The Spirit within… the Spirit upon Part 2

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Sunday 06/02/24

Title: The Spirit within… the Spirit upon Pt. 2

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The Spirit within… the Spirit upon Pt. 2

We ended last week with a rather personal example lifted from my life which served to illustrate what we are studying in the scriptures following Pentecost. That is that the giving of the Holy Spirit UPON everyday Jewish and Gentile believers in the church was a separate and subsequent event to having received the Holy Spirit WITHIN at the New Birth! It is important to see that this was NOT just an event unique to the Apostles in the upper room on Pentecost. In fact, that would be true even if Acts 2 was all we had to go on because there were 120 people – both men and women in the upper room that day and the Spirit fell upon EACH ONE OF THEM as Acts 2:3 clearly says. According to Peter this event was the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel that God would pour out His Spirit UPON His church – both men and women, young and old, servant and free.

So far we have covered this event in Acts 2, followed by the Spirit coming upon the JewishSamaritans believers in Acts 8. Then we ended last week with the Spirit falling upon the Gentile believers of Cornelius’ house. That is a total of 3 witnesses so far, which according to scripture establishes it as the truth! [See Deut. 17:6; 19:15; Matt. 18:16; 2 Cor. 13:1; 1 Tim. 5:19; Heb. 10:28] – [See also the article – The Testimony of 2 or 3 witnesses]

We made note last week that it was significant that the progression of the Gospel was just as Jesus commanded. It began in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. It spread to all of greater Judea, partly due to the Jews who left Jerusalem and returned home following Pentecost and partly due to the efforts of the early Jewish church. Then the Gospel went to Samaria and then to the Gentiles beginning with Cornelius.

Today before we see additional examples of this we are going to continue by picking back up with two scriptural confirmations to the Spirit being given at Cornelius’ house – both of which offer us further insights into this truth.

Let me insert here that, we are skipping over a lot of information regarding the Holy Spirit which we will circle back and hit later if the Spirit allows. For now we are only seeking to establish a foundation for the relationship with the Holy Spirit which is available to God’s children. Once that foundation has been laid we will have a sure footing for examining how that relationship works in future teachings.

So turn with me to Acts 11…

In these three examples of the Holy Spirit coming upon people who were already believers we witnessed that some had been baptized in water BEFORE they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and others afterwards. The one thing however which remains unchanged in ALL of the examples is that this baptism NEVER happened BEFORE salvation. This is an important truth which is why we are going to examine the other two mentionings of what happened at Cornelius’ house. The first time it is mentioned in scripture it does not clarify that the HolySpirit fell upon them AFTER they were born again, Peter DOES however go on record saying this is the truth in the other two tellings of the event and that is important!

So what we’re about to read is a retelling of this exact same event to Jews who confronted Peter after this event. Then we will read about it AGAIN when Peter addressed the council in Jerusalem as they were considering whether the Gentiles needed to be circumcised and keep the ceremonial aspects of the law in order to be born again. 

So it’s important that we do not add these two retellings as additional examples because they are just retellings of when we already have read. 

Acts 11:1-18, “(11) The apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles had welcomed God’s message also.  

(2)  When Peter went up to Jerusalem, those who stressed circumcision argued with him,  (3)  saying, “You visited uncircumcised men and ate with them!”  

(4)  Peter began to explain to them in an orderly sequence, saying:  

(5)  “I was in the town of Joppa praying, and I saw, in a visionary state, an object coming down that resembled a large sheet being lowered from heaven by its four corners, and it came to me.  

(6)  When I looked closely and considered it, I saw the four-footed animals of the earth, the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky.  

(7)  Then I also heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat!’ 

(8)  “‘No, Lord!’ I said. ‘For nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth!’  

(9)  But a voice answered from heaven a second time, 

‘What God has made clean, you must not call common.’ (10)  

“Now this happened three times, and then everything was drawn up again into heaven.  (11)  At that very moment, three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were.  (12)  Then the Spirit told me to go with them with no doubts at all

These six brothers accompanied me, and we went into the man’s house.  

(13)  He reported to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, 

‘Send to Joppa, and call for Simon, who is also named Peter.  (14)  He will speak words to you by which you and all your household will be saved.’  

(15)  “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came down on them, just as on us at the beginning.  

(16)  Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 

“ (17)  Therefore, if God gave them the same gift that He also gave to us when we believed on the LordJesus Christ, how could I possibly hinder God?”  

(18)  When they heard this they became silent. Then they glorified God, saying, 

“So God has granted repentance resulting in life to even the Gentiles!”

So first, notice that Peter is linking the event THEY experienced at Pentecost with this event which he said happened AFTER THEY HAD BELIEVED!

