Acts 8:14-20: "Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money."
Acts 8:14-20 is speaking of Holy Ghost Baptism after the Samaritans had already received the Word of God and been born again. This is a fulfillment of what our Lord Jesus and our Heavenly Father had promised earlier in Acts and in the Gospels. Initially one or more apostles was always present when believers received Holy Ghost Baptism in the Book of Acts. This is, however, not, as Pentecostals teach, evidence that there would be a "second blessing" throughout this Dispensation of Grace. This Holy Ghost Baptism had already been seen in Acts 2, and would be seen twice again in the Book of Acts, once when Gentiles received Holy Ghost Baptism (Acts 10, 11), and again when Paul came across "certain disciples" who had been baptized unto "John’s baptism" (Acts 19). In all four of these cases at least one apostle was present to validate apostolic authority, and experience or witness the impartation of spiritual gifts. But it is apparent that by around 55 A.D. all believers were being baptized with the Holy Ghost when they received Christ.
LANDMARK BIBLE BAPTIST:
Before I begin, let me say that I am a Landmark Baptist, that is I believe that the Lord Jesus started His church during his earthly sojourn and that from that time till now churches have been started by churches and those churches are Baptist churches. The Lord's church did not begin at Pentecost as many teach today. Before Pentecost the church had 1) both ordinances (John 3:22; Luke 22:14-20), 2) a method of church discipline (Matt 18:15-20), 3) it's first and the final commissions (Matt 9:36-10:8, 28:18-20), and 4) it assembled regularly before Pentecost (John 20:19, 26; Acts 1:4, 13-14). Furthermore, the Bible says: 1) that the apostles were the first members of Christ's church (1 Cor 12:28; Luke 6:12-16); 2) the church had 2 pastors prior to the day of Pentecost: Christ and then Peter (John 10:11, 14, 21:15-17; Acts 1:15, 2:14; 1 Pet 5:1-4); 3) they had a church roll of 120 names before Pentecost (Acts 1:15); and 4) that on the day of Pentecost 3000 souls were added to them (the church) (Acts 2:41). The church had to have already been established in order for it to be added to. Finally, the church that the Lord Jesus started fits the common definition of the Greek word (ekklesia) which is translated "church." To the Greek speakers of Christ's day "ekklesia" simply meant "an assembly of citizens called out and convened in the public place for the purpose of deliberating." The church is a democratic assembly ruled by laws (In Christ's ekklesia's case the Law being His Word). This needed to be stated so that some of my following statements will not be misunderstood.
However, as a Bible Baptist I must examine the Scriptural evidence and reject tradition even if it has long been held by Baptists, perhaps ever so innocently.
REGENERATION: THE ONLY WAY OF SALVATION:
First, we must understand that everyone from Adam and Eve to the last one who will be saved during the Millennium are all save "by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" which is the new birth that the Lord Jesus spoke of (John 3:5-8; Titus 3:5; 1 Pet 1:23; James 1:18). All who are saved are saved in this way and have the Holy Spirit living in them.
1 Peter 1:23: "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."
Titus 3:5: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." (cf. Deut. 10:16, 30:6; Ezek. 11:19, 18:31, 36:26; Jer. 4:4, 14; Rom 2:28-29; John 3:10)
Romans 8:9: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER: THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST:
However, the Lord Jesus said that believers of this Dispensation of Grace would have the Holy Spirit is another way as well. Consider this verse:
John 14:16-17: "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
Galatians 5:25: "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
The Lord said that the Holy Spirit already dwelt (present tense) "with" them (plural) and would be (future tense) "in" them (plural). The Holy Ghost is "with" all believers in our hearts through the new birth, and He is in us through Holy Ghost Baptism and filling. Because they were already born again the Spirit was already "with" them, but after the Lord Jesus' glorification He would baptized them from on high with the Holy Ghost, and then the Spirit would also be "in" them in a permanent way to help them understand the Scriptures and be effective and powerful witnesses in order to "reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." Holy Ghost Baptism would be a one time occurrence for each and every believer, but Holy Ghost filling would occur repeatedly as believers yield the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). Up until that point the Holy Spirit had been "in" the apostles in a temporary sense as He had been with the Old Testament saints, but the Bible here says that He was going to be in them and all believers of the Church Age in a permanent way to help them witness. When the Spirit was given then He would "testify" of Jesus and "teach" believers and out of the bellies of these yielded believers would flow "rivers of living water" (i.e God's life imparting Word) to "bear witness" concerning our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
John 7:37-39: "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"
John 14:26: "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
John 15:26-27: "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning."
