LET'S START in ACTS 2 after Jesus ascended to the Father, and the promised Holy Spirit came upon the disciples with:
.. a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind
.. which filled the whole house
.. then cloven tongues like fire settled upon them
.. they were FILLED with the Holy Spirit
.. and began to speak in different [but understandable!]languages.
A most 'spectacular' filling with the Spirit!! Here's the record of this:
1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”
How astonishing is all of that!!! But most important to notice is that this is NOT the pattern of the later church or of being filled with the Spirit today. And when they spoke in different tongues or languages these were all contemporary KNOWN languages i.e., what they spoke about God was understood by way over a dozen different peoples! Again NOT the pattern of today. So already you can see that Scripture SERIOUSLY needs to be STUDIED, and COMPARED with other Scripture, and especially you need the Holy Spirit Himself to help you to understand what you are reading! - even when you're reading about Himself!!!
This record is all VERY early days of the beginning of the Christian church. Things happened that were not going to be seen again! Individual happenings in Acts should NOT be seen as the pattern for the church, but rather as a BRIDGE between Jesus being here on earth, and His CHURCH being effectively established not that long afterwards.
The next passages illustrate this, where there's quite a CHANGE from the above! First we see people receiving the Spirit, most unexpectedly! - and THEN being baptised with/in WATER!! How amazing! And more amazing these were NON-Jews hearing the Word preached, having the Spirit fall upon them, and they spoke in tongues. Peter clearly saw this as a SIGN that NON-Jews could also receive the Holy Spirit! An unheard of situation!!
44 While Peter was yet speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them who heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit. 46 For they heard them speak in languages, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.
Then later, another change. Paul found Believers and asked them had they received the Holy Spirit? They replied that they didn't know there was such a thing as the Holy Spirit! Further questioning revealed they were Believers in John the Baptist's repentance teachings and that Jesus the Messiah was coming.
This time the order was quite different again!
.. Paul baptised them in the name of the Lord Jesus first
.. then he laid hands on them
.. the Holy Spirit came on them
.. they spoke in languages
.. and they also prophesied.
1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
Thus one more quite different pattern. So we must take VERY great care not to latch onto a particular PROCEDURE as being THE WAY! - and try to argue others into THAT WAY, when God is not saying that at all!! For example, we have laying on of hands here. And we have people speaking in tongues AND PROPHESYING. Again not the pattern for the church as it became established, or today.
Also early in Acts we have "baptism" in the Spirit used, but later and in the rest of the New Testament the expression is being "filled with the Holy Spirit":
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, You rulers of the people, and elders of Israel...
Saul (Paul)'s conversion, followed by Ananias laying hands on him, and being filled with the Holy Spirit:
17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Later, Paul dealing with a Sorcerer:
9 Then Saul, (who also [is called] Paul,) filled with the Holy Spirit, set his eyes on him...
And the disciples:
I can handle that, can you!! Who will fill you with deep-down JOY that will never leave you? - THE HOLY SPIRIT, that's Who!
13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Now we have joy and peace and hope through the Holy Spirit!!
18 And be not drunk with wine, in which is excess; but be filled with the Spirit,
And so finally we have God's incredible command for us to always be being filled (ON-GOING) with the Holy Spirit! - certainly NOT a "once-only" experience at all!!
continued in Part 5...
- BM with his Lady