John Piper on Baptism with the Holy Spirit

John Piper on Baptism with the Holy Spirit February 29, 2008

This week Terry Virgo shared a couple of interesting anecdotes about Piper, Lloyd-Jones, and the Holy Spirit. This made me think that I should restart “Piper Fridays” here on the blog. So, here is a quote from a Piper sermon that refers to something else the Doctor said about the baptism of the Spirit.

Back in 2005 I cited another quote from John Piper which makes clear his commitment to the Doctor’s doctrine of baptism with the Holy Spirit. Indeed, Piper even says, “We could talk for hours about what that experience is. In fact, most of my messages are just that—descriptions of the experience of the Spirit of God in the life of the believer.” It is striking that to the young Piper, he believed most of his messages where about what the Holy Spirit did in the hearts of believers experientially. It seems he must be referring to the central doctrine of his life’s work—Chrisitan hedonism. Anyway, back to the quote I wanted to share today:

“Let me use an illustration from Martin Lloyd-Jones in his book Joy Unspeakable to describe the difference between common Christian living and what happens when the Holy Spirit “clothes” a person with power or “comes upon” a person with this unusual power.

He says it is like a child walking along holding his father’s hand. All is well. The child is happy. He feels secure. His father loves him. He believes that his father loves him but there is no unusual urge to talk about this or sing about it. It is true and it is pleasant.

Then suddenly the father startles the child by reaching down and sweeping him up into his arms and hugging him tightly and kissing him on the neck and whispering, “I love you so much!” And then holding the stunned child back so that he can look into his face and saying with all his heart, “I am so glad you are mine.” Then hugging him once more with unspeakable warmth and affection. Then he puts the child down and they continue their walk.

This, Lloyd-Jones says, is what happens when a person is baptized with the Holy Spirit. A pleasant and happy walk with God is swept up into an unspeakable new level of joy and love and assurance and reality that leaves the Christian so utterly certain of the immediate reality of Jesus that he is overflowing in praise and more free and bold in witness than he ever imagined he could be.

The child is simply stunned. He doesn’t know whether to cry or shout or fall down or run, he is so happy. The fuses of love are so overloaded they almost blow out. The subconscious doubts—that he wasn’t thinking about at the time, but that pop up every now and then—are gone! And in their place is utter and indestructible assurance, so that you know that you know that you know that God is real and that Jesus lives and that you are loved, and that to be saved is the greatest thing in the world. And as you walk on down the street you can scarcely contain yourself, and you want to cry out, “My father loves me! My father loves me! O, what a great father I have! What a father! What a father!”

. . . I think this is basically what happened at Pentecost. And has happened again and again in the life of the church.”

— John Piper: You Shall Receive Power, 1990

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