John G. Lake (1870-1935) was an evangelist, missionary, and Pentecostal pioneer. He’s one who usually requires no introduction, but if you’re unfamiliar with him, we’ve got a short biography available on a separate page.
Lake’s writing have been among the most influential in the Pentecostal movement. His teachings on healing, on tongues, and on the Holy Spirit have endured for generations. While some have distanced himself on some points (most especially on healing), many still believe that he was one of the most straight-forward teachers of his day.
We’ll be sharing his four-part teaching on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in the following blog posts. We’ll accelerate our schedule until these are complete, and then scale back to our usual routine.
This series, and many other sermons, are available in our book The Selected Sermons of John G. Lake: Volume 1. This volume is available in print, but is also available as a free download through NoiseTrade. If you like it, you can purchase volumes 2 and 3 in print, or you can download our complete collection as an eBook (via Amazon, iBooks, B&N, and Kobo).
We’ve got a large collection of Lake’s writings and sermons, and hope that you’ll enjoy them.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit: Part 3
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost was of such importance in the mind of the Lord Jesus Christ that He commanded His disciples to tarry in Jerusalem “until ye be endued with power from on high” (Acts 1:8). And they steadfastly carried out what the Lord had commanded, waiting on God in a continuous prayer meeting in the upper room for ten days until the Promise of the Father was fulfilled (Luke 24:49), and that Baptism had fallen of which John the Baptist spoke in Matthew 3:11, saying, “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.”
In order to obtain from Heaven the Spirit of Jesus (the Holy Ghost), it is first necessary that the individual shall know that his sins are blotted out, that the blood of Jesus Christ has sanctified his heart and cleansed him from the sinful nature, or the Adamic nature, the inherent nature of sin (Ephesians 2:1-3).
Personally I knew that my sins had been blotted out, but it was only two months prior to my Baptism in the Holy Ghost that I learned by the Word of God and experienced in my life the sanctifying power of God subduing the soul and cleansing the nature from sin. This inward life cleansing was to me the crowning work of God in my life at that period, and I shall never cease to praise God that He revealed to me the depth by the Holy Ghost the power of the blood of Jesus.
Many inquire what is the reason that when your heart is sanctified and the conscious knowledge of your cleansing has taken place that you are not instantly baptized with the Holy Ghost. From my own experience and the experiences of others it is readily seen that, notwithstanding that the heart is cleansed from sin, it is still necessary in many instances for the dear Lord to further spiritualize the personality until the individual has become sufficiently receptive to receive within his person the Holy Ghost. The forces of our personality must be subdued unto God. This we commonly speak of as spiritualizing. In many instances even though the heart is really pure, yet the individual has not at once received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, and in some instances has given up in despair and turned back to his first works, believing that there must still be sin in his heart, thus discrediting what God has already done within him through the blood of Jesus. No, it is not always that the heart is still impure. It is not because you are not thoroughly sanctified. It is only God waiting and working to bring you to the place and to sufficiently spiritualize your personality that you may receive into your being the Holy Ghost.
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost is not an influence, nor yet a good feeling, nor sweet sensations, though it may include all of these. The Baptism of the Holy Ghost is the incoming into the personality of Him, the Holy Ghost, which is the Spirit of Jesus taking real possession of your spirit (or inner man), of your soul (the mind and animal life), yea, of your flesh. He possesses the being. The flesh is caused to quake sometimes because of the presence of the Spirit of God in the flesh. Daniel quaked with great quaking when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him (Daniel 10:1-13).
Beloved reader, do you realize that it is the Spirit of Jesus that is seeking admittance into your heart and life? Do you realize that it is the Spirit of Jesus within the spirit, soul and body of the baptized believer that moves him in ways sometimes strange, but who accomplishes the wondrous work of God within the life that every baptized believer praises God has taken place in him?
While yet a justified man, even without an experience of sanctification, the Lord committed to me in a measure the ministry of healing inasmuch that many were healed, and, in some instances, real miracles of healing took place. Yet I did not know God as my sanctifier. Ten years later, after sanctification had become a fact in my life, a great and wonderful yearning to be baptized in the Holy Ghost and fire came into my heart. After seeking God persistently, almost night and day for two months, the Lord baptized me in the Holy Ghost causing me to speak in tongues and magnify God. I had looked for and prayed and coveted the real power of God for the ministry of healing and believed God that when I was baptized in the Holy Ghost that His presence in me through the Spirit would do for the sick the things my heart desired and which they needed. Instantly upon being baptized in the Spirit I expected to see the sick healed in a greater degree and in larger numbers than I had before known, and, for a times I seemed to be disappointed.
