Baptism in and Filling with the Spirit (1 Corinthians Sermon 44)
December 29, 2019 | Andy Davis
1 Corinthians 12:13
Sanctification, The Holy Spirit, Joy, Fruit of the Spirit, Evangelism, Holiness, Exaltation of Christ, Good Works, Baptism and the Lord's Supper
Waiting on the Power of God
Well, after Jesus was crucified, and after He rose from the dead, He appeared to His disciples in the upper room. You think about that scene, the disciples were there in the upper room with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, and Jesus came and stood amongst them and He showed them the physical evidence of His crucifixion, his suffering for them, and He said, "Peace be with you", “and He breathed on them and said receive the Holy Spirit.” And then He said these incredible words, "If you forgive anyone their sins, they're forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they're not forgiven." And then a week later, they were still in the upper room, and the doors were still locked for fear of the Jews. They knew that Christ had conquered death. They knew it! But they still were fearful of the work that the Lord was laying on them, the work of the Great Commission. They were fearful of what would be asked of them to change the world as would be later said of some of the disciples, “these men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.” They were afraid of what it would take to turn the world upside down, or really, right-side up. And so, they were there in the upper room, and they were there also because Jesus commanded them not to leave, that they should wait in that upper room until they were clothed with power from on high. And He gave them over that period of time many convincing proofs that He was alive, and then He ascended into Heaven with the statement that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came on them, and they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria to the ends of the earth. And they went back and they waited, they waited there in the upper room and then on the day of Pentecost, the power of the Holy Spirit fell on them.
The third person of the Trinity was manifested first in the sound of a violent, rushing wind, and then “tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each one of the, and all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and they began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them,” and a crowd was gathered hearing the sound of that mighty rushing wind and they poured out into the streets, fearless of any consequences that might come on them, in the very same city where their Lord had been crucified only just a short time before that, they had no fear of death, and preached boldly the Gospel. And 3000 were converted that same day.
Two Patterns of Resurrection and Power
Now, in all of this, two patterns, two lasting patterns were established, that it's worth it to us to study and to understand. The first is the pattern of Jesus' death and resurrection. The pattern of dying and rising again, that was not meant just for Jesus, but was meant also for his witnesses as he said, "Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself a single seed, but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit." And so, the Church individually and collectively needed to follow that pattern; to be willing to die and have God raise them up, to be willing even to physically die that others might be saved. But of course, all of us tend to preserve our lives. We don't want to suffer and die. And so the second pattern is needful. There you have the Church, understanding all of the facts, understanding the Gospel, aware of the doctrine, aware of the truth, but still it seems powerless, captivated by fear. And then the Holy Spirit pours out and the Church is unleashed in a powerful way.
Now, Martyn Lloyd-Jones in 1959, preaching about a revival that happened 100 years before that, in 1859, said that this is the lasting pattern. We see this again and again in Church history, this is what he said. He was speaking at an assembly there on the 100th anniversary of an incredible revival that swept through Great Britain, 1859. And Lloyd-Jones central point there is the Church doesn't really change and neither does the world. The basic issues are always the same, man in his sin, the Gospel is the power of God for salvation. The Church in a weak and almost helpless state unable to meet the challenges of its day, knowing the truth, doing some good ministries, but unable to make significant progress. Suddenly the power of God is poured out from on high, the Church is revived. It moves out in power and many in the world are saved, and they are transformed genuinely. He would say revivals tend to follow their course, they at some point get dissipated in their strength and effectiveness, and the Church returns to its weakened state, needing again the power of God to be poured out from on high.
Now Lloyd-Jones is very clear in the distinction between the filling of the Spirit that we have in Ephesians 5:18, where we're commanded to be filled with the Spirit, and what he called the “Baptism of the Spirit.” Now, in this sermon, I'm going to argue that that nomenclature is misplaced, and be bold enough to challenge Martyn Lloyd-Jones on that, but that there's a real experience that our brothers and sisters have had over 2000 years of Church history that we should not discard, no matter what we call it, that there are real experiences of the Holy Spirit being poured out on the Church and the Church being, and this is the normal word, “revived”. Revival comes, and there's tremendous progress made in personal holiness and an evangelistic fruitfulness as a result of that.
Lloyd-Jones says, “This is precisely what happens in revival, it is God pouring forth His Spirit, filling His people.” Again, it is not that which is talked of in Ephesians 5:18 which is the command to us, go on being filled with the Spirit. That is something you and I do, but this revival is something that is done to us. It is the Spirit falling upon us, being poured out upon us. These are the terms, “I will pour forth my Spirit,” God alone can do that, but it is you and I were responsible for going on being filled with the Spirit. We must not grieve the Spirit, we must not quench the Spirit, we must give obedience to the Spirit, and as long as we do that we shall go on being filled with the Spirit, but this is different. This is the Spirit being poured out upon us until we are filled to overflowing.
