“ 'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?' ” (Acts 19:2, NKJV).
I love the apostle Paul!
There, I said it. I love Paul’s courage, his knowledge, his faithfulness, his passion for Jesus, his commitment to living every day as if his future depended on it. I love his confident faith in knowing that his future was secure in Christ.
I admire how Paul lived the gospel and walked in the Spirit—and most of all, I admire how he saw those two endeavors as a single action, inseparable both in missiology and practicality.
Clearly the apostle Paul believed that receiving the Holy Spirit was critical to living as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I am not sure what Paul saw when he arrived in Ephesus that would have prompted such a penetrating question: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Possibly these disciples were caught in the Old Covenant struggle of sin and repentance. They may have been valiantly applying their human determination as the spiritual weapon of choice to gain a victory that is only won by the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.
Whatever the reason, the apostle Paul asked the question that defines our unique place in the body of Christ. It is our powerful Foursquare belief that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an amazing gift of God. We believe that the fullness of the Holy Spirit enables us to live beyond a conviction to repent and our human determination to never sin again.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit fills us with the power to be truly transformed and able to live as God's forever redeemed.
As modern-day Christians, will we forever strive to find better ways to do church, but miss our distinctive invitation to be the church?
Will we continue to search for more contemporary ways to deliver our message and more culturally authentic ways to live together in community? Or will we echo the compassionate and powerful words of the apostle Paul: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
In the aftermath of such a great baptism, we will find the works of the Holy Spirit in our lives that we need to truly live the gospel of Jesus Christ.
"Let the Spirit be lacking, and there may be wisdom of words, but not the wisdom of God; the powers of oratory, but not the power of God; the demonstration of argument and the logic of the schools, but not the demonstration of the Holy Spirit” (Arthur T. Pierson, Presbyterian minister, 1837-1911).
By: Bill Gross, Foursquare missional development coach
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