Tongues: Helping Others To Receive The Holy Spirit
By Kenneth Hagin
In the New Testament, different terms are used to refer to the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Believers “received the Holy Ghost” (Acts 8:15,19), were “filled with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:4; 9:17), and were “baptized with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 1:5). These expressions all refer to the same experience.
There are some facts we need to know to be able to help others receive the baptism in the Holy Ghost. First, we need to realize three things: 1) the Holy Ghost is a gift; 2) God has already given Him; and 3) it’s up to us to receive Him.
In Acts chapter 1, Jesus Himself talked about this gift of the Holy Spirit.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Then we see a fulfillment of what Jesus said, beginning in Acts chapter 2.
1 And when the day of Pentecost wee fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 AND THEY WERE ALL FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
In the early days of my ministry, as I held meetings in Full Gospel Pentecostal churches, I discovered that, in those churches, more than half of the people were not filled with the Holy Ghost. Some of them had been saved for years. Thank God, I never left a meeting without a number of these dear folks having been baptized in the Holy Spirit. They had not received before because they weren’t accurately taught. They had been taught about the Holy Ghost, and they believed in Him. But they weren’t scripturally taught how to receive Him to experience the fullness of life in the Spirit.
Sometimes folks took Luke 24:49 as a formula to receive the Holy Ghost. There Jesus said to His disciples, “. . . tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be with power from on high.” Well, if we need to tarry to receive the Holy Spirit, then people ought to tarry for Him in Jerusalem! To tarry means to wait. No, in Luke 24:49, the disciples had to wait in Jerusalem until the Day of Pentecost came. After that day, you don’t see anyone waiting to be filled with the Spirit. They all received right away.
I can understand those who believe being baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues is not for us today. I used to believe that too. I was a Christian and even pastored for several years before I saw what the Word of God says on this subject. I was walking down the street meditating on God’s Word and talking to the Lord when I saw the truth that the baptism in the Holy Ghost was actually for me today. I sensed a lack of power in my own life, and I knew I needed the infilling of the Holy Ghost.
I saw in Scripture that the Holy Ghost is a gift for all believers. On the Day of Pentecost, during his first sermon, Peter made the following statement:
38 . . . Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, AND YE SHALL
RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST.
39 For THE PROMISE IS UNTO YOU, and to YOUR CHILDREN, and to ALL THAT ARE AFAR OFF, EVEN AS MANY AS THE LORD OUR GOD SHALL CALL.
The baptism of the Holy Ghost is a gift just as salvation, or the New Birth, is a gift. And it’s up to us to receive the gift!
I saw, too, that when I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, I would speak in tongues just as the early disciples did. Scripture says, “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, AND BEGAN TO SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4).
As soon as I saw that this experience was a gift for me, and that I didn’t have to wait for it, I went right down to a Full Gospel preacher’s house to receive it. When I got to his house, the first thing he told me to do was wait! His church had an evangelist in to hold revival meetings, so he said, “Wait until the service tonight. When it’s over, come to the altar and tarry.”
“It won’t take me very long to receive!” I said.
The pastor saw that I was eager and ready to receive.
I was standing at the door, so he invited me into the living room. The evangelist was there too. I don’t remember whether either man gave me any instructions. I just knelt by a large chair in the living room, closed my eyes, shut out everything around me, and lifted my hands to God.
I came to the Lord according to His Word and simply told Him what it said. I said, “Lord, we preach the same water baptism and the same Lord’s Supper that these folks experience. Why not have the same Holy Ghost baptism?” Then I said, “I receive the Holy Ghost.”
You see, the Word of God says in Acts 8:15 that Peter and John prayed for the Samaritan believers ” . . . that they might RECEIVE the Holy Ghost.” And in Acts 19:2, the Apostle Paul asked the disciples at Ephesus, ” . . . Have ye RECEIVED the Holy Ghost . . . ?” It’s not a matter of God giving the Holy Spirit; it’s a matter of our receiving Him.
So I told the Lord, “I receive the Holy Ghost. And the Scripture says, ‘And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, AND BEGAN TO SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES, as the Spirit gave them utterance’ [Acts 2:4]. So I thank You because I’m filled with the Holy Ghost. And Father, now I expect to speak with tongues. Thank You for giving me utterance. Hallelujah.”
I had never felt so “dry and dead” in my life. But I knew the baptism in the Holy Ghost was a gift. So I said, “Hallelujah” about seven or eight times, and
about then it felt to me like someone had built a bonfire down in my spirit. It just seemed like it sort of blazed up. Strange words started blazing up, and I just started
speaking them out.
I opened my eyes and saw that it was eight minutes past 6:00 p.m. When I’d knocked at the door, it was 6:00 p.m. I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and talking in
tongues in just eight minutes!
Some ministers have had great success in getting believers filled with the Holy Ghost. But any believer can get any other believer filled with the Holy Spirit. And he can do it quickly if he’ll remember the following facts.
First, as I said, you have to teach believers according to the Word of God that the Holy Ghost–the Spirit of God–is a gift; God has already given Him; and it’s up to the individual believer to receive that gift.
Second, you must teach believers that anyone who is saved is ready to immediately receive this experience. We see that in Acts chapter 2.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, AND YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST.
Those who heard Peter on the Day of Pentecost and repented according to his words were immediately ready to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It is true that unconfused sin can hinder people from receiving the blessings of God. However, if you’re saved and walking in fellowship with God, then you’re ready to be filled with the Spirit right now. People often try to earn this gift of the Holy Spirit. But what can wash us clean? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Could anything else make us any better?
Third, we need to tell people what to expect as they receive the Holy Spirit. Too many times folks are seeking God and praying in the dark, so to speak. The Bible says, “The entrance of thy words giveth light . . .” (Ps. 119:130).
Tell people to expect the Holy Ghost to move upon their vocal organs and put supernatural words in their hearts, which they themselves will have to speak out in cooperation with Him. Acts 2:4 says, “And THEY were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and [they] began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” In this verse, “they” is the subject. They were all filled, and they began to speak as the spirit gave them utterance.
The Holy Ghost doesn’t take you over, so to speak, and force you to do anything. But you can respond to Him and follow His promptings. In other words, He will give you the utterance, but you do the talking.
Fourth, for those who are prayed for and do not receive, there are only two areas to work on: faith and yieldedness.
One day during a series of meetings I was holding in a Full Gospel church in east Texas, I was riding down the street with the pastor when he pointed out a certain man. “He’s the choir director of the largest Full Gospel church in the city,” he said, “and he’s also their music and Sunday school director. He’s been there for twenty three years and has never been filled with the Holy Ghost.”
I thought no more about it. Then that very night he was in the service, sitting nearly in front of the pulpit and next to a woman I assumed was his wife. When I invited people to come to be filled with the Spirit, she tried to get him to come, and, finally, he did. I could tell by the look on his face that he was thinking, I’m not going to get anything, but I’ll go up there anyway just to please you.
As I went down the line laying hands on people, each one started talking in tongues right away. This man had shut his eyes and lifted his hands. When I reached him and laid hands on him, immediately, I received a word of knowledge concerning him. I knew the devil had lied to him and convinced him that he must have some secret sin that he didn’t know about. This man believed that if it weren’t for that, he would have received the baptism in the Holy Ghost.
There isn’t any secret sin in anyone’s life that he or she doesn’t know about!
That’s just a trick of the devil to rob people of God’s blessings. No, receiving is a matter of faith and yieldedness.
I said to this man, “Put your hands down and open your eyes.” He did, and I said to him, “There is not anything in your life–no secret sin, nothing–that would keep you from receiving or being filled or baptized with the Holy Ghost.”
He let out a sigh. “Do you think so?” he asked.
“No, I don’t think so; I know so,” I said. “I’d stake my life on it!”
“Boy,” he said, “what a relief!”
“Let me tell you something else,” I said. (You see, I had to work on his faith.) “I will not have laid hands on you more than three times before you are filled with the
“Do you think so?” He asked.
“No, I don’t think so; I know so!” I replied.
The next night he was back, and he was the first one down to the altar. When I got to him, he said, “This is number two.”
“That’s right,” I said.