John 16:7-8: "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment."
Notice too that the above passages speak both of the Father and Jesus sending the Holy Ghost. This is speaking of both "the promise of the Father" (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4, 2:39) and the Lord Jesus' baptism of believers "with the Holy Ghost" which are both the same thing. Look at all the recorded instances of "the promise of the Father" and the prophecies of being baptized "with the Holy Ghost."
John the Baptist speaks on this wise:
John 1:30-34: "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God."
Matthew 3:11: "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."
Mark 1:8: "I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost."
Luke 3:16: "John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire."
The Lord Jesus spoke of the promise of His Father:
Luke 24:44-51: "And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven."
Acts 1:4-5, 8: "And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. ... But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
From these verses we understand that Holy Ghost baptism is a baptism performed by the Lord Jesus Christ with the Spirit as the element rather than water. An interesting side note: In that the Lord preforms Spirit baptisms makes Him a Baptist. The last reference in Acts One clearly ties "the promise of the Father" in with Holy Ghost Baptism, and from the last few verses in Luke and Acts above we can see that the purpose of Holy Ghost Baptism was to "endued with power" to enable believers to witness for Christ and carry out the Great Commission. Consider this passage which backs up that statement:
Ephesians 4:7-12: "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."
THE CASES OF SPIRIT BAPTISM IN ACTS:
Concerning the initial recipients of the Lord's baptism with the Holy Spirit: First there were the Apostles on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-11), then there were the Samaritans (Acts 8:14-17), and after that there was Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian band, and his house (Acts 10:34-48, 11:15-17), and finally the 12 lost disciples of John the Baptist that Paul won to Christ (Acts 19:1-7). The apostles of Jesus Christ were the Lord's authorized agents to bear record to Christ's sinless life, His death and resurrection, His teachings, the events of the early church, and to complete the Word of God. In every instance of Holy Ghost Baptism recorded in the Book of Acts there was at least one apostle was present to validate the Spirit Baptism. Here is what was recorded concerning the four instances that are recorded:
Acts 2:1-11: "And when the day of Pentecost was 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 all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. [Here we see Spirit Baptism and filling, and the impartation of the gift of tongues.]
Act 8:14-17: "Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost." [The Samaritans were already saved and had the Holy Spirit in them, but did not have Him with them for power.]
Acts 10:44-47: "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 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?"
Acts 11:15-17: "And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning [at Pentecost]. 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. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?"
Acts 19:1-7: "And it came to pass, that, ... Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve."
These passages show that the apostles of Jesus Christ were witnesses to the fact that Holy Ghost Baptism is a valid experience for believers in this Age of Grace.
The Acts 19 instance is accompanied by the spiritual gifts of tongues and prophecy. The receiving of the Holy Ghost by the Samarians is called "the gift of God." Peter equates God giving the Gentiles "the like gift as He did unto us [the apostles]" as the same as them receiving the gift of tongues on the day of Pentecost. And in Acts 2:38 the people present a Pentecost are told that if they will repent they "shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Acts 2:38: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Acts 8:17-20: "Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money."
Acts 10:45-46: "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. ..."
Acts 11:17: "Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?"
From these passages in Acts it is apparent that Spirit Baptism and the receipt of spiritual gifts go hand in hand. The Holy Ghost Himself is the gift and it is He who dispenses the spiritual gifts as He wills.
BIBLICAL STATEMENTS OF THE FACT OF SPIRIT BAPTISM AFTER ACTS:
The above instances of Holy Ghost Baptism roughly follow the outline of Acts 1:8 where the Lord said, "... ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." However, this last instance in Ephesus was only the very beginning of taking the Gospel to "the uttermost part of the earth."
Merril F. Unger, Henry H. Halley and Cyrus I. Scofield all date this last recorded instance of Holy Ghost Baptism in Acts 19:1-7 at 54 AD. It was from here in Ephesus that Paul wrote First Corinthians. Unger puts the writing of First Corinthians at 55 A.D., Halley at 57 AD and Scofield says 59 A.D. So shortly after the last recorded case of Spirit Baptism and the impartation of spiritual gifts in Acts we have Paul writing these words:
1 Corinthians 12:1, 4, 6-7, 11-13: "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. ... Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. ... And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. ... But all these [gifts] worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 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."
What I am trying to point out from this chapter of the Scriptures is that spiritual gifts were from that time on imparted by Holy Ghost to "every man," that is "all" believers, when the Lord Jesus preforms Holy Ghost Baptism for those who receive Christ. Galatians 3:27 speaks of the same Baptism as 1 Corinthians 12:13:
Galatians 3:27-28: "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
Water baptism does not put anyone into Christ. The new birth or putting on of Christ does, and since sometime shortly after 54 A.D. Spirit baptism began to accompany the new birth. Halley puts the writing of Galatians at 57 A.D., and Unger and Scofield both put it at 58 A.D. which is again after Acts 19, the last recorded instance of Holy Ghost Baptism in the presence of an apostle. Holy Ghost Baptism for the purpose of imparting spiritual gifts had been verified by Christ's apostles, and it became the norm for all believers to receive the Baptism and the spiritual gifts from that point on. This will continue to the end of this dispensation. So the point is that initially apostles were always present when Christ baptize with the Holy Ghost, but by 55 A.D. or so "every man" was receiving the Baptism simultaneously with the new birth whether an apostle was present or not.
There is similar wording to Galatians 3:27 in Romans 6:3-5. However, the Romans 6 passage is speaking of water Baptism which is shown by the word "likeness" in the passage (Rom. 6:5) denoting that baptism there is a figurative speech. However, no such figurative language is not found in the context of Galatians 3:27. This is Holy Ghost Baptism as also is 1 Corinthians 12:13.
Most Landmark and some other Baptists deny this fact and try to force water into 1 Corinthians 12:13 and Galatians 3:27, but water is just not the element there. Opposition to this Biblical fact does not change the context of 1 Corinthians 12 which concerns spiritual gifts which connects it with the promise of the Father and Christ's Holy Ghost Baptism of believers.
TO WHOM WAS THE PROMISE GIVEN?
1 Peter 4:10-11: "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
The Holy Spirit is the element of baptism in 1 Corinthians 12:13 just as He is in Matthew 3:11, John 1:33, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16 and Acts 1:5, and the wording of 1 Corinthians 12:13 is very similar to all these passages. They are all referring to the exact same baptism. This is further established by the Acts 2: where it says:
Acts 2:38-39: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
The promise here is "the promise of the Father" which, of course, is the Holy Spirit Himself whom the Lord Jesus spoke of:
Luke 24:49: "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."
Acts 1:4-5: "And, being assembled together with them, [Jesus] commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence."
Acts 2:33: "Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear."
Acts 2:39: "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
The Holy Spirit, in this new way, is promised to all believers to empower them with spiritual gifts for the edification of the church.
Ephesians 1:13-14: "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
2 Corinthians 1:20-22: "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts."
The Holy Spirit Himself is both the "gift" and "the promise of the Father." He is the One who imparts "spiritual gifts to every man severally as he will." And again Acts 2:39 says: "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Everyone that God saves during this Dispensation of Grace my claim this promise of power to witness for Christ.
THE USE OF THE WORD "CHURCH" IN THE BIBLE:
We have already established that Christ's Church was already in existence before Pentecost, and that that church was a local and visible church. As a result of the teaching of Martin Luther, C. I. Scofield, D. L. Moody and others there is much confusion concerning the nature of the Church. The word "church" is used in four ways in the Bible. It is uses to speak of 1) a specific church or churches, 2) generically of all local churches, 3) metaphoricly of generic churches. 4) prospectively of the church that will one day assemble in the New Jerusalem. Here are some examples of the 116 times the word "church" and "churches" are used in the Bible:
1. "... the church which was at Jerusalem ..." (Acts 8:1)
2. "... the church of God which is at Corinth ..." (1 Cor 1:2)
3. "... the church of the Thessalonians ..." (1 Thess 1:1)
4. "... the church of the Laodiceans ..." (Col 4:16)
5. "... the churches of the Gentiles ..." (Rom 16:4)
6. "... the church which is at Cenchrea ..." (Rom 16:1)
7. "... the churches of Galatia ..." (Gal 1:2)
8. "... the churches of Judaea ..." (Gal 1:22)
9. "... the church of Ephesus ..." (Rev 2:1)
10. "... the church that was at Antioch ..." (Acts 13:1)
1. "... I will build My church ..." (Matt 16:18)
2. "... God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers ..." (1 Cor 12:28)
3. "... I persecuted the church of God ..." (Gal 1:13)
4. "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages ..." (Eph 3:21)
5. "... let him call for the elders of the church ..." (James 5:14)
1. "... he is the head of the body, the church ..." (Col 1:18; cf. Eph 1:22-23; Col 1:24)
2. "... the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church ..." (Eph 5:23; cf. John 3:29; Rev 21:9)
3. "... the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (1 Tim 3:15; cf. Eph 2:19-22)
1. "... the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven ..." (Heb 12:23)
2. "That he might present it to himself a glorious church ... holy and without blemish." (Eph 5:26-27)
It is into the prospective church body, the Holy Church of the Firstborn, that all believers of the Age of Grace are baptized into by the Lord Jesus with the Holy Ghost rather than by water. This church has not met yet, but it will meet in Heaven after the Rapture of all believers.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52: "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall ALL be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
Even though this event has not yet occurred, God speakers of it as though believers were already there.
Hebrews 12:22-24: "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."
Ephesians 2:5-7: "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."
In 1 Corinthians 12 we find the Apostle Paul speaking to the local church body in Corinth using all four ways to refer to the church:
1 Corinthians 12:13, 27-28: "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body [metaphoric & prospective], whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. ... Now ye are the body of Christ [metaphoric & specific], and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church [generic], first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers ..."
Therefore, since the Lord Jesus baptizes every believer "by one Spirit ... into one body," which is the same kind of body that He established here on Earth then believers ought to be members of that kind of body in the here and now. When one is able to be a member of a local Baptist and knows that he ought to be an member of the same, but rejects the Biblical teaching to do so then he is sinning by quenching and grieving the holy Spirit of God.
Ephesians 4:29-30: "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."
1 Thessalonians 5:19: "Quench not the Spirit."
THE PURPOSE AND THE USE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS:
There is a primary purpose and a secondary purpose for spiritual gifts. First they are given for the edifying of the body of Christ, that is to build up the local church both in numbers (i.e. getting people saved) and strength through the speaking and ministering gifts.
Ephesians 4:7-9, 11-12, 14-16: "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. ... Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he ... gave gifts unto men. ... And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. ... That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
The number one purpose of spiritual gifts is 1) for the perfecting of the saints, 2) for the work of the ministry, 3) for the edifying of the body of Christ, and 4) for the increase of the body. All these things are required of an earthly body, not a heavenly body.
Now what is the body of Christ, except the church, and what exactly is the church? In the Bible the church is always a local assemble of believers called out to do the work of the Lord Jesus. It is not, as those who believe that the church began on Pentecost, a universal church. A universal church cannot partake of the ordinances, it cannot discipline erring members, nor can it carry out the Great Commission. There is no such thing as a universal church. These passages are all speaking of local churches:
Colossians 1:18: "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."
Ephesians 1:22-23: "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
Ephesians 5:23: "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body."
So the purpose of spiritual gifts is to perfect the saints and to edify the church.
1 Corinthians 14:3-5, 12, 28: "But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. ... Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. ... How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying."
The edification or building up of the church in strength and numbers is the primary purpose of spiritual gifts and is the number one goal of the church. The secondary purpose of spiritual gifts is for personal gain or rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ. That is they are "to profit withal."
