Pentecost is not a denomination. It is a personal spiritual experience of individual believers. Pentecost is a way of life.
The baptism in the Spirit is not an achievement to boast about, nor a trophy to put up on public display; it is not a toy to play with, nor a treasure to be selfishly hoarded.
It is not a stepping stone to an official position, nor a magic key that abruptly opens the door of eligibility for one to become a Sunday school teacher or a member of a church board. It is not a panacea, or cure-all, for spiritual ills, nor is it even a guarantee against lukewarmness or departure from the faith.
The Pentecostal baptism is neither the apex nor climax of Christian experience. It is neither the ultimate goal nor total objective of spiritual endeavor.
It does not give permanent privilege for a person to call himself Pentecostal, nor license for one to say, “Now I have the Holy Ghost”. The question is, does the Holy Ghost have you?
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an enduement “with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). It is the Divine enablement to be a witness for Christ (Acts 1:8), not as a spectator or bystander, but as a bold, active participant in spiritual warfare.
The Pentecostal baptism is the gateway to the dynamic gifts of the Spirit (I Corinthians 12: 8-10). The baptism in the Holy Spirit is itself the “gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38)
It is the threshold over which one passes into a life of Godly usefulness. It is the introduction to a mighty personal ministry with Divine credentials. “God also bearing them witness both with signs and wonders and with divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost” (Hebrews 2:4).
The Pentecostal baptism is the miracle mantle of the risen Christ, fallen on the shoulders of His servants. Jesus declared at the beginning of His ministry. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind” (Luke 4:48).
At the conclusion of His ministry, He said, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20: 21, 22). That is, go forth with the ver4y miracle power of Christ, to wield a dynamic and Godly influence upon the course of this, your generation.
Gordon Lindsay, in his book The Charismatic Ministry, says this about the Pentecostal ministry: “Essentially, the Pentecostal ministry is distinguished by its position that the supernatural gifts of the apostolic age were to continue down through the centuries, that the baptism in the Holy Spirit which Christ promised to His disciples was to be experienced by believers in all generations, that the ministry of Divine healing was to continue, that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were to find manifestation throughout the entire age.”
Before Jesus went to the cross, He taught His disciples about the Holy Spirit or the Comforter. In John 14: 16-17 He said, “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another comforter, that He may abide with you forever; 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.”
There is an experience subsequent to salvation called the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The world cannot receive this experience, only those who have been born by the incorruptible seed of God. At salvation, the Holy Spirit become Emmanuel – God with us. He dwells with us and never leaves us. He is our companion and our guide. However, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, then He comes in us much like a hand being inside a glove. We, then, become his hand extended to a hurting and dying world. His strength, His power, and His abilities become evident in our lives.
As He ministered on earth, Jesus said, “The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works…he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to my Father” (John 14:10, 12). It is the holy Spirit dwelling within that does these “greater works”.
In Mark 16, Jesus commanded His disciples to go forth in power. “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature…and these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues…they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
The preaching of the gospel was to be effected in signs following. The believer was to be empowered with a supernatural ministry. Gordan Lindsay mad this statement in his book The Charismatic Ministry, “The gospel minus the supernatural is not really the gospel, and without it a minister is poorly equipped indeed to face and overcome opposing spiritual forces.”
So we see that the Holy Spirit is given to endue the believer with power from on high. He functions to bring a supernatural ministry among believers. He is the agent that produces miracles and wonders through His servants. He is the force that drives the Satanic principalities and powers out of their strongholds. The Holy Spirit baptism is the beginning of a life of supernatural power and ability through the influence and unction of the Holy Ghost.
Kenneth Hagin in his book Concerning Spiritual Gifts said this about the correlation between Canaan land and the baptism of the Holy Ghost. “Canaan’s land is a type of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and of our rights and privileges in Christ. Some have thought it was a type of heaven, but Canaan could not be a type of heaven. There will not be any cities to conquer and battles to fight when we get to heaven. The last enemy shall have been conquered. There will not be any enemies in the land over there, no giants.”
Israel had crossed the Red Sea with Moses. This was a type of water baptism. They had been redeemed by the Passover lamb from Egypt, a type of salvation. Now under another leader, a new nation (much like a new creation) was ready to enter the promised land. The Jordan River stood in their path. As they crossed over on dry ground, they symbolically were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Years later, we find Jesus, our Joshua, stepping into that same Jordan. As He came up out of the water following John’s obedience to baptize Him, the heavens were opened and the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove lit upon Him. From this point on, Jesus began to perform miracles.
As we go and take the promise land, we must be endued with this power of the Holy Spirit. We must be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire.
In II Kings 5: 14-1 we see a beautiful picture in the way of an Old Testament type and shadow of salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Many times in the Old Testament the work and gifts of the Holy Spirit as we know them today were seen as a shadow of things to come. Two striking examples of these types are the confusing of languages at Babel and the ten camels (nine gifts of the Spirit plus the gift of the Holy Ghost) that Eliezer brought to Rebecca (a type of the church) from Isaac (a type of Christ).
A much lesser known type is here in our text. Naaman had been cured of leprosy. Leprosy in the Old Testament always represented sin. There was no physical cure, only God’s touch could set people free. In verse 14, we see Naaman receiving a new birth as a result of leprosy leaving. “His flesh came again as the flesh of a little child.” This correlates with II Corinthian 5:17 “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away, behold all things have become new.”
But after his cleansing, we find him returning to Elisha the man of God and in verse 17 he asks for two mule’s burden of the earth. This is important considering the customs of that day. When a man went to purchase land, he would often pay the price of purchase and then go to get his family, as many as would come with him, and then move in sometimes years later. As proof of ownership, and a right to that land, he would carry away part of the land with him until he could return. This was called earnest.
The experience of salvation (curing of leprosy) was so wonderful that he returned to Elisha, the man of God (a type of Christ representing God to this world) to ask another blessing. Naaman had come from a far land and came to where the man of God lived. To Naaman, this was equivalent to Holy Land, representing Heaven.
Naaman asked for two mule’s burden of the earth to take with him to show and remind himself of his inheritance in another country. We are ambassadors from Heaven temporarily living on earth.
This earnest became Naaman’s sackful of Heavenly portion. Every time he looked at this mound of earth, he thought of Heaven, the land of his salvation.
In II Corinthians 1:22, II Corinthians 5:5, and Ephesians 1:13-14 Paul tells us about the earnest of the Spirit and how we were sealed with this after we believed.
It is easy to see that this is our handful of the heavenly portion; our two mule’s burden of the earth. We went back to Jesus after our salvation and asked for another blessing, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Now we are able to take just a little of Heaven with us wherever we go.
It is my sincere belief that everyone who has been to the river and been baptized and are washed clean and white in the blood of the Lamb, can and should return for their handful of the heavenly portion, the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Some may argue that it is possible to be filled with the Spirit and not speak in tongues. It is extremely difficult to maintain a Scriptural foundation for that thought. For the sake of argument, let us assume that this is correct. It is also possible to enter a local shoe store, purchase a pair of shoes minus the tongue. However, the tongue comes at no extra charge and the shoe functions much better with it, so it would be a little ridiculous to request or expect such a thing.
There are many benefits to speaking in tongues. Briefly, I would like to cover a few. Every believer would benefit greatly by speaking in tongues, not only at the moment of baptism but on a regular basis.
Tongues are the initial sign of the Holy Spirit’s presence (Acts 2:4). Acts 10:46 tells of Cornelius house; tongues were a sign to the believing Jews that God had poured out His Spirit on the Gentiles.
Paul encouraged believers to continue the practice of speaking with other tongues in worship and in their prayer lives as a means of spiritual edification (I Corinthians 14: 2, 14). So we see that speaking with other tongues is not only the initial evidence of the Holy Spirit’s infilling, but it is also a continual experience for the rest of one’s life.
John 14: 16-17 tells us of the abiding comforter, not only with us but in us. If we were conscious of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit every day, it is bound to affect the way we live. Speaking in other tongues makes us aware of His presence.
Praying in other tongues will keep our prayers in line with God’s will. Romans 8: 26-27 tells us of the Holy Spirit who makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Speaking in tongues keeps selfishness out of our prayers. He is giving the utterance; we simply speak it out of our spirit.
Speaking in tongues will stimulate faith. In Jude, verse 20 we read, “But ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost”. Speaking in tongues helps us to learn to trust God more fully. If the Holy Spirit supernaturally directs the words we speak, faith must be exercised to speak with tongues. We do not know what the next word will be – we trust God for that, and trusting God in one line will help us trust Him in another.
A very important benefit of speaking with tongues is that it keeps us from worldly contamination. From I Corinthians 14:28 we find that we can speak in tongues to ourselves. Whenever we want no part in others vile conversations, we may pray in tongues to ourselves. We need not be loud, but powerful forces are unleashed in the spiritual realm when we are obedient to this suggestion under these circumstances.
The Holy Spirit, who knows everything, can pray through us about which our natural mind knows nothing. Romans 8:26 does not say that we do not know how to pray, it says “we know not what we should pray”. In these instances, we need the Holy Spirit’s intercession. This is a time to pray in tongues. We should always pray until we feel a note of praise. This way we know that our prayer of intercession has been answered.
Continuing on in our benefits derived by speaking in tongues, we come to the spiritual refreshing that is received from the holy Spirit. Isaiah 28: 11-12 tells us “This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest, and this is the refreshing”. In these days of turmoil, perplexity, anxiety, and stress we need this spiritual refreshing.
Another benefit from speaking tongues is that it enables us to give thanks well. Paul said in I Corinthians 14: 15-17 that those who were speaking in tongues were giving thanks well.
Speaking with tongues will also bring the tongue into subjection. James 3:8 says that the tongue no man can tame. Thank God that the Holy Ghost is not a man. Yielding the tongue to the Holy Spirit to speak with other tongues is a giant step toward fully yielding all of our members to God. If we can yield this most unruly member, we can yield any member.
There are, I am sure, many more benefits to speaking in other tongues. The Holy Ghost is more powerful than we have perceived to this date. Without even discussing any of the gifts of the Spirit, we have discovered more power than we may have realized existed heretofore.
Acts 1:8 quotes Jesus as saying, “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is com upon you: and ye shall be witnesses…”. Most of us do not have any problem with the witness part. We are expected to be a witness for Jesus. But today we have a hard time with the power part of what Jesus said. Today’s churches are, in most places, a place of praise and prayer and purification but they have lost the ability to tap into God’s power.
The life of a Christian (if God really exists) should be more than piety, worship, and devotion. These things any religion can offer. But to be an extension of God in this earth through His ability, His knowledge, and His voice is an expression of life known only to those who are born of God’s seed. The Christian alone can boast of a God inside. Comprehending what this means would revolutionize our influence on this earth.
Thank God that through the baptism of the Holy Ghost we enter through the door that brings God’s power to our very fingertips, His knowledge is within our grasp, His voice is upon our lips.
Yes, Jesus said, “Ye shall receive power” and power we have received through the nine gifts listed in I Corinthians 12: 8-10. And these have enabled us to be witnesses not only of who Christ was and did, but also of who Christ is and is doing, and who Christ will always be and will be doing. Not just witnesses of past events, but of present and future events as revealed and performed by the Spirit of God.
The same God who worked miracles in the Old Testament by the prophets and by His Son while He was on the earth, is in these last days working with power by His Spirit through all that are open to His Spirit.
Yes, you can go to Heaven and live your life without the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But, why would you want to?