Acts 1:8 – “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 Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. KJV
In Luke 24:49, Jesus told His disciples:
Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
The Holy Spirit executes the power of God. Jesus knew this! He also knew that the assignment He had given to the disciples, to preach the kingdom of God, would require that they walk in power. Therefore, His last instructions to them were to remain in Jerusalem until they received power from on high!
Many people, mistakenly believe that the baptism in the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is all about speaking in tongues. Well, it isn’t! Speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of having received the Holy Spirit, but it is not the whole picture. The whole picture is that tongues is evidence of the presence of Holy Ghost power! My wedding ring is not my marriage, but it is the evidence of my marriage! (That may be too simplistic for something so amazing!)
In the book of Acts, when the Holy Spirit was released, wasn’t His introduction to the world. The Holy Spirit has been present, since Genesis, where He hovered over the waters; to produce God’s will upon the creation of the earth. The Holy Spirit was at hand when the Red Sea was parted. The Holy Spirit was present at the conception and resurrection of our Lord. And the Holy Spirit was present on the day of Pentecost. The difference being that when He came on Pentecost, He remained on earth to assist Jesus’ Church in the work of the ministry!
This time in which we are living is the appointed time, the chairos time, of the Holy Spirit. You can live a godly life in Christ and not be filled with the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Your life will be blessed and you will meet Jesus in eternity. I’m not one who believes less of a person because they don’t speak in tongues or more of a person, because they do. I have, unfortunately, noticed in the Body of Christ, that there are many who believe that those of us who speak in tongues are of the devil. I think that is not only wrong, but it is shameful! That’s how the Pharisees acted towards Jesus!
In order to be a Christian, we must accept the truth of the gospel. Simply stated, we must believe that through the blood of Jesus, our sins are forgiven and we are cleansed. We must believe that Jesus is the Son of God, come in the flesh and that He is God. And we must believe there is no other way by which we can be saved. That’s it! Whether we speak in tongues or not, when we meet that first criteria and give our heart to the Lord, we are born again. For any Christian to look upon another Blood bought individual, and to accuse them of belonging to the devil, is pure nonsense!
As I mentioned already, Jesus felt it necessary that the disciples, who had walked with Him, be filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. If they weren’t of the devil, then neither are the people who are filled today! The disciples were told to tarry, or wait; but after that, there are no other mentions of tarrying for the Holy Spirit. Although, many have tarried and made it a requirement for receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost, it is not; we just receive Him by faith!
On the day of Pentecost, which was 50 days after the resurrection of our Lord, the disciples, 120 of them, were together in the Upper Room, praying, worshipping, and waiting for power from on high! As they sat in the meeting, the Holy Spirit came in the room, upon each of them. That’s for the next blog!
Jesus told them that when they received this power from on high, they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth.
When we think of being a witness, we think of the simplicity of sharing the gospel. It is typically how this verse is read and preached, and it isn’t necessarily incorrect. It just isn’t the whole picture! When Jesus was referring to us being His witnesses, He was also referring to us expanding the kingdom in the same way that He did it, by bringing heaven to earth in the lives of the people.
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 – NKJV
He was a witness that God was real, and that He is the Son of God. As He went about the villages teaching, preaching, healing, casting out demons, and raising the dead, He demonstrated His power over everything in the earth realm.
Paul said that he didn’t operate in just great preaching and being able to persuade people to his point of view, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and power (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)!
So what witness was Jesus referring to?
And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Acts 4:33 – NKJV
Jesus knew that His disciples would have to operate just as He did, in order to witness to the truth that He is alive. Jesus had received the Holy Ghost on the day of His water baptism and the Holy Ghost never left Him. He was man, operating as God, by the power of the Holy Ghost! And so must we!
The apostles couldn’t get a young man free from demons when Jesus was alive, without His authority. After the Holy Spirit came upon them, they operated in great power.
And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people…And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women… Acts 5:12-16 – NKJV
Now that’s some power! Throughout the New Testament, tongues was understood as evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but it was the power that gave greater proof and great witness about Jesus!
Since I have been baptized in the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues, it has been a great pleasure, and an honor to experience God’s power. It has been an ever greater blessing to realize that the Holy Spirit is alive and well, and is still moving through countless believers, in countless situations, to bring witness to the resurrected Savior and the kingdom of God. Next time, I’ll talk more about the actual baptism of the Holy Spirit! Wonderful Jesus!