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Who is the Holy Spirit #3

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SCRIPTURE:   Acts 19:1-2 and John 14:16-18 NKJV (9-4-05)

We want to ask this question an interrogatory: 

 

TITLE:                       Who is the Holy Spirit?

 

INTRODUCTION:   Christians differ on the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.  Have you ever met the Holy Spirit?  Do you know who He is?  Can you share with others the truths you know about Him?  Can and will you tell others where He lives or what He does or what He is like?  If you can’t, then do not feel that you are alone, for there are many other sincere Christians who cannot answer the question, “Who Is The Holy Spirit? This is disturbing according to a new nationwide survey conducted by The Barna Group indicates that most adults remain confused, if not daunted, by the concept of a person having the Holy Spirit.  In its report of February 20, 2006, it concluded by those surveyed that only 9% of Christians are being guided by the Holy Spirit.

The

This brings us back to some conscientious Christians whom Paul has met in Ephesus that did not even know that the Holy Spirit existed.

Paul has just arrived in Ephesus on his third Missionary journey to begin a major evangelistic effort, but Apollos had already left for Corinth.  Apollos was a learned and eloquent Jew from Alexandria in Egypt and an influential leader in the early church. Well-versed in the Old Testament, Apollos was a disciple of John the Baptist and "taught accurately the things of the Lord" (Acts 18:25). However, while Apollos knew some of Jesus' teaching, "he knew only the baptism of John" (Acts 18:25). When Aquila and Priscilla, two other leaders in the early church, arrived in Ephesus, they instructed Apollos more accurately in the way of God (Acts 18:26), and according to Scripture he showed others that Jesus was the Christ John had talked about. Apollos was used greatly by God to strengthen and encourage the church.

When Paul had arrived in Ephesus he was informed there are other "disciples" like him in the area. He was elated with joy, however, he soon discovered:

These twelve men (verse 7) had an understanding of Christianity much the same as that of Apollos before Apollos had met Aquila and Priscilla.  Paul entered into conversation with them to find out just where they stood in relation to the gospel.  Like Apollos, they knew only the baptism of John into repentance.  More, they had never heard of the Holy Spirit, which seem strange because John the Baptist had preached about the Holy Spirit as well as the coming of the Messiah (Matt. 3:11).

The Holy Spirit had come after Pentecost and these 12 men had been baptized unto repentance by John under the Old Covenant, which ended by Jesus at Calvary (Heb. 10:1-18). 

However John had told them in Matt 3:11, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”  Once they understood this through Paul’s instruction, they put their trust in Jesus of whose coming their teacher John the Baptist - had spoken about. Therefore, they believed (v.4) were baptized (v.5) and received the Holy Spirit (v. 6).

The believers at Ephesus were aware of their need to live a better life, but they were not aware of the power of the Holy Spirit to enable them to do so.  Their experience demonstrates the truth that without the Holy Spirit we cannot please God. Thus, without the Holy Spirit we are incomplete Christians. In fact, Scripture tells us in John 4:24, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." 

The norm of Christian experience is a cluster of four things: Repentance, faith in Jesus, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

Thus it is vitally important that we, like the believers at Ephesus, find the answer to the question “Who Is The Holy Spirit?”

I.    The Holy Spirit Is A Person

A.  John 16:13-14 says, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.  He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. “ NKJV

B.  The Holy Spirit is neither an impersonal force nor a mere influence; rather, He possesses a full and distinct personality. 

C.  A person who has been defined as one who when speaking -  says I; when spoken to is called you; and when spoken of is called Him or her.

D.    John 16:13, says “However, when He and uses the personal pronoun (6 times) to describe what He will do.”

E.     The Holy Spirit has qualities of a person, such as knowledge (1 Cor. 12:8, love (Rom. 15:30, and will (1 Cor. 12:11).

F.   The Holy Spirit acts like a person.  He searches the deep things of God (Rom. 8:26); He testifies (John 15:26); He teaches (John 14:26); He guides (Acts 16:6); and He commands and appoints (Acts 20:38).

The Bible always pictures the Holy Spirit as person and never as an impersonal force. Therefore, as a person the Holy Spirit relates to us, He understands, He feels for us, and He is our divine Friend and Helper.

 

Not only is the Holy Spirit A Person, but:

 

II.   The Holy Spirit Is Deity

A.  The Holy Spirit is none less than God Himself because:

1.   The Holy Spirit possesses divine attributes. 

a.   The Holy Spirit is omnipresent, which mean that He is present all of the time no matter when or where.

b.   As part of the Trinity, God is not a physical being limited to place and time as we are. He is present everywhere, and he can be worshiped anywhere, anytime.

c.   David illustrates this in Psalm 139:7-10, by pointing out that there is nowhere we can go to flee the Lord’s presence. Even if we were to ascend into the heaven, make our bed in hell, or go to the most extreme parts of the sea, we can never go beyond the reach of God’s presence.

2.      The Holy Spirit also possesses eternity, which only Deity possesses. He is called “the eternal Spirit” in Hebrews 9:14.

3.      The Holy Spirit is omniscient, characteristic of God which means He knows all things actual and possible whether past, present, or future. ‘The Apostle Paul eludes this in 1 Corinthians 2:11b “one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.” NKJV

4.   The Holy Spirit is also omnipotent or all-powerful; a quality of deity, which means God, is all-powerful and can do anything that is consistent with His nature. Luke 1:35 tells us when the Angel spoke to Mary “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” NKJV

B.  Divine Works are ascribed to the Holy Spirit:  Some of these works are creation as mentioned in Gen. 1:2; the giving of life as mentioned in John 6:63, and the prophecy as mentioned in 2 Peter 1:21), and the Making of disciples in Matthew 28:19-20.

Not only is the Holy Spirit A Person, Deity, but:

 

III.  The Holy Spirit is God’s Agent on Earth

A.  In John 14:16-17, Jesus promised that He would pray to the heavenly Father, and that the Father would send the Holy Spirit, who would abide with us forever.

B.  The power that Jesus spoke which is of God may be thought in three ways in relation to the Trinity.  It is founded in the Father, it is revealed through the Son, and it is activated by the Holy Spirit.

C.  From the beginning of time Genesis 1:2 until the end of time the Holy Spirit is working.

a.      It started in Genesis as He brought order into the universe when He moved upon the face of the waters. 

b.      In Job 26:13, we are told the Holy Spirit garnished the heavens.

c.      In Psalm 104:30, we are told the Holy Spirit renews the face of the earth, and in

d.   Job 33:4, the Holy Spirit gives life to human beings.

D.  The Holy Spirit is God’s agent on earth in the Ministry of Christ.

1.      He was active in the development of Christ as He “grew, and waxed strong in the spirit.” Luke 2:40.  We too must allow the Holy Spirit to aid in our development into the person that God created us for.

2.   The Holy Spirit continued with Jesus Christ   during His preaching and healing Ministries.  We must allow the Holy Spirit to be with our Ministries as Jesus did.  When the Holy Spirit is in operation, people are changed and lives are strengthened.

E.  The Holy Spirit is God’s agent on earth in the creation of Holy Scripture:  The Holy Scripture revealed certain truths t individuals, which they in turn recorded as sacred Scripture for our edification.  We have Jesus saying, “He is the way, the truth and the light.”

1.      We have John as he writes from the Island of Patmos in Revelation 1:10 giving us a glimpse of heaven while he was

             in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.

a.      Scripture is given by inspiration (Holy Spirit) as stated in 2 Timothy 3:16, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” NKJV, and in

b.      John 14:26, we are assured by Christ the inspiration of Scripture as the Holy Spirit brings the remembrance of the writers certain truth and experiences.

c.   The Holy Spirit is active in relation to the Bible through illumination, which relates to our ability to comprehend the truths as they are revealed to inspire us.

F. The Holy Spirit is God’s agent on earth in the work of the Church. 

a.      As we look to Acts 1:8 we find that the Holy Spirit initially empowered the church to act for Him.  Jesus tells us in this action Scripture “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."  NKJV

b.   He is involved in the expansion of the Church in Acts 2:1-4, and He is seen in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, as equipping the church.

Conclusion:  Who Is The Holy Spirit?

1.         He is a person and one who care for us.

2.         He is Deity and one who can help us.

3.         He is God’s agent on earth and one who can save you.

New material

When Paul arrived back in Ephesus, he met twelve men who professed to be Christian "disciples" but whose lives gave evidence that something was lacking. Paul asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" (Acts 19:2, NIV, NASB, NKJV) The question was important because the witness of the. Spirit is the me indispensable proof that a person is truly born again (Rom. 8:9, 16; 1 John 5:9-13), and you receive the Spirit when you believe on Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:13).

Their reply revealed the vagueness and uncertainty of their faith, for they did not even know that the Holy Spirit had been given! As disciples of John the Baptist, they knew that there was a Holy Spirit, and that the Spirit would one day baptize God's people (Matt. 3:11; Luke 3:16; John 1:32-33). It is possible that these men were Apollos' early "converts" and therefore did not fully understand what Christ had done.

—Bible Exposition Commentary - New Testament

Why did Paul ask about their baptism? Because in the Book of Acts, a person’s baptismal experience is an indication of his or her spiritual experience. Acts 1–10 records a transition period in the history of the church, from the Apostles’ ministry to the Jews to their ministry to the Gentiles. During this transition period, Peter used “the keys of the kingdom” (Matt. 16:19) and opened the door of faith to the Jews (Acts 2), the Samaritans (Acts 8:14ff), and finally to the Gentiles (Acts 10).

It is important to note that God’s pattern for today is given in Acts 10:43–48: sinners hear the Word, they believe on Jesus Christ, they immediately receive the Spirit, and then they are baptized. The Gentiles in Acts 10 did not receive the Spirit by means of water baptism or by the laying on of the Apostles’ hands (Acts 8:14–17).

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Paul explained to them that John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance that looked forward to the coming of the promised Messiah, while Christian baptism is a baptism that looks back to the finished work of Christ on the cross and His victorious resurrection. John’s baptism was on “the other side” of Calvary and Pentecost. It was correct for its day, but now that day was ended.

Keep in mind that John the Baptist was a prophet who ministered under the old dispensation (Matt. 11:7–14). The Old Covenant was ended, not by John at the Jordan, but by Jesus Christ at Calvary (Heb. 10:1–18). The baptism of John was important to the Jews of that time (Matt. 21:23–32), but it is no longer valid for the church today. In a very real sense, these twelve men were like “Old Testament believers” who were anticipating the coming of the Messiah. Certainly Paul explained to the men many basic truths that Luke did not record. Then he baptized them, for their first “baptism” was not truly Christian baptism.

[2]

Ephesus, a port city located near the Aegean Sea on the Cayster River, was the foremost city of Asia Minor. It was at the west end of the caravan route that linked Mesopotamia with Asia. Ephesus was also the worship center of Artemis, the many-breasted mother goddess of Asia (Acts 19:35). “Diana” (kjv) is a Romanization of Artemis. The temple of Artemis was one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. It was 425 feet long, 220 feet wide, and 60 feet high.

[3]

19:1. Ephesus afforded an opportunity to influence all of Asia (not meaning the continent, but the Roman province “Asia” in what is now western Turkey). It was the most populous city of the most prosperous and populated province in the empire. Although Pergamum remained the official capital of Asia, Ephesus became the chief city with the real seat of provincial administration. Paul’s approach by the “upper country” (NASB) probably means that he took a higher road from the north instead of the customary route by the Lycus and Meander valleys.[4]

Ver. 1.—Country for coasts, A.V.; found for finding, A.V. and T.R. The upper country (τὰ ἀνωτερικὰ μέρη); the inland districts of Galatia and Phrygia, through which St. Paul journeyed on his way to Ephesus, as distinguished from the seacoast on which Ephesus stood. Disciples. They were like Apollos, believers in the Lord Jesus through the preaching of John the Baptist. It looks as if they were companions of Apollos, and had come with him from Alexandria, perhaps for some purpose of trade or commerce.

Ver. 2.—And he said for he said, A.V. and T.R.; did ye receive for have ye received, A.V.; when for since, A.V.; nay, we did not so much as hear whether the Holy Ghost was given for we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost, A.V. Did ye receive, etc.? The R.V. gives the sense much more accurately than the A.V., which is, “Did ye receive the Holy Ghost at the time of your baptism, when ye first believed?” Something led the apostle to suspect that they had not received the seal of the Spirit (comp. Eph. 1:13, πιστεύσαντες ἐσφραγίσθητε), and so he asked the question. The answer, Nay, we did not so much as hear whether the Holy Ghost was given, as in the R.V., is justified by John 7:39, where the exactly similar phrase, Οὔπω ῃν Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον, is rendered in the A.V., “The Holy Spirit was not yet given.” “Esse pro adesse” (Bengel). The sense given in the A.V. does not seem probable. The answer means, “Not only have we not received the Holy Spirit, but we had not even heard that the dispensation of the Spirit was come.”

Ver. 3.—He said for he said unto them, A.V. and T.R.; into for unto (twice), A.V. Into what then were ye baptized? Nothing can mark more strongly the connection between baptism and the reception of the Holy Spirit than this question does. For it implies, “How could you be ignorant of the giving of the Holy Ghost if you were duly baptized?” (comp. ch. 2:38) The answer explains it, “We were baptized with John’s baptism, to which no promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost was attached.”

Ver. 4.—And Paul said for then said Paul, A.V.; John for John verily, A.V. and T.R.; Jesus for Christ Jesus, A.V. and T.R. The baptism of repentance. See Luke 3:3, etc., and for the difference between John’s baptism and that of Christ, Luke 3:16. Him which should come after him (Luke 3:16; John 3:28; Mark 1:7).

Ver. 5.—And when for when, A.V.; into for in, A.V. Into the Name of the Lord Jesus (see ch. 8:16). So too ch. 10:48 of Cornelius and his company, “He commanded them to be baptized in the Name (ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι) of Jesus Christ” (R.V.). The formula of baptism, as commanded by the Lord Jesus himself, was, “In [or, ‘into’] the Name (εἰς τὸ ὄνομα) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 28:20). But the candidate always first made a profession of his faith in Jesus Christ, as in the A.V. of ch. 8:37; and the effect of baptism was an incorporation into Christ so as to partake of his death unto sin and his life unto righteousness. It was, therefore, a true and compendious description of baptism, to speak of it as a baptism in (or into) the Name of Jesus Christ. (See the Baptismal Service in the Book of Common Prayer.) There does not seem to be any difference of meaning between ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι and εἰς τὸ ὄνομα.

Ver. 6.—Had laid his hands, etc. (see ch. 8:17 and note). We have here a distinct mark of Paul’s true apostleship (see ch. 8:17, 18). For the manifestation of the Spirit, see ch. 10:46.

Ver. 7.—They were in all about twelve men for all the men were about twelve, A.V.

[5]

19:1–10 Paul’s two-year Bible school. Having passed through Galatia and Phrygia (see 18:23; 19:1), Paul arrived back at Ephesus, where he led some disciples of John the Baptist to a fuller understanding of the gospel, just as Aquila and Priscilla had done for Apollos. Paul then spent two years teaching in a private school, reaching many from all over that area.[6]

19:1. Paul traveled from Galatia to Ephesus, following the higher road, which was more direct than the trade route that followed the valleys through Colosse and Laodicea. In Ephesus he found disciples who had the same partial knowledge of Jesus as Apollos had had. There is no good reason for rejecting the usual meaning of disciples: believers in Jesus.

     2. The apostle recognized that the disciples’ knowledge of Jesus was incomplete. He therefore asked, Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? (RSV) The Greek participle is having believed, and it is capable of being translated either since ye believed (AV) or when you believed (RSV). Since the Holy Spirit was usually received at the time of belief in Christ, the latter is preferable. Their answer must mean that they had heard no distinctively Christian truth about the Holy Spirit, for any one familiar with the OT would have heard about the Holy Spirit. 3, 4. These disciples had not heard about Pentecost. They knew only the message of John the Baptist-that men should receive a baptism of repentance in anticipation of the coming One, Jesus. The word Christ (AV) is not found in the best texts.

     6, 7. This does not describe a new Pentecost but an extension of the Pentecostal experience to include all believers. No special significance is to be sought in the imposition of Paul’s hands for the bestowal of the Spirit. This experience, like that of Peter and John in Samaria (8:16, 17), is designed to illustrate the oneness of the Church. Since believers are baptized by one Spirit into one body (I Cor 12:13), there can be no such “splinter groups” as these disciples of John outside the Church. It is beside the point to debate whether or not these disciples were Christians before Paul met them, even as it is futile to question whether the apostles were saved before Pentecost. They were disciples of Jesus but with an incomplete knowledge of the Gospel.

[7]

(1) With the 12 (19:1-7).

19:1-2. Ephesus became Paul’s base of operation during his third missionary journey. Ephesus was the home of the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The temple, according to its ruins, was 239’ wide and 418’ long, four times the size of the Parthenon in Athens! As a commercial center, Ephesus was the leading city of the province of Asia. Its present-day extensive ruins reveal the glory of its past. However, the Caÿster River silted its harbor full and the site was later abandoned. During Paul’s time the city was approaching its zenith.

Arriving in this metropolitan area from the interior road (perhaps a shorter route than others), Paul... found some disciples. What Luke meant by the term “disciples” is unclear. Normally Luke used it of Christians; it may have that meaning here because Paul’s question included the words when you believed (i.e., believed in Jesus Christ).

The answer of these disciples is also enigmatic. When they said, No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit, they probably meant they had not heard He had been given or was being given. A similar construction is used in the Greek in John 7:39. Furthermore, John the Baptist had clearly predicted the coming work of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; cf. John 1:32-33).

19:3-4. Like Apollos (18:25) these Ephesian disciples knew only of John’s baptism, a sign of repentance toward God (Matt. 3:2, 6, 8, 11; Mark 1:4-5; Luke 3:8). Paul told them that John pointed to Jesus Christ as the One in whom they should believe (Matt. 3:11-12; Mark 1:7-8; Luke 3:16-17).

19:5. This is the only place in the New Testament that refers to anyone being rebaptized. Quite clearly, John’s ministry was anticipatory; Christ is the fulfillment of all things.

19:6. The laying on of hands may have been in conjunction with the baptism or more probably afterward. As a result the Holy Spirit came on these disciples and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. The subject of tongues in Acts confirms Paul’s statement that tongues “are a sign... for unbelievers” (cf. comments on 1 Cor. 14:22). The purpose of tongues was to overcome unbelief. The accompanying chart compares the usages of tongues-speaking in Acts and points up its purpose.

—Bible Knowledge Commentary

(1) With the 12 (19:1-7).

19:1-2. Ephesus became Paul’s base of operation during his third missionary journey. Ephesus was the home of the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The temple, according to its ruins, was 239’ wide and 418’ long, four times the size of the Parthenon in Athens! As a commercial center, Ephesus was the leading city of the province of Asia. Its present-day extensive ruins reveal the glory of its past. However, the Caÿster River silted its harbor full and the site was later abandoned. During Paul’s time the city was approaching its zenith.

Arriving in this metropolitan area from the interior road (perhaps a shorter route than others), Paul... found some disciples. What Luke meant by the term “disciples” is unclear. Normally Luke used it of Christians; it may have that meaning here because Paul’s question included the words when you believed (i.e., believed in Jesus Christ).

The answer of these disciples is also enigmatic. When they said, No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit, they probably meant they had not heard He had been given or was being given. A similar construction is used in the Greek in John 7:39. Furthermore, John the Baptist had clearly predicted the coming work of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; cf. John 1:32-33).

19:3-4. Like Apollos (18:25) these Ephesian disciples knew only of John’s baptism, a sign of repentance toward God (Matt. 3:2, 6, 8, 11; Mark 1:4-5; Luke 3:8). Paul told them that John pointed to Jesus Christ as the One in whom they should believe (Matt. 3:11-12; Mark 1:7-8; Luke 3:16-17).

19:5. This is the only place in the New Testament that refers to anyone being rebaptized. Quite clearly, John’s ministry was anticipatory; Christ is the fulfillment of all things.

19:6. The laying on of hands may have been in conjunction with the baptism or more probably afterward. As a result the Holy Spirit came on these disciples and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. The subject of tongues in Acts confirms Paul’s statement that tongues “are a sign... for unbelievers” (cf. comments on 1 Cor. 14:22). The purpose of tongues was to overcome unbelief. The accompanying chart compares the usages of tongues-speaking in Acts and points up its purpose.

—Bible Knowledge Commentary

Acts 19:1; Acts 19:2; Acts 19:3; Acts 19:4-5; Acts 19:6-7

Acts 19:1

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior provinces. Finally, he came to Ephesus, where he found several believers.NLT After the parenthetical story of Apollos, Luke continued his record of Paul's third missionary journey, begun in 18:23. Paul traveled an interior road across Asia Minor, though no reason is given. It may have been the shortest (though least traveled and most dangerous) route to Ephesus, and the apostle may have simply been eager to arrive at the capital and leading business center of the Roman province of Asia (part of present-day Turkey). Or perhaps there were congregations along this path that Paul wanted to visit. He arrived in Ephesus, a hub of sea and land transportation, ranking with Antioch in Syria and Alexandria in Egypt as one of the great cities on the Mediterranean Sea. The population of Ephesus during the first century may have reached 250,000. The temple to the Greek goddess Artemis (Diana is her Roman equivalent) was located there. The worship of Artemis was also a great financial boon to the area because it brought tourists, festivals, and trade.

