030 – Lemonade in the Pool!

The Holy Spirit come into people and comes upon people.

I hope we have aptly answered all of the objections to water baptism so far. We have just learned that Ephesians 4:4 is true. There is only one baptism and that one baptism is in water by the Spirit. It’s one baptism with two things happening at the same time, just like Jesus told Nicodemus. One event, two components. It all happens at the same time. Now just when we think we are getting all of this nailed down, we bump into a conversion like this one.

The Fly in the Ointment

Acts 19:1-7
“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 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. There were about twelve men in all.”

Well, this is a huge fly in the ointment of our “One Baptism, Two Components happening at the same time” thingy, isn’t it? And just as I thought we were well on our way to agreement. In this event, the Holy Spirit is clearly received after their physical baptism. What’s up with that?

And how about this one…

Acts 8:12-17
“But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.

When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.

When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”

Ouch, this is really putting a dent in our theory! In this story, people are baptized but once again, they “receive” the Holy Spirit some time later! How can this be?

… As Ricky used to say, “Lucy… you got some ‘splaine to do!”

An Amazing Explanation Using Lemonade

OK, if you have never heard this before, get ready for some major light bulbs to come on! I will never forget the first time I heard this. This explanation is a result the kind of logical, reasonable Bible study I love hearing and sharing. This is the sort of thing that really fires me up to dig into the scriptures. I hope it inspires you too. Let’s begin with a little illustration. Let me take you back to your childhood.

Think back to those wonderful days of summer when you and all your friends played so hard in that sweltering July heat. You could really work up a thirst. Mom might make up a huge pitcher of ice cold lemonade; which you and your friends gulped down eagerly, quenching your parched throats. It was particularly appreciated after a long bike ride! Remember? Or even better, lemonade by the pool. Nothing was quite as refreshing as splashing and playing in the chilly water of the swimming pool on a hot summer day.

Water played a big role in the life of an out of school, fun in the summer kid, didn’t it? It was awesome! Just thinking about it puts a smile on our face!

Sometimes the water went into us, sometimes it was on us. Both were refreshing but they were different modes of use.

It’s the same with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit doesn’t operate in just one way. He “comes into” folks, and He can also “come upon” people!

In and On… Two Different Prepositions

In the accounts we just reviewed, did you notice that phrase “came on,” and “come upon?” The scripture does not say the Spirit “came into” the believers. Now, I’m are not splitting hairs here. There is an important distinction. Let’s walk through it.

First, let’s remember, God promises the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit to every Christian… to everyone who obeys him. Here are two passages which explain this.

Acts 2:38-39
“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Acts 5:32
“We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

In Acts 2 and 5, we learn, The Holy Spirit is a promise. This was true for the the people on the day of Pentecost, and… He is also a promise for all generations! A promise by God can not be broken. Therefore, whenever we see a person obey the Gospel, without question, that person receives the Holy Spirit. This is what we call the “indwelling Holy Spirit.”

The Purpose of the Miracles

Sometimes in the Bible, we see a case when the Holy Spirit “comes upon” a believer. Each time it happens, this “coming upon” is associated with miraculous events. So, why did this happen? To understand, we need to recall the purpose of miraculous signs and wonders. Listen closely to these passages.

Acts 2:22-23
“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.

Mark 16:20
Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Acts 14:3
So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.

Acts 8:6
When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said.

Hebrews 2:3-4
This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Ok, I think we have enough to make the point.

The miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit were always done for the purpose of verifying the veracity of the speaker. Jesus was accredited as authentic through the signs and wonders He performed. The word of the Apostles was confirmed through the presence of miraculous signs and wonders. The message of Paul and Barnabas is confirmed by miracles. Phillip’s followers paid close attention to him because of the miraculous things they saw. Hebrews again reminds us, the message was confirmed by these events when God Himself testified by performing them. The purpose of the miraculous signs was always to confirm what a preacher or prophet was proclaiming.

The Spirit Received After Baptism

In the conversions we just studied, the Holy Spirit is “received” or “comes upon” people who were already baptized. If they were baptized, they had already obeyed the Gospel and experienced salvation which, by definition includes the indwelling gift of the Spirit. If we are unfamiliar with the different ways the Spirit works, this might be seem confusing. Let’s revisit these accounts and take things step by step.

Acts 19:1-2
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?”

Paul is in Ephesus. He meets some disciples. At first glance, we might assume these are disciples of Jesus. But, as Paul gets to know them, he detects a problem. For some reason, he is prompted to ask, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” We are not told why he asked this question. We surmise it was something he saw in the way these people spoke or acted which led him to believe they were not Christians. Paul connects receiving the Holy Spirit with belief. At this point, we do not know if he is referring to the indwelling Holy Spirit or a miraculous manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Their reply is revealing.

