The Gospel Observer

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
May 27, 1990


1) Miraculous Gifts (Part Six) (Tom Edwards)
  The Flawlessness of the Law (Tom Edwards)


Miraculous Gifts (Part Six)
by Tom Edwards

Holy Spirit Baptism Was Never a Command -- It Was a Promise

No one was ever given orders to baptize others in the Holy Spirit.  Even when the apostles imparted the Spirit through the laying on of their hands, it was not to be equated with the baptismal measure of the Spirit. Only Jesus performed Holy Spirit baptisms (Matt. 3:11), and they were limited to merely a certain few.

Obviously, if everyone were baptized in the Holy Spirit at conversion, then there would have been no need for the apostles to lay hands on anyone for the giving of this.

Though this particular baptism was not a command, being baptized in water for the remission of sins is; and a person must, therefore, comply in order to be saved.                         
Only Two Cases of Holy Spirit Baptism

Interestingly, the New Testament reveals only two cases of those who were baptized in the Spirit -- the apostles and several people who had been at the house of Cornelius.

Notice Jesus' promise of the Holy Spirit to His apostles in John 15:26: "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me, and you will bear witness also, because you have been with Me from the beginning." Equally informative is John 16:7: "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you."

I was once told that every time you see that little word "if," it indicates that there is a certain condition that must be met in order for something to result. The mother might tell her child, "You may have some dessert if you finish your vegetables"; and we realize that the requirement is that the child eats his vegetables before he can receive his dessert.  

In John 16:7, however, the only prerequisite mentioned is not on the part of the recipient at all, but rather on Christ. The necessity being that He would have to go away in order to send them the Holy Spirit; an occurrence which was to happen after His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of God.

In Luke 24:45-49, the only obligation we find on the apostles' part was that they would simply wait in Jerusalem for the outpouring of this promise. Notice Acts 1:4,5 in which Jesus, after reminding them not to leave Jerusalem, makes a referral to Matthew 3:11 and declares: "for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Directly, the application is made to them.

Who Spoke in Tongues in Acts 2?

Let us now consider Acts 2:1-4. Here it is shown that those who had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit were speaking in tongues (languages) with tongues as of fire resting above each of their heads.

Who were these? Some would have us to believe that it was all the 120 who had been praying in the upper room with the apostles, but let us take a more careful look.

Acts 2:7  records: "...are not all these who are speaking Galileans? Were the 120 all inhabitants of Galilee? The apostles were!

Also notice Acts 2:14: "But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven...." Why does it not say that Peter was taking his stand with the 120, if they were all speaking in tongues? Undoubtedly, they had not been; for only the apostles had received this Holy Spirit baptism that enabled them to do such. That is why Peter took his stand among only them, so that he could explain why they, the apostles, were doing what they did.

Acts 2:15 is another helpful verse. It reads: "For these men are not drunk, as you suppose...." "Men" is the key word in this passage, for in Acts 1:14 mention is made of the women who were also in the upper room -- including even Mary, the mother of Jesus. Since they were part of the 120, why did not Peter say "these men and women?" How could he have forgotten someone like Mary, the Lord's mother, or any other of the faithful and dedicated women who had been with them? It was not forgetfulness; they simply were not the ones who had received this same type of baptism.

Next week we will give our attention to the unique case of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Cornelius' household. Never since has the likes of such an event occurred in the history of the world.


The Flawlessness of the Law
by Tom Edwards

Though the Old Testament was abolished by Christ's sacrifice on the cross; and we today are not subject to it, it can still teach us many profitable lessons. Numerous wonders about God and our need to yield our lives to Him through loving obedience can be inferred from various Old Testament passages. Some of the best illustrations that can illuminate New Testament principles are found in the Old Testament. It's been said that the "Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed"; it is easy to see how that this is often so, especially with regard to many of the prophecies concerning Christ and His church.

When Jesus met the two despondent travelers on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection, He inquired as to their conversation. According to Luke 24:16, their eyes had been prevented from recognizing Him during this time. They had sadly exclaimed how that Jesus the Nazarene had been sentenced to death and crucified, and then in verse 21 stated: "But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel."      

On hearing this, Jesus replied: "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?  And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures."

This implies that not only did the prophets write about Jesus, but also that what they wrote was true. Of course, the veracity of the Old Testament can be also inferred from other passages as well. Take for an example the following proclamation that Jesus makes in Matthew 5:15: "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished." Would Jesus have said this if the Law had not been without flaw? Surely, He knew its precepts better than any man; and if there were any errors in it, would He not have been the first to say so? Yet, he so clearly shows in Matthew 5:18 that not even the smallest letter or stroke could be taken away from the Law until its purpose was complete.

One of the purposes of the Law was to help people see their need for the Savior; for it showed them what sin was and thus served as a tutor that pointed the transgressor to the direction of Christ (Gal 3).  May we also help you in this, by offering to you a free Bible correspondence course through the Internet?  If  so, simply email your request to tedwards1109@gmail.  Thank you.

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17;  John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

First published for the Tri-state church of Christ in Ashland, Kentucky, at 713 13th Street.

evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards