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  • Rick LoPresti

The gift of the Holy Ghost


There are many things people say about the gift of the Holy Ghost. People say it was only for the people in the book of Acts. They say you can receive it, but not with speaking in tongues. They say you can receive it with speaking in tongues, but that is only an "extra" gift. Some even say speaking in tongues is of the devil. As with everything else people say, if it does not come from or harmonize with the Bible, they are wrong. There are many different words used in the Bible to describe this gift: baptism, filled, receive, came upon, fell on, poured out, born of, gift, promise, and power. They are all the same. It is God putting His Spirit in us. The initial outward sign that this is happening is speaking in tongues. Afterward, God develops His nature in us through His indwelling Spirit. This is called the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23, 2Peter 1:1-11). There is usually not much disagreement about the fruit of the Spirit, but there is disagreement about the initial evidence. Those who say it is not for everyone should read Joel 2:28-29 (Acts 2:16-18), Mark 16:17, John 3:5-8, John 7:37-39, Acts 2:4 & 39, and 1Corinthians 14:18 & 39. Those who separate the gift from tongues should read Isaiah 28:11 (1Corinthians 14:21), Mark 16:17, John 3:8 (Acts 2:1-4 – wind, sound, so is everyone), Acts 2:4, Acts 8:18, Acts 10:46, Acts 19:6, and 1Corinthians 14:18. When people spoke in tongues in the book of Acts, it was not an "extra" gift for Christians. They were just becoming Christians and receiving the Holy Ghost, particularly the Gentile Cornelius and his household. God specifically used speaking in tongues to show Peter they had received the same gift he did when he spoke in tongues the first time (Acts 10:44-48, Acts 11:15-17). There are 2 major differences between the baptism of the Holy Ghost as initially evidenced by speaking in tongues, and the gift of tongues Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians 14. The gift of tongues, which among other gifts are available to those already filled with the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12), has 2 main purposes - to build up Christians when they pray (1Corinthians 14:2-4), and to build up the church when it is interpreted for the whole congregation (1Corinthians 14:5-13). In those situations it is to be limited to 2 or 3 people so there is not confusion (1Corinthians 14:27 & 33 & 40). These circumstances did not apply in the book of Acts because they were not yet saved, they were not "church services" but rather evangelistic meetings, and more than 2 or 3 spoke in tongues. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is a promise from God for everyone. It is part of salvation, and it is accompanied by speaking with tongues. It should not be debated, but believed and received. It empowers all who do to become who God created them to be (John 1:12). You can read "Back to the Basics" for a more thorough study on this.


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