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  • Sam Matthews. K

197. Did you receive the Spirit?

The promise of the Spirit is for those who believe the Gospel, just as the Spirit was promised to Abraham because he believed. So the first thing Paul asked anyone who were not discipled by him, was not whether they were healed or blessed, but whether they had received the Spirit because those who believe are 'marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance'. ( Ephesians 1:13-14). Therefore, when Paul arrived at Ephesus and found some disciples, he 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." ( Acts 19:1-2) The problem with the Church in Ephesus was that they didn't have anyone to teach them. When Paul arrived at Ephesus for the first time, they urged him to spend more time with them, but he declined, as he was in a hurry to reach Antioch. However, he promised to come back, if it was God's will. ( Acts 18:19-21). Meanwhile, Apollos came to Ephesus and 'he spoke with great fervour and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.' ( Vs 25) Once he left for Corinth, Paul arrived at Ephesus. The disciples in Ephesus were unaware of the truth concerning the Spirit because Apollos himself didn't know ! On hearing the truth about the Spirit from Paul, they were baptized into 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.' (Acts 19:5-6)

So it is imperative that everyone who have believed the Gospel, receive the Spirit and if they haven't, they need to reconsider their doctrines. The primary reason people don't receive the Spirit is either because of the ignorance of the truth or because of false doctrines. Many nominal Christians presume that they have received the Spirit by works, meaning sacraments ( religious ceremonies or rituals) such as being anointed with holy oil and being baptized in water, because they consider that as the evidence of their belief and repentance. But Paul asked the Galatians: "I would like to learn one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law (Torah), or by believing what you heard ? ... Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law (Torah) or because you believed what you heard?" ( Galatians 3:2-5) If the Israelites perished in the desert, even though 'they were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea and they all ate the same spiritual food (the heavenly manna) and drank the same spiritual drink (the water from the rock); ...' ( 1 Corinthians 10:1-5), then what guarantee is there that we will be saved, unless we have received the Spirit? Believe and receive the Spirit to secure your salvation! We as ministers of the gospel, should also ensure that others have received the Spirit, just as the Apostles did! Amen.

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