I want you to also notice what Peter called the Holy Spirit coming upon these Gentile believers and by extension what he called the same event that happened to them in the upper room in Jerusalem. He called it being baptized with the Holy Spirit. Actually, what Peter was doing was informing us that this is what both John the Baptist and Jesus Himself called it.

Now let’s move on to the even clearer retelling before the council of Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem.

Acts 15:6-11, “(6) Both the apostles and the elders met together to deliberate about this matter.  (7)  After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, 

“Brothers, you know that some time ago God chose me to preach to the Gentiles so they would hear the message of the gospel and believe.  (8)  And God, Who knows the heart, has testified to themby giving them the Holy Spirit just as He did to us,  (9)  and He made no distinction between them and us, cleansing their hearts by faith.”  

So before we finish this passage I want you to see the clarification Peter offers and in fact this may very well be WHY the Holy Spirit saw to it that this one example of Cornelius appeared 3 times in scripture. It is a solid testimony WITHIN other solid testimonies – establishing the truth of this!

Peter here says that these Gentiles heard the message and believed. Furthermore, God recognized and ratified their new birth by pouring out the Holy Spirit upon these new Gentile believers -even before they were baptized with water. So the witness of their salvation BEFORE the Spirit came upon them is God’s Own personal testimony!

So let’s re-read verses 7-9 before continuing on to verse 11.

“Brothers, you know that some time ago God chose me to preach to the Gentiles so they would hear the message of the gospel and believe.  (8)  And God, Who knows the heart, has testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as He did to us,  (9)  and He made no distinction between them and us, cleansing their hearts by faith.”  

“(10)  So now why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear?  

(11)  On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, IN THE SAME WAY AS THEY ARE.”

Much could be said at this point about how the New Covenant is experienced and lived out by Jewish as opposed to Gentiles believers due to this statement. I don’t want to get too caught up in it because that’s not what we are focusing on today. Nevertheless I think it is imperative that we hear the words Peter

There is absolutely no difference between the requirements for salvation and the life lived subsequent to Salvation for Jews then there is for Gentiles

To add anything further because someone is a Jew is to lay a burden on them that no one was ever able to bear! 

Any Jewish believer today who strictly only worships in Jewish temples and who adhere to the ceremonial law as a matter of Christian law are going Beyond the pale of scripture, they are adding to the tenants of the New Covenant, they are testing the Holy Spirit, and they’re serving to maintain a division inside a body which Jesus died to eradicate! We have it from the testimony of Paul and Peter that through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the two peoples were joined together into ONE BODY thus making peace. To do ANYTHING and I do mean ANYTHING which would serve to separate or imply that there is a distinction between the two is an affront to the cross and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

That is a strong statement I know, but it is one I stand by and one which is given strong testimony to in the body of the New Testament!

Now an additional point we learn here is THAT these Gentiles were called Disciples BECAUSE they were Believers in Jesus. I want you to keep that in your mind when we get to Acts 19 where Gentiles are referred to as disciples again. 

But before that, we need a little history lesson which has an immediate bearing upon our last example in Acts 19.

We are going to introduce Apollos this morning as we read beginning in Acts 18:1. For time’s sake we are going to skip about, but on the website I will have the entire passage for you to read on your own.

Acts 18:1-28, 

“(1) After this, he left from Athens and went to Corinth,  (2)  where he found a Jewish man named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome

Paul came to them,  (3)  and being of the same occupation, stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.  

(4)  He reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath and tried to persuade both Jews and Greeks.  

(5)  When Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with preaching the message and solemnly testified to the Jews that the Messiah is Jesus.  (6)  But when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his clothes and told them, “Your blood is on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”  

(7)  So he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God, whose house was next door to the synagogue.  

(8)  Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed the Lord, along with his whole household; and many of the Corinthians, when they heard, believed and were baptized.  

(9)  Then the Lord said to Paul in a night vision, “Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent.  (10)  For I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to hurt you, because I have many people in this city.” (11)  And he stayed there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.”

“(12) While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack against Paul and brought him to the judge’s bench.

(13) “This man,” they said, “persuades people to worship God contrary to the law!”

(14) And as Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews,

“If it were a matter of a crime or of moral evil, it would be reasonable for me to put up with you Jews. (15) But if these are questions about words, names, and your own law, see to it yourselves. I don’t want to be a judge of such things.”

(16) So he drove them from the judge’s bench.

(17) Then they all seized Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the judge’s bench. But none of these things concerned Gallio.

“(18)  So Paul, having stayed on for many days, said good-bye to the brothers and sailed away to Syria. Priscilla and Aquila were with him. 

He shaved his head at Cenchreae, because he had taken a vow.  (19)  When they reached Ephesus he left them there, but he himself entered the synagogue and engaged in discussion with the Jews.  (20)  And though they asked him to stay for a longer time, he declined,  (21)  but said good-bye and stated, “I’ll come back to you again, if God wills.” Then he set sail from Ephesus.  (22)  On landing at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and went down to Antioch.  (23)  He set out, traveling through one place after another in the Galatian territory and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples. 