The Spirit's Work in Filling Us
Now, the Holy Spirit is responsible. The third person in the Trinity, is responsible for taking the finished work of Christ on the cross and applying it worldwide. That is the work given in the Trinity, the work given to the Holy Spirit of God, and He does it very well. For 20 centuries He has made certain that the unconverted elect in every generation are brought from death to life. That Jesus's name is the most famous on planet Earth in every generation, that's the Spirit's work, and He sees to it, but He does that in two different rhythms or patterns, I could say. And what I'm going to say in this sermon today is there are the ordinary ministries of the Spirit and the extraordinary ministries of the Spirit, and both of them are essential for the journey that the Lord has the Church on until His work is finished in this world. Some folks, including Martyn Lloyd-Jones, call the extraordinary ministries of the Spirit the Baptism of the Spirit. I think that's wrong. It's a wrong name for a true experience. Today, I want to talk about the Baptism of the Spirit happening to all Christians, every Christian, at the beginning of their Christian life. And then the filling of the Spirit, in ordinary and extraordinary measures.
So I'm going to just lay my cards on the table. I believe that Baptism in the Spirit happens to every single genuinely-born again person, and it happens once and never needs to be repeated again. It happens at conversion. Pentecostals and other charismatics who say that you should seek the Baptism of the Spirit are not following a biblical pattern, for there are no such commands in the New Testament. There are no commands to seek the Baptism of the Spirit. The filling of the Spirit happens again and again in the Christian life. And it empowers Christians to make progress in the two journeys that we talk about so much in this church; the internal journey of sanctification, of holiness, and the external journey of gospel advancement, evangelism. Ephesians 5:18 is a command to us that we should seek the filling of the Spirit. We're going to talk about that. The filling of the Spirit, as I've said, comes in both ordinary and extraordinary measures. The ordinary filling of the Spirit has been, and continues to be sufficient to make overwhelming progress that the Lord wants us to make and it should not in any way be denigrated. But the extraordinary filling of the Spirit, sometimes called revival, is also awesome and wonderful and powerful and should be sought through prayer.
And it should not be in any way minimized either. Neither should it be over-emphasized as though until we get a revival, nothing will happen. That is not helpful. So therefore, a healthy Christian should see both the ordinary ministries of the Spirit and the extraordinary ministries of the Spirit as beneficial for the spread of the Gospel and growth and holiness. So there's the sermon. I would advise you to continue to listen after that, but you got it in a nutshell now. And so I want to talk about these things, and we need to begin with the terminology; Baptism. Baptism of the Spirit.
What is the Baptism of the Spirit?
John the Baptist
Now baptism itself began in the Bible with John the Baptist. You do not see baptism at all in the Old Testaments, it's not an Old Testament thing. The word from the Greek, “baptizo”, means to immerse or plunge something, to plunge an object, or a person, in a vat or a container or a large amount of liquid. Now, that's how the word is used. So, we Baptists, who believe in complete immersion, all we're saying is we believe in complete baptism. Alright? So a baptism sprinkling, those things don't make any sense. The word means to immerse or plunge. So John the Baptist came along, the habit had been n between the Old Testament and New Testament period, intertestamental period, as Jews have been scattered because of the judgments of God from Palestine to that region of the world, more and more Gentiles became what was known as God-fearers, and wanted to become Jews, they wanted to become monotheists in the Jewish patterns. And so they were accepted in after certain rituals, the men had to be circumcised and both of them had to be bathed, they had to have a bath. They were immersed in water to cleanse them of their pagan ways. This isn't commanded anywhere in the Bible, it was just something that the Jewish leaders did.
Well, along comes John the Baptist, and he is preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, "Repent for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand." And he was baptizing Jews, this was shocking, but he was effectively saying by immersing Jews in the Jordan River, he was saying, “You're no better than pagans. You're no better than the Gentiles, you are following the same idolatrous patterns, and you need the same cleansing.” He was predicted in Isaiah 40, “the voice of one calling in the desert, prepare the way for the Lord, make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.” That was John the Baptist. And Jewish people were just powerfully attracted to his bold preaching, and they came and they received this immersion, this plunging in water by John. They were confessing their sins. Now, the central work of John was to prepare the way for Jesus, to get the people ready for Jesus. And he did this by heightening expectations of this one who was going to come. Jesus said of John the Baptist, he was the greatest man who had ever lived up to that point. “Among those born of women, none had risen greater than John the Baptist.”
