June 4, 1995
Sunday Morning Bible Study
:29-34 John's witness about Jesus
:29 the next day
The day after the Pharisees had sent their representative to check out John the Baptist (John 1:19-28), last week's message.
Jesus' baptism by John has already taken place.
»Matthew 3:13-18. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [it to be so] now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Most likely the 40 days in the wilderness to be tempted by the devil has also already taken place.
It is at this point in time, when the events of John 1 take place.
John doesn't bother recording these other things because they have already been well documented in the other gospels, which had already been written by the time John wrote his gospel.
:29 Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world
"the Lamb of God"
There are several types of lamb sacrifices found in the Old Testament.
There were lambs used in the sin offerings
»Leviticus 4:32-AV And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering, he shall bring it a female without blemish.
There were lambs sacrificed every morning and evening, dedicating the nation to God.
»Exodus 29:39-AV The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even:
The word picture of calling Jesus a lamb is not to say that He was just a sweet, innocent kind of guy. Instead, it speaks of a sacrificial offering, one that is provided by God Himself.
But there was one lamb in particular that I believe John is referring to.
This is the Passover Lamb.
Even Paul wrote about Jesus being our Passover sacrifice.
»1Corinthians 5:7-AV ... For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
It was no coincidence that Jesus happened to die on the Passover.
For the Passover:
For God's final judgement on Egypt, God sent the Angel of Death on a mission to kill all the firstborn in the land.
Each Israeli family was to kill a male lamb, one that was spotless, and place it's blood on the doorposts of the house.
The lamb was to take the place of the firstborn.
As the Angel of Death passed through the land of Egypt, he went through killing the firstborn of every family, unless he saw lamb's blood on the doorposts of the house.
Jesus is our Lamb.
He's God's Lamb, sacrificed for you.
If His blood is on the entry place of your heart, God's wrath and judgement pass over you.
Peter writes that we were purchased by God:
»1Peter 1:19-AV ... with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
Notethat John didn't say, "Behold the Messiah who is going to beat up the Romans for us".
The main expectation of the Jews in Jesus' day was for the Messiah to be some kind of earthly king who would deliver the nation from the tyranny of the Roman rule.
Many people today have lots of ideas of what Jesus was all about.
Some feel that Jesus was a good man who taught us a good way to live.
That's only partly true.
John recognized that Jesus' main purpose in life was to take away sin.
In the book of Hebrews, we read that all the rituals and sacrifices in the Old Testament, as important as they were, were not able to actually clear the conscience of the person making the sacrifice (Heb.9:9)
But of Jesus' blood we read:
»Hebrews 9:14-AV How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Where do you stand?
Are you trying all kinds of things to try and get rid of, or cover up the guilt you have in your conscience?
Or have you given in to take God's remedy for guilt, and experience a totally clean, pure conscience?
Have you gotten to the main issue with Jesus yet? Has He taken away your sins?
»John 1:12-AV But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:
Jesus paid for your sins
What have you done with Him?
:30 this is he
John now identifies Jesus as being the guy that he was talking about the day before.(see 1:26-27)
Jesus is "preferred" or, ranked higher than John, because Jesus "was before", or, Jesus existed before John.
Even though John was biologically older than Jesus, Jesus existed before He was actually born, unlike John.
:31 I knew him not
Jesus and John were related, they were cousins.
»Luke 1:36-AV And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
John's mom Elisabeth had realized that Mary was carrying her saviour in her womb.
»Luke 1:43-AV And whence [is] this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
Yet we have now record of Jesus and John ever meeting after that time.
John was in the wilderness
Jesus grew up in Nazareth.
John didn't seem to really know about Jesus until Jesus came to be baptized.
:31 that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing
John wasn't just baptizing in response to his call to repentance.
He was also looking for the Messiah to show up.
God had already told John that He would show Him who the Messiah was while he was baptizing people.
John would then take it from there to tell everybody who the Messiah was.
:32 I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove
There was some kind of manifestation of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus when He was baptized:
»Luke 3:22-AV And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
Note: It doesn't mean that the Holy Spirit actually was a dove, but only that the descending of the Holy Spirit on Jesus was in a way that was like a dove.
In contrast, on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came on the believers, it looked kind of like tongues of fire.
This is why one of the "symbols" of Calvary Chapel, as well as other churches, is the dove.
We hope that we can be a church that is guided and directed by the Holy Spirit.
:33 he that sent me to baptize
He's talking about the Father.
:33 the same said unto me
Remember that John had heard the voice speak from heaven at Jesus' baptism:
»Matthew 3:17-AV And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
:33 Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending
It appears as if God had earlier spoken to John telling him that he would see the Holy Spirit descending upon someone, and that person would be the Messiah.
So John was baptizing, just waiting to see this sign, and then know who the Messiah was.
:33 he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost
The word "baptize" is the Greek word baptizw and means to "immerse" or "submerge".
It's similar to, but different from the Greek word "bapto".
The difference between the two is found in in an ancient Greek manuscript by the poet and physician Nicander (200 B.C.), where he tells how to make pickles.
He said that to make pickles, you first had to take your vegetable and "dip" (bapto) it into boiling water.
Then you immersed (baptizo) the vegetable in the vinegar solution. To make pickles, you have to keep them in the brine for a long time.
The first dip was only a temporary dipping, but the second (baptizo) was longer lasting, producing a change in the nature of the vegetable.
Jesus is the one who "baptizes" (baptizo) us in the Holy Spirit.
The preposition "with" (baptizes with the Holy Ghost) doesn't mean "alongside of", but means "with in the sense of using the Holy Spirit as the thing being baptized into".
He wants to immerse us in the Holy Spirit, and in a way that is going to produce a change in our lives.
What is this "Baptism with the Holy Spirit"?
I'm going to answer several questions about the baptism of the Holy Spirit to hopefully give us a clearer understanding of it.
I've been through the spectrum when it comes to the subject of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit when I was in high school, at a prayer meeting attached with Melodyland.
Six years later, when I eventually got to seminary, I was taught otherwise.
I was taught that the baptism of the Holy Spirit happens to everybody who receives Jesus.
I was taught that the gifts no longer were in operation.
I stopped operating the gifts of the Spirit.
After seminary, I started studying my Bible.
I am now a charismatic, not based just on what I've experienced (though it's important), but on what the Bible teaches.
This Bible Study may seem a little tedious, but I want to show you that what we believe is Biblical, not just experiental.
1. When did it first happen?
As we saw, John already said that Jesus would some time be baptizing with the Holy Spirit.
But the first occurance doesn't take place for three more years.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, after His death and resurrection, He said the baptism of the Holy Spirit was still to come:
»Acts 1:4-5 AV 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. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
The baptism of the Holy Ghost had not yet happened.
Then on the day of Pentecost, in Acts 2, the promise happens:
»Acts 2:1-4. And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
2. Is this phenomena known by other names?
You will find that when you study the book of Acts, this phenomena is known by several different terms.
The Baptism with the Holy Spirit.
The person is immersed in the Holy Spirit by Jesus. An immersion that brings a change.
»Acts 1:5-AV For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
The Filling with the Holy Spirit
There is a sense of the Holy Spirit filling every aspect of a person's life. It's not too unlike being immersed in the Holy Spirit.
»Acts 2:4-AV And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
»Ephesians 5:18-AV And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
The Gift of the Holy Ghost
»Acts 10:45-AV 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.
The "upon" (epi) experience.
As in the Holy Spirit "coming upon", or, "falling upon" a person.
The Holy Spirit is no longer just "with" us (John 14:16) or "in" us (John 14:17), but now comes upon us with power.
»Acts 1:8-AV 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.
»Acts 11:15-AV And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
3. Does every Christian have this?
I was taught to believe that it happened the moment that you received the Lord.
»Romans 8:9-AV 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.
But this is the "in" (Greek - "en") relationship of the Holy Spirit to the believer, not the "epi" relationship.
It can occur at the time of salvation.
We have an example where it occured with salvation, when the Gentiles at Cornelius' house first heard the gospel.
»Acts 10:44-46 AV While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 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. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
But is can also occur after salvation.
We have three clear examples of believers who were later baptized in the Holy Spirit.
1. The disciples.
The disciples were believers.
»John 20:29-AV Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed.
They had even received the Holy Spirit.
»John 20:22-AV And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
In other words, the Holy Spirit was already "in" them, or, indwelling them.
Yet they had not yet been baptized with the Holy Spirit until the day of Pentecost.
2. The Samaritan revival
»Acts 8:14-17 AV Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they [their] hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
Here's this great revival going on, with many coming to faith in Jesus, yet the Holy Spirit had not yet fallen on them. It wasn't until the apostles came that this happened.
3. The disciples at Ephesus
»Acts 19:1-6. And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2 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. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 4 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. 5 When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
Point:You can be a believer in Jesus, having the Holy Spirit dwell inside of you, yet have never come to the place where you've yielded the complete control of your life over to the Holy Spirit.
4. What's the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
There are some who would tell us that it is speaking with tongues.
This is understandable since quite a few occurances of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is accompanied with tongues in the book of Acts.
But it isn't clearly so in every case.
In one case, they were beginning to see persecution for speaking out for Jesus, and they prayed:
»Acts 4:31-AV And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
Later, Paul makes it clear to the Corinthians that not everybody speaks with tongues:
»1Corinthians 12:30-AV Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
The Greek is written in such a way that it expects a "no" answer.
