Tongues of Fire! The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
There seems to be much confusion about being Baptized in the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues. This is not the Gift of Tongues, which is something different entirely; however the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a gift from God.
There will come a time when tongues will not be needed, but that time is not yet. We must look at the content, notice:
1 Corinthians 13:8-10, "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
The Word says that prophecies, tongues (first of all, it's referring to the gifts of tongues, not the Baptism of the Holy Spirit), and knowledge will pass away because there will no longer be a need for them when that which is perfect is come, meaning Jesus Christ.
We are still waiting for Him to return, which is called the Second Coming. It's obvious this verse is referring to the second coming because of what Paul said in verse 12, because we are still looking through the glass darkly, in other words, we still only know in part, as the Holy Spirit reveals to us.
If this was referring to the first coming, then Paul would have said "we now see clearly, we lack no knowledge, I know all, so there is no need for the infilling of the Holy Spirit because I have all the power I need".
Some try to use the verse in 1Corinthians 12:13 to say that all are baptized in the Holy Spirit; this does not refer to the infilling of the Holy Spirit, nor does this refer to water baptism. Once again, we need to put everything into context, and we can only do that by reading more than just verse 13. Chapter 12 deals with the Spiritual Gifts, their diversities, purpose, and distribution into the church body. Verse 12 says, "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ." It's talking about the body coming together, so it means the Holy Spirit's baptizing the believer into the Body of Christ, making him one with other believers, which is salvation. This can't refer to the Infilling, because not everyone can receive the Baptism (Infilling) of the Holy Spirit, (John 14:17) only those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior.
Please don't confuse the "gift of tongues" with the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Not everyone has the gift of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:30), and to try to put the two together is a gross misinterpretation of the Bible. Although the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a gift from God, it is not one of the nine spiritual gifts.
In reading on this subject, someone said, "In the book of Acts, there are many mentions of Christians being filled with the Spirit, but only one time is tongues speaking mentioned. It is ridiculous to try to make tongues speaking the primary evidence of the Holy Spirit filling". That's not exactly correct. Acts 2:4 ".... began to speak with other tongues...." Acts 10:46 ".... heard them speak with tongues".... Acts 19:6 "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied". Of course, how many times does the Word of God have to repeat itself in order for it to be considered true? Also, it is the initial physical evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit as predicted by in Mark 16:17, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;"
Once you are filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, we are to remain full of the Spirit. Ephesians 5: 19-21 clears that up, saying, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit (already filled, and being led by the Spirit daily); Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God."
We should not "try" to speak in tongues when we receive the Holy Spirit; the tongues will come out. It's not about the tongues; it's about the Holy Spirit. Tongues are not the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they are the evidence thereof. To teach someone how to speak in tongues is wrong.... to say words fast until we babble is wrong. Never put emphasis on the tongues, but on the Holy Spirit. We are to never try and "make it happen", but we are to open up our hearts and minds to God, and let Him do the work.
When the people were baptized in the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, they spoke a language they didn't know, even though it was a known language. I don't know if that is the situation in today's society; I'm not so sure anyone could know the true answer to that in the world today, because there are so many languages throughout the world. There are many American Indian languages alone, spoken by no one or a very few people. When unbelievers say that we are not speaking in a known language, so it must not be real, we try to justify it by saying, "It's a heavenly language between me and God". How do we know this? How do they know this? They don't. You don't. I do know that when I pray in the Holy Ghost (tongues) during my prayer time, the presence of God comes.
Jude 17 - 20 says, "But, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there would be mockers in the last time, who would walk walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost". The Word says "building yourself up".... when we pray in the Holy Spirit, that is what we are doing. It's not a "message" to the Church or to the unbeliever, it is communication between you and God, without any outside interference. The Holy Spirit does need a theologian, a denomination, or a seminary graduate to tell Him how and when to operate.
If people mock you for speaking in tongues, they are really mocking the Holy Spirit. To call it evil or of the devil puts them on dangerous ground. For those who do not understand or choose to reject it, or say that it is not for today, that is their decision. Just don't let anyone, including me or any denomination or church, make this decision for you. Search the Word, pray for guidance, and listen to your spirit what God tells you, then go with that.
Some may try to convince you that speaking in tongues was only so the unbeliever could hear the Word in their language. That is somewhat true, but there is another reason. 1 Corinthians 14:22 says, "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe." The point Paul makes is that tongues was a sign to the unbeliever saying that we are in the last days, as prophesied by the prophet Joel and Isaiah. Notice Verse 21.... "In the law it is written, with men of other tongues and other lips I will speak unto this people; and yet for all that will, with other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that, will they not hear me, saith the Lord." Compare that to Isaiah 28: 11 - 12, "For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people To whom he said this is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest, and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear." So, it is obvious that Paul wanted them to know that when the unbeliever heard people speaking in tongues, they would know that they were living in the last days. That holds true, even today.
God knew that there would be those that would deny the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. That's the reason the reason verse 20 says, "Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men." Quit thinking like a child, with childish understanding, quit cherry picking the scriptures, quit reading more into the Word than what it simply says. Grow up, and "understand as men."
Thank God the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues didn't leave with the passing of the disciples! Thank God it is still here today! Thank God for the explanation in His Word! Acts 2: 38-39, "Then Peter said unto them, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call." That would include this generation, and the generations to come until the end of time. If the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is gone, then God is no longer calling people to Him.
I choose to believe in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit because I have received Him with the evidence of speaking in tongues. I got what I believed; the infilling. Those who refuse to believe, that is their decision, and that's fine. They also receive from the Holy Spirit what they believe, which is nothing. Acts 1:8 says, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth."