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 Why did the apostles have to come down?

Acts 8:[color=000099]14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in nthe name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then othey laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.[/color]”

Why didn't they receive the Spirit until the apostles came? Why not when Phillip prayed for them? He was obviously a man of faith and moved in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The only thing that i can think of is that it was to confirm that they had received the same Spirit that the apostles, Cornelius' family etc had received. I.e. that the Spirit is One. At that early stage of the Church people might have imagined that the Spirit conveyed through Phillip was a different Spirit than the apostles received.

Or was the Spirit given [i]only[/i] through the Apostles while they were still living? This seems unlikely to me. Although the first apostles were special (again I don't want to argue here about how special or whether there are still apostles these days) I can't see that others might not have been able to pray for people to receive the Spirit if necessary?

If you are humble in heart, filled with the Spirit, and the Lord so directs, I see no reason that you couldn't pray for someone and they would receive the Spirit. Although I don't believe that tongues is the only evidence of this.

The fact that it was mentioned in Acts that they hadn't yet received the Spirit suggests that this wasn't the norm. Suggesting that people were usually baptized and received the Spirit automatically after they believed.

I'm not talking about cessationism now, but the fact that people received the Spirit (whatever the manifestation, or however you interpret this),[i]when someone prayed for them[/i].

Simon the sorcerer wanted the power to bestow the gift by paying for it!

I think it's the motive of the one who prays for people that is the important thing. Love of money or love of power are probably the main wrong motives.

That's as far as I've thought about it so far anyway, and would value comments.

Thanks

In Him

Jeannette

 2007/5/22 8:49









 Re: Why did the apostles have to come down?

Simple... this was to show Peter and John that even the Gentiles could be saved, and receive the Holy Spirit.

This is why Paul wrote that tongues were a sign "unto the Jews". Why? Because the Jews had a hard time believing that God could save Gentiles. So He prooved it by showing them that they received the Holy Spirit.

However, at this point (2007 AD), that sign for the Jews is not necessary.

Fact is, since that time... you receive the Holy Spirit at the moment you are saved. This is taught in scripture. [b]You can not be saved and not have the Holy Spirit[/b]. I've seen people even on this forum say "I'm saved, but now I'm seeking the Holy Spirit"... well, the truth is, if you dont have the Holy Spirit... you are not saved.

But in Acts, in those couple of instances where they had not received the Holy Spirit, it was a sign for the Jews (apostles) that God was moving among the Gentiles. In one instance, the people were not even followers of Christ yet, they were followers of John. But these examples are very few, and were not the norm.

Yet, thanx to playing loose with scripture, the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements have made these very few and very rare occasions into dogma. And people go along with it because we listen more than we study.

Krispy

 2007/5/22 9:30
running2win
Member



Joined: 2007/5/15
Posts: 231
Bowmansville Penssylvania USA

 Re: Why did the apostles have to come down?

Quote:
Why didn't they receive the Spirit until the apostles came? Why not when Phillip prayed for them?


This I can't completely understand but I personlly believe that that baptism of the Holy Ghost is different than conversion. Under the preaching of men full of the Holy Ghost often the conviction is so powerful that one is baptized with the Holy Ghost immediately after conversion. However many times (I believe from lack of understanding.)even in the lives of men full of the Holy Ghost they don't seem to get the listeners to the place where God fills them right away. If you study the lives of the men who have shaken christian history like the Wesleys, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney, Moody, etc. Each one of them came to a point in time where God poured out his Spirit on them [i]after[/i] conversion. But, I don't believe that that should be the norm. I think that God intends it to happen upon conversion.
Quote:
Or was the Spirit given only through the Apostles while they were still living?


I don't think God's way of operating has changed and that the baptism of the Holy Ghost is available to all who sincerely desire it and seek God for it. However, God cannot fill a vessel that isn't empty. Only those completely given up to God for His glory without their own benefit in mind are the ones to ascend into the hill of the Lord. Psalm 24. I might also add that we are not to seek an experience, but rather God Himself. We want God to fill us with all the fullness of God so that He might use us to shake this world for Him. After all what is the Baptism of the Holy Ghost? God taken complete possesion of a man or woman.
Quote:
Although I don't believe that tongues is the only evidence of this.


Excellent. You are absolutely correct on that one. There are only two consistant evidences of someone being Full of the Holy Spirit.
1. Holiness. And by that I mean Christ-likeness. People like Stephen whose face shone like an angel. That's not an uncommon testimony if you study the lives of men like the above mentioned list. When you around people like that they are so Christ like you can feel the presence of God around them.
2. Jesus said when He (the Holy Ghost) is come upon you He will convict the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. Again looking at history we find that when God fills a person they start to see God convicting people and they start getting born again. D.L. Moody's testimony was that before God filled him he'd preach a sermon and maybe a dozen people would become born again. After God filled him sometimes as much as 400(!!!!) people would get saved. Is that not revival?
In this day and age there are almost no men anywhere full of the Holy Ghost and Power as it says of the apostles in Acts. I think Acts is there so that we can look at it to compare our lives and ask "what's missing in my life?" The answer is in God baptizing his people with the Holy Ghost so that they once again have the power to turn the world upside down.

Oh God make me one of those men whatever the cost may be! For your glory and so that your testimony might once again be made great amongst the heathen. God I ask it in the name of your glorious Son and my precious Saviour. Amen.


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Jeff Mollman

 2007/5/22 10:02Profile
running2win
Member



Joined: 2007/5/15
Posts: 231
Bowmansville Penssylvania USA

 Re:

Quote:
You can not be saved and not have the Holy Spirit.


True. After the ressurection when Jesus appeared to the disciples He breathed on them and said "receive ye the Holy Ghost." But just because someone is saved and has the Holy Spirit in them does not by any means mean that they are FULL of the Holy Spirit. True we receive Him at conversion but there is more than that also. Please now though that I'm not a sensationalist or an experiece seeker. Just a redeemed sinner who wants to be all that he can for his Almighty maker.


_________________
Jeff Mollman

 2007/5/22 10:07Profile
elanham
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Joined: 2007/3/21
Posts: 87
Maryland

 Re: Why did the apostles have to come down?

I believe that the Lord wanted to emphasize the foundational and essential need of Apostolic oversight in the conferring of this most precious gift.

The lack of such oversight can give rise to noxious happenings as we in our time have come to see.

I think if true Apostolic men of the stature of Paul and the early Apostles were giving oversight over some of our modern day "moves of the Spirit" we would have had less hamburger helper and more Heaven blessed expressions of that eternal realm.

Be well.


_________________
Eric Lanham

 2007/5/22 10:33Profile
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
You can not be saved and not have the Holy Spirit.


We would need to carefully define 'saved' in this kind of statement.

The believers in Samaria...Acts 8:12 (KJVS) But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
1. They had believed
2. They had been baptised by Philip.

Now as it happens we know exactly what Philip's criteria for water baptism was...“Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”
Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”
And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.” (Acts 8:36-38 NKJV) This 'continued' is the 'continued stedfastly' of Acts and is a much used word in Acts; Acts 1:14; 2:42, 46; 6:4; 8:13; 10:7

Philip was a man who knew how to hear God's voice and yet Simon was baptised. Was Simon 'saved'? Well he seems to have had the same experiences as the others in Samaria; were they 'saved'?

I know this is controversial but we need to be prepared to read the scripture as it has been given to us and not 'reverse engineer' passages from the epistles into this narrative. I don't mean that the epistles are not valid, of course they are. I simply mean that we have to look at the situation in Acts 8 honestly, as we find it.

