It may be a little old fashioned today to believe that speaking in tongues is evidence of being baptized with the Holy Spirit, but I have to admit that I am one of those who believe it. I donât care how intelligent a Bible teacher is that tells the church that speaking in tongues isnât for today. When my Bible talks several times of this phenomenon happening upon receiving the Spirit and then, personally experiencing it just as the early church did, I have no choice but to reject what these men teach. I have had so called brothers try to convince me that it was fake or from the devil or something, but it was too late, it already happened. How could I deny what happened? You can be certain that these men that stand against it, more than likely, are not filled with the Spirit otherwise they would not dispute it. Before I continue, I want you to know that I am not one that makes a doctrine out of experiences. To do that is extremely dangerous and leads to mysticism. However, there are doctrines in the Bible that are backed up by experience. A simple example of this would be healing. When God heals someone, you can be certain that person experienced the healing. That healing would be a testimony to the truth of the word that people can be healed in the name of Jesus.
Let me tell you a testimony of what happened the second Sunday I entered a Christian church. I was born into a Catholic home and went to a Catholic grade school through sixth grade. I remember one day in religion class, my teacher who was a nun, told the class that the Red Sea may not really have split. She then gave a few suggestions of what may have happened. From that day on, my teacher left me with the impression that the Bible wasnât actually true, but just a good book with examples of how we should live. Now fast forward to the year 1983. I owned a home improvement business at that time and hired the man that would lead me to the Lord. His name was Reed. One day while we were working, Reed told me that his church believed in speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues? I never heard of that. He told me that it is in the fourteenth chapter of First Corinthians. When I got home from work that evening, I opened up my Bible and read about speaking in tongues. It seemed a little strange, but none the less it was in my Bible.
One Sunday I decided to go to church with Reed. Then I went again the next Sunday. Now remember, I was taught that the Bible wasnât one hundred percent accurate. During the song service that morning, a sister in Christ gave a message in tongues with an interpretation following. When I heard her speak in tongues, I began to weep and I said to myself, âI canât believe this is true. The Bible really is true! This thing on tongues I read about really happens to people.â A few months later, I too got filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues has several purposes to it. One of them is that it is a sign to unbelievers. âWherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not..â (I Corithians 14:22). That day in church, God used tongues as a sign to me that His word is the absolute truth. Hallelujah!
Since that day I have had my share of discussions about speaking in tongues as being the primary evidence that one has been filled with the Spirit. I know a large portion of the church does not believe it. Though I am disappointed with that, I have learned to not let it discourage me or judge those that deny it. There is one thing that does irritate me a little and that is when Christians try to make other things the evidence. If you are going to be truly open and honest, through reading the Bible plainly, you cannot deny that speaking in tongues seemed to be the primary evidence. Letâs look at the scriptures of what happened when saints were filled with the Spirit.
âAnd when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 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 utteranceâ (Acts 2:1-4).
This potion of scripture has been the most prominent verses used by the Pentecostal church to support that one will speak in tongues after they are filled with the Spirit. It is also where the term Pentecostal comes from. I know that some Pentecostalâs have misrepresented what true Pentecost is, but in simple terms it means to continue on with the same authority and power that was given to those disciples in that upper room. We must continue on with this Pentecostal power until the Lord takes the church home. It is important that you take note of one thing that happened that day. They were ALL filled with the Spirit and they ALL spoke with tongues. Not just the Apostles, not just the men, but the women too. This gives very strong indication that this blessed promise is for every believer. If only some would have been filled that day and only some would have spoken in tongues, then I would hold my peace. One thing I have to say, that has been one of the reasons some saints struggle with the whole idea of being filled with the Spirit, is that many have made it about speaking in tongues instead of yielding their life to be filled with the Spirit. I am aware that this article could seem to be promoting tongues more than the Spirit. Even now, my prayer is that this article promotes an appetite for every believer to desire to be filled with the Spirit.
âNow 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. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghostâ (Acts 8:14-19).
There is no mention that anyone spoke in tongues in these verses, but Simon saw something happen to those that received the Spirit because he wanted to buy the power to lay his hands on others so they could receive the Spirit. It could be that Simon heard them speak in tongues.
âAnd Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptizedâ (Acts 9:17-18).
There is no mention that Paul spoke with tongues at this moment, but donât forget that Paul said, âI thank my God I speak with tongues more than ye allâ (I Corinthians 14:18).
âWhile 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. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as weâ (Acts 10:44-47)?
How did Peter and the rest know that these Gentiles received the Spirit? âFor they heard them speak with tongues.â
âAnd it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 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. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesiedâ (Acts 19:1-6).
Our last portion of scripture shows once again that speaking with tongues followed receiving the Holy Spirit. My question for you is, have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed? Jesus told us that the Father will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask. Will you ask God to fill you today with the Spirit?