Jesus' Baptisms: Holy Spirit or Eternal Fire
But listen to what John said about Jesus, "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor, gathering up the weed into His barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire." So there John said Jesus would baptize the people in a greater baptism than he did. He will baptize them in the Holy Spirit and in fire. Now, the unquenchable fire that John the Baptist speaks of is an interpretive key to his thinking. “Unquenchable fire,” to me, must refer to Hell, it must refer to the Lake of Fire. The word baptize means to plunge. And He said that Jesus has the power, the authority to plunge people into unquenchable fire, and this He will do at the end of the world when the Son of Man comes in His glory and all the angels with Him, He will gather all the nations before Him, and He will separate them, one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And He'll put the sheep on his right, and the goats on His left. And the sheep represent those that are redeemed and lived a Godly life by the power of the Holy Spirit, but the goats represent the unregenerate. “And He will say to those on his left, ‘depart from me, you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’” Jesus has the power to do that, the authority to do it, and it will happen.
However, Jesus will never both plunge someone in the Holy Spirit and in unquenchable fire. It's an either/or proposition. We must understand, therefore, that John is speaking to a mixed group. Some of them he called the brood of vipers, the Pharisees and Sadducees and the religious leaders, but others were just humbly confessing their sins, so he's speaking to a mixed group. And I think we, therefore, need to understand Jesus will either baptize you in the Holy Spirit, or He will baptize you in eternal fire, that's the greatness of Jesus. John only baptizes in water, it's a symbol. Jesus does the real baptism.
Baptism of the Spirit Happens at Conversion
So what is this Baptism of the Spirit? Well, the Baptism of the Spirit happens by Jesus to genuinely converted persons. It happens at conversion. Look at the text that Jim just read for us, 1 Corinthians 12:13, "We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether Jews or Greek, slave or free, and we were all given the one Spirit to drink." So when does the Baptism of the Spirit happen? First of all, notice it happens to all of us. We were all baptized. There's not a group of people that are Christians, but not yet baptized in the Spirit, and so all Christians are baptized in the Spirit. When does it happen? According to the verse, it happens when we were made members of the Body of Christ. It is by the Baptism of the Spirit that you become a member of the Body of Christ, when you are converted. That's when it happens.
So the immersion that we have, the spiritual immersion we have at conversion is positional language. We have been plunged into a spiritual ocean of God, of grace, and in that we live and move and have our being once we are converted. And it never needs to happen again, we are immersed in the Holy Spirit. We have been rescued from Satan's filthy, cesspool of sin, and we have been plunged into grace and into the cleansing. And we stand in that grace forever, that's true of every single Christian all over the world, Jews and Greeks, slave and free. So ethnicity doesn't matter, socio-economic doesn't matter, what matters is are you born again? Have you trusted in Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If so, you have been baptized by the Spirit into this one body, the Body of Christ.
Now, but beyond this, once for all, plunging into the ocean of Christ's cleansing Spirit or grace by the Spirit. We're also given the text that says one spirit to drink. We have the freedom to drink of the Holy Spirit. This drinking, I believe, refers to an ongoing experience of refreshment that we have through the Holy Spirit in Christ. It reminds me of two magnificent texts in John's Gospel. The first is the statement He made to the Samaritan woman at the well, remember? How she was very proud of the well that Jacob, their father, their ancestor, had given to them. And Jesus said, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is who's speaking to you, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” She's intrigued, she says, “Well who are you? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us this well and he drank from it himself, as did also his flocks and herds.” Jesus said this, “Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again. But whoever drinks of the water that I give him shall never thirst, indeed the water that I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” In other words, you can drink from that whenever you want. It's an internal heart experience of drinking the living water. John chapter 4.
A few chapters later, John 7, this happened at the assembly of the Jews at the Feast of the Booths, and they were all assembled there, and in the last and greatest day of the feast Jesus stood and cried out in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive. Up to that time, the Spirit had not been given since Jesus had not yet been glorified. So you have that same kind of image, the image of living water.
Three Observations from John Piper
Now, John Piper commenting on this, John 7 text, said some very important things. First, he says, the gift of water is free. The condition you must meet is need. “Is anyone thirsty?” Well, that's the condition, and the action you must take is to drink, receive the gift. There's no thought here of earning or meriting. Anyone who knows his own thirst is invited. Are you thirsty? Come. Secondly, the human soul has thirst. We know He's not talking about physical thirst, that's clear, but what He is saying is that the soul has something like physical thirst. When you go without water, your body gets thirsty, and the soul when it goes without God, gets thirsty. Your body was made to live on water, your soul was made to live on God.
That's the most important thing you need to know about yourself, you were made to live on God, you have a soul, you have a spirit, there is a you that's more than body, and that is your soul. If it does not drink from the greatness, and wisdom, and power, and goodness, and justice, and holiness, and love of God, you will die of thirst. Third, implied in the word thirst is that what Jesus offers is satisfying, it is refreshing. The aim of all theology, of all study, all Biblical learning, all preaching is to spread the satisfying banquet for you to eat with joy and to protect the kitchen from poison. The aim of cooking is eating, the aim of digging wells and clearing out Springs is drinking. Everything Jesus came to do and to teach is aimed at providing the soul with food and drink that will satisfy forever. Now to come to Jesus and drink is the same as believing in Him.
John 7 says, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” So, John Piper says, “So be done forever with the sad notion that saving faith, that believing in Jesus is a mere decision to ascent to facts. No, it is a coming to Him as to a feast, it is a recognizing of a treasure, it is a banquet, a spring in the desert when we are dying of thirst.”
The Effects of the Living Water
Now what will happen to you when you come? John 7:38 says, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Literally it says out of his belly. The point is our inner being, call it your belly, your heart, soul, spirit. What does that mean? What it means is when you come to Jesus to drink, you don't just get a single drink, you get a spring, you get a fountain, you get a well, you get Jesus. Rivers of living water will flow within you because He is a river maker. And that's inside you. That's the point, you'll never have to search again for some source of satisfaction for your soul. Every river that needs to flow for the joy of your soul is within you, if you're a Christian. And that's what I think it means in verse 13 of our text today. 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether Jews or Greek, slave or free and listen, we were all given of the one Spirit to drink.”
So what that means is, your soul is going to experience a perpetual cycle of satisfaction and thirst, satisfaction and thirst. You're going to get thirsty, come to Jesus and drink again. And if you're a Christian, the spring of water is already inside you, it wells up to eternal life, and you can drink of him any time you want. Now the devil is there standing offering you poison. Sweet, addictive poison, but it will kill your soul. Well, it will seem satisfying, but it really isn't. It's addictive and it doesn't satisfy. You were meant to get thirsty, to feel your need for God again and again and to drink from Jesus. Now water baptism, which we do regularly back here, is just an outward, visible symbol of the real baptism Jesus, we hope, we trust, has already done in that person. As a Baptist church, we will not do the water baptism if we don't have signs, evidence, that Jesus has already baptized that person in the Spirit, does that make sense? So we're just looking for evidence. They'll talk a certain way, they're living a certain way, it's the beginning of the Christian life, they don't have to be mature at all. Like the Ethiopian eunuch, you can be baptized right there and then. You have to talk like a disciple, you have to talk about your past sins like a disciple, you have to speak like a converted person and then we'll baptize you, because that's the evidence that we have that Jesus has already baptized you into the Body of Christ. Alright, well, what about the other outpourings of the Spirit?
The Other Outpourings of the Spirit
Pentecostal and Charismatic churches have used the phrase Baptism of the Spirit to speak of a second experience of grace, or third, or fourth, or whatever, experience of grace. It happens separate from conversion. They press in on individuals and say you need to seek the Baptism of the Spirit. This needs to happen to you. The problem I have is that there are no such scriptures that give us the right to press that on other people. There are no commands like that. They also tend, some of them anyway, to link it to pursuit of holiness as though there tends to be like a silver bullet for all the sin patterns in your life, and you receive this second work of grace that then kills that sin pattern, and that's just not the way the Bible teaches sanctification.
Now Martyn Lloyd-Jones uses the expression, “Baptism of the Spirit” to speak of an individual or group transformation that comes as, to some degree, Heaven is open and that person has an overwhelming, powerful experience of God that was unlike anything they've ever had before, and maybe they'll never have one like that again, and it changed their entire approach to life. And it can happen to groups, and the word generally given to that is revival. I think the only error that Lloyd-Jones had is calling it baptism. I just think that's not helpful, but other than that it's a real thing, and it's beneficial. And he would say, it's a repeat of the day of Pentecost and you have evidence for that scripturally.
If you look at Acts chapter 4, don't turn there. But just, you know, how Peter and John were arrested, and then they were hauled in and they were threatened, and they were let go, and they go back to the church, and the church gathers to pray. I've talked about it I think even last week. And there in Acts 4:31, it says after they were praying, the place with their meeting was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly. That seems like a miniature second day Pentecost. Without in any way minimizing the uniqueness of the day of Pentecost that will never be repeated again. Yet there is some degree of re-enactment. So that the two cycles, the two cycles that I talked about that are essential of dying and rising again so that fruit can come, and of the Spirit poured out on people who don't do enough or much out of fear or selfishness, until the Spirit comes, both of those get re-enacted again and again.
What Does it Mean to be Filled with the Spirit?
