A Nugget from New Life Network
(by Dr. Larry Ollison)
Scripture for the Day – June 3, 2019
For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is for you and your children and for all who are far away [including the Gentiles], as many as the Lord our God calls to Himself.” (Acts 2:39, Amplified Bible)
This week a minister asked me a question. He said, “In the Bible, were people filled with the Holy Spirit when they became a Christian or did it happen later?” Well, let’s look at a typical case in the Bible.
After the church was established, there was great persecution and the believers were scattered abroad. It was during this time that Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to the Samaritans. The Bible says in Acts, chapter eight, that when Philip preached, the multitudes listened and obeyed the things he preached. Also, they were in unity and great miracles took place. Demons were cast out and many who were paralyzed were healed. Because of this great revival, there was great joy in the city. Then the Bible says these people believed all that Philip preached concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. Men and women alike were baptized.
Now, you must remember this. In the New Testament church, only those who had become saved and accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior were baptized. By all the standards of the New Testament church, the people of Samaria were Christians.
Now listen to this. “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 (the Holy Spirit) had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:14-16).
Much time had passed between the time Philip went to Samaria and the arrival of the apostles. They didn’t have telephones or email. News traveled slowly. This experience of receiving the Holy Spirit was definitely a second experience.
Many years later, Paul was traveling through the upper regions and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples and he asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” (Acts 19:1-2). These disciples didn’t know anything about the Holy Spirit. Paul taught them and then laid hands on them. Then they received the Holy Spirit. It was definitely a second experience. Evidently these disciples had been followers of Jesus for some time. But, not until they met Paul did the Holy Spirit come upon them.
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (Ephesians 1:13, KJV)
Several years ago, I was the pastor of a denominational church that did not believe that receiving the Holy Spirit was a second experience. As pastor, I taught that you received the Holy Spirit when you were saved and that was it. But, if that is true, then what do we do with all the biblical examples to the contrary? What do we do with the Book of Acts? As Christians we have a decision to make. Do we believe the Word of God unconditionally or do we blindly follow our denominational doctrines?
Now, don’t take me wrong. All doctrines and traditions are not wrong. In fact, most church doctrines are right on. However, as a believer, it is our responsibility to check everything out with the Word of God, the Holy Bible. If a doctrine lines up with the Word, keep it. If it doesn’t, then get rid of it.
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” (John 8:31-32).