“Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?” Acts 19:2
Jesus Christ never commissioned anybody to preach the gospel without also commissioning them to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons and raise the dead. With this fundamental non-negotiable factual presupposition to his faith, the apostle was sensitively alert to the fact that such a commission could never be fulfilled in the lives of the Ephesian “about twelve” without them being clothed with power from on high. The Lord Christ Himself never performed any miracle, cast out any demon, or moved in any prophetic word in the days of His flesh until He Himself had received the Holy Spirit from heaven at the Jordan. If such an encounter was the absolute vital necessity of Messiah Himself in ministry, what ludicrous delusion makes some Christians think they can do without the exact same immersion into the Holy Spirit? I am fully aware that Christ received the Spirit “without measure” (John 3:34), but the receiving and anointing of the Spirit was Christ’s exemplified experience for us all to emulate. Consciousness of power was Christ’s experience. The same consciousness was Peter’s as with “Silver and gold have I none but what I have I give you” (Acts 3:6). Paul had the same consciousness as expressed in Colossians 1:29.
The question Paul asks in Acts 19:2 clearly presupposes the possibility that a person can be soundly converted to Christ, yet not have received the Holy Spirit. Every Christian is born of the Spirit, for if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His (Romans 8:9). But…
They had believed and had even been baptised in water at Samaria – but they still had not “received the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:15). While Peter was preaching to the gentile household of Cornelius, according to his later report to the church leaders in Jerusalem, he was only compelled to baptise them in water because the Holy Spirit had “fallen” on these gentiles in the same manner as He had fallen on them at the beginning (Acts 10:44 and 11:15). Their conversion was therefore, to Peter, sealed by their experience of the Holy Spirit.
Consequently it is clear that the promise of the Father was in addition to that encounter with Christ that saves people from their sins. Being immersed into Christ (Romans 6:3) is clearly not the same as being immersed in the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11. Mark 1:8. Luke 3:16. John 1:33. Acts 1:5). Not all Christians have rivers of living water flowing from their inner being which, according to the Saviour in John 7:37-39 is one of the clear results of the receiving of, or the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
All Christians are immersed into Jesus Christ (Romans 6:3). That is an issue of conversion. Being immersed into the Holy Spirit, however, is an issue of power (Acts 1:5 and 1:8). When one is baptised in the Spirit, one not only has the consciousness of being clothed with power, but also has the abiding fellowship and guidance of the Spirit into all truth (John 15 and 16). Jesus Himself indicated that the baptism was all about power.
John the Baptist declared so lucidly, “He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” After Jesus had invested so much of His time in the lives of the original twelve, and having told them that they were clean by the word He had given them (John 15:3), He promised them that He that had been with them was to be in them (John 14:17). He then makes a further crucial and inescapable demand upon them before He ascends to heaven: “Wait until the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” “You shall be baptised in the Holy Spirit not many days hence” (Acts 1:5 and 1:8).
Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?