The Command in Ephesians 5:18
Alright, so let's zero in on the ordinary ministry. Ordinary ministries of the Spirit. What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? Turn in your Bibles, if you would, to Ephesians 5:18. We're going to look at that, that's a key passage on this, Ephesians 5:18. As I said, there is no command anywhere that you should seek the Baptism of the Spirit, but there is most certainly a command that you should be filled with the Holy Spirit. And it's in a section of Ephesians where Paul is telling them that they should “live a life worthy of the calling they have received,” Ephesians 4:1. Live a Christian life. What does that mean? Many things. But there in Ephesians 5:18, he says this, “Do not be drunk with wine or get drunk on wine instead. Which leads to debauchery, instead be filled with the Spirit.” So once we have been baptized by the Spirit at conversion, we now begin the daily Christian life. It's a life of, as I've said, of two journeys; the internal journey of holiness, of becoming more and more like Christ, the external journey of evangelism, missions of leading lost people to saving faith in Christ. That's what we were left here on Earth do. And it's only by the power of the Spirit that we make progress in those two journeys. Now, Ephesians 5:18 is a fascinating thing grammatically. It is what's known as a passive imperative. Passive imperative. So imperative is a command; You must, something you must do. Passive is you must have something done to you, so you must have something done to you. So what is it we have to have done? You must be being filled with the Holy Spirit, that's something that has to happen to you in an ongoing sense. So since the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost as wind and fire. Think of those images. Wind, think of the old tall ships, the clipper ships, remember? With all that sail. And then the wind would come and the sails would luff and billow, and then they would be fat with wind and the ship would start to move.
So you're filled with the third person of the Trinity. He is filling your mind, he's filling your soul filling your heart, your emotions, you're filled with the Spirit, that feeling like a wind, and the ship just moves. Your ship, the Church's ship just moves in a certain direction where the Spirit causes him to go. Or what about the fire, the image of fire? Comes in tongues of fire. Here, I'm not talking about something that's fake dear friends. I'm not talking about a painted fire, or one of those fake cellophane orange plastic things that blows with a fan. You know? It's like we're deceived by this, and these little tongues that dance and all that. That's not a fire. A two-year-old could say that. So we're not talking about a fire painted on a wall or fake, I'm talking about a supernatural fire that comes and fills your soul with heat and light because God is there. You think about the burning bush, the supernaturally burning bush that caused Moses to turn aside and see this wonder. Why the bush is burning, but it is not burned up. Or think about Elijah and Mount Carmel, and fire came from Heaven and burned up that sacrifice. I'm talking about a supernatural fire that fills you.
The Continual Need for the Spirit's Filling
Now, we need to be filled with the Spirit. It's a continual need. Baptism happens only once, but we can lose the filling of the Spirit. How does that happen? Well, there are two different kind of ways, I think, that that happens. One of them I don't necessarily even know that we have lost. The filling of the Spirit, just has to do with the wisdom of the Spirit and the way he deals with us. Imagine that you have a really phenomenally Spirit-filled Tuesday. You're just so filled with a sense of God's love for you. I'm going to talk about what the Spirit does in a spirit filled person in a moment. But you just had a spiritual day, but then you went to bed and you woke up. And maybe you're a morning person, and especially, maybe you're not, and you don't feel right now, what you felt yesterday. Does that ever happen to you? I'm not in any way saying you've sinned at all, you just don't feel what you felt last night. Doesn't mean you've done anything. What it means is the Spirit wisely steps back and says, "Follow me, come after me, pursue me." So you have that morning quiet time, you get in the word. You seek Him, you drink and drink until you are filled with the Spirit, so that's just normal. You haven't done anything wrong, it's just He is urging you to pursue Him. So many Psalms are like that. Why do you stand far off, why are you not here? Why do I not feel you close right now? He's just saying, come, come and seek me. Christ is saying through the Spirit. And so, imagine back in the days of the clipper ships and all that, the ship is off a few points from optimal direction for the wind. So the ship's captain then will turn you a few points towards the wind, and then suddenly those sails are filled again.
So again, there's no sin involved in that case. Alright? But then there's the other case in which, friends, you grieve the Holy Spirit because you sinned, you violated your conscience, you violated the Word of God, and you know what you did. Or if you don't, you just know the Spirit is gone but you need to find out why. And so you go to Him and you say, "Search me, oh God, and know my heart, and show me, and show me what I've done wrong." Psalm 139:23-24. And lead me in the way of everlasting. And then He convicts you of sin, and then you are aware, and you confess your sin. And you ask to be filled again with the Holy Spirit and because it's a command from God, you can turn it around and make it a promise. “You commanded me to be be being filled with the Spirit. Now, fill me, Oh Lord, fill me.” We need to do that the rest of our lives. Now, at that point then the ordinary ministries of the Spirit kick in. They've already been at work, but let me say what they are.
