It is obvious that even the majority of crooks and criminals have given good gifts and provided material prosperity to their children. As a matter of fact, some of them even raised their kids like prince and princess; they sent them to affluent schools and flourished them with lavished lifestyle all their lives. They have given them exceeding gifts beyond the normal parents could ever do. On the other hand, Jesus is challenging us that if these evil people were able to do these to their families, how much more our good Father who is willing to give us the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Dictionary defines the word “gift” as something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation, to endow with some power, or attribute.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be given to those who would believe in him. It was a promise that every believer shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is voluntarily given by God to believers without compensation. It is an act of God’s goodness to endow power to all who believe. Yes, God desires to see you live under the power of the Holy Spirit.
One of the gravest errors of believers is their lack of Biblical information of the Person of the Holy Spirit and His availability to all who believe. Jesus never leaves his disciples by themselves working alone, incapable, misfit, weak and in lack. Jesus, however, gave them the ability and the power to do the mighty works of God. God’s work is not meant to be executed with the ability and intelligence of man. Even the Old Testament prophets were able to function as the mouthpieces of God by the power of the Spirit. The scripture declares that it is not by man’s might, nor by man’s power, but by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts. Man’s efforts and wisdom alone cannot finish the work of God given to him. The church as a whole is the body of Christ and the temple of the Spirit. However, every members of the body shall be filled with the Spirit by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, and allow Him to do the works of God through him.
“Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow his heart.’ When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory” (John 7:38-39 NLT).
In the book of Acts, the apostle Peter preached on receiving of the Holy Spirit for those who believed. At the time, Jesus has already entered his glory and also has given the gift of the Spirit to all who believe.
“Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd… ‘In the last days, God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.’… ‘Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, ’… ‘Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:14-17, 33, 38-39 NLT).
The gift of the Holy Spirit is Himself, the third person of the trinity, the power and ability of God bestowed to man at the time he receives Him. It is true that when you become a child of God, you have been sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). However, being sealed with the Holy Spirit is not the same as receiving the gift of the Spirit. In Ephesians 4:30, it says, “And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.” The seal of the Spirit is the mark of the Holy Spirit’s ownership of us believers.
On other hand, receiving the Holy Spirit is also the baptism in the Holy Ghost, and the visible outward manifestation is speaking in other tongues. In the book of Acts, when they received the gift of the Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues. “And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability” (Acts 2:4 NLT).
In Acts chapter 2, when they were baptized with the Spirit they spoke in tongues or other languages as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak. It is the Spirit who gives you the power to speak other languages or other tongues. No wonder people from the other side of the world, who happened to be there, heard the good news in their native tongues. Evidently, this is true and accurate illustration of the experience of some of the Pentecostals and the Charismatic groups. There have been local congregations praising and worshipping God in the languages of many nations in one instant in their services or gatherings.
Bottom line, it was the Holy Spirit who gave them the ability to speak the language (whatever language that was). In Acts chapter 2, they spoke the language not according to the ability of man, but by the Spirit. And those who witnessed the disciples spoke in other tongues, they thought they were drunk. The Spirit used diverse languages of the earth to preach the gospel at that incident. Pilgrims from all over the earth witnessed and heard their native tongues being spoken through the power of the Spirit glorifying God.
The apostle Paul said, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because it will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18 NLT). Evidently, there is a correlation between being drunk or under the influence of wine and being filled with the Holy Spirit.
In the book of Acts, people received the gift of the Holy Spirit after they were born again, or after they have received the Lord Jesus Christ. You see, born again experience is distinct from the experience of receiving the Holy Spirit. On many occasions, the apostles have laid their hands to these born again believers and they have received the gift of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking of tongues, or other languages as the Spirit gives them the ability to speak. The fact is, the speaking of other languages (if you wish to call it) did not come from the ability of man but from the power of the Spirit. You cannot fake this experience or manifestation of the Spirit. Nobody can.
“When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:14-17 NLT).
“So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:17 NLT). The apostle Paul after he received the Lord Jesus Christ in his life received the gift of the Holy Spirit. And he spoke with tongues more than us all (1 Corinthians 14:18).
“Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message. The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out to the Gentiles, too. For they heard them speaking in other tongues and praising God, then Peter asked, ‘Can anyone object to their baptized, now that they have received the Holy Spirit jus as we did’” (Acts 10:44-47 NLT).
The Jewish believers were caught in surprise that the Gentiles also have received the gift of the Holy Spirit because they heard them spoke in tongues. Evidently, the early believers knew that the evidence of receiving “the gift of the Holy Spirit” is speaking in other tongues or other languages if you wish to call that way. However, let me be clear to you that the “speaking in tongue” or “speaking in other languages” are not the languages that you learned since you first learn how to speak at home or wherever. It is the Spirit who will give you the power and ability to speak words that you’ve never learn in your life.
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them….Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19: 2,6 NKJ).
Every believer must receive this gift. The Holy Spirit has already been given to us. All we need to do is to receive Him by faith. Receive with thanksgiving and glorifying the Lord. Jesus said, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 2:8 NLT).
Without the Spirit’s power or ability, you can only function as a witness for Christ by your own ability and by your own power. But Christ wants you to function in the power or in the ability of the Holy Spirit. You cannot deny the third person of the Godhead. The Spirit wants to do great things in this world, according to the wisdom of the Spirit. Don’t let the wisdom of man do the works of God, for it will only bring confusion, frustrations, failures and divisions in the Body of Christ.
Now, the Apostle Paul has a detailed explanation of the gift of tongues in the Book of Corinthians. The gift of tongues is the power of God to edify a believer and the church. I will discuss this topic on my next blog.