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Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 03/20/05
What it means to be initiated into the secret of the mystery. Part 8.
The Baptism of the Spirit.

In JOH 14:20, on the night before our Lord's death, He made one of the most astonishing statements pertaining to the mystery doctrine of Church-age, which all believers should be initiated into: "In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me,"

The phrase in that day means literally the day of Pentecost, the beginning of the Church age. The phrase I am in My Father refers to His oneness and equality with the essence of God the Father. This is a radical change; the first statement has always been true, but the second statement, that we would be in Him, is true for the first time in all of human history. This is a reference to our position in Christ by means of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the doctrine of positional truth. Therefore, we have been looking at one the one of the most important mystery doctrines of the Church-age: The Doctrine of the Baptism of the Spirit and our Positional Truth.

The Greek word for baptism is baptizo meaning identification or association. This is important to understand because it has the power to change our lives and make it much more meaningful and full of happiness. Let's note some principles regarding this Doctrine:

1. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a real baptism, an actual identification in which God the Holy Spirit, at the moment one believes in Christ, enters the new believer into union with Christ; 1CO 12:13.
2. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the means of forming the royal family of God during the Church-age, 2CO 5:17. It is a function of the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit at salvation.
3. This intimate union with Christ is called positional sanctification or the sanctification of the body, which is the Church, EPH 5:25 27.
4. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not an experience. 1CO 12:13 says that all are baptized.
5. There is only one baptism that unifies the Royal Family of God, the baptism of the Spirit, EPH 4:4-5.
6. Throughout the N.T. many references to the baptism of the Holy Spirit are found in the Greek prepositional phrase en + the locative of Christos, translated in Christ. Nearly every place this phrase is found, it is a reference to the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the resultant positional truth, the exception is the phrase believing in Christ which has a different meaning. Because we are in Christ or en Christo, we have the following: ROM 6:11, a newness of life in Christ; ROM 8:1, there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus; ROM 12:5, we are one body in Christ; 1CO 1:2, we are sanctified in Christ Jesus; 2CO 5:17, we are a new spiritual species in Christ; GAL 3:28, all are one in Christ Jesus; EPH 1:3, we have spiritual blessings in Christ; EPH 2:6, He has seated us in Christ Jesus; COL 1:28, we are complete in Christ; 2CO 5:21, we have His perfect righteousness; Eph 1:5, we have a personal sense of destiny; 2TI 2:1, we have Sonship; ROM 8:16 17, we have Heirship; HEB 10:10 14, we have Priesthood; 2Pe 1:11, we have Royalty (Kingship).
7. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is related to the Church-age only. It is not found in the O.T. and there are no eschatological references to it beyond the Church-age.
8. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not the function of any spiritual gift, as alleged by the holy-roller heresy which equates it with speaking in tongues. No one has legitimately spoken in tongues since A.D. 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed and there was no longer a need for God to warn the Jews. 1CO 12:12-13 says, For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Notice that all believers have been baptized by the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul makes it crystal clear that not only have all believers been baptized by the Holy Spirit but they all did not speak with tongues. 1CO 12:27-28, Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.

Notice that on this list, tongues is the least of the gifts mentioned.

1CO 12:29-30, All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?

9. Because of the universality of the baptism of the Holy Spirit provided for all Church-age believers, it is not experiential. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is an act of the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit. Any time God uses His divine power, whether it is the omnipotence of God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit, it excludes any form of experiential cooperation. That's grace.
10. Our Lord Jesus Christ as battlefield royalty had no royal family. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the mechanics for providing Christ with a new royal family and it is unique to this dispensation. Our Lord had two royal titles and two royal families: His first royal title is Son of God and the members of His royal family are God the Father and God the Holy Spirit with whom He has eternal and infinite coexistence. His second royal title is Son of David where His royal family is the dynasty of David. As Jewish royalty, our Lord fulfills the Davidic covenant at the Second Advent. However, after our Lord's victory over Satan and sin, which was confirmed by His resurrection, ascension, and session at the right hand of the Father, He received His third royal title King of kings, Lord of Lords, the bright morning star, REV 19:11-16. When our Lord received His third royal title, He had no royal family to accompany it; therefore, His third royal family had to be formed. God the Father interrupted the dispensation of Israel and inserted the Church-age for the calling out (formation and election) of a royal family to accompany our Lord's third title. The mechanics for the formation of this royal family is the baptism of the Spirit, begun on the day of Pentecost, which enters all believers of the Church-age into union with Christ.
11. The baptism of the Holy Spirit could not occur until there was the strategic victory of Jesus Christ in the angelic conflict. The Levitical priesthood was inadequate for the Church-age. There was now a need for a universal priesthood, since every believer was now a target of Satan.
12. The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred first in Jerusalem and included the gift of tongues, given to warn the Jews of the coming of the fifth cycle of discipline. ACT 2:1-3, And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place [This was a holiday where Jews from all over the world visited Jerusalem]. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. Fire is used as an analogy to judgment, MAT 3:11.

