Volume VI, Number 31
November 24, 2002

Published by

Mt. Baker
church of Christ
Bellingham, WA
(1860 Mt. Baker HWY)
(360) 752-2692

Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship............10:30 & 6:00

Bible Classes...........7:00 PM

Web sites:

Editor................Joe R. Price

"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)

In this issue:

Receiving the Holy Spirit
Joe R. Price

The Holy Spirit remains an important topic about which many are concerned.  And, about which many are mistaken.  Here is a recent Bible question we received via the Bible Answers website and my reply.

“Where in the bible does Jesus, God or the Holy Spirit tell the Apostles or that only they can give a Holy and precious gift from God to other men by the laying on of their hands? I see many times where the Holy Ghost was given by the laying on of hands, but what Apostle laid hands on the 120 in the upper room?  Furthermore, how can you explain Acts 10:44-47 where Peter was speaking and the Holy Ghost fell on them? To even go a step further they were even Gentiles, not Jews!”

First, we should note that miraculous spiritual gifts were given at the behest of God and not the will of man (Heb. 2:3-4; 1 Cor. 12:4-11, esp. v. 11).  That the ability to grant or give miraculous spiritual gifts to others was exclusively granted to the apostles is necessarily inferred from Acts 8:12-17.  Philip had preached Christ in Samaria and people had believed and obeyed it (including Simon the sorcerer, Acts 8:5-13).  When the apostles in Jerusalem heard about these conversions they sent two of their number (Peter and John) to Samaria (8:14).  When these two apostles got to Samaria they “prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.  For as yet He had fallen upon none of them.  They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit”  (Acts 8:15-17).  (The reception described here is like that found in Act 19:5, where the apostle Paul laid his hands on new Christians and they spoke with tongues and prophesied -- miraculous spiritual gifts.) 

Why didn’t Philip merely lay his hands on the converts, give them the Holy Spirit, and save Peter and John a trip?  Because Philip (who could himself work miracles, Acts 8:6-7) did not have the ability to do so:  it was not “his part nor portion” to do so (neither was it Simon’s, whose offer of money for the ability brought swift rebuke for his sin, 8:18-23).  Acts 8:18 clinches it:  “And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money....”  That settles the matter:  it was through the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was (miraculously) given (see Acts 19:5).  This was, I believe, one of the particular “signs of an apostle” (2 Cor. 12:12).  While many Christians were given the ability to work miracles as a means of revealing and confirming the truth of the gospel (Heb. 2:3-4; Mk. 16:17-20), only the apostles could give a miraculous gift to another person.

       You have assumed what you must now prove from Scripture.  Where does the Bible say the 120 in the upper room were baptized with the Holy Spirit?  It is often asserted, I know, but the Scriptures do not affirm it.  Please notice to following:

1.  Holy Spirit baptism was a promise given to the apostles of Christ, not all believers - Acts 1:4-5 (the antecedent of the pronoun "them" in 1:4 is the "apostles", 1:2-3). 

2.  It was the apostles who would be the appointed witnesses of Christ - Acts 1:8 (1:21-22).

3.  Those who were to be His witnesses - the apostles - were promised “power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you”, thus enabling them to be witnesses of Christ - Acts 1:8; cf. Jno. 14:25-26; 15:26-27; 16:13.

4.  While it is true the apostles were gathered with about 120 disciples in Acts 1:15-26 when the Lord chose Matthias to replace Judas, this was not the day of Pentecost (see Acts 2:1). 

5.  In Acts 2:1, the plural pronoun “they” refers to its closest antecedent, “apostles” (1:26). 

6.  It is right and reasonable to conclude that it is the apostles who are gathered together in Acts 2:1-4, not all 120.

7.  Plus, it is only the 12 apostles who are speaking in other tongues on that occasion, not 120 (see Acts 2:7, 14).

8.  The people on that day said all who spoke in other languages were all Galileans (Acts 2:7).  Yet, we know there were disciples of Jesus (some of the 120) who were not Galileans.

        Only the apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-4.  If any of the 120 disciples who had previously been gathered together received miraculous spiritual gifts, their reception would follow the same pattern established in Acts 8:14-18.

        Thirdly, you ask:

>>Furthermore, how can you explain Acts 10:44-47 where Peter was speaking and the Holy Ghost fell on them? To even go a step further they were even Gentiles, not Jews! <<

       Yes, they were Gentiles.  Remember that the prophet Joel had prophesied the Spirit of God would be poured out upon “all flesh”, and that prophecy began to be fulfilled in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit was poured out on Jewish flesh (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17, 33).  A number of years later, when the Holy Spirit fell upon the household of Cornelius, Peter referred to Acts 2 as the closest reference point of similarity (Acts 11:15-17).  In that one incident, the Spirit of God fell upon Gentiles.  But, why?  The answer is given in Acts 15:7-9.  It was not to save them (that was through faith produced by the gospel message, see Acts 11:14).  Their hearts were purified by faith (Acts 15:7, 9).  The Holy Spirit fell from heaven on to the Gentiles in Acts 10:44-47 to bear testimony that Gentiles could be saved the same way Jews were being saved (read carefully, Acts 15:7-11).  Peter said God, who knows the hearts of men ”acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit.”  This is consistent with the conclusion drawn by both Peter and the Jewish Christians to whom he related the events:  ”If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”  When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” (Acts 11:17-18)

        Next, you conclude:

>>Also, if Apostles are the only ones to be able to lay hands on people and receive the Holy Ghost and by your theology there are none here today; that would mean that there are neither Evangelists, Teachers, Pastors or Prophets here today either. According to Ephesians 4:11 He, (Jesus), gave some to be Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. Are you explaining to the world on this website that Jesus taught false doctrine? <<   

        No my friend, that does not follow.  Jesus assigned work in the church for inspired men (apostles and prophets) and uninspired men (evangelists, pastors and teachers) - Ephesians 4:11.  The presence of The presence of miraculously inspired men (apostles and prophets) in the first century resulted in the production of inspired Scripture which completely equips us unto every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 14:37).  The work of uninspired men is to use the inspired word of God to equip the saints to grow to spiritual maturity in Christ (Eph. 4:12-16).  By the use of the completed and completely inspired word of God, this work continues today (see Jude 3; 1 Pet. 1:22-25; 2 Pet. 3:18; 2 Tim. 2:15).

