As we read through Acts I am reminded of the missing Spirit in the church. The book of Acts reads like a fairy tale, great story but is it real as it looks so different to the church today. Someone once said that in a race a person was so far behind they thought they were in first. This is how it is with the church and the Spirit. The church is so void of the spirit it seems abnormal to talk about the power of the Holy Spirit. We have decided we are winning. The stories in Acts become just that, stories and not everyday occurrences in the church. The strange part is this void has not lead to repentance but to a revising of theology. Most churches like keeping stats. I think it makes us feel better about ourselves. Almost all keep track of baptism and attendance. These definitely make us feel that something is actually happening in the church. Let’s take a look at water baptism and baptism of the Holy Spirit. In most circles most emphasis is put on water baptism and not on entire sanctification (baptism of the Holy Spirit), not any more at least. It really is not even discussed much. The first is easy to keep track of, 5 went in the water 5 came up out of the water. The second is much harder but in reality should be easier. Since it is not happening it is kind of hard to keep stats. I personally think the later is not happening which is why so much emphasis is place on the first as it makes us feel we are doing something. The second is seen by power.
When you read the book of Acts, you cannot help but see the power that is available to all who believe. Acts 19:11 says, “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul.” I think many people forget that when they read his letters. Acts 19:1 “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. 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.” Notice the same thing happened at Pentecost and in Acts 10. We are in a day where we have placed a lot of emphasis on water baptism but have forgotten the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is also spoken of in Acts 18:24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.” Notice that fervor and accuracy was not enough.
Isn’t it time we learn the way of God as laid out in the book of Acts. Not that there is anything wrong with water baptism but baptism of the Holy Spirit is the power behind the church. As Paul said to the twelve who had focused on John’s baptism, we need to focus on Jesus Christ, the way, the truth and the life, the anointed One. When we do this properly, we then come to understand that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us who believe. We desperately need the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Lord send Your Spirit once again. Forgive us for settling for a powerless church.