1 Corinthians 12:7-11, 13: "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; ... to another faith by the same Spirit; ... to another discerning of spirits ... But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. ... 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."
The Bible says that every believer is to "covet earnestly the best gifts" (1 Cor. 12:31). So the question follows: What are the best gifts? The answer: The spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit divided to each individual believer according to His own willed (1 Cor 12:11; Heb 2:4). Every believer is responsible to use his gifts in Christ's service to edify the church. When he is walking in obedience and filled with the Spirit he will be able to serve God to his full potential with the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and will be rewarded for so doing.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15: "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day [of the Rapture and judgment seat of Christ] shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
WALK IN THE SPIRIT AND QUENCH NOT THE SPIRIT:
Born again folks all to often fail to "stir up the gift of God" (1 Tim 1:16) which is in them. The words "stir up" in 1 Timothy 1:16 are translated from the single compound Greek word, "anazopureo" which when broken down into it's component words is "ana" meaning "in the midst," "pur" meaning "fire" and "zoon" meaning "living thing." It means to "get the fire inside going," or to "stir up [i.e. the fire inside]." To do this one needs to throw Holy Ghost gas on the fire by being filled with the Spirit. The opposite of this is to quench the Spirit. The Word of God commands us not to "quench" or put out the holy Spirit's fire within us.
Ephesians 5:18: "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."
1 Thessalonians 5:19-21: "Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."
When the holy Spirit of God through His Word teaches us and we willfully reject that teaching, we become guilty of quenching the Spirit. One cannot be filled with the Spirit as the Bible commands when he is quenching the Holy Spirit, and being filled with the Spirit is prerequisite to being able to use the spiritual gifts that one has received from God. Being filled with the Spirit enables believers to walk in the Spirit. One who is not filled with the Spirit might despise prophesyings. Prophecy was/is a spiritual gift. Originally it had a dual purpose that included foretelling future events. It was one of the revelation gift from God, but now it is a service gift used to tell forth what was foretold (i.e. through preaching, refuting, reproving, admonishing and comforting with the Scriptures).
When we are saved we receive spiritual life from God, but after that we are commanded to be filled with the holy Spirit. The filling is necessary in order to walk in the Spirit.
Galatians 5:25: "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
Once one has received Christ and is saved there is no possibility of Hell for that one; but these is condemnation in this life for the believer who does not walk after the Spirit, but who is carnally minded and walks after the flesh. Saved people who walk after the flesh lack happiness and the peace of God. They might be set aside by God (1 Cor 9:24-27) and/or chastised by Him as disobedient children (1 Cor 11:30-32).
Romans 8:1-7: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."
Galatians 5:16-18: "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law."
Ephesians 2:10: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
A believer who is walking in the Spirit will be walking as these verses teach:
"... walk in truth." (3 John 4)
"... walk in newness of life." (Rom 6:4)
"... walk in the steps of that faith ..." (Rom 4:12)
"... walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us..." (Eph 5:2)
"... henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind." (Eph 4:17)
"... if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another ..." (1 John 1:7)
"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time ... that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." (Col 4:5-6)
Walking in the Spirit is also essential in receiving rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:9-11: "Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences."
1 Corinthians 3:11-15: "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
THREE CATEGORIES OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS:
Today and since the mid first century when the Lord Jesus Christ baptizes a believer with the Holy Ghost instantaneously when he is saved, the Spirit simultaneously imparts spiritual gifts empowering the believer for service in the Lord's work of the edification of His church. Every believer receives at least three gifts and some more. We will speak of this later.
The spiritual gifts are in three major categories: 1) the sign gifts, 2) the revelation gifts, and 3) the service gifts.
The Sign Gifts authenticated the apostolic and prophetic offices.
Mark 16:17-18, 20: "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. ... And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. "
Sign gifts included special miracles (Acts 19:11; I Cor. 12:10) such as raising the dead (Acts 9:36-42, 20:7-11), healings form the mere shadow of an apostle or from handkerchiefs touched by an apostle (Acts 5:15, 19:11-12), the power to cast out of evil spirits (Acts 5:12, 16, 8:6-7, 16:16-18), and other signs and wonders (Mark 16:17-18, 20: Heb. 2:3-4; 2 Cor. 12:12). The purpose of the sign gifts were to authenticate the revelation gifts.
