During the last supper, the night before Jesus was crucified, Jesus spoke of His departure and that He would send the Holy Spirit as the Helper and Comforter who would not only be with them but would be in them. Then He said: If you love Me keep my commandments (John 14:15).
Forty three days later, after His death, burial and resurrection, Jesus is again with His disciples ready to depart from the earth and ascend into heaven. He looks intently at each one and commissions them with the task of bringing the truth of the Gospel to each person throughout the world.
In Acts 1:4 Jesus commands them not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the Father, stating in vs 5: “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Then He spoke of the benefit of this special baptism in vs 8: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
These men had been with Jesus for nearly 3 ½ years. They had heard His preaching, His wisdom, and His knowledge. They saw the miracles and had even experienced His power to heal the sick and cast out demons. They could have gone out on their own and had some success in conveying these truths and convincing others that Jesus is the Messiah, the true Savior for mankind.
BUT Jesus said, there’s something more than a keen intellect that’s needed for them to have a true transforming impact on people’s lives. They would need to be baptized with the Holy Spirit to accomplish this magnificent task.
In fact, Jesus Himself began His earthly ministry at 30 years of age when He was baptized with the Holy Spirit as He came up out of the water having been baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River (Luke 3:21-23). Did you know that Jesus did not perform any miracles until after He was baptized with the Holy Spirit?
Then, as He was about to ascend into heaven, He commanded His disciples to follow this same pattern and begin their ministry to others with this same powerful baptism of the Spirit that brings about God’s supernatural results.
Acts Chapter 2 tells about this glorious event of being filled with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, just 50 days after the Passover. As the believers were filled with the Spirit, they began to speak with other tongues, in various languages, declaring the wonderful works of God (Acts 2:11).
At this time we see a tremendous change in Peter, who had denied the Lord just 50 days earlier. Now he’s eloquent of speech, confident, bold and expounding profound Biblical knowledge, bringing forth a powerful, anointed message that cut straight to the hearts of many within the crowds around him and on that day 3,000 people gave their lives to Jesus! Miracles began to take place along with clarity, boldness and wisdom now flowing through each believer.
The disciples took this commandment of Jesus so seriously that when people were saved, having received Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they also made sure these new believers experienced the same Holy Spirit baptism with the evidence of speaking in other tongues as well. They understood this to be a vital part of the salvation experience.
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples of this.
Acts 8:5-16 tells the story of Philip, a regular guy who was a believer and baptized with the Holy Spirit. Though not an Apostle, he traveled down to Samaria and began to share the Gospel and lay hands on the sick, doing exactly what Jesus had told the disciples to do. Miracles begin to take place and the multitudes in one accord gave their lives to Jesus and were saved.
News of this soon reached the Apostles in Jerusalem, and they immediately sent Peter and John to Samaria, a two-day journey traveling about 40 miles. Their sole purpose was to make sure these new believers would be baptized with the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues. They heeded the command of Jesus, realizing that salvation and the Holy Spirit baptism were designed to work together.
Another example of this is found in Acts 19:1-7. While the Apostle Paul was in Ephesus, he came across 12 men he thought were believers. His first question to them was: “Did you received the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Notice, he didn’t ask what church they attended, or who their pastor was, or what their favorite Bible passage was - no, he wanted to know if they were baptized with the Holy Spirit and if they were experiencing the fullness of the salvation package that Jesus had made available to all.
How did Paul know this was so important? He wasn’t there with the Apostles when Jesus ascended? The Apostles evidently passed along this important fact to Paul which Jesus commanded them before His ascension.
Is this still for us today or was this only to launch the first-century church?
Look what Jesus said just before His ascension as recorded in Mark 16:15-18: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover,”
Do we still have the right to cast out demons today? Is healing still for today? Is God’s protection still for today? Is salvation still for today? YES!!! Then it’s obvious that tongues are still for each believer today as well.
Jesus said it’s His will for all “believers” in every generation to speak with new tongues, just as much as it is the will of God for people to be healed, delivered, set free and saved.
Notice what Peter declared through the inspiration of the Spirit in Acts 2:38-39: “Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."
Did you notice he said - and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call? That includes us - the future generations of believers who are called by Him!
If you’ve received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then this precious gift is for you as well. It simply needs to be received by faith. If you have not yet received this precious gift then I would suggest getting alone with the Lord in a relaxed setting and lift your hands in adoration to Him and begin to worship and honor Him. Don’t rush, take your time. After a bit, then ask Him to fill you with His Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues knowing it’s His will for you.
After a while, you may sense some “different” words apart from native tongue rising up within your spirit. Know that you have complete control over this, and you will have to make the decision, by faith, to allow them to come forth. You will have to move your mouth, make the sounds and move your tongue in cooperation with the Spirit for them to begin to flow.
Speaking in tongues bypasses the mind. It’s a language which flows from your spirit. It may seem a little strange at first because you’re now considering speaking without forming a thought. When speaking or praying in tongues you will not understand what you are saying (1 Cor 14:14), but you will be releasing His wisdom into your life.
1 Corinthians 14:2 - For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.
This word “mysteries” in the original language means divine secrets. Praying in tongues is a wonderful gift that releases His wisdom, understanding and revelation in abundance into our lives. When our natural intellect falls short of understanding, through this marvelous gift, we can tap into His vast resources. It’s here where we truly tap into the mind of Christ, becoming infused with the fruit of the Spirit and are empowered to reach the lost with His compassion and power.
Once you have your personal prayer language, I want to encourage you to exercise it daily. Over time, your vocabulary will increase and your sensitivity to the Spirit of God and His leading will increase as well.
While it’s not necessary to be baptized with the Holy Spirit to be saved and go to heaven since we are saved by faith in Christ alone. However, this wonderful gift opens the door to a beautiful dimension of knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and power that will be largely missed if a person neglects this precious gift.
To be all that we were meant to be, we need to receive all that He has provided for us to receive.
Fasten your seat belt, your life is about to take on a new dimension of meaning and I can guarantee that you will never again be the same!!!