Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Mark 1:8, "I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost."
The baptism of the Holy Ghost is something that the early church was so accustomed to, that it was fit to tell everybody to pray in the Holy Ghost (Jude 1:20)! When the early church found believers who hadn't yet received the gift of the Holy Ghost, they made it a priority to get them baptized in the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:14-17, "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.").
The early church was full of healings, deliverances, people being raised from the dead, even people being transported from one location to another (Acts 8:39-40)! Many of us wonder why today's churches are so dry and lifeless... many of them lack POWER... the power that we receive when we are baptized in the Holy Ghost!! This baptism is SO important, Jesus waited His entire lifetime to receive the Holy Ghost because He entered the ministry! And He told His disciples to wait until they received it too before entering their ministries: Luke 24:49, "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry (wait) ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."
I believe it's pretty clear that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is essential to receiving the other gifts of the Spirit. How many people do you know who don't pray in tongues, yet are manifesting the gifts of the Spirit such as prophecy, interpretation of tongues, gifts of healing, etc.?
Why the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
The purpose of the baptism of the Holy Ghost is to be empowered with power from on high. NOT the remission of your sins. Jesus blood was shed for your sins. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is a completely different subject.
Acts 1:5, 8, "For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence... But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you."
John 7:38-39, "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"
Luke 24:49, "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."
It's beyond the gift of salvation
It is possible for people to receive this gift at the time of salvation, or at the time of their water baptism, but it's not always automatic. In most cases it doesn't take place at the time of salvation.
It's beyond what you automatically receive when you believe upon Jesus and accept Him as your Lord and savior. John 3:16 tells us that if we believe upon Jesus, we will be saved. Acts 2:38 tells us that if we repent and be baptized, we can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. There are several good reasons to believe this is an additional experience beyond salvation.
- Jesus said to 'ask' for the Holy Ghost in Luke 11:13. This was said back when the Holy Ghost was not yet given (John 7:39), therefore it is obvious that He was referring to those of us believers who were around after the Holy Spirit had been given. John the Baptist said that Jesus would baptize people with the Holy Ghost, which didn't happen while He was here on earth. So it's clear that He was speaking of the time after the Holy Ghost had been given.
- If the gift of the Holy Ghost was automatically received at the time of salvation, then why is the Holy Ghost known to be given through the laying on of hands? Acts 8:18, "And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money." Also look at 1 Timothy 4:14, "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery."
- The Bible speaks of different times when people were clearly marked believers, but didn't receive the Holy Ghost until somebody laid hands on them. Acts 19:2, "He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost." Obviously they were believers, but had not yet received the Holy Ghost. In verse 6, it tells us when they received the Holy Ghost, "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied."
- Another good story can be found in Acts 8:16, "The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." They were baptized in Jesus' name, so they were obviously believers! But they had not received the Holy Ghost until verse 17, "Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost." Verse 14 says that they received (believed) the Word of God, which means they were believers!
- Why did Jesus breath on His disciples and tell them to receive the Holy Ghost before the day of Pentecost (John 20:22), then tell them to terry until they were endued with power on high (Luke 24:49)? They obviously received it then, because it gave them the ability to remit or retain sins right afterwards in verse 23, and Jesus didn't breathe on them for no reason. In Genesis, God 'breathed' His Spirit into man. That was the moment where man became alive! So if they already received it, then why would they have to receive it again? Notice too, that the tongues did not come fourth until the actual baptism took place on the day of Pentecost, so they clearly did not receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost until Pentecost!
- If all believers automatically receive all there is to receive of the Holy Ghost, then why are we told to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)? If we have "all we can get", then why are we told to be filled? Apparently, some of God's people can have more of the Holy Spirit then others, therefore, it's not the same with every believer.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit and tongues is for today!
The big argument that tongues have ceased, is based upon 1 Corinthians 13:8, "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." However, if you continue to read down into the context of this passage, in verse 10 it tells us that when these things will seize is when that which is perfect (Jesus!) comes. Some argue that that which is perfect is the Bible, therefore now that we have the Bible, we no longer need to prophecy or speak in tongues. One of the indications that this is a false teaching, is found in verse 12, "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." There are other places in the Bible that clearly show that this is speaking of the return of Jesus. Are we seeing 'face to face' right now? No! Do we know as we are known? No!
Besides, Jude 1:20 tells us to be building ourselves up praying in the Holy Ghost. Do we no longer need to be built up? Prophecy is meant to edify the church (1 Corinthians 14:4, "...he that prophesieth edifieth the church."). Does the church no longer need edifying? I've found that those who believe that tongues and prophecy have ceased, also believe that gifts of healings (1 Corinthians 12:7, 9, "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal...to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;"). So let me ask you this; has the need for healing ceased? A golden question nobody wants to answer is explaining to me why gifts of healings would have ceased.
Another good point is that those who believe that tongues has ceased, almost always believe that prophecy has ceased as well. They don't believe in the gifts of the Spirit for today. But in Acts 2:17, "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:" How much more "end" do these days have to get? This is clear proof that the gift of prophecy has NOT ended with the early church! If prophecy hasn't ceased, why would tongues seize?
I could provide a long list of reasons why tongues and prophecy have not ceased, but I think I will do that in another future teaching.
The baptism of the Holy Ghost is for everybody
Acts 2:38-39, "Then Peter said unto them, 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." Everybody who comes to Jesus has been called by God (John 6:65), and the promise of the baptism of the Holy Ghost is unto all those who believe (John 7:38, 39)!
Why pray in tongues?
I must first say that there are more then one type of tongues. There's a tongues that is used in a group for the group's edification (1 Corinthians 14:26), which is followed up by an interpretation of the tongue given (1 Corinthians 14:27). This is known as the gift of tongues and is not for everybody (1 Corinthians 12:30). The gift of tongues is also used as a sign for unbelievers, whereas prophecy is used as a sign for believers (1 Corinthians 14:22). I won't cover the gift of tongues in this teaching, but I will address the personal prayer language, which is available to all who are baptized in the Holy Ghost.
The personal prayer language which is given to everybody whom has received the Holy Ghost is meant for your personal edification (1 Corinthians 14;4, "He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church."). Sometimes we don't know how to pray or what to pray for, but in Romans 8:26, it tells us that, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities (the Spirit helps us with our weaknesses and shortcomings and what we don't understand): for we know not what we should pray for as we ought (we don't always know what to pray for): but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (but the Spirit helps us by giving us the words which we cannot speak on our own)." This is also evident in 1 Corinthians 14:2, "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 (things we don't understand or know)."
It is not the Holy Spirit forcing you to speak or moving your lips, but rather the Holy Spirit is giving you the ability to speak in an unknown language (Acts 2:4, "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."). Therefore, you can choose when and how much you want to pray in the Holy Ghost. Jude 1:20 makes it clear that we have the ability to choose when and how often we are to pray in tongues (Jude 1:20, "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost..."). Ephesians 6:18 also makes it clear we are to be praying in the Holy Ghost, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit..." I'd also like to point out that this verse in Ephesians 6 is speaking of our spiritual armor!
Praying in tongues is for everybody
Mark 16:17, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues."
Jude 1:20, "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost." Ephesians 6:18 also makes it clear we are to be praying in the Holy Ghost, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit..." These letters were written to believers, and if we are told to pray in the Holy Ghost, then that means we will have the ability to do so, once we receive the Holy Spirit that is. Praying in tongues and praying in the Holy Ghost are the same thing, and the link is made obvious in 1 Cor 14:14-15.
There were the gifts of the Spirit which were given to every man, but not every man had every one of the gifts. They were rather distributed throughout the body of Christ for group edification and to bring unity in the church. That's understanding why God hasn't given everybody a complete set of all of the spiritual gifts. But with the personal prayer language, it is not meant for group edification, but rather for personal edification. There is no reason to believe that it is not for everybody. Why would God tell us to be building ourselves up by praying in the Holy Ghost (Jude 1:20), if not everybody is given the ability to pray in tongues? Also, if praying in tongues builds us up spiritually, then why would God withhold something that would personally edify you? The Bible says that nothing good is withheld from them who are righteous (Psalms 84:11).
This is a recent reply I gave concerning tongues being for everybody.
Is tongues the initial sign of a person receiving the Holy Ghost?
Acts 2:4, "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." Notice that ALL were filled with the Spirit AND spoke in tongues!
Acts 10:44-46, "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..." How did they know that they received the Holy Ghost? They heard them speaking in tongues!
Acts 19:6, "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied."
Some argue that not every time somebody in the Bible was baptized in the Holy Ghost, they are said to have spoken in tongues. One of the stories where somebody received the Holy Ghost, but it didn't necessarily say that they spoke in tongues is when Paul himself received the Holy Ghost. Later on though, it is obvious that he did speak in tongues (1 Cor 14:18). So even if the Bible doesn't say that they spoke in tongues, doesn't mean that they didn't. The Bible makes it clear that when somebody received the Holy Ghost, it was a known fact. How did the people know if somebody has received the Holy Ghost? In Acts 10:45-46, they knew the Holy Ghost had been received, because they spoke in tongues.
I believe that the personal prayer tongues is received as the first manifestation when a person receives the baptism of the Holy Ghost. I've never seen anybody manifesting any of the nine spiritual gifts without being able to pray in tongues. There are some people who believe that the proof of a person receiving the Holy Ghost is when they produce the fruit of the Spirit. However, the Bible says that the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man (1 Corinthians 12:7), and you rarely see those people operating in ANY of the gifts (manifestations) of the Spirit that are listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11.
It may be possible for somebody to receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost and not actually pray in tongues simply because they aren't using their new ability to pray in tongues. I believe that all those who are baptized have the ability to pray in tongues, but some people may not be using it.
Mark 16:17 comes right out and says that those who believe will speak in tongues, "And these signs shall follow them that believe... they shall speak with new tongues..."
How do you receive the Holy Spirit?
Repent and believe on Jesus for the remission of your sins: Acts 2:38-39, "Then Peter said unto them, 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."
Ask: Luke 11:13, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"
Believe: Galatians 3:14, "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." Also, Acts 19:2, "He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?"
Galatians 3:2, "This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?"
Laying on of hands: 1 Timothy 4:14, "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." and Acts 8:17, "Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost."
Hearing the gospel: Acts 10:44, "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word." (Remember, faith comes by hearing, and hearing of the Word of God (Romans 10:17). When you believe, you can receive (Galatians 3:14).)
Act of God: Acts 11:15, "And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning."
Not everybody receives the gift the same way. Some people don't even have to ask, and God comes down and blesses them with it. Others may receive it when another believer (who is Spirit-filled) lays hands on them. Others may ask for it and thereby receive it.