Lesson 5 – Who Should Receive the Experience?
Key Verse – Acts 2:38,39
When the Apostle Peter went to Cornelius household to preach the Gospel (Acts 10), God gave the Gentiles the Holy Ghost like He had given to the Jews in the beginning (Acts 11:15). “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” (Acts 10-34-35).
“For the promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:38-39).
CLERGYMAN & CHURCH LEADERS NEED THE HOLY GHOST
As you will recall, Jesus had commanded His followers to go to Jerusalem and wait for the Promise.
Acts 1:4-5, “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”
Acts 1:12-13, “Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath day’s journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. ”
Acts 1:14-15, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
Acts 2:1-4, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. ”
These were Apostles, key men in the plans of Christ. In fact, Peter had the keys to the Kingdom. This was a very select group of leaders, chosen by Jesus Himself. It would stand to reason that if God had something to give that would give power (Acts 1:8), surely the leadership of the Church needs it! Who wants powerless Clergy?
WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE LIKE APOLLOS?
Acts 18:24-26, “And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. ”
Apollos is like a lot of good preachers in the world today. They love God and have a powerful ministry. Look at Apollos– “mighty in Scripture”, “fervent in spirit”, “taught diligently the things of the Lord”. What more could he have asked for? What more did he need? Evidently, God had more for him. Aquila and Priscilla took him aside and … expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
He knew only “…the baptism of John”. John was the forerunner of Christ. He said there was one coming that would baptize them with Holy Ghost and fire. John baptized unto repentance (Acts 19:2). He did not baptize in Jesus Name, nor were his converts filled with the Holy Ghost, because the Holy Ghost had yet been given. The new dispensation had not yet begun.
Later, when the disciples of John heard that the Holy Ghost had come, they were re-baptized in Jesus’ Name, and filled with the Holy Ghost. (Acts 19)
The story of Apollos is recorded in Acts 18. In the next chapter (19) we find that Paul brings to the disciples of John the complete, revealed plan of salvation.
PEOPLE FAVORED & BLESSED BY GOD NEED THE HOLY GHOST
Luke 1:26-31, “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thouamong women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.”
Can anyone doubt that Mary was chosen for a very special purpose? She would be the earthly mother of Jesus.
Acts 1:14, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”
Acts 2:4, “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
OUR FAMILY MEMBERS NEED THE HOLY GHOST
The natural family of Jesus was in the Upper Room and received the Holy Ghost. Acts 1:13-14, “And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. ” God is not respecter of persons. What He does for one, He will do for all. What He requires of one, He requires of all.
PEOPLE DELIVERED / HEALED BY GOD NEED THE HOLY GHOST
Acts 8:5-8, “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city.” These people accepted Jesus and were baptized. God worked miracles of healing and deliverance among them. But we know they still needed the Holy Ghost!
Acts 8:14-17, “Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
RELIGIOUS ZEALOTS NEED THE HOLY GHOST
Many people hold very strong beliefs about God, the Church, or salvation. They may even be fanatical. It is possible to have a “zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” (Romans 10:2) Saul of Tarsus, later known as the Apostle Paul, would certainly fit in this category. He approved the stoning of Stephen (Acts 8:1), as well as persecuting other followers of Christ. The verses below prove the point!
Acts 8:3, “As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.”
Acts 9:1-2, “And Saul, yet breathing out threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”
Acts 9 records the details of Saul’s conversion. God had chosen Ananias to preach to him the plan of salvation. Paul recounts his story in Acts 22.
Acts 9:17-18, “And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.”
This verse does not specifically say that Paul spoke in tongues. However, we know from previous lessons what Paul taught (Acts 19:1-6). He would not have encouraged others to have an experience he did not have. According to Paul’s own words, we know he spoke in tongues (I Corinthians 14:18).
We also know he was baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ. Acts 22:16, “And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. ” If Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, needed the Holy Ghost, so do we!
DEVOTED, RELIGIOUS PEOPLE NEED THE HOLY GHOST
Acts 10:1-2, “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.”
Cornelius was certainly a devoted, religious man. He was a believer! On the basis of his life, he would qualify for membership in most churches today. However, Cornelius was not saved!
Acts 11:13 -14, “And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.”
Acts 11:15 -17, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fellon them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.” Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believedon the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?”
We read the actual account of this in Acts 10:44-48, “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fellon all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.”
THE DISCIPLES OF JOHN NEEDED THE HOLY GHOST
Acts 19:1-6, “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized?And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues,and prophesied.”
WHY BAPTISM OF JOHN WAS NOT ENOUGH.
In reading the book of Acts, and after completing the previous lessons, you will have noticed that the Apostles would bring the disciples of John into a more complete work of the Holy Spirit. There were two differences: 1) they would re-baptize them in Jesus Name, 2) they would be filled with the Holy Ghost.
If the disciples of John were OK as they were, why was it important to the Apostles to expect anything further from them? If these two things were not needed, why take them there? Evidently, it was needed to fulfill their salvation experience, the New Birth.
Earlier in this lesson we read about Apollos who was a man mighty in the Scriptures and greatly used of God. However, he knew “…only the baptism of John”. Aquila and Priscilla took him aside and expounded the word of God more perfectly. What he knew was right, it just was not enough (Acts 18:25-26)!
John the Baptist was a forerunner of Christ. He plainly said that they should believe on Him who was to come after him (Matthew 3:1-6, 11). John only prepared them for the coming of Christ and the complete work of the Gospel.
It is important to remember that the Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. This is a type of our own salvation experience. When we are “born again” of water and Spirit; we also die (repentance), are buried (Baptism), and rise again (Newness of life) (Romans 6:1 -11).
So it is evident that John the Baptist prepared his followers for the complete plan of salvation that would unfold with the ministry of Jesus and the Apostles. He did not bring them far enough. There was more for them!
THE ROAD TO FULL SALVATION.
The plan of salvation caused Jesus to follow a path that would lead to death, burial, and resurrection. It is a road that all of us who experience salvation must follow. As you travel the road to your salvation, note the following signs and landmarks. Make sure you pass them all!
ONE WAY !!
Death + Burial + Resurrection = Salvation
Repentance + Baptism + Holy Ghost = Salvation
The followers of John the Baptist could follow him only as far as he went. John lead them through repentance and baptism. It would take the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, to complete their salvation journey.
The Holy Ghost was given on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. The upper room experience marked the day when believers were first filled with the Holy Ghost.
Have you been past the cross, the grave, and the upper room? If not, your journey to salvation is not complete. Please do not stop between the grave and the resurrection. It is important that you go past Pentecost! CALVARY MADE PENTECOST POSSIBLE!
THREE ELEMENTS OF SALVATION — BLOOD, WATER, AND SPIRIT
Blood is necessary to life in the flesh. The blood of Christ is necessary to life in the Spirit. Hebrews 9:22, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood- and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
I Pet 1:18-19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
Water is also essential to natural and spiritual life.
John 3:5, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
John 4:14, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Revelations 21:6, “And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”
Water is also a type of washing in the Spirit. Acts 22:16, “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
1 Peter 3:20, “…days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”
Water baptism is a type of burial.Colossians 2:12, “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”
The SPIRIT There are three spirits in the world. God and the good angels, Satan and the fallen angels, and the human spirit. When we speak of God’s Spirit we call it the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost.
Man is a spiritual being. The human spirit can respond to God’s Spirit, or Satan’s spirit. True salvation is when the Spirit of God comes into a person’s life and heart. In other words Christ lives in us. Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me-. and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
John 3-5-8, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” In the Bible, wind is a type of the Spirit of God.
WHAT HAPPENED AT CALVARY?
Simply put, at Calvary, Jesus did a work for us. When we are “born again” a work is done in us.
Sin separated us from God. Sacrifices were offered in Old Testament times to remove the sin of the people. Blood was the price demanded. Jesus came into the world as the sinless Lamb of God, to take away our sin (John 1:29, 1 John 3:5).
The blood of Christ satisfied the price demanded for sin, and made atonement for us.
I John 2:2, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Propitiation means “atonement”. Atonement means to “satisfy, to make amends, to compensate.”
At Calvary, Jesus destroyed the works of Satan. I John 3:8, “He that comitteth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. ”
The death of Jesus at Calvary, brought the New Covenant into being. Hebrews 9:16-17, “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.”
Jesus had to die, before the Spirit of God could come into the world. Jesus had to die and rise again before the Holy Ghost could come. Someone has to die before they can be a ghost. God is a Spirit, but He did not have a ghost, until He died, rose again, and ascended on high. That is why Jesus said the Comforter could not come until He went away (John 16:7).
John 7:38-39, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified ”
John 16:7, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. ”
The fact that Jesus did die on Calvary does not automatically equal our salvation. Nor does just believing on Him assure our salvation. We know that the devils believe (James 2:19), but they are not saved. We also know the Apostles taught an experience with God that went beyond simply believing. That is an issue these lessons have dealt with.
We must believe and obeythe Gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:8, 1 Peter 4:17) if we will be saved. Jesus said we must believe on Him, “… as the Scripture hath said.. ” (John 7:3 8).
SO WHAT ABOUT GRACE?
Many people feel that we are saved by the Grace of God and that no action is required on our part. That is not true. We are saved by the grace of God, but we must work out our own salvation, with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). We also know that faith without works is dead (James 2:17).
If you want to remain lost–then do nothing! However, if you want to be saved, you must take action. Not only must we believethe Gospel, we must also obeythe Gospel. When we obey the Gospel, we submit ourselves to following the Spirit of God into full Truth.
Obedience to the Gospel is essential to our salvation.11 Thessalonians 1:8-9, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospelof our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”
I Peter 4:17, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”
So what does grace do? It provides a way for mankind to find peace with God. It allows us to approach God. Grace is also a teacher… Titus 2:11-12, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvationhath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; ”
The fact that we are saved by the grace of God does not mean that we are saved just by believing. Grace is not a “free ticket” to sin, without fear of judgment. We must obey the Gospel if we wish to be saved. Obedience requires action on our part!
Anyone who has ever been saved, in any dispensation, has been saved by the grace of God! We cannot save ourselves, nor could we ever “deserve” salvation. We are not saved by works, nor are we lost by works. We come into the world in an unsaved condition, because we are born in sin, and all of us have come short of the glory of God. So if we are going to be saved, we must take action and obey the Gospel. “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”(Romans 3:24).
Grace comes to us through Jesus Christ. Just because we are not saved by works does not mean that nothing is required. For instance, we are required to obey the Gospel, to repent, to live a Godly and righteous life here on earth (Titus 2:11-12).
It is even required that we have faith before we can receive His grace. Romans 5:1-2 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this gracewherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
It is also the grace of God that brings the gift of the Holy Ghost to us. “But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification” (Romans 5:15-16): Grace is not the gift Paul is referring to here. It is the Holy Ghost! The grace of God brings us the Spirit of God.
Paul also teaches us that the grace of God only reigns in our hearts through righteousness. “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousnessunto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:21). Grace is not applied to the unrighteous heart.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”
The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ made the full plan of salvation possible. Today, God lives in our hearts through the infilling of His Spirit. This fulfills the meaning of the mystery as given to the Apostle Paul for us Gentiles.
Colossians 1:27, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory!