Gospel of John [Joh 16:12-15]. The Doctrine of the HS, part 24. Act 19:1-6; Mar 1; Mat 3; Luk 3.
length: 62:30 - taught on Sep, 5 2014
F. Heeding the message of John the Baptist and receiving his baptism did not save anyone. John was sent to prepare Israel for the coming Messiah and the true gospel through Him, ACT 19:1-6.
The problem of ACT 19:1-6 yields to a careful study of the context and an accurate translation of the text.
ACT 19:1 And it came about that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus, and found some disciples,
ACT 19:2 and he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit."
ACT 19:3 And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" And they said, "Into John's baptism."
ACT 19:4 And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus."
When John was baptizing he did not know the identity of Jesus. He only knew that Jesus was soon coming and that the Father had revealed to him that the one upon whom the Spirit would descend as a dove from heaven would be the One.
ACT 19:5 And when they heard this [they obviously believed], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
ACT 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.
These disciples at Ephesus were followers of John the Baptist and had not yet come into contact with the gospel of grace. For a full understanding of this, first we must quickly look at what John's baptism was for and what he preached.
John is mentioned in each of the four gospels. The first gospel to be written was Mark. Some thirty years have passed since the King was born in Bethlehem. Those who believed in Him then and the rumors about Him that spread about the land had all become quiet as do all events with time, but now His ministry was to begin and it was John who was to prepare the way at the precise time and the great revival had begun. John was the last of the OT prophets and the greatest of them.
MAR 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
MAR 1:2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,
"Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way;
John the Baptist was an ambassador or envoy representing God.\
MAR 1:3 The voice [no definite article - a voice, not the only one] of one crying in the wilderness, 'Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight [present tense - habitual welcome; the path is in the hearts of the people].'" [ISA 40:3]
The verb "make ready" or "prepare" is used of the ancient custom of the orient was to send messengers ahead of kings in order to level the roads and make them passable. Here John is preparing the minds of men to repent from hard heartedness so that the Messiah would receive a fitting reception. He is commanding them to make their hearts ready for the Lord. The verb is plural in number and so refers to all of Israel. The verb is also an aorist imperative which means it is a summary command issued with military snap and curtness; a command to be obeyed at once. John did not beat around the bush, nor was a weak or namby-pamby preacher. He preached directly as a man among men, forceful and clear.
MAR 1:4 John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
John never taught that the ritual of baptism ever cleansed anyone from sin. In fact, he would not baptize the Pharisees because they would not repent of their ways. His baptism then was a symbol of a heart that repented from sinful ways that caused hard-heartedness and so prepared them for the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The verb preaching conveys the part of a herald who is given authority to cry out the proclamation of the king.
"repentance" - meta,noia[metanoia] = a change of mind, a change of purpose previously formed.
Robertson quotes Broadus as saying that this is the worst translated word in the NT. It does not mean to feel sorry. John was not commanding Israel to feel sorry, but to change their thinking from hard hearts to ready hearts.
metanoia - "a change of mind and thus of action consequent upon the realization that one has sinned and that sin is wrong." [Wuest]
It seems from verse 4 that the baptism is the cause of forgiveness of sins. However, the Greek clears this up and reveals something important about John's ministry.
The word forgiveness means to send from oneself or to put something away. At the cross our Lord put away sin and sent it from us. But at this time the cross had not yet occurred and the Lord has not, as of yet, been introduced. Sins were not forgiven until the cross occurred. Sins were covered until that time, waiting for their judgment upon Christ. Hence the literal translation of the word aphesin (forgiveness) fits the context better. John message was for Israel to send away from themselves the sins that were making their hearts hard so that they would be more ready to receive the Messiah. It was only after this that they would be baptized in the Jordan.
The preposition "for" is the Greek word eis, which has various meanings. In the same preposition and construction and context is in MAT 12:41 where eis is properly translated "because."
"The men of Nineveh shall stand up with this generation at the judgment, and shall condemn it because [eis] they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
This gives us further insight into John's ministry. Putting this together we correct the English translation:
There arose John, the baptizer, in the uninhabited region, making a public proclamation of a baptism which had to do with a change of mind relative to the previous life an individual lived, because sins are put away. [expanded]
John is simply getting them ready for the gospel that is to come from our Lord.
God finalized this at the Cross when He put sin away by incarnating Himself in humanity in the Person of His Son, stepping down from His judgment throne, assuming the guilt of man's sin, and paying the penalty, thus, satisfying His justice, and making possible an offer of mercy on the basis of justice satisfied.
His baptism fulfilled two purposes: it prepared the nation for Christ and it presented Christ to the nation, JOH 1:31.
"And I did not recognize Him, but in order that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water."
MAR 1:5 And all the country of Judea was going out to him [imperfect - a constant stream of people from the surrounding areas], and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
The verbs "going out" and "baptized" are both in the imperfect tense referring to a steady stream of people who came out to John for this very reason. They confessed their sins [exhomologeo - verbally and outwardly] that were causing their hard hearts and then were submerged in the Jordan which was a picture of their cleansing due to repentance. Here, as always, it is a ritual that represents a reality of changing their minds towards their own sinful lives. This change of mind was their own cleansing. Their true cleansing from all sin unto salvation would only come when they believed the gospel of Jesus Christ and that true cleansing could only be applied to any believer after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ as evidenced by the OT saints contained in Hades who were only liberated to heaven after Christ in resurrection body led them in triumphal procession.
The disciples of Act 19 had not received the Holy Spirit because they had only repented of personal sin and been baptized by John. They had not yet heard of Jesus Christ and His gospel of salvation to all through faith in His finished work on the cross.
This is unique to this time and to this nation at this time. There is no need for a baptist or anyone else to go around telling people to repent of sin before they hear the true gospel. After the ascension of Christ, God the Holy Spirit was sent to the world in order to convict the world in common grace and He, through His omnipotence, lifts the veil of the hard heart and makes the gospel understood for faith or rejection. At this unique time the people who believed in a Messiah foretold in the OT would now come face to face with the Messiah in the flesh. This is the only time in history that such a thing occurred and God made a special provision for it.
MAR 1:6 And John was clothed with camel's hair [not skin but woven camel hair] and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey.