1 John 5, the part that I'd like to focus on is beginning in Verse 4 where the Bible reads, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world. This is the victory that overcometh the world even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world but he that believeth that Jesus is the son of God. This is he that came by water and blood. Even Jesus Christ, not by water only, but by water and blood, and it is the spirit that beareth witness because the spirit is truth, for there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one and there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree in one."
The title of my sermon this morning is The Spirit and the Water and the Blood, the Spirit and the Water and the Blood. Now, it talks here about salvation in the sense that he that overcometh the world, the Bible says, is he that believeth that Jesus is the son of God. It says that whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world, so when it comes to being born again, born of God, the Bible talks about the fact that it's by believing in Jesus Christ. The Bible says that we're saved by faith, not of works, lest any man should boast.
The Bible here says that Jesus Christ came by water and blood, not by water only, but by water and blood, and it is the spirit that beareth witness because the spirit is truth. Then in Verse 8 it says, "There are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree in one." If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater, for this is the witness of God which he has testified of his son. He that believeth on the son of God hath the witness in himself. He that believeth not God has made him a liar because he believe in not the record that God gave of his son.
Now, go back to John 19. John 19, what is the Bible talking about here when it says the spirit and the water and the blood? Well, it says that there are three that bear witness. What does it mean to bear witness or bear record or testify? Basically, this is the evidence, the Bible is saying. When we think of someone bearing witness or bearing record we think of someone in a courtroom testifying and giving evidence in a trial. We're talking about the evidence here of the fact that Jesus is the son of God.
Now, whenever we're interpreting the Bible, we should always start with just understanding the surface meaning. What's the literal interpretation? Before we go looking for symbolism and deeper meaning, it's always good to just see what's right there on the surface. The best place to go for this is going to be the Book of John because 1 John is written by the same person as the Gospel of John. Let's go back to John's gospel and see what he's talking about with the spirit and the water and the blood.
Go to John 19:30. This is Jesus when he's dying on the cross, the Bible says in Verse 30, "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar he said, 'It is finished,' and he bowed his head and gave up the ghost." Now, the word "ghost" is a synonym for the word "spirit." They both mean the same thing. They're used interchangeably in the Bible. There we have the spirit, when he gives up the ghost.
Let's keep reading. It says, "The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation that the body should not remain upon this cross on the Sabbath day, for that Sabbath day was a high day, besot Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers and break the legs of the first and of the other, which was crucified with him." Jesus Christ is crucified between two thieves. In order to make sure that these men die quickly, they break their legs so that they won't be able to breathe.
You say, "Well, how would that stop them from breathing?" Well, because they're hanging by their hands. Their hands are nailed to the cross and their feet are nailed to the cross and they have to use a lot of muscles in their body even to be able to draw a breath, and so by breaking their legs that's going to speed up the process and make sure that they die quickly. Why? Because they want to get these guys down from the cross in time for the Passover, so they break the legs of the men to the left and right of Jesus. Then it says, "When they come to Jesus in Verse 33 and saw that he was dead already, they break not his legs."
Now, this was that a scripture might be fulfilled that said, "Not a bone of him is broken," that none of his bones will be broken. Instead of breaking his legs they look and they see that he's already dead but they still want to verify that he's really dead and be able to tell Pontius Pilate that he is for sure dead, that there's no question about the fact that he's dead, so what do they do? Look at Verse 34. "But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side and forthwith," which means immediately, "came there-out blood and water."
What do we have here? The spirit and the water and the blood. Jesus giving up the ghost and then when he is stabbed with the spear, blood and water come out the side. Then it says in Verse 35, "And he that saw it ..." What? "Bear record," the exact wording from 1 John 5. "He that saw it bear record and his record is true, and he knoweth that he sayeth true that ye might believe."
Why is this so important? It's important because in order to be saved we have to believe in the death, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are those who don't believe in that. They lack faith in that. Here's what they'll say. "Oh, Jesus didn't really rise again," and many will even come up with some kind of a theory that he didn't really die. He just swooned on the cross or he just seemed like he was dead or he was just a fainting death and so forth.
No, no, the Bible is clear here to make sure that we understand there's no way around it, if you believe the witness of God here, if you believe the record that God gave of his son through John, Jesus Christ was dead. There's no question about it. They looked at him and said, "He's dead." They saw him give up the ghost, but just to make sure, they stab him anyway. Just to make sure they shove a spear through his side and blood and water issue forth from his side.
If we take the literal meaning of 1 John 5, the surface meaning is that, "Look, we know for sure that Jesus Christ died on the cross." John is saying, "I was there. I'm an eyewitness. He gave up the ghost and blood and water issued out of his side." Those are the three evidences of his death. But then also he's saying, "I saw him as he was resurrected." He said, "My hands handled him," because if you remember when Jesus came to them, they put their fingers in the holes in his hand and they put their hand in his side to see that it was truly him in a resurrected form. That's the main meaning of the passage. Not only that, there's also a symbolic meaning of the spirit and the water and the blood, and that's what we're going to look at next.
First of all, let's start out by looking at the symbolic meaning of the blood. Go to Romans 3. Romans 3. What's the sermon about this morning? The spirit and the water and the blood. What did he mean by that, there are three that bear witness? They bear witness to the fact that Jesus really did die and that he really did rise again. The three evidences were the fact that he breathed his last breath. There's no more breath in him, no more spirit in him. He also was stabbed in the side and there issued forth blood and water, but nothing in the Bible is incidental, coincidental or accidental.
Has it ever struck you as interesting that both blood and water came out of Jesus' side? We would think of someone being pierced in the side and that blood alone would issue forth, but no, the Bible is clear on the fact that there was blood and water. There's obviously a deeper significance here. When we talk about the significance of the blood, you turn to Romans 3. I'll read for you from Matthew 26 where the Bible says of Jesus, "This is my blood of the New Testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins." What is the purpose of Jesus' blood? It was for the remission of sins, that our sins would not be counted against us. That's what "remission" means there, that we would not have to take the rap for our sins but that Jesus took that punishment for us. In Luke 22:20 it says, "Likewise, also, the cup after supper saying, 'This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you.'" Jesus shed his blood for us that our sins might be remitted.
Look at Romans 3:23. The Bible says, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God being justified ..." What's "justified" mean? Declared righteous in the eyes of God. "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God has set forth to be propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness," not our righteousness. See, our righteousness isn't going to get us into heaven. That's why it said in Romans 3:10, "There's none righteous. No, not one." That's why the Bible said that our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, but the Bible says that his righteousness is what saves us. We are saved through faith in his blood, believing in his blood.
The Bible says that we have redemption through his blood. Look down at your Bible there. It says, "To declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God," Verse 26, "To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." There's no question about it, that our salvation is not by the things that we do or the goodness that we have in us. No, it's actually his righteousness. He's just. We're not just. He is just and he's the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus, but it's all through the blood, isn't it?
Flip over to Chapter 5. Chapter 5:8, where does justification come from? Where does salvation come from? Where does redemption come from? The Bible says, "The blood of Jesus." Look at Verse 8, "But God commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, much more than being now justified by his blood." I like how it's now. We don't have to wait until we die to find out. No, we're now justified by his blood. We shall be saved future from wrath through him. We're now justified and we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Look at Ephesians 1. While you're turning to Ephesians I'll read for you from Colossians. Colossians 1:13, "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and have translated us into the kingdom of his dear son in whom we have redemption through his blood." Here's a new word associated with the blood, "Even the forgiveness of sins."What did the blood do for us? The blood gives us forgiveness. The blood gives us redemption. The blood gives us remission. The blood provides justification, salvation. It's all through the blood of Jesus. Wouldn't you say the blood is extremely significant?
What does the Bible say in Verse 20? "And having made peace through the blood of his cross." YOu're in Ephesians 1. Wait over there. I'm reading from Colossians. "And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself by him. I say whether they be things in earth or things in heaven." Now we have another word associated with blood, "reconciliation." We are reconciled unto God by his blood, redeemed by the blood of the lamb, saved by the blood, justified by the blood. What does the Bible say there where you are in Ephesians 1:7. "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace." Grace is something that we don't deserve. It's just given to us freely.
Flip over to Chapter 2 in Ephesians there. Ephesians 2:13. "Now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." Now, the context of Ephesians 2, he's talking about how we're foreigners and strangers to Israel as gentiles. He's writing to gentiles in Ephesus, and he says, "You used to be foreigners and strangers. You used to be considered the heathen, the gentiles," but he says, "If you believed in Christ, you're made nigh by the blood of Christ." Not only do we have redemption, remission, forgiveness, but we also have citizenship by the blood of Christ. He says we're fellow citizens with the saints and that God has broken down the wall of partition between Jew and gentile and through his blood we've been brought nigh. Through his blood we have that citizenship in heaven.
Flip over if you would to Revelations 1. While you're turning there, I'll read for you from 1 Peter 1:18, "For as much as you know that you are not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers but with the precious blood of Christ as of the lamb without blemish and without spot." 1 John 17, "But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another." Watch this. "And the blood of Jesus Christ, his son, cleanses us from all sin."
Revelation 1:5, "And from Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness and the first begotten of the dead and the prince of the kings of the earth, unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood."
Chapter 5: 9 in Revelation there if you just flip over the page, "And they sung a new song saying, 'Thou art worthy to take the book and to open the seals thereof, for thou was slain, and as redeemed as to God by thy blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation.'"
Chapter 7:14, "And I said unto him, 'Sir, thou knowest,' and he said to me, 'These are they which came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb.'"
Now, this robe of righteousness, this is obviously not necessarily a physical garment for us in 2015 on this earth, but the Bible teaches us that our righteousness are as filthy rags. That's what we're clothed in spiritually, and then when we get saved and the righteousness of Jesus is imputed unto us, we basically have washed our robes in the blood of the lamb here. We have a new garment that represents his righteousness, not our own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ. The righteousness which is of God by faith. We could go on and on. This is just a small sampling of scriptures on the blood. We could go into the Old Testament and show the hundreds of times that the blood has significance.
Let's look at one more, Revelation 12, while we're in Revelation anyway. It says in Verse 10, "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 'Now is come salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ, for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night and they overcame him.'" Overcame who? The accuser. See, the devil is accusing us and pointing out our sins to God and we overcome him by the blood of the lamb. It says, "They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they love not their lives unto the death."
It's pretty easy to see the significance of the blood. When John emphasizes and says, "There are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree in one," the significance of the blood is beyond question, beyond doubt. It's no coincidence that the Bible records that spear going into Jesus' side and blood and water issuing forth. No question that the blood is what cleanses our soul. It's what gives us forgiveness, redemption. It's what gets us saved. It's what gets us into heaven. It's spiritual salvation.
What about the significance of the water? What does the water represent? Go to Ephesians 5. Ephesians 5, and of course water does represent many things in the Bible in various contexts, but what we have to understand is that when Jesus died on the cross, there were three things that left his body in that passage in John 19. First, he gave up the ghost, then issued forth the blood and the water. These are three things that left Jesus' body when he died on the cross, the spirit, the water and the blood. They all issued forth.
These three things basically do three things for us spiritually. What does the blood do for us? It gets us saved. It gets us redeemed and forgiven, and it gets us in the family of God and brought nigh unto Christ. But what does the water do for us spiritually? Look at Ephesians 5:25. The Bible reads, "Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it." Why did he give himself for it? It says in Verse 26 that he might sanctify it and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word that he might present it to himself a glorious church not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing but that it should be holy and without blemish.
What does the water represent? A spiritual cleansing through the word of God. It's interesting that this is associated with church, because we go to church to hear God's word preached, and God's word being preached at church has a cleansing effect on us. See, we only get saved one time. The Bible says that Jesus Christ has sanctified us by his blood once for all. One time he died on the cross. One time we believe in him and we're born again. It doesn't say to be born again and again and again. It just says to be born again. Once we believe on Jesus Christ we have everlasting life and we shall not come into condemnation. We've been passed from death unto life. We're sealed unto the day of redemption. He will never leave us nor forsake us. As far as the east is from the west, so far God has separated us from our sins.
That's salvation through the blood, but God doesn't want us to just get saved and then just continue living a dirty life. Now, if we do continue in sin, grace will abound, but the Bible says, "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" God forbid. Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, but should we do that? Absolutely not. The Bible says, "If you love me, keep my commandments." What must we do to be saved? Only believe. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved, but if we want to show our love to him, then we won't just continue living an ungodly life. He wants us to take it a step further. Otherwise, there'd be no need to come to church.
Think about it. If being saved was the only will that God had for your life, you could just get saved, and then why go to church? You're saved. It's done. You're redeemed. The blood has been applied to the doorpost of your heart and you're saved, but the purpose of the water is to cleanse us. God wants to cleanse us by the washing of water of the word, and he wants to purify us and he wants us to be holy in his sight.
Go to Hebrews 10. See, the word of God has a cleansing effect. The Bible says, "Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee ..." There's a great song about this in the hymnal, Rock of Ages. Think about the words to that song. "Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee. Let the water and the blood from thy wounded side which flowed. Be of sin the double cure, safe from wrath and make me pure." So, see, whoever wrote that song understood what I'm preaching about here. They understood that it was of sin the double cure, safe from wrath. That's the blood; right? That was Romans 5:9. Make me pure. That's the water, to clean up our lives.
God doesn't just want to save us, although that's key. That's primary. If you're not saved, everything else is vain. Everything else is a waste. You can douse yourself in water as many times as you want, but if your soul is not clean, it's not going to do you any good. How does the soul get clean? By the blood of Jesus. What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
We have here the washing of water by the word to clean up our lives, to purify our lives. Look at Hebrews 10:19, we'll see the water and the blood. It says in Verse 19, "Having therefore brethren boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus." That's what gets us in the door. Verse 20, "By a new and living way, which he have consecrated for us, through the veil that is to say his flesh and having a high priest over the house of God ..." What's the house of God in the New Testament? The church, according to 1 Timothy 3:16.
"Having a high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." Now, the sprinkle there is referring to the blood. Well, how do I know that? Well, just flip the page to Hebrews 12:24. You're right there in Chapter 10. Flip over to Chapter 12:24, "And to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant and to the blood of sprinkling, which speak of better things than that of able."
Also 1 Peter 1:2 talks about the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. The blood is mentioned there in Hebrews 10:19, "We have our hearts sprinkled," Verse 22, "From an evil conscience." That's the blood. "And we have our bodies washed with pure water." There's the blood and the water right there.
What is that referring to? Us cleaning up our lives, us being washed and purified, not just our soul to get us into heaven but also the way that we live our lives, which is a process. Salvation is not a process. Salvation takes place in an instant, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Our spirit is quickened when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we are saved by his blood, but there's a lifetime of living for Christ and there's a lifetime of cleansing, the washing of the water by the word. You see, we don't just go to church one time. We go to church weekly. We go to church three times a week or however often in order to keep on trying to get out lives cleaned up and purify ourselves of some of the things that don't belong in our lives.
Look at Chapter 10:23. Notice there's again an association with church besides just mentioning the house of God he says also in Verse 23, "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering for he is faithful the promise and let us consider one another to provoke and to love and to good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is but exhorting one another and so much less in the end times because it's hard to find a good church." Is that what it says? No. He says, "So much the more as we see the day approaching." We need more church, not less church. Why do we need more church? For the washing of water by the word. See, Christ gave himself for the church that he might cleanse it, that he might purify it with the washing of water by the word. That's the purpose.
Now, a lot of churches, they'll preach on the blood. They'll preach salvation. They preach grace and faith, and that's important; right? But wait a minute. What about the washing of water by the word? You know, think about it. If I were to ask right now for a raise of hands, how many of you know for sure you're going to heaven? The whole place would put their hand up, probably 90-some percent. It's great to rejoice in the blood, but we need more than that. We can't just preach on salvation every Sunday, salvation, salvation, salvation. Jesus dying on the cross, the death and the resurrection. No, no, no. We need to also preach against sin. Why? Because we need the cleansing too. We need the purification.
God does not want us to be saved but then to continue living a dirty life. He wants us to clean up our life, and church will help you clean up your life by preaching on sin. Sometimes the pastor has to get out like a fire hose and just (sound effect). You want to go in the shower and have a nice gentle water-saving device, and you want to have the loofah and you want to have the soft soap kind of a sermon, but sometimes the dirt is really caked in in our lives. I mean, sometimes soft hand soap isn't going to be enough. That's why if we were to go down to a mechanic's shop, they're not using soft soap. There isn't a loofah hanging above the sink. What do they have? Gojo, and it has grainy sand in it, kind of scrape in there and get all the grit in there and get it cleaned up.
Here's the thing. We're living in a nation that's as dirty as a mechanic's shop spiritually. You know, when you go to the mechanic and his hands are just blackened, just completely blackened with dirt. That's how we are spiritually in America today. That's how our nation has become. We're not looking lily white today. No, no, no, we've been blackened by sin and we have all that grime and grit, and a spiritual soft soap from Pastor Loofah down at Dove Baptist or whatever isn't going to do it. We need Gojo Baptists, Gojo Baptist Church that will get in there. Sometimes it gets a little gritty and it's sometimes a little rough. You're like, "That's a rough sermon," but you know what that rough sermon is going to do? It's going to get in there and get that grime and grit out of your life. It's hard.
Who thinks it's easy to get the sin out of your life, so easy? "I got saved" news is a piece of cake. No one's who's sane thinks that. Everybody knows that it's hard to get the sin out of your life. It's hard to live a clean and pure life, and that's why you need some gritty preaching to get in there and clean it up for you. Scrub it in there. By the way, God's word is not only likened to water. It's also likened unto soap, likened unto a soap. Fuller soap that would make you clean and white.
