FROM THE PASTOR

Acts 19:1-7

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied— 7 altogether there were about twelve of them.

Paul’s question in the text above is always a relevant question for new and longtime Christians:
“Into what then were you baptized?” So often we find ourselves being baptized with water at the behest of family and friends then wondering: “What next?” Although being baptized with water is symbolic of the baptism John gave Jesus, it is not the baptism Jesus, our Lord and Savior, has called us to. When we say, “Yes, I was baptized with water when I came of age,” what we are really saying is, “I was baptized into ‘John’s’ baptism.” And has Paul states, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.”

So, the question this passage asks each and every one of us is, “Have we ‘just’ received the baptism of repentance?” Or, “Have we received the baptism of the Holy Spirit?” Certainly, we are not required in any way to speak in tongues or prophesy to prove a baptism in the Holy Spirit, but we are required to live a Christ-like life. Which means, we are required to love our neighbor as ourselves and be a kind and compassionate person. That being said, “Are you?”

Paul found himself in Ephesus where he found some disciples. Imagine their surprise when he asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” After all, these disciples knew John the Baptist. They no doubt felt they had met all the requirements of being a disciple with such a baptism. Unfortunately, they only heard part of John’s message, the part about repentance. They missed the part where John said, “Believe in the one who comes after me, that is, in Jesus.” And the part where he said, “I baptize with water but he baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” Seems so many of us miss that part. Have you? If so, let us be people baptized with the Holy Spirit. Let us live a Christ-like life.

Grace, Peace & Mercy to all,

Wes