1. “Water Baptism saves no one.”
1 Peter 3:21 “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”
2. “The Spirit is received by believing.”
Acts 5:32 “And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
John 3:5 says “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” And Acts 2:38 says “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” It is clear from this that when a believer is baptized in water, at that very point they receive the Holy Spirit as a gift, and not normally before this, for God gives the Holy Spirit to those who “obey” per Acts 5:32, and the “obey” obviously is referring to obeying the commandment to be baptized.
In Acts 19 Paul finds some BELIEVERS and asks them (per the KJV) “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” Why would he ask them this if it was normal for people to receive the Holy Spirit at the point of belief? He obviously wouldn’t.
Now the NKJV doesn’t say “since” but “when,” as does the ESV. Let’s assume the KJV is wrong and they are right. Lets look at the passage then.
And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. 2 And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what [name] then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. 7 There were about twelve men in all.
I added the word [name] in brackets myself. If they had been baptized properly, they would have known there was a Holy Spirit because Christian baptism is “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (per the end of Matthew) whereas John the Baptist’s baptism was not. So they had not received the Spirit because they were not baptized properly. They had been baptized with “John’s baptism” AFTER the resurrection of Christ, and John’s baptism was no longer valid AFTER the resurrection.
There is, of course, Acts 10 where some individuals received the spirit abnormally to knock Peter upside the head about his racism. But what did he do as soon as he saw it? He immediately said in 10:47 “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” and verse 48 “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” He didn’t teach the false Calvinist gospel that even non-Calvinist Baptists teach that if you think you’ve received the Spirit already you can just skip baptism.