What did Jesus say would be the evidence?
»Acts 1:8-AV 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.
Jesus gave two things that would follow the baptism of the Holy Spirit:
Power to live the Christian life the way you're supposed to, with things like victory over sin.
»Galatians 5:16-AV [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
2. Being witnesses
The only other clear, consistent evidence of the Holy Spirit's empowering is fruit.
»Turn to ...
»Galatians 5:22-23 AV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
The only "across-the-board" evidence is not in certain gifts of the Spirit, but in the fruit.
Contrast this with the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit, the works of the flesh:
»Galatians 5:19-21 AV Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Which is more characteristic of your life? The flesh? Or the Spirit?
5. How do I receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
»John 7:37-39 AV 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. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (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.)
Are you thirsty?
Do you need help?
Come to Jesus
He's the baptizer!
Drink - open your heart and receive it.
You can and should do it all the time!
Over and over again!
You can ask to have someone pray for you, or lay hands on you.
There's a scriptural pattern for that.
But it can happen other ways too
Like at Cornelius' house, right during Peter's Bible Study.
It's God's will - so just ask for it!
»1John 5:14-15 AV And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
6. Will I get wierd if I do this?
You might receive the gift of tongues. Or other gifts.
Don't confuse emotionalism with the Holy Spirit.
Emotionalism is just a person's human reaction to the work of the Holy Spirit on them.
It can happen very quietly and naturally.
Remember that "self-control" is a fruit of the Spirit
:34 I saw, and bare record
The word (martureo) means 1) to be a witness, to bear witness, i.e. to affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something, or that he knows it because taught by divine revelation or inspiration.
It's like giving testimony before a judge in court.
You simply tell what you've seen and heard.
It's used in 1:7,8,15,19,32,34 and translated as ...
»John 1:7-AV The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all [men] through him might believe.
»John 1:8-AV He was not that Light, but [was sent] to bear witness of that Light.
»John 1:15-AV John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
»John 1:19-AV And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
»John 1:32-AV And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
»John 1:34-AV And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
It's a word that's used 47 times in the gospel of John!
It's a pretty important issue to John.
What's your testimony?
What do you tell others about concerning Jesus?
What have you seen and heard about Jesus?
Polycarp (69-155), one of the early church fathers, was put on trial because of his faith in Christ. When the Roman proconsul told him to deny his faith, Polycarp answered, "For 86 years I have served Him, and He has never wronged me. How can I blaspheme my King, who has saved me?"
The proconsul then threatened to cast him in with the wild beasts, but Polycarp answered, "Call them!" He was then warned that he might be burned at the stake. Even that failed to move him. He responded, "You threaten me with fire which burns for only a moment, but you are ignorant of the fire of eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly."
These are Polycarp's final words: "O Father of Thy beloved and blessed Son, Jesus Christ! I bless Thee that Thou has counted me worthy of this day, and of this hour, to receive my portion in the number of the martyrs, in the cup of Christ."
General Hans von Zieten
Every Christian ought to be ready to stand up courageously and unashamedly for the Lord. How inconsistent that a person redeemed by the blood of Christ experiencing saving power should cower before an unbelieving world!
On one occasion Frederick the Great invited some notable people to his royal table. Including his top-ranking generals. One of them by the name of Hans von Zieten declined the invitation because he wanted to partake of communion at his church.
Some time later at another banquet Frederick and his guests mocked the general for his religious scruples and made jokes about the Lord's supper. In great peril of his life, the officer stood to his feet and said respectfully to the monarch, "My lord, there is a greater King than you, a King to whom I have sworn allegiance even unto death. I am a Christian man, and I cannot sit quietly as the Lord's name is dishonored and His character belittled."
The guests trembled in silence, knowing that von Zieten might be killed. But to their surprise, Frederick grasped the hand of this courageous man, asked his forgiveness, and requested that he remain. He promised that he would never again allow such a travesty to be made of sacred things. (Romans 1:16)
Richard Weaver, a Christian worker, earned his living in the mines. He had the higher priority, however, of trying to bring his associates in contact with the savior and His soul-restoring Word. While most of the men were indifferent, one became offended by his witness, and finally exclaimed, "I'm sick of your constant preaching. I've a good mind to smack you in the face!" "Go ahead if it will make you feel better," replied Weaver. The man immediately struck him a stinging blow. The Christian did not retaliate but turned the other cheek. Again the unbeliever struck him and then walked away, cursing under his breath. Weaver called after him, "I forgive you, and still pray that the Lord will save you!" The next morning his assailant was waiting for him when he came to work "Oh, Dick," he said, his voice filled with emotion, "do you really forgive me for what I did yesterday?" "Certainly," said Weaver extending his hand. As he told him again the message of salvation, God opened the man's heart, and he received Christ. (Matt. 5:39)