At Pentecost the Church-age was beginning and the age of Israel was ending. The gift of tongues was used to warn the Jews of the discipline which was about to come upon them because of their rejection of the Messiah. Jews, who gathered from all over the world and spoke several different languages, were each about to hear the Gospel in their own native tongue. Acceptance of the Gospel would have stayed the judgment of God.

ACT 2:4-11, And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. Now there were Jews living [actually the Greek says dwelling temporarily] in Jerusalem, devout or religious men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were bewildered, because they were each one hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and marveled, saying, "Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear {them} in our own language to which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs, we hear them in our {own} tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God."

The gift of tongues was a gift used for a sign to unbelieving Jews. 1CO 14:21-22, In the Law it is written, "By men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to Me," says the Lord. So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers;

13. This union with Christ is a permanent identification which distinguishes Christianity from religion. In religion, man by his efforts seeks to gain the approbation of God, which is a satanic function. Religion also gives glory to the creature, ROM 1:25, For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator. In Christianity, the believer through union with Christ, by means of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, has a permanent relationship with God.

14. The baptism of the Holy Spirit forms the body of Christ, with Christ as its head. Our Lord's gifts to His body are found in Rom 12; 1Co 12; and Eph 4. The nomenclature for the Royal Family of God formed by the baptism of the Holy Spirit is first the Church, emphasizing the function of the Royal Family of God during this dispensation. Secondly the Body of Christ, emphasizing the utilization of the same divine omnipotence used to sustain the humanity of Christ during the great power demonstration of the hypostatic union. Thirdly the Bride of Christ, emphasizing the Royal Family of God after resurrection, and then the Temple, EPH 1:20, emphasizing the eternal state.

It is by means of the baptism of the Holy Spirit that we become members of the Royal family of God. Documentation for the Royal Family of God is found in the epistles of Ephesians, where emphasis is on the position of the Royal Family forever; in Hebrews where emphasis is on the priesthood of the Royal Family forever; in Romans where emphasis is on the objectives of the Royal Family; and Colossians where emphasis is on the lifestyle of the Royal Family.

The result of being members of the Royal Family by means of the baptism of the Spirit is positional truth which places every believer positionally with Christ at the right hand of the Father. We are accepted by God positionally as royalty just as Christ is accepted as royalty, and therefore we share all that Christ is and has. Positional truth belongs to all believers regardless of their spiritual status or maturity level, or how evil or sinful they might be. Our royal status is not seen or felt in any experiential way. It only becomes manifest to others when we reach spiritual maturity and manifest the character of Christ. Because the baptism of the Spirit is a sovereign work of God, our royalty is not progressive, therefore it cannot be improved by anything we do. Since God is eternal, all that He does is eternal and since positional truth or the baptism of the Spirit is the work of God, it is also eternal in nature. Realization of our royal status can only occur through the daily metabolization of Bible doctrine.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit also provides us with eternal security, which is based on the sealing ministry of the Holy Spirit. We are sealed by God the Holy Spirit at salvation as a guarantee of our status as members of the Royal Family of God. God is perfect and His plan is perfect. Through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, God has put His permanent seal on us. In the ancient world, sealing was tantamount to a signature, which was a guarantee. Sealing is the Holy Spirit's signature guarantee of eternal salvation, eternal security and our invisible assets. We are sealed until the day of redemption which is the rapture, EPH 4:30.

These incredible doctrines: the baptism of the Spirit and our position in Christ, take faith to believe them. HEB 11:6says, Without faith it is impossible to please Him. True faith must be based solely on doctrinal or scriptural facts,ROM 10:17, faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Unless our faith is established on facts, it is no more than superstition, speculation or presumption, HEB 11:1, Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Notice that faith is an assurance and a conviction. Faith stands on the facts of the Word of God and faith supports and gives evidence of things not seen. For example, the baptism of the Spirit is not seen or felt but it is real. Through the baptism of the Spirit we have been made a new spiritual species, members of the church, part of the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, and the temple of the living God. We must believe and apply this to our life.

