Excerpt for Evidence for Speaking in Tongues: Fanning the Flames of Revival by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Evidence for Speaking in Tongues

Fanning the Flames of Revival


Billy Prewitt

Published by SpeakToMeToday.com

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2017 by Billy and Rebekah Prewitt

All rights reserved. The use of short quotations or occasional page copying for personal or group study is permitted and encouraged. Other permissions will likely be granted upon request.

Unless noted, all Scripture references are taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version.

Please discover these other titles by Billy and Rebekah Prewitt:

You Can Be a Happy Wife by Rebekah Prewitt

Eternal Security: What if John Calvin Was Wrong? by Billy Prewitt

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit by Billy Prewitt

Help! I Am a Teacher! by Billy Prewitt

“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).

C o n t e n t s


Chapter 1: Endued With Power

Chapter 2: What Is the Promise of the Father?

Chapter 3: Is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit Separate from Conversion?

Chapter 4: What Is the Evidence for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

Chapter 5: The Three Functions of Tongues

Chapter 6: The Nature of Tongues

Chapter 7: Why Is Speaking in Tongues so Important

Chapter 8: External Experience

Chapter 9: Internal Experience

Chapter 10: The Prayer of Faith

Chapter 11: Dispensations of the Spirit

Chapter 12: Mighty Men That Didn't Speak in Tongues

Chapter 13: The Baptism as a Gift

Chapter 14: Increasing Faith Through Study

Chapter 15: Increasing Faith in the Church

Chapter 16: Preaching Toward Revival

Chapter 17: A Higher Level of Christian Experience

Chapter 18: How to Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit


Connect With the Author


As I write this book, I am hungry for an outpouring of the Spirit of God fresh and new. If there is one thing that we need it is a mighty move of the Spirit to revive the Church and sweep countless sinners into the Kingdom. It is to this end that I submit to you my findings. I hope that far in addition to bringing understanding, that you will be awakened to a fresh experience with God and that your experience will be contagious.

The materials you are about to read are materials that the Lord has prompted me to study and research for the past fifteen years. Early on in my ministry, I realized that it was of great importance for me to study and understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit. With that aim, the Lord has led me on a wonderful journey of faith and discovery. Ultimately, in the process, I have become convinced that a revival of the Spirit and the charismatic gifts is substantially necessary in the modern American church.

It is my hope and prayer that this material will provide a spark that will ignite into a burning flame of revival. May your heart be a ready tinder box to bring this vision into reality.

Back to top

Chapter 1: Endued With Power

As Jesus was preparing to ascend back into Heaven, He said, “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” (Acts 1:8). These are the words that He used to describe the soon coming experience of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. The point was simple: Power. The power to live a life of holiness had been already given (John 20:22). This was a new power that was specifically purposed for witness.


The Greek word for power in Acts 1:8 is dunamis. This dunamis power is specifically the power for the miraculous. Jesus had demonstrated this kind of power throughout His ministry and was basically telling the disciples, “Now, it is your turn.” The context in which the power was given is witness. This power, though enormously personally edifying, is primarily for the advancement of the Kingdom. The Book of Acts is literally a commentary on this power. The displays of power are the mark of the entire narrative. The persons involved were supernaturally gifted with this power and Acts is the living record. What happens when this kind of power is displayed? Well, we could almost turn to any chapter in Acts to find the answer. We will look at a few examples just to prove the point.

Once when Peter was traveling around the various districts of the Church, he paid a visit to a town called Lydda. When he arrived, he found a man named Aeneas that had been paralyzed for eight years. Apparently, without any hesitation, Peter said to Aeneas, “Jesus Christ maketh thee whole” (Acts 9:34), and just like that, the man was completely healed. How hard do you think it was for Peter to convince the residents of Lydda that the resurrection of Jesus was real? Many of them probably knew Aeneas. Many of them had probably cared for him and helped his family over and over again. The Biblical record does not say that Peter preached, but I would imagine he probably did while he was there. Just imagine the sermon. Peter stands up, points to Aeneas who is also standing up. Peter says, “Jesus did that. Does anyone here want to get saved?” Even if we are adding a little to the text here, the result is nothing surprising. Over and again, when people saw what Jesus could do, they were ready to hear what Jesus had to say. The Bible records their reaction: “And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him [Aeneas], and turned to the Lord” (Acts 9:35).

On Paul’s first missionary journey, he was faced with a direct confrontation with a sorcerer named Barjesus. Apparently, this man’s tactics were persuasive and effective. He was no match for the Spirit-filled apostle, however. Paul rebuked him soundly and then told the man he would immediately go blind, “and immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness” (Acts 13:11). Now that is a sermon! Again, Paul could have said, “Now that you see what Jesus can do, what do you think?” The demonstration of power cleared up the confusion in short order. “Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord” (Acts 13:12). Again, we see the same result as Peter had. There was a demonstration of God’s power and immediate kingdom advancement.

Although much of the Book of Acts concentrates on Peter and Paul, these supernatural displays of power were not limited to them. All of the Apostles performed miracles (Acts 2:43). Not only Apostles but also Stephen (Acts 6:8) and Philip (Acts 8:6) performed miracles. It is readily assumed that signs and wonders followed wherever the Gospel was preached regardless of who was doing the preaching (Mark 16:20). There was simply too much charismatic phenomena to record all of it, and as a result, people turned to God. The miracles took place, the power of God was demonstrated, and the conversion of souls resulted.

For those that are concerned about using the Book of Acts as a pattern for practice, Paul made sure to include this concept in his instructional material. “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). Paul recognized the necessity, the absolute vitality, of a demonstration of power in the presentation of the Gospel.

Modern Miracles

Many people claim that God does not do miracles in the modern day. Well, just because He hasn’t done one in their church, does not mean that He can’t or won’t if people will have faith to believe. God still operates in the miraculous. He never stopped, and never will. He is a miracle working God. He loves to show His power and bring to our remembrance example after example of the demonstrations. Just look through the Old Testament at how many times God reminds the people of Creation and the crossing of the Red Sea.

Within the last few years, a pastor who is a very close friend of mine related this story. He had recently spent time with a close friend of his that is a pastor of a church in South America. This man’s denomination traditionally does not believe in tongues, healings, or any such like gifts, yet this man received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit with evidential tongues. Shortly after his experience, there were two blind girls that came to his church and were healed of their blindness. His denominational leaders looked into the matter and like the Sadducees in Acts 4:14, they could not refute the evidence that a miracle had taken place.

Now, I know that we live in a day of gimmicks, fakes, phonies, and everything else. We have heard and seen so many “healers” that operate with questionable methods and poor motives that it is sometimes hard to believe something real when you hear it. Even so, I am going to list a few miraculous events that have happened in modern times. In each of these events, I was either a direct witness or personally know the person that was. None of these examples come from hyper-exaggeration oriented people.

I have a close friend that was healed of skin cancer. He had skin cancer on his nose and had already gone through a few procedures. I saw the problem myself. His nose was a mess. Cancer had been confirmed and the problem wasn’t going away, that is till he visited a church that was experiencing revival. They prayed for him, and the cancer was gone. He went to his doctor who was skeptical and insisted he do another biopsy. When the biopsy came out negative, the doctor didn’t have any other choice but to admit that a miracle had happened. The skin on his nose healed up gradually after the cancer was healed.

My dad traveled from the United States to India to preach. The crowd was quite large and the Indian pastor told him that he should pray for each person that wanted prayer, so the prayers needed to be brief. People lined up for prayer, and quickly, one by one, he laid his hands on each person. After returning to America, he received this testimony. There had been a man in the congregation that was having significant difficulty with his knee. The doctor had put a pin in his knee, but there were still problems. During that service, the man went forward for prayer concerning the problem. He felt something happen in his knee, and he knew that he was healed. One problem remained. The pin was still in his knee. He wondered what he was going to do about it. The next morning he woke up and found the pin lying in his bed. There was no exit wound.

My mother was at a large convention. She felt impressed to give an utterance in tongues. The size of the gathering was quite intimidating, but she mustered the courage and spoke what she was impressed to speak. The message was then interpreted by a man on the other side of the auditorium. After the meeting, there were two men that came up to her. One of them was not a believer. He was from Italy and spoke the Italian language as well as English. He had questioned his friend as to why the lady had spoken in perfect Italian and another person had said the same thing in English. She had never spoken a word of Italian in her life. Imagine how surprised both she and he were when they learned the facts. As I understand it, that Italian man became a Christian that week.

We used to do outdoor services. On one occasion it was supposed to rain. We looked at each other and wondered what to do. Well, we decided to pray about it and go anyway. I must unfortunately confess, that I doubted somewhat and tried to set up our equipment in a weather safe location. It did not rain. I was happy but terribly disappointed that I had been doubtful. The next chance we got for the same scenario I determined to be confident and trust God. The clouds hung black over us, but we set up our PA equipment, my acoustic guitar, and everything else right out in the open. When I started to preach a mocker yelled, “You’re going to get wet.” I answered back in the microphone, “It won’t rain a drop while we are here.” Strangely, there were a few large drops of rain that did fall harmlessly. Maybe those were to test my faith. The downpour started as we left the parking lot. This same situation happened several times, but we never got rained on while doing an outdoor service at that location.

A skeptic could call that a coincidence, but this next one is nothing short of amazing. My father-in-law tells this story. He was a new believer in Guyana, South America. There was a big crusade going on in a stadium, and lots of people were gathered to hear the evangelist. During the service, it was obvious that rain was approaching the area. The evangelist was concerned for the people, the equipment, and everything else. He told the congregation to pray and watch what God would do. That whole stadium watched as the rain approached. They saw the rain divide in the middle. Part of it passed on one side of the stadium and the other part passed on the other side while the entire crowd sat dry in the middle.

Not long ago, a lady came to our church. She was a first time visitor, so I did not know her. She had broken her leg twenty years before and had limped badly ever since. At the end of the service, she requested prayer for her leg. Later that week, we learned that she was completely healed. We also learned later that she had previously gone through surgery on that leg. During the surgery, the doctor put a piece of metal in her and fastened it with screws. She said that she had been able to feel the screws by rubbing her finger across them for the last twenty years. After the healing, she said that she wasn't sure if she could feel them anymore. What happened to those screws?

A young man in prison was diagnosed with liver cancer. He requested prayer. We sent him a prayer cloth anointed with oil and told him to pray as he rubbed the cloth over his liver. When he was sent to the medical facility of the prison to be checked, there was no cancer to be found.

What Do We Do?

I hope that the last section has made you hungry to see the power of God demonstrated in a far greater capacity than you ever have. I am hungry. I have gotten to the point that I just simply can’t be content to do church as usual anymore. I am so tired of endless boring services where the people yawn while the preacher provides self-help tips for parents. I’m tired of programs, performances, and well devised practical illustrations. I am tired of looking around during the singing and wondering if we even know why we are gathered in the first place. I want to see the power of God move again. I am hungry for it. I hope you are as well.

Fortunately, we are not left to ourselves. Jesus said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18). When He said this, He was talking about the Holy Spirit. Oh, how we need His presence in the Church again. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to usher in the presence of Jesus in our services. The teenagers won’t sleep through that service. The children won’t grow restless while He is in the house. We won’t need to find the catchiest tune to liven things up or play an interesting video clip to provoke thought. When He is in the house and the power of the Spirit is displayed, then we will rejoice!

Peter taught that there is a connection between repentance and refreshing. Acts 3:19-20 says, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you.” Did you get that, “Repent . . . And he shall send Jesus!”

Paul said, “Covet earnestly the best gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31). I want the best ones in my church! I’m hungry to see the power of God demonstrated more and more. I was at a church service several years ago as a pastor from Jamaica looked very seriously across the rostrum and said, “There is more power to be had. I have never been to a funeral and seen the corpse raised to life.” I know that I am not the only one that is hungry.

We must commit ourselves to prayer. We must pray and pray and pray some more. We cannot stop praying in discouragement, but we must pray in expectation. We must pray until the Spirit is poured out and until the power of God flows freely. Then we can stand and say like Moses, “Sand still, and see the salvation of the LORD” (Exodus 14:13).

This is not a time to reflect meaningfully. It is not a time to shy away from the supernatural. It is not a time to use alternate means to gather a crowd. It is a time to press on. Don’t just encourage people to be filled with the Spirit. Expect it. Paul commanded it. He said, “Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Why? We need His power. We need His witness to confirm the Word of God. We need the supernatural manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit in operation every day!

Challenge to Pastors and Leaders

Pastors, admit with me that most of the time we preach in the safety of our own building speaking to our own people, but just imagine preaching to a crowd of unbelievers. Many of you may be just as afraid of that as I was a few years ago. Our people say, “Amen!” Unbelievers may curse, shout, or even throw something. No matter your training or upbringing, you are called to do the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4:5).

When you stand before unbelievers (even if they are visitors in your church) how will you convince them that your version of Jesus is true? They have been taught in this land that all religions are essentially the same. They have been taught that Jesus is a prophet, an angel, one god of many, a good man, and even a fraud. What makes your Jesus better than the others? They have also observed the phonies, frauds, and merchandisers. They don’t believe that your church can help them. Are they right? Painfully, they often times are. They don’t believe in Hell or in Heaven. So what are you going to do to bring them to their knees in repentance and faith?

Are you going to rent a bounce house? Oh, I know! Let's have a drama production. That will get them! They have never seen drama before. Are you kidding? Their whole lives are full of drama. They don’t need make-believe. They need real-believe. What are you going to do to make that happen?

Maybe we should hire the best musicians we can find and put on real show. That will bring them in. After church, we will have a free barbecue. Now we’re talking. They will come, eat till they are full, and leave empty. They won’t know God any better when they leave than when they got there. What are you going to do?

I have an idea. Why don’t we pray till somebody gets healed? Fast if necessary. I dare you to challenge the people of your church to pray. CALL them to pray. If they love Jesus, they will. If you BECKON them to do what the Bible says, they probably will. Isn’t that your job! And if you do call them to pray, pray in faith. Don’t pray any “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayers. Get real with God. Make your prayers “effectual” and “fervent.” Pray with some expectation. Pray for an outpouring in your home, in your church, in your town.

