A couple of weeks ago I shared a post on Holy Ghost Baptism and Tongues speaking. In that post, we came to realize the types of baptisms available and their significance in Christendom and in the believers life. Anyway, baptism as defined by the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary is, a Christian ceremony in which few drops of water are poured on someone, or the person is submerged under water, to welcome them into the Christian church…..
This of course is the first and commonest type of baptism known to most people, but it doesn’t end there. There is the baptism of death, of suffering, and of the Holy Spirit, which is the focus of this whole baptism post.
This post and subsequent ones will focus more on the the Baptism of the Spirit, how to identify it(the signs of the baptism of the Spirit), and its importance in the Church and in the life of the believer. Before we delve into that, let us take some few minutes to to take a trip back to the origin of this form of baptism. Even though many people prior to this event to be described later had encountered the power of the Holy Spirit, none of them can be classified as baptism. We know of Joshua, Sampson, Elijah, Elisha, David and a host of many others encountered the power and unction of the Spirit in their lifetimes but none of that falls under the term BAPTISM. The first time we hear of being baptized with the Holy Spirit is in Matthew 3:11, which says; “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” The same is repeated in Luke 3:16. Water baptism is done by men as John tells the Jews in the texts above but the Holy Ghost baptism according to John the Baptist is done by Christ himself who baptizes us with his Holy spirit; and he doesn’t only baptize us with his Spirit but with fire as well. That will be dealt with later.
This prophesy of John came to pass in Acts 2:1-12, and we read:
2 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
This was the first time the body of believers of the Church in her early days encountered the Baptism. It began with a few and then spread on to many who came to believe in Christ through the message of the saints then. Lets take a look at some of the evidences of the Holy Ghost Baptism.
EVIDENCES OF THE HOLY GHOST BAPTISM
- There was a noise like unto a rushing wind which came from heaven and filled the room where the believers had gathered praying.
- Tongues of fire rested on each of their heads.
- They became filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with “other tongues” or diverse kinds of tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Note the highlighted text because we will come back to it later.
From what we red above, three things were evident but today, we don’t experience that encounter. The third one however holds. It is rare to see tongues of fire sitting on anyone these days or even that sound of a rushing wind. As a matter of fact, the first sign of the Holy Ghost baptism is the SPEAKING OF TONGUES. This is what happened on the day of Pentecost as the apostles awaited in prayer at the command of Christ before he departed for heaven. When the Spirit was poured upon them and He filled them up, they began to speak with tongues. One may ask, “does that mean that those who don’t speak in tongues don’t have the Holy Ghost???????”
Certainly not! There are two things that the Spirit does with everyone who comes to Christ.
- The first is He dwells in us. In fact, Christ lives in us through his Spirit. It is the Spirit that even convicts us of sin(John 16:8) and leads us to confess Christ as Lord(1 Corinthians 12:3). When the gospel message is preached, he impresses it upon our hearts, convicts us of our sins and then leads us to confess Christ as Lord through faith. That is the first work of the Holy Ghost. After our conversion, He dwells in us to Keep us to do what is right and acceptable before God.
- The second one is when is poured unto you and He fills you. This is what we mean by Baptism of the Spirit. It is like pouring water on you or submerging you under water. This is where you receive power, anointing and unction to function in the supernatural and it is totally different from Him dwelling in you. One can be an ardent Christian and still not be baptized with the Holy Ghost. As I have stated earlier, the only thing that symbolizes baptism of the Spirit is Tongues Speaking. The encounter in Acts 2 attests to this. These were men and women know to the people as Jews, but suddenly they were heard speaking in different languages that were not known to them prior to this event. Those who saw and heard them at first instance thought they were drunk because they could hear them speak in foreign languages of the nation through which they have been scattered. It was an amazing thing to those who had come to the feast in Jerusalem.This is the singular most important evidence of the Spirit. You may have been a christian for many years but if you are unable to speak in tongues, then you are yet to have or receive the baptism of the Spirit. It has nothing to do with age or status. It is there for every believer both great and small, young and old, man or woman, boy or girl. Many times, it comes through the laying on of hands. There are many instances in the book of Acts: 10:44-48; 19:1-17; 8:14-20.Many times too, it comes through the fervency of prayer as in Acts 2:1-4. So as can be seen, Holy Ghost baptism has a lot to do with Tongues speaking. Later on we will discuss the types of tongues and their usefulness, importance and how to receive them. To be continued…………………