Receiving The Spirit Question - Acts 8:14-17

mbrown1219

Heaven's Stables
I was reared in a Baptist church, which teaches that the Holy Spirit comes to reside in the believer at the time of salvation. What I'm wondering is this: what is different about this indwelling of the Holy Spirit? If it is an additional gift, I'll baldly say that I want it.
Perhaps GotQuestions.org can help with this distinction. Hopefully! :praying:

Question: "How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?"

Answer: An important verse in understanding the filling of the Holy Spirit is John 14:16, where Jesus promised the Spirit would indwell believers and that the indwelling would be permanent. It is important to distinguish the indwelling from the filling of the Spirit. The permanent indwelling of the Spirit is not for a select few believers, but for all believers. There are a number of references in Scripture that support this conclusion. First, the Holy Spirit is a gift given to all believers in Jesus without exception, and no conditions are placed upon this gift except faith in Christ (John 7:37-39). Second, the Holy Spirit is given at the moment of salvation (Ephesians 1:13). Galatians 3:2 emphasizes this same truth, saying that the sealing and indwelling of the Spirit took place at the time of believing. Third, the Holy Spirit indwells believers permanently. The Holy Spirit is given to believers as a down payment, or verification of their future glorification in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 4:30).

This is in contrast to the filling of the Spirit referred to in Ephesians 5:18. We should be so completely yielded to the Holy Spirit that He can possess us fully and, in that sense, fill us. Romans 8:9 and Ephesians 1:13-14 states that He dwells within every believer, but He can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30), and His activity within us can be quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19). When we allow this to happen, we do not experience the fullness of the Spirit's working and His power in and through us. To be filled with the Spirit implies freedom for Him to occupy every part of our lives, guiding and controlling us. Then His power can be exerted through us so that what we do is fruitful to God. The filling of the Spirit does not apply to outward acts alone; it also applies to the innermost thoughts and motives of our actions. Psalm 19:14 says, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer."

Sin is what hinders the filling of the Holy Spirit, and obedience to God is how the filling of the Spirit is maintained. Ephesians 5:18 commands that we be filled with the Spirit; however, it is not praying for the filling of the Holy Spirit that accomplishes the filling. Only our obedience to God's commands allows the Spirit freedom to work within us. Because we are still infected with sin, it is impossible to be filled with the Spirit all of the time. When we sin, we should immediately confess it to God and renew our commitment to being Spirit-filled and Spirit-led.

Recommended Resources: The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life by Charles Stanley and Logos Bible Software.

Read more: How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?
 

Steve53

Well-Known Member
A question to, and answer from Jack Kelley concerning the OP's passages:

[h=1]Receive vs. Fall Upon
Q. In Acts 8:14-17, we read that the Word of God had been received in Samaria and they had been baptized in the Lord’s name but the Holy Spirit had not come upon them until John and Peter came to them and laid hands on them. Since God’s Word cannot contradict itself, what does this mean in light of passages like Ephesians 1:13-14 where we are told we are sealed with the Holy Spirit the moment we believe? I have looked at the context of this passage with regard to Simon the magician and the rest of the Samaritians, but I still feel a bit confused. It’s such an extraordinary passage and puts light on seeking the Lord for the wrong reasons and having a wrong heart. Is this the reason for the delay in the Holy Spirit?
[/h] A. In English Acts 8:14-17 is a confusing passage that has to be read very carefully. The confusion goes away when we compare two words. On the surface it appears that there were believers in Samaria who been baptized but hadn’t received (1st word: Greek lambano) the Holy Spirit. To receive means to take to ones self as if to carry away. It denotes permanence and possession.
But that’s not what the passage says. Verse 16 says the Holy Spirit had not fallen upon (2nd word: Greek epipipto) any of them and that’s why they thought they hadn’t received Him. To fall upon means to overpower someone. It’s a temporary condition. So Peter and John went to lay hands on them and they “received” the Holy Spirit.
Now here’s another clue as to what happened. Simon saw this and offered to pay for the ability to do what Peter and John had done. This tells us that some sort of visible evidence had to have accompanied the laying on of hands. Therefore this had to be more than just receiving the Holy Spirit which is not visibly discerned. The Holy Spirit had to have fallen upon the Samaritans in a visible way, finally convincing them that they had received Him and exciting Simon’s imagination to the possibilities for personal gain. Later Paul cleared up this misunderstanding by saying the Holy Spirit is always sealed within us from the first moment of belief (Ephes. 1:13-14). Receive vs. Fall Upon - Gracethrufaith
 

mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
This is a most interesting discussion. The argument made that the Holy Spirit was only come upon believers (first in Jerusalem, next in Samaria, and then among the Gentiles) to demonstrate that God had indeed accepted them as the first fruits (as it were) of that class of believer is a very clever one. Certainly the most sincere I have ever come across and one that definitely lines up with a lot more scripture than the views of those who claim the gifts all ceased with the apostles. That said, I would suggest that while the granting of the Holy Spirit with a demonstrable gift was indeed God's way of demonstrating the reality of His acceptance of those believers, I do not think it was because they were necessarily a new "category" of believer (if you understand what I mean. There are other instances of the falling of the Holy Spirit upon a group in the NT that do not fall into one of those categories.