Evidence must be founded on facts. Our faith at the moment of salvation stood directly on the fact of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as recorded in 1CO 15:1-4. It is the same faith by which we are to stand, 1CO 16:13, Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. It is also the same faith by which we are to walk, 2CO 5:7, for we walk by faith, not by sight. It is the same faith by which we are to live, GAL 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.

Since true faith is anchored in doctrinal facts, we should not be influenced by our feelings, impressions or emotions which have nothing do with faith; faith has to do with the Word of God only. Faith must be based upon the definite knowledge of God's purpose and will. Without that, there can be no true faith. Real faith is always increased by opposition, whereas false confidence is damaged and discouraged by it. There will be opposition to our position in Christ. In REV 12:10, Satan is called the accuser of our brethren and that is a part of the opposition. Our own doubts will be an opposition as well. However, remember this principle, there can be no steadfastness apart from immovable facts. You have received what Heb 12:28 calls a kingdom which cannot be shaken. No opposition can shake real faith. This is why Peter said in 1PE 1:7, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

God delights to increase the faith of His children, so instead of desiring a life without trials or the exercise of patience, we should to be willing to take them from God's hand as a means for our spiritual growth. We need to understand our position in Christ, believe it and then rest as God works within us.
PHI 1:6, For I am confident of this very thing, that He who has begun in you an absolute good work will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.
PHI 2:13, for it is God [the Holy Spirit] who is at work in you, both to will [give you motivation] and to work [He gives you the ability to execute] above and beyond His good pleasure.
ROM 8:29, For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren;
1TH 5:24, Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

Trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very power of faith to make us realize that through the baptism of the Spirit you have been made a new spiritual species, the Church, the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, and the temple of the living God. But we have to believe these are real. We have to have faith because faith is dependence upon God, and God-dependence only begins when self-dependence ends. For most of us self-dependence only comes to its end when sorrow, suffering, affliction, broken plans and hopes bring us to that place of helplessness and defeat. Only then do we find that we have learned the lesson of faith. We find the tiny strength of our self-life dying and because of our position in Christ, our new life going forward to a blessed victory of life and power. John the Baptist meant it when he said JOH 3:30, He must increase, but I must decrease. Paul meant it when he said in 1Co 15:31, I die daily, and he meant it when he said in 2CO 4:16, Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

It should be a comfort that through the baptism of the Spirit we have been made a new spiritual species, the Church, the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, the temple of the living God, and that we can be assured that the Lord is teaching us dependence upon Himself. The more we trust Him in our sorrows, adversities and problems, the more we will be attached to Him and drawn away from the place where the sorrows are, to the place where He is. We will, asCOL 3:2 says, Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

We cannot trust anyone any further than we know that person. We must not only learn the doctrinal facts involved but even more than that, we must come to know Him more intimately because He is the One who presents and preserves us. Faith in the results of the baptism of the Spirit will give us confidence and assurance. We need to relax and allow God the time to work in our lives. Most believers have a difficult time realizing that God does not hurry in His development of our Christian life. He is working from and for eternity.

Many believers feel they are not making progress unless they are swiftly and constantly growing however, God Himself will modify and set the pace for each one of us. We can strive all we want but that will not compel God to move at a faster pace in our spiritual life. God will set people aside after their fast start so that their self-confidence may die down. Moses had to go back to the desert for forty years after his first zealous encounter with God. Paul had to go away for three years after his first testimony, not because God didn't approve of the first zealous testimony of the apostle Paul, but it was a part of his training. Therefore, we must learn and then lean. By leaning on the Lord we can grow in grace and knowledge. God's method for true spiritual growth involves pain as well as joy, suffering as well as happiness, failure as well as success, inactivity as well as service and death as well as life.

Since God is working for eternity, why should we be concerned about the time involved? There are great days of decisive battles, days of crises in our spiritual life, days of triumph in Christian service and days when the right hand of God is upon us. There are also idle days, days that seem apparently useless, when even the mundane things seem to be just a burden.

PHI 3:14, I keep on pressing on toward the objective for the purpose of the reward belonging to the upward call of God [Father], by means of Christ Jesus.

It takes time to get to know ourselves; it takes eternity to get to know our infinite Lord Jesus Christ. Today is the day to realize the importance of what the apostle said in, PHI 3:10, that I may come to know Him, and the power of[behind] His resurrection and the participation of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;

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