Someday soon, I hope that you can preach a sermon to the unbelievers with another Aeneas at your side. You won’t need sermon notes that day. Aeneas will be your sermon illustration. When you approach the pulpit you can say, “Hey, you all know Aeneas.” They will nod as he walks to your side. Your one sermon point will be to say, “Look what Jesus did for him,” and then make the altar call and watch the power of God.

Man of God, Take courage!

“It is I; be not afraid.”

Back to top

Chapter 2: What Is the Promise of the Father?

Have you ever made a promise that you didn’t keep? Mankind is accustomed to hearing such promises, and, as a result, is also familiar with the sting that broken promises offer. In America, where the saying used to be, “A man’s word is his bond,” we have come to the commonplace understanding that “promises were made to be broken.” Our society has devalued the concept of promises to the point that we are hardly willing to believe anyone. The reason for this is quite clear: the weight of a promise is directly proportional to the character and integrity of the one making the promise.

Knowing that character and integrity are the foundation for promises, what does that tell us about promises that God makes? The Scriptures teach very clearly that God cannot lie, indeed it is impossible (Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18). If it is impossible for God to lie, then every word that is spoken by Him must come to fulfillment. As it is written, “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Once God has made a promise there is no need for us to fear or worry because His word never can be broken.

It is difficult to imagine that God can be obligated to do anything, and yet He is very obligated. We do not have the power to obligate Him, and neither does any other created being. God, however, can and has obligated Himself, for once He makes a pronunciation of intent, He voluntarily obligates Himself by His own Word. The list of God’s obligations through promises is quite long. In fact, there are whole books simply listing the promises of God.

God only needs to make a promise one time. Often in Scripture, however, we find that God’s promises are repeated. There are various reasons for the repetition of God’s promises. Sometimes a different context will give a fuller understanding of the first expression. There are other times when promises are clarified and reaffirmed. It could also be that many of the promises are repeated just so that we will be more likely to remember what God intends to do.

Among the repeated thematic material of the Scriptures is the promise concerning the person and work of the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament this promise is referred to as the promise of the Father. God, on many occasions in Scripture, made a promise concerning the Spirit. Each repetition gives us new understanding and reaffirmation that it is indeed God’s design that the Holy Spirit minister in our lives and play an active role in the work of the Church. As we look into this promise and eventually into its realization we will begin to understand just how much God loves us in that He cares to make such a glorious provision for us in the Holy Spirit.

The Promise is Made

In the Old Testament, God spoke through the prophet Joel these words, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28). In these words, the promise of the Holy Spirit is revealed. The promise states that there would be a time coming that would be different from the time in which the prophet lived. The time prophesied would be a time marked by the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon all flesh. This promise stands out among promises because it signifies that a new era would commence in which, God would deal differently with His people than ever before. In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God was not poured out on all flesh, but the promise comes to boldly proclaim that a time was coming in which that would happen.

Moses desired to see a time like the one prophesied by Joel. Moses was obviously a man of great understanding because of his relationship with God. In Numbers 11, we read a story that has some special significance to our current topic. The children of Israel were complaining that they wanted meat. Moses was deeply troubled when he spoke to the Lord concerning the problem, and he said, “I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me” (Numbers 11:14). In response, God told him to gather together seventy of the elders. Moses did as God said and the Bible records, “And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied and did not cease” (Numbers 11:25). Two of those seventy elders that were summoned did not attend the meeting, but the Spirit also rested upon them in the camp where they were and they prophesied there. When news of their prophesying reached Moses, Joshua urged him to forbid them. Moses answered, “Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!” (Numbers 11:29). Through Moses’ words here, we can see that God, at that time, was not pouring out His Spirit on all flesh. His Spirit was only available to a few chosen leaders. Moses realized this and was left wanting. He clearly longed for a time when the Spirit of God would be poured out on all flesh.

The narrative of Moses and the seventy elders clearly reveals that the Spirit of God was transferred from Moses to the elders. There is a direct parallel between this event and the event that happened on the evening of the resurrection day of Jesus. In John 20, we are given the account of Jesus visiting the disciples on that Sunday evening. While Jesus was with them He did something that is quite interesting. “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22). Just as the Spirit of God was transferred from Moses to the seventy elders, the Spirit was transferred from Jesus to His disciples. The only difference is that Jesus was able to do the transfer Himself, while Moses was not.

The striking similarities between these two events are amazing, but there is more. Moses specifically mentioned that he wanted all of the people to be prophets and receive the Spirit of the Lord. Moses was obviously pleased that God would answer his request by giving the Spirit to the seventy, but he was also acutely aware that there could be more. Jesus likewise knew that there was more. On the exact same occasion that He breathed out the Holy Ghost on the disciples He said, “And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). In other words, after breathing on them and giving them the Holy Spirit, there was something else coming that Jesus called “the promise of my Father.”

What promise was Jesus talking about? In Acts 1:4-5, Jesus clearly stated the content of the promise that the Father had made: “Wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” Here Jesus links the promise of the Father to the Baptism with the Holy Spirit that was prophesied by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16; John 1:33). This promise is recorded by all four Gospel writers indicating that it is a matter of utmost importance.