Paul would stay in Ephesus for about three years. Ephesus had great wealth and power as a center for trade. It was a strategic location from which to influence all of Asia. From Ephesus he would write his first letter to the Corinthians to counter several problems that the church in Corinth was facing. Later, while imprisoned in Rome, Paul would write a letter to the Ephesian church (the book of Ephesians).

Upon his arrival, he promptly found a group of several believers (the Greek says "disciples"). Based on 19:3-5, these men probably were students of John the Baptist. They had embraced his ministry and teachings. One first-century sect of Jews actually believed that John the Baptist was the Messiah. There is evidence into the fourth century that some groups claimed John as their founder. As in the case of Apollos, these individuals were sincere but were hampered by an incomplete knowledge of the gospel.

THE MISSION

Paul and the rest of the early church were on a mission from God. They did not exist solely to have meetings or programs. They had Good News, and good news is for telling. It was so good that it was even worth going elsewhere to spread. It was worth telling even in the face of opposition (19:9). Does your church have that same sense of mission? Mediocrity says, "Let's just content ourselves with where and what we are. Let's just gather in our small groups and in our church building on Sunday mornings and have church. We'll care for each other and sponsor a few assorted programs." Be careful that you don't get so involved and absorbed in lots of good church activities that you forget about the best task of all -- reaching out with the life-changing news of Christ.

Acts 19:2

He said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?" They replied, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."NRSV Paul's question to this group of Ephesian men underlines the truth that apart from the Holy Spirit, there is no salvation (Romans 8:9,16; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13). The Spirit is the one who imparts life (John 3:5).

The reply of these men is difficult to interpret. John the Baptist had talked plainly about the coming of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:32-33). Perhaps this answer implies that they were unaware that the time of the Spirit's outpouring had come at last. Whatever the case, like Apollos (18:24-26), these men needed further instruction on the message and ministry of Jesus Christ. They believed in Jesus as the Messiah, but they did not understand the significance of his death and resurrection or the role of the Holy Spirit in the birth and life of the church. Since becoming a Christian involves turning from sin (repentance) and turning to Christ (faith), these "believers" were incomplete. They had repented but had not yet trusted in Christ. In truth, they were believers only in the sense that they were seeking to believe.

Acts 19:3

So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?" "John's baptism," they replied.NIV John's baptism was a sign of repentance from sin only (Matthew 3:2,6,8,11; Mark 1:4-5; Luke 3:8), not a sign of new life in Christ. John's ministry had been preparatory. His baptism had anticipated something greater, pointing forward, toward Christ, the fulfillment of all things. Christian baptism, on the other hand, looked back on the finished work of Christ. These Ephesian men had experienced the former, not the latter.

Acts 19:4-5

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.NIV After adequate explanation, these men were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Given Paul's remarks in 1 Corinthians 1:14-17, it may be that an unnamed associate of Paul actually performed this ceremony. This is the only place in the New Testament where we find an instance of rebaptism.

Acts 19:6-7

Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.NLT When Paul laid his hands on these twelve disciples (either to greet them as brothers or as a final part of the baptism rite), the Holy Spirit came on them in a similar fashion as at Pentecost. Pentecost was the formal outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the then mostly Jewish church, and it included outward, visible signs of the Holy Spirit's presence. Similar supernatural manifestations had occurred when the Holy Spirit first had come on Gentiles (see 10:45-47). The other outpourings in the book of Acts were God's way of uniting other (mostly Gentile) believers to the church. The mark of the true church is not merely right doctrine but right actions, the true evidence of the Holy Spirit's work.

In Acts, believers received the Holy Spirit in a variety of ways. Usually the Holy Spirit would fill a person as soon as he or she professed faith in Christ. Here that filling happened later because these believers had not fully trusted in Christ as Savior. God was confirming to these believers, who did not initially know about the Holy Spirit, that they were a part of the church. The Holy Spirit's supernatural filling endorsed them as believers and showed the other members of the group that Christ was the only way.

What was the significance of the speaking in tongues among these Ephesian men? Perhaps to show that Paul had the same apostolic authority as did Peter to bestow the Spirit (see chapters 2 and 8). In any event, this is the final recorded instance of speaking in tongues in the book of Acts.

In order to interpret (and apply) the work of the Holy Spirit in Acts, believers must remember several truths. First, Acts is a book of transitions -- documenting the end of the "old covenant" age of Israel and the law and the beginning of the "new covenant" age of the church and grace. Second, Acts is a history book that describes what did happen, not necessarily a doctrinal manual intended to prescribe what is supposed to happen. Third, there really is no set pattern for the reception of the Spirit in Acts. Sometimes people received the Spirit at baptism (2:38; 8:38), sometimes after baptism (8:15), and sometimes before baptism (10:47). The instances of tongues-speaking in Acts are erratic, not the general rule (see 2:4; 10:44-46; cf. 8:39; 13:52; 16:34). In Acts, Luke was primarily describing the spread of the gospel and its inclusiveness. In the epistles, the apostolic witnesses presented a more comprehensive doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

EVANGELISM OR EXPERIENCE?

Much has been made of the passages in Acts that depict believers speaking in tongues. Some have uncomfortably downplayed or dismissed these historical events. Others have tried to duplicate them. Few issues have prompted more argument and confusion or split more churches. We should remember that tongues-speaking is not the central theme of the book of Acts. The point of Luke's history is the faithful communication of the gospel to the ends of the earth. If we want to be doers of the Word (James 1:22), we will faithfully be involved in the same process of evangelism. Seek to share your faith in the power of the Holy Spirit (1:8), and leave it up to God to give you whatever experiences he thinks you need.

