2000-05-13 - Understanding Spiritual Gifts
Spiritual Gifts, Part 2
The Holy Spirit comes upon the Gentiles in the Home of Cornelius
Luke records the supernatural, sovereign descent of the Holy Spirit upon
the house of Cornelius, an event that took place four to six years after
Pentecost. As on the day of Pentecost, man had nothing to do with bringing
about the Holy Spirit's sovereign act.
Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy
Spirit fell on all them that heard the word. And they of the circumcision
that believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter, because that on the
Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit. For they heard
them speak with tongues, and magnify God.
The preaching service in Cornelius' home was interrupted by the Holy Spirit,
Who came upon the newly-converted Gentiles at the moment of their believing.
Upon his return to Jerusalem from Cornelius' home in Caesarea, Peter was
challenged by the Jewish apostles and brethren for having gone to minister
to the Gentiles. Peter was given opportunity to explain his actions to them.
In recounting the incident he said, Acts 11:15 And as I began to speak,
the Holy Spirit fell on them, even as on us at the beginning. On that occasion
the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Gentiles was in a manner similar to
His coming upon the Jewish apostles on the Day of Pentecost, four to six
years earlier. Continuing his testimony Peter said, "And I remembered the
word of the Lord, how he said, 'John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall
be baptized in the Holy Spirit. If then God gave unto them the like gift
as he did also unto us, when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was
I, that I could withstand God?'"
Peter's thoughts immediately went back to Pentecost, when they had received
the Holy Spirit. This is a clear indication that speaking in tongues was
certainly not the normal experience of those who were being saved in the
early church. What happened at Pentecost never occurred again until this
occasion four to six years later.
The Holy Spirit Comes Upon the Believers in Samaria
Following the stoning of Stephen, a great persecution was launched against
the church in Jerusalem. Christians were scattered throughout the neighboring
areas, but they went forth teaching salvation through the grace of God. Philip,
a deacon and evangelist, was among them. The Lord poured out His blessing
as Philip preached in Samaria. Many men and women believed and were baptized.
Word of this fruitful experience reached the apostles in Jerusalem.
Peter and John were sent to Samaria to help with the ministry.
Acts 8:14-17 Now when the apostles that 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 Spirit: for as yet it was fallen upon none of them: only
they had been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then laid they their
hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
The human element is introduced into this experience at Samaria; the apostles
are seen laying on hands on those who are already born-again believers, following
which the Holy Spirit was imparted to them for power and service. Only the
twelve apostles and Paul ever imparted the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2 chapters
10 and 11 the Holy Spirit is seen coming supernaturally and sovereignly.
Here and in Acts 19:1-7 God is seen using the human element, the apostles,
to impart the holy Spirit by the laying on of hands.
The Holy Spirit Comes Upon Believers in Ephesus
Arriving in Ephesus on his third missionary journey, Paul met a group of
twelve men. About thirty years before, these men had been in Jerusalem, while
there they attended the ministry of John the Baptist. In questioning them
about their salvation, Paul discovered that they were not born again. Paul
gave them the message of Jesus Christ and they were saved. After they believed
and were baptized, Paul laid hands on them, imparting the Holy Spirit upon
them for service.
Acts 19:1-7 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was
at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus,
and found certain disciples: and he said unto them, Did ye receive the Holy
Spirit when ye believed? And they said unto him, Nay, we did not so much
as hear whether the Holy Spirit was given. And he said, Into what then were
ye baptized? And they said, Into John's baptism. And Paul said, John baptized
with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe
on him that should come after him, that is, on Jesus. And when they heard
this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had
laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with
tongues, and prophesied. And they were in all about twelve men.
Acts 2 record the sovereign descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Jewish apostles
for service. As a result the apostles spoke and were understood in 16 different
languages. Acts chapters 10 and 11 records the sovereign descent of
the Holy Spirit upon the Gentiles in the home of Cornelius. As a result they
spook in foreign languages in the same way the apostles did on the Day of
Pentecost. Acts 8 bears record of the impartation of the Holy Spirit
for service at Samaria, through Peter and John when they laid hands upon
those who were already believers. As a result, they also spoke in tongues
(foreign languages). On two occasions the holy Spirit was imparted with human
instrumentality; twice, God used the apostles to impart the Spirit. These
facts serve as groundwork for an understanding of the subject of spiritual
gifts, as presented in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14.
To be continued...
In His Service,
Rick and Sandy