A Nugget from New Life Network
(by Dr. Larry Ollison)
Scripture for the Day Feb. 7, 2019
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. (Acts 19:2)
Several years after the experience of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the church was still growing greatly. Saul was legally taking Christians captive and the apostles were stationed in Jerusalem. It was during this time that Philip went to Samaria as an evangelist or missionary and preached Christ to the Samaritans. He had great success!
In Acts 8:6-8 the Bible says, “The multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city.” Then in verse 12, it says, “But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.”
If this would have happened today, most evangelists would have thought they had one of the greatest revivals ever. Look what had happened. First of all, they heeded the things spoken by Philip. In other words, they believed what he said and acted on it. Then miracles took place. Unclean spirits, or demons, were cast out and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. This was a supernatural time. These things were happening daily and, according to verse 8, there was great joy in that city.
So, here’s the point. The people heard the gospel about Jesus and the kingdom of God; they believed what they heard; they acted on what they believed; miracles and healings took place; there was great joy; and in verse 12, all the men and women who believed were baptized. By New Testament standards, these people were Christians. They met all the requirements to be born again.
But then, in verse 14, we find where the news of this great evangelistic crusade got to Jerusalem. Keep in mind that at that time, there was no Internet, no fax machines, and no cell phones. News traveled slowly. So, after much time had passed and the news finally did get to the apostles in Jerusalem, the apostles decided to send Peter and John to Samaria. But why? Why would Peter and John need to go if the people of Samaria had already accepted Jesus and His teachings and were baptized?
We find the answer in verses 14-17: “Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”
When we open the Word of God and read experiences like this one that happened in Samaria, we must read God’s Word in truth. Too often when we read passages like this, we try to mold and twist them to fit the man-made doctrines of our own denominations. This should not be. We should approach the Word of God openly, without preconceived ideas of what we want to hear. We must accept everything that God’s Word says. Only then will we know the heart of God.
Ask yourself this question. If you find something in God’s Word that goes against your tradition, will you change your belief? Will you deny the truth of God’s Word in order to keep the man-made doctrines and traditions that you have become accustomed to?
Jesus said, “If you abide in My Word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The truth is there is a second experience after salvation that’s referred to in Acts 8:15 as receiving the Holy Spirit. We know this is true because God’s Word says it. And God’s Word always takes dominion over the words of