(from The Life Application Commentary Series copyright (C) 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000 by the Livingstone Corporation. Produced with permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.)

HOLY SPIRIT

HOLY SPIRIT. The third Person in the Trinity.

Scriptural Designations (Heb. ruah 'elohim "Spirit of God," or ruah, YHWH, "Spirit of Jehovah"; Grk. to pneuma to hagion, "the Holy Ghost," or "the Holy Spirit"). Frequently the term is simply "the Spirit," or "the Spirit of the Lord," or "the Spirit of God," or "the Spirit of Jesus Christ" (Matthew 3:16; Luke 4:18; John 14:17; Acts 5:9; Philippians 1:19).

Theological Statements. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit has about it the difficulty that belongs to that of the Trinity or the existence of God as a purely spiritual being-the difficulty that arises from the narrow limits of human understanding. Nevertheless, the Scriptures bring to us their definite representations of truth, and with these Christian thought must concern itself. The chief topics of theology respecting the Holy Spirit are: (1) His personality; (2) His deity; (3) His relation to the Father and to the Son; and (4) His office or work.

Personality. The historic and prevailing doctrine of the Christian church, in accordance with the Scriptures, has been that the Holy Spirit is a person distinct from the Father and the Son, though united to both in the mysterious oneness of the Godhead. He is not simply a personification or figurative expression for the divine energy or operation, as some have held at various periods of the history of the church (Anti-Trinitarians), but He is an intelligent agent, possessed of self-consciousness and freedom. In proof of this it is justly said: (1) that the Scriptures that ascribe distinct personality to the Father and the Son with equal explicitness ascribe distinct personality to the Holy Spirit. Prominent illustrations of this are found in Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; John 14:16-17; 15:26. (2) The pronouns used with reference to the Holy Spirit are invariably personal pronouns, e.g., John 16:13-14; Acts 13:2. (3) The attributes of personality, self-consciousness, and freedom are ascribed to the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10; 12:11). (4) The relations described as existing between the Holy Spirit and mankind are such as to emphasize His personality. The Spirit strives with man (Genesis 6:3). He instructs, regenerates, sanctifies, and comforts believers (John 3:5-6; 14:16-17; 16:13-14; 1 Peter 1:2). We are warned not to "blaspheme against," "not to resist," not to "grieve," nor to "quench" the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31-32; Acts 7:51; Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Deity. The deity of the Holy Spirit has been but little disputed in the church by those who have admitted His personality. The Arian heresy of the fourth century, which represented the Holy Spirit as the earliest of all the creatures of the created Son, is the chief exception to the general rule. The Scriptures that establish the personality of the Holy Spirit in many cases, as must have been noted, also establish His deity. Beyond this, attention is commonly called to the following sure indications of Holy Scripture: (1) The Holy Spirit is distinctly called God, and names are given to Him that properly belong to God (Acts 5:3-4; 28:25-27; Hebrews 10:15-17; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18). (2) Divine attributes, such as knowledge, sovereignty, and eternity, are ascribed to the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:11; 12:11; Hebrews 9:14). (3) Divine works, such as creation and the new birth, are attributed to Him (Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13, KJV; John 3:3-8). (4) Worship and homage such as belong only to God are paid to the Holy Spirit (Acts 28:25-27; 2 Corinthians 13:14). And harmonious with this is the fact that the sin against the Holy Spirit is the unpardonable sin (Matthew 12:31-32). See Sin: The Unpardonable Sin.

Relation to Trinity. The relation of the Holy Spirit to the Father and to the Son is a subject with respect to which the faith of the church developed slowly. The controversies of the first four centuries related principally to the Son. The Council at Nicaea,  A.D. 325, gave forth simply this clause respecting the third Person in the Trinity: "And we believe in the Holy Spirit." The second Council at Constantinople,  A.D. 381, added the words "the Lord and Giver of life who proceeds from the Father, who is to be worshiped and glorified with the Father and the Son, and who spake through the prophets." At the third Synod of Toledo,  A.D. 589, the words  "filio que" ("and the Son") were added, so as to assert the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son as well as the Father. This was a principal cause of the division between the Western and Eastern churches, the former maintaining, the latter denying, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son (see Shedd, Hist. of Doctrine, 1:355-62). The prevailing doctrine may be thus summed up: (1) The Holy Spirit is the same in substance and equal in power and glory with the Father and the Son. (2) He is, nevertheless, as to His mode of subsistence and operation, subordinate to both the Father and the Son, as He proceeds from them and is sent by them, and they operate through Him (John 15:26; 16:13-15; 14:26; Philippians 1:19; Acts 11:15-17).

Office. Van Oosterzee does well to say, "Happily, not the sounding the depths of the Holy Spirit's nature, but the receiving and possessing of the Holy Spirit himself, is for us, even as Christian theologians, the main point." Hence, without detracting from the value of what has preceded, of paramount importance is the office and work of the Holy Spirit. This is indicated as follows: (1) The Spirit is the immediate source of all life, physical and intellectual (Psalms 104:30; Isaiah 32:15; Job 33:4; Genesis 2:7, KJV; Exodus 31:3; Numbers 11:17; etc.). (2) He bore an important part in the coming of Christ in the flesh and the qualifying of His human nature for His work (Luke 1:35; John 3:34; 1:32-33). (3) He is the revealer of all divine truth. The Scriptures are especially the product of the Holy Spirit (Micah 3:8; John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13). (4) He moves upon the hearts and consciences of all men, attending revealed truth with His power wherever it is known and even where it is not known, affording some measure of divine light and gracious influence (Acts 2:17; John 16:7-11; 1 Corinthians 2:4). (5) He convicts men of sin; graciously aids them in repentance and faith; regenerates, comforts, and sanctifies believers; bears witness to their acceptance with God and adoption as God's children; and dwells in them as the principle of a new and divine life. In addition to Scripture quoted above, see Romans 8:14-16; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (see Witness of the Spirit). (6) He also exercises guidance in the ministrations of the church, calling men to various offices and endowing them with qualifications for their work (Acts 13:2,4; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

