Summary: The gift of the Holy Spirit is available for all who will receive Him.

Receiving the Gift

Acts 19:1-7

Intro: We like to talk about gifts around Christmas time. We think about what we will give to those special people in our lives, and sometimes we might even think about what someone is getting for us. As followers of Jesus, we remember that God sent Jesus as the greatest gift He had. And everyone who calls on God in faith receives the gift of God – forgiveness and eternal life with Him.

-Today we’re going to talk about receiving another of God’s gifts. This is a gift that will change us so that we can change our world. We cannot be effective world-changers, let alone family-changers, neighborhood-changers, or community-changers without this gift.

-Sometimes God takes us through situations that are uncomfortable for us. He does this, not because He is mad at us or wants to harm us, but because He wants to prepare us to do what He has called us to do. We may not always understand what God is doing, and we may not even like it. This clip from Evan Almighty (kind of a modern day Noah) helps illustrate this. [Play Session 4]

-God may take us on a journey over the next several weeks and months that doesn’t make a lot of sense to us. In fact we may not even like it. However, if we are ever going to make a difference for Him, we will need to do things His way.

Prop: The gift of the Holy Spirit is available for all who will receive Him.

Int. Sentence: How do we receive the Holy Spirit into our hearts and lives?

TS: Let’s look at 3

I. God’s Gift Is Received by Believing on Jesus (Acts 19:1-2)

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."

-Why would Paul ask a question like this? He had met these disciples (learners) who apparently loved God and believed in Him. Since they had been baptized with John’s baptism, they had repented of their sins, and were most likely living in obedience to the Old Testament Scriptures. But if they knew anything about Jesus, it apparently wasn’t enough to bring about the transformation that comes with calling on Him and being totally forgiven based on what He did on the cross.

-Devout Jews, and even Gentile God-fearers, had a sense that a new age was coming which would begin when God’s Messiah (anointed & chosen One) was revealed. This new age would also be marked by the coming of the Holy Spirit. How did they know this? The prophet Joel was one source: Joel 2:28-29 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”

-So, Paul was asking these disciples if they had received the Holy Spirit who had been promised a few hundred years earlier.

-Their response is a little bit confusing. The way it reads makes us think that they had never heard of the Holy Spirit: “We have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." However, if they were disciples who had studied the Old Testament Scriptures, they would have come across several references to the Holy Spirit:

Genesis 1:2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Psalm 51:11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Exodus 31:2-3 "See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts--

Numbers 11:25 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did not do so again.

Isaiah 11:1-2 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—

Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.

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