by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

(verse 5) For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

“For John truly baptized with water;”
or "in water", as reported in Matthew’s gospel: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Matt 3:11; KJV). John's (John the Baptist) baptism was water baptism; it was an immersion of persons in water. He was the first one mentioned in the New Testament to perform baptism, and his baptism was “unto repentance.” He did not ask anyone to profess faith in Jesus, but to admit their sin and need of forgiveness. His baptism and the baptism of the Spirit, are different; for there were others, including the disciples of Christ and the disciples of John, that baptized in water as well as John: and these words, “For John truly baptized with water” are not the words of the Lord, as reported by John, which the disciples heard first hand, because Jesus had not called His disciples when John spoke the words in Matthew 3:11; but these are the words of Christ himself which the apostles heard from his own mouth, which is clearly stated in Acts 11:16—“Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.” This is enough to prove that he is describing the impact of the Holy Spirit. Christ's religion was to be a spiritual religion, and was to have its center of operations in the heart. Outward acts, however well they might depict the spiritual, could not produce inward spirituality. This was the province of the Spirit of God, and of Him alone; therefore He is represented here as resembling fire, because he was to illuminate and invigorate the soul, penetrate every part, and adapt the whole person—body, soul, and spirit— to the image of the God of glory.
The risen Jesus appeared to the apostles and gave them these instructions. He tells them that something is going to happen to them. They are going to be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence. This baptism of the Holy Spirit is the promise of the Father, and Jesus had previously told them about it.

It is very important to point out that this is not talking about water baptism, which is ritual baptism or John’s baptism. This is the baptism with the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is real baptism. It is this baptism of the Holy Spirit which places

a believer into the body of believers, which we sometimes refer to as the church.

When we get to the second chapter, which tells of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, we will learn that they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Filling was necessary in order that they might serve. The fact that they were filled with the Holy Spirit for service indicates that the other ministries of the Holy Spirit had been performed.

“but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost”
Baptism was not invented by John the Baptist, as the uninformed may think. Baptism was a rite of initiation, by which disciples were admitted not only among the Jews, but also among other nations. John the Baptist adopted this rite from the Jewish manner of baptism, making use of water for this purpose: but Christ's disciples were appointed to an office of a superior nature. They were called to spread the gospel all over the world, and to govern the church of Christ after His departure, so they were installed and initiated into their office in a superior manner; God himself sent the Holy Ghost from heaven to earth on the Day of Pentecost in a visible form for this purpose. But something more than the mere consecration of the apostles was intended by this miraculous appearance; and much more was accomplished; He testified to the truth of all that Christ had said to the apostles: he declared, that whatsoever they should teach was the effect of immediate and infallible inspiration; and he gave them both knowledge of the divine will, and courage to preach it, in opposition to every obstacle which power, or wealth, or learning, or danger, or death, could throw in their way.

Every saved, born again believer has the Holy Spirit within them. The unbeliever, however, cannot have the Holy Spirit. It would be a good test for determining if a person is a Christian, except He cannot be seen with human eyes. He can be seen with the eye of faith only. Although there is a lot of meat in this short passage, the work of the Holy Spirit is foremost. The gift of the Holy Spirit is the most wonderful gift of all, and it lasts forever. My friend, I know from experience that you can feel Him, that you can hear him (listen for that still small voice); he is a wonderful companion, for he will never leave you or forsake you. He goes where you go, he hears every word you say, he knows every thought that enters your mind. He is God the Holy Spirit. Do you have the Holy spirit? I pray that you do!

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