The Effects of the Spirit's Filling
Look at Ephesians 5, what happens? When you are filled with the Spirit, you're going to speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Horizontally, you're going to be talking the scripture to other people. You're going to be encouraging other people with the scripture. You're going to be “singing in your heart, making music in your heart to the Lord.” You're just happy in Jesus, there's a song in your heart, you're filled with the spirit. It's the ordinary ministry. And the Spirit also is going to mount you up and dress you and get you ready for battle with your temptations. It says in Romans 8:13, "If you, by the Spirit, put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." He's going to get you ready for battle, He's going to cause you to fight your temptations, He's going to cause you to fight sin, that's what it means to be filled the Spirit. You're going to see the fruit of the Spirit in your life. Galatians 5 says, “fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control.” These attributes, look at each one, it's a package. You don't get some of them and not others. Like Tuesday is the first three fruits of the Spirit. You get the whole thing. When you're filled with the Spirit, these things characterize you. So it's a good diagnostic test. At any moment you just stop and say, "Are these things characterizing me right now?" And if they're not, you're not filled with the Spirit. Pursue Him, go after Him, fruit of the Spirit. Energetic service happens when you're filled with the Spirit. You just serve the Lord. You do good works that God wants you to do, as it says in Romans 7:6, "We serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code." So you serve Him, you do good works. You witness boldly. Filled with the Spirit.
Spirit-filled people are fearless like Peter and John before the Sanhedrin. I love their boldness, they are unafraid. “‘He is the stone, you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven, given to men, by which we must be saved." Complete boldness there. No fear of death at all. Bold witness when you're Spirit-filled. What else?
What Are the Ordinary Ministries of the Spirit?
Communications of God's Love
Well the Spirit will communicate God's love to you. Ordinary ministry of the Spirit, He will communicate, He will tell you that God loves you. “The Spirit will testify with your spirit that you are a child of God”, Romans 8:16. Romans 5:5 says that the Spirit pours God's love into our hearts. And that's some of these transcendent experiences that people have. It can go up, and I'm getting into the extraordinary ministry, but I don't want to do that right now. I'll get to that in a second. But you can have such a sense that God loves you and imagine just pursuing that and saying Lord, I don't really sense that you love me, I don't feel like I should that you love me. But the Spirit, ordinarily just says it.
Let me say something about ordinary/extraordinary. Okay, let me just say that everything the Spirit does is supernatural. So the things that He does in the Spirit-filled life, they are supernatural, but for the Christian, they can and should be ordinary, can experience them every day. We'll get to the extraordinary in just a moment.
Illumination of the Scriptures
What else does the Spirit do? He illuminates the Scriptures. You sit down, have your quiet time, the Spirit moves. You say, "Open my eyes, Lord, that I may see wonderful things in your law." Psalm 119:18. Like Jesus did with His disciples. Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit illuminates the Scriptures to you and makes them clear. The Holy Spirit convicts you of sin. Like I said, Psalm 139; Search me, oh God, and know me. You just say, "God, show me, show me where there are flaws, where there are sins, things I haven't seen, things that are hurting my walk with you. Show me." He'll convict you of sin. He will also guide you and direct you which way to go. Like Isaiah 30:21 says, "Your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, 'This is the way, walk in it.'" We have clear examples of this in the book of Acts where Paul and Silas didn't where to go, and the Holy Spirit said, "Not there, not there." And then they got the vision from the man of Macedonia and went over to Greece. The Holy Spirit will guide you, He'll direct you in patterns of ministry. The Holy Spirit, as we've been seeing in 1 Corinthians 12, gifts you for spiritual gift ministry. So that you can do your spiritual gifts and build the Body up. And He will unite us, we are to “keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” So, in a healthy church, He makes us one in the Spirit, loving each other and delighting in each other.
Conviction of Sin
What does He do to non-Christians? Well, He gives them, He delivers enough information to them for them to be saved. He gets the message of the Gospel to them, and then He “convicts the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and the judgment to come.” John 16. And if they are elect and if today is the day, He'll convert them. He converts them, as it says in Ezekiel 36, “I will give you a new heart, and I'll put a new Spirit in you, and I'll remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh, and I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Alright, so, friends, those are the ordinary ministries of the Holy Spirit. Can you see why I'm saying that we should not denigrate them or say unless a revival comes, God's doing nothing? That is just not true. He's doing all of these things every day in countless hundreds of millions around the world.
Extraordinary Ministries of the Spirit?
Ecstatic Experiences in Individuals
But now let's talk about the extraordinary ministries of the Spirit. I could begin with ecstatic experiences in individuals, and I could give you lots of examples of this, but let me zero in on a man named D.L. Moody. D.L. Moody was a pastor of a significant church in Chicago. He preached the Gospel clearly, people were being converted, he was satisfied with his ministry, but two women sitting right in the front pew were not satisfied. And they were fervently praying during the whole service. Finally, he was curious, and he went up, and to talk to these two women. “What are you doing?” “Well, we're praying for you.” And I wonder what was going on in inside his heart. Actually, I don't wonder too much. He said, "Why don't you pray for the people?" They said, "Because you need the power of the Spirit." He said, "I need the power. Why? I have the largest congregation in Chicago and there are many conversions week after week." But the women would not be deterred, they kept on praying for the Holy Spirit to be poured out on D.L. Moody. Soon after that encounter, the Great Chicago Fire came. Devastating. Swept away much of the city, including the building where they had been meeting. Destroyed completely by fire.
