Acts 19:1-7 (NIV) — “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 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?’ They replied, ‘John’s baptism.’ Paul said, ‘John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance.’ He told them to believe in the one coming after him, that is Jesus. On hearing this they were baptized into the name of our Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them.”
Happy Birthday, Church!
On Sunday, May 31 we celebrate our 2020th Birthday — Pentecost, the birth of the Christian Church — 50 days after Easter, receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:1-4 — “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed like tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
My goal in this article is not to discuss the practice of water baptism or speaking in tongues or debate the do’s and don’ts according to the various denominations. My main goal is to draw attention to our Biblical Pentecost, the Gift of the Holy Spirit. To encourage your own search and study.
I have recently been reminded of a very important spiritual, biblical truth: It’s not when we believed in Jesus. Because you can believe in Jesus and not be filled with the Holy Spirit, just as these believers Paul had encountered in our opening Scripture.
James 2:19 says, “You believe in one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder.”
Hebrews 11:6 — “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
For me, my understanding of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit starts in Luke 3 where John the Baptist prepares the way. Remember John’s baptism was one of repentance, and then he told the people, “I baptize you with water. But, one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
The next step in this parade is the baptism of Jesus, Luke 3:21-22 — “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are My Son, whom I love. With You I am well pleased.’”
For me this is a pivotal point in time. Jesus is about 33 years old. The Scriptures don’t mention Him doing any miracles or works of faith until after He’s baptized by the Holy Spirit.
There is so much more than my little article can present. I encourage each of you as you are led to take part in the Fellowship of Believers not only on Sundays but mid-week Bible study, youth group along with a host of other programs, so we have a chance to study God’s word, an open opportunity to talk about spiritual things that we may not get in other activities or environments.
Why we need the Holy Spirit: I close with these two Scriptures.
I Corinthians 2:14 — “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”
My friends, a truth for us all is we’re loved, we’re wanted and we are of high value.
John 6:44 — “Now one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”
We are drawn through love.