We need a church that will scrub us down and clean us up and get out the fire hose, put some pressure behind that water, not just a slow drip; right? Where we're trying to wash our hands and we trying to smear one drop all over our hand trying to spread it out the one time the pastor kind of talked about sin. "Oh, oh, oh ..." Come to Faithful Word. It's like (sound effect). This is Niagara Falls Baptist, you know what I mean? You're going to get blasted with the word. It ought to be; right? It's what we need. It's not easy today in America. It's not easy in 2015 to live for God. You need all the help you can get.
Listen to me. Your teenagers need all the help that they can get. There's a lot of dirt out there that your teenagers could get involved in. They need the washing of water by the word. God loved the church and gave himself for it. He wants to cleanse it, and he said, "The house of God ..." it says here in Chapter 10. Jesus is a high priest over the house of God. Not only was Jesus the sacrificial lamb. We often think of him as the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. He was the sacrificial lamb but he has another ministry. He's also the high priest over the house of God.
Why? Why do we need the house of God, which is the church of the living God? Why do we need preaching? Why did God give us pastors and teachers and apostles? Why did he give us that? For the perfecting of the saints. Why? The washing. The purification. The cleansing that we need.
Flip back to Chapter 9. You're in Hebrews 10. Go back to Chapter 9 and I'll show you the blood and the water once again just to show you the consistency of God's word. Chapter 9:18, "Whereupon, neither the First Testament was dedicated without blood, for when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law he took the blood of calves and of goats ..." and I think here's a phrase that some people just read over "...with water." It's easy to skip that, huh? He says, "He took the blood of calves and of goats with water and scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled both the book and all the people."
Now, the scarlet wool is obviously a textile, a fabric; right? Wool. Then the hyssop is a plant that they would basically dip and use to sprinkle. Okay? Basically the scarlet wool and the hyssop are the devices by which the sprinkling was done physically in the Old Testament. They used the wool and the hyssop to be a sprinkling implement. But the two things that are being sprinkled, and we don't have time, but if we went back we could see this in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, we would see that the blood is sprinkled but that there's also water involved as well. The blood and the water.
Then if we keep reading, it says in Verse 20, saying, "This is the blood of the testament which God has adjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry, and almost all things are by the law purged with blood and without shedding of blood is no remission." It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
What the Bible is saying here is that the tabernacle in the Old Testament was actually just a representation of the true tabernacle up in heaven. Moses was told when he built the tabernacle, "See that thou make all things according to the pattern that was showed thee in the mountain." The Bible says that the things on this earth are a pattern of the things in the heaven.
The things in the heavens were not sanctified with the blood of bulls and of goats but with the blood of Christ. The things on this earth are just symbolic. That means that according to the scripture there is a literal holy of holies in heaven, and the Bible makes this clear elsewhere. There is a literal tabernacle in heaven and that Jesus Christ as the high priest literally sprinkled his blood on the mercy seat in heaven. His blood was sprinkled, and the Bible says that that blood is still there today and that that blood testifies of our salvation. That blood is there to keep us safe.
Now, this shows again the significance of the blood of Jesus Christ. It's not to be downplayed. There are preachers out there that would downplay the blood, the most famous being John MacArthur, saying, "Oh, the blood, the only reason we feel this way about it is because of a lot of hymns that we sing, Power in the Blood, Nothing but the Blood, Are you Washed in the Blood, Saved by the Blood."
Here's the thing, John MacArthur, the reason we have all those songs in the hymnal is because the Bible ... Look at all the verses I read earlier, verse after verse after verse, and he says, "Oh, well, when the Bible says 'blood' it's just a euphemism for the death." Here's the problem. You can't sprinkle death. You're not washed in the death. The fact that it says "sprinkling" and "washed" shows that we're talking about the literal blood of Christ.
There is a literal arc of the covenant in heaven. There is a literally mercy seat. There is the literal blood of Jesus Christ that was sprinkled in heaven. That's what the Bible says. It says in Verse 24, "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands," so Jesus did not walk into the physical holy of holies in Jerusalem to do this. It says, "He did not enter into the holy place made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God for us nor yet that he should offer himself often as the high priest enters into the holy place every year with blood of others. For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world, but now once in the end of the world if he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself and as it is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgment, so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." See that second coming of Jesus Christ, his glorious appearing that's coming.