        You conclude by gently rebuking me:

>>Joe, according to the word of God you should delight in this gentle rebuke! “The rebuke, (instruction, correction), of a friend is better than the kiss of an enemy” <<

        I appreciate your desire to rebuke what you perceive to be a misuse of the Bible.  To mishandle God’s word will indeed bring a judgment of destruction upon the one who misuses it (2 Pet. 3:16; Gal. 1:6-10).  In like manner, I urge you to give careful consideration to all of the Scriptural references I have offered (I truly am glad you “like scriptural references”!).  In doing you I am confident you will be find the rebuke you need from God’s word.

        Again, I appreciate you taking the time to write, and now to study these matters with me.  May the Lord bless each of us as we endeavor to know and obey His will.


You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS

“Wise Men Still Seek Him”

Scripture Reading:  Romans 5:6-11

1.  Bumper sticker theology (refers to Matt. 2:11).
2.  Man generally prides himself on his wisdom, ingenuity & knowledge.  (Prov. 3:34; 16:18; 1 Cor. 8:1)
3.  Are we truly wise?  Let’s see, because…


  A.  Seek & Find Christ & His Salvation in Inspired Scripture (Word of God) – Rom. 10:17; Jno. 20:30-31; Lk. 1:4; Jno. 5:39.

  B.  Will Not Find Jesus in:

    1.  Traditions of men – Matt. 15:3-9; Col. 2:8 (2 Ths. 2:15 (1 Cor. 11:2); 3:4.
    2.  Doctrines of men – Gal. 1:11-12, 6-9; Jno. 7:16-17; cf. Matt. 16:12.
    3.  Wisdom of men – 1 Cor. 1:18-25; Matt. 11:25f.


  A.  A Good & Honest Heart – Lk. 8:15 (6:45).

    1.  A convicted heart – Acts 2:37 (8:37).
    2.  Pure heart – Matt. 5:8 (2 Tim. 2:22).
    3.  A heart of love – Matt. 22:37.
    4.  Devoted heart – Acts 11:23.
    5.  Obedient heart – Rom. 6:17 (cf. Eph. 6:6).

  B.  An Evil Heart Will Not Seek Jesus – Heb. 3:12.

    1.  Hypocritical – Matt. 15:8.
    2.  Hardened – Mk. 6:52; 16:14; Rom. 2:5.
    3.  Stubborn – Acts 7:51, 54.
    4.  Given over to sin – 2 Pet. 2:14.


  A.  By Obeying the Will of the Father – Acts 5:29; Heb. 5:8-9.

  B.  By Zealously “Doing Good” – Gal. 6:9; Tit. 2:14; Rom. 2:7-8; 1 Jno. 3:7, 9; Col. 3:17, 23; cf. Matt. 25:34-40.

  C.  The Wrong Way to Seek Jesus Includes:

    1.  Emotional intent – Prov. 14:12.
    2.  Thinking it is the right way –
Isa. 55:8-9.
    3.  Values of the world –
1 Cor. 1:26-29.


You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS

Bible Question Box

Scripture Reading:  Psalms 119:89-96

Question # 1:  Rahab the Harlot (Joshua 2:4-6)
     “In Joshua 2:4-6, Rahab lies to the King of Jericho about the two Israelites to protect  them, hoping to be spared when Jericho falls.  In James 2, we read that she was justified by these actions.  Some would use this to argue that lying for the purpose of God’s work is justifiable and thus the end justifies the means.  What response would you give to those who  say these type of lies are permitted?”

·   “In James 2, we read that she was justified by these actions.”

o   Not exactly – Heb. 11:31; Jas. 2:25

o   Nowhere is it said Rahab was justified by deceit (Lie is recorded, not praised)

o   A sin of weakness (had faith, but sinned)

·   Does the end justify the means?  NO!! – Prov. 6:17; 1 Pet. 2:1; Jas. 4:11.

·   The end does not justify the means – Rom. 3:8; Mk. 7:8-13; Isa. 5:20.

Question # 2:  Bible Authority (Col. 3:17)
     “Where do we get biblical authority to use electricity in worship?”

·   Commandments include aids which expedient obedience - Gen. 6:14, 22; Matt. 28:19-20; Heb. 10:25.  (Sing – Eph. 5:19 (Books, pitch pipe, lights)

·   Commandments do not include things which change command (Additions).

Question # 3:  Teaching a Baptist Friend
     “I have a Baptist friend.  What exactly is the Baptist religion & how do I introduce them to this church?”

·   The Baptist Church:

o   Denomination started by man (John Smyth, 1609)

·   Our request of Baptists:

o   Where Christians were called “Baptists” in NT times?  (Acts 11:26)

o   Where we read about how to become a Baptist?  (Acts 2:38, 41)

o  Where we read about the “Baptist Church”?  (Matt. 16:18; Rom. 16:16)


Created by Chuck Sibbing.  11/23/2002

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