The Revelation Gifts were used to prophecy and give special knowledge to complete the New Testament record. The revelation gifts included "the word of knowledge" (1 Cor. 2:11, 12:8, 13:8). The word of knowledge was the ability to communicate special knowledge that one could not know except that God revealed it to him. It is the special historical, scientific, and especially spiritual knowledge that we find throughout the Bible. Jesus promised and it has been fulfilled that "... when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide [the apostles] into all Truth [spiritual knowledge] …" (John 16:13). Another form of revelation was prophecy (Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:10). This was the Spirit given ability to foretell future events. Tongues was both a sign and a revelation gift (Mark 16:17; 1 Corinthians 14:6). None of the revelation gifts are any longer in operation (1 Cor. 13:8-10; Rev. 22:18).
The Service Gifts are gifts used to edify the church (Romans 12:6-8; I Corinthians 7:6-9, 12:7-10; I Peter 4:11). This type of gift is the only kind still in effect today. The service gifts can be broken down into two subcategories: 1) speaking gifts and 2) ministering gifts:
1 Peter 4:10-11: "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
CESSATION OF SOME SPIRITUAL GIFTS:
As can be seen in the above text from Mark 16 the purpose of the Sign Gifts were to confirm the Word. They were to authenticate the Revelation Gifts.
The Lord Jesus Christ promise the tongues and other special sign gifts to the apostles and believers of that time, but not necessarily to anyone else. This fact is seen in both the KJV English and in the Greek. Notice that phrase, "these signs shall follow THEM THAT believe." In the Book of Mark in the King James Version the words "them that" occur together 23 times. By comparing Scripture with Scripture we can see that this phrase is always used either in the past tense (8 times) or present tense (15 times), but never in the future tense (i.e. "them that" is used with "wept," "sat," "stood," "sold," "had made," had been" etc.). If the future tense was meant in Mark 16:17 it would have read "shall believe" (Mark 11:23; John 17:20) or "will believe" (Matt. 27:42; John 11:48). Furthermore, Zodhiates says, "The verb 'believe' in Greek is in the aorist tense … which refers to those who did believe, not those would believe at that time or in the future." [The Complete Word Study New Testament by Spiros Zodhiates, AMG Publishers, p. 184] The promise of tongues was to those who had believed prior to the Lord Jesus' utterance of the words,"these signs shall follow them that believe."
1 Corinthians 13:8-12: "…[W]hether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
What is "that which is Perfect," and "that which is in part"? That which is in part were the revelation gifts of 1) prophecy, 2) the word of knowledge, and 3) tongues. Paul was given part of the revelation, Peter was given another part, likewise Matthew, Mark, Luke, James and Jude were given parts and John completed the New Testament revelation with his part. All these men had either the gift of prophecy or the word of knowledge, or both so that they could write their parts of the New Testament revelation. "But when that which is Perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." (1 Cor. 13:10) The phrase, "that which is Perfect" is translated from a single Greek word which means: full grown, mature, complete, finished, perfect. It signifies "that which has reached it’s end" (Vine's and Zodhiates' dictionaries). Some wrongly teach that it is the perfect state of all things, to be ushered in by the return of Christ from Heaven (Thayer's dictionary), but there is nothing in the context of the passage which indicates this. The context of First Corinthians chapters 12 through 14 is clearly speaking of spiritual gifts, and in our passage here Paul is contrasting the permanence of love or "charity" (cf. 1 Cor. 13:8, 13) with the impermanence of the gifts of tongues, the word of knowledge, and prophecy (cf. 1 Cor. 13:8-10). The contextual evidence of the passage proves that the phrases "that which is Perfect," and "that which is in part" are referring to 1) the Word of God and 2) some of the spiritual gifts. Look at the evidence for this conclusion:
1. The word "perfect" in James 1:25 is the same as in 1 Corinthians 13:10. "That which is Perfect" is "the Perfect Law of liberty," the Word of God! The Bible is the only perfect thing on planed Earth today! The context of James 1 shows that "the Perfect Law of liberty" is the Word:
James 1:21-25: "... [R]eceive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the Perfect Law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."
