19:1 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.”
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.”
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.
So to summarize the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a big deal in the New Testament. It is so important that it is always accompanied by some kind of supernatural event. It is so evident to those "in the know" that they can quickly tell those who have not received the Holy Spirit.
In spite of all this, we seem to live and move in a Christian world today where these realities/truths seem all but forgotten. The only Christians who do seem to talk about it manifest behaviours completely foreign to Peter, John, Paul, or any of the other followers of Jesus in the New Testament. In short we either seem to have the wrong spirit or no spirit.
Perhaps the worst part is that we haven't really noticed either. Let me share a quote that I believe is telling:
"The lapse of time has wrought no change in Christ's parting promise to send the Holy Spirit as His representative. It is not because of any restriction on the part of God that the riches of His grace do not flow earthward to humanity. If the fulfillment of the promise is not seen as it might be, it is because the promise is not appreciated as it should be. If all were willing, all would be filled with the Spirit. Wherever the need of the Holy Spirit is a matter little thought of, there is seen spiritual drought, spiritual darkness, spiritual declension and death. Whenever minor matters occupy the attention, the divine power which is necessary for the growth and prosperity of the church, and which would bring all other blessings in its train, is lacking, though offered in infinite plenitude..." (Acts of the Apostles, pg 50)
So to review, and I truly hope you will study this out for yourself:
1, God wants to fill us with His Holy Spirit
2, Jesus promised He would come and we would be better off with His Spirit than if He stayed in person.
3, Jesus was baptized by the Holy Spirit immediately following His water baptism evidenced by a dove like presence and a voice from Heaven.
4, The disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost with tongues of fire on each head and a mighty wind. The preaching that followed had each person in the crowd hearing in their own language. Their water baptism was long before.
5, Saul/Paul was baptized with the Holy Spirit at his water baptism. The supernatural event was the healing of his blindness.
6, Cornelius and his household were filled with the Holy Spirit by God. There was no laying on of hands and it happened before their water baptism.
7, These believers in Ephesus received the Spirit and spoke with tongues (languages) and prophesied after Paul rebaptized them in the name of Jesus and laid his hands on them.
As you can see there is no pattern. There are no set rules. The one common thread is that we need His Spirit and with that filling comes gifts or healing as God determines we need.
We'll continue tomorrow...