“And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” (Acts 19:1-2a).
The disciples at Ephesus believed in repentance but were unaware of the full plan of salvation available through Jesus Christ. Upon hearing the good news, they were baptized. Paul then laid hands on them, prayed, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Many people have prayed to be forgiven of their sins and to accept Christ as their Savior, but have never gone on to enjoy a life of real spiritual victory and holiness. They miss the deep, rich experience of spiritual abundance. Many make a start for the Lord but through time find the temptations and trials so great that they slip back into the things from which God delivered them. For those who don’t go back to a life of sin, many have a stagnate experience of spiritual drudgery and a form of godliness.
Before the day of Pentecost, Peter professed his devotion for Christ. He even pulled his sword, ready to do battle, when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. Within a few hours, this same Peter denied knowledge of the Lord three different times. In the face of temptation, peer pressure, and even death, Peter did not have the power to remain faithful. After the Holy Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost, Peter preached with new courage and boldness a message of the resurrected Lord. He was filled with the sustaining power and graces of the Holy Spirit. He never went back to fishing but lived a holy life of consecrated service for God.
The good news of the gospel is that God wants to gift you with the Holy Spirit to enable you to live a life of consistent power and holiness. Mankind is incapable of living holy in his own strength and ability. Jesus died on the cross that our sins could be forgiven through the atonement of His blood. When we repent, we are made a clean vessel through Jesus Christ. Let us not stop with a clean vessel. Jesus also came that we would be filled with the Holy Spirit. If someone does not speedily seek God for the Holy Spirit, the devil will try to fill the life back up with the sin and pollution of the world. It is the infilling of the Holy Spirit that will heal the backsliding and enable holy living.
Jesus came to do a full, complete work to equip people to live in obedience and holiness in accordance to the Word of God. He came to purge committed sin and then to baptize with the Spirit. The experience of full salvation is wonderful. It is a life of dedicated service to God. It is a practical experience of victory in trial, comfort in grief, power over temptation, and peace in the storm. It brings fire and life in our daily Christian living. The infilling of the Holy Spirit is one of the greatest needs amongst professing Christians today. There is power in the Spirit to live without sin until the Lord returns.
Have you experienced this full, complete plan of salvation? Have you received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?