While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all. (Acts 19:1-7)
Most commentaries on today’s Scripture state that these twelve men were not saved. I disagree because Paul says within his question, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” that they were believers. Since John 3:16 states: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life and Ephesians 1:13 tells us when we hear the gospel of salvation and believe, we are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, the answer to Paul’s question has to be yes.
So why did he ask? Paul wasn’t a rude man, so he must have spoken to these men at length before he asked the question. I believe he saw they didn’t have the deep faith and zest for God that comes when we’re filled with the Holy Spirit.
When I joined the church at ten years old, I professed my belief in Jesus. Scripture tells me that at that moment I was saved, had eternal life, and the Holy Spirit indwelled me. The problem was I was never taught much about the Holy Spirit, so I didn’t realize the Holy Spirit was within me and didn’t ask for His power and gifts because I didn’t know they were available.
Jesus tells us in Luke 11:13: ”If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” This means that the Holy Spirit is the best gift we can receive and God will keep filling us with His Spirit whenever we ask.
Like these twelve men and myself, if you are a believer, the Holy Spirit resides within you but His power and gifts may stay dormant if you don’t ask for them.
Father, I praise You for Your gift of the Holy Spirit. Through Him I ask for Your comfort, power, and gifts. I am ready to receive and use them to pursue the dreams you’ve placed in my heart. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.