Posted by: pastortomvabeach | July 7, 2015

Thought For The Week July 12, 2015

The eighth foundational belief held by the Assemblies of God is called “The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit,” and refers to the experience of speaking in other tongues which occurred on the Day of Pentecost and in subsequent outpourings of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts; they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4, also Acts 10:45-46, Acts 19:6). Notice that the languages they spoke were not learned languages but words given to them by the Holy Spirit.

The phenomenon of speaking out under the influence of the Spirit was documented in the Old Testament. When Moses chose the seventy elders to serve the people Numbers 11:25 says, the LORD came down…and took of the Spirit that was upon Moses, and placed the same upon the seventy elders; and…when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. Another time when Saul met up with a group of prophets it happened that the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. (I Samuel 10:10). Both these instances were documented as evidence that the Spirit had come to rest on the individuals who spoke out.

The gift of tongues that accompanies the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is similar to yet different from the gift of tongues listed in I Corinthians 12. Paul described the difference in I Corinthians 14. In verse 2, he says that one who speaks in an unknown tongue is not speaking to men but to God and that speaking in that tongue is meant to build up the speaker and not the church (verse 4). Paul is contrasting the initial gift of tongues, which is meant to encourage and uplift us individually, and gifts meant to build up the body of Christ such as prophecy and tongues with interpretation.

Later Paul says that He prays in the Spirit (tongues) and with his understanding and sings in a similar way and that he speaks in tongues more than everyone (verses 15 and 18). He follows that with the instruction that in public settings it is better to speak in language others understand so it builds up the body. So, if the gift of tongues is used in a public setting, he urges us to pray for someone to interpret so that the church can be built up (verse 27-28).

From this we understand that God gives us a private gift of tongues along with the Baptism in the Holy Spirit which is meant as our own prayer language. We can come before the Lord and speak to Him in words that only He understands and know the words are anointed by the Spirit. This encourages me because there are times that I don’t know what or how to pray but the Holy Spirit does.

The Assemblies of God has titled this “the initial physical evidence” because it is the first and, I suggest, the only “physical” evidence that a wonderful spiritual gift has been given. There are certainly other evidences that one has been baptized in the Spirit. Jesus said the baptism would impart power so that we could be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). There is also a powerful internal witness of the Spirit that increases our desire to seek the Lord, to hear and study His Word, and to grow in obedience to Him. Another evidence is the fruit of the Spirit. As He fills us and we walk with Him we begin to manifest love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self control (Galatians 5:22). The Spirit shows Himself in our lives in many ways.

Many people, both Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal, get too hung up on speaking in tongues. People who seek the Baptism in the Holy Spirit can focus only on speaking in tongues and forget that this baptism is about the power to witness and about having more of Jesus. Those who believe the gift of tongues is not for today can become critical and assert that tongues is all Pentecostals care about. As with every gift that God gives our aim ought to be fulfilling the Great Commission, making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). This is why we’re here and why Jesus gave the Holy Spirit.

My advice to anyone who wants to be baptized in the Holy Spirit is to focus on Jesus. Grow in your relationship with Him. Seek to walk as closely as you can with Him. Get filled up with His presence in your life. Offer yourself as that living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) and God will take care of the rest. He will fill you with the Holy Spirit and when you least expect it, you will experience receiving the gift of tongues. Remember, Acts tells us they spoke as the Spirit gave the words. If you sense words in your mind that don’t make sense, that may be the Spirit giving you the utterance. Just say them!

The goal of our seeking from the Lord ought to be that the body of Christ is built up. We, as individuals, are built up by praying in tongues. The church is built up when the gift of tongues shows up in our public gatherings. And the body grows as we move out in the power of the Spirit to witness to a dying world of the grace of God through Jesus Christ. People come to Christ and the Kingdom grows. Now that’s something I want! What about you?

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