How little we know of our own relationship to God! How little I knew of my own relationship to Him; for, day by day, for six months following my Baptism in the Holy Ghost the Lord revealed to me many things in my life where repentance, confession and restitution were necessary, and yet I had repented unto God long ago. O, the deep cleansings, the deep revelations of one’s own heart by the Holy Ghost. It was indeed as John the Baptist said, “whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner: but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire.”
First, then, I will say the Baptism in the Holy Ghost meant to me a heart searching as I have never before known, with no rest, until in every instance the blood was consciously applied, and my life set free from the particular thing that God had revealed. As I say, this process continued for six months after my Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Second, a love for mankind such as I had never comprehended took possession of my life. Yea, a soul yearning to see men saved, so deep, at times heart rending, until in anguish of soul I was compelled to abandon my business and turn all my attention to bringing men to the feet of Jesus. While this process was going on in my heart, during a period of months, sometimes persons would come to my office to transact business and even instances where there were great profits to be had for a few minutes of persistent application to business, the Spirit of love in me so yearned over souls that I could not even see the profits to be had. Under its sway, money lost its value to me and in many instances I found myself utterly unable to talk business to the individual until first I had poured out the love passion of my soul and endeavored to show him Jesus as his then present Savior. In not just a few instances these business engagements ended in the individual yielding himself to God.
That love passion for men’s souls has sometimes been overshadowed by the weight of care since then, but only for a moment. Again, when occasion demanded it, that mighty love flame absorbing one’s whole being and life would flame forth until, under the anointing of the Holy Ghost on many occasions sinners would fall in my arms and yield their hearts to God.
Others have sought for evidences of this Pentecostal experience being the real baptism of the Holy Ghost. Some have criticized and said, “Is it not a delusion?” In all the scale of evidences presented to my soul and taken from my experience, this experience of the divine love, the burning love and holy compassion of Jesus Christ filling one’s bosom until no sacrifice is too great to win a soul for Christ demonstrates to me more than any other one thing that this is indeed none other than the Spirit of Jesus. Such love is not human! Such love is only divine! Such love is only Jesus Himself, who gave His life for others.
Again, the development of power. First, after the mighty love came the renewed, energized power for healing of the sick. O what blessed things God has given on this line! What glorious resurrections of the practically dead! Such restorations of the lame and the halt and the blind! Such shouts of joy! Such abundance of peace! Verily, “Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses.”
Then came as never before the power to preach the Word of God in demonstration of the Spirit. O, the burning fiery messages; O, the tender, tender, loving messages! Oh, the deep revelations of wondrous truth by the Holy Ghost! Preaching once, twice, sometimes three times a day, practically continuously during these four years and four months. O, the thousands God has permitted us to lead to the feet of Jesus, and the tens of thousands to whom He has permitted us to preach the Word!
Then came the strong, forceful exercise of dominion over devils, to cast them out. Since that time many insane and demon possessed, spirits of insanity, all sorts of unclean demons, have been cast out in the mighty name of Jesus through the power of the precious blood. Saints have been led into deeper life in God. Many, many have been baptized in the Holy Ghost and fire. My own ministry was multiplied a hundredfold in the very lives of others to whom God committed this same ministry. Yea, verily the Baptism in the Holy Ghost is to be desired with the whole heart.
Brother, Sister, when we stand before the bar of God and are asked why we have not fulfilled in our life all the mind of Christ and all His desire in the salvation of the world, how will be our excuses if they are weighed against the salvation of imperishable souls? How terrible it will be for us to say we neglected, we put off, we failed to seek for the enduement that cometh from on high, the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Again, are we close, may we say that it was only after the Lord had baptized us in the Holy Ghost that we really learned how to pray? When He prayed through us, when the soul cries born of the Holy Ghost rolled out of your being and up to the throne of God, the answer came back: His prayer, His heart yearning, His cry. May God put it in every heart that we may indeed see the answer to our Lord’s prayer, “Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is done in Heaven.”
But someone will say, “How about tongues? We understood that you taught that tongues were the evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Ghost?” So they are. “Tongues are a sign to them that believe not.” (1 Corinthians 14:22) While I personally praise God for the wonderful and blessed truths of His Word by the Spirit, revelations in doctrine, in prophecy, in poems by the Holy Ghost in tongues with interpretation that He has given me, yet, above all the external evidences, that which God accomplishes in your own lives, demonstrating to your own consciousness the operations of God, no doubt is the great evidence to the believer himself, for that which is known in consciousness can not be denied. We stand firmly on scriptural grounds that every individual who is baptized in the Holy Ghost will and does speak in tongues.
Baptism means a degree of the Spirit upon the life sufficient to give the Spirit of God such absolute control of the person that He will be able to speak through him in tongues. Any lesser degree can not be called the Baptism or submersion, and we feel could properly be spoken of as an anointing. The life may be covered with deep anointings of the Holy Ghost yet not in sufficient degree to be properly called the Baptism.