2. “Be baptized” – Showing simple obedience to the command of the Lord to “be baptized,” the new believers “were baptized, both men and women” (verse 12).
3. “Receive the Holy Spirit” – It comes as a shock. It challenges our experience. It upsets our doctrine. The disturbing fact is this: the believers at Samaria had placed their faith in Christ, they had been baptized in water, and the joy of salvation filled their whole city – but “as yet He (the Holy Spirit) was fallen upon NONE of them” (Acts 8:16- King James Version).
In other words, the foundation of the Samaritan believers’ experience was not complete. And this greatly concerned the apostles at Jerusalem. So despite danger to their lives in traveling from Jerusalem to Samaria, “they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit…. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:14, 15, 17).
Again we see THE ONLY FOUNDATION properly laid in the lives of new believers, to enable them to become holy temples of God, filled with His Spirit.
THE APOSTLE PAUL
1.”Repent” – Saul of Tarsus, later known as the apostle Paul, repented from sin and was converted to Christ while traveling to Damascus to imprison and persecute the Christians there (Acts 9). On the way he saw a blinding light, brighter than the midday sun. He fell to the ground. He heard the voice of the Lord Jesus. And he who had been filled with murderous hate against Christians called Jesus “Lord.” He had surely repented, the Spirit of God changing his heart, for he later wrote, “No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor.12:3).
2. “Be baptized” – On a later occasion, while telling how he first met Christ, Paul was careful to mention that the Lord, through Ananias (Acts 9:10-19) exhorted him: “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His Name” (Acts 22:16). “Then he arose and was baptized” (Acts 9:18).
3. “Receive the Holy Spirit”- Three days after his Damascus Road experience, Paul also received the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Lord had instructed Ananias, in a vision, to go to him. Accordingly: “Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him (Paul), he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit’ “(Acts 9:17).
As a result of this experience, Paul was able in later years to speak of “what Christ has wrought through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:18,19).