During the earthly ministry of Jesus, the Holy Spirit had not yet come. Jesus in His teachings made many references to the Holy Spirit’s impending arrival. The Holy Spirit would come after Jesus returned to heaven, fulfilling the promise of the Father.
Don’t confuse this coming of the Spirit with Jesus breathing on His disciples saying “…receive ye the Holy Spirit” (Joh 20:22). This occurred on the day of Jesus’ resurrection. (Jesus had not yet gone away.) I believe this was the official restoration of life; regeneration. When He breathed on them, the Holy Spirit came to dwell with them. (Joh 14:17) “With them and will be in them…” But the disciples did not minister the gospel until fifty days later when the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. So here we see a parallel between Jesus and His disciples. Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit at His baptism. Jesus was the forerunner of those who would later preach the gospel. The same Spirit anointed both Jesus and His disciples at the beginning of their ministry. Jesus Himself was born of the Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary; the disciples were born of the spirit in the room where Jesus breathed upon them and said, “receive ye the Holy Spirit” (Joh 20:22). In Jesus’ case, of course, it was generation; in the disciples case it was regeneration. But for both, being born of the Spirit preceded the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Now to some extent the disciples had been believers for about three years; they had followed Jesus and even did miracles in His name. But it was not until the resurrection of Jesus that faith was firmly established. All had forsaken Him Mr 14:50. On the night of His betrayal, none believed He would rise from the dead. Even when the report came of His resurrection, “they did not believe (it)” (Lu 24:11). It was only the appearance of the resurrected Jesus that changed their unbelief to faith. The Spirit breathed on them and they became a community of living faith: reborn, regenerated, and redeemed.
Now let us look at the connection between the coming of the Holy Spirit and Jesus’ glorification Joh 7:37-38. Then the scripture continues: Joh 7:39 So the glorification of Jesus had to take place before the Spirit could be given. Only after Jesus returned to heaven would this occur? Once again, this will happen to those who are believers in Jesus. In Joh 7, we also notice that there is both a drinking and an out-flowing of water. In relation to the former, Jesus had earlier spoken of drinking “living water” which would “become…a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (Joh 4:10, Joh 4:14). So if we compare these two passages Joh 4 and Joh 7, it is apparent that drinking means coming to Jesus in faith and receiving from Him the water of eternal life. In the case of the latter, there is an out flowing, indeed an abundance; rivers of “living water” from those who believe. This we know occurred through the Holy Spirit after Jesus’ final glorification. Thus living water is represented as both welling up to eternal life through faith in Jesus and flowing out for blessing through the activity of the Holy Spirit. The latter point highlights the fact that the Spirit to come (or to be given) will be a source of blessing to others. Entrance into eternal life is, of course, the first and primary thing, without which there can be no ministry. But it cannot, and must not, end there. There should flow out of the believer such ministry – rivers of living water – as to be a blessing to all mankind.
Let’s talk about the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Lu 11:13) Although these words of Jesus do not directly speak of the Spirit as yet to come, a study of the larger context makes this clear. Look at Lu 11:5-12, despite the fact that the hour is late and he is in bed, the friend finally gets up because of the persistence of his neighbor and gives him the bread. Jesus then adds “Ask…Seek…Knock,” ending with the words about the heavenly Father giving the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. The purpose of the gift manifestly is that one may minister to the need of another, in this case to provide bread. The blessing you want to take away from this passage and what is critically important is His encouragement to the disciples to ask, seek and knock. Through such persistence His followers will receive this best of all good gifts, namely, the Holy Spirit. The Father delights to give good gifts to His children, far more than any earthly father. Such a precious gift as the Holy Spirit will not be given indiscriminately, but only to those who earnestly desire Him. The persistence in prayer that is called for is not to overcome His unwillingness, but rather to demonstrate the wholeheartedness of those seeking, asking and knocking. This gift is the Holy Spirit Himself, not some gift He makes or brings, but the gift is His own personal reality; to provide the resources for ministry. In the biblical account it was bread for anothers needs. Only when the Spirit is so experienced can there be an outreach of powerful ministry.