Moody thought in his mind about these two women, and he went back to that, and he began to cry out in his heart for the Holy Spirit. This is actually what Moody said, "I began to cry, as never before, for a greater blessing from God. The hunger increased, I really felt that I did not want to live any longer. I kept on crying all the time, that God would fill me with His Spirit. Well, one day, in the city of New York. Oh, what a day? I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it. It is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for 14 years. I can only say God revealed Himself to me and I had such an experience of His love, that I had to ask Him to stay His hand." This is an overwhelming outpouring of God's presence into a man who was already fruitful and faithfully walking with him. He never had that experience again. Let me continue the quote. "I had to ask Him to stay His hand. I went back to preaching again. The sermons themselves were not different, I did not present any new truths, and yet now, hundreds were converted. I would not now be placed back where I was before that blessed experience if you should offer me all the world, it would be to me as the small dust on the scales." After that experience, DL Moody began his work as an itinerant evangelist in England, Ireland, Wales, and the US. From 1871 to 1899, he preached so effectively that hundreds of thousands and maybe millions were converted through his preaching ministry. He traced that level of fruitfulness back to that experience in New York. But that can also happen to groups.
Revivals: The Outpouring on Groups
As groups meet together to pray and they seek the face of the Lord. Just like Acts 4:31, they're all meeting to pray and the place where they're meeting is shaken. There are experiences like that as well. John Wesley right before the first grade awakening, spoke of this prayer time that he had with a man named Hall Ingham. George Whitefield was there, Hutching and Charles Wesley, his brother. He said, "We're present at our love feast in Fetter Lane with about 60 of our brethren." Listen to this. "About three in the morning, while we were continuing instant in prayer, the power of God came mightily upon us insomuch that many cried out for exulting joy and many fell to the ground. As soon as we were recovered a little from the awe and amazement at the presence of His majesty, we broke out with one voice, 'We praise Thee, O God. We acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.'" And God does this kind of thing powerfully.
Now, 125 years later, Charles Spurgeon was preaching, and he prayed on a particular Tuesday evening, January 4th, 1859. He was speaking to a vast gathering that was convened at Exeter Hall. Spurgeon at that point was 24 years old, a preaching prodigy, the most famous preacher probably in the world, at that point. But that meant nothing to him, he was not in any way satisfied with his ministry. This is what he said, "We must confess that just now we have not the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we could wish. Oh, if the Spirit of God should come upon those assembled here tonight and upon all the assemblies of the saints, what an effect would be produced? We seek not for extraordinary excitements, those spurious attendants of genuine revivals, but we do seek for the pouring out of the Spirit of God. The spirit is blowing upon our churches now with His genial breath, but it is a soft evening breeze. Oh, that there would come a rushing mighty wind that should carry everything before it. This is the lack of our times, the great want of our country." Well, Spurgeon's desire was fulfilled. That year, 1859, was the greatest, most effective year of his entire ministry. In the spring of 1859, a widespread awakening began in Northern Ireland and spread to Wales. By the end of that year, Spurgeon could write, "The times of refreshing have come at last from the presence of the Lord, they have at last dawned upon our land".
Spurgeon on God's Mighty Acts
In one of Spurgeon's most powerful sermons during that year of revival, a sermon entitled "The Story of God's mighty acts." Let me tell you, you can listen to someone reading that sermon on YouTube. I listened to it as I was driving in, part of it. I would recommend it. I'd rather hear Spurgeon preach it, but that would be weird at this point, but there's a guy reading it, and it's very effective. He was preaching on Psalm 44:1. The text says; “We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what you did in their days in days long ago”. Spurgeon catalogued the mighty acts of God across, at that point, 18 centuries of Church history. He traced out the spectacular advance of the gospel over the first 100 years after the death of Christ, how the Gospel spread rapidly across Europe into Asia for 100 years, and how heathens were baptized in huge numbers, sometimes even thousands in rivers. Spurgeon said this, "The first spread of the Gospel is a miracle never to be eclipsed. Whatever God may have done at the Red Sea, He did still more within 100 years after the time when Christ first came into the world. It seemed as if a fire from Heaven, ran along the ground." I picture a molten lava. Hot, red, igniting everything in its way. Hundred years after Christ ascended into heaven, it's true, there were congregations in northern Britannia, in Germania and other places in the Roman Empire. The Gospel was spreading powerfully, it's incredible.
