“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4)
This well known scripture gives the famous account of the Holy Ghost’s first falling on believers of Christ on the day of Pentecost which occurred about fifty days after Christ’s resurrection.
Jesus foretold his disciples that this would happen.
“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” Luke 24:49 This was given so that they could “receive power” and be “witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8
We can continue to read accounts of believers being baptized in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues throughout the book of Acts.
“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” (Acts 10:44-47)
“And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” (Acts 19:6)
“I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” (I Corinthians 14:18-19)
While the revival in Samaria recorded in Acts 8 does not specifically say they spake with tongues when being filled with the Holy Ghost, it does indicate that there was some kind of manifestation the occurred when believers were filled. “Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:17) Obviously, something very definite happened when the believers were filled with the Holy Ghost or else they wouldn’t have known that they had received it.
From these accounts then, we must conclude that being filled with the Holy Ghost a work of grace that should follow after one is saved, and that when filled with the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, there is evidence by speaking in a heavenly language or other tongues. If you have been told that you just have the Holy Ghost by faith and yet this has not happened, you do not have the Holy Ghost according to scripture.
Now I want to make one thing perfectly clear. Tongues are not the only manifestation of the Holy Ghost nor should they be misused. Just because they have been over emphasized in the past does not make them void today. But the fact that we can just “believe that we have the Holy Ghost” without any manifestation is totally false and unscriptural. It is a definite work of grace and when someone has been filled with God’s spirit there has always been a noticeable change. Don’t be short-changed by just “believing” you have something when you really don’t, according to scripture.
WHY THE EVIDENCE OF TONGUES ANYWAY?
Many will say that manifestation of tongues were given specifically for evangelizing the world in the time of the apostles, but is now no longer needed. Why then, did Paul say he did not speak with tongues much in public as indicated above in I Corinthians 14:19? First, speaking in tongues is the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost as pointed out above. So what can be done with them after the initial infilling?
The scripture tells us that when we speak in tongues in prayer, it edifies, or builds us up. “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.” (I Corinthians 14:1-4) This passage tells us that tongues were not made to speak unto men as no one could understand what was being said. However, they could be used in private prayer for edification or building up oneself in the Lord.
Jude 1:20 says, “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,” We are being built up in order to be witnesses and have power to live for God when praying in the Holy Ghost which is in tongues. Do we need built up? I know I do! So when we refuse to except this part of God’s blessing, we are refusing his help to live for him and a chance to get closer to him.
There is a gift of tongues which are part of the nine gifts of the spirit but we are not dealing with that at this time to save from confusion. Even that must be used discriminately when in public worship and is subject unto the user. “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” (1 Corinthians 14:32) This, I believe pertains to all the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
ARE THEY FOR TODAY?
“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (I Corinthians 13:8) Many use this scripture to argue that tongues have ceased. They say that the scripture says that prophesies shall fail and tongues cease. That’s true, but knowledge shall also vanish away. When did all of this happen? Do we have knowledge today? Of course we do! So we also have tongues, prophesies and the other gifts of the spirit in operation. It is funny how men will take part of a scripture and use it to satisfy a false doctrine but yet ignore the rest.
Peter said of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, “…..Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Act 2:38-39) Notice he didn’t put a time limit on this and so as long as souls are being called by God and being saved, this promise is valid.
WHY DON’T WE SEE THESE HAPPENING IN THE CHURCH TODAY AS A WHOLE?
Satan can appear as an angel of light. Many things that have occurred that seemed to be in the Spirit of God were not, but were in error. It is true that there is a great deal of phony gifts and other things done supposedly in the spirit but there are phony $20.00 out there but you and I both know that we will still spend $20.00 when we have them. In other wards, that doesn’t make the $20 illegitimate just because there may be some counterfeit ones floating around. This should also be true with the things of God.
There has been much negative teaching and misunderstanding regarding the manifestation of the Holy Ghost. This is due sometimes because of not fully knowing the scriptures as well as lack of exposure to the Holy Ghost power. Woe to him who says that the baptism with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues is of the devil for our Lord said “Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:” (Mark 3:28-29)
Men have been taught in seminaries against the true baptism of the Holy Ghost so therefore have accepted this teaching without correctly consulting the scriptures.
Another reason is simply due to sin and unbelief. God will not fill a dirty vessel with his Holy Ghost. If he expected purity in the church then, he expects it now. Even Pentecostal denominations are telling us that only a small percentage of their people are now filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking with other tongues. We are a backslidden nation with a backslidden church. The baptism of the Holy Ghost was not wide spread throughout the middle ages due to the church’s falling into sin and superstition. When it began to revive with men such as Martin Luther, John Wesley, D. L. Moody, and others, God again saw fit to pour out his Spirit in great measure throughout the world around the beginning of the 20th century. The past 50 years have seen the church in America sliding down into a backslidden condition as a whole and with it, the withdrawing of the blessings of God. “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:” (Revelation 3:17) We must get back to holiness and purity before Christ takes away our lampstand in this country. “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Revelation 2:5