So, we see a steady progression of promise starting with Moses. Moses longed for a promise as yet unmade, and Joel recorded the promise that Moses desired to see. John the Baptist restated the promise in different terms, and Jesus testified to its validity just before His ascension. One thing is obvious in all of this; the promise had not yet come into fulfillment.

In the words of Joel, the promise was the outpouring of the Spirit. The meaning of the Hebrew word that is translated as “pour” is to be spilled or expended. God promised that His Spirit would be spilled out. The implication is that there would be no measure. When a glass is toppled, all of its contents are spilled. When God pours out the Spirit, those that are the subjects of such outpouring will be swallowed up in the gush that flows. The Spirit of God is depicted as moving upon the face of the waters in Genesis 1:2. Just imagine all of the waters of the earth being poured out at once. When the Spirit is poured out, the Spiritual flood will engulf those that receive the outpouring. Also, God is saying that He will expend His Spirit. It is difficult to imagine that the Spirit of God could be expended; therefore, the magnitude of power behind this promise is astounding. God promised that His Spirit would be spilled out and expended on all flesh.

To clarify the concept of the outpouring on all flesh, the Lord spoke more detail through Joel. “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28). This text gives us a distinct picture that the outpouring was going to elevate the normal experience of God’s people to a level of prophetic expression. In other words, Moses’ heart cry would be answered. The people of God would all be filled with the Spirit of God and speak prophetically. Another observation that can be made from this text is that the outpouring is generational and genderless in nature. It will not be limited to the old and mature men, but will be available to the women and children as well. The inclusion of children in the passage is an indication that this is something that will be passed from generation to generation in conforming to the pattern of Deuteronomy 6:7, where God instructs the Israelites to pass on the commandments to their children.

Joel’s prophecy goes on to say, “And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit” (Joel 2:29). This additional information makes the promise even more inclusive. If the servants and handmaids receive the same outpouring as everyone else, then the barrier of social class is effectively erased. In addition to the erasing of the social class, it must be understood that there were some very strict guidelines concerning Hebrew servants. Therefore, it is necessary for us to see the racial inclusion of the alien in this utterance. In other words Gentiles were included in this promise.

When John the Baptist spoke on the subject of the promise, he did not use the same language as Joel. He introduced the promise in terms of baptism. “I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost” (Mark 1:8). Baptism presents a different picture than that of outpouring. In both the prophetic utterances of Joel and John, we are confronted with the fact that no humanly understood words can fully communicate the grandeur of the Holy Spirit, much less give us a visual illustration of what was coming. John’s picture, however, is that of Jesus administering a baptism with the Holy Ghost. In contrast with John’s baptism, Jesus is to be the baptizer. Instead of using water as the substance of this baptism, Jesus would be baptizing in the Holy Spirit. The image is that of a person being fully immersed in the Spirit of God by the very hands of Christ.

Jesus also spoke often of the promised Holy Spirit. Once He made a stark comparison between natural fathers and the Heavenly Father in His discourse on prayer in the book of Luke. He asked, “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone?” (Luke 11:11). Several similar questions were asked with the obvious answer being that an earthly father would do better than that. Earthly fathers often are willing to expend themselves to meet the needs and wants of their sons or daughters. After establishing the generous and provisional nature of earthly fathers, Jesus said, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13). The only way to make a comparison like this is to do it with the perspective that an earthly father must be called evil when compared to God. Yet, even earthly fathers know what is good for their own children. How much more God? Answer: we can’t even begin to comprehend how much! But we do know that God’s answer to our inferred questions and needs is plainly this, the Holy Spirit. Jesus reveals that the Father earnestly desires to give the Holy Spirit. He also shows that this gift is comparable in its nature to fatherly gifts. God wants the very best for His children and the very best that He has to give us is His Holy Spirit. Jesus also makes reference to the fact that asking is necessary. The promise of the Father is limited only in that it is reserved for those that desire it by asking.

The Promise Is Realized

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

–Acts 2:1-4

The noise on the day of Pentecost attracted a crowd that asked, “What meaneth this?” (Acts 2:12). Peter was quick with a response to the confused crowd. His answer was simple, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:16). Peter had the unique opportunity of being the first to interpret the events of that memorable day. It is interesting that he didn’t refer to the recent speech of Jesus concerning the same promise, or the words of John the Baptist. This was likely because his audience was Jewish, or at least converts to Judaism. Rather, he referred directly to the Old Testament as his source of interpretation. What Moses had longed for, and Joel had spoken of was now reality. The Spirit of God was indeed being poured out. The promise of the Father was being realized.

In all the excitement that was taking place, Peter had the opportunity to expound on the promise. The outpouring was not to be a single event for those blessed to be in Jerusalem on that particular day. It was farther reaching than that. If the Spirit had been poured out only on the day of Pentecost, then that would not have constituted “all flesh” as Joel had prophesied. Peter clarified the promise with these words, “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” (Acts 2:39). Peter’s clear motive was to establish that the promise was to be inclusive.

Like the prophecy of Joel, Peter makes some inclusions that merit a brief analysis. “The promise is unto you.” There is no escaping the fact that Peter meant to include all his hearers in the promise. Every person within the sound of his voice was to be included. In addition, the children of those present were included. This is a generational inclusion and also a geographical inclusion. We know that there were people present from many different places. It must be reasoned that this promise was available to the hearers and then transferable for any who had children that were not present. Thus, we have a generational dissemination. Any of these men that had children that were not present would then be able to take the promise back to whatever land he had come from making this promise unlimited to geography. The inclusion of “all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call,” increases the generational and geographical context. In other words, the promise is not limited to time or distance.

The significance of generational and geographical inclusion in the promise is a primary theme in the Book of Acts, and provides a backdrop for understanding the work of the Holy Spirit in the Early Church and throughout Church history. If we understand nothing else, we must know that when Peter said that this promise is for “you,” he was not only talking to those present on that day. He was also talking to you!

We can never be grateful enough for the fact that God has graciously chosen to give us the indescribable gift of the Holy Spirit. As we consider this wonderful Baptism in the Holy Spirit, I hope and trust that you will be filled with power, knowledge and understanding, overflowing in gratitude and affection toward the Father and the Son from whom the Spirit comes.

Back to top

Chapter 3: Is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit Separate from Conversion?

Now that the promise of the Father has been properly identified as the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, it is now possible for us to begin to mark the Biblical characteristics that define that baptism. The first question that we will address is related to the nature and timing of the baptism. In other words, is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit part of the experience of getting saved, or is it a separate experience entirely?

Before we begin to look into the Biblical narrative, we must first establish a fixed line of reasoning. If the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is part of conversion, then we should expect to find both the baptism and conversion inseparable in Scripture. In other words, if one is part of the other, we should find neither alone. We should expect to see them together ALL of the time. If on the other hand the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a separate experience from conversion then the two could easily occur on different occasions. If the baptism then is indeed separate from conversion then we would expect to find in Scriptures at lease ONE example where they are separate. Now that we have laid the basis for our study, let’s look at the five occurrences in the Book of Acts that describe the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and examine the evidence.

The Day of Pentecost

On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out in fulfillment of the promise of the Father. Our question in this chapter is to determine whether or not this outpouring in which the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was given was equal to a conversion experience for those present. Simply put, were the Apostles saved before Acts 2?

Let us look at a few passages in the Book of Luke to help us determine a brief and yet very conclusive pronouncement concerning this subject. Luke 10 relates the time that Jesus sent out seventy of His disciples. They were to go into the places that He would soon visit and announce the kingdom of God. Once they had done this and returned they were elated by the power that was demonstrated through them over devils. It is at that point that Jesus makes a very revelatory statement. He said, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Had anyone else made such a statement we might have reason to doubt, but coming from Jesus, there is no room for such. At that moment, before the crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus declared that the names of those seventy were written in Heaven already.

Another similar pronouncement was made by Jesus in the same book. In Luke 19, we read the story of Zacchaeus. After he came down from the tree, Zacchaeus declared his intention for restoration and alms giving. At that moment, Jesus made another powerful statement. He said, “This day is salvation come to this house” (Luke 19:9). Zacchaeus was pronounced a saved man by the very mouth of Christ. If you will allow me to make an extrapolation from this story, I will conclude that if Zacchaeus was a saved man, then Peter, James, John, and the others that were standing there with Jesus at that moment were saved men also.

Thus, based on these two passages in Luke, it seems evident that salvation had indeed come to the Apostles before Jesus suffered. As a result, they would have been saved well before the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. One more example, however, is very relevant to this study. The two examples cited above are both pre-crucifixion examples. This is why some would say that they were not saved in a Christian sense.

Before we look at the next example we must consider a simple question as to the necessary ingredients for Christian salvation. What does it take to be saved? The Apostle Paul in the book of Romans gives somewhat of a checklist for exactly that question. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9). In this verse we find there are two basic elements that must be present for salvation; namely verbal confession in the Lordship of Jesus and belief in the resurrection. With these two criteria in mind let us now turn to the experience of the Apostle Thomas.

Thomas missed the first appearance of Jesus on the evening of resurrection day. He was absent. The other disciples tried to tell him, but he refused to believe them. The next time that Jesus appeared to them Thomas was there. Jesus approached Thomas directly and told him to examine the clear markings that were still on His body from the crucifixion. The statement that Thomas then made is quite remarkable and yet completely unsurprising. He simply said, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Do you think that Thomas believed in the resurrection of Christ at that moment? Sure he did. To think anything else would be absurd. He was staring at the nail prints and the spear wound. Of course he believed in the resurrection. In stunned amazement the only thing he could say was “My Lord and my God.” How appropriate, and in accordance with Romans 10:9, we see that Thomas made a clear confession of the Lordship of Jesus with clear belief in the resurrection. He was a saved man!

The events of Acts 2 come after the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. The disciples had been in the upper room for ten days praying and waiting for the promise of the Father. Acts 1 gives a brief list of those present in the room. Among those named were the eleven remaining Apostles one of which was Thomas. When the outpouring occurred in Acts 2, Thomas had been saved for at least 42 days. So, in the case of Thomas and the other Apostles, we find that the outpouring of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost came on those that had already been saved for quite some time. It is not possible to see the Day of Pentecost as a conversion experience for them. Clearly conversion and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit were not the same thing.

The Samaritans

The second occurrence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit came in Samaria. Philip went and preached the gospel to the Samaritans and they responded by believing. They, in fact, believed and went one step further in that they were baptized in water. Once again we see faith and confession just as in the case of Thomas. Luke, the writer of Acts, says that they believed (Acts 8:12). There is no indication of doubt concerning whether these individuals were saved.

The very next few verses then tell that the news of the Samaritan conversions reached Jerusalem, and when it did, Peter and John were sent to check things out. Once they arrived, the first thing they did was pray for the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit. They did not lead a prayer for salvation because the Samaritans were already saved.

Now, if you are not aware of the geography of the area, this all may seem quite immediate, but when we realize that Jerusalem is between 30 and 40 miles from Samaria, it takes on a different context. Most of the time, the Apostles walked. If the news traveled on foot, that means it took at least two days for the news to reach Jerusalem and another two days for Peter and John to arrive. The Samaritans would have been believers for at least the better part of a week before Peter and John arrived. Thus we have conversion being separate from the Baptism in the Holy Spirit once again.

Let us take a moment to review our line of reasoning. We noted in the introduction to this chapter that if conversion and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit were the same event, then they should be inseparable in ALL of the Biblical examples. If the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is separate from conversion then it should be seen as such in the Bible at least ONE time clearly. So far, we have two examples of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit coming after conversion for salvation. Let us continue.

Saul of Tarsus

Acts 9 relates the story of the conversion of Saul (later to be known as Paul the Apostle). Saul was on the road to Damascus when he was visited by Jesus. The experience left him physically blind for three days. God sent a disciple named Ananias to visit Saul. This is what he said to Saul when he arrived: “Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 9:17). Later in Paul's ministry, he recounts the story and includes further details about the meeting between himself and Ananias. In Acts 22:12-16, it seems as if Ananias led Paul into salvation, whereas in Acts 9:17, it seems that he led him into the baptism in the Holy Spirit. In both tellings of the story, it is evident that neither the actual conversion experience nor the reception of the Spirit are described. As such, it is impossible to ascertain whether these happened simultaneously or separately.

The Household of Cornelius

Acts 10 is the next occurrence, and this time it is in the home of a Gentile. Cornelius had seen a vision of an angel and as a result had sent to Joppa for Peter. Peter came and preached to all those gathered. Acts 10:44-46 records, “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.”

In this situation, clearly conversion and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit happened at the same time. Although it could be possible to argue that Cornelius and his household had saving faith a few moments before the Spirit was poured out, it is not necessary. As has already been reasoned, there would only need to be ONE example where conversion and the Baptism in the Spirit were separate to convincingly prove that they are not the same experience. In this case, both occur together. Question: does this mean that conversion and Baptism in the Holy Spirit are one in the same experience? Absolutely not!

Let me illustrate. Imagine if you will that there is a person that takes a long extension cord and plugs it in to a live outlet next to a swimming pool and then holds on to the other end and jumps into the pool. Does he get wet? Yes. Does he get shocked? Yes. Are both getting wet and getting shocked taking place at the same time? Yes. Are they the same experience? No. A person can get wet without getting shocked, and a person can get shocked without getting wet. In this illustration neither of these experiences is dependent on the other. Both can happen independently, but in this scenario they happen both at the same time.

This is exactly what happened at the home of Cornelius, and there is only one minor way in which our illustration differs. The fact is that Cornelius received salvation. Cornelius also received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Both of these came on the same occasion, but that does not mean that they are one in the same thing. Two experiences can happen simultaneously. Based on our earlier observations he could have received salvation without having received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit at the same time, but unlike getting wet and shocked above, he could not have received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit without conversion. Thus clearly, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is dependent on conversion. From this text we learn that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit can come with conversion. From the preceding texts we learn that there is no necessity for it to be so.

Disciples at Ephesus

The last of the occurrences comes in Acts 19. Here, the Apostle Paul traveled to Ephesus. When he arrived, he met some men that were referred to as “disciples” (Acts 19:1). After meeting them he asked, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” (Acts 19:2).

