May 03, 2023 – Wednesday
Acts 19:1-5 NIV
1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 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.”
3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied.
4 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.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus
To clear up some possible confusion, these disciples believed what they had been taught about Jesus. However, their baptisms were via John – or his disciples – in preparation of the one to follow John, so it was a baptism of repentance as mentioned in the gospels.
It makes sense that the baptism from John was not a Christian baptism. As noted by Paul, it was a baptism of repentance to prepare them for the Messiah and the news of His kingdom. Thus, a Christian baptism was called for by Paul, a first for them and not to be repeated. They were obviously eager for this baptism and to receive the Holy Spirit so great was their faith and belief. After their baptism, 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
There are those who will tell you believing is not a choice, but then how to explain the following verses. 8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. Some became so obstinate, they refused to believe! In the Old Testament it might have read that they became stiff-necked as their refusal to believe grew. They were hardening their own hearts. It did not matter what Paul could show in the scriptures about Jesus., Their pride was too great, so they refused to believe.
Bottom Line: Believing is a choice as is not believing. Believing is an escape from the chains of sin and a direct path to Hell. Not believing is an embrace of sin, a refusal to accept the need for repentance before a perfect and holy God, a choosing to go to Hell. We ichoose either to serve a loving God or to serve a life of sin. Our choice. We need to choose wisely as eternity is a long time to be wrong.
Prayer: Almighty God, How clear you have made the choice for us. A life of freedom in serving You after Your Son paid the price for our sins on the cross. How You must love us to make such an incomprehensible gift of grace for us. I am awed by Your love. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton