Laying On of Hands (2)

e. RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT

There are five recorded instances of receiving the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts. Two of them describe immediate or direct reception, and three describe a mediated or indirect reception. On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was given immediately or directly, without any laying on of hands. This was also true of Cornelius' household. Thus, the Holy Spirit was immediately and directly given to the Jews at Pentecost and to the Gentiles at Cornelius’ house. The other three instances describe receiving the Holy Spirit via an intermediary or indirectly, with the laying on of hands.

1) SAMARIA (Acts 8:1-25)

"Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there." His preaching was accompanied with outstanding healings and deliverances, causing "great joy in that city." "But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women." However, "the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them." Peter and John were sent down from Jerusalem and "placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit."
Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit!"

2) SAUL OF TARSUS (Acts 9:1-19)

Verse 17 - "Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

3) EPHESUS (Acts 19:1-7)

In Ephesus, Paul found "some disciples" who knew about Jesus, but only in terms of John the Baptist's message. The distinctive spiritual life of a New Covenant community was lacking, causing Paul to ask, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" To which they replied, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." Paul then brought them up to date, presenting the full message of the Lord Jesus Christ. "On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." "When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied."

f. THE APPOINTMENT OF THE FIRST DEACONS (Acts 6:1-6)

Verse 6 — "They presented these men (seven qualified men) to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them."

g. THE ORDINATION OF MINISTERS

1 Tim. 4:14 - "Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you."

2 Tim. 1:6 - "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands."

h. SEPARATION TO A SPECIFIC WORK

Acts 13:2-3 - "While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off."

SHOULD CARE BE TAKEN IN THE LAYING ON OF HANDS?

1 Tim. 5:22 - "Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands . . ."

Amp. - "Do not bein a hurry in THE LAYING ON OF HANDS!"

JBP - "Never be in a hurry to ordain a man!"

WHO SHOULD LAY ON HANDS?

Is the laying on of hands to be practiced indiscriminately? We think not. The Scripture is quite explicit as to the kinds of people who should participate in this God-ordained action. Let us consider the permissions and restrictions as indicated in the Scriptures.

a. BELIEVERS MAY LAY ON HANDS FOR HEALING

Mark 16:17, 18 - "And these signs will accompany those who believe: . . . they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."

It is profitable to read the context of this quotation and note what these believers believed. Since faith is measurable, some believe more than others. The Bible speaks of "little faith . . . great faith. . . and no faith." The basis of faith is the Word of God. We measure our own faith by our knowledge of, and trust in, the Word."

b- APOSTLES AND DISCIPLES LAID ON HANDS FOR THE RECEPTION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

1) APOSTLES

Acts 8:18 — "When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, . . ."

There is little need for us to discuss the qualifications of the as Apostles. These were men appointed and anointed of God, whose lives and ministries were committed and spiritually vital.

2) DISCIPLES

Acts 9:10,17 - "In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias . . . Placing his hands on Saul . . . be filled with the Holy Spirit."

Let us carefully notice the qualifications of Ananias the disciple. As a disciple, he was one subject to the disciplines of the Lord Jesus Christ. "... He was a devout (reverential, pious) observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living ..." at Damascus (Acts 22:12). When the Lord called him, he replied "... Yes, Lord,..." (Acts 9:10) implying he was A MAN READY to obey! When the Lord instructed him to go on what appeared to be a dangerous and unpleasant task, he went, showing that he was not only listening but OBEDIENT.

c. APOSTLES AND PRESBYTERS LAID ON HANDS FOR ORDINATION

1 Tim. 4:14 - " . .. the body of elders laid their hands on you."

2 Tim. 1:6 - " . . . the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my (Paul's) hands."

We have already referred to the qualifications of the Apostles. A high standard is set for presbyters, or elders. (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Tit. 1:6-9).

Study Questions for Lesson No. 12

  1. In terms of foundation principles what is the significance of laying on of hands?
  2. Why was the Holy Spirit received at times without laying on of hands, and at other times with the laying on of hands?
  3. Why did the Apostles lay hands on the deacons?
  4. What accompanied the laying on of hands in the ordination of ministers?
  5. What is the prohibition in relation to the laying on of hands?
  6. Who is qualified to minister with the laying on of hands?

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