Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
This question was posed to certain disciples back in the days of Apostle Paul. I believe it's a question that should also be posed today in 2008. It is a good question and one that can lead to discovering where one is concerning the faith of Jesus Christ, after all the Bible exhorts us to examine ourselves whether we be in the faith. So today's question if we believe in Jesus as many claim , "have you received the Holy Ghost?"
Acts 19:1-6 And it came to pass, that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
These particular disciples were disciples of John the Baptist. (Matt. 3:11) I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: HE SHALL BAPTIZE YOU WITH THE HOLY GHOST, and with FIRE. There was no question that they did repent and were baptized under John (Mark 1:4) John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS.They did need the baptism of the Holy Ghost, but the Holy Spirit was not yet given until Jesus work on the cross was completed. These disciples did what they had to do at that time, but they still had a missing element that was needed to complete there full conversion. God knew all of this and made provision for these disciples to meet Apostle Paul and receive further instruction vital to their conversion. The baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Let's look at the next verse And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. We see here that Paul asked them a follow up question, but it was concerning their water baptism. What does water baptism have to do with the Holy Ghost ? Let's look further.
Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
When they heard this, THEY WERE BAPTIZED IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS.
Are we seeing this, these disciples were baptized again, but this time in the name of Jesus. These disciples were quick to hear and understand that they needed to BELIEVE on Christ Jesus thus they followed their confession of faith by being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and they also understood that Jesus would baptize them with the Holy Ghost and fire for their obedience.
Verse 6 saids And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the HOLY GHOST CAME ON THEM; and THEY SPAKE WITH TONGUES, AND PROPHESIED. There is a lot we can learn from this today there are those who are in need of correction through God's word just like back then. Many are afraid and too prideful to admit that their conversion falls short of the biblical apostolic standard. After all in 2 Tim. 3:16 saids All scripture is given by INSPIRATION OF GOD, AND IS PROFITABLE FOR DOCTRINE, FOR REPROOF, FOR CORRECTION, FOR INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS.
So Paul laid his hands upon them and they received the blessed gift of the Holy Ghost.
The Holy Spirit is an essential part of the spiritual birth (being born again). Without the Spirit we are not considered sons of God. Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, IF SO BE THAT THE SPIRIT OF GOD DWELL IN YOU. Now IF ANY MAN HAVE NOT THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST, HE IS NONE OF HIS.
We are all the creation of God, there is no doubt about this, but we are not all the children of God unless we have His Spirit residing inside of us through the spiritual birth. Further more Romans 8:14 states For as many as are LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD, THEY ARE THE SONS OF GOD. As we can see from this it is the Spirit that declares us sons, not just saying we believe. In the next verse it saids For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. We can't call someone father unless we are a son or daughter. God has adopted us into His family by this miraculous spiritual birth. Praise God!
I want to make a point about the disciples of John because in my personal experience I also was baptized twice. The first time I was baptized it wasn't according to the apostolic biblical standard. In the book of Acts the apostles always used the name of Jesus because they understood the revelation of Matthew 28:19 which saids Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in THE NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: They did not repeat the command they executed or obeyed what Jesus commanded, and that was to baptize in the NAME of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Peter understood that name to be Jesus and so did Paul and the rest of the first century Church disciples. God has never changed this method, His word is crystal clear on this matter.
I urge you to look into this and see for yourself. The second time I was baptize it was in the name of Jesus Christ and there was a huge difference the power that I experienced after coming out of the water was awesome. Specifically, I experienced a great flood of peace and all the weight of the sin conscience just disappeared in a moment of time. I remember this like it was yesterday.
Proper biblical water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Ghost are essential for being Born Again (John 3:5) we cannot enter the Kingdom of God without it. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of the WATER and of the SPIRIT, he CANNOT ENTER INTO the KINGDOM OF GOD. Paul understood this and that is why he asked the disciples of John Had they received the Holy Ghost since they believed? You see once we know the truth and we walk in the Spirit with God He gives us discernment so that we could teach and share with others who may find themselves lacking in the faith. Let's look at another example in Acts 18: 24 - 26 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. Sounds familiar.
And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and EXPOUNDED UNTO HIM THE WAY OF GOD MORE PERFECTLY.
Here is another occasion where someone who was eloquent, mighty in the scriptures, who was taught in the way of the Lord, who was fervent, and spoke boldly and taught the things of the Lord in a synagogue, but only knew the baptism of John. He had a lot going but he only knew John's baptism and he had a need for someone to expound the ways of God more perfectly or adequately. Aquila and Priscilla heard him and then took him under their wings and explained God's way
more clearly. Now if he was a proud man he would not have submitted himself to them to be taught. We have to be open to the Spirit of God and be teachable because we never know when God will send someone our way to bless us with a word of knowledge, or wisdom and even correction all for our benefit. Proverbs 9:9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. It shows prudence and humility on our part when we accept instruction. The scripture also teach us in (1 Cor.8:2) And if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
Ephesians 1:13 saids In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the WORD OF TRUTH, THE GOSPEL of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, YE WERE SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE,
So if you have not received the gift of the Holy Ghost then ask God for it (Luke 11:13) . . . . how much more shall your heavenly Father give the HOLY SPIRIT TO THEM THAT ASK HIM?
When you ask God He will give it to you when you obey him. (Acts 5:32) And we are witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, WHOM GOD HATH GIVEN TO THEM THAT OBEY HIM. Obey what ? the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.