By Ada Brownell
Jesus stood, his robe swaying with the breeze, shouting to the apostles and about 500 men, plus women and children[i] gathered on Mount Olivet. The crowd had followed him for 40 days, listening to the Messiah teach, amazed at the infallible proofs verifying His Resurrection from the dead.
“Don’t depart from Jerusalem,” Jesus said, his voice echoing among the rocky hills. “but wait for the Promise of the Father. For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
About 500 people gathered on the mountain, some leaning on boulders as they listened to the Resurrected Savior. Some brows wrinkled as they remembered the words of John the Baptist, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentence, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Jesus continued. “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Forty days later, 120 of them gathered in an upper room where they’d been seeking God and the infilling, when suddenly there came a sound like a strong wind. “And there appeared to them cloven tongues, as a fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4).
Controversy about speaking “in tongues” began that day, and continues until now.
Where the 120 people came out of the upper room and down into the street, joyful, praising God in loud voices and still speaking in tongues. The questions started.
“What meaneth this?”
“Aren’t those who speak Galileans? How is it that we hear them speak in our language?” “Are they drunk?”
Peter suddenly found his voice, despite denying he knew Jesus after the Lord’s arrest. He’d mentally dropped out of the ministry. But now Peter stood and shouted, “This is what was prophesied by the prophet Joel. God said in the last days He would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28).
Here are questions we hear today about the Baptism in the Holy Ghost:
· Is the Holy Spirit poured out in the same way today?
· How does it happen?
· Why is speaking in tongues the initial evidence?
· Is there other evidence?
· Should we seek the Holy Spirit instead of speaking to Jesus or God?
· How do people know something supernatural happens?
· What advantages are there to being baptized in the Holy Spirit?
· Does it make me a better person than those who aren’t filled?
Yes, the Holy Spirit is poured out in the same way today, but often those who speak “in tongues” are given a heavenly instead of earthly language, although my oldest sister spoke in Swedish when she was filled. A Swedish couple was in the congregation and heard her glorify God in their language.
It happens when we ask God for it, and tarry in his presence. Some advise seekers to just speak it out, but those I’ve seen who were filled with joy, overflowing love and power to witness, not only asked to be filled, but worshiped and praised the Lord until they ran out of their own vocabulary and the Spirit gave them words to worship him they couldn’t utter, even with groaning.
God uses the tongue because the tongue is difficult to tame and it’s a spiritual milestone to completely yield ourselves to God, including the tongue.
Other evidence surfaces such as joy, love for God and one another, and becoming a witness. God opens doors and often miraculously gives the words to speak.
Jesus is the baptizer, but the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity and He is the one who empowers. The Heavenly Father is involved because He promised things in Old Testament days, such as Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit.
We know we’ve been touched by the supernatural power of God by our fruits. Acts 1:8 I’ve discovered sometimes we can be witnesses by our lives and don’t have to say a word. But God also uses our mouths. When I was a dried up 21-year-old discouraged Christian living in a little town in the Utah desert, God refilled and anointed me one night with His power all over me like warm oil. The next day I prayed for a helper so I could start a Sunday school in that little place with four bars and no church. Within a week a wonderful Baptist woman my age moved to town and we established a Sunday school in the school house.
Being filled with the Holy Ghost doesn’t make me better than someone who hasn’t been baptized in the Spirit. But it makes me much better than I’d be without it.
CONFESSIONS OF A PENTECOSTAL
By Ada Brownell
Ada tells what it was like to grow up in a Pentecostal home, miracles she witnessed, and then of her own journey following the Lord. Her inspiring confessions of faith will encourage and bless believers everywhere.
Originally published by the Assemblies of God in 1978, the book was listed in 2011 and many other years among 10 top recommendations on Pentecostalism by The Library Thing. It was converted to an e-book in 2011.
Review: Confessions Of a Pentecostal is more than just a book or a story; it is an ultimate look inside another person's faith. Truly remarkable, a book that I will reread time and time again, I recommend this to anyone who ever wonders about who we are: who are the Pentecostals.