Spurgeon in that sermon traced out other examples of mighty outpourings; the Reformation, Luther's courage in facing the Medieval Roman Catholic Church, and then the first great awakening, 125 years before that, under Whitefield and Wesley. Spurgeon said this, "Within a few years from the preaching of those two men, England was permeated with Evangelical truth. The Word of God, was known in every town and there was scarcely a hamlet into which the Methodists had not penetrated. In those days of the slow coach, when Christianity seemed to have brought up the old wagons in which our fathers once traveled, where business runs along with steam." Now, you need to understand, in Spurgeon's day, steam was a new thing. So I thought about translating this into the digital age, but I'll just read what he wrote. "Where business flies along with steam, it seems the Gospel creeps along with a horse drawn cart. Yet the things that we notice what God did, the wondrous things that God did in olden times by His grace, we trust He will yet do again." Spurgeon said this, "The old stagers in our church believe that things must grow gently by degrees. We must go step-by-step onward. Concentrated action, continued labor, they say, will ultimately bring success. But the marvel is all of God's mightiest works have been sudden. When Peter stood up to preach, it did not take six weeks to convert the 3,000. They were converted at once and baptized that very day. They were that hour turned to God. So it is in all revivals. God's work has been done suddenly as with a clap of thunder, God has descended from on high, not slowly, but suddenly."
Seek the Extraordinary Outpouring Today
Friends, this is the extraordinary ministry of the Holy Spirit. God can still do that in our day. And Spurgeon made the point as did Lloyd-Jones, that it always starts with extraordinary thirst an extraordinary prayer. It starts with individuals, maybe you, maybe you, maybe you, maybe me, not okay with the status quo. You look at your life and you're not okay with your level of sanctification, you're not satisfied with the progress you're making. You look at the church and you're not okay with the number of people that we've baptized. You're not okay with the impact First Baptist Church has on Durham and Raleigh and Chapel Hill. You're not okay with it. The status quo is not enough. And you begin to pray.
As Jeremy Lanphier did two years before the revival in Great Britain, 1857, he started a businessmen's revival in New York City that started with one man, him, praying. By the end of that hour, the last 10 minutes, there was no one paying, just him, for 50 minutes. Then at the end of the hour, five other people came and joined him to pray. Terrible economic reversals happened, a fear of Civil War, which was soon to come in the United States. Many other things. Those are human factors, but really what happened is the Holy Spirit was poured out. And within several months, a quarter of a million people in the New York area were converted, very rapidly. I think it was Spurgeon thought about that and said, "Why can't something like that happen here?" And began praying.
So it could start. Start that way with some of you. Maybe two people who sit in the front pew and pray for the pastor, that he would have the Holy Spirit. I don't know if D.L. Moody felt offended at that point. I promise you, as best I can, I will not feel offended if you pray for me to have the Holy Spirit because I'm not satisfied. I've been here for 21 years. I'm not satisfied with the holiness level of my life, I'm not satisfied with the fruitfulness in our church, and I'm asking God to work a revival in our church, in our lives, that begins with extraordinary prayer. I don't know who's going to start it. I don't care. And frankly, I don't even care if it starts with our church. I just want to see God move mightily and powerfully in our area.
Friends, Repent and Do Not Harden Your Hearts
Let me say one last thing, and I'll be done. There may be some of you that are here today that came in here unconverted. I want to tell you something, a regret that D.L. Moody took with him to his death bed. Before the Chicago Fire came, he preached the Gospel and preached it powerfully. He made it very, very clear that Christ had died for sinners, that He had been risen from the dead, and that salvation was available. But what he didn't do, is he said, "I'm not going to tell you what you individually need to do about this. Come back next week and I'll tell you then." The Chicago fire happened the very next day. D.L. Moody said, I never saw those people again, that congregation. Maybe there were individuals he saw, but that assembly was wiped out by the fire. And he regretted not pressing on the consciences of his hearers the need to flee to Christ while there was time. Friends, you don't know if you'll be alive tomorrow. You've heard the Gospel today. You've heard that Christ died for sinners, you know that you're a sinner, you know that you're outside of Christ. Don't leave this place still outside of Christ. You don't need to get up or come forward to do anything, you just need to call on the name of the Lord and you'll be saved. God will forgive you of your sins today. “If you hear His voice, don't harden your hearts.”
Close with me in prayer. Father, we thank you for the time we've had to study. Sometimes I fear that my words in my own heart and in the lives of many here are like a painted fire, that they don't have a real effectiveness. Lord, I pray that you would please overwhelm all of that by the moving of your Spirit. I pray that you would pour out the Spirit in influence and in power on me and on my brothers and sisters here and on everyone assembled here. I pray that 2020 would be the greatest year of evangelistic fruitfulness this church has ever known. I pray that you would give us a sense of the presence of the Spirit in this that we have never had before. And I pray it would begin with extraordinary prayer, that we would realize that we are weak and feeble until the Holy Spirit is poured out from on high. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.