Summary: This is the 10th sermon in the series, and deals with Baptism from a diferent passage then expected, and also deals with living within the fulness of the resurrestion instead of just in repentance.
Acts – Getting the whole picture: Baptism
There was a radio show that I still remember today, which for those of you under 20, is like a pod cast before there were pod casts. The radio announcer would walk through an interesting story of someone, which would be fine, but right near the end he would do the reveal, that this person who was the center of the story, ended up being someone famous, or part of a famous event. And it would always end with the phrase, “And now you know...the rest of the story”
Paul Harvey – The rest of the story.
It is a pretty common plot device in movies, the main character sees something, and from what they see they think they know what is going on. Maybe it`s that the person they love seems to be in love with someone else when really they are getting them a gift, or maybe it is thinking that they are going to be fired when they are about to get a raise (or the reverse), or even thinking that someone is a good guy working with them when they end up being the bad guy who was behind the whole thing all the time.
The reason it is so common is because it works so well, it changes everything when they get the whole story, the whole plot takes a turn. And the same is true about life, working on a part of the whole story can be pretty misleading when you are missing something important, and the passage we are looking at today shows that a few different ways.
It shows that not getting the whole picture – can be a pretty big deal.
19 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 into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.
This is at the beginning of the third of Paul`s missionary journeys, and it truly is a strange tale. We here the first part, about Paul meeting a group of Disciples, without any other information, and we assume that they are disciples of Jesus, a part of the early church. And it seems that this is what Paul thought too at first, but as he talks to them, it begins to be clear that they are not living the same life with God as Paul has experienced, that changed his life in such a profound way. So he asks them, do they have the Holy spirit...and they respond that they have not even heard that there is a Holy spirit, and Paul backs up the train a bit and asks an even more foundational question, what Baptism did you receive...to which they answer John`s.
This brings things into focus, and is the first of three pictures that become clear for us today...it is a realization that they haven`t heard the full story of Christ, they are still in the earlier story, the story of John the Baptist, coming to prepare the way for Jesus. If we read the Gospels, we hear of John as one who called the people to repentance, and he preached that one would come that would be greater, that would fill in the blanks of the picture he was speaking about, who would be not just baptizing with water but with the Holy spirit. So I think that what the disciples are meaning when they say they did not know about the Holy Spirit was not that they had never heard about it, but that they did not know it was here, they did not know about this story that we have been going through in Acts, of a Jesus after the resurrection, starting a whole new creation, and creating a new temple in us, having us living with the power and the presence of God in the Holy Spirit living within us.
So when Paul here`s they have not gotten there, but that they have been primed, and they are ready, he focuses in on Baptism. And this morning, we are going to be doing the same thing. But there is certainly something here for everyone, both those who have been through baptism and those who have not.