|The Holy Spirit
Left: Temple of Artemus at Ephesus
The “gifts of the Spirit” are among the most controversial concepts in the
religious world. Many groups which are either “Pentecostal,” “Apostolic,”
or “Charismatic” claim the continuation of these gifts today. However, they
make the mistake of thinking the baptism of the Holy Spirit was for all men.
We have seen in former lessons that the promise of Jesus was for the
apostles, and the household of Cornelius received the Holy Spirit in the
manner that they did in order to break the prejudice of the Jews that the
Gospel was not for the Gentiles.
The normal manner of obtaining the Holy Spirit by the church
“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. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized?
And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized
with the baptism of repentence, 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. And
when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on the,; and
they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about
twelve.” (KJV – Acts 19:1-7).
Note three things in this passage: 1) They did not receive the Holy Spirit
until after they were baptized in the name of Jesus; 2) They did not receive
the Holy Spirit as a result of their baptism; and, 3) They received the Holy
Spirit by the laying on of the apostle’s hands.
They did not receive the Holy Spirit until after they were baptized…
The household of Cornelius is the only occasion of the reception of the
Holy Spirit by anyone before baptism in the name of Jesus. The occasion
surprised everyone. It was an indication that God had accepted the
Gentiles. It was a sign. It was a wonder. It was unusual.
Only after baptism did anyone else receive the Holy Spirit—baptism in the
name of Jesus – baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38-40). A baptism
of repentance, such as preached by John, was insufficient. Baptism for any
other reason would be insufficient. So when people are baptized because
they have already been saved, it is the wrong baptism, and they could not
receive the Holy Spirit.
They did not receive the Holy Spirit when they were baptized…
The Ephesians did not receive the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, when they
were baptized with the baptism of John; they didn’t even know there was a
Holy Spirit. Neither did they receive the Holy Spirit when they were
baptized in the name of Christ Jesus. Although Peter indicated the
reception of the Holy Spirit in connection with baptism on the day of
Pentecost (Acts 2:38), he did not indicate how the Spirit would be received.
What happened at Ephesus, as well as Samaria, is an illustration of how that
They received the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the apostle’s hands…
Simon, the former sorcerer, when he “saw that through laying on of the
apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying,
give me also this power that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive
the Holy Ghost.” (KJV – Acts 8:18) Timothy had received his gift of prophecy
“with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” (KJV – 1 Timothy 4:14)
The Ephesians received the Holy Spirit only “when Paul laid his hands upon
them.” (KJV – Acts 19:6)
Following baptism in the name of Christ Jesus, the baptism commanded by
Him, the apostles would lay their hands upon people, and they would
receive the Holy Spirit along with the gifts (those miraculous
manifestations of the 1st Century).