Baptism in the Holy Spirit – TONGUES
Larry Kreider

B. Childress
Feb 28 2011

Some sincere believers have told me they heard negative things about Spirit-baptized people.  So have I.  But, we live
by the Word of God, not by other people’s experiences.  We may see something happen in the name of the Holy Spirit
that may not be the Holy Spirit at all and think, “If that’s the Holy Spirit, I want nothing to do with it.” But we cannot throw
out the baptism of the Holy Spirit because of what we saw or experienced that was not authentic.

Others may say, “If I’m supposed to be filled with the Holy Spirit, well, that’s up to God…I’m open to whatever the Lord
wants to do.”  This sounds like a noble response, but in reality, it may be a statement of unbelief because they do not
really want to be filled.  A young man told me once that he felt he did not deserve to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.  I
told him, “You’re right.  I don’t deserve it either.  We don’t deserve salvation or anything else, but God wants to give it to
us as a free gift.”

God has already initiated His part in our receiving Christ and being baptized with the Holy Spirit.  It’s now up to us to
receive by faith what He has freely offered.  To be baptized with the Holy Spirit is a personal act of faith, a decision that
we make.  Our heavenly Father wants to give us the gift of the Holy Spirit.  
If you then, though you are evil, know how to
give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

(Luke 11:13).

Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit?  If you are not sure, ask!  Jesus wants to baptize you with the Holy Spirit.  You
only need to ask Him in faith, in the same way that a child would ask his father for a gift.

Your heavenly Father wants you to receive the Holy Spirit, and He offers the baptism in the Holy Spirit to you freely!  
Suppose I gave you a Christmas gift and you took it home and opened it and found many gifts wrapped up inside.  One
of these gifts is a tool you needed, a pair of pliers.  But you must take the pliers out and use it in order for it to be
effective.  The same principle applies to the Spirit of God.   We need to receive the gift of the baptism in the Holy Spirit
by faith, and then begin to use all the wonderful individual spiritual gifts that accompany it.

What about tongues?

In Ephesus, some of the believers had never even heard of the Holy Spirit.  So Paul instructed them, telling how they
could receive the Holy Spirit.  When he prayed for them, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke with tongues.  
When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues…(Acts 19:6).

There are nine supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit listed in I Corinthians 12:7-10.  The gift we want to look at in this
chapter is
tongues.   Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.  To one there is
given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to
another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another
prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still
another the interpretation of tongues

Often, when believers are baptized in the Holy Spirit, they begin to speak in
tongues or a new heavenly language.   The
Bible says they magnify God (Acts 10:46).  This personal prayer language is understood by God because it is my spirit
speaking to God.  Speaking in tongues is a direct line of communication between me and God.

In the book of Acts, speaking in tongues was often the initial outward sign accompanying the baptism in the Holy Spirit
(Act 2:4; 10:45-46; 19:6).  Should every Spirit –filled believer speak with tongues, then?  No, you don’t have to, but you
may!  It’s like going into a shoe store and getting a pair of shoes and saying, “Must I have tongues in my shoes?”  No!  
But you take the tongues because they are part of the shoes!  Praying in tongues in a blessing from God.  Let’s imagine
that you came to my home and I gave you a meal.  You say, “Must I eat this steak?”  or “Must I eat this salad?”  Well, no,
you don’t’ have to, but it is available for you as part of the whole meal deal!

God wants us to have and use spiritual gifts so that we may be a blessing to others.  We need to exercise them so they
can be used in our lives to build us up spiritually to give us supernatural strength and ability to be effective in our
Christian lives.  First Corinthians 14:1 says…
eagerly desire spiritual gifts

And Jude 20 tells us to …
build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.  

God wants us to build ourselves up in faith so we may be the powerful witnesses.  In Acts 1:8 we read that when the Holy
Spirit comes upon us, we will receive power to be His witnesses.  That’s why we receive power – to be His witnesses.  
Praying in tongues builds us up spiritually.  It’s like charging your spiritual battery.  You can, with power, pray for the
sick, and minister to people and help them as you continue to build up yourself spiritually by praying in other tongues.

I wish you all spoke in tongues

Speaking in tongues has been controversial in some parts of the church of Jesus Christ.  One of the first times that I
went to a public meeting where I was told that some of the people spoke in tongues, I sat near the back of the building.  I
wanted to make a quick exit if I became too uncomfortable!  Although some believers hesitate because they have heard
or seen misuses of the gift of tongues or other gifts of the Spirit, we have no need to be afraid.

It seems funny to recall now, but one of the fears that I had when I was considering being baptized in the Holy Spirit was
that I would be in a place like a department store and the Spirit of God would come on me.  I was afraid I’d begin to
speak in tongues uncontrollably.  I pictured myself being so embarrassed!  Then one day I read this scripture,
spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets
(I Corinthians 14:32).

Your spirit is subject to you.  It’s like a water spigot.  You turn it off and on.  The water is always there, but it’s under your
control.  You choose to pray or not to pray in tongues at any given time, but it’s God who gives you the gift and the
power to speak.

How important then is it for us as Christians to speak in tongues and exercise other spiritual gifts?  Paul the apostle
wished that every person spoke in tongues and stressed that the gift of tongues was an important part of his spiritual
I would like every one of you to speak in tongues…I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you (I
Corinthians 14:5a: 14:18).

Is someone a second-rate Christian if they don’t speak in tongues?  No, of course not!  But God wants us to be blessed
and use these blessings so we can fulfill His call on our lives.  Some say they believe it is selfish to pray in tongues.  Is it
selfish to pray?  Is it selfish to read the Bible?  Why do we pray and read the scriptures and speak in tongues?  We do it
to communicate with God and in order to be built up spiritually so we can be effective in helping other people.

Bypassing the devil!

We pray two ways – with our mind and with our spirit.  Both are needed, and both are under the influence of the Holy
Spirit, according to I Corinthians 14:14-15.  
For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.  So what
shall I do?  I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my

The first way we pray is with our mind.  When we pray, “Our Father in heaven….”  it’s coming from our mind.  We
understand it.  We are using our intellect to pray in a learned language.

The second way we pray is with our spirit.  When we pray with our spirit (in tongues), it’s unfruitful to our mind.  Our spirit
is praying directly to the Father without having to accept the limitations of our human intellect.

In other words, when you and I pray with our spirit, we have no idea what we are saying, but our heavenly Father knows
what we’re saying.  We come in simple faith and trust God to provide the form of the words and their meaning to Him.  
Using our new language, we edify ourselves (I Corinthians 14:4) or “build ourselves up” spiritually.  It is like a direct
phone line to God.

I walked into a hardware store one night soon after I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and there were two men conversing
in “Pennsylvania Dutch,”  a language many people of German descent use in my community.  I cannot understand  this
language at all.  Even though I didn’t understand, those men understood one another clearly.  The Spirit of God spoke
to me and said, “In the same way that these two men understand one another, I understand exactly what you are saying
when you pray in tongues.  Continue to praise Me and magnify Me in this new language I’ve given to you.”  I was set free
to pray in tongues from that day on without the nagging thoughts of unbelief and doubt from the devil.

Today, I pray in tongues daily, because when I pray in tongues, I bypass the devil.  He has no idea what I’m saying.  I’m
speaking the “language of angels” and “mysteries” according to God’s Word…
I speak with the tongues of men and of
…(I  Corinthians 13:1).  For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God.  Indeed, no one
understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit
(I Corinthians 14:2).

Kinds of Tongues

To clarify some common misconceptions of tongues, let’s look at two different kinds of tongues mentioned in God’s
Word.  The kind of tongues we have mentioned so far is for personal prayer and intercession.  This is the type of
tongues that magnifies God and is a direct line of communication between us and God.  It is God speaking through us.  
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself
intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit,
because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will
(Romans 8:26-27).

P.C. Nelson, founder of the Southwestern Bible Institute, was a Greek scholar.  He told his young ministers that the
Greek literally reads, “The Holy Spirit maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered in articulate
speech” (articulate speech is the ordinary kind of speech).  He pointed out that the Greek bears out that this not only
includes “groaning” in prayer, but also “other tongues.”  The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit helps us to pray.  Many
times I have felt unable to put into words the desires of my heart when I pray.  And sometimes, situations are so complex
that I just do not know how to pray.  But the Holy Spirit does!

