For the early Christians, the Holy Spirit was experienced as a real power in their lives
. The Holy Spirit empowered them to continue the work of Jesus. When a person received the Holy Spirit, they experienced a difference in their lives -- and others noticed it. That is still true today.Although all Christians receive the Holy Spirit through Baptism, God's Spirit works in many
ways in the world, in both Christians and non-Christians. Yet the experience of being 'baptised in the Spirit' is a time of entering a deeper spiritual dimension.Those who experience this deeper infilling, or new outpouring, of God's Spirit usually begin to discover new spiritual gifts
. The gift of prophesy or that of speaking tongues given to the reborn disciples imparts them with the ability to sense what God is saying to a group or an individual, and to pass on that message. This usually takes the form of encouragement, comfort, hope or exhortation.
Importance of the Holy Spirit in Christian discipleship and ministry
An individual must be spiritually filled before producing outward manifestation. As Luke clearly narrates in verse 5 and 6 of Acts 19,: " and Paul laid [his] hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them..." An outward manifestation only occurs after the spirit had taken hold of them completing their religious experience in Christ. Jesus called the Spirit "Another Counselor,"
the Spirit of truth who will remind the disciples of his words and works. The Holy Spirit does not draw attention to Himself, but points to Jesus. In John16, Jesus says, "But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes he will guide you in truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you; (verse 13-14).
The Believer who allows the release of the Holy Spirit in his or her life finds him or herself drawn to Jesus as never before.Certainly, the Spirit is not to be slighted, for He is coequal with the Father and the Son, but His purpose or mission is to strenghthen the Church for spreading the good news of Jesus
. The Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus.The works of the spirit edifies the speaker for the benefit of the hearers.Much like the Pentocoastal charismatic doctrine, the Spirit of Baptism is premised upon the activity of Jesus as the agent of the Baptism.
The fact that not one, but all of the four of the Gospel writers record John the Baptist's proclamation that Jesus would baptize believers in the Holy Spirit, underscores the importance of this baptism and the One who performs it (Matthews 3:11, Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33). Luke continues this theme in Acts 10:14-48; 11:15-17; and 19: 2-7). The charismatic experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit demands an encounter with Jesus Christ. A baptismal experience that does not find its source in Christ, the mighty Baptizer of all mankind does not exemplify the New Testament concept of Spirit Baptism.In here lies the reason for Paul's question in verse 3, the manner of their baptism explains their ignorance of the Holy Spirit for the Comforter only enters our lives after we have experience a glimpse of the magnificence of Christ. These twelve men could have never known God's glory through John the Baptist for his tutelage was set to be only the foreground on which Christ would built up those who would come to know him.This Spirit transforms us into the very likeness of Jesus
(2 Corinthians 3:18).
As this chapter develops, we learn that once in Ephesus Paul meets some followers of John the Baptist who have not heard of the Holy Spirit. For this reason they had known none of his gifts . As they clearly state, they were baptized in John the Baptist. Although it is clearly stated in the New Statement, the baptism offered by the Baptist was to set the way to the Jesus Christ. Paul instructs the disciples of the intent of John and his tutelage. During this discussion, he shows them the path to Christ. As they embark on this new journey they are strenghthen by the Holy Spirit. Echoing the repeating message of the Book of Acts, this passage reveals the nature of the Holy spirit and his work. He is the Energizer of the word and the Operator of every revealed plan or visionof God. He reveals the disciples God nature and elevates them to a higher level.
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