Monday, November 26, 2012

Have You Received?

This morning I was reading Acts 19, and wanted to comment here on the value of the question raised in verse 2, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" 

The Apostle Paul was speaking to a group of new believers in Ephesus.  The newly formed church was trying to grow in the face of what was one of the world's centers of religion.  In fact by the end of the chapter there is a riot in the city over the work of Christ in which, for hours, people chanted in the street that they believed in the Greek goddess Artemis.  The city knew religion, they just didn't know Christ.  And seeing the need of this city Paul asked the small church there whether they had received this Holy Spirit since they believed. 

The scripture has much to say on the person of the Holy Spirit.  Most born-again believers would agree theologically that there is a role that the Holy Spirit plays in the life of all believers.  That we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit at the time of our conversion -- that is the time when we accept Christ's work of salvation and forgiveness of sin.  Paul indicates in his question in Acts 19:2 that there is an additional or subsequent activity of the Holy Spirit that we ought to desire to receive.  This, of course, is in keeping with the teaching of Jesus in Acts 1. To the same group of people to whom he said, "Receive the Holy Spirit" (John 20) Jesus also said, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you..." (Acts 1:8) Did you catch that?  They had already been indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but Christ said there would be another activity of the Holy Spirit in their life.  This was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost and again and again throughout the book of Acts.  Again it is a subsequent activity of the Holy Spirit.  The New Testament refers to it as a filling or baptizing of the Holy Spirit. 

I believe the question is still pertinent today.  Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?  This morning I was thankful to have received a prayer request on a communication card asking for prayer to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  I believe as much today as in the early church we are dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the great commission of making disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey the word of God. 

Have you received?

--Pastor Ben

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