Acts 19:2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” ¶ So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
One of the great stories in the New Testament is the founding of the church in Ephesus. Ephesus was well known throughout the Roman Empire for it’s sensuality as well as being the center of their pagan worship. The temple for their goddess Diana was located there. This makes the impact that Paul’s ministry had on this region even more impressive. Actually, Ephesus became a hub of the Christian faith led by two of the greatest pastors of the first century; Paul’s disciple Timothy and none other than the Apostle John. It probably became the largest church of that time period.
It all started with Paul’s question to a bible study attended by twelve me, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?”, Paul asked. “We haven’t heard that there is a Holy Spirit”, was their clueless reply. Now these men were already called disciples, they had believed in the Lord and been baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Of course they knew in theory about the Holy Spirit, they just hadn’t known that you could actually be influenced the way Paul was describing by the Spirit. That’s when it happened, Paul laid his hands upon them and the atmosphere in the room changed. They were filled with the Holy Spirit just like the believers on the day of Pentecost. They also began to speak in tongues just like the believers in Jerusalem had experienced. They also began to prophesy. Paul was not shocked by this, this is exactly what he was looking for. He knew for the church to effect the pagan society of Ephesus there needed to be more than just a Christian creed, they needed the power of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes it feels like we live in Ephesus. Society is immoral and at the same time full of religious beliefs and practices. It also seems as if many Christians have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.
How can we see our ‘Ephesus’ changed? It is really quite simple; we have to receive another season of immersion into the person of the Holy Spirit. You can build large organizations with structure and eloquent preaching; you just can’t change Ephesus.