Christ in Jerusalem, established by the Lord during his earthly ministry.
What was our question?
Who was baptized in the day Pentecost?
Did it come on a dozen worshipers of the Queen of heaven?
Nowhere in God’s Word do we ever find a command for individuals to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
It never was, nor is, nor ever shall be an individual blessing.
They were united in prayer, doctrine, faith and even administration.
And then the Holy Spirit with the will of Christ engulfed the room, verse 2.
The Spirit filled the room and in so doing submerged the congregation in Himself.
That answers the definition of baptism; they were immersed, enveloped, submerged.
Later in Acts 11, Peter said, “When that happened we all knew that it was the fulfillment of Jesus words.”
Let me point out here some of the related events.
Holy Spirit baptism is not the same thing as the filling of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2 is linked together by a number of “ands” with verse 4 saying “AND they were all filled.”
We are commanded to be filled, encouraged to be filled, taught to be filled.
But we are never commanded to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Miracles very rarely run in packs like this, but on that day they did.
Then why don’t we hear and see the rest of the signs of Pentecost today?
It is because all these gifts are individually wrapped and only incidentally related on this occasion.
You see, the baptism experienced Pentecost came only on a Jewish congregation.
Only Jews saw the miracles: spoke in foreign languages, and 3000 of them were saved.
The Holy Spirit endorsed the work of the church with undeniable evidence.
But the commission of Christ was to evangelize the whole world.
The apostle Peter was sent therefore as a special missionary to reach the rest of the world.
Turn to Acts 10, and begin reading with verse 1:
A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter.”
“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.”
And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.”
Was it His indwelling at salvation?
But also, unusually, it was His filling of the house where the people were gathered.
Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.”
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles,
Whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
Isn’t the theme of Acts 10 and I Corinthians 12 the same?
God unites diversities.
Part of the problem in Caesarea was that the Jews were not willing to accept the Greeks.
Paul keeps emphasizing the same thing in this part of I Corinthians.
Verse 13 says that the church continues this unity process through salvation and baptism.
For being in one Spirit, we were immersed into the church of Corinth.
There’s a heated debate about whether or not the word “Spirit” should be “Holy Spirit” or simply “attitude.”
But I believe that refers to the Holy Spirit.
And so did the translators of our King James Bible when they capitalized word “Spirit.”
Remember that the promise was that the Lord Jesus would baptize “with” or “into” the Spirit.
But the Holy Spirit is never said to baptize anyone, unless you find it here.
It’s even the opinion of the Pulpit Commentary, which is not a Baptist book.
I conclude that this is referring to water baptism.
That special holy spirit baptism was administered by the war Jesus on only two occasions.
Although that was a secondary result.
The power of the Spirit is felt to those who are filled with the Spirit, not baptized by the Spirit.
The filling of the Spirit is something that comes and goes depending on our relationship to the Lord.
No, the baptism the Spirit was to prove to the Jewish mind that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ was now the chosen temple of God.
Those Jews knew about God’s acceptance of Moses’ Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple.
They knew how God’s glory entered those buildings, and approved and claimed to them.
Pentecost was God’s acceptance of the already existing church of Christ.
And at Cornelius’ house the Jews saw that the Gentiles were excepted as well.
As 21st century Christians, we don’t look for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
We look for the return of Christ, and we desire the filling of the Holy Spirit.
We are to be filled with the Spirit not covered by the Spirit.
And how desperately we need that filling.