They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

Bottom line, their teaching was incomplete. It doesn’t matter what measure of the Holy Spirit we are taking about here… they don’t know anything about any kind of Holy Spirit. These “disciples” are not disciples of Christ. As Paul realizes this, he presses for more information.

So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.

John’s baptism was a water baptism. These people respond with the common sense, usual case understanding of the word “baptism.” They only knew about a baptism in water, specifically the baptism of John the Baptist. As an aside, I find this really interesting because it had been years since John the Baptist preached. Where had these guys been? Paul understands there has been no Christian baptism and goes on to present the rest of the story. He introduces them to Jesus. He presents the Gospel.

“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 into the name of the Lord Jesus.”

When these people hear the message, they obey it and are baptized by Paul. This would be baptism like we just studied in our last Podcast. It was a baptism in water, by the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit and entry into the church.

We see they were baptized “into the name of the Lord Jesus.” We do not see anything outwardly miraculous happening at this point in time.

Next, we read, “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.”

Next, Paul lays his hands on these folks and they speak in tongues and prophesy. We have now seen two separate events, a baptism and a “coming upon.” And what is the purpose of a miraculous portion? To confirm the authenticity of the preacher. We see two separate things happen in this account; obedience to the Gospel and a miraculous stamp of approval. These are two separate “modes” or “workings” of the Holy Spirit, the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit promised to every believer and the external working of the Holy Spirit to provide confirmation of the message.

Studying the Next Fly in the Ointment

Let’s look at our second conversion and take it step by step.

Acts 8:12-17
“But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.”

Phillip’s powerful preaching surely includes the instructions passed down in the Great Commission. Phillip would have followed those instructions and baptized people in water, in obedience to those commands. If these people were baptized, they would have received the promised indwelling Holy Spirit. This is not a maybe since it is a promise. Even Simon the Sorcerer believed and was baptized!

What about Simon the Sorcerer?

Now, before we move on, let me comment on Simon’s baptism. Anti-baptism proponents will point to Simon and claim baptism is not important because it had no affect on Simon. If we continue reading in Acts 8, we discover Simon continues in his greed and lust for power. What we forget when we make the claim about baptism regarding Simon is the third step in the Biblical Plan of Salvation, repentance. Without repentance, nobody is saved and real repentance must precede obedience in baptism. Simon serves as an excellent example regarding the critical importance repentance plays in conversion. Simon missed salvation because he never repented, not because obedience to the Gospel is ineffective.

This is still true today. Like Simon, many people are immersed in water because they believe, but true repentance has never taken place. The only thing this does is create a wet, deceived believer. These folks confidently point back to their immersion even though it was not done according to the Biblical Plan of Salvation as an important religious event. Baptism without true prior repentance is just as ineffective for us as it was for Simon.

Alright, back to the narrative…

“When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.”

This is additional confirmation that these people were converted. Jerusalem hears that they had “accepted the word of God.” Accepting the word is a shortened synonymous saying which means, they were now Christians.

“When they (meaning the Apostles) arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.”

The Apostles arrive and pray for them that they might “receive” the Holy Spirit.

Wait a minute. I thought they received the Spirit when they were baptized! Yes, the indwelling Holy Spirit. Once again, that was a promise which can not be broken for everyone who obeys the Gospel. The passage does go on to clarify that statement…. “because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them.”

Some people get stuck on the phrase, “received the Holy Spirit” and think that is a reference to the indwelling Holy Spirit, but “receiving the Spirit,” as a phrase and a concept, may be applied to both workings. This passage clarifies the meaning by using that “because” statement. Again, please note the two separate events, baptism and a “coming upon” or “receiving.”

Summing things up.

Now, let’s sum this up. God is not making a mistake in choosing these very specific words or phrases. There is a reason for the precision. When someone decides to obey Christ, after their repentance, they are baptized in water. During that baptism event, God, among other things, enters the believers heart and life as the Holy Spirit indwells the believer. This is a one time, permanent event. They are filled with the Holy Spirit who will be their Counselor and Comforter until the day they enter Heaven. This was a promise declared by Peter in Acts 2 and it will never change. All believers receive this specific “measure” of the Spirit when we are baptized in water in obedience to the Gospel.

There is also a second measure or manifestation of the Spirit. This is sometimes called “receiving the Spirit” or, “coming upon.” Coming upon an individual is different than coming “in” an individual and the Bible makes this distinction clearly. The coming upon was always accompanied by outward miraculous signs as confirmation of the speaker’s message.

Well, hopefully this clears up what is happening in those few times the Bible has conversions where the Holy Spirit comes upon a believer after they are baptized.

Now, there are recorded occasions when, the Holy Spirit came upon people before they are baptized in water and He does it for a very specific reason.

We’ll look at that next!

Enjoy!

Dana Haynes
Listen Now – Podcast 030 – Lemonade in the Pool!

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