I am not going to go further with this thought at the moment as I am just preparing for church this evening and I definitely want to pray a lot more before responding further. In the meantime, may all those who comment continue to do so in same the love and respect as those members who have gone before in this thread. :hug:
 

jonshaff

Fellow Servant
This is a most interesting discussion. The argument made that the Holy Spirit was only come upon believers (first in Jerusalem, next in Samaria, and then among the Gentiles) to demonstrate that God had indeed accepted them as the first fruits (as it were) of that class of believer is a very clever one. Certainly the most sincere I have ever come across and one that definitely lines up with a lot more scripture than the views of those who claim the gifts all ceased with the apostles. That said, I would suggest that while the granting of the Holy Spirit with a demonstrable gift was indeed God's way of demonstrating the reality of His acceptance of those believers, I do not think it was because they were necessarily a new "category" of believer (if you understand what I mean. There are other instances of the falling of the Holy Spirit upon a group in the NT that do not fall into one of those categories.

I am not going to go further with this thought at the moment as I am just preparing for church this evening and I definitely want to pray a lot more before responding further. In the meantime, may all those who comment continue to do so in same the love and respect as those members who have gone before in this thread. :hug:
The only other group of people that received the Holy Spirit in the historical narrative (specifically mentioned) are John's Disciples who have Not yet received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit because they have yet to hear the Gospel of Christ in its entirety.


Acts 19:3-7 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
And all the men were about twelve.

In MY humble opinion, this passage's focus is more about Paul's apostleship than what happened to the new believers. Notice the other times it was Peter, Paul was given the same charge to be a part of the foundation of Christianity.

Ephesians 2:19-21 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:


2 Corinthians 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

Notice majority of Acts Chapter 19 details Paul's ministry and how God was working mightily through him
 

Jan51

Well-Known Member
I was raised Baptist but there came a point when I wondered if there was "something more" and if so, I wanted it. People laid hands on me and prayed. Others tried to "teach" me to speak in tongues. I prayed to have this, but nothing ever happened. For years I studied and observed, reading/hearing about people's experiences as well as studying all the Scriptural views I could find. I have come to the conclusion that no one's experience has any merit in laying out or clarifying doctrine, but that the Bible taken as a whole interprets itself. I'm not sure what to make of other people's experiences, but here is the understanding of Scripture I have come to regarding the baptism of the Spirit and the passages in Acts:

When the Holy Spirit came to indwell believers, they were baptized into (identified with, immersed in) the body of Christ; they are now one body--the church. In Acts 2:1-4, two interesting things happen: tongues of fire and speaking with other tongues--something all could see and hear. An inner unseen event was indicated by outward evidences. Otherwise, there was no objective evidence that this completely new experience had taken place.

We are told they were filled, not baptized, with the Holy Spirit, but we can know this is the baptism of the Holy Spirit because of Acts 1:5 and 11:15-16. Believers today do not need to wait like the Jerusalem believers for the baptism of the Holy Spirit; all believers are baptized with the Holy Spirit, I Cor. 12:13. Many believe our experience should be like that of Acts 2, but if we have been reading the whole Bible, we have seen that God is now doing a new thing; this is the start of a new dispensation, a new way of dealing with believers. Acts records a period of transition, and God is making it very clear to them that something different is beginning. Today we are no longer in that transition period. Christians are never told to be baptized in the Holy Spirit or told to pray for it or seek it. It has nothing to do with us. We read that the Holy Spirit baptizes all believers, I Cor. 12:13, seals them, Eph. 1:13-14, and indwells them, Rom. 8:9; this happens the moment we are saved.

So when these believers were filled with the Holy Spirit, why did they speak in other languages? The early believers were all Jewish. We will find as we read through Acts that God extends salvation to the Gentiles also; the Jews had trouble believing that this could be. The Jews experienced certain outward evidences of the Holy Spirit; when Gentiles were saved and experienced these same things, the Jewish believers could not argue. The account of this major development is found in Acts 10. To see how controversial this issue was, read Acts 11:1-18. If God had not provided some external evidence of salvation and the receiving of the Holy Spirit, Jewish believers might have refused to accept the validity of Gentile salvation. But they saw for themselves that God was also saving Gentiles. Because this is not our culture, we have trouble understanding what a big deal this was in the early church. In almost every epistle, we find evidence of this conflict that always threatened to divide the church.