Finally, the Holy Spirit is given to those who are God’s children, or as the account puts it, the gift is given to one who can address God as “friend” (Lu 11:5). It is from within the context of a close relationship between God and man that the Holy Spirit is given and received.
This part will explain one of the mightiest acts of God, the Coming of the Holy Spirit. The gospels, as we have seen, point forward to the Holy Spirit and the Epistles presuppose the Holy Spirit. The focus of this paper will be on the book of Acts. From the outset of this paper we should understand that the coming of the Holy Spirit is a gift from a gracious God. The proper human response is that of reception. It is a gift to be received. When the word “received” is used in connection with the Holy Spirit, it refers to the gift of the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at a number of passages mostly in Acts but also in the Epistles where giving and receiving the Holy Spirit is stated or implied. First, of course, is the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem: Ac 2:1-4. It was here that the disciples “received” the promise of the Holy Spirit. The word “received” is not used in this account. Peter, years later, declared in Caesarea, they have “received” the Holy Spirit just as we have. Ac 10:47 refers to the day of Pentecost. Remember the church was an exclusive Jewish church for approximately 9 years, until Peter went to the house of Cornelius. The first non-Jew to enter into the church was a Centurion from the Italian band.
The second recorded instance of “receiving” the Holy Spirit is in Samaria (Ac 8). Peter and John went down to Samaria and as a result the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit. (Ac 8:14-17)
The third instance relates to Saul of Tarsus (Ac 9). Ananias went to Saul’s lodging in Damascus and prayed for him that he might be filled with the Holy Spirit. (Ac 9:17) Although the word “received” is not used in this case, the term “filling” implies that Saul received the Holy Spirit.
The forth narrative relating to the reception of the Holy Spirit concerns the Roman Centurion Cornelius (Ac 10). For completeness, Luke, in describing this, refers to both “the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Ac 10:45) and the fact that they “received the Holy Spirit” (Ac 10:47).
The fifth recorded instance of the reception of the Holy Spirit concerns some twelve disciples in Ephesus (Ac 19). This is approximately 24 to 25 years after Pentecost. When Paul found them, he asked them, “did you receive the Holy Spirit since you believed.”
Look at several passages in the Epistles that speak of “giving or receiving” of the Holy Spirit. In the book of Romans, Paul speaks that the love of God has been poured out by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Ro 5:5. Later in the same letter Paul says in Ro 8:15. Look at 1Co 2:12. We received the Spirit, who is from God, so we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. In 2Co 1:21-22 He sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our heart as a pledge. 2Co 5:5, He gave to us His Spirit for a pledge – down payment. 2Co 11:4. If you receive a different spirit or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough.
In Ga 3:2. Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Ga 3:14. This is speaking about the blessing of Abraham coming to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit by faith. In Ephesians Paul writes about the Holy Spirit of promise who is given as a pledge of our inheritance. Eph 1:13-14. In 1Th 4:8, Paul states, “that he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you His Holy Spirit.”
Finally, in 1Jo 3:24, we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. 1Jo 4:13. By this we know that we abide in Him and he in us, because He has given us of His Holy Spirit. From this it is apparent that ‘the Coming of the Holy Spirit’, particularly expressed in terms of “giving and receiving”, is both described in its occurrence in a number of passages in the book of Acts and declared as an accomplished fact in many of the epistles.
In conclusion, look at the phrase the promise of the Father. There are many promises of God in the Bible, but the promise of the Father is a unique promise relating to the coming and giving of the Holy Spirit. The first time we see this phrase is in the book of Luke, Lu 24:44-49. They were to “tarry in the city of Jerusalem until the power from on high” was given to them. In Ac 1:4, Jesus charges them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father. Jesus had spoken this to them before. The promise of the Father is the Coming of the Holy Spirit; it’s apparent from the context of both scriptures read. The book of Acts records the words of Peter in his sermon on the day of Pentecost. In Ac 2:33, Peter was obviously referring to the Coming of the Spirit that he and many others had just received. After this, the promise was extended to Peter’s audience, to their children, and to the people of distant times and places (Ac 2:38-39). Although the word “Father” was not directly mentioned, this is doubtless the same promise of the Father that Peter had mentioned a short time before. It should also be apparent that the Coming of the Holy Spirit is to be a continuing occurrence. The promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled at Pentecost, but the promise was by no means to be limited to the original company of disciples. Unlike the coming of Jesus Christ in the incarnation, which was a once-for-all event, the Coming of the Holy Spirit will occur an unlimited number of times.
We should affirm that the same the promise of the Father continues through the ages. The message of Peter that the promise is for generations to come, the many accounts in the book of Acts and the epistles all point to the evidence of a continuing promise. Amen!
This paper is addressing an extraordinary feature related to “the Coming of the Holy Spirit” the phenomenon of speaking in other tongues. In order to dispel any confusion, this paper will be addressing tongues; one’s own personal prayer language, as opposed to tongues as a ministry language. The personal prayer is shown in Jude 20, the ministry language is represented in 1Co 12:10, that’s why Paul could say, “do all speak in tongues?” (1Co 12:28-29).
Let me take a moment to explain why it is said that tongues is the initial evidence or the primary subsequent result in receiving the Holy Spirit. Why initial or primary? Because although other things were mentioned, speaking in tongues was first. I want to talk about the tongues given as the initial evidence that the Holy Spirit is in residence, the tongues that are used as a prayer language. In the five narratives in the book of Acts, speaking in tongues was the common theme either spoken or implied. Therefore, it follows that speaking in tongues was the clear evidence that the Holy Spirit had been received.
Many objectors to “speaking in tongues” in our day, come against this phenomenon because they say that on the day of Pentecost they spoke foreign languages and today people speak gibberish. This argument is based on the scripture in Ac 2:6, “…every man heard them speak in their own language.” If this argument is true you also would have to say that the Caesareans and the Ephesians were speaking in foreign languages. At Caesarea, the only people present to hear the tongues were Peter and the “believers from among the circumcised” (Ac 10:45) who came with him; at Ephesus the only other person present was Paul. It seems that it would have been pointless to speak foreign languages on these two occasions. The speaking in tongues, in all cases, is a Spiritual utterance, the language of the Holy Spirit. Does that mean that one can never speak in some foreign language? No! On the other hand, if the utterance cannot be recognized as an earthly language, this doesn’t mean it isn’t real. (1Co 13:1) ”Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels…” the fact that Paul says this is evidence that tongues can be an utterance that we cannot understand.
Look at Ac 2:4, here at Pentecost the tongues spoken are called “other tongues.” The wordother suggests that the glossolalia (Greek for “other”) is both different and meaningful. It could refer to another kind of speech; other can also refer to a qualitative difference; meaning other languages of a different nature, form, class, or kind. This meaning seems correct in the context of Ac 2. A scripture that illustrates this sense is in Mr 16:17, the very word “new” in the Greek speaks of a contrast with the old. This would say that the tongues at Pentecost and thereafter were not additional languages, but tongues that had never been spoken before. The quotation from Mr 16 also suggests that speaking in tongues will be a continuing experience. You cannot say from this text that speaking in tongues is a one time event, no more than you can say casting out demons is a one time event.
For the final point that these tongues were not necessarily foreign languages, lets look closer at Ac 2:6-12. What is said in these passages is the hearing in one’s own language. Such being the case, at the same moment that “other tongues” were spoken through the Holy Spirit, they were immediately translated by the same Holy Spirit into the many languages of the multitude. This is related to the gift of interpretation that Paul describes in (1Co 12:10, 1Co 12:30; 1Co 14:5, 1Co 14:13). This gift is given so the hearer can understand in his own language. I believe that the tongues spoken at Pentecost and thereafter were not foreign languages but the speaking of the Holy Spirit through the mouths of human beings. The tongues were other tongues not like any human tongues; they were the Holy Spirit’s own self-expression.
