Acts 19: 1-7Written by kathleen on Nov 15, 2015 in - No Comments
After you believe – Then what?
1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
As Paul meets these disciples there seems to be certain dynamics missing in their life; possibly one observation could have been a lack of fervency. A lack of love. A lack of passion. A lack of fire. A lack of conviction. A lack of separation from old habits.
There are many Christians in churches today who are lacking the real dynamic of the Spirit in their lives. They are sort of ho-hum Christians. There is no real fire. There is no real dynamic.
Like Paul as you begin to interact with them you may hear Yes, I’m a Christian. Of course, I believe in Jesus, but then it doesn’t go much beyond that.
There is no real enthusiasm for the things of the Spirit, or for the things of the Lord concerning kingdom business. And perhaps what Paul observed was that there was this sort of a spiritual deadness. Which may have lead to the question, “have you received the Holy Spirit?”
The Holy Spirit is a person as referred to in the Bible; (by the use of personal pronouns) but He is also a dynamic! And a power! He makes us alive to the things of the God! He brings brings a special drive and an enthusiasm into our life! Along with peace, boldness, guidance, strength, comfort, revelation and what ever we are in need of at the time.
The Holy Spirit draws and reveals to us the need for salvation; As a result of salvation He is the Lord who desires to live in and through us!
There is a good chance that Apollos was the one who brought the Word of God to these disciples and he knew only John’s baptism until Priscilla and Aquila had instructed him more fully; therefore their response was we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.
Their answer was a mystery to Paul, (amazing how many people today have a similar answer)
3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”
4 Then Paul said, “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.”
These Ephesians were disciples of John the Baptist and they had heard about the coming of the Messiah, and they heard of their need to be ready to receive the Messiah and to get ready through repentance. (changing their thought words and actions concerning their world view of life)
Yet they do not seem to have heard that the Messiah had in fact come, and had not heard of their need to trust in His specific person for salvation and to allow the Holy Spirit to guide them in their decisions!
The obvious question then being: So if you haven’t heard of the Holy Spirit. How were you baptized?
Paul may have continued telling them of Jesus and His resurrection and what Jesus had said to His disciples that they were to go and to teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
John’s baptism was in preparation for the Messiah. Jesus’ baptism was in celebration of the Messiah. John’s baptism was a sign of repentance. Jesus’ baptism was a sign of regeneration (spiritual rebirth)
Jesus speaking to his disciples in John 14:15-17 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever. 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
Jesus then continues a few verses later in: John 14:25-27 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
These Guys have a very willing response
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. 7 Now the men were about twelve in all.
Just as Peter and John laid their hands on the Samaritans, who had been baptized by Philip in Acts 8:14 the same effects happened here in verse 6: the Holy Spirit came upon them; and they spoke with other tongues, or in other languages, which they had never learned, or had experienced, as the disciples did at the day of “Pentecost”.
They began to prophesize and explaining the prophecies of the Old Testament, and telling of things to come… These 12 men began experiencing a changed life through the power of God working through them by His Holy Spirit; the same way God wants to work through you by the power of His Holy Spirit.
In the Bible there is a man named Ezekiel who ministered in a time and place when Israel had turned from and forgotten God.
In Ezekiel 37, we read how Ezekiel was caught up in the Spirit of the Lord and taken to a valley. As he looked across the plain, he saw only dead, dry bones. The Lord said to him, “Son of man, can these bones live again?” Ezekiel answered; “I don’t know,” then the Lord then commanded him to “Speak to the bones”.
So Ezekiel preached to the bones. And as he did, something incredible happened. With a great noise, the bones began to miraculously link themselves together into skeletons and skin appeared on them, BUT they remained lifeless.
So the Lord said to Ezekiel, “Prophesy to the wind.” The word for wind being “ruach” in Hebrew; which means “breath,” or “spirit”.
As Ezekiel prophesied to the wind, life entered the lifeless bodies, and they became a living army.
It was not when Ezekiel preached at them, but when he interceded for them—when he preached to the wind on behalf of them—that they became an effective, vibrant, living army.
God has said in Zech 4:6 “Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts,” meaning it is him who brings all things to life by His Holy Spirit
So in Acts 19, as Paul talked to the disciples in Ephesus, he realized that even though they were disciplined, even though they were believers in the coming messiah; there was a dullness in them, a dryness about them AND that could only be cured by the “ruach” or the Spirit within them. That is why he was pressed to ask if they had received the Spirit since they believed.
I must ask the same question. I know you’re believers, but have you received the Holy Spirit since the time you opened your heart to Jesus Christ?
I know for you who are born again believers and you know as well; that the Holy Spirit lives within you from the point of your salvation; but have you ever experienced what is called and is described in Acts 1:8 as the “epi” or coming upon of the Holy Spirit which is what we are looking at in this chapter?
Paul declared that any man who does not have the Spirit is none of His (Romans 8:9). In other words, if you don’t have the Holy Spirit, you’re not a Christian.
But when you opened your heart to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit took up residence with you. Therefore you have the Holy Spirit.
But the question really is: Does the Holy Spirit have you? That’s the issue. You see, there are different relationships you can have with the Spirit.
In John 14:17, speaking to His disciples, Jesus said. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
In John 20:22, when, following His Resurrection, Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
Then in Acts 1:8 He said, “Now that the Holy Spirit is in you, go to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Ghost to come upon you, for that is when you shall receive power
The word used for “power” in that passage was dunamis from which we get our word “dynamite.” This power is a life changing power that takes being saved to a whole new level of understanding as your eyes are opened to the things of the Spirit!
The disciples went to Jerusalem and waited for ten days until the Day of Pentecost. When a mighty wind blew through the Upper Room, the Spirit came upon them and they were changed from the inside out as they became devoted to the preaching and promotion of Jesus Christ and they did it with great power and then experienced awesome results as God moved through them..
The question still must be asked: Have you received the Spirit since you believed? I know the Spirit is in you, but have you allowed the Spirit to come upon you, to empower you?
Or are you still in the Upper Room, waiting; struggling with a lack of boldness, a lack of living water flowing from you, and lots of spiritual dryness within your life?
Ezekiel 22:30 teaches the same lesson. The Lord said Ezek 22:30 So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.
The way of God is such that He partners with us. He doesn’t work apart from us. He waits for an intercessor.
So if there’s trouble in your family, if there’s sin in our country, the problem is not with God—it’s with us.
I have to ask myself as a pastor over this church; where are we as a church? Are we partnering with God? Are we standing in the gap?
God is ready and waiting to bless. He desires to move in our lives.
He wants to touch our families; He wants to be involved with your kids. He wants to save your parents. He wants to work in the situation you see as so hard or terrible.
He’s waiting for you to partner with Him. But Does He need to? No. But He’s chosen to!
It has been wisely said that without God, I can’t. But without me, He won’t. He’s waiting to partner with you today.
Therefore, you can either say, “I’m open,” and wait for something to happen for the next fifty years; Or you can say, Lord, I need Your empowering and by faith, I now receive Your Spirit upon my life.” Holy Spirit come and fill me afresh!
The Spirit is even now within reach. Just receive Him by faith; with the same faith you had for your salvation.
When you do, your life and walk will never be the same.
Rom 10:8-11 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”