In Acts 8:14-17, something new happens. The Samaritans were of Jewish descent and belief but were looked down on by the Jews. The Holy Spirit had already fallen on the Jewish believers. Now these were saved under the ministry of Philip, who was not an apostle. The apostles wanted to be clear that God was saving Samaritans too, not just Jews. They welcomed the Samaritans into the church. When they laid their hands on believers and prayed, something happened to let others know that these had received the Holy Spirit--apparently the sign of tongues. God had provided an attesting outward sign to show that something inward had taken place. The purpose of speaking in tongues was to be a sign.

In Acts 10-11, we have a major doctrinal change for the church. Peter is surprised in 10:34-35 about a fact that we all understand and accept--that salvation is for all nations, not just Jews. Why did God have to go to such lengths to teach Peter this? Jews thought God did not accept Gentiles unless they converted to Judaism. It’s hard for us to comprehend the loathing the Jews felt toward Gentiles, or the astonishment Peter must have felt. The Mosaic Law forbade them to even enter the house of a Gentile or to eat with Gentiles, because Gentiles were unclean before God. This was a very big deal to Jews.

In 10:44-48 we see that the purpose of tongues is an outward sign of the invisible Holy Spirit. In Acts 2 Jewish believers spoke in tongues as a sign that they had received the Holy Spirit. In 8:14-17 Samaritan believers received the Holy Spirit and apparently spoke in tongues as a sign that this took place; it doesn’t specifically say they spoke in tongues, but we might assume this since something happened that made it obvious that believers had received the Holy Spirit. Now Gentile believers speak in tongues as a sign that they too received the Holy Spirit. God is making it VERY clear that Gentiles can also be saved, in the same manner as Jews. In 11:15, we are again told the reason for a sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

There is one more such incident in 19:1-7. These disciples in Ephesus have heard an incomplete message; apparently they heard and responded to the preaching of John the Baptist, or perhaps his message through Apollos. They haven't received the Holy Spirit. This can't mean they haven't heard of Him, since John DID preach about Him; many commentators say this means they haven't so much as heard whether He has been GIVEN--whether He is now on the earth. So they were believers in the same way Old Testament believers were saved--accepting and looking ahead in faith to the Messiah to come. Paul tells them who that One is--Jesus. They obviously believe, and in 19:5-6 the Holy Spirit comes on them--baptizes them--in a way that is obvious: tongues and prophesying. Here we also have another instance of laying on of hands. This is apparently why some groups lay hands on those they are praying for that they may speak in tongues, associating the two and thinking that all Christians should speak in tongues. But we need to analyze what we have read about tongues in the book of Acts.

Tongues are only mentioned three times in this book, in three significant situations: 2:4 when Jewish believers first receive the Holy Spirit, 10:46 when Gentile believers first receive the Holy Spirit, and 19:6 when Old Testament believers believe in Jesus and receive the Holy Spirit. They are implied but not mentioned specifically in 8:17-18 when Samaritan believers receive the Holy Spirit. God gave tongues as a sign of the initial giving of the Holy Spirit so that there could be no dispute that each of these groups just mentioned were all equally saved and part of the church. The only other mention of tongues is in I Cor. 12-14 where Paul corrects the misuse of spiritual gifts by the quarreling, immature, carnal Christians at Corinth. No mention of tongues is found in letters to other churches, nor does Paul teach about or command this to any other church. After studying tongues in the context of Acts and the entire New Testament, it is a big leap to say that tongues accompanies salvation. Rather it seems to be given in a time of transition from Judaism to its fulfillment in Christianity. God is making it clear to the Jews that salvation is equally available to all people.
 

ShilohRose

Well-Known Member
This is a very interesting discussion. While I had heard about the speaking in tongues, I had never considered anything else, such as what MattFiveFour is speaking about. I am looking forward to his response.
 

Hol

Worships Him
Personally I do not speak in tongues, though I bet my classmates in beginner's Hebrew may have guessed I was...

Yet what a blessed Creator who loves us as individuals! I am often like D.L. Moody in crying that he was / I am so overwhelmed with the Presence of the Lord that I can't take anymore! His Word does that to me, creating a hunger for truth & passion that He feeds me - well, any additional experience & revelation and I may simply die.

But, He may will another way for others to work out their salvation in fear & trembling. If you would be edified in a gifting that includes speaking in tongues He may want you to receive that blessing ❤.

He is able, and all doctrinal concerns aside, we know that He has manifested Himself this way. We know that the early church was indeed a special work! We know that Christ is the Elohim of Y'srael, (God of Israel), yet He wanted all others on the planet, for the first time, to share one common salvation by faith, the gift of Christ Jesus. His outpouring of healing gifts, tongues & other evidences gave us our common ground of belonging to Him. 

Now, seeking Him I believe He may do anything He desires. No group has the perfect doctrine that I've seen - but let your (ShilohRose esp.) seeking be based only on your search for truth & how to best love Him with all you've got. Doctrine draws us into dispute, but His Spirit is not limited to our conclusions. Salvation must remain impossible for us to attain, and 100% ours through trusting Him alone 

Emotions, experience; all of that happens - but neither experience nor doctrine lead to Him. He loves a humble & contrite heart, and that opens the door for wherever He wants you as His child to rest/walk/belong. ❤
 

IIRUSTYII

Member
I too believe that I have shared the same experience that Bro. Moody describes. I was raised in a Baptists church up until my youth and knew nothing of any type of filling or baptism of the Spirit. I was truly saved 3 years ago and delivered from an alcohol addiction. While still in the Christian Addiction Center I was attending I too experienced what Mr. Moody describes. While it was the most wonderful thing, I still don't worship the experience itself, but my Lord. I was not seeking any type of experience when this happened. Again, I had no knowledge of any experiences like this. I was only seeking The Lord. If a person ever experiences it, they will no doubt know it.
 

Hol

Worships Him
I too believe that I have shared the same experience that Bro. Moody describes. I was raised in a Baptists church up until my youth and knew nothing of any type of filling or baptism of the Spirit. I was truly saved 3 years ago and delivered from an alcohol addiction. While still in the Christian Addiction Center I was attending I too experienced what Mr. Moody describes. While it was the most wonderful thing, I still don't worship the experience itself, but my Lord. I was not seeking any type of experience when this happened. Again, I had no knowledge of any experiences like this. I was only seeking The Lord. If a person ever experiences it, they will no doubt know it.
Wow, what a good way to put it! Today our Pastor spoke about giftedness a little. He says all gifts are active, and we each have one, but we should stop focusing on gifts. Focus on the Giver & His way.
❤
 

twit

Well-Known Member
I don't believe in second blessings...I believe we get countless, abundant blessings. I've found out long ago that you get what you need from the Lord. Having read about this I sought it and to be honest I got nothing until I learned that I had to let go of self and just seek the Lord. How could God fill me if I'm full of self? I had to be empty, just like those wine bottles at the marriage at Cana. When the Holy Spirit brings us to that knowledge of self, and all its woes, we realise that we are nothing but filthy rags, we realise we must deny self and seek Jesus. It really is all about the Lord. It's simply seeking Him and all His glory through the Holy Spirit, and doing it in truth; God knows our hearts better than we do. The secret sins will be revealed, everything that stands in the way of communion will be exposed and will need to be dealt with. Glory to God it was all dealt with at Calvary!

I'm just an ordinary believer, the lest to be honest; but my Saviour is mighty so I don't bother much about me. I dont believe in second blessing because I'm the sort of person who always ends up empty...I'd have been cast out long ago if it were just the two! Thank God for the daily manna. I think that's the way it's meant to be...new every morning. Be ye continually allowing God to fill you with the Spirit. I'm no expert, but that means spending lots of time on the knees until I become empty. If I'm not empty I'm not filled...Irish wit.
 

TheOvercomers

Well-Known Member
Many great responses here. I think though that we are missing something here and that is the story of Simon as told in the rest of the chapter. What stood out to me was that when Simon "saw" that by the laying of the hands the people received the Holy Spirit, Simon offered them money in order to receive this gift. We all know of the strong rebuke by Peter. I wonder if the need for the laying of the hands by the Apostles was not only for the Samaritans, but also a test for Simon, who had been practicing sorcery among them where the Samaritans taught he was some great man, although the Scriptures explicitly says that Simon himself believed. Why didn't the Spirit deal with him as he did with Annanias and Saphira?

Regardless, I was also raised a baptist, and do confess that I'm a cessasionist, however I still do believe in miracles, and that God still performs them if the faith of the person praying and the person in need of a miracle is strong. I've heard stories of this happening in some instances and I believe that they could be true, even though I'm always cautious of them, understanding that it is not always God will to heal, but rather that they might believe.

I also don't believe in Speaking in tongues, but I do not discredit my pentecostal brethren in believing so, because when my Grandfather died in the mid nineties, a dear old lady friend of my grandmother was praying with us and suddenly she began praying in a tongue that to me sounded like hebrew although I'm not sure, and believe me, this was not feigned, she was not faking.

To this day, I still wonder what she said.

God bless.
 

TheOvercomers

Well-Known Member
It's funny, the things we remember, we called her mama Victoria (spanish word for victory), she was 82 at the time and she spoke English very well, as she was from the bronx, and had the finest nuyorican accent...lol

She was beautiful, and I can't wait to se e her again.
 

jonshaff

Fellow Servant
Matthew 10:5-7 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Came across this gem
 
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