Prophesy and Doctrine
By Chaplain Stanford E. Linzey, Jr.
(An excerpt of a historic sermon from Baptism in the
Spirit by Stanford E. Linzey, Jr.
Now I suppose we can start by saying that in Old Testament times, it appears that God was a respecter of people. I say that because in the Old Testament dispensation, God did not give the Holy Spirit to everybody. In fact, He gave the Holy Spirit only to people in authority: for example, the priests, the kings, the prophets, or the various redeemers who came along from time to time like Samson and Gideon. The Spirit came on Gideon; he blew a trumpet and went to war. Samson was a man of superhuman strength. The Holy Spirit came upon these people betimes, it says. That means once in a while, to perform a task that God had for them to perform. He did not come to indwell their hearts as we know Him today.
Not only that, the Holy Spirit did not come upon women. You women ought to be glad you live in a New Testament dispensation. In the Old Testament days, women were not even counted in the number. They were chattel, property. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. And on one occasion God blessed Deborah, a prophetess, who was mightily used of God. But if you read the story carefully, God used her on that occasion because a man would not do what God wanted him to do. Men, I’m going to tell you something, and I’ve got news for you. If God wants you to do something, you’d better to do it, because if you don’t, He’ll raise up a woman to do it, and she’ll get the job done. You can’t beat a woman who’s got her mind made up to do something. I’ll tell you for sure. And don’t think, men, that He can’t get along without you. He can. He will. And so God used Deborah on this occasion.
The Prophet Joel
Now the prophet Joel came some 800 years prior to the time of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of prophecy came upon him, and he said in Joel 2:28-29, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; And also upon the servants and upon the handmaidens in those days will I pour out my Spirit.” Joel is saying that the time will come when God will give his Spirit to everybody regardless of rank or station in life, or regardless of whether they are male or female. It won’t make any difference. God will give the Holy Spirit to everybody.
We’re going to skip the 800 years rather rapidly and move over into the New Testament era. And as we do so, we read in Matthew 3. John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Christ, has come on the scene preaching a baptism of repentance. Now this is water baptism. Baptism is not a new thing. The Jews had baptisms, washings, ablution,1 and all of this. So this was not a new thing. John simply was the last of the great prophets and made something out of it in his time. Boy he was having success because it appears that the whole countryside was turning out to hear John preach and many were repenting of their sins and being baptized in Jordan. Then John makes this statement in Matthew 3:11, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
Now for the first time in the Bible, and certainly the first time in the New Testament, we have the baptism with the Holy Spirit mentioned here. Now this is meaningful. This is not a play on words. If you go to the Greek text, that’s exactly what it says. John is baptizing in water; Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit. All of a sudden, two baptisms are noted. One is water baptism, one is Spirit baptism. In water baptism, a man is the agent and the water is the element, and a person is baptized in water. In Spirit baptism, Jesus Christ is the agent and the Holy Spirit is the element, and a person is baptized into the Holy Spirit.
There is one other significant baptism I’ll mention, though we’re not concerned with it. That is the baptism into the body of Christ, in which the Holy Spirit is the agent, the body of Christ is the element, and the individual is baptized into the body of Christ. Every man or woman, boy or girl, who is saved, has been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. Let’s make no mistake about that. If you’re saved, you’re in the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit put you in the body of Christ. You have been baptized in the body of Christ. If you have not been baptized in water you should be. You ought to follow the Lord in water baptism. And if you have not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you can.
Now, we move on into the Gospel according to John, chapter 14. Now Jesus Christ followed John the Baptist and grew to manhood. Then He had a ministry perhaps of some two-and-a-half or three years. Jesus had told His people, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). However, the time is coming in which He would be betrayed, be crucified, die and be buried, and then rise from the dead. But the problem is, how is He going to keep the promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you?” Well He told us in John 14. And we read it in verses 16-18. Jesus said, “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him, for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless.” All right, here we have it. He’s going to give them the Comforter. He’s going to give them the Holy Spirit who will do the same thing that Jesus Christ had done and will continue to be with the disciples. He will be with them in the person of the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah!
