Sunday, June 3, 2012

Acts 19:1-3

Summary retelling of Acts 19:1-3

After Apollos heads to Corinth, Paul begins the overland route through Asia Minor.  He comes upon some disciples, but these are disciples who had neither received the Holy Spirit nor even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.  They claimed to be baptized into John the Baptizer’s baptism.   

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Here is yet another story of people who are out talking about what they know.  Clearly they don’t have the whole story – they don’t even know that there is a Holy Spirit.  However, they don’t let the fact that they don’t know everything stop them from talking about their relationship with God.  They are actively out proclaiming what they do know – and perhaps hoping to meet someone who can tell them more!

Is it inspiring to hear story after story of people who may have an incomplete message but they are out talking about it anyway?  Why can this be inspiring to us?

Second Thought:
Notice that we have another conversation between believers of different levels of theological competence and there is no sign of hostility.  Paul begins to question these disciples, and they are genuinely open to him.  They don’t get defensive.  They don’t assume they have all the answers.  They are open to listening to what Paul has to say.

In your experience, do you find most modern American Christians open to learning new theology that they’ve never heard about?  How can we keep this attitude of being open to God’s leading?

{As an aside, remember that all throughout the book of Acts the only time that we really have theological conflict is between Christians and Jews (disciples in Jerusalem in the early book, Paul on his missionary journeys) or between highly appointed church leaders (Paul’s approach to the inclusion of Gentiles versus the leaders in Jerusalem’s more reserved approach).  Other than when theological leaders are involved, things usually go pretty well between people of the faith in Acts.}

Third Thought:
Notice that Paul focuses in on the Holy Spirit.  Paul knows that it is the Holy Spirit that not only ties us spiritually to God but spiritually to one another.  When Paul asks about the Holy Spirit, he is largely thinking of the people to whom he is talking.  He wants them to grow closer to God and he genuinely longs for the fellowship between people that only comes from having a shared experience of the Holy Spirit.

Do you think of the Holy Spirit as that which binds you to God and your closest spiritual relationships?  In this light, why should we talk more than we do about the Holy Spirit in our churches?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 19:4-7
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