Monday, February 5, 2018

Awesome Wonder Working Power – Holy Spirit [2]


Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 
(Acts 2:33)

Although the wind is invisible, the effects which it produces can be seen, felt and heard.  When the wind blows, the dust rises from the ground, the trees all bend in one direction, leaves rustle, the waves of the sea roar, and clouds move across the sky. These are all physical signs of the wind. So it is with the Holy Spirit. Even though He is invisible, the effects which the Holy Spirit produces can be seen and heard.

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 2:2-4)

The sign of "tongues" can be languages known to man. This is what happened on the day of Pentecost:

. . . And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?  And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?  (Acts 2:7-8)

Tongues can also be a language not known to man. This is called an unknown tongue:

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. (I Corinthians 14:2)

The "other tongues" received through baptism in the Holy Spirit has many purposes in the lives of believers.   Apostle Paul edified the church at Corinth regarding the purposes for speaking in 'tongues'.    In I Corinthians 14 He also identifies some of the purposes for the manifestation of tongues:

       Prayer to God:                       Verse 2
       Self-edification:                     Verse 4   (Edification means to build or promote spiritual growth)
       When interpreted they edify the church:            Verse 12
       Intercession:                         Verse 14    (See also Romans 8:26-27)
       Sign to unbelievers:             Verse 22
       Fulfillment of prophecy:     Verse 21    (See also Isaiah 28:11-12)
       Praise:                                     Verse 15, 17

Some people object to the sign of speaking in tongues. 


One of the most common objections is that every Christian receives the Holy Spirit when he is converted and does not need any further experience to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  But consider the examples of people in the New Testament who were true believers.  The apostles had repented of their sins and believed Jesus was the Messiah. They had witnessed personally and accepted as true the facts of His death, burial, and resurrection.  Jesus told His followers:

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)

He also said:

For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. (Acts 1:5)

The promised experience of being baptized in the Holy Ghost came on the day of Pentecost:

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)

Although the apostles were already genuine believers it was not until the day of Pentecost that they were filled with [baptized in] the Holy Spirit. The people of Samaria had heard the Gospel preached. They had believed and been baptized. But they had not received the Holy Spirit:

Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:  Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:  (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus).  Then laid they their hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost.  (Acts 8:14-17)

The people of Samaria received God's word through the ministry of Philip. They received the Holy Spirit through the ministry of Peter and John. Receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit was a separate experience from receiving salvation.  

Acts 19:1-6 describes how Paul went to Ephesus and met people described as "disciples.”  The first question Paul asked was, "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" If people received the baptism of the Holy Ghost when they received the word of God, it would be foolish of Paul to ask this question. The fact that he asked it makes it clear people become believers in Christ without receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Even if a person receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the same time he is converted, it is a separate experience from salvation.  The ministry of the Holy Spirit has been operative throughout eternity.

The Old Testament speaks of the Holy Spirit coming on Israel's spiritual leaders. The Holy Spirit is also operative in the life of a sinner to bring him to Christ.  But this is different than being filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus made that clear when He said:

Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know Him: for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:17)

The Holy Spirit was with the disciples at that time, but not yet in them. They were filled [baptized] with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is WITH the sinner to draw him to Jesus Christ. But this is not the same as being IN the believer.  The Holy Spirit was with the spiritual leaders of Old Testament times. But He was not in them. This is the difference between the Old and New Testament ministries of the Holy Spirit.


Another objection to tongues has come through misunderstanding of a question of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 12:30. He asks, "Do all speak with tongues?" The answer to his question is "No, all do not speak with tongues."  But Paul is not speaking here of the experience of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. The discussion concerns gifts of the Holy Spirit which can be used by the believer in the church:

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. (I Corinthians 12:27-28)

Apostle Paul is speaking of gifts which may be used by members of the Church; meaning the body of Christ. One of these gifts of the Holy Spirit is "diversities of tongues.” It is an ability to give special messages to the Church in tongues under the power of the Holy Spirit. Although everyone experiences the sign of tongues when baptized in the Holy Spirit, not everyone receives the special gift of diversities of tongues.


Some believers do not seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit because they are afraid they will receive an experience that is not of God. But the Bible says:

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?
(Matthew 7:7-11)

If a believer seeks God for a gift, just like a good earthly Father, God will not let him receive anything that will harm him.


Another objection to tongues is that it is an emotional experience. Many believers who have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit emphasize their own emotional reactions to the experience. Man is an emotional creature. Conversion does not eliminate a man's emotions. He will still experience joy and sorrow, anger and happiness.  Conversion frees man's emotions from the control of sin. It redirects these emotions to the worship of God. The word "joy" in Scripture is closely associated with the Holy Spirit.  In Acts 13:52 we read that "the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost."  Some people react with great emotion to the joy which comes with the baptism of the Holy Spirit because they are naturally more emotional than others. They may shout, laugh, or experience other sensations in their physical bodies. But these emotional reactions are not the sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit. The confirming sign is speaking in tongues.  It is not necessary to show great emotion such as laughing, shouting, dancing, etc., to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. How one reacts emotionally to the joy this experience brings is often related to his natural emotional nature.  But we should not criticize those who have joyful emotional reactions to the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells of emotional reactions by those who had a powerful experience with God. People trembled, fell prostrate on the ground, shouted, rejoiced, and danced before God.  It is interesting to observe the emotional reaction of people to various athletic events.  They will yell, laugh, jump up and down, and express much excitement over a sports game. How much more excited we should be over a gift like the Holy Spirit which accomplishes so many purposes in our lives, brings great joy, and equips us with power to reach the world with the Gospel?

The Psalmist David agreed. He presents a picture of joyful, loud, emotional worship of God:

O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.  Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms.  For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.  (Psalms 95:1-3)

Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; praise Him with the psaltery and harp.  Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; praise Him with stringed instruments and organs.  Praise Him upon the loud cymbals; praise Him upon the high sounding cymbals.  Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.   (Psalms 150:3-6)

You do not have to fear that the baptism in the Holy Spirit will cause you to do something improper or lose control of yourself. The Bible says:

And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.  (I Corinthians 14:32)

This means that any gift God gives is subject to the wise control of the user. God does nothing improper because...

...God is not the author of confusion, but of peace...  (I Corinthians 14:33)

(Biblical Studies)


No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome and encouraged!