Episcopal priest Samuel M. Shoemaker, considered one of the best preachers of his era said this concerning the Holy Spirit, “True spiritual power of the Christian order is a kind of possessedness. It arises in and flows through a life hid with Christ in God. Its source is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the potency of the Holy Spirit.” Concerning the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Jack Hayford said, “It is a call to abandon ourselves to the Holy Spirit – to yield to His fullness, to open to the worship He enables, to utilize the full prayer resources He supplies and to exalt and minister the works of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul characterizes the attitude of much of the Church living in the last days saying they would have “a form of godliness but deny its power,” and “from such people turn away. We desperately need the power that the Holy Spirit gives to be effective ministers for God’s Kingdom and the influencers for Him that we need to be.
OUT OF HIS HEART…
Each day of the Feast of Tabernacles the priest would fill a golden vase with water from the pool of Siloam and carry it to the Temple. He would then pour it out on the western side of the altar of burnt-offering while another priest poured out a drink offering of wine on the east side of the altar. This commemorated the miraculous provision of water from the rock during the Israelites wilderness wanderings. It was during this ceremony on the last day of the feast that Jesus spoke and said, “If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (Jn. 7:37,38). Verse 39 of this passage informs us that Jesus was speaking of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and that it would quench one’s spiritual thirst.
Jack Hayford, speaking of the baptism in the Holy Spirit from this passage, describes these rivers as different ministries and spiritual manifestations greatly enhanced by the flow of the Spirit. These being rivers of worship and praise; rivers of witness, ministry, and gifts; rivers of intercession and prayer; and rivers of fruitfulness, strength, and revelation. All these rivers would not be possible without the infusion of power available through the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
THE FATHER’S PROMISE
Jesus told us that we would be clothed with power from on high according to the Father’s promise (Luke 24:49). He said we would be given power to witness to the point of being able to lay down our life if need be (Acts 1:8 witness: Greek martoos; where we get the word martyr). We are told in Mark 16:15-20 that our witness should be accompanied by signs following, confirming the Word being spoken.
NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH BIRTHED IN THE SUPERNATURAL
This promise that the first Christians experienced is for us today (Acts 2:17,18, 37-41). When we experience miracles as we minister, the skeptics have nothing they can say. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that captivates the pre-Christian (Mark 16:15-20; Acts 5:12-16; 6:8).
A great example from Scripture of how the gifts of the Spirit transformed an entire community is from Acts 9:32-42. In this passage, Aeneas was healed of the palsy and Tabitha was raised from the dead. The Scripture says, “that all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him (Aeneas), and turned to the Lord.” The Scripture then says concerning Tabitha being raised from the dead, “And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.” Revival broke out because of the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of His servants.
TWO WAYS TO RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT
Derek Prince instructs us that there are two ways to receive the Holy Spirit. He likens the first way to Resurrection Sunday and the second way he likens to Pentecost Sunday. In John 20:19-22 Jesus appears to His disciples and shows them His hands and feet to convince them that it was the same body He had, now resurrected. He then imparted the Holy Spirit to them by breathing on them. The Greek indicates He did this to each one individually. They received immediately passing from Old Testament salvation to New Testament salvation. Confession and belief are needed for New Testament salvation according to Romans 10:9. They had already confessed Jesus as Lord during His earthly ministry. At this point, there was no doubt they believed He rose from the dead. Therefore, at salvation, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in the believer. But, there was clearly something more that God wanted them to receive. In Luke 24:48,49, Jesus called it the promise of the Father. Jesus told the disciples to wait for this experience in Jerusalem. This occurred after the ascension and, therefore, could not be the same thing they experienced in John 20:19-22.
In the Book of Acts 2:1-21,38,39, the Holy Spirit falls on the 120 disciples gathered in the upper room and “they began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance.” This experience totally immersed (baptizo) the believer in the Holy Spirit and empowered him for ministry. This baptism happened in three phases. In the first phase, the Holy Spirit came down like a mighty rushing wind and filled the house. The disciples were overwhelmed or “baptized” from above. Second, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. The third phase was the overflow; they began to speak with other tongues. This was Pentecost Sunday. This process can be stopped by the believer at any point, depriving him/her of the full blessing.
Listen, the disciples received the manifest, supernatural power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. It was manifest in that everybody knew it happened. It was supernatural since it could not be reproduced in the natural. They received a power that gave them boldness to witness that they did not possess on their own. They received an insight into Scripture that no normal fisherman or tax collector would possess. By this baptism in the Holy Spirit, they were released to apostolic mission by which all Jerusalem felt the impact. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, they turned the known world upside down. This did not happen until the baptism in the Holy Spirit, subsequent to salvation, turned a group of men and women (yes they were there too) that were scared to show their faces in public, into dynamic, fearless, bold witnesses for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
IS SPEAKING IN TONGUES THE INITIAL EVIDENCE OF THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT?
Before we answer the question of whether or not speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, let’s look at some Biblical reasons for speaking in tongues. In 1 Corinthians 14:5,18,19 the apostle Paul encourages everyone to speak in tongues and prophesy. In 1 Corinthians 14:4 and Jude 1:20, we are told that praying and worshipping in tongues edifies the believer spiritually and builds up the inner man. Praying and worshipping in tongues allows us to enter the realm of the supernatural. We are communicating with the Lord in the natural and supernatural dimensions (1 Cor. 14:14,15).
Isaiah 28:11 (quoted by Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:21) is prophetic of the gift of tongues in the Church Age and is the refreshing and rest spoken of in Isaiah 28:12. As far as tongues being the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, I personally feel that a better terminology would be the seal or culmination of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Can you receive this gift without speaking in tongues? I feel that yes, you can, but you’re stopping short of what God really wants you to have if you do. Regardless, Scripture tells us that speaking in tongues was the seal that the apostles received when they received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and it was the seal they recognized in others who received [Acts 8:14-19 (implied);10:44-46; 19:1-7].
HOW TO RECEIVE THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
So, how do you receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit? Easy! You ask for it! Luke 11:9-13 informs us that we have a good and wonderful heavenly Father who is ready and willing to give us the Holy Spirit when we ask. In this passage, Jesus asks the disciples if an earthly father would give a stone to a son who asks for bread, or a serpent to a son who asks for a fish, or a scorpion to a son who asks for an egg. Of course, it is ridiculous to think that any earthly father unless they are demented, would do any of these things. It would be even more ridiculous to think that our heavenly Father would not give His children the Holy Spirit when we ask for Him.
Consequently, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit the moment we ask in faith believing, just like when we asked for salvation. We come to God thirsty and ready to drink and then we release the outflow through our mouth in the form of speaking in tongues. By the way, you do not lose control of your mouth when you are speaking in tongues. 1 Corinthians 14:32 tells us that, “The spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet.” In other words, you are in control. You hear the words in your spirit and speak them out through your mouth.
BEING CONTINUALLY FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT
Once we have been baptized in the Holy Spirit, we are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit daily (Ephesians 5:18-19). You have not arrived once you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. This gift is not a goal; it is a gateway into the realm of the supernatural that will greatly enhance the work you do for God’s kingdom.
The Scriptures point out quite conclusively that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a separate work from salvation. By the way, in case you are under the impression that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and the subsequent gifts of the Spirit belong only to the first century Church, Acts 2:39 says, “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.” Can you make it to heaven without it? Yes, but you will seriously miss out on wonderful blessings in your life and in the lives of others by not taking advantage of this gift and all that God has available for you through it.