Every Believer Receives the Holy Spirit
Now let’s go back to John 14:17 and let me give you a little exegesis on the text. You need this. I have heard well-meaning Pentecostals, particularly if they’re trying to tell a good Baptist about the Holy Spirit, use verse 17 to tell the Baptist about the Holy Spirit, and say, “He is with you now, but He’ll be in you when you receive the baptism.” And they triumphantly think they’ve proved the point. How wrong can you be? That’s not true at all. Anybody who knows the Bible knows that every believer already has the Holy Spirit. For Paul said in Romans 8:9, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Every believer has the Holy Spirit. Don’t tell a good Baptist he hasn’t got the Holy Spirit. He’s as saved as you are, if he’s saved. And don’t tell this to a Presbyterian, or a Methodist or a Catholic or anybody else. If they love Jesus Christ and have embraced the Gospel, they have received the Holy Spirit. Don’t make any mistake on that. They’re brothers and sisters in Christ.
Well, what does this mean then? That’s what I’m going to tell you, so you will understand. We don’t read very critically, do we? We don’t read very carefully, do we? Now at the time Jesus said this, the Holy Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified. When He said “He’s with you,” the Holy Spirit was with them in the person of Jesus Christ. He was with them in the person of Christ. Jesus said, “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you” (John 16:7). In other words, Christ had to depart this earth so that the Holy Spirit might be given. Then we can say that the Holy Spirit was captive to the body of Jesus while Jesus was here in the flesh. “For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). It took the death of Jesus Christ to release the Spirit to the world! Now this makes sense. And this is doctrinally true, and keeps the Scriptures consummate with themselves. So the Holy Spirit was with them in the person of Jesus. Therefore He says He is with you, but He shall be in you when Jesus goes away. Then He’s going to come into your heart and live within your heart. That’s the meaning of the text here. So don’t ever tell another good Baptist that he doesn’t have the Holy Spirit, because if he knows the Bible, he’ll pin your ears to the wall with the Scriptures.
Christ’s Final Command
Jesus then was crucified, dead and buried, and risen again. After the resurrection, He was on the earth some forty days before the ascension took place. And He met with His disciples several times. Now we go back over into the book of Luke. And here in Chapter 24 of Luke, we have the last command given. I’m amazed at how many Christians think that the last command of Jesus was to go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature. That was not the last command. That was the next-to-the-last command. The last command is given here in Luke 24:49-53, “And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued2 with power from on high. And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God.”
I can just hear some old-time Pentecostal say, “Uh-huh! It did say ‘tarry!’” Well sure it did. But, of course, again, I’ve got to ask you the question, “How do you read?” Some of us don’t read very critically, do we! We don’t know really what we are reading. Again, I have to tell you that the word “tarry” is really not a holy word. All it means is wait. It’s a King James word. And another thing, this is pre-Pentecost. The Holy Spirit had not yet been given because Christ had not yet been glorified. And, again, I have to tell you this. At the time Jesus said it, the gift of the Holy Spirit had not been given. You know, there’s one thing about it. If somebody’s going to give you a gift, you pretty well have to wait ’til he gives it, don’t you! You’re not going to get it before he gives it, unless you steal it or drag it out of him somehow. Of course, you’re not going to drag this out of Jesus in any way.
But, on the other hand, after one gives a gift, you might wonder why you’re still tarrying3. Right? That doesn’t make too much sense either, does it! Supposing I meet the gunner down there and I say, “Hey Gunner, I’ll meet you on the street tomorrow afternoon. Tomorrow, we’ll go down and have a cup of coffee, OK?”
“Now, whoever gets there first waits on the other fellow.”
And so, three o’clock is the appointment. And so, at three o’clock we go down to one of the cafes and meet over coffee. And supposing I say to myself, “Well, you know, Gunner probably won’t be on time anyway. I’ll get there about 3:15.”
And Gunner says to himself, “Chaplain might be early; I’ll get there at 2:45.” So he gets there at 2:45 and he waits.
And I come dragging in at 3:15. And I say, “I sure appreciate you waiting, Gunny. You know how it is. I got held up a little bit, and I’m glad you waited for me. Now, I’m going to wait for you a while.”
