While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions until he reached Ephesus, on the coast, where he found several believers. “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them. “No,” they replied, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” “Then what baptism did you experience?” he asked. And they replied, “The baptism of John.” Paul said, “John’s baptism called for repentance from sin. But John himself told the people to believe in the one who would come later, meaning Jesus.” As soon as they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.
(Acts of the Apostles 19:1-7 NLT)
In the previous chapter, Paul had gone through the areas of Phrygia and Galatia. This was Asia Minor (Turkey). The southwestern coast of Asia Minor was where Ephesus was located. Paul had told them that he would return, if God willed. He was now returning. The church in this city is recognized in Revelation chapter 2 as the first of seven churches that the Spirit speaks to about commendations and/or condemnation. Paul learns quickly that the believers there had not heard about the Holy Spirit. They had only been baptized unto repentance (John the Baptist). They had repented of sin, and had been baptized. Their faith was genuine, but there was something more for them to receive. They were to be baptized under Jesus Christ, who John had proclaimed to be the Messiah. When they heard Paul's teaching concerning Jesus, they immediately desired to be baptized in Jesus name. After the baptism, Paul laid his hands on them as an act of impartation. They, then, received the Holy Spirit, spake with tongues, and prophesied. This occurrence is in line with what happened in Acts Chapter 2. The same Holy Spirit that baptized the believers on the day of Pentecost was present now in them. O, how we need the Holy Spirit to baptize us in Jesus name! This passage troubles some, because they aren't sure how to dissect this happening. I simply accept it as the Word of God! Many of our churches today have neglected to teach people beyond repentance and water baptism. We, as Pastors and ministers of Jesus, need to lay hands on the followers of Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit to baptize us in the Holy Spirit. I know, some of you are beginning to say "Hold on a minute now preacher. I have been saved and I know that the Holy Spirit is with me." I agree.
I Corinthians 12:3 says "So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit." However, you may have Him dwelling in your life and not have Him controlling your life. There is debate on this subject in Christian circles. Regardless of your denominational bent, why don't we simply ask the Holy Spirit to renew the church in His glorious power!!! Why not let Him choose to do as He pleases rather than telling Him what He can and cannot do in His church? He awaits our response!!!
Rev. Curtis Norris