Why would Paul ask such a question? If conversion and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit are a single experience, then this question would be absurd. It would be like asking someone if they came out of their mother’s womb since they were born. If, however, conversion and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit are indeed two separated experiences then the question makes perfect sense.

One question that has often been asked concerning these disciples in Ephesus is whether or not they were saved when Paul arrived. Why would Luke, the writer of Acts, call them “disciples” if they were not saved? The context of Acts 19 would seemingly indicate that these men were converts or at least students of Apollos who is credited as having been “instructed in the way of the Lord” (Acts 18:25). Why would there be any reason to doubt the true faith of these disciples unless there was some kind of motive involved?

Even if the point is conceded and we conclude that they were not saved when Paul arrived, there is still an interesting point in the text to observe. Acts 19:4-6 says,

Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

Even if one insists that these men were unconverted when Paul arrived, the sequence of events must be observed. First, Paul spoke to them of Christ. Second, he baptized them in water. Surely they must have been true believers at that time. Why would Paul baptize an unconverted man? Then after the water baptism was over, he laid his hands on them to receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. There can be no real question based on the sequence of events that they were converted before water baptism and received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit after water baptism. Thus there is clearly a separation between conversion and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. This is exactly what Paul teaches in his Epistle to the Ephesians: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13).

Summary of Findings Concerning Separation

The Day of Pentecost – The Apostles were saved before Pentecost

The Samaritans – The Samaritans were saved before the arrival of Peter and John

Saul of Tarsus – Saul was saved and received Spirit with Ananias

The Household of Cornelius – Cornelius was saved and received the Spirit on same occasion

The Disciples at Ephesus – The Disciples were saved before water baptism then received Spirit after being baptized

In the beginning of this chapter we set out our line of reasoning. If conversion and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit are two ways to describe one single event, then the Biblical record should show that they are inseparable by time in ALL instances. If conversion and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit are two separate experiences then the Biblical record should show at least ONE example where they are separated by time. Clearly, the Biblical record shows that conversion precedes the Baptism in the Holy Spirit in at least three of the five occasions given in Scripture concerning the subject. Thus we must conclude that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a separate and distinct experience apart from conversion.

Since it has been clearly seen that Scripture teaches that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not the same as conversion and does not of necessity happen at the same time as conversion then we will proceed to our next subject of evidence.

Back to top

Chapter 4: What Is the Evidence for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

Almost every experience has some sort of evidence associated with it, and we must now consider what that evidence might be as it relates to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. If there is indeed some kind of observable evidence, then surely the Scriptures should make that evidence plain. Once again, we will need to consider the occurrences in the Book of Acts to determine what we should expect to see today as evidence.

The Day of Pentecost

On the Day of Pentecost we find the outpouring of the Spirit described in very clear terms. There were three supernatural phenomena that evidenced that something had happened. Let us take a moment to examine each.

First, there was “a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind” (Acts 2:2). There is no question that this supernatural sound was evidence that God was doing something. We are told in the text that the sound filled the whole house.

As I am writing this, I live in Florida. One thing that Floridians know a bit about is strong wind. About once every three years or so, we get the news that it is time to cover the windows and prepare for a hurricane. For those like me who are not very cautious, we get to see rain go sideways in all directions at the same time. It is really quite neat. The howling of the wind at such times is inescapable. It can be unnerving.

We must remember that the Holy Spirit is God. Being the third member of the Trinity, He is nothing less that the Almighty. So, naturally when He enters a room, we should expect fantastic power when He comes. In this picture given in Acts 2, the sound of rushing mighty wind is not to be confused with a gentle breeze. Strong’s offers “violent” as a synonym for word translated as “mighty.” The Apostles heard the sound of a hurricane, typhoon, or possibly even a tornado come crashing through the room. Notice that the sound originated in heaven but was inside the room rather than outside (Acts 2:2). This wonderful sign from God evidenced that the Spirit was indeed coming in power. This is not the first time that God has evidenced His power with wind (or in this case the sound of wind). As awesome as this sound was, however, as we will see below, it was not a repeated phenomenon in the other occurrences of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. It only happened one time. As a result, we should not expect to hear the sound of a rushing mighty wind when someone receives the Baptism in the Holy Spirit in our services today. God could do it again, but this is not given as evidence for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit in Scripture.

Secondly, there “appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire” (Acts 2:3). Again we see a supernatural signal that God was doing something beyond the normal. The sound of wind was a sign that was heard. This sign was a sign that was seen. These tongues of fire literally came to rest upon each person present. Like wind above, God has often used fire to demonstrate His power. The significance of this particular demonstration was clearly indicated to be relevant to the individual in the fact that the fire came to rest upon each. As awesome and as interesting as the tongues like as of fire must have been, they cannot be used as evidence for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit for like the sound of wind they are not repeated in the other occurrences in Acts.

Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-24 show above.)