He’d probably say, “Well, what do you mean?”
And suppose I replied, “Well you were kind enough to wait for me, so I’m going to wait for you.”
“But I’m already here,” Gunny says.
“I know it.” He’d probably think that the chaplain’s a pretty good guy, but he’s just been at sea too long, you know.
But isn’t that the way we behave sometimes with regard to the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit’s been given and we’re still tarrying. We don’t know why. Somebody said “Do it,” and it sounded really good, so we’ve been doing it. We’re a good bunch of people. We do what people tell us to do. If you tell them to tarry, they tarry. If you tell them to get it, they get it. So we’re going to be telling you to get it! Hallelujah! You’ve been tarrying long enough, and you don’t even know why you’ve been doing it. But the disciples were there, waiting until the Holy Spirit would be given.
The Book of Luke-Acts
Now let’s go on over to the first chapter of the book of Acts. We’re covering a lot of ground here, aren’t we! But then we want to do it because we want to get the groundwork set. I told my wife, “I ought to bring a bunch of certificates along, and give everybody that makes every lesson a certificate when it’s over with, having completed the course.” One of the old-timers said, “This is the finest course I’ve ever had on the baptism of the Holy Spirit.” That made me feel pretty good.
The disciple Luke wrote the book of Luke. He also wrote the book of Acts. Now when Luke and Acts came out, originally it came out as a two-part, one-volume work, called the Book of Luke-Acts. Now anybody who reads will know that in a sequel volume, generally there’s a little overlap from the last few pages of the first volume and the first few pages of the second volume. And we have that here. We just read Luke 24 about tarrying in Jerusalem. Now we have the same thought here in Acts 1:4-5. Luke said, speaking of Jesus, “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, you have heard of Me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.”
The Term “Baptism in the Holy Spirit”
Now this is beautiful. I wish every one of you were Baptist because I’d really love to give this to you straight. I’m going to do it anyway. This is good medicine for Baptists, because it makes them squirm. And I was born and reared a southern Baptist. It says, “John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence” (Acts 1:5). Now that’s not a play on terms. That’s what Jesus’ words said.
When you get to the second chapter of Acts and see what took place, you would have to come to the conclusion, if you have any reasoning powers at all, that whatever took place there, with all the attending phenomena, would be called the baptism with the Holy Spirit. That’s just sensible. “Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence” (Acts 1:5). In the second chapter of Acts it happens. So you might write down Matthew 3:11, and Acts 1:5, because I will be hitting upon them from time to time. Even the Baptist agrees that whatever’s going to happen has to be called the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Don’t forget these points because I’ll be coming back to them.
The Purpose for Receiving the Baptism with the Holy Spirit
Now Acts 1:8 tells us the main purpose for receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is not given to you to make you shout, nor to make you feel good, nor to make you run around the church. Now let me say right quickly that your church belongs to you. You’re paying the bills with your tithes and offerings. If you want to run around it, that’s all right. I’ve got nothing against that. You understand that, don’t you! And I enjoy seeing people do gymnastics once in a while myself. That’s good exercise, if nothing else. And I’ve got nothing against all of that. I was somewhere preaching one time. I was on a high platform. And a little fellow got up there. I don't know how he got up there, but he did, along with another boy. He got so filled with joy and happiness. He began going around and around, and he fell off to the deck below, which was concrete, right on his head. Now by all rights that should have broken his neck. But it didn’t. He got up and kept shouting the glory. I think that’s marvelous. But he was having a good time. You know what I heard about another person? I heard that a guy got up on the front row of pews and ran down the pews across the backs. And he got up, and he come up the other side. Now, you know, that’s dangerous. If he had missed one, he’d break his neck. No doubt!
Well, now, that’s not power. That’s energy. But if people want to do it, I have nothing against it. I’ll tell you one thing, friend. If you belong to a good Pentecostal church, stay in it. It’s worth your money to see the show once in a while. You never know what’s going to happen. There’s nothing like human nature after all is said and done. These shows downtown can’t compare with some of the things we do. I’ll tell you for sure. And it’s all free. They do it for nothing, you know! And it’s really a good deal. I’ll tell you!
