When the Apostle Paul was on his missionary journey he met some interesting people. Some of them were significant and some made no difference. The encounters that he did have were recorded for our benefit and enlightenment. When he came to the coasts of Ephesus he met twelve men who were disciples of Christ. He asked them if they had received the Holy Ghost since they believed. They told Paul they had never heard of any Holy Ghost.
Acts 19:3-4 Paul said to them, what then were you baptized? They said it was John’s baptism. Paul said, John baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying they should believe on Him who is coming Christ Jesus.
So, these twelve men were baptized in water which means they had repented of their sins. This is an important event but it did not save them!. I grew up in a church that taught me that I could not be saved without water baptism. They also taught that I had to confess my sins to the pastor and then pray for punishment. Then I had to take “holy communion” in order to enter a state of grace. And then if I sinned I lost my place in heaven and I had to start the process over again. Let us progress along with these disciples and we will revisit “baptism”.
Acts 19:5 When the twelve men heard what Paul said they were baptized into the Name of the Lord Jesus.
To keep you from getting confused, let me point out to you what Paul said in the sixth chapter of Hebrews. In this letter Paul says he wants to teach the church about the doctrine of baptisms. So, baptism is not a one size fits all kind of deal. In fact, there are three baptisms we need to experience. So, when the twelve disciples were baptized in the Name of Jesus, they were born-again. Now they are progressing, they began with water baptism and now they are baptized into the Body of Christ, but Paul wasn’t done with them yet.
Acts 19:6 Then Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
Now in the space of some minutes the twelve disciples experienced all three baptisms, these are progressive Christians. I watch Christians receive a promise of God and they become satisfied and don’t seem to want any more. Part of the reason for this is that no one is telling them that they are entitled to more.
Acts 2:38 Repent, be baptized in the Name of Jesus for the remission of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
This is not water baptism, this is being born-again where all of our sins are washed away. This is our birthday and Father gives us a gift, He is the Holy Spirit. If we will permit Him, the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. The truth is what God has prepared for us to possess over the span of our life. The Progressive Christian.