Monday, June 20, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Acts 19:2 - Word, Hands, Baptism?

"Did you receive the Holy Spirit '

when you became believers?"
They replied, "No,
we have not even heard
that there is a Holy Spirit."
Acts 19:2
Do you know the formula for receiving the Holy Spirit?
  • Some will say that you need to say a particular prayer.
  • Some will say you must be baptized first.
  • Still others say it requires the laying on of hands.
  • Others say all you have to do is believe and "boom!" ... Holy Spirit.
  • Others say even just hearing the Word can stir the Spirit.
  • Still others say God can simply give the Spirit whenever he desires. 
Acts 19 seems to suggest that the key is baptism and/or the laying on of hands. Paul, you see, happened upon a group of believers in Ephesus. They believed, but didn't have the Spirit yet. So "5 they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus6 [and] when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied."
So are the keys baptism and the laying on of hands?
Not in Acts 10:44-48. In this case, the Spirit comes through the Word "44 Peter was speaking [and] the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word ... 46 [They were] speaking in tongues and extolling God. 45 The circumcised [i.e. Jewish] believers ... were astounded [read "appalled"] that ... the Spirit had been poured out ... on the Gentiles. 46 Then Peter said, 47, '[Who] can withhold the water for baptizing th[o]se who have received the Holy Spirit [just] as we have?" 
So it's not baptism and the laying on of hand? Is it the Word? Is it their moment of belief? Is it God just pouring himself out?
Yes! It's all of them. The Spirit comes to us through faith ... through the Word ... through baptism ... and/or ... through the laying on of hands ... and most of all, the Spirit comes whenever and wherever he wants: "The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8).
In Christ's Love,
a guy who gets winded
(mostly when I run,
but often when I read the Word
and catch the Spirit)

Laying on of hands has always made me so uncomfortable. What is the power of it? the importance? I am not comfortable doing it and really don't want others touching me - especially in the midst of a crowd.  Am I missing a blessing in this? 

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