The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is God Himself. (Matt. 3: 16-17) and plays many distinctive roles in the lives of the believer. He sanctifies, (2 Thess 2:13), guides (Jn 16:13), strengthens (Eph 3:16), indwell (Gal 5:16-18), baptises (Acts 2:4) among others.
The Holy Spirit is the person of God himself; God’s personal presence and God’s empowering presence.
One of the distinctive mark of the Pentecostal Movement is speaking with tongues, whether we like it or not, it has made Pentecostalism the most distinct and recognizable entity in the twentieth century.
John the Baptist, who was the forerunner of Jesus, spoke about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and mentioned Jesus as the one who baptises:
‘I baptize you with water, But one more powerful than I will come… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire’. (Luke 3:16)
‘I would not have known Him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ (John 1:33)
Jesus then confirmed the words of John:
‘I am going to send to you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high’. (Luke 24:49) ‘For John baptized with water; but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit’. (Acts 1:5)
The promise of the father as Jesus mentioned was the prophesy of Joel in 2:28 which God said He will pour His Spirit upon all flesh.
Peter described what happened in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, ‘…All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit enabled them’. (Acts 2:2-4) as the fulfilment of the promise (Acts 2:16-17)
From their experience, the disciples knew that they had been baptised in the Holy Spirit by speaking in tongues. Even though the Holy Spirit is invisible, the effects which He produces can be seen and heard so the outcome of the baptism was unconceivable; the sound of the mighty wind, the appearance of tongues of fire, the infilling with the Spirit resulted in the speaking of a new tongues. Peter said the fulfilment of the promise was for them, their children…and all those that the Lord will call’ (Acts 2:15- 39)
As mentioned by Peter, the promise was also fulfilled among some other believers:
‘While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcision believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues, and praising God…’ (Acts 10:44-46)
When Peter met the Jewish believers after Cornelius house incidence, he said ‘Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how that He said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit: (Acts 11:16)
Again at Ephesus:
‘When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied’. (Acts 19:6)
Upon these scriptural basis, Classical Pentecostals believe that the promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues has not ceased but still fulfilling and relevant even today for everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Moreover, the out pouring, coming upon and over shadowing of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost did not mark a distinction between the operations of the Spirit in the lives of the Old and New Testament saints. However, Pentecost signalled the fulfilment of the ancient promise of God to graciously pour out his Spirit like a downpour and rivers of living water on all believers to incorporate them into one body in Christ.
Parham was astonished when his students reported their findings that, while there were different things that occurred when the Pentecostal blessing fell, the indisputable proof on each occasion was that they spoke in other tongues.
The advent of the baptism of the Holt Spirit that happened on the day of Pentecost is not just a historical incident but an ever-renewed presence of God through His Spirit into the world.
Written by Pastor Charles Boadi, National Head, Eswatini (Swaziland)