Have You Received the Holy Ghost Since You Believed?

Paul had encountered some disciples on his journey through Ephesus. From the context we can gather they had responded to John the Baptist’ message at some point. However, this was not enough.  Why?  Because Jesus Whom they were looking for had already died and rose again.  In other words, Johns message was fulfilled- a past event.

Acts 19:1-7

19 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied— 7 altogether there were about twelve of them.

Some use this to prove that “rebaptism” should be performed on individuals who failed to understand that their baptism was “for remission of sins.”

Those who believe Acts 19:1-7 is proof that rebaptism is essential for those who fail to understand the purpose of baptism greatly error using this section of scripture as “proof text.”  For starters, Paul never mentioned being rebaptized on this basis.  In fact, his question was not that at all. He ask, “have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?”  Note: these Ephesians were ignorant of Jesus dying and raising from the dead.  They still were looking for Whom was to come after John, that is, in Jesus.

What say ye?

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Instrumental music in “worship”, a sin?

There are many well-meaning folk out there today claiming that God’s word prohibits instrumental music in “worship”. Many go as far as to say those who partake in instrumental music in “worship” are sinning thus deemed as wayward brethren in need of repentance.

The brunt of their argument hinges upon the silence of scriptures e.g., the regulative principle. At this time I wish not to address the flaws with the arguments made from silence; rather, I will affirm the authority for instrumental music in “worship”.

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To begin with, instrumental music was not originally part of the law of Moses. Most recognize that the use of instruments was brought forth from King David. In 2 Chronicles 29:25 we see an interesting revelation. We find that the ultimate source of instrumental music in “worship” was God Himself. This was not David acting presumptuously as some contend, or David instituting “will worship”. God gave the order through the prophets.

In fact, David did disobey the Lord and go against His wishes during his life. David conducted a census of Israel that God did not approve of. God sent a pestilence out against Israel as a result. How about his romp with Bathsheba? God took their son. If instruments in worship is sinful, why was David not stricken for this? Is it possible it was and is not sin?

Many will now say, “we are not under the law now, we are new testament people”. However, we may be disregarding something very important about the law, and primarily the purposes the law was given. According to Paul in Romans 7:7, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Nay, I had not known sin, BUT BY THE LAW: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, thou shalt not covet”.

Question- was instrumental music in worship declared to be sin in the law of Moses? No, absolutely not. Has God changed His mind, revealed in His word on this subject? No. How can we declare something to be sin that God has not declared to be so? Do we have that authority?

Some will say that Romans 14:23 declares that instrumental music in worship is sin, because God has not authorized or commanded instrumental music in worship, and the NT does not specifically mention it.

Some points to consider:

God has never revoked His authorization of instrumental music in worship.

“Psalms” can mean either vocal and/or instrumental music thus we have authorization. Paul says, as Christians, we can sing “Psalms” thus one can conclude from the meaning of “Psalms” that this means vocal and/or instrumental music. At the time Paul wrote the Ephesians, they knew perfectly well that “Psalms” often had musical accompaniment. They had the Old Testament and understood quite well that “Psalms” could mean either vocal and/or instrumental music.

Romans 14:23 says no such thing as it is accused of. It does not say that anything not specifically authorized by God is sin. The context of chapter 14 is “doubtful disputations”, opinionated matters, and matters of conscience. If you notice the end of the chapter, whatever not of faith is sin refers to something that a person is not fully convinced is permissible in his conscience. Yet if he eats though he has doubts about it, he is condemned because he is not doing so in faith. This says nothing about all things needing authority of God to be acceptable to Him in worship.

For those who insist that instrumental music in “worship” to God to be sinful, please show where God changed His mind and revoked His authorization of instrumental music in worship.