The Gifts Part 89
Although we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit only once, we are continually filled with the Holy Spirit throughout our lives. Upon the initial baptism of the Holy Spirit, there is always a sign, the sign most often being the gift of speaking in tongues. I have known believers that have received one of the other gifts as a sign that they have been baptized in the Holy Spirit, but since the Bible tells us that tongues is a sign as well as a gift, most often it is the gift of tongues that manifests as evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Shortly after the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, after Peter’s stirring sermon to those who had gathered, and the miraculous healing of the lame man, both Peter and John found themselves before the Sanhedrin, having been arrested the previous night for preaching the resurrection of the dead in Jesus.
As they stood before the rulers elders, scribes and the high priest himself, and asked by what power or by what name they had healed the lame man, Peter filled with the Holy Spirit, once again began to preach Christ of Nazareth, the selfsame Christ the men before which he was standing had crucified, and whom God had raised from the dead.
Since the words they spoke were divinely inspired, and neither the high priest nor any who were with him could deny the words that Peter and John spoke, as a last resort they were commanded not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
Take into account that Peter and John weren’t being threatened by an average citizen, they were not being threatened by some lackey or some hireling, they stood before the most powerful religious authority of their day, and were being commanded not to preach Christ by none other than the most powerful religious figures of their time.
Lesser men would have surely shied away from lesser threats, but Peter and John walked in the authority of Christ, they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and although I am certain that the high priest expected them to bow and scrape and promise they would no longer teach in the name of Jesus, their answer was anything but acquiescence to his command.
Acts 4:19-21, “But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.’ So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done.”
Having been released, Peter and John went to their companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders said to them. Rather than begin arguing amongst themselves, rather than begin assessing the situation and find ways by which to appease the chief priests and the elders, rather than decide to stop teaching in the name of Jesus to spare themselves the grief and trouble they knew would descend upon them if they continued to do it, they raised their voices to God in one accord and began to pray.
Although the prayer they prayed is a fascinating one, worthy of introspection and exegetical discussion, we will forego this tempting detour for the moment, so I could get to the point I was trying to make concerning the difference between the initial baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the subsequent infillings thereof.
Acts 4:29-31, ‘“Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.’ And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”
The individuals, who were praying for boldness in this passage, are the selfsame individuals who had been gathered in the upper room, and who had experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They had already been baptized in the Holy Spirit, but after their prayer, after crying out to God to strengthen them that they might speak His word, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
Notice, they were not baptized again in the Holy Spirit, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. If the word of God makes this distinction, then it is incumbent upon us to likewise make this distinction. There is a difference between being baptized, and being filled, and this is what those who claim that an individual can be repeatedly baptized in the Holy Spirit refuse to acknowledge.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit requires a sign, one that is visible and beyond doubt, that the person in question might know they have been baptized. The infilling of the Holy Spirit however, requires no such sign, for the individual already knows that they have been baptized, and what they are receiving from God is a refreshing, a revitalization, or a recharging of that which they already possess.
When tongues is given as a sign, the individual in question need manifest this gift but once in their life, when however it is given as a gift, it must be exercised by the individual as often as possible, either privately in fellowship with God, or publically when one with the gift of interpretation is present.
Yes, it is possible for someone to have spoken in tongues only once in their life, as a sign that they have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, having been endowed with one or more of the other eight gifts in which they could operate throughout their journey here on earth.
Throughout my years of ministry I have met individuals that were concerned about the fact that they had only spoken in tongues once, and this concern stemmed from the misunderstanding between the sign of tongues, and the gift of tongues.
Once again, to hopefully clarify the issue, when received as a sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit, tongues can, and is often manifested once in an individual’s life, but when received as a gift it is an ongoing manifestation in the life of the believer.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.