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Related Verses: Mark 1:8; Acts 2:4, 38; 5:32; 10:44-48; 11:15-17

Leading Question: Does the New Testament give us a prescribed order of events for receiving the Holy Spirit?

Note: In the New Testament, obedience is often listed as a pre-condition for being filled with the Spirit – but not consistently. There doesn’t seem to be a “regular” order of events. In theory, the sequence should be: obedience, water baptism, spirit baptism. But exceptions are plentiful.

1. At Jesus baptism: Mark 1. At Jesus’ baptism, the outpouring of the Spirit seems to have been put on hold. For Jesus’ himself the Spirit bore witness to the baptism, but there is no record of a charismatic outpouring of the Spirit.

2. At Pentecost: Acts 2:4, 38. The disciples themselves seemed to have received the Spirit without any record of water baptism. But in the outreach that followed, Peter linked repentance with baptism, to be followed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, described in vs. 38 as the “gift” of the Holy Spirit.

3. Peter before the Jewish magistrates: Acts 5:32. Though Peter’s list of events is only partial, he does call for repentance and forgiveness, The Holy Spirit is named as a witness and is promised to those who obey God.

4. Peter at Cornelius’ home: Acts 10:44-48. The sequence of events is different at Cornelius’ home. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit (which resulted in the speaking of tongues) led Peter to the decision to baptize the Gentile believers. Obedience is not mentioned, but is no doubt assumed.

5. Peter before church leaders: Acts 11:15-17. In his report to the Christian leaders after the Cornelius event, Peter does not mention water baptism, but he does mention the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as a mark of acceptance.

Question: In the New testament, does the baptism and filling of the Spirit appear as goals in and of themselves or are they simply markers for a life of obedience?

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