The second type of tongues is mentioned in I Corinthians 12:28-30 after God says He has appointed some in the church
for various tasks and responsibilities.  
And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third
teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of
administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.  Are all apostles?  Are all prophets?  Are all teachers?  
Do all work miracles?  Do all have gifts of healing?  Do all speak in tongues?  Do all interpret?

Because this scripture states, “Do all speak in tongues?” many think this means that not all can speak in tongues as a
personal prayer language.  However, this scripture is really asking, “Are all appointed to speak with the gift of tongues to

You see, there is a gift to be used
in the church which is a type of speaking in tongues.  It is different from the type of
speaking in tongues that we experience when we pray in our prayer language.  When this gift of tongues is used in the
church, someone who has the gift gives a message in tongues and someone with the
gift of interpretation gives the
meaning, thus building up the body of Christ.

To summarize, although all Christians may speak in tongues so we can be built up spiritually to serve God better, He
also sometimes gives a special gift of tongues to be used to build up His church.  These scriptures are clear that not all
will be used by God to speak in tongues in a church meeting.  However, we can still pray in tongues as a personal
prayer language to the Lord.  The same goes for the other gifts listed here.  You and I may not have the gift of
administration in the church, but we all must administer our checkbooks.  We may not have the gift of healing, but we are
all called to pray for the sick in our own families.

Eagerly desire

After Paul lists the ministry gifts of the Holy Spirit to the church, in I Corinthians 12:28-30, he says in verse 31, But
eagerly desire the greater gifts.  And now I will show you the most excellent way

What is the greater gift?  The greater gift depends on the situation you’re in.  If you need healing, you believe God for
the “greater” gift of healing because that is what you need.

What is the “most excellent way?”  It is love.  I Corinthians, chapter 13, tells us all about it!  Some say they don’t need all
these gifts; they just need love.  That’s not what Paul was trying to communicate.  He is emphasizing that to possess
spiritual gifts without love amounts to nothing.  We need to use these gifts in love according to I Corinthians 13:8-13.  
Love never fails.  But where there are…tongues, they will be stilled…For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but
when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I
reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a
mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now
these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love

This passage of scripture reveals that tongues will cease when “that which is perfect is come.”  Some people believe that
this means tongues are no longer needed today.  They believe that “that which is perfect” refers to the Bible.  However,
they fail to realize that the same passage says we shall see “face to face.”  We will not see the Bible face to face.  We
will see Jesus “face to face.”  At that time, at the end of the age, there will be no need for the gift of tongues.  But until
we see Jesus face to face, the Lord has given us the gifts of tongues and prophecy and other supernatural gifts of the
Holy Spirit to use for His glory here on earth.

Continue to be filled with the Spirit

Do you know for sure that you are baptized with the Holy Spirit?  Do you pray in tongues?  Are the spiritual gifts
becoming evident in your life?  If you are not sure, ask Jesus to fill you with His precious Holy Spirit today.  Ask another
Spirit filled believer to pray for you.  Sometimes it takes someone else to agree with us in faith to experience the Holy
Spirit’s filling.  Paul went to Ananias.  The Samaritans waited for Peter and John.  I went to a pastor friend.

We must reach out and receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.  By faith we receive, and then are continually filled, day
by day!  Dwight L. Moody, the famous evangelist, used to say, “I need to be filled with the Holy Spirit every day, because
I leak!”

The early believers knew this, too, according to Acts 4:31.  
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was
shaken.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly
.  Many of these believers were
already filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in Acts chapter 2.  But they needed to be filled again.  We, too, must
experience constant renewal.  Paul warns the believers that to maintain the fullness of the Spirit, they must live lives
separate from sin.  
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.  Instead, be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:

The New Testament baptism in the Holy Spirit happens in the context of committed discipleship to Jesus Christ.  Our
hearts must be right with God so He can pour out His Spirit on us.  As we live in obedience to Christ, there will be a
greater awareness and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  We will deepen our relationship with the Father and grow
in our love for others.

God wants to use you to see change come into people’s lives.  But it takes the Holy Spirit’s power to “break through.”  
The Lord wants to use you to touch others’ lives for eternity.  People in your family will be changed when you are
baptized in the Holy Spirit.  It may not happen immediately, but it will happen!  It won’t be through your natural ability, but
by Christ who is at work in you through the Holy Spirit.  God bless you as you live by the power and the authority of God
and experience the Holy Spirit flowing through your life.