Summary: Many think that the laying on of hands was for the early church only. I believe that God is still working through ministers to impart His blessing on His people
June 3, 2007
Text: Acts 19:1-7
Subject: The Anointing of God By the Laying on of Hands
Title: Have I Got Something for You!
I’ve shared with you before from one of my favorite book series – The Chronicles of Narnia – and I want to begin today by telling a story from the first book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This scene takes place toward the end of the book after Aslan, the lion, (who represents Jesus) has been sacrificed on the witch’s altar so that others could live and now He has miraculously been raised from the dead. (Sound familiar?) Now he is in the witch’s courtyard where there are many statues of every kind of creature imaginable. Are you ready?
“What and extraordinary place!” cried Lucy. “All those stone animals – and people too! It’s – it’s like a museum.”
“Hush” said Susan, “Aslan’s doing something.”
He was indeed. He had bounded up to the stone lion and breathed on him. Then without waiting a moment he whisked around – almost as if he had been a cat chasing its tail – and breathed on a stone dwarf, which (as you remember) was standing a few feet back from the lion with his back to it. Then he pounced on a tall stone Dryad which stood beyond the dwarf, turning rapidly aside to deal with a stone rabbit on his right and rushed on to two centaurs. But at that moment Lucy said, “Oh Susan! Look! Look at the lion!”
I expect you’ve seen someone put a lighted match to a bit of newspaper which is propped up in a grate against an unlit fire. And for a second nothing seems to have happened; and then you notice a tiny streak of flame creeping along the edge of the newspaper.. It was like that now. For a second after aslant had breathed upon him the stone lion looked just the same. Then a tiny streak of gold began to run along his white marble back – then it spread – then the color seemed to lick all over him as the flame licks all over a bit of paper – then, while his hind quarters were still obviously stone the lion shook his mane and all the heavy stony folds rippled into living hair. Then he opened his great red mouth, warm and living, and gave a prodigious yawn. And now his hind legs had come to life. He lifted one of them and scratched himself. Then having caught sight of Aslan, he went bounding after him and frisking around him with whimpering and delight, jumping up to lick his face… (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Pages 164-165).
I want to talk to you today about what just happened in this story. Aslan (Jesus) went about breathing (the Holy Spirit) into those who were made of stone. But in the last days God is pouring out His Spirit on all flesh…
One of the ways – and not the only way – that the church can receive something from the Spirit of God today is through the laying on of hands. I want to share with you today the importance of being baptized in the Holy Spirit and being used by the Spirit in the gifts of the Spirit. Open your hearts to receive from God today.
I. THE LAYING ON OF HANDS IS FOR RECEIVING THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT. (Acts 19:1-7)
A. You have to be saved. “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Just like you cannot be good enough to save yourself, you can never be good enough to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Both are an act of grace from God. It is your coming to Christ that cleanses you. Likewise it is your desire for more from God that can move you to the next level. When you get to the place in your Christian walk where you know you need something more; when you say I’m just not sensing God’s presence in my life anymore; when you know that you are struggling by attempting to be a Christian in your own strength then it is time to fill up that emptiness with something else.
B. You have to be taught. Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. 4Paul 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.” When the disciples in Ephesus said they didn’t even know there was a Holy Spirit what they were saying was, “We didn’t know that the Holy Spirit had been poured out yet.” They may have heard about what happened on the day of Pentecost. They may have heard about what happened in Samaria when Peter and John went down and laid hands on the believers there. They may have heard about what happened in the house of Cornelius, when the spirit was poured out on the Gentiles, but they didn’t know it was available to them. They had to be taught.