The Bible is really clear on the significance of the blood. It saves us. It keeps us saved. It redeems us. It reconciles us. It justifies us. You can't put too much emphasis on it, because the Bible mentions it hundreds of times and all the songs that we're singing about the blood, they ought to be sung, because they're biblical.
Then the significance of the water is after we're already saved we need to keep on getting cleaned up. How many times does the blood of Christ need to be applied in order for you to be saved? Once. The Bible just made that clear. How many times do you physically take a shower? All the time; right? I mean, think about it. How often were you born to your parents? Once. You're only born again once. Okay, but how many times do you need to get cleaned up after you're born into your parents' family. You don't say to your mom, when your mom says, "Hey, you need to take a bath. You need to take a shower. You need to wash your hands." You don't say to your mom, "Well, here's the thing, though. When I was born your water broke. I was bathing in water in the womb." Right? "I was bathed in water. When the water broke, I came out with water. I came out clean in that sense, so why do I need to take a shower now eight years later? I was born of water." No, because, see, the water is something that needs to be applied over and over.
The blood is applied once. You're saved once, but the water is a continual washing. Sunday morning, get washed up. Sunday night, wash up. Monday morning, open the Bible by yourself and wash up. Start scrubbing; right? Come to Wednesday night, get the Gojo (sound effect). See, men like the way that feels anyway. Just like we love hard preaching. We get bored of soft soap preaching. I don't know about you. I do.
Thirdly, what's the significance of the spirit? We all understand the blood. We all understand the water. We use it hopefully every few days or every day to wash up and in the shower. The water is a concept we understand. The blood better be a concept you understand if you're saved, but what's the significance of the spirit?
Flip over to Acts 1, because, remember, three things issued forth from Jesus when he died. When he died he gave up the ghost. When he died, blood and water issued from his side. There are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit and the water and the blood. The significance of the blood, salvation. The significance of the water, continual cleansing, purification, but the significance of the spirit is the power of God on our lives to do great things for God, the power. The spirit is what gives us the power.
Now, why is this important? Let me read you a few verses and then I'll explain. While you're turning to Acts 1 I'm going to read Micah 3:8, "But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord." Do you see that? "I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord and of judgment and of might to declare unto Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin." Micah is talking about the fact that he had the power to preach hard on sin through the spirit.
What does the Bible say in Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem and in all of Judea and in Sumeria and unto the uttermost part of the earth. There we have the power to preach the gospel, the power to win the lost to Christ." He said, "You'll receive power and you'll be witnesses." Go to Acts 4:31. The Bible says, "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and they spake the word of God with boldness."
What is the Holy Ghost ministry there? To give us the boldness to speak the word of God, to give us the boldness to be a witness for Christ and to win people unto him and to give the gospel, to be bold in preaching on sin, it takes the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The spirit gives us the power to do great works for God. Go to Acts 11, just a few pages to the right, and I'll show you a verse about Barnabas. Barnabas is one of the apostles and he was one that traveled with Paul quite a bit, and the Bible says of Barnabas in Verse 24, "For he was a good man and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith ..." and what was the result? "And much people was added unto the Lord." When you've got a good guy and he gets filled with the Holy Ghost and with faith, a lot of people get added to the Lord as a result of that preaching.
What does it mean to be filled with the spirit? What is the purpose of being filled with the spirit? Turn over to Ephesians 5, if you would. Now, stop and think about this. Are there some people who have the blood but they're kind of lacking the water and the spirit part? Yeah, this would be a guy who gets saved, so the blood, he's taking advantage of. God's giving us three things. He's giving us his spirit. He's giving us the blood and he's giving us the water. These are the three things that we need. Okay? Now, the guy who's got the blood part figured out, okay, he's saved, but if he doesn't have the water, he's going to keep living a dirty life.
Listen, don't let people tell you that anybody who's living a dirty life is not saved, because it's a lie. There are people who are saved who continue in sin. That's what the Bible teaches. Now, if we do, then that's where God punishes us, because the Bible says, "Whom the Lord loveth he chaseneth and scourges every son whom he receiveith." Just like if my child continues in sin in my house, what are they going to get? A whipping. But they're not going to be thrown out of the family.
It's the same thing with God. Once we believe on Christ, we're saved. We're in the family, but it's possible to still be rolling around in the mud once in a while. It's possible to be returning to our wallowing in the mire, and so there's a guy who's got the blood part down but he's not got that continual washing by the water of the word. He's not in church. He's not reading his Bible and he continues living a dirty life, and he's not filled with the spirit, so he's not doing great works for God either. That's pretty easy to understand, isn't it?
