“While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.” (Acts 19:1-7)
This is not a joke.
There are many gatherings taking place today in the name of John the Baptist, and not in the name of Jesus.
They cannot teach one another the things of the Spirit because they have not welcomed the Holy Spirit. They have not received the Holy Spirit. They disregard any attribution made to the Holy Spirit.
These gatherings believe to have enough resources to “do” the work of God, enough resources to cause others to “like” God, enough resources to “advocate” on behalf of God. They want to please God without the Holy Spirit. Somehow, somewhere, someone said that it could be done and they believed it. If you don’t believe what they believe, you will be hated to the core.
This is very sad. Jesus never stayed in heaven to say, “John, you can do my work for me, so I’ll let you finish it for me.”
Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit. Yet, many churches are trying to acknowledge Jesus without the Holy Spirit. Something a historian would do.
You can’t teach anything to anyone who doesn’t want to learn anything from you. The scribes and teachers of the law never wanted to learn much from Jesus. They simply wanted to be around him to see which one of them would be the first at figuring out Jesus’ weak points. They love the publicity. People are gathering around Jesus, and they too want to be there as if the crowd was there for them and not Jesus. They were just waiting for opportunities to snatch disciples away from Jesus like jackals snatching leftovers from other predators. They were there to eat the crowd. Jesus was there to meet, heal, and teach the crowd.
Some welcome me because I am a relative. Some welcome me because I’m a work colleague. Some welcome me because they’ve met me at some familiar location.
I struggle to find anyone who would welcome me in the physical because of Jesus. Most of everyone I know, including pastors, welcome me for every other reason, but Jesus.
The church at Antioch had this event:
“Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” (Acts 13:1-3)
The Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
Church, we have a problem. Some of you have heard of a Holy Spirit, and yet have dismissed Him from your belief. Others have never even heard of a Holy Spirit. Both are trying real hard to do the work that only the Holy Spirit can do through our spirit and vessel.
The church at Antioch was a really big church. There were prophets and teachers. Both filled with the Holy Spirit. They weren’t fasting to punish themselves. They were fasting because they were overwhelmed with the joy and presence and peace of the Holy Spirit within them.
Receive the Holy Spirit. Welcome the Holy Spirit. Do not fear Him. If you believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit is in you to bring you Christ in full measure. He is God in you.
“Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
“So from now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:11-21)