Special Work in the Believer. The Holy Spirit in this particular age from Pentecost to the outtaking and glorification of the church, the Body of Christ, performs a special work in every believer the moment he exercises saving faith in Christ. Simultaneously with regenerating him the Spirit baptizes the believer into union with other believers in the Body (1 Corinthians 12:13) and into union with Christ Himself (Romans 6:3-4). This is a unique and distinctive ministry of the Spirit during this age. The Holy Spirit also dwells perpetually within every believer (John 14:17; Romans 8:9-14; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and seals every believer for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). In addition, the Holy Spirit fills every believer when special conditions of filling are met (5:18).

Dispensational Ministry. According to the prophetic announcement of John the Baptist of the Spirit's baptizing work (Matthew 3:11-12; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16-17; John 1:32-33), the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ were to inaugurate the new age of the Holy Spirit's ministry. Our Lord prophetically announced a drastic change in the Holy Spirit's operation in the age that was to begin. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit came as the ascension gift. He came, moreover, in a sense in which He was not here before and to perform all the ministries delegated to Him in this age; namely, regenerating, baptizing, sealing, and indwelling every believer with the added privilege of each believer's being filled with the Spirit, if he meets the conditions of filling. The distinctive ministry of the Spirit for this age is His baptizing work. This occurred for the first time in Acts 2 (cf. 1:5; 11:15-16). The first occurrence of the baptizing work of the Spirit in chap. 2 marked the birthday of the Christian church. In chap. 8 the racially mongrel Samaritans were admitted to gospel privilege and granted the gift of the Holy Spirit, which included the Spirit's baptizing work, placing them in the church, the Body of Christ. In chap. 10 the Gentiles were likewise admitted. This latter instance marks the normal course of the age. Every believer, upon the simple condition of faith in Christ, is regenerated, baptized into the Body, indwelt perpetually, sealed eternally, and given the privilege of being continuously filled. The experiences of OT saints and all pre-Pentecost believers came short of these tremendous blessings that are the heritage of every genuine believer in this age.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Kuyper, The Work of the Holy Spirit (1941); W. H. G. Thomas, The Holy Spirit of God (1950); E. H. Bickersteth, The Holy Spirit: His Person and Work (1959); J. Owen, The Holy Spirit, His Gifts and Power (1960); J. E. Cumming, Through the Eternal Spirit (1965); C. C. Ryrie, The Holy Spirit (1965); J. F. Walvoord, The Holy Spirit (1965); J. Buchanan, The Office and Work of the Holy Spirit (1966); F. D. Bruner, The Theology of the Holy Spirit (1970); M. F. Unger, The Baptism and Gifts of the Holy Spirit (1974); E. M. B. Green, I Believe in the Holy Spirit (1975); H. C. G. Moule, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit (1977); C. F. D. Moule, The Holy Spirit (1979); E. Schweizer, The Holy Spirit (1980).

(from The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright © 1988.)

HOLY SPIRIT

HOLY SPIRIT

The third person of the trinity, who exercises the power of the Father and the Son in creation and redemption. Because the Holy Spirit is the power by which believers come to Christ and see with new eyes of faith, He is closer to us than we are to ourselves. Like the eyes of the body through which we see physical things, He is seldom in focus to be seen directly because He is the one through whom all else is seen in a new light. This explains why the relationship of the Father and the Son is more prominent in the gospels, because it is through the eyes of the Holy Spirit that the Father-Son relationship is viewed.

The Holy Spirit appears in the Gospel of John as the power by which Christians are brought to faith and helped to understand their walk with God. He brings a person to new birth: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6); "It is the Spirit who gives life" (John 6:63). The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete, or Helper, whom Jesus promised to the disciples after His ascension. The triune family of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are unified in ministering to believers (John 14:16,26). It is through the Helper that Father and Son abide with the disciples (John 15:26).

This unified ministry of the trinity is also seen as the Spirit brings the world under conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He guides believers into all truth with what He hears from the Father and the Son (John 15:26). It is a remarkable fact that each of the persons of the trinitarian family serves the others as all defer to one another: The Son says what He hears from the Father (John 12:49-50); the Father witnesses to and glorifies the Son (John 8:16-18,50,54); the Father and Son honor the Holy Spirit by commissioning Him to speak in their name (John 14:16,26); the Holy Spirit honors the Father and Son by helping the community of believers.

Like Father and Son, the Holy Spirit is at the disposal of the other persons of the triune family, and all three are one in graciously being at the disposal of the redeemed family of believers. The Holy Spirit's attitude and ministry are marked by generosity; His chief function is to illumine Jesus' teaching, to glorify His person, and to work in the life of the individual believer and the church.

This quality of generosity is prominent in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, where the Holy Spirit prepares the way for the births of John the Baptist and Jesus the Son (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:15,35,41). At the baptism of Jesus, the Spirit of God is present in the form of a dove. This completes the presence of the triune family at the inauguration of the Son's ministry (Matthew 3:16-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:33). Jesus is also filled with the Holy Spirit as He is led into the wilderness to be tempted (Luke 4:1). He claims to be anointed by the Spirit of the Lord in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18-19).