Well, now let's stop and think about a guy who's got the blood and the water figured out but he's not filled with the spirit. Who would that guy be? That's the guy who's saved and he's cleaned up his life. Let me tell you something. There are a lot of people who are saved and have cleaned up their life but they don't have the power. They're not filled with the spirit. There are all kinds of people like this who basically are living a clean life, and thank God that they're living a clean life. Thank God that they're not out fornicating, committing adultery, drinking, partying, reveling. It's great that they're cleaned up their ... I'm so glad of all the things that they've quit doing, but is that really going to get everybody out of hell that you quit doing stuff? Is that going to get your family saved? Is that going to get your neighbor saved? Is that going to win ... Are much people going to be added to the Lord just because you've cleaned up your life? No.
That's where the spirit comes in. God doesn't want it to stop at the blood. He also wants us to get cleaned up, but he doesn't want it to stop at getting cleaned up. He also wants us filled with power and speaking his word with boldness. There are plenty of people who live a clean life. They're good family people. They live a godly home, but then they just kind of show up to church and go home and don't really do a lot of works for God. They don't preach with power. They don't go soul-winning. They don't win people to Christ. They need to get the third element there of the spirit.
What are some ways that we could be filled with the spirit? Well, first of all, in Acts 4 they prayed for the power of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 1 and 2 they're praying. In Acts 4 they're praying. This is something that we should pray for. Now, don't get me wrong. Just by being saved, just by being saved, you are in-dwelled by the Holy Spirit, but that doesn't mean you're filled with the Holy Spirit, because if you were automatically filled with the Holy Spirit you wouldn't have to keep telling you to be filled.
Look at Ephesians 5 in Verse 18, the Bible reads, "And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess but be filled with the spirit speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." Some ways to be filled with the spirit are, first of all, to pray for the power of the Holy Spirit. Number two would be to sing to yourself in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.
You see, just by singing and ... By the way, I didn't say listening to, so get this right here. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Singing hymns, singing praises to God, will actually cause you to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That's what the Bible says. Now, this is something that a lot of people put very little importance on, but I think it's very important. This is why we actually sing before the preaching at FA4 Baptist Church.
I was just talking to a guy recently. He said, "At our church we don't do any singing." He said, "We just show up. We have announcements and start the preaching." But you know what? That's not the right way to do it because of the fact that when Jesus and his disciples were together, the Bible records them singing a hymn, and the tradition of singing hymns before the preaching is not just something that we do because, "Well, we've just always done it and that's how we grew up and we're just going to carry on the tradition." No. It's to prepare our hearts for the preaching of God's word. It's so that you come into church and get your spirit in the right place by singing.
Did you notice how we don't have any performers up here? We didn't say, "All right, everybody, sit back and we're going to go ahead and dim the lights and we're going to have someone come up here and perform for you." Did you notice that there was zero performance and that it was 100 percent participation? This is called congregational singing. It's all we do. All we do is congregational singing. Why? Because I want you to be filled with the spirit. I don't want one performer up here filled with the spirit. I want everybody to be filled with the spirit, so let's all sing in our hearts and to the Lord and lift up our voices and make a joyful noise unto the Lord.
You know, the whole Book of Psalms supports what I'm saying right now. Hundreds of times it tells you, "Praise the lord. Lift up your voice. Play skillfully with a loud noise on an instrument of ten strings. Open your mouth wide" and so forth. It's all there.
Go to Colossians 3 and I'll give you a third way to be filled with the spirit. Colossians 3, you say, "Well, Pastor Anderson, I don't want to be a dead Christian. I don't want to be some guy who's got my life totally cleaned up, but yet much people aren't being added to the Lord, but yet I'm not really doing great works for God. I don't really have any power in my life. I'm kind of a stagnant Christian. Well, how do you get filled with the spirit?" Well, you need to start praying for power. Pray for boldness. Pray for the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that he will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.
Okay, number two ... and remember, even David, when David confessed his sins to God in Psalm 51, he said, "Take not thy Holy Spirit from me." He's not talking about the in-dwelling. The in-dwelling nigh had been given. He's talking about the power of the Holy Spirit on his life, being filled with the spirit. We can't lose our salvation but we can lose our power. The Bible is teaching us that we can be filled with the spirit through prayer, through asking for the power of God.
Number two, through singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Don't just discount that. Don't just say, "Well, I'll skip that because I'm not a musical person." Change. "I don't like singing." Change. "Well, I just have a bad singing voice." You know why you have a bad singing voice? Because you don't sing. Everyone is good at that which they do and bad at that which they do not do. Right? People who are really good at stuff, they spend all their time doing it. People that are terrible at something, they don't do it.
