Saying ‘Grace’ and ‘The Second Blessing’
It’s very important to understand that the book of Acts is a book of “transition.” It’s a bridge, so to speak, between the OT and the NT. Bridges are a good thing…they help connect things…make new journeys possible. But one thing you never want to do is to park on a bridge.
Ill.— Imagine if people decided to use the bridge as their parking lot…it would be a disaster.
A lot of churches are extremely confused doctrinally because they have decided to park on the bridge of the book of Acts. This book was never intended to be primarily a doctrinal book, but a bridge. It’s a book of history that transitions us from the gospels to the church age. The Lord is in the process of doing something wonderful, beginning a new era, a new dispensation as He forms His body on earth, the church. And one of the unique things about the body of Christ is how it is comprised of everyone…not only the Jews, but all people.
In Acts 2 at Pentecost, the Jews are welcomed into the body of Christ. Then in ch. 10 in Cornelius’ home the Gentiles are welcomed into the body. And now there’s 1 more group for the church to bring in…the disciples of John the Baptist…those who were left behind from the old dispensation. They were still living on the other side of Calvary.
1. A Spiritual Complication
v. 1-3 Allow me to explain. When Paul returned to Ephesus, he met up w/ certain disciples of John the Baptist, and he detected there was something wrong…something missing spiritually from their lives. So, he poses his question in v. 2, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?”
This verse has given way to 2 very common misunderstandings in many churches of today.
Joke—Nazarene preacher Uncle Bud Robinson had a little lisp, and was always talking about the “thecond blething”. Somebody said, “that’s all you ever talk about, the 2nd blessing.” He replied, “have you had the 2nd blessing?” “I’ve not only received the 2nd blessing, but the 3rd, the 4th…100 blessings don’t you see?!” Uncle Bud said, “well, if you’ve had that many you wouldn’t mind me having 2 would ya?”
I realize there’s good people who believe this way, and I by no means am calling their sincerity into question…but they need to investigate this w/ an open mind in light of the scripture.
I believe that the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is bestowed on believers at the moment of salvation.
Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
There’s no need to ask God for something He has already given to you at salvation. Now I know that we should seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit, but that is different.
If not for the Holy Spirit, we couldn’t even be saved…He regenerates, He quickens our dead spirits, He seals us!
Here’s the balance: The Holy Spirit can get more of us! The question isn’t have you gotten more of the Spirit, but has the Spirit gotten more of you! Open up another room in the house of your soul…give Him every inch, the dark closets, the attic space…places you haven’t investigated in some time now!
2 Acts of the Holy Spirit:
Sovereign acts which take place at salvation, and subsequent acts which follow.
At the moment of salvation:
All 4 of these things are sovereign acts of God at the moment of salvation.
After salvation: [subsequent acts of the Spirit…]
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
There’s much controversy about these men in Acts 19 and their spiritual status. Were they saved yet or not? They were called disciples, that doesn’t mean they were saved, just that they were followers/learners of someone. Many of Jesus’ “disciples” followed Him no more. I believe they were on their way to being saved, but needed to have it expounded more clearly to them. They were on the threshold, but not yet in the door.
This wasn’t a 2nd blessing for them, this was their 1st real taste of grace!
v. 3 Paul wants them to get saved, and looks into their belief. They had followed John the Baptist and heard of the need to repent for the King is coming, but they haven’t heard of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the cross, etc.
v. 4 When someone isn’t saved, you don’t talk about the Holy Ghost, you talk about Jesus Christ. If you’re here tonite and not saved, hear this, and we’ll deal w/ the Spirit later. God loves you, Jesus died for you, rose again, and will save you now and eternally. Later, He’ll change you by His Spirit, but now, He wants to save you from your sins!
Even the Holy Spirit doesn’t want to be the center of attention/in the limelight. Our friends from some of those denominations are sincere, but sincerely wrong on this matter. The Spirit didn’t come to speak of Himself, but of Jesus who can save!
v. 5 I believe they got saved.
2. A Spiritual Transformation
Baptism doesn’t save, but it is a symbol. I believe that they put their faith in Christ when they heard He had come and heard His story. They were rebaptized because it needs to follow salvation. They only got wet the 1st time, this time they truly got baptized.
Ill.—putting on a ring doesn’t make you married.
v. 6 What is this? This is the 3rd time tongues occur in Acts, and the 3rd group to be welcomed into God’s family. This was a transitional sign. Tongues was another symbol on this day.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
We’re told about many other Jews in Acts who were filled w/ the Holy Spirit, but never again does it mention that they spoke with tongues. It was for a sign for a time, but it ceased. [4:4, 5:14, 6:7, 8:36, 9:17]
10 years pass…
How about the Gentiles? [at the home of Cornelius]
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
Why only the first groups? God was breaking down the walls of prejudice in Jewish hearts to prove to them that Gentiles could be saved as well. Tongues are for a sign! [I Cor. 14]
Did the Jews get the message?
Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?
Then they held their peace and said, “Ok, the Gentiles can be saved, too.”
Now this 3rd group is brought into the fold. “OT believers not aware of Christ.” And they got the same transitional evidence/tangible proof.
By the way, nothing was clear cut and consistent when tongues were spoken…sometimes they were baptized first, sometimes spoke in tongues first…the only consistent thing about all 3 instances of tongues was that the Apostles were present!
Anyone can be saved…including anyone here tonite…and if you get saved, you’ll get the Holy Spirit!
And don’t let anyone tell you you’re not spiritual if you haven’t spoken in tongues. There is different evidence of the Spirit today…what is it?
The fruits of the Spirit, a holy walk, and a decision to be a witness.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
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