2 Corinthians 3:14-18: "But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
2. The word "glass" meaning "mirror" is found just three times in the New Testament. Once here in James 1:23 where it is clearly a metaphor for the Word of God, once again in 2 Corinthians 3:18 where it is again a metaphor for the Word of God, and once in our text of 1 Corinthians 13:12. By using the rule of Bible interpretation which says "Scripture interprets Scripture" (1 Cor. 2:13; Isa 28:9-10) we have James 1:23 and 2 Corinthians 3:18 interpreting the "glass" of 1 Corinthians 13:12 as the Word of God. There Paul was saying: "For now [around 56 A.D.] we see [understand] through a glass [the Word], darkly [obscurely, because the Word is not yet complete]; but then [when the Word is complete] face to face: now [56 A.D.] I know in part [have only bits and pieces of the revelation]; but then [around 90 A.D. when the Word was completed] I shall know even as I am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12) The perfect Word of God is like a mirror where we come "face to face" both with the sinner that we are, and "the glory of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18). Believers can use God’s glass to cleaned up our sinful selves (James 1:21) and be changed into the image of Christ (Col. 3:10; Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18).
1 Corinthians 13:8-10: "…[W]hether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."
3. The Greek word, "katargeo," is used three times in this passage, and is variously translated "shall fail," "shall vanish away" and "shall be done away" and means "shall be abolished" or "shall be rendered inactive" (Zodhiates), but the Greek word translated "shall cease" means "shall come to an absolute end" (Zodhiates). Paul was saying that the revelation gifts of knowledge and prophecy would be abolished, and since the sign gift of tongues would no longer be necessary it would just end. Biblical tongues and the other sign gifts simply ceased, because their purpose had been served. Tongues was the very first spiritual gift to be manifested on the Day of Pentecost, and it appears to be the first gift to end. Spiritual gifts are listed for us in three books of the New Testament: 1) First Corinthians 12:8-10, 28-30; 2) Romans 12:6-8; 3) Ephesians 4:11. Only First Corinthians lists tongues. First Corinthians was written in 55 or 56 A.D., Romans around 57 or 58 A.D., and Ephesians about 61 or 62 A.D. It seems that tongues had already ceased by the time Romans was written. Tongues are never referred to, by any New Testament writer, after the year 56 A.D. Tongues had ceased!
Mark 16:17-18, 20: "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. ... And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word with signs following. Amen. "
Hebrews 2:3-4: "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?"
The sign gifts served their purpose of "confirming the Word" (Mark 16:20) and are no longer required, and the revelation gifts, which were in part, have been done away with because the Bible is now complete (1 Cor. 13:8-10). Today and since the end of the apostolic age (30 - 96 A.D.) and the completion of the Bible neither sign gifts nor revelation gifts are any longer required.
THE GIFTS THAT REMAIN IN EFFECT TODAY:
Today when the Lord Jesus Christ baptizes a believer with the Holy Ghost that selfsame Spirit imparts at least three of the below spiritual gifts to that believer for him to use in the service of edifying the local church.
1. The word of wisdom is a service gift (1 Corinthians 12:8). This is the gift of communicating “the Oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11; cf. Rom. 3:2; Heb. 5:12-14). It is the Spirit given ability to preach (prophesy) and teach from God’s Word (Rom. 12:6-7). Note: To prophesy means both to foretell and also to tell forth what has been foretold; it is used to reveal “things to come” (John 16:13), and it is also “to speak…the gospel of God” (1 Thess. 2:2) and “declare all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:28). The “word of wisdom” is to “speak the wisdom of God…which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Cor. 2:6-7, 13-14) “precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little … that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and shared, and taken” (Isaiah 28:9-13).
2. The gift of ruling or governing is a service gift (Rom. 12:8; 1 Cor. 12:28). This is the supernatural gift leadership. The Greek word translated “governments” literally means “guides” (1 Cor. 12:28). The phrase “he that ruleth” comes form a Greek word that literally means “to stand before,” hence, “to lead” (Rom. 12:8; cf. 1 Tim. 5:17). (Vine)
3. The gift of discerning of spirits is a service gift (1 Corinthians 12:10). This is the God given ability to distinguish between the doctrine “which the Holy Ghost teacheth,” and the false “doctrines of devils,” and men (1 Cor. 2:13; I Tim. 4:1; Eph. 4:14; Col. 2:8, 18; Heb. 5:13-14, 13:9). These also are gifted to “be vigilant, and to “try the spirits whether they be of God” (I Peter 5:8-9; I John 4:1-6) so that the Church may better do battle with the forces of Satan (Eph. 6:10-18; 2 Cori. 10:4-5; James 4:7).
4. The gift of ministry or helps is a service gift (Rom. 12:7; 1 Peter 4:11; 1 Cor. 12:28). This is the spiritual gift of serving and helping in various Church duties including caring for the poor and sick, and other business (Acts 6:1-3; Rom. 16:1-2).
5. The gift of exhortation (Romans 12:8): This is the Holy Spirit given ability to give Biblical counseling. It is used to admonish, encourage, comfort, and consol (1 Thess. 4:18; Col. 4:8; 2 Cor. 1:3-5, 2:6-8; Titus 1:9; Rom. 12:1-2, 15:4; 1 Peter 2:11).
6. The gift of celibacy (1 Corinthians 7:6-9): This is a special gift of God that enables one to remain single in order to devote themselves to the work of the ministry (Matthew 19:11-12).
7. The gift of faith is a service gift which every believer has (1 Cor. 12:9). This is not saving faith as in Eph. 2:8). It is "the measure of faith" that "God hath dealt to every man" (Romans 12:3) to believe and pray for according to the will of God (Mark 11:20-24). This includes the prayer of faith for healing (James 5:15-18).
8. The gift of giving is another spiritual gift that every believers has (Rom. 12:8; 2 Cor. 8:1-7, 9:7-13). This is the Spirit given ability to trust God for finances to be given for the work of the ministry over and above the tithe.
9. The gift of showing mercy is the third gift that every believer has from God (Romans 12:8). This is the spiritual gift of soul winning. It consists of having pity and compassion of the lost, and expressing it by praying for, and telling them of salvation from Hell which only the risen Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, can provide (Matt. 4:19, 9:36-39; Jude 22-23; I Peter 3:15-16; Prov. 11:30; Daniel 12:3; Luke 6:32-26; Phil. 2:1-2, 15-16; 2 Cor. 4:5-6; John 14:6, 15:26-27, 20:20-23; Acts 1:8, 4:12; cf. John 5:9-12; Matt. 5:7, 13-16, 28:18-19; John 15:26-27).
John the Baptist prophesied of the Lord Jesus' Baptism with the Holy Ghost. The Lord Himself said that He would send the Holy Ghost in a new way saying He would dwell "with you, and shall be in you." He spoke too of the Promise of the Father in conjunction with Holy Ghost Baptism and tied the same in with power to witness unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Upon the initial occurrence of Holy Ghost Baptism the Apostle Peter preached a powerful Gospel message and concluded with these words:
"This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." (Acts 2:32-39)
It is therefore error to say that Pentecost was the final fulfillment of the Holy Ghost Baptism, because "the promise is ... to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Holy Ghost Baptism was to them in Jerusalem, and it was to them in Judaea, and it was to them in Samaria, and it is to them at the uttermost part of the earth. Holy Ghost Baptism was for them on the day of Pentecost and it is for all that believe today and for all in between. Initially at least one apostle was always present at the Spirit Baptism of believers, but by around 55 A.D. when the sign gifts began to be "done away" with all believers were being baptized by the Spirit into "the general assembly and church of the firstborn" and were all being "made to drink into one Spirit."
Today, as in the past, believers are responsible to use their spiritual gifts to build up the Lord's church. We will be well rewarded for doing so one we get to the Heavenly Jerusalem. At the minimum believers have the gift of faith for prayer, the gift of giving to send missionaries to win souls by proxy, and the gift of showing mercy to win souls personally. Let's use them and any other spiritual gifts we might have for Christ's sake.