Alphagramma
Alphagramma
 

THE BAPTISM IN THE SPIRIT (And The Gift Of Tongues)

   
 

Kinross Christian Fellowship

Chapter 3

Scriptures relating to the Baptism of the Spirit
and Speaking in Tongues

1 John the Baptist preaching by the River Jordan spoke of the coming of Jesus. Mark 1:7, 8 He was preaching: “Someone more powerful than I will come after me. I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the strap of His sandals. 8 I have baptised you with water, but He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.

2 Jesus told His disciples what the experience of having the Holy Spirit would be like. John 7:37b-39 Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink! 38 The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” He said this about the Spirit. Those who believed in Jesus were going to receive the Spirit, for the Spirit had not yet been received because Jesus had not yet been glorified.

When a person comes to Christ and receives the infilling of the Holy Spirit, not only is his thirst satisfied but he receives such a plentiful supply that a great river of blessing flows out of him to others. The Spirit-filled believer is not self-centred. As he receives the gift of God he will pass it on to others.

3 The Holy Spirit would come upon the disciples after the bodily presence of Jesus was removed. Jesus said in, John 14:16-18 “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.

4 Jesus teaches the disciples that the Holy Spirit would be given to any believer who asked for Him. Luke 11:13 “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

5 After His crucifixion and resurrection Jesus didn’t send His disciples out immediately to preach. He told them to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit.  After waiting ten days, the miracle happened: on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came.

Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech.

This is the first occasion when the Holy Spirit is received in fullness and is accompanied by speaking in tongues. It is the Holy Spirit who supplies the disciples with the words and they speak them. And it is in the Acts of the Apostles that we read most about this experience. As we look at the following references we will see that certain patterns develop.

a The receiving of the Holy Spirit is usually accompanied by some kind of supernatural sign. On at least three occasions the sign of speaking in tongues is definitely mentioned. (However, contrary to some quite damaging and false teaching, tongues is not the only proof of Baptism in the Spirit. More important is the way one's life changes once The Holy Spirit takes over. Being badgered and bullied into attempting to speak in tongues is not only counterproductive but unbiblical. The gifts will come when needed, or when desired.) In some translations it is written eagerly desired. 1Corinthians 12:321; 1Corinthians 14:1

b With one exception, the fullness of the Holy Spirit is received apart from the moment of conversion. When we become Christians the Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside us. But we need to be filled with the Spirit and this is not synonymous with Conversion. Peter in Acts 2:38: “Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptised, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

c On three out of five occasions, the Holy Spirit came after hands were laid on the disciples. Which fact makes neither law nor recommendation. There is no formula!

d Excluding Cornelius, of whom we have no Biblical evidence of baptism (Acts 10), those baptised in the Spirit had previously been baptised in water. This does not mean that if you are unable to be baptised in water at the moment you cannot be filled with the Spirit, but there should be at least a willingness to be baptised as soon as possible. It is a heart decision.

e God is sovereign as regards the giving of the Holy Spirit. The usual order is repentance, faith, water baptism, Baptism in the Holy Spirit, but sometimes the order of the latter two is reversed, i.e. Baptism in the Spirit first, then baptism in water afterwards. However, no-one is baptised in the Spirit unless they have first been converted, although these two actions may take place almost simultaneously, as they were in the case of Cornelius. (Below.)

f Philip had been used by the Lord in Samaria and many believed and been baptised. However, the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon them.

Acts 8:14-17 When the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had welcomed God’s message, they sent Peter and John to them. After they went down there, they prayed for them, so the Samaritans might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet come down on any of them; they had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

7 After Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, a disciple went and prayed with him that his sight might be restored and that he might be filled with Spirit. Acts 9:17 records that Ananias addressed Saul as Brother. Already he considered him to be a Christian but not yet baptised in the Spirit. After prayer Saul is baptised. (As Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter, Matthew 16:8, so Saul became Paul.) Whether or not Paul immediately spoke in tongues is unknown and irrelevant. The important happening was his baptism. But of course we are aware of his statement some years down the line; 1Corinthians 14:18 “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than you all.

8 The first Gentile convert to Christianity was a Roman soldier, Cornelius. Peter preached to his household and as he spoke the Holy Spirit fell on them. Acts 10:45, 46 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speaking in other languages (tongues, glossolalia) and declaring the greatness of God.

