Derek Prince - John's Baptism Invalid After Pentecost
Now, there were limitations to the baptism of John. It only took people a certain distance. First of all, it did not produce the new birth. Matthew chapter 11:11, Jesus says of John the Baptist: Assuredly I say to you among those born of women, there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. So John was born of women but he was never born again. He didn’t enter into the new birth because that was not possible... until Jesus came.
So, he was one of the greatest of those born of women. But he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than John, not because of what we are, but because of where God has put us. He has brought us into the kingdom, through the new birth. You remember Jesus said unless a person is born again he can neither see nor enter the kingdom of God. So John had his limitations, God-given limitations. Secondly, this is important, after Pentecost the baptism of John was not accepted any longer as valid. This is revealed in Acts chapter 19. Acts 19, just the first few verses. And it happened while Apollos was at Corinth that Paul, having passed through the upper regions came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them: Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?
Now we’re not told what they were disciples of. Apparently Paul was not clear. But he asked a question which I imagine he asked everywhere he went, Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? Which proves that it’s possible to believe, without receiving the Holy Spirit. My first wife was like that. She was a tigress about receiving the Holy Spirit. Whenever she met anybody she said, Did you receive the Holy Spirit? And I think we are pretty slow today to raise this issue with people. Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? Well then Paul made a discovery. They said to him, We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit. And he said to them: Into what then were you baptized? So they said: Into John’s baptism.
Now, there are different ways of understanding that but if they said: We have not heard that there is a Holy Spirit, why did Paul say: Into what then were you baptized? Why the then? How come that they could not have been Christians, without hearing about the Holy Spirit? One explanation, is Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 28, to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. So, if they had had that baptism, they must have heard of the Holy Spirit. So, Paul realized that they were never baptized as believers in Jesus, they were only baptized with the baptism of John. So Paul went on, John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him, who would come after him that is, on Christ Jesus.
So Paul said: that was a preparatory baptism but now that Jesus has come, died and risen again, it’s not any longer sufficient. So in verse 5: When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. That’s the critical thing; you have to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Messiah to qualify for baptism. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them. They spoke with tongues and prophesied. So Paul was thorough. He didn’t accept anything superficial. He wanted the real thing and he wanted it thorough. So they had to be believers in Jesus, they were baptized in water and after they were baptized in water, as a distinct experience Paul laid his hands upon them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. So that’s trying to set the limits to the baptism of John the Baptist.