But Acts 1:8 says that you receive power to persuade men and women concerning Jesus Christ. You’re supposed to be able to win somebody to the Lord. How often our people say, “Well, I just can’t do it. The Lord hasn’t called me.” Wait a minute! You’ve got it all backward. Every Christian is called to be a witness. Every Christian! I don’t care how poor of a Christian you are.
I’m a disciple of Trueblood. He was a Quaker from Earlham College. If you want to read something good, read Elton Trueblood. He wrote a book called The Company of the Committed. This is one of the finest I’ve ever read. He says that there’s no such thing as a non-witnessing Christian. It’s a contradiction in terms. Some of you people haven’t been doing any witnessing. What’s the matter with you? And, particularly, if you’ve received the baptism of the Holy Ghost and you haven’t been witnessing for Jesus Christ, what’s the matter with you? Something’s wrong with you! You bet there’s something wrong with you!
The trouble is we spend our time doing wrong things so much of the time, things we ought not to be doing sometimes, when we ought to be witnessing for Jesus Christ. I’ll tell you what! If you get prayed up and filled with the Holy Ghost and begin doing something for Jesus Christ, and get filled with the power of God, and get filled with the love of God, and begin to see men and women come to Christ, He’ll keep you living straight and doing right! There’s a few of them. Hallelujah!
From Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada, Dr. L.E. Maxwell, was one of the finest—a Baptist, if you please. He met a party he had known quite a while. He said to them, “How are you doing?
And the party said, “Well, I’m serving God the best I can in my small weak way.”
Dr. Maxwell boomed back, “You ought not have any weak ways.”
The Upper Room
We make excuses too often. Be filled with the Spirit and power for service. Acts 1:15 tells us that on the Day of Pentecost there were about 120 people present who received the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Now we have some people in the land today, namely the Church of Christ people who are good about this. They can quote you Scripture by the yard, but they don’t always know what it means. They haven’t got it hooked up right! They’re pretty good people. But if you teach them to read, they would know something. They’re really good people. But when they read the Scriptures, they say that only the twelve were there. I don't know how in the world they get that out of the Scriptures, because they’re wrong on three counts.
In the first place, it says there were about 120. In the second place, they say there were 12 disciples there; but there were only 11 disciples since Judas wasn’t there. So they missed it on that one. And so that can’t be solved. And I don't know how you get the 12 unless you divide 120 by 10. And I don't know any reach for doing that. So they missed it all the way around.
Now don’t feel bad. Some of you are cringing. “He’s talking about people.” I talk about all of them! I even talk against the Assemblies once in a while! I’m free to talk about anybody I want to talk about! No malice in my heart! I love them all. Hallelujah! And even some of my people think I’m all right. But then, that’s all right.
But the point is, I spoke on this at Bethel Church in San Jose, California. Dr. Leland Keys was the pastor at the time. And I made this same statement. When I talk about churches, people become worried. Don’t worry! You worry too much! That’ll take the joy out of your religion, so don’t worry! I made that statement, but, oh, what a meeting we had! It’s a huge church. And when they filled the prayer room, they filled the prayer room entirely with people wanting the baptism. In fact, there were so many I could not even give instructions. I said, “People raise your hands, start worshiping God. He’ll fill some of you before I even lay my hands on you.” And He did. In about 30 minutes, 40 or 50 people received a wonderful infilling of the Holy Spirit. At one point, a little gray-haired man came up to me with his wife, and said, “Chaplain, would you lay hands on us to receive the Holy Spirit?” I said, “Yes, sir.” I laid hands on the little man and his wife and they received a wonderful infilling. Friends in the church told us the next Wednesday that he and his wife were Church of Christ believers. They took 25 minutes out of Dr. Keys’ time to tell the Assemblies of God people how good it was. Hallelujah! Well, we just showed them how to read. So you’ve got to do that. Love them all. Preach to them all. Help them all. Pray with them all. That’s what we do. And because of it, we’ve seen all kinds of denominational people come to Jesus. We love them all.
© James F. Linzey 2010