(24)  A Jew named Apollos, a native Alexandrian, an eloquent man who was powerful in the Scriptures, arrived in Ephesus.  (25)  This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught the things about Jesus accurately, although he knew only John’s baptism.  

(26)  He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. After Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him home and explained the way of God to him more accurately.  

(27)  When he wanted to cross over to Achaia, the brothers wrote to the disciples urging them to welcome him. After he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace.  (28)  For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating through the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah.”

So, Paul had already been to Ephesus before Apollos. Afterwards Apollos arrived and gained some followers of Jesus, but he did not teach them the whole truth since he knew nothing about baptism following salvation. He only knew of the baptism of John which was a pre-salvation baptism which was no longer being enforced since Jesus had already died and rose again. If you remember He told His disciples to preach the Gospel to every creature. Those who believe and THEN are baptized will be saved. [Mark 16:16]. So Aquila and Priscilla took him into their home and explained New Testament baptism as well as perhaps other things, we learn that he left Ephesus and went to Corinth which is where Paul had gone. At which point Paul returned to Ephesus where it appears that he found these prosolites of Apollos. We read this in chapter 19, so let’s turn there and begin reading with verse 1.

Acts 19:1-8, “(1) While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples  (2)  and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit WHEN YOU BELIEVED?” 

“No,” they told him, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”  

(3)  “Then with what baptism were you baptized?” he asked them. “With John’s baptism,” they replied.  (4)  

Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the One Who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.”  (5)  On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  (6)  And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit CAME ON THEM, and they began to speak with other languages and to prophesy.  (7)  Now there were about 12 men in all.”  

Now we suppose that these people were already believers who had been baptized into John’s baptism through the teachings of Apollos. We do so because the facts are laid out in such a way as to lead one to that conclusion. It is also a natural conclusion because so far as we know from scripture, the only other person who had preached the gospel in Ephesus had been Paul himself. So when he returned and found believers who had not received the Holy Spirit upon them, they MUST have been brought to faith in Christ by someone who only knew of John’s baptism and Apollos is the only person in the New Testament who is said to have taught salvation accompanied with John’s baptism rather than baptism in Jesus’ name. So it is a natural conclusion to arrive at.

Now I don’t even think this would have been a necessary diversion from our given focus this morning if it were not for some poor teaching regarding this among some in the body of Christ today. You see there are those who take the word disciple as it is used here with this group in Acts 19 to mean that they were disciples of John the Baptist. Their support for this is that these disciples had only been baptized with John’s baptism. So you can see that this is why I read what happened in Ephesus through Apollos after Paul had already left there.  

When Aquila and Priscilla heard Apollos speak they pulled him aside and taught him the gospel more accurately or put another way they filled in some of the blanks that he did not have. 

It is important to know that Paul, Aquila and Priscilla all saw the gift of God that was on Apollos. He was a gifted speaker, was devoted to the Lord Jesus and the furthering of the kingdom of God. They had no desire to slow him down or shut him down but they did need to make sure he understood the gospel more completely. 

My view is that these people Paul was running into here in Ephesus had already been led to  faith in Christ Jesus through the words of Apollos but had only been baptized with the baptism of John because that’s the only baptism Apollos knew. 

When they understood even better through the teaching of Paul they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus after which Paul laid his hands on them and the Holy Spirit came upon them.

Now it’s also important to realize that ultimately I’m not disputing one way or the other because it really doesn’t matter. These people still received the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of Paul and this happened clearly after they believed and were baptized with water. So you can readily see that it doesn’t make any difference if they were initially disciples in Jesus or disciples of John – the pattern we have seen so far continues regardless. 

In our other references to this we saw that being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus was subsequent to salvation and was a proof of it and so it is here. It was only AFTER THEY WERE BORN AGAIN THAT Paul laid his hands on them and the Spirit came UPON THEM. 

Again… this is not WHEN they were born again or even when they received the Holy Spirit within – that was accomplished by faith before water baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus

The Spirit coming or falling UPON these believers was the result of the apostle laying hands on them SUBSEQUENT TO salvation and water baptism!

If you remember, Jesus told us that the world cannot receive the Spirit of God, “because they do not see Him or know Him.” – John 14:17

Also Paul told the saints in Rome –But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God DWELLS IN you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” – Romans 8:9  

And the Galatians – “the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” – Gal. 3:14

So let’s wrap up today’s teaching by reading the last verse we are concerned with in Acts 19:8… 

“(8)  Then he entered the synagogue and spoke boldly over a period of three months, engaging in discussion and trying to persuade them about the things related to the kingdom of God.”

Blessings!

Tri

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!

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