The next item, did tongues cease? We could start with Paul who said, (1Co 14:18) “I thank god that I speak in tongues…” he did not say “I spoke in tongues, but I speak in tongues.” We know that speaking in tongues was a continuing experience subsequent to the initial receiving of the Holy Spirit. It is also apparent that speaking in tongues continued in the church at Corinth. The final words of 1Co 14:18, “…more than you all.” This shows that “glossolalia” tongues, was wide spread in Corinth. In fact, there had to be regulation of the practice, but not prohibition when they met for church. Remember the last words of Paul ”…do not forbid speaking in tongues.” Another reference Eph 6:18 such that praying in tongues is made clear not only in the similarity but in the wording of 1Co 14. Since praying with the Spirit, unlike praying with the mind, does not call for a mental conceptualization, it can be carried on in the midst of other activities. In (Jude 1:20) the language is quite similar to (Eph 6:18) “…praying in the Holy Ghost.” In Ro 8:26, Paul writes ”…the spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” These groanings or sighs are not the activity of praying with the mind but with the Spirit or in the Spirit. This is the language of the Holy Spirit. This is the glossolalia utterance.
This paper will deal with how to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit! We’re going to start by talking about faith because everything we do in the Kingdom of God until the Lord returns has to be done by faith. All God’s promises are appropriated by faith. What I mean by appropriate is to “set apart for a particular use; to take possession of or make exclusive use for oneself, often without permission.” Faith cannot embrace that which God does not promise to do in His Word. The first thing we must do is ground our faith in God’s Word, not in the word of your mother, father, sister or brother or anyone else. In God’s Word ”faith comes by hearing…” (Ro 10:17), the baptism in the Holy Spirit is promised in God’s Word. You must get over any doubt or doctrinal questions about the possibility of being filled with the Holy Spirit. If you have any nagging doubts, deal with them in the Word of God. Let the Word build up your faith. I’m talking primarily to those who believe the validity of the baptism but they have not yet received the experience with the accompanying sign of speaking in other tongues
Please note the baptism in the Holy Spirit has other phrases, which are used synonymously. The New Testament equates the following with each other:”The baptism in the Holy Spirit”, ”the gift of the Holy Spirit”, ”pouring out of the spirit”, or ”receiving the spirit” (Ac 1:4-5, Ac 2:4, Ac 10:45, Ac 11:15-17).
Is there a scriptural sign that shows one has been filled with the Holy Spirit? I believe there is. This is very important because we have many that try to distort or change this scriptural sign. There are some who believe they received the baptism without the evidence of speaking in tongues. These people speak of an inward feeling or experience; a special anointing. They speak of being beside oneself, full of joy, of feeling great strength or love…etc. All of these so called evidences are based on feelings or emotions. God doesn’t move on anythign that has to do with His promises through capricious feelings and emotions. Feelings and emotions are too subjective and variable from individual to individual. This is why He chose the sing of speaking with other tongues. As stated by H.E. Freeman, “This is because it is outward evidence, uniform evidence, universal evidence, and supernatural evidence.” We must see our experience in light of scripture. When this is done we see that speaking in tongues is the scriptural evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Study the following passages (Joe 2:28-29; Isa 28:11-12; Ac 2:1-5, Ac 8:4-8, Ac 8:12-19, Ac 10:44-45, Ac 19:1-6; 1Co 12-14; Ro 8:26-27; Eph 6:18; Jude 1:20). After you read these scriptures, you’ll conclude that speaking in other tongues is the scriptural evidence confirming the baptism in the Holy Sprit. Without exception, those who want to speak with tongues always do when they yield their tongues and will to the Holy Spirit.
Emotional, physical, or spiritual manifestations may sometimes accompany the sign of tongues, but the Bible doesn’t tell us to look for those. Look for the sign that God has given. (Mr 16:17)
How to receive the baptism with the scriptural evidence of speaking in other tongues: Receiving the “baptism” is essentially the same as receiving any promise of God: (1) Base your faith on God’s Word; (2) Ask to receive the promise; (3) Confess the promise; (4)Act on your faith; (5) Cooperate with the Holy Spirit; (6) Maintain your confession without doubting. The baptism can be received by the laying on of hands or, by your own personal prayer of faith. Either way the conditions are the same.
This is a very important step in your Christian walk. Don’t let the devil or people try to talk you out of it. It’s in God’s word and it’s for you. Amen!