There is no doubt that these Samaritans, including Simon, had had an experience which sounds much like that of many a 'saved' man in contemporary Christianity. But there is something seriously amiss here when we read of Peter's subsequent description of Simon...“But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”” (Acts 8:20-23 NKJV)

We need a serious definition of 'saved'.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2007/5/22 10:40Profile









 Re:

Let me clarify something... I do believe that there comes a time when we go to a deeper level with the Lord. I think where we all get messed up is in terminology. Some call it "baptism of the Holy Spirit", some call it "a second touch". I believe it's wrong to say it's "receiving the Holy Spirit" because it's clear in scripture that you receive the Holy Spirit at salvation. There is not a single saved person who has not received the Holy Spirit.

For me, the "next level" happened 5 years after my salvation. It was very simple, I surrendered. I told God I was tired of living my Christian life through teachers, experiences, etc etc. I wanted truth, and nothing more. I wanted God, and not programs, activities, conferences, concerts, etc.

Ironically, this is when my personal theology on tongues changed. I used to be in the camp of "tongues are the evidence of being filled".

But I digress... tongues is not the issue here.

In reading "No Compromise: The Keith Green Story" he seemed to go thru a similar experience. In fact, he informed people that he had finally gotten saved... even tho he'd been saved for a couple of years. It was his way of saying that God had taken Him to a different level.

I dont deny that, I've been there myself. But I think we're mistaken when we say something that implies that we have just recevied the Holy Spirit when in fact we received Him at salvation.

Some would call that being "filled". I dont know that I agree with that either because we're commanded by Paul to be filled daily. I take that to mean daily upon salvation.

I think a good analogy of what I am saying about a different level is raising kids. While they are young you only give them so much freedom... but when they turn 16 you hand them the car keys. I think thats what God does with us.

Krispy

 2007/5/22 10:55
running2win
Member



Joined: 2007/5/15
Posts: 231
Bowmansville Penssylvania USA

 Re:

Quote:
But I think we're mistaken when we say something that implies that we have just recevied the Holy Spirit when in fact we received Him at salvation.


You're absolutely right. If the Holy Spirit isn't in a person then that person is not God's child. No if, ands, or buts about it.


_________________
Jeff Mollman

 2007/5/22 11:08Profile
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re: Why did the apostles have to come down?

Quote:

I can't see that others might not have been able to pray for people to receive the Spirit if necessary?



Well, such activity is not limited to the apostles in the book of Acts. Acts 9:17 mentions the prophet Ananias (well, he's not called a prophet, but it is clear his activity is such) who comes to Saul so that he could regain his sight and receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, in 1 Tim 4:14, Paul reminds Timothy that a spiritual gift was bestowed upon him through the laying on of hands and accompanying prophetic utterance by a group of presbyters. So, it is clear from the Scriptures such a thing is not limited to apostolic ministry.

I don't believe Acts attempts to give us any insight into why it was that the new converts in Samaria didn't receive the baptism of the Spirit through the miracle working ministry of Philip the evangelist. If anything can be deduced, it is possible that the "authority" of apostolic and prophetic ministers- being foundational ministries in the church (Ephesians 2:20)- tend to flow more in such an equipping ministry more than others. However, Ephesians 4:11-13 makes clear apostles and prophets are not the only such individuals given to equipping the saints for the work of service. And such men are not needed to receive the baptism, as Luke 11:13 makes clear, it is possible to receive the Holy Spirit simply through prayer.

So, to get back to your original question. I think the Samaritan account we read in Acts is much more a description of how things just so happened to work out in this particular instance.


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Jimmy H

 2007/5/22 11:11Profile
rowdy2
Member



Joined: 2007/1/21
Posts: 528
Southern USA

 Re: Why did the apostles have to come down?

Reply to Jeff
Jeff wrote:

“Why didn't they receive the
Spirit until the apostles came?
Why not when Phillip prayed for them?”

Would you tell us which time you referenced in your post Jeff, thanks Eddie


_________________
Eddie

 2007/5/22 11:16Profile





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