The examination of the events in Acts 18 should serve to undermine the teaching or notions that the baptism of John was somehow different from baptism into Christ. All scriptural immersions were to the same end: Looking to Christ as “baptism into Christ” and as a “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” The difference being that one looked toward the cross and was to prepare believing Jews for the coming of the Messiah, while the other looked through John, to the cross of Christ and beyond to everyone that followed with the establishment of the Church. Without these conclusions you will never come to a satisfactory explanation as to why these twelve men were commanded to be baptized into Christ by the Apostle, while Apollos (and of whom many make the mistake of including as the leader of these men), while in Corinth needed only to be taught better. This is all concerning Apollos that was recorded at this point:
“And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.”
It should serve to dispel for us the notion that the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes with, alongside of, or is a “part” of the baptism of repentance. These men were baptized into Christ (in water as is clearly implied), and once accomplished prophesied and spoke in unknown languages to identify to Paul and his companions, that their conversions now had the sanction of heaven. The Word never indicates in any of the three examples where believers were found speaking in unknown languages and prophesying during or following their conversions, as found within the New Testament (the first Pentecost, the House of Cornelius, and these twelve men in Ephesus), that any of these believers ever evidenced any signs beyond the single episodes recorded in Acts 2, 10 and 11, and here in Acts 18. And, the granting of the Spirit and the display of these particular gifts, was given in each case to confirm the complicity of Heaven and Christ and God. The single difference to the events earlier in Acts 2, 10 and, is that here Paul passed onto these men the indwelling of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of his hands. This was by then the only way they could receive the “gifts of the Holy Spirit” (in purposeful prayer and the physical laying on of an Apostle’s hands). That is the only difference here when compared to the record in Acts 2 and Acts 10. This is what the Word of God states and display.
And finally, beyond these things noted, none of this had one thing to do with “the baptism of the Holy Spirit.” This pillar of false doctrine and Pentecostal teaching is not found anywhere in the Scriptures. The promise of the Holy Spirit was given to Christ (Acts 2: 31-33); and he gave it forth to the Jews first, and later to all “flesh,” beginning at the establishment of the Church on the first day of the week at that particular Pentecost, exactly as was promised In Joel 2:28,29, and recorded in Acts 2. But the granting of the full presence, indwelling and power of the Holy Spirit by God, a part of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, was only promised to and given by Christ to his twelve Apostles on the morning of the first Pentecost, prior to the gathering at the Temple. And Paul received the Holy Spirit after his baptism. And no one else has had that level of the Holy Spirit. A careful reading of John 13 through 16, Acts 1 and 2, Acts 9:15, 16, 1 Cor. 9:2, and, 1 Tim. 2:7 should provide all the proof of that needed for anyone (if they accept the Word of God and choose to believe Christ’s version of things over the voices of false prophets). There are several postings here at CMS which deal with that much misused and misunderstood topic. It is simply not debatable when using only the Word of God.
There is no confusion in the Word. The scriptures do not contradict themselves and the truth is not subject to private interpretation or revisions: Either yours, mine, or others.
Nowhere in scripture is a personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit listed as promised to all, given to all, or as necessary to anyone’s salvation except within the giving of the Word of God and the “pouring out of the Holy Spirit” on all flesh beginning on Pentecost and throughout the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. It should be noted that the idea of an indwelling of the Holy Spirit was NEVER signatory to all disciples, only to the Apostles of Christ. No one besides the Apostles of Christ, could transfer or “give” the gifts of the Holy Spirit to any disciple. And the days for the Holy Spirit to confirm the Word of God and to be granted in gifts through the laying on of the hands of the Apostles is gone – completed a very long time ago.
Finally, there is not a single word of scripture that was written directly to us. It was written for us, but not to us. And it was given for our use in understanding God’s will and by that to know what must be done to come to Christ and how to live “in Christ.” The scriptures also tell readers that prophesy and signs would cease. Is God’s Word correct or is it wrong about this too? Why do we continue to risk so much upon so little?