Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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Paul's question to the Ephesian disciples has become famous: "Have you received the holy Ghost since you believed?" These twelve men had believed the story of Jesus but had not yet received the baptism of the holy Ghost, and Paul had discerned that fact immediately upon meeting them. Over the years, Paul's penetrating question has been used, and rightly so, by Spirit-filled people to show others that believing the message of the gospel must come before receiving the cleansing mercy of the gospel. The author of Hebrews said, "He who comes to God must believe that God exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." It is a very simple truth: Believing that Jesus is Lord is good, but it is not the same as being forgiven of our sins; rather, believing that Jesus is Lord lets us know whom to ask for forgiveness.
My point in a sermon some years back was this: The question for those who have received the baptism of the holy Ghost is no longer "Have you received since you believed?" That question was, and is, for those who have not yet been baptized into the body of Christ by the Spirit. The question for those who have received the Spirit is this: "Have you believed since you received?"
Since we received the holy Ghost, have we believed Christ? Have we heard his voice and obeyed it? Or have we comforted ourselves with vain religious traditions of men? Have we followed the Savior's lead, or have we followed the wide path made by misguided multitudes? Paul said that only those who are led by the Spirit are really God's sons -Rom 8:14). That great man of God understood that those who hear what the Spirit is saying to the saints and obey it are in reality the only ones who are truly believing Christ.
So, when you who have the Spirit read Paul's piercing question to those twelve Ephesian believers, "Have you received since you believed?", reverse it and hear what Jesus is asking us now: "Have you believed since you received?"