Now, why am I comfortable at getting up and speaking publicly? Not because I'm just a natural. No, because the first few hundred times it was pretty hard, but once you've done it 2,000 times it's pretty easy to get up and talk to a crowd once you've done it ... once you've done anything 2,000 times.
Now, many people are adults and it's hard for them because they grew up their whole life without singing. Thank God for growing up in church where you learn to sing. Isn't it great that your children don't have to suffer your fate? If you raise your children in church, they can actually start singing as a little tiny child. I mean, my toddlers were singing this morning. My son Steven was singing this morning Joy to the World, just walking around the house singing Joy to the World. Even [Boaz 00:47:57] will sing kind of in an avant garde style. It defies some of the rules of western music but he does sing. They start at the beginning. They start young. That's what's so great about congregational singing. It's why I'm not interested in replacing it with a bunch of performances. I want to keep it congregational. Let's let everybody be involved. I want everybody to be singing. Anybody who wants to play an instrument, play an instrument, everybody involved. Not a spectator sport, a participation sport is what we're talking about.
Thirdly, how can we be filled with the spirit? Well, it's interesting, because Colossians 3:16 is parallel with Ephesians 5. He says this, Verse 16, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." What's interesting is that this verse says the same thing in Ephesians 5, but it replaces "being filled with the spirit" with "the word of Christ dwelling in you richly." That shows that those two are related. The more the word of God is in you richly, the more filled you are with spirit. Okay, so we can get filled with the spirit.
It's not complicated, folks. Prayer, singing and reading and meditating. This is what's going to fill you with the spirit. God's word is spirit. Jesus said, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." It's not some kind of a spooky experience where you have to go through some kind of a strange ritual to be filled with the spirit. It's not a rolling in the aisles as it would be in many of the so-called Pentecostal churches but rather it's a being filled ... and it's a whole sermon of itself. Obviously, I can't take the time right now.
Let me just close by taking you back to 1 John 5. Obviously, we don't have the time to go into everything about the Holy Spirit. It would take multiple sermons to cover even the basics of everything we need, but just to give you a starting point, why don't you start by singing the hymns every day? Why don't you start by checking out that list and learning the songs and singing those and take the hymnal home with you. When nobody's looking, put the hymnal in your coat and take it home. I say that jokingly, but I encourage people if they don't have a hymnal, take the hymnal home. It's here for you. I'll order more. Why? Because I want you to sing the hymns not just on Sunday and Wednesday but throughout the week. You'll get better at singing by actually singing. That's how you'll get better.
You can start reading your Bible more, memorizing scripture. You can start praying daily for power in your life. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you power. These are three things that God has for you, the spirit and the water and the blood. We want to take advantage of all three.
Look at Verse 6, the 1 John 5, "This is he that came by water and blood. Even Jesus Christ ..." Watch this "... not by water only but by water and blood and is the spirit that beareth witness because the spirit is true." You see, there's a gospel out there that's a bloodless gospel. It's a bloodless ... It's a water-only gospel. Isn't there? A water-only gospel, a gospel that said, "Hey, just clean up your life." It's not about faith in Christ. It's about turning over a new leaf.
There are people in this world who literally go to church and call themselves a Christian and they literally don't even believe that Jesus died on the cross or that he even rose again from the dead. You say, "Well, what are they doing? Why are they going to church?" Because they just want to go there to be a better person. They just want to go there to clean up their life. They just want to go there and help the community, and this is known as the social gospel, social gospel, where it's a bloodless gospel. It's a water-only gospel, and water in the Bible also represents the flesh. It's flesh only, flesh-based. Then there's blood only. What's the blood only? That's the guy who gets saved and just lets it stop there. There's no such thing as spirit only, because if you've got the blood ... You can't have the spirit without getting saved first, without getting the blood first.
We need to in closing take advantage of all these three things that Christ gave us, the spirit and the water and the blood. Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much for your unspeakable gift, the precious blood, the water of life, the word of God, the Holy Spirit, the comforter. Lord, help us to make sure that we get all three of these. They all three agree in one. They all three work together. Lord, help us make sure that we are not imbalanced but that we take advantage of all three gifts that you gave us that day when you died on the cross, and Lord help us to proclaim your bodily, physical resurrection, Lord, and the miracle that is salvation through the gospel, through the blood, through the death, burial and resurrection. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.