9 When Paul came to Ephesus, he met a group of John the Baptist’s disciples. Paul instructed them about the need to be baptised in the name of Jesus. The result? Acts 19:6. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began to speak in other languages and to prophesy.

Notice again the order of events - they believed and were then baptised. Paul does not assume that they have received the Holy Spirit but goes on to pray with them. Something we do at every baptism with usually, although not always immediately, quite remarkable results.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit, being filled with the Holy Spirit, and going on being filled with the Holy Spirit (the correct translation of Ephesians 5:18) is imperative for the Christian walk. How else are we going to get close to the teaching of our Lord Jesus in John 14:12? “I assure you: The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”

N.B. Over the last few months God has, I believe, being speaking to me seriously about the following. It has brought me to a point which is nearly a reversal of previous beliefs, or inherited habits - occasionally referred to as baggage.

1 Praying in the Spirit is mentioned three times in Scripture. Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

1Corinthians 14:15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.

Jude 20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.

So, what exactly does it mean to pray in the Spirit? For most of my Christian life, Pray in the Spirit, has been synonymous with praying in tongues. And although in 1 Corinthians 14:15 it probably means just that, it is not nearly so certain on the other two occasions. And there can be no reasonable basis here for an assertion that, praying in the spirit invariably means praying in tongues.

A brief look at pray in (not two separate words as in the English translation). The Greek word can have several different meanings. From by means of, through with the help of, even in the sphere of and finally in connection to. It seems clear then that Praying in the Spirit does not refer to the words we are saying. Rather, it refers to how we are praying.

Praying in the Spirit is praying according to the Spirit’s leading. It is praying for things the Spirit leads us to pray for, it is knowing the heart of Jesus before we begin.

Ephesians 6:18, suggests an entirely different concept to 1 Corinthians 14:15. How are we to pray with all kinds of prayers and requests and pray for the saints, if no one, including the person praying, understands what is being said? Therefore, it seems unquestionably plain to me that praying in the Spirit should be understood as praying in the Power of the Spirit, by the leading of the Spirit, and according to His will, not necessarily as praying in tongues.

2 Speaking in tongues is not a command, and should never be accepted as such. It is a gift, a language of the spirit which may or may not be Glossolalia, and should be treated as such, no more and certainly not less.

Yet I am very much inclined to seriously consider Paul’s words quoted earlier but now in full context. 1 Corinthians 14:13-19 Therefore the person who speaks in another language should pray that he can interpret. For if I pray in another language, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with my understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with my understanding. Otherwise, if you praise with the spirit, how will the uninformed person say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? For you may very well be giving thanks, but the other person is not being built up. I thank God that I speak in other languages more than all of you; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, in order to teach others also, than 10,000 words in another language.

Praying in tongues, when spirit communes with Spirit, is private and should be used privately is my personal belief backed, I sincerely believe, by Scripture.

Praying in tongues this way publicly is not verified in Scripture, and should not be used by leaders (especially in front of a microphone). I have noticed the puzzlement and disconcertion on the faces of young Christians or non-Christians when hearing it, and it does seem to detract from the seriousness of what is happening.

It is a custom from my early days (brought up in a Pentecostal Church with major emphasis on speaking in tongues) which has stayed with me without any personal and serious consideration. It is now something I no longer practice. Private tongues are for private times

Whereas a prophecy in a spiritual - or other - language usually sounds like a well-constructed sentence and makes the following interpretation doubly powerful. The prophetic tongue is a trumpet call, demanding our attention, insisting we listen to what God has to say. Then when the translation comes it meets an attentive audience eager to learn what God is saying.

N.B. it has also become necessary to address a subject I have previously (and probably subconsciously) avoided i.e. Singing in Tongues. It rarely happens unprompted, and is extremely rare in Kinross Christian Fellowship. Although in company, this remains private worship, this one-on-one with God. However, when it happens as a spontaneous outbreak, there is no worship as powerful, beautiful or harmonious. On the other side of the coin, when it is forcibly attempted from the front with amplified tongues, and sometimes slightly discordant music, it is, in my sincere opinion, a mockery, may cause disconcertion, and serves no-one, especially God.

<previous

next>

 

 

 

 
Alphagramma home page About Alphagramma First Writing A Layman's Mark The Prophet's Apprentice The Holy Spirit Contact Alphagramma