13 October 2013 by Published in: William Gadsby, Sermons No comments yet

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”—1 Corinthians 12:13

May I entreat you to ask your consciences this important question. As you have read from the Word of God, that Christ is the Head of the church, and that his people are the members of his mystical body, “Am I really one of these members?”

Some deny the baptism of the Spirit, yet admit the baptism of water. Others believe the baptism of the Spirit to be all that is needful, and deny the baptism of water. But I am not, this morning, going to speak of baptism, but of the union existing between Christ and his church. O Lord, baptize me by thy Spirit in speaking thy Word, without which I cannot speak aright; I cannot get into it, I may, indeed, skip around it, but not enter into its fulness, its glory and beauty.

1. Let us consider the blessed and inseparable union between Christ and his church.
2. The glorious Person engaged in behalf of this union.
3. As a confirmation of this union, he baptizes the whole church into this glorious body.
4. How God pours out his Spirit into their souls and causes them to drink into one Spirit.

1. The blessed and inseparable union between Christ and his church.

The church of God is safe. First, because this union was decreed before all worlds; and secondly, because this union of the elect with Christ is preserved in Christ by the life and power of the Spirit. Blessed be the Lord, who hath chosen us in him, and not out of him. As Jude says, “Sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Christ Jesus, and called.” So that our calling is a proof we are preserved.

In what sense are we preserved? “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.” Did Christ lose any of his people? No; they were preserved in him from all eternity. In old Adam they all fell; but in Christ they never fell. There were none of them lost. See how the sheet, let down to Peter, gloriously exhibits the mystical body of Christ! What a blessed knitting together is this union! This glorious union does away with all confusion. What confusion and uncertainty there would be if what some say were true,—that if they improve grace they will be saved, and if they neglect it they will be damned. Do they remember that the Head of the church is Christ, and that through and in him there are many members; yet they are but one body? If first one member were cut off and then another, all would be confusion, disorder, and misery. But God has cemented the whole body together by hi« eternal decree, that his church should be one in him, “even as he and the Father are one.” And at last he shall ascend and triumph with all his blood-bought family in his bosom.

Then each one of you ask yourselves, “Do I belong to this glorious number, united in one body by the everlasting love of God?” O, sinners! Ask yourselves what proof you have that you belong to this body, which is Christ. Paul was one of this union, even when he held the witnesses’ clothes while Stephen was being stoned, he consenting to his death. He was even then a vessel of mercy, chosen in Christ to minister unto the Gentiles. The Philippian jailor was one, and he in deep humility and concern for his soul, cried out, “What must I do to be saved?” Mary Magdalene was one, who, in deep penitence of soul, anointed the feet of her Lord. Who would have thought of a Paul, a jailor, or a Magdalene being of this number? But they were, though wrapped up in divine obscurity. you may be thus wrapped up,—a member of this glorious body; and you may be fully persuaded that salvation is in Christ alone; and yet not clearly see your own interest in him. People tell you, “You are only a sinner, and Christ died for sinners; so be one with Christ, and all will be well with you.” But you feel your helplessness; you want something more than knowing you are only a sinner, and that Christ died for sinners. You feel all hope in self and of self is gone, and that you cannot find any place to abide in, except in Christ. Then you feel a knitting of your soul to him, and hear him sweetly saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.” God shines into your soul with divine light and love, and draws you nearer to himself by his Spirit. You know it, and feel it, and realize a divine oneness between Christ and your own soul.

2. And now, let us briefly notice the glorious Person engaged in behalf of this union, which is the Holy Spirit. He had not come when Christ was upon the earth; but the Lord Jesus said he would send him when risen from the dead: “Even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, the Comforter; he shall testify of me, and shall dwell with you and be in you.” He shall testify of me as your glorious Head, and shall testify to you that you are members of my body. And,

3. “As a confirmation of this union, he shall baptize you manifestively into this glorious body.” The first glorious manifestation of this was on the day of Pentecost, when the disciples were all met together with one accord, to worship God in one place. So Christ, when he was about to leave his disciples, in his prayer for them, said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them which shall believe on me through their word.” They were all of one body.

4. O that I could express in words how richly God pours out his blessed Spirit into the souls of his people! It is a river to swim in,—a river to bathe in; a river of pardoning love; a river that no man Mm fathom; a river without bottom or shore,—from everlasting to everlasting; -‘the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanseth from all sin.” And when the blessed Spirit powerfully applies that precious blood to our hearts, he baptizes us in love; so that away goes all the world; Jesus is our all in all; and our souls shout aloud for joy, while our hearts are melted and our tongues are let loose. O, believer, have you ever experienced this? God grant that you may, again and again, as you journey through this wilderness.

“Hail, sacred union, firm and strong;
How great the grace; how sweet the song,—
That worms of earth should ever be,
One with incarnate Deity.”

May the Lord bless his truth to your hearts and mine; for his Name’s sake. Amen.


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