199. Impartation of the Spirit.
'Then Peter and John placed their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.' ( Acts 8:17)
In keeping with God's promise to Abraham that 'all peoples on earth will be blessed through you', the Prophet Joel had prophesied: "In the last days", God says, "I will pour out my Spirit on all people... before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord." ( Joel 2:28-31, ) Then on the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out in fulfillment of God's promise, Peter stood up and said, "This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ... God has raised Jesus to life ... Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear " (Acts 2:16,32-33) The last days began with the outpouring of the Spirit in Jerusalem and since then the Spirit has been poured on different people groups and it will finally culminate in Jerusalem, when God 'will pour out his Spirit on the house of Israel', after every Jew has been gathered from the nations following the Ezekiel 38-39 war.(Ezekiel 39:28-29) Since the promise of the Spirit is the most fundamental of the Gospel promises, the Apostles made sure that people received the Spirit, just as Paul did at Ephesus ( Acts 19:2-6) and Peter and John did in Samaria. 'When the Apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. They prayed that they might receive the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.' ( Acts 8:14-16) Why couldn't Philip pray and lay hands on them for he himself did great signs and miracles?(vs 13) Philip the evangelist didn't have the commission (authority to do something) to lay hands because the mandate (authority to carry out) to impart the Spirit was given to the Apostles. 'When Simon the sorcerer saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the Apostles' hands, he offered them money to get this ability. Peter answered, "You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God ... For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin." ( Vs 20-23) Simon himself had 'believed and was baptized' ( Vs 13) but had not repented. ( Vs 22) Just because a person has been baptized in water, it doesn't mean that they are saved. Infact, many who have been baptized in water haven't received the baptism in the Spirit because they aren't born again yet! Receiving the Spirit is therefore the sure sign of salvation because 'the promised Holy Spirit is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance'. ( Ephesians 1:14) The impartation of the Spirit is for all who believe the gospel and repent of their sins, irrespective of whether they are baptized in water, as proven by the outpouring at Cornelius' house. ( Acts 10:47-48) Believe and repent! And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Amen.