During His ministry, Jesus refers to the Spirit of God (Matthew 12:28-29; Luke 11:20) as the power by which He is casting out demons, thereby invading the stronghold of Beelzebul and freeing those held captive. Accordingly, the Spirit works with the Father and Son in realizing the redeeming power of the kingdom of God. God's kingdom is not only the reign of the Son but also the reign of the Spirit, as all share in the reign of the Father.

The person and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Gospels is confirmed by His work in the early church. The baptism with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5) is the pouring out of the Spirit's power in missions and evangelism (Acts 1:8). This prophecy of Jesus (and of Joel 2:28-32) begins on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-18). Many of those who hear of the finished work of God in Jesus' death and resurrection (Acts 2:32-38) repent of their sins. In this act of repentance, they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38), becoming witnesses of God's grace through the Holy Spirit.

Paul's teaching about the Holy Spirit harmonizes with the accounts of the Spirit's activity in the gospels and Acts. According to Paul, it is by the Holy Spirit that one confesses that Jesus is Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3). Through the same Spirit varieties of gifts are given to the body of Christ to ensure its richness and unity (1 Corinthians 12:4-27). The Holy Spirit is the way to Jesus Christ the Son (Romans 8:11) and to the Father (Romans 8:14-15). He is the person who bears witness to us that we are children of God (8:16-17). He "makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Romans 8:26-27).

The Holy Spirit also reveals to Christians the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:10-12) and the mystery of Christ (Ephesians 3:3-5). The Holy Spirit acts with God and Christ as the pledge or guarantee by which believers are sealed for the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 1:21-22), and by which they walk and live (Romans 8:3-6) and abound in hope with power (Romans 15:13). Against the lust and enmity of the flesh Paul contrasts the fruit of the Spirit: "Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23).

Since the Holy Spirit is the expressed power of the triune family, it is imperative that one not grieve the Spirit, since no further appeal to the Father and the Son on the day of redemption is available (Ephesians 4:30). Jesus made this clear in His dispute with the religious authorities, who attributed His ministry to Satan rather than the Spirit and committed the unforgiveable sin (Matthew 12:22-32; John 8:37-59).

In Paul's letters Christian liberty stems from the work of the Holy Spirit: "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Corinthians 3:17). This is a process of "beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord," and "being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18). The personal work of the Holy Spirit is accordingly one with that of the Father and the Son, so Paul can relate the grace, love, and communion of the triune family in a trinitarian benediction: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen" (2 Corinthians 13:14).

Among the other New Testament writings the Spirit's ministry is evident in the profound teaching of Hebrews 9:14, which shows the relationship of God, Christ, and the eternal Spirit. The Holy Spirit's work in the Old Testament in preparation for the coming of Christ is explained in this and other passages in Hebrews (3:7; 9:8; 10:15-17).

This leads us to consider the working of the Spirit in the Old Testament in light of His ministry in the New Testament. The Spirit is the energy of God in creation (Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13; Isaiah 32:15). God endows man with personal life by breathing into his nostrils the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). The Spirit strives with fallen man (Genesis 6:3), and comes upon certain judges and warriors with charismatic power (Joshua, Numbers 27:18; Othniel, Judges 3:10; Gideon, Judges 6:34; Samson, Judges 13:25; 14:6). However, the Spirit departs from Saul because of his disobedience (1 Samuel 16:14).

In the long span of Old Testament prophecy the Spirit plays a prominent role. David declared, "The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue" (2 Samuel 23:2). Ezekiel claimed that "the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me" (Ezekiel 2:2). The Spirit also inspired holiness in the Old Testament believer (Psalms 143:10). It also promised to give a new heart to God's people: "I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes" (Ezekiel 36:27).

This anticipates the crucial work of the Spirit in the ministry of the Messiah. The prophecy of Isaiah 11:1-5 is a trinitarian preview of the working of the Father, the Spirit, and the Son, who is the branch of Jesse. Looking forward to the ministry of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit inspired Isaiah to prophecy: "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him" (Isaiah 11:2). The Holy Spirit inspired Jesus with wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear of the Lord, righteousness, and faithfulness. Thus we come full cycle to the New Testament where Jesus claims the fulfillment of this prophecy in Himself (Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:18-19).

Isaiah 42:1-9 summarized the redeeming work of the Father, Son, and Spirit in the salvation of the lost, as God spoke through the prophet: "Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles" (Isaiah 42:1). No clearer reflection of the intimate interworking of the triune family and the Spirit's powerful role can be found in the Old Testament than in this prophecy. It ties God's grace in Old and New together in remarkable harmony.

(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)


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[1]Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. (Ac 19:1). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

[2]Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. (Ac 19:1). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

[3]Hughes, R. B., Laney, J. C., & Hughes, R. B. (2001). Tyndale concise Bible commentary. Rev. ed. of: New Bible companion. 1990.; Includes index. The Tyndale reference library (514). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.

NASB New American Standard Bible

[4]Keener, C. S., & InterVarsity Press. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary : New Testament (Ac 19:1). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

[5]The Pulpit Commentary: Acts of the Apostles Vol. II. 2004 (H. D. M. Spence-Jones, Ed.) (114). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[6]Willmington, H. L. (1997). Willmington's Bible handbook (646). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.

RSV Revised Standard Version

AV Authorized Version

[7]Pfeiffer, C. F., & Harrison, E. F. (1962). The Wycliffe Bible commentary : New Testament (Ac 19:1). Chicago: Moody Press.

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