Understanding Acts | Receiving | Acts 19.1-7 | movementministriesblog.com

by | Mar 22, 2023

“While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when[a] you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues[b] and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.” Acts 19.1-7

In Gary Chapman’s famous book, “The Five Love Languages,” one particular language speaks to me and its about giving and receiving gifts. In his book, Chapman explains that giving thoughtful gifts and gestures, and doing so with gratitude is a key to meeting this need within your spouse or significant other (Visit here for a list of all five love languages — https://alivecounselling.com/relationships/the-5-love-languages-what-is-your-love-language-and-how-to-speak-your-spouses-love-language/). This particular language isn’t about getting material items but expressing love in a way that speaks to the language of the heart. Personally, I not only love to receive gifts but enjoy giving them all the more.

In this passage a gift is given. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit offered to the disciples who had only received the baptism of John. As we remember from the end of the previous chapter, John’s chapter is a baptism of repentance but without the power of the Holy Spirit. When Paul meets some disciples in Ephesus, he asks – “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” The disciples answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” (Which really boggles me!) They explained that had only received John’s baptism. After Paul explained, he “placed his hand on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.”

This is significant for all believers. Not that everyone must speak in tongues, I don’t, or that every believer prophesies— but that the Holy Spirit is received. And this gift of the Spirit delivers gifts like the fruit of the Holy Spirit — love, joy, peace, patience and so forth. When someone opens their heart to God’s Spirit, gifts and fruit abound. In this instance, the gifts which abounded were tongues and prophesy as well as the manifest presence of God himself, which is not something to be missed.

In my previous post I mentioned how I have known people who call themselves Christian, even pastors who have not received the Holy Spirit. They preach a Gospel contrary to the Word of God. Their goal is not holiness of heart and life or social transformation through the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. These “believers” do not take up the cause of Christ or even believe what is written in the Bible, they are faithful to their own understanding of Christianity and it typically mirrors society rather than the Old and New Testament.

As I mentioned in a previous post, John Wesley preached the gospel for years before his heart was strangely warmed and he received the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit wants to live inside each believer. He comes after belief, a welcoming in of his Presence, a confession of the heart, and in this instance, laying on of hands.

The gift of the Holy Spirit is what allows us to know and experience the presence of Christ and God the Father among us. The Spirit is the Spirit of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Allowing his Spirit to become one with our spirit and to live within our being, is nothing short of spectacular and amazing. I received the Holy Spirit at my conversion, not at my baptism, and have tried to walk and live by the Holy Spirit since that time. There are moments when God’s Spirit is so heavy and filling my heart that I can hardly stand. And then there are other times when he is a quiet, deep whisper, reminding me that he is here and that he is near.

Have you received the Holy Spirit? Open up your heart – stop and pray now: “Jesus, I believe in you. I receive you. I welcome your Holy Spirit into my life. Fill me now with your power and love. I surrender all to you and believe upon your name. Give me your Holy Spirit that I might be fully yours and you full mine.”

“O Lord God, you are good. I thank you for loving me and for allowing me to be your person. Come now, Lord God, fill me with your love. Help me know the power of the cross and the depth of your holiness. I love you Lord and praise your name. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen