Q. Is Speaking in Tongues an essential sign of being filled with the Holy Spirit?
A. One might ask, When frying eggs and bacon, will one hear the crackling in the pan and will the aroma fill the room? In this poor illustration, these are not essential to the meal; they just happen. We shall see that God has designed Speaking in Tongues for a number of reasons. However, rather than focussing on Tongues, expect rather the infilling of Him Who is the Holy Spirit. The initial evidence of this Baptism is clearly observable; all will know it, especially the one who is being filled.
The Baptism in the Spirit is separate from Salvation. Jesus’ disciples were saved before Pentecost for He declared them “clean”, and taught them to pray “Our Father.” Yet only at Pentecost were they baptised in the Holy Spirit. See Jn 15:3, Lk 11:2, Acts 2:1-4.
The Samaritans were saved under Philip’s preaching and he baptised them in water. Then only after Peter and John had come from Jerusalem were these new converts filled with the Holy Spirit. Philip only baptised the Ethiopian eunuch in water after he was convinced that he believed with “all his heart” – Acts 8:12, 14-17, 37.
Paul was saved on the Damascus road. 3 days after, Ananias prayed for “brother Saul” to be filled with the Spirit – Acts 9:1-7, 10.
The 12 men of Ephesus were disciples – Acts 19:1; then only after Paul had baptised them in water in Jesus’ Name, he laid his hands on them for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit – v7.
With regard to the evidence of the Baptism in the Spirit, we have to see what God’s Word says about the matter. There are many indications of the Spirit’s fullness such as powerful soul winning and service. These, however, normally become apparent as the disciple progresses in the Spirit-filled life. In the Book of Acts there was a particular and immediate manifestation by which the disciples knew that the new converts had been filled with the Holy Spirit. This was Speaking in Other Tongues.
- Jerusalem – at Pentecost – they began to speak with other tongues.
- Samaria, a year later – while no specific mention is made of tongues, the evidence points conclusively to this manifestation. Ask these questions: – How did Peter and John know that the Samaritans had not received the Holy Spirit? How did they know when to stop praying for the Baptism? What did Simon see? He hadn’t offered to ‘buy’ the miracles he’d seen under Philip’s preaching. Bible scholars agree that it was the Speaking in Tongues that attracted him.
- Caesarea, 7 years later – speak with other tongues.
- Ephesus, 25 years later – they spake with tongues.
References: Acts 2:4, 8:17-18, 10:44-46, 19:6
- Mk 16:17 – they shall speak with new tongues.
- Joel 2:28 – sons and daughters shall prophesy
- Acts 2:14-18 – this (tongues) is that (of which Joel had prophesied).
- Acts 2:33 – this which ye now see and hear
- 1 Cor 14:18 – Paul; I speak with tongues.
- BECAUSE it is a God-given means of communication in the Spirit between the believer and his Lord. 1 Cor 14 deals with Tongues but see especially v2. GOD HIMSELF planned for us to have this gift.
- BECAUSE it is an incredibly pure form of worship.
- BECAUSE Tongues incorporates submission to the Lord. Jas 3:1-12 speaks about how our tongues need to be controlled. When we speak in Tongues we learn the vital principle of allowing God to control us.
- BECAUSE we learn to subordinate our own wisdom and understanding to God’s, since our “understanding is unfruitful” – 1 Cor. 14:14.
The Use of Tongues God’s Word teaches much about the use of Tongues in private devotion and in the Assembly. Since our space has been used up, ask your oversight to teach you more about these wonderful truths. We encourage you to seek the Holy Spirit’s infilling; every Child of God needs this vital empowerment and your leaders will be only too willing to pray with you to be filled!