Baptism in Jesus - Receiving the Spirit
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?"
"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 and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.
In Acts 19:1-7 (NIV), Paul is in Ephesus and asks some Ephesian disciples if they received the Holy Spirit and they said they hadn't, but rather they had received John's baptism. It wasn't until Paul baptized them in the name of the Lord Jesus that they received the Holy Spirit as Paul lay his hands on them. This is interesting because I can see why some believe in a second "baptism of the Holy Spirit." However, my understanding is that upon belief, the believer has the Holy Spirit. Does this mean the Ephesian disciples were not believers? No. Context and timeframe are key.
NIV footnote for 19:1 - "some disciples":
"These 12 seem to have been followers of Jesus,but indirectly through John the Baptist - some oh his followers. Or perhaps they had received their teaching from Apollos himself in his earlier state of partial understanding (see 18:26). Like Apollos, they had a limited understanding of the gospel (see note on 18:25)."
Now look at Acts 18:25 (NIV):"He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus more accurately, though he had only the baptism of John."
NIV footnote on 18:25 - "baptism of John": "It was not in the name of Jesus ... Apollos knew something about Jesus, but basically, he, like John, was still looking forward to the coming of the Messiah. His baptism was based on repentance rather than faith in the finished work of Christ."
We live in a time where believers place faith in the finished work of Christ and have the Holy Spirit upon belief. Baptism in Christ is important and a matter of obedience, but is not absolutely necessary for salvation (where one is sealed by the Holy Spirit) as evidenced by the thief on the cross placing faith in Jesus and Jesus promising that he would be with Him in paradise that day.
Romans 10:9 (NIV) says, " If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." See the
progression? Belief and then salvation! Be baptized out of obedience if you can. More importantly, believe in the finished work of Christ -- the perfect life, burial, death and resurrection of Jesus -- His righteousness for your sin. And He seals you with the forever promise of the Holy Spirit. Today is the day of salvation! Believe! Do so today!
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