“You said you wouldn’t lay hands on me more than three times,” he added.
“That’s right!” I said.
“The next time is number three,” he reminded me.
“That’s right,” I said.
Now each morning, instead of holding a regular service, we held a prayer meeting for anyone who wanted to come. That next morning I was kneeling by a chair on the platform praying when, suddenly, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I looked up, and there stood this man. He asked,
“Hey, do you still think I’m going to get the Holy Ghost?”
“No, I don’t think you’re going to get the Holy Ghost,” I answered. “I know you will!”
“Well,” he said, “I told them over at my church,
‘Brother Hagin said he wouldn’t lay hands on me more than three times without me being filled. There’s no use waiting until tonight; I’ll go over there this morning.”‘
“Well, kneel down here,” I said, and he knelt down beside me. I laid my hand on his head and said, Receive the Holy Ghost!”
Sometimes people starting to speak in tongues will stammer. Isaiah said, “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people” (Isa. 28:11). This man began to stammer a little bit and speak a few words in tongues.
“That’s it! That’s it! That’s the Holy Ghost!” I said. Now we were in east Texas, and I used a colloquial expression that he understood. I said, “Grab it like a dogdoes a bone and run off with it!” In other words, I told him, “You lift your voice and talk a blue streak!”
That fine gentleman lifted his voice and started talking in tongues. He got so thrilled that he danced on his knees all over the platform, still talking in tongues!
Later this man told me what had helped him. He said, “First of all, I see now that I had believed the devil’s lies about having some secret sin. When I was released from that, it was as if a heavy burden lifted from me.”
Then he added, “And you were so positive. ‘Yes,’ you said, ‘you’re going to receive.’ You got me to believe that I would receive.” It’s a cinch that you’re not going to get anyone to believe if you are negative!
Then he said, “When you laid hands on me and the Holy Ghost came on me, I’d been at that same point a thousand times before. I might have said a word or two, or stammered a little bit. But when I’d done that through the years, everyone else would say, ‘That’s it! That’s it! Let the Holy Ghost talk!’ So I’d stop to let Him talk, and that would be the end of it.”
But that’s unscriptural direction. The Bible says, “And THEY were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and [they] began to speak with other tongues . . .” (Acts 2:4).
So you may have to work on a believer’s faith or yieldedness to help him receive the Holy Ghost. You’ll know by talking with him.
A fifth fact we ought to know about receiving the Holy Ghost is this: Speaking with other tongues is not only an initial evidence of a believer’s being filled with the Spirit, but also should be a continuing experience.
Howard Carter, a pioneer of the Pentecostal movement, was general chairman of the Assemblies of God in Great Britain for nineteen years, and founded the first Pentecostal Bible school in the world. He made the following statement:
“We must not forget that the speaking with other tongues is not only an initial evidence of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling, it is a continual experience for the rest of [one’s] life to assist in the worship of God. It is a flowing stream that should never dry up, and that will enrich the life spiritually.”
Paul said in First Corinthians, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all” (14:18). Then he went on to say, “Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue” (v. 19).
If Paul wasn’t speaking with tongues in church, where did he do it? He did it in his own private prayer life. Now from Scripture, it seems like all the Corinthian church wanted to do was talk in tongues. If Paul spoke in tongues more than they did, he must have talked in tongues when he got up, when he went to bed, and during the time in between. Evidently, that was the most prominent way Paul prayed at that time.
To summarize, we can help believers be filled with the Holy Ghost by showing them five facts from Scripture:
1. The Holy Spirit is a gift already given by God, and it’s up to us to receive Him.
2. Anyone who is saved is immediately ready to be filled with the Holy Ghost.
3. Recipients should expect the Holy Spirit to move upon their vocal organs and put supernatural words in their hearts, but they must do the actual speaking.
4. Faith and yieldedness are the only areas to work on for believers who do not receive when prayed for.
5. Once filled, believers should continue to pray regularly in other tongues.
Remembering these things will help us experience the rich blessings available to us through the indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit.
‘Howard Carter, Questions and Answers on Spiritual Gifts (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Harrison House, Inc., 1976), p. 120.
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