As a young Baptist preacher, I associated with Full Gospel people around divine healing. We both believed in that, and hearing them talk about divine healing made my faith grow stronger. I also knew I needed the infilling of the Holy Spirit that they talked about, because I sensed a lack of power in my own life. But after meditating on and thinking about the scriptures concerning the Holy Spirit, I became convinced that speaking with other tongues wasn’t necessary.
So I told the Lord that I expected to receive the infilling of the Spirit, but that I was of the opinion that tongues didn’t go along with it and were not for us today.
Immediately the Lord spoke to my heart. I knew it was the Holy Spirit speaking through the Word. That same still small voice that had brought me off a bed of sickness and into divine healing asked me, “What does the Bible say?”
I quoted the scripture, “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).
Then the voice asked, “What promise is that?”
“. . . And ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). “The reference here, Lord, is to the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Then I hastened to add, “But Lord, I believe in the Holy Spirit. It is the tongues I am not so sure about.”
The Holy Spirit always leads us in line with the Word. The Word and the Spirit agree. I am not in favor of following voices, for a person can go wrong following voices. But we can never go wrong following any voice that leads us to walk in line with the Word of God.
Jesus, the Word made flesh, said of the Holy Spirit, “. . . he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you” (John 16:14) and “. . . he shall not speak of himself [thank God, He does speak]; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak . . .” (v. 13).
The newly born-again Christian has the Holy Spirit in a measure. However, this is not the same as an enduement with power; he is not filled with the Holy Spirit. But there is the work of the Holy Spirit in the New Birth: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:16).
Then the Lord said to me, “What does Acts 2:4 say?”
I could quote that verse, of course. But just because you have it in your mind does not mean that you really know what it says. You have to have the revelation of it in your spirit to really know what the Word of God means.
I quoted, “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” I got this far and said, “ ‘And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to sp . . .’ Oh, I see it, I see it! ‘They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak.’ When I get filled with the Holy Spirit, I will begin to speak in other tongues. Lord, that settles it. I am going down right now to the Full Gospel preacher’s house and receive the Holy Spirit!”
I walked over to the parsonage and knocked on the door. I said, “I’ve come to get the Holy Spirit.”
The preacher said, “Wait.” From that day until this I have never been able to figure out why anyone would ever tell someone to wait to get the Holy Spirit.
Some will say, “Didn’t you read where Jesus told His disciples to tarry, and ‘to tarry’ means ‘to wait’?” Yes, but that is not a formula for receiving the Holy Spirit. If it were, then why take out the word “Jerusalem”? Jesus 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). It was just as necessary for that group—the 120—to be in Jerusalem as it was that they wait.
Also, they weren’t waiting—getting ready and preparing themselves—to be filled with the Holy Spirit. They were waiting for the Day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit could not be given until then. If they had been waiting and preparing themselves, the Bible would have read